Mongault, Nicolas Hubert

, an ingenious and learned Frenchman, and one of the best writers of his time, was born at Paris in 1674. At sixteen he entered into the congregation of the fathers of the oratory, and was afterwards sent to Mans to learn philosophy. That of Aristotle then obtained in the schools, and was the only one which was permitted to be taught; nevertheless Mongault, with some of that original spirit which usually distinguishes men of uncommon abilities from the vulgar, ventured, in a public thesis, which he read at the end of the course of lectures, to oppose the opinions of Aristotle, and to maintain those of Des Cartes. Having studied theology with the same success, he quitted the oratory in 1699; and soon after went to Thoulouse, and lived with Colbert, archbishop of that place, who had procured him a priory | in 1698. In 1710 the duke of Orleans, regent of the kingdom, committed to him the education of his son, the duke of Chartres; which important office he discharged so well that he acquired universal esteem. In 1714, he had the abbey Chartreuve given him, and that of Vilieneuve in 1719. The duke of Chartres, becoming colonel-general of the French infantry, chose the abbe* Mongault to fill the place of secretary-general made him also secretary of the province of Dauphiny and, after the death of the regent, his father, raised him to other considerable employments. All this while he was as assiduous as his engagements would permit in cultivating polite literature; and, in 1714, published at Paris;, in 6 vols. 12mo, an edition of “Tully’s Letters to Atticus,” with an excellent French translation, and judicious comment upon them. This work has been often reprinted, and is justly reckoned admirable; for, as Middleton has observed, in the preface to his “Life of Cicero,” the abbe Mongault “did not content himself with the retailing the remarks of other commentators, or out of the rubbish of their volumes with selecting the best, but entered upon his task with the spirit of a true critic, and, by the force of his own genius, has happily illustrated many passages which all the interpreters before him had given tip as inexplicable.” He published also a very good translation of “Herodian,” from the Greek, the best edition of which is that of 1745, in 12mo. He died at Paris, Aug. 15, 1746, aged almost seventy-two.

He was a member of the French academy, and of the academy of inscriptions and belles lettres; and was fitted to do honour to any society. In the first volume of the “Memoirs of the Academy of Inscriptions” there are two fine dissertations of his one “upon the divine honours paid to the governors of the Roman provinces, during the continuance of the republic;” the other, “upon the temple, which Cicero conceived a design of consecrating to the memory of his beloved daughter Tullia, under the title of Fanum.1