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Author photo. Collection: Museum of the Order of St John

Collection: Museum of the Order of St John

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Réné-Aubert, Sieur de Vertot
French historian, b. at Benetot, Normandy, 25 Nov., 1655; d. in Paris, 15 June, 1735. He was for some time a pupil of the Jesuit Fathers, seminary at Rouen, which he left at the end of two years to enter the Capuchin Order. His health was here greatly impaired by his austerities, and his family, alarmed, obtained permission for him to join the Premonstratensian Canons. he was afterwards appointed pastor to several small parishes in Normandy. In 1690, at the suggestion of Fontenelle and the Abbé de Saint-Pierre, he wrote his "Histoire de la conjuration de Portugal". The book was received with favour, and in 1695 appeared the "Histoire des révolutions de Suède". In 1703 Vertot was made a member of the "Académie des inscriptions". Besides contributions to the "Mémoires of the Académie and other minor works, he wrote the "Révolutions romains" (1719) and "Histoire des chevaliers hospitaliers de Saint-Jean de Jérusalem". It is related, in connection with the latter, that in answer to an offer of additional data, he said, "Mon siege est fait",-"My siege is finished", a phrase misconstrued by some of his critics and interpreted as an expression of Vertot's utter disregard for historical accuracy. The truth seems to be that he simply wished to get rid of an intruder who was trying to force upon him documents whose authenticity was very doubtful. On the other hand it must be acknowledged that Vertot's talent as an historian is more of a literary than of a critical character.
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