"What a deplorable fate and that a French woman's is different"

13 lettres autographes signées à Raymond de Verniac-St-Maur



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Fanny de Beauharnais (1737- 1813), Countess de Beauharnais by marriage, was a member of the Academy of Lyon, the Academy of Villefranche and the Academy of the Arcades. A woman of letters in the lineage of Madame de La Fayette and Voltaire, she is the woman of the world who illustrates with the most freedom a form of feminism, consecrating her influence".throughout her literary life, [to] fight to defend the status of women authors, and even to obtain the right to express herself for all women. ". She works alongside Olympe de Gouges and publishes Epistle to Men, Epistle to Women and a short brochure on the situation and rights of women in society, To all thinkers, hello!.

All the letters are addressed to Raymond de Verniac, a French writer and diplomat who was the first prefect of the Rhône department. The first letters are addressed to Constantinople, where Raymond Verniac held the position ofambassador of the Sublime Porte.

The second letter of the collection goes on at length about the deplorable condition of Turkish women. :

"It is with a new gratitude Sir that I receive from the hands of genius and friendship the beautiful letter that I heard you read so well which made me double Thank heaven for being French, your compatriot and your friend, for if I had been a Turkish woman I would have languished in the troubles of a seraglio under the laws of an apathetic master to whom I would still have been inferior to obeying him, which means to please him, so that the sun would have him in my eyes only for the evening of my finery, so that I would have only cloths, dreamed only of intrigues, eaten only to grow, and appeared beautiful that the pound has so much.

Finally, even to the sweetness of motherhood, which is what it is for the poor Turkish beauties deprived of their unfortunate children born into slavery and destined to be a never strong than by crime or misfortune, and all forms in the bosom of a victim are therefore condemned to become so or to do so. What a deplorable fate and that of a French woman is different but above all when she sees, hears, reads, and retains those who resemble you that she is honoured by their suffrage and worthy of appreciating their glory and of pleasing to find in her all the feelings that are due to you and with which  I have the honour to be sir, your humble and obedient servant.

Fanny de Beauharnais
Will your beautiful ladies please find all my feelings here?"

The other missives are mainly letters of recommendation, thanks or invitation, often using a rather free, sometimes ironic tone, and showing in particular his admiration for Napoleon:

How can I thank you for your kind letter and your beautiful present, beauty and kindness are the unusual characteristics of your letter [...], please accept at least my gratitude and the pleasure I would find in seeing you in person today to renew your insurance policies and at the same time to have you do me the honour of coming to my home for dinner, we shall speak of Frankfurt of his sovereign eminentissimo, so well done to appreciate you, so worthy of your admiration, whose subjects are friends and lovers of his virtues as well as his genius, ... Also you who see well the immutable monarch of monarchs, the wonders he performs, the enthusiasm he inspires, the glory that none of the efforts gathered against it do not diminish, that all powers become vulnerable, and before whom every act falls. We will discuss our interests and would add, if you were less modest about your rights in all respects, to my zeal for cause, the strength of your blood is to make it born as mine from the honor of such justice [...].


Mde de Brisso and Mde the Princess of Nohan [...], I feel their pain adding to mine, It was only at the sound of the cannon of victory that I felt myself revived, our incomparable monarch was never greater than at that moment, and his worthy adopted son never followed his immortal footsteps more closely, God knows what I would owe him if he came to my rescue, but I will not speak to him about it, and I will not admire him any less as much as he must be this adorable hero and worthy son, of the greatest of monarchs. The divine mother, who is celestial, Empress Josephine had the goodness to entrust for a week the beautiful paintings of the beautiful glassware and the prince her son. Four charming princesses who would honour Raphael's brush, these perfect images were in my home objects of admiration, together with all the admiration her Highness brings to life [...].


It's surely not an enchanter unless it's the Merlin enchanter who provokes me to sleep when Monsieur de Verniac is at home, so I no longer dreamed, too. don't I say go back to sleep, go back to sleep, go back to sleep [...] . Ah my dear, what an iron hand that weighs down my eyes in the sweetest moments of my life, those when the charm of a society that generously attracts to me the good it does me, and the evils that I forget near it, but the more kindly such an indulgence is, the more it must be felt and the less it can be expressed, I am thinking of an object relatively to which you will find better to talk to, it is not about me ; Tomorrow Wednesday between eight and nine o'clock in the evening Count Stanislas Potocki is to read something about the arts in my house, he has heard you, he is made to appreciate the talents and the suffrage of Mr. de Verninac and how not to tell him (although I promised him not to talk about me anymore) how much the infinite price that Mr. Potocki attaches to his opinion makes me wish for him as well as for myself, that Mr. de Verninac,  be present at this reading, I shall also be all the more charmed that Mr. de Mackau thinks I have the honor of coming, since I have little to talk with him, whose kind kindness is so well known to me, I am flattered to learn that Madame de Verninac had no resentment of her pains in which I took the greatest part. Would Monsieur de Verninac please assure Madame de La Croix of my feelings for a family that is at once beautiful, good and dignified in all respects? […]

(Mme de Veninac, née Henriette Delacroix (1780 - 1827),  elder sister of the painter Eugène Delacroix).

[...] This dinner was sad the long evening, the regrets will be long-lasting and it is by you, Sir, on whose indulgence I counted so hard that I am punished with an excess of confidence whose fruits were as bitter as the feeling was sweet, yet I do not punish myself, [...], I like to tell myself that I alone am wrong, not in intention, but in fact, excuse me, pity me for needing to be and do not cease to have friendship for the person in the world who has the honour of being with the highest consideration Mr. your very humble and most obliging servant, Fanny de Beauharnais [...].

RARE TOGETHERwell preserved in an archival binder.


1796 - 1813.IN-8, Bound,Eighteen pages.

mounted on white pages, blue half cloth binding, gold title.


Fanny de Beauharnais

(Paris: October 4, 1737 - July 2, 1813)

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