Bouchaud, Matthew Anthony

, a law-writer of great reputation in France, was born at Paris, April 16, 1719, of an honourable family. His father, who was also a lawyer, spared no expence in his education. From the | age of sixteen he studied jurisprudence with such perseverance and success as to be admitted to a doctor’s degree in 1747. Being employed to prepare the articles on jurisprudence and canon law for the Encyclopaedia, he wrote those on council, decretals, &c. but, for what reason we are not told, they gave offence to the encyclopedists, who became on that account his enemies, and prevented him for some time from attaining the rank of professor, which wag the object of his ambition. Bouchaud, however, consoied himself by cultivating a taste for modem poetry. He translated several of the dramas of Apostolo Zeno into French, and published them in 1758, 2 vols. 12mo, and in 1764 he translated the English novel of “Lady Julia Mandeville.” In the interval between these two, he published “Essai sur la poesie rhythmique,1763, which was thought a work of great merit. This was followed by the first of his more professional labours, “Traité de Timpot du vingtieme sur les successions, et de l’impot sur les marchandises chez les Romains,” a very curious history of the taxes which the ancient emperors imposed. In 1766, on the death of M. Hardron, he was elected into the French academy, notwithstanding the opposition of the encyclopedists, whose dislike seems not ill calculated to give us a favourable idea of the soundness of his principles. This was followed by a law professorship, and some years after he was advanced to the professorship of the law of nature and nations in the royal college of France. He was nominated to this by the king in 1774, and was the first professor, it being then founded. On this he wrote in the memoirs of the academy, a curious paper concerning the societies that were formed hy the Roman publicans for the receipt of the taxes. The body of the publicans was taken from the order of knights, and had great influence and credit. They were called by Cicero “the ornament of the capital,” and the “pillars of the state.” Th“knights, though rich, entered into associations, when the taxes of a whole province were farmed out by the senate, because no individual was opulent enough to be responsible for such extensive engagements; and the nature of these societies or associations, and the various conventions, commercial a>id pecuniary engagements, occupations, and offices, to which they gave rise, form the subject of this interesting paper, which was followed by various others on topics of the same nature. In 1777 he published his” Theorie des traits de commerce | entre les nations,“the principles of which seem to be founded on justice and reciprocal benefits. In 1784 appeared another curious work on the ancient Roman laws and policy, entitled,” Recherches historiques surla Police des Romains, concernant les grands chemins, les rues, et les marches.“His” Commentaire sur les lois des clouze tables," first published in 1767, was reprinted in 1803, with improvements and additions, at the expense of the French government, and he was employed in some treatises intended for the national institute, when he died, Feb. 1, 1804, regretted as aprofound and enlightened law-writer. It is remarkable that in his essay on commercial treaties abovementioned, he contends for our Selden’s Mare Clausum, as the opinion of every man who is not misled by an immoderate zeal for his own country. 1


Dict. Hist. Month. Rev. vol. LIV. and LXIV. Crit. Rv. vol. XLIII. —Saxii Onomast. vol. VIII.