Zaccaria, Francis Anthony

, an eminently learned Italian Jesuit, was born in Venice, March 27, 1714, the son of an eminent Tuscan lawyer, settled in the Venetian states. He received his education in the schools of the Jesuits in that metropolis, and, as early as the age of fifteen, evinced such uncommon powers and attainments as to be introduce’d into that society, already proverbial for its sagacity and conduct in discovering juvenile talents of every kind. In October 1731, he took the habit, went through his noviciate in Vienna, and became soon after professor of belles lettres in the college of his order at Govitz. It was not long before he was called by his superiors to Rome, ordained a priest in 1740, attached to the Roman province, and sent on a mission to the Marche of Ancona. He exercised similar functions also in Tuscany, Lombardy, and almost the whole of northern Italy, with extraordinary success and fame, and without the least diversion from his favourite pursuit the study of ecclesiastical, civil, and literary history. He availed himself of these peregrinations through the several capitals of Italy, in cultivating the friendship of all the eminent literary characters he met with, and in making every where those deep researches in literature, antiquities, -bibliography, and history, which have supplied him with a great part of his literary history of Italy, his annals of literature, and his several historical and diplomatic collections.

In 1752, he was recommended by the celebrated cardinal. Quirini as a director of the public library of Brescia, a re-< commendation which, however, had no effect. But two years after, his name being already known to the reigning duke of Modena, under whose auspices he had undertaken and continued his literary history of Italy, he was appointed director of the Ducal library, a place formerly held by Muratori, and on his death tendered to the learned father Corsini, of the university of Pisa, who had declined it, from his invincible attachment to his native place. He associated to himself, in the direction of the Ducal library, those two excellent friends and brothers, who were also co-operators in the compilation of the Literary History, father Dominic Troilo of Macerata, and father Joachim Gabardi of Carpi; who afterwards retained the same place under the celebrated father Granelli, and his successor, the illustrious Tiraboschi. Without any interruption to his higher literary pursuits, the improvements which he made in this | situation are recorded highly to the honour of Zaccaria:. he enlarged the apartment devoted to the library; introduced a better classification of books, enriched it with new articles, and compiled a catalogue raisonne" of every branch, which, to the regret of many intelligent persons, was never published.

His fame was already so great that the justly celebrated count Cristiani, then Austrian governor of Mantua, desired him to repair to that city, to superintend the then proposed establishment of an imperial library. He accepted the offer, with the permission of his master; and as soon as his business in -Mantua was completed, he resumed his residence at Modena, and continued in the Ducal library, till the expulsion of the Jesuits from the several petty states of Italy obliged him to remove.

In 1768, he repaired to Rome, and was soon appointed librarian to the college of Jesus, and historiographer of the society for the literary department. Here a new field was open to his exertions. He became the champion of the holy see against the prevailing philosophy of the age, and against the encroachment of the secular powers on the church, for which he was rewarded with a pension by the then reigning and unfortunate pontiff Clement Alii. He did not long enjoy either this gift of fortune or his own tranquillity, as in 1773, by the dissolution of his order, after repeated risks of being confined in the castle of St. Angelo, he received a perpetual injunction not to go out of the gates of Rome without a licence from the magistrates. Pope Ganganelli esteemed and lamented him, though he could not restrain these violent measures. He had better days under the new pontificate, when Pius VI. not only restored liberty to Mr. Zaccaria, but increased the pension which had been formerly granted to him. He also appointed him governor to the newly established academy of noble clergymen, with a liberal salary; and as he had been, before that period, professor of ecclesiastical history in the Roman university, better known by the name of Sapienza, the pope gave him for the remainder of his life the dignity of ex-professor in that school, with the enjoyment of the same salaries as if he had retained the official post. In this situation he remained till his death, which took place October 10, 1795, in the eighty-second year of his age.

The mere list of the various works either written or edited by Zaccaria is sufficient to give him the character. | of an extraordinary man. Comprehensiveness of mincf^ depth of erudition, JaboriousnesS of research, and celerity of execution, were happily combined in all his performances. In the earlier part of his life, he had entered the lists with the immortal Muratori and the illustrious Lamb Afterwards he had a great polemic dispute, on the pope’s supremacy, with the celebrated German bishop, John Nicholas Hontheim, better known under the name of Justin us Febronius. In the latter part of his life, he corresponded with many sovereigns and princes, with many Italian academies, and many literary characters, on this side the Alps, among whom were the celebrated Stilting, a Bollandist; Mr. de Courcelles, editor of the Foreign Journal in Paris; the proprietors of the Literary Journal of Italy, published in Amsterdam; and that of the Eneyelopedian Journal of Liege.

The number of his publications, original as well asothers, amounts to 106, besides many unpublished manuscripts. The best of the former class are accounted his “Literary History of Italy,” 14 vols. in 8vo; the “Litetary Annals of Italy,” 3 vols. in 8vo; the “Lapidary and Numismatic Institutions,” 2 vols. 8vo; the “Library of ancient and modern Literary History,” 6 vols. 4to. Some of his works, especially his polemic performances, were written in Latin, and it was remarked that in this language he wrote comparatively more elegantly than in Italian.

His moral character was excellent; frank, candid, humane, unassuming, and polite; cordial to his friends, and obliging to his pupils. In his opinions, however, he was too warm and passionate; and his works, especially those which he wrote for the support of the Uoman catholic church, and of the papal prerogatives, are proverbial for intemperance and asperity. 1

1 Baltlwio’s Lit. Journal for 1803.