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Lion Philips (29 October 1794 – 28 December 1866) was a Dutch tobacco merchant. He is the grandfather of Gerard and Anton Philips of Philips Electronics,[1] and was an important financial supporter of Karl Marx.[2]

Career

In 1815, Lion and a partner, Gerlacus Ribbius Peletier, started a tobacco company, "The Unicorn". The successors of this company remained active in the tobacco trade until the second half of the twentieth century.[citation needed] In addition to trading tobacco, the Philips pursued other businesses, including a blanket factory, which later burned down. At the time of his death in 1866, his capital was estimated at around NLG 189,000.[4]

Religion

The Philips family was of Jewish origin. Lion Philips and his father Benjamin joined the Dutch Reformed Church on 1 February 1826 with their respective families. Full Jewish emancipation had been in place in the Netherlands since 1796, eliminating trade and other obstacles to the faith.

Karl Marx

Marx and Philips had a close relationship; Marx regularly stayed with the Philips family in Nijmegen and later in Zaltbommel.[Nijmegen. Sophie's sister Henriëtte married German lawyer Heinrich Marx and was the mother of Karl Marx. Sophie and Lion had nine children, including August Philips, who was a lawyer and dean of the Amsterdam Bar Association; and banker Frederik Philips who, together with his son Gerard Philips, established the Philips Electronics Company, the first Dutch incandescent light company, in 1891. Gerard's younger brother Anton joined the company in 1912.[3][4][5][6]

In 1815, Lion and a partner, Gerlacus Ribbius Peletier, started a tobacco company, "The Unicorn". The successors of this company remained active in the tobacco trade until the second half of the twentieth century.[citation needed] In addition to trading tobacco, the Philips pursued other businesses, including a blanket factory, which later burned down. At the time of his death in 1866, his capital was estimated at around NLG 189,000.[4]

Religion

The Philips family was of Jewish origin. Lion Philips and his father Benjamin joined the Dutch Reformed Church on 1 February 1826 with their respective families. Full Jewish emancipation had been in place in the Netherlands since 1796, eliminating trade and other obstacles to the faith.

Karl MarxMarx and Philips had a close relationship; Marx regularly stayed with the Philips family in Nijmegen and later in Zaltbommel.[citation needed] Seven letters to Marx and seven to Philips are known. These letters cover issues ranging from the American Civil War to the invention of electricity. One of the main reasons for the strong involvement was money. Philips was Marx's main sponsor and the business mediator between him and Henriëtte Pressburg. This was necessary, because the relationship between Marx and his mother was poor, Marx writing: "I have fallen out with my family and, as long as my mother lives, I have no right to my inheritance".[7] As a result, Philips granted Marx allowances, first from the legacy of Heinrich Marx, then as advances on the legacy of Henriëtte.

After Henriëtte's death in 1863, Lion, who was named one of her executors, paid what remained after Karl's inheritance: seven thousand guilders, a considerable sum.[[citation needed] In addition, Philips occasionally offered extras: "I initially extorted £160 pounds from my uncle so that we could pay off most of our debts," Marx writes to Friedrich Engels on 7 May 1861.[citation needed]

Marx found 'a hospitable home' with Lion Philips and his family. In addition, he was able to "conduct intellectual discussions with open-minded, liberal ubiquists".[citation needed]

In the Soviet TV series Karl Marks, Molodye gody (Карл Маркс: Молодые годы, "Karl Marx's early years") the role of Lion Philips is played by the Ukrainian actor Leonid Bronevoy.[citation needed]

Bibliography

  • A. Heerdin