BOUGAINVILLE, Louis-Antoine, Comte de (1729-1811)
Autograph letter signed by the French navigator Bougainville. Dated 15 November, 1802.
Manuscript in brown ink on blue wove paper, 1 page, quarto (210 x 165 mm); dated at Paris, 24 brumaire an 11 [i.e. 15 November 1802], the letter is to an addressee identified simply as ‘Citoyen’, and is written entirely in Bouganville’s frail hand and signed at the foot ‘Bougainville, Senateur’; Bougainville attests to the infirmity of Citizen Martin, a soldier, and explains that he is unfit for duty; a note in another hand at upper left records the date of reception and comments that there are several conscripts with name Martin and that this must be his first name; the letter is in fine condition.
An original manuscript document in the hand of the French admiral and explorer of the Pacific, Louis-Antoine de Bougainville (1729-1811).
‘J’ai ramené de la campagne le citoyen Martin à peine convalescent d’une fièvre opiniâtre […]’. (‘I brought Citizen Martin back from the countryside, barely recovering from a stubborn fever […])’
Bedridden, Martin was unable to present his infirmity certificate in time, so Bougainville explains the situation on his behalf.
‘Certes, personne plus que moi ne pense que le 1er devoir de tout français est de servir sa patrie mais je vous atteste que le pauvre Martin ne peut faire un soldat et qu’il n’est point de troupe dont il ne soit réformé […]’. (‘Certainly, no one more than I thinks that the first duty of all French people is to serve their country, but I certify to you that poor Martin cannot make a soldier and that there is no troop that he could rejoin)’.
Note: the document is accompanied by a typed transcription.