Blanchet, Francis

, a French abbé of considerable talents and amiable character, was born at Angerville, near Chartres, Jan. 26, 1707, of poor parents, who were, however, enabled to give him an education, to complete which he came to Paris. In 1724 he entered among the Jesuits as a noviciate, but did not remain long among them: yet he was highly esteemed by his masters, and preserved the friendship of the eminent Jesuits Brumoy, Bougeant, and Castel. He then employed himself in education, and taught, with much reputation, rhetoric and the classics in two provincial colleges, until the weak state of his health obliged him to restrict his labours to the office of private tutor, an office which he rescued from the contempt into which it had fallen, by taking equal care of the morals and learning of his pupils, all of whom did him, credit in both respects. Being a lover of independence, | he resigned his canonry in the cathedral of Boulogne, and when appointed one of the interpreters of the king’s library, the same scruples induced him to decline it, until M.Bignon assured him that the place was given him as the reward of his merit, and required no sacrifices. Soon after he was appointed censor, but upon condition that he should have nothing to censure, and he accordingly accepted the title, but refused the salary and his friends, having thus far overcome his repugnance to offices of this description, procured him the farther appointment of keeper of the books in the king’s cabinet at Versailles. Yet this courtly situation was not at all to his mind, and he resigned in order to go and live in obscurity at St. Germain-en- laye, where he died Jan. 29, 1781, at about eighty. His disposition was amiable in society, where, however, he seldom appeared; but he became gloomy and melancholy in the solitude to which he condemned himself. Premature infirmities had considerably altered his temper. He was oppressed with vapours, from which he suffered alone, and by which he was afraid of making others suffer. It was this that made him seek retirement. “Such as I am,” said he, “I must bear with myself; but are o.hers obliged to bear with me I really think, if I had not the support and consolations of religion, I should lose my senses.” By nature disinterested, he constantly refused favours and benefits, and it was with great difficulty he could be made to accept of any thing. The advancement of his friends, however, was not so indifferent to him as his own; and he was delighted when they were promoted to any lucrative or useful place. Living in this retired manner, he was scarcely known to the public till after his death. Of his writing are the “Varietes morales et amusantes,1784, 2 vols. 12mo, and “Apologues et contes orientaux,1785, 8vo in both which he shews himself a man of much reading, and who has the talent of writing with sentiment, philosophy, and taste. There are likewise by him several little pieces of poetry, of the light and agreeable kind, of which the greater part were attributed to the best poets of the time, who did not shew any vehement disdain at the imputation which made the abbé Blanchet say, “I am. delighted that the rich adopt my children.” These he would lend to his friends on the most solemn promises to return them without copying, or suffering them to be copied, and would often be extremely anxious if they were | not retunted within the time specified, when he immediately consigned them to the flames. One of his poems, however, appears to have escaped this fate, an ode on the existence of God, which was published in 1784, with his “Vues sur Teducation d’un prince,” 12mo. Dusaulx, his relation, wrote an amusing life of the abbé, which is prefixed to the “Apologues.1


Biog. Univ.—Dict. Hist.