- "Your name will go down in history with mine if you supply the funds and the ship!"
- ―Godin to de Fayet, seeking funding for his expedition, 1735.[src]
Louis Godin (1704 – 1760) was a French astronomer and geologist.
In 1724, Godin gained prominence in the scientific community when he published his astronomical tables, earning him membership in the French Academy of Sciences.
Godin's success enabled him to participate in the French Geodesic Mission to Ecuador alongside his cousin, Jean, but he proved to be a power-hungry and ineffective leader. When his expedition was stranded in Saint-Domingue in 1732, Louis fell in love with Guzan, one of the courtesans from La Dame en Rose, and misappropriated expedition funds by lavishing her with expensive gifts.
In mid 1735, Godin had returned to Saint-Domingue, where he actively petitioned the French governor of Port-au-Prince, Pierre, Marquis de Fayet, to provide more funding and allow the use of a French warship in the Geodesic Mission, rather than wait for an available Spanish ship. Though de Fayet was able to correctly deduce that Godin had embezzled from his own expedition and was planning on using the mission as a front for smuggling, he ultimately agreed to Godin's requests, as the expedition would make the slave trade more efficient.
After spending six months in Saint-Domingue, Godin was eventually granted a French brig, the Vautour, under the stipulation that his Spanish chaperons, Antonio de Ulloa and Jorge Juan y Santacilia, be allowed on board. As Godin oversaw the final details of his voyage with a harbormaster, the Assassin Adéwalé swapped out the Vautour's manifest, ensuring that his recruits could infiltrate Godin's expedition and share its findings with the Assassins and the Maroon rebellion.
As the Vautour left Saint-Domingue, she came under attack by pirates. Timely intervention by the Experto Crede saved the Vautour, with Godin likely not realizing who it was that intervened. Though the expedition was ultimately successful, much of his findings were overshadowed by a concurrent expedition to the North Pole.
When they had finished their task in 1738, at the invitation of the Viceroy of Peru, Godin accepted the professorship in mathematics in Lima, where he also established a course of astronomical lectures. When the 1746 Lima–Callao earthquake destroyed the greater part of Lima, he took valuable seismological observations, assisted the sufferers, and made plans by the use of which the new buildings would be less exposed to danger from renewed shocks.
In 1751 he returned to Europe, but found that he had been nearly forgotten, and superseded as pensioner of the academy; and, as his fortune had been lost in unfortunate speculations, he accepted the presidency of the college for midshipmen in Cadiz in 1752. During the 1755 Lisbon earthquake, which was distinctly felt at Cadiz, he took observations and did much to allay the apprehensions of the public, for which he was ennobled by the king of Spain. In 1759 he was called to Paris and reinstated as pensionary member of the academy, but he died on his return to Cadiz.