Brosses, Charles De

, a French writer of great learning, was born at Dijon, in 1709, and became a counsellor of parliament, in 1730, and president a worker in 1742. During the leisure which his public employments afforded, he cultivated most of the sciences, and was allowed to be well acquainted with all. Voltaire only has attacked his literary reputation, and this his countrymen ascribe to the malice which that writer was seldom anxious to conceal. Buffon, on the contrary, regarded him as a | scholar of the first rank, an acute philosopher, and an original and valuable writer; nor was he less estimable in private life. In 1774 he was appointed president of the parliament of Burgundy, but died soon after, at Paris, in 1777, whither he had come to visit his married daughter. He was a member of the academy of Dijon, of the inscriptions and belles lettres, and other learned societies. He wrote: 1. “Lettres sur la Decouverte de la ville d'Herculaneum,1750, 8vo. 2. “Histoire des Navigations aux Terres Australes,1756, 2 vols. 4to, in which he endeavoured to prove the existence of a southern continent, which subsequent navigators have disproved. 3. “Du culte des dieux Fetiches, ou parallele de l’ancienne idolatrie avec celle des peuples de Nigritie,1760, 12mo, a piece which has been improperly attributed to Voltaire. 4. “Traite de la formation mecanique des Langues,1765, 2 vols. 12mo, in which he attempts a general etymological system founded on the mechanical formation of articulate sounds; but his countrymen allow that he leans too much to paradox, which certainly has long been an extensive branch of French philosophy. 5. “Histoire de la Republique Romaine dans la cours du VII siecle, par Salluste,Dijon, 3 vols. 4to. This may be accounted his principal work, and was long his principal employment. He was so sensible of the loss of Sal lust’s principal work, that he resolved to collect his fragments with greater care than had ever been employed before; and by the most accurate arrangement to trace out as near as possible the plan and chief features of that work, and then to connect these fragments in the manner of Freinshemius in his “Fragmenta Livii.” But as De Brosses soon became sensible of the difficulty of assimilating his Latin diction to that of Sallust, he changed his first design, and resolved on translating both the fragments and his author’s histories of the Catilinarian and Jugurthine wars into French, and to attempt to supply the lost work from other ancient writers. The first volume opens with a preface containing remarks on the various methods of writing history, and some information concerning Roman names, ranks, magistracies, and elections. The body of the work itself begins with a translation of, and commentary on, Sallust’s Jugurthine war. The notes subjoined to this part treat chiefly of the geography and population of Africa, and the text is illustrated by a map of Africa, a plan of Meteilus’s march | against Jugurtha, and its illustration by a military connoisseur. After this follows the restoration of Sallust’s five books, continued in vol. II. comprizing the war with Mithridates: a description of the Pontus Euxinus, with the adjacent countries; the Gladiatorian war, raised by Spartacus, and the war of Greta. The third volume contains a translation of the Catilinarian war, with its sequel, illustrated with historical and political notes; Sallust’s two letters to Caesar, commonly styled “Orat. de Rep. ordinanda,” which De Brosses considers as genuine; a very minute collection of all the notices of Sallust’s life, writings, gardens, buildings, and even of the remains discovered in later times. The whole concludes with the abb Cassagne’s “Essay on the Art of composing History, and on the works of Sailust.‘-’ Industrious as M. de Brosses has been in this work, we believe that in the life of Sailust, at least, he has been improved upon by Henry Stuart, esq. in his late elaborate publication,” The works of Sailust,“1806, 2 vols. 4to, Besides these, De Brosses contributed many learned papers to the Paris and Dijon memoirs, but his family disown 3 vols. of” Lettres historiques et critiques sur l’Italie," published in 1799 in his name. 1

1 Dict. Hist. Eloge in Hist. Acad. Reg. Paris, vol. XLII.