Broussonet, Peter Augustus Maria

, an eminent French naturalist, was born at Montpellier, Feb. 28, 1761, where his father was a reputable schoolmaster, and soon discovered in him an insatiable thirst of knowledge, which we may conclude he assisted him in gratifying. At the early age of eighteen he was appointed by the university of Montpellier to fill a professor’s chair, and six years after he was admitted a member of the academy of sciences by an unanimous vote, a case which had not occurred from the foundation of that learned body, but their choice appeared amply justified by the several dissertations on natural history, botany, and medicine, which he published. It was his earnest wish to establish the system of Linnæus more extensively in France. With this view, as well as for his own improvement, he went to Paris, and examined the collections and museums, but not finding sufficient materials for his purpose, he determined to visit the most celebrated foreign collections, and came first to England, where he was admitted an honorary member of the royal society, and where he began his labours on the celebrated work on fishes. On his return to Paris, he was appointed perpetual secretary of the society of agriculture, which the intendant Berthier de Sauvigny resigned for him. In 1789 he was appointed a member of the electoral college of Paris, and like the other electors, was to supply such vacancies as | were occasioned by any interruptions in the exercise of the office of magistracy; and the day it was his turn to go to the Hotel de Ville, he saw his friend and protector, Berthier, barbarously murdered by the populace. Broussonet was then ordered to superintend the provisions of the capital, and was frequently“in danger of his life at that turbulent period. In 1791 he had a seat in the legislative assembly, but quitted Paris the year following for his native city, from which he was soon obliged to make his escape, and after many dangers, arrived at Madrid, where he was gladly received, and liberally assisted by the literati of that city. There, however, the French emigrants were so enraged at his having filled any office under the revolutionary government, that they obliged him to leave Madrid, and soon after, Lisbon, to which he had removed. At last he had an opportunity of going out as physician to an embassy which the United States sent to the emperor of Morocco, and on this occasion, his friend sir Joseph Banks, hearing of his distresses, remitted him a credit for a thousand pounds. After his arrival at Morocco, he employed all his leisure hours in extending his botanical knowledge, and learning that his native country was recovering from its late anarchy, he solicited and obtained permission to return, when the directory appointed him consul at the Canaries. In consequence of this he resided for two years at Teneriffe. In 1796, on his return, he was admitted a member of the Institute, and again became professor of botany at Montpellier, with the direction of the botanical garden. He was afterwards chosen a member of the legislative body, but died July 27, 1807, at Montpellier, of an apoplectic stroke. It was to him that France owes the introduction of the Merino sheep, and Angola goats. His publications are: 1.” Varise positiones circa Respirationem,“Montpellier, 1778. 2.” Ichthyologia, sistens Piscium descriptiones et icones,“London, 1782, containing descriptions of the most rare fishes. 3.” Essai sur Phistoire naturelle de quelques especes de Moines, decrites a la maniere de Linnee,“1784, 8vo, This is the translation only of a Latin satire on the monks, the original of which appeared in Germany, in 1783. 4.” Annee rurale, ou calendrier a I’usage des cultivateurs,“Paris, 1787-8, 2 vols. 12mo. 5.” Notes pour servir a Thistoire de l‘ecole de medicine de Montpellier pendant l’an VI.“Montpellier, J 1 9 5, 8vo. 6.” La Feuille dn | cultivateur," 1788, and following years, 8 vols. 4to, which he conducted with Messrs. Parmentier, Dubois, and Lefebure. He contributed also a great many dissertations to the academy of sciences, the society of agriculture, &c. and left many works in manuscript. 1