Curtius, Michael Conrad

, professor of history and rhetoric at Marpurg, was born Aug. 18, 1724, at Techentin, in the duchy of Mecklenburg, of which place his father was minister. Alter his decease, his mother married his successor, John Frederic Aepin; and it was from him that her son’s mind received its first cultivation. He was then placed in the schools at Parchim anil Schwerin, and in 1742 repaired to the university of Rostock. Having completed his academical studies, he accepted the | situation of private tutor in the family of the superintendant Paul Rehfeld, of Stralsund. Here he remained till the minister of state, baron von Schwicheidt, of Hanover, became acquainted with him, and entrusted him with the education of his children. That gentleman gave Curtius many proofs of the regard he entertained for him. Among other things, during the seven years’ war, at a time when he himself was overwhelmed with business, he once charged Curtius with an important commission to the duke of Brunswick, who then commanded the allied army. He likewise gained the entire confidence of that excellent minister, the baron von Miinchhausen, who had become acquainted with him by means of Schwicheidt. He held his situation in the house of the latter till 1759, when he was appointed regular professor at the academy of Lilneburg, where he taught logic, metaphysics, history, &c. In 1767 he was appointed professor of history, rhetoric, and poetry, at Marburg, and about this time published his “Commentarii de Senatu Romano, sub iniperatoribus, &c.” In 1769, he also published a translation of Columella on agriculture, with notes.

In 1758 he was invested with the dignity of privy-counsellor; and in 1795 became principal of the faculty of philosophy. He twice held the office of pro-rector of the university, in which he gave universal satisfaction. During a period of thirty-four years, he taught, with indefatigable diligence, all the branches of history, statistics, and geography; explained the Roman antiquities, the imitative arts, natural and experimental philosophy, rural economy, &c. and gave introductory lessons on the formation of a good Latin style. At the same time, he fulfilled all his other college-duties with the most scrupulous fidelity, till the few last weeks of his active life. His health was tolerably good, excepting that he was sometimes attacked with a paralytic affection, and symptoms of the stone. In the spring of 1802, his constitution began to break; and, notwithstanding all the attention of his friend and physician, Michaelis, his health declined rapidly. In the last twelve or fourteen days of his life, his memory was considerably impaired. He had been particularly distinguished by the strength of that faculty; and has frequently been known to write down in his lectures, whole tables, containing dates of years, and other figures, merely from recollection, and without a single error. This alteration, | and the anxiety he felt hecause he was prevented from attending his official duties, preyed on his mind, and weakened him more than his disorder. On the 22d of August, 1802, this venerable man expired, aged seventy-eight years and four days.

Curtius was a man of the most extensive and various attainments; and his career as an author, an academical teacher, and a man, tended only to promote the welfare of his fellow creatures. His adopted country, Hesse, was particularly benefited by his history and statistics of that province, published at Marburg in 17^3, and by numerous programmas which he drew up. By his smaller pieces, abounding in critical investigations and new views, he made many an important accession to the history of other European states, and to literature in general. His labours were long and meritorious; he could rejoice over them at the termination of his career, and could behold with pleasure many a flourishing plant of his own cultivation. All his fellow-citizens gave him the testimony that he was a learned and rigidly upright man, religious in the most exalted sense of the word, just and benevolent, open and undisguised. His calm, peaceful, and tranquil life; his indefatigable attention to his duties, without ostentation; his manly spirit, which equally disdained artifice and base submission, deserve to be held forth as patterns for imitation. 1


Monthly Magazine. Saxii Onomssticon, vol. VIII.