Le Turc, (J.B. ?)
Description des fermes, sur lesquelles on ceintre actuellement en France, les grand arches des ponts.
London (”Londres”), “de l’imprimerie de G.Bigg, dans le Strand, et ce trouve chez l’auteur, No.13, Margaret Street, Cavendish Square” 1781.
8vo. (2) + 14pp, 1 hand-coloured plate. Original blue paper wrappers, slightly defective at spine, inscribed “Lord Rockingham” in ink on upper cover.
A rare pamphlet by Le Turc, a French citizen then resident in London who describes himself on the pamphlet’s title leaf, in English, as “Prof. of Military Sciences, the French Language, and Geography”. Its topic is the proper design to be used for the carpentry centering necessary in the construction of arched stone bridges, and what makes it of particular merit is that it provides an extensive technical description of the advanced variety of centering employed by the celebrated bridge designer J.R.Perronet for his revolutionary bridge at Neuilly (Le Turc’s plate is also devoted to the bridge at Neuilly and its centering). Le Turc, who seems previously to have taught at the Ecole Militaire in Paris, is himself an interesting figure, for having evidently found teaching and pamphlet writing in London unrewarding, he had by the mid 1780s become one of the very earliest industrial spies, smuggling out of England to France details of various manufacturers’ technical processes and apparently actual examples of stocking looms of a kind designed by Jedediah Strutt. The present copy, carrying the name of “Lord Rockingham” (2nd Marquis of Rockingham) in ink on its upper cover, is likely to have been a copy given by Le Turc to Rockingham, most probably during Rockingham’s brief tenure of the post of Prime Minister in the spring and early summer of 1782 (Rockingham died on 1 July 1782). Not in BAL Cat or Berlin Cat, although copies are held in the British Library, Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris, and elsewhere.