The document apparently fell into the hands of his family after the French Revolution of 1789. The last monk forced to flee the abbey because of the Revolution gave a member of Alexandre’s family a number of what he considered to be the most precious books. They had been kept in the family ever since without arousing the slightest curiosity.
Nobody other than Alexandre Le Grand, a member of an old Fécamp family and an expert in alcohols, could have been more suitably chosen to turn his attention to and to decode the enigmas of the strange volume that he discovered in 1863.
The book, a manuscript dated 1510, included nearly 200 pages written in Gothic script by a monk by the name of Vincelli. The work dealt mainly with a serious study of hermeticism and alchemy, covering the search for the Philosopher’s Stone, the transmutation of metals and the panacea.