Vergne, Louis Elizabeth De La

, count de Tressan, a lively French writer, was born at Mons, Nov. 4, 1705, of a noble family originally from Languedoc, one branch of which had been protestants, and fought on that side in the civil wars preceding the massacre. He came early in life to Paris, and attached himself to Voltaire and Fontenelle, who initiated him in the belles lettres, and in those principles which afterwards made him be ranked among the philosophers of France. He served afterwards in the French army, and attained the rank of lieutenant-general. In 1750 he was admitted a free associate of the French academy, and contributed a memoir on Electricity, a subject then not much known, and written with so much ability that it was supposed he might have acquired no small fame in pursuing scientific subjects. This, however, was not agreeable to his disposition. After the battle of Fontenoy, in 1741, in which he served as aide-de-camp to Louis XV. he went to the court of Stanislaus, king of Poland, at Luneville, where he recommended himself by the sprightliness of his temper, and by the freedom of his remarks, but at the same time made some enemies by his satirical and epigrammatic productions. On the death of Stanislaus, he retired from active life, and devoted his time to the composition of a variety of works, particularly romances. Some of which were however translations, and others abridgments. These fill 12 octavo volumes published in 1791. His translation of Ariosto seems to have done him most credit. A light, trifling spirit never deserted him, but still sported even in his grey-hairs, until death put a serious end to it, Oct. 31, 1782, in his seventy-seventh year. Almost up to this period he was abridging Amadis de Gaul, and writing tales of chivalry, after having begun his career with the grave and abstruse parts of science. | While in this latter employment he was, in 1749, chosen a member of our Royal Society. 1


Eloges des Academicians, vol. III. —Dict. Hist. Mouth. Rev. LXXVI. N. S. XXXV.