Saturday, December 7, 2013

Royal order for the founding of a book trade guild

Below is my transcription from the Brussels State Archive of Philip II's orders to the city of Antwerp on 24 November 1557 to institute self-regulation of the book trade by means of a guild ("une confratrie ou gulde"). The solution that the city government hit on was to establish a "nation" of printers and booksellers as part of the Guild of St Luke, a long-established body for the art trade. A year later, a similar measure was taken in London by Philip and his wife, Mary, in chartering the Company of Stationers.

The combined effects of unattended children and prawn crackers make the digitization of the paper notes (now twenty years old) a matter of urgency, and this looks like a handy place to find them again.

ARB, Audientie 1709/2, fo. 47

xxiiije Jour de Novembre 1557

Le Roy

Chiers et feaulx, Considerans que depuis la publication des placcars et ordonnan[ce]s cydevant publyees sur le faut des Imprimeurs, bibliopoles et libraires On a trouve et se trouvent encoires Journellem[ent] grands abuz et malversations au faut de ceux stil. Imprimans et vendans des mauvais et dangereux livres a ceux bon plaisir sans avoir regard aux placcarts et ordonnan[ces] susd[ites]. Dont a succession de temps pourroyent soudre grands Inconveniens endroict la Religion de N[ost]re S[ain]te foy catholicque. A ceste cause desirans de tout n[ost]re coeur oster toutes occasions par lesquelles la S[ainte] Religion catholicque pourroit [unclear]emement estre schandalisee ou diminuee Et y mettre meilleur ordre Nous avons trouve tres requis et convenable de mectre sur et dresser en n[ost]re ville danvers une confratrie ou gulde de tous Imprimeurs, bibliopoles, libraires et aussi des lyeurs Des [unclear] Residens en n[ost]res ville DAnvers, Et comme cecy est une chose Qui concerne la pollice de ladi[te]s ville Nous vous Requerons et neantmoins ordonnons aux auqquelle avecq vous n[ost]re marcgrave Danvers [unclear] et adviser parensemble comment lon pourra plus commodieusement faire et dresser lad[ite] confrarie. Et de ce [unclear] en Anvers nous advertir bien particulierem[ent] Pour apres y ordonner comme lon trouvera convenir A tant Chers et feaulx

Aux Bourgm[est]res eschevins et conseil de n[ost]re ville danvers.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Louis Baekelandt (1773-1803), gangster

A reader kindly writes to draw my attention to a lapse on page 172 of the first edition of A History of the Low Countries, about the gang of Louis Bakeland (a menace to society who was to become something of a folk hero in later romanticized versions of his adventures), saying:
I don't find any reference to Bakelandt operating in "French Flanders". He certainly did operate in West Flanders (het Vrijbos) and in fact he was captured in my grandmother's hometown of Ichtegem

The reference to French Flanders has already been cut in the second edition, but I thought I would take the occasion to look into the matter (slightly) more deeply. At the bottom of this post is a map showing the approximate locations of the crimes for which Baekelandt and his accomplices were executed, according to the printed Dutch translation of the sentence of the criminal tribunal of the Département Lys brought out at the time:

(Not quite a primary source; there is a 1928 edition of the original trial documents, by Ernest Hosten and Egied Strubbe, that I don't have immediate access to: De bende van Bakelandt: hare misdaden en veroordeeling volgens het bewaarde procesbundel.) The crimes they committed included housebreaking, extorting money with menaces, armed robbery, robbery with violence, highway robbery, murder, and attempted murder. All this took place very firmly within the borders of present-day Belgium. They operated from a number of inns and safehouses and (as my correspondent says) a woodland hide-out in the "Vrijbos", all pretty much in the same area as the crimes and slightly to the west (but not so far west as to be over the present-day border with France).

View Baekelandt in a larger map