- Get Involved
D'ESMANVILLE, ABBÉ (?–?). The Abbé d'Esmanville was one of three Sulpician priests who accompanied the La Salle expedition to the Gulf of Mexico and landed at Matagorda Bay in Texas in February 1685. The others were René Robert Cavelier, Sieur de La Salle's elder brother, the Abbé Jean Cavelier, and the Abbé Chefdeville. D'Esmanville, like the engineer Minet and several others, returned to France with Capt. Taneguy le Gallois de Beaujeu on the ship Joly, out of disillusionment with the enterprise. The abbé, like La Salle and many of his company, is said to have been from Rouen. His name, although most often written d'Esmanville, says Villiers du Terrage, perhaps should be d'Amonville, as a family living in Rouen in the twentieth century is so called.
D'Esmanville's brief sojourn on the Texas coast lasted only until the Joly sailed on March 12, 1685. Yet his writings comprise a valuable source on the expedition as a whole, since they relate events of the Joly's round-trip voyage. A copy of d'Esmanville's journal, says Jean Delanglez, was obtained by Claude Delisle for use in preparation of the 1703 Delisle map, Carte du Mexique et de la Floride.
D'Esmanville himself explains his reason for returning to France in terms quite different from those of the expedition historian, Henri Joutel. La Salle, he said, confided to him after arriving on the Texas shore that he planned to send troops to conquer the Spaniards of Nueva Vizcaya. Protesting that the superior of missions, the Abbé Tronson, had sent him to make war on demons rather than Christians, he decided to abandon the colony.
Pierre Margry, ed., Découvertes et établissements des Français dans l'ouest et dans le sud de l'Amerique septentrionale, 1614–1754 (6 vols., Paris: Jouast, 1876–86). Marc de Villiers, L'expédition de Cavelier de La Salle dans le Golfe du Mexique (Paris: Adrien-Maisonneuve, 1931).
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, Robert S. Weddle, "D'ESMANVILLE, ABBE," accessed April 23, 2019, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/fdear.
Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Modified on January 11, 2012. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.