Louis Dutens - Encyclopedia




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LOUIS DUTENS (1730-1812), French writer, was born at Tours, of Protestant parents, on the 15th of January 1730. He went to London, where his uncle was a jeweller, and there obtained a situation as tutor in a private family. In this position he learnt Greek and mathematics, and studied oriental languages, also Italian and Spanish. He took orders, and was appointed chaplain and secretary to the English minister at the court of Turin in October 1758. In1760-1762he was chargé d'affaires at Turin. Lord Bute, before retiring from office in 1763, procured him a pension. He again went to Turin as charge d'affaires; and during this second mission he collected and published a complete edition of the works of Leibnitz (Geneva, 6 vols., 1768) and wrote his Recherches sur l'origine des decouvertes attribuees aux modernes (1766). On his return to England the duke of Northumberland procured him the living of Elsdon, in Northumberland, and made him tutor to his son. In 1775 he became a member of the French Academy of Inscriptions and a fellow of the Royal Society. Dutens was for a third time charge d'affaires at Turin. He was in Paris in 1783, and returned to London the following year. He died in London on the 23rd of May 1812.

The principal works of Dutens were his Recherches sur l'origine des decouvertes attribuees aux modernes (1766, 2 vols.); Appel au bon sens (London, 1777, 8vo), directed in defence of Christianity against the French philosophers, and published anonymously; Explication de quelques medailles de peuples, de rois 'et' de villes grecques et pheniciennes (London, 1773); Explication de quelques medailles du cabinet de Duane (1774); Troisieme dissertation sur quelques medailles grecques et pheniciennes (1776); Logique, ou l'art de raisonner (1773); Des pierres precieuses et des pierres fines, avec les moyens de les connaitre et de les evaluer (Paris, 1776); Itineraire des routes les plus frequentees, ou journal d'un voyage aux principales villes d'Europe (Paris, 1775), frequently republished; Considerations .theologiques sur les moyens de reunir toutes les eglises chretiennes (1798); CEuvres mêlées, containing his most important works published up to the date (London, 1797, 4 vols.); L'Ami des strangers ,qui voyagent en Angleterre (1789, 8vo); Histoire de ceui s'est passé pour le retablissement d'une regence en Angleterre (178 9); Recherches sur le tems le plus recule de l'usage des voutes chez les anciens (1795) Memoires d'un voyageur qui se repose (Paris, 1786, 3 vols.). The first two volumes of the last-named work contain the life of the author, written in a romantic style; the third bears the title of Dutensiana, and is filled with remarks, anecdotes and bons mots. (See memoir of Dutens in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1812.)

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