de Franquener, son of the preceding, and the most celebrated of
de Franquener, son of the preceding, and the most celebrated of his family, was born at Roan in Normandy, Aug. 8, 1653, and received an education suitable to the talents which his father discovered in him. He first studied under the celebrated Tanaquil Faber, who made him his favourite scholar, but endeavoured to dissuade him from engaging in the ministry. At seventeen years of age, after he had made the Greek and Latin authors familiar to him, and learned the English., Italian, and Spanish languages, he went to Geneva, where he passed through a course of philosophy under Mr. Chouet. He began his divinity studies there under Mestrezat, Turretin, and Tronchin, and finished them at Sedan under the professors Juricu and Le Blanc de Beaulieu. But disliking Mr. Jurieu’s less tolerant sentiments, he applied himself more particularfy to the latter, who was a divine of a moderate and pacific temper. He returned afterwards to Roan; and the learned Mr. Le Moine having been called to the professorship of divinity at Leyden, Mr. Basnage succeeded him, as pastor of the church of Roan in 1676, though he was then but twenty three years of age, and here studied ecclesiastical history and the fathers, and went on with the collections which he had begun at Geneva and Sedan. In 1684 he married Susanna du Moulin, daughter of Cyrus du Moulin, first cousin of Charles du Moulin, the Papinian of France, and grand-daughter of the famous Peter du Moulin. The exercise of the protestant religion being suppressed at Roan in 1685, and Mr. Basnage being no longer allowed to perform the functions of his ministry, hedesired leave of the king to retire into Holland, and obtained it for himself, his wife, and a nurse; but upon condition, that the nurse should return into France at the end of two years. He settled at‘Rotterdam, where he was a minister pensionary till 1691, when he was made pastor of the Walloon church of that city. The works which he wrote raised him a great reputation over all Europe and he kept a correspondence with a great many learned men both in the United Provinces, and in foreign countries. His studies employed the greater part of his time, and his only relaxation was a select society of men of learning-, who met once a week at each other’s houses. The principal members of this little society were Messrs. Paatz, Basnage, De Beauval, his brother, Bayle, Lufneu, and Leers. Their contests were sometimes sharp, but friendly, and there was that candid interchange of sentiment from which Basnage confessed that he had derived great advantage. He had frequent disputes with Mr. Jurieu, his brother-in-law, particularly on the subject of the revolt of the Cevennois, which Jurieu approved and Basnage condemned. The author of his life mentions a conference which they had upon that subject, in 1703, in which Jurieu was obliged by the reasons of his antagonist to condemn the cruelties of the Camisars, and he only urged in their justification, that they had been used with rigour, and had lost patience. In 1709 pensionary Heinsius, who had a great regard for him, procured him to be chosen one of the pastors of the Walloon church at the Hague. He was then employed to manage a secret negotiation with mareschal D’Uxelles, plenipotentiary of France at the congress of Utrecht; and he executed it with so much success, that he was afterwards entrusted with several important commissions. Cardinal de Bouillon, dean of the Sacred College, who was then in Holland, imparted to him all his concerns with the States. The abbe Du Bois, who was afterwards cardinal and first minister of France, having arrived at the Hague in 1716, with the character of ambassador plenipotentiary, to negotiate a defensive alliance between France, England, and the States General, was ordered by the duke of Orleans, regent of France, to apply to Mr. Basnage for his advice, the consequence of which was, that they acted in concert, and the alliance was concluded Jan. 14, As a reward for this service, he obtained the restitution of his estate in France. He corresponded with several princes, nohlemen, and statesmen, both catholic and protestant, and with a great many learned men in France, Italy, Germany, and England, upon subjects of a political or literary nature. The catholics appear to have confided as much in his opinion as the protestants, of which we have a remarkable instance in a French archbishop. This prelate, perplexed to know what step to take respecting the bull Unigenitus, the rigours of which put an end to the last hopes of reconciliation between the catholic and protestant churches, consulted Basnage, and requested to know how he would himself act, if in his place. Basnage replied, that it did not perhaps become him to give advice in a case of so much difficulty: but suggested that the archbishop ought to examine himself whether he acknowledged the pope’s authority, or not: that in the first case he was obliged to admit the constitution; that in the second case he might reject it; but he should consider, that if he argued consequentially, this would carry him farther than he would go. Basnage was a man of great sincerity and candour, and had a politeness seldom to be met with among learned men. He was affable and -easy in his behaviour, and always ready to use his interest in favour of the unfortunate. He answered every person who consulted him with the utmost affability and kindness. He was a good friend, a man of great probity, and though he confuted errors with zeal and spirit, yet he treated the persons themselves with peculiar moderation. His constitution, which before had been very firm, began to decline in 1722; and after a lingering illness he died with exemplary piety, Dec. 22, 1723, in the seventy-first year of his age. He left only one daughter, who was married to Mr. de la Sarraz, privy counsellor to the king of Poland.