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professor of the law of nature and nations, and of history, at Francfort

, professor of the law of nature and nations, and of history, at Francfort on the Oder, and a member of the royal society of Berlin, was born March 13, 1677, at Rottenburgh, in Hesse. His father was rector of that place, and became afterwards minister and dean. His son was at first educated under his care, which he amply repaid by a proficiency far beyond his years. In his seventeenth year he went to Marpurg, and studied under Otto, the celebrated orientalist, and Tilemann, professor of divinity, with whom he lodged, and who afterwards procured him the appointment of tutor to the two young barons of Morrien. Dithmar executed this office with general satisfaction, and when he went afterwards to prosecute his studies at Leyden, he was maintained at the expence of the landgrave of He^r Cusstl. He afterwards travelled over some parts of Germany and Holland, as tutor to the son of M. the great president Dancklemann. The learned Perizonius, with whom he became acquainted at Leyden, and who had a great esteem for him, procured him the offer of a professorship at Leyden, with a liberal salary but Dithmar thought himself obliged first to return M. Dancklemann’s sun to his father, who was so sensible of the value of his services, as to procure him a settlement at Francfort on the Oder. Here he was appointed professor of history, then of the law of nature and nations, and lastly, gave lectures on statistics and finance. He had been before this admitted a member of the royal society of Berlin, and was created a counsellor of the order of St. John. His situation at Francfort was in all respects so agreeable, that he refused many offers to remove, and in 1715 again declined a very honourable opportunity of settling at Leyden. He died at Francfort March 13, 1737, after a short illness; and with the reputation of one of the most learned men of his time.

and thither, to the great concern of the elector Palatine, he went the same year, and was installed professor of the law of nature and nations. His reputation greatly increased

During his confinement, which lasted eight months, as he had no books, and was allowed to see no person, he amused himself by meditating upon what he had read in Grotius’s treatise “De jure belli & pacis,” and in the political writings of Hobbes. He drew up a short system of what he thought best in them he turned and developed the subject in his own way he treated of points which had not been touched by those authors and he added much that was new. In all this he appears to have had no other object than to divert himself in his solitude; but two years after, shewing his work to a friend in Holland, where he then was, he was advised to review and publish it. It appeared accordingly at the Hague in 1660, under the title of “Elementorum Jurisprudent Universalis libri duo;” and gave rise to his more celebrated work “De jure naturae &^gentium.” The elector Palatine, Charles Louis, to whom he had dedicated the “Elements,” not only wrote him immediately a letter of thanks, but invited him to the university of Heidelberg, which he was desirous of restoring to its former lustre and founded there, in his favour, a professorship of the law of nature and nations which was the first of that kind in Germany, though many have since been established in imitation of it. The elector engaged him also to allot some portion of his time to the instruction of the electoral prince, his son. Puffendorf remained at Heidelberg till 1670, when Charles XL king of Sweden, having founded an university at Lunden, sent for him to be professor there and thither, to the great concern of the elector Palatine, he went the same year, and was installed professor of the law of nature and nations. His reputation greatly increased after that time, both by the fame and success of his lectures, and by the many valuable works that he published. Some years after, the king of Sweden sent for him to Stockholm, and made him his historiographer, and one of his counsellors. In 1688, the elector of Brandenberg obtained the consent of the king of Sweden for Puffendorf to go to Berlin, in order to write the history of the elector William the Great; and granted him the same titles of historiographer and privycounsellor, which he had in Sweden, with a considerable pension. The king of Sweden also continued to give him marks of his favour, and made him a baron in 1694. But he did not long enjoy the title for he died the same year, of a mortification in one of his’toes, occasioned by cutting the nail. He was as much distinguished by the purity of his morals, and the rectitude of his conduct, as by the superiority of his talents, and the celebrity of his numerous writings.