Charpentier, Francis

, dean of the French academy, was born at Paris, Feb. 1620. His early discovery of great acuteness made his friends design him for the bar: but his taste led him to prefer the repose and stillness of the closet, and he became more delighted with languages and antiquity, than with the study of the law. He was made a member of the French academy in 1651, and had the advantage of the best conversation for his improvement. When Colbert became minister of state, he projected the setting up a French East-India company; and to recommend the design more effectually, he thought it proper that a discourse should be published upon this subject. Accordingly he ordered Charpentier to draw one up, and was so pleased with his performance, published in 1664, that he kept him in his family, with a design to place him in another academy which was then founding, and which was afterwards known by the name of “Inscriptions and Medals.” The learned languages, in which Charpentier was a considerable master, his great knowledge of antiquity, and his exact and critical judgment, made him very serviceable in carrying on the business of this newacademy; and it is agreed on all hands, that no person of that learned society contributed more than himself towards that noble series of medals, which were struck of the most | considerable events that happened in the reign of Lewis XIV. but his adulation of the king exceeded that of all his contemporaries.

He died April 22, 1702, aged 82. His harangues and discourses, delivered before the academy, or when he was chosen to make a speech to the king, are extant in the collections of the academy. As to the character of his works, it may be said in general, that wit and learning are every where visible but although we meet with some high flights of eloquence, and masterly strokes of composition, his taste has not been thought equal to his learning. His principal works are, “La Vie de Socrate,1650, 12mo. A translation of the “Cyropredia,1659, 12 mo. “Discours touchant l‘Etablissement d’une Compagnie Frangoise pour le Commerce des Indes Orientales,” 4to. “De Pexcellence de la Langue Francoise,1683, 2 vols. 12mo. “Carpentariana,” 12mo, &c. in which there are some amusing anecdotes, but they are not esteemed the best of the Ana. 1

1 Moreri, Gen. Dict.- —Dict. Hist.