Fleury, Claude

, a celebrated French ecclesiastical historian, was the son of an advocate, and born at Paris. Dec. 6, 1640. He discovered early a strong inclination, for letters, but applied himself particularly to the law, in. consequence of which he was made advocate for the parliament of Paris in 1658, and attended the bar nine years. He then took orders, for which he was more eagerly disposed, and more highly qualified by virtues as well as learning; and in 1672 was made preceptor to the princes of Conti. In 1680 he had the care of the education of the count de Vermandois, admiral of France. After the death of this prince, which happened in about four years, the king preferred him to the abbey of Loc-Dieu, belonging; to the Cistercians, and in the diocese of Rhodez. In 1689 the king made him sub-preceptor to the dukes of Burgundy, Anjou, and Berri, in which important employment he acted under the celebrated Fenelon. In 1696 he was admitted a member of the French academy. In 1706, when the education of the three princes was finished, the king gave him the rich priory of Argenteuil, belonging to the Benedictines, in the diocese of Paris, upon which promotion he resigned the abbey of Loc-Dieu. If he had possessed ambition to solicit the greatest situations, he would have obtained them, but his disinterestedness was equal to his other virtues. He was a hermit in the midst of the court. In 1716 he was chosen confessor to Louis XV. in | which situation it was said of him that his only fault wati that of being seventy-five years old; and on July 14, 1725, he died, in his eighty-third year.

Fleury, though a zealous divine of the Romish church, was by no means a bigot. He has the reputation of a philosopher as well as a divine, and a philosopher in practice as well as speculation. He is said to have taken an extreme delight in reading Plato; and, after the example of this great ancient, would often have private conferences with societies of the learned, which chiefly turned on the illustration of the scriptures. He was a great lover of solitude, yet was not reserved, but would speak his mind freely upon the most important and even delicate subjects. Constantly attentive to, and punctual in the discharge of his duty, he took no steps to be rich or great, cherished no principles of ambition, but preferred the glory of doing useful services to his country, to any honours which his uncommon talents and merit might justly have claimed.

His works were numerous, and all excellent in their kinds. He wrote, I. “Mceurs des Israelites,” “Manners of the Israelites,” a masterly picture of the lives of holy men under the first covenant, which has been published in English. This was followed by, 2. “Mceurs des Chretiens,” “Manners of Christians,” since united with the other in a single volume; and as excellent an introduction to ecclesiastical, as the other is to sacred history. 3. “Ecclesiastical History,” in 13 vols. 4to, or 20 vols. 12mo, containing an account of the Christian church from the earliest times to the council of Constance in 1414, a very elaborate and valuable work, but written in a negligent style, mixed with Greek and Latin idioms. The most valuable part (for the facts may be met with elsewhere) is the preliminary dissertations, which contain the result of profound meditation, on the most important subjects connected with church history. These have been printed separately in one volume, 12mo. 4. “Institution of Ecclesiastical Law,” 2 vols. 12mo, a work, to which it has been chiefly objected that it is too concise. 5. te Historical Catechism,“one vol. 12mo, an excellent introduction for children 5 with a preliminary discourse fit to rank with those in the ecclesiastical history. 6.A Treatise on the choice and method of Studies.“7.” Duties of Masters and Servants.“8.” The Life of La Mere d’Arbouse,“who reformed the convent of Val-de-Grace, 12mo. 9. | ”Portrait of the duke of Burgundy,“1714, 12mo. 10.” Treatise on Public Law,“a posthumous work, in 2 vols. 12mo, important and excellent in its matter, but not completed by the la^t touches of the author. An edition of his works, except the ecclesiastical history, was published at Ntsmes, in 1781, in 5 vols. 8vo. There was another learned Fleury, who published the Delphin edition of Apuleius, in two volumes, quarto, under the name ofJulian us Floridus," his real name being Julian Fleury. He began Ausomus also, but it was not completed. He died Sept. 13, 1725. 1


B’Alembert’s Eulogies, —Moreri. —Niceron, vols. VIII and X.