Borde, John Benjamin De La

, a French historical and miscellaneous writer of considerable fame, was born at Paris in 1734, of an opulent family, and devoted himself in his youth to high life and the fine arts. From being first valet de chambre to Louis XV. he became his favourite > and on the death of that monarch, he obtained the place of farmer-general, the duties of which unpopular office he performed with great assiduity, employing his leisure hours in cultivating music and general literature. He became one of the most celebrated composers of songs, and his “Recueil d’airs,” 4 vols. 8vo, ornamented with fine engravings, is in high esteem. He composed also the music of the opera of “Adela de Ponthieu,” which was performed with considerable success. Happening to read in De Bure, that there had been only thirty copies published of the Collection of antient paintings of Rome, coloured after Bartoli’s designs, he made inquiry for the coppers, had them repaired, and published a second edition of that work. His other works are: 1.“Essais sur la Musique ancienne et moderne,1780, 4 vols. 4to, a vast mass of useful materials, but many parts of it are written in the spirit of system and partiality, and many valuable passages of considerable length are borrowed from Dr. Burney and other authors of eminence, without any acknowledgment. The best part is that which treats of the French lyric music and poetry. 2. “Essai sur l‘histoire chronologique de plus de quatrevingts peuples de l’antiquité,1783, 8vo. 3. “Memoires historiques, de Coucy,” 2 vols. 8vo. 4. “Pieces interessantes pour servir a l’histoire des regnes de Louis XIII. et de Louis XIV.” 12mo. 5. “Lettres sur la Suisse,1781, 2 vols. 8vo. 6. “Abregè chronologique des principaux faits arrives depuis Henoch jusqu’a. Jesus Christ,1789, 8vo. 7. “Recueil de vers dedies à Adelaide par le plus heureux des epoux,” 16 mo, a tribute to conjugal happiness, so seldom celebrated by poets. La Borde also published a translation of Swinburne’s Travels; a fine edition of the Historical Romances of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries, printed by Didot, in 11 vols, 12mo.; “Tableaux | topographiques et pittoresques de la Suisse,” with letter-press and beautiful engravings by Robert: and lastly, in 1792, “L’Histoire abregée de la mer du Sud,” 3 vols. 8vo, containing an analysis of all the voyages to that sea from the time of Goneville, in the fifteenth century, to that of our countryman, Capt. Riou, in 1789. In this also he urges the Spaniards to widen the passage of Nicaragua, which is only three leagues, and make it navigable, and a communication between the North and South Seas, pointing out the advantages this would be attended with in voyages from Europe to China. During the Convention, la Borde retired to Rouen where he hoped to be overlooked, but the spies of the reigning tyrants discovered him, and conducted him to Paris, where he was beheaded July 22, 1791. His wife was the authoress of some “Poems” imitated fnjm the English, and printed by Didot in 1785, 18mo. 1

1 Dict. Hist. Burney’s Hist, of Music, vol. IV. and an article in the Crit. Rev. vol. L. p. 378. probably by the same pen.