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The Dutch Republic (c.1645-1670)

Introduction to the Dutch Period

Most of the literature on Franciscus van den Enden focuses on his Amsterdam period. This bias is mainly caused because it was in this period that Van den Enden was the Latin teacher of the philosopher Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677). Consequently, most Spinoza biographies discuss Van den Enden and his part in Spinoza's life1. Another consequence is that, with the exception of his involvement in the Rohan plot, most of the research that has been conducted on Van den Enden also concentrated on the Dutch period. The only biographical monograph on Van den Enden published so far, for instance, contains little on Van den Enden's life prior to his move to Amsterdam2. A third consequence of this bias is that most of the primary sources on Van den Enden, again with the possible exception of the Rohan plot, date from this period. More recently, largely due to the discovery of two political pamphlets (the Brief Account of New Netherland and the Free Political Proposals), more attention has been paid to Van den Enden as an Early-Enlightened philosopher3. Since then, the importance of his role in Spinoza biographies seems to have grown, basically due to a more positive re-evaluation of the old question of whether he influenced Spinoza's philosophy4. Simultaneously, his position in the Early Modern Enlightenment, more specifically in the emergence of the 'Radical Enlightenment', appears to have been upgraded5. The primary aim of the subsequent pages is to give a reasonably thorough description of Van den Enden's Amsterdam period, incorporating the material that has become available after the publication of the biography by Meininger and Van Suchtelen6.

Franciscus van den Enden: Art Dealer and Bookseller

In this part, Franciscus van den Enden's initial years in Amsterdam are discussed. During this period he apparently tried to make his living as an art dealer and bookseller. The source material for this period is rather scarce, and it is not even clear exactly when he started his business, the 'Konst-winckel' (Art shop). Only one book and a few images are known to have been published by him. Van den Enden's activities in the art world were obviously not very succesful, as in 1652 his business, located in the Nes near the Dam, failed.

17th-century press for engravings and etchings Amsterdam skyline by Rembrandt Amsterdam skyline by Rembrandt Amsterdam skyline by Rembrandt Korte verthooninghe (1650) Van den Enden's name under an engraving Van den Enden's address on a 1650 publication Van den Enden's address on a 1650 publication Van den Enden's address on a 1650 publication Printer's device Printer's device

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Franciscus van den Enden: Latin Teacher

In this part Franciscus van den Enden's subsequent career as a Latin teacher in Amsterdam is examined. Some of the most noteworthy of his known pupils - most of them remain unknown - were the poet and jurist Pieter Rixtel (1643-1673), the engraver and author Romeyn de Hooghe (c.1645-1708), the anatomist Theodoor Kerckrinck (1639-1693) and - the most well-known - the philosopher Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677). Van den Enden's most clear interest in this period was theatre, more specifically, the staging of Latin plays. Apart from classical plays by Terence and Seneca, he directed a Neo-Latin play written by himself, entitled Philedonius, at the Amsterdam City Theatre. However, shortly after the performance of his own piece, tragedy hit the Van den Enden family, as his wife Clara Maria Vermeeren died, probably marking the beginning of the school's decline.

Joost van den Vondel Text of a Latin play by Vergil, performed by Van den Enden's pupils Date of publication of 'Philedonius' From a poster for Van den Enden's play 'Philedonius' From a poster for Van den Enden's play 'Philedonius' From a poster for Van den Enden's play 'Philedonius' From the records of the Amsterdam City Theatre Printer's device on the title page of 'Philedonius' Amsterdam City Theatre Amsterdam City Theatre Amsterdam City Theatre Terence's Andria, directed by Van den Enden

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Rumours of Atheism and Decline of the Latin School

In this part Franciscus van den Enden's growing reputation as an 'atheist' during the 1660s is examined. In the early 1660s the Danish scholar Olaus Borch was the first to report that Van den Enden was an atheist, frequenting a Cartesian circle in which the publisher Jan Rieuwertsz and the translator Jan Hendrickz Glazemaker were also active. The political treatises Brief Account of New Netherland (1662) and Free Political Proposals (1665) to some extent confirmed this reputation. However, his 'atheist' reputation was not widely spread in sources from the 1660s, and was mainly fuelled by posthumous comment. Nevertheless, several early sources clearly connect Van den Enden to the circle around the then notorious philosopher Spinoza, linking him, amongst others, to Lodewijk Meyer (1629-1681), Adriaen Koerbagh (1632-1669), Johannes Bouwmeester (1630-1680), and Theodoor Kerckrinck. New evidence suggests that Van den Enden was especially close connected to the latter, who in the early 1670s would become his son-in-law.

Title page of the Brief Account of New Netherland (1662) Publisher Jan Rieuwertsz's name on a publication by Van den Enden Karel Verloove (1633-1710?) Benedictus de Spinoza (1632-1677) Titlepage of Pieter Rixtel's Mengel-Rymen (1669) Title page of the Free Political Proposals (1665) MVZH (Meest Van Zaken Houdt) From the title page of the Free Political Proposals (1665) From the title page of the Free Political Proposals (1665) Collegiant meeting at the Oranjeappel in Amsterdam Collegiant meeting at the Oranjeappel in Amsterdam

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Footnotes

(1) See e.g. K.O. Meinsma, Spinoza en zijn kring, 's-Gravenhage: Martinus Nijhoff, 1896, pp. 125-157, T. de Vries, Spinoza. Beeldenstormer en wereldbouwer, Amsterdam: De prom, 2003 (1st. ed. 1972), pp. 56-62, M. Gullan-Whur, Within Reason. A Life of Spinoza, London: Jonathan Cape, 1998, pp. 73-76 & 129-137 and S. Nadler, Spinoza. A Life, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1999, pp. 103-114 (only those passages that directly discuss Van den Enden are given, in each of these biographies Van den Enden is also mentioned on many other pages).

(2) The period of his life prior to Amsterdam is treated in some six pages, roughly 6% of the total text, the Amsterdam period is described in some 53 pages (51%) and the Paris period in about 45 pages (43%). J.V. Meininger & G. van Suchtelen, Liever met wercken als met woorden, Weesp: Heureka, 1980, respectively pp 8-14, 15-74 & 75-121.

(3) Marc Bedjai discovered these pamphlets in 1971, but failed to report this until 1990, shortly after Wim Klever had also discovered them. The first substantial discussion of these documents were made in M. Bedjai, “Metaphysique, ethique et politique dans l'œuvre de docteur Franciscus van den Enden (1602-1674). Contribution à l'étude des sources des écrits de B. de Spinoza”, Studia Spinozana, 6 (1990), pp. 291-313, and W. Klever, “Proto-Spinoza Franciscus van den Enden”, Studia Spinozana, 6 (1990), pp. 281-288.

(4) This is especially obvious in the above mentioned biographies by Gullan-Whur and Nadler. See note 1.

(5) The phrase 'Radical Enlightenment' was coined by Margaret C. Jacob and became generally known with the publication of her book with that title in 1981. Jonathan Israel in 2001 published a voluminous work with the same title, in which the Dutch roots of the Early Enlightenment were emphasized, identifying Van den Enden as one of the key figures. Van den Enden's importance was reaffirmed by Israel by paying substantial attention to him in the sequel, Enlightenment Contested. M.J. Jacob, The Radical Enlightenment: Pantheists, Freemasons and Republicans, London: George Allen & Unwin, 1981, J.I. Israel, Radical Enlightenment. Philosophy and the Making of Modernity 1650-1750, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2001, pp. 175-184 (and many other pages) and J.I. Israel, Enlightenment Contested. Philosophy, Modernity, and the Emancipation of Man 1670-1752, Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2006, i.a. pp.230-231, 241-242, 249-251, 556-557, 566-570 & 608-609.

(6) These new sources include i.a.:
a) The notes made by Borch in his itinerary, first reported to Spinoza scholarship by Klever, connecting Van den Enden to Rieuwertsz and Glazemaker, and accusing him of 'atheism'.
b) The anonymous remarks, probably by Ysbrand Vincent, in the preface to the third edition of Andries Pels, Gebruik én misbruik des tooneels, in which Van den Enden's theatrical involvement is mentioned in connection with the 'extracts' in the Brief Account.
c) The new data on Van den Enden's career as a print publisher.
d) A notarial deed placing Van den Enden in Antwerp in 1651, suggesting an involvement in the art business of his brother Martinus van den Enden.
e) The birth of a previously unknown daughter, Maria, baptized in 1654.
f) The death of his wife Clara Maria Vermeeren in 1657, first reported by Gullan-Whur.
g) A poem on Van den Enden by publisher Andreas Frisius.
h) Poems by Van den Enden for a genalogy of the Kerckrinck family.

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