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Louis-Pierre Anquetil

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A French historian, b. in Paris, 21 Feb., 1723; d. 6 Sept., 1806. He entered the Congregation of Sainte-Geneviève when seventeen and became a priest. He taught theology and letters there; then became director of the seminary at Reims, and wrote a history of that city, his first historical work. In 1759 he became prior of the abbey of La Roee, in Anjou, and soon after was appointed director of the college of Senlis, which belonged to his order. Here he wrote his "Histoire de la Ligue." In 1766 he obtained a priory at Château-Renard and abandoned teaching. About the time of the Revolution he became curé of La Villette near Paris. During the Reign of Terror he was imprisoned for some time at Saint Lazare where he worked on his "Histoire Universelle." When released after 9 Thermidor he finished it. His last work, "Histoire de France," states in the preface that Anquetil undertook it at Napoleon's request. It reveals the weakening of his powers by old age. Augustin Thierry (Quatrieme lettre sur l'Histoire de France) calls the work "cold and colourless" and says Anquetil compares unfavourably with the French historians Mézeray, Daniel, and Velly, although he admits that he could freely grasp the manners and spirit of a past age when he studied them in their original sources. Anquetil's works are:

  • "Mémoire servant de réponse pour le sieur Delaistre, libraire à Reims, contre le sieur Anquetil" (Reims, 1758);
  • "Almanach de Reims" (1754);
  • "Esprit de la Ligue, ou Histoire politique des troubles de la Fronde pendant le XVI et le XVII siècle" (1767, 3 vols.);
  • "Vie du maréchal do Villars, écrite par lui-même," followed by "Journal de la Cour de 1724 a 1734" (1787);
  • "Louis XIV, sa Cour et le Régent" (1789); "Précis de l'Histoire universelle" (1797), "Histoire de France depuis les Gaules jusqu'à la fin de la monarchie" (1805); "Notice sur la vie de M. Anquetil-Duperron." This was his brother, a notable Orientalist, his junior by eight years, who died one year before him.

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