Visdelou, Claude De

Visdelou, Claude de a French missionary, was born in August, 1656, at the Castle of Bienassis in Poneuf (Cotes-du-Nord). At the age of fifteen he entered the Order of the Jesuits at Paris, and vigorously applied himself to the study not only of theology, but also of mathematics and languages. In 1685 he accompanied Tachard and his band of missionaries, sent out by Louis XIV, to China, and soon surprised the natives by his rapid acquisition of their language and his other acquirements. He engaged in stupendous studies and literary labors, the most important results of which were embodied in supplementary corrections to D'Herbelot's Bibliotheque Orientale. The arrival, however, of Tournon, whom Clement XI appointed vicar-apostolic to China, in which capacity he visited Pekin, but retired (Aug. 3, 1706) to Nankin, put an end to-these missionary successes on account of an order (issued by Tournoi, Jan. 28,1707) against the old ceremonies being practiced by the Christian converts, which so exasperated the Chinese emperor that Visdelou was eventually compelled to quit Macao (June 24,1709), and he retired to Pondicherry, where he died, Nov. 11, 1737. See Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, s.v.

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