Pluche, Antony

, a French writer, born at Rheims, in 1688, was early distinguished by his progress in polite letters, and by his amiable character, qualities which procured him to be appointed classical professor in the university of Rheims. Some time after, he was removed to the professorship of rhetoric, and admitted into holy orders. Clermont, bishop of Laon, being made acquainted with his merit, offered him the place of director of the college of Clermont, and he was advancing the reputation of this seminary, when the peculiar opinions he held respecting some subjects which then interested the public, obliged him to leave his situation. On this, Gasville, the intendant of Rouen, appointed him tutor to his son, upon the recommendation of the celebrated Rollin. After this, he went to Paris, where he first gave lectures upon history and geography, and then acquired a considerable reputation by some works which he published I. His “Spectacle de la Nature” is generally known, having been translated into perhaps all the European languages, and was no where more popular than in England for many years. This work is written with perspicuity and elegance, and is equally instructive and agreeable; its only fault is, that the author uses too many words for his matter, which, however, is | perhaps unavoidable in the dialogue form of writing. 2. 61 Histoire du Ciel,“in 2 vols. 12mo, is another work of the abbe” Pluche, a kind of mythological history of the heavens, consisting of two parts, almost independent of one another. The first, which contains some learned inquiries into the origin of the poetic heavens, and an attempt to prove that the pagan deities had not been real men, was animadverted upon by M. Silouette, in “Observations on the Abbe Pluche' s History,” &c. an account of which may be seen in the “History of the Works of the Learned” for April 1743, with notes by Warburton. 3. He wrote a tract also “De artificio linguarum,1735, 12mo, which he translated himself, under the title of “La Mechanique des Langues,” in which he proposes a short and easy method of learning languages, by the use of translations instead of themes or exercises. 4. “Concorde de la Geographic des differens ages,1764, 12mo, a posthumous work, well conceived, but executed superficially. 5. “Harmonic des Pseaumes et de PEvangile,1764, 12mo, a translation of the Psalms, remarkable for its fidelity and elegance, with many learned notes of reference and illustration from other parts of Scripture. Pluche had obtained the abbey of Varenne St Maur, to which he retired in 1749, and gave himself up entirely to devotion and study, which was a happy relief to him, as he lost all the pleasures of literary society, by an incurable deafness. He died of an apoplexy, Nov. 20, 1761. He was a believer in all the mysteries of his church, even to an extreme; and when some free-thinkers used to express their astonishment that a man of abbé Pluche’s force of understanding could think so like the vulgar, he used to say, “I glory in this it is more reasonable to believe the word of God, than to follow the vain and uncertain lights of reason.1


Dict. Hit.