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A NEW AND GENERAL
DESSAIX (Louis Charles ANTHONY), a brave French general in the revolutionary war, was born August 17, 1768, at Ayat, in the department of Puy-de-Dome. He was educated at the military school of Effiat, and when the revolution broke out, refused all advice to emigrate, although his principles were inclined to royalty. He remained at his studies, a stranger to the excesses of the factions, and a stranger even to the names by which they were designated. Absorbed in his profession, his thoughts were occupied solely by military manœuvres, traits of heroism, and fields of battle. He first entered the foot regiment of Britany, as sub-lieutenant, in 1784 ; but in 1792, he appeared so intelligent and active, that he became successively aide-de-camp to generals Broglio and Custine. The services which were derived from his presence of mind and his counsels, on occasion of the reverses experienced at the lines of Weissembourg, induced the national commissaries to raise him to the rank of general of brigade. In spite of his merit, however, the committee of public safety twice made an order for him to be deprived of his command, with which the general in chief constantly refused to comply. He was wholly ignorant of this fact till a third order arrived to the same effect, at the moment when he had gained the admiration of his comrades at the blockade of Landau; and the whole army opposed the unjust decree, which induced the commissary to disregard it. Dessais "commanded the left wing of the army in the memorable retreat of general Moreau, and had VOL. XII,
his full share in the dangers and laurels of that campaign. He returned to defend Kehl for four months against the whole force of the archduke ; and under him the army effected the passage of the Rhine, in circumstances which rendered it as daring an achievement as was ever attempted.
After the treaty of Campo Formio, he followed Buonaparte into Egypt, and was by him presented with a short sword, superbly wrought, on which were inscribed the words “ The taking of Malta ; the battle of Chebreis, the battle of the Pyramids.” He was charged to reduce Upper Egypt, whither the Mamelukes had retired; here he gained several victories; and he acquired a distinction more honourable than the triumph of arms, for the inhabitants gave him the title of “ The Just Sultan.” Returning from Egypt-in consequence of the treaty of El Arisch, he was detained by lord Keith, but was at length set at liberty. He then repaired to his native country, from which he again, with the utmost expedition, joined Buonaparte, and arrived just in time to be present at the battle of Marengo, the fate of which he turned, and in which he fell, June 14, 1800, esteemed by the French soldiers, honoured by the Austrians, and loved by all who knew him.
His body was carried to Milan, embalmed there, and placed in the hospital of Mount St. Bernard, where a monurnent has been erected to his memory. Dessaix united to bravery the most unimpeachable probity, and in all respects seems to have deserved of his country the additional tribute of a superb monument since erected at Paris. On this is commeinorated the share he had in the battles of Landau, Kehl, Weissembourg, Malta, Chebreis, the Py. ramids, Sediman, Sammanhout, Kenè, Thebes, and Marengo.
DESSENIUS (BERNARD), an eminent physician, born at Amsterdam in 1510, was sent first to Louvain, where he soon distinguished himself by his acquirements in classical literature. Declaring at Jength for the practice of medicine, he went to Bologna, in Italy, and in 1538 he took his degree of doctor in that faculty. A vacancy happening soon after at Groningen, he accepted the office of
i Dict. Hist.-Hist, of the French Revolution, quoted in the Month. Rev. vol. XLV. N.S.
professor of the practice of medicine, which he taught with reputation for nine years. From thence, invited by Echtius, professor in medicine there, he went to Cologne, where he was admitted member of the college of physicians, and received a considerable pension from the government. This he retained to the time of his death, in 1574. He was author of several useful works. His “ De Compositione Medicamentorum,” 1555, fol. contains many valuable observations and improvements on the formulæ used in his time. “De Peste, commentarius, preservatio, et curatio,” Col. 1564, 4to. He speaks of a leathern jacket, which had passed into the hands of twenty-five persons, who had received the infection from it, and been destroyed, before the cause was discovered. He wrote also in defence of the ancient medicine, and against the practice introduced by Paracelsus.
DESTOUCHES (Philip NERICAULT), an eminent French dramatic writer, was born at Tours, in 1680, of a reputable family, which he left early in life, apparently from being thwarted in his youthful pursuits. This, however, has been contradicted; and it is said that after having passed through the rudiments of a literary education at Tours, he went, with the full concurrence of his father, to Paris, in order to complete his studies; that being lodged with a bookseller in the capital, he fell in love at sixteen with a young person, the relation of his landlord, the consequences of which amour were such, that young Destouches, afraid to face them, enlisted as a common soldier in a regiment under orders for Spain; that he was present at the siege of Barcelona, where he narrowly escaped the fate of almost the whole company to which he belonged, who were buried under a mine sprung by the besieged. What became of him afterwards, to the time of his being noticed by the marquis de Paysieuls, is not certainly known, but the common opinion was, that he had appeared as a player on the stage ; and having for a long time dragged his wretchedness from town to town, was at length manager of a company of comedians at Soleure, when the marquis de Puysieulx, ambassador from France to Switzerland, obtained some knowledge of him by means of an harangue which the young actor made him at the head of his comrades. The marquis, habituated by his diplomatic function to discern and appreciate characters, 1 Moreri.--Foppen Bibl. Belg.-Rees's Cyclopædia...Haller Bibl. Med. Praci.
judged that one who could speak so well, was destined by nature to something better than the representation of French comedies in the centre of Switzerland. He requested a conference with Destouches, sounded him on various topics, and attached him to his person. It was in Switzerland that his talent for theatrical productions first displayed itself; and his “ Curieux Impertinent” was exhibited there with applause. His dramatic productions made him known to the regent, who sent him to London in 1717, to assist, in his political capacity, at the negociations then on foot, and while resident here, he had a singular negociation to manage for cardinal Dubois, to whom, indeed, he was indebted for his post. That minister directed him to engage king George I. to ask for him the archbishopric of Cambray, from the regent duke of Orleans. The king, who was treating with the regent on affairs of great consequence, and whom it was the interest of the latter to oblige, could not help viewing this request in a ridiculous light. " How !" said he to Destouches, “would you have a protestant prince interfere in making a French archbishop? The regent will only laugh at it, and certainly will pay no regard to such an application.' “ Pardon me, sire,” replied Destouches," he will laugh, indeed, but he will do what you desire." He then presented to the king a very pressing letter, ready for signature. “With all my heart, then,” said the king, and signed the letter; and Dubois became archbishop of Cambray. He spent seven years in London, married there, and returned to his country; where the dramatist and negociator were well received. The regent had a just sense of his services, and promised him great things; but dying soon after, left Destouches the meagre comfort of reflecting how well he should have been provided for if the regent had lived. Having lost his patron, he retired to Fortoiseau, near Melun, as the properest situation to make him forget the caprices of fortune. He purchased the place; and cultivating agriculture, philosophy, and the muses, abode there as long as he lived. Cardinal Fleury would fain have sent him ambassador to Petersburg, but Destouches chose rather to attend his lands and his woods, to correct with his pen the manners of his' own countrymen ; and to write, which he did with considerable effect, against the infidels of France. He died in 1754, leaving a daughter and a son ; the latter, by order of