Guignes, Chretien Louis Joseph De

Guignes, Chretien Louis Joseph De, a French Orientalist, was born at Paris Aug. 25, 1759, and died in the same city March 9, 1845. He was instructed by his father, Joseph de Guignes, in the Oriental languages, making Chinese a special study. In 1784 he was appointed French resident in China and consul at Canton, and before his departure thither was also appointed correspondent to the Academy of Sciences and the Academy of Inscriptions and Belles-Lettres. After spending 17 years in China he returned to France, having meanwhile communicated to the academics several interesting and useful papers, which were publish. ed in their Memoires. In 1808 there issued from the imperial press his Voyages a Peking, Manille, et l'Ile de France, fairs dans l'intervalle des Armees 1784 a 1801 (3 vols. 4to, with fol. atlas of maps and plates). Among the grand literary projects of the reign of Louis XIV was the publication of a dictionary of the Chinese language, but the project has not been realized, and was apparently abandoned. The imperial government of Napoleon I determined to revive and complete the enterprise, and De Guignes, by a decree dated Oct. 22, 1808, was selected to compile such a work. In 1813 it appeared from the imperial press, bearing the title of Dictionnaire Chinois-Francais et Latin, publie d'apres l'ordre de S. M. l'empereur et roi Napoleon le Grand, etc. (Paris, fol.). This work proved to be, in the main, only an adaptation of the Han-tze-si- yih (i.e. Occidental interpretation of Chinese characters), a Chinese-Latin vocabulary by a Franciscan missionary to China, Basil de Glemona, whose modest but valuable labors Dc Guignes had appropriated without acknowledgment. The plagiarism was discovered, and severely but justly censured by the critics of the time, and the effect was undoubtedly to diminish the appreciation of any additions or improvements made ,by De Guignes. — Hoefer, Nouvelle Biog. Generale, 22:569; New American Cyclopaedia, 8:555. (J. W. M.)

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