Levesque, Peter Charles

, a learned French writer, who spent a long life in the study of history and general literature, was born at Paris, March 28, 1736. Of his private life we have no account; and our authority apologizes for this by assuring us that it contained none of those incidents that are interesting in biography, and that he was known only by his numerous publications. He was, however, in the course of his life, professor of morals and history in the college of France, a member of the old academy of inscriptions and belles-lettres, a member of the institute of the class of ancient history, and a knight of the legion of honour. He died at Paris, March 12, 1812, leaving the following proofs of his talents and industry. 1. “Le reves d‘Aristobule, philosophe Grec, suivis d’un abrege de la vie de Formose, philosophe Francais,Paris, 1761, 12mo. 2. “Choix-de poesies de Petrarque,” translated from the Italian, 1774, 8vo, reprinted in 1787, 2 vols. 12mo. This translation is faithful, but wants the spirit and graces of the original. 3. “L’homme moral,” Amst. 1775, a work which has been often reprinted, and is said to have been written at Petersburgh, for the use of the Russian youth. Its object seems to be to take a survey of man in the savage and social state, and during all the modifications of the latter; and its contents are a series of remarks on all subjects connected with happiness, not always profound, but often striking, lively, and agreeable. From its being printed oftener in Holland than in France, it is probable that this work, as well as the following, was written with more freedom of sentiment than was then agreeable. 4. “L‘homme pensant, ou Essai sur l’histoire de l’esprit humain,” Amst. 1779, 12mo. 5. “Histoire de Russie,Paris, 1785, 5 vols. 12mo. This is esteemed a very accurate sketch of Russian history and was followed by a sequel, 6. “Histoire des differens peuples soumis a la domination des Russes,” 2 vols. Both were reprinted in 1800, with a continuation to the end of the reign of Catherine, 8 vols. 8vo. In this last, he offers a very able vindication of the conduct of that empress in the early part of her reign. 7. “Eloge historique de l’abbé Mably,Paris, 1787, 8vo. This obtained the prize of the academy of inscriptions and belles lettres. 8. “La France sous les cinq premier Valois,Paris, 1788, 4 vols. 12mo. 9. “Dictionnaire des arts, de peinture, sculpture, et gravure,Paris, 1792, 5 vols. 8vo. He compiled this | dictionary in conjunction with Watelet, to whom our authority attributes the principal merit of it. 10. A translation, highly praised, of “Thucydides,Paris, 1795, 4 vols. 4to. Levesque also contributed various essays to the memoirs of the institute, and wrote many of the articles in that collection of the ancient moralists which was published by Didot and Debure. Not long before his death he published “L‘etude de l’histoire de la Grece,” 4 vols. 8vo; not, as is said, a learned work, but a popular introduction to the knowledge of Grecian history. 1

1 Dict. Hist. Supplcoicnt.