The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989 Page: 450
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Badins blithely confessed that he could neither read nor write! He re-
tained a scrivener who read to him and recorded his poesy." Such a tale
would be difficult to believe. Yet McDermott collected sufficient evi-
dence to indicate truth in Robin's story, though he was unable to find
any of Badins's poems.
Badins was an inveterate liar. Robin attests that all his neighbors
knew this and that his name was Badins, not Badinsse, nor did it in-
clude the status particle de. Extant records containing his name as well
as his signature (which is apparently the only writing he did) bear out
this fact. Badins was also a troublemaker, as the same records reveal,
always suing and being sued. Nor, we warrant, did his poems endear
him to his fellows. In French his name implies "one who jokes at the
expense of others," so Badins was well named indeed.6
Robin, in his treatment of Badins, regretted that the pioneer and
poet based his subjects on petty politics, scandal, personal opinion, and
Kraus Reprint Corp., 1965). The Hill volume is, of course, a prime source for this and all early
Spanish-American settlements The Avoyelles records, happily, have been transferred to the
care of the archives of the State of Louisiana. The first extant local record is dated 1786. The
first one relating to Badlns is dated 1793-a lawsuit, naturally. See Winston De Ville, Calendar
of Louisiana Colonial Documents. Avoyelles Parsh (3 vols ; Baton Rouge: Louisiana Department of
Archives, 1961) I, 1, 11
1Robin, Voyage to Louisiana, 144-146. It appears to be too coincidental and we would not
have put it past Badlns to have fabricated it, but the surname of his scribe was, in fact, Racine,
the name of the famous French ltterateur of the previous century. Badins must have been
proud to have an amanuensis with such a distinguished name. Secretary Racine was a native of
Switzerland. Although his precise birth date is not known, he was baptized at the village of La
Chaux-de-Fonds (near Neuchatel) on July 23, 1769, and with his father (Daniel Racine) he left
Switzerland for America in 1794. J. Courvoisier to Mrs. Frank A. Racine, Sept. 9, 1986 (copy
graciously provided by Mrs. Racine). The names of Racine and Badins appear on a hst of sub-
scribers to the construction of a jailhouse at Ouachita in 1796. Natchez Trace Collection (Eu-
gene C. Barker Texas History Center, University of Texas at Austin; hereafter cited as BTHC).
6Robin, Voyage to Louisana, 146. Louis Badlns was a native of Sete (on the Mediterranean
near Montpellier) in France's Languedoc Province and the son of Charles Badlns and Mar-
guerite Cambon On June 29, 1786, at Pointe Coupee Post (just upriver from Baton Rouge) he
married Perlne Doza, daughter of the deceased Joseph Doza and Marguerite Lefevre. Only
one child is known from this union, Eugenie, baptized at Polnte Coupee in 1788. Diocese of
Baton Rouge Catholic Church Records (8 vols., Baton Rouge: The Diocese, 1980), II, 57, lo0. In
this published version of the marriage record, the name appears as "Bodin," but the authors
have examined the original, and it is in fact "Badlns"; signatures match also. Our Badins
should not be confused with one Pierre Badln, who appears in colonial Natchitoches records.
For the latter see, for example, Elizabeth S. Mills, Natchitoches Colonials" Censuses, Military Rolls,
and Tax Lists, 1722-1803 (Chicago. Adams Press, 1981), 11, 17, 49, 99. We can determine no
relationship between the two. Of ten extant records relating to Badlns during his residence at
Avoyelles Post, nine reveal his litigious nature. De Ville, Calendar of Louizsana Colonial Docu-
ments. Avoyelles Parish, I, 125, 173, 178, 192, 196, 212, 217, 223, 232, 233.
Not only was Badins a litigious man, he was a self-admitted wife-beater. On one occasion,
Louis Grisey of Avoyelles Post complained that Badms had hit him with a whip (made of beef
tendons), but said it was done accidently. He had been aiming at Madame Badins! Rumor had
it, in fact, that Badins wanted to run Grisey through with his sword. Was jealousy of Grisey's
elegant handwriting and obvious hteracy the reason for Badins's antagonism? Louis Grisey to
Nicolas Forstall, Oct o20, 1794, St. Landry Parish Documents, Louisiana Department of Ar-
chives (microfilm; Alexandria Historical and Genealogical Library, Alexandria, La).
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 92, July 1988 - April, 1989, periodical, 1989; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101212/m1/504/: accessed November 24, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.