Jan Claesz Hoorn, ten

First name
Jan Claesz
Last name
Hoorn, ten
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Born in
Died in

Jan Claesz ten Hoorn (fl.1671–1714) ran a bookshop and quite probably also a printing firm ‘over het Oude Herenlogement’ (‘nearby the Lords’s Hostel’). Meant is here the noted guesthouse ‘Oude Zijds Herenlogement’ at the Grimburgwal in Amsterdam.  The house where Ten Hoorn worked, ‘in de Historieschrijver’ (‘in the Historian’), was situated in ‘het Gebed zonder End’ (‘the Endless Prayer’), a small street located in the Nes close to the city hall. Cf.: Van Eeghen, 1960–78, vol. 3, p. 163.

An unsuccessful attempt to issue a Dutch translation of Tractatus theologico-politicus was made during the second half of the 1680s. During an assembly of the Amsterdam Church Council, it was reported that bookseller Jan Claesz ten Hoorn was about to print a translation of Spinoza’s treatise. The account of the Church Council, dated January 9, 1687, reads thus:

It is being brought up that in Delft was stopped the printing of the Dutch translation of Spinoza named ‘Tractatus theologico-politicus’ [to be issued] in Amsterdam. And it is assumed that it was under the presses of Jan ten Hoorn at ‘the lords hostel’. Since this book in Latin is already prohibited by the Lords of the States of Holland by order of the Christian Synod, and the printing in Dutch is supposed to cause many more harmful results, it is resolved by the honourable brothers together with the district elders that they will ask Jan ten Hoorn in detail about the matter. And on reaching their findings it will be [first] discussed with the honourable chairmen and it will be correspondingly further discussed at the table of the Noble Great Powers with the objective that such a harmful work was to be stopped.

Source: Amsterdam, SA, 376: ‘Archief van de Hervormde Gemeente; Kerkenraad’ (Algemeen), ms. ‘Protocolboeken’, inv. no. 15, p. 164, 9 January 1687.

When on January 16 members of the Kerkenraad visited Ten Hoorn to question him about the affair, the latter first denied that such a work was under his presses. When confronted with ‘letters written from Delft’ (directed to the Church Council apparently), though, the Amsterdam bookdealer finally admitted that he was commissioned to print the work, but without having truly realised its potential danger (‘sulcke boeken en papieren te hebben ontfangen sonder te weeten datter yets quaets in stack’). He also told the Kerkenraad members that, when he actually found out how dangerous the work actually was (‘de godloosheyt van t‘ schrift hem te weeten gecomen sijnden’), he had immediately torn up all the printed sheets and also burned the manuscript: ‘al het ghedruckte van dat tractate gescheurt en het exempelaer self verbrant hadt’. On January 23, then, Ten Hoorn was summoned to appear before a commission of the Amsterdam Kerkenraad to testify that he indeed had destroyed both its printed copy as well as the manuscript (‘al het ghedruckte van dat tractaet ghescheurt en het exempelaer selfs verbrant hadt’). The commission also urged him to mention the name of the author or instigator who had contracted him to print the work. Ten Hoorn maintained his earlier claims and declared that he was not in any way familiar with the ‘author’ (translator) nor the instigator (‘betuijcht noch autheur te kennen, noch aenrader gehadt te hebben’). Eventually, he was only reprimanded by the Amsterdam Church Council for his actions (Peeters, 1983). These unsatisfactory replies by Ten Hoorn, as it seems, were just an outright lie. Unfortunately, specific details about the Dutch translation that Ten Hoorn was ordered to print are unknown. Hence, it will remain a mystery who authored the translation and took the initiative to have the Dutch text version printed. Moreover, the individual from Delft who wrote to the Amsterdam Kerkenraad to inform the college about the clandestine printing of a Dutch version of Tractatus theologico-politicus is also unknown.


Timotheus Hoorn, ten