Ratte, Stephen Hyacinth De

, a French mathematician and astronomer, was born at Montpellier, Sept. 1, 1722, and from his earliest years became attached to the study of the sciences, particularly mathematics. When very young, he was appointed secretary to the Montpellier academy of sciences, which office he held until all academies in France were dissolved. In the course of his office, he published two volumes of their “Memoirs/' and was preparing a third at the time of the revolution. He also contributed many valuable papers himself on philosophical and mathematical subjects, and furnished some articles for the” Dictionnaire Encyclopedique.“The comet of 1759, the subject of so much prediction and expectation, so far altered his pursuits as to make them afterwards centre in astronomy. He was for a long time considered as the only good astronomer at Montpellier, and made many useful observations, particularly on the famous transit of Venus in 1761. Such was his zeal, that when old age prevented him from making observations with his usual accuracy, he maintained a person for that purpose at his own expence as keeper of the observatory at Montpellier. On the death of his father, in 1770, he became counsellor of the court of aids, and was often the organ of that company on remarkable occasions. In 1793, when such members of the old academy as had esdaped the murderous period of the revolution attempted to revive it under the name of” Societe* Libre des sciences et belles lettres de Montpeliier,“De Ratte was chosen president. Some volumes of their transactions have been published under the title of” Bulletins." When the national institute was formed, De Ratte was chosen an associate, and also a member of other learned societies in France, and at last one of the legion of honour. He died Aug. 15, 1805, aged eighty-three. His astronomical observations have been collected for publication by M. De Flaugergues, an astronomer of Viviers; but our authority does not mdntipn whether they haV yet appeared. 2