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his royal master's commands, he undertook several voyages to the East, and to Africa, and performed some negociations so much to the satisfaction of Louis XIV. that, besides other rewards of his merit, he was appointed in 1692 Arabic professor in the royal college, which he held until his death in 1713.
Besides the Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Tartarian languages, he was acquainted with the Ethiopian and Armenian. His “ Persian Tales” were first published after his death in five small volumes, in 1722. His own account of them was, that they were Indian plays, turned into Persian stories by the dervice Mocies, who communicated them to him, and gave him leave to transcribe them. Those who are acquainted with the Arabian Tales will perceive the similarity of the present, in which we have the same method, the same taste, and the same design, with this only difference, that in the Arabian Nights, a prince is prepossessed against women, and in the Persian Tales, a princess affects the same aversion to men. Of these “ Tales” we have an English translation, which has often been reprinted. His other works were “ The History of Timur bec, or the great Tamerlan,” 1722, 4 vols, 12mo; .“ The State of the Ottoman Empire, 3 vols. 12mo'; the “ History of Genghizcan ;"? which have all been published, but he left other translations, which are yet in manuscript. His son Alexander Louis Maria, was also professor of Arabic in the royal college, and translated the canon of Soliman II. for the instruction of Mourad IV. He died in 1751, aged fifty-three.
PETIT (ANTHONY), a celebrated French anatomist, was born in 1708, at Orleans, and received the degree of doctor of physic at Paris, in November 1746. He was elected a member of the royal academy of sciences in 1760. His talents in the practice of his profession procured for him the appointment of inspector of military hospitals in 1768; and in the following year he was appointed professor of anatomy and surgery at the king's garden, where his science and eloquence attracted a crowd of auditors. In 1775 he was succeeded by M. Vicq d’Azyr in the duties of this chair, while he remained titular professor. He died in 1794. He was author of the following works; viz. “ Lettre d'un Medecin de Montpellier, au sujet de l'examen
1 Moreri,Dict. Hist.
public que le Sieur Louis a subi à saint Côme, en 174.9, pour servir d'Eclaircissement a ce qu'en dit M. Fréron," 1749, 4to. “ Discours sur la Chirurgie," an introductory lecture delivered at the schools of medicine, 1757 ; “Con- ' sultation en faveur des Naissances tardives," 1764, 8vo " Premier et seconde Rapport en faveur de l'Inoculation," 1766, 8vo; “ Deux Consultations Medico-legales," relative to a case of supposed self-murder, and to a supposed infanticide, 1767. He also edited " Anatomie Chirurgicale publié cidevant par Jean Palfin,”-1753, 2 tom. 8vo.
PETIT (JOHN LEWis), a celebrated surgeon, was born at Paris, March 13, 1674. From his childhood he displayed uncommon acuteness, and received his first instruc. tions in anatomny from M. de Littre, a celebrated anatomist, who resided in his father's house. Under this master he made such rapid progress, that he had scarcely attained the age of twelve, when M. de Littre found that he might be intrusted with the care of his anatomical theatre. He afterwards studied surgery under Castel and Mareschal, and was admitted master in 1700. In the course of no long uime he became the first practitioner in Paris, and was consulted in all cases of importance; and there were few operations of difficulty and delicacy which he did not super. intend, or actually perform; and his hand and his counsels were alike successful. Such a reputation soon extended throughout Europe. In 1726 he was sent for by the king of Poland, and again in 1734 by Don Ferdinand, afterwards king of Spain : he re-established the health of both these princes, who endeavoured to retain him near their persons with the offer of great rewards, but could not overcome his attachment to his native place. Among his professional honours was that of member of the academy of sciences, director of the academy of surgery, censor and royal professor at the schools, and fellow of the royal society of London. He died at Paris, April 20, 1750, aged 76, regretted as much for his private virtues as bis public services.--He communicated many memoirs to the academy of sciences, and several to the academy of surgery, which were printed in their first volume. · His only separate publication was his “ Traité des Maladies des Os," printed at. Paris in 1705, in 12mo, and frequently reprinted, with additions. An edition in 1758, in two volumes, 12mo, was
1 Dict, Hist. Eloy, Dict. Hist, de Medicine,
published by M. Ant. Louis, with an historical and critical essay respecting it subjoined ; and his pupil, M. Lesne, published his posthumous works in 1774, with the title of 1. Traité des Maladies Chirurgicales et des Operations qui leur conviennent,” in three vols. 8vo, with many plates of chirurgical instruments. His treatise on the bones involved him in several controversies; but the only chagrin which he felt arose from finding Winslow, who, as censor royal, had approved the work, retract his approbation, in a letter inserted in the Journal des Savans for May 1725.'
PETIT (PETER), a considerable mathematician and philosopher of France, was born at Montluçon, in the diocese of Bourges, in 1598, according to some, but in 1600 according to others. He first cultivated the mathematics and philosophy in the place of his nativity ; but in 1633 he repaired to Paris, to which place his reputation had procured him an invitation. Here he became highly celebrated for his ingenious writings, and for his connections with Pascal, Des Cartes, Mersenne, and the other great inen of that time. He was employed on several occasions by cardinal Richelieu ; particularly to visit the sea-ports, with the title of the king's engineer; and was also sent into Italy upon the king's business. He was at Tours in 1640, where he married; and was afterwards made intendant of the fortifications. Baillet, in his Life of Des Cartes, says, that Petit had a great genius for mathematics; that he excelled particularly in astronomy; and had a singular passion for experimental philosophy. About 1637 he returned to Paris from Italy, when the dioptrics of Des Cartes were much spoken of. He read them, and communicated his objections to Mersenne, with whom he was intimately acquainted, and yet soon after embraced the principles of Des Cartes, becoming not only his friend, but his partisan and defender. He was intimately connected with Pascal, with whom he made at Rouen the same experiments concerning the vacuum, which Torricelli had before made in Italy; and was assured of their truth by frequent repetitions. This was in 1646 and 1647; and though there appears to be a long interval from this date to the time of his death, we meet with no other memoirs of his life. He died August 20, 1667, at Lagny, near Paris, whither he had retired for some time before his decease.
1 Eloy, Dict. Hist. de Medicine. ---Rees's Cyclopædia.
Petit was the author of several works upon physical and astronomical subjects; the principal of which are, 1.“ Chronological Discourse,” &c. 1636, 4to, in defence of Scaliger. 2. “ Treatise on the Proportional Compasses.” 3. « On the Weight and Magnitude of Metals." 4. “Construction and Use of the Artillery Calibers.” 5.66 On a Vacuum.” 6.“.On Eclipses.”
6. “On Eclipses.” 7.“On Remedies against the Inundations of the Seine at Paris.” 8. ". On the Junction of the Ocean with the Mediterranean Sea, by means of the rivers Aude and Garonne.” 9. “ Ou Comets." -10. “On the proper Day for celebrating Easter.” 11.,“ On the nature of Heat and Cold,” &c.'
PETIT (Peter), another very learned Frenchman, was born at Paris in 1617, and brought up to the profession of physic, in which faculty he took a doctor's degree at Montpellier : but, afterwards returning to Paris, neglected the practice of it, and gave himself up entirely to the study of polite literature. He lived some time with the first president Lamoignon, as preceptor to his sons; and afterwards with mons. Nicolai, first president of the chamber of accounts, as a man of letters and companion. He spent the greatest part of his life in composing; and had a wonderful facility with his pen, which enabled him to write much. He was deeply read in the ancient Greek and Latin authors, and joined to his skill in these, an uncommon knowledge in philosophical matters. He died in 1687, aged seventy:
He wrote' much, both in verse and prose, but in Latin only. His first production seems to have been, 1. An Elegy upon the Death of. Gabriel Naudé, in 1653.” In ,1660, he published in 8vo, 2. “ De motu animalium spontaneo liber unus." Petit was a great partisan for the Peripatetic philosophy; and, in this as well as some other works of the same kind, he has strenuously supported the principles of Aristotle, and combated those of Des Cartes. 3. “ Epistolæ Apologeticæ A. Menjoti de variis sectis amplectendis examen: ad medicos. Parisienses, autore Adriano Scauro, D. M. 1666,” 4to. Menjot . had maintained that a man should attach himself to no particular sect, but take from each whatever he found good. This sentiment did not please Petit, and he opposed it in this work under the fictitious name of Scaurus. He published the same year, in
1 Chaufepie.Hutton's Dictionary --Niceron, vols. XI and XX, VOL. XXIV.
Bvó, under the feigned name of Marinus Statileus, 4. “ Apologia pro genuitate fragmenti Satyrici Petroniani'; which Hadrian Valesius then, and the best critics since, have agreed to reject as spurious. Euthyphron was another assumed name, under which he published, 5.“ De nova curandorum morborum ratione per transfusionem sansguinis," in 1667, 4to. He there rejects this method of cure, which was approved by many physicians of his time, and supports his own opinion with much elegance and learning. In 1683, were published at Utrecht, in : 850, 6. “Miscellanearum Observationum, libri iv." These are verbal criticisms upon various authors, and shew great accuracy as well as profound erudition. The same year at Paris came out in 8vo, 7. “ Selectorum Poëmatum, libri ii. Accessit Dissertatio de Furore Poetico." The dissertation is curious, and the poems have merit enough to rank him with Rapin, Menage, and the best writers of modern Latin poetry. 8. “De Amazonibus Dissertatio," Paris, 1685, 12mo. The edition of Amsterdam, 1687, 12mo, is preferable, there being additions by the author, and critical observations by M. de la Monnoye. 9. “ De natura et moribus Anthropophagorum Dissertatio," at Utrecht, 1688, 8vo. A curious and learned work. 10. “In tres priores Aretæi libros Commentarii: Una cum dissertatiuncula de Petiti vita, et copioso in eosdem Commentarios indice, 1726,” 4to. It was Maittaire, who published this posthumous work, and placed the life of Petit at the head of it. There are several works of this author, but we have mentioned the most important. Care must be taken, in the mean time, not to confound him with the preceding Peter Petit, who was his contemporary.'
PETIT (FRANCIS POURFOUR DU), a learned physician, was born June 24, 1664, at Paris. He attended the hospitals of the army, but settled at Paris after the peace of Utrecht in 1513; was admitted into the academy of sciences in 1722, and acquired great reputation, particularly by his skill in disorders of the eyes. M. Petit invented an Ophthalmometer for measuring the parts of the eye, and several other instruments to direct the hand in its operations upon that delicate organ. He died at Paris June 18, 1741, aged 77. His works, which are written in rather a. careless style, are, “Trois Lettres d'un Medecin
+ Chaufepie. -Dict, Hist.-Eloy, Dict. Hist. de Medicine.