Keysler, John George

, a learned antiquary of Germany, and fellow of the royal society in London, was born in 1689, at Thournau, a town belonging to the counts of Giech. His father, who was of the count’s council, took an extraordinary care of his education; and, after a suitable preparation, sent him to the university of Halle, where he applied himself chiefly to the civil law; not neglecting, in the mean time, the Latin, Greek, and Hebrew languages, history, antiquity, and the sciences. Soon after he left Halle, he was invited to be preceptor to Charles Maximilian and Christian Charles, counts of Giech-Buchau, with whom, in 1713, he returned thither, and afterwards attended them in their travels. The first place of note they visited was Utrecht, where he became acquainted with the learned Reland, who, discerning his uncommon capacity and particular turn, advised him to undertake an accurate history of the antiquities of his country. Keysler visited the chief cities of Germany, France, and the Netherlands, with his | two young counts; and gained great reputation among the learned, by illustrating, as he went along, several monuments of antiquity, particularly some fragments of Celtic idols, then lately discovered in the cathedral of Paris.

Having returned safe with his pupils, and acquired great honour by his care and management of them, he was afterwards fixed upon as a proper person to undertake the education of two grandsons of baron Bernstorf, first minister of state to his Britannic majesty, as elector; and accordingly he went to Hanover in 1716, and entered upon his office. However, in 1718, he obtained leave to go over to England, where he distinguished himself so much as an antiquary, that he was complimented with being fellow of the royal society. This honour he particularly owed to a learned essay, “De Dea Nehalennia numine veterum Walachiorum topico.” He gave an explication also of the Anglo-Saxon monument of antiquity on Salisbury Plain, called Stonehenge; and likewise a “Dissertation on the consecrated Misseltue of the Druids. 11 All these detached essays, with other select discourses on the Celtic and Northern antiquities, he published soon after his return to Hanover, in Latin, under this title,” Antiquitates selectae Sepientrionales et CeUicae," &c. Hanov. 1720, 12mo.

After the two young barons Bernstorf had been ten years under his care, he went with them to Tubingen, at which university they remained a year and a half. Then they set out on a grand tour, visiting the upper part of Germany, Switzerland, and Italy; and then returned to Vienna, where they spent three months. Their next progress was in Upper Hungary, Bohemia, and other parts of Germany. In 1731 they passed through Lorrain into France, thence crossed the channel into England, and made Holland the last stage of their travels. From this tour proceeded a large and entertaining work, which has been translated into English, in 4 vols. 4to and 8vo, and published under the following title, “Travels through Germany, Bohemia, Hungary, Switzerland, Italy, and Lorrain; giving a true and just description of the present state of those countries; their natural, literary, and political history, manners, laws, commerce, manufactures, painting, sculpture, architecture, coins, antiquities, curiosities of art and nature, &c. illustrated with copper- plates engraven from drawings taken on the spot. By John George Keysler, F. R. S. Carefully translated from the second edition of the German, Lend. 1756,| Keysler, after his return, spent the remainder of his days under the patronage and protection of his noble pupils, who committed to his care their fine library and museum, and allowed him a very handsome income. He led a happy tranquil life, declining all public employment, keeping himself single that he might not be incumbered with family affairs, and chiefly conversing with the illustrious dead, who were the companions of his retirement. He died in his fifty-fourth year, June 20, 1743, of an asthma, after viewing with intrepidity the gradual approach of death. 1


Life prefixed to the English edition of his Travels.