Polignac, Melchior De

a celebrated French cardinal, was born Oct. 11, 1661, at Puy, in Velay, and was the son of Louis Armand, viscount de Polignac, descended from one of the most ancient families in Languedoc. He was.sent early to Paris, where he distinguished himself as a student, and was soon noticed as a young man of elegant manners and accomplishments. In 1689, cardinal de Bouillon carried him to Rome, and employed him in several important negociations. It was at one of his interviews with pope Alexander VIII. that this pontiff said to him, “You seem always, sir, to be of my opinion, and yet it is your own which prevails at last.” We are likewise told that when, on his return to Paris, Louis XIV. granted him along audience, he said as he went out, <4 I have been conversing with a man, and a young man, who has contradicted me in every thing, yet pleased me in every thing.*' In 1693, he was sent as ambassador into Poland, where he procured the prince of Conti to be elected and proclaimed king in 1696; but, this election not having been supported, he was obliged to retire, and return to France, where he arrived in 1698, after losing all his equipage and furniture, which was seized by the Dantzickers. The king then banished him to his abbey at Bonport, but recalled him to court with great expressions of regard in 1702, and in 1706 appointed him auditor of the Rota. M. Polignac then set out again for Rome and | cardinal de la Tremouille, who conducted the French affairs there, having the same opinion of him as cardinal de Bouillon had, employed him in several negociations. Going back to France three years after, his majesty sent him as plenipotentiary into Holland in 1710, with marechal d’Uxelles. He was also plenipotentiary at the conferences and peace of Utrecht, in 1712 and 1713. The king, satisfied with his services, obtained a cardinal’s hat for him the same year, and appointed him master of his chapel. During the regency, cardinal de Polignac was banished to his abbey of Anchin in 1718, and not recalled till 172L. In 1724, he went to Rome for the election of pope Benedict XIII. and remained there eight years, being entrusted with the affairs of France. In 1726, he was made archbishop of Auch, returned to his native country in 1732, and died at Paris, November 10, 1741, aged 80. He was a member of the French academy, the academy of sciences, and that of belles lettres. He is now chiefly remembered for his elegant Latin poem, entitled “Anti-Lucretius,” in which he refutes the system and doctrine of Epicurus, according to the principles of Descartes’ philosophy. This he left to a friend, Charles de Rothelin, who published it in 1747, 2 vols. 8vo. It has since been often reprinted, and elegantly translated by M. de Bougainville, secretary to the academy of belles lettres. His Life was published at Paris, 1777, 2 vols. 12mo, by F. Ghrysostom Faucher. The reviewer of this life very justly says, that the man who compiled the “Anti-Lucretius,” and proposed a plan for forming a new bed for the Tiber, in order to recover the statues, medals, basso-relievos, and other ancient monuments, which were buried there during the rage of civil factions, and the incursions of the barbarians, deserves an eminent place in literary biography. Few works have been more favourably received throughout Europe than the cardinal’s celebrated poem, although he was so much of a Cartesian. The first copy that appeared in England was one in the possession of the celebrated earl of Chesterfield, and such was its reputation abroad at that time, that this copy was conveyed by a trumpet from marshal Saxe to the Duke of Cumberland, directed for the earl of Chesterfield, It was sent to him both as a judge of the work, and a friend of the writer. 1

1 Life as above. —Dict. Hist.-Chesterfield’s Memoirs. Monthly Review, vol. LVI.