LACEPEDE comte de - Letter Signed 1806 to Serurier together with Legion of Honour documents
Bernard Germain, comte de LACEPEDE (1756-1825)
Letter Signed (“b.g.d.l. lacepede”) to M. Serurier, thanking him for his donation of samples of wood from South America to the Natural History Museum in Paris.
1 page folio in French with integral blank leaf, Paris, 31 October 1806.
Trans: “I have received, my dear colleague, the letter which you did me the honour to write to me. I hastened to tell my colleagues the professors administrators of the museum of natural history. They share my gratitude for the precious donation of many samples of wood from south America which you have made to the museum.
The assembly of professors have decided that they will write to you to express their gratitude. . .”
Bernard Germain de Lacépéde was appointed Grand Chancellor of the Legion of Honour in 1803, shortly after the order was founded, but he is also remembered today as an outstanding naturalist. A friend and colleague of the great Buffon, Lacépéde’s writings on serpents comprised a continuation of Buffon’s monumental Histoire Naturelle. He continued his work at the Jardin des Plantes, home of the Musée d’histoire naturelle, although the demands of his political functions left him increasingly less time for research and writing. He was, however, elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1806.
Also included are two printed letters, completed in manuscript and signed by Lacépéde, addressed to Serurier. The first of these informs Serurier that having received his oath, he is now inscribed in the ranks of the Legion of Honour; the second requests further information in order to complete the records, of his Christian name, and place of birth.
Unfortunately, Serurier’s Christian name is never given in this correspondence, and there were several Seruriers in the ranks of the Legion of Honour. However, the most likely candidate appears to be Louis Barbe Charles Serurier, who was later to serve as French envoy to the United States.
A further letter, signed by Lacépéde, evidently a reply to a letter from Serurier regarding funds due to him as a member of the Legion of Honour, informs him that the matter has been passed to the treasurer.
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