Contents and Arrangement

Letters from France, 1787-1823

1 box

Collection Overview

Collection Description & Creator Information

Scope and Contents

These 14 letters written from Paris, Nancy, Strasbourg, Besançon, Geneva, Zurich and elsewhere and addressed to Guillemard's sister Jeanne Marie Griffin and his father Jean Guillemard, document two of Guillemard's journeys-- the first in 1787-1788 and the second in 1789-- to France and Switzerland prior to and at the outset of the French Revolution. Also included are three typed copies of Guillemard's letters written circa August and September 1789 to Newton Ogle, aide-de-camp to Earl Grey, with whom he witnessed the aftermath of the capture of the Bastille. There is also an account Guillemard wrote in 1823 detailing his experiences in France with Ogle, which includes documentation of an attack that occurred while they were staying in Roeun, and their witnessing in front of the Palais Royale the procession transporting the heads of Jacques de Flesselles and Bernard René de Launay.

Guillemard's letters during his first trip to France mostly describe tourist activities, such as visits to monuments, buildings, and performances he attended; however, they also address signs of unrest, which are made clear when an English officer orders him to leave the country. After leaving Paris, Guillemard traveled to Switzerland. In these letters, he offers accounts of fellow travelers and persons with whom he visits, including Prince Edward, Duke of Kent and Strathearn, and Swiss poet and physiognomist Johann Kaspar Lavater; and also discusses the trial of Warren Hastings.

Guillemard's letters documenting his second trip to France with Newton Ogle offer detailed accounts of their experiences. Writing to his sister from Paris on July 17, 1789, a few days after the storming of the Bastille, Guillemard notes, "Yesterday was a day of great distress; on Wednesday Evening deputies from the National Assembly arrived in order to dissipate the fears of the Parisians and announce the King's intention of visiting his Capital...He came today in great form, attended by the National Assembly on foot, and guarded by the Militia of Versailles...There were above 400,000 Citizens and others under arms...When he entered a dead silence prevailed...The common Guards of Paris are disbanded, and a Militia composed of Citizens perform the office of guarding the Place, and preventing disturbances. The Bastille will I hope never been seen again. It is now level with the ground." In a postscript written from Geneva on July 25, Guillemard adds, "I wrote this letter at Paris, and meant to have sent it from Versailles, but I have not been able. The whole kingdom is in a tumult not to be easily described... We have arrived safe at Geneva after much care and trouble."

Collection History


No materials were separated during 2014 processing.

Processing Information

This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in December 2014. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in December 2014.

This collection was processed by Faith Charlton in December 2014. Finding aid written by Faith Charlton in December 2014.

Access & Use

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

Single copies may be made for research purposes. To cite or publish quotations that fall within Fair Use, as defined under U. S. Copyright Law, no permission is required. For instances beyond Fair Use, it is the responsibility of the researcher to determine whether any permissions related to copyright, privacy, publicity, or any other rights are necessary for their intended use of the Library's materials, and to obtain all required permissions from any existing rights holders, if they have not already done so. Princeton University Library's Special Collections does not charge any permission or use fees for the publication of images of materials from our collections, nor does it require researchers to obtain its permission for said use. The department does request that its collections be properly cited and images credited. More detailed information can be found on the Copyright, Credit and Citations Guidelines page on our website. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact us through the Ask Us! form.

Physical Characteristics and Technical Requirements

For preservation reasons, original analog and digital media may not be read or played back in the reading room. Users may visually inspect physical media but may not remove it from its enclosure. All analog audiovisual media must be digitized to preservation-quality standards prior to use. Audiovisual digitization requests are processed by an approved third-party vendor. Please note, the transfer time required can be as little as several weeks to as long as several months and there may be financial costs associated with the process. Requests should be directed through the Ask Us Form.

Credit this material:

Letters from France; John Lewis Guillemard Letters, C1492, Manuscripts Division, Department of Special Collections, Princeton University Library

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Storage Note:
  • ReCAP (rcpxm): Box 1