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Pancrace Royer was a well known French harpsichordist who published a book in 1746. He died in 1755, but I can't find the cause of death (which would probably be easier if I knew French). Does anyone know of a source stating how he died?

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migrated from Dec 5 '11 at 2:45

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What sources have you found in French? The Grove Dictionary of Music and Musicians only says that his death was "sudden" and that he died on Jan 11, 1755. The entry lists several studies on his life in the bibliography, but they are mostly in French. –  Reina Abolofia Dec 3 '11 at 21:55
Haven't found any... –  Nate Glenn Dec 4 '11 at 20:40
Nate et al--I migrated this from Music.SE because while music history is on topic on our site, this question is a general historical fact about a person (who just happens to be a musician). –  NReilingh Dec 5 '11 at 4:00
This question may be well served –  Ezri J. Rediker Dec 22 '12 at 17:34

1 Answer 1

up vote 5 down vote accepted

Found information and more or less contemporary sources on Google Books (here, here and here, for example) and in (here), but no source cares to say how he died, only hinting that it was sudden and unexpected; the only person I found who said something about how he died was Voltaire, who, in his letters, didn't hide his rejoicing at Royer's death (they had a quarrel before):

Then the Grand Turk, our ambassador to the Ottoman Porte, and Royer, have all died of an indigestion? I'm very angry about M. des Alleurs, whom I loved, but I find solace in the loss of Royer and the Grand Turk.

and later on:

A stroke has punished Royer for disfiguring my verses; it's up to me now to take care of my prose.

EDIT- I'm adding extra information:

The "Grand Turk" was the Ottoman Sultan Mahmud I, who died in December 1754 – his death was sudden, too, and the 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica says he died from heart disease, so it's easy to infer he had a stroke; the ambassador was Roland Puchot, the mentioned (Count) des Alleurs,not Ailleurs as I wrote before (corrected that), who died in Constantinople in late 1754 or early 1755, of a stroke ("un attaque d'apoplexie" according to this source).
So, if the sources and Voltaire are to be believed, Pancrace Royer has most probably died of a stroke.

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Hmm, perhaps the other individuals mentioned have had their causes of death published? The Ottoman Ambassador was Roland Puchot, but there is nothing I can read about him so far. It's all French. :) –  CGCampbell May 23 at 15:11
@CGCampbell I'm adding what I found to the answer. –  JMVanPelt May 23 at 20:36
Well done! I seem to recall learning, many many years ago, somewhere (probably in a civ class, or maybe health) that the internal troubles plaguing (mostly white europeans) such as heart disease, caused by refined meats and other 'fancy foods' started being seen in the (French) aristocracy. –  CGCampbell May 24 at 12:47
This is interesting! Thanks for finding all of this. –  Nate Glenn May 25 at 22:47

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