Deslandes, Andrew Francis Boltreau

, a French writer, who might have been an able coadjutor, in the cause of infidelity, to the D’Alemberts, Diderots, and Voltaires of France, was born at Pondicherry in 1690. His father, who resided here, was a director of the French East India company, and died at St. Domingo in the office of commissary-general of the marine. He was the author of a work entitled “Remarques historiques, critiques, et satiriques d’un cosmopolite,” printed by his son at Nantes, although Cologne is on the title, 1731, 12mo. His son, the object of this article, became commissary-general of the marine at Rochefort and Brest, and a member of the royal academy of Berlin. These employments and honours he resigned in his latter days, and died at Paris in 1757. In 1713 he came to London, for what reason we have not been able to discover, where he was seized with the small pox. In that year he published in London his “Litteraturn Otium,” in which he has very successfully imitated Catullus. He had previously printed at Paris his “Reflexions sur les grands homines qui sont morts en plaisautant,” which was immediately translated by Boyer, and | published at London under the title of “A Philological Essay, or Reflections on the death of Freethinkers, with the characters of the most eminent persons of both sexes, ancient and modern, that died pleasantly and unconcerned,1714, IL’mo. It would appear from an article in the Guardian, No. 39, that he had expressed some compunction during his sickness for having written this book; but on his recovery he took equal pains to prove that he was as unconcerned as ever. The work itself is sufficiently contemptible, and in the opinion even of his countrymen, some of his great men are very little men: and, what is of more importance, he confounds the impiety of Boletus and Vanini with the intrepidity and firmness of Thuanus and Montmorency, and others, whose heroism was founded on religion. At the conclusion he has some random thoughts on suicide, and the gallantry of it, and informs us of a curious fact, that at one time a poisonous draught was kept at Marseilles, at the public expence, ready for those who desired to rid themselves of life. All the absurdities and impiety in this work are said to have been refuted by the author himself, who on his death-bed, by a solemn act in writing, manifested his sincere repentance. Such is the report in an edition printed at Rochefort in 1758, but this is flatly contradicted by the editors of the-Dict. Hist, who assure us that he persevered in his infidelity to the last, which they prove by some despicable verses written by him when near his death. His other works were, 1. “Histoire critique de la Philosophic,” 4 vols. 12mo, the first three published at Amsterdam in 1737. In this, which is poor in respect of style, and not to be depended on in point of fact, he grossly misrepresents the opinions of the philosophers in order to accommodate them to his own. 2. “Kssai snr la Marine et le Commerce,” which was translated and published at London, under the title, “Essay on Maritime Power and Commerce,1743, and was rather more valued here than in France. 3. “Recueil de differents traites de physique et d’histoire naturelle,” 3 vols. 12mo, an useful collection. 4. “Histoire de Constance, minister de Siam,1755, 12mo. This missionary he represents as a mere adventurer, the victim of his ambition, contrary to the representation given by father Orleans, who, in the life of Constance, published in 1690, maintains that he was a pious zealot. Deslandes’ other works, less known, are “Pygmalion,” 12mo; “Fortune,” 12mo; | La Comtesse de Montserrat,” 12mo; all of the licentious kind. 1


Dict. Hist. Malone’s Drydeu, vol. I. p. 343.