It was this rationalistic treatment of the sacred writings which helped to confound the Cartesians with the allegorical school of John Cocceius, as their liberal doctrines in theology justified the vulgar identification of them with the heresies of Socinian and Arminian.
Against this work and the Ethics of Spinoza the orthodox Cartesians (who were in the majority), no less than sceptical hangers-on like Bayle, raised an all but universal howl of reprobation, scarcely broken for about a century.
The cardinal de Retz in his leisurely age at Commercy found amusement in presiding at disputations between the more moderate Cartesians and Don Robert Desgabets, who interpreted Descartes in an original way of his own.
The greatest and most original of the French Cartesians was Malebranche (q.v.).
The old Cartesians, Jean Jacques Dortous de Mairan (1678-1771) and especially Fontenelle, with his Theorie des tourbillons (1752), struggled in vain to refute Newton by styling attraction an occult quality.
Whereupon certain theologians (themselves perhaps the authors of it) took occasion to complain of me to the prince and the magistrates; moreover, the stupid Cartesians, because they are commonly supposed to side with me, desiring to free themselves from that suspicion, were diligent without ceasing in their execrations of my doctrines and writings, and are as diligent still."
Descartes in the Geometric defined and considered the remarkable curves called of ter him the ovals of Descartes, or simply Cartesians, which will be again referred to.