Maubert, De Gouvest, John Henry

, a noted political adventurer, and well known about sixty years ago, as the editor of the Brussels Gazette, was born at Rouen in 1721. He took the habit of a capuchin in 1740, but broke through his religious engagements as soon as he found them incompatible with his inclinations, and determined to seek that fortune in foreign countries which he could no longer hope for in France. Of his future proceedings we have two accounts; the one, that he eloped with a nun, professed himself a protestant, and came to Brussels, where he obtained the protection of M. Kinschot, resident of the States, by whose means he got safe to Holland. Here a Saxon count falling in love with his nun, carried her with him to Dresden, and, at the same time recommended Maubert to a Saxon nobleman in that city, as preceptor to his sons. The other account, not the more true for being his own, conducts him in a more honourable manner, to the office of tutor to the young count de Rutowski, while he had also obtained an introduction to count Bruhl. The father of his pupil being an inveterate enemy of count Bruhl, had engaged with some friends to ruin him, and found Maubert by no means reluctant to assist in the plot. He accordingly drew up a deduction of grievances, which gained him the applause and confidence of the party, and greatly flattered his ambition. The plot being discovered, however, Maubert was arrested at the hotel de Rutowski, and irv a few weeks was sent to the fortress of Konigstein, where, he says, he was treated handsomely, allowed even luxuries, provided with books, and the liberty of walking and visiting in the fortress, with no other guard | than a subaltern officer. Of his release we have also two accounts; the one, that it was accomplished by interest, the other by fraud. This was not the only prison, however, which he had occasion to visit and escape from; the rest of his life forms a series of adventures, more fit for a romance than any other species of narrative, and consists of the vicissitudes to which he was exposed by selling his talents, such as they were, to the best bidder, and writing on the side of that nation or government which paid him best.

The first publication that made him noticed, was his “Testament politiquedu Cardinal Alberoni,” one of those fictions that were very common in France and Holland on the death of any minister of state of great eminence. Of this kind were the Testaments of Richelieu, Mazarin, Colbert, Louvois, &c. vehicles for political sentiment, but of no authority as to the parties whose names are assumed. The reputation he acquired by this work, which was well enough written to deceive Voltaire into the opinion that it was the production of one long acquainted with the courts and politics of Europe, encouraged Maubert to publish “Histoire politique de siecle,1757, 2 vols. 4to. About this time, or soon after, we find him in England, where he boasts of the patronage of lord Bolingbroke, and his friend Mr. Henry Furnese, one of the lords of the admiralty, who endeavoured to procure him a place in that office at the head of which the duke of Newcastle then was, but that the death of his protector put an end to his hopes. In this account are some of those blunders which French writers seem to delight to commit, in speaking of the affairs of England. Mr. Furnese was a commissioner of the treasury for a year, and the duke of Newcastle first lord; but, whatever truth or falsehood there may be in his account of his connexions here, Maubert was at last obliged to make a precipitate retreat, being taken for a spy, and once more landed in Holland, where he published several political pamphlets, for which, such was his tergiversation, he was paid by that very count Bruhl who had prosecuted him some years before. At length he became obnoxious here too, and was obliged to go to Brussels, where he became editor of the Brussels Gazette, a paper, that under his management was for some time proverbial for want of veracity, marked hostility to the principles of liberty, and ignorance of the real state of the political affairs it professed | to discuss or narrate. This character applied also with peculiar justice to Maubert’s “Historical and Political Mercury,” two numbers of which were translated and published in English in 1760, and to his other political pamphlets, “Testament politique de Walpole;” “Ephruimjustifie,” &c. As to the conclusion of his life, there are many reports, but they all agree that he died at Altona in 1767. 1


Necrologie des homines celebres, annee 1768, —Dict. Hist. Annual Register for 1759.