Joseph du Fresne de Francheville

Personal data
Joseph du Fresne de Francheville
Born September 18, 1704
in Dourlens, France

Died 1781

French writer born in Dourlens on September 18, 1704.

He first became known for his Histoire des Finances, published in 1738-1740. In 1741 was published his Premières expéditions de Charlemagne and in 1755 his poem Bombyx.

In 1747 Voltaire, a friend of his, published Le Siècle de Louis XIV (The Century of Louis XIV) in Francheville's name.

According to Boswell on the Grand Tour, vol I, he was "a second-rate man of letters who owed his place in the Academy solely to Frederick's [the Great] passion for French literature".

Life with Boswell

Boswell attended a meeting at the Royal Academy of Berlin on September 13, 1764, at which Francheville was present and at which he "read a dissertation on the art of making ambergris, with which I was not greatly edified. After he had done, not a word was said. The Academicians grinned and separated."

Francheville, again according to [GT1], "dismissed various theories of the origin of ambergris (including the correct one), and maintained that it was formed from a mixture of honey and wax which had floated from the seaside nests of the wild bee."


Some of his works are occasionally available via [Abebooks] but he is largely forgotten today.