De La Roque
LETTRE ECRITE PAR MONSIEUR de la Roque à M. Rigord, subdelegué de l'Intendance de Provence à Marseille, sur le projet d'établir en cette ville une Académie des Sciences & des belles Lettres, où il est parlé de l'ancienne Académie de Marseille, & des Marseillois qui se sont distinguez dans les Sciences & dans les beaux Arts. Mémoires pour l'Histoire des Sciences & des beaux Arts (known variously as Mémoires de Trévoux and Journal de Trévoux) (1717) 17:124-154. [In French.]
This lengthy letter, dated on p.154 as
"A Paris, le premier Avril 1716", argues in favour of
the establishment of an Académie in Marseille.
Académie des Belles-Lettres de Marseille was not formally
established until 1726, the existence of this public letter suggests that
an Académie may have existed informally for some time (i.e. without
external financial assistance).
This may explain the founding date of 1715 given in the
Saur World Guide (1998), p.64.
An interesting feature of this letter is an extended passage (pp.125-130) referring to an earlier Académie de Marseille, which appears to existed in ancient times. More specifically, the author refers on p.129 to "ceux de Phocée qui bâtirent Marseille, & qui y fonderent l'Académie dont nous parlons..." (those from Phocea [in Asia Minor] who build Marseille, and who founded there the academy of which we speak). [Since the Phoceans founded Marseille in the 6th c. B.C., we assume that this old academy was likely contemporaneous with the Academy of Athens. That is consistent with other comments by the author.] The author does note on p.130 that it is difficult to know exactly when this old Academy existed.
On p.131 de La Roque also refers to a second Academy founded in the 5th century in the Abbaye S. Victor; it appears to have been primarily a teaching academy of the Church.
Most of the rest of the letter is an historical account of learned persons from Marseille over the centuries.