Catholic Encyclopedia (1913)/Nicolas Deschamps

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Catholic Encyclopedia (1913), Volume 4
Nicolas Deschamps

by Joseph Francis Sollier


Polemical writer, born at Villefranche (Rhône), France, 1797; died at Aix-en-Provence, 1872. He entered the Society of Jesus in 1826; taught literature and rhetoric in several colleges and wrote extensively. apart from a few didactic and devotional books like "Cours élémentaire de littérature" (Avignon, 1860) and "Les fleurs de Marie" (Paris, 1863), his works are largely polemical and bear on all the burning questions of his day, the monopoly of the University of France, the state faculties of theology, the Organic Articles, the liberty of association, Communism, Paganism in education, etc. The most important is undoubtedly "Les Sociétés secrètes" published after the author's death (Avignon, 1874-1876), re-edited and brought up to date by Claudio Janet (Paris, 1880 and 1881). Deschamps sees in European Freemasonry, whose origins he traces back to Manichæism, a baneful force working, under the cover of philanthropy, not only against religion but also against the social order, patriotism, and even morality. If his conclusions are severe, they are not advanced at random, but supported by numerous facts and grave authorities.

Sommervogel, Bibl. de la c. de J., II, 1956; Janet, introd. to his edition of Les Sociétés secrètes. See also Polybiblion (1874 and 1876).

J.F. SOLLIER