Cramer, Jean Antoine (* 1757.08.12 † 1818.04.11)
Basic Overview Data
Biographical and Intellectual Profile
Descendant of an influential patrician family, Jean Antoine Cramer was born in Geneva on 12 August 1757. He probably studied law at the Academy and was accredited as a lawyer in Geneva where he became professor of (natural and civil) law in 1789. He succeeded his father Jean Manassé Cramer (1727-1797), who held the chair from 1757 to 1789. His grandfather Jean Cramer (1701-1773) had been professor of natural and civil law from 1723-1738, at the same time as Jean-Jacques Burlamaqui. In 1792, Jean Antoine served as secretary of the Genevan delegation at the federal assembly of Frauenfeld. After the French annexation of Geneva in 1792, he settled in England. He died on 11 April 1818 in Hyères, in the canton of Fribourg.
Comment on main natural law works:
The lecture notes of an anonymous student who attended the course on natural law Cramer delivered at the Academy in 1790-1791 show that natural law was still taught in Latin towards the end of the eighteenth century. In the introduction, Cramer mentioned Hobbes, Pufendorf, Wolff and Burlamaqui as authors of important treatises on the subject. It is however not clear whether he used any textbook for his lecture. The part of the manuscript referring to Cramer's course (p. 216-86) is divided in 6 "excerpts" which cut across the chapters of the course. As shown by the latter, Cramer followed the usual structure of a natural law course in the Pufendorfian tradition: it begins with natural law in general and the duties incumbent on man, and then continues with the acquisition of property, pacts, price, promise and the jus necessitatis. The latter is followed by a chapter on neutrality (which one would normally expect to find in a section on the law of nations). The manuscript ends with the chapter Cramer devoted to the societies, the conjugal society and the societas herilis.
Titles, Memberships and Other Relevant Roles
Cours de jurisprudence Criminelle extrait des leçons de mr. Lefort de 1792 à 1793 [suivi de] Juris naturalis Excerpta no 1. Mr. Cramer pendant ma 1ère année de droit de 1790 a 1791, Bibliothèque de Genève (BGE), Ms. Cours univ. 230: Digital Version
[The first part of the lecture notes (p. 1-215) concerns a course on criminal law delivered by Jacques Le Fort in 1792-93. The second part refers to (the beginning?) of Cramer's course on natural law delivered in 1790-91]