Patrons of Enlightenment

Patrons of Enlightenment

EDWARD G. ANDREW
Copyright Date: 2006
Pages: 240
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/9781442678316
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  • Book Info
    Patrons of Enlightenment
    Book Description:

    All major writers of the Enlightenment enjoyed royal or aristocratic patronage, often denying their financial dependency and claiming to live by the labours of their pens or by the expanding readership of the eighteenth century, thereby maintaining the ideal of intellectual autonomy.

    InPatrons of Enlightenment, Edward G. Andrew examines the conditions in which the central idea of Enlightenment was fabricated; intellectual autonomy was constructed while patronage was being transformed by a commercial print culture. Andrew further argues that since an Enlightenment depends on a relationship of plebeian genius and patrician taste, England could not have had one - as the French and Scots did - because after the English civil war, plebeians did not contribute to the intellectual culture of England.

    Patrons of Enlightenmentemphasizes the dependency of thinkers upon patrons and compares the patron-client relationships in the French, English, and Scottish republics of letters. Andrew challenges philosophers to rethink the Platonic distinction between philosophers and sophists and the Aristotelian view of philosophers as godlike in their self-sufficiency.

    eISBN: 978-1-4426-7831-6
    Subjects: Philosophy

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-2)
  4. Introduction
    (pp. 3-12)

    How did thinkers subsist before the age of tenured professorships and institutional foundations for advanced thought and research? This study explores how the thinkers of the eighteenth-century Enlightenment earned their living. Although it is a comparative intellectual history of the eighteenth century, the book begins with an examination of the lives of Socrates and Seneca before analysing how eighteenth-century thinkers thought wealth and poverty conditioned the philosophic life. Reflective attention to the lives of a rich philosopher (Seneca) and a relatively impoverished one who was drawn to the rich (Socrates) highlights a structural theme of this work: namely, that philosophers...

  5. 1 Patronage of Philosophy
    (pp. 13-34)

    Philosophers of the eighteenth century often looked to Socrates as a model of how the philosophic life was to be lived. What is more remarkable is the high regard that philosophers of the eighteenth century had for Seneca, who has not had the esteem of philosophers in centuries before and since,¹ as Socrates had and has. Our study of the conditions of the philosophical life will begin with Socrates and then move on to Seneca’s account of the life of Socrates. Seneca’s account is contained inDe Benefiis, a philosophic justification of patronage, written by a client of a royal...

  6. 2 Enlightenment and Print Culture
    (pp. 35-58)

    In writing that ‘before the invention of the art of printing, a scholar and a beggar seem to have been terms very nearly synonymous,’¹ Adam Smith implied that a democratic print culture superseded the need for aristocratic and royal patronage and that scholars could thrive in a commercial marketplace of ideas. To be sure, Smith’sTheory of Moral Sentimentsand hisWealth of Nationssold very well, much better than the philosophical works of his friend, David Hume. However, the careers of both men relied heavily on aristocratic patronage. Smith’s university position depended on the favour of the 3rd Duke...

  7. 3 Seneca in the Age of Frederick and Catherine
    (pp. 59-81)

    Seneca’sDe Beneficiiswas frequently translated into English and French in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, including two French translations in 1776 and a new translation in 1778 when Baron D’Holbach published Seneca’s collected works. Since Rousseau shared Hume’s admiration for Seneca, Hume concluded his account of Rousseau’s ingratitude for Hume’s patronage,Exposé succinct de la contestation que s’est élevée entre M. Hume et M. Rousseau, with a quotation from Seneca’sDe Beneficiis.¹ G.M. Ross notes the curious fact that Seneca was widely respected by philosophers of the eighteenth century but not by philosophers before or since.²

    A century before...

  8. 4 Patronage and the Modes of Liberal Tolerance: Bayle, Care, and Locke
    (pp. 82-98)

    Pierre Bayle and John Locke were two heroes of the Enlightenment. Voltaire praised ‘the wise Locke’ and ‘the immortal Bayle, the glory of human nature,’¹ while Edward Gibbon wrote of Bayle: ‘Without a country, or a patron, or a prejudice, he claimed the liberty and subsisted by the labours of his pen.’² Locke was not without a country or religious prejudice and, because he was patronized, did not subsist by the labours of his pen. A third figure of the period, the popular journalist Henry Care, like Bayle, did subsist by the labours of his pen and, like Locke, was...

  9. 5 Voltaire and His Female Protectors
    (pp. 99-118)

    Émilie, Marquise du Châtelet,néeGabrielle Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, was the translator of Mandeville’sFable of the Beesand Newton’sPrincipia; she also wrote Institutions de Physique and Discours sur le bonheur. She was clearly remarkable in her own right, but here I propose to examine her role asprotectriceof Voltaire. In the conclusion to her preface to Mandeville’sFable of the Bees, she questioned why no great work of art or thought has come from women and attributed this deficiency to their inadequate education.1 I wish to supplement her response to this question by examining the...

  10. 6 Scottish Universities and Their Patrons: Argyll, Bute, and Dundas
    (pp. 119-134)

    If universities in England and France were not agents of Enlightenment, as universities were in Scotland, Holland, Germany, and Scandinavia, Adam Smith provided an economic explanation, namely, that clerical patronage in England and the Catholic countries drew the best minds of those societies into the churches. Smith thought that the Patronage Act of 1712, which allowed lay patrons to select clergy but forbade multiple benefices, provided Scots with the best of all worlds: frugal clergymen who owed their livings to their social betters – not their congregations, as had been promised in the 1707 Act of Union – while bright and ambitious...

  11. 7 Independence in Theory and Practice: D’Alembert and Rousseau
    (pp. 135-153)

    Patronage is indeed, as Julian Pitt-Rivers calls it, ‘lop-sided friendship,’ a combination of friendship and social inequality, and patron-client relationships are most stable when both parties do not see the other as equal enough to be a competitor or rival. As Sharon Kettering writes, in her study of patronage in seventeenth-century France, ‘the nearer a client was to his patron in rank and power, the less likely the relationship was to be durable ...’¹ Rousseau resented the patronage of his peer Hume and ofnouveaux riches, such as Mme d’Épinay and Baron d’Holbach, but accepted it from the Duc de...

  12. 8 Samuel Johnson and the Question of Enlightenment in England
    (pp. 154-169)

    I have indicated that the issue of whether England had an Enlightenment has been much debated. The most forceful claim for England’s Enlightenment has been made by Roy Porter inThe Creation of the Modern Mind: The Untold Story of the British Enlightenment,¹ where, as we have seen, Samuel Johnson features prominently. My concern in this chapter is to clarify Johnson’s relationship to England’s questionable Enlightenment, and specifically to the role of the press in diffusing Enlightenment. Franco Venturi contrasts Edward Gibbon, ‘the English giant of the Enlightenment,’ ‘an isolated figure in his own country, a solitary figure’ and Samuel,...

  13. 9 Irish Antagonists: Burke and Shelburne
    (pp. 170-187)

    If we accept Burke’s definition of patronage as the tribute that opulence owes to genius, Lord Shelburne was the greatest patron of Enlightenment in England. However, the opulence of Shelburne and the genius of Burke did not join forces; in fact, the compatriots were life-long antagonists. Shelburne was a link between the British, French, and American Enlightenments; he patronized Smith, Blackstone, Franklin, Price, Priestley, and Bentham, and, through his patronage of André Morellet, was connected to Helvétius, d’Holbach, Turgot, and otherphilosophes. He attended the salons of Mme du Deffand, Mme de Boufflers, and Mme Geoffrin, but, while he admired...

  14. Conclusion
    (pp. 188-194)

    The eighteenth century was a period of transition from aristocratic patronage in the republic of letters to a commercial marketplace of ideas, but the transition was more gradual than abrupt. Most of the writers of the Enlightenment received royal or aristocratic patronage at the same time as they celebrated the commercial press as the means whereby authors could secure for themselves a dignified independence. Writers thought that the expanding readership of the eighteenth century was the means to the independence of those who enlightened readers. However, a tension existed between the objectives of enlightening readers and of ensuring wide readership...

  15. Notes
    (pp. 195-246)
  16. Bibliography
    (pp. 247-270)
  17. Index
    (pp. 271-284)