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a French abbé of considerable talents and amiable character, was

, a French abbé of considerable talents and amiable character, was born at Angerville, near Chartres, Jan. 26, 1707, of poor parents, who were, however, enabled to give him an education, to complete which he came to Paris. In 1724 he entered among the Jesuits as a noviciate, but did not remain long among them: yet he was highly esteemed by his masters, and preserved the friendship of the eminent Jesuits Brumoy, Bougeant, and Castel. He then employed himself in education, and taught, with much reputation, rhetoric and the classics in two provincial colleges, until the weak state of his health obliged him to restrict his labours to the office of private tutor, an office which he rescued from the contempt into which it had fallen, by taking equal care of the morals and learning of his pupils, all of whom did him, credit in both respects. Being a lover of independence, he resigned his canonry in the cathedral of Boulogne, and when appointed one of the interpreters of the king’s library, the same scruples induced him to decline it, until M.Bignon assured him that the place was given him as the reward of his merit, and required no sacrifices. Soon after he was appointed censor, but upon condition that he should have nothing to censure, and he accordingly accepted the title, but refused the salary and his friends, having thus far overcome his repugnance to offices of this description, procured him the farther appointment of keeper of the books in the king’s cabinet at Versailles. Yet this courtly situation was not at all to his mind, and he resigned in order to go and live in obscurity at St. Germain-en- laye, where he died Jan. 29, 1781, at about eighty. His disposition was amiable in society, where, however, he seldom appeared; but he became gloomy and melancholy in the solitude to which he condemned himself. Premature infirmities had considerably altered his temper. He was oppressed with vapours, from which he suffered alone, and by which he was afraid of making others suffer. It was this that made him seek retirement. “Such as I am,” said he, “I must bear with myself; but are o.hers obliged to bear with me I really think, if I had not the support and consolations of religion, I should lose my senses.” By nature disinterested, he constantly refused favours and benefits, and it was with great difficulty he could be made to accept of any thing. The advancement of his friends, however, was not so indifferent to him as his own; and he was delighted when they were promoted to any lucrative or useful place. Living in this retired manner, he was scarcely known to the public till after his death. Of his writing are the “Varietes morales et amusantes,1784, 2 vols. 12mo, and “Apologues et contes orientaux,1785, 8vo in both which he shews himself a man of much reading, and who has the talent of writing with sentiment, philosophy, and taste. There are likewise by him several little pieces of poetry, of the light and agreeable kind, of which the greater part were attributed to the best poets of the time, who did not shew any vehement disdain at the imputation which made the abbé Blanchet say, “I am. delighted that the rich adopt my children.” These he would lend to his friends on the most solemn promises to return them without copying, or suffering them to be copied, and would often be extremely anxious if they were not retunted within the time specified, when he immediately consigned them to the flames. One of his poems, however, appears to have escaped this fate, an ode on the existence of God, which was published in 1784, with his “Vues sur Teducation d'un prince,” 12mo. Dusaulx, his relation, wrote an amusing life of the abbé, which is prefixed to the “Apologues.

a French abbe, and a man of family, was the son of Louis cle Courcillon,

, a French abbe, and a man of family, was the son of Louis cle Courcillon, lord oi' Dangeau, &c. by a daughter of the celebrated Plessis-Mornay. He was born in January 1643, and educated in the protestant religion, which was that of his family, and which he professed in 1667, when envoy extraordinary in Poland but he was afterwards induced to become a Roman catholic, and entered into the church, in which he held some benefices, although none of such importance as might have been expected from his merits and family interest. In 1671 he purchased the office of reader to the king, which he sold again in 1685. In 1680 the king gave him the abbey of Fontaine-Daniel, and in 1710 that of Clermont, and he was also prior of Gournay and St. Arnoul. He devoted himself, however, principally to the belles lettres, the study of which he endeavoured to facilitate by various new modes of instruction, some of which were successful, and others rather whimsical. In the sme way, by some new expedients, he endeavoured to increase the knowledge of history, geography, heraldry, grammar, &c. and his services were so highly esteemed, that in 1682 he was admitted into the French academy, and in 1698 into that of the Ilicovrati of Padua. His own house, indeed, was a species of academy, where men of taste and learning were invited to assemble once a week for conversation. The abbe Dangeau was an accomplished scholar: besides the sciences we have mentioned, he knew Greek, Latin, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, German, &c. Being admitted into the confidence of his sovereign, he took frequent opportunities to promote learning and learned men, and along with his brother the marquis Dangeau established a school for the education of voung men of family, the superintendance of which he took upon himself; but this did not last above ten years, the wars having obliged the king to withdraw the pecuniary assistance he had given^ a striking proof of the necessities to which Louis XIV. was sometimes driven by his ambition. He died Jan. 1, 1723, leaving the character of a man whose virtues were superior to his knowledge, extensive us the latter was. “His humanity towards the sons and daughters of misfortune was such, (says his eulogist M. d'Alembert), that, with but a moderate fortune, he was lavish of his bounty towards the poor, and added to his benefits the more uncommon benefit of Concealing them. He possessed that prudent œconomy, without which there can be no generosity; and which, never dissipating for the sake of giving continually, is always giving with propriety. His heart was formed for friendship, and for that reason he was not careless in bestowing it; but when once it was obtained, it was settled for ever. If he had any defect, it was perhaps too much indulgence for the faults and weaknesses of mankind; a defect, which by its scarceness is almost a virtue, and of which few persons have to reproach themselves, even in regard to their friends. He possessed in the highest degree that knowledge of the world and of man, which neither books nor genius ever gave the philosopher, while neglecting the commerce of his fellow creatures. Enjoying the esteem and the confidence of all the great men in the kingdom, no one had better advice to give in the most important affairs. He kept inviolably the secrets of others as well as his own. Yet his generous, delicate, and honest soul disdained dissimulation, and his prudence was too enlightened to be mistaken for artifice. Easy and affable in company, but preferring truth in all things, he never disputed except in its defence: accordingly the lively interest he shewed for truth on all such occasions gave him in the eyes of the generality an air of obstinacy, which truth is much less likely to find among mankind than a cold and criminal indifference.

a French abbé and very useful writer, was born at Arinthod, in

, a French abbé and very useful writer, was born at Arinthod, in Franche-comte, Nov. 2, 1698, and for some time belonged to the chevaliers of St. Lazarus, but quitting that society, came to Paris and engaged in teaching. He afterwards wrote several works, in a style perhaps not very elegant, but which were admired either for their intrinsic usefulness, or as antidotes to the pernicious doctrines of the French philosophers and deists, who, conscious of his superiority in argument, affected to regard him as a man of weak understanding, and a bigot; reproaches that are generally thrown upon the advocates of revealed religion in other countries as well as in France. The abbé François, however, appears from his works to have been a man of learning, and an able disputant. He died at Paris, far advanced in years, Feb. 24, 1782, escaping the miseries which those against whom he wrote, were about to bring on their country. His principal works are, I. “Geographic,” 12tno, an excellent manual on that subject, often reprinted, and known by the name of “Crozat,” the lady to whom he dedicated it, and for whose use he first composed it. 2. “Prenves de la religion de Jesus Christ,” 4 vols. 12mo. 3. “Defense de la Religion,” 4 vols. 12mo. 4. “Examen du Catechisme de i'honnete homme,” 12mo. 5. “Examen des faits qui servent de fondement a la religipn Chretienne,1767, 3 vols. 12mo. 6. “Observation sur la philosophic de i'histoire,” 8vo. He left also some manuscripts, in refutation of the “.Philosophical Dictionary,” the “System of Nature,” and other works which emanated from the philosophists of France.

a French abbé, rather an author by profession than by genius,

, a French abbé, rather an author by profession than by genius, was born in 1697, at Caen. His works were chiefly formed upon the labours of others, either by translating them, or by working up the materials into a new form. He died at Paris in 1760, at the age of sixty-three. His publications were, l.“A Description of Egypt, from the Memoirs of M. Maillet,1735, 4to. This work is fundamentally good, and contains judicious remarks, and curious anecdotes, but the style would be improved by the retrenchment of many affectations and other faults. 2. “An Idea of the ancient and modern Government of Egypt,1745, 12mo; a work of less research than the foregoing. 3. “A translation of Caesar’s Commentaries,1755, 12mo. 4. “Christian Reflections on the great truths of Faith,1757, 12mo. 5. “History of the last Revolution in the East Indies” a work that is curious, but not quite exact. 6. “Lommius’s Table of Diseases,1760, 12mo.- He was concerned also in the great work on religious ceremonies, published by Picart, and in the translation of de Thou’s History. 7. A translation of the Epigrams of Martial, 2 vols. 12mo. He published besides, editions of several works: as, of the Memoirs of the marquis de Fouquieres; of Pelisson’s History of Louis XIV. and some papers of de Maillet, under the name of Telliamed, which is de Maillet reversed. He generally published through necessity, and the subjects varied according to the probability of advantage.

a French abbe, and mem* ber of most of the literary societies

, a French abbe, and mem* ber of most of the literary societies of Europe, was born at Pimpre“, in the district of Noyon, Nov. 19, 1700. Notwithstanding the obscurity in which his finances obliged him to live, he soon acquired fame as an experimental philosopher. M. Dufay associated him in his electrical researches; and M. de Reaumur assigned to him his laboratory and these gentlemen may be considered as his preceptors. M. Dufay took him along with him in a journey he made into England; and Nollet profited so well of this opportunity, as to institute a friendly and literary correspondence with some of the most celebrated men in this country. The king of Sardinia gave him an invitation to Turin, to perform a course of experimental philosophy to the duke of Savoy. From thence he travelled into Italy, where he collected some good observations concerning the natural history of the country. In France he was master of philosophy and natural history to the royal family; and professor royal of experimental philosophy to the college of Navarre, and to the schools of artillery and engineers. The academy of sciences appointed him adjunct-mechanician in 1739, associate i 1742, and pensioner in 1757. Nollet died the 24th of April, 1770, regretted by all his friends, but especially by his relations, whom he always succoured with an affectionate attention; but his fame, as an electrician, in which character he was best known, did not survive him long. His’ works are, 1.” Recueils de Lettres sur TElectricite;“1753, 3 vols. 12mo. '2.” Essai sur l'Electricite des corps;“1 vol. 12mo. 3. Recherches sur les causes particulieres des Phenomenes Electriques,” 1 vol. 12mo. 4. “L'Art des Experiences,1770, 3 vols. 12mo. In these are contained his theory on electricity, which he maintained with the most persevering obstinacy against all the arguments of his antagonists, who were perhaps all the eminent electrical philosophers of Europe. It is no easy matter to form a very adequate notion of this theory, which has been long since abandoned by every person. When an electric is excited, electricity flows to it from all quarters, and when thus effluent (as he termed it), it drives light bodies before it. Hence the reason why excited bodies attract. When the electricity is effluent, the light bodies are of course driven from the electric, which in that state appears to repel. He conceived every electric to be possessed of two different kinds of pores, one for the emission of the electric matter, and the other for its reception. Besides his papers in the “Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences” from 1740 to 1767, we have in our “Philosophical Transactions,” the result of a great number of experiments, made by the abbe Nollet, on the eflect produced by electricity on the flowing of water through capillary tubes; on the evaporation of liquids; the transpiration of vegetables; and the respiration of animals. These last experiments have been often repeated since, but the results drawn by the abbe are not considered as established.

youngest brother, in 1686, departed for England. He was not long in London, before he was visited by a French abbé of distinguished quality, a friend of his uncle

In 1685, his father died; and two months after, the edict of Nantes being revoked, Rapin with his mother and brothers retired to a country-house; and, as the persecution in a short time was carried to the greatest height, he and his youngest brother, in 1686, departed for England. He was not long in London, before he was visited by a French abbé of distinguished quality, a friend of his uncle Pelisson, who introduced him to Barrillon, the French ambassador. These gentlemen persuaded him to go to court, assuring him of a favourable reception from the king; but he declined this honour, not knowing what the consequences might be in that very critical state of affairs. His situation indeed was not at all agreeable to him; for he was perpetually pressed, upon the subject of religion, by the French Catholics then in London; and especially by the abbe“, who, though he treated him with the utmost complaisance, always turned the discourse to controversy. Having no hopes of any settlement in England at that time, he went over to Holland, and enlisted in a company of French volunteers, then at Utrecht, under the command of Mr. Rapin, his cousin-german. Pelisson, the same year, published his” Reflections on the difference of Religions," which he sent to his nephew Rapin, with a strict charge to give him his opinion impartially of the work, which it is said he did, although nothing of this kind was found among his papers, nor was he influenced by his uncle’s arguments. He remained with his company, till he followed the prince of Orange into England; where, in 1689, he was made an ensign. In that rank he went to Ireland, and distinguished himself so bravely at the siege of Carrick-fergus, that he was the same year promoted to a lieutenancy. He was also present at the hattle of the Boyne; and, at the siege of Limerick, was shot through the shoulder with a musket-ball. This wound, which was cured very slowly, proved very detrimental to his interest; as it prevented him from attending general Douglas into Flanders, who was very desirous of having him, and could have done him considerable service: he had, however, a company given him.

a French abbe, related to the celebrated Montfaucon the antiquary,

, a French abbe, related to the celebrated Montfaucon the antiquary, appears to have been a native, or to have been educated at Toulouse, whence he came to Paris, in hopes of recommending himself by his talents in the pulpit, which were of no mean kind, and by his lively conversation, which perhaps fully as much contributed to procure him friends. He also entertained the public with his pen, and published various works of imagination and criticism, written in a peculiar style of humour, one of which at least entitles him to the notice of the English reader. This, which was first published at Paris in 1670, was entitled “Le eomte de Gabalis, ou entretiens sur les sciences secrettes,” with an addition entitled “Les genies assistans et les gnomes irreconciliables.” D'Argonne, in his “Melanges d'Histoire et de Litterature,” gives the following account of this singular work, as quoted by Dr. Warton: “The five dialogues of which it consists, are the result of those gay conversations in which the abbe was engaged with a small circle of men, of fine wit and kumour, like himself. When the book first appeared, it was universally read as innocent and amusing. But at length its consequences were perceived, and reckoned dangerous, at a time when this sort of curiosities began to gain credit. Our devout preacher was denied the pulpit, and his book forbidden to be read. It was not dear whether the author intended to be ironical, or spoke all seriously. The second volume, which he promised, would have decided the question; but the unfortunate abbe was soon afterwards assassinated by ruffians on the road to Lyons. The laughers gave out, that the gnomes and sylphs, disguised like ruffians, had shot him, as a punishment for revealing the secrets of the Cabala; a crime not to be pardoned by those jealous spirits, as Villars himself has declared in his book.” It was from this book that Pope took the machinery of the sylphs, of which he has made such admirable use in his “Rape of the Lock,” although it does not appear that he borrowed any particular circumstances relating to those spirits, but merely the general idea of their existence. The abbe* was killed in 1675, and it is said that the fatal shot came from one of his relations.