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Ribiers Lieutenant, de
Autograph Letter Signed to Henri De Pascal, Marquis of Rochegude, Avignon, January 5th, 1770

quarto, 2 ½  pages of a four page bi-folium, folded, remains of sealing wax on integral address leaf, else very good.

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Interesting letter from life long friends and fellow French naval officers, who would both go on to serve with the French Navy in the American Revolution. Lieutenant de Ribiers served as a Lieutenant on the Languedoc, under L'Amiral d'Estaing, part of the Toulon Fleet. De Rochegude, (1741-1834) was a vice-admiral who served in the Antilles and elsewhere during the Revolution.

The text of the letter, written in English, discusses the fate of Alexander Gordon, the Scottish spy who was ordered by Lord Harcourt to investigate the defenses at Brest. He was captured and guillotined after Harcourt denied responsibility for the mission. The letter then goes on to discuss literary matters, gossip, etc.

Avignon the 5th of January 1770

"... everyone is stunned at Mr Gordon's courage and severity of the sentence, many verses have been made in his favour those you have sent me are the best. Since my last to you I have reciev'd two letters he had written the same day he suffered death. One to his judges, the other to his brother Charles. In the first he positively affirms my Lord Harcourt had directed him to that undertaking which  I can hardly believe. The second has much of the pathetick & like it. Well enough of this.

I am surprised our clergy the protector of whores has refused a play to be acted for Mr. Daisy's benefit. The generosity of the Sergeant at Law is so surprising it deserves to have a place in history and may be quoted as the only and first thing of that kind I suppose the general has acted the part of a conciliator what a pity a man endow'd with so fine parts has not the firmness of mind necessary checking the already too grown power of that proud and ambitious fellow who makes daily encroachments upon his right and authority...

I have left out the reading of the Trissino1 so much I was tired with it, that of the Adone2 is more entertaining if you remember the two cantos... you'll not be surpriz'd of its being put to the index for the most soft and wanton lasciviousness that can be met with and many parts could be termed bawdy if it were not softened by the delicacy of the language the poem is written in which renders it the more dangerous for the mind tho' it gives but small offense to a chaste ear. 

Your good friend Mr. Frezier has entirely lost his sight old lady Ocaron has been found in the morning stone dead in his bed, tho' she passed as very healthy the night before. I send you an Italian performance upon the Jesuits done at Rome you'll like the verses there is no fault in it..."      

1.Giangiorgio Trissino (1478-1550)

2. Poem by Giambattista Marino (1569-1625)