Substitute Birth Certificate (1794) for a French exile, written in French and signed and authenticated by Laurent d’ Engestrom (Lars von Engestrom), Swedish diplomat, statesman and scientist

ENGESTROM, Count Lars von


Description: pp4

A document vividly revealing of day to day problems between England and newly republican France. It gives legal effect, in the absence of a birth certificate, to the French birth of Anne Charles Sigismond Bourgeois, chef to Lord Melbourne. Blind stamped with the royal coat of arms, surrounded by the price one shilling and sixpence, it is drawn up by Toby Atkinson, a London notary, who states that he has been Notary for the French Embassy and Legations for twenty years, but at present (1794!) there are no such bodies in existence in London, and in fact not a soul charged with the affairs of France. Atkinson has taken depositions from four London merchants (fishmonger, greengrocer etc) that they know Bourgeois and can testify that he was born in the parish of St Sulpice in 1754. In turn Laurent d’Engestrom, Swedish Plenipotentiary to His Brittanic Majesty, has testified that Atkinson is a legal London notary. To which d’Engestrom has affixed his seal. Lars von Engestrom (1751-1826) was Swedish envoy to London 1793-5, and became Swedish Ambassador in Vienna in 1795. He was elected a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science in 1810, and was Chancellor of Lund University from 1810-1824

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