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Auktion: Auction 13.12.2006
wurde versteigert am: 13. Dezember 2006
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FRANCOIS MARIE AROUET DE VOLTAIRE (1694-1778)

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Schätzpreis: 4.000 £ - 6.000 £
ca. 7.854 $ - 11.782 $
Zuschlagspreis:  13.200 £
ca. 25.920 $
Los-Nr. 89, Aufrufe: 52

FRANCOIS MARIE AROUET DE VOLTAIRE (1694-1778) Letter signed to Père [Charles] Porée ('Mon tres cher et tres Reverend pere'), Cirey, 17 November 1738, 2½ pages, 4to , integral panel addressed to Porée at the College of Jesuits in Paris, remains of red wax seal (lightly browned, small professional repairs, some offsetting of ink). VOLTAIRE AS THE PROPONENT OF NEWTON: a graceful letter to his former teacher, on sending him a copy of his scientific paper, Elements de la philosophie de Newton , the first work to make Newtonian physics intelligible to readers of French. The letter also affirms his admiration and respect for Porée and the Jesuit community by whom he was educated. 'Je vous dois plus d'une sorte d'hommage, c'est vous qui m'avez appris à penser. La sorte d'eloquence dont vous faites profession, n'etant que l'ornement de la verité, conduit naturellement a la philosophie. Il est vray que cette philosophie de Neuton [sic] paroit bien etrange, mais les tourbillons [de De]scartes l'etoient bien davantage, et ils avoient de plus le malheur de n'etre fondées n'y sur la geometrie n'y sur l'experience qui sont les deux seules Sources des verités phisiques [I owe you more than one kind of homage. It is you who taught me to think. The kind of eloquence which you practise, being only the ornament of truth, leads naturally to philosophy. It is true that Newton's philosophy seems quite strange, but the vortices of Descartes were even more so, and they had the additional misfortune of being based neither on geometry nor on experiment which are the two sole sources of physical truth]'. Voltaire writes of his continuing friendship with Porée's best pupils while the happiness of his quiet and busy life far from Paris could only be increased by the assurance of Porée's affection, referring to his own devotion to the Jesuit community: 'Je luy suis meme etroitement uni par mes sentimens sur les matieres les plus respectables, car enfin je croi l'homme tres libre. Je sens seulement que je ne suis pas libre de ne vous pas aimer'. The letter also includes three lines of Latin verse (adapted from Ovid) for Porée's colleague, Père Brumoy. Voltaire's paper on Newton was published earlier in 1738, following the submission of the first version of it to the competition of the Academy of Science, whose members were almost all opposed to Newton's theory of gravity and remained entirely satisfied with Descartes' account of interplanetary space consisting of an ethereal fluid in which the celestial bodies were supported by a system of 'tourbillons' or vortices. Voltaire had taken refuge with Madame du Châtelet, at Cirey-sur-Blaise on the border of Lorraine, in 1735 when his Lettres Philosophiques were proscribed and a warrant issued for his arrest. Their interest in Newtonian science was almost at once stimulated by their first visitor, Count Algarotti, who was engaged on a work intended to popularise it, and while Voltaire's paper became his principal project Emilie du Châtelet translated the Principia Mathematica from Latin into French. Voltaire conducted experiments in her laboratory to demonstrate Newtonian optics and to prove that fire has weight. Charles Porée (1675-1741) was professor of rhetoric at the Jesuit College of Louis-le-Grand which Voltaire, his most celebrated pupil, attended from 1704-1711. Voltaire attributed to his Jesuit teachers his knowledge of Latin authors and his subtlety and skill in argument and they were united in their dislike of the Jansenists who condemned his writings. One of only six letters by Voltaire to Porée published by Besterman (D.1660).

Informationen zur Auktion
Auktionshaus: Christie's
Titel: Auction 13.12.2006
Auktionsdatum: 13.12.2006
Adresse: Christie's
13 December 2006, London, King Street