Henriquez Morales

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Biographical details about Henriquez Morales (or Morelli, fl.1673–1715) are based on a note (1726) by Saint-Évremond. According to the latter, Morales was born in Cairo the son of a Jewish physician and settled in Amsterdam. There, he started his studies in medicine. Morales left Judaism and converted to Roman Catholicism (cf. Saint-Évremond, 1740, vol. 5, pp. 283–6). See: Popkin, 1995, pp. 11–12.

Morales put forward an account about Spinoza’s visit to Utrecht. He provided Pierre Desmaizeaux with his testimony about it. What is known, though, about Morales’s account on Spinoza’s trip to Utrecht is that is historically not accurate. In [early 1706], Desmaizeaux published the account (May 1706) in a review of the French translation (1706) of Colerus’s biography of Spinoza in Mémoires du trevoux. The testimony was re-edited by Desmaizeaux in the third volume of Lettres de mr. Bayle (1729) in a note to a letter of Bayle (Rotterdam, April 1706). The account (‘Lettre CCLXXXII. A Mr. ***) reads thus:

As mr. Morelli [Morales] … knew Spinoza and [he] told me [Desmaizeaux] various details. I consulted him on that fact and this is what he [Morales] answered me: ‘I knew particularly mr. Spinoza quite well. He has told me on more than one occasion that when he [Spinoza] was in Utrecht he met mr. the Prince of Condé and after he discoursed with him, this Prince made great efforts to engage him to follow him to Paris and to stay in his company. He added to this that in addition to his protection, on which he could count, he would have lodgings close to the court, and a pension of thousand écus. To that, Spinoza answered that he pleaded his Highness to consider that not all his powers would protect him against the bigotry of the Court. His name had already been strongly decried by the ‘Tractatus theologico-politicus’ and that therein was no surety for him or satisfaction for his Highness, because the priests being hostile and judge all people who think and write freely about religion. But he was ready to accompany his Highness in his armies, to entertain him if he would be able to do so and distract him from his military duties. Mr. the Prince approved these reasons and thanked him.

Source: Bayle, 1729 , vol. 3, pp. 1081–2, n. 5.


Pierre Desmaizeaux