D'Espagne, Jean (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

D'ESPAGNE, JEAN (1591–1659), French protestant pastor and theologian, born in 1591 in the Dauphiné, was pastor at Orange in 1620, and then at the Hague, which he seems to have left in 1629, under disagreeable circumstances, if we may trust a very hostile pamphlet published against him in London in 1657 (Réponse aux questions de M. Despagne adressées à l'Eglise francoise de Londres, London, 1657, apparently written by a M. Herbert).

From the Hague he came to London, wrote his first work on the lawfulness of the ‘Duello (‘Antiduello, or a treatise in which is discussed the lawfulnesse and unlawfulnesse of single combats,’ 1632; republished in the same year under the title of ‘Antiduello. The Anatomie of Duells with the Symptomes thereof,’ &c.) D'Espagne became pastor to a French congregation in London, which met, through the kindness of the Earl of Pembroke, ‘in Durham House in the Strand, and after that was pulled down at the chapel in Somerset House, which was procured for that assembly by order of the House of Lords’ (New and General Biog. Dict. 1798).

D'Espagne evidently adopted a somewhat independent line among his countrymen and co-religionists, not only venturing to criticise Calvin—which won him the posthumous encomiums of Bayle—but holding aloof from the older French church of London. He accused the latter of millenarianism and other folly. They in turn accused him of schism. The controversy raged angrily, and appears to have been carried in some form before the House of Lords, who adjudicated in D'Espagne's favour (see pamphlet already ut supra).

D'Espagne's books and pamphlets relate to a variety of subjects. Some were translated into English, and the collected works were translated into German. A catalogue is in Haag's ‘La France protestante.’

D'Espagne died on 25 April 1659. There is a mediocre portrait of him in the translated ‘Essay on the Wonders of God,’ published in London by his executor in 1662.

[Didot's Nouvelle Biographie Générale, and works quoted above.]

F. T. M.