SUNDRIES: An eighteenth century newsletter

N° 21 - March 11, 2006

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: Execution statistics from the Revolution inter text LINKS: The Ecclesiastical Calculator; Cirey; Jewish history; flight

inter cooking 18th CENTURY RECIPE: A meal for Marie-Antoinette - Fowl wings à la Maréchale

fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys
Magasin Pittoresque: No 24-1856


CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: Execution statistics from the Revolution

In her book - Legacy of Death - on the Samson dynasty, Barbara Levy provides these statistics (175-176) on executions in Paris from July 14, 1789 to October 21, 1796 (though without specifying her own source):

Under 18 years - 22
18-20 years - 45
20-25 years - 336
25-50 years - 1,669
50-60 years - 528
60-70 years - 206
70-80 years - 103
Over 80 years - 9

Men 2,518
Women 370
Sex unrecorded 30


Churchmen-Bishops and Archbishops - 6
Marshals of France and Generals - 25
Magistrates-Members of Parlement - 246
Ecclesiastics-Monks, Friars - 319
Members of the Assembly-Constituent and Legislative - 39
Members of the Convention - 39
Members of the Commune - 72
Financiers, lawyers, doctors, notaries - 479
Nobles of both sexes - 381
Officers and soldiers - 365
Men and women of letters - 25
Artists - 16
Merchants of both sexes - 275
Artisans - 391
Domestic servants-coachmen, gardeners - 129
Laborers, farmers - 105

TOTAL - 2,918

This may not be definitive - it says nothing about the rest of France, and of course omits all the extra-legal killings which occurred with tacit sanction. But so far it's the only list of the sort I've seen.

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LINKS: The Ecclesiastical Calculator; Cirey; Jewish history; flight

Dates in our period sometimes take the unhelpful form of "Easter Day, 1783". Very nice - and that was WHAT day of WHAT month? A private query this week sent me looking for a more precise answer to this sort of question, and to this ecclesiastical calculator which not only calculates the exact date of the major 'movable feasts' for a given year, but offers both Orthodox and Western options.

The Chateau de Cirey plugs itself as the "residence of Voltaire": "Located in the Haute-Marne district about 250 km from Paris, the Chateau de Cirey was marked by the presence of Voltaire who lived there for 15 years from 1734 to 1749." But goes on to say: "Voltaire was the guest of Gabrielle Emilie de Breteuil, Marquise du Chatelet, another great intellect of the 18th century." And in fact this site is probably one of the few to present the Marquise's writings and other information about her.

This page focusing on our era is part of a larger site about Jewish history: Jewish Family History: Following the Paper Trail: Linking 19th & 18th Century Documents.

Finally, this brief history of ideas of flight includes several 18th century images: Dream of Flight.

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From CHEZ JIM Books:
and a history of the CROISSANT:

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18th CENTURY RECIPE: A meal for Marie-Antioinette - Fowl wings à la Maréchale

Continuing down the list from last week of sixteen entrees served in a meal for Marie-Antoinette, the next three items are "Grilled mutton cutlets, Rabbits on the skewer, Fowl wings a la marechale...". There's not much to say about the first two, except that rabbits were usually larded before being cooked on skewers and most often served with "water and salt" (brine?). "Fowl wings a la Marechale" requires more comment.

It seems to be a rule that a dish known today by its eighteenth century name will differ significantly from the original. Various preparations "à la Maréchale" can be found on the Net, and one cooking dictionary defines the preparation as "small cuts of meat and poultry which are breaded and fried in butter. Green asparagus tips and truffles are usual in the garnish." The Larousse Gastronomique gives a similar description. But the earliest recipe I can find (1814, in Beauvillier's L'Art du Cuisinier) lists none of these. Also the TLF says that the modern version is typified by the use of truffles, whereas the recipe below includes just one - which is decorative and entirely optional. (Similarly, one early recipe for Poulet Marengo says only to add a few spoonfuls of tomato sauce - while tomatoes are now the dominant ingredient in that dish.)

From the recipe below and another for an entire pullet, it seems that the eighteenth century version involved stuffing or larding the wings or bird and lightly browning and glazing it after cooking. No breadcrumbs, truffles optional.

Scented powder "à la Maréchale", created by the Maréchale d'Aumont (under Louis XIV), is also often mentioned, though unrelated to this recipe.

No source names the Marshal's wife for whom the recipe is named, though it's tempting to associate it with the Maréchale de Luxembourg (1707-1787), a patron of Rousseau's who was also a major society hostess and who Lytton Strachey says: "was obliterating a highly dubious past by a scrupulous attention to 'bon ton,' of which, at last, she became the arbitress: 'Quel ton! Quel effroyable ton!' she is said to have exclaimed after a shuddering glance at the Bible; 'ah, Madame, quel dommage que le Saint Esprit eut aussi peu de gout!' ['Ah, Madame, what a pity that the Holy Spirit had so little taste!' (JC)] Lytton Strachey, Books and Characters

Grimm (April 1776) quotes a verse on her when she was still Mme. de Boufflers:

Quand Boufflers parut a la cour,
On crut voir la mere de l'Amour;
Et chacun l'avait a son tour.

When Boufflers appeared at Court,
One thought to see the mother of Love*;
And each one had her in his turn.

*that is, Venus

This was very probably by the Count of Tressan, who got slapped for his pains.

Mme. Deffand said of her, when she was younger: "Mme. the Dutchess of Boufflers is beautiful without seeming to be aware of it... She is full of wit and gaiety; she is constant in her engagements, faithful to her friends, true, discreet, agreeable, generous; really, if she was less clear-sighted, or if men were less ridiculous, they would find her perfect." (quoted in Colomby's Ruelles, Salons et Cabarets, II-128) (Deffand's generous 'clear-sighted' - clairvoyante - might be a kind way of saying her subject could be quite sharp on occasion.)

The 'fowl' (volaille) in this case could have been any of a number of birds - the following recipe is more specifically for a fattened pullet (poularde) (Beauvilliers (I-329)):

Wings of Fattened Pullet à la Maréchale

Take three nice plump pullets, remove their wings, take off the tips, keeping only the stumps; lift the small skin on them, resting your wings on the table, and slipping your knife, as if you were lifting a strip of lard; be careful not to damage the skin; lard your six wings with a second [wing?], and set them out in a casserole, as indicated in the article for Medley of Fattened Pullets [(I-324) '....lay these four wings out in a casserole stuffed with lard strips, with a carrot, a bouquet of parsley and spring onion, and two onion halves, in one of which you will have put a clove nail; moisten your wings with a little consomme: be careful that this moisture does not reach the lard strips set into your pullets, and cover them with a round of paper; a quarter of an hour before serving, divide them, with a fire under and over them...']; your wings cooked, drain them on a cover; glaze them; they should be of a nice blond color; lay out in your dish a nice reduction of chicory; lay your six wings on this with the points touching in the center to the plate, forming a rosette; put, if you like, a nice truffle in the middle, and serve.
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fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys

Magasin Pittoresque: No 24 - 1856

REMINDER: The Magasin Pittoresque was a nineteenth century French magazine. Issues can be found on Gallica.

Off-topic as it is, I'm sure many readers will be delighted to know there was a God of Chocolate, suitably worshiped. How far back do ergonomics go? An article here on tool handles takes it back to at least the mid nineteenth century. For our own century, earthquakes and toiletries, each ground-shaking in their way.

50 - winter of 1709
50 - Tonti's letter to Colbert from the Bastille
77 - 18th c etching of deserted house
85 - electric machine in Dutch museum
87 - Mme de Maintenon's patent (1674)
107 - toiletries under Louis XV
114 - 18th c. earthquakes
119 - Bagatelle
195 - a drawing by Poussin (with image of sketch)
209 - Russian officer exiled to Siberia (with image)
295 - French words of the 17th century

50 - antiquary Abbe le Boeuf
132 - Mme de Stael at 20
372 - astronomer Charles-Marie de la Condamine
281 - restorer Charles Percier
382 - bookseller Jack Lackington of Finsbury Square

off-topic but interesting
126 - old Danish proverbs
143 - tool handles (early ergonomics)
169 - Parisian archeology
188 - Alsatian traditions
199 - The Feast of the Chocolate God
382 - Joan of Arc's hat

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End quote

"I restore to virtue by my words what I take from it by my actions."

The exquisitely proper Mme de Boufflers
(later Maréchale de Luxembourg)
quoted in Colombey (II-135)

FROM CHEZ JIM BOOKS Three works on eighteenth century subjects:

For some sample 18th century vegetarian recipes, click here.

copyright 2006 Jim Chevallier.
When using brief extracts from this site, please credit properly and provide a link back to this site.
(NOTE: Most translations, except where otherwise noted, are by Jim Chevallier and are copyrighted as such.)
Please do not reproduce extended pieces (recipes, translated pieces, etc.) without prior permission.


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