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It is most probable that he first went to England, and from there directed his course to the port of Boston, but we do not hear of him in the new world until the year 1705.
In this year rumors of copper being discovered in the township of Suffolk, Connecticut, caused the proprietors in that locality to appoint a commission to institute a search, which proved successful. The news travelled to Boston and caused some capitalists there to interest themselves in excavating.
The land had been the hunting ground of Indians, and being unclaimed property the proprietors of the town of Simsbury assumed its control, and leased the ground to some private individuals as well as companies. André Freneau proceeded thither and, leasing a mine, began to excavate.
According to the laws regulating the colony, smelting of ore was prohibited; therefore, loading a vessel, Freneau shipped it to London. The ship was captured by a French cruiser, and his enterprise resulted in total loss. So great were the disadvantages attending mining at that time, it is not surprising that Freneau, in the year 1707, relinquishing all hopes of realizing any profit from his enterprise, left the mining district and turned his thoughts to the city of New York, where Benjamin Faneuil had already commenced commercial business.1 It is not certain whether Louis Allaire preceded or followed him to that city.
Upon arriving in New York André engaged in the shipping business, and also acted in the interests of the "Royal West India Company of France," in which he was associated with Etienne Delancey, Auguste Jay, Benjamin Faneuil, René Het, and others.
1 This mine was afterwards converted into a prison called Newgate, and was the first state prison in Connecticut. The excavations served for the safe keeping of the convicts. The prison was afterwards removed to Wethersfield, and the mine is now used as a show place. It retains the name of Copper Hill.
On the seventeenth of June in the year 1710, André married Marie, the eldest daughter of Pierre Morin, or Morine, whose name appears as the head of a family in the records of the Church of St. Esprit. He was the maternal grandfather of John Morin Scott, the prominent Whig lawyer, of whom we will speak hereafter.
After his marriage, André and his young wife, who had just entered her seventeenth year, resided on lower Broadway facing Bowling Green, which was at that time the aristocratic part of the city, and it is said he entertained in considerable style. His name appears in the records of the French Church as the head of a family, and an ancien of the church.
It had always been the custom in the temple, or principal religious edifice, of the Huguenots, for the anciens, or elders, to have, along with the consistoire, prominent seats reserved for them during the services. In the mother country, the consistory was composed only of the pastors of the churches in a certain district, and one ancien chosen from each congregation, to represent it in the assembly. As such members were charged with the oversight of the flock and its temporalities, as well as their spiritual interests, the office was one of considerable responsibility, as well as honor. In New York, there being but one congregation, the elders formed the consistory. They were elected every three years.
In the year 1713, a robbery having been committed in Trinity Church, of which the Rev. Mr. Vesey was rector, the minister and consistory of the Church of St. Esprit, fearing a like sacrilege, presented a petition to the governor that the perpetrators should be apprehended and brought to justice.
The petition being of no great length, and its quaintness amusing, we will insert it. We have failed to find any method amongst the colonial writers generally, whether English, French, or Dutch, for the use
of capitals, consequently we are almost led to think that such letters were thrown promiscuously amongst the type, finding, wherever they chanced to lodge, "a local habitation and a name." However, as we never remember to have found them in the middle of a word, there may have been some rule to govern such a contingency.
It would not be surprising if this promiscuous and generous use of big letters first caused Lindley, the son of Robert Murray, proprietor of the "leathern conveniency" of colonial days, to project his grammar.
Address of the Minister and Elders of the French Church in New York.
TO THE HONNBLE HER MAJESTIES COUNCELL FOR THE PROVINCE OF NEW YORK.
Wee the Ministers & Elders of the Reformed Protestant french Church within the citty of new york cannot sufficiently express our abhorrance of that Wicked, and Sacrileges Fact, committed the Night Between Tuesday and wednesday Last, by some Impious Persons in Trinity Church within this Citty: Being a structure built and dedicated to the service of God, the discovery and Punishment of wich hainous crime, wee estime ourselves, so deeply concerned in, to the end it may deterr others from attempting the Like on that, our, or any other Building sett apart for divine worshipp within this citty; That wee humbly take Leave to offer to your honnours, That iff his Excellency, or your honnble board, shall think fitt to Issue a proclamation with a Reward to the Person that shall make a discovery of the said wicked offense; we shall Cheerfully contribute the sume of tenn Pound towards an Incouragement for the Person that shall make such a discovery, and in duty bound wee shall pray, &c.
New York 16th
LEWIS ROU.. Minister
of the French Church in N. York
JEAN LAPORT ancien
The date of André's marriage is not recorded in the register of the French church, which is explained by the fact of the frequent interruptions in its services. Marriages and baptisms were frequently performed for the Huguenots in Trinity or in the Dutch church. André's marriage does appear in the register of the Dutch church, but the baptisms of all his children are registered in the French church, and in the following order:
Baptême. Auiourdhui dimanche 29o de Juillet 1711 mons Louis Rou notre pasteur a Baptisé André Fresneau né le 24 de ce mois à 3 heures du matin fils de André Fresneau et de Marie Morin presenté au St Baptême aprest la priere du soir par la Sr Morin et Judith Jamain Parein et mareinne. L. Rou Pasteur
Baptême. Aiourdhuy dimanche 8 fevrier 1713 aprest la priere du soir monsieur Louis Rou a Baptisé Marie Fresneau née le 4 de ce mois fille d'André Fresneau et de Marie sa femme presentée au St Baptême par le dit André Fresneau et Marie Morin Parein et marienne.
L. Rou min.
L. Rou ministre
Baptesme. A la nouvelle york de 9me d'octobre 1715 auiourdhuy dimanche aprest la priere du soir mons Louis Rou a Baptisé Marguerite Fresneau née de 8e de ce mois fille de André Fresneau et de Marie son Epouse presenté au St Baptême par Alexandre Allaire et Marguerite Morin parain et mareine.
Baptême Le samedy 11me Janvier 171 Pierre Fresneau fils d'André Fresneau et de Marie Morin bap
avant mydy Est né
tisé par Mons. Louis Rou en sa maison la dimanche 19o du même mois presenté au St Baptême par Mons' René Het et Mad. Ester Charron Parain et maraine.
L. Rou Pasteur
Baptême. A la nouvelle york ce 11me de Mars 1718 Auiordhui mercredy aprest la priere du matin Mons. Louis Rou a Baptisé Thomas Louis Fresneau né le 5me de ce mois fils de Mons' André et Marie Fresneau presenté au St Baptême par Mons Thomas Bayeux et Madle Ester Morin Parrain et marraine.
L. Rou ministre
J. J. MOULINARS Pasteur
Baptême, a la Nouvelle york ce 24o de Juillet 1720 Auiourdhuy dimanche aprest l'action du soir Mons Moulinars a Baptisé François Fresneau né le 2d de ce mois fils de monsieur André Fresneau et de Marie son Epouse presenté au St Baptême par monsieur Louis Allaire et Made Judy Morin parain et marrainne.
We find the name of André Fresneau mentioned in the Journal of John Fontaine, a kinsman of the celebrated Commodore Maury. As this Journal depicts the condition of New York City, as well as its society, at the time of Mr. Fresneau's residence there, we will copy that particular portion of it. A few words as to its author may not be out of place as an introduction.
The family of John Fontaine, or de La Fontaine, were Huguenot refugees who left their native land at the time of the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, taking up their residence in England. At the age of seventeen, and in the year 1710, John de La Fontaine received the appointment of ensign in Lord Shaw's