Barbier D'Aucour, John

, advocate in the parliament of Paris, and member of the French academy, was born at Langres, of poor parents, and drew himself out of obscurity by his talents. He was at first repetiteur in the college of Lisieux. He then applied himself to the bar but his memory having failed him at the outset of his first pleading, he promised never to attempt it again, though it was thought he might have pleaded with success. Colbert having given him charge of fhe education of one of his sons, Barbier lengthened his name by the addition of d’Aucour. But this minister dying without having done any thing for his advancement, he was obliged to return to the bar. Here he acquired great honour by the eloquent and generous defence he made for a certain le Brun, the valet of a lady in Paris, falsely accused of having assassinated his mistress, but this was his last cause. He died Sept. 13, 1694, at the age of 53, of an inflammation of the breast. The deputies of the academy, who went to see hirn in his last sickness, were concerned to find him so badly lodged “It is my comfort,” said he, “and a very great comfort it is, that I leave no heirs of my misery.” The abbe* de Choisi, one of them, having said, “You leave a name that will never die” “Alas, T do not flatter myself on that score,” returned cl’Aucour “if my works should have any sort of value in themselves, I have been wrong in the choice of my subjects. I have dealt only in criticism, which never lasts long. For, if the book criticised should fall into contempt, the criticism falls with it, since it is immediately seen to be useless and if, in spite of the criticism, the book stands it ground, then the criticism is equally forgotten, since it is immediately thought to be unjust.” He was no friend to the Jesuits, and the greater part of his works are against that society, or against the writers of it. That which does him the most honour is entitled “Sentirnens de Cleanthe sur les Entretiens d‘Ariste et d’Eugene, par le pere Bouhours,Jesuit, in 12mo. This book has been often quoted, and with good reason, as a model of | just and ingenious criticism. D‘Aucour here distributes his bon-mots and his learning, without going too great lengths in his raillery and his quotations. Bouhours was supposed never to have recovered this attack. The abbe Granet gave an edition of this work in 1730, to which he has added two circumstances, which prove that Barbier would have been as good a lawyer as a critic. The other writings of d’Aucour are more frivolous, “Les Gaudinettes, l’Onguent pour la brdlure,” against the Jesuits “Apollon vendeur de Mithridate,” against Racine two satires in miserable poetry. It is not easy to conceive that he could rally Bouhours in so neat, and the others in so coarse a manner. It is said that his antipathy to the Jesuits arose from his being one day in their church, when one of the fathers told him to behave with decency, because locus erat sacer. D’Aucour immediately replied, Si locus est sacrus. This unfortunate blunder was repeated from mouth to mouth. The regents repeated it it was echoed by the scholars and the nickname of Lawyer Sacrus was fixed upon him. 1