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The English Republican tradition and eighteenth-century FranceBetween the Ancients and the Moderns$
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Rachel Hammersley

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780719079320

Published to Manchester Scholarship Online: July 2012

DOI: 10.7228/manchester/9780719079320.001.0001

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

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

(p.110) 7 The British Origins of the Chevalier d’Eon’s patriotism
The English Republican tradition and eighteenth-century France

Rachel Hammersley

Manchester University Press

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

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