chapter  4
25 Pages

Building for the Future

ByMalcolm Cook

The backbone of the entire Bernardin correspondence and the person to whom the author was clearly most indebted - in every sense of the word - was Hennin. The epistolary exchanges between the two friends, who were living in distant cities and were both struggling to survive, are tense and emotional. It is apparent that Bernardin had made some impression on his contemporaries through the publication of the Voyage a l'lle de France, critical as it was of the colonial environment. Certainly, the Voyage together with the various artefacts and products he had brought back with him gave him access to households and people he had not known before his departure. In the autumn of 1777 Bernardin was in contact with the Neckers. Bernardin wrote to Mme Necker on 4 October saying that it was his understanding that the 'gratifications' were decided during the king's stay in Fontainebleau.