Crousaz, John Peter De

, an eminent philosopher and mathematician, descended from a noble family, was born at Lausanne, April 13, 1663. His father was Abraham de Crousaz, colonel of a regiment of fusileers: in his youth being of a very delicate habit, he was not too closely confined to his studies, yet left school at the age of thirteen with the reputation of a good scholar. His father, who intended him for the army, had him educated in the branches of knowledge necessary for that profession; but finding him averse to any pursuit unless that of literature, he allowed him to follow his inclination. In his fifteenth year he completed his course of philosophy, and distinguished himself by his theses, but being dissatisfied with the philosophy then taught, he had recourse to the writings of Des Cartes, which he studied with avidity, and applied at | the same time to mathematics, but scholastic theology had no more charms for him than the philosophy he had been taught. In his sixteenth year, however, he entered as a student of divinity, attended the best professors, both at Geneva and Lausanne, and read the opinions of other eminent divines on the subjects most involved in controversy. In March 1682 he went to Lcyden, made himself acquainted with the theological disputes, and endeavoured to investigate how far they could be determined by the sacred scriptures. Leaving Holland, he entered France, became acquainted with those celebrated protestant divines Claude and Menard, at Charenton, and fathers Malebranche and le Vassor at Paris, who in vain endeavoured to bring him over to the Roman catholic church, which Vassor himself forsook some years after. On his return to his native country, in J 684, Crousaz married the daughter of John Lewis Loys, comptroller-general, and soon after was ordained, and made honorary professor. He officiated as pastor in the church of Lausanne f >r fourteen years. During this time, in 1691, he was appointed to dispute for the professorship of Hebrew at Berne, which he performed with great credit. In 1699 he was made professor of Greek and philosophy, and although also nominated to the chair of divinity in 1700, he preferred that of philosophy. In 1706 he was appointed rector of the college, which office he held three years, and was again appointed in 1722, but held it then only two years, as it interfered too much with his literary engagements. It was during this second rectorate, that contests arose at Lausanne respecting the obligation of signing the Consensus, a formulary of faith and doctrine maintained in the protestant churches of Swisserland, an account of which may be seen in “Memoires pour servir a l‘histoire des troubles arrives en Suisse a I’occasion du Consensus,” Amst. 1726; and more briefly in Mosheim’s History. In 1705, from his own theses, and those published at the expence of the lords of Berne, he compiled a system of logic, in twenty ­two theses, 4to, and in the same and two following years published an abridgment of this. In 1712 he published in French, a system of logic, entitled “Systeme de reflexions qui peuvent coutribuer a la nettet6 et a Petude de nos connoissances,” Amst. 2 vols. 8vo, reprinted there in 1720, 3 vols. 12mo; in 1725, in 4 vols. and in 1741, in 6 vols. In 1724 he published an abridgment of it in Latin, | at Geneva, “Systema Logicæ, juxta principia ab autore in Gallico opere posita.” Some conversations on the subject of beauty in art, led him to an investigation of the subject, and produced in 1715, his “Traité du Beau, ou Ton montre en quoi consiste ce que l’on nomnie ainsi, par des examples tirés de la plupart des arts et des sciences,” reprinted at Amst. 2 vols. 12mo. In 1718, he published an ironical work, “Nouvelles maximes sur l‘Education des enfans,” Amst. 8vo; but in 1722, his more serious and better known work on Education, Hague, 1722, 2 vols. 12mo. In 1718 he answered the deistical Collins’s discourse of Freethinking, in “Examen du traite de la Hbert6 de penser,” Amst. 8vo. In the same year he published his first mathematical work, “Geometric des lignes et des surfaces rectilignes et circulaires,” Arnst. 2 vols. 8vo.

In 1724 he was invited to the professorship of mathematics and philosophy at Groningen, with a salary of 1500 Dutch florins; and when the lords of Berne granted him permission to accept this office, they also allowed his son to fill the chair at Lausanne for a year; during which he might see whether the air of Groningen agreed with him. He departed accordingly, and in October took possession of his new professorship with a discourse “De logic-ce cum physica, et de mathesceos cum utraque, et utriusque cum mathesi reciproco nexu,” which was afterwards printed. In 1726 he was chosen a foreign associate of the royal academy of sciences at Paris, and the same year was selected as tutor to prince Frederick of Hesse Cassel, which occasioned him to remove to Cassel; and he superintended the education of his illustrious pupil until 1732, in which year the king of Sweden made him counsellor of his embassies. In September of the same year he went to Geneva with his pupil, and after a year’s residence there returned to Lausanne. The king of Sweden sent him a very polite letter of acknowledgement for the services he had rendered the prince, who was the king’s nephew, and prince William of Hesse-Cassel, father to prince Frederick, continued to Crousaz his pension of 884 crowns as long as he lived. In 1735 Crousaz was chosen a member of the royal academy of sciences at Bourdeaux; and in 1737 he was unanimously elected to the vacant professorship of philosophy at Lausanne; and the lords of Berne permitted him to employ a deputy when he found age and infirmities creep on, and continued to him his title of | professor and his salary, even when he was obliged to decline all its duties. As late as 1740, however, we find that he continued to enjoy health and activity, but died in May 1750, deeply regretted as one of the ablest men of his time, a man of great piety, and an acute and successful opponent of infidelity in every shape.

Besides the works already mentioned, he published, 1. “Cinq Sermons sur la verite de la religion Chretienne,” with a sixth on the plague at Marseilles, 1722, 8vo. 2. “Nouveau volume des Sermons,1723, 8vo. 3. “Summa Logicae,” Groningen, 1724. 4. “Compendium Logicrc,” Groningen, 1725. 5. “De physicic militate.” 6. “Tentamen novum metaphysicum.” 7. “Reflexions sur Tusage et sur Tabus du jeu.” 8. “Sermon sur la gloire de ceux qui connoissent Pevangile, et qui s’y soumettent.” 9. “Essai de rhetorique contenu dans la traduction de quatre harangues de Tite-Live.” 10. “Essai sur le mouvement.” These last six articles were printed at Groningen in 1725. 11. “Reflexions sur Futilite des mathematiques,” Amst. 1725. 12. “De niente hutnana, &c. dissert, philosophicotheologica,” Groningen, 1726, 12mo. 13. “Traite d’Algebra,Paris, 1726. 14. “Examen du Pyrronisme ancienne et moderne,Hague, 1734, fol. an able confutation of Bayle and other free-thinkers. 15. “Systeme de Logique abrege,” with a preface on the use and abuse of abridgments, Lausanne, 1733. 16. “Oeuvres diverses,1737, 2 vols. 17. “Horatii logica,Lausanne, 1739. 15. “Traite” de l’esprit humain, &c.“Basil 1741, against Leibnitz and Wolff. 19.” Reflexions sur la belie VV’olfienne,“1743, on the same subject. 20. Various prize dissertations which received that honour in the academy of Bonrdeanx. 21.” Dissertation sur le principe du mouvement“to which the academy of Paris adjudged the prize in 1720, printed at Paris, 1722, 4to. 22.” Commentaire sur Panalyse des hifinimens petits."

Two of M. de Crousaz’s publications yet remain, and require particular notice: his “Examen de l‘Essai sur l’homme, poeme de M. Pope,Lausanne, 1737; and “Commentaire sur la traduction en vers de M. l‘abbé du Resnel, de l’essai de M. Pope,Geneva, 1738, 12mo. In these M. Crousaz accuses Mr. Pope of Spinosism and naturalism, and the first of them was immediately translated into English by the celebrated Miss Carter, with some assistance from Dr. Johnson, and published under the title of | An Examination of Mr. Pope’s Essay on Man containing a succinct view of the system of the fatalists, and a confutation of their opinions with an illustration of the doctrine of free-will, and an inquiry what view Mr. Pope might have in touching upon the Leibnitzian philosophy and fatalism,1738, 8vo. The other was translated under the title of “A Commentary on Mr. Pope’s Principles of Morality, or Essay on Man. By M. Crousaz; with the abbe” dn Resnel’s translation of the Essay into French verse, and the English interlined: also observations on the French, Italian, and English Poetry,“1741, 8vo. Pope, who had got the principles of the Essay from Bolingbroke, and did not understand them, would have made but a sorry figure in this controversy had he not found in Warburton a vigorous defender, although it is said that he had once written a censure of the doctrines of the Essay on Man. He now stept forth, however, with a defence, which was first published in a monthly literary journal (The Republic of Letters), but was afterwards collected into a volume (1742, 12mo), written with more asperity than argument.” Crousaz,“says Dr. Johnson,” was no mean antagonist; his mind was one of those in which philosophy and piety are happily united. He was accustomed to argument and disquisition, and, perhaps, was grown too desirous of detecting faults; but his intentions were always right, his opinions were solid, and his religion pure. His incessant vigilance for the promotion of piety disposed him to look with distrust upon all metaphysical systems of theology, and all schemes of virtue and happiness purely rational; and therefore it was not long before he was persuaded that the positions of Pope, as they terminated for the most part in natural religion, were intended to draw mankind away from revelation, and to represent the wholecourse of things as a necessary concatenation of indissoluble fatality; and it is undeniable, that in many passages a religious eye may easily discover expressions not very favourable to morals or to liberty.“The consequence to Pope was, that his eyes were opened, and he was not a little pleased that by” any mode of interpretation he could be made to mean well." To Warburton the consequences were more important; Pope courted him, and ultimately got him a. ricli wife and a bishopric. 1


Moreri.—Johnson’s Lives.—Nichols’s Bowyer for a full account of the controversy with Crousaz.