Huarte, John

, a native of French Navarre, though he is usually supposed to be a Spaniard, lived in the seventeenth century. He gained great fame by a work which he published in Spanish, upon a very curious and interesting subject. The title of it runs thus: “Examen de ingenios para las Sciencias, &c. or, an examination of such geniuses as are fit for acquiring the sciences, and were born such: wherein, by marvellous and useful secrets, drawn from true philosophy both natural and divine, are shewn the gifts and different abilities found in men, and ibr what kind of study the genius of every man is adapted, in such a manner, that whoever shall read this book attentively, will discover the properties of his own genius, and be able to make choice of that science in which he will make the greatest improvement.” This book has been translated into several languages, and gone through several impressions. It was translated into Italian, and published at Venice in 1582; at least the dedication of that translation bears this date. It was translated into French by Gabriel Chappuis in 1580; but there is a better French version than this, by Savinien d’Alquie, printed at Amsterdam in 1672. He has taken in the additions inserted by Huarte in the last edition of his book, which are considerable both in quality and quantity. It has been translated also into Latin, and lastly, into English, by Carew and Bellamy. This very admired author has been highly extolled for acuteness and subtlety, and undoubtedly had a great share of these qualities: Bayle, however, thinks, that “it would not be prudent for any person to rely either on his maxims or authorities for,” says he, “he is not to be trusted on either of these heads, and his hypotheses are frequently chimerical, especially when he pretends to teach the formalities to be observed by those who would beget children of a virtuous turn of mind. There are, in this part of his book, a great many particulars repugnant to modesty (a discovery which we are surprized Bayle should | have made): and he deserves censure for publishing, as a genuine and authentic piece, a pretended letter of Lentulus the proconsul from Jerusalem to the Roman senate, wherein a portrait is given of Jesus Christ, a description of his shape and stature, the colour of his hair, the qualities of his beard, &c.” The work, however, has now altogether lost its popularity, and deservedly. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri.