Catechism of the Bons Cousins Charbonniers, ritual of Dole, first edition. 1812.

Bons Cousins Charbonniers


Bons Cousins Charbonniers. Rituel 1812.


Instruction, ou Catéchisme des BB CC Fr Charb[Bons Cousins Frères Charbonniers], contenant la manière d’initier et de donner les différens grades dans cet ordre ; avec des discours propres à ces cérémonies.  Besançon, chez Chalandre, Imprimeur-Libraire n° 775, 1812. 3 parts in 1 volume in-18: ij, 1 bl, 36 pp. ; 23 pp. ; 30 pp. Modern Bradel-style binding in imitation parchment, printed title label on spine.

Bons Cousins Charbonniers. Rituel 1812.

A rare edition, probably an original, of this Dole catechism which, according to Fesch, only 300 copies were printed. Only the title page (with a few typographical and layout variations), the 1st page of the Notice to the publisher, the 1st page of the Catechism and the 1st page of the Grade de Maitre are reproduced in the work edited by Pierre Merlin : Bons cousins charbonniers, autour d’un catéchisme de la “société secrète”, 1835. Sociabilité, symbolique, politique. No place, éditions de Folklore comtois, 2005, p. 171. The reproduction of the expanded edition of 1835 continues .

Bons Cousins Charbonniers. Rituel 1812.

This ritual, which is special because it adds that of the Bons Cousins Compagnons Fendeurs, unlike others rituals of the Bons Cousins Charbonniers,  is divided into three parts “Each of these parts deals with a grade in particular, and the ceremonies that are proper to it; it is enriched with some speeches, an infinite number of symbolic requests and answers, and the explanation of the emblems; finally it contains the way in which the FF∴ Ch∴ can speak among themselves, without being understood by the laymen and the “guêpiers”.

Bons Cousins Charbonniers. Rituel 1812.

The parts are as follows: “Catechism of the BB∴ CC∴ Fr∴ Charb∴”: opening, reception of apprentices, speech and instructions for the first passage; “Second passage. Grade de maître”: instruction and speeches after the second passage; “Grade des fendeurs“: origin of the splitters, clothing, decoration of the Chantier, reception, obligation, instruction, and meal.

“What a charm the sweet feeling of friendship and fraternity spreads over life! The benevolence practised in these meetings, the love of virtue preached there, the attachment to the Prince and to the laws of the State which is recommended to each of its members, and which forms part of the duties of the BB∴ CC∴, further cement the ties that bind them together.”

Our ritual, published in 1812, shows the importance and vitality of charcoal-making in Franche-Comté from the time of the First Empire. Our edition precedes by one year that of the catechism of the Sale of Bregille, published in Besançon in 1813. A copy of which is preserved by the Besançon library, the 1812 edition not being included in its catalogue.

Fesch, Bibliographie de la Franc-Maçonnerie, et des sociétés secrètes, col. 760.

A few stained leaves, not serious. A rare copy.

1 800 €