Petis De La Croix, Francis

, an agreeable French writer and learned Orientalist, was born in 1654. After a suitable education he became the king of France’s secretary, and interpreter for Oriental languages, and succeeded his father in those offices, which, his countrymen inform us, he was eminently well qualified to fill. To a very considerable share of general learning, he added an integrity and firmness of mind which enabled him to resist the importunities of corruption in a very remarkable instance. He had great offers made to him if he would insert in the treaty between the Algerines and Lewis XIV. that the six hundred thousand livres, to be received by the latter, should be paid in Tripoli crowns, which would have made a difference of a sixth part. But this he rejected with contempt, although the trick could not have been discovered, or known to any except those who were to profit by it.

His own court, however, imposed a duty upon him more congenial to his disposition^ and highly conducive to the advancement of his favourite studies. In compliance with | his royal master’s commands, he undertook several voyages to the East, and to Africa, and performed some negociations so much to the satisfaction of Louis XIV. that, besides other rewards of his merit, he was appointed in 1692 Arabic professor in the royal college, which he held until his death in 1713.

Besides the Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Tartarian languages, he was acquainted with the Ethiopian and Armenian. His “Persian Tales” were first published after his death in five small volumes, in 1722. His own account of them was, that they were Indian plays, turned into Persian stories by the dervice Modes, who communicated them to him, and gave him leave to transcribe them. Those who are acquainted with the Arabian Tales will perceive the similarity of the present, in which we have the same method, the same taste, and the same design, with this only difference, that in the Arabian Nights, a prince is prepossessed against women, and in the Persian Tales, a princess affects the same aversion to men. Of these “Tales” we have an English translation, which has often been reprinted. His other works were “The History of Timur bee, or the great Tamerlan,1722, 4 vols. 12mo; “The State of the Ottoman Empire, 3 vols. 12mo; the” History of Genghizcan" which have all been published, but he left other translations, which are yet in manuscript. His son Alexander Louis Maria, was also professor of Arabic in the royal college, and translated the canon of Soliman II. for the instruction of Mourad IV. He died in 1751, aged fifty-three. 1