Van Effen, Justus

, a man of letters, and one of the first periodical essayists on the continent, was born at Utrecht, April 21, 1684. He was the son of an officer, who had no other fortune than a moderate pension, and as he died before Justus had completed his studies, the latter was left to provide as he could for his mother and a sister. Some friends who took an interest in the family procured him to be appointed tutor to the baron de Welderen’s son, which placed him above want; but as he could not do so much for his family as he wished, he had recourse to his pen for a farther supply. His first publication was “Le Misanthrope,” a periodical paper in imitation of our “Spectator,” which he wrote in French, commencing May | 1711, and continuing till December 17 12. In thi he had great, and from what we have seen, deserved success. If he falls short of his model in that delicate humour of Addison, which has never been equalled, he abounds in just remarks on life and manners, evidently derived from extensive observation. Van Effen contrived to conceal himself throughout the whole of this publication, of which a second and improved edition was published at the Hague in 1726, 2 vols. 12mo, to which is added his “Journey to Sweden,” performed in 1719, in the suite of the prince of Hesse PhiJippsthal, who promised to make his fortune, but disappointed him. He consequently returned to the Hague as poor as he left it, and resumed his labours on the “Journal litteraire de la Haye,” in which he had been engaged before his departure. Having got into a literary quarrel with Camusat, who had treated his “Misanthrope” with contempt, he was so much hurt as to be glad to embrace the opportunity of going to Leyden with a young gentleman to whom he was appointed tutor. Here he engaged in some literary schemes by which he got more money than reputation. Count de Welderen, however, having been appointed ambassador to England from the States General, took Van Efien with him as secretary, and on his return procured him the place of inspector of the magazines at Bois-le-Duc, where he died Sept. 18, 1735-. Van Effen’s works were numerous, but being almost all anonymous, it is not easy to ascertain the whole. The following are said to be the principal: 1. “Le Misanthrope,” already noticed. 2. “Journal Litteraire,1715 to 1718, many of which volumes are entirely of his editing. 3. “La Bagatelle, ou Discours ironiques, ou Ton prete des sophistries ingenieux au vice et a l’extravagance, pour en mieux faire sentir le ridicule,Artist. 1718 1719, 3 vols. 8vo, reprinted at Lausanne, 1743, 2 vols. 4. “Le nouveau Spectateur Francais,” of which only twenty-eight numbers appeared; four of them are employed on a critique on the works of Houdard de la Motte, who thanked the author for his impartiality. 5. “The Dutch Spectator,” in Dutch, Amst. 173J 1735, 12 vols. 8vo. 6. “Parallele d’Homere et de Chapelain,Hague, 1714, 8vo. This has been also printed in the different editions of the “Chef-d‘oeuvre d’un inconnu,” i. e. M. de Themiseuil de St. Hyacinthe. 7. Translations of Robinson Crusoe, Swift’s Tale of a Tub, and some of Mandeville’s writings. 8. “Le Mentor moderne,” a | translation of “The Guardian,” except the political papers. 9. “Histoire metallique des dix-sept Provinces de Pays-Bas,” translated from the Dutch of Van Loon, Hague, 1732, 5 vols. Van Effen is said also to have written “Les Petits Maitres,” a comedy; “Essai sur la maniere de trailer la controverse;” and a part of the “Journal historique, politique, et galante.1


Moreri. Biog. Univ. art. Effen.