Moreri, Lewis

, a French divine, and the first compiler of the “Great Historical Dictionary,” which still goes | by his name, was born at Bargemont, a small village in Provence, in 1643. He was educated in classical learning at Draguignan, under the fathers of the Christian doctrine. He studied rhetoric in the college of Jesuits at Aix, where he also performed his course of philosophy; and thence removing to Lyons, studied divinity. When he was but eighteen, he composed a small allegorical work, entitled “Le pais d’Amour;” and, in 1666, a collection of French poems, which he called “Doux plaisirs de la Poesie:” to which works he put only the first letters of his name, L. M. He applied himself diligently to the Italian and Spanish languages; and this latter enabled him to translate Rodriguez’s treatise on Christian perfection. It was printed at Lyons in 1677, in 3 vols. 8vo, under the title, “Pratique de la Perfection Chrétienne & Religieuse, traduite de l’Espagnol d’Alphonse Rodriguez.” After he had taken orders, he preached on controversial points at Lyons for five years, with great success; and here formed the plan of his “Historical Dictionary,” the first edition of which appeared at Lyons in 1674. In this he professed to collect and digest into alphabetical order, whatever seemed to him curious in sacred and profane history, so that hence information might he had upon all kinds of subjects in a moment: and every body was amazed to see so laborious a work from so young a man.

The same year he was taken into the family of the bishop of Apt, in Provence, whom he attended the year following to Paris; and was soon introduced to the prelates, who held their assembly in St. Germain en Laye, and to the learned men in the metropolis. While he was engaged in the second edition of his “Dictionary,” his friends recommended him to M. de Pompone, secretary of state, who invited him to his house, in 1678. He might have expected great advantages from the patronage of that minister; but his intense application to his “Dictionary” injured his health in such a manner that he never recovered it. M. de Pompone having resigned his post in 1679, Moreri took the opportunity of retiring to his own house, in order to complete his work, but his health declining rapidly, he died July 10, 1680, aged 37. Besides the writings above mentioned, he put the “Lives of the Saints” into more elegant French, and added methodical tables for the use of preachers, with chronological tables; and, in 1671, be published at Lyons the following book, | Relations nouvelles du Levant, ou Traités de la Religion, du Gouvernment, & des Coutumes, des Parses, des Anneniens, & des Gaures, composés par le P. G. D. C. C. (P. Gabriel du Chinon, Capuchin), & donnés au public par le sieur L. M. P. D. E. T.” (that is, Louis Moreri, Pretre, Docteur en Theologie.)

The first edition of his “Dictionary” was comprized in one vol. folio, which he soon found very defective, and therefore applied himself with great vigour to enlarge it; which he did in two volumes, and the year after his death it was printed at Paris in 1681. The third edition, in 1683, is likewise in two volumes, and was copied from the second. The two following editions, of which the fourth was printed in 1687, and the fifth in 1683, were published at Lyons in two volumes, and were the same with that of 1683, except that some articles were added. It was afterwards thought proper to give a “Supplement or third Volume of the Historical Dictionary,” which was printed in 1689 in folio. The sixth edition, in which is inserted the Supplement in the same alphabetical order, corrected in a great number of places, and enlarged by many important articles and Remarks, was printed at Amsterdam in 1691 in four volumes in folio. Le Clerc had the care of this edition, in which the articles of the Supplement are incorporated, and made the additions, consisting either of new articles, or improvements of other articles. Three more editions followed, almost the same, in 1694, 1698, and 1699, all in 4 vols. folio. The tenth was printed from the edition revised by Le Clerc, at Amsterdam, 1702, in 4 vols. folio. The eleventh was published by Mons. Vaultier with new additions, at Paris, 1704, 4 vols. folio. It was preceded by a piece entitled “Projet pour la Correction du Dictionnaire Historique de M. Moreri, deja revu, corrigé, & angmenté dans le derniere Edition de Paris par M. Vaultier,Paris, 1701, 4to. It was followed by a piece entitled “Remarques Critiques sur ia Nouvelle Edition du Dictionnaire Historique de Moreri, donneé en 1704.” The second edition of this piece, printed at Rotterdam in 1706, 12mo, is enlarged with a preface and a great many notes by another author, viz. Bayle, who published this edition. The twelfth edition of Moreri was printed at Paris in 1707, 4 vols. folio, and the thirteenth in 1712, in 5 vols. folio. Dupin had a considerable share in it, as also in the following editions. In 1714, there was printed separately in | that city a large Supplement, composed, as is said in the advertisements, of new articles, corrected in the last edition of 1712, to serve as a supplement to the preceding editions. This supplement was reprinted with great additions by Bernard at Amsterdam in 1716 in two volumes, folio. The fourteenth edition of Moreri was printed at Amsterdam in 1717, in six volumes, folio, with the Supplement, which is not incorporated in the body of the work. The fifteenth edition was printed at Parisj 1718, 5 vols. fol. The articles of the Supplement published in Holland are inserted in their proper places, with some additions. This edition has been greatly criticised. The authors of the “Europe Sçavante” have inserted in their fourth volume, p. 230, a memoir, in which is shewn, that in the single letter Z, which is one of the shortest, there are a great many faults, and several articles omitted. The abbé Le Clerc also published “Remarks upon different Articles,” in the three first volumes, printed in three volumes 8vo; the first in 1719, the second in 1720, and the third in 1721. Father Francis Meri, a Benedictine Monk, published likewise upon this subject a pamphlet, entitled “Discussion Critique & Theologique des Remarques de M. sur le Dictionnaire de Moreri de 1718,1720, 8vo. It is a defence of some passages of the Dictionary against the criticism of the abbé Le Clerc. The sixteenth edition of Moreri was printed at Paris in 1724, in 6 vols. folio. Monsieur de la Barre had the care of it. What relates to genealogy was revised by Monsieur Vailly, an advocate; and the abbé Le Clerc furnished five or six thousand corrections, as he informs us in his “Bibliotheque de Richelet.” The seventeenth edition was printed at Basil in 1731; and the eighteenth at Paris, in 1732, 6 vols. folio, to which supplementary volumes were added. The last and best edition, in which all these were incorporated, is that of 1759, 10 vols. folio. This is still a work of great value and utility, particularly the biographical part, but much of the historical and geographical part has become almost obsolete, owing to the more correct information and improvements introduced in those branches. 1


Moreri.—Gen. Dict.—Dict. Hist.