FLÉCHIER, ESPRIT: Bishop of Nîmes; b. at Pernes (10 m. n.e. of Avignon), in the county of Avignon, June 10, 1632; d. at Montpellier Feb. 16, 1710. His uncle, the learned monk Hercule Audiffret, educated him from 1648 to 1658 in the college of the Congrégation des Doctrinaires, of which he was director. After the death of his uncle Fléchier went to Paris and devoted himself to the art of poetry. He attracted some attention by a Latin poem on a grand tournament held by Louis XIV., but the lack of an influential patron forced him to take the position of a teacher in the country. Later he returned to Paris where he was active as pulpit orator and author. He attracted the attention of Louis XIV. and won his permanent favor. He became a rival of Bossuet, but his orations were at times too artificial and lacked great and high thoughts. He won lasting fame only by his funeral orations, that on Marshal Turenne (1676) being his masterpiece. In 1673 he became a member of the Academy, together with Racine. In 1685 he was made bishop of Lavaur, and in 1687 of Nîmes. As bishop he was greatly beloved, even by the Protestants who hid in his diocese, on account of his mildness and great benevolence. Besides his funeral oration on Turenne may be mentioned those on Lamoignon, president of the chamber (1679), on Queen Maria Theresia (1682), on Chancellor Le Tellier (1686), on Marie Anna, Dauphine of France (1690), and on his friend the Duke of Montausier (1690). He also wrote biographies of the Emperor Theodosius (Paris, 1679) and of Cardinal Ximenes (1693). Inferior in value are twenty-five orations on Advent and eight missionary and synodical speeches. His Œuvres complètes were published in ten volumes at Nîmes, 1782, and at Paris, 1828.