The British Origins of the Chevalier d’Eon’s patriotism

Rachel Hammersley

in The English Republican tradition and eighteenth-century France

Published by Manchester University Press

Published in print June 2010 | ISBN: 9780719079320
Published online July 2012 | e-ISBN: 9781781702345 | DOI:
The British Origins of the Chevalier d’Eon’s patriotism

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  • Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)


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In England, chevalier d'Eon Beaumont became acquainted with commonwealth works and ideas, which he then applied to the contemporary situation in France. This chapter examines the British origins of d'Eon's patriotism, revealing something about the means by which commonwealth ideas were disseminated in France in the 1760s and 1770s, and the uses to which they were put. D'Eon owed his awareness of Nedham's work, and of the ideas of the English republican tradition more generally, to his long period of exile in Britain. It was during that stay that he began to acknowledge the importance of liberty and virtue and the threat posed to them by despotism and corruption. In this respect, d'Eon's friendship with Wilkes, and the parallels drawn between the experiences of the two men, appear to have been crucial.

Keywords: d'Eon de Beaumont; France; England; commonwealth ideas; liberty corruption; John Wilkes

Chapter.  6616 words. 

Subjects: Early Modern History (1500 to 1700)

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