Rabutin, Roger, Count De Bussy

, a distinguished French officer and wit, was born April 3, 1618, at Epiry in Nivernois, descended from a family which ranks among the most noble and ancient of the duchy of Burgundy. He served in his father’s regiment from twelve years old, and distinguished himself so much by his prudent conduct in several sieges and battles, that he would certainly have | risen to the rank of marechal, had he not as much distinguished himself by indiscriminate satire, and hy immoral conduct. Being left a widower, 1648, he fell violently i love with Mad. de Miramion, and carried her off, but could not prevail on her to return his passion. He was admitted into the French academy in 1665, and the same year a scandalous history in ms. was circulated under his name, which is called “The amorous History of the Gauls,” containing the amours of two ladies (d’Olonne, and de Chatillon) who had great influence at court. It has since been joined to other novels of that time, and printed in Holland, 2 vols. 12mo, and at Paris, under the title of Holland, 5 vols. 12mo. This ms. being shown to the king, his majesty was extremely angry, and to satisfy the offended parties, sent De Bussy to the Bastile, April 7, 1665. From thence he wrote several letters acknowledging that he was the author of the history, but had entrusted the original to the marchioness de la Baume, who had betrayed his confidence by taking a copy; alleging also that the characters had been changed and spoilt, for the purpose of raising up enemies to him. The king did not believe one word of this, but tired with his repeated importunities, granted his request and De Bussy obtained leave to stop a month in Paris, after which he retired to his own estate, where he remained in banishment till 1681. The king then permitted him to return to Paris, and not only recalled him to court in 1682, but even suffered him to attend his levee, at the duke de Saint- Aignan’s earnest solicitation. He soon perceived, however, that the king showed him no countenance, and he therefore retired again to his estate. In 1687, he revisited the court for his children’s interests, and returned home the year following but ceased not to offer his services to the king, from whom he obtained several favours for his family. He died April 9, 1693, at Autun, aged 75. His works are, 1. “Memoires,” 2 vols, 4to, or 12mo, concerning his adventures at court, and in the army, and what happened after his disgrace. 2. “Letters,” 7 vols. 3. A small piece, entitled “Instructions for the conduct of Life,” which he gave his sons, when he sent one to the academy, and the other to college. This is said to do credit to his principles, which appear to have been better than his practice. The only work of his now read in France is that which produced all his misfortunes, the “Histoire amoureuse des Gaules,” the last | edition of which was printed at Paris in 1754, 5 vols. 12mo. He has been called very unjustly the French jetronius, for he has neither the indecency nor the elegance of that writer. The French critics are very favourable to him, in asserting that although in the above work we may discover symptoms of malignity, there are none of exaggeration or falsehood. 1


Biog. Univ. in art. Bussr.