Carre', Lewis

, was born in 1663, in the province of Brie in France. His father, a substantial farmer, intended him for the church. But young Carre, after going through, the usual course of education for that purpose, having an utter aversion to it, refused to enter upon that function; by which he incurred his father’s displeasure. His resources being thus cut off, he was obliged to quit the university, and look out into the world for some employment. In this exigency he had the good fortune to be engaged as an amanuensis by the celebrated father Malebranche; by which he found himself transported at once from the mazes of scholastic darkness, to the source of the most brilliant and enlightened philosophy. Under this great master he studied mathematics and metaphysics, and after seven years spent in this excellent school, | M. Carré found it necessary, in order to procure himself some less precarious establishment, to teach mathematics and philosophy in Paris; but especially that philosophy which, on account of its tendency to improve our morals, he valued more than all the mathematics in the world. And accordingly his greatest care was to make geometry serve as an introduction to his well-beloved metaphysics. Most of M. Carrels pupils were of the fair sex. The first of these, who soon perceived that his language was rather the reverse of elegant and correct, told him pleasantly, that, as an acknowledgment for the pains he took to teach her philosophy, she would teach him French; and he ever after owned that her lessons were of great service to him. In general he seemed to set more value upon the genius of women than that of men.

M. Carré, although he gave the preference to metaphysics, did not neglect mathematics and while he taught both, he took care to make himself acquainted with all the new discoveries in the latter. This was all that his constant attendance on his pupils would allow him to do, till the year 1697, when M. Varignon, so remarkable for his extreme scrupulousness in the choice of his eleves, took M. Carre* to him in that station. Soon after, viz. in 1700, our author thinking himself bound to do something that might render him worthy of that title, published the first complete work on the integral calculus, under the title of “A method of measuring surfaces and solids, and finding their centres of gravity, percussion, and oscillation.” He afterwards discovered some errors in the work, and was candid enough to own and correct them in a subsequent edition. In a little time M. Carre became associate, and at length one of the pensioners of the academy. And as this was a sufficient establishment for one who knew so well how to keep his desires within just bounds, he gave himself up entirely to study; and as he enjoyed the appointment of Mechanician, he applied himself more particularly to mechanics. He took also a survey of every branch relating to music; such as the doctrine of sounds, the description of musical instruments; though he despised the practice of music, as a mere sensual pleasure. Some sketches of his ingenuity and industry in this way may be seen in the Memoirs of the French Academy of Sciences. M. Carre also composed some treatises on other branches of natural philosophy, and some on mathematical subjects all which | he bequeathed to that illustrious body; though it does not appear that any of them have yet been published. It is not unlikely that he was hindered from putting the last hand to them by a train of disorders proceeding from a bad digestion, which, after harassing him during the space of five or six years, at length brought him to the grave in 1711, at forty-eight years of age.

His memoirs are printed in the volumes of the academy, from the years 1701 to 1710, 1


Moreri. Martin’s Bio^. Philos. —Hutton’s Dictionary. Eloge by Fontenelle, 1711, in " Hist, de l’Academie de Sciences.