SUNDRIES: An eighteenth century newsletter

N° 9 - December 17, 2005

TEXT COLLECTIONS: Making of America inter text ON-LINE REFERENCE: Wikipedia inter text THE VIRGINIA GAZETTE: Hue and cry inter text

inter cooking 18th CENTURY RECIPE: Tart's Toots

fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys
MAGASIN PITTORESQUE: theater program, 1763; gateau de roi; famous blind; English sailor's diary

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TEXT COLLECTIONS: Making of America

There are two Making of America sites, one at Cornell:

And one at the University of Michigan:

Though both focus on the 19th century, I'm sure some here are familiar with them, if only because they include both 19th century editions of 18th century works and works on the period. Also, they sometimes come up in searches on American Memory, which is linked to one or both (I believe both.)

Useful as these sites are, they seem to revel in non-standardization. Those who happen upon them by search, especially, must get confused. Browsing, searching and saving full text all work a little differently on each site.

At Cornell, to browse, you simply click on a Browse button at bottom. This brings up a page with several categories to browse. At UM, you choose either 'MoA Books' or 'MoA Journals' at bottom, then can access a browse for each group below the Search box.

Both offer a basic search box on the first page. For advanced searches, Cornell links to a page with these options:

Boolean search: find combinations of two or three words in a given page or work
Proximity search: find the co-occurence of two or three words or phrases
Frequency search: find works where a term appears a specified number of times
Bibliographic search: find works by author or title
Index search: look through alphabetical linked lists of authors' names, titles, or subject headings.

UM gives you, at the top, a tabbed set of search functions with similar options: Basic Search, Boolean, Proximity, Bibliographic, History.

Finally, at some point in using these, you may wonder "how do I save a whole work?" Unlike Gallica (in its hi-speed version, at least) MOA does not offer a simple download option. However, you CAN download entire works in text form (albeit of varying accuracy relative to the original).

At Cornell, when viewing a work, click on "A note on viewing the plain text of this volume". This isn't a real helpful title, since in fact this is more than a note; this is where you go to download. The page itself explains (at length...) that you can click on a link at the bottom of it to download the entire text.

At UM, when you view the main entry (with the header and list of pages), there's a button labelled "View entire text". If you click on this, you'll get a warning about the file size before being allowed to proceed to download the OCR'ed text, which you can then save.

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AbeBooks - Signed Books


I'm sure I'm not the only non-academic who, upon tiptoeing into the thickets of serious scholarship, has been dismayed to discover how many authoritive texts can be plain wrong - the many distorted accounts of the La Barre affair come to mind, or the Larousse Gastronomique's blithely repeated myths about the origin of croissant.

It's less surprising that the Wikipedia, which has had a few embarassing errors highlighted lately, should be undependable. What's a bit more dismaying (no doubt to the work's editors, to start with) is that the Encyclopedia Brittanica is no more reliable:

An expert-led investigation carried out by Nature ” the first to use peer review to compare Wikipedia and Britannica's coverage of science ” ... revealed numerous errors in both encyclopaedias, but among 42 entries tested, the difference in accuracy was not particularly great: the average science entry in Wikipedia contained around four inaccuracies; Britannica, about three....reviewers also found many factual errors, omissions or misleading statements: 162 and 123 in Wikipedia and Britannica, respectively."

Bear in mind this study was limited to articles on science. Hopefully someone will do a similar article on the humanities (though fans of the Brittanica may be thinking "haven't the editors suffered enough?")

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It would have been surprising if the Virginia Gazette did not have some examples of the currently-discussed "hue and cry". In fact, the index lists a number of items under that heading on this page:

I have (a bit impulsively) transcribed two, one from 1737, one from 1777, The first is interesting on a few points, not least the vivid character portraiture, but also its menion of "Duroy" cloth (presumably our corduroy) and the command to those in other colonies to enforce the order given here. The latter may be less surprising in an era when one king ruled all, but personally I had envisioned more of a jurisdictional wall between neighboring colonies. Otherwise, I don't know if the difference in length between the two is significant - was one more official than the other? - or simply a difference in the information required in each case.

Virginia, ff.
His Majesty's Lieutenant-Governor and Commander in Chief, of the Colongy and Dominion of Virginia,
To all Sheriffs, Constables, and Others, His Majesty's Liege People, to whome these Presents shall come. Greeting.

WHEREAS Complaint hath been made to me, on behalf of John Lidderdale, of the County of Prince George, Merchant, That some Time in the Month of August last past, in the Night Time, divers Persons came to the Dwelling-house of the said Lidderdale, in the said County, and obtaining Admittance into the same, on Pretence of delivering a Letter, they forcibly siezed and tied the People in the said House, and feloniously took away from thence, Goods and Chattels to a considerable Value, and about the Sum of Eighty Pounds in Cash, being the Property of the said Lidderdale: And that John Burke, James Newgine, Paul Callaham, and Thomas Robertson, all Irishmen, are suspected to have committed the said Felony, and are since absconded. The said Burke, is of the Age of Thirty Years, or thereabouts; a lusty, well proportioned Man; hath a smooth Face, long Visage, and a very long Nose, speaketh generally Irish, but can on Occasion, talk in the Scotch Dialect; wears generally Grey Duroy Cloaths, and hath an old fashioned Watch, with a Tortiseshell Case, studded with Silver, made by Lounds in Pall0Mall, London, belonging to the said Lidderdale. The said Newgine is of the Age of Forty Years, or hereabouts; a thick, well-set Man, about Five Feet Nine Inches high, speaketh very much upon the Brogue; is Pock-fretten, and hath a Scar in his Face, and generally weareth brown Duroy Cloaths. The said Callaham is a small, smooth fac'd Man, betwen [sic] the Age of Thirty and Forty Years; speaketh very much on the Brogue; generally travelleth with Two Spades, and professeth Ditching; he is well known in Goochland County; and weareth a Grey Kersey Coat and Wastecoat. GIVEN under my Hand and the Seal of the Colony at Williamsburg, the thirteenth [?] Day of October, 1737, in the Eleventh Year of the Reign of our Sovereign Lord King George the Second.
WIlliam Gooch
Virginia Gazette, October 21, 1737

To all sheriffs, mayors, bailiffs, constables and head boroughs, within the commonwealth of Virginia.
ESSEX, se.

Whereas complaint is this day made to me, James Edmondson, gentleman, a justice of the peace for the county aforesaid (upon the oath of Gideon Ship, jailer of the said county) that Thomas Hanney, who was lately committed to the jail of the said county by warrant from Thomas Roane, gentleman, a justice of the peace of the said county, on suspicion of felony, did, on the night of the 10th day of this instant, forcibly escape from the said jail, and is now going at large: These are therefore, in the name of the commonwealth of VIrginia, to require you, and every of you, in your respective counties, towns, and precincs, to make diligent search, by way of hue and cry, for the said Thomas Hanney, and him having found to seize and retake, and safely convey, or cause him to be safely conveyed, to the jail of the said county of Essex, there to be safely kept until he shall be thence discharged by due course of law.
Given under my hand and seal, this 11th day of April, May 30, 1777
Virginia Gazette, Number 122, 1777

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18th CENTURY RECIPE: Tart's Toots

OK, I confess: the French term - pets de putain - means "whore's farts". But aside from not wanting (after last week) to overdo certain words in my headers, I doubt this particular item has been translated much, and so I'm grabbing the chance to bring it into English with something less offensive to delicate Anglo-Saxon sensibilities.

Those who find the original name off-putting might imagine, decades back, an American teen's surprise at watching a little old lady in a French pastry shop order 'a nun's fart' (pet de nonne). Which, it turned out, was (still is) a perfectly standard French pastry (though some do call it, for example, "a nun's sigh".)

Was the present recipe that term's ancestor, or simply an attempt to offer equal time? One researcher in Strasbourg suggests that a number of airy Italian pastries introduced around our period were given names like "nun's fart", "whore's fart" or even "donkey's fart" . ("Les frictelles italiennes seront introduites en France peu après sous des noms aussi farfelus que « pet-de-nonne », « pet-de-putain » ou encore « pet-d'âne », selon les ingrédients utilisés et l'inspiration du cuisinier!")

The TLF says that first there were "Spanish farts" (1393), then the whore's (they give a 1739 reference), then the nun's (1743) - "Ca 1393 pets d'Espaigne (Menagier, éd. G. E. Brereton et J. M. Ferrier, 37, 178); 1739 pet de putain (ds GUEGAN, La Fleur de la cuis. fr., t.1, p.232); 1743 pet de nonne (Trév.)".;s=1520795520;cat=2m=pet+de+putain;;

In fact a number of other origins have been suggested for the clerical variety (see further on), which at any rate is a kind of beignet. For those who would like to stick with the Floozy's Flatulence, here's the recipe (from La Varenne, Le Cuisinier Francois, 1680, page 444):

Put egg whites in a mortar and a litte orange flower water, beat them well and bit by bit put in powdered sugar, make a workable dough and make from it little balls the size of a walnut and put them on paper, cook them in the oven.

More on the nun's kind

Patricia Wells claims this was invented by an actual nun in Alsace: "Soupir de nonne: "nun's sighs"; fried choux pastry dusted with confectioners' sugar. Created by a nun in an Alsatian abbey. Also called pet de nonne."

This site gives a more extensive explanation (in French):

Originally, it was only a bit of dough dropped into hot oil. According to legend, a nun living at the Marmoutier Abbey farted in the kitchen while a feast was being prepared. The other nuns laughed, at the same time dropping a spoonful of choux pastry dough into a container of hot oil. Thus was born this type of beignet in France, light as a breath which some prefer to call "wind beignet" or "nun's sigh".

It is also the name of what appears to be a Japanese pastry - or doughnut? - shop (if so, they can probably safely assume most of their customers have no idea what the name means.)

Finally, there’s these explanations of the French term: In the Intermediaire des Chercheurs of 1903 (431), onw writer claims that the French name is a homonym for 'paix de nonne' (nun's peace) and that it was a pastry used by nuns to make up after quarrels. Another (938) adds that at the time of writing, some were calling it 'vendange' (which would literally mean 'grape harvest', but here appears to be a pun on 'vent d'ange' - angel's wind.)

UPDATE: It turns out there is even a "Nun's Fart Polka" (La polka des pets de nonnes), written by Georges Charton and Adolf Stanislas, published in Paris in 1910 by A. Z. Mathot, available on Gallica.

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fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys

MAGASIN PITTORESQUE: theater program, 1763; gateau de roi; famous blind; English sailor's diary

I continue to go through my downloaded Magasin Pittoresques. These volumes ARE indexed, and Gallica displays the TOC for each on-line. But these are so dense I doubt many will get too far through them. The range of epoques and subjects goes well beyond what I highlight here - I'm sure some who look up these pages will get drawn into articles on Buddhism, rare animals, grammar, proverbs, trades, etc. along the way.

Volume 17 (1849) includes numerous items on our period (though less than the next volume):

73 - article on Chateaubriand's memoirs
80 - a program from Fountainbleau listing performances in 1763 (image and article)
83 - Largilliere - article on the painter
93 - Women painters - this continues a series (page numbers listed) that goes across several centuries. This entry starts with Mariana-Angelica-Catherina Kauffman, born 1741.
153 - Gateau de roi - a mini-history, with illustration from Gueuze. It turns out this custom, like so much now traditional, has been condemned in the past.
179 - Orpailleurs ("alluvial digger", says the Grand Dictionnaire Terminologique; gold-panner, says I) - starting in the 18th and going into the 19th, with illustration
184 - unpublished letters from La Tour d'Auvergne
198 - Research on the old theatres of Paris (this continues from the preceding volume and lists the preceding references; this installment is on the theatres de la foire)
205 - Famous blind people (including numerous figures from our time - Anastassi, Avisse, Carulli, etc. -)
282 - Newton's last scientific interview (1725)
303 - English sailor's diary (late 18th)
353 - article on Gluck
370 - Gibbons' estimate of words per minute of orator compared with French speed

An article (97) on American pioneers is off-topic, but interesting as a contemporary European look at a staple of American national mythology. A tragic tale of medieval ritual combat (101) shows not only how easily it could go wrong, but how it integrated with more conventional legalities.

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End quote

I wish I had been born a Frenchman. - Frenchmen live as if they were never to die. Englishmen die all their lives.

Philip Thicknesse - A Year's Journey Through France and Part of Spain (II, 263)

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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