Lot 688: Scarce ALS in French, signed "le vieux malade Voltaire votre ancien serviteur [the old sick Voltaire, your old servant]," one page both sides, 4.5 x 7.5, March 14, 1774. Letter to Monsieur De L'Allen, secretary and notary of the king. In part (translated): "I am writing Sir to thank you for all your kind actions and to ask you for a new one. It is to please to give on…my behalf one gold coin to Mr. Baron your colleague for a contribution in favor of the one who will take away the price that it to be proposed about the nature of thunder and on the means to divert it. I also beg of you to please order that twelve francs be given to the bookseller Lacombe and fourteen francs to the bookseller Vallade when they will send for them. I reiterate to you my begging that I had made to you to not make pay the encyclopedic journal anymore. Please excuse me for these small details so undeserving to you." Also addressed on the reverse of the second integral page in Voltaire's own hand. In fine condition. Accompanied by a full letter of authenticity from PSA/DNA. The first mentioned title is most likely La Nature Dans la Formation du Tonnerre [The Nature of the Formation of Thunder] by Polycarpe Poncelet. Voltaire wrote this letter from Ferney, where he lived for the last 20 years of his life after moving away from Geneva due to its ban on theater. He decided to become the enlightened 'patriarch' of the little village, and initiated the development of pottery, watchmaking, and theater industries in the town; his influence was so profound that the community was renamed Ferney-Voltaire after the French Revolution. An exquisite boldly penned letter by the influential writer, highlighted by its intriguing bookselling associations.
RR Auction's Fine Autographs and Artifacts Auction 460
Wednesday, 16th September 2015
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