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PREFACE - Jean-Jacques Rousseau, The Political Writings of Jean Jacques Rousseau vol. 1 
The Political Writings of Jean Jacques Rousseau, ed. from the original manuscripts and authentic editions, with introductions and notes by C. E. Vaughan. (Cambridge University Press, 1915). In 2 vols. Vol. 1.
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I HAVE attempted three things in the following volumes: to collect all the political writings of Rousseau in one body; to present a correct text of what he wrote; and to define his place in the history of political thought.
In the current editions of Rousseau, the political writings are scattered over some four or five volumes. And to these must be added various pieces, separately issued within the last sixty years and never yet included in the collected Works: the Projet de Constitution pour la Corse, published by Streckeisen-Moultou in 1861; the first draft of the Contrat social, published by M. Alexeieff in 1887 and in 1896 by M. Dreyfus-Brisac; a variety of Fragments, some of great importance, published by the first and the last of the three scholars just mentioned and by M. Winden-berger (République confédérative des petits États, 1900); and finally, some further Fragments, which have hitherto lain buried in the Library of Neuchâtel.
Such a scattering of material is certainly inconvenient. What is worse, it has probably tended to obscure the wide range of Rousseau’S enquiry and, in particular, the practical object with which much of it was carried out. A glance at these volumes will suffice to shew that more than half of their contents were written with a directly practical purpose: for the sake of reforming evils which affected the whole of Europe, or some one of the States of which the European commonwealth is built up. The miseries of war and the remedy offered by Federation; the wrongs entailed by vast inequalities of wealth and inequitable methods of taxation, with the best means of striking at their root; above all, the over-whelming importance of a sound system of Education to the well-being of nations: these are some of the subjects to which he returns again and again, and on which he is full of fruitful suggestion. All this may accord ill with the picture which paints him as nothing but a theorist and a dreamer. But it is one side of his genius; and it is only when this aspect of his work has been fully realised that his greatness, even as a theorist, can be properly understood.
Of the pieces not included in the collected Works the most important are the fragment, L'état de guerre, the fragments relating to the earlier chapters of the Contrat social, and the earlier version of the Contrat social itself; but the treatise on Corsica, hitherto known only in a very faulty text, is not far behind. Their main significance lies in the proof they offer that the idea of Contract is, at most, no more than a secondary element in Rousseau’S contribution to political theory; that he hesitated long before adopting it; and that, after he had done so, he again allowed it to be thrust into the background by the ideas of environment and historical tradition which, in the first instance, he drew from Montesquieu. A discussion of these questions will be found in the general Introduction and in that to the first version of the Contrat social.
The amount of matter now published for the first time is not very great: some five and twenty pages, all told, would probably exhaust it. But it covers the whole of Rousseau’S literary life: from the Réponse au Roi de Pologne (1751), which was written in connection with his earliest notable piece, the Discours sur les sciences et les arts, to the Dialogues and the Rêveries (both in 1776) which bring us to within little more than two years of his death. Some of these fragments throw a significant light upon the gradual formation of his political theory; others are striking examples of a style which, in grave emotional appeal, has seldom been approached; others again—the autobiographical pieces printed in the Appendix to the second volume—add something to our knowledge of the frame of mind in which the Confessions were written and in which the last sad years of the author were too manifestly passed. If a single new letter of Cicero were brought to light, the discovery would be proclaimed in triumph upon the house-tops. Twenty-five new pages by Rousseau will probably go unnoticed. Yet what comparison is there between the two men, in genius or importance?
I have done all that lies in me to provide the text which Rousseau actually wrote. And it is no easy task. Even the works published during the author’S lifetime have suffered strange things from later editors; much more, those that have been brought out since his death. Both statements must be briefly justified.
More than half the matter contained in these volumes was seen through the press by Rousseau himself. And, though he took no direct part in any subsequent edition, he left revised copies and a few notes which were used by his ‘universal trustee,’ du Peyrou, in preparing the authoritative edition published at Geneva four years after the author’S death (1782). Du Peyrou’S work, upon this part of his material, was executed with extraordinary accuracy and fidelity. It is clear therefore that the sole duty of any subsequent editor of the treatises concerned is to take du Peyrou’S text as it stands, merely recording the variations between it and the editio princeps of the work in question1 . Unfortunately, this is not the sense in which many of the later editors have understood their obligation. They have made emendations on their own account to the right hand and the left; and have thus, generally without a word of acknowledgment, presented the world with a text very different from that which Rousseau actually left.
These ‘emendations’ are of two kinds. They are made either because the editor did not understand the author’S meaning, or because he conceived that he could improve upon the author’S French. In the former case, it may be that he could not help himself; and the only alternative was to surrender the task to some other man more fortunately placed. But it may be suggested that to put in, or leave out, negatives—the course frequently adopted—is a method which, however convenient, is hardly likely to be sound.2 .
The second form of correction is more wanton, and therefore still less pardonable, than the first. The style of a great writer, even when not strictly obedient to the rules of the grammarians, ought under no circumstances to be garbled: least of all, when he avowedly holds ‘the harmony of a sentence to be more important than anything except its clearness,’ and boldly proclaims that there are cases when ‘it is right to break the rules of grammar, for the sake of being more clear1 . More often than not, however, the editors cannot even plead the poor excuse of grammar for their vagaries. A glance at the notes to these volumes will shew that they have habitually altered words because it suited their fancy, and for nothing else. What Rousseau would have said to such liberties is fortunately upon record; for his publisher, in the early days of their association, had ventured on exactly the same offence. Here is the outraged author’S protest: ‘The truth is, I am beginning to doubt whether I am an author you are printing, or a schoolboy you are correcting. Really, M. Rey, you must leave me to bear my own sins, without putting in more of your own making2 .’ I have done my best to weed out these impertinences. But they are so thickly strewn—in the better known treatises, one at least for every second or third page—that it is possible some few may have escaped my spud.
It remains to consider the writings published since the author’S death. These, again, fall under two heads: those published by du Peyrou in 1782; and those which successive editors, from Streckeisen-Moultou onwards, have given to the world during the last sixty years. It is necessary to make this distinction: because the former—which reduce themselves to the Jugement sur la Paix perpétuelle, the Extrait and Jugement de la Polysynodie, and finally the Gouvernement de Pologne—had been more or less carefully prepared by Rousseau himself, with a view either to publication or, at the least, to being read by others; while the latter, if we except the early draft of the Contrat social—and even that exception is only partial—are no more than rough drafts, the text of which it is extremely difficult, sometimes almost impossible, to make out.
The four writings of the former class have, in the main, been edited with great accuracy: the Gouvernement de Pologne, if we may judge from the Neuchâtel manuscript (which, however, was not that actually used for publication) and its pencilled corrections, quite remarkably so; the three others, when allowance has been made for one or two rather damaging blunders, almost as well. It is needless to say that here too, as in the writings published during Rousseau’S lifetime, later editors have busied themselves with sowing tares among the wheat.
The writings of the latter class—the early draft of the Contrat social, the Projet de Constitution pour la Corse, and the fragments (including the crucial one, L'état de guerre)—manifestly stand on a different footing. The difficulty of deciphering them is so great that mistakes may reasonably be forgiven. Streckeisen-Moultou, who has done far more than any other editor in the working of this field, has also, at least in the case of the Projet pour la Corse, executed his task with considerably less of accuracy. In his defence it must be said that the manuscript of the Projet is perhaps the most crabbed of the whole collection. Certainly, his reproduction of the other pieces—the long series of fragments printed in the first volume of this edition (pp. 325—358)—is a far more faithful piece of work. And the same praise must be given to M. Dreyfus-Brisac and M. Windenberger.
It remains true that a certain number of mistakes have crept into the text of these inedita. I have spared no pains to remove them in these volumes. There is no fragment, however short, the manuscript of which I have not collated at least twice. And, with all the more important pieces (whether ‘edited’ or ‘un-edited'), I have repeated the process six or seven times. Yet, with the best will in the world, the attention will sometimes flag; and I should not be surprised if errors should here and there be detected by future workers. Each student, as I have the best reasons for knowing, profits by the labours of those who have gone before. One by one, the false readings are corrected. But, however slow the advance, the goal for which we have all striven will at length be reached; and a great writer will at last have come by his own: a text printed exactly as he wrote it, not marred by any of the ‘guess-work’ against which he warned his editors, or by the garbling, however involuntary, of which he always stood in dread.
Two points only remain to mention. I have deliberately refrained from any attempt to preserve either Rousseau’S spelling, or his punctuation. To perpetuate the archaic spelling of a great writer—above all, of a philosopher—seems to me to be sheer pedantry; it simply distracts attention from the weightier matters of thought and of expression; while for the ordinary compromise, which consists in modernising such forms as intérest or contract, and at the same time retaining the oi of the imperfect and conditional, there is, so far as I can see, no possible defence. I have settled the question by modernising throughout. On the same principle, I have throughout rejected Rousseau’S logical, but extremely complicated, system of punctuation; and have, in every case, adopted that which seemed likely to make his meaning as clear as possible to the reader.
The other matter concerns the text of the posthumous Gouvernement de Pologne. At the end of 1912, it was announced by the Marquis de Girardin in the Bulletin du Bibliophile that the Manuscript from which the treatise was printed by du Peyrou in 1782 had at last been unearthed at Cracow. In the Annales de la Société J.-J. Rousseau for 1913 this announcement was supplemented by a brief account of the manuscript from the hand of M. Olszewicz. Owing to a press of other business, which I now bitterly regret, I did not see either of these notices until the summer of last year (1914). I at once made arrangements for a journey to Cracow at the beginning of August. Meanwhile the war broke out; and the journey became impossible. Much against the grain, I am forced to content myself with simply reprinting the text of 1782, the accuracy of which is confirmed, as to two-thirds of the treatise, by the corrections pencilled in the hand of du Peyrou upon the Neuchâtel MS., and, as to three-quarters, by the Coindet Copy now in the Library of Geneva. As I have pointed out in the Introduction, there remain one or two questions which can only be settled by a careful collation of the manuscript at Cracow.
As to Rousseau’S place in the history of political philosophy, it would be idle to add anything to what will be found in the various Introductions. There are, however, some kindred matters which I have endeavoured to explain. These are, firstly, the historical circumstances necessary to the understanding of the several treatises, in particular those concerning Geneva, Corsica and Poland; secondly, the vexed question of the various Manuscripts, above all those of the Contrat social and the Gouvernement de Pologne; thirdly, the history of the controversy between Rousseau and Diderot on the subject of natural law—a controversy which, beginning as a friendly difference and eventually flaming out into a deadly feud, has left its mark upon the closing words of the Confessions; and lastly, the light in which Rousseau’S philosophy presented itself to the men of his own generation and of that which immediately followed. The two first of these matters are discussed in the Introductions to the respective treatises; the third in that to Diderot’S article, Droit naturel; and the fourth in the Introduction to the final version of the Contrat social. Some further illustrations of the last point will be found in the Introduction to the extracts from Émile and in a note to the Jugement sur la Paix perpétuelle.
Nothing remains save to express my gratitude to those who have helped me in what has necessarily been a long task. I desire to pay my sincerest thanks to my former colleagues, Professor Mackenzie, of the University of Wales, and Miss Cooke, of the University of Leeds, who have aided me in numberless ways with criticism and advice; as well as to Professor Paul Barbier fils, of the latter University, who encouraged me to undertake the task, helped me with his great and accurate knowledge of Rousseau’S life and writings, and kindly revised the earlier proofs. Since August last, he has been serving his country against our common enemy, and has therefore been unable to render the same good offices to the later proofs. I fear their accuracy may have suffered accordingly. If, in spite of my efforts, errors of language or accentuation have slipped through, I must throw myself upon the indulgence of my readers; openly confessing that, if I had not counted upon the help of my friend’S scholarship, I should hardly have had the courage to shoulder a burden which it was perhaps, in any case, presumptuous for a foreigner to take up.
My warmest thanks are also due to the following friends: to Professor A. C. Bradley, to my former colleague, Professor Little, and to Lieutenant C. R. Sanderson, until lately of the John Rylands Library, who have been good enough to look up doubtful points at the British Museum, at times when it was impossible for me to make the journey myself.
I cannot close this Preface without also offering my best thanks to those who have helped me in the various Libraries where my work has lain: in particular, to the Librarian and staff of the Rylands Library; to M. Fernand Aubert, sous-directeur des manuscrits at Geneva, who has aided me in many difficulties; to M. Robert, Director of the Library at Neuchâtel, who has repeatedly permitted me to work in that Library when it was officially closed; and to his Assistants, M. Ganeval and M. Künzi who have, with ungrudging courtesy, made themselves responsible for me at such times and whose life, I fear, must often have been made a burden to them by my importunities. The British Museum is, I fear, too impersonal to thank.
LIST OF MANUSCRIPTS USED
MSS. add. 4925: Dialogue 1; Vol. II. Appendix I.
Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
Nouvelles acquisitions françaises, 1183 (consulted only; see Introduction, Vol. I. p. 14).
Bibliothèque de Genève.
MS. français, 228: Préface (fragment); Vol. I. pp. 350–1. Fragment; Vol. I. p. 339.
MS. français, 225: first draft of Contrat social; Vol. I. pp. 446–511.
MS. français, 205: Émile; Vol. II. pp. 142–158.
MS. français, 229: Project de Constitution pour la Corse; Vol. II. pp. 307–356.
MS. français, 246: Gouvernement de Pologne (Coindet’S Copy); Vol. II. pp. 425–491.
Bibliothèque de la Ville, Neuchâtel.
MS. 7829: Extrait de la Polysynodie (rough draft and fair copy, with fragments of the rough draft of Extrait du Projet de paix perpétuelle); Vol. I. pp. 364–387, 397–412.
MS. 7830: Jugement sur la Polysynodie; Vol. I. pp. 413–422. Fragments; Vol. I. pp. 413–422. Fragments; Vol. I. pp. 324, 358.
MS. 7836: Letre à M. Philopolis; Vol. I. pp. 221–7.
MS. 7838: Considérations sur le Gouvernement de Pologne et sur sa réformation projectée; Vol. II. pp. 424–516.
MS. 7840 [for a complete list of its contents see Vol. I. pp. 514–6]: rough draft of Économie politique (Vol. I. pp. 237–280); Fragments (Vol. I. pp. 308–322, 323–4); rough draft of Lettres de la Montagne, vi.–ix. (Vol. II. pp. 197–291); close of Lettre V. (Vol. II. Appendix I.); Fragments on Art (Vol. II. Appendix I.).
MS. 7842: addenda pour la grande Édition; Vol. I. p. 410; Vol. II. pp. 25, 27, 29, 74, 77, 86.
MS. 7843: Fragments; Vol. I. pp. 325–7, 355–7.
MS. 7844: Avant-propos du Projet pour la Corse; Vol. II. pp. 306–7.
MS. 7849: Fragment; Vol. I. pp. 327–9.
MS. 7854: Fragments; Vol. I. pp. 307, 322, 341–350.
MS. 7856: L'état de guerre; Vol. I. pp. 293–307.
MS. 7858: Fragment on Saint-Pierre; Vol. I. p. 360.
MS. 7859: Jugement sur la Paix perpétuelle; Vol. I. pp. 388–396.
MS. 7867: Fragments; Vol. I. pp. 330–4.
MS. 7868: Fragments; Vol. I. pp. 334–9.
MS. 7871: Fragments; Vol. I. pp. 339–341.
MS. 7872: Fragments; Vol. I. pp. 358, 512–3; Vol. II. Appendix I.
MS. 7886: Letter to Mirabeau; Vol. II. pp. 159–162.
MS. 7893: Letter to Voltaire; Vol. II. pp. 163–5.
MS. 7894: Rough copy of the same.
MS. 7899: Correspondence with Buttafuoco; Vol. II. pp. 356–367.
MS. 7923: État des écrits posthumes qui sont ici (Ermenonville); Vol. II. pp. 422–3. Other quotations from this MS. in Vol. II. pp. 304, 400.
SHORT LIST OF BOOKS NECESSARY FOR THE STUDY OF ROUSSEAU’S POLITICAL WRITINGS AND LIFE
I. First editions of the works published in Rousseau’S lifetime:
Discours sur l'inégalité: Rey, Amsterdam, 8vo, 1755.
Économie politique: in Vol. V. of Encyclopédie, Paris, Fol. 1755.
Extrait de la Paix perpétuelle: Amsterdam, 8vo, 1761.
Émile: Néaulme, Amsterdam (and Duchesne, Paris), 4 vols. 8vo, 1762.
Contrat social: Rey, Amsterdam, 8vo, 1762.
Lettres écrites de la Montagne: Rey, Amsterdam, 8vo, 1764.
II. Collected editions:
Collection complète des Œuvres de J.-J. Rousseau (ed. du Peyrou, and serving as the first edition of Jugement sur la Paix perpétuelle, Extrait de la Polysynodie, Jugement sur la Polysynodie, Considérations sur le Gouvernement de Pologne, as well as of the Confessions, Dialogues II, III, and the Rêveries): 17 vols., Geneva, 4to, 1782 sqq.; 33 vols. 8vo, 1782–4; 33 vols. 12mo, 1782–4.
Œuvres de J.-J. Rousseau (Bozerian and Didot aîné; edited by Naigeon, Fayolle and Bancarel): 25 vols., Paris, 12mo, 1801.
[[These are the only editions which can claim any authority; and it is very doubtful whether the variations in Bozerian’S edition are anything more than a capricious corruption of the text. In du Peyrou’S Quarto edition, Vol. I. contains the Discours sur l'inégalité, Lettre à M. Philopolis, Économie politique, Contrat social, and Gouvernement de Pologne; Vol. VI., Lettres de la Montagne; Vol. XII., the two treatises on La paix perpétuelle and the two on La Polysynodie, and the Letters to Voltaire, Usteri (July 15, 1763), Mirabeau and Buttafuoco. The Dedication (Vol. I.) contains a passionate vindication of Rousseau against the calumnies of Diderot.]
III. Subsequent publications of Texts:
Streckeisen-Moultou, Œuvres et Correspondance inédites de J.-J. Rousseau (Projet pour la Corse and Fragments): Michel Lévy, Paris, 8vo, 1861.
Streckeisen-Moultou, Rousseau, ses amis et ses ennemis (Correspondence): Michel Lévy, 2 vols., Paris, 8vo, 1865.
Dreyfus-Brisac, Du Contrat social (Final version, earlier version, L'état de guerre, and other Fragments): Alcan, Paris, 1896.
Windenberger, La République confédérative des petits États (L'état de guerre and other Fragments; Contrat social, I. ii. (earlier version)). Paris, 8vo, 1900.
[I have been unable to get sight of M. Alexeieff’S edition of Contrat social (earlier version), Moscow, 1887.]
IV. Other Works:
Rousseau, Correspondance (Ed. Hachette, Vols. X.–XII.).
Abbé de Saint-Pierre, La paix perpétuelle, 2 vols. 8vo, 1712; Discours sur la Polysynodie, Amsterdam, 12mo, 1719.
Mably, Du Gouvernement et des lois de la Pologne (1770–1), in Œuvres, Vol. VIII., Paris, 8vo, 1797.
Bernardin de Saint-Pierre, Études de la Nature (containing many reminiscences of Rousseau), 3 vols., Paris, 12mo, 1784.
Sébastien Mercier, De J.-J. Rousseau considéré comme l'un des premiers auteurs de la Révolution, 2 vols., Paris, 8vo, 1791.
d'Escherny, comte de, Éloge de J.-J. Rousseau (in Philosophie de Politique, 2 vols., Paris, 8vo, 1796); and Mélanges (containing reminiscences of Rousseau), 3 vols., Paris, 12mo, 1811. [Éloge written in 1789.]
Corancez, Journal de Paris, Vol. XLII. (Prairial 19 and 21, An vi.), Paris, 4to, 1798.
[The Biographie générale states that Corancez was married to a daughter of Romilly, Rousseau’S friend, a Genevan watchmaker settled at Paris; also that Corancez first published his reminiscences of Rousseau in 1778 (only 50 copies), and again in an appendix to his volume of poems (1790). In the British Museum is an English translation of his articles in the Journal de Paris: Anecdotes of the last twelve years of the life of J.-J. Rousseau, London, 12mo, 1798.[
Dussaulx, De mes rapports avec J.-J. Rousseau, Paris, 8vo, 1798.
Marmontel, Mémoires, 4 vols., Paris, 8vo, 1804.
Grimm, Correspondance littéraire (1753–90), 17 vols., Paris, 8vo, 1813 (another edition, by Tourneux, 16 vols., Paris, 8vo, 1877–82).
Mme d'Épinay, Mémoires et correspondance, 3 vols., Paris, 8vo, 1818.
Musset-Pathay, Histoire de la vie et des ouvrages de J.-J. Rousseau, 2 vols., Paris, 8vo, 1821.
Bosscha, Lettres inédites de Jean Jacques Rousseau à Marc Michel Rey, Amsterdam, 8vo, 1858.
Lord Morley, Rousseau, 2 vols., London, 8vo, 1873.
T. H. Green, Works, Vol. II., London, 8vo, 1886.
Höffding, J.-J. Rousseau og hans Filosofi, Copenhagen, 8vo, 1896.
Bosanquet, The philosophical theory of the State, London, 8vo, 1899.
Mrs Macdonald, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, a new Criticism, 2 vols., London, Chapman and Hall, 8vo, 1906.
Vallette, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Genevois, Geneva and Paris, 8vo, 1911.
Annales de la société J.-J. Rousseau, Geneva, 8vo, 1905 sqq.
N.B. In referring to works of Rousseau, other than those included in this edition, I have always used Hachette’S edition in 13 vols., Paris, 8vo, 1905; as being probably the most generally accessible. The text, however, is far from correct.
CORRIGENDA ET ADDENDA
p. 37, note 1, for ‘,’ read ‘203.'
ib. note 3, for ‘,’ read ‘161.'
p. 38, note 3, for ‘Œuvres, III. p. 204,’ read ‘Vol. II. p. 202.'
p. 278, 1. 10, for ‘avant qu'il y eut,’ read ‘avant qu'il y eῦt.'
p. 319, 1. 5 from bottom, for ‘put,’ read ‘pῦt.'
p. 409, note, for ‘revolution,’ read ‘révolution.'
p. 451, 1. 18, for ‘legères,’ read ‘légères.’
pp. 379–80 (paragraph beginning ‘En effet, dira-t-on'). To the phrases marked as wanting in Ed. 1772 add the two following: c'est à dire le précieux droit; and à ces antiques prétentions qui tirent leur prix de leur obscurité, parce qu'on les étend avec sa fortune. Neither these phrases, nor any of the other variants from Ed. 1782, are represented by equivalents in the English Translation of 1761, the year in which Rousseau’S original was published. It may therefore be reasonably concluded that Ed. 1772 is a faithful reprint of Ed. 1761; and that the variants appeared for the first time in Ed. 1782. This conclusion is confirmed by the fact that Ed. 1764 (Neuchâtel, 13 vols. 8vo) agrees verbatim with Ed. 1772 and, so far as can be judged, with the English Translation of 1761. To this statement there are three trifling exceptions: i.e.
p. 367, 1. 6 from bottom, Ed. 1764 has d'intérêt, de droits.
p. 378, last line, Ed. 1764 has de conquêtes.
p. 386, 1. 26, Ed. 1764 has sujets de contestations.
It must also be recorded that the Notes on p. 367 and p. 383 are entirely wanting in the English Translation of 1761.
I have unfortunately been unable to find any copy of the original Edition.
Naigeon and others responsible for Bozerian’S edition of 1801 claim to have used Romilly’S copy, ‘corrected by the hand of the author,’ for the Discours sur l'inégalité and the Contrat social; and that of ‘citizen Clos’ (Choderlos de la Clos) for the Lettres de la Montagne, also corrected by Rousseau. I cannot say whether they did what they professed. But, to give them the benefit of the doubt, I have recorded the variations of this edition also. Rousseau’S acquaintance with de la Clos is proved by a letter (à M. D. L. C.), containing a criticism of his Épître à la Mort, printed in Ed. 1782 (4°), XII. p. 513. I cannot find this letter in Ed. Hachette.
One of the most flagrant instances of this, which I recall, is to be found in Firmin Didot’S edition of Émile. Here (p. 61, in the paragraph beginning ‘Tout sentiment de peine,’ near the opening of Book II.) the editor has wrecked the argument by substituting malheureux for heureux and au-dessus for audessous; although Eds. 1762 and 1782, as well as the Manuscript (Geneva MS. f. 205), are all against him. For instances from Hachette’S edition, which from its cheapness is the most familiar of all, see my notes to the text, passim.
See letter to Rey of July 8, 1758 (Bosscha, p. 52), and to du Peyrou of April 12, 1765 (Euvres, XI. p. 244).
See letter to Rey of July 20, 1758 (Bosscha, p. 56).