Stacks Of 265-Year-Old French Love Letters Sat Sealed And Untouched Until A Historian Decided To Read Them For The First Time, Revealing The State Of Society During The Seven Years’ War

Atlas - - illustrative purposes only

For 265 years, piles of letters, having never reached their intended recipients, remained unread and sealed off with red wax until one historian decided to open them. It was then that the letters were read for the first time.

Their contents were filled with a diverse range of human emotions and rare historical context about society at the time of the Seven Years’ War.

Renaud Morieux, the lead author of the study and a professor of European history at Pembroke College of Cambridge University in England, had come across the letters while conducting research for his book about the Anglo-French war.

He found more than 100 letters arranged in three bundles and bound with ribbon.

The correspondence dates back between 1757 and 1758, a tumultuous period of time during which the French and English were fighting over territory in North America. The letters were written by family members to the sailors serving aboard the French military ship Galatée.

The transport vessel had been traveling from Bordeaux, France, to Quebec, Canada, in 1758 when it was captured by the British Royal Navy. All 181 crew members on board were taken as prisoners of war.

The letters from their loved ones never reached them. The French postal administration sent the mail to the Admiralty in London instead. However, the agency failed to deliver them.

Years later, the letters were transferred to the National Archives in the U.K. Morieux noted that a couple of the letters had been opened by officials who tossed them into storage once they realized the mail didn’t contain information of importance.

After five months of analyzing the letters, he was able to identify every man on the ship.

Atlas – – illustrative purposes only

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