Vertot D'Aubœuf, Rene' Aubert De

, a very pleasing French historian, whose principal works have been translated into English, was born at the castle of Bennetot, in Normandy, Nov. 25, 1655, of a good family. Such was his application to study, that in his seventeenth year he maintained his last philosophical theses. Much against his father’s will he entered among the Capuchins, and took the name of brother Zachary, but the austerities of this order proving hurtful to his health, he was induced to exchange it for one of milder rules. Accordingly, in 1677, he entered among the Premonstratenses, where he became successively secretary to the general of the order, curate, and at length prior of the monastery. But with this he does not appear to have been satisfied, and after some other changes of situation, became a secular ecclesiastic. In 1701 he came to Paris in that character, and was in 1705 made an associate of the academy of belles lettres. His talents soon procured him great patronage. He was appointed secretary of commands to the duchess of Orleans Bade-Baden, and secretary of languages to the duke of Orleans. In 1715 the grand-master of Malta appointed him historiographer to that order, with all its privileges, and the honour of wearing the cross. He was afterwards appointed to the commandery of Santery, and would, but for some particular reasons, not specified, have been intrusted with the education of Louis XV. His last years were passed in much bodily infirmity, from which he was released June 15, 1735. His literary career has in it somewhat remarkable. He was bordering on his forty- fifth year when he wrote his first history, and had passed his seventieth when he bad finished the last, that of Malta. He lived nine years afterwards, but under extreme languor of | body and mind. During this, when, from the force of habit, he talked of new projects, of the revolutions of Carthage, and the history of Poland, and his friends would represent to him that he was now incapable both of reading or writing, his answer was, that he had read enough to compose by memory, and written enough to dictate with fluency. The French regard him as their Quintus Curtius. His st)le is pleading, lively, and elegant, and hjs reflections always just, and often profound. But he yielded too much to imagination, wrote much from memory, which was not always sufficiently retentive, and is often wrong in facts, from declining the labour of research, and despising the fastidiousness of accuracy. His works, which it is unnecessary to characterise separately, as they have been so long before both the French and English public, are, 1. “Histoire des Revolutions de Portugal,Paris, i6?9, 12mo. 2. “Histoire des Revolutions de Suede,1696, 2 vols. 12mo. 3. “Histoire des Revolutions Romanies,” 3 vols. 12mo. 4. “histoire de Malte,” 1727, 4 vols 4to, and 7 vols. 12mo. 5. “Traité de la mouvance de Bretagne.” 6. “Hisjtoire critique de l’etablissment des Bretons dans les Gaules,” 2 vols 12mo, a posthumous work, 1713. H wrote also some dissertations in the Memoirs of the Academy of Belles Lettres, and corresponded much with the literati of his time on subjects of history, particularly with earl Stanhope, on the senate of ancient Rome. His and lord Stanhope’s Inquiry on this subject were published by Hooke, the Roman historian, in 1757, or 1758. 1


Moreri. —Dict. Hist. Biog. Gallica.