Colomiès, Paul (DNB00)
COLOMIÈS or COLOMESIUS, PAUL (1638–1692), librarian, was born at La Rochelle on 2 Dec. 1638. His father, Jean, was a doctor of repute; his grandfather, a minister of the reformed religion, was descended from a family of Béarn, settled in La Rochelle. He was sent at the age of sixteen to the academy of Saumur for the usual courses of study in philosophy and history. Cappel taught him Hebrew. He went to Paris in 1664, and became acquainted with Isaac Vossius, who took him to Holland. Here he lived twelve months and brought out 'Gallia Orientalis' (1665), his first and most useful work, dealing with the lives and writings of Frenchmen who had distinguished themselves in Hebrew and oriental studies. The original project included Belgian, German, English, and other sections; 'Italia et Hispania Orientalis ' was a posthumous publication. He returned to La Rochelle, where he remained until 1681, and wrote several books. He then came to England, visited Vossius, who had been a resident since 1670, and had become canon of Windsor, and he obtained the post of reader in the French Anglican church established by Peter Allix [q. v.] Among the Tanner manuscripts in the Bodleian Library is a letter from Colomiès to Sancroft, dated from Lambeth, 25 Feb. 1684-5, and another in the same collection to Cave on 15 Nov. 1686, complaining of not finding employment in the church of England. His constant friend Vossius had introduced him to the archbishop, who collated him to the rectory of Eynesford in Kent on 18 Nov. 1687, and who had previously made him librarian or perhaps assistant to Wharton, the first librarian at Lambeth. Colomiès, however, distinctly styles himself 'Bibliothecae Lambethanae curator' on one of his title-pages. He retired on the deprivation of Sancroft in 1690, and Wharton still retained the office. One authority states that 'as librarian he left behind him no mark' (J. Cave-Browne, Lambeth Palace, 1883, pp. 101-2), but H. J. Todd (Cat. of the Archiep. MSS. in the Library at Lambeth Palace, 1812, p. x) mentions as still existing a written 'Catalogue of [the Printed] Books in the Lambeth Library by Paul Colomesius,' and says, 'This proof, however, of Colomesius's diligence adds weight to the refutation of the charge [of indulging their ease and of taking as little trouble as possible] brought against him and his predecessors by Dr. Wilkins.' He was naturalised in 1688 (Lists of Foreign Protestants, 1618-88, ed. by W. D. Cooper, Camden Soc. p. 54). While in England he published some books which brought upon him much obloquy from Jurieu and others. He was on the point of going to Germany to become librarian to the Prince of Holstein-Gottorp when the fatal illness said to have been brought on by disappointment at the loss of his office overtook him. The story of an unhappy marriage is disproved by his will, dated '2 Jan. 1691-2,' leaving, with the exception of a few legacies, all his small savings to a cousin, the Rev. Peter Hamelot (Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. i. 5-6). He had previously parted with his library for a trifling sum. He died in London 4 Jan. 1692, aged 54, and was buried in the churchyard of St. Martin's-in-the-Fields.
Colomiès was a great reader and a diligent annotator of his books, as specimens preserved in the British Museum witness. Baillet calls him 'un des plus intelligents qui soient aujourd'hui dans la connaissance des livres' (Jugemens des Savans, 1725, ii. 11), and Bayle, referring to a current sneer that he was 'le grand auteur des petits livres,' justly remarks: 'C'est lui faire honneur d'une chose qui n'avoit été dite que pour se moquer de lui' (Dict. i. 906). A 'bibliothèque parlante,' like Justel, he was also the friend of Saint-Evremond, 'qui s'amusait des bizarreries de son esprit' (Weiss, i. 341). Arcère praises his sweet and conciliatory manners, his good sense and moderation. Honest and impartial in his writings, he was accused of Socinianism and incredulity.
His works are: 1. 'Gallia Orientalis, sive Gallorum qui linguam Hebraeam vel alias orientales excoluerunt Vitæ,' the Hague, 1665, 4to. 2. 'Epigrammes et Madrigaux,' La Rochelle, 1668, 12mo; a rare book of small literary merit. 3. 'Opuscula,' Paris, 1668; Utrecht, 1669 and Amst. 1700, 12mo. 4. 'Prima Scaligerana nusquam antehac edita [auctore ipsomet Scaligero] , cum praefatione; quibus adjuncta et altera Scaligerana [collig. Molinseo], quam antea emendatiora, cum notis cujusdam V. D. anon. [P. Colomesii],' Groningen, 1669, 12mo. 5. 'Scaligerana, ou bons mots, etc. de J. Scaliger, avec des notes de Mr. Le Fevre et de M. de Colomiès,' Cologne, 1695, 12mo, reprinted with additions by P. Des Maizeaux, Amst. 1740, 2 vols. 12mo. 6. 'Vie du P. Jacques Sirmond,' La Roch. 1671, 12mo, contains 'Avertissement sur les Mémoires de la reine Marguérite,' not reprinted, like the 'Vie,' in the 'Bibliothèque Choisie' (1731). 7. 'Exhortation de Tertullien aux Martyrs,' La Roch. 1673, 12mo, reprinted in 'Bibl. Choisie' (1731). 8. 'Rome Protestante, ou Témoignages de plusieurs Catholiques Romains en faveur de la créance et de la pratique des Protestans,' Lond. [Rouen, 1675], 1678, 12mo. 9. 'Mélanges historiques,' Orange, 1675, 16mo, Utrecht, 1692, anonymous, contains much curious literary gossip and some information as to persons of the name of Colomiès. It is a continuation of the 'Recueil des particularitez fait en 1665,' printed in 'Opuscula' (No. 3). Both pieces appear under the title of 'Colomesiana' in 'Mélange curieux des meilleures pièces attrib. a M. de St. Evremond,' Amst. 1706, 2 vols. 12mo, ed. by P. Des Maizeaux, and in the latter's 'Scaligerana, Thuana, Perroniana, Pithoeana et Colomesiana,' Amst. 1740, 2 vols. 12mo. 10. 'Observationes Sacrae,' Amst. 1679, Lond. 1688, 12mo, a collection of marginalia in French and Latin, with extracts from private letters and reviews relating to the author and his writings. 11. 'Bibliotheque Choisie,' La Roch. 1682, Amst. 1700, 12mo, with additions and suppressions;' Nouvelle édition, augmented des notes de MM. Bourdelot, de la Monnoye et autres, avec quelques opuscules du meme C.,' Paris, 1731, 12mo, with life; the 'Bibliothèque' consists of a list of works in the literature of the day, with bibliographical and critical notes. 12. 'Theologorum Presbyterianorum Icon: ex protestantium scriptis ad vivum expressa' [sine loco], anno 1682, 16mo, from p. 39 to end is: 'Parallèle de la pratique de l'église ancienne et de celle des Protestans de France dans 1'exercice de leur religion.' The first piece includes passages from Casaubon, Languet, Grotius, and others, set forth to prove how far the presbyterians had departed from the rule of the early church with regard to orders, discipline, and the sacrament. The second establishes twenty-four points of difference between the ancients and the moderns. The work occasioned a violent attack on the part of Jurieu, and was Colomiès's justification for his Anglican secession. 13. 'Lettre a M. Justel touchant l'Histoire Critique du Vieux Testament du P. Simon,' printed at the end of 'Appendix observationum ad Pomponium Melam' by Vossius, Lond. 1686, 4to. 14. 'Ad Gul. Cave Chartophylacem Ecclesiasticum Paralipomena,' Lond. 1686, Leipzig, 1687, contains 'De Photii scriptis diss.' And 'Passio S. Victoris Massiliensis; ' an edition of Lond. 1689, 12mo, includes his 'Observationes Sacrae.' 15. 'S. Clementis Epistolæ duae ad Corinthios [Gr. et Lat.], accedit T. Brunonis diss. de Therapeutis Philonis: his subnexæ sunt Epistolae aliquot singulares, vel nunc primum editæ vel non ita facile obviæ,' Lond. 1687 and 1695, 12mo, with 'Observationes Sacræ.' 16. 'Catalogus Codd. MSS. Isaaci Vossii,' printed in 'Cat, libb. MSS. Angliæ et Hiberniæ,' 1697, ii. pt. i. p. 57. The original is in the Bodleian Library (Cod. Tanneri, 271). 17. 'G. J. Vossii et clarorum virorum ad eum Epistolae, collectore P. C.,' Lond. 1690, folio. 18. 'L. G. Gyraldi Opera omnia, animadversionibus hactenus ineditis P. C. illustrata, exhibet J. Jensius,' Leyden, 1696, 2 vols. folio. The notes of Colomiès are on the treatise ' De Historia Poetarum.' 19. 'Opera theologici, critici et historici argumenti junctim edita,' Hamb. 1709, 4to; incomplete edition, badly edited by Fabricius. 20. 'Lettres de la reine de Suede [Christine] et de quelques autres personnes [sine nota, 1687], 12mo, ed. by Colomies. 21 .'Italia et Hispania Orientalis, nunc primiun ed. a J. C. Wolfio,' Hamb. 1730, 4to. Haag gives a list of ten other works said to have been projected by Colomiès.[Haag's La France Protestante, 2e éd. 1884, t. iv.; Arcère's Hist. de la Rochelle, 1757, t. ii.; Niceron's Mèmoires, vii. 196-204, x. pt. ii. 235; Bayle's Dict. Historique et Critique, 1720, i. 904-6; Ducarel's Hist. of Lambeth Palace (Bibl. Topogr. No. 27), 1785, p. 67; Colomesiana (see No. 9 above); Nichols's Lit. Anecdotes, ix. 321; Biographie Univ. ix. 309-12; Weiss's Hist. des Réfugiés Protestants, 1853, 2 vols. sm. 8vo; Agnew's Protestant Exiles, 2nd ed. 1871-4, 3 vols. 4to.]