Sallo, Denis De

, a French writer, the first projector of literary journals, was descended from an ancient and noble family, and born at Paris in 1626. During his education, he gave no proofs of precocious talent, and afforded little hope of much progress in letters or science. But this seems to have been the effect rather of indolence than incapacity, for he afterwards became an accomplished Greek and Latin scholar, and maintained public theses in philosophy with the greatest a’pplause. He then studied the law, and was admitted a counsellor in the parliament of Paris in 1652. This, however, did not seem so much to his taste as general inquiries into literary history and knowledge, and desultory reading. It is said that he occasionally perused all kinds of books, made curious researches, and kept a person always near him to take down his reflections, and to make abstracts. In 1664, he formed the project of the “Journal des Scavans;” and, the year following, began to publish it under the name of Sieur de Hedouviile, which was that of his valet de chambre; but the severity of his censures gave offence to many who were able to make reprisals. Menage’s “Amcenitates Juris Civilis” was one of the first of those works which fell under Sallo’s cognizance, and his mode of treating it provoked Menage to return his abuse with equal severity in his preface to the works of Malherbe, printed in 1666. Charles Patin’s “Introduction a la connoissance des M^dailles” was another work with which he made free, and incurred a severe retaliation. This warfare soon proved too much for his courage; and therefore, after having published his third journal, he turned the work over to the Abbé Gallois, who dropped all criticism, and merely gave titles and extracts. The plan, however, in one shape or other, was soon adopted in most parts of Europe, and continues until this day, whether with real advantage to literature, has never been | fully discussed. Voltaire, after mentioning Sallo as the inventor of this kind of writing, says, with a justice applicable in our own days, that Sallo’s attempt “was afterwards dishonoured by other journals, which were published at the desire of avaricious booksellers, and written by obscure men. who filled them with erroneous extracts, follies, and lies. Things,” he adds, “are come to that pass, that praise and censure are all made a public traffic, especially in periodical papers; and letters have fallen into disgrace by the management and conduct of these infamous scribblers.” On the other hand, the advantages arising from such journals, when under the management of men of candour and independence, will scarcely admit of a doubt. Sallo died in 1669; and, although he published a piece or two of his own, yet is now remembered only for his plan of a literary journal, or review. 1


Niceron, vol. IX.—Moreri.