Jean Barbeyrac on the Virtues which all free Men should have (1718)

Jean Barbeyrac

In his translation of Samuel Pufendorf’s treatise on natural law, The Whole Duty of Man (1691, 1718), Jean Barbeyrac included a number of essays and commentaries. In one, a “Discourse on the Benefits Conferred by the Laws”, he made the following observation:

There are other virtues which, while free from all constraint, nonetheless carry a clear and imperative obligation… humanity, compassion, charity, beneficence, liberality, generosity, patience, gentleness, love of peace, these are not empty names, nor are they indifferent things… they are sentiments which all reasonable persons in all times have counted among their duties…

Jean Barbeyrac is important not only for making available to 18th century readers translations of important 17th century thinkers such as Grotius and Pufendorf, but also for providing extensive notes to these translation in which he expanded the ideas of the men he was translating. The quotation above is a good example of this.