with his coat of arms) which has been the cradle of the Louis Espitalier-Noel family.
The Chazals belonged to the “noblesse de robe”. One can find the ruins of their chateau in the Auvergne & Loiret (Marcilly, La Morandin, La Geneste, La Sablinaire, etc). The Chazals have made history in this country ever since Chazal de Chamarel & Francois de Chazal de la Geneste. This last was a friend of The Count of St Germain, who entrusted him with mystical secrets making him a Master of the Philosophical Stone. He was a titanic initiate who launched French Freemasonry in the world through Doctor Sigmund Backstrom–this Francois de Chazal is thus, by a long way, the greatest Mauritian who ever lived.
From that time, and no doubt from times immemorial, two traits characterise the de Chazals: firstly an extraordinary moral courage; that is to say an inflexible will and a refusal to blindly follow public opinion like a robot..
I now refer to my ancestor, Edmond de Chazal.
Graduate of the French Grandes Écoles, a man with a totally independent spirit, he soon turned his back on Mauritian society. The establishment attacked him. Open the book by Aunauth Beejadhur, “Les Indiens à l’île Maurice” and you will see that my ancestor, by creating the first school and the first hospital ever on a sugar estate, was the first benefactor of the Hindus (No road bears the name of this great liberal minded person at a time when one had to be courageous to be liberal minded. There is nothing tangible to make this country aware of the name of one of its greatest patriots)
However, matters went badly wrong when an English sea captain came to load sugar and Edmond de Chazal was introduced to the Doctrines of Emmanuel Swedenborg. He and his family, in a huge row, left the Roman Catholic Church and founded the first Swedenborgian place of worship at the rear of his St Antoine family home. The flood gates opened, and this last independent gesture set all Mauritian Society against my family: since then the Chazals, have been just about tolerated in the country.
That Mauritius ignores one of its greatest sons, who fought heroically against the reactive capitalists, does not surprise me, since it was in the interest of those capitalists that this man should not be known by succeeding generations.
What cannot be surprising is that a Mauritian, a decedent of Edmond de Chazal, is the one and only White Mauritian member of the Workers Party: I speak of myself.
All this produced an epic battle between my ancestor and the Commercial Bank, presided over by M. Deglos, and that is the polemic that Edmond de Chazal had with Sir Selincour Anthelme, then head of the Establishment. Edmond de Chazal wrote several works and essays on questions of politics and economics of Mauritius. Go to the Carnegie Library and you will find the evidence.
I now turn to Originality.
Originality, a Divine Gift of Creation, cannot be just picked up anywhere. It is only acquired by courage, authenticity, elevation of ideals, social behaviour and principally by the complete rejection of public opinion that in the past identified itself with the opinion of the rich. Originality is a spiritual exercise, inflaming the soul, leading to glorification. It is said in Paris to those who go to Mauritius “in Mauritius there are two types of people; the Mauritians and the Chazals” This is just a saying; it needs the story behind it.
Chazal blood continues to flow and produce . Chantal de Chazal came here recently and is showing the great originality of her ancestors.
It is currently being said in Nairobi: “Tom M’Boya supports Kenyatta and Chantal de Chazal supports M’Boya”. It is as it should be: The Chazal originality bears fruit.
The Mauritian Establishment– at a time when the word Communist was not used depreciatingly — has for two hundred years spoken of the “Moutouc” Chazal which is the originality considered as an offence. As for me, I say: “I took the Moutouc, nourished it and it has become a boa constrictor. That’s Genius.”
Seeing the flamboyant, epic life of a Mauritian Master of Universal Thought, who would not wish to possess the “moutouc”, and envy the name Chazal ?.
Usually spelt ‘calèche’ a coach, probably in this case four wheeled, seats facing each other with hood.
 French aristocrats who owed their rank to judicial or administrative posts —honorary positions attached to a specific office (judge, councilor, etc.).
 Strong verbal or written attack against someone
Facts obtained from the web:
Major insect pests of agriculture that have been introduced naturally, accidentally or deliberately into Mauritius from 1900, with details of their introduction and management strategies.
Phyllophaga smithi (Arr.) [Col., Melolonthid.]
This sugarcane white grub is known only from Barbados and Mauritius. It was an un-described species when it made its appearance in Mauritius, where it became for many years a major pest of sugarcane and familiar to all cane growers as the notorious ’moutouc’ or ’Phytalus’. It was first detected in Mauritius at Réduit in 1907 and it is believed to have been imported from Barbados in soil containing rooted sugarcane, although its exact date of introduction is uncertain. The first outbreak to cause severe damage to sugarcane was at Mon Rocher in 1911 on lands adjacent to Pamplemousses Botanic Gardens, which appeared to be the focus of the infestation. The subsequent very slow spread of the insect over the island and the various measures taken to control it, which included a lengthy bio-control campaign involving importation of various parasites and predators, are well documented. It declined in importance from about the mid-1930s, when it had spread over most of the island, for reasons that are not clear. Today it is of little significance as a cane pest, although it is still very common, and sometimes locally abundant.
Invasive Alien Species in Southern Africa
National Reports &Directory of Resources
Edited by Ian A.W. Macdonald, Jamie K. Reaser, Chris Bright, Laurie E.
Neville, Geoffrey W. Howard, Sean J. Murphy, and Guy Preston
My ideas: (November 2007)
Mon Rocher, mentioned above, was a de Chazal property and that is maybe why Pyllophaga smithi is associated with the de Chazal family. The above states that the creature multiplied to pest proportions in Mon Rocher, Mauritius in 1911, in fact Mon Rocher ceased its operations in 1909 (see elsewhere on this website) so there is an apparent discrepancy which needs to be addressed.
The animal itself is a white grub much like a maggot. In the Seychelles a moutouc refers to a similar looking wood-borer which attacks local palms.
Medically there is a disease which affects the mind (Cerebral Amyloid Angiopathy) commonly known, in English, as “maggot in the brain”.
In Mauritius the Creole language is living, expressive and descriptive. When a person has a “moutouc” it can mean whatever the speaker intends. There are no rules and it can be used in whatever manor required fitting the circumstances. Much crude abuse is used with no malice intended.
A Creole might say “Grand moutouc, moutouc meme” literally “Big maggot (banker?) is still a maggot”, but he could equally say “li éna moutouc, grand moutouc” meaning within the context “he has a madness, really off his rocker” or perhaps “he has a mind of his own, a big mind (intelligence)”
.How should we interpret and translate “Moutouc”? What does it mean and what is the English connotation allied to the French word?
I believe the English equivalent is “a quirk of mind” equating to an idiosyncratic or odd turn of mind. It is not exclusively lateral thinking, eccentricity, unconventionality or intelligence, but allied to all of these.
Finally, let us turn to the specific “Moutouc-Chazal”: contrary to what my wife and some others contend I do not have it, so am not qualified to discuss it. Are you afflicted by the Moutouc-Chazal? Can you enlighten us?
July 2014—revised ideas;
Christophe Chabbert published his book “Correspondance de la Famille de Chazal 1767-1879” last week and in the chapter in which he writes about Antoine Régis (pages 38 to 41) he discusses the “Moutouc-Chazal” at length.
Christophe elevates the “Moutouc-Chazal”: to something resembling a gene which is transmitted down the generations, his interpretation is that it is beneficial. Is this justified?
Given a quirk of mind, it has the ability to work both ways; originality, setting off on one’s own course, can be unsuccessful as well as exciting and useful; infuriating and autocratic as well as endearing and beneficial. It has not always treated us well. Edmond had a very hard time and rose above it through strength of character and a strong spiritual belief. Evenor had a dreadful time and emigrated to escape.
Malcolm was well aware of the antagonism directed towards our family and the derogatory term “moutouc” applied to us. He accepted it head-on and attributed his genius to it. (see his letter “Edmond de Chazal or The Original” on this website). I am not one of those who have any belief in this “originality” being inherited.
On the whole Chazals, having been dispersed around the world, have made a success of life; this has been a struggle against the odds. I suggest that our spiritual background has given us an advantage by standing together against oppression and prejudice. We should develop and nourish this spirituality for the good of our family and all mankind.
I hope that I have enlightened you; do not mistake spirituality for a “moutouc”.
Christopher C. de Chazal
The following is an extract from Christophe Chabbert’s excellent book “Correspondance de la Famille de Chazal 1767-1879”:
published by L’Harmattan which is available on Amazon.
————Antoine Régis, due to his mind set, is very Chazal: a taste for fantasy and a remarkable intrepid spirit gave him the ability to make his way in the world. He and his brother François are the first known repositories of the famous family “moutouc”. This term originating from a type of maggot known in the islands, is used voluntarily to denote the turn of mind of the Chazals, as being affected from the interior by this creature. Their “moutouc” propels them to be original, independent, looking for things new, opening up the world to an intellectual non-conformism and to creativity. Their “moutouc” is no doubt the origin of their formidable business acumen. To be Chazal, is in effect to maintain an extraordinary moral courage, that is to say an iron will and refusal to follow everyone else’s opinion, these qualities, this turn of mind in particular, this originality of which Malcolm was without doubt the master and most flamboyant of all, make up the Chazal “moutouc”.
This “moutouc”, or originality which Mauritian oligarchs considered malevolent is often considered by these Chazals as the fuel for their driving spirit. Malcolm in particular makes known the source of his creativity and genius: “I accepted my moutouc, fed it, and it became a boa constrictor—-Genius!” As there exists a Spirit of Montmartre so there is a spirit “Chazal”: A saying in Mauritius, which is even quoted in Paris, states that; “there are two types of people Mauritians and Chazals”. Antoine Régis de Chamarel, father of all de Chazals is, as far as I know, the first bearer, or even originator of this “moutouc” which derives from originality and fantasy; you always find it where least expected. Antoine Régis the fantasist, Toussaint and his silk worms, Edmond the apostle, flamboyant pastor of the Church of the New Jerusalem, Lucien the warm hearted doctor, Evenor (see footnote below) departing for Madagascar with all his family, even as the colonisation of the Island had not been completed, Malcolm, Mauritian genius, they are all very Chazal, since they were able to cultivate their family “moutouc” to serve others. Unlike the bourgeoisie, the Chazals are not afraid of the common people. Did not François, member of the High Council, give money to those who had need of it? Did not Pastor Edmond set up a school and a dispensary for the workers on his estates? Lucien, Malcolm’s brother, was he not doctor to the poor? Malcolm did he not put himself forward, against all expectation, as a candidate for the workers party”? In cultivating their “Moutouc” the Chazals have often given others of their best.——————
Evenor, eldest son of Edmond was also afflicted with the “moutouc-Chazal”. On the death of his father, he took over his inheritance and for some years administered the St. Antoine Estate. He subsequently sold his share of Saint Antione in 1889. He bought Mon Rocher once again, and at Curepipe built a house which he named “La Sablonniere” honouring his ancestor Pierre who owned a chateau in the Loire with that name. In the grounds of his new home he had erected a replica of the Eiffel Tower, 15 meters high, which can be seen to this day. Brilliant businessman, Venerable Master of the “Triple Hope” Masonic Order, he had a catastrophic reverse of fortune due to a combination of disastrous harvests and expensive German machinery which failed to achieve expectations; however he had the moral courage to meet challenges elsewhere. He left Mauritius with all his family and set off for Madagascar, when French colonisation of the island was barely complete, this shows once again the remarkable spirit of this man. He bought an estate in Fianarantsoa. His family remained settled in “The Big Island” until the middle of the XXth century, when his great grandson, Jean-Pierre in his turn, set off on his adventurous exploits in the USA. Evenor died in August 1898.
- Jean-Pierre mentioned above is none other than your present Webmaster!
- An account of Evenor’s exciting but dreadful journey from Mananzary to Fianarantsoa can be found elsewhere on this website—it is recommended reading.
- We acknowledge with thanks the permission of Christophe Chabbert to allow the translation of his text to appear on the website.
Robin de Chazal Mayer and Christopher de Chazal