Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-r5zm4 Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-14T13:28:22.519Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

Chanut, Hector-Pierre (1601–1662)

from ENTRIES

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2016

Theo Verbeek
Affiliation:
Universiteit Utrecht
Lawrence Nolan
Affiliation:
California State University, Long Beach
Get access

Summary

Born at Riom (Puy-de-Dôme), the son of a wealthy family of merchants, Pierre (as he is usually called) Chanut made a career in administration (tax and finance). Alongside his official duties he also worked with Marin Mersenne and Pierre Petit (1598–1677) on scientific questions, especially the barometric experiments. In the 1640s, he entered the foreign service and before long became one of France's top diplomats, more particularly in charge of the relations with Northern Europe. After traveling extensively in Sweden, Northern Germany, and the United Provinces, he returned definitively to France in 1655. Being a trusted client of Fouquet (1615–80), Chanut retired from the public service when the latter fell into disgrace (1661).

The first time Descartes mentions Chanut is in mid-March 1642 in connection with the objections of Pierre Bourdin (AT III 546). Meetings probably followed during Descartes’ journey to France in 1644 because in 1645 Descartes already refers to Chanut as “one of my best friends” (AT IV 300). They also met at Amsterdam, when Chanut's ship made a stop on its way to Sweden (Baillet 1691, II 279). It is through Chanut that Claude Clerselier entered the Cartesian orbit, Chanut being married (1626) to Clerselier's sister Marguerite. On arriving in Sweden, Chanut tried to interest Queen Christina in Descartes. His motives were primarily political, Descartes being an asset in his attempts to consolidate the relations with Sweden after the Thirty Years’ War (1618–48) would be over. Chanut showed some of Descartes’ letters to her (AT V 59), and by December 1646 another senior diplomat had already visited Descartes to sound him on a formal invitation (AT IV 535–36, CSMK 298–99). Although initially Descartes’ reaction had been hesitant, he yielded after Chanut, on behalf of Queen Christina, asked his opinion on the sovereign good in the autumn of 1647 (AT V 81–86, CSMK 324–26). Descartes was formally invited in February 1649; he left the United Provinces in the autumn of 1649 and arrived in Sweden in September.

Type
Chapter
Information
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2015

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

References

Descartes, René. 2003 (1643). The Correspondence of René Descartes: 1643, ed. Verbeek, T., Bos, E.-J., and Van de Ven, J.. Utrecht: Zeno Institute.Google Scholar
Baillet, Adrien. 1691. La vie de Monsieur Descartes, 2 vols. Paris (reprint, Hildesheim: Georg Olms, 1972).Google Scholar
de Raymond, Jean-François. 1999. Pierre Chanut: Ami de Descartes. Paris: Beauchesne.Google Scholar

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×