Bleterie, John Philip Rene De La

, was born at Rennes, Eeb. 25, 1696, and entered early into the congregation of the oratory, where he was a distinguished professor. The order against wigs, which seems to have raised very serious scruples, occasioned his quitting it; but he retained the friendship and esteem of his former brethren. He then went to Paris, where his talents procured him the professorship of eloquence in the collegeroyal, and a place in the academy of belles lettres. He published several works, which have been well received by the public 1. “The Life of the Emperor Julian,Paris, 1735, 1746, 12mo, a curious performance, well written, and distinguished at once by impartiality, precision, elegance and judgment, and which was translated into English under the inspection of Mr. Bowyer in 1746. 2. “The History of the Emperor Jovian,” with translations of some works of the emperor Julian, Paris, 1748, 2 vols. 12mo, a book no less valuable than the former, by the art with which the author has selected, arranged and established facts, and by the free and varied turns of the translator. This was abridged by Mr. Duncombe in the “Select Works of the Emperor Julian,1784, 2 vols. 8vo. The life of Jovian, however, seems much inferior to that of Julian. But the difference may be owing to the character of those two persons, the one being an object of much more interest than the other. 3. A translation of some works of Tacitus, Paris, 1755, 2 vols. 12mo. The manners of the Germans, and the life of Agricola, are the two pieces comprised in this version, which is equally elegant and faithful. Prefixed is a Life of Tacitus, which is also worthy of this writer, and was admired for strength of sentiment and animation of style. For this historian the | abbé cle la jSleterie had an uncommon predilection he spoke of him incessantly to his friends. “To Tacitus,” said he, “I am much indebted I ought therefore in justice to dedicate to his glory the remainder of my life.” 4. “Tiberius, or the six first books of the Annals of Tacitus, translated into French,Paris, 1768, 3 vols. 12mo. This work was not so popular among his countrymen, who blame the affected style, and say they very seldom discover in it the elegant historian of Julian. It occasioned at the time these two lines

Des dogmes de Quesnel un triste prosélyte

En bourgeois du Marais fait parler Tacite.

This translation is in other respects sufficiently exact. 5. “Letters occasioned by the account of Quietism given by M. Phelipeaux,173';, 12mo. This pamphlet, which is scarce, and very well written, contains a defence of the conduct of madame de Guyon. 6. Some highly esteemed dissertations in the memoirs of the academy of belles lettres. 7. “Most humble Remonstrances of M. de Montempuis;” an obscure and indifferent work, in favour of a pedant, who had made himself ridiculous by an absurd and unlucky adventure. The abbé de la Bleterie died at an advanced age, June 1, 1772. He was a man of learning, attached to religion, and his morals did not belie his principles. His knowledge being solid and diversified, rendered his conversation useful and interesting. With sound rather than brilliant talents, endowed with more judgment than imagination, he had the merit of knowing how to choose his friends, and how to retain them.

Besides the works above-mentioned, Bleterie was editor of Masclef’s Hebrew Grammar when studying that language he took a fancy to Masclef’s method, and in order to support it, published a work enticed “Vindiciae methodi Masclefianse,” in elegant Latin, and afterwards inserted it in his edition of the grammar published in 1731. We have already mentioned that he was a member of the academy of belles-lettres, and was a candidate for the French academy. His rival on this occasion was Racine, the son, but both were rejected as Jansenists. Bleterie submitted to the disappointment, and when his friends were about to interest themselves in the repeal of this sentence of exclusion, he would upon no account co-operate with them, contenting himself with the esteem of the academicians, who, the president Renault says, | consitiered him as a colleague of whom they had been deprived. 1

1 Biog. Universelle. —Dict. Hist.