Advertisement

Voltaire, Prussia and Industry

  • Florian Schui

Abstract

The newspaper Berliner Nachrichten was a publication that kept the reading public of eighteenth-century Berlin well informed. In the year 1750, for instance, it ran stories about romantic picnic spots outside the Brandenburg gate and about the new privileges for the royal Prussian Asiatic trade company. In that year, the reader may have been equally interested in an article announcing the discovery of a perpetuum mobile in Danzig or a new edition of the Spirit of the laws. Or, the reader’s attention may have been caught by three lines that were placed in the lower right hand corner of the paper’s front page on 16 July 1750: ‘On the 10th of this month the French royal chamberlain and historiographer, Mr. de Voltaire, arrived from Paris in Potsdam with his Majesty the King.’1

Keywords

Eighteenth Century Early Debate Trade Company Opera House Silk Industry 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Notes

  1. 2.
    Martin Fontius, Voltaire in Berlin (Berlin, 1966).Google Scholar
  2. Hans Jaeck, Kammerherr und König, Voltaire in Preussen (Berlin, 1987).Google Scholar
  3. Reinhold Koser, König Friedrich der Groβe (2 vols, Stuttgart, 1893), I, pp. 514–27.Google Scholar
  4. Christiane Mervaud, Voltaire et Frederick II (Oxford, 1985).Google Scholar
  5. René Pomeau, Voltaire en son temps (2 vols, Paris, 1995 edn), I, pp. 613–748.Google Scholar
  6. Theodor Schieder, Friedrich der Groβe (Frankfurt on Main, 1983), pp. 437–65.Google Scholar
  7. 3.
    Frederick called Gabrielle-Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet-Lomont ‘divine Émilie’ in a poem of 24 Oct. 1737. The original draft in Frederick’s hand is in the Prussian archives. Frederick II, king of Prussia, ‘A la divine Émilie’, 24 Oct. 1734, Geheimes Staatsarchiv Preußischer Kulturbesitz, Berlin-Dahlem (GStA PK), Brandenburgisch-Preußisches Hausarchiv (BPH), Rep. 47, F I B Spez. 3, 14, not paginated. It has been edited in J.-D.-E. Preuss, ed., Les œuvres de Frederick le Grand (10 vols, Berlin, 1849), VIII, pp. 22–4.Google Scholar
  8. 12.
    ‘Une aisance devenüe trop ordinaire pour estre remarquée’. ‘L’industrie…de tout un peuple’. Gabrielle-Émilie Le Tonnelier de Breteuil, marquise du Châtelet-Lomont, ‘Préface du traducteur’ (1735), Ira Wade, ed., Studies on Voltaire with some unpublished papers of Mme du Châtelet (Princeton, 1947), pp. 141–2.Google Scholar
  9. 15.
    ‘Romains, j’aime la gloire’. Marie Jean Antoine Nicolas Caritat, marquis de Condorcet, ‘Avertissement des éditeurs’ in K, IV, p. 169. 16. Jan de Vries, ‘The Industrial Revolution and the Industrious Revolution’, Journal of Economic History, 54 (1994), 249–70, pp. 254–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 17.
    Michael Sonenscher, Work and wages, natural law, politics and the eighteenthcentury French trades (Cambridge, 1989), p. 210.Google Scholar
  11. 22.
    ‘Français, Anglais, Germains, aujourd’hui si tranquilles/Fallait il s’égorger pour être si bons amis?’ Voltaire to Marie Louise Denis, 9 June 1750, D 4169. It should be noted that after his break with Frederick II Voltaire rewrote some of the letters which he had written to his niece. The originals are lost. However, the manipulated letters principally concern the break with Frederick. They were redrafted largely on the original letter texts and it seems that Voltaire only changed certain points that were relevant to his relationship with Frederick while passages not related to that relationship remained unaltered. See André Magnan, Dossier Voltaire en Prusse (Oxford, 1986).Google Scholar
  12. 31.
    ‘Excellent avec du beurre’. Charles de Secondat, baron de la Brède et de Montesquieu, ‘Voyages en Europe — Allemagne’ (1729), in Daniel Oster, ed., Œuvres complètes Montesquieu (Paris, 1964), pp. 320–1.Google Scholar
  13. 33.
    Fritz Hartung, ‘Der preußische Staat und seine westlichen Provinzen’, in Franz Petri, ed., Westfälische Forschungen 7 (Münster, 1953), 5–13, p. 8.Google Scholar
  14. 35.
    Gustav Schmoller, Preußische Verfassungs-, Verwaltungs-, und Finanzgeschichte (Berlin, 1921), pp. 142–4.Google Scholar
  15. 46.
    Jan de Vries, Economy of Europe in an age of crisis 1600–1750 (Cambridge, 1976), p. 105.Google Scholar
  16. 51.
    The diary entitled ‘Tagebuch aus Friedrichs des Großen Regentenleben’ was compiled by Karl Rödenbeck in 1840. About the authorship of the diary, and for later additions to it see Hans Droysen, ‘Tageskalender Friedrichs des Großen’, Forschungen zur brandenburgischen und preußischen Geschichte, 29 (1916), 95–157.Google Scholar
  17. 57.
    Martin Wörner, Architekturführer Berlin (Berlin, 2001), building no. 37.Google Scholar
  18. 69.
    Claudia Schröder, ‘Siècle de Frédéric’ und ‘Zeitalter der Aufklärung’: Epochenbegriff im geschichtlichen Selbstverständnis der Auflklärung (Berlin, 2002), pp. 1–17. Cited in: Jochen Schlobach, ‘Du siècle de Louis au siècle de Frédéric?’ in Christiane Mervaud, ed., Le siècle de Voltaire — hommage à René Pomeau (2 vols, Oxford, 1987), II, 831–46, p. 832. Voltaire to Claude Etienne Darget, April 1751, D 4442. Schröder, ‘Siècle de Frédéric’ undZeitalter derAufklärung’, pp. 23–46.Google Scholar
  19. 73.
    ‘Plats revendeurs de carottes’, ‘insupportable engeance’, ‘exscremens’. Frederick II, king of Prussia, ‘Epître contre messieurs de la finance’, n.d., GStA PK, BPH, Rep. 47, FI B Spec. 3, 78, p. 4. The poem was later published as ‘Épitre contre messieurs les’ Écornifleurs’, in J.-D.-E. Preuss, ed., Les œuvres de Frederick le Grand (10 vols, Berlin, 1849), VIII, pp. 22–4.Google Scholar
  20. 74.
    ‘Frederick II a tout tenté pour encourager l’industrie; ce fut un des principaux des son administration.’ Mirabeau, Monarchie Prussienne, I, p. 116. ‘La puissance de la Prusse n’est point fondée sur une force intrinsèque, mais uniquement sur l’industrie.’ Frederick II, king of Prussia, ‘Testament politique’ (1752), in Gustav Volz, ed., Die politischen Testamente Friedrich’s des Grossen (sic) (Berlin, 1920), p. 4.Google Scholar
  21. 76.
    R. Harris, Absolutism and enlightenment (London, 1964), pp. 1–9, 174.Google Scholar
  22. Wilhelm Treue, Wirtschafts- und Technikgeschichte Preussens (Berlin, 1984), pp. 51–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 77.
    Stefi Jersch-Wenzel, Juden und ‘Franzosen’ in der Wirtschaft des Raumes Berlin/Brandenburg (Berlin, 1978), p. 89. Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte (3 vols, Munich, 1987), I, p. 84.Google Scholar
  24. 79.
    Hermann Kellenbenz, Deutsche Wirtschaftsgeschichte (2 vols, Munich, 1977), pp. 340, 306–8.Google Scholar
  25. 80.
    Harris, Absolutism and enlightenment, pp. 182–4. Wolfram Fischer and Adelheid Simsch, ‘Industrialisierung in Preussen. Eine staatliche Veranstaltung?’, in Werner Süß, ed., Übergänge — Zeitgeschichte zwischen Utopie und Machbarkeit (Berlin, 1989), pp. 107, 114.Google Scholar
  26. 81.
    Notably the German historical school around Gustav Schmoller emphasised the benign role of the Prussian state. Gustav Schmoller, Umrisse und Untersuchungen zur Verfassungs-, Verwaltungs-, und Wirtschaftsgeschichte (Leipzig, 1898), pp. 56–9, 557–61.Google Scholar
  27. See also Gustav Schmoller, The Mercantile system, W.J. Ashley, ed. (New York, 1896), pp. 87–90. Also later scholars, most prominently William Henderson, agreed with this view of Prussian economic development.Google Scholar
  28. William Henderson, Studies in the economic policy of Frederick the Great (London, 1963), pp. 159–65. Against this perspective, Richard Tilly argued in 1980 that the involvement of the Prussian state mainly hampered economic development by interfering with private initiative.Google Scholar
  29. Richard Tilly, Kapital, Staat und sozialer Protest in der deutschen Industrialisierung (Göttingen, 1980), pp. 15–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 88.
    Klaus Weber, Deutsche Kaufleute im Atlantikhandel 1680–1830: Unternehmen und Familien in Hamburg Cadiz und Bordeaux (Munich, 2004).Google Scholar
  31. 89.
    Bernard Bailyn ‘The idea of Atlantic History’, Itinerario, 1 (1996), pp. 19–44, p. 33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. David Hancock, ‘The British Atlantic World co-ordination, complexity, and the emergence of an Atlantic market economy, 1651–1815’, Itinerario, 2 (1999), pp 107–26, p. 118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. 90.
    William O’Reilly, ‘Genealogies of Atlantic history’, Atlantic Studies, I, 1 (2004), pp. 66–84, p. 81.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. 92.
    Johannes-Hendrik Sonntag, Die preuβische Wirtschaftspolitik in Ostfriesland 1744–1806/1813–1815 unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Stadt Emden und des Emsverkehrs (Aurich, 1987), pp. 20–6.Google Scholar
  35. 111.
    There had been previous attempts to establish overseas trading companies in Prussia by the Great Elector. However, the projects did not result in the establishment of a sustainable oceanic trade. Viktor Ring, Die asiatischen handelscompagnien Friederichs des Großen (Berlin, 1890), pp. 1–44.Google Scholar
  36. 112.
    ‘Ce projet peut devenir très important, s’il se réalise.’ Frederick II, king of Prussia, ‘Testament politique’ (1752), in Gustav Volz, ed., Die politischen Testamente Friedrich’s des Grossen (sic) (Berlin, 1920), p. 25. Sonntag, Die preußische Wirtschaftspolitik, p. 286.Google Scholar
  37. 115.
    ‘Ces drogues des Indes’. Frederick II, ‘Testament politique’ (1752), p. 19–20. Hans-Ulrich Wehler, Deutsche Gesellschaftsgeschichte (3 vols, Munich, 1987), I, p. 84.Google Scholar
  38. 122.
    The elector Frederick III was the later Frederick I, king in Prussia. It was only under Frederick II that the Hohenzollerns became kings of Prussia. ‘Toutes les personnes éclairées et informées de ce qui se passe, conviennent que les pays sont fleurissans, lorsqu’outre les productions de la nature il y a du travail et de l’industrie’. Leibniz Archiv Hannover (LA), Leibniz Handschriften (LH), untitled, n.d., LXXXIV, p. 197. The content suggests that it was written before the academy had been founded in 1700. For this dissertation, the microfilm of the manuscript has been consulted in the Leibniz Archive. The text has been edited in Onno Klopp, ed., Die Werke Leibniz (11 vols, Hannover, 1877) X, p. 21.Google Scholar
  39. 124.
    ‘Die Praxis mit der Theorie zu verbinden und neben den Künsten und Wissenschaften und durch sie alles, was das Land und Volk interessiert, Ackerbau, Industrie, Handel, Lebensmittel zu verbessern’. Dietrich Hilger, ‘Industrie, Gewerbe — III. Die Freisetzung des Industriebegriffs aus dem Bezugsfeld von traditioneller Ökonomik und praktischer Philosophie’, in Reinhart Koselleck et al., eds, Geschichtliche Grundbegriffe (8 vols, Stuttgart, 1982), III, p. 251. Focko Eulen, Vom Gewerbefleiβzur Industrie (Berlin, 1967), p. 29.Google Scholar
  40. 125.
    Christian Bartholmèss, Histoire philosophique de l’Académie de Prusse (2 vols, Paris, 1850). Anonymous, Denkschrift der königlichen Akademie gemeinnütziger Wissenschaften in Erfurt (Erfurt, 1854). Anonymous, Denkschrift, p. lxxxvi.Google Scholar
  41. 128.
    ‘Cabanes de bois et de plâtre’, ‘palais somptueux’. Voltaire, ‘Essai’, in M, XII, p. 244. 129. ‘Ertötender Druck’. Friedrich Engels, ‘Die Lage der arbeitenden Klasse in England’ (1845), in Institut für Marxismus-Leninismus der SED, ed., Marx Engels Werke, II, p. 647.Google Scholar
  42. Oscar Wilde, Phrases and philosophies for the use of the young (London, 1894), p. 7.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Florian Schui 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florian Schui

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations