Pauw, Cornelius

Pauw, Cornelius a Dutch divine, noted as a writer, was born at Amsterdam in 1739. He studied at Gottingen, and was afterwards made canon of Xanten, in the duchy of Cleves. He applied himself to literature, and wrote several works in French on the history and physiology of various nations and countries. His Recherches historiques sur les Amenicains contain some curious information, many sensible reflections, and also many unsupported assertions set forth in a dogmatic tone. Pauw had not visited America, and his object seems to have been to collect all the passages which he could find in other writers, and which could support some preconceived opinion of his concerning the great inferiority of that part of the world, its productions and its native races. (See Pernety, Dissertation sur l'Amerique; et les Americains contre les Recherches historiques de M. de Pauw, which is found at the end of some editions of Pauw's work.) In his chapter on Paraguay, Pauw shows himself particularly hostile to the Jesuits. His Recherhes sur les Grecs, in which he had better guides, is written with greater sobriety of judgment; but even, in this work his dogmatic spirit is perceptible. Pauw published also Recherches sur les Egyptiens et les Chinois. The French Revolution, and the subsequent invasion of the duchy of Cleves, deprived Pauw of his peace of mind. He became dejected, and burned all his papers, among others his Recherches sur les Allemands, which is said to have been the most elaborate of his works, but which was never printed. He died at Xanten in 1799.

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