Siri, Victor

, an Italian annalist, was born in 1613, and was a monk of Parma, where he employed the leisure hours which a monastic life afforded, in writing- the history of his times. The confidence placed in him by political men, and the correspondence to which he had access, enabled him to penetrate into the secret motives and causes of actions and events, and gave an air of authenticity and consequence to his public communications. He is said to have been the first, in Italy at least, who published a kind of political journal under the name of “Memorie recondite,” afterwards collected into volumes. The first two having found their way into France, induced cardinal Mazarine to entertain a very high opinion of the author, and by his persuasion, Louis XIV. invited Siri to Paris. On his arrival, he was preferred to a secular abbey, and quitting his ecclesiastical functions, lived at court in great intimacy and confidence with the king and his ministers, and was made almoner and historiographer to his majesty. There, in 1677, he published the 3d and 4th volumes of his journal, and continued it as far as the eighth, 4to. This, says Baretti, is as valuable a history as any in Italian, though the style and language are but indifferent, and it is very difficult to find all the volumes. The period of time they include is from 1601 to 1640. He published also another work of a similar kind, called “11 Mercurio, owero istoria de' correnti Tempi,” from 1647 to 1682, which extends to fifteen 4to volumes, the two last of which are more difficult to be found than all the rest. The former work, however, is in most estimation on account of the historical documents it contains, which are always useful, whatever colouring an editor may please to give. Siri has not escaped the imputation of venality, especially in his attachment to the French court, yet Le Cierc observes (Bibl. Choisie, vol. IV.) that no French writer dared to speak so freely of the public men of that nation as Siri has done. There is a French translation of the “Memorie recondite,” under the title of “Memoires secrets,” which, Landi says, might have been much improved from Siri’s extensive correspondence with almost all the ministers of Europe, now extant in the Benedictine library of Parma, and among the private archives of Modena. Siri died in 1683, in the seventieth year of his age. 1

1 Moreri. Landi Hist, df la Liueratnre de L’ltalie, vol. V. Baretti’s Italian library.