Fortunato Felice

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Fortunato de Felice

Fortunato Bartolommeo Felice (24 August 1723 – 13 February 1789), 2nd Comte de Panzutti, also known as Fortuné-Barthélemy de Félice and Francesco Placido Bartolomeo De Felice, was an Italian nobleman, a famed author, scientist, and said to have been one of the most important publishers of the 18th century.[1]


Fortunato De Felice was born in Rome to a Neapolitan family as the eldest of six children on 24 August 1723. He was confirmed in 1733 in the parish of St. Celso e Giuliano. He studied at Rome and Naples under the Jesuits, taught by Fortunato da Brescia. On 28 May 1746 he was ordained by papal dispensation. Through his studies at the monastery of San Francesco in Ripa, he discovered a love of Physics, becoming friends with Celestino Galiani. Later Galiani appointed De Felice chair of Ancient and Modern Geography as well as the chair of experimental physics and mathematics at Naples University. There he became friends with the Prince Raimondo di Sangro who aided him in his translation of the physicist John Arbuthnot's works from Latin.

After rescuing the imprisoned Countess Panzutti,[2] Felice fled to Bern, became a Protestant, and established a famous press at Yverdon in 1762.

He died in Yverdon-les-Bains.


An 18th-century depiction of De Felice is held by the Achenbach Foundation in the San Francisco Museum of Fine Arts. A Latin and 18th century French inscription by one of his sons, Carolus De Felice reads:

Original Translation
Fortunatus De Felice

Roma 24 Augusti 1723. Natus: ibidem, deinceps.
Neapoli Phil. Phys. exp. et Mathem. quondam
Professor: Mundi, hominisque legum sedulus Inda-
gator, et felix qua Voce, qua Scriptus Interpres
Encyclopediae Ebrodunensis Contaborator et Editor

Fortunato de Felice

Born: Rome, 24 August 1723
Naples – Philosophy, Physics and Maths
Professor – World, a zealous investigator
by this love of speech wrote
the Yverdon Encyclopaedia editor and contributor

Cet Auteur, distingué par un profond Génie,

Dans le sein de l'Erreur trouva la Vérite;
Et sachant la montrer dans l'Encyclopédie,
S'est fait un titre sür à l'Immortalité.
Offerebat Obseq. et Devot. Filius
Carolus de Felice

This author, distinguished by a profound genius,

In the bosom of wandering found truth
And searching that in the encyclopedia
Immortalised himself
Offered dutifully by his devoted son, Carolus De Felice


Further reading[edit]


  • Encyclopédie, ou, Dictionnaire universel raisonné des connoissances humaines (Yverdon, Switzerland. 42 volumes, 6 volumes Supplement, and 10 volumes of plates, 1770–1780), with the assistance of Leonhard Euler, Charles François Dupuis, Jérôme Lalande, Albrecht von Haller, et al.
  • Mémoires de la Société oeconomique de Berne (24 volumes, 1763–72)
  • Le Bacha de Bude (1765)
  • De Newtonian Attractione, adversus Hambergen (1757)
  • Quadro filosofico della religione cristiana (1757)
  • Sul modo di formare la mente ed il cuore dei fanciuli (1763)
  • Principii del diritto della natura a delle genti (1769)
  • Lezioni di logica (1770)
  • Elementi del governo interiore di uno stato (1781)[4]


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainGilman, D. C.; Thurston, H. T.; Colby, F. M., eds. (1905). "article name needed". New International Encyclopedia (1st ed.). New York: Dodd, Mead.