Bodleian Library logo

Collection Level Description: Miscellaneous Letters and Papers Relating to Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Aimé Martin and Mathieu Molé

Reference: MSS. French b. 5, c. 41
Title: Miscellaneous Letters and Papers Relating to Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Aimé Martin and Mathieu Molé
Dates of Creation: 18th-19th cent.
Extent: 2 shelfmarks
Name of Creator: Letters to Henri Bernardin de Saint Pierre, and to Aimé Martin with a life of Mathieu Molé.

Language of Material: French

Administrative/Biographical History

Jacques-Henri Bernardin de Saint-Pierre was born in 1737 in Le Havre, and died at Éragny in 1814. Bernardin made his literary debut in 1773 with Voyage à l'Île de France. This work brought him to the attention of Jean-Jacques Rousseau, whose friendship helped to mould the views expressed in Études de la nature, which Bernardin wrote in 1784. To the third edition of Études (1788) he added Paul et Virginie, the story of two island children whose love for each other is spoilt by the interference of civilisation. In a later work, La Chaumière indienne (1790; 'The Indian Cottage'), an English scientist is sent to gather 'des lumières sur toutes les sciences', but discovers wisdom in the home of an Indian outcast. For further details see the Dictionnaire de Biographie Française.

Louis Aimé Martin (1786-1847) was a friend and disciple of Bernardin. Following Bernardin's death he compiled and published his complete works, prefaced by an essay concerning his life and work: Oeuvres complètes de Jacques-Henri-Bernardin de Saint-Pierre: mises en ordre et précédées de la vie de l'auteur, par L. Aimé Martin; Martin also married Bernardin's widow. Martin's own writings included L'Education des mères de familles, ou de la Civilisation du genre humain par les femmes ('The education of mothers of families; or, the civilisation of the human race by women').

Mathieu Molé, son of Édouard Molé, became the first president of the Parlement of Paris in 1641. In 1623, as Attorney General at the Parlement, he arrested and imprisoned Théophile de Viau in la prison de la Conciergerie Molé was unable to support the charges of blasphemy and atheism which had been brought against the poet by the Jesuits. He acted as a conciliator during la Fronde, and after having negotiated the peace of Rueil (1649), he became Minister of Justice from 1651 until his death in 1656.

Scope and Content

Miscellaneous letters and papers which include the following: letters mainly to Henri Bernardin de Saint Pierre, with anecdotes concerning him, early 19th century; letters to Aimé Martin, 1812-44, n.d.; and a life of Mathieu Molé (1584-1656), 18th century.

Administrative Information

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Given to the Library by J.D.A. Thompson [date not recorded].

Access Conditions

Entry to read in the Library is permitted only on presentation of a valid reader's card (for admissions procedures see

Further Information

Finding Aids

Summary Catalogue of Post-Medieval Western Manuscripts in the Bodleian Library Oxford. Acquisitions 1916-1975. (Oxford, 1991), vol. II, nos. 47154-5.

Access Points

French literature

Martin | Louis Aimé | 1786-1847 |

Molé | Mathieu | 1584-1656 |

Saint-Pierre | Jacques-Henri Bernardin de | 1737-1814 | writer

Contact Information
Search Online Catalogues

Consulting material: To consult archives and manuscripts, a full and unrestricted Bodleian reader's card (Group A) is required. You should apply for your card at the Admissions Office.

Pre-ordering: Before your visit you may order up to ten items by emailing Please be advised that some collection material is held offsite; we advise pre-ordering at least two working days before your visit to ensure material is available on your arrival.

Transformation from XML to HTML by Lawrence Mielniczuk
09 June 2011