The Memoirs of
Isaac Mathieu Crommelin
(1730 - 1815)

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"The Last of His Race..."


FORWORD

Isaac-Mathieu reflects on what motivated him to write his memoirs.

[Note: Page numbers appear at regular intervals in all parts of the Memoirs. These page numbers are linked to the original French text from which the translation was made. The reader is invited to compare the original French with the English translation and email miffcro@hotmail.com if you can recommend improvements.]


Part 1: 1730-1763 - The Saint Quentin Years

An account of Isaac-Mathieu's early years and ancestry. Vignettes of his youth while growing up in Saint Quentin, his birthplace in the Picardy region of northern France.


PART 1a

01 - My Ancestry
02 - The Duchess of Zell
03 - Musings About Family Lineage
04 - More About My Ancestry
05 - Uncle Joncourt Commissions a Play
06 - My Forefathers
07 - My Early Years
08 - My Youth as a Ruffian
09 - My Father's Gentleness and Wisdom
10 - A Troublesome House Guest
11 - Lessons in Swordsmanship
12 - Exiled to Live With My sister
13 - Evidence of My Early Business Sense
14 - I Win a Greek Competition
15 - A Trip to Holland
16 - My Education in England
18 - My Astronomy Lesson to King George
19 - I Witness the Execution of Lord Lovat
20 - My Fascination With Magnetism
21 - Restoring Mother's Smashed Heirlooms

PART 1b

22 - Becoming a Skillful Copy Artist
23 - A Sword Fight in Paris
24 - The Ambassador of Venice
25 - I Meet Diderot
26 - A Devilish Prank
27 - My First Excursion to Dublin
28 - A Merry Departure from Dublin
29 - 'Doctor' Isaac Crommelin
30 - Befriending a Thief
31 - Mr. Panorama
32 - My Mother-in-law
33 - My Wife and Son
34 - In Pursuit of Richard Behan, Embezzler
35 - A Troubled Second Voyage to Dublin
36 - John, the Dishonest Clerk
37 - An Eventful Ride to Dover
38 - Return Voyage as a 'Prisoner of War'
39 - A Surprise Reunion
40 - Triumphant Homecoming
41 - Demise of the House of Crommelin


Part 2: 1764-1782 - The Autun Years

Although married, Isaac lived away from his home in Saint Quentin while working for eighteen years at Autun in Burgundy as the administrator of a government-controlled tobacco warehouse. Here he cultivated his aptitude in the arts, archaeology and mechanics while coming to the aid of damsels in distress on various occasions.


PART 2a

01 - Stormy Beginnings in Autun
02 - Mandrin, the Marauding Bandit
03 - Decline in the Culture of Autun
04 - Contribution to Local Antiquities
05 - Incident at Bourbon-Lancy
06 - The Temple of Janus
07 - The Bell Tower of Autun Cathedral
08 - A Genealogical Project
09 - Louis XV's Rising Ceremony
10 - A Cheerful Party Turns Ugly
11 - Learning Mechanical Gadgetry
12 - My Natural History Collection
13 - The Feet of Saint Nicholas
14 - My Success as a Copy Artist
15 - The Villainous Valet
16 - My Music Teacher, Rameau's Brother
17 - My Attempt at Sculpture
18 - A Regional Gun Tournament
19 - My Involvement in Freemasonry
20 - A Sleepwalking Abbott
21 - Counselling a Troubled Nun
22 - A Precocious Actor

PART 2b

23 - Nuns Who Enjoyed a Party
24 - How I Met Voltaire
25 - Reviving a Sick Passenger
26 - My Visit With Choiseul
27 - The Astonishing Art of Nini
28 - A Goodly Canon
29 - Choiseul Cools Off a Hothead
30 - Restoring Vergennes' Paintings
31 - Vergennes' Mother-in-law
32 - Madam de Vergennes
33 - Vergennes' Job Offer in Boston
34 - My Holy Stage Craft
35 - My Refusal Saves Lives
36 - I Thrash an Insolent Passenger
37 - Bléton, The Amazing Water-Diviner
38 - A Shocking Experience
39 - A Tornado in Autun
40 - 'Doctor' Crommelin's Diagnosis
41 - An Archaelogical Discovery
42 - Reflections Upon Leaving Autun
43 - My Contentious Billboard
44 - A Damsel in Distress


Part 3: 1783-1791 - The Guise Years

Isaac took over the administration of a salt warehouse at Guise to be closer to his family at Saint Quentin. At Guise he risked his life on various occasions inside a mine shaft, dealing with an unscrupulous clerk, and single-handedly attempting to collect the salt tax on the bridge into Guise. He also applied his mediation skills in alleviating several hostile stand-offs, and employed his amateur medical skills in saving the lives of people.


PART 3a

01 - I Accept a New Position in Guise
02 - Stuck in Quicksand
03 - Lost at Pont-Audemer
04 - My House Catches Fire
05 - Early Impressions of Guise
06 - How a Lt.-Colonel Became An Actor
07 - Stuck In A Mine Shaft
08 - Smuggling Tobacco
09 - I Avert A Crisis
10 - The Quirky Fermier-General
11 - A Delicate Duel

PART 3b

12 - The Fraudulent Clerk
13 - The Plot Thickens
14 - M. Saulce, A Scurrilous Magistrate
15 - I Win My Court Case
16 - I Challenge Saulce To A Duel
17 - Crommelin Ointment
18 - An Ambush That Failed
19 - Days of Extortion and Greed
20 - Salt, Taxes, a Bridge, and Me
21 - My Benevolence Leads to Debt
22 - A New Job Offer in St. Germain
23 - The Bureaucracy During the Revolution


Part 4: 1792 - 1806 - St. Germain-en-laye

Isaac-Mathieu bore an uncanny resemblance to Benjamin Franklin, the American ambassador to France for whom he was often mistaken. As an administrator of Public Works in Saint Germain-en-Laye (near Paris and Versailles) at a time when France was swept with revolutionary fervor, he came in contact with high-ranking political figures and used his limited influence to save the forest of Saint Germain and alleviate the misery of many people.


PART 4a

01 - My Introduction to St. Germain-en-laye
02 - Bureaucracy During the Revolution
03 - I Suffer Losses
04 - Bureaucratic Lunacy
05 - De Noailles Experiences Foul Play
06 - My Influence Helps Save Lives
07 - My Plan to Save Mme DuBarry
08 - Ingratitude Hurts
09 - I Meet Robespierre
10 - A Hailstorm Ruins Me
11 - I Save the Forest of St. Germain
12 - An Old Lady and a Tree
13 - In Defense of Shrubbery
14 - Accused of Favoring Aristocrats
15 - Foiled Entrapment
16 - I Take Custody of Art Treasures
17 - My Kindness Repaid By Hostility
18 - The Wood of St. Germain
19 - State-Approved Plundering
20 - I Am Arrested
21 - My 'Crimes'
22 - Aiding Prisoners at Recollet Convent
23 - Lifting Morale
24 - My Name Is Called
25 - Making An Inventory
26 - Merriment in Prison
27 - Prison Intrigues
28 - We Bribe Our Jailer
29 - The September Massacres

PART 4b

30 - Imprisoned at St. Germain Chateau
31 - Rouget de l'Isle, Stool Pidgeon
32 - Inmates and Guards
33 - A Guillotine Arrives
34 - Turning The Tables
35 - More Accusations
36 - Bread and Water
37 - Fed By An Angel
38 - I Begin Writing
39 - Thinking About Escape
40 - Making A Woman Cry
41 - Flirting In Prison
42 - I Offend Rouget de l'Isle Again
43 - I Am Released
44 - Smuggling Out My Papers
45 - Back To Work
46 - I Demand Restitution
47 - Defending My Art Treasures
48 - The Hard-nosed Bureaucracy
49 - My Office Becomes a Battleground
50 - My Misfortunes Multiply
51 - Famine
52 - Forged Currency
53 - My Desparate Financial Situation
54 - Pondering Injustices Done to Me
55 - Belated Appreciation
56 - My Sister-in-law
57 - My Wise and Beautiful Wife
58 - My Brother
59 - My Sister