Guibert, James Antony Hypolitus

, a French writer on military affairs, was born at Montauban, Nov. 12, 1743. His father, who was a very intelligent officer, | ook great pains in forming his son for the army, in which, Design he so perfectly succeeded, that at the school at which young Guibert was placed, his name was honourably quoted as an example to others, long after he left it. At the age of thirteen he followed his father to the field, and served six campaigns in the German war; three as a captain in the regiment d'Auvergne, and the three other upon the staff, where he gave frequent proofs of his judgment and spirit. After the peace in 1763, he assiduously devoted himself to the study of the theory of his profession till the expedition to Corsica took place, where he obtained the rank of colonel for his services in the action of Ponte Nuovo, and at the end of the campaign was rewarded with the cross of St. Louis. In 1770, two years after his return to France, he published his celebrated “Essai general de Tactique,” a work which though known and admired over all Europe, drew upon its author the envy too often attendant on merit, which embittered a great part of his days. But his pride disdaining to answer his enemies, as much as his mild spirit disliked controversy, he therefore determined to travel, and leave his work to answer for itself. So says his panegyrist, without informing us that his unsparing censures and conceited style had proyoked the hostilities of those enemies.

On his return to France, he pursued his literary turn, and produced “Le Connetable de Bourbon,” a tragedy, and afterwards two other tragedies, the “Gracchi,” and “Anna Bullen,” of which his biographer speaks very highly; but they were not published, the author being called to assist the celebrated M. de Saint Germain, in his reform of the French army. He is said to have been the soul of this minister; and much to his honour, he continued his friendship in his patron’s disgrace. After the new organization was completed, Guibert returned to his studies, and among others, wrote the famous panegyrics on marshal Catinat, and the chancellor de PHopital. He afterward assisted at the camp in Normandy; and during the disputes concerning the number of ranks in which troops should be drawn up, he published the “Refutation complete du systeme de M. Menil-Durand.

The French government having determined to send troops to assist the Americans, the author was ordered on that service; but on the eve of embarking, he received counter orders; a disappointment which he attributed to | the malice of his enemies, and which preyed on him very deeply. As soon as he had recovered from this mortification, he began a work entitled “Histoire de la Milice Francaise,” which, from the profound manner in which he treats his subject, might be called the history of the art of war, and of the military system of the nations of Europe, from the time of the Romans. He had brought it to the eleventh century, when he was drawn from his retirement by having obtained for his venerable father the appointment of governor of the invalids. While he was assisting in reforming the abuses of that noble institution, he wa admitted a member of the French academy; where his introductory address is said to have been much admired for its truly classical spirit. Two years afterward, his health obliged him to retire to the country: but he was soon recalled by the death of his father, to comfort his aged mother. It appears that one of the most estimable traits in Guibert’s character, was his filial piety.

Guibert was afterwards appointed a member of the council of war, formed to establish a regular system in the French army. Here envy and malice again most vehemently pursued him, and being at last persuaded to write in his own justification, he was first attacked by the people for his arbitrary sentiments, then by the court for his popular principles, and was again driven into retirement. At the commencement of the late revolution, he wrote several interesting papers; but, aware of the prejudices existing against him, he assumed the name of G. T. Raynal; under which he obtained all the fame that was refused to Guibert. The chief of these works, was “De la force publique considered sous tous ses rapports.” In his last illness, the injustice done to him still preyed on his mind, and he frequently exclaimed “They will one time know me, and do me justice!” He died May 6, 1790, of an almost broken heart, at the early age of forty-seven. A most flattering mark of esteem and respect was paid to his memory, by the regiment of Neustrie, which he had commanded ten years; the officers and men unanimously voting a letter of condolence to his widow, who published his “German Tour,” in 1803. 1


Life prefixed to his German Tour.