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The American Cyclopædia (1879)/Beaumelle, Laurent Angliviel de la

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BEAUMELLE, Laurent Angliviel de la, a French author, born at Valleraugue, department of Gard, Jan. 28, 1726, died in Paris, Nov. 17, 1773. He became professor of belles-lettres at Copenhagen, and while there wrote Mes pensées. Something in this work greatly displeased Voltaire, and when La Beaumelle returned to France he was arrested at his instigation, and confined for six months in the Bastile. Restored to liberty, he wrote a very witty pamphlet in answer to an attack directed against him by Voltaire during his captivity, in the supplement to the Siècle de Louis XIV., and then devoted himself to the composition of his Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire de Madame de Maintenon, which was published in 1756, and received with marked favor. He was arrested a second time, and confined again for more than a year in the state prison, where he made a translation of Tacitus. Some time afterward his warfare with Voltaire was renewed, and La Beaumelle displayed such tact, energy, and wit, that he sometimes got the better of his powerful rival. At last, in 1770, he obtained permission to return to Paris, where he received an appointment as assistant in the royal library, and afterward a pension. At the time of his death he was engaged on an edition of Voltaire's works, with notes, of which only one volume, the Henriade, was finished. Voltaire caused it to be suppressed, but there is an edition by Fréron, with changes (1775). — His son, Victor Laurent Suzanne Moïse (born in 1772, died in Rio Janeiro in 1831), served as colonel of engineers in the army of Dom Pedro, and published an interesting pamphlet on the Brazilian empire, besides several tracts on the war with Spain.