Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V16, Page 355 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
WILLIAM EDWARD HARTPOLE LECKY (1838–1903), Irish historian and publicist, was born at Newtown Park, near Dublin, on the 26th of March 1838, being the eldest son of John Hartpole Lecky, whose family had for many generations been landowners in Ireland. He was educated at Kingstown, Armagh, and Cheltenham College, and at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated B.A. in 1859 and M.A. in 1863, and where, with a view to becoming a clergyman in the Irish Protestant Church, he went through a course of divinity. In v86o he published anonymously a small book entitled The Religious Tendencies of the Age, but on leaving college he abandoned his first intention and turned to historical work. In 1861 he published Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland, a brief sketch of the lives and work of Swift, Flood, Grattan and O'Connell, which gave decided promise of his later admirable work in the same field. This book, originally published anonymously, was republished in 1871; and the essay on Swift, rewritten and amplified, appeared again in 1897 as an introduction to a new edition of Swift's works. Two learned surveys of certain aspects of history followed: A History of the Rise and Influence of Rationalism in Europe (2 vols., 1865), and A History of European Moralsfrom Augustus to Charlemagne (2 vols., 1869). Some criticism was aroused by these books, especially by the last named, with its opening dissertation on " the natural history of morals," but both have been generally accepted as acute and suggestive commentaries upon a wide range of facts. Lecky then devoted himself to the chief work of his life, A History of England during the Eighteenth Century, vols. i. and ii. of which appeared in 1878, and vols. vii. and viii. (completing the work) in 189o. His object was " to disengage from the great mass of facts those which relate to the permanent forces of the nation, or which indicate some of the more enduring features of national life," and in the carrying out of this task Lecky displays many of the qualities of a great historian. The work is distinguished by the lucidity of its style, but the fulness and extent of the authorities referred to, and, above all, by the judicial impartiality maintained by the author throughout. These qualities are perhaps most conspicuous and most valuable in the chapters which deal with the history of Ireland, and in the cabinet edition of 1892, in 12 vols. (frequently reprinted) this part of the work is separated from the rest, and occupies five volumes under the title of A History of Ireland in the Eighteenth Century. A volume of Poems, published in 189r, was characterized by a certain frigidity and by occasional lapses into commonplace, objections which may also be fairly urged against much of Lecky's prose-writing. In 1896 he published two volumes entitled Democracy and Liberty, in which he considered, with special reference to Great Britain, France and America, some of the tendencies of modern democracies. The somewhat gloomy conclusions at which he arrived provoked much criticism both in Great Britain and America, which was renewed when he published in a new edition (1899) an elaborate and very depreciatory estimate of Gladstone, then recently dead. This work, though essentially different from the author's purely historical writings, has many of their merits, though it was inevitable that other minds should take a different view of the evidence. In The Map of Life (1900) he discussed in a popular style some of the ethical problems which arise in everyday life. In 1903 he published a revised and greatly enlarged edition of Leaders of Public Opinion in Ireland, in two volumes, from which the essay on Swift was omitted and that on O'Connell was expanded into a complete biography of the great advocate of repeal of the Union. Though always a keen sympathizer with the Irish people in their misfortunes and aspirations, and though he had criticized severely the methods by which the Act of Union was passed, Lecky, who grew up as a moderate Liberal, was from the first strenuously opposed to Gladstone's policy of Home Rule, and in 1895 he was returned to parliament as Unionist member for Dublin University. In 1897 he was made a privy councillor, and among the coronation honours in 1902 he was nominated an o_iginal member of the new Order of Merit. His university honours included the degree of LL.D. from Dublin, St Andrews and Glasgow, the degree of D.C.L. from Oxford and the degree of Litt.D. from Cambridge. In 1894 he was elected corresponding member of the Institute of France. He contributed occasionally to periodical literature, and two of his addresses, The Political Value of History (1892) and The Empire, its Value and its Growth (1893), were published. He died in London on the 22nd of October 1903. He married in 1871 Elizabeth, baroness de Dedem, daughter of baron de Dedem, a general in the Dutch service, but had no children. Mrs Lecky contributed to various reviews a number of articles, chiefly on historical and political subjects. A volume of Lecky's Historical and Political Essays was published posthumously (London, 1908). LE CLERC [CLERICUS], JEAN (1657–1736), French Protestant theologian, was born on the 19th of March 1657 at Geneva, where his father, Stephen Le Clerc, was professor of Greek. The family originally belonged to the neighbourhood of Beauvais in France, and several of its members acquired some name in literature. Jean Le Clerc applied himself to the study of philosophy under J. R. Chouet (1642–1731) the Cartesian, and attended the theological lectures of P. Mestrezat, Franz Turretin and Louis Tronchin (1629–1705). In 1678–1679 he spent some He was admitted into the Conservatoire in 1849, being already an accomplished pianist. He studied under Bazin, Halevy and Benoist, winning the first prize for harmony in 1850, and the second prize for fugue in 1852. He first gained notice by dividing with Bizet the first prize for an operetta in a competition instituted by Offenbach. His operetta, Le Docleur miracle, was performed at the Bouffes Parisiens in 1857. After that he wrote constantly for theatres, but produced nothing worthy of mention until Fleur de the (1868), which ran for more than a hundred nights. Les Cent vierges (1872) was favourably received also, but all his previous successes were cast into the shade by La Fille de Madame Angot (Paris, 1873; London, 1873), which was performed for 400 nights consecutively, and has since gained and retained enormous popularity. After 1873 Lecocq produced a large number of comic operas, though he never equalled his early triumph in La Fille de Madame Angot. Among the best of his pieces are Girofle-Girofla (Paris and London, 1874) ; Les Ergs Saint-Gervais (Paris and London, 1874); La Petite Mariee (Paris, 1875; London, 1876, revived as The Scarlet Feather, 1897); Le Petit Duc (Paris, 1878; London, as The Little Duke, 1878); La Petite Mademoiselle (Paris, 1879; London, 1880); Le lour et la Null (Paris, 1881; London, as Manola, 1882); LeCaur et la main (Paris, 1882; London, as Incognita, 1893); La Princesse des Canaries (Paris, 1883; London, as Pepita, 1888). In 1899 a ballet by Lecocq, entitled Le Cygne, was staged at the Opera Comique, Paris; and in 1903 Yetia was produced at Brussels. LECOINTE-PUYRAVEAU, MICHEL MATHIEU (1764–1827), French politician, was born at Saint-Maixent (Deux-Sevres) on the 13th of December 1764. Deputy for his department to the Legislative Assembly in 1792, and to the Convention in the same year, he voted for " the death of the tyrant." His association with the Girondins nearly involved him in their fall, in spite of his vigorous republicanism. He took part in the revolution of Thermidor, but protested against the establishment of the Directory, and continually pressed for severer measures against the emigres, and even their relations who had remained in France. He was secretary and then president of the Council of Five Hundred, and under the Consulate a member of the Tribunate. He took no part in public affairs under the Empire, but was lieutenant-general of police for south-east France during the Hundred Days. After Waterloo he took ship from Toulon, but the ship was driven back by a storm and he narrowly escaped massacre at Marseilles. After six weeks' imprisonment in the Chateau d'If he returned to Paris, escaping, after the proscription of the regicides, to Brussels, where he died on the 15th of January 1827. LE CONTE, JOSEPH (1823–1901), American geologist, of Huguenot descent, was born in Liberty county, Georgia, on the 26th of February 1823. He was educated at Franklin College, Georgia, where he graduated (1841); he afterwards studied medicine and received his degree at the New York College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1845. After practising for three or four years at Macon, Georgia, he entered Harvard, and studied natural history under L. Agassiz. An excursion made with Professors J. Hall and Agassiz to the Helderberg mountains of New York developed a keen interest in geology. After graduating at Harvard, Le Conte in 1851 accompanied Agassiz on an expedition to study the Florida reefs. On his return he became professor of natural science in Oglethorpe University, Georgia; and from 1852 to 1856 professor of natural history and geology in Franklin College. From 1857 to 1869 he was professor of chemistry and geology in South Carolina College, and he was then appointed professor of geology and natural history in the university of California, a post which he held until his death. He published a series of papers on monocular and binocular vision, and also on psychology. His chief contributions, how- ever, related to geology, and in all he wrote he was lucid and philosophical. He described the fissure-eruptions in western America, discoursed on earth-crust movements and their causes and on the great features of the earth's surface. As separate works he published Elements of Geology (1878, 5th ed. 1889); musical composer, was born in Paris, on the 3rd of June 1832. Religion and Science (1874); and Evolution: its History, its time at Grenoble as tutor in a private family; on his return to Geneva he passed his examinations and received ordination. Soon afterwards he went to Saumur, where in 1679 were published Liberii de Sancto Amore Epistolae Theologicae (Irenopoli: Typis Philalethianis), usually attributed to him; they deal with the doctrine of the Trinity, the hypostatic union of the two natures in Jesus Christ, original sin, and the like, in a manner sufficiently far removed from that of the conventional orthodoxy of the period. In 1682 he went to London, where he remained six months, preaching on alternate Sundays in the Walloon church and in the Savoy chapel. Passing to Amsterdam he was introduced to John Locke and to Philip v. Limborch, professor at the Remonstrant college; the acquaintance with Limborch soon ripened into a close friendship, which strengthened his preference for the Remonstrant theology, already favourably known to him by the writings of his grand-uncle, Stephan Curcellaeus (d. 1645) and by those of Simon Episcopius. A last attempt to live at Geneva, made at the request of relatives there, satisfied him that the theological atmosphere was uncongenial, and in 1684 he finally settled at Amsterdam, first as a moderately successful preacher, until ecclesiastical jealousy shut him out from that career, and afterwards as professor of philosophy, belles-lettres and Hebrew in the Remonstrant seminary. This appointment, which he owed to Limborch, he held from 1684, and in 1712 on the death of his friend he was called to occupy the chair of church history also. His suspected Socinianism was the cause, it is said, of his exclusion from the chair of dogmatic theology. Apart from his literary labours, Le Clerc's life at Amsterdam was uneventful. In 1691 he married a daughter of Gregorio Leti. From 1728 onward he was subject to repeated strokes of paralysis, and he died on the 8th of January 17 36. full catalogue of the publications of Le Clerc will be found, with biographical material, in E. and E. Haag's France Protestante (where seventy-three works are enumerated), or in J. G. de Chauffepie's Dictionnaire. Only the most important of these can be mentioned here. In 1685 he published Sentimens de quelques theologiens de Hollande sur l'histoire critique du Vieux Testament composee par le P. Richard Simon, in which, while pointing out what he believed to be the faults of that author, he undertook to make some positive contributions towards a right understanding of the Bible. Among these last may be noted his argument against the Mosaic author-ship of the Pentateuch, his views as to the manner in which the five books were composed, his opinions (singularly free for the time in which he lived) on the subject of inspiration in general, and particularly as to the inspiration of Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles. Richard Simon's Reponse (1686) elicited from Le Clerc a Defense des sentimens in the same year, which was followed by a new Reponse (1687). In 1692 appeared his Logica sive Ars Ratiocinandi, and also Ontologia et Pneumatologia; these, with the Physica (1695), are incorporated with the Opera Philosophica, which have passed through several editions. In 1693 his series of Biblical commentaries began with that on Genesis; the series was not completed until 1731. The portion relating to the New Testament books included the paraphrase and notes of Henry Hammond (1605-1660). Le Clerc's commentary had a great influence in breaking up traditional prejudices and showing the necessity for a more scientific inquiry into the origin and meaning of the biblical books. It was on all sides hotly attacked. His Ars Critica appeared in 1696, and, in continuation, Epistolae Criticae et Ecclesiasticae in 1700. Le Clere's new edition of the Apostolic Fathers of Johann Cotelerius (1627–1686), published in 1698, marked an advance in the critical study of these documents. But the greatest literary influence of Le Clerc was probably that which he exercised over his contemporaries by means of the serials, or, if one may so call them, reviews, of which he was editor. These were the Bibliotheque universelle et historique (Amsterdam, 25 vols. 12 mo., 1686-1693), begun with J. C. de la Croze; the Bibliotheque choisie (Amsterdam, 28 vols., 1703–1713); and the Bibliotheque ancienne et moderne, (29 vols., 1714–1726). See Le Clerc's Parrhasiana ou pensees sur des matieres de critique, d'histoire, de morale, et de politique: avec la defense de divers ouvrages de M. L. C. par Theodore Parrhase (Amsterdam, 1699) ; and Vita et opera ad annum MDCCXL, amici ejus opusculum, philosophicis Clerici operibus subjiciendum, also attributed to himself. The supplement to Hammond's notes was translated into English in 1699, Parrhasiana, or Thoughts on Several Subjects, in 1700, the Harmony of the Gospels in 1701, and Twelve Dissertations out of M. Le Clerc's Genesis in 1696.
End of Article: WILLIAM EDWARD HARTPOLE LECKY (1838–1903)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.