Gabriel Saint Glen, de

First name
Last name
Saint Glen, de
Date of Birth
Date of Death
Born in
Died in

What is known about the life and times of Saint Glen is quite sparse. Meinsma in his ‘Spinoza en zijn kring’ briefly deals (pp. 379–80) with him, but it is evident that he grounds what he knows about Saint Glen mainly on Pierre Desmaizeaux's edition of Lettres de mr. Bayle. More biographical information is predominantly made known through the article ‘Un Gazetier français en Hollande: Gabriel de Saint-Glen, traducteur de Spinoza’ published by Francès in the Revue des sciences humaines and the five-part work by Van Eeghen (De Amsterdamse boekhandel 1680–1725, 1960–78) on the Amsterdam booktrade. According to Francès, the Huguenot ‘chevalier’ Saint Glen was probably born the bastard son of Julien Urvoy in the Côtes-du-Nord in French Brittany around 1620. He came to the Netherlands probably sometime in the 1660s and settled for a while in The Hague, the political heart and judicial seat of the Dutch States General and also the centre where the Prince of Oranges, the Dutch sovereigns, and foreign diplomats and their entourages held their court. Frances also points out that Saint Glen had a quick military career as officer (captain) in the States’s army. On 10 June 1669, he married a French girl, Maria Patoillet, in The Hague. In fine, Saint Glen settled in The Hague shortly before Spinoza left Voorburg and also came to live there. This in any case establishes the distinct possibility that they indeed may have met each other personally during the 1670s, but of this there is no certainty. Later on, Saint Glen moved to Amsterdam where he set up a publishing agency at the Nieuwezijds Achterburgwal. He issued Nouvelles solides et choisies and it is also reported that he contributed to the Gazette de Amsterdam. Saint Glen made his will on 19 February 1684 and died six days was buried in the Amsterdam Nieuwe Kerk. Apparently a man of some reputation, the news of his death soon reached France and was reported in the Nouveau Mercure galant (published from 1672 to 1724). This literary magazine commemorated Saint Glen’s death and called him a ‘domestique’ of the Prince of Orange, although it is unknown what his relations with the Dutch Stadholder were exactly. After Saint Glen’s death, his wife left Amsterdam and set up in Rotterdam the Gazette de Rotterdam for which she received a patent from the States of Holland in 1691.

Spinoza settled in The Hague sometime between early September 1669 and mid-October 1670. There, he first rented a room on the second floor at the rear end of a house at the Stille Veerkade owned by widow Johanna van Dobben. Later on, he relocated to rent a room in the Paviljoensgracht (just around the corner) at the house of decorative painter Hendrick van der Spijck.


Benedictus Spinoza, de