The Bordeaux-Dublin Letters, 1757: Correspondence of an Irish Community Abroad

ISBN : 9780197265628

Louis M. Cullen; John Shovlin; Thomas M. Truxes
330 Pages
174 x 246 mm
Pub date
Sep 2013
Records of Social and Economic History
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The book presents 125 letters carried aboard a ship, the Two Sisters of Dublin, captured at sea in 1757, in the midst of the Seven Years War (1756-1763). Most of the letters lay unopened for 250 years until they were rediscovered in the UK National Archives in 2011. The letters from members of the Irish community in Bordeaux and their relatives, friends and trading partners in Ireland communicate the concerns and understandings of ordinary people in a diasporic community during wartime. Written by sailors, merchants, servants, prisoners of war, priests, clerks, and many women, the letters vividly illustrate social and economic structures familiar to historians of early modern trade and the expatriate communities of the Atlantic world. They underline the central role of familial relationships in structuring commerce, and illustrate how communities were sustained across wide expanses of ocean by streams of correspondence, by favours asked and received, and by a flow of commodities, gifts, money and patronage. The letters offer access to eighteenth-century advice on parenting and glimpses of family conflict; insights on the food history of the period; a window on Irish clerical education in France; and impressions of the links sustained by members of the Huguenot community in France with relations abroad. The 125 letters, plus translations of the twenty-five letters in French, are presented together with illustrations, maps, annotations, a comprehensive index, and a substantial critical introduction, to assist readers in contextualizing and interpreting the letters.


I. The Two Sisters of Dublin
II. 1757
III. The Irish Community in Bordeaux
IV. The Letters
V. Methodology

About the author: 

Louis Cullen, Trinity College Dublin; John Shovlin, New York University; Thomas Truxes, New York University

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