Duarte Rodrigues Lamego

First name
Duarte Rodrigues
Last name
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Born in
Died in

Duarte Rodrigues Lamego (fl.1642–55) was a prosperous, influential Portuguese merchant from Rouen. He was an unofficial ‘agent’ providing Portuguese diplomats with information from the French court (cf. Israel, 1990, p. 344).

Because of the debt-ridden and insolvent business inheritance of Michael d'Espinosa (due to turn-over disintegration resulting from losses of cargoes in European waters), Spinoza tried to find an ingenious solution to shield himself from his father’s creditors. Evidently, financial claims could be expected from, among others, Duarte Rodrigues Lamego. According to Dutch civil law, by this time, Spinoza was legally still under age (23). Therefore, he managed to have himself officially placed under the legal custody of the municipal Amsterdam Weeskamer on 16 March 1656. (See: Dapper, 1663, Appendix 'Namen van de schouten') On the latter date, the Heeren Weesmeesteren (Lords Orphan Masters) of the Weeskamer appointed Spinoza a legal custodian, namely Louis Crayers. The document of the Orphan Masters states about the legal purpose of the custody request that its aim was clearly the following:

to represent the right and equity of the previously mentioned Bento d’Espinosa for him against others and to promote and regulate, and justify this, and further to regulate and administer decently his properties to the utmost profit...

Spinoza, mercator & autodidactus, p. 32, V,10.

The positive outcome of his acquired legal status of a minor for Spinoza was that he could not be declared insolvent and or even being sent to prison. The Amsterdam Weeskamer was now responsible for his legal actions and Dutch law explicitly forbade the withdrawal of any money or property from an orphan’s insolvent estate.


Michael Espinosa, d'

Business partner

Benedictus Spinoza, de

Business partner