Matthieu Marais

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Matthieu Marais (16641 - 21 June 1737) was a French jurist and writer. Legal advocate at the Parlement of Paris, he was one of the luminaries of the bar during his times.

Marais was born and died in Paris. A friend of Pierre Bayle and Henry de Boulainviller, he collaborated on the Dictionnaire Historique, and wrote the articles "Henri III", "Henri, duc de Guise", "Marguerite, reine de Navarre", etc. Bound up with the president Jean Bouhier, he maintained with him an interesting correspondence, published in the Journal de Paris from 1721 to 1727. He also wrote (for the Mercure) a Critique of the panegyric of Louis de Sacy by Madame de Lambert.

Chardon de la Rochette discovered a posthumous writing of Matthieu Marais: Histoire de la Vie et des Ouvrages de M. de la Fontaine; Paris, 1811, in -12 et in -18 ("History of the life and works of Mr de la Fontaine"). Marais is also author of Memoires intéressants sur les premieres années du règne de Louis XV, which was published during those same years. (Larousse's Encyclopedia2 reports that he wrote a Journal et Mémoires de Mathieu Marais, avocat au Parlement de Paris, sur la Régence et la règne de Louis XV, 1715-1737 (1863-1868) ("Journal and Memoirs of Mathieu Marais, lawyer at the Parlement of Paris, on the Regency and the reign of Louis XV, 1715-1737"). This may be the same work referred to as Memoires intéressants . . . . above.)

Marais also praised Voltaire's epic poem La Ligue, remarking that 'C'est un ouvrage merveilleux, un chef-d'oeuvre d'esprit'.


  • This article, in its inaugural (Nov 2005) edition, is mostly a translation of the article, Marais (Matthieu), in the French-language Nouvelle Biographie Général: 1860, Paris: Fermin Didot Frères. vol.xxxiii, column 348. Original contributor: "L-z-e".
  • Reference in Nouvelle Biographie article:  Ravenel, Revue retrospective, v.i, no's 13, 14 and 15.
  • Grand Dictionnaire Encyclopédique Larousse, 1984, Paris. Article: Marais (Mathieu)


  1. Larousse, (see References) says he was born in 1665.
  2. Grand Dictionnaire Encyclopédique Larousse. See References.