Houteville, Claude Francis

, a native of Paris, was eighteen years a member of the congregation called the oratory, and afterwards secretary to cardinal Dubois, by whom he was much esteemed. He was appointed in 1742 perpetual secretary to the French academy, but did | not long enjoy his preferment, for he died the same year, being about fifty- four years old. He published a work entitled “La Verite” de la Religion Chretienne prouvée par les fails," the latter editions of which are far superior to the first. The best edition is that of Paris, 1741, 3 vols. 4to. This book had an astonishing success on its first appearance; but sunk afterwards into a state of discredit no less astonishing: it had been extolled too highly at first, ancl afterwards too much depreciated. The style is affected, and the author lays down useless principles, and, sometimes, even such as are dangerous and hurtful to his cause. His proofs are not always solid or well chosen; but he is particularly blameable for having separated the difficulties and objections from the proofs brought against them. By thus heaping objections on objections at the end of his work, and giving very short and concise answers for fear of repetitions, he gives greater forceto the former than to the latter, makes us lose sight of his proofs, and seems to destroy what he had established. 1