Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Le Fevre, Nicasius

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

LE FEVRE, NICASIUS or NICOLAS (d. 1669), chemist, studied at the university of Sedan. Vallot, first physician to Louis XIV, appointed him demonstrator of chemistry at the Jardin du Roi at Paris. Evelyn attended a course of his lectures in February 1647 (Diary, 1850–2, i. 244). He became professor of chemistry to Charles II on 15 Nov. 1660 (Cal. State Papers, Dom. 1660–1, pp. 357, 432) and apothecary in ordinary to the royal household on 31 Dec. following (ib. 1663–4, p. 142). Charles entrusted him with the management of the laboratory at St. James's Palace (ib. Dom. 1664–6). On 20 May 1663 Le Fevre was elected F.R.S. (Thomson, Hist. of Royal Soc. App. iv.) He died in the parish of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, London, in the spring of 1669, for on 21 April of that year his estate was administered to by his widow, Philibert (Administration Act Book, P. C. C., 1669). His portrait has been engraved (Evans, Cat. of Engraved Portraits, ii. 150).

Le Fevre was an able chemist and a lucid, learned, and accurate author. He wrote:

  1. 'Traite de la Chymie,' 2 vols. 8vo, Paris, 1660 (1669, 1674, Leyden, 1669). An English translation by 'P. D. C., Esq.,' one of the gentlemen of the privy chamber, was published at London in 1664 and again in 1670, 2 pts. 4to. German and Latin versions also appeared. Lenglet-Dufresnoy published an edition considerably augmented by Dumoustier, 5 vols. 12mo, Paris, 1751.
  2. 'Disputatio de Myrrhata Potione,' in vol. ix. of Pearson's ' Critic! Sacri,' fol., 1660.
  3. 'Discours sur le Grand Cordial de Sr. Walter Rawleigh,' 12mo, London, 1665 [1664] (English version by Peter Belon, 8vo, London, 1664).

Le Fevre also translated into French Sir Thomas Browne's 'Religio Medici,' 12mo, Hague, 1688.

[Nouvelle Biographie Generale, xxx. 342–3.]

G. G.