SUNDRIES: An eighteenth century newsletter

N° 20 - March 4, 2006

LINKS: Timelines inter text ON-LINE BOOKS: Voltaire in English inter text ON-LINE ARTICLES: An Early Information Society; compulsory schooling inter text CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: The shame of a famous family inter text POETRY: The Cannonball Haircut

inter cooking 18th CENTURY RECIPE: A meal for Marie-Antoinette - Spanish pate

fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys
Argens' letters inter text Magasin Pittoresque: No 23-1855


LINKS: Timelines

Innumerable 18th century timelines exist on the Web, some general, some specialized. The following is only a sample thereof. "This timeline covers the last few decades of the 1600s to the first three decades of the 1800s. Contributions are welcome and appreciated." "As a means of recording the passage of time, the 18th century refers to the century that lasted from 1701 through 1800 in the Gregorian calendar."

Ehistory divides theirs into several categories: Government, Politics, & War Art & Culture Science & Technology Religion & Philosophy Daily Life & Health - and goes almost year by year.

This one rather disconcertingly starts (chronologically) at the bottom: Anatine Timeline of the 18th Century

British Views Of 18th Century Africa makes timelines their whole subject, and includes a timeline on conflicts as well as a rather cursory one on the Age of Enlightenment
(The site also includes those annoying shivering ads that tell you you've 'won'.)

This is a little scattered, but offers useful groupings: Timeline: 18th Century Europe/North America

Some focus on places: Scottish History Time-line (18th Century)

Greenwich Past: Millennium Timeline - The 18th Century (1701 - 1800)

The Late 18th Century (timeline)

This is a course description, but offers a pretty good overview of key stages of the French Revolution: European Revolutions: The French Revolution, 1789-1815 and Its Legacy: the Revolutions of the mid-19th Century Course overview-Georgie Perimeter College

This site includes several graphical timelines of music in our era: Renaissance & Baroque Music Chronology

This focuses on American music: American Composer Timeline

This Geocities site lists significant events in health care: Perspectives in Healthcare

The Wikipedia offers a timeline of aviation: Timeline of aviation - 18th century

Finally, the Magic Dragon site offers unusual timelines for our era:

SF TIMELINE 18th CENTURY "Why was the 18th Century the time of Literary Expansion of Science Fiction? Because of the explosion of Science, and of writers who paid attention..."


back to top

ON-LINE BOOKS: Voltaire in English

This site only has a few items from Voltaire, but all in English, from:

The Works of Voltaire: A Contemporary Version. A Critique and Biography by John Morely, Notes by Tobias Smollett, revised and modernized new translations by William F, Fleming, and an Introduction by Oliver H.G. Leigh (New York: E.H. DuMont,

The works they offer are:

  • * Volumes III-VII: A Philosophical Dictionary (1764)
  • The Henriade
  • Candide
  • Toleration and Other Essays
back to top

ON-LINE ARTICLES: An Early Information Society; compulsory schooling

It's always nice to find an article by Robert Darnton readily available. This one is related to that previously mentioned on public opinion: Robert Darnton: An Early Information Society

Every society develops its own ways of hunting and gathering information; its means of communicating what it gathers, whether or not it uses concepts such as "news" and "the media," can reveal a great deal about its understanding of its own experience. Examples can be cited from studies of coffeehouses in Stuart England, tea houses in early republican China, marketplaces in contemporary Morocco, street poetry in seventeenth-century Rome, slave rebellions in nineteenth-century Brazil, runner networks in the Mogul Raj of India, even the bread and circuses of the Roman Empire.

But instead of attempting to pile up examples by roaming everywhere through the historical record, I would like to examine a communication system at work in a particular time and place, the Old Regime in France. More precisely, I would ask: How did you find out what the news was in Paris around 1750?

Absolutism and the eighteenth-century origins of compulsory schooling in Prussia and Austria by James Van Horn Melton

I have several reasons for publishing these extracts from Melton’s book. One is to continue my campaign to demonstrate that the main purpose of school is not about education, but about social control. This understanding about the true nature of modern school will help people who wonder why school is the way it is, or who are thinking about ways to change school.

Another reason is to place on publicly available record a commentary illustrating that the origins of modern school are religious and not secular. To me, this commonly ignored detail makes an important difference to the understanding to the philosophical roots of modern school.
back to top

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT: The shame of a famous family

Any family that maintains a reputation over generations can expect a scandalous relative now and then. But when the family trade is torturing and killing others, one would think they'd be hard to embarrass.

Yet the Sanson - or, as Dickens and others call them, "Samson" - family, having collectively beheaded everyone from the Chevalier de la Barre and General Lally to Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette, apparently had reason to blush at the behavior of its last officeholder. In Legacy of Death, her history of the family, Barbara Levy only says that Henri-Clement had expensive tastes and was ruined through a dissolute life of gambling and drinking (and in fact hocked his guillotine at one point). A correspondant in the Intermediaire des Chercheurs (1891 (471-472)) goes farther:

In 1840, and even some years after, [the dynasty] was represented by the grandson of the executioner of Louis XVI. He was a sort of gentleman, decently literate, a good connoisseur of painting and music, in manner and bearing apparently very correct. I say, 'in appearance'....

The writer describes Henri's discreet but comfortable house on the rue des Marais-Saint-Martin, where he supposedly kept a kind of museum of objects from various famous executions and housed former executioners from the provinces (less conspicuous in Paris than back home.) Then he says:

This last of the Sansons was revoked after inquiry for immorality. It was said at the Palace [of Justice] that in his free time, and to stay in practice, he secretly inflicted on willing patients, in a mitigated form, a type of torture much used in the Orient, but which does not figure in the penal code of any Christian nation.

I am hard put to decipher the winking double-entendres of the 19th century enough to say exactly what the last of the Samsons was providing as a service, but it seems clear that whatever it was would still be welcome in many of today's private (and pricey) dungeons or specialized clubs.

A follow-up to this item (547-548), though also arch in its language, is a bit easier to understand.

This sorry character had a... friend to whom he was so attached that he treated him as kin. This menage a trois inhabited the little private house... The life of the young woman [that is, Sanson's wife] was a long martyrdom. There, only adepts of the same religion were received: the mathematician A...., the Duke of A...., M. N.... and two or three others.

Again, Levy hints at none of this, and even talks of this man's devotion to his children (despite other dissipations). It remains to be seen if other biographers have addressed these claims.

back to top

POETRY: The Cannonball Haircut

In 1733, at the siege of Kehl, a cannonball cut the hair of M. de Forcalquier, earning him this compliment from Voltaire:

The present tempest of German shot
Has, they say, cut your hair.
Those with wit are quite happy
That it respected your head.
They say that Caesar, that phoenix among warriors,
His hair gone, coiffed himself with laurels:
A handsome ornament, but out of style.
If Caesar was returned to us,
And in serving Louis was shorn,
He would now wear no more than a blond wig.
Inermediaire des Chercheurs (12/10/1878 (730))

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

back to top

18th CENTURY RECIPE: A meal for Marie-Antoinette - Spanish pates

In 1862, Charles Monselet's L'Almanach des Gourmands pour 1862 provided part of a menu for a meal served to Marie-Antoinette July 24, 1788 at the Trianon. This is available on-line in French:

in German:
and in English:

The several courses listed include sixteen entrees:

Spanish pates, Grilled mutton cutlets, Rabbits on the skewer, Fowl wings a la marechale, Turkey giblets in consomme, Larded breats of mutton with chicory, Fried turkey a la ravigote, Sweetbreads en papillot, Calves' heads sauce pointue, Chickens a la tartare, Spitted sucking pig, Caux fowl with consomme, Rouen duckling with orange, Fowl fillets en casserole with rice, Cold chicken, Chicken blanquette with cucumber

One would think that the first of these items would be fairly simple. In fact, the Cuisinier Royal et Bourgeois (1705) does have a simple enough recipe for the 'small' version of Spanish pate (350):

Little Spanish Style Pates

Take a piece of lard, a little piece of veal, and white meat of chicken: blanch all this in the pot and chop it up very fine, season with fines herbes. Beat it again in the mortar, and adding a little garlic and elephant garlic, or having made a fine paste, make dough bases and your little Pates, which you will serve as a garnish or as an hors d'oeuvre.

For the standard version, the index refers the reader to a Tourte - that is, a 'tart', but really, in this case, a pate en croute (a pate in pastry, as all pates once were) (469-470):

Spanish Style Tart as an Entree

Take any sort of Poultry, Quail, Pigeons, Larks, Ortolans; one or another, so long as it be small Poultry and tender. If these are Pigeons, for instance; after having tied them well, make a stuffing of a little marrow, mushrooms, truffles, and small pieces of whitened lard, all well seasoned with spices and fines herbes of all sorts. Slit your Pigeons only along the back, to put in this stuffing; and in case they are a little hard, brown them. Once stuffed, you need sweetbreads, mushrooms, crests [of cocks], artichoke hearts cut into quarters, all seasoned and separately strained. Keep your pigeons ready: meanwhile, make dough with water, flour, an egg yolk, a little salt and butter, and it should not be too hard. Let it rest a little: then knead it with the roller, and separate it into eight pieces, according to the size of your pie dish. Of these eight pieces, take four to put on top: stretch each base of dough out thin as paper: grease your pie dish with refined or raw lard; then having put in a base of dough, grease this base like the pie dish, in order to put in the second, and so with the other. After this you must neatly lay your Pigeons, or other small Poultry, with the stew, and cover them with strips of lard. Then take the four remaining pieces of dough, and do as you did for those underneath; that is, greasing them before putting them on top of the other. Once your Tart is so covered grease it again on top and cook it, being careful not to brown it too much. Once carefully cooked, lay it out in a dish or plate; properly clean the cover and the strips of lard, putting on it some good white coulis, or one of mushrooms, depending on the Poultry you have used; all this served hot.

back to top

fleur de lysFOR READERS OF FRENCHfleur de lys

ON-LINE TEXTS: Argens' letters

This is a German-language site, but selected letters from the Marquis D'Argens are presented in French: - Texte von d'Argens - Briefe. The main page is at Marquis D'Argens

back to top

Magasin Pittoresque: No 23-1855

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

Though this volume includes an image of a fifteenth century astrologer, the most striking prediction here came (in 1411) from a cardinal. For someone who loves the older branches of the BNF, it's a treat to see an image of the print collection when the institution was the Imperial Library. Finally, I admit to feeling some relief that the 'portrait' of Mohammed here is verbal, not visual.

11 - Emigres return in a coach in year 9 of the Revolution (with image)
72 - garden mazes (with image)
171 - Cardinal d'Ailly predicts 'extraordinary changes and troubles' in 1789 (1411)
193 - a woman's toilette under Louis XV (with image)
237 - the Abbaye prison (with image)
242 - Constable's thoughts on other painters
327 - the Russian beard tax
347 - 18th c. signs in Lyons
375 - criminals' tricks for resisting torture

Individuals of note
43 - geographer Charles Walckenaer
89 - the Cardinal of Cheverus
112 - Mother Dolly of Paternoster Row
230 - painter, inventor, engineer, etc Nicolas-Jacques Conte
257 - painter Count of Forbin
289 - painter Johann Eleazar Schenau
303 - portrait of Mohammed (with NO image)
313 - Marie Leczinka (with image)
376 - David Dancer, 18th century English miser

Off-topic but interesting
16 - New Year's in Japan
30, 71, 82 - French mottoes adopted by English families
98 - state of the Church in France
115 - German proverbs (ex. "Bear and avoid")
166 - Sir John Franklin
177 - Bruges (described as 'ruined') (with image)
179 - intelligent life on other planets
216 - history of the fan
246 - French first names taken from Latin
297 - the print collection at the Imperial Library (now the BNF) (image)
317 - the make-up of the Moon
368 - 15th c. astrologer
387 - old New Year's customs in the Vosge
399 - the mouth of the Somme
407 - The Christmas Present (translated from Engel?)
408 - Christmas season in Spain (with image)

back to top

End quote

"Jesus loves you just the way you are - but He loves you too much to let you stay that way."

Ashley (played by Oscar nominee Amy Adams) in "Junebug"
written by Angus MacLachlan

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.


Questions? Comments? Corrections? Write:

Chez Jim

Memoirs of

the Bastille

Return to
Welcome to

the Bastille
Chez Jim