Baron d'Holbach
Max Pearson Cushing

Part 1 out of 3

Baron D'Holbach: A Study of Eighteenth Century Radicalism in France
by Max Pearson Cushing (27-Oct-1886 to 12-Jan-1951)
Originally published 1914

This e-text transcribed by David Ross

Proofed by Richard Farris

A Study of Eighteenth Century Radicalism in France



Submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements
for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, in
the Faculty of Political Science,
Columbia University

New York

Press of
The New Era Printing Company
Lancaster, PA




Early Letters to John Wilkes.

Holbach's family.

Relations with Diderot, Rousseau, Hume, Garrick
and other important persons of the century.

Estimate of Holbach. His character and personality.


Miscellaneous Works.

Translations of German Scientific Works.

Translations of English Deistical Writers.

Boulanger's _Antiquité dévoilée_.

Original Works: _Le Christianisme devoilé_.
_Théologie portative_.
_La Contagion sacrée_.
_Essai sur les préjugés_.
_Le bons-sens_.


Voltaire's correspondence on the subject.

Goethe's sentiment.

Refutations and criticisms.

Holbach's philosophy.


Five unpublished letters to John Wilkes.



Part I. Editions of Holbach's works in Chronological Order.

Part II. General Bibliography.


A une extréme justesse d'esprit il joignait une simplicité
de moeurs tout-à-fait antique et patriarcale.

J. A. Naigeon, _Journal de Paris_, le 9 fev. 1789


Diderot, writing to the Princess Dashkoff in 1771, thus analysed
the spirit of his century:

Chaque siècle a son esprit qui le caractérise. L'esprit du nôtre
semble être celui de la liberté. La première attaque contre la
superstition a été violente, sans mesure. Une fois que les hommes
ont osé d'une manière quelconque donner l'assaut à la barrière de
la religion, cette barrière la plus formidable qui existe comme la
plus respectée, il est impossible de s'arrêter. Dès qu'ils ont tourné
des regards menaçants contre la majesté du ciel, ils ne manqueront
pas le moment d'après de les diriger contre la souveraineté de la
terre. Le câble qui tient et comprime l'humanité est formé de deux
cordes, l'une ne peut céder sans que l'autre vienne à rompre.
[Endnote 1:1]

The following study proposes to deal with this attack on religion
that preceded and helped to prepare the French Revolution. Similar
phenomena are by no means rare in the annals of history;
eighteenth-century atheism, however, is of especial interest,
standing as it does at the end of a long period of theological
and ecclesiastical disintegration and prophesying a reconstruction
of society on a purely rational and naturalistic basis. The
anti-theistic movement has been so obscured by the less thoroughgoing
tendency of deism and by subsequent romanticism that the real
issue in the eighteenth century has been largely lost from view.
Hence it has seemed fit to center this study about the man who
stated the situation with the most unmistakable and uncompromising
clearness, and who still occupies a unique though obscure position
in the history of thought.

Holbach has been very much neglected by writers on the eighteenth
century. He has no biographer. M. Walferdin wrote (in an edition
of Diderot's Works, Paris, 1821, Vol. XII p. 115): "Nous nous
occupons depuis longtemps à rassembler les matériaux qui doivent
servir à venger la mémoire du philosophe de la patrie de Leibnitz,
et dans l'ouvrage que nous nous proposons de publier sous le titre
"D'Holbach jugé par ses contemporains" nous espérons faire justement
apprécier ce savant si estimable par la profondeur et la variété de
ses connaissances, si précieux à sa famille et à ses amis par la
pureté et la simplicité de ses moeurs, en qui la vertu était devenue
une habitude et la bienfaisance un besoin." This work has never
appeared and M. Tourneux thinks that nothing of it was found among
M. Walferdin's papers. [2:2] In 1834 Mr. James Watson published
in an English translation of the _Système de la Nature_,
_A Short Sketch of the Life and the Writings of Baron d'Holbach_
by Mr. Julian Hibbert, compiled especially for that edition from
Saint Saurin's article in Michaud's _Biographie Universelle_
(Paris, 1817, Vol. XX, pp. 460-467), from Barbier's _Dict. des
ouvrages anonymes_ (Paris, 1822) and from the preface to the Paris
edition of the _Système de la Nature_ (4 vols., 18mo, 1821). This
sketch was later published separately (London, 1834, 12mo, pp. 14)
but on account of the author's sudden death it was left unfinished
and is of no value from the point of view of scholarship. Another
attempt to publish something on Holbach was made by Dr. Anthony
C. Middleton of Boston in 1857. In the preface to his translation
to the _Lettres à Eugenia_ he speaks of a "Biographical Memoir of
Baron d'Holbach which I am now preparing for the press." If ever
published at all this _Memoir_ probably came to light in the
_Boston Investigator_, a free-thinking magazine published by
Josiah P. Mendum, 45 Cornhill, Boston, but it is not to be found.
Mention should also be made of the fact that M. Assézat intended
to include in a proposed study of Diderot and the philosophical
movement, a chapter to be devoted to Holbach and his society; but
this work has never appeared. [3:3]

Of the two works bearing Holbach's name as a title, one is a piece
of libellous fiction by Mme. de Genlis, _Les Diners du baron d'Holbach_
(Paris, 1822, 8vo), the other a romance pure and simple by
F. T. Claudon (Paris, 1835, 2 vols., 8vo) called _Le Baron d'Holbach_,
the events of which take place largely at his house and in which he
plays the rôle of a minor character. A good account of Holbach,
though short and incidental, is to be found in M. Avézac-Lavigne's
_Diderot et la Société du Baron d'Holbach_ (Paris, 1875, 8vo), and
M. Armand Gasté has a little book entitled _Diderot et le cure
de Montchauvet, une Mystification littéraire chez le Baron d'Holbach_
(Paris, 1895, 16vo). There are several works which devote a chapter
or section to Holbach. [3:4] The French critics and the histories of
philosophy contain slight notices; Rosenkranz's "Diderot's Leben"
devotes a chapter to Granval, Holbach's country seat, and life there
as described by Diderot in his letters to Mlle. Volland; and he is
included in such histories of ideas as Soury, J., "Bréviaire
de l'histoire de Matérialisme" (Paris, 1881) and Delvaille, J.,
_Essai sur l'histoire de l'idée de progrès_ (Paris, 1910); but
nowhere else is there anything more than the merest encyclopedic
account, often defective and incorrect.

The sources are in a sense full and reliable for certain phases of
his life and literary activity. His own publications, numbering
about fifty, form the most important body of source material for
the history and development of his ideas. Next in importance are
contemporary memoirs and letters including those of Voltaire,
Rousseau, Diderot, Grimm, Morellet, Marmontel, Mme. d'Epinay,
Naigeon, Garat, Galiani, Hume, Garrick, Wilkes, Romilly and others;
and scattered letters by Holbach himself, largely to his English
friends. In addition there is a large body of contemporary hostile
criticism of his books, by Voltaire, Frederick II, Castillon,
Holland, La Harpe, Delisle de Sales and a host of outraged
ecclesiastics, so that one is well informed in regard to the
scandal that his books caused at the time. Out of these materials
and other scattered documents and notices it is possible to
reconstruct--though somewhat defectively--the figure of a man who
played an important rôle in his own day; but whose name has long
since lost its significance--even in the ears of scholars. It is
at the suggestion of Professor James Harvey Robinson that this
reconstruction has been made. If it shall prove of any interest
or value he must be credited with the initiation of the idea as
well as constant aid in its realization. For rendering possible
the necessary investigations, recognition is due to the administration
and officers of the Bibliothèque Nationale, the British Museum, the
Library of Congress, the Libraries of Columbia and Harvard
Universities, Union and Andover Theological Seminaries, and the
Public Libraries of Boston and New York.

M. P. C.

July, 1914.


Paul Heinrich Dietrich, or as he is better known, Paul-Henri Thiry,
baron d'Holbach, was born in January, 1723, in the little village
of Heidelsheim (N.W. of Carlsruhe) in the Palatinate. Of his
parentage and youth nothing is known except that his father, a rich
parvenu, according to Rousseau, [5:5] brought him to Paris at the
age of twelve, where he received the greater part of his education.
His father died when Holbach was still a young man. It may be
doubted if young Holbach inherited his title and estates immediately
as there was an uncle "Messire Francois-Adam, Baron d'Holbach,
Seigneur de Héeze, Léende et autres Lieux" who lived in the rue
Neuve S. Augustin and died in 1753. His funeral was held at
Saint-Roch, his parish church, Thursday, September 16th, where he was
afterward entombed. [5:6] Holbach was a student in the University
of Leyden in 1746 and spent a good deal of time at his uncle's estate
at Héeze, a little town in the province of North Brabant (S.E. of
Eindhoven). He also traveled and studied in Germany. There are two
manuscript letters in the British Museum (Folio 30867, pp. 14, 18, 20)
addressed by Holbach to John Wilkes, which throw some light on his
school-days. It is interesting to note that most of Holbach's friends
were young Englishmen of whom there were some twenty-five at the
University of Leyden at that time. [6:7] Already at the age of
twenty-three Holbach was writing very good English, and all his life
he was a friend of Englishmen and English ideas. His friendship for
Wilkes, then a lad of nineteen, lasted all his life and increased in
intimacy and dignity. The two letters following are of interest
because they are the only documents we have bearing on Holbach's early
manhood. They reveal a certain sympathy and feeling--rather gushing
to be sure--quite unlike anything in his later writings, and quite
out of line with the supposedly cold temper of a materialist and an

[Footnote: These letters, contrary to modern usage, are printed with all
the peculiarities of eighteenth century orthography. It was felt that
they would lose their quaintness and charm if Holbach's somewhat
fantastic English were trifled with or his spelling, capitalization
and punctuation modernized.]


HÉEZE Aug. 9, 1746

_Dearest Friend_

I should not have felt by half enough the pleasure your kind letter
gave me, If I had words to express it; I never doubted of your
friendship, nor I hope do you know me so little as to doubt of
mine, but your letter is full of such favorable sentiments to me
that I must own I cannot repay them but by renewing to you the
entire gift of my heart that has been yours ever since heaven
favour'd me with your acquaintance. I need not tell you the
sorrow our parting gave me, in vain Philosophy cried aloud nature
was still stronger and the philosopher was forced to yield to the
friend, even now I feel the wound is not cur'd. Therefore no more
of that--_Hope_ is my motto. Telling me you are happy you make me
so but in the middle of your happiness you dont forget your friend,
What flattering thought to me! Such are the charms of friendship
every event is shar'd and nothing nor even the greatest intervals
are able to interrupt the happy harmony of truly united minds. I
left Leyden about 8 or 10 days after you but before my departure I
thought myself obliged to let Mr Dowdenwell know what you told me,
he has seen the two letters Mr Johnson had received and I have been
mediator of ye peace made betwixt the 2 parties, I don't doubt but
you have seen by this time Messrs Bland & Weatherill who were to set
out for Engelland the same week I parted with them. When I was leaving
Leyden Mr Vernon happen'd to tell me he had a great mind to make a trip
to Spa. So my uncles' estate being on ye road I desir'd him to come
along with me, he has been here a week and went on afterwards in his
journey, at my arrival here, I found that General Count Palfi
with an infinite number of military attendants had taken possession
of my uncles' house, and that the 16 thousd men lately come from
Germany to strengthen the allies army, commanded by Count Bathiani
and that had left ye neighborhood of Breda a few days before and
was come to Falkenswert (where you have past in your journey to Spa)
one hour from hence. Prince Charles arrived here the same day from
Germany to take ye command of the allies, the next Day the whole army
amounting to 70thd men went on towards the county of Liège to prevent
the French from beseiging Namur, I hear now that the two armies are
only one hour from another, so we expect very soon the news of a great
battle but not without fear, Count Saxes army being, by all account of
hundred ten thoud. men besides. Prince Counti's army of 50 thd. this
latter General is now employ'd at the siege of Charleroy. that can't
resist a long while, it is a report that the King of France is arrived
in his army, I hope this long account will entertain you for want of
news papers: Mr. Dowdeswell being left alone of our club at Leyden
I Desir'd him to come and spend with me the time of his vacations
here, which proposal I hope he will accept and be here next week.
What happy triumvirat would be ours if you were to join: but that is
impossible at present; however those who cant enjoy reality are fond
of feeding their fancies with agreable Dreams and charming pictures;
that helps a little to sooth the sorrow of absence and makes one expect
with more pati[ence] till fortune allows him to put in execution the
cherish'd systems he has been fed upon fore some [time] I shall expect
with great many thanks the books you are to send me; it will be for me
a dubble pleasure to read them, being of your choice which I value as
much as it deserves, and looking at them as upon a new proof of your
benevolence, as to those I design'd to get from Paris for you, I heard
I could not get them before my uncles' return hither all commerce being
stopt by the way betwixt this country and France.

A few days before my departure from Leyden I receiv'd a letter from
Mr Freeman from Berlin, he seams vastly pleas'd with our Germany, and
chiefly with Hambourg where a beautiful lady has taken in his heart
the room of poor Mss. Vitsiavius, my prophesy was just; traveling
seems to have alter'd a good deal his melancholy disposition as I may
conjecture by his way of writing. He desired his service to you. As
to me, Idleness renders me every day more philosopher every passion
is languishing within me, I retain but one in a warm degree, viz,
friendship in which you share no small part. I took a whim to study
a little Physic accordingly I purchased several books in that Way, and
my empty hours here are employ'd with them. I am sure your time will
be much better employ'd at Alesbury you'll find there a much nobler
entertainment Cupid is by far Lovlier than Esculapius, however I shall
not envy your happiness, in the Contrary I wish that all your desires
be crown'd with success, that a Passion that proves fatal to great many
of men be void of sorrow for you, that all the paths of love be spred
over with flowers in one Word that you may not address in vain to the
charming Mss. M. I am almost tempted to fall in love with that
unknown beauty, 't would not be quite like Don Quixotte for your
liking to her would be for me a very strong prejudice of her merit,
which the poor Knight had not in his love for Dulcinea.

I shall not ask your pardon for the length of this letter I am sure
friendship will forgive the time I steal to Love however I cannot
give up so easily a conversation with a true friend with whom I fancy
to speak yet in one of those delightfull evening walks at Leyden. It
is a dream, I own it, but it is so agreable one to me that nothing
but reality could be compared to the pleasure I feel: let me therefore
insist a little more upon't and travel with my Letter, we are gone! I
think to be at Alesbury! there I see my Dear Wilkes! What a Flurry of
Panions! Joy! fear of a second parting! what charming tears! what
sincere Kisses!--but time flows and the end of this Love is now as
unwelcome to me, as would be to another to be awaken'd in the middle
of a Dream wherein he is going to enjoy a beloved mistress; the
enchantment ceases, the delightfull images vanish, and nothing is left
to me but friendship, which is of all my possessions the fairest, and
the surest, I am most sincerely Dear Wilkes

Your affectionate friend and humble servant
Heze the 9th august 1746 N. S.

I shall expect with impatience the letter you are to write me from
Alesbury. Will it be here very soon!

[HÉEZE Dec. 3rd. 1746]

_Dearest Wilkes_

During a little voyage I have made into Germany I have received your
charming letter of the 8th. September O. S. the many affairs I have
been busy with for these 3 months has hindered me hitherto from
returning to you as speedy an answer as I should have done. I know
too much your kindness for me to make any farther apology and I hope
you are enough acquainted with the sincerety of my friendship towards
you to adscribe my fault to forgetfulness or want of gratitude be
sure, Dear friend, that such a disposition will allways be unknown
to me in regard to you. I don't doubt but you will be by this time
returned at London, the winter season being an obstacle to the
pleasures you have enjoyed following ye Letter at Alesbury during
the last Autumn. I must own I have felt a good deal of pride when
you gave me the kind assurance that love has not made you forget an
old friend, I need not tell you my disposition. I hope you know it
well enough and like my friendship for you has no bounds I want
expressions to show it. Mr Dowdeswell has been so good as to let me
enjoy his company here in the month of August, and returned to Leyden
to pursue his studies in the middle of September. We often wished
your company and made sincere libations to you with burgundy and
Champaigne I had a few weeks there after I set out for Germany where
I expected to spend the whole winter but the sudden death of my
Uncle's Steward has forced me to come back here to put in order the
affairs of this estate, I don't know how long I shall be obliged to
stay in the meanwhile I act pretty well the part of a County Squire,
id est, hunting, shooting, fishing, walking every day without to
lay aside the ever charming conversation of Horace Virgil Homer and
all our noble friends of the Elysian fields. They are allways faithfull
to me, with their aid I find very well how to employ my time, but I want
in this country a true bosom friend like my dear Wilkes to converse
with, but my pretenssions are too high, for every abode with such a
company would be heaven for me.

I perceive by your last letter that your hopes are very like to
succeed by Mss Mead, you are sure that every happines that can
befall to you will make me vastly happy. I beseech you therefore
to let me know everytime how far you are gone, I take it to be a
very good omen for you, that your lovely mistress out of compliance
has vouchsafed to learn a harsh high-dutch name, which would otherwise
have made her starttle, at the very hearing of it. I am very thankful
for her kind desire of seeing me in Engelland which I dont wish the
less but you know my circumstances enough, to guess that I cannot
follow my inclinations. I have not heard hitherto anything about
the books you have been so kind as to send me over by the opportunity
of a friend. I have wrote about it to Msrs Conrad et Bouwer of
Rotterdam, they answered that they were not yet there. Nevertheless
I am very much oblided to you for your kindness and wish to find very
soon the opportunity of my revenge. Mr Dowderswell complains very much
of Mrs Bland and Weatherill, having not heard of them since their
departure from Leyden. I desire my compliments to Mr Dyer and all
our old acquaintances. Pray be so good as to direct your first
letter under the covert of Mr Dowderwell at Ms Alliaume's at Leyden
he shall send it to me over immediately, no more at Mr Van Sprang's
like you used to do. I wish to know if Mr Lyson since his return to
his native country, continues in his peevish cross temper. If you
have any news besides I'll be glad to hear them by your next which
I expect very soon.

About politicks I cannot tell you anything at present, you have heard
enough by this time the fatal battle fought near Liège in 8ber last;
everybody has little hopes of the Congress of Breda, the Austrian and
Piedmontese are entered into provence, which is not as difficult as to
maintain themselves therein, I wish a speedy peace would enable us both
to see the rejoicings that will attend the marriage of the Dauphin of
France with a Princess of Saxony. I have heard that peace is made
between England and Spain, which you ought to know better than I.
We fear very much for the next campaign the siege of Maestrich in
our neighborhood. These are all the news I know. I'll tell you
another that you have known a long while viz. that nobody is with
more sincerity My Dear Wilkes

Your faithfull humble Servant and Friend
Heeze the 3 d Xber 1746 ns

By 1750 Holbach was established in Paris as a young man of the world.
His fortune, his learning, his sociability attracted the younger
literary set toward him. In 1749 he was already holding his Thursday
dinners which later became so famous. Among his early friends were
Diderot, Rousseau and Grimm. With them he took the side of the
Italian _Opera buffa_ in the famous musical quarrel of 1752, and
published two witty brochures ridiculing French music. [12:9] He was
an art connoisseur and bought Oudry's _Chienne allaitant ses petits_,
the _chef d'oeuvre_ of the Salon of 1753. [12:10] During these years
he was hard at work at his chosen sciences of chemistry and mineralogy.
In 1752 he published in a huge volume in quarto with excellent plates,
a translation of Antonio Neri's _Art of Glass making_, and in 1753 a
translation of Wallerius' _Mineralogy_. On July 26, 1754, the Academy
of Berlin made him a foreign associate in recognition of his scholarly
attainments in Natural History, [12:11] and later he was elected to the
Academies of St. Petersburg and Mannheim.

All that was now lacking to this brilliant young man was an attractive
wife to rule over his salon. His friends urged him to wed, and in 1753
he married Mlle. Basile-Genevieve-Susanne d'Aine, daughter of "Maître
Marius-Jean-Baptiste Nicolas d'Aine, conseiller au Roi en son grand
conseil, associé externe de l'Acad. des sciences et belles letters
de Prusse." [12:12] M. d'Aine was also Maître des Requêtes and a man
of means. Mme. d'Holbach was a very charming and gracious woman and
Holbach's good fortune seemed complete when suddenly Mme. d'Holbach
died from a most loathsome and painful disease in the summer of 1754.
Holbach was heart-broken and took a trip through the provinces with
his friend Grimm, to whom he was much attached, to distract his mind
from his grief. He returned in the early winter and the next year
(1755) got a special dispensation from the Pope to marry his deceased
wife's sister, Mlle. Charlotte-Susanne d'Aine. By her he had four
children, two sons and two daughters. The first, Charles-Marius,
was born about the middle of August, 1757, and baptized in
Saint-Germain-l'Auxerrois, Aug. 22. He inherited the family title
and was a captain in the regiment of the Schomberg-Dragons. [13:13]
The first daughter was born towards the end of 1758 and the second
about the middle of Jan., 1760. [13:14] The elder married the
Marquis de Châtenay and the younger the Marquis de Nolivos,
"Captaine au régiment de la Seurre, Dragons." Their Majesties the
King and Queen and the Royal Family signed their marriage contract
May 27, 1781. [13:15] Of the second son there seem to be no traces.
Holbach's mother-in-law, Madame d'Aine, was a very interesting old
woman as she is pictured in Diderot's _Mémoires_, and there was a
brother-in-law, "Messire Marius-Jean-Baptiste-Nicholas d'Aine,
chevalier, conseiller du roi en ses conseils, Maître des requêtes
honoraire de son hôtel, intendant de justice, police, et finances
de la généralité de Tours," who lived in rue Saint Dominique,
paroisse Saint-Sulpice. There was in Holbach's household for a
long time an old Scotch surgeon, a homeless, misanthropic old fellow
by the name of Hope, of whom Diderot gives a most interesting
account. [14:16] These are the only names we have of the personnel
of Holbach's household. His town house was in the rue Royale, butte
Saint-Roch. It was here that for an almost unbroken period of forty
years he gave his Sunday and Thursday dinners. The latter day was
known to the more intimate set of encyclopedists as the _jour du
synagogue_. Here the _église philosophique_ met regularly to discuss
its doctrines and publish its propaganda of radicalism.

Holbach had a very pleasant country seat, the château of Grandval,
now in the arrondisement of Boissy St. Léger at Sucy-en-Brie. It
is pleasantly situated in the valley of a little stream, the Morbra,
which flows into the Marne. The property was really the estate of
Mme. d'Aine who lived with the Holbachs. Here the family and their
numerous guests passed the late summer and fall. Here Diderot spent
weeks at a time working on the Encyclopedia, dining, and walking on
the steep slopes of the Marne with congenial companions. To him we
are indebted for our intimate knowledge of Grandval and its inhabitants,
their slightest doings and conversations; and as Danou has well said,
if we were to wish ourselves back in any past age we should choose
with many others the mid-eighteenth century and the charming society
of Paris and Grandval. [14:17]

Holbach's life, in common with that of most philosophers, offers no
events, except that he came near being killed in the crush and riot
in the rue Royale that followed the fire at the Dauphin's wedding in
1770. [15:18] He was never an official personage. His entire life was
spent in study, writing and conversation with his friends. He traveled
very little; the world came to him, to the _Café de l'Europe_, as
Abbé Galiani called Paris. From time to time Holbach went to
Contrexéville for his gout and once to England to visit David Garrick;
but he disliked England very thoroughly and was glad to get back to
Paris. The events of his life in so far as there were any, were his
relations with people. He knew intimately practically all the great
men of his century, except Montesquieu and Voltaire, who were off the
stage before his day. [15:19] Holbach's most intimate and life-long
friend among the great figures of the century was Diderot, of whom
Rousseau said, "À la distance de quelques siècles du moment où il a
vécu, Diderot paraîtra un homme prodigieux; on regardera de loin
cette tête universelle avec une admiration mêlée d'étonnement, comme
nous regardons aujourd'hui la tête des Platon et des Aristote." [15:20]
All his contemporaries agreed that nothing was so charged with divine
fire as the conversation of Diderot. Gautherin, in his fine bronze
of him on the Place Saint-Germain-des-Près, seems to have caught the
spirit of his talk and has depicted him as he might have sat in the
midst of Holbach's society, of which he was the inspiration and the soul.
Holbach backed Diderot financially in his great literary and scientific
undertaking and provided articles for the Encyclopedia on chemistry
and natural science. Diderot had a high opinion of his erudition and
said of him, "Quelque système que forge mon imagination, je suis sur
que mon ami d'Holbach me trouve des faits et des autorités pour le
justifier." [16:21] Opinions differ in regard to the intellectual
influence of these men upon each other. Diderot was without doubt
the greater thinker, but Holbach stated his atheism with far greater
clarity and Diderot gave his sanction to it by embellishing Holbach's
books with a few eloquent pages of his own. Diderot said to Sir
Samuel Romilly in 1781, "Il faut _sabrer_ la théologie," [16:22] and
died in 1784 in the belief that complete infidelity was the first
step toward philosophy. Five years later Holbach was buried by his
side in the crypt of the Chapel of the Virgin behind the high altar
in Saint-Roch. No tablet marks their tombs, and although repeated
investigations have been made no light has been thrown on the exact
position of their burial place. According to Diderot's daughter,
Mme. Vandeuil, their entire correspondence has been destroyed or
lost. [16:23]

Holbach's relations with Rousseau were less harmonious. The account
of their mutual misunderstandings contained in the _Confessions_, in
a letter by Cerutti in the _Journal de Paris_ Dec. 2, 1789, and in
private letters of Holbach's to Hume, Garrick, and Wilkes, is a long
and tiresome tale. The author of _Eclaircissements relatifs à la
publication des confessions de Rousseau..._ (Paris, 1789) blames the
_club holbachique_ for their treatment of Rousseau, but the fault
seems to lie on both sides. According to Rousseau's account, Holbach
sought his friendship and for a few years he was one of Holbach's
society. But, after the success of the _Devin du Village_ in 1753,
the _holbachiens_ turned against him out of jealousy of his genius
as a composer. Visions of a dark plot against him rose before his
fevered and sensitive imagination, and after 1756 he left the Society
of the Encyclopedists, never to return. Holbach, on the other hand,
while admitting rather questionable treatment of Rousseau, never
speaks of any personal injury on his part, and bewails the fact that
"l'homme le plus éloquent s'est rendu ainsi l'homme le plus
anti-littéraire, et l'homme le plus sensible s'est rendu le plus
anti-social." [17:24] He did warn Hume against taking him to England,
and in a letter to Wilkes predicted the quarrel that took place shortly
after. In writing to Garrick [17:25] he says some hard but true things
about Rousseau, who on his part never really defamed Holbach but
depicted him as the virtuous atheist under the guise of Wolmar in
the _Nouvelle Heloïse_. Their personal incompatibility is best explained
on the grounds of the radical differences in their temperaments and
types of mind and by the fact that Rousseau was too sensitive to get
on with anybody for any great length of time.

Two other great Frenchmen, Buffon and d'Alembert, were for a time
members of Holbach's society, but, for reasons that are not altogether
clear, gradually withdrew. Grimm suggests that Buffon did not find
the young philosophers sufficiently deferential to him and to the
authorized powers, and feared for his dignity,--and safety, in
their company. D'Alembert, on the other hand, was a recluse by
nature, and, after giving up his editorship on the Encyclopedia,
easily dropped out of Diderot's society and devoted himself to
Mlle. Lespinasse and Mme. Geoffrin. Holbach and Helvetius were
life-long friends and spent much time together reading at Helvetius's
country place at Voré. After his death in 1774, Holbach frequented
Mme. Helvetius' salon where he knew and deeply influenced Volney,
Cabanis, de Tracy, and the first generation of the Ideologists who
continued his and Helvetius' philosophical doctrines. Among the
other Frenchmen of the day who were on intimate relations with
Holbach and frequented his salon were La Condamine, Condillac,
Condorcet, Turgot, Morellet, Raynal, Grimm, Marmontel, Colardeau,
Saurin, Suard, Saint-Lambert, Thomas, Duclos, Chastellux, Boulanger,
Darcet, Roux, Rouelle, Barthès, Venel, Leroy, Damilaville, Naigeon,
Lagrange and lesser names,--but well known in Paris in the eighteenth
century,--d'Alinville, Chauvelin, Desmahis, Gauffecourt, Margency,
de Croismare, de Pezay, Coyer, de Valory, Charnoi, not to mention a
host of others.

Among Holbach's most intimate English friends were Hume, Garrick,
Wilkes, Sterne, Gibbon, Horace Walpole, Adam Smith, Benjamin Franklin,
Dr. Priestley, Lord Shelburne, Gen. Barré, Gen. Clark, Sir James
MacDonald, Dr. Gem, Messrs. Stewart, Demster, Fordyce, Fitzmaurice,
Foley, etc. Holbach addressed a letter to Hume in 1762, before making
his acquaintance, in which he expressed his admiration of his
philosophy and the desire to know him personally. [18:26] In 1764
Hume came to Paris as secretary of the British Embassy and
immediately called on Holbach and became a regular frequenter of
his salon. It was to Holbach that he wrote first on the outbreak
of his quarrel with Rousseau and they corresponded at length in
egard to the publication of the _Exposé succinct_, which was to
justify Hume in the eyes of the French. Hume and Holbach had much
in common intellectually, although the latter was far more
thoroughgoing in his repudiation of Theism.

David Garrick and his wife were frequent visitors at the rue
Royale on their trips to Paris where they were very much liked by
Holbach's society. Nothing is more cordial or gracious than the
compliments passed between them in their subsequent correspondence.
There are two published letters from Holbach in Mr. Hedgecock's recent
study of Garrick and his French friends, excellent examples of the
happy spontaneity and sympathy that were characteristic of French
sociability in the eighteenth century. [19:27] Holbach in turn
spent several months with Garrick at Hampton.

Holbach's early friendship for Wilkes has already been mentioned.
Wilkes spent a great deal of time in Paris on the occasion of his
exiles from England and became very intimate with Holbach. They
corresponded up to the very end of Holbach's life and there was a
constant interchange of friendly offices between them. [19:28]
Miss Wilkes, who spent much time in Paris, was a very good friend
of Mme. Holbach and Mlle. Helvetius. Adam Smith often dined at
Holbach's with Turgot and the economists; Gibbon also found his
dinners agreeable except for the dogmatism of the atheists; Walpole
resented it also and kept away. Priestley seems to have gotten on
very well, although the philosophers found his materialism and
unitarianism a trifle inconsistent. It was at Holbach's that
Shelburne met Morellet with whom he carried on a long and serious
correspondence on economics. There seem to be no details of Holbach's
relations with Franklin, who was evidently more assiduous at the
salon of Mme. Helvetius whom he desired to marry.

Holbach's best friend among the Italians was Abbé Galiani, secretary
of the Neapolitan Embassy, who spent ten years in the salons of Paris.
After his return to Naples his longing for Paris led him to a voluminous
correspondence with his French friends including Holbach. A few of
their letters are extant. Beccaria also came to Paris at the
invitation of the translator of his _Crimes and Punishments_,
Abbé Morellet, made on behalf of Holbach and his society. Beccaria and
his friend Veri, who accompanied him, had long been admirers of French
philosophy, and the Frenchmen found much to admire in Beccaria's book.
One _avocat-général_, M. Servan of the Parlement of Bordeaux, a friend
of Holbach's, tried to put his reforms in practice and shared the
fate of most reformers. Holbach was also in correspondence with
Beccaria, and one of his letters has been published in M. Landry's
recent study of Beccaria.

Among the other Italians whom Holbach befriended were Paulo Frizi,
the mathematician; Dr. Gatti; Pincini, the musician; and Mme. Riccoboni,
ex-actress and novelist; whose lively correspondence with Garrick
whom she met at Holbach's sheds much light on the social relations of
the century.

Among the other foreigners who were friends or acquaintances of Holbach
were his fellow countrymen, Frederich Melchon Grimm, like himself a
naturalized Frenchman and the bosom friend of Diderot; Meister, his
collaborator in the _Literary Correspondence_; Kohant, a Bohemian
musician, composer, of the _Bergère des Alpes_ and Mme. Holbach's
lute-teacher; Baron Gleichen, Comte de Creutz, Danish and Scandinavian
diplomats; and a number of German nobles; the hereditary princes of
Brunswick and Saxe Gotha, Baron Alaberg, afterwards elector of Mayence,
Baron Schomberg and Baron Studitz.

Among the well known women of the century Holbach was most intimate
with Mme. d'Epinay, who became a very good friend of Mme. Holbach's
and was present at the birth of her first son, and, in her will, left
her a portrait by Rembrandt. He was also a friend of Mme. Geoffrin,
attended her salon, and knew Mlle. de Lespinasse, Mme. Houderot and
most of the important women of the day.

There are excellent sources from which to form an estimate of this
man whose house was the social centre of the century. Just after
Holbach's death on January 21, 1789, Naigeon, his literary agent,
who had lived on terms of the greatest intimacy with him for
twenty-four years, wrote a long eulogy which filled the issue of
the _Journal de Paris_ for Feb. 9. There was another letter to
the _Journal_ on Feb. 12. Grimm's _Correspondance Littéraire_ for
March contains a long account of him by Meister, and there are other
notices in contemporary memoirs such as Morellet's and Marmontel's.
All these accounts agree in picturing him as the most admirable of men.

It must be remembered that Holbach always enjoyed what was held to be
a considerable fortune in his day. From his estates in Westphalia he
had a yearly income of 60,000 _livres_ which he spent in entertaining.
This freedom from economic pressure gave him leisure to devote his
time to his chosen intellectual pursuits and to his friends. He was
a universally learned man. He knew French, German, English, Italian
and Latin extremely well and had a fine private library of about
three thousand works often of several volumes each, in these languages
and in Greek and Hebrew. The catalogue of this library was published
by Debure in 1789. It would be difficult to imagine a more
comprehensive and complete collection of its size. He had also a
rich collection of drawings by the best masters, fine pictures of
which he was a connoisseur, bronzes, marbles, porcelains and a natural
history cabinet, so in vogue in those days, containing some very
valuable specimens. He was one of the most learned men of his day
in natural science, especially chemistry and mineralogy, and to his
translations from the best German scientific works is largely due
the spread of scientific learning in France in the eighteenth
century. Holbach was also very widely read in English theology and
philosophy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries and derived his
anti-theological inspiration from these two sources. To this vast fund
of learning, he joined an extreme modesty and simplicity. He sought
no academic honors, published all his works anonymously, and, had it
not been for the pleasure he took in communicating his ideas to his
friends, no one would have suspected his great erudition. He had an
extraordinary memory and the reputation of never forgetting anything
of interest. This plenitude of information, coupled with his easy and
pleasant manner of talking, made his society much sought after. Naigeon
said of him (in his preface to the works of Lagrange):

Personne n'était plus communicatif que M. le baron d'Holbach; personne
ne prenait aux progrès de la raison un intérêt plus vif, plus sincère,
et ne s'occupait avec plus de zèle et l'activité des moyens de les

Également versé dans la plupart des matières sur lesquelles il
importe le plus à des êtres raisonnables d'avoir une opinion arrêtée,
M. le baron d'Holbach portait dans leur discussion un jugement sain,
une logique sévère, et une analyse exacte et précise. Quelque fut
l'objet de ses entretiens avec ses amis, ou même avec des indifférens,
tels qu'en offrent plus ou moins toutes les sociétés; il inspirait
sans effort à ceux qui l'écoutaient l'enthousiasme de l'art ou de la
science dont il parlait; et on ne le quittait jamais sans regretter
de n'avoir pas cultivé la branche particulière de connaissances qui
avait fait le sujet de la conversation, sans désirer d'être plus
instruit, plus éclairé, et surtout sans admirer la claret, la justesse
de son esprit, et l'ordre dans lequel il savait présenter ses idées.

This virtue of communicativeness, of _sociabilité_, Holbach carried
into all the relations of life. He was always glad to lend or give
his books to anyone who could make use of them. "Je suis riche," he
used to say, "mais je ne vois dans la fortune qu'un instrument de plus
pour opérer le bien plus promptement et plus efficacement." In fact
Holbach's whole principle of life and action was to increase the
store of human well being. And he did this without any religious
motive whatsoever. As Julie says of Wolmar in _La Nouvelle Heloïse_,
"Il fait le bien sans espoir de récompense, il est plus vertueux,
plus désintéressé que nous." There are many recorded instances
of Holbach's gracious benevolence. As he said to Helvetius,
"Vous êtes brouillé avec tous ceux que vous avez obligé, mais j'ai
gardé tous mes amis." Holbach had the faculty of attaching people
to him. Diderot tells how at the Salon of 1753 after Holbach had
bought Oudry's famous picture, all the collectors who had passed it
by came to him and offered him twice what he paid for it. Holbach
went to find the artist to ask him permission to cede the picture
to his profit, but Oudry refused, saying that he was only too happy
that his best work belonged to the man who was the first to appreciate
it. Instances of Holbach's liberality to Kohant, a poor musician,
and to Suard, a poor literary man, are to be found in the pages of
Diderot and Meister, and his constant generosity to his friends is
a commonplace in their Memoirs and Correspondence. Only Rousseau was
ungrateful enough to complain that Holbach's free-handed gifts insulted
his poverty. His kindness to Lagrange, a young literary man whom he
rescued from want, has been well told by M. Naigeon in the preface to
the works of Lagrange (p. xviii).

But perhaps the most touching instances of Holbach's benevolence
are his relations with the peasants of Contrexéville, one of which
was published in the _Journal de Lecture_, 1775, the other in an
anonymous letter to the _Journal de Paris_, Feb. 12, 1789. The
first concerns the reconciliation of two old peasants who, not
wanting to go to court, brought their differences to their respected
friend for a settlement. Nothing is more simple and beautiful than
this homely tale as told in a letter of Holbach's to a friend of his.
The second, which John Wilkes said ought to be written in letters of
gold, deserves to be reproduced as a whole.

L'éloge funèbre que M. Naigeon a consacré à la mémoire de M. le
Baron d'Holbach suffit pour donner une idée juste de ses lumières,
mais le hasard m'a mis à portée de les juger encore mieux. J'ai vu
M. le Baron d'Holbach dans deux voyages que j'ai faits aux eaux de
Contrexéville. S'occuper de sa souffrance et de sa guérison, c'est
le soin de chaque malade. M. le Baron d'Holbach devenait le médecin,
l'ami, le consolateur de quiconque venait aux eaux et il semblait bien
moins occupé de ses infirmités que de celles des autres. Lorsque des
malades indigens manquaient de secours, ou pécuniaires ou curatifs, il
les leur procurait avec un plaisir qui lui faisait plus de bien que
les eaux. Je me promenais un soir avec lui sur une hauteur couverte
d'un massif de bois qui fait perspective de loin et près duquel s'élève
un petit Hermitage. Là, demeure un cénobite qui n'a de revenu que
les aumônes de ceux dont il reçoit les visites. Nous acquittâmes
chacun notre dette hospitalière. En prenant congé de l'Hermite,
M. le Baron d'Holbach me dit de le précéder un instant et qu'il
allait me suivre. Je le précédai, et comme il ne me suivait pas
je m'arrêtai, pour l'attendre sur un terte exhaussé d'où l'on découvre
tout le pays. Je contemplais le canton que je dominais, plongé dans
une douce rêverie. J'en fus tiré par des cris et je me retournai
vers l'endroit d'òu ils partaient. Je vis M. le Baron d'Holbach
environné d'une vieille femme et de deux villageois, l'un vieux
comme elle et l'autre jeune. Tous trois, les larmes aux yeux,
l'embrassaient hautement. Allez vous-en donc, s'écrait M. le
Baron d'Holbach; laissez moi, on m'attend, ne me suivez pas, adieu;
je reviendrai l'année prochaine. En me voyant arriver vers eux,
les trois personnes reconnaissantes disparurent. Je lui demandai
le sujet de tant de bénédictions. Ce jeune paysan que vous avez vu
s'etait engagé, j'ai obtenu de son colonel sa liberté en payant les
cents écus prescrits par l'ordonnance. Il est amoureux d'une jeune
paysanne aussi pauvre que lui, je viens d'acheter pour eux un petit
bien qui m'a coûté huit cent francs. Le vieux père est perclus, aux
deux bras, de rhumatismes, je lui ai fourni trois boîtes du baume
des Valdejeots, si estimé en ce pays-ci. La vieille mère est sujetté
à des maux d'estomac, et je lui ai apporté un pot de confection
d'hyacinthe. Ils travaillaient dans le champ, voisin du bois, je suis
allé les voir tandis que vous marchiez en avant. Ils m'ont suivi
malgré moi. Ne parlez de cela à personne. On dirait que je veux
faire le généreux et le bon philosophe, mais je ne suis que humain,
et mes charités sont la plus agréable dépense de mes voyages.

This humanity of Holbach's is the very keynote of his character and
of his intellectual life as well. As M. Walferdin has said, the
denial of the supernatural was for him the base of all virtue, and
resting on this principle, he exemplified social qualities that do the
greatest honor to human nature. He and Madame Holbach are the only
conspicuous examples of conjugal fidelity and happiness among all the
people that one has occasion to mention in a study of the intellectual
and literary circles of the eighteenth century. They were devoted to
each other, to their children and to their friends. Considering the
traits of Holbach's character that have been cited, there can scarcely
be two opinions in regard to completeness with which he realized his
ideal of humanity and sociability. M. Naigeon has well summed up in
a few words Holbach's relation to the only duties that he recognized,
"He was a good husband, a good father and a good friend."


Holbach's published works, with the exception of a few scattered ones,
may be divided into three classes, viz., translations of German
scientific works, translations of English deistical writings, and his
own works on theology, philosophy, politics and morals. Those which
fall into none of these categories can be dealt with very summarily.
They are:

1. Two pamphlets on the musical dispute of 1752; _Lettre à une dame
d'un certain âge sur l'état présent de l'Opéra_, (8vo, pp. 11) and
_Arrêt rendu à l'amphithéâtre de l'Opéra_, (8vo, pp. 16,) both directed
against French music and in line with Grimm's _Petit Prophète_ and
Rousseau's _Lettre sur la musique française_.

2. A translation in prose of Akenside's _The Pleasures of Imagination_
(Paris, 1759, 8vo).

3. A translation of Swift's _History of the Reign of Queen Anne_ in
collaboration with M. Eidous (Amsterdam, 1765, 12mo, pp. xxiv + 416).

4. Translations of an _Ode on Human Life_ and a _Hymn to the Sun_
in the _Variétés littéraires_ (1768).

5. Articles on natural science in the _Encyclopédie_ and article
_Prononciation des langues_ in the _Dictionnaire de Grammaire_
of the _Encyclopédie méthodique_.

6. Translation of Wallerius' _Agriculture reduced to its true
principles_ (Paris, 1774, 12mo).

7. Two _Facéties philosophiques_ published in Grimm's _Correspondence
Littéraire. _L'Abbé et le Rabbin_, and _Essai sur l'art de ramper,
à l'usage des courtisans_.

8. Parts of Raynal's _Histoire philosophique des deux Indes_.

9. Notes to Lagrange's _Vie de Senèque_.

Holbach's translations of German scientific works are as follows:
(Complete titles to be found in Bibliography, Pt. I.)

1. _Art de la Verrerie de Neri, Merret, et Kunckel_ (Paris, Durand,
1752). Original work in Italian. Latin translation by
Christopher Merret. German translation by J. Kunckel of Löwenstern.
Holbach's translation comprises the seven books of Antionio Neri,
Merret's notes on Neri, Kunckel's observations on both these authors,
his own experiments and others relative to glass-making. The translation
was dedicated to Malesherbes who had desired to see the best German
scientific works published in French. In his _Préface du Traducteur_
Holbach writes:

L'envie de me rendre utile, dont tout citoyen doit être animé, m'a
fait entreprendre l'ouvrage que je présente au Public. S'il a le
bonheur de mériter son approbation, quoiqu'il y ait peu de gloire
attachée au travail ingrat et fastidieux d'un Traducteur, je me
déterminerai à donner les meilleurs ouvrages allemands, sur
l'Histoire Naturelle, la Minéralogie, la Métallurgie et la Chymie.
Tout le monde sait que l'Allemagne possede en ce genre des trésors
qui ont été jusqu'ici comme enfouis pour la France.

2. _Minéralogie ou Description générale du règne mineral par
J. G. Wallerius_ (Paris, Durand, 1753) followed by _Hydrologie_
by the same author. Second edition, Paris, Herrissant, 1759.
Originally in Swedish (Wallerius was a professor of chemistry
in the University of Upsala). German translation by J. D. Denso,
Professor of Chemistry, Stargard, Pomerania. Holbach's translation
was made from the German edition which Wallerius considered
preferable to the Swedish. He was assisted by Bernard de Jussien
and Rouelle, and the work was dedicated to a friend and co-worker
in the natural sciences, Monsieur d'Arclais de Montamy.

3. _Introduction à la Minéralogie... oeuvre posthume de
M. J. F. Henckel_, Paris, Cavelier, 1756, first published under title
_Henckelius in Mineralogiâ redivivus_, Dresden, 1747, by his pupil,
M. Stephani, as an outline of his lectures. Holbach's translation
made from a German edition, corrected, with notes on new discoveries

4. _Chimie métallurgique... par M. C. Gellert_. Paris, Briasson,
1758, translated earlier. Approbation May 1, 1753, Privilege
Dec. 21, 1754. Originally a text written by Gellert for four
artillery officers whom the King of Sardinia sent to Freyburg to
learn mining-engineering.

5. _Traités de physique, d'histoire naturelle, de mineralogy et
de métallurgie_. Paris, Herrissant, 1759, by J. G. Lehmann, three
vols. I. L'Art des Mines, II. Traité de la formation des métaux,
III. Essai d'une histoire naturelle des couches de la terre.
In his preface to the third volume Holbach has some interesting
remarks about the deluge, the irony of which seems to have escaped
the royal censor, Millet, _Docteur en Théologie_.

"La description si précise et si détaillée que Moïse fait
du Deluge dans la Genèse, ayant une autorité infaillible, puis
qu'elle n'est autre que celle de Dieu même, nous rend certains
de la réalité et de l'universalité de ce châtiment terrible.
Il s'agit simplement d'examiner si les naturalistes, tels que
Woodward, Schenchzer, Buttner et M. Lehmann lui-même ne se sont
points trompés, lorsqu'ils ont attribué à cet événement
seul la formation des couches de la terre et lorsqu'ils
s'en sont servis pour expliquer l'état actuel de notre globe.
Il semble que rien ne doit nous empêcher d'agiter cette question;
l'Ecriture sainte se contente de nous apprendre la voie
miraculeuse dont Dieu s'est servi pour punir les crimes du
genre humain; elle ne dit rien qui puisse limiter les
sentiments des naturalistes sur les autres effets physiques que
le déluge a pu produire. C'est une matière qu'elle paroît avoir
abandonnée aux disputes des hommes." He then proceeds to
question whether the deluge could have produced the results
attributed to it and argues against catastrophism which, it
must be remembered, was the received geological doctrine down
to the days of Lyell. "Les causes les plus simples sont capables
de produire au bout des siècles les effets les plus grands, surtout
lorsqu'elles agissent incessament; et nous voyons toutes ces causes
réunies agir perpétuellement sous nos yeux. Concluons, donc, de tout
ce qui précède, que le déluge, seul et les feux souterrains seuls ne
suffisent point pour expliquer la formation des couches de la terre.
On risquera toujours de se tromper, lorsque par l'envie de simplifier
on voudra dériver tous les phénomènes de la nature d'une seule et
unique cause."

6. _Pyritologie_ by J. F. Henkel, Paris, Herrissant, 1760, a large
volume in quarto, translated by Holbach. It contains _Flora Saturnisans_
(translated by M. Charas and reviewed by M. Roux), Henkel's
_Opuscules Minéralogiques_ and other treatises. Original editions:
_Pyritologia_, Leipzig, 1725, 1754; _Flora Saturnisans_, Leipzig, 1721;
_De Appropriatione Chymica_, Dresden, 1727, and _De Lapidum origine_,
Dresden, 1734, translated into German, with excellent notes, Dresden,
1744, by M. C. F. Zimmermann, a pupil of M. Henkel. Holbach's translations
seem to have been well received because he writes in this preface:
"Je m'estimerai heureux si mon travail peut contribuer à entretenir
et augmenter le goût universel qu'on a conçu pour le saine physique."

7. _Oeuvres métallurgiques_ de M. J. C. Orschall, Paris, Hardy, 1760.
Orschall still accepted the old alchemist tradition but was sound in
practice and was the best authority on copper. Holbach does not attempt
to justify his physics which was that of the preceding century. Orschall
was held in high esteem by Henckel and Stahl.

8. _Recueil des mémoires des Académies d'Upsal et de Stockholm_, Paris,
Didot, 1764. These records of experiments made in the Royal Laboratories
of Sweden, founded in 1683 by Charles XI, had already been translated
into German and English. Holbach's translation was made from the German
and Latin. He promises further treatises on Agriculture, Natural History
and Medicine.

9. _Traité du Soufre_ by G. E. Stahl, Paris, Didot, 1766. In speaking of
Stahl's theories Holbach says: "Il ne faut pas croire que ces connaissances
soient des vérités stériles propres seulement à satisfaire une vaine
curiosité, elles ont leur application aux travaux de la métallurgie qui
leur doivent la perfection où on les a portés depuis quelques temps."
Holbach understood very clearly the utility of science in his scheme of
increasing the store of human well-being, and would doubtless have
translated other useful works had not other interests prevented. There is
a MSS. note of his in the Bibliothèque Nationale to M. Malesherbes, then
Administrateur de la Librairie Royale; suggesting other German treatises
that might well be translated. (MSS. 22194).



J'ai l'honneur de vous envoyer ci-joint la liste des ouvrages dont
M. Liège fils pourrait entreprendre la traduction. Je n'en connais
actuellement point d'autres qui méritent l'attention du public.
M. Macquer m'a écrit une lettre qui a pour objet les mêmes choses
dont vous m'avez fait l'honneur de me parler, et je lui fais la même

J'ai l'honneur d'être avec respect, Monsieur,

Votre très obéissant serviteur
à Paris ce 6 d'avril 1761

The list of books was as follows:

1. Johann Kunckel's _Laboratorium Chymicum_, 8vo.

2. Georg Ernest Stahl's _Commentary on Becher's Metallurgy_, 8vo.

3. _Concordantia Chymica Becheri_, 40º, published by Stahl.

4. _Cadmologia_, or the _Natural History of Cobalt_, by
J. G. Lehmann, Berlin, 1760, 4°.

After 1760 Holbach became interested in another line of intellectual
activity, namely the writing and translation of anti-religious
literature. His first book of this sort really appeared in 1761
although no copies bear this date. From 1767 on however he published
a great many works of this character. It is convenient to deal first
with his translations of English deistical writers. They are in
chronological order.

1. _Esprit du clergé, ou le Christianisme primitif vengé des
entreprises et des excès de nos Prêtres modernes_. Londres
(Amsterdam), 1767. This book appeared in England in 1720 under
the title of _The Independent Whig_; its author was Thomas Gordon
(known through his Commentaries on Sallust and Tacitus) who wrote
in collaboration with John Trenchard. The book was partially
rewritten by Holbach and then touched up by Naigeon, who, according
to a manuscript note by his brother, "atheised it as much as
possible." It was sold with great secrecy and at a high price--
a reward which the colporters demanded for the risk they ran in
peddling seditious literature. The book was a violent attack on
the spirit of domination which characterized the Christian
priesthood at that time.

2. _De L'imposture sacerdotale, ou Recueil de Pièces sur le
clergé_, Londres (Amsterdam), 1767. Another edition 1772 under
title _De la Monstruosité pontificale_ etc.

Contains translations of various pamphlets including
Davisson, _A true picture of Popery_; Brown, _Popery a Craft_,
London 1735; Gordon, _Apology for the danger of the church_,
1719; Gordon, _The Creed of an Independent Whig_, 1720.

3. _Examen des Prophéties qui servent de fondement à la
religion Chrétienne_, Londres (Amsterdam), 1768.
Translation of Anthony Collins, _A Discourse on the Grounds and
Reasons of the Christian Religion_, London, 1724.
Contains also _The Scheme of literal Prophecy considered_, 1727,
also by Collins in answer to the works of Clarke, Sherlock,
Chandler, Sykes, and especially to Whiston's _Essay towards
restoring the text of the Old Testament_, one of the thirty-
five works directed against Collins' original _"Discourse"_.
Copies of this work have become very rare.

4. _David, ou l'histoire de l'homme selon le coeur de Dieu_.
Londres (Amsterdam), 1768. This work appeared in England in 1761
and is attributed to Peter Annet, also to John Noorthook. Some
English eulogists of George II, Messrs. Chandler, Palmer and
others, had likened their late King to David, "the man after
God's own heart." The deists, struck by the absurdity of the
comparison, proceeded to relate all the scandalous facts they
could find recorded of David, and by clever distortions painted
him as the most execrable of Kings, in a work entitled _David or
the Man after God's Own Heart_, which formed the basis of Holbach's

5. _Les prêtres démasqués ou des iniquités du clergé chrétien_.
Londres, 1768. Translation of four discourses published under
the title _The Ax laid to the root of Christian Priestcraft
by a layman_, London, T. Cooper, 1742. A rare volume.

6. _Lettres philosophiques..._ Londres (Amsterdam, 1768).
Translation of J. Toland's _Letters to Serena_, London, 1704.
The book, which had become very rare in Holbach's time, had
caused a great scandal at the time of its publication and was
much sought after by collectors. It contains five letters,
the first three of which are by Toland, the other two and the
preface by Holbach and Naigeon. The matters treated are, the
origin of prejudices, the dogma of the immortality of the soul,
idolatry, superstition, the system of Spinoza and the origin of
movement in matter.

Diderot said of these works, in writing to Mlle. Volland
Nov. 22, 1768 (_Oeuvres_, Vol. XVIII, p. 308): "Il pleut des
bombes dans la maison du Seigneur. Je tremble toujours que
quelqu'un de ces téméraires artilleurs-là ne s'en trouve mal.
Ce sont les _Lettres philosophiques_ traduites, ou supposées
traduites, de l'anglais de Toland; c'est _l'Examen des
prophéties_; c'est la _Vie de David ou de l'homme selon là
coeur de Dieu_, ce sont mélle diables déchainés.--Ah!
Madame de Blacy, je crains bien que le Fils de l'Homme ne
soit à la porte; que la venue d'Elie ne soit proche, et que
nous ne touchions au règne de l'Anti-christ. Tous les jours,
quand je me lève, je regarde par ma fenêtre, si la grande
prostituée de Babylone ne se promène point déjà dans les
rues avec sa grande coupe à la main et s'il ne se fait aucun
des signes prédits dans le firmament."

7. _De la Cruauté religieuse_, Londres (Amsterdam).
_Considerations upon war, upon cruelty in general and religious
cruelty in particular_, London, printed for Thomas Hope, 1761.

8. _Dissertation critique sur les tourmens de l'enfer_ printed
in an original work, _L'Enfer détruit_, Londres (Amsterdam),
1769. A translation of Whitefoot's _The Torments of Hell,
the foundation and pillars thereof discover'd, search'd,
shaken and remov'd_. London, 1658.

9. In the _Recueil philosophique_ edited by Naigeon, Londres
(Amsterdam), 1770.
I. Dissertation sur l'immortalité de l'âme. Translated from Hume.
II. Dissertation sur le suicide (Hume).
III. Extrait d'un livre Anglais qui a pour titre le Christianisme
aussi ancien que le monde. (Tindal, Christianity as old as Creation.)

10. _Esprit de Judaïsme, ou Examen raisonné de la Loi de Moyse_.
Londres (Amsterdam), 1770 (1769), translated from Anthony Collins.
With the exception of some of Holbach's own works this is one of
the fiercest denunciations of Judaism and Christianity to be found
in print. In fact, it is very much in the style of Holbach's
anti-religious works and shows beyond a doubt that Holbach derived
his inspiration from Collins and the more radical of the English
school. The volume has become exceedingly rare.

After outlining the history of Judaism the book ends thus:

Ose, donc enfin, ô Europe! secouer le joug insupportable des
préjugés qui t'affligent. Laisse à des Hébreux stupides, à des
frénétiques imbéciles, à des Asiatiques lâches et dégradés, ces
superstitions aussi avilissantes qu'insensées: elles ne sont point
faites pour les habitans de ton climat. Occupe-toi du soin de
perfectionner tes gouvernemens, de corriger tes lois, de réformer
tes abus, de régler tes moeurs, et ferme pour toujours les yeux
à ces vraies chimères, qui depuis tant de siècles n'ont servi qu'à
retarder tes progrès vers la science véritable et à t'écarter de
la route du bonheur.

11. _Examen critique de la vie et des ouvrages de Saint Paul_,
Londres (Amsterdam), 1770. A free translation of Peter Annet's
_History and character of St. Paul examined_, written in answer
to Lyttelton. New edition 1790 and translated back into English
"from the French of Boulanger," London, R. Carlile, 1823. A
rather unsympathetic account, but with flashes of real insight
into "le système religieux des Chrétiens dont S. Paul fut
évidemment le véritable architecte." (Epître dédicatoire.)

Annet said of Paul's type of man "l'enthousiaste s'enivre,
pour l'ainsi dire, de son propre vin, il se persuade que la
cause de ses passions est la cause de Dieu (p. 72), mais
quelque violent qu'ait pu être l'enthousiasme de S. Paul, il
sentait très bien que la doctrine qu'il prêchait devait paraître
bizarre et insensée à des êtres raisonnables" (p. 141).

12. _De la nature humaine, ou Exposition des facultés, des
actions et des passions de l'âme_, Londres (Amsterdam), 1772.
(Thomas Hobbes.) Reprinted in a French Edition of Hobbes'
works by Holbach and Sorbière, 1787. Appeared first in English
in 1640, omitted in a Latin Edition of Hobbes printed in Amsterdam.
In spite of its brevity, Holbach considered this one of Hobbes'
most important and luminous works.

13. _Discours sur les Miracles de Jesus Christ_ (Amsterdam, 1780?).
Translated from Woolston, whom Holbach admired very much for his
uncompromising attitude toward truth. He suffered fines and
imprisonments, but would not give up the privilege of writing
as he pleased. The present discourse was the cause of a quarrel
with his friend Whiston. He died Jan. 27, 1733, "avec beaucoup de
fermeté... il se ferma les yeux et la bouche de ses propres mains,
et rendit l'esprit." This work exists in a manuscript book
of 187 pages, written very fine, in the Bibliothèque Nationale
(Mss. français 15224) and was current in France long before 1780.
In fact it is mentioned by Grimm before 1770, but the dictionaries
(Barber, Quérard) generally date it from 1780.

Before turning to Holbach's original works mention should be made of
a very interesting and extraordinary book that he brought to light,
retouched, and later used as a kind of shield against the attacks of
the parliaments upon his own works.

In 1766 he published a work entitled _L'Antiquité dévoilée par ses
usages, ou Examen critique des principales Opinions, Cérémonies et
Institutions religieuses et politiques des différens Peuples de la
Terre_. Par feu M. Boulanger, Amsterdam, 1766. This is a work based
on an original manuscript by Boulanger, who died in 1759, preceded
by an excellent letter on him by Diderot, published also in the
_Gazette Littéraire_.

The use made by Holbach of Boulanger's name makes it necessary to
consider for a moment this almost forgotten writer. Nicholas Antoine
Boulanger was born in 1722. As a child he showed so little aptitude
for study that later his teachers could scarcely believe that he had
turned out to be a really learned man. As Diderot observes, "ces
exemples d'enfans, rendus ineptes entre les mains des Pédans qui
les abrutissent en dépit de la nature la plus heureuse, ne sont
pas rares, cependant ils surprennent toujours" (p. 1). Boulanger
studied mathematics and architecture, became an engineer and was
employed by the government as inspector of bridges and highways.
He passed a busy life in exacting outdoor work but at the same time
his active intellect played over a large range of human interests.
He became especially concerned with historical origins and set himself
to learn Latin and Greek that he might get at the sources. Not
satisfied that he had come to the root of the matter he learned Arabic,
Syriac, Hebrew and Chaldean. Diderot says "Il lisait et étudiait
partout, je l'ai moi-même rencontré sur les grandes routes avec un auteur
rabinnique à la main." He made a _mappemonde_ in which the globe is
divided in two hemispheres, one occupied by the continents, the other
by the oceans, and by a singular coincidence he found that the
meridian of the continental hemisphere passed through Paris. Some
such rearrangement of hemispheres is one of the commonplaces of
modern geography. He furnished such articles as, _Deluge, Corvée, Société_
for the Encyclopedia and wrote several large and extremely learned books,
among them _Recherches sur l'origine du Despotisme oriental_ and
_Antiquité dévoilée_. He died from overwork at the age of thirty-seven.

Boulanger's ideas on philosophy, mythology, anthropology and history
are of extraordinary interest today. Diderot relates his saying--"Que
si la philosophie avait trouvé tant d'obstacles parmi nous c'était
qu'on avait commencé par où il aurait fallu finir, par des maximes
abstraites, des raisonnemens généraux, des réflexions subtiles qui
ont révolté par leur étrangeté et leur hardiesse et qu'on aurait
admises sans peine si elles avaient été précédées de l'histoire des
faits." He carried over this inductive method into realm of history,
which he thought had been approached from the wrong side, i.e., the
metaphysical, "par consulter les lumières de la raison" (p. 8). He
continues, "j'ai pensé qu'il devait y avoir quelques circonstances
_particulières_. Un fait et non une spéculation métaphysique m'a
toujours semblé devoir être et tribut naturel et nécessaire de
l'histoire." Curiously enough the central fact in history appeared
to Boulanger to be the deluge, and on the basis of it he attempted to
interpret the _Kulturgeschichte_ of humanity. It is a bit unfortunate
that he took the deluge quite as literally as he did; his idea, however,
is obviously the influence of environmental pressure on the changing
beliefs and practices of mankind. Under the spell of this new point
of view, he writes, "Ce qu'on appelle l'histoire n'en est que la partie
la plus ingrate, la plus uniforme, la plus inutile, quoi qu'elle soit
la plus connue. La véritable histoire est couverte par le voile des
temps" (p. 7). Boulanger however was not to be daunted and on the
firm foundation of the fact of some ancient and universal catastrophe,
as recorded on the surface of the earth and in human mythology, he
proceeds to inquire into the moral effects of the changes in the
physical environment back to which if possible the history of antiquity
must be traced. Man's defeat in his struggle with the elements made
him religious, _hinc prima mali labes_. "Son premier pas fut un faux
pas, sa première maxime fut une erreur" (p. 4 sq). But it was not his
fault nor has time repaired the evil moral effects of that early
catastrophe. "Les grandes révolutions physiques de notre globe sont
les véritables époques de l'histoire des nations " (p. 9). Hence have
arisen the various psychological states through which mankind has passed.
Contemporary savages are still in the primitive state--Boulanger
properly emphasizes the relation of anthropology to history--"On aperçoit
qu'il y a une nouvelle manière de voir et d'écrire l'histoire des hommes"
(p. 12) and with a vast store of anthropological and folklorist learning
he writes it so that his assailant, Fabry d'Autrey, in his _Antiquité
justifiée_ (Paris, 1766) is obliged to say with truth, "Ce n'est point
ici un tissus de mensonges grossiers, de sophismes rebattus et bouffons,
appliqués d'un air méprisant aux objets les plus intéressants pour
l'humanité. C'est une enterprise sérieuse et réfléchie" (p. 11).

In 1767 Holbach published his first original work, a few copies of
which had been printed in Nancy in 1761. This work was _Le Christianisme
dévoilé ou Examen des principes et des effets de la religion Chrétienne_.
Par feu M. Boulanger. Londres (Amsterdam), 1767. There were several
other editions the same year, one printed at John Wilkes' private press
in Westminster. It was reprinted in later collections of Boulanger's
works, and went through several English and Spanish editions. The form
of the title and the attribution of the work to Boulanger were designed
to set persecution on the wrong track. There has been some discussion
as to its authorship. Voltaire and Laharpe attributed it to Damilaville,
at whose book shop it was said to have been sold, but M. Barbier has
published detailed information given him by Naigeon to the effect that
Holbach entrusted his manuscript to M. De Saint-Lambert, who had it
printed by Leclerc at Nancy in 1761. Most of the copies that got to
Paris at that time were bought by several officers of the King's
regiment then in garrison at Nancy, among them M. de Villevielle, a
friend of Voltaire and of Condorcet. Damilaville did not sell a
single copy and even had a great deal of trouble to get one for
Holbach who waited for it a long time. This circumstantial evidence
is of greater value than the statement of Voltaire who was in the habit
of attributing anonymous works to whomever he pleased. [39:2]

The edition of 1767 was printed in Amsterdam as were most of Holbach's
works. We have the details of their publication from Naigeon _cadet_,
a copyist, whose brother, J. A. Naigeon, was Holbach's literary factotum.
In a manuscript note in his copy of the _Système de la Nature_ he tells
how he copied nearly all Holbach's works, either at Paris or at Sedan,
where he was stationed, and where his friend Blon, the postmaster, aided
him, passing the manuscripts on to a Madame Loncin in Liège, who in turn
was a correspondent of Marc-Michel Rey, the printer in Amsterdam.
Sometimes they were sent directly by the diligence or through travellers.
This account agrees perfectly with information given M. Barbier orally
by Naigeon _aîné_. After being printed in Holland the books were smuggled
into France _sous le manteau_, as the expression is, and sold at absurd
rates by colporters. [40:3]

Diderot writing to Falconet early in 1768 [40:4] says: "Il pleut des
livres incrédules. C'est un feu roulant qui crible le sanctuaire
de toutes parts... L'intolérance du gouvernment s'accroit de jour en
jour. On dirait que c'est un projet formé d'éteindre ici les lettres,
de ruiner le commerce de librairie et de nous réduire à la besace et à
la stupidité... _Le Christianisme dévoilé_ s'est vendu jusqu'à quatre

When caught the colporters were severely punished. Diderot gives
the following instance in a letter to Mlle. Volland Oct. 8, 1768
(Avézac-Lavigne, _Diderot_, p. 161): "Un apprenti avait reçu, en
payment ou autrement, d'un colporteur appelé Lécuyer, deux exemplaires
du _Christianisme dévoilé_ et il avait vendu un de ces exemplaires à
son patron. Celui-ci le défère au lieutenant de police. Le colporteur,
sa femme et l'apprenti sont arrêtés tous les trois; ils viennent d'être
piloriés, fouettés et marqués, et l'apprenti condamné à neuf ans de
galères, le colporteur à cinq ans, et la femme à l'hôpital pour toute
sa vie."

There are two very interesting pieces of contemporary criticism
of _Le Christianisme dévoilé_, one by Voltaire, the other by
Grimm. Voltaire writes in a letter to Madame de Saint Julien
December 15, 1766 (_Oeuvres_, XLIV, p. 534, ed. Garnier): "Vous
m'apprenez que, dans votre société, on m'attribue _Le Christianisme
dévoilé_ par feu M. Boulanger, mais je vous assure que les gens au
fait ne m'attribuent point du tout cet ouvrage. J'avoue avec vous
qu'il y a de la clarté, de la chaleur, et quelque fois de l'éloquence;
mais il est plein de répétitions, de négligences, de fautes contre
la langue et je serais très-fâché de l'avoir fait, non seulement comme
académicien, mais comme philosophe, et encore plus comme citoyen.

"Il est entièrement opposé à mes principes. Ce livre conduit à
l'athéisme que je déteste. J'ai toujours regardé l'athéisme comme
le plus grand égarement de la raison, parce qu'il est aussi ridicule
de dire que l'arrangement du monde ne prouve pas un artisan suprême
qu'il serait impertinent de dire qu'une horloge ne prouve pas un horloger.

"Je ne réprouve pas moins ce livre comme citoyen; l'auteur paraît
trop ennemi des puissances. Des hommes qui penseraient comme lui
ne formeraient qu'une anarchie: et je vois trop, par l'example de
Genève, combien l'anarchie est à craindre. Ma coutume est d'écrire
sur la marge de mes livres ce que je pense d'eux, vous verrez, quand
vous daignerez venir à Ferney, les marges de _Christianisme dévoilé_
chargés de remarques qui montrent que l'auteur s'est trompé sur les
faits les plus essentiels." These notes may be read in Voltaire's
works (Vol. XXXI, p. 129, ed. Garnier) and the original copy of
_Le Christianisme dévoilé_ in which he wrote them is in the British
Museum (c 28, k 3) where it is jealously guarded as one of the most
precious autographs of the Patriarch of Ferney.

Grimm's notice is from the _Correspondance Littéraire_ of August 15,
1763 (Vol. V, p. 367). "Il existe un livre intitulé _le Christianisme
dévoilé ou Examen des principes et des effets de la religion Chrétienne_,
par feu M. Boulanger, volume in 8º. On voit d'abord qu'on lui a donné
ce titre pour en faire le pendant de _l'Antiquité dévoilée_; mais il
ne faut pas beaucoup se connaître en manière pour sentir que ces deux
ouvrages ne sont pas sortis de la même plume. On peut assurer avec
la même certitude que celui dont nous parlons ne vient point de la
fabrique de Ferney, parce que j'aimerais mieux croire que le patriache
eût pris la lune avec ses dents; cela serait moins impossible que de
guetter sa manière et son allure si complètement qu'il n'en restât
aucune trace quelconque. Par la même raison, je ne crois ce livre
d'aucun de nos philosophes connus, parce que je n'y trouve la manière
d'aucun de ceux qui ont écrit. D'òu vient-il donc? Ma foi, je serais
fâché de le savoir, et je crois que l'auteur aura sagement fait de ne
mettre personne dans son secret. C'est le livre le plus hardi et le
plus terrible qui ait jamais parti dans aucun lieu du monde. La
préface consiste dans une lettre où l'auteur examine si la réligion
est reéllement nécessaire ou seulement utile au maintien ou à la police
des empires, et s'il convient de la respecter sous ce point de vue.
Comme il établit la négative, il entreprend en conséquence de prouver,
par son ouvrage, l'absurdité et l'incohérence du dogme Chrétien et de
la mythologie qui en résulte, et l'influence de cette absurdité sur
les têtes et sur les âmes. Dans la seconde partie, il examine la
morale chrétienne, et il prétend prouver que dans ses principes
généraux elle n'a aucun avantage sur toutes les morales du monde,
parce que la justice et la bonté sont recommandées dans tous les
catéchismes de l'univers, et que chez aucun peuple, quelque barbare
qu'il fut, on n'a jamais enseigné qu'il fallût être injuste et méchant.
Quant à ce que la morale chrétienne a de particulier, l'auteur pretend
démontrer qu'elle ne peut convenir qu'à des enthousiastes peu propres
aux devoirs de la société, pour lesquels les hommes sont dans ce monde.
Il entreprend de prouver, dans la troisième partie, que la religion
chrétienne a eu les effets politiques les plus sinistres et les plus
funestes, et que le genre humain lui doit tous les malheurs dont il a
été accablé depuis quinze à dix-huit siècles, sans qu'on en puisse
encore prévoir la fin.

Ce livre est écrit avec plus de véhémence que de véritable éloquence;
il entraine. Son style est châtié et correct, quoique un peu dur et
sec; son ton est grave et soutenu. On n'y apprend rien de nouveau,
et cependant il attache et intéresse. Malgré son incroyable témérité,
on ne peut refuser à l'auteur la qualité d'homme de bien fortement
épris du bonheur de sa race et de la prospérité des sociétés; mais
je pense que ses bonnes intentions seraient une sauvegarde bien
faible contre les mandements et les réquisitions." This is a clear
and fair account of a book that is without doubt the severest criticism
of the theory and practice of historical Christianity ever put in print.

The church very naturally did not let such a book pass unanswered.
Abbé Bergier, a heavy person, triumphantly refuted Holbach in eight
hundred pages in his _Apologia de la Religion Chrétienne contre
l'Auteur du Christianisme dévoilé_, Paris, 1769, which finishes
with the fatal prophecy, "Nous avons de surs garans de nos espérances:
tant que le sang auguste de S. Louis sera sur le trône, _il n'y a
point de révolutions à craindre ni dans la Religion ni dans la
politique_. La religion Chrétienne fondée sur la parole de Dieu...
triomphera des nouveaux Philosophes. Dieu qui veille sur son ouvrage
n'a pas besoin de nos faibles mains pour le soutenir"
(Psaume 32, vs. 10, 11).

2. There already existed in 1767 another work by Holbach entitled
_Théologie portative ou Dictionnaire Abrégé de la Religion Chrétienne.
Par Mr Abbé Bernier_. Londres (Amsterdam), 1768 (1767). This book
went through many editions and was augmented by subsequent authors
and editors. Voltaire was already writing to d'Alembert about it
August 14, 1767. [44:5]

In a letter to Damilaville, October 16, he writes (Vol. XIV, p. 406):

Depuis trois mois il y a une douzaine d'ouvrages d'une liberté
extrême, imprimés en Hollande. _La Théologie portative_ n'est
nullement théologique: ce n'est qu'une plaisanterie continuelle
par ordre alphabétique; mais il faut avouer qu'il y a des traits
si comiques que plusieurs théologiens mêmes ne pourront s'empêcher
d'en rire. Les jeunes gens et les femmes lisent cette folie avec
avidité. Les éditions de tous les livres dans ce goût se multiplient.

And on February 8, 1768, he wrote:

On fait tous les jours des livres contre la religion, dont je voudrais
bien imiter le style pour la défendre. Y a-t-il de plus salé, que
la plupart des traits qui se trouvent dans la _Théologie portative_?
Y a-t-il rien de plus vigoreux, de plus profondément raisonné, d'écrit
avec une éloquence plus audacieuse et plus terrible, que le _Militaire
philosophe_, ouvrage qui court toute l'Europe? [by Naigeon and Holbach]
Lisez la _Théologie portative_, et vous ne pourrez vous empêcher de rire,
en condammant la coupable hardiesse de l'auteur. Lisez _l'Imposture
sacerdotale_--vous y verrez le style de Démosthène. Ces livres
malheuresement inondent l'Europe; mais quelle est la cause de cette
inondation? Il n'y en a point d'autre que les querelles théologiques
qui ont révolté les laïques. _Il s'est fait une révolution dans
l'esprit humain que rien ne peut plus arrêter: les persécutions ne
pourraient qu'irriter le mal_. [Footnote: the italics are mine.]

It is to be noted however that Voltaire's sentiments varied according
to the point of view of the person to whom he was writing. In a
letter to d'Alembert, May 24, 1769 (Vol. LXV, p. 453), he calls the
_Théologie portative_ "un ouvrage à mon gré, très plaisant, auquel
je n'ai assurément nulle part, ouvrage que je serais très fâché
d'avoir fait, et que je voudrais bien avoir été capable de faire."
But in a letter to the Bishop of Annecy June, 1769, he writes
(Vol. XXVIII, p. 73): "Vous lui [M. de Saint Florentin] imputez,
à ce que je vois par vos lettres, des livres misérables, et jusqu'à
_la Theologie portative_, ouvrage fait apparemment dans quelque
cabaret; vous n'êtes pas obligé d'avoir du goût, mais vous êtes
obligé d'être juste" (Vol. XXVIII, p. 73). Diderot even said of
the book: "C'est un assez bon nombre de bonnes plaisanteries noyées
dans un beaucoup plus grand nombre de mauvaises" and this criticism
is just. A few examples of the better jokes will suffice:

_Adam:_ C'est le premier homme, Dieu en fait un grand nigaud, qui
pour complaire à sa femme eut la bêtise de mordre dans une pomme
que ses descendans n'ont point encore pu digérer.

_Idées Innées:_ Notions inspirées des Prêtres de si bonne heure,
si souvent répétées, que devenu grand l'on croît les avoir eu
toujours ou les avoir reçus dès le ventre de sa mère.

_Jonas:_ La baleine fut à la fin obligée de le vomir tant un
Prophète est un morceau difficile à digérer.

_Magie:_ Il y en a de deux sortes, la blanche et la noire. La
première est très sainte et se pratique journellement dans

_Protestants:_ Chrétiens amphibies.

_Vierge:_ C'est la mère du fils de Dieu et belle-mère de l'église.

_Visions:_ Lanternes magiques que de tout temps le Père Eternel
s'est amusé à montrer aux Saintes et aux Prophètes.

3. Holbach furnished the last chapter of Naigeon's book _Le Militaire
philosophe, ou Difficulties sur la religion_, Londres (Amsterdam), 1768.
Voltaire ascribed the work to St. Hyacinthe. Grimm recognized that the
last chapter was by another hand and considered it the weakest part of
the book. It attempts to demonstrate that all supernatural religions
have been harmful to society and that the only useful religion is
natural religion or morals. The book was refuted by Guidi, in a
"_Lettre a M. le Chevalier de... [Barthe] entraîné dans l'irreligion
par un libelle intitulé Le Militaire philosophe_ (1770, 12mo).

4. Holbach's next book was _La Contagion sacrée ou l'Histoire
naturelle de la Superstition_, Londres (Amsterdam), 1768. In his
preface Holbach attributed the alleged English original of this
work to John Trenchard but that was only a ruse to avoid persecution.
The book is by Holbach. It has gone through many editions and been
translated into English and Spanish. The first edition had an
introduction by Naigeon. According to him manuscripts of this
book became quite rare at one time and were supposed to have been
lost. Later they became more common and this edition was corrected
by collation with six others.

[PG transcriber's note: at this point there appears to be a break
in the original text. A sentence introducing the fifth book in
this list, "Letters to Eugenie", has evidently been lost.]

The letters were written in 1764, according to Lequinio
(_Feuilles posthumes_), who had his information from Naigeon, to
Marguerite, Marchioness de Vermandois in answer to a very touching
and pitiful letter from that lady who was in great trouble over
religion. Her young husband was a great friend of the Holbachs,
but having had a strict Catholic bringing up she was shocked at
their infidelity and warned by her confessor to keep away from them.
"Yet in their home she saw all the domestic virtues exemplified and
beheld that sweet and unchangeable affection for which the d'Holbachs
were eminently distinguished among their acquaintances and which was
remarkable for its striking contrast with the courtly and Christian
habits of the day. Her natural good sense and love for her friends
struggled with her monastic education and reverence for the priests.
The conflict rendered her miserable and she returned to her country
seat to brood over it. In this state of mind she at length wrote
to the Baron and laid open her situation requesting him to comfort,
console, and enlighten her." [47:7] His letters accomplished the
desired effect and he later published them in the hope that they
would do as much for others. They were carefully revised before
they were sent to the press. All the purely personal passages were
omitted and others added to hide the identity of the persons concerned.
Letters of the sort to religious ladies were common at this time.
Fréret's were preventive, Holbach's curative, but appear to be rather
strong dose for a _dévote_. Other examples are Voltaire's _Epître à Uranie_
and Diderot's _Entretien d'un Philosophe avec la Maréchale de..._.

6. In 1769 Holbach published two short treatises on the doctrine
of eternal punishment which claimed to be translations from English,
but the originals are not to be found. The titles are _De l'intolérance
convaincue de crime et de folie_ as it is sometimes given, and--

7. _L'Enfer détruit ou Examen raisonné du Dogme de l'Eternité des
Peines_. Londres, Amsterdam, 1769. This letter was translated
into English under the title _Hell Destroyed!_ "Now first translated
from the French of d'Alembert without any mutilations," London 1823,
which led Mr. J. Hibbert to say, "I know not why English publishers
attribute this awfully sounding work to the cautious, not to say
timid d'Alembert. It was followed by Whitefoot's _'Torments of Hell,'_
now first translated from the French." [47:8]

Of Holbach's remaining works on religion two, _Histoire critique
de Jésus Christ_ and _Tableau des Saints_, date from 1770 when he
began to publish his more philosophical works.

8. The _Histoire critique de Jésus Christ ou Analyse raisonnée des
Evangiles_ was published without name of place or date. It was
preceded by Voltaire's _Epître à Uranie_. It is an extremely careful
but unsympathetic analysis of the Gospel accounts, emphasizing all
the inconsistencies and interpreting them with a literalness that
they can ill sustain. From this rationalistic view-point Holbach
found the Gospels a tissue of absurdities and contradictions. His
method, however, would not be followed by the critique of today.

9. The _Tableau des Saints_ is a still more severe criticism of
the heroes of Christendom. Holbach's proposition is "La raison
ne connaît qu'une mesure pour juger et les hommes et les choses,
c'est l'utilité réelle et permanente, qui en résulte pour notre
espèce," (p. 111). Judged by this standard, the saints with their
eyes fixed on another world have fallen far short. "Ils se flattèrent
de mériter le ciel en se rendant parfaitement inutile à la terre"
(p. xviii). Holbach much prefers the heroes of classical antiquity.
The book is violent but learned throughout, and deals not only with
the Jewish patriarchs from Moses on but with the church fathers and
Christian Princes down to the contemporary defenders of the faith.
After a rather one-sided account of the most dreary characters and
events in Christian history, Holbach concludes: "Tel fut, tel est,
et tel sera toujours l'esprit du Christianisme: il est aisé de sentir
qu'il est incompatible avec les principes les plus évidens de la
morale et de la saine politique" (p. 208).

10. In _Recueil philosophique_, Londres (Amsterdam), 1770, edited
by Naigeon. Réflexions sur les craintes de la Mort. Problème
important--La Religion est-elle nécessaire à la morale et utile
à la Politique. Par M. Mirabaud.

11. _Essai sur les préjugés, ou De l'influence des opinions sur
les moeurs et sur le bonheur des Hommes_. Londres (Amsterdam),
1770, under name of Dumarsais. The book pretended to be an
elaboration of Dumarsais' essay on the _Philosophe_ published
in the _Nouvelles libertés de penser, 1750.

The special interest connected with it was the refutation Frederick
the Great published under the title _Examen de l'Essai sur les
préjugés_, Londres, Nourse, 1770 (16 mo). The King of Prussia
writing from the point of view of a practical, enlightened despot,
took special exception to Holbach's remarks on government. "Il
l'outrage avec autant de grossièreté que d'indécence, il force le
gouvernement de prendre fait et cause avec l'église pour s'opposer
à l'ennemi commun. Mais, quand avec un acharnement violent et les
traits de la plus âcre satire, il calomnie son Roi et le gouvernement
de son pays, on le prend pour un frénétique echappé de ses chaînes,
et livré aux transports les plus violens de sa rage. Quoi, Monsieur
le philosophe, protecteur des moeurs et de la vertu, ignorez vous
qu'un bon citoyen doit respecter la forme de gouvernement sous
laquelle il vit, ignorez vous qu'il ne convient point à un particulier
d'insulter les Puissances..." (p. 28).

"Non content d'insulter à toutes les têtes couronnés de l'Europe,
notre philosophe s'amuse, en passant, à répandre du ridicule sur
les ouvrages de Hugo Grotius. J'oserais croire qu'il n'en sera
pas cru sur sa parole, et que le _Droit de la guerre et de la
paix_ ira plus loin à la postérité que _l'Essai sur les
préjugés_" (p. 39).

Holbach in his anti-militaristic enthusiasm had used the words
"bourreaux mercenaires"; "epithète élégante," continues Frederick,
"dont il honore les guerriers. Mais souffrions nous qu'un cerveau
brûlé insulte au plus noble emploi de la Societé?" (p.49). He goes
on to defend war in good old-fashioned terms. "Vous déclamez contre
la guerre, elle est funeste en elle-même; mais c'est un mal comme
ces autres fléaux du ciel qu'il faut supposer nécessaires dans
l'arrangement de cet univers parce qu'ils arrivent périodiquement
et qu'aucun siècle n'a pu jusqu'à présent d'en avoir été exempt. J'ai
prouvé que de tout temps l'erreur a dominé dans ce monde; et comme une
chose aussi constante peut être envisagée comme une loi général de la
nature, j'en conclus que ce qui a été toujours sera toujours le
même" (p. 19).

Frederick sent his little refutation to Voltaire for his compliments
which were forthcoming. A few days after Voltaire wrote to d'Alembert:

Le roi de Prusse vous a envoyé, sans doute, son petit écrit contre
un livre imprimé cette année, intitulé _Essai sur les préjugés_, ce
roi a aussi les siens, qu'il faut lui pardonner; on n'est pas roi
pour rien. Mais je voudrais savoir quel est l'auteur de cet _Essai_
contre lequel sa majesté prussienne s'amuse à écrire un peu durement.
Serait-il de Diderot? serait-il de Damilaville? serait-il d'Helvetius?
peut-être ne le connaissez-vous point, je le crois imprimé en Hollande
(Vol. LXVI, p. 304).

D'Alembert answered:

Oui, le roi de Prusse m'a envoyé son écrit contre _l'Essai sur les
préjugés_. Je ne suis point étonné que ce prince n'ait pas goûté
l'ouvrage; je l'ai lu depuis cette réfutation et il m'a paru bien
long, bien monotone et trop amer. Il me semble que ce qu'il y de
bon dans ce livre aurait pu et dû être noyé dans moins de pages et
je vois que vous en avez porté à peu près le même jugement
(Vol. LXVI, p. 324).

In spite of these unfavorable judgments the _Essai_ was reprinted
as late as 1886 by the Bibliotheque Nationale in its _Collection
des meilleurs auteurs anciens et modernes_, still attributed to
Dumarsais with the account of his life by "le citoyen Daube"
which graced the edition of the year I. (1792)

12. Early in 1770 appeared Holbach's most famous book, the
_Système de la Nature_, the only book that is connected with his
name in the minds of most historians and philosophers. It seems
wiser, however, to deal with this work in a chapter apart and
continue the account of his later publications.

13. The next of which was _Le bon-sens, ou idées naturelles opposées
aux idées surnaturelles. Par l'Auteur du Système de la Nature_,
Londres (Amsterdam), 1772. This work has gone through twenty-five
editions or more and has been translated into English, German, Italian
and Spanish. As early as 1791 it began to be published under the name
of the curé Jean Meslier d'Etrépigny, made so famous by Voltaire's
publication of what was supposed to be his last will and testament
in which on his death bed he abjured and cursed Christianity. Some
editions contain in the preface Letters by Voltaire and his sketch
of Jean Meslier. The last reprint was by De Laurence, Scott & Co.,
Chicago, 1910. The book is nothing more or less than the
_Système de la Nature_, in a greatly reduced and more readable form.

Voltaire, to whom it was attributed by some, said to d'Alembert,
"Il y a plus que du bon sens dans ce livre, il est terrible. S'il
sort de la boutique du _Système de la Nature_, l'auteur s'est bien
perfectionné." D'Alembert answered: "Je pense comme vous sur le
_Bon-sens_ qui me paraît un bien plus terrible livre que le
_Système de la Nature_." These remarks were inscribed by
Thomas Jefferson on the title page of his copy of _Bon-sens_.
The book has gone through several editions in the United States and
was sold at a popular price. The German translation was published
in Baltimore on the basis of a copy found in a second-hand book
store in New Orleans. The most serious work written against it is
a long and carefully written treatise against materialism by an
Italian monk, Gardini, entitled _L'anima umana e sue proprietà dedotte
da soli principi de ragione, dal P. lettore D. Antonmaria Gardini,
monaco camaldalese, contro i materialisti e specialmente contro
l'opera intitulata, le Bon-Sens, ou Idées Naturelles opposées aux idées
Surnaturelles. In Padova MDCCLXXXI Nella stamperia del Seminario.
Appresso Giovanni Manfré, Con Licenza de Superiori e Privilegio_
(8vo, p. xx + 284).

14. In 1773 Holbach published his _Recherches sur les Miracles_,
a much more sober work than his previous writings on religion. In
this book he raises the well known difficulties with belief in
miracles and brings a great deal of real learning and logic to
bear on the question. The entire work is in a reasonable and
philosophic spirit. His conclusion is that "une vraie religion
doit avoir au défaut de bonnes raisons, des preuves sensibles,
capables de faire impression sur tout ceux qui la cherchent de
bonne foi. Ce ne sont pas les miracles." The same year he
published two serious but somewhat tiresome works on politics.

15. _La politique naturelle_.

16. _Système social_ in which he attempts to reduce government
to the naturalistic principles which were the basis of his entire
philosophy. The first is also attributed to Malesherbes. There
is a long and keen criticism of the _Système Social_ by
Mme. d'Epinay in a letter to Abbé Galiani Jan. 12, 1773
(Gal. _Corresp._, Vol. II, p. 167).

But the most interesting reaction upon it was that of the Abbé
Richard who criticized it from point of view of the divine right
of kings in his long and tiresome work entitled _La Défense de
la religion, de la morale, de la vertu, de la politique et de
la société, dans la réfutation des ouvrages qui ont pour titre,
l'un Système Social etc. Vautre La Politique Naturelle par le
R. P. Ch. L. Richard, Professeur de Théologie_, etc., Paris,
Moulard, 1775.

In a preface of forty-seven pages the fears of the conservative
old Abbé are well expressed. The aim of these modern philosophers
who are poisoning public opinion by their writings is to "démolir
avec l'antique édifice de la religion chrétienne, celui des moeurs,
de la vertu, de la saine politique etc. rompre tous les canaux de
communication entre la terre et le ciel, bannir, exterminer du monde
le Dieu qui le tira du néant, y introduire l'impiété la plus complète,
la licence la plus consomnée, l'anarchie la plus entière, la confusion
la plus horrible."

17. Holbach's next work, _Ethocratie ou Gouvernement fondé
sur la Morale_, Amsterdam, Rey, 1776, is interesting mainly for
its unfortunate dedication and peroration, inscribed to Louis XVI,
who was hailed therein as a long expected Messiah.

18. Holbach's last works dealt exclusively with morals. They
are _La morale universelle ou les devoirs de l'homme fondés sur
la nature_, Amsterdam, 1771, and

19. A posthumous work, _Elements de la Morale universelle, ou
catechisme de la nature_, Paris, 1790. This is a beautiful
little book. It is simple and clear to the last degree.
There have been several translations in Spanish for the purposes
of elementary education in morals in the public schools. It was
composed in 1765. Holbach's attitude towards morals is indicated
by his _Avertissement_--"La morale est une science dont les principes
sont susceptibles d'une démonstration aussi claire et aussi rigoureuse
que ceux du calcul et de la géometrie."


Early in 1770 appeared the famous _Système de la Nature, ou Des Loix
du Monde Physique et du Monde Morale, Par M. Mirabaud, Secrétaire
Perpétuel et l'un des Quarante de l'Académie Française_, Londres
(Amsterdam), 1770. This work has gone through over thirty editions
in France, Spain, Germany, England and the United States. No book
of a philosophic or scientific character has ever caused such a
sensation at the time of its publication, excepting perhaps Darwin's
_Origin of Species_, the thesis of which is more than hinted at by
Holbach. There were several editions in 1770. A very few copies
contain a _Discours préliminaire de l'Auteur_ of sixteen pages which
Naigeon had printed separately in London. The _Abrégé du Code de
la Nature_, which ends the book was also published separately and
is sometimes attributed to Diderot, 8vo, 16 pp. [54:1]

There is also a book entitled _Le vrai sens du Système de la Nature_,
1774, attributed to Helvetius, a very clear, concise epitome largely
in Holbach's own short and telling sentences, and much more effective
than the original because of its brevity. Holbach himself reproduced
the _Système de la Nature_ in a shortened form in _Bon-sens_, 1772, and
Payrard plagiarized it freely in _De la Nature et de ses Lois_, Paris,
1773. The book has been attributed to Diderot, Helvetius, Robinet,
Damilaville and others. Naigeon is certain that it is entirely by
Holbach, although it is generally held that Diderot had a hand in it.
It was published under the name of Mirabaud to obviate persecution.
The manuscript, it was alleged, had been found among his papers as a
sort of "testament" or philosophical legacy to posterity. This work
may be called the bible of scientific materialism and dogmatic atheism.
Nothing before or since has ever approached it in its open and
unequivocal insistence on points of view commonly held, if at all,
with reluctance and reserve. It is impossible in a study of this
length to deal fully with the attacks and refutations that were
published immediately. We may mention first the condemnation of the
book by the _Parlement de Paris_, August 18, 1770, to be burned by
the public hangman along with Voltaire's _Dieu et les Hommes_, and
Holbach's _Discours sur les Miracles_, _La Contagion sacrée_ and
_le Christianisme dévoilé_, which had already been condemned on
September 24, 1769. [55:2]

The _Réquisitoire_ of Seguier, _avocat général_, on the occasion
of the condemnation of the _Système de la Nature_ was so weak
and ridiculous that the _Parlement de Paris_ refused to sanction
its publication, and it was printed by the express order of the King.
As Grimm observed, it seemed designed solely to acquaint the ignorant
with this dangerous work, without opposing any of its propositions.
One would look in vain for a better example of the conservatism of
the legal profession. [55:3]

Le poison des nouveautés profanes ne peut corrompre la sainte
gravité des moeurs qui caractérise les vrais Magistrats:
tout peut changer autour d'eux, _ils restent immuables avec la
loi_ (page 496).

N'est-ce pas ce fatal abus de la liberté de penser, qui a enfanté
cette multitude de sectes, d'opinions, de partis, et cet esprit
d'indépendance dont d'autres nations ont éprouvé les sinstres
révolutions. Le même abus produira en France des effets peut-être
plus funestes. La liberté indéfinie trouveroit, dans la caractère
de la nation, dans son activité, dans son amour pour la nouveauté,
un moyen de plus pour préparer les plus affreuses révolutions (p. 498).

The most interesting private attacks on the _Système de la Nature_
came from two somewhat unexpected quarters, from Ferney and Sans Souci.
Voltaire, as usual, was not wholly consistent in his opinions of it,
as is revealed in his countless letters on the subject. Grimm
attributed his hostility to jealousy, and the fear that the
_Système de la Nature_ might "renverse le rituel de Ferney et
que le patriarcat ne s'en aille au diable avec lui." [56:4]
George Leroy went so far as to write a book entitled _Réflexions
sur la jalousie, pour servir de commentaire aux derniers ouvrages
de M. de Voltaire_, 1772. Frederick II naturally felt bound to
defend the kings who, as Voltaire said, were no better treated than
God in the _Système de la Nature_. [56:5]

Voltaire's correspondence during this period is so interesting that
it seems worth while to quote at length, especially from his letters
to Fredrick the Great. In May 1770, shortly after the publication
of the _Système de la Nature_ Voltaire wrote to M. Vernes: [56:6]
"On a tant dit de sottises sur la nature que je ne lis plus aucun
de ces livres là." But by July he had read it and wrote to Grimm: [56:7]
"Si l'ouvrage eut été plus serré il aurait fait un effet terrible,
mais tel qu'il est il en a fait beaucoup. Il est bien plus éloquent
que Spinoza... J'ai une grande curiosité de savoir ce qu'on en pense
à Paris." In writing to d'Alembert about this time he seemed to have
a fairly favorable impression of the book. "Il m'a paru qu'il y avait
des longueurs, des répétitions et quelques inconséquences, mais il y a
trop de bon pour qu'on n'éclate avec fureur contre ce livre. Si on
garde le silence, ce sera une preuve du prodigieux progrès que la
tolérance fait tous les jours." [57:8] But there was little likelihood
that philosophers or theologians would keep silent about this scandalous
book. Before the end of the month Voltaire was writing to d'Alembert
about his own and the king of Prussia's refutations of it, and the same
day wrote to Frederick: "Il me semble que vos remarques doivent être
imprimées; ce sont des leçons pour le genre humain. Vous soutenez d'un
bras la cause de Dieu et vous écrasez de l'autre la superstition." [57:9]
Later Voltaire confessed to Frederick that he also had undertaken to
rebuke the author of the Système de la Nature. "Ainsi Dieu a pour
lui les deux hommes les moins superstitieux de l'Europe, ce que devrait
lui plaire beaucoup" (p. 390).

Frederick, however, hesitated to make his refutation public, and
wrote to Voltaire: "Lorsque j'eus achevé mon ouvrage contre
l'athéisme, je crus ma réfutation très orthodoxe, je la relus,
et je la trouvai bien éloignée de l'être. Il y a des endroits
qui ne saurait paraître sans effaroucher les timides et scandaliser
les dévots. Un petit mot qui m'est échappé sur l'éternité du monde
me ferait lapider dans votre patrie, si j'y étais né particulier,
et que je l'eusse fait imprimer. Je sens que je n'ai point du
tout ni l'âme ni le style théologique." [57:10] Voltaire, in his
"petite drôlerie en faveur de la Divinité" (as he called his work)
and in his letters, could not find terms harsh enough in which to
condemn the _Système de la Nature_. He called it "un chaos, un
grand mal moral, un ouvrage de ténèbres, un péché contre la nature,
un système de la folie et de l'ignorance," and wrote to Delisle de
Sales: "Je ne vois pas que rien ait plus avili notre siècle que
cette énorme sottise." [58:11] Voltaire seemed to grow more bitter
about Holbach's book as time went on. His letters and various works
abound in references to it, and it is difficult to determine his
motives. He was accused, as has been suggested, by Holbach's circle
"de caresser les gens en place, et d'abandonner ceux qui n'y sont
plus." [58:12] M. Avenel believed that he suspected Holbach himself
of making these accusations. Voltaire's letter to the Duc de Richelieu,
Nov. 1, 1770, [58:13] seems to give them foundation.

A very different reaction was that of Goethe and his university
circle at Strasburg to whom the _Système de la Nature_ appeared
a harmless and uninteresting book, "grau," "cimmerisch," "totenhaft,"
"die echte Quintessenz der Greisenheit." To these fervent young men
in the youthful flush of romanticism, its sad, atheistic twilight
seemed to cast a veil over the beauty of the earth and rob the heaven
of stars; and they lightheardedly discredited both Holbach and Voltaire
in favor of Shakespeare and the English romantic school. One would
look far for a better instance of the romantic reaction which set in
so soon and so obscured the clarity of the issues at stake in the
eighteenth century thought. [58:14]

The leading refutations directed explicitly against the
_Système de la Nature_ are:

1. 1770, Rive, Abbé J. J., Lettres philosophiques contre le
_ Système de la Nature_. (Portefeuille hebdomadaire de Bruxelles.)

2. Frederick II, _Examen critique du livre intitulé,
_Système de la Nature_. (Political Miscellanies, p. 175.)

3. Voltaire, Dieu, Réponse de M. de Voltaire au _Système de la Nature_.
Au château de Ferney, 1770, 8 vo, pp. 34.

4. 1771, Bergier, Abbé N. F., Examen du matérialisme, ou
Réfutation du _Système de la Nature_. Paris, Humbolt, 1771,
2 vols., 12mo.

5. Camuset, Abbé J. N., Principes contre l'incrédulité, a
l'occasion du _Système de la Nature_. Paris, Pillot, 1771,
12mo, pp. viii + 335.

6. Castillon, J. de (Salvernini di Castiglione), Observations sur
le livre intitulé, _Système de la Nature_. Berlin, Decker, 1771,
8vo. (40 sols broché.)

7. Rochford, Dubois de, Pensées diverses contre le système des
matérialistes, à l'occasion d'un écrit intitulé; _Système de la
Nature_. Paris, Lambert, 1771, 12mo.

8. 1773, L'Impie démasqué, ou remontrance aux écrivains incrédules.
Londres, Heydinger, 1773

9. Holland, J. H., Réflexions philosophiques sur le _Système de
la Nature_. Paris, 1773, 2 vols., 8vo.

10. 1776, Buzonnière, Nouel de, Observations sur un ouvrage intitulé
le _Système de la Nature_. Paris, Debure, père, 1776, 8vo, pp. 126.
(Prix 1 livre, 16 sols broché.)

11. 1780, Fangouse, Abbé, La religion prouvée aux incrédules, avec
une lettre à l'auteur du _Système de la Nature_ par un homme du monde.
Paris, Debure l'aîné, 12mo, p. 150. Same under title Réflexions
importantes sur la religion, etc., 1785.

12. 1788, Paulian, A. J., Le véritable système de la nature, etc.,


Back to Full Books