STAËL-HOLSTEIN, Anne-Louis-Germaine, Baronne de (1766-1817). A collection of eight autograph manuscripts of lessons and exercises, n.p. [Paris], n.d. [circa 1774-1780], the subjects including: 'Recuil des frases choicies', 'Introduction à l'Histoire', 'Tableau d'histoire moderne', 'Les noms des Rois fabuleux en Suède', historical anecdotes, a comparison of different forms of government ('Quel est le meilleur de tous les gouvernments'), 'La Géographie' and geometrical theorems, written in an immature hand, in 8 cahiers, together approximately 348 pages, sizes 220 x 180mm - 360 x 215mm.
The lot also includes autograph notes on William Wilberforce and the abolition of slavery, and on the people of Scotland and Ireland, n.d. [1813-1814], 20 pages, 230 x 185mm, interspersed with notes in different hands, in a cahier, stitched; other items in unidentified hands including chapters copied from a critical text on works of art, 5 cahiers, approximately 250 pages, observations on dramatic art ('Garrick et les acteurs anglais'); copies (including occasional autograph corrections) of articles by Madame de Staël on a book by Hannah More and a poem by Elzear de Sabran (reviewed for Le Mercure); and notes, transcripts of verse and printed items, together approximately 25 items, 300 pages, sizes 220 x 180mm - 360 x 215mm (some leaves worn and discoloured).
Provenance. By descent to the present owner.
Madame de Staël's education was directed by her mother, Madame Necker (born Suzanne de Curchod), and the early manuscripts in the collection would have been written under her close supervision. Madame Necker instructed Germaine in Latin, English, the outlines of history and geography, and in her own devout Protestant beliefs. Germaine's childhood and youth were to a great extent spent at her desk, studying and writing, so that Monsieur Necker nicknamed his daughter 'M. de Saint-Ecritoire' and her cousin, Madame Albertine Necker de Saussure, was later to remark 'Il semble que Mme de Staël ait toujour été jeune et n'ait jamais été enfant'. Madame de Staël herself quoted approvingly in De l'Allemagne from Rousseau, on the importance of learning before the age of twelve, while having herself enjoyed little of the freedom that he prescribed.
The notes on Wilberforce may have been based upon conversations with Sir James Mackintosh, her close friend in London who had earlier befriended Benjamin Constant. She wrote the preface for the French edition of one of Wilberforce's works. (33)