Sulzer, John George

, a very eminent German, or rather Swiss, philosopher, was born at Wmterthour, in the canton of Zurich, October 16, 1720, and is said to have been the youngest of twenty-five children. Both his parents died on the same day in 1734, and left him barely enough to defray the expence of his education. His taJents did not develope themselves early; and, at sixteen, jhe had not even acquired a taste for study. Wolfe’s Metaphyiics was the first book that awakened in him a love of philosophy; and the counsels and example of the celebrated Gesner soon after incited him to apply himself eagerly to mathematics and general science, and to resume the study of Grecian and Oriental literature. In 1739, he became an ecclesiastic; and a favourable situation for examining the beauties of nature, made him an enthusiast in that branch of knowledge. He published, therefore, at twenty- one, “Moral contemplations of the works of Nature” and, in the same year, 1741, “A Description of the most remarkable Antiquities in the Lordship of Knonau,” written in German. The year after, he published an account of a journey which he took in the Alps; in which he displayed, not only his sensibility of the beauties of nature, but his profound sense of the infinite power and goodness of its author. Becoming a tutor at Magdeburg, he obtained the acquaintance of Maupertuis, Euler, and Sack; in consequence of which his merits became more known, and he obtained, in 1747, the appointment of mathematical professor in the royal college | at Berlin and became a member of the Royal Academy there in 1760.

The works of Sulzer are numerous; but the most important is, his Universal Theory of the fine Arts,“(Allgemeine Theorie der schbnen Kiinste, &c.) which is a dictionary in two volumes, quarto, containing all the terms of the various arts digested into one alphabet. In this he appears at once a profound thinker, and a man of singular worth. The first volume appeared at Leipsic in 1771; the second in 1774. He wrote also, *' Remarks on the Philosophical Essays of Hume;” a work in which he both acknowledges the acuteness, and detects the sophistry of our celebrated sceptic. The king of Prussia distinguished him by many marks of bounty and favour, but it so happened that he never saw him till near the end of 1777, although he had been member of the academy from the year 1750. Sulzer lived only to the age of sixty; and died February 25, 1779. His character is of the purest kind; amiable, virtuous, sociable, and beneficent. His philosophy was that of a true Christian, and the support he derived from it was proportionably uniform and steady, His dying mo-, ments were calm, humble, and sublime; and his countenance, when he expired, wore the composure of sleep. He had no enemy, and his friends were numerous and affectionate. 1


Eloge by Formey in the Berlin Memoirs for 1779.—Meistcr’s Portraits des Hommes lllustres dc la Suisse.