Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours materials related to the Court of Baden (microfilm and photocopies)Creation: 1770-1775
Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739-1817) was a French political economist, writer, publisher, and public administrator. During the summer of 1771, du Pont de Nemours tutored the son of Carl Friedrich von Baden (1728-1811), Carl Ludwig, Hereditary Prince of Baden (1755-1801). Carl Friedrich von Baden was the Margrave and then later the Grand Duke of Baden, a territory in the southwest of Germany, which at the time was part of the Holy Roman Empire. This collection consists of two microfilm reels and twenty-six photocopies of correspondence between du Pont de Nemours and members of Baden's court--the Grand Duke (Margrave at the time) and the Heredity Prince--pertaining to the activities of Baden's court, economics, and the education of the Heredity Prince.
- Creation: 1770-1775
- Du Pont de Nemours, Pierre Samuel, 1739-1817 (Correspondent, Person)
2 microfilm reels. 26 photocopies.
Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours (1739-1817) was a French political economist, writer, publisher, and public administrator. He was an advocate for a national educational system and promoted Franco-American trade relations.
Du Pont de Nemours was born in Paris on December 14, 1739. He was apprenticed as a watchmaker, but during the early 1760s, he began to study and write on economic matters. In 1767, du Pont de Nemours coined the term "physiocracy," which means the rule of nature, to describe the complex doctrine of French economist François Quesnay (1694-1774), which is now cognized as the first modern school of economics.
In July 1774, the family departed for Poland, where du Pont de Nemours was to serve the Polish monarch in various capacities, including that of honorary councilor. He was shortly recalled to France, however, and commissioned as Inspecteur Général du Commerce, a position he held until its abolition in 1788. During the late 1770s, he was an economic advisor to Jacques Necker (1732-1804), a Genevan banker who served as finance minister for King Louis XVI (1754-1793) from 1789 to 1790 but held a number of other posts in regards to finances for the royal treasury between 1777 and 1789.
In the early 1780s, du Pont de Nemours was involved in the negotiations that led to the Anglo-French Commercial Treaty of 1786. The treaty reduced tariffs on goods between France and Britain. In 1786, he was appointed Counseiller d'Etat by King Louis XVI; in this position, he acted as a government official of administrative law. The following year he served as secretary of the first Assemblée des Notables, convened at Versailles to consult on matters of state.
At the onset of the French Revolution, du Pont de Nemours served as a member of the Assemblée Nationale Constituante (1789-1791). The purpose of the assembly was to discuss a new constitution and taxation system. He allied himself with the moderate Girondist faction. Girondists were initially part of the Jacobin movement. The Jacobin Club were anti-royalists who supported the abolition of the monarchy, the creation of parliament, the introduction of a constitution, the separation of powers, and the establishment of a republic. The Girondins supported the end of the monarchy; however, they were not for the revolution, and most opposed the execution of the king, who was arrested in August 1792 and put to death on January 21, 1793.
After the leader of the Jacobin party, Maximilien Robespierre (1758-1794), took power, Girondin deputies and members of other opposing movements were arrested, put on trial, and many were executed. This time period is known as the Reign of Terror. Du Pont de Nemours was arrested in July 1794, but he escaped the guillotine upon Robespierre's fall at the end of the month.
In 1795, he was chosen as a member of the Counseil des Anciens (Council of Elders), which was the upper house of the French legislature. Following the coup d'état of September 4, 1795, he was again arrested and held for one night.
The du Ponts began to explore the possibility of emigration to the United States. On January 3, 1800, accompanied by his sons, Victor Marie du Pont (1767-1827) and Eleuthère Irénée du Pont (1771-1834), he arrived in America. Du Pont de Nemours and his sons established the commission house of Du Pont de Nemours, Père et Fils & Cie. in New York.
Du Pont de Nemours and his wife, Françoise Robin de Poivre (1748-1841), returned to France in 1802, where he held various government posts under Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821). In 1814, he became a member of the provisional government that deposed Napoleon and exiled him to Elba. Upon Napoleon's return, du Pont de Nemours again fled to America, where he died at the home of his son, Eleuthère Irénée du Pont, in Delaware on August 7, 1817.
Scope and Contents
Carl Friedrich von Baden (1728-1811) was the Margrave and then later the Grand Duke of Baden, a territory in the southwest of Germany, which at the time was part of the Holy Roman Empire. He was born and resided in Karlsruhe, a city in southwestern Germany. During the summer of 1771, Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours tutored the son of Carl Friedrich von Baden, Carl Ludwig, Hereditary Prince of Baden (1755-1801).
In October through November of 1773, du Pont de Nemours resided at Karlsruhe as a councilor of the Margrave of Baden. Victor de Riqueti, Marquis de Mirabeau (1715-1789) was a French economist of the Physiocratic school, which du Pont de Nemours developed.
Microfilm reel 1 contains selected letters written by du Pont de Nemours concerning the Margrave of Baden and his court, written between 1770 and 1775. The collection includes correspondence between Victor de Riqueti, Marquis de Mirabeau, and Carl Friedrich, Margrave of Baden, concerning the publication of some of du Pont de Nemours' economic writings and on education. The letters mention the publicatons Les éphémérides du citoyen and Relevés de culture.
There are a series of letters from du Pont de Nemours to Carl Ludwig, Heredity Prince of Baden, concerning the prince's education. Most of the letters are undated; the remaining date from 1771 to 1773.
Microfilm reel 2 contains selected letters written by du Pont de Nemours concerning the Margrave of Baden and his court (1771-1806). Most of the letters have been published in Carl Knies, Carl Friedrichs von Baden, Brieflicher Verkehr mit Mirabeau und du Pont. The collection includes letters of Victor de Riqueti, Marquis de Mirabeau, to Carl Friedrich, Margrave of Baden, concerning the publication of some of du Pont de Nemours' economic writings.
In some of the letters, du Pont de Nemours discusses his political and economic philosophies as they were being shaped by events of the 1770s and 1780s. Other letters discuss the education of the prince and possible diplomatic missions and marriage alliances. Also on the microfilm is the manuscript of the "Mémoire sur les municipalitiés" (September 1775).
There are twenty-six photocopies of letters between du Pont de Nemours and Baron d'Edelsheim. Wilhelm Freiherr von Edelsheim (1737-1793) was a Baden diplomat and politician as well as president of the Privy Council. He was in the service of Carl Friedrich von Baden from 1758 and moved to Karlsruhe in 1774, when he was appointed secret councilor and minister of foreign affairs.
Existence and Location of Originals
Mircofilm Reel 1: Originals in Generallandesarchiv Karlsruhe, Germany.
Microfilm Reel 2: Originals held in the Badisches Generallandesarchiv Landasbiblisthek, Karlsruhe, Germany.
Correspondence with Edelsheim photocopies: Originals held in the Badisches Generallandesarchiv Landasbiblisthek, Karlsruhe, Germany.
Existence and Location of Copies
Most of the letters have been published in Knies, Carl. Carl Friedrichs von Baden, Brieflicher Verkehr mit Mirabeau und du Pont. Heidelberg: Carl Winter's Universitätsbuchhandlung, 1892.
This collection is open for research.
Language of Materials
- Du Pont family (Family)
Finding Aid & Administrative Information
- Pierre Samuel du Pont de Nemours materials related to the Court of Baden (microfilm and photocopies)
- John Beverley Riggs
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- Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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- 2021: Laurie Sather