Caussin, Nicholas

, a French Jesuit, and confessor to Lewis XIII. was born at Troyes, in Champagne, in 1580, and entered into the order of Jesuits when he was twentysix years of age. He taught rhetoric in several of their colleges; and afterwards began to preach, by which he gained very great reputation, and increased it not a little by his publications. At length he was preferred to bje confessor to the king; but, although pious and conscientious, did not discharge this office to the satisfaction of cardinal Richelieu, and the cardinal used every effort to get him removed. A little before his death, he is said to have delivered into the hands of a friend some original letters; from short extracts of which, since published, it appears that he "fell into disgrace because he would not reveal some things which he knew by the king’s confession; nor even take advice of his superiors how he was to behave himself in the direction of the king’s conscience, when he could not do it without breaking through the laws of confession. There are also some hints in the same extracts, which shew that he did not approve Lewis the Thirteenth’s conduct towards the queen his mother; and there is a probability that he caballed to get Richelieu removed. If we may believe the abbe Siri in his memoirs, this Jesuit, in his private conversations with the king, insisted upon the cardinal’s removal, for the four following reasons: 1. Because Mary de Meclicis, the queen-mother, was banished. 2. Because he left Lewis only the empty name of king. 3. Because he oppressed the nation. 4. Because he powerfully assisted the Protestants to the prejudice of the Catholic church. According to this author, he even engaged to maintain these four articles against the cardinal in the king’s presence; and he offered the cardinal’s place to the duke of Angouleme. This plot was the occasion of his disgrace, according to the abbe* Siri. Others have asserted, that the queen-mother obliged him to leave Paris, to gratify cardinal Mazarine, whom he had displeased; | and that his disgrace was occasioned by his Latin piece concerning the kingdom and bouse of God, published in 1650, in which be had freely spoken of the qualities with which princes ought to be adorned. It is certain, however, that he was deprived of his employment, and banished to a city of Lower Britanny. He got leave to return to Paris aftr the cardinal’s death, and died there in the convent oi the Jesuits, July 1651.

None of his works did him more honour in his day, than that which he entitled “La cour sainte,” or “The holy court,” a moral work, illustrated by stories well known once to the readers of old folios in this country. It has been often reprinted and translated into Latin, Italian, Spanish, Portugueze, German, and English. He published several other books, both in Latin and French particularly, 1. “De Kloquentia sacra et humana,1619, 4to, which* was several times reprinted. It exhibits numerous examples of different styles in writing. 2. “Klectorum Symbolorum et Parabolarum historicarum Syntagmata,1618, 4to. 3. “Disputes sur les quatre livres des Hois, touchant l‘Education des Princes,” fol. 4. “Tragedise Sacra,1620. 5. “Apologie pour les Religieux de la Compagnie de Jesus,1644, 8vo. 6. “La Vie neutre des Filles devotes,” &c. 1G44-. 7. “Symbolica ^gyptiorum Sapientia,1647, 4to; and some other works of devotion and controversy, of which his “Christian Diary” was printed in English, 1648, 12mo. There is a strange singularity related of father Caussin by one of his eulogists, which was, that he had a very extraordinary sympathy with the heavens, especially with the sun, which he called his star; and which had very remarkable effects both upon his body and mind, according as it was more or less distant, or as it shined bright or was covered with clouds. The effects of the sun upon him were not transient, but appeared constantly by the sparkling of his eyes, and the lively colour of his face, in which there was something that made a very strong impression upon Henry IV. of France. Caussin, when very young, attended father Gonteri, a famous preacher of his time, to court, and there that king observed him very attentively. He had never seen him before, nor heard of him; but as soon as he perceived him, he went to him, took him by the hand, and treated him with so much kindness, that Caussin was as much ashamed as the by-standers were astonished. But the king said, that he had distinguished | this youth among the crowd, and expected that he would serve him and his family very faithfully. Then, turning to father Gonteri, he spoke with a loud voice, “Father, you have here an attendant, who, if I am not mistaken, will become in time one of the greatest ornaments in your society.1


Gen. Dict.—Moreri. —Dict. Hist.