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A later bibliographical note to the endpaper asserts that this must “sans aucune doute” be Giard’s manuscript for his edition. This is perhaps unlikely: early manuscript copies of hard-to-come-by imprints are an important (if under-appreciated) aspect of the contemporary circulation of new books.
Chastelet’s treatise (dedicated to the King) covers all aspects of war: types of troops, garrisons, ranks, invasion, battle, morale, treatment of casualties, defence, sieges, sea warfare, civil wars, discipline, military law, espionage and treaties. see full details...
Beginning with ‘Feinem Marocco Toback’, (Fine Moroccan Tobacco) the recipes are unusually detailed (usually covering a page or more) and offer specific ingredients and methods of tobacco preparation. Other tobaccos include ‘Feinen Pariser Toback’ (two different blends!), ‘Rappe d’Hollande Grand Cardinal’, ‘Bolongaro,’ two varieties of ‘Violet’. The ‘Morhendro’ blend seems especially potent, with the inclusion of 4 grains of opium.
The contents of several tobacco canisters are also described, such as a Moorish blend (Canister 1), a Swiss blend (Canister 2), ‘Peter’s Best Blend’ (Petrum Optimum, Canister 3), and more.
The upper cover bears the contemporary MS inscription of ‘J.A. Neeb’ (i.e. Johannes Adam Neeb) who was tobacconist active at Lich, Hesse (approximately 25 miles from Marburg) in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth century. A later owner has written inside the front cover in pen ‘Organist Joh. Adam Neeb’ in error: the organist in question was in fact Johannes Adam’s son Heinrich (1806-1878) who achieved fame as a composer, conductor and teacher in Frankfurt. (Franz Kössler, Personenlexikon von Lehrern des 19. Jahrhunderts: Berufsbiographien aus Schul-Jahresberichten und Schulprogrammen, 1825-1918, mit Veröffentlichungsverzeichnissen, 2007.) see full details...
It was repared by a prominent artillery captain, largely from material gathered first-hand from visits to military academies (notably West Point), arms factories, arsenals and from observations aboard the US warships Tennessee and Kearsarge.
The year 1881 saw a special diplomatic visit to the United States by representatives of the French armed forces, partly in celebration of the the centenary of the combined French-American victory at Yorktown. Descendants of the victorious Comte de Rochambeau and an array of military top-brass were lavishly entertained in New York, with a sequence of visits, dinners and balls. Among the guests were General Boulanger and Lieutenant Colonel Blondel. On November 9th The New-York Tribune reported the imminent departure of Boulanger for France and that ‘Lieutenant-Colonel Blondel will spend the next few weeks visiting West Point, the Frankfort and Springfield arsenals, and the firearms manufacturies at New-Haven and Bridgeport, in order to prepare a report on the subjects of arms and defence.’
This manuscript is an overview of the American armies and a description of the military curriculum of West Point, which is followed by the illustrated description of American weaponry, including a variety of artillery (large guns by Hotchkiss, Parrott, Dean, Sutcliffe, Lyman and Woodbridge are illustrated); small arms (the Springfield rifle is described and compared with the Martini-Henry model and the Colt, Schofield Smith and Wesson revolvers are illustrated). There is an extensive section on the specification of artillery shells and small arms cartridges and on the American preparation of gunpowder. Blondel adds several observations on artillery exercises aboard American ships, which include an early description of the use of telegraphy for range-finding. He notes at the opening that some of the information (comprising three sections) is derived from the [printed] reports of General S.V. Benet but that remainder was gathered from his own observations at the installations noted above.
The report is remarkable for the detailed access the French were given to American military establishments, which is perhaps to be explained by the diplomatic context. The 1870s and 80s saw a rapprochement in French-American relations, and several celebrations of the natural connection between the two great republics: from the celebration of the Yorktown victory to the gift of the Statue of Liberty by the French nation.
The manuscript is from the personal collections of General Boulanger. Boulanger continued his rise to prominence throughout the 1880s, firstly with popular army reforms and later with real political influence, to the extent that his popular right-wing Royalist stance while running for deputy of Paris threatened to topple the Third Republic in 1888-9. He was charged with treason and conspiracy and exiled by the government; a disgrace from which he never recovered. He committed suicide in a Brussels cemetery in 1891. see full details...
Among the several songs is a salute to Napoleon himself:
‘Chargeons, allignons nos canons,
Tirons au F[rère] Bouneparte;
C’est en lui que nous admirons
Les vertus de Rome d’esparte.
Libérateur de son pays,
Il se rend du monde l’arbitre
La France n’a plus d’ennemis
Qui lui conteste un si beau titre.’
The song is known from at least one other source (a version is published in Chroniques d’Histoire Maçonnique Lorraine, 9, January, 2000), and is notable for the reference to Napoleon as ‘Frère’. His membership of the Freemasons has long been a source of debate (though is now commonly dismissed) and his relationship to masonry is an important aspect of the Order’s history. The Freemasons were widely accused of Revolutionary activity and were vigorously suppressed during the Terror only to be re-established under Napoleon who sought to capitalise on their loyalty and patriotism. He installed his brother, Joseph Bonaparte, as Grand Master of the Grand Orient de France and ensured that administration of French Freemasonry was directly overseen by legislator Jean-Jacques-Régis de Cambacérès.
The ritualised dinner described here has elaborate table settings, with utensils and food given ceremonial names. Bread becomes ‘Pierre prutte’; wine, ‘poudre forte, b[lan]che ou rouge’; salt, ‘sable blanc’ and pepper, ‘sable gris’. The table is referred to as the ‘Tribune’; the candles, ‘étoiles’ and spoons, ‘truelles’.
Each of the toasts is given in full and the seven songs are usually supplied with the name of the popular tune to which they are sung, including, ‘L’air vive Henry quatre’ and ‘Femmes, voulez-vous éprouver?’ see full details...
The earliest pieces date from Claire Sallard’s ninth year and are probably in her tutor’s hand, but she seems to have been producing extensive dictations and compositions shortly thereafter.
Among the early pieces are a few leaves from a notebook entitled ‘9eme année de Claire. Cahier de bonne conduite’ in which she recieves points and comments for her behaviour: ‘Claire a bien travaillé, elle n’a fait que 4 fauts dans deux devoirs, elle n’a pas été trop méchante’; ‘Un bon pointe d’ordre’; and ‘Fin de semaine: Claire n’a pas été assez méchante pour mériter de mauvais points: mais au lieu de contrarier son frère, elle a contrarié Mathilde...’.
The longer pieces, all in prose, are original compositions based on personal obervation and reflection and contain a large amount of autobiographical material. Les Souvenirs, dated 1828, for example, begins: ‘Ce n’est pas une histoire que je vais conter, c’est le détail de quelques scènes de famille dans lesquelles une jeune enfant a montré un coeur tendre et généreux.’ Other pieces are in the form of a journal covering 1833-4 and there is plenty of material here for reconstructing the detail of a bourgeois domestic scene: family visits to relations, the comings-and-goings of servants, jam making, shopping and playing with her siblings. Interestingly, there is little sign of piety, but rather an overriding concern for morality, good conduct and sweet nature. A good number of the later pieces are moral tales bearing titles such as Luxe et misère, Le bas bleu, Le sort d’une robe, La reine détrônée, La vieille fille and Les trois mariages.
Claire Sallard married the succesful landscape painter Paul Huet (1804-1869) in 1843. see full details...
Landon’s book seems to have been a recreation. He notes towards the end ‘The Drawing in this Book was began by James Landon the 30 May as may be seen by the Title Page 1790 and Finished the 13 of May 1791 being near 1 years from beginning to Ending.’
The sequence of comic figures include Dancing Dolly, Down Looking Dicky, Betsy Blossom, A Man in a Maze, The Duke of Limbs, Simon Swig Bottle, Oliver Upright and Frank Flower Finder. They resemble chap-book illustrations, but with a few exceptions (Mother Bunch and Darby & Joan) they seem to have sprung from Landon’s imagination or sense of humour. A sequence of natural curiosities includes ‘A large Golden Fish’, a ‘Lion like sea Monster’, ‘Barnet a Sea Fish’, ‘A Sea Fish with a head like a Bare’, ‘The Sea Feather’, ‘A Monster Sea Hogg’, ‘The Rhinocerous’ and ‘A Man with a head growing out of his belly’.
The two images of native Americans entitled ‘A Woman of the Ottigaumies’ and ‘An Ottigaumie Soldier’ are derived from a plate in Jonathan Carver’s Travels through the interior parts of North-America (1778, with several reprints before 1790) which shows the man and woman (with child) in reversed positions. The tribes of the Outagamie were members of the Meskwaki tribes of modern-day Wisconsin.
Landon’s book also includes a coloured octogram, personifications of Flora (‘flowers’), Pomona (‘fruit’) and Ceres (‘corn’), a sequence of flowers, a fine depiction of a British Man-o’-War, a sequence the arms of British towns, an illustrated table of Precedency, and concludes with several verses and conundrums. see full details...
Though anonymous, this is perhaps a transcript of legal lectures given at the University of Caen. Of paramount interest here are laws relating to land and inheritance, by which, according to Norman custom, property passed strictly through the male line to the almost total exclusion of women. The text is divided into five parts: 1. De l’origine et de la definition des fiefes; 2. Des droites féodaux; 3. Des droits naturels; 4. Des droits accidentels; 5. Des moïens de reversion ou consolidation aux fiefs. Within these broad sections is also much of incidental interest to the social historian, including several articles on the laws of hunting, fishing and game; on the customary rights of salvage (‘Varech’) of goods washed up on the Channel coasts and on water law, concerning rivers and ditches.
The work is generally theoretical in tone, but it contains very numerous references to external sources, usually giving page references. Le Grant Coustumier du pays & duché de Normandie by Guillaume Le Rouillé is cited many times (it was first published in 1534 but frequently reprinted and here referred to as ‘la nouvelle Rouillé’) as is La coustume réformée du pays et duché de Normandie by Josias Bérault. Alongside these treatises, many chapters include precise references to royal ‘arrêts’ governing the operation of customary law which had been issued in the preceding centuries.
The author or copyist may have inscribed his name at the foot of the title page, but this has been carefully obscured at an early date see full details...
Divided into three major sections: General, Classical and Juvenile, the library was evidently that of an educated and ordered household and comprises works from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries covering a wide variety of subjects, including travel, literature, biography, law, mathematics and algebra, bookkeeping, natural history, geography and religion. Among the several serial and collected works represented are The Family Library, Lardner’s Cabinet Cyclopaedia, Scott’s Novels, The Family Classical Library and Pinnock’s Catechisms. The juvenile section is especially interesting as a record of educational titles of the Regency period and comprises over 200 titles.
The catalogue is anonymous, but has been studiously prepared, giving sizes and (sometimes) dates for each work. There are a few additional notes recording purchases, gifts and (in one case) sale of books. see full details...
The notes have the character of being source material for an unpublished scholarly work on the subject of the office of Magistrate (chief priest, lawgiver, judge, and commander of the army) in ancient Rome. Compiled in the immediate aftermath of the Napoleonic experiment, Gibelin's exmination of Diocletian's termination of republicanism in favour of autocracy for is surely significant.
The author, Jacques Gibelin (1744-1828), in whose hand the volumes are written, was, at the time of composition, the librarian of the town of Aix and secretary of the town's Société Académique. He was already a prominent literary figure and had lived in Paris and England, being responsible for introducing many English scientific ideas to a French audience, having translated and published large portions of the Abridgements of the Transactions of the British Royal Society and important Enlightenment treatises by Joseph Priestley and Richard Kirwan. He also published the French translation Adam Ferguson's History of the Progress and Termination of the Roman Republic and oversaw the first publication of the autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, which appeared, in Gibelin's French translation (before the original English version) in 1791 as Mémoires de la vie privée de Benjamin Franklin écrits par lui-méme.
The extracts in this manuscript are drawn from Herodian, Dion, Suetonius, Tacitus, Eutropius, Justinian, Plutarch, Apuleius, Orosius, Zosimus and modern commentators such as Isaac Casaubon. The compilation is made with a librarian's thoroughness, with precise references given to the editions consulted (usually giving the editor, and the place and year of publication). Loosely inserted is a printed and manuscript slip, with Gibelin's printed subscription, from the Aix Société Académique, requesting the presence of a member at a meeting on the 4th July 1827 at 6 o'clock. see full details...
Dating from the end of the thirteenth century, MS 1830 in the Library of Saint Germain (now Bibliothèque nationale MS 19152), is the largest corpus of popular medieval poetry from this early date, containing numerous familiar beast fables (some derived Aesop) and longer narrative poems such as Piramus et Tisbé.
The original manuscript comprises 61 different texts of different genres including popular proverbs, translations from Latin, fabliaux, courtly tales, moral poems and burlesque recitations.
The anonymous nineteenth-century editor of our manuscript pursues a rather disruptive method of copying much of the original text verbatim, but interpolating his own prose for sections he believes to be repetitive or uninteresting. While frustrating for the medievalist, such a method is interesting as an example of contemporary scholarly method. The editor adds a significant number of additional fables drawn from other manuscripts in the Library of Saint Germain.
A 4-volume manuscript copy of the entire codex, apparently made in the eighteenth century, is held by the British Library (Additional MS 15210-15213). A printed edition appeared in 1930. see full details...