Besplas, Joseph Mary Anne Gros De

, doctor of the Sorbonne, chaplain to monsieur, and abbot of l’Epau, was born at Castelnaudari in Languedoc, Oct. 13, 1734, and died at Paris, Aug. 26, 1783. He at first connected himself with the community of St. Sulpice, and discharged with not less fortitude than charity, the painful office of accompanying and exhorting the criminals sentenced to die. Afterwards, devoting his talents to the pulpit, he preached with applause at Versailles and at Paris, though the rapidity of his utterance diminished somewhat of the effect of his discourses. His sermon on the last supper | presented a piece of eloquence so affecting on the sad condition of the prisoners in the several gaols, that the immediate regulation of them, as to accommodations and health, with the establishment of the Hotel de Force, were among the happy effects of it. The abbé de Besplas was serviceable to humanity, not only by his discourses, but by his works. We have by him a treatise, “Of the causes of public happiness,1769 and 1778, 2 vols. 12mo, replete with excellent suggestions, political and moral, enriched with great and noble ideas, to which nothing is wanting but a more methodical arrangement and a style less pompous. The same censure might be passed upon his “Essay on the eloquence of the pulpit,” a production of his youth, of which the second edition of 1778 was carefully retouched. The abbé de Besplas was beneficent as much from inclination as from principle he had the art of uniting vivacity with gentleness, of pleasing without affording room for scandal, of being instructive without pedantry, and tolerant without indifference in his whole figure and deportment was seen that serenity, that gentle gaiety, which ever accompanies a contented mind. 1


Dict. Hist. Biog. Universelle. Month. Rev. vol. XL.