1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Argens, Jean Baptiste de Boyer

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ARGENS, JEAN BAPTISTE DE BOYER, Marquis d’ (1704–1771), was born at Aix in Provence on the 24th of June 1704. He entered the army at the age of fifteen, and after a dissipated and adventurous youth settled for a time at Amsterdam, where he wrote some historical compilations and began his more famous Lettres juives (The Hague, 6 vols., 1738–1742), Lettres chinoises (The Hague, 6 vols., 1730–1472), and Lettres cabalistiques (2nd ed., 7 vols., 1769); also the Mémoires secrets de la république des lettres (7 vols., 1743–1478), afterwards revised and augmented as Histoire de l’esprit humain (Berlin, 14 vols., 1765–1768). He was invited by Prince Frederick (afterwards Frederick the Great) to Potsdam, and received high honours at court; but Frederick was bitterly offended by his marrying a Berlin actress, Mlle Cochois. Argens returned to France in 1769, and died near Toulon on the 11th of January 1771.