Gerbillon Jean Francois
Gerbillon Jean Francois, a French Jesuit missionary to China, was born at Verdune January 11, 1614. He studied at Nancy under the Jesuits, and was, with five others, sent as missionary to China, where he arrived March 25, 1686. The missionaries at once sought an audience from the emperor, who refused to admit the new religion, on the ground that as the sects of Fo, Tao-sse, the Lamas, and the Ha-changs taught men to do good and avoid evil, there was no need of a fourth for the same purpose, which would only lead to doctrinal disputes. Yet, lay special edict, be retained at his court the missionaries Gerlaillon, Pereira, and Boumet, with permission to practice the religion, but not to teach it. He commanded them to learn the Chinesed and other dialects and sent them on several diplomatic missions. In 1692 Christ an worship was finally permitted is China; but Gerbillon's attempts to introduce the Roman Catholic religion, and to open the country to European commerce, failed through the jealousy of the divers other orders of Roman missionaries. He was for some time rector of thee French College of China, and died at Pekin, March 25, 1707. He wrote Elements of Geometry in Chinese and Tartar (Pekin): — Theoretical and Practical Geometry, in the same languages, and published also at Pekin: — Observations historiques sur la grande Tartarie (in Du Halde's Description de la Chine, t. 33): — Relation de huit Voyages en Tartarie (in Du Halde). He is also considered by some as the author of the Elementa Linguae Tartaricae, which others attribute to the missionaries Couplet or Bouvet. See Lettres edifantes, tom. 18; Hist. gener. des Voyages, t. 7 and 8. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 20:203 sq.