DUTENS, LOUIS (1730-1812), French writer, was born at Tours, of Protestant parents, on the 15th of January 1730. He went to London, where his uncle was a jeweller, and there obtained a situation as tutor in a private family. In this position he learnt Greek and mathematics, and studied oriental languages, also Italian and Spanish. He took orders, and was appointed chaplain and secretary to the English minister at the court of Turin in October 1758. In 1760-1762 he was chargé d'affaires at Turin. Lord Bute, before retiring from office in 1763, procured him a pension. He again went to Turin as chargé d'affaires; and during this second mission he collected and published a complete edition of the works of Leibnitz (Geneva, 6 vols., 1768) and wrote his Recherches sur l'origine des découvertes attribuées aux modernes (1766). On his return to England the duke of Northumberland procured him the living of Elsdon, in Northumberland, and made him tutor to his son. In 1775 he became a member of the French Academy of Inscriptions and a fellow of the Royal Society. Dutens was for a third time chargé d'affaires at Turin. He was in Paris in 1783, and returned to London the following year. He died in London on the 23rd of May 1812.
The principal works of Dutens were his Recherches sur l'origine des découvertes attribuées aux modernes (1766, 2 vols.); Appel au bon sens (London, 1777, 8vo), directed in defence of Christianity against the French philosophers, and published anonymously; Explication de quelques médailles de peuples, de rois et de villes grecques et phéniciennes (London, 1773); Explication de quelques médailles du cabinet de Duane (1774); Troisième dissertation sur quelques médailles grecques et phéniciennes (1776); Logique, ou l'art de raisonner (1773); Des pierres précieuses et des pierres fines, avec les moyens de les connaître et de les évaluer (Paris, 1776); Itinéraire des routes les plus fréquentées, ou journal d'un voyage aux principales villes d'Europe (Paris, 1775), frequently republished; Considérations théologiques sur les moyens de réunir toutes les églises chrétiennes (1798); OEuvres mêlées, containing his most important works published up to the date (London, 1797, 4 vols.); L'Ami des étrangers qui voyagent en Angleterre (1789, 8vo); Histoire de ce qui s'est passé pour le rétablissement d'une régence en Angleterre (1789); Recherches sur le tems le plus reculé de l'usage des voûtes chez les anciens (1795); Mémoires d'un voyageur qui se repose (Paris, 1786, 3 vols.). The first two volumes of the last-named work contain the life of the author, written in a romantic style; the third bears the title of Dutensiana, and is filled with remarks, anecdotes and bons mots. (See memoir of Dutens in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1812.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)