Fourcroy, Anthony Francis

, an eminent French chemist, was born at Paris June 15, 1755, where his father was an apothecary, of the same family with the subject of the succeeding article. In his ninth year he was sent to the college of Harcourt, and at fourteen he completed the studies which were at that time thought necessary. Having an early attachment to music and lively poetry, he attempted to write for the theatre, and had no higher ambition than to become a player, but the bad success of one of his friends who had encouraged this taste, cured him of it, and for two years he directed his attention to commerce. At the end of this time an intimate friend of his father persuaded him to study medicine, and | accordingly he devoted his talents to anatomy, botany, chemistry, and natural history. About two years after, in. 1776, he published a translation of Ramazzini, “on the diseases of artisans,” which he enriched with notes and illustrations derived from chemical theories which were then quite new. In 1780, he received the degree of M. D. and regent of that faculty, in spite of a very considerable opposition from his brethren, and from this time his chemical opinions and discoveries rendered him universally known and respected. The fertility of his imagination, joined to a style equally easy and elegant, with great precision, attracted the attention of a numerous school. In 1784, on the death of Macquer, he obtained the professorship of chemistry in the Royal Gardens, and the year following he was admitted into the academy of sciences, of the section of anatomy, but was afterwards admitted to that of chemistry, for which he was more eminently qualified. In 1787, he in conjunction with his countrymen De Morveau, Lavoisier, and Berthollet, proposed the new chemical nomenclature, which after some opposition, effected a revolution in chemical studies. (See Lavoisier.) Although constantly occupied in scientific experiments, and in publishing various works on subjects of medicine, chemistry, and natural history, he fell into the popular delusion about the time of the revolution, and in 1792 was appointed elector of the city of Paris, and afterwards provisional deputy to the national convention, which, however, he did not enter until after the death of the king.

In Sept 1793, he obtained the adoption of a project for the regulation of weights and measures, was chosen secretary in October, and in December following president of the Jacobins, who denounced him for his silence in the convention. This he answered by pleading his avocations and chemical labours, by which, he who had been born without any fortune, had been able to maintain his father and sisters. In Sept. 1794, he became a member of the committee of public safety, and was again elected to it in Feb. 1795. Besides proposing some improvements in the equipment of the armies, which were then contending with all the powers of Europe, he was particularly engaged in schools and establishments for education, to which new names, as polytechnic, normal, &c. were given, that they might consign to oblivion as much as possible the ancient | instituti&ns of France. The re-election of two thirds of the convention removed him to the council of elders, on$. of the fantastical modes of government established in I?y5, where, in November, he had to refute several charges levelled against him respecting the murder of Lavoisier. He was afterwards nominated professor of chemistry, and a member ofthe institute; and in May 1797, Jeft the council. Dyring the time he could spare from his public employments, he continued to cultivate his more honourable studies, and had attained the highest rank among the men of science whom the revolutionary tribunals had spared, when he died Dec. 16, 1809. At this period he was a counsellor of state for life, a count of the empire, a commander of the legion of honour, directorgeneral of public instruction, a member of the national institute, professor of chemistry in the medical and polytechnic schools, and in the museum of natural history, and a member of most of the learned societies of Europe.

Fourcroy’s works rank among the most considerable which France has produced in chemistry, and must be allowed in a great measure to confirm the high encomiums which his countrymen have bestowed on him, not only as a profound, but a pleasing and elegant writer. He published, 1. “The translation of Ramazzini,” before-mentioned. 2. “Lemons elementaires d’histoire naturelle et de chimie,1782, 2 vols. 8vo, of which there have been many editions, the last in 1794, 5 vols. 8vo. 3. “Memoires et observations pour servir de suite aux elemens de chimie,1784, 8vo. 4. “Principes de chimie a l‘usage de l’ecole veterinaire,” 2 vols. 12mo. 5. “L‘art de connoitre et d’employer les medicamens dans les maladies qui attaquent le corps humain,1785, 2 vols. 8vo. 6. “Entomologia Parisiensis” by Geoffrey, an improved edition, 1785, 2 vols. 12mo. 7. “Methode de nomenclature chimique proposer par Morveau, &c.” with a new system of chemical characters, 1787, 8vo. 8. “Essai sur le phlogistique, et sur la constitution des acides,” from the English of Kirwan, with notes by Morveau, Lavoisier, Bertholet, and Fourcroy, 1788, 8vo. 9. “Analyse chimique de l‘eau sulphureuse d’Enghein, pour servir a l’histoire des eaux sulphureuse en general,” by Fourcroy & La Porte, 1788, 8vo. 10. “Annales de Chimie,” by Fourcroy and all the French chemists, published periodically from 1789 to 1794, 18 vols. 8vo. 11. “La | eclairée par les sciences physiques,” 1791, 1792, 12 vols. 12. “Philosophic chimique,1792. Fourcroy wrote also in the “Magasin encyclopeclique,” and the “Journal de l’ecole polytechnique,” and drew up several reports for the national convention, which were published in the Moniteur, &c. His last publications were, 13.“Tableaux pour servir de resume aux Ie9ons de chimie faites a l’ecole de medicine de Paris pendant 1799 et 1800. 14.” Systeme des connoissances chimiques, et de leurs applications aux phenomenes de la nature et de Part," 1800, 10 vols. 8vo, and 5 vols. 4to. To these extensive labours may be added the chemical articles in the Encyclopaedia. Fourcroy left a very valuable library, which was sold by auction at Paris, in 1810, and of which Messrs. Tilliard, the booksellers, published a well-arranged catalogue. Several of his works have been translated into English. 1


Dict. Hist.—Biog. Moderne.—Short Memoir prefixed to the catalogue of his Library.