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Lot 105¤

US$ 30,000 - 50,000
£ 21,000 - 36,000
This lot features an archive of manuscripts and correspondence relating to the career of French Naval Commander Henri-Cesar Castellane-Majastre [d.1789], including material he collected for the Court Martial of the Comte de Grasse after the losses France incurred at the Battle of the Saintes [April 9-12, 1782]. Castellane-Majastre commanded the Flore from 1778 to 1781, and the Marseille from 1781 to the end of the war. As part of the Comte de Grasse's fleet, the Marseille participated in the blockade at Yorktown and at the Battle of the Saintes, where the French fleet suffered devastating losses and the Comte de Grasse was widely criticized for his performance. Upon the latter's return to France, he insisted upon a court martial to clear his name, and clearly solicited material from his subordinate officers to make his case, which he ultimately won.

Present are:
1.SARTINE, ANTOINE RAYMOND JEAN GUALBERT GABRIEL DE, COMTE D'ALBY. 1729 –1801. 2 Letters Signed ("Sartine") as Secretary of the French Navy, 3 pp recto and verso, folio, Versailles, January 26 and July, 1778, to Castellane-Majastre, the earlier announcing that the King has chosen the latter to command the frigate La Flore at Toulon and the later approving his decision to lend to the Comte d'Estaing his Maitre d'Equipage and other sailors, mild toning and creasing, otherwise fine.
2. ESTAING, JEAN BAPTISTE CHARLES HENRI HECTOR, COMTE D'. 1729-1794. Document Signed ("Estaing") 1 p, folio, on board the Languedoc, May 9, 1778, orders for the frigate La Flore to return to Lisbon with the Consul of France; with Document Signed ("Estaing"), 1 p, folio, on board the Languedoc, May 19, 1778, detailed instructions for the above mission.
3. CASTRIES, CHARLES-EUGENE-GABRIEL DE LA CROIX, MARQUIS DE. 1727-1800. 11 Letters Signed ("Castries"), 1 pp, folio (each with integral blank), Versailles, January 25, 1781 to August 15, 1787, to Castellane-Majastre, some creasing, toning, and light spotting throughout but overall very fine. A series of correspondence between Marechal de Castries, the Secretary of the French Navy, and the sea captain, including Castellane-Majastre's appointment letter for the command of the Marseille (January 8, 1781); a letter commending him for his actions at Chesapeake Bay (November 1, 1781), and one commending him for his actions during the Battle of the Saintes (October 16, 1784).
---. Manuscript Fair copy of letter of Marechal de Castries, 2 pp recto and verso, 4to, Vaudreuil, March 29, 1784, to Castellane-Majastre, referring to the court-martial of the Comte de Grasse.
4. CASTELLANE-MAJASTRE, HENRI CESAR. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Castellane"), 3 pp recto and verso, folio (conjoining leaves), [New England?] [1781?], to the Marechal de Castries, rough draft of a letter reporting his impressions of New England and suggesting naval tactics.
---. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Castellane-Majastre"), 125 pp, folio, on board the Marseille, March 22, 1781 to April 13, 1782, being a "précis de la navigation de la campagne de l'armee navale aux orders du cte de Grasse" and containing an account of the events of the Battle of the Saintes [April 9-12, 1782], a portion of the manuscript in a secretarial hand, bound in album with vellum wraps, minor thumbing to leaves, some early leaves dog-eared at lower right corner, vellum spotted and creased with some wear.
This journal begins with Castellan-Majastre providing extracts from other reports of the Yorktown engagement, a (satirical?) dialogue between Prince William and the Commander of the British Forces in America Henry Clinton, and extracts from a New York Gazette; journal entries begin regularly on November 4, 1781 and continue through the engagement known as the Battle of the Saintes.
---. Autograph Manuscript Signed ("Castellane-Majastre"), 1 p, oblong 8vo, n.p., n.d. [but 1782?], a note on the actions that occurred during the Battle of the Saintes. With second manuscript note on 2 by 7 inch scrap of paper, listing details of number of vessels, guns, etc.
---. Autograph Manuscript Signed integrally ("Marquis de Castellane Majastre Capitaine des vaisseaux du Roy"), 1 p, folio, n.p., n.d., being a list of his military service from 1749-1782; with scribal copy on larger sheet covering 1749-1784. Possibly prepared as part of the evidence for de Grasse's trial.
5. DE GRASSE, FRANCOIS JOSEPH PAUL, COMTE. 1722-1788. 2 Letters Signed ("Le Comte de Grasse"), 5 pp recto and verso, 4to (conjoining leaves), Paris, September 3, 1782 and May 6, 1784, to Castellane-Majastre, the earlier letter announcing his intention to clear his name via a court martial, and the later letter thanking Castellane-Majastre for having submitted letters on his behalf to the court martial, with integral address leaves; tear to interior margin of 2nd leaf of earlier letter and to upper right corner of second leaf of later letter, both from wax seals, light creasing and toning to both.
---. Manuscript Fair Copy of letter, 3 pp recto and verso, 4to (conjoining leaves), on board the Formidable April 14, 1782, De Grasse's narration of the events of the Battle of the Saintes, written while the prisoner of Admiral Rodney, minor toning and offset, otherwise fine.
6. FRESSINAUX, JOACHIM-ROBIN DE BLAIR DE. 1739-1791. 2 Autograph Letters Signed ("Fressinaux"), 6 pp recto and verso, 8vo (conjoining leaves), January and May 19, 1784, to Castellane-Majastre, earlier letter providing a copy of a letter from the Comte de Grasse written on April 14, 1782, the second quoting from the writer's own journal from that period, with integral autograph address leaves, some separation and loss from seal, light toning and spotting, otherwise fine.
Individual documents in marbled paper folders; housed together in custom red morocco clamshell box.
Acquisition: purchased from Librairie Chamonal, 1999, $40,000.
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