Bouvet, Joachim

Bouvet, Joachim, a French missionary, was born at Le Mans about 1662. He was one of the first missionaries sent to China by Louis XIV with a scientific mission. Colbert had conceived the idea of enriching himself from the industries of this country, and at his death Louvois, his successor, took up the project and sent six missionary Jesuits, the fathers Fontanay, Gerbilloln, Lecomte, Tachard, Visedelon, and. Bouvet, furnished with instructions from the ministry of the Academy of Sciences, and with all the necessary instruments for taking observations. They arrived in China in 1687., Being called immediately to Pekin, they were dispersed throughout the empire, excepting Gerbillon and Bouvet, whom the emperor retained with him to take charge of the mathematical affairs. These two men took charge of the erection of the church and of the residence of the Jesuits at Pekin. Bouvet returned to France in 1697, and bore to the king, from the emperor Kang- hi, forty-nine Chinese volumes. Louis XIV sent back by Bouvet a complete collection of his stamps, magnificently bound, and with him ten new missionaries. Bouvet died at Pekin, June 28, 1732, after having labored for a long time on the large map of the empire, prepared by the Jesuits by the order of Kang-hi. He left four accounts of different voyages which he had made in the course of his labors, and several works concerning China. Several dissertations upon the Chinese and a dictionary of that language are preserved in MS. in the library at Le Mans. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, s.v.

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