Bouquet, Dom Martin

, an eminent French historian and antiquary, was a Benedictine of the congregation of St. Maur, and born at Amiens, Aug. 6, 1685. After finishing his course of philosophy and divinity, he studied the learned languages with great success, and his superiors observing his decided taste for literature, made him librarian of St. Germain- des-prez. He afterwards assisted the celebrated Montfaucon in some of his works, and undertook himself an edition of Josephus. When, however, he had made considerable progress in this, he understood that a man of learning in Holland was employed on a similar design, and therefore, with a liberality not very common, sent to him all the collections he had formed for the work. On the death of father Le Long, of the oratory, in 1721, Bouquet was employed in making a collection of the historians of France. Of this important work, a brief account will not be uninteresting.

The first who attempted a collection of the kind was the famous Peter Pithou. It was his intention to have published a complete body of French historians, extracted from printed books and Mss. but he died in 1596, having published only two volumes on the subject, one in 8vo, the other in 4to. These carried the history no lower than the year 1285. Nothing more was done till 1635, when Du Chesne, who is called the Father of French history, took up the subject again, and published a prospectus for a history, to be comprised in fourteen volumes fol. and end with the reign of Henry II. The first two volumes accordingly came out in 1636, but the author died whilst the two next were in the press. These, however, were published in 1641, by his sou, who added a fifth volume, ending with the life of Philippe le Bel, in 1649. The next attempts were vain, though made under the auspices of such men as Colbert, Louvois, and chancellor D’Aguesseau: the plan proposed by the first miscarried through the obstinacy of the famous Ducange (who would have the work done in his own way, or have nothing to do with it) and the modesty of Mabillon. Another was, as we have just mentioned, put a stop to by the death of Le Long, who, having pointed out the materials in his “Bibliotheque Historique de la France,” was the fittest to have made use of them. In this state of things the Benedictine congregation of St. Maur recommended Bouquet, who accordingly went to work under the inspection of a society of | teamed men named by the chancellor, in whose presence the plan of the work, and the materials fit to be made use of, were discussed. Bouquet was so assiduous in his labour, that about the end of the year 1729 he was ready with two volumes; but, owing to his removal to the abbey of St. John de Laon, they were not published until 1738, when the chancellor D’Aguesseau called him to Paris, and he then proceeded so rapidly, that the eighth was published in 1752. He had begun the ninth, in which he hoped to have completed what regarded the second race of the French kings; but, in 1754, was seized with a violent disorder, which proved fatal in tour days, April 6. He was a man of extensive learning, connected with all the learned men and learned societies of his time, and beloved for his personal virtues. For many years the work was continued by the congregation of St. Maur, but without the name of any editor. Seven more volumes have appeared since Bouquet’s death, and the sixteenth is now in the press, and almost ready for publication. 1


Moreri. —Dict. Hist. Maty’g Review, vol. II. p. 472,