China: Its Costume, Arts, Manufactures, &c., Edited Principally From the Originals in the Cabinet of the Late
M. Henri Leonard Jean Baptiste Bertin, with Observations, Explanatory, Historical, and Literary by Jean Baptiste Joseph Breton
(London: J. J. Stockdate; 1812, second edition), Vol. 3, pg.
Translated from the French ed. La Chine en miniature: ou Choix de costumes, arts et métiers de cet empire ... à l'usage de la jeunesse
(Paris : Nepveu, 1811).
Per Beach, Frederick Converse (Ed.-in-Chief) and George Edwin Rines (Managing Ed.) The Americana: A Universal
Reference Library, Comprising the Arts and Sciences, Literature, History, Biography, Geography, Commerce, Etc., of the
World (New York: Scientific American compiling department, 1912), Vol. 3, pg.
Jean-Baptiste Joseph Breton de la Martinière
(1777-1852), his public career as journalist and stenographer was nearly parallel with representative government
in France. He was present as stenographer at the session of 10 Aug. 1792, when the power passed from the
hands of the king to those of an assembly of the new government;
and of 2 Dec. 1851, when it passed from the
hands of an assembly to those of an individual,
Napoleon III. His services were also in constant
requisition at the courts as an interpreter for English, German, Italian, Spanish, Dutch, and Flemish suitors. He was a
frequent contributor to the Dictionnaire de la Conversation and among other papers wrote the article on
stenography. Breton was the author and translator of many other historical works, including a four-volume
study of the costume and arts of China. In 1804 his translation of
Sir George Macartney's notes was published
as Voyage en Chine et en Tartarie, and three years later his translation of
John Barrow's was published as
Voyage en Chine, a la suite de l'ambassade de Lord Macartney.
Texturing using ants is also mentioned in Macartney and
Livingstone. Bertin's references to
the ingenious dripping horn for keeping air layered roots damp and the use of brass wire are unique. Where did Bertin get his
information, and how much did Breton contribute?
The Analectic Magazine, Containing Selections From Foreign Reviews and Magazines of Such Articles As Are Most Valuable,
Curious, or Entertaining (Philadelphia), Vol. I, May 1813, on pg.
416 includes the following paragraph
in a review (pp. 412-418) of Breton's book as found in the January 1813 issue of Literary Panorama:
"In summer it is customary to place in the chimney [of the apartment of a lady of high rank] a square vase, in which
grows a dwarf tree; in winter they seldom make fires, except in close stoves. They scarcely ever burn wood, but
coal, which is brought from the mountains of the province of Canton; before they use it, it is generally prepared,
by mixing the coal dust with clay, which they also make into square bricks."
Now, per Kiktavi, John How to Grow and Cultivate Miniature Living Trees (Inglewood, CA: Living Ming Trees,
National Nursery Supply; July 1949), pg. 1,
"Throughout the Centuries Ambassadors from
various nations all over the world became engrossed in this fascination [with dwarf potted trees]. It is
history [sic] that even Napoleon Bonaparte [III] and the Crown Prince of Germany both took
time away from their military feats to fondle these trees about which they had heard so much from their Ambassadors."
It is known for a fact that Napoleon did meet with envoys
from Japan on April 13, 1862. By inference of the above
quote, Napoleon III's exposure to bonsai would have occurred because of this meeting. (Napoleon I (1769-1821) -- uncle of III -- probably could
not have learned of bonsai from his ambassadors, as Japan did not establish official relations with France until 1858. But
what may have come out of earlier relations with China,
which preceded the first modern treaty between the two nations in 1844?) Papinot, E. Historical and Geographical Dictionary of Japan
(Tokyo: Charles E. Tuttle Company, Inc.; 1972. Reprinting of original 1910 work. Seventh printing, 1982), pg. 676.