SUNDRIES: An eighteenth century newsletter

N° 37 - July 1, 2006

HOLIDAY: Two years after.. inter text LINKS: The American Revolution
law scales THE OLD REGIME POLICE BLOTTER: Rape (viol) and sexual assault (2)

inter cooking 18th CENTURY RECIPE: From the grill

fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys
inter text Magasin Pittoresque: No 41 - 1873


HOLIDAY: Two years after...

[July 4, 1778] 4. It being the Anniversary of the Independence of America, the Congress dined together at the city Tavern & a number of the Council of this State, several Genl. officers & other Gentn. of Distinction, & while we were dining there was an Agreeable band of Musick, & we had a very elegant diner(1). MS (MDaAr). 1 Although a quorum of delegates had not yet gathered in Philadelphia, an informal congressional decision on the subject of the celebration of independence day was communicated to the public by means of the following notice printed in the July 4 issue of John Dunlap's Pennsylvania Packet. Friday, 3d July, 1778. Notice is given to the inhabitants of Philadelphia that the Honorable Congress does not expect they will illuminate their houses to-morrow evening. Lewis Nicola, T[own] M[ajor]." This effort to conserve candles is a reminder of the austere conditions Philadelphians faced during the period immediately following the British evacua tion of their city. But those conditions by no means prevented a spirited celebration of the fourth of July, as the following vivid description by William Ellery, written sometime after his return to Rhode Island three weeks later, attests.
The glorious fourth of July, 1 celebrated in the City Tavern with Brother Delegates of Congress and a number of other Gentlemen, amounting in the whole to about 80-the anniversary of Independency. The entertainment was elegant and well conducted. There were four Tables spread, two of them extended the whole length of the Room, the other two crossed them at right angles. At the end of the Room opposite the upper Table, was erected an Orchestra. At the head of the upper table and at the President's right hand stood a large baked Pudding, in the centre of which was planted a Staff on which was displayed a crimson Flag, in the midst of which was this emblematic device: An eye, denoting Providence, a Label in which was inscribed an appeal to heaven; a man with a drawn sword in one hand, and in the other the Declaration of Independency, and at his feet a scroll inscribed 'The declaratory acts.' As soon as the Dinner began, the Musick consisting of Clarinets, Haut-boys, French horns, Violins and Bass Viols, opened and continued making proper pauses until it was finished. Then the Toasts followed each by a discharge of Fieldpieces, were drank, and so the afternoon ended. In the evening there was a cold collation and a brilliant exhibition of Fireworks. The Street was crowded with People during this exhibition. In the afternoon a strumpet, I suppose, with a head-dress in imitation of those worn by the Tory Ladies while the British Army held the City, was paraded thro' the Streets attended by a crowd of the vulgar. What a strange vicissitude in human affairs! These, but a few years since, colonies of Britain, are now free, sovereign and independent States, and now celebrate the anniversary of their Independence in the very city where but a day or two before Genl Howe exhibited his ridiculous Champhaitre!
Henrietta C. Ellery, ed., "Diary of the Hon. William Ellery, of Rhode Island, June 28-July 23, 1778," PMHB 11 (1887): 477-78. And the following account of this celebration by Congress of the fourth was printed in the July 6 supplement to the Pennsylvania Packet. Saturday the fourth of July, the glorious Anniversary of the INDEPENDENCE OF AMERICA was celebrated by the Honorable the Congress with a grand festival at the City Tavern in this metropolis. The principal civil and military officers and strangers in town were present at it by invitation. After dinner the following Toasts were given by the Honorable the President of Congress: '1. The United States of America. 2. The Protector of the Rights of Mankind. 3, The Friendly European Powers 4. The happy era of the Independence of America. 5. The Commander in Chief of the American Forces. 6. The American Arms by land and sea. 7, The Glorious 19th of April, 1775. 8. The Glorious 26th of December, 1776. 9. The Glorious 16th of October, 1777. 10. The 28th of June, twice Glorious, 1776-1778. 11. May the Arts and Sciences flourish in America. 12. May the People continue Free forever. 13. May the Union of the American States be perpetual.'
Letters of Delegates to Congress: Volume 10 June 1, 1778 - September 30, 1778 Samuel Holten's Diary
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LINKS: The American Revolution

There's no lack of links on this week's subject. For just a few:

PBS - Liberty! - The American Revolution
The American Revolution - Timeline
The American
The American Revolution: National Discussions of Our Revolutionary Origins
The History Place - American Revolution
National Park Service - The American Revolution: Lighting Freedom's Flame
Library of Congress - The American Revolution and Its Maps
Kid Port Reference Library - The American Revolution
Kids Connect - The American Revolution
Spy Letters of the American Revolution
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THE OLD REGIME POLICE BLOTTER: Rape (viol) and sexual assault (2)

There is little to say about the following cases, most of which involved significant levels of violence (beyond the rape itself). Also striking here and in other cases to come is the young age of the victims.


Jousse provides this example of how Old Regime law could protect a victim's reputation. It is the only example of the sort I have found thus far. The description of the victim as "a decent girl" had legal import - had she been known to have "bad character", the dragoon would probably not have been hung.

In the crime of rape or kidnapping, one can condemn the accused, without it being necessary to mention in the judgement the name of the person carried off or raped. And so, by a final judgement, President Charon de Menars, Intendant of Orleans, with eight other Judges named Commissioners for this purpose, June 2, 1675, Jacques Trigaleau, dragoon of the Company of Brisay, was sentenced to be hung, for the rape of a decent girl, by a charge brought by the King's Prosecutor in the commission, without the girl, or her parents acting on her behalf, without her being named in the trial, and without her having to appear at the trial, nor for the sentence which was executed the same day in the place du Martroi of Orleans.
Jousse, Traité de la Justice Criminelle, T. 3 (748)


In theory, this rape of a prepubescent girl should not only have been punished by death, but presumably by breaking on the wheel or some other more painful punishment. Bachaumont leaves the clear impression that nothing of the sort was likely to happen here.

June 21. Doctor Barthes has already been mentioned as a roué of the first rank. A serious accusation brought against him for rape only confirms his reputation in this regard. It seems that with the help of some procuress, he got a young girl of ten to eleven years old to come to his house, & so abused her that, returned to her house, she found herself sick. She told what had happened to her; a surgeon came to attest to the crime. Criminal complaint as a result. This shameless old man, because he was anything but young, wanted to quiet the matter with money; but he has been asked for 100 thousand francs.
Bachaumont, 23 1783 (17)


Among much that is sickening in this account (from the Lieutenant of Police's reports), one thing goes unsaid: the case was probably not unique. D'Argenson mentions several parents prostituting daughters (of different ages).

August 1, 1700 A clergyman, who called himself the abbé Moreau, is accused of having raped a little girl of seven: this accusation is being pursued before M. the lieutenant criminal, and I have learned that the surgeons who have examined the child have found her in a state of corruption which results from the most incessant debauch, and which is the ordinary effect of the most general prostitution. Thus, it is not unlikely that the mother and father of this young girl already prostituted will have only brought charges against the abbé Moreau in the hope of obtaining a considerable sum; nonetheless it is very doubtful that they will succeed, this clergyman, who has lived for a long time in debauch with his servant (if rumor is to be believed) having little to preserve in regard to his reputation.
D'Argenson, Rapports de Police (24-25)


It is a cruel irony that the names of two of the would-be rapists have been preserved here, but that of the brave man who defied them is not. Both the compassion and the indignation in this item are typical of d'Argenson's reports.

February 5, 1705 Last Sunday, at nine in the evening, four soldiers from the Guards' regiment, of whom one is named Beausoleil and the other l'Olive, from the company of Pontacq, stopped two women on the road to Porcherons and pulled them into a neighboring street where they began to undress them, when a poor day-laborer, returning with his family, drawn by the cries of these two women, came to their aid. At once, the four soldiers released their prey, drew swords against this poor man who had none, and gave him four blows of which he died yesterday. This affair is proceeding at the request of M. the King's prosecutor, and, brutal as it is, I fear greatly that it will remain unpunished.
d'Argenson (160)


I confess to some doubt about the following story (carried in the Virginia Gazette which presumably picked it up from a London paper). At the least, I have not found any reference to the same tale in Grimm or Bachaumont. But then, if the lord in question really was so highly placed, it may not have been possible to print the same story in France. (In terms of verifiable facts, Sartine was indeed in charge of the police and the somewhat obscure Rue Jussiene - not to be confused with today's Jussieu - did exist at the time.) Note too the critique of "a Country that is under kingly Government" - which both England and its colonies then were as well. But the distinction seemed to be clear to both kings' subjects.

Extract of a Letter from Paris
'The following very extraordinary Occurrence lately happened in this Metropolis, and still continues to make a Noise here. Some few Days ago, a Tailor from the Country came here to buy several Articles necessary in the Course of his Trade. His Daughter, who is a young, healthy, and a very handsome Girl, came along with him. One Morning the Tailor told his Daughter to go to such a Tradesman's Shop for some Cloth he had bought, and gave her particular Orders to meet him at certain House and a certain Hour. The Father accordingly attended; but after waiting there full three Hours, and hearing Nothing of his Daughter, began to be very uneasy. In short, he made every necessary Inguiry, but no Daughter was to be found or heard of. At last he gave his Daughter up for lost. But a few Days afterwards a Letter was found in St. James's Street [the Rue St. Jacques], in which the Girl acquaints her Father that as she was going to the Tradesman's he had sent her to she was surrounded by four Footmen, who forced her into a Coach, drove her to a very magnificent Street, and set her down in a most elegant and superb Hotel, where she was violated by the Gentleman who is the Lord or Master of it. This Gentleman, she informs her Father, still keeps her in a Garret in his House, against her Will; and it is impossible, she says, for her to speak to any living Soul Whatever. But, happily for her, she had found a Way to write this Letter, and has thrown it out of the Window, in Hopes that it may be carried to her dear, and (as she is afraid) inconsolable Father. 'This Letter was accordingly found, and carried to Monsieur de Sartine, who immediately took the Guard of the Police, and made a strict Search in every House of the Parish, when at length the Girl was found in a House in a little Street called Jussiene. But as the Officers of the Police presently were given to understand that the Violator is a Person of very great Distinction, and one of the Ministers of State, they were obliged to retire without bringing this privileged Offender to condign Punishment; however, they ventured indeed so far as to let the Girl at Liberty, who immediately was conveyed home to her Father's, where she died a few Days after, through Grief and Shame. This Event still continues to be talked of here; but in a Country that is under kingly Government, as the Reverend Doctor Adams Struensee very justly remarks, every Species of Villainy is committed Dei Gratia, not only by the King, but all his Ministers claim the like glorious and Heathen god-like Privilege.'
Virginia Gazette, Nov 5, 1772, column 1, middle
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From CHEZ JIM Books:
and a history of the CROISSANT:

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18th CENTURY RECIPE: From the grill

As they left the 18th century, what were Americans eating in July? Not much from the grill, if we're to believe THE FRUGAL HOUSEWIFE, OR Complete Woman Cook from 1803:

DINNER. Green goose, with gravy sauce; neck of veal boiled, with bacon, and greens. Or,--Roasted Pig, with proper sauce of gravy and brains pretty well seasoned; mackrel boiled, with melted butter and herbs; green pease. Or,--Mackrel boiled, with melted butter and herbs; fore quarter of lamb, with sallad of coss lettuce, &c.
SUPPER. Chickens roasted with gravy or egg sauce; lobsters or prawns; green goose. Or,--Stewed Carp; ducklings, with gravy sauce, and pease.

The "sauce of gravy and brains" sounds especially tasty.

For those in the United States who would like to mix more recent tradition with some 18th century touches, the grill was not unknown in our period (nor was chopped beef, though it was prepared in rather un-hamburger like ways.) La Varenne gives some general instructions on grilled meats:

Carbonnade or Grilled Food

Take a young pigeon, or another bird, & split it the length of the stomach, having opened it, powder it inside with bread crumbs, & salt, & pepper, mix togetehr, & put it to cook on the grill, then make on it a sauce of vinegar, one can also add onion. One can cook in this way slices of raw meast, which are fairly thin, having pounded them to make them tender, & when they are moderately cooked on one side, turn them over: & remove them for the fire before they are dry. One can lard the slices with a few cloves, & a little laurel before cooking them, one can serve this ragout [sic] with a mild sauce.
Le Cuisinier Francois (37-38)

At the start of the century, Le Cuisinier Royal et Bourgeois offered its own take, but with very different results:

Grilled Food

When one has cold Fowl, such as Turkeys or others: to make an Entrée of them, you can take the wings, the thighs and the parson's nose, grill them with salt and pepper, brown flour in a frying pan with melted lard, put in oysters, anchovies, capers, nutmeg, a little laurel and some lime, a trickle of vinegar & a little bouillon; simmer all this together.

(It is not clear if the grilled meat is to be simmered with what follows, or if the rather rich simmered mixture is to be used as a sauce, which would be my own preference.)

Beauvilliers, going into the next century (1814), offers something for the vegetarians:

Eggplants on the grill

Cut your eggplants in half and lengthwise; put these eggplants on a plate; sprinkle them with a little fine salt and unground pepper; pour a little fine oil over them, let them marinate for half an hour; put them on a clean grill; grill them, being careful to baste them with their seasoning; once they are cooked, serve them.
L'Art du Cuisinier (II, 215)

This is listed by the way as an entremets.

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Magasin Pittoresque: No 41 - 1873

REMINDER: The Magasin Pittoresque was a nineteenth century French magazine. Issues can be found on Gallica.Also, most articles are accompanied by at least one image, and so some may interest even those who do not read French.

Though it touched on many American subjects, the Magasin never seemed to have addressed Independence Day. And so I offer just one more enumeration of yet another issue's highlights.

Do you believe in signs? This is the third time in a few weeks I've encountered an item about the Belgian town of Bouillon - which I'd never heard of before. I don't know how many people collect antique saddles but the ornate images here from Portugal are unlike any others I've seen. Nor had I heard of Mademoiselle de Shurmann, whose seventeenth century defense of women's aptitude for certain subjects surely deserves a place in history. Having lived in Les Halles right after it became 'new' again, I naturally took delight in finding an item on its renewal some hundred and some years back. Not to mention the Gillray and the Garrick images.

52 - old saddles
67 - Bouillon, Belgium (including 18th c history)
129 - Gallien palace at Bourdeaux - ruins destroyed during the Revolution
166 - Louis XIV and the courtier (cruelly tricked)
183 - Janniseries' quarters (built in the 18th century)
188 - two old Portuguese carriages
225 - Italian lacquered dish

Individuals of note
22 - savante, supporter of womens' education, Mademoiselle de Shurmann
55 - engineer Manesson-Mallet
62 - savant, millionaire Henry Cavendish
134 - philosopher Joseph Joubert
169 - educator Abbe Pluche
212 - Spanish sculptor Zarcillo
238 - letter from Thomas Jefferson to TJ Smith
251 - Gillray - John Bull happy
369 - Garrick as Hamlet
402 - Mme de Sevigne, Racine and coffee

Off-topic but of interest
78 - a new product: dynamite
80 - home brewing kit for beer
145 - new neighborhood of Les Halles
159 - a microscopic aquarium (sketches of microorganisms)
182 - the 'Robinsons' of Auckland Island
316 - long history of the word California in France
321 - notes on Japan and the Japanese
360 - Raphael's house
386 - on wines and vines in France

End quote

"How did unpracticed insurgents, without allies, without help, lacking everything, support our first efforts with a valor whose example is to be found only in the great centuries of Greece & Rome, with an intelligence which put to fault the skill of the greatest English generals of land & sea, which shocked, confounded the wisdom of professionals of all nations, witnesses of this spectacle, & who could never have foreseen it? It is that they were alone & united, that they had but one soul, one passion, this patriotism that in every age was the source of heroic virtues & which gave birth to miracles."

Pidansart de Mairobert, Espion Anglais, X, 1784 (120-121)

FROM CHEZ JIM BOOKS Three works on eighteenth century subjects:

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

copyright 2006 Jim Chevallier.
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(NOTE: Most translations, except where otherwise noted, are by Jim Chevallier and are copyrighted as such.)
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