Mencke, John Burcard

, the son of the preceding, was born at Leipsic, April 8, 1674, and was admitted master of arts in that university in 1694. He spent some time there in the study of divinity, and then travelled into Holland and England. The reputation of his father, and his own great merit, procured him access to all the men of learning in the places through which he passed. He spent one year in his travels; and immediately upon his return to Leipsic in 1699, was appointed professor of history. His first intention was to have fixed himself to divinity; but he quitted it soon after for the law, in which he succeeded so well that he received the degree of doctor in that faculty at Halle, in 1701. After this he returned to Leipsic, to continue his lectures in history, by which he gained great reputation as well as by his writings. Frederic Augustus, king of Poland, and elector of Saxony, conceived so high an esteem for him, that in 1708 he appointed him his historiographer. In 1709 he became counsellor to that king; and, in 1723, aulic counsellor. His health began to decline early in life, and he died April 1, 1732, aged fifty-eight. He had been chosen, in 1700, fellow of the royal society of London, and some time after of that of Berlin.

The books he wrote were very numerous, and very learned; one of which, in particular, had it been as well executed as planned, would have been very curious and entertaining. Its title is the following: “De Charlataneria eruditorum declamationes duae; cum notis variorum. Accessit epistola Sebastiani Stadelii ad Janum Philomusum, de circumforanea literatorum vanitate, Leipsic, 1715,” 8vo. It has been said that there never was a worse book with a better title. It has, however, been translated into French, and is entitled “De la Charlatanerie des | par M. Mencken: avec des remarques critiques de differens auteurs, Hague,” 1721, in Bvo. Mencke’s design here was to expose the artifices used by false scholars to raise to themselves a name; but, as he glanced so evidently at certain considerable persons that they could not escape being known, some pains were taken to have his book seized and suppressed: which, however, as usual, made the fame of it spread the faster, and occasioned editions to be multiplied. In 1723 he published at Leipsic, “Bibliotheca Menckeniana,” &e. or, “A catalogue of all the books and manuscripts in all languages, which had been collected by Otto and John Mencke, father and son.” Mencke himself drew up this catalogue, which is digested in an excellent method, with a design to make his library, which was very magnificent and valuable, public: but in 1728 he thought proper to expose it to sale and for that purpose published catalogues, with the price of every book marked. Mencke had a considerable share in the “Dictionary of learned men,” printed at Leipsic, in German, in 1715, folio, the plan of which he had formed, and furnished the persons employed in it with the principal materials, and wrote the articles of the Italians and English. He continued the <c Acta eruditorum," as he had promised his father upon his death-bed, for twenty-five years, ancl published 33 volumes, including the supplements and the indexes. 1


Acta eruditorum for 1732. Bib!. Germanique. vo!. XXV. —Niceron, vol, XXXI. Gem, Dict.