Lamanon, Robert Paul

, a member of the academy of sciences at Paris, and member of the museum in the same city, was born at Salon, in Provence, in 1752, of an old and respectable family. He was destined for the church, and sent to Paris to complete his theological studies. He rose to the dignity of canon, but by the death of his father and elder brother acquired property, which enabled him to follow the bent of his inclinations, by devoting himself to the physical sciences. He travelled through Provence and Dauphine*, and scaled the Alps and Pyrenees; “at the sight of these vast natural laboratories, the bent of his mind burst forth instantaneously; he climbed to the summit of rocks, and explored the abyss of caverns, | weighed the air, analysed specimens, and in this ardent fancy, having attained the secrets of creation, he formed a new system of the world.” Upon his return home, he applied with great ardour to the study of meteorology, natural philosophy, and the other branches of the history of nature. He spent three years at Paris, and gave to the learned societies there many very valuable papers, particularly a memoir on the Cretans, a memoir on the theory of the winds, and a treatise on the alteration in the course of rivers, particularly the Rhone. He, again visited Switzerland and Italy, going first to Turin, where he allied himself to the learned of that country: after his return, laden with the spoils of the countries which he traversed, he employed himself in the arrangement of the interesting fruits of his journey. It was at the time when Lamanon was preparing for the press his great work on the “Theory of the Earth,” that the French government conceived the vast project of completing the discoveries of captain Cook; the Academy of sciences was entrusted with the care of selecting men capable of rectifying the common notions of the southern hemisphere, of improving hydrography, and advancing the progress of natural history; they invited, at the recommendation of the illustrious Condorcet, Lamanon to share the danger, and to partake in the glory of this great enfrerprize. He eagerly caught at the offer, hastened to Paris, refused, in a conference with the minister, the salary offered him, and taking a hasty leave of his friends, departed for Brest. On the 1st of August, 1785, the armament set sail under the orders of La Perouse, an experienced commander: the commencement of the voyage was highly prosperous. After some delays, and having embraced every opportunity of making observations, the vessels arrived at the island of Maouna, one of the southern archipelago. Lamanon, eager to assure himself of the truth of the accounts of that country, debarked with Langlc, the second in command. Having explored the place, and being upon the point of returning, they were attacked by the natives; a combat ensued, and they, with several of the boat’s crew, fell a sacrifice to the fury of these barbarians. Thus perished Lamanon, a young man ardent in the pursuits of science, disinterested in his principles, and a zealous advocate for the interests of freedom. Uis eulogist, M. Ponce, said of him, “that be seemed born to bring about a revolution in science; | the depth of his ideas, the energy of his character, the sagacity of his mind, united to that lively curiosity that can draw instruction out of every thing which he saw, and which leaves nothing unexplored, would have led him to the most valuable discoveries/1

1 Dr. Gleig’s Supplement to the Encyclopaedia Britannica. —Rees’s Cyclopædia,