David-Louis Constant de Rebecque

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Copy after the original portrait of David-Louis Constant d'Hermenches as Maréchal de camp of Île de Ré by Jean-Baptiste Bonjour 1839[1] in the depot of the Rijksdienst voor het Cultureel Erfgoed in Rijswijk[2]

David-Louis, Baron de Constant de Rebecque, seigneur d'Hermenches and Villars-Mendraz, a.k.a. David-Louis Constant d'Hermenches (17 November 1722 in Lausanne – 25 February 1785 in Paris) was a colonel and commandant of a Swiss regiment in the Dutch Republic and Maréchal de camp in French service with Swiss regiments. He is also known for his contact with Voltaire and his correspondence with Isabelle de Charrière.

Early life

He was the eldest son of Samuel Constant de Rebecque (1676–1756) and his wife, Rose Suzanne née de Saussure de Bercher (1698–1782).[3] His father became member of the Dutch States Army in 1699. Later he started a small Swiss regiment in the Dutch States Army. He bought the seignories Hermenches in 1725 and Villars-Mendraz in 1753.


Constant d'Hermenches started in the regiment of his father in 1738. They fought at the battle of Fontenoy, where Constant d'Hermenches was wounded. He covered the scar above his left eye with a black band across his forehead. He entered an arranged marriage in 1744 with the daughter of the mayor of Lausanne Louise Anna Jeanne Françoise de Seigneux (1715–1772). In The Hague in 1750 they had a son Guillaume Anne de Constant Rebecque de Villars with as godparents William IV, Prince of Orange and his wife Anne, Princess Royal and Princess of Orange.

He kept up a long correspondence (1760-1776) with Isabelle van Tuyll van Serooskerken, the future Isabelle de Charrière.


David-Louis Constant de Rebecque (1722-1785)

From is first marriage to Louise Anna Jeanne Françoise de Seigneux (1715-1772):

  • Guillaume Anne de Constant Rebecque de Villars, (the Hague 24 april 1750 – the Hague, 12 augustus 1832): married to Constance Francine de Lynden. He was incorporated into the dutch nobility.
  • Constance Louise de Constant de Rebecque (Lausanne, 16 augustus 1755 – Lausanne, 12 maart 1825).

In 1776 he remarried Marie Catherine Philippine de Préseau, née Taisnes de Rémonval (1743-1779). From this marriage:

  • Auguste de Constant de Rebecque (Aubonne, 1 november 1777 - Mézery, 14 februari 1862).

Works and correspondences

  • Constant d'Hermenches, David-Louis; Voltaire (1988). Courtney, C. P., ed. Pamphlets and occasional pieces with replies by Voltaire. Daemon. ISBN 978-0-9510166-3-3. 
  • Isabelle de Charrière, [Collected works:] Œuvres complètes, Édition critique par J-D. Candaux, C.P. Courtney, Pierre and Simone Dubois, P. Thompson, J. Vercruysse, D.M. Wood. Amsterdam, G.A. van Oorschot, 1979-1984 10 volumes: Tomes 1-6, Correspondance; tome 10, Essais, Vers, Musique. ISBN 9789028205000
    • Ik heb geen talent voor ondergeschiktheid: Belle van Zuylen in briefwisseling met Constant d'Hermenches, James Boswell en Werner C.W. van Pallandt. Van Oorschot. 1987.  ISBN 9789028206557
    • Une liaison dangereuse : correspondance [de Belle de Zuylen] avec Constant d’Hermenches (1760-1776), éd. Isabelle et Jean-Louis Vissière, Paris, La Différence, 1991, ISBN 2729107169
    • Aru kiken-na kankei - Agnes to d'Hermenches [Une liaison dangereuse - Agnès et d'Hermenches]. In: Omon Ronso, [Bulletin de la Faculté de droit, Nihon Université, Tokyo] 36 (1993), 40 (1995), 44 (1997), 45 (1997), 46 (1998), 48 (1998), 50 (2000), 52 (2001), 56 (2003), 57 (2003), 61 (2004), 67 (2006), 68 (2007), 70 (2008), 72 (2008). Translation Michikazu Tamai. ISSN 0288-1411
      • Aru kikenna kankei : Aniesu to derumanshu. Translation Michikazu Tamai. Tokyo, Surugadai Shuppansha, 2011. 272 p. ISBN 9784411022332
    • There are no letters like yours. The correspondence of Isabelle de Charrière and Constant d'Hermences. Translated, with an introduction and annotations by Janet Whatley and Malcolm Whatley. Lincoln NE, University of Nebraska Press, 2000. xxxv, 549 p. ISBN 978-0-8032-1714-0
  • van Strien, Kees (2005). Isabelle de Charriere/(Belle de Zuylen): Early Writings : New Materials from Dutch Archives. Peeters Publishers. ISBN 978-90-429-1646-3. 
  • Voltaire; Constant d'Hermenches, David-Louis (1956). Roulin, Alfred, ed. Lettres inédites à Constant d'Hermenches. Buchet/Chastel. 
  • Voltaire; Besterman, Theodore (1976). Correspondence and Related Documents [of Voltaire]. Voltaire Foundation. ISBN 978-0-7294-0036-7. 


  1. ^ RKD Information of this painting by Jean-Baptiste Bonjour
  2. ^ Original portrait of David-Louis Constant d'Hermenches 1781 as Maréchal de camp of Île de Ré of unkmown painter in 'Musée des Suisses dans le monde' in Pregny-Chambésy
  3. ^ "David-Louis de Constant de Rebecque (1722-1785) - Auteur - Ressources de la Bibliothèque nationale de France". data.bnf.fr. Retrieved 31 May 2015. 

External links

  • Historical Dictionary of Switzerland
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