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Fortunato de Félice - Citizenship & Departure (1759)

Unfortunately, amidst the success of the Journals, disaster struck. Tscharner's Chateau Lansitz LohnThe Countess developed a fever, and despite all de Félice's efforts, she died in the summer of 1759. Emotionally scarred, he was unable to stand the sight of Tscharner's Château Lansitz any more, so moved out into his own residences.

In order to maintain his right to Swiss citizenship, in December de Félice married the daughter of a local notary, namely Suzanne-Catherine de Wavre, who was described as "young, blonde, extremely pretty, and of a similar height to de Félice" (!). With this, the Council of Thielle-Wavre in Neuchâtel received, on the 10th December 1759 "a number of subjects of his majesty according letters of neutrality" and is recorded as having welcomed de Félice after having seen "the very fine testimonies of the pastors and professors and other parties of the town of Bern". This was also a significant moment as there was now official recognition that he was no longer a fugitive from justice, and that the Bernese did not recognise the authority of Naples or the Roman Church.

Settling in with his new wife and citizenship, de Félice opened a free class of experimental physics in Bern, taking in the  young men of the city. The Bernese Conseil Academique authorised the use of the university's equipment and instruments. The journals, de Félice's citizenship, his academic works and field of activity had attracted the attentions of a group of eccentric aristocrats, the so-called "Encyclopedistes" in a place called Yverdon, near Lausanne.

In January 1762, two representatives from Yverdon visiting Bern on related business met with de Félice and asked him to spend the day with them. Back in Yverdon, the representatives had been talking to a mutual friend, Elie Bertrand, who at the time was founding the "Societe Economique d'Yverdon". They also made correspondence with Tscharner, de Félice's closest friend. They told de Félice about the situation in Yverdon and asked him to join them. Now somewhat established in Bern, de Félice was hesitant and refused, however, the representatives persisted, sending many letters. Offering him residences in Yverdon, and even a title, the Encylopedistes persisted. With the promise that his heirs would be titled Vicomte d'Yverdon and that his living arrangements would be catered for, eventually, de Félice agreed. So, 4 months later, in July 1762 he left Bern, travelling with his friend Zimmermann.

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