DE LATOCNAYE, Chevalier. Promenade d’un Français dans l’Irlande. Orne de Gravures en Taille Douce.


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Troisieme volume, d’un ouvrage dont le premier contient, les Causes de la Revolution de France, et les efforts de la Noblesse pour en arreter les progres et le Second Promenade dans la grande Bretagne. With folded woodcuts. Dublin: Imprime aux Frais de L’Auteur, par M. et. D. Graisberry, 1797. First edition. Octavo. pp. viii, 328, [4 (plates - 3 multi-folding)]. Half calf over marbled boards. Previous owner’s signature ‘Jean Jacques Molin on front free endpaper and his monogram stamp on title. Also with signature of Amanda Jansson. New red morocco label on spine. All edges green. A very good copy.
ESTC T108211. Not in McVeagh. The Ireland volume was the third of three volumes published by De Latocnaye. The first edition appearing before the Cork and London editions which were in English. Dedicated to Burton Conyngham.
From scattered statements in his book, it appears that Jacques Louis de Bougrenet, Chevalier du la De Latocnaye was a Breton, an officer, and a Royalist. He was one of the thousands of his countrymen who sought shelter in England from the fury of the Revolutionists. He arrived in London on December 29th, 1792, knowing, at that time, not a word of the English language. He credits himself with a “genius for observation”, and after some time in London he decided to travel through England and Scotland, with the intention to write a book of his impressions of these countries and to publish it by subscription. His first ‘Promenade’ was published in Edinburgh in 1797. In Scotland he learned something of broad Scotch, which tongue he delighted to use, later, in Ireland, to the mystification of impertinent questioners. Before leaving England, he made the acquaintance of a wealthy Irishman, Mr. Burton Conyngham, who encouraged him in his plans to travel to Ireland with the purpose of writing an account of his travels. He gave him many letters of introduction to the nobility and gentry of Ireland, and procured similar letters in his favour from others, including Lord Camden, Lord Lieutenant.
This volume details that journey.
Perhaps the chief interest of De Latocnaye’s Irish tour lies in the glimpses which he gives of the towns he passed through, and in his account of the Irish peasantry. He notices the beggars in the streets, but described a gay social life. Galway was a garrison town and had three barracks full of soldiers; it was also a centre of fashion for the gentry from the surrounding counties. Cork provided a striking contrast. The town with its population of 80,000 lying south of the great grazing counties, and exporting large quantities of provisions - salt beef, pork, butter, bacon and hides - to the Continent, the English colony in America, and the West Indies, was known as ‘The Bristol of Ireland’. Waterford, then thriving on the provision trade, impressed him most. The house of industry was clean and orderly, and he saw no beggars in the streets. He comments on the commercial spirit of the inhabitants, for while he was there the main topic of conversation was the state of markets and trade. Wexford on the other hand he dismissed as “one of the ugliest and dirtiest cities in Ireland.” Limerick was more to his taste, for like most eighteenth-century tourists he preferred the newly built and prosperous-looking parts of cities to the old, dirty, and picturesque. Sligo exported pickled salmon, and other provision to which the Frenchman refers in passing, but he was more interested in the linen towns of the north, Drogheda, Newry and Londonderry. All visitors to Ireland at this time, including John Wesley, remarked on the prosperous appearance of the north as to compared with that of the south. Belfast, which had being little more than a village at the begging of the eighteenth century, now ranked next in commercial importance to Dublin and Cork. At Killarney, when the place was crowded in the summer, he described how they had built miserable huts on the side of the road, teasing all visitors unmercifully. He saw wretched hedge school in the open air, full of ragged scholars, and in the extreme west heard many stories of smuggling and wrecking.
De Latocnaye, who is much more liberal-minded than one might have supposed has much to say about Irish discontent. He blames landlords on the whole for Irish poverty, though he also condemns the middle men in Ireland who ate up two-thirds of the rent, and he disapproves of tithes, and of absentee landlords.
Dedication and preface in English. The author dedicated this work to the Earl Conyngham. There is a list of subscribers on p.viii. The plates are numbered III, IV, V and X.
Provenance: From the library of Jean Jacques Molin (1797-1849), MD Strausberg 1831, a French orthodox physician who converted to homeopathy to become the Medical Officer at the thermal springs at Luxeuil, where he published a work on the springs. Member of the Societe des Sciences Physiques et Arts in Paris and the Lower Rhine, publisher of the ‘Journal de la Doctrine Hahnemannien’, Member of the Spanish Medical Institute, member of the Brazilian Homeopathic Medical Academy, Secretary and President of the Societe de Medicine Homeopathique. Jean Jacques Molin taught Paul Ferdinand Gachet, and he treated George Sand and Frederic Chopin.

[L1 8C]


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