Molieres, Joseph Privat De

, born in 1677, of a noble and ancient family at Tarascon, entered among aie lathers of the oratory, and was pupil to Malebranche. Quitting the oratory, after that celebrated philosopher’s death, he devoted himself wholly to physic and mathematics, in which he acquired great skill, and was appointed professor of philosophy at the royal college in 1723, and afterwards member of the academy of sciences, in 1729. His principal work is “Philosophical Lectures,” 4 vols. 12mo, in which he explains the laws, mechanism, and motions of. the celestial vortices, in order to demonstrate the possibility and existence of them in the system of the Plenum; his system is that of Descartes, but corrected by Newton’s principles. He also left “Mathematical Lectures,” 12mo, very incorrectly printed; and “La premiere partie des Elemens de Geometric,” 12mo. In his temper he shewed very little of the philosopher. In the maintenance of his principles he could bear no contradiction; and when some of his positive assertions provoked the smiles of the academicians, he fell into violent passions, and on one occasion this irritation was so great, as to bring on a fever, of which he died, May 12, 1742. In other respects his character was amiable; but, like some other mathematicians, he was liable in his studies to such absence of mind, as to appear almost wholly insensible to surrounding objects, and this infirmity becoming known, he was made the subject of depredations. A shoe-black, once finding him profoundly absorbed in a reverie, contrived to steal the silver buckles from his shoes, replacing them with iron ones. At another time, while at his studies, a villain broke into the room in which he was sitting, and demanded his money; Molieres, without rising frogi his studies, or giving any alarm, coolly shewed him where it was, requesting him, as a great favour, that he would not derange his papers. 2