Held at: Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division [Contact Us]
This is a finding aid. It is a description of archival material held at the Princeton University Library: Manuscripts Division. Unless otherwise noted, the materials described below are physically available in their reading room, and not digitally available through the web.
Overview and metadata sections
Pierre Matraire was born in Toulon, France, on May 8th, 1791. He was a second class naval officer and clerk who served as an accountant for the French frigate L'Adrienne (also known as L'Aurore). In March 1827, Matraire left for Alexandria, Egypt, to serve under Governor of Egypt Muhammad 'Alī Bāshā (1769-1849). He returned in October of the same year to avoid fighting against his countrymen in the Battle of Navarino. Matraire was also a Freemason active in the Grand Orient de France.
Consists of a journal and other documents of French second class naval officer Pierre Matraire (b. 1791), regarding his service as an accountant in the French Navy, and later, under Governor of Egypt Muhammad 'Alī Bāshā (1769-1849) with the Turkish-Egyptian fleet during the Greek War of Independence.
Materials primarily span from 1813 to 1827, with earlier documents mostly relating to Matraire's role as accountant for the French frigate L'Adrienne, which was also known as L'Aurore after 1814. Documents from this period consist of statements of receipts and expenditures, lists of daily rations for the ship's personnel, lists of missing objects and surpluses, and other lists generated in the process of examining and certifying the ship's accounts. There are also administrative documents and letters pertaining to Matraire's assignments and reassignments within the French Navy, including a full list of his services from 1803 to 1816.
Matraire left France in 1827 for Alexandria, Egypt, to serve under Muhammad 'Alī Bāshā and his son Ibrāhīm Pasha (1789-1848). The most significant item in the collection is Matraire's fifty-two-page journal of his time aboard Egyptian Grand Admiral Moharram Bey's frigate La Guerrière en route to Navarino Bay (Pylos, Greece) to engage the Greeks and their allies. This account, titled "Journal historique et nautique de la campagne de la flotte turco-egyptienne, entreprise contre les Grecs," details the equipment on board the ship and contains daily entries from the ship's departure on August 5th, 1827, until October 24th. In addition to Alī and Bey, Matraire's accounts mention other figures involved in the Greek War of Independence, including Captain Jean-Marie Letellier (1767-1830) and Admiral Henri de Rigny (1782-1835). Following directions from Admiral de Rigny that all Frenchmen abandon the Turkish-Egyptian fleet to avoid confrontation with French and allied vessels, Matraire left La Guerrière several days prior to the Battle of Navarino and returned on an Austrian ship. Matraire's journal was likely composed from his notes and correspondence after he returned to France. The collection also includes his French passport from March 1827 authorizing his travel to Alexandria.
There are also several items related to Matraire's military honors, as well as to his participation in the Grand Orient de France. Materials pertaining to military honors include a letter and certificate authorizing Matraire to wear the Décoration du Lys, as well as a pin with the fleur-de-lis insignia. Materials regarding Freemasonry include an illustrated certificate of membership in the Saint-Jean Lodge of the Grand Orient de France and an embroidered Masonic stole. Also present is a French assignat from 1792.
Purchased in 2017 with matching funds provided by the Program in Hellenic Studies with the support of the Stanley J. Seeger Hellenic Fund (AM 2017-143).
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This collection was processed by Kelly Bolding in May 2017. Finding aid written by Kelly Bolding in May 2017.
No materials were separated from the collection during 2017 processing.
- Letellier, Jean-Marie, 1767-1830
- Muḥammad ʻAlī Bāshā, Governor of Egypt, 1769-1849
- Rigny, Henri de, 1782-1835
- Manuscripts Division
- Finding Aid Author
- Kelly Bolding
- Finding Aid Date
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Series 3861, No. 435.Physical Description
Includes a letter signed by the commanding officer of L'Aurore, whose last name appears to be "Maignein," as well as a formal certificate from the Préfet Maritime authorizing Pierre Matraire to wear the Décoration du Lys.Physical Description
Metal pin with the fleur-de-lis design.Physical Description
Illustrated parchment document with various signatures and a metal seal.Physical Description
Red stole embroidered with the design of a bird holding a flower in its beak in front of a cross surrounded by vines.Physical Description
Two manuscript copies.Physical Description
Consists of two letters ordering Matraire to various military assignments.Physical Description
Includes two copies (one manuscript copy and one printed and manuscript copy) of a list of services rendered by Matraire from 1803 through 1816.Physical Description
French passport authorized in Bouches-du-Rhône and valid for one year. The passport indicates that Matraire would be employed in the service of the Egyptian Pasha.Physical Description
52-page manuscript journal.Physical Description