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Mon, 01.22.1703

Antoine Vincent Walsh, Irish Slave Trader, born

Antoine Walsh

*Antoine Vincent Walsh was born on this date in 1703. He was a white Irish shipowner and African slave trader in Nantes, France, whose family were exiled Jacobites.

Antoine Walsh was born in Saint-Malo, Brittany, France, the son of Philip Walsh, Ballynacooly, County Kilkenny. His father was a Waterford merchant, who settled in Saint-Malo, Brittany, after the Treaty of Limerick in 1691. Philip Walsh married Anne White in 1695, also an Irish Catholic exile. Walsh had conveyed the defeated James II of England from Kinsale, County Cork, Ireland, to Saint-Malo, Brittany, France, in 1690, after the Battle of the Boyne, thus starting the Walsh family's reliable connections to the exiled House of Stuart in France. He would die at sea on an African voyage.

After serving in the French Navy, Antoine settled in Nantes, which had emerged as France's chief slaving port, where Walsh found a close-knit Irish community. In 1741 he married Mary O'Shiell, a French Irish businesswoman. She was the daughter of the Irish Jacobite Luke O'Shiell, who was born in Dublin but emigrated to Nantes, France, after the Irish defeat of 1690, and Agnès Vanasse. In 1755, the O'Shiell family became ennobled.

Antoine Walsh became a merchant and was a major figure in and made a fortune from the Middle Passage Atlantic slave trade of Nantes. Slave trading and plantation-owning had made him the friend of kings. Antoine became wealthy on the back of the slave trade. The business operated triangularly, supplying Africa with textiles, brandy, and firearms; enslaved people for the French West Indies in Martinique, Guadeloupe, and Saint-Domingue; sugar and tobacco for Europe. He remained a trusted friend of the prince, acting as an intermediary with Frederick II of Prussia's ambassador to Paris, Earl Marischal, in their dispute in 1754.

Antoine Vincent Walsh died at Cap Français, San Domingo (Haiti), on March 2, 1763. On his death, his Jacobite peerage passed to his second and only surviving son, Antoine Jean Baptiste Walsh, Comte de Serrant. The Walsh family relates to the Irish Brigade. After the Glorious Revolution, Louis XIV founded the brigade in May 1690; it consisted of three regiments; one of which would be renamed the Walsh regiment in 1770; when led by a nephew of Antoine, born in Cadiz, home to another colony of officers and shipowners, who were Jacobites.

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