. See Darcy. | DArcon (John Claudius Eleonore Limiceaud), an eminent French engineer, and memorable in history as the contriver of a mode of besieging Gibraltar which proved so fatal to his countrymen, was born at Pontarlier in 1733. His father, an advocate, intended to bring him up for the church, and had provided him with a benefice, but Dar5011 from his infancy had a turn for the military life; and when at school, instead of learning Latin, was copying drawings and sketches of fortifications. On one occasion he took a singular mode of acquainting his parents with the error they had committed, in seeking a profession for him. Having by their desire sat for his portrait, he substituted, with his own hand, the uniform of an engineer, instead of the dress of an abbe, in which the artist had clothed him. His father, struck with this silent hint, no longer opposed his inclinations. In 1754 he was admitted into the school of Mezieres, and the following year was received as an ordinary engineer. He served afterwards with distinguished honour in the seven years’ war, and particularly in 1761, at the defence of Cassel. He atterwar is devoted himself to improvements in the military art, and even in the making of drawings and charts; and having great ambition, with a warmth of imagination that presented every thing as practicable, he at length in 1780 conceived the memorable plan of the siege of Gibraltar. This, say his countrymen, which has made so much noise in Europe, has not been fairly estimated, because everyone has judged from the event. Without entering, however, in this place, on its merits, all our historians have attributed to Darcon’s ideas a grandeur and even sublimity of conception vviiich did him much honour, and it is yet remembered that almost all Europe was so perfectly convinced of the success of the plan as to admit of no doubt or objection. Nothing of the kind, however, was ever attended with a discomfiture more complete, and D’Arcou wrote and printed a species of justification, which at least shows the bitterness of his disappointment. On the commencement of the revolutionary war, he engaged on the popular side; but, except some concern he had in the invasion of Holland, does not appear to have greatly distinguished himself. He was twice denounced by Hnctuating governments; and being treated in the same manner after his Dutch campaign, he retired from the service, and wrote his last work on fortifications. In 179y the first | consul introduced him into the senate, but he did not enjoy this honour long, as he died July 1, 1800. He was at that time a member of the Institute. His works, still in high estimation in France, are: 1. “Reflexions d’un ingenieur, en reponse a un tacticien,” Amst. 1773, 12mo. 2. “Correspondanee sur Part de la Guerre entre un colonel de dragons et un capitaine d’infanterie,Bouillon, 1774, 8vo. 3. “Defense d‘une systeme de Guerre Nationale, ou analyse raisonne d’un ouvrage, intitule * Refutation complete du systeme, 1 &c.” This is a defence of M. Menil Durand’s system, which had been attacked by Guibert and the preceding pamphlet has a respect to the same dispute concerning what the French call the ordre projond and the ordre mince. 4. “Conseil de Guerre prive, sur revenement de Gibraltar en 1782,1785, 8vo. 5. “Memoires pour serrir a l‘histoire du siege de Gibraltar, par l’auteur des batteries flottantes,1783, 8vo. 6. “Considerations sur l’influence du genie de Vauban dans la balance des forces de Petat,1786, 8vo. 7. “Examen detaillté de l’importante question de Putilite des places fortes et retranchments,” Strasburgh, 1789, 8vo. 8. “De la force militaire considered dans ses rapports conservateurs,” Strasburgh, 1789, 8vo, with a continuation, 1790. 9. “Reponse aux Memoires de M. de Montalembert, sur la fortification dite perpendiculaire,1790, 8vo. 10. “Considerations militaires et politiques sur les Fortifications,Paris, 1795, 8vo. This, which is the most important of all his works, and was printed at the expence of the government, contains the essence of all his other productions, and the result of his experience on an art which he had studied during the whole of his life. 1


Biog. Universelle in art. Ar<Jn.