About Henri de Boulainvilliers
Henri de Boulainvilliers (born October 21, 1658 in Saint-Saire, Normandy; died January 23, 1722 in Paris) was a French writer and historian. Educated at the college of Juilly, he served in the army until 1697. He translated into French Spinoza's Ethics and wrote an analysis of his Theologico-Political Treatise, identifying Spinoza's conatus with the right of conquest and the "right of the strongest" of which he made large use in what has been considered as one of the first "theory of races," although it was very distinct from 19th century "scientific racism". The name is often rendered as de Boulainvilliers though he himself insisted on the autograph de Boulainviller. (R.Simon, s.d.) The comte de Boulainviller traced his nobel lineage back to its offshoot from a branch of the House of Croÿ: Jean de Croÿ, sire de Clery et de Boulainviller, who died in the Battle of Poitiers (1356). At the time of his birth however, the family was impoverished. His wife, Marie-Anne Hurault des Marais, died at childbirth leaving him to care for four children. The eldest son was killed in the 1709 Battle of Malplaquet, and his other son died the same year.