Farewell to Berlin: Two newly discovered letters by Jean Barbeyrac (1674–1744)

History of European Ideas 33 (3):305-320 (2007)
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Abstract

The paper presents important new information about the life of Jean Barbeyrac, the famous Huguenot translator of Grotius, Pufendorf, and Cumberland. Based on extensive research in the Secret State Archives (Geheimes Staatsarchiv) and the archive of the French Church (Französicher Dom) in Berlin, it discusses two previously unknown letters of Barbeyrac to court officials, and the role of this interaction in his departure, in 1710, to the University of Lausanne. It also reintroduces a relatively unknown work by Barbeyrac on gambling, the Traité du Jeu (1709), and clarifies the role of various personages in the French Colony of Berlin in the early eighteenth century. The investigation articulates various family relationships of Barbeyrac and follows him to the University of Groningen (in 1717)—a relatively unexplored period of his life—whose archives have recently yielded a comprehensive inventory of his possessions. Also, by analyzing documents dealing with the life of Barbeyrac's brother, Jacques, the paper contributes to our understanding of the early modern pastorate in Brandenburg (Prussia). A prelude to a larger study of Barbeyrac and the Huguenot diaspora in Berlin, it focuses on essential texts, both old and new, which are needed for an adequate understanding of this formative period of the early German Enlightenment and its main figures.

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