Schoepflin, John Daniel

, a learned historian and antiquary, was born September 6, 1694-, at Sulzbourg, a town in the margraviate of Baden Dourlach; his father, holding an honourable office in the margrave’s court, died soon after in Alsace, leaving his son to the care of his mother. After tei: years studying at Dourlach and Basil, he kept a public exercise on some contested points of ancient history with applause, and finished his studies in eight years more at Strasbourg. In 1717, he there spoke a Latin panegyric on Ge^manicus, that favourite hero of Germany, which was printed by order of the city. In return for this favour he spoke a funeral oration on M. Barth, under whom he had studied; and another on Kuhn, the professor of eloquence and history there, whom he was soon after elected to succeed in 1720, at the age of twenty ­ix. The resort of students to him from the Northern nations was very great, and the princes of Germany sent their sons to study law under him. The professorship of history at Francfort on the Oder was offered to him; the czarina invited him to another at St. Petersburg, with the title of historiographer royal; Sweden offered him the same professorship at Upsal, formerly held by Scheffer and Boeder, his countrymen; and the university of Leyden named him successor to the learned Vitriarius. He preferred Strasbourg to all. Amidst the succession of lectures public and private, he found time to publish an innumerable quantity of historical and critical dissertations, too many to be here particularised. In 1725 he pronounced a congratulatory oration before king Stanislaus, in the name of the university, on the marriage of his daughter to the king of France; and, in 1726, another on the birth of the dauphin, besides an anniversary one on the king of France’s birthday, and others on his victories. In 1726 he quitted his professorship, and began his travels at the public expence. From | Paris he went to Italy, stayed at Rome six months, re* ceived from the king of the Two Sicilies a copy of the “Antiquities of Herculaneum,” and from the duke of Parma the “Museum Florentinum.” He came to England at the beginning of the late king’s reign, and left it the day that Pere Courayer, driven out of Paris by theological disputes, arrived in London. He was now honoured with a canonry of St. Thomas, one of the most distinguished Lutheran chapters, and visited Paris a third time in 1728. Several dissertations by him are inserted in the “Memoirs of the academy of inscriptions and belles lettres;” one, ascribing the invention of moveable types to Guttenberg of Strasbourg, 1440, against Meerman,

In 1733, he narrowly escaped from a dangerous illness, He had long meditated one of those works, which alone, by their importance, extent, and difficulty, might immortalise a society, a “History of Alsace.” To collect materials for this, he travelled into the Low Countries and Germany in 1738, and into Switzerland 1744. At Prague he found that the fragment of St. Mark’s Gospel, so carefully kept there, is a continuation of that at Venice. The chancellor D’Aguesseau sent for him to Paris, 1746, with the same view. His plan was to write the History of Alsace, and to illustrate its geography and policy before and under the Romans, under the Franks, Germans, and its present governors; and, in 1751, he presented it to the king of France, who had before honoured him with the title of “Historiographer Royal and Counsellor,” and then gave him an appointment of 2000 livres, and a copy of the catalogue of the royal library. He availed himself of this opportunity to plead the privileges of the Protestant university of Strasbourg, and obtained a confirmation of them. His second volume appeared in 1761; and he had prepared, as four supplements, a collection of charters and records, an ecclesiastical history, a literary history, and a list of authors who had treated of Alsace: the publication of these he recommended to Mr. Koch, his assistant and successor in his chair. Between these two volumes he published his ^Vindiciae Celticse,“in which he examines the origin, revolution, and language of the Celts. The” History of Badenwas his last considerable work, a duty which he thought he owed his country. He completed this history in seven volumes in four years; the first appeared in 176 3, the last in 1766. Having by this history illustrated his | country, he prevailed upon the marquis of Baden to build a room, in which all its ancient monuments were deposited in 1763. He engaged with the elector palatine to found the academy of Manheim. He pronounced the inaugural discourse, and furnished the electoral treasury with antiques. He opened the public meetings of this academy, which are held twice a year, by a discourse as honorary president. He proved in two of these discourses, that no electoral house, no court in Germany, had produced a greater number of learned princes than the electoral house. In 1766, he presented to the elector the first volume of the” Memoirs of a Rising Academy," and promised one every two years.

A friend to humanity, and not in the least jealous ohis literary property, he made his library public. It was the most complete in the article of history that ever belonged to a private person, rich in Mss. medals, inscriptions, figures, vases, and ancient instruments of every kind, collected by him with great judgment in his travels. All these, in his old age, he presented to the city of Strasbourg, without any other condition except that his library should be open both to foreigners and his own countrymen. The city, however, rewarded this disinterested liberality by a pension of a hundred louis. He was admitted to the debates in the senate upon this occasion, and there complimented the senate and the city on the favour they had shewn to literature ever since its revival in Europe. November 22, 1770, closed the fiftieth year of the professorship of Mr. S.; this was celebrated by a public festival: the university assembled, and Mr. Lobstein, their orator, pronounced before them a discourse in praise of this extraordinary man, and the whole solemnity concluded with a grand entertainment. Mr. S. seemed born to outlive himself. Mr. Ring, one of his pupils, printed his life in 1769. In 1771, he was attacked by a slow fever, occasioned by an obstruction in his bowels and an ulcer in his lungs, after an illness of many months. He died August 7, the first day of the eleventh month of his seventy-seventh year, sensible to the last. He was buried in the collegiate church of St. Thomas, the city, in his favour, dispensing with the law which forbids interment within its limits. 1

1 Gent. Mag. 1783, by Mr. Gough, apparently from H*rle dc Vitis PhiloJogorum, vol. III. or from Ring’g Life.