LATUDE, HENRI MASERS DE, 1725-1805; b. France; having served a number of years in the French army, began the study of mathematics in Paris. A trick, easily discovered, by which he hoped to gain the favor of Mine. de Pompadour, made him the victim of unmerited condemnation for the period of 35 years. In 1749 he attempted to prove his disinterested admiration for her by warning her of an attempt upon her life, to be made through a dangerous powder that she was to receive in a package. Finding that it emanated from him, a simple ruse to gain her favor, she caused his arrest, and with inexcusable obduracy kept him imprisoned in the Bastile and at Vincennes until her death. In 1750,1756. and 1764 he made unsuccessful escapes; in the first instance voluntarily surrendering himself within a week, in the second being rearrested in Amsterdam, and the third time, soon after his tra-iier to the prison at Vincennes, he made his escape and was retaken. His imprisonment subsequent to the death of Mine.
Pompadour is unaccountable, he having led a quiet, thoughtful life during incarcer ation, when not suffering from too rigorous treatment. In 1777, having been liberated through the intercession of MalesherZes, he was soon after arrested again, and kept in a dungeon at Ricetre for many years. At length, in 178-1, with the change brought about by a turn in political affairs, the'popular voice being in his favor, he was liberated and pensioned,under the patronage of lame. Legros. In 1793 he claimed damages from the heirs-of Mine. de Pompadour, and received 10,000 !lyres. In 1789, besides several essays, he published Memoire de ,11". de Latude, ingenieur; in Le Despotisme Devoile, ou .gemoires de Latude was published by Thierry; and in 1838 Hemoires inedites de Henri Masers de Latude.