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Many happy returns of the day, Spinoza!

Posted on by BPH

Amsterdam, and in particular various Spinoza societies in the Netherlands, will be celebrating the 380th anniversary of the birth of Spinoza (24 November 1632) this month. By a happy coincidence, the great philosopher features in the current exhibition Alchemy on the Amstel with the facsimile of a letter he wrote to one of his physician friends, Johannes Bouwmeester. Spinoza, who discussed health matters in this letter amongst other things, asked Bouwmeester for ‘conserve of roses’. Works by Spinoza and his circle are collected in the library; in 2008 the BPH organized an exhibition, Libertas philosophandi. Spinoza as a Guide to a Free World, on the occasion of Amsterdam’s election as Book Capital of the World. At the time, Amsterdam selected Spinoza as one of its 3 icons.

The exhibition catalogue Libertas philosophandi (in Dutch) is available in our webshop in printed and also in e-book format.

* Below a revised version of an article on Spinoza and an eighteenth-century man of letters in France written by Cis van Heertum which earlier appeared on the former Ritman library website in: ‘Mededelingen, vanwege de Stichting Jacob Campo Weyerman 2’ (2008).

A libertine man of letters on Spinoza: Jean-François Dreux du Radier*

Book trade inspector Joseph d’Hémery (1722-1806) kept a now famous file on all authors in Paris who needed to be watched. One of them was Jean-François Dreux du Radier (1714-1780). D’Hémery customarily recorded the physical description (“signalement”) and background (“histoire”) of every author and had this to say about Dreux:[1]

Nom: Dreux du Radier, Auteur, 1er Janvier 1753
Demeure: Chez M. Pautrière [sic], Coner au Parlement
Age: 35 ans
Pays: Poitiers
Signalement: Moyenne taille, brun, visage haut en couleurs et assés bien

Histoire: Il est Secretaire de M. de la fautriere Conseiller au Parlement. C’est un garçon d’esprit, mais qui a eu anciennement des affaires avec la police qui je crois le fit exiler pour des propos; il a eu sans doute son rappel, puisque depuis longtemps il est de retour à Paris où il est marié et a des Enfants. Il est auteur d’un ouvrage intitulé: Histoire des hommes illustres de Poitiers qu’il va faire imprimer. Il est aussi auteur d’un ouvrage que Lambert vient de faire imprimer intitulé: La vie de Castracio Souverain de Lucques avec des notes critiques et politiques, brochure in octavo.

Dreux’s official biography notes that after a brief career as a magistrate, he turned to a life of letters and left for Paris around 1750. The year before, in 1749, ‘pour quelque faute dans le service ou pour quelque soupçon de faute’, he was banished to Poitiers by a lettre de cachet. D’Hémery specifies this ‘hint of fault’ somewhat but is obviously not too well informed: Dreux was apparently banished because of seditious speeches (‘pour des propos’).[2] He was rehabilitated the next year and left his place of exile eventually to move to Paris, where according to D’Hémery he entered the service of Louis Davy de la Fautrière (1700-1756), a magistrate of noble descent and a remarkable employer.[3] In 1727, Davy de la Fautrière joined the Club de l’Entresol, a political think tank founded by abbé Pierre Joseph Alary and Charles-Irénée Castel de Saint-Pierre in 1724. The Club was shut down in 1731 on suspicion of subversive activities. Davy was also a mason, which did not stop him from joining the Parti Janséniste in the Parlement de Paris in the 1750s, when Dreux was in his service.[4]

In 1760 Dreux retired to his native country, where he died twenty years later. In the meantime he produced a battery of works, mainly literary-historical compilations, poetry and contributions to a variety of periodicals. He was also active as a journalist, writing for instance for Le glaneur français. The two works mentioned by D’Hémery, the Bibliothèque historique et critique du Poitou, published by Etienne Ganeau in Paris in 1754 and La Vie de Castruccio Castracani, souverain de Lucques. Traduction de l’italien de Macchiavel, published by L. Lambert in Paris in 1753, are not subversive. Dreux probably earned a place in d’Hémery’s file because of his earlier ‘affaires avec la police’.

From Lawyer to Littérateur

Jean-François Dreux du Radier was born in Châteauneuf-en-Thymerais, now part of the Eure et Loire department, on 10 May 1714. His father, François Dreux, was a clerk (‘greffier en l’élection de Verneuil et Chateauneuf’). The young Jean-François was sent to the Collège de Tiron, which had been founded around 1630 and was run by the erudite Benedictines of the order of Saint-Maur. In later days he still recalled his time at this institute with fondness.[5] At the age of 27 he married Catherine Copineau du Mareuil, 11 years his senior. The marriage was celebrated on 29 September 1741. D’Hémery, incidentally, was mistaken about Dreux’ age, who in 1753 was a little older than 35; his marriage to Catherine, whom he survived, was solemnized in Châteauneuf, not in Paris, nor did Dreux have a quiverful of children: he had one legitimate daughter, Louise Françoise Euphrasine, who married in 1770.[6]

After his legal studies, Dreux bought himself a post as a magistrate (‘lieutenant particulier civil et criminal’) in his native city, which had been an independent bailiwick since the early seventeenth century. He did not last long in his chosen profession:

‘Relegué dans ma province, l’amour des lettres m’y suivi, il y devint une ressource nécessaire a l’ennui de ma petite magistrature’.[7]

Having returned to Châteauneuf after his brief exile in Poitiers, he therefore sold his post and left for Paris and a writer’s life, where he came to D’Hémery’s notice. He never got as far as the Académie Française, though he did pick up memberships of the royal academies of Lyon, Rouen, La Rochelle, Angers and Chalons sur Marne. He was also a member of the Société Royale d’Agriculture of Alençon. Dreux was buried on 3 March 1780 in Saint-Éliph (also in the Eure et Loire). The inventory of his estate shows he died as a wealthy man.[8]

Dreux’ specialty was the historical-literary survey – in the year of his exile, his Éloges historiques des hommes illustres de la province du Thymerais was published in Paris, a eulogy on the famous men of his native country. Unfortunately, Dreux as an author never received very good reviews: ‘au Parnasse il n’était sue médiocre’, Adrien Beuchot wrote about him, adding to Dreux’ credit that he ‘était plus heureux dans ses ouvrages historiques, et surtout dans ses travaux relatifs à l’histoire littéraire’.[9] An English reviewer had already written in a similar vein:

‘We may spare ourselves the trouble of his poetical productions, because there is no poetry in them: a loose, dull, prosaic versification’.

As a historian, Dreux had his merits, though his style was dismissed as ‘prolix, negligent and familiar; there is a want of method, too, in the distribution of the facts, as well as of grace in the narration’. Apparently he was a generous scholar, regularly undertaking ‘with pleasure the business of searching records, archives and papers for families, or for literary men who wanted the assistance of his pen or his erudition’.[10]

After 10 years, Dreux had enough of life in the capital, which he felt to be ‘trop agitée, trop bruyante’. He therefore retired in 1760 to a family estate near Saint-Éliph, where he pursued his literary activities until his death. According to his necrologer, his countrymen also benefited from his legal experience: ‘Il y devint encore, comme avocat, le conseil de tous les gens honnêtes de son canton’. In 1776 Dreux published – perhaps with a certain vanity, though undoubtedly without a clue about the later literary verdict on him – a Catalogue des ouvrages imprimés ou manuscrits de M. Dreux Du Radier, which was published by Jean-Baptiste-Guillaume Haillet de Couronne in Rouen. [11] The comments Dreux added to his printed output clearly show that he kept close tabs on who wrote what about him. Thus he noted about his firstling, the Temple du bonheur:

‘Il en fut parlé dans quelques Journaux. Et l’Auteur des Nouvelles Littéraires de Caen en donna des extraits’ (Dreux, Catalogue no. 1, p. 1). [12]

He also invariably notes allusions to his works in the new Moréri. His contributions to periodicals offer a cross-section of the usual antiquarian interests of the leisured gentleman: inscriptions on medals, Roman (funerary) monuments: all worth a notice.

'Dictionnaire d’amour' by Jean-François Dreux du Radier (1741).

Libertine Sympathies

One of Dreux’ earliest literary products is the Dictionnaire d’amour (Dreux, Catalogue no. 6, p. 4), which has been qualified as libertine and which appeared anonymously in The Hague in 1741. Dreux’ Dictionnaire is regarded as a ‘dictionnaire philosophique’ de l’amour que ni Voltaire ni Laclos n’aurait désavoué’, a work ‘ancrée dans l’ambition désinvolte et le militantisme philosophique des Lumières’.[13] Dreux himself remarked about his Dictionnaire that the work had a decidedly moral quality, as the French chancellor, the pious Henri François D’Aguesseau, only allowed serious works to be published. Dreux received from the hands of D’Aguesseau a ‘tacit approval’ on the basis of the synopsis which his friend ‘M. le Comte d’Argençon’ (Marc-Pierre de Voyer de Paulmy d’Argenson) had submitted to the chancellor. Minister of War D’Argenson supported the encyclopédistes and also Dreux – with friends in high places, who needs censores librorum?

In 1754 Dreux published a historical compilation, the Bibliothèque historique et critique du Poitou (Dreux, Catalogue no. 9, pp. 5-6) containing biographies of savants from the province of Poitou, one of the two works recorded by D’Hémery in his file on Dreux. The latter drily remarked about his highly popular Bibliothèque du Poitou: ‘j’ai commencé cet ouvrage à Poitiers où j’étois par ordre de la Cour, en 1750, & l’ai fini à Paris’ – a man with an indestructible historiographical inclination, even in exile. It is a voluminous work, complete with bibliographies, from the earliest beginning (3rd century!) until Dreux’ own time. This work, too, allegedly reveals libertine sympathies, according to Olivier Bloch, expert in the field of French clandestine literature. He pointed to Dreux’ evident enthousiasm for the work of Abraham Gaultier (ca. 1650-1720), a physician from Niort, a city south of Poitiers. In 1714 Gaultier published a treatise with the voluminous title:

Réponse en forme de Dissertation à un Théologien qui demande ce que veulent dires les Sceptiques qui cherchent la vérité par tout, dans la nature, comme dans les écrits des philosophes, lorsqu’ils pensent que la vie & la mort sont la même chose, où l’on voit que la vie & la mort des minéraux, des métaux, des plantes & des animaux avec tous leurs attributs ne sont que des façons d’être de la même substance à laquelle les modifications n’ajoutent rien. [14]

About this work Dreux remarked that it breathed ‘the pure mechanism of Descartes’, repeating without any critical aside Gaultier’s rather transparant excuse that the Réponse was not a materialistic work because his theories exclusively concerned the animal, vegetable and mineral life without any bearing on man, let alone the immortality of the soul.[15] Dreux in fact protected Gaultier by associating Melchior de Polignac’s anti-materialist Anti-Lucrèce with Gaultier’s Réponse: according to him, the celebrated cardinal might have drawn inspiration from Gaultier for at least one passage in his Anti-Lucrèce. [16]

That Dreux sincerely admired Gaultier is also evident from a remark he makes about an episode in the life of the Niort physician, who moved to Amsterdam in the 1680s. Working closely with another French colleague, the physician Nicolas de Blegny,[17] Gaultier briefly published a periodical there under the title Mercure savant. It was a miscellany of medical articles, poetry, songs and political news, first published by Henri Desbordes in Amsterdam in February 1684 (only two instalments were published). The episode as narrated by Dreux is taken almost verbatim from Desmaizeaux’s Vie de Mr. Bayle, but the accompanying sentiment is entirely Dreux’:

‘Il a encore eu beaucoup de part à un assez mauvais journal qui ne pouvoit faire honneur ni au coeur ni à l’esprit de l’Auteur’. [18]

Bloch also thinks that Dreux can be credited, together with the philosopher Pierre-Charles Jamet (1701-ca. 1780) and the enlightened physician Antoine Le Camus (1722-1772), with the authorship of the anonymous and purely materialistic Lettres à Sophie: Lettres sur la religion, sur l’âme humaine et sur l’existence de Dieu, which appeared in 1770. The work does not occur in Dreux’ Catalogue (perhaps for that reason?), although he had earlier cooperated with Jamet en Le Camus on the satirical Essai historique, critique, philologique, politique, moral, litteraire et galant; sur les lanternes, published in 1755 (Dreux, Catalogue no. 13, p. 8).

Cover of 'Essai historique, critique, philologique, politique, moral, litteraire et galant; sur les lanternes' (1755).

Dreux, incidentally, does not mention his fellow authors by name: “Ce badinage de 156 pages, fut le résultat d’une conversation avec quelques personnes de lettres, qui parlent de quelques sujets ingrats en apparence”, he observes neutrally. According to Bloch Jamet, an advocate of Epicurean philosophy and the author of Essais métaphysiques, was also a Spinozist. At any rate there appear to have been libertine traces throughout Dreux’ literary career: from the earliest beginnings to the late 1750s. Perhaps there is even a posthumous libertine flourish: the opening lines of Dreux’ epitaph, compiled by himself, were allegedly derived from that of the notorious Dutch libertine Hadrianus Beverlandus.[19]

L’Europe Illustré: Dreux & Spinoza

Another work by Dreux du Radier is L’Europe illustré, a biographical lexicon of princes, prelates, lawyers, scholars and scientists (Dreux, Catalogue no. 12, p. 5-6).[20] The work appeared in six parts between 1755 and 1765. Dreux was commissioned to produce the work by the Paris print dealer Michel Odieuvre (1687-1756). Odieuvre owned a number of plates of celebrities and obviously saw potential in a richly illustrated edition. Dreux wrote biographical sketches of ca. two pages for each illustration, for which he was paid three livres per piece.[21]

Odieuvre also had a portrait of Spinoza in stock, produced some two decades before it was included in L’Europe illustré. The engraver was Etienne Fessard (1714-1777); the portrait was framed by a rococo border designed by Pierre Edmé Babel (1720-1775). The sales address was: “Odieuvre, Md. D’Estamp., rue d’Anjou la dernière Porte Cochère à gauche entrant par la rue Dauphine”, in the Marais, Odieuvre’s business address from 1741 to 1747.[22] Fessard’s engraving is based on the portrait which is included in some copies of Spinoza’s Opera posthuma or the Dutch translation, the Nagelate Schriften (both published by Jan Rieuwertsz sr. in Amsterdam late 1677 or early 1678). A copy of this engraving is in the Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica.[23] The engraving of Spinoza in L’Europe illustré – without Babel’s rococo border – is to be found in the fifth part, which was not published until 1765.[24]

Engraving of Spinoza in the Nagelate Schriften, 
Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, Amsterdam

The complete title of this Who’s Who in Europe in six parts is: L’Europe illustré, contenant l’histoire abrégée des souverains, des princes, des prélats, des ministres, des grands capitaines, des magistrats, des savans, des artistes, et des dames célèbres en Europe: dans le xve siècle compris, jusqu’à présent. The work was dedicated to Louis Philippe d’Orléans (1725-1785): “C’est au premier Prince du Sang de France, que j’offre une longue suite de Héros de toutes les Nations de l’Europe.” Surprisingly, Spinoza, who is included in the fifth part, on ‘savans’, apparently ranked among Europe’s finest – in 1727 he was still considered to be an “Auteur d’un dangereux sistême” in France or at least according to the caption underneath a ficititious portrait of Spinoza.[25] The engraving published by Odieuvre offers neutral information: “Benoit Spinosa. Né à Amsterdam, l’An 1632. Mort le 21. Février 1677. Agé de 44 ans.” No recriminations.

Would the alleged libertine Dreux dare qualify the common view of Spinoza as an atheist? Sadly, no:

Que de monstres! que d’absurdités! que d’extravagances!

Benoît de Spinosa, Juif de Naissance, étoit d’une famille pauvre, & très-peu considerable. Il s’appliqua de fort bonne heure à la Théologie, qu’il abandonna dans la suite pour se livrer à ses monstrueux systèmes, où “il s’efforce d’anéantir toute idée de Religion, & s’il l’eût pû, l’existence de Dieu même, en subsituant à sa place une substance unique dans l’Univers, de laquelle tous les autres êtres ne sont que des modifications, & qui est douée d’une infinité d’attributs, & entr’autres de l’étendue & de la pensée; en sorte que tous les corps qui se trouvent dans l’Univers sont des modifications de cette substance, en tant qu’étendue, & les ames des hommes, en tant que pensée. De sorte encore que Dieu, l’Être nécessaire & infiniment parfait, est la cause de toutes les choses qui existent, sans différer d’elles; il n’y a qu’un Etre, qu’une Nature, & cette Nature produit par elle-même, & par une action immanente tout ce qu’on appelle Créatures. Il est tout ensemble agent & patient, cause efficiente & sujet: il ne produit rien qui ne soit sa propre modification’.

Engraving of Spinoza by Fessard | Babel, 
Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica, Amsterdam

Que de monstres! que d’absurdités! que d’extravagances! A-t-on jamais imaginé d’hypothèse plus diamètralement opposé aux notions les plus évidentes de l’esprit humain? Ces impiétés, destituées de la moindre vraisemblance, n’ont eu l’affreux mérite de la nouveauté que pour ceux qui ignorent les systèmes des Payens, le dogme de l’ame universelle, ou celui de cette nature aveugle, inanimée de Straton, & des autres Philosophes payens qui, comme le dit Lactance, ne trouvant plus rien de nouveau à dire, aimerent mieux d’imaginer des extravagances que de suivre la route que les autres avoient tracée. On dit que Spinosa, qui ne s’accomodoit pas des idées des Rabins, seroit pourtant resté dans la Synagogue, si en sortant de la Comédie il n’eût pas être attaqué par un Juif qui lui donna un coup de couteau en traître. Il devint Chrétien, ou plutôt il fit divorce avec toutes les Religions.

La philosophie de Descartes le charma d’abord mais la méthode de ce grand Philosophe, qui a fait tant d’honneur à l’esprit humain, ne servit qu’à hâter la perte de la raison de Spinosa. Ce fut une liqueur qui, versée dans un vase empoissoné, en contracta la corruption. Retiré à la campagne, il n’y travailla qu’à se fortifier dans ses noires pensées. Les personnes qui se donnoient le nom d’esprits forts, accouroient à lui, ils vantoient sa manière de raisonner. Sa réputation, s’établit parmi eux; on prétend même que la Court Palatine lui fit offrir une chaire de Professeur en Philosophie à Hildelberg [sic], qu’il refusa. Il tomba dans une maladie lente qui purgea le monde d’un monstre qui ne travailloit qu’a l’infecter, le 21 Février 1677, âgé d’un peu plus de quarante ans. Après qu’on vient de dire de l’horreur de ses Systèmes, qui croiroit que sa vie a toûjours été fort réglée, & ses moeurs pures? C’est portant ce qu’on nous dit de sa morale, tant il est vrai que l’homme est inconséquent dans sa manière de se conduire’!

Voyez sa Vie, & Bayle, Dictionnaire critique

As Dreux indicates, his source is Bayle’s Dictionnaire critique (the quotation can be found in a section of note N). Unlike Bayle, however, Dreux’ version has venom in the tail of the story of Spinoza’s death:

‘Il tomba dans une maladie lente qui purgea le monde d’un monstre qui ne travailloit qu’a l’infecter, le 21 Février 1677, âgé d’un peu plus de quarante ans’.

Bayle himself sticks to the facts:

‘Il tomba dans une maladie lente qui le fit mourier à la Haie le 21 de Février 1677, à l’àge d’un peu plus de quarante ans’.

To compare yet again: a little less than ten years later, the account of Spinoza’s life in the Dutch Levensbeschryving van eenige voornaame meest Nederlandsche mannen en vrouwen is a lot milder. This description, too, is based on Bayle, ending with the critical observation that “the harmfulness of [Spinoza’s] writings was obvious to many, so that a great number of authors took up their pens against him” (p. 301). But concerning Spinoza’s exemplary life, which caused Dreux to conclude that “il est vrai que l’homme est inconséquent dans sa manière de se conduire”, the Dutch Levensbeschryving notes: ‘The modest conduct of Spinoza should arouse no more wonder than the evil ways of those who pretend to follow the Gospel’ (p. 297).[26]

The Levensbeschryving by Simon Stijl and Johannes Stinstra is an attempt at national biography, its publisher recommending the Levensbeschryving as follows in the Preface to the Reader: ‘Our countrymen have long needed a work like this, which easily teaches them about our Ancestors’. The tone of the entry on Spinoza, however, is altogether different from L’Europe illustré, the French biographical lexicon with a European focus. Apparently Dreux, living under the Ancien Régime, still deemed it wise to express the common dislike of a philosopher like Spinoza – at least in print. It may also be that Dreux followed the course chosen by Henri de Boulainvilliers a few decades before him, who offered a competent anthology from Spinoza’s Ethica, all the while claiming dislike for the philosopher’s system of thought.[27]

Plaque of Spinoza, derived from the portrait in L’Europe illustré, 
Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde, Leiden, inv. no. 2993-1

Big in Japan

The engravings in L’Europe illustré were to have an unexpected Nachleben in Japan. Some of them were used as models for the production of Japanese lacquerware, specifically lacquered copper plaques, which were being made to order for the European market on the island of Deshima from 1780 to 1800. The Rijksmuseum voor Volkenkunde in Leiden has in its collection a lacquer portrait of Spinoza, acquired in 1952. The words underneath the portrait in L’Europe illustré have been carefully copied and engraved on the reverse: ‘Benoit Spinosa. Né à Amsterdam, l’An 1632. Mort le 21. Février 1677. Agé de 44 ans’.

Johan Frederik Baron van Reede tot de Parkeler (1757-1802), chief of the VOC settlement at Deshima, placed a large order for these plaques during his term of office from 1785 to 1789, although it is not known whether Spinoza was among the items ordered.[28] Perhaps his predecessor as ‘Opperhoofd’ at Deshima, Isaac Titsingh (1745-1812), is a more likely candidate. Titsingh has been described by his biographer Frank Lequin as the ‘only philosopher ever to have entered the service of the VOC’. He was erudite, tolerant, and a true collector – a portrait of Spinoza would not have been out of place in his collection.

Whether it was van Reede tot de Parkeler, Titsingh, or another VOC officer, it is a gratifying thought that the portrait of the redoubtable ‘atheist’ may have graced the Japanese offices of the Company to which Spinoza himself explicitly referred in his Tractatus theologico-politicus:

 ‘Anyone who lives in a government where the Christian religion is forbidden is obliged to do without them [Christian ceremonies] and yet will be able to live a good life notwithstanding. We have an example of this in the Empire of Japan, where the Christian religion is forbidden and where the Dutch who live there, must abstain from all external worship by command of the Dutch East India Company (tr. Shirley)’.

According to Jean Baptiste Stouppe, an enemy of the Republic, this was all the more proof that the Dutch only served the idol Mammon and disowned their faith and certainly the practice of it for money: Spinoza himself had said it.[29]


[1]See Robert Darnton, “Policing writers in Paris ca. 1750”, in Representations 5 (1984), p. 1-31, D’Hémery on Dreux, p. 18. D’Hémery’s archive can be accessed under shelfmark nouv. acq. Fr. 10781-10783 in the Bibliothèque Nationale de France (BNF): “Notes de police sur divers écrivains français du xviiie siècle rédigées par les soins de Joseph d’Hémery inspecteur de la librairie sous les ordres du lieutenant de police Berryer, et intitulées ‘Historique des auteurs en 1752’” (Dreux’ profile occurs on fol. 156, nouv. acq. Fr. 10781). I am very grateful to Nathalie Gailius for transcribing the entry on Dreux.

[2] Roman d’Amat, entry on Dreux in de Dictionnaire de biographie française, Parijs 1967, dl. 11, p. 758. See also Darnton, p. 25.

[3] Davy de la Fautrière left a fortune of “232.000 livres de capital immobilier”; his library was auctioned on 10 May 1756. The Catalogue des livres de Monsieur Davy de la Fautrière, conseiller au Parlement, was printed by François Didot in 1756. The library of Dreux’ employer in Paris was strong in history (nos 1375-2340), though, remarkable for a “conseiller en parlement”, rather weak in law (nos 93-198).

[4] For the Club de L’Entresol see a.o. Antoine Lilti, Le monde des salons, sociabilité et mondanité à Paris au xviiiième siècle, Paris 2005. For Davy as a mason, see Pierre Chevallier, Les ducs sous l’acacia, Paris 1964, p. 54 (reprinted 1994, together with an article from 1969: “Les idées religieuses de Davy de La Fautrière”). For Davy as a Jansenist in the Parlement: Julian Swann, Politics and the Parlement of Paris under Louis xv, 1754-1774, Cambridge 1995, p. 99.

[5] The Collège de Trion is mentioned in Dreux’ catalogue (see n. 11), more specifically the rhetoric teacher, “dont la mémoire me sera toujours chère & précieuse, par les bontés que ce sçavant Bénedictin a eues pour moi, & son attention pour mon éducation”, p. 50.

[6] Dreux du Radier also had a natural son, François Michel Aimable, born in 1748, whom he did not acknowledge. I am grateful to Emmannuelle Hellot-Cintract for this information.

[7] See the obituary which Jean-Baptiste-Guillaume Haillet de Couronne wrote in Pierre-Laurent-Guillaume Gosseaume, Précis analytique des travaux de l’Académie des sciences, belles-lettres et arts de Rouen depuis sa fondation en 1744 jusqu’à l’époque de sa restauration, le 29 juin 1803, Rouen 1814-1821, p. 318-322.

[8] Emannuelle Hellot-Cintract’s webpage, offers biographical information on Dreux based on the archives of Eure et Loire, including the inventory of Dreux’ estate.

[9] See Adrien Beuchot, Biographie universelle, ancienne et moderne, Paris, Louis Gabriël Michaud, 1814, vol. 12, p. 25.

[10] A new and general biographical dictionary (ed. William Tooke), vol. 5, London, G.G. & J. Robinson et al., 1798, p. 153-154.

[11] “Haillet de Couronne a fait imprimé le Catalogue des ouvrages imprimés ou manuscrits de M. Dreux Du Radier, Rouen, Machuel, 1776, in 12°, tiré à soixante exemplaires, c’est l’auteur même qui l’avait imprimé”, Beuchot (n. 9)., p. 25. The catalogue contains 27 printed works, 60 contributions to various periodicals and twenty works in manuscript. The latter category includes in addition to the usual historical and genealogical notes also legal material. According to the auction catalogue of his library (1811) Couronne also possessed a “Vie et liste des ouvrages de Dreux du Radier (écrites par lui-même). 1780” (no. 2286), described as a “Copie manuscrite de la main de M. de Couronne d’après l’original communiqué par M. Beaucousin, et de plus le catalogue des ouvrages tant manuscrits qu’imprimés de Dreux Radier (dont il n’a été imprimé que 60 exemplaires) avec les notes, corrections et changements de M. de Couronne.”

[12] In 1790 a work also called Le temple du bonheur, published in Bouillon in 1770, was among books confiscated, see Robert L. Dawson, Confiscations at customs: banned books and the French booktrade during the last years of the Ancien régime, Oxford 2006, p. 259. Diderot mistook this compilation in three volumes to be the work of Dreux du Radier, see Robert Mauzi, L’idée du bonheur dans la littérature et la pensées francáises au xiiie siècle, Geneva 1979, p. 99, n. 3.

[13] Stéphanie Loubère, “Un abc des lumières. Le Dictionnaire d’amour de Dreux du Radier”, Dix-huitième siècle (38), 2006, pp. 337-350; quotation on p. 339. The Dictionnaire was translated into English as the Dictionary of Love by John Cleland, author of Fanny Hill, and published in 1753.

[14] Gaultier’s Réponse, which originally appeared in Niort, published by Jean Élies in 1714, was reprinted by Olivier Bloch as: Parité de la vie et de la mort, Paris 1993 (Libre pensée et littérature clandestine 1), zie ook Réponse en forme de dissertation à un théologien, ed. Olivier Bloch, La Versanne 2004.

[15] “L’Auteur déclare dans un court avertissement que quand il dit que la vie & la mort sont la même chose, il n’entend que de parler des animaux, des plantes, & des minéraux, n’ayant pas dessein de confondre ni de donner la moindre atteinte à tout ce que la foi, & la Religion enseignent de la spiritualité & de l’immortalité de l’âme”, Bibliothèque du Poitou, pt. 4, p. 371.

[16] “J’ai cru y trouver un développement du système de Gaultier. L’illustre prélat, compare, comme lui, les animaux, ou les Brutes, aux arbres, & aux plantes”, p. 372, with a reference to Anti Lucretius sive de deo et natura, pt. 2, Book 6, p, 75 in a 12° edition. Polignac’s work was posthumously published in 1747; many reprints followed.

[17] For Nicolas de Blegny (1652-1722) see a.o. Albert G. Nicholls, “Nicolas de Blegny and the first medical periodical”, in The Canadian Medical Association Journal, 1934, pp. 198-202; Lynn Thorndike, A history of magic and experimental science, 1958, pt. vii, p. 188, pt. viii, p. 149, 524; David A. Kronick, “Devant le Deluge” and other essays on early modern scientific communication, Lanham (MD), 2004, pp. 1-11. According to Nicholls, De Blegny transferred the editorship of his periodical, originally called (Journal des) Nouvelles Découvertes, to Gaultier after the successful monthly had been banned by the Parlement of Paris, p. 199; Kronick incorrectly assumes that De Blegny used Gaultier’s name as a pseudonym: Gaultier “may have been a Dutch physician with whom Blegny entered into collaboration, but just as likely may have been a nom de plume that Blegny assumed for the occasion”, p. 8.

[18] Cf. Pierre Desmaizeaux, La Vie de Mr. Bayle in Bayle’s Dictionnaire historique et critique, 1740, p. xxxi.

[19] Olivier Bloch, “Les Lettres à Sophie: un traité clandestin dans son rapport à la culture des Lumières”, in: Transactions of the Ninth International Congress on the Enlightenment, Oxford 1996 (Studies on Voltaire and the Eighteenth Century 347), pp. 782-83. Les Lettres à Sophie, ed. Olivier Bloch, Paris 2004. For Jamet see Antony McKenna and Alain Mothu, “D’Épicure à Jamet en passant par Bayle: La Lettre métaphysique sur la création” in Der Garten und die Moderne. Epikureische Moral und Politik vom Humanismus bis zur Aufklärung, eds. E. Tortarolo and Gianni Paganini, Stuttgart 2004, pp. 247-75. The first two lines of Dreux’ epitaph read: “Hic jacet J. Fr. Dreux, Peccator unus è multis”; according to his necrologer Couronne they were derived from Beverland’s epitaph, which opens with: “Hadrianus Beverlandus, non unus e multis peccator, hic jacet”.

[20] Jean-François Dreux du Radier, L’Europe illustré, Paris, Michel Odieuvre & André-François Le Breton, 1755-1765, 6 pts in large octavo. L’Europe illustré was reprinted in Paris by Jean-Luc Nyon in 1777. The BNF does not own a copy of this latter edition; which can be found in the library of the Rijksmuseum under shelfmark 323 C 1-6.

[21] M. Préaud et al., Dictionnaire des éditeurs d’estampes à Paris sous l’ancien régime, Paris 1988, p. 253-54. Dreux on L’Europe illustré, Catalogue, no. 12, p. 7-8: “Les planches dont le Sieur Odieuvre, connu par la suite de Portraits, étoit muni, donnerent naissance à cet ouvrage dont la suite complette aura toujours son mérite”.

[22] Spinoza’s portrait may have been included in an earlier series : “Le principal séries éditées par Odieuvre sont les Portraits des personnages illustres de l’un et de l’autre sexe, 1735-1745 (…) l’ensemble est réuni dans L’Europe illustré”, Préaud (n. 21), p. 253. See also Bibliotheca Hulthemiana, the auction catalogue of the collection of Ch. Van Hultem, Gent 1836, vol. 2, p. 158 : ‘9095 Portraits des personnes illustres de l’un et de l’autre sexe (souverains, impératrices, reines, grands capitaines, évéques, magistrats, savans, poètes, artistes) recueillis et gravés par les soins de Mich. Odieuvre (Paris, vers 1725). 75 pièces. Première édition , très-belles épreuves. pet. in-fol. v. b. fil.’

[23] The engraving measures 24,5 x 19 cm; the leaf itself 34,5 x 25,5 cm.

[24] Rudi Ekkart, Spinoza in beeld. Het onbekende gezicht. Voorschoten 1999, p. 13; Ernst Altkirch, Spinoza im Porträt, Jena 1913, no. 43 (p. 96). Altkirch refers in his description of L’Europe illustré to the earlier variant with Babel’s border, though he shows the engraving as it occurs in the editions of 1765 and 1777 without the border (plate 25). As the leaf with the border measures 34,5 x 25,5 cm (see n. 24), it cannot have been part of L’Europe illustré, which is a quarto edition. The Vereniging Het Spinozahuis owns a copy of Fessard’s engraving with yet another rococo border.

[25] The so-called portrait of Spinoza actually portrays René i d’Anjou and was engraved in copper by Etienne Johandier Desrochers, see Ekkart, p. 10.

[26] Simon Stijl, Johannes Stinstra, Levensbeschryving van eenige voornaame meest Nederlandsche mannen en vrouwen … uit egte stukken opgemaakt, Amsterdam, P. Conradi and Harlingen, F. van der Plaats jr., 1775, pt. 2, pp. 291-301.

[27] According to Wiep van Bunge, Philosopher of Peace. Spinoza, Resident of The Hague, The Hague 2009, De Boulainvilliers’ Refutation des erreurs de Benoit de Spinosa was in effect a competently translated anthology from the Ethica, with De Boulainvilliers quoting page after page from the book, all the while protesting it was a disgrace and that the book ought to be banned.

[28] See; for a Japanese site on the production of “makie” plaques:

[29] Benedictus de Spinoza, Theologisch-politiek traktaat, vert. F. Akkerman, Amsterdam 2008, p. 180. Jean Baptiste Stouppe, La religion des Hollandois. “Keulen, Pierre Marteau” [= Leiden, Officina Hackiana?], 1673, letter 5.

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