Labat, Jean Baptiste

Labat, Jean Baptiste a French Roman Catholic missionary, was born at Paris in 1663. He joined the Dominicans in April, 1685, went as professor of philosophy to Nancy in 1687, and afterwards devoted himself exclusively to preaching. He landed at La Martinique Jan. 29, 1694, and was immediately put in charge of the mission at Macouba. While attending to his ecclesiastical duties, he made himself very useful in the colony as engineer, agriculturist, and even as diplomatic agent, and rendered great service against the English when they attempted taking the island in 1703. Most of his colleagues having died of yellow fever and other diseases brought on by the climate, he returned to Europe to seek for others, and arrived at Cadiz Oct. 9, 1705. He intended returning soon to the West Indies, but was sent to Rome by his superiors, and was retained there until 1709; he afterwards remained at Civita Vecchia until 1716, and finally returned to Paris, where he died, Jan. 6, 1738. He wrote Nouveau Voyage aux Iles de l'Amerique (Paris, 1722, 6 vols. 12mo; La Haye, 1724, 6 vols. 12mo; 1738, 2 vols. 4to; 2d ed. Paris, 1742, 8 vols. 12mo; transl. into Dutch, Amsterd. 1725. 4 vols. 12mo; German, Nuremb. 1783-87, 6 vols. 8vo), and some other historical and miscellaneous works. See Journal des Savants, Oct., Nov., and Dec. 1730; Echard, Script. ord. S. Domin. ii, 806; Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Generale, 28:333.

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