Pierre des Maizeaux  

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Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.
Train wreck at Montparnasse (October 22, 1895) by Studio Lévy and Sons.

Pierre des Maizeaux, also spelled Desmaizeaux (1666? or 1673–1745) was a French Huguenot writer exiled in London, best known as the translator and biographer of Pierre Bayle.

He was born in Paillat, France. His father, a minister of the reformed church, had to leave France on the revocation of the Edict of Nantes, and took refuge in Geneva, where Pierre was educated. Pierre Bayle gave him an introduction to the 3rd Lord Shaftesbury, with whom, in 1689, he went to England, where he engaged in literary work. He remained in close touch with the religious refugees in England and Holland, and constantly in correspondence with the leading continental savants and writers, who were in the habit of employing him to conduct such business as they might have in England. In 1720 he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society.

He was a colleague of Anthony Collins and edited the writings of John Locke (1720). He was the translator and biographer of Pierre Bayle. One of the key figures in the eighteenth century Republic of Letters and London's Huguenot diaspora. Des Maizeaux also translated the works of Charles de Saint-Évremond in English from the French published in 1714 during his exile in England. The book also described the author's life. The work was dedicated to the Right Honourable Charles Lord Halifax. In 1700 des Maizeaux wrote a remark concerning Leibniz' 'New System' and in 1720 he edited and prefaced a French translation of the Leibniz-Clarke correspondence.

Among his works are also Vie de St Evremond (1711), Vie de Boileau-Despreaux (1712), Vie de Bayle (1730). He also took an active part in preparing the Bibliothèque raisonnée des ouvrages de l'Europe (1728–1753), and the Bibliothèque britannique (1733–1747), and edited a selection of St. Evremond's writings (1706). Part of Des Maiseaux's correspondence is preserved in the British Museum, and other letters are in the royal library at Copenhagen.


  • Almagor, J., Pierre Des Maizeaux (1673–1745), journalist and English correspondent for Franco-Dutch periodicals, 1700–1720 ; with the inventory of his correspondence and papers at the British Library (Add.Mss.4281–4289), Amsterdam : APA-Holland University Press, 1989. ISBN 9030210001
  • Dictionary of National Biography, article Desmaizeaux, Pierre

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