A Monsieur le Bailly de Suffren que l'on s'attendoit a voir a l'Isle de Bourbon au retour de se Glorieuse Campagne de l'Inde [caption title].
Isle de France: Imprimerie Royale, 1784. 4pp. on a single folded sheet. Quarto. Moderately worn with loss at fore edge and gutter margins, not affecting text. Lightly soiled and dampstained.
Early and unrecorded imprint from the colonial press at the French colony of Mauritius, also known as the Ile de France. The text comprises a poem in eleven stanzas by an anonymous soldier from the Regiment of the Isle de France, retired to the island of Bourbon. As most early imprints from Mauritius are official documents, this piece, as a work of local literature, is particularly interesting and desirable.
The Dutch were the first Europeans to become interested in the island, taking possession in 1598. After exploiting the island's dense forests for a century and introducing the cultivation of sugar cane and cotton, the Dutch abandoned the colony in 1710. The French soon claimed it as "Ile de France," and the island remained under the control of the French East India Company until 1767. During the long war between France and England at the beginning of the 19th century, Mauritius proved to be an important strategic naval base, and as a result the British took charge of the island in 1810, and the Treaty of Paris confirmed official British possession in 1814. It remained an important sugar producing colony, and in the 20th century agricultural production was expanded to include tea, rice, and other produce.
Printing began on Mauritius in 1768. During the French period, until 1810, only about 400 imprints were produced, mostly in the form of official documents and newspapers, though there are also almanacs and a few other items. All are quite rare. No copies located in OCLC, and not recorded by Toussaint in his bibliography of Mauritius imprints.