Puy, Louis Du

, perpetual secretary of the academy of inscriptions and belles lettres, was born at Bugey, Nov. 23, 1709, of an ancient family that had lost its titles and property during the wars of the league. Although the eldest of twelve children, his father destined him for the church, and he studied with great approbation and success at the college of Lyons, and had so much distinguished himself

1 Biog, Universelle, art. Dupuy,
| that when the tim’e came that he should study theology, two seminaries disputed which should have him. His own. determination was in favour of that of the Jesuits, in consequence of the superior having promised to remit a part of his expences in order that he might be able to purchase books. At the age of twenty-six he went to Paris to the seminary of Trente-Trois, where he became successively master of the conferences, librarian, and second superior. When he had finished his studies, he wanted the necessary supplies to enable him to travel from one diocese to another; and the archbishop of Lyons having t refused this, from a wish to keep him in his own diocese, Du Puy resolved to give up all thoughts of the church, and devote himself to the sciences and belles-lettres. He now sought the acquaintance of men of polite literature, and particularly obtained a steady friend in the academician Fourmont, whose house was the rendezvous of men of learning and learned foreigners. It was Fourmont who procured him the editorship of the “Journal cles Savans,” which he accordingly conducted for thirty years, and contributed many valuable papers and criticisms of his own. His knowledge was very various; he knew Hebrew, Greek, and mathematics, so as to have been able to make a figure in either, had he devoted himself wholly to one pursuit; but his reading and study were desultory, and it was said of him in mathematical language, that he was the mean proportional between the academy of sciences and that of inscriptions. In 1768 the prince de Soubise made him his librarian, a situation of course much to his liking, and which he filled for twenty years, until the derangement of the prince’s affairs made him inform a bookseller that he intended to part with his library. This came like a clap of thunder to poor Du Puy, and brought on a strangury, of which, after seven years of suffering, he died April 10, 1795.

He was admitted in 1756 into the academy of inscriptions and belles-lettres, was appointed soon after perpetual secretary, and retained the employment until his seventysecond year. During his long career he was the author of many dissertations, &c. which are likely to preserve his name in France. Father Brumoy having omitted in his “Greek Theatre” the plays of Sophocles, Du Puy undertook to supply the deficiency, and translated that author, with notes which shewed his intimate knowledge of the original. He published six volumes of the “Memoirs of the | academy of inscriptions,” vols. 36 to 41, and composed, according to custom, the eloges of several of his brethren. Among his mathematical works, we may mention “Observations sur les infiniment petits et les principes metaphysiques de la Geometric;” and an edition of Anthemius’s fragment on mechanic paradoxes, with a French translation and notes, Paris, 1777, 4to, and the Greek text rectified from four Mss. He gives here a curious explanation of the mirror of Archimedes, a subject, however, which our authority says, has been handled in a superior manner by M. Peyrard, in his “Miroir ardent,Paris, 1807,4to. 1

1 Biog. Universelle, art. Dupuy.