Garasse, Francis

, a French Jesuit, and the author of the enmity between the Jesuits and the Jansenists, in the church of Rome, was born at Angouleme in 1585, and having laid a good foundation of grammar-learning, entered of the Jesuits’ college in 1600. It was the special care of those fathers, to admit none into their society but youths of genius; and Garasse was not wanting in good | natural parts, nor did he neglect to improve them by reading and study; of which he gave an admirable proof in his book of elegies on the death of Henry IV. and in a poem in heroic verse, addressed to Louis XIII. upon his inauguration, in the name of the college at Poictiers. The titles of these two pieces are, 1. “Elegiarum de funesta morte Henrici magni liber singularis,” Pictavii, 1611, 4to. 2. “Sacra Rhemensia Carolina Heroica nomine Collegii Pictavensis oblata Ludov. XIII. Regi Christianissimo in sua inauguratione,” ibid. The two following pieces are also ascribed to him: 1. “De la.Resemblance de la lumiere du Soleil & de la Justice,” Bourdeaux, 1612. 2. “Les champs Elysiens pour la Reception du Roy Louis XIII. lors qu‘il entroit a Bourdeaux a l’occasion de son Marriage.

As he had a great deal of spirit and imagination, and a strong voice, he became a popular preacher in the chief cities of France. He acquitted himself in the pulpit with uncommon vivacity, and had a peculiar turn for the wit then in vogue, which, being enforced by a suitable delivery, made deep impressions upon his audience. But he was not content with the honour he thus did to his order. His ambition led him to aim at being more extensively serviceable by his writings. With that spirit, while yet in his noviciate, he published in 1614 a defence of the Jesuits against three of their adversaries at once. This piece he entitled “The Horoscope of Anti-Coton, together with the life, death, burial, and apotheosis of his two cousingermans Marteliere and Hardeviliere.” The treatise appeared under a feigned name, and was drawn up in the ironical style, but too much vitiated by buffoonery; and, in the same name and style, he printed in 1615, “The Calvinistic Elixir, or Reformed Philosopher’s Stone, first dug up by Calvin at Geneva, and afterwards polished by Isaac Casaubon at London, with the testamentary codex of Anti-Coton, lately found upon Charenton-bridge.” The first of these is entitled “Andrew Schioppii Casparis fratris horoscopus,” &c. Antwerp, 1614, 4to. The second “Andres Schioppii Casparis fratris Elixir Calvinisticum,” &c. ibid. 1651, 8vo. In the first he attacked the three following pieces; 1. “L’Anticoton, on refutation de la Lettre declaratoire du Pere Colon,1610, 8vo. 2. “Playdoye du Pierre de la Martiliere Avocat en Parlement pour le Recteur de l’University de Paris contre lesJe-r | suits,Paris, 1612, 8vo. 3. “Petri Hardovilierii Actiopro Academia Parisiensi adversus Presbyteros & Scholasticos Collegii Claromontanii habita in Senatu Parisiensi. ann. 1611,Paris, 1612, 8vo. Niceron observes, that our author’s satirical style was very like that of the famous Schioppius, which was apparently the reason of his chusing that mask, which suited him exactly well.

The two subsequent years he employed his pen in satire and panegyric, both grossly exaggerated. These panegyrics are, 1. “Oraisou L’Andrese de Nesmond premier President du Parlement de Bourdeaux.” This oration was made in 1616, when that president died, and was printed with his remonstrances at Lyons, 1656, 4to. 2. “Colossus Henrico Magno in ponte novo positus, Carmen,Paris, 1617, 4to. That famous equestrian statue was erected Aug. 25, 1614. The satire is, “Le banquet des Playdoiers de Mr. Servin, par Charles de PEspinoell,1617, 8vo a virulent attack on the magistrate Servin.

In 1618, he took the four vows, and became a father or his order. This is the highest title conferred on that or any other of the monastic institutions; and our author, being thereby admitted to read and study the sublimest mysteries of his religion, in a few years appeared upon the stage of the public in the character of a zealous champion for the faith, against the infidels and prophaners of those mysteries. But in the mean time his pen was far from lying idle. In 1620 he printed a piece entitled “Rabelais reformed by the ministers, particularly Peter du Moulin, minister of Charenton, in answer to the buffooneries inserted in his book” (of the invocation of pastors); and two years afterwards he ventured to attack the ghost of Stephen Pasquier, in another piece, entitled “Recherches des Recherches & autres ceuvres d’Etienne Pasquier.” There cannot be given a better specimen of the peculiar strain of his satirical wit, than is furnished by the epistle dedicatory to this book. It is addressed to the late Stephen Pasquier, wherever he may be “for,” says he, “having never been able to find out your religion, I know not the route or way you took at your departure out of this life; and therefore I am forced to write to you at a venture, and to address this packet wherever you may be.

Garassethe next year, 1628, published “La Doctrine curieuse des beaux esprits de ce temps, &c. The curious doctrine of the wits, or pretenders to wit, of this age, | containing several maxims pernicious to the state of religion and good manners, refuted and overthrown.” He took occasion in several places of this work, to throw out rough and abusive raillery upon Pasquier; and went on in the same strain, in a third production, printed in 1625, 4to. The sons of Pasquier were at last provoked beyond all patience, to see the manes of their father so irreligiously disturbed. Resolving to revenge his memory, and to pay our author in his own coin, they published a treatise, in which Garasse was thus accosted: having recounted the words of his dedication just mentioned; “This,” say they, in the singular number, “has made me use the same freedom with you, and forced me to address this packet to you, in what place soever you may be. For, not knowing whether you may be at the service-tree, which you call a tavern of honour, and where you confess you have had many a good meal free-cost; or at the town of Clomar, in the suburbs of St. Germain, where your name is written in such fair characters on all the mantle-trees of the chimnies; or in some other place of the same kind; -I am constrained to send you this book at a venture, and to direct it to you in what place soever you be.” The truth was, that in general the free course of Garasse' s life ran parallel to that of his wit, which he had indulged to such a height in his “Doctrine Curieuse,” that notwithstanding the specious title against atheists and atheistical libertines prefixed by the author, a very different one was bestowed upon it by others, particularly Naude, who distinguished it by the title of “Atheism reduced to an art.” Prior Ogier, in particular, having observed that our author was better qualified for a satirical poet or a merry Andrew,*


He alludes to Garasse’s assuming the name of Andrew Schioppius. The title of the book is “Jugement et Cen sure de livre de la Doctrine Curieuse de Françoise Garasse.

than for a catholic doetor, exclaimed against the whole order, for making choice of such a champion. This was made public the same year; and in the following our author issued a defence, entitled “Apologie de F. Garasse,” &c. To this the prior immediately prepared for a reply; but here the fraternity stepped in, and procured such mediators as found means to end the dispute in an amicable way. The Jesuit prevented his antagonist by a letter full of civilities, which was answered in the same way by the prior, 1 and care was taken to let the public see those letters, as soon as they | were written, in 1624.*

In favour of Garasse they bore this artful title, “Literæ a D. Ogier & hujus ad ilium de sua cum Ecclesia reconciliatione.

By the same method our author was also reconciled to Balzac, with whose character he had made free, having provided a seat, for him among the atheists of the times.

The “Doctrine Curieuse,” carried the strongest marks of a most busy and active temper; vivacity was the characteristic of the author, and he had no sooner escaped the difficulties which that treatise brought upon him, but he plunged into another, of a much more threatening aspect. This was created by a book he published in 1625, under the title of “La Somme Theologique des verites capitales de la religion Chretienne.” It was this book which first excited the war between the Jansenists and the Jesuits, and in the following manner. The abbot of St. Cyran, observing in Garasse’s book a prodigious number of falsifications of Scripture and the fathers, besides many heretical and impious opinions, thought the honour of the church required a refutation of them. Accordingly, he wrote an answer at large, in four parts. But while the first part was in the press, the noise it every where made occasioned Garasse’s book to be more carefully examined. March 2, 1626, the rector of the Sorbonne declared before that society that he had received several complaints of it; and, proposing to have it examined, a committee was appointed for that purpose, who should give their opinion of it on the 2d of May following. This matter alarming Carasse, he presently after this appointment published at Paris, “L’abus decouverte,” &c. In this piece he drew up a list of 111 propositions the most easy to maintain that he could find, and having composed a censure of them, which he pretended was that of the abbot St. Cyran, he refuted that answer with ease. This coming to the hands of St. Cyran, March 16, he wrote some notes upon it the same day, which were printed with the title of “A refutation of the pretended abuse, and discovery of the true ignorance and vanity of father Francis Garasse;” and the committee of the Sorbonne made their report on the day appointed. But some persons who approved the book desired more time, and that the propositions censured might be communicated to them. This was granted; and on the 1st of July, attempting partly to defend, and partly | to explain it, they found themselves under a necessity of confessing that there were some passages in it which could not be excused; and that F. Garasse had promised to correct them, without performing his promise. On this, the doctors agreeing that the book ought to be censured, the censure was accordingly passed Sept. 1, and immediately published, with the title of “Censura S. Facultatis Theofogicse, &c. The Censure of the sacred Faculty of the Clergy at Paris, upon a book entitled Theological Summary of F. Francis Garasse.” The sentence was to this effect, that the summary contained several heretical, erroneous, scandalous, and rash propositions; several falsifications of passages of Scripture, and of the holy fathers, falsely cited, and wrested from their true sense; and an infinite number of expressions unfit to be written or read by Christians and divines.

This sentence was perfectly agreeable to the abbot of St. Cyran’s critique, which, after many hindrances raised by the Jesuits, came out the same year, entitled, “A Collection of the faults and capital falsities contained in the Theological Summary of F. Francis Garasse .*


He intended four volumes, but the two first only were printed, and an abridgment of the fourth; his name is not in thw title-page, and in the privilege prefixed, he assumes the name of Alexandre de l’Exclusse. —Bayle re commends it as one of the most useful books a man can read, especially if he designs to set up for an author who argues from authorities, allusions, comparisons, &c.

In answer to which, our author wrote, “Avis touchant la refutation, &c. Advice concerning the refutation of the Theological Summary of F. Garasse.” This came out also before the end of the year, and concluded the dispute between the two combatants in particular. But the two orders of Jesuits and Jansenists in general, of whom these were respectively the champions, grew from the consequences of it, into such an implacable hatred and animosity against each other, as seemed not be extinguishable by ordinary means. With respect to Garasse, the Jesuits used some kind of prudence. They did not obstinately persist in supporting him, but banished him to one of their houses at a great distance from Paris, where he was heard of no more. This punishment, to a man of his ambitious and busy temper, was worse than death. Accordingly, as if weary of such a life, when the plague raged violently in Poictiers, in 1631, he asked earnestly of his superiors to attend those that were seized with it; leave was granted, and in that charitable | office, catching the contagion, he died among the infected persons in the hospital, on the 14th of June that year. He is styled by bp. Warburton, in his Commentary on the “Essay on Man,” an eminent casuist. 1

Geq. Dict. by Bnyle. Moreci, Nitron, vol. XXXI.