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"A small Saint-Domingue collection ... in Mayenne"

Archives départementales de la Mayenne et RevueMusicorum


In the late 1950s, the historian Gabriel Debien pointed out in his paper "Les travaux d'histoire sur Saint-Domingue, chronique" a "small collection" to be found at the Château de Fresnay in Mayenne. It is indeed made up of no more than nine cartoons devoted to Saint-Domingue and its links with the metropolis. A first part is dedicated to the life and military career of Count Pierre de Pardaillan-Gondrin (1734-1815), a second to the affairs of the family of his wife, Madeleine-Laurence de Vezien, who was born in Saint-Domingue not far from her maternal family, the Chabanons. Thanks to the marriage of their daughter Victoire de Pardaillan to the Marquis Charles de Bailly, a resident at the Château de Fresnay, the family documents before and during the French Revolution were deposited in Mayenne. In 2009 their owner Count Christian de Maynard entrusted the cartons, first placed in the charters of the Château de Fresnay along with the entire collection, to the “Archives de la Mayenne” where they are now kept under the numbers 508 J 115-123.

This "small collection" cannot leave historians indifferent. Before the final loss of their Saint-Domingue plantations, the Chabanons were quite well off, as attested by the accounts of their sugar factories and the succession in 1760 of Michel de Vezien, the father of the Countess of Pardaillan, and that of his grandmother in 1780. Within the "small collection", an important correspondence should interest researchers looking for information on the difficult years, before the French Revolution, that proved fatal to many plantation owners in Saint-Domingue such as the Chabanons or the de Veziens. How could they recover the financial ease highlighted in the accounts and figures handed by merchants from Bordeaux, Le Havre, Cap-Français in Saint-Domingue to the Count of Pardaillan? The cartons related to the military career of the latter contain a minute-book (508 J 116) devoted to his service in Saint-Domingue from 1777 to 1780, as well as a map of the island of Saint-Domingue that has never been listed so far (508 J 123).

Research project

Since its creation in 2002, Revue Musicorum has privileged the multidisciplinary thematic approach that is now its trademark. A selection of articles will thus be published in paper version. Both in 2007-2008 (n° 6) and in 2018 (n° 19), the journal focused on the figure and work of Michel Paul Guy de Chabanon, a composer from a family allied to the De Veziens and the Pardaillans. Both numbers were opportunities to exploit and publicize the documents kept at the “Archives Départementales de Mayenne” which, as trustees of the charters of Fresnay since 2009, set up in 2019 a cultural programme whose axes 2 and 3 aim at boosting scientific research and disseminating territorial knowledge to the general public. Revue Musicorum and the “Archives Départementales de Mayenne”, aware of their common interest in the "small Saint-Domingue collection" and of the convergence of their respective objectives, wish to draw the attention of the scientific community to these documents, the small volume of which should not belittle their value for researchers. These nine cartons should allow historians to provide an in-depth reading of the documents they contain following their favoured angle of research. Indeed, several thematic areas are covered:

“Archives de la Mayenne” propose to conduct an editorial project in the form of an issue of Revue Musicorum exclusively devoted to this collection and to the French presence in Saint-Domingue in the decades immediately preceding and following the French Revolution.


Editorial managers

Cyril Daydé (Director of “Archives Départementales de Mayenne”)

Laurine Quetin (director of Revue Musicorum)

Scientific committee

Philippe Bourdin (University of Clermont Auvergne)

Vincent Cousseau (University of Limoges)

Boris Deschanel (University of Avignon)

Bernard Gainot (University of Paris/Panthéon-Sorbonne)

David Gasche (University of Graz)

Karine Rance (University of Clermont Auvergne)

Hugues de Maynard (honorary member)

Practical arrangements

Proposals for contributions (title and abstract of approximately 250 words) as well as a brief biographical note should be sent to Cyril Daydé, ( and Laurine Quetin ( by April 30, 2023.

The full text of the article must be received by 30 September 2023 at the latest.

The standards for the presentation of articles are available on the Revue Musicorum website.

Information: and



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