SUNDRIES: An eighteenth century newsletter

N° 40 - July 22, 2006

LINKS: Merchants and Bankers; inter text VIRGINIA GAZETTE: The Gazette as an English paper; Irish debt and gypsies

law scales THE OLD REGIME POLICE BLOTTER: Rape (viol) and sexual assault in Campardon

inter cooking 18th CENTURY RECIPE: Cucumber salad

fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys
GALLICA: Coutumes (Customs) inter text Magasin Pittoresque: No 43 - 1875


LINKS: Merchants and Bankers;

Merchants and Bankers From 1750-1775: "This website, produced by Australian historian Dan Byrnes, is a no-frills, text-based website designed simply to list historical and genealogical information on many notable merchants and traders of what is termed, the Western World."

This site is somewhat wikipedia-ish and includes, for instance, a decent article on the Chevalier de la Barre. But it describes itself as follows:

A Place to Read
E2 offers you and the entire Web world a huge amount of original writing of many kinds. You can find informative articles on just about anything you can imagine, but there is also humor, poetry, fiction, opinion, criticism, personal experiences and other things that are simply hard to categorize.
A Place to Write
You can become a member of the community and publish your own writing. Unlike some Web publishing venues, you retain all rights on what you share with us and the world.
A Place to Discuss and Socialize
E2 lets you interact with the highly diverse community of people who write the Everything2 content. You can give them feedback on their work and receive feedback on your own. You can message others or chat in real time. You can join groups of members that share your special interests.
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VIRGINIA GAZETTE: The Gazette as an English paper; Irish debt and gypsies

In reading the Virginia Gazette and other colonial papers, it is sometimes hard to know if you are reading an English paper, full stop, or a specifically American one. I cite the following only to show how English the outlook in some passages is: "It is said that the American colonies are sparing no expense to be furnished with the best English rams and sheep, in order to promote the breed. We are informed there has lately been discovered in our American colonies, an almost inexhaustible fund of a Saltpetre mine" This follows a long letter about "the Americans" and the Stamp Act. Clearly, there are many other passages with a completely local slant. But it is useful in reading these items to note when what is printed is no different than what would have been read back home. The same page, by the way, includes a figure for the Irish national debt (1768): 381,961 l. 3 s. 4 d. [transcription tentative] and another about gypsies stealing children and selling them to beggars.

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THE OLD REGIME POLICE BLOTTER: Rape (viol) and sexual assault in Campardon

This is the first time I am drawing on the rich material in Campardon's Les Spectacles de la Foire (Spectacles of the Fair). This two volume work is available on Gallica or, thanks to the efforts of the late Barry Russell, as a searchable web site, introduced here:

"LES SPECTACLES DE LA FOIRE d'Émile Campardon (1877)
Version hypertexte de Barry Russell
Théâtres, Acteurs, Sauteurs et Danseurs de corde Monstres, Géants, Nains, Animaux curieux ou savants, Marionnettes Automates, Figures de cire et Jeux mécaniques des Foires Saint-Germain et Saint-Laurent, des Boulevards et du Palais-Royal depuis 1595 jusqu'à 1791

(It has not, so far as I can tell, been translated into English.) It is primarily an encyclopedia of the various performers (human and otherwise) who performed at the fair, especially in the theaters there. But almost as an afterthought - albeit a very manic after-thought - the author has added as footnotes any police reports he could find about the various figures cited. Last year I posted a kind of index to these entries, and those who read French might want to go right to the originals. These simple official reports are often wonderfully detailed and colorful; they also tend to be very long. I have somewhat redacted and summarized them here, but, given that these do not seem to be available in English, it seems a shame to deprive those who enjoy such close-up looks at daily life even of some of the incidental details.

Among the latter are addresses. Anyone who knows Paris well will actually be able to visualize some of the intersections mentioned. These, and vignettes like that of a hired driver trying to find change, are only part of what makes these so lively. Note by the way that officials writing the reports (usually policemen) refer to themselves with an editorial 'we'.


This is an excellent example of how vivid some of these police reports can be: the shop owner and her adversary jump off the page. Unfortunately, light censorship of the language makes the dialogue itself a bit of a guessing game. The portrait of a surgeon's "shop" as essentially a barber shop also gives some idea of how low that profession had fallen at this point (before recovering its prestige later in the century.)

The year 1713, Wednesday August 23, in the afternoon, in our - André Defacq's - headquarters, etc., appeared Elisabeth André, wife of master Henoc, surgeon, living in the faubourg St-Lazare, St-Laurent parish: Who filed a complaint against a certain Vieuxjau, rope dancer of the troupe of the widow Baron, at the St-Lazare fair, and said that the said Vieuxjau came yesterday, at four in the evening, in the complainant's shop to be shaved; that as the shop boy was busy with others and he could not shave him immediately, the said Vieuxjau while waiting went into a room which is at the end of the said boutique and went up to a room where the complainant's servant slept where this servant was; that she the complainant, being seated at the door of her boutique and having needed the said servant, went into the said room to call her; that being there, she heard noise in the room of the said servant; that she went up to see what was happening, but that she was surprised to see the said Vieuxjau, who was chasing after the said servant to force her; that the servant from struggling and defending herself against the said Vieuxjau, who had covered her mouth to prevent her from screaming, was all disheveled and ruffled; that she the complainant having asked what he was doing in the room with her servant, he went right down to the said shop and she complainant having asked her servant what the said Vieuxjau wanted from her and why she had not called her the complainant, she said that he came looking for her and in entering he threw himself on her, he covered her mouth and put his hand on her breast and under her skirt and wanted to force her; that at that moment she complainant, having gone down to the shop, said to the said Vieuxjau, who was being shaved, that it was quite wrong of him to come to her place, to go up to her servant's room without a word and to try and force her in her own house; that the said Vieuxjau answered that she was a sorry b..... [bougresse or bourgesse (variation of the first)? That is, bugger?] to talk to him that way, upon which she told him not to have the nerve to come into her house and that she would not put up with it, he called her a b.... de g.... [bougresse de garce?], old piece of b.... and that she was jealous that she wasn't being caressed, but that she was too ugly and too old and that she was an old carcass; he wanted to hit her and threatened to mistreat her anytime he ran into her, not only her the complainant, but her husband and her son too, who were not then at the house, and said that anywhere they went, he would beat them with sticks; that they were lowlife b... [buggers?] of surgeon's boys, that he would blow up their shop, and that they were the sort of person one beat with sticks, and offered all sorts of awful insults, scandalous to the honor and the reputation of her complainant, of her husband and her son; that he threatened that he would come into her place to be shaved despite her, and that as he is a violent and a dangerous man, she has every reason to fear him and so she came to file a complaint.
Signed: Elisabeth André; Defacq. (Archives des Comm. no 1631)


This is only one case in Campardon where the victim is surprisingly young. Note that Montigny felt free to assault her after she had lost her father.

Nicolet, whose personnel appear frequently in these reports, ran a celebrated theatre which later became the Théatre de la Gaité.

In the year 1778, on Wednesday, June 10, at eleven in the morning, came before us at our headquarters Luis-Michel-Roch Delaporte, etc, Marie-Charlotte, Becquet, girl of twelve and a half, dancer at Nicolet's, living in Paris with her mother at the faubourg du Temple, at the corner of the rue Carême-Prenant, at the house of Chevalier, wine merchant, first on the right, Saint-Laurent parish: who declared to us that since being at the theater, she has had occasion to know Montigny, first dancer of Nicolet's, without having discussed other things with him than the theater, for her practice; that the said Montigny had not even sought opportunities to be engaged with her, but that two and a half months ago she had had the misfortune to lose her father. Montigny, two days later, had spoken to her alone about the theater, and whether she liked him: she said she liked him like anyone else and that he left at once; that the next day, he said to her of the theater: "You must come see us." To which she responded: "I might drop by one day." That the next day, going to the fair with her brother and passing by the rue des Deux-Portes-St-Sauveur, they went up to Montigny's, where he was absent; that they only found his mistress who was dining and gave them a drink, that she left with her brother and that evening saw Montigny at the fair, who only said, "So you were at my place?" That since then he had said nothing to her until the opening of the games on the boulevard; that sometime after, Montigny asked her if she wanted to see his country house; that having consented, not on her guard and expecting to find his mistress there, she went alone with him around ten o'clock in the evening; that he took her to the rue de Carême-Prenant, in a room whose door he opened with a key, which he had in his pocket; that once entered in this room, he double-locked the door, put the key in his pocket and closed a second door, that he then asked if she knew this room; that she answered yes, it was that of Despant, also an actor at Nicolet's; that Montigny took her under the arm and carried her to the bed where [blank in the transcription] that finally Montigny, having succeeded at and consummated his crime, said to her: "Are you sorry you came here?" That she responded that he was a wretch; that he opened the door, that she left and did not return, that from the next day until the present she had felt burning pains, that since she had reproached Montigny, who said it was not true, that he had not been with her. Which is why she had lodged the present complaint." In a first inquiry, five witnesses (most dancers at Nicolet's) "declared the rape to be true", except Despant, "who denied having lent out the key to his room". In a second, with eight witnesses (most again dancers at Nicolet's, though several had other trades as well) "all the witnesses deposed that Montigny was incapable of the crime of which he was accused. They declared that the little Becquet had been very close during the last fair with a certain Adelaide, dancer at Nicolet's, that the latter had been driven from the troupe because she kept a public house on the boulevard du Temple. They added that the little Becquet girl had been several times to the house of this Adelaide, and that in a word they did not put much faith in her statement.
Campardon, Les Spectacles de la Foire (I, 119-120)


Attacked by a cabby - I'd guess there are modern examples much like this one.

In the year 1785, Friday January 28, eight forty-five at night, in our headquarters and before ourselves François-Jean Sirebeau, etc., appeared Jean-Baptist Lambert, sergeant of the Paris guard, at the post of the Carousel: Who told us that at the request of Miss Forest, actress at the theater called Variétès-Amusantes at Palais-Royal, living on the rue des Marais, at the corner of the faubourg du Temple: Who told us that this day at seven in the evening or thereabouts, having gotten into a hired carriage to go to the Palais-Royal at the Variétès-Amusantes where she is an actress, the dirver of the carriage, staying on the rue des Marais, stopped his car at the end of the said street and entered by the mirror at the front: he threw himself on the complainant, put his hand on her stomach and stuck his hand under her skirts. That the complainant immediately pushed away the coachman calling him insolent and opened the door of the carriage crying out for help. That a carter who luckily was passing this spot, having heard the complainant's cries, stopped and asked what was happening, dismounting from his horse. That the coachmen answered: "I want 30 sols or else I am not moving", and that the carter at once continued on his way and the said coachman continued on his way until the Opera where he stopped, threatening to take the complainant to a watch house if she did not give him 30 sols. That he having effectively taken the complainant to the Poissonière watch house, the complainant asked one of the guards to take down the number of the car and gave the said driver 24 sols deposit, the said driver not having been able to give her the remainder of what he was owed for the fare on 6 francs that she had given the said watch [sic]. That being arrived at the Palais-Royal at the door of the Variétès-Amusantes she had, to complete the payment, given to the said coachman a piece of 12 sols, the coachman not being able, not having change, to give her the 6 extra sols for her trip; that she gladly gave them up, but that public safety being in question in the action taken by the said coachman, she had thought it necessary to have the said coachman arrested and brought before us. Signed: F. C. Forest; Sirebeau.

In consequence, we have had brought before us the said coachman; being asked his name, profession, etc., answered that he was called Charles-Henri Rémi, 25 years old, native of Crevecoeur en Cambresis, coachman for hire in the service of Lejai, carriage-renter[?], living on the rue Saint-Antoine, driving carriage number 29 P. Asked to say if he knew Miss Forest whom he had taken in his car on the rue des Marais? Answered that he only knew Miss Forest for having picked her up today at five in the evening and having taken her to the Palais-Royal to the door of the Variétès-Amusantes. Said that being in the rue des Marais, the said Forest having told him to close the screen of the doors, the defendant went into the carriage to close the said screen. That having found two sacks of oats at the feet of the said Miss Forest, he want toe put them under the front cushion and that in putting them under the said cushion, he stepped on the said miss's foot, the said miss started to cry out and made a passing carter stop, who asked what was happening and went on his way. That in passing before the watch house of the Poissonière, he wanted his fare to be paid in advance and that indeed the said Miss Forest gave him a 6 pound crown from which he gave her back 4 pounds 16 sols. That passing by rue Montmartre, he had asked a waiting coachman if he didn't have change for 12 sols. That the latter having told him he did not, he continued on his way and took the said miss to Palais-Royal to the door of the Variétès-Amusantes where the defendant asked the said miss Forest to give him the 6 sols which remained of his fare and that the said miss gave him a 12 sols coin, and that after giving him this 12 sols coin, the said miss Forest had him arrested by the police sentinel on duty at the door of the Variétès-Amusantes. Asked if it was not true that being on the rue des Marais, he had tried to throw himself on the said miss Forest and wanted to abuse her person after entered in the car by the screen in front and having called the said miss 'my dear friend', in putting one knee against her and putting his hand under her skirts? Answered that this was false, that nothing like that had ever happened to [sic] him. Asked if he had ever had trouble with the law? Answered no. After which interrogation we returned the said Rémi to the hands of Lambert who took charge of him to take him to the prison of La Force.
Signed: Lambert; Sirebeau. (Archives des Comm., No 4685.)....
Campardon, I, 327-329

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

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18th CENTURY RECIPE: Cucumber salad

I'm not sure cucumber salad has changed all that much since the eighteenth century, but it's a nice subject to think about, sitting here in Southern California on a (soon to be triple digit) summer day:

Cucumber salad, is a Summer salad. Peel your cucumbers, cut them in half, & empty out their seeds with a spoon; slice them neatly into thin slices, & put them in a terrine; add salt, & a couple of whole onions, stuck with a single clove; add a little vinegar if you like. Work your cucumbers by hand to squeeze out their liquid: leave them this way for an hour or two; then, press them in a napkin, & spread them out in a salad bowl with a fork: garnish them lightly with fresh herbs which you will cut up a little.
Gilliers, Le Cannameliste, 1768 (217)
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fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys

GALLICA: Coutumes (Customs)

Gallica has several collections of local "customs" (laws, really) for France. Many are from earlier centuries and some (like that for Amiens) are in such dense old print that it is a challenge to read them. But two in particular are not only printed in a relatively modern way, but are well-organized.

This work from 1724:"Nouveau coutumier général, ou Corps des coutumes générales et particulières de France et des provinces connues sous le nom de Gaules actually seems to collect ALL the local coutumes into one work. Very convenient. Unfortunately part 1 of volume 2 seems to be missing, as does all of volume 4. But anyone who cares enough to download these volumes will be busy enough breaking them into downloadable sections - one volume is over 1200 pages and even on DSL doesn't come over in one download. The Table of Contents alone (at the start of the first volume) will be a revelation to some. It's fairly obvious that Paris and Normandy for instance would have separate customs, but Orly? Some of the places, like Ghent (Gand), were not (I think) part of France in our period though they may have been in the past. Each town or region's customs also have their own table of contents. A quick perusal of these shows that by far the main concern of such laws was property - buying and selling it, inheriting it, etc. Parental rights on their children - closely linked of course with property - are another major concern. Strangely, while homicide is mentioned, the crime that seems to bear the closest examination in many of these is insult (and calumny, etc.). Was this simply an attempt to nip more violent crimes in the bud? (A laborer who had his arm broken in a fight would be that much less useful to the local lord, so it may well be that even this comes back to property.) But it might also simply have been a question of honor, with all that has meant in many cultures.

This collection of the customs of Normandy is in dictionary form, which makes it much easier to find specific subjects: Hoüard, Dictionnaire analytique, historique, étymologique, critique et interprétatif de la Coutume de Normandie 1780. This work largely covers true customs as well as the numerous local laws known under that name, and some useful concrete data. Starting on page 102 of Volume 1, for instance, are long lists of trades with the reception payment required (as of 1779) to enter into each. Starting on page 120 is a dizzyingly complex chart of the inheritance rights given different numbers (and genders) of siblings. It also includes surprising (for the time) notes, as for instance the fact that a blind judge could not be deprived of his office (I, 127) or that children born 11 or more months after a husband's death were considered legitimate (I, 17). Or this in the article on Pregnancy (Grossesse):

Judges must regard it as one of their most important duties to personally receive declarations [of pregnancy] & in secret. Many girls hesitate to make them, because they are obliged to present themselves to the Registry in the presence of Deputies, who, without regard for the regrettable results their mockery can have on the mothers & their offspring, claim for themselves the right to conduct the most humiliating interrogations of these unhappy victims of seduction...
(II, 692)

The fourth volume includes a very dense index to the entire work.

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Magasin Pittoresque: No 43 - 1875

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.

In this volume, pages 123-126 are missing - apparently 126 begins a piece by an 18 year old Moliere, of which a fragment appears on page 127) The snake charmer article is worth a glimpse just for the image of the five practitioners of that art, who look like extras out of "Raiders of the Lost Ark". - Peutinger's 'table' is probably the quirkiest map many of us will ever see. - I wasn't aware myself there was a real-life "Misanthrope" (if indeed this identification can be trusted). - The items in "Material Progress" are listed with a kind of pride: expansion of the telegraph, railroads, postal services, etc. - The image of the Japanese 'devil' suggests a great Halloween custom for someone. - The 18th c. table made for the royal family is lovely and graceful - except perhaps for the big ugly dolphin represnting the dauphin. - The table offered by Furetiere humorously suggests appropriate husbands for young girls, depending on their dowries (I really will have to translate this sometime). - Collat l'Afficheur was the Count de Caylus' creation, but the image of him using an extending device to put up posters was probably based on reality. - The image of fine carriages parked as the gentry look at a beached whale is almost Fellini-esque. - The article on justice in old France is one of those convenient summaries I'm always happy to discover (though it only goes to the 17th c.) - "The Turks, to tell the truth, are not very partisan of statistics", so it took Louis XIV's Joseph Grelot to count Constantinople's fountains. There seems to be an infantile human need to sign the projectiles dropped on others - U.S pilots have done it with bombs and... the Romans did it with the projectiles for their catapults. - How many 18th century readers left tobacco in the books they read - along with committing other crimes against books? - Accounts of animals being condemned are not rare in old France - but pardoning them? - Louis XIV's court etiquette looked simple next to that in Turkey - as witness the ritual around a glass of water. - Parmentier is better known by his hash than by his bio, which appears here. - Have you ever wondered EXACTLY how the Trojan horse was made? Someone here thought it out step by step. An Arab spur looks more like a hairpin (poor horse, though it's a lovely object). - Perhaps you've heard of the glass harmonica, using water - how about a pyrophone, an organ of flames? - Duel over? Time to PARTY!!!! - "The guitar, whose name today is almost ridiculous and often employed as synonymous with 'annoying thing'"... An interesting mini-history for those of us who play. - Napoleon lifting a plague victim's corpse? Vivid. - So, someone invents the metal pen-tip and - you're left with LOTS of goose feathers; what now? - "Montmarte is no longer what it once was" (but pretty rustic in the picture here).

33 - fresco painting (1693)
39 - 18th c table with dauphin motive
69 - some beached whales (including 18th).
76 - judges and justice in old France
81 - Constantinople's fountains counted in 1680
88 - convict in English penal colony becomes judge
98 - token from Dieppe by David Asseline
102 - ironwork from the 18th
108 - famines (image of soup kitchen)
112 - the Sultan's glass of water
120 - Master Cheever's school in Boston (founded 1670)
127 - 17th c cithare
129 - Constable's "Cottage"
152 - paper factory founded 1775 (and workers' housing)
160 - Scarron invites painter Mignard to dinner in a poem
172 - 16th and 17th century scissor cases
203 - parties after duels
212 - a pre-flood history (1709)
219 - a brief history of the corset and bustle
237 - the room for plague victims in Jaffa (incident in Bonaparte's life)
288 - 17th c sugar-cracker
300 - Italian open-air theatre and charlatans 17th c
369 - hats from different periods
392 - 17th c Flemish iron

20 - medal of Duke de Montausier, original of Misanthrope?
56 - medal of the countess of Lafayette (writer)
59 - writer/lexicographer Furetiere (with a table of marriageable women)
64 - sign-poster Collat (fictional)
89 - mathematician Huygens
140 - false nobles - the incomparable Monsieur de Bois
153 - Parmentier, champion of the potato
185 - historiographer Duclos
186 - "heroine of charity", Barbe Schinner
238 - Talleyrand's report on public education
313 - Chancellor d'Aguesseau

OT, but of interest
9 - Indian snake charmers
11 - Peutinger's table (medieval map of France)
24 - surviving members of Pic de la Mirandole family
27 - Provencal proverbs ("Good shepherd makes good flock"); material progress from 1867-1872
32 - Japanese 'devil'
36 - Peruvian whistles
99 - Roman catapult projectiles (signed)
102 - enemies of books (those who mess them up)
111 - Philip the Bold pardons pigs
144 - gargoyles
156 - the Trojan horse
168 - Arab spur (not dated)
172 - singing flames and the pyrophone
183 - artificial butter
184 - 16th c dragon jewel
208 - 16th c grillwork
212 - 16th c. guiterne
242 - objects made of goose feathers
250 - Vartan's Armenian fables
280 - Arab baker's marks
298 - Buddhist nuns
319 - 13th c. Jewish lament (after burning of 13 Jews in Troyes)
323 - 15th c menu from Ghent
328 - putting a bath in the house (a "luxury")
376 - mills on Montmartre

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End quote

"From this it follows that works that are obnoxious to one age, or class of people, may not be obnoxious to another. And books on which moralists pass severe judgment may be innocent of evil intent, and, in their generation, harmless. In the last century "Tom Jones" was, we can easily believe, regarded as chaste. The novels of Mrs. Aphra Behn, which no decent man of this day can read, lay openly on ladies' tables, and were popular with the fashionable public of their day."

O. B. Frothingham, "The Morally Objectionable in Literature", The North American review. Volume 135, Issue 311, October 1882 (323-339)

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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