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Henry de Bourbel papers

Call Number: OSB MSS 102

Scope and Contents

The Henry de Bourbel Papers consist of correspondence, legal documents, financial papers, and family papers related to Henry de Bourbel, a French émigré in England during the French Revolution, and span the years 1791-1814. The papers are housed in 2 boxes (including 1 oversize box) and have been organized into four series: Correspondence, Legal Papers, Financial Papers, and Family Papers.

Series I, Correspondence , is arranged alphabetically by correspondent in folders 1-44. The bulk of the correspondence is letters to Henry de Bourbel, but it also contains three letters written by Bourbel and a few third party letters.

The correspondence is almost entirely related to business matters, especially regarding Bourbel's credits and debts following the dissolution of Senecé & Roumare. Major correspondents include Bernard de Senecé, Charles Des Essars, Richard Watts, and J. W. Cooke.

Correspondence filed under Senecé & Co. includes letters from both Senecé and his partner Des Essars. Their correspondence begins after the dissolution of Senecé & Roumare, and primarily relates to settling debts with Bourbel, who had been bought out by Des Essars. Their letters are written in French.

Richard Watts was a lawyer and steward of the Spence family estate. His correspondence concerns debts that he helped Bourbel negotiate, in particular a debt owed to Jean François, who left a sum of money in the hands of Senecé & Roumare in 1795.

J. W. Cooke was a London merchant who wrote to Bourbel concerning a purchase of farm machinery. One of his letters, Aug 27, 1800, includes a printed list of "Cooke's Newly Invented and Greatly Improved Patent Implements and Machines."

Unidentified correspondence includes summaries of Bourbel's accounts with various merchants, including Senecé and Des Essars.

Series II, Legal Papers , is arranged chronologically in folders 45-47, and 65-70 (oversize), and consists of documents related to Henry de Bourbel's business interests, including articles of association and dissolution for Senecé & Roumare, insurance policies on voyages taken by the ships Rebecca, Patriot, and Sophia, declarations of trust between Hartsinck & Co. and Henry de Bourbel, a power of attorney for Charles Des Essars, and an agreement regarding debts.

Series III, Financial Papers , is arranged chronologically in folders 48-62, and 71 (oversize). Financial papers from 1795-1797, during which Henry de Bourbel was an active partner in Senecé & Roumare in London, consist of bills and receipts for various merchandise, receipts for bills of lading for the ships Rebecca, Patriot and Sophia, and bills for legal services from William Stacey and Moses Hoper. Merchandise purchased by Bourbel included household furniture, locks, silk cloth, gold plate, rice, scissors, cork screws, tweezers, and pen knives.

Financial papers from 1798-1801, after Bourbel left London, consist of accounts and receipts, most of which relate to the settling of debts between Bourbel, Senecé, and Des Essars, including a debt owed to Jean François. Undated financial papers include two itemized receipts for the purchase of household furniture and supplies.

Series IV, Family Papers , consists of two items in folders 63-64. The first is an acte de brevet issued by Jean Dominique de La Rochefoucauld, Cardinal of Rouen, March 31, 1791, giving permission for the erection of a chapel on the estate of Henry de Bourbel's grandfather, Emmanuel Raoul Antoine de Bourbel (1708-1787). The second is a receipt, May 23, 1796, for a fine levied on the families of émigrés paid by "Citizen Bourbel of Heugleville," Louis de Bourbel, Henry de Bourbel's father.


  • 1791 - 1814


Language of Materials

Materials in English and French.

Conditions Governing Access

The materials are open for research.

Conditions Governing Use

The Henry de Bourbel Papers is the physical property of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, Yale University. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns. For further information, consult the appropriate curator.

Immediate Source of Acquisition

Purchased from Julian Browning on the Hazel M. Osborn Fund, 2000.


1.33 Linear Feet (2 boxes)

Catalog Record

A record for this collection is available in Orbis, the Yale University Library catalog

Persistent URL


Correspondence, legal papers, and financial papers documenting Henry de Bourbel's business affairs while he was an émigré in England, in particular his finances relating to Senecé & Roumare. Correspondents include Bernard de Senecé, Bourbel's partner in Senecé & Roumare, Charles Des Essars, who purchased his share in the firm, and Richard Watts, an attorney who helped negotiate the settlement of a debt owed to Jean François. Legal papers include articles of association and dissolution for Senecé & Roumare and insurance policies on shipments from London to Bremen aboard the ships Patriot, Rebecca, and Sophia.
Financial papers prior to the dissolution of Senecé & Roumare in 1797 include bills for various merchandise and legal services and receipts for bills of lading. Later financial papers consist of receipts and accounts of Bourbel's debts, in particular the debt owed Jean François. Family papers consist of an acte de brevet issued by Jean Dominique de La Rochefoucauld, Cardinal of Rouen, for the erection of a chapel and a receipt for a fine on families of émigrés paid by Louis de Bourbel, Henry's father.

HENRY DE BOURBEL (1770-1826)

Henry de Bourbel, Comte de Montpiçon, was born Antione Raoul Henri de Bourbel in Dieppe, France, in 1770. Bourbel moved to England in 1790, renting a plot of land from the family of Luke Spence, Malling Place, Lewes, Sussex.

Bourbel relocated to London, where in 1794 he entered into a jewelry and coal trading partnership with Bernard de Senecé under the name Senecé & Roumare. On February 2, 1795 he married Mary Ann Spence, grand-daughter of Luke Spence, at St. Anne Soho in London. Bourbel's partnership with Senecé was dissolved in December 1797 when he sold his share to Charles Des Essars.

Bourbel left London for Lewes after dissolving his partnership with Senecé, but did not complete the settlement of his debts with Senecé and Des Essars until 1801. Richard Watts, a lawyer and steward of the Spence family estate, helped Bourbel negotiate with Senecé and Des Essars. Bourbel returned to France with his family in 1801.

Henry de Bourbel and his wife had three children, Henri Alonzo de Bourbel (October 26, 1799-1821), Auguste Harold de Bourbel (January 30, 1804-ca. 1845), and Caroline Aurelia de Bourbel (1807-?). He died in Paris, February 21, 1826.

Guide to the Henry De Bourbel Papers
Under Revision
by Michael Rush
June 2005
Description rules
Beinecke Manuscript Unit Archival Processing Manual
Language of description note
Finding aid written in English.

Part of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Repository

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