Hanoi: 1914-1915. Period manuscript black ink on lined paper with annotations in the margins and in the text. Quarto ca. 24.5 x 19 cm (9 ¾ x 7 ½ in.) including one title page, (95) pp. Et (22) ff. Blank pages. Original beige covers with manuscript title "Droit Vietnamein" in red ink and embossed design on the front cover. Some mild staining and soiling of the covers, otherwise a very good manuscript.
This work contains comprehensive notes from a course on Annamite civil law written by magistrate Charles Fruteau in Hanoi in 1914-1915. It provides a detailed overview of laws that governed Annam, a French protectorate formed in 1887 where the Nguyễn dynasty still ruled, and insight into the social and administrative organization of the population. The manuscript contains 26 lessons, including descriptions of ritual law (such as spiritual and ancestral worship, sacrifices and mourning), administrative law (sovereign power, ministries, tribunals, civil servants), and civil law (describing the position of children, wives, slaves, the elderly, eunuchs and foreigners). Interestingly, the text gives detailed insight into the position and treatment of different social classes. In one passage, slaves are described as "all boys and girls who have been incriminated and confiscated by the state to complete lowly tasks […]. The law prohibits legal slaves but in Annam there is a trade of slaves abducted from the Moï country.” Also included are descriptions of family law (the structure of families, parenting rules, the authority of fathers, marriage and adoption), property law (acquisition and confiscation), inheritance and wills, and civil duties (contracts, leases, rent, loans, exchanges, and deposits). Some notes, usually in manuscript pencil, indicate that the manuscript belongs to the author of the course: at the end of the 5th lesson is written "continue until page 58, then return to the 4th lesson", and at the beginning of the 25th lesson : "for March 29th." In addition, the many notes in the margins are of the same writing as the manuscript and complement the text. Also included are seven documents relating to the purchase of land near Thaibinh, next to the Route des Ambassadeurs, and to the logging of the property (1927, 15 pp. In-8 and in-folio, including bill of sale, a map, a contract in Vietnamese with a translation, two letters et two receipts). Overall, an interesting and detailed documentation of Annamite society and French influence on the protectorate.
Magistrate Charles Fruteau was counsellor at the Court of Appeal in Guadeloupe (1879), substitute judge for the High Court at Pondicherry (1884), prosecutor for Republic at Karikal (1891), professor at the Pondicherry law school (1899), president of the Pondicherry Court of Appeal (1902), vice-president of the Tribunal of first instance in Saigon (1910), president of that same Tribunal (1913), counsellor at the Court of Appeal of Indochina (1917) then chamber president for the Court of Appeal of Hanoi (1921). That same year, he was named knight of the Legion of Honor, having 41 years of service, of which 34 years and 9 months were spent in the colonies (sources : geneanet.org et entreprises-coloniales.fr).
France assumed control over the whole of Vietnam after the Tonkin Campaign (1883–1886). French Indochina was formed in October 1887 from Annam (Trung Kỳ, central Vietnam), Tonkin (Bắc Kỳ, northern Vietnam), Cochinchina (Nam Kỳ, southern Vietnam, and Cambodia, with Laos added in 1893). Within French Indochina, Annam was nominally a protectorate where the Nguyễn dynasty still ruled.
Price: $1,250.00 USD