François du Prat

Noel Malcolm (ed.), The Clarendon Edition of the Works of Thomas Hobbes, Vol. 7: The Correspondence, Vol. 2: 1660–1679

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letter 14421 september [/1 october] 1661François du Prat to Hobbes, from London

Chatsworth, Hobbes MSS, letter 52 (original).

Monsieur,

Je receus par le dernier ordinaire une lettre de Mr Sorbiere par laquelle il me prie de ne laisser pas tomber en d'autres mains le tresor pg 522que vous lui donnés Et que je me suis chargé de lui envoyer Comme il y a desja dix ou douze jours que sa lettre est escrite, Je croi qu'il aura presentement receu les livres, les ayant mis mot mesme dans le coffre de la petite Kilgré,1 qui partit il y eut hier quinze jours; Du moins suisje asseuré qu'ils ont passé la mer, car nous eusmes hier nouvelles de l'arriveé de la petite Dem.lle à Dieppe. J'ai escrit à Mr. Sorbiere pour le tirer hors de sa peine, et pour lui faire savoir où il faudra qu'il envoye querir ses livres. Je lui ai aussi communiqué [> le] [word deleted] dessein [> que j'ai] de traduire votre Leviathan; et l'ai prié de songer comment nous pourrions faire pour le faire imprimer en France ou en Hollande: Il a beaucoup de conoissances avec les gens qui ecrivent de l'un et de l'autre pays et me peut fort bien conseiller là dessus. Et d'ailleurs, Je suis resolu devant que de le donner au public, de le faire voir à de mes amis de Paris, affin qu'ils m'en disent leurs sentimens, Parce que [three words deleted > J'ai peur] que [> pendant] mon absence de Paris depuis trois ou quatre ans et pendant mes voyages dans les pays etrangers et mon sejour en celui-ci,2 mon langage n'ait contracté quelque chose de peu François, ce qu'il est encore plus malaisé déviter dans une traduction que dans une simple composition et dans le langage ordinaire. Or vous savés, Monsieur, que d'aller faire imprimer du François qui ne fust pas du meilleur, quand on peut avec l'aide d'un ami ou de deux en debiter de fort bon, ce seroit faire tort à votre ouvrage et derober à mes lecteurs ces expressions si nettes si pures et si belles que lon trouve dans votre Anglois. Je vous prie de me faire savoir de vos nouvelles, de celles de toute la maison et particulierement de Mad.e Anne,3 et de M.r Charles4 à qui je baise treshumblement et tresaffecti[onné? page torn] les mains; Je suis

  • Monsieur
  • Vostre treshumble et tresaff.ne serviteur
  • Du Pratt

A Londres ce 21e Sept.re 1661

[addressed:] For my most honor'd & very worthie friend M.r Hobbes. Latimers5

[endorsed by James Wheldon:] M.r du Prat.

pg 523 Translation of Letter 144

Sir,

I received by the last ordinary post a letter from M. Sorbière, begging me not to allow anyone else to get hold of the treasure which you are giving him and which I have undertaken to send him. Given that his letter was written ten or twelve days ago, I think he will have received the books by now, since I myself put them in young Miss Killigrew's1 trunk when she left here fifteen days ago. At least I am assured that they got across the Channel, as we received news yesterday that the young lady had arrived at Dieppe. I have written to M. Sorbière to put him out of his anxiety, and to tell him from where he should have his books fetched. I also told him of my plan to translate your Leviathan, and I asked him to give his thoughts to the question of how we might get it printed in France or Holland. He has a wide acquaintance with writers from both countries, and can give me excellent advice on the matter. Besides, I have decided to show it to my friends in Paris before presenting it to the public, so that they can give me their opinions of it. Having been away from Paris for three or four years and having travelled in foreign lands and stayed in England,2 I am afraid that my French may have become rather unidiomatic-something which is less easy to avoid in a translation than in an original composition or in ordinary speech. Now, as you know, Sir, to have it printed in a French version which was not of the best, when it could easily be perfected with the help of a friend or two, would be to do an injustice to your work and to deprive my readers of those expressions of yours which are so clear, so pure, and so fine in the English. I beg you to tell me your news, and the news of the whole household, especially Miss Anne3 and Mr Charles,4 whose hands I kiss most humbly and most affectionately; I am,

  • Sir,
  • Your most humble and most affectionate servant,
  • du Prat.

London, 21 September 1661

[addressed: see text]

Notes Settings

Notes

Editor’s Note
2 For du Prat's travels see the Biographical Register.
Editor’s Note
3 Anne Cavendish (1640–1703), daughter of the third Earl of Devonshire, who later married first Charles, Lord Rich (son of the second Earl of Warwick), and secondly John, Lord Burghley (later fifth Earl of Exeter).
Editor’s Note
4 Charles Cavendish (d. 1671), second son of the third Earl of Devonshire.
Editor’s Note
5 The country house of the Earl of Devonshire, in Bucks.
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