Prevot D' Exiles, Antony Francis

, was born at Hesdin, a small town in the province of Artois, in 1697. He studied with the Jesuits, but soon relinquished that society for the army, into which he entered as a volunteer, but being disappointed in his views of promotion, he returned to the Jesuits. Still, however, his attachment to the military service seems to have been predominant for he soon left the college again, and a second time became a soldier. As an officer he acquired distinction, and some years passed away in the bustle and dissipation of a military life. At length, the unhappy consequence of an amour induced him to return to France, and seek retirement among the Benedictines of St. Maur, in the monastery of St. Germain des Pres, where he continued a few | years. Study, and a monastic life, could not, however, entirely subdue his passions. Recollection of former pleasures probably inspired a desire again to enjoy them in the world. He took occasion, from a trifling disagreement, to leave the monastery, to break his vows, and renounce his habit. Having retired to Holland in 1729, he sought resources in his talents, with success. In the monastery at St. Germain, he had written the two first parts of his “Memoires d’un Homme de Qualite.” The work was soon finished, and, when it was published, contributed no less to his emolument than his reputation. A connexion which he had formed at the Hague with an agreeable woman, and which was thought to have exceeded the boundaries of friendship, furnished a subject of pleasantry to the abbe Lenglet, the Zoilus of his time. In his journal entitled “Pour & Centre,” Prevot thus obviates the censure “This Medoro,” says he, speaking of himself, “so favoured by the fair, is a man of thirty-seven or thirty-eight years, who bears in his countenance and in his humour the traces of his former chagrin who passes whole weeks without going out of his closet, and who every day employs seven or eight hours in study; who seldom seeks occasions for enjoyment, who even rejects those that are offered, and prefers an hour’s conversation with a sensible friend, to all those amusements which are called pleasures of the world, and agreeable recreation. He is, indeed, civil, in consequence of a good education, but little addicted to gallantry of a mild but melancholy temper; in fine, sober, and regular in his conduct.

Whether the accusations of his enemies were true or not, there were reasons which obliged him to pass over into England at the end of 1733, and the lady followed him. There, according to Palissot, he wrote the first volumes of “Cleveland.” The first part of his “Pour & Contre,” was published this year, a journal which brought down upon him the resentment of many authors whose works he had censured. His faults were canvassed, and perhaps exaggerated; all his adventures were brought to the public view, and related, probably, not without much misrepresentation. His works, however, having established his reputation, procured him protectors in France. He solicited and obtained permission to return. Returning to Paris in the autumn of 1734, he assumed the habit of an abbé. Palissot dates this period as the epoch in which his | literary fame commenced but it is certain, that three of his most popular romances had been published before that time. He now lived in tranquillity under the protection of the prince of Conti, who gave him the title of his almoner and secretary, with an establishment that enabled him to pursue his studies. By the desire of chancellor d’Aguesseau, he undertook a general history of voyages, of which the first volume appeared in 1745. The success of his works, the favour of the great, the subsiding of the passions, a calm retreat, and literary leisure, seemed to promise a serene and peaceful old age. But a dreadful accident put an end to this tranquillity, and the fair prospect which had opened before him was closed by the hand of death. To pass the evening of his days in peace, and to finish in retirement three great works which he had undertaken, he had chosen and prepared an agreeable recess at Firmin near Chantilly. On the 23d of Nov. 1763, he was discovered by some peasants in an apoplectic fit, in the forest of Chantilly. A magistrate was called in, who unfortunately ordered a surgeon immediately to open the body, which was apparently dead. A loud shriek from the victim of this culpable precipitation, convinced the spectators of their error. The instrument was withdrawn, but not before it had touched the vital parts. The unfortunate abbé opened his eyes, and expired.

The following are the works of the abbé Prevot 1. “Memoires d’un Homme de Qualite, qui s’est retire du monde,” 6 vols. 12mo. This romance has been translated into English in 2 vols. 12mo, and in 3 vols. 12mo, under the title of the “Memoirs of the marquis de Bretagne” to which is added, another romance of Prevot' s. See art. 3. 2. “Histoire de M. Cleveland, fils naturel de Cromwell,1732, 6 vols. 12mo; an English translation also, 5 vols. J2mo. 3. “Histoire du Chevalier des Grieux, & de Man on Lescaut,1733, 12mo. An English translation of this romance has been published separately, and is also affixed to the translation of art. 1. in 3 vols. 4. “Pour & Contre,” a literary journal, 1733, and continued in the following years, 20 vols. 12mo. 5. “The first volume of a translation ofThuanus,1733, 4to. 6. “A translation of Dryden’s play, All for Love,1735. 7. Le Doyen de Killerine,“1733, 6 vols. 12mo, translated into English, 3 vols. 12mo, under the title of” The Dean of Coleraine.“8.” History of Margaret of Anjou,“1740, 2 vols. 12mu. | translated into English, 2 volumes 12mOr 9.” Histoire d’une Grecque Moderne,“1741, 2 vols. 12mo, translated into English, 1 vol. 12mo. 10.” Campagnes Philosophiques, ou Memoires de M. de Montcalm,“1741, 2 vols. 12mo, part history, and part fiction. 11.” Memoires pour servir a Histoire de Malthe,“1742, 12mo. 12.” Histoire de Guillaume le Conquerant Roi d’Angleterre,“1742, 12mo. 13.” Voyages du Captaine R. Lade,“1744, 2 vols. 12mo. 14.A translation of Cicero’s Letters to Brutus,“with notes, 1744, 12mo; and a translation of his Familiar Letters, 1746, 5 vols. 12mo. 15.A translation of Middleton’s Life of Cicero,“1743, 4 vols. 12mo. 16.” Memoires d’un honnete homme,“1745. 17.” Histoire generale des Voyages,“1745, &c. 16 vols. 4to, and 64 vols. 12ino. La Harpe has abridged this compilation in 21 vols. 8vo; he has also added, Cook’s Voyages. 18. A Dictionary of the French language, 1751, 8vo, and a new edition, 2 vols. 8vo. 19 and 20.Clarissa Harlowe,“1751, 12 parts; and,” Sir Charles Grandison,“8 parts, 1755 both translated from Richardson. 21.” Le Monde Moral,“1760, 4 vols. 12mo. 22.A translation of Hume’s history of the Stuarts,“1760, 3 vols. 4to, and 6 vols. 12mo. 23.” Memoires pour servir a la Histoire de la Vertu,“1762, 4 vols. 12mo, translated from the English. 24.” Almoran and Hamet,“translated from Hawkesworth, 1762, 2 vols. 12mo. And, 25. A posthumous translation from the English, entitled” Letters de Mentor, a une jeune Seigneur," 1764, 12mo. 1

1 Necrologie des Hommes CeLebres pour annee 1764. —Dict. Hist.