Camus, John Peter

, an exemplary French prelate, was born at Paris in 1582, and on account of his excellent character and talents, was nominated to the bishopric of Bellay by Henry IV. in 1609, before he was of age, but having obtained the pope’s dispensation, he was consecrated on Dec. 30th of the same year. From this time he appears to have devoted his time and talents to the edification of his flock, and of the people at large, by frequent preaching, and more frequent publication of numerous works calculated to divert their attention to the concerns of an immortal life. In his time romances began to be the favourite books with all who would be thought readers of taste; and Camus, considering that it would not be easy to persuade them to leave off such books without supplying them with some kind of substitute, published several works of practical piety with a mixture of romantic narrative, by which | he hoped to attract and amuse the attention of romancereaders, and draw them on insensibly to matters of religious importance. He contrived, therefore, that the lovers, in these novels, while they encountered the usual perplexities, should be led to see the vanity and perishable nature of all human enjoyments, and to form resolutions of renouncing worldly delights, and embracing a religious life. Among these works we find enumerated, 1. “Dorothee, ou recit de la pitoyable issue d’une volorite violentee,Paris, 1621. 2. “Alexis,” 1^22, 3 vols. 8vo. 3. L’Hyacinte, histoire Catalane,“ibid. 1627, 8yo. 4.” Alcime, relation funeste, &c.“ibid. 12mo, 1625, &c. But the principal object of his reforming spirit was the conduct of the rnonks, or mendicant friars, against whom he wrote various severe remonstrances, and preached against them with a mixture of religious fervour and satirical humour. Among the works he published against them are, 1.” Le Directeur desinteresse,“Paris, 1632, 12mo. 2.” Desappropriation claustrale,“Besangon, 1634. 3.” Le Rabat-joy e du triomphe monagal.“4.” L’anti-Moine bien prepare,“1632, &c. &c. These monks teazed the cardinal Richelieu to silence him, and the cardinal told him,I really find no other fault with you but this horrible bitterness against the monks; were it not for that, I would canonize you.“I wish that may come to pass,“said the bishop,” “for then we should both have our wish; you would be pope, and I a saint.” Many of his bons-mots were long in circulation, and show that he had the courage to reprove vices and absurdities among the highest classes. In 1620 he established in the city of Bellay a convent of capuchins, and in 1622 one for the nuns of the visitation, instituted by St. Francis de Sales. In 1629 he resigned his bishopric that he might pass the remainder of his days in retirement, in the abbey of Cluny in Normandy, but the archbishop of Rouen, unwilling that so active a member of the church should not be employed in public services, associated him in his episcopal cares, by appointing him his grand vicar. At length he finally retired to the hospital of incurables in Paris, where he died April 26, 1652. Moreri has enumerated a large catalogue of his works, the principal of which, besides what we have enumerated, are, “L’ Esprit de S. Frangois de Sales,” 6 vols. 8vo, reduced to one by a doctor of the Sorbonne; and “L’Avoisinement des Protestans avec TEglise Romaine,” republished in 1703 by | Richard Simon, under the title of “Moyens de reunir les Protestans avec l’Eglise Romaine.” Simon asserted, that Bossuet’s exposition of the catholic faith was no more than this work in a new dress. 1


Moreri. —Dict. Hist. Perrault Les Hommes Illustres. Freheri Theatrum. Biog. Gallica, vol. I.