Heritier, Charles Louis L', De Brutelle

, an eminent French botanist, was born at Paris in 1746. In 1772 he was appointed superintendant of the waters and forests of the generality of Paris, and his active mind being turned to fulfil the duties of his office, he began to apply to botany, with a particular view to the knowledge of foresttrees. Broussonet, who had studied with sir Joseph Banks, and was an ardent Linnaean, was the intimate friend of L’Heritier, and contributed in no small degree to urge him forward in his career. The first fruits of his labours was a splendid book, with finely engraved plates, entitled “Stirpes novae,” of which the first fasciculus, containing eleven plates with their descriptions, appeared in J7S4. Five more followed, amounting to eighty-four platas. To secure to himself some of his own discoveries, and especially the establishment of certain new genera and their names, L’Heritier contrived a method of publishing such in the form of monographs, with one or two plates. Of | these he distributed the copies gratuitously to different people, so that no individual might be possessed of the entire collection. A complete set, however, is in the library of sir Joseph Banks, and another in that of the president of the Linnaean society. In 1786 he came over to England, and collected from the English gardens the materials of his “Sertum Anglicum,” a Work consisting of several fasciculi, on a similar plan to his Stirpes Novafe, but it remains unfinished. In 1775 he became a conseiller a la cour des aides, was for a long time the dean of that court, and accepted the office of a judge in the civil tribunals of the department of the Seine, and is recorded to have fulfilled its duties with the most exemplary rectitude and incorruptibility. He also sat from time to time as a member of the representative body. His views were always those of a true patriot, the correction of abuses, the maintenance of the laws in their genuine force and purity; and the darling object of his emulation was the uncorrupted British constitution.

It is with pain that we advance towards the dreadful catastrophe of his life. He had married, in 1775, an estimable woman of the name of Dore, with whom he passed nineteen years in domestic happiness. She died in 1794, leaving him five children. He devoted himself to their education, but with respect to one of them, a son, his parental solicitude was attended with little success, and his hopes were blasted in a cruel manner, by the most refractory and unprincipled conduct. The parent returning very late one evening in August 1801, from a meeting of the national institute, never again reached his own domestic circle. His children expected him all night in the greatest anxiety and uncertainty. Some savage cries of insult or exultation were overheard in the silence of the night, but their object was not discovered till the dawn of morning, when the murdered body of the father of the family was found near his own threshold, with the money and other valuables which he carried about him untouched. No certain discovery was made of the murderer, but suspicion seems to have attached to the wretched son, who is since dead. 1


Rees’s Cyclopædia by Dr. Smith. TDict. Hist.