Chaufepie, James George De

, author of a very useful Biographical Dictionary, was descended from the ancient and noble family of the Calfopedi of Florence, which removed into France under Francis I. At the revocation of the edict of Nantz, Samuel de Chaufepié, the representative of the family, and pfotestant minister at Couhé in Poitou, was obliged to take refuge in Friesland, where he died pastor of the church of Leuwarden in 1704. He had ten children by his wife Maria Marbœuf de la Rimbaudiere, of whom the subject of the present article was the youngest, and born at Leuwarden, Nov. 9, 1702. He was educated partly at Franeker, under professor Andala, as appears by his maintaining an academical thesis before that professor, in 1718, on “Innate Ideas,” and probably about the same time, a second on “The punishment of the Cross,” which was afterwards published in a collection by Gerdes, in 1734. After being admitted into the ministry, he preached for some time at Flushing, then at Delft, and lastly at Amsterdam, where he was pastor of the Walloon church, and where he died, highly respected for piety and learning, and much lamented, July 3, 1786. He was not more diligent in the discharge of his professional functions, than attached to studious researches, which he pursued throughout the whole of his long life. In 1736 he published, “Lettres sur divers sujets importans de la Religion,” 12mo, and in 1746 prefixed a life or historical eulogium to the sermons of John Brutel de la Riviere. In 1756 he published three sermons, intended to prove the truth of the Christian religion from the present state of the Jews; and wrote an account of the life and writings of our celebrated poet Pope, which was prefixed to a French translation of his works, printed at Amsterdam in 1758. He also translated from the Dutch an abridgement, in question and answer, of the history of his country; and from the English, part of Shuckford’s works, with additions, and several volumes of the “Universal History,” which he improved very considerably, particularly in the history of Venice. This labour, however, he discontinued in 1771, and does not appear after that to have | published any thing of consequence, confining himself to his pastoral duties, if we except his “Life of Servetus,” which in 1771 was translated into English, by James Yair, minister of the Scots church at Campvere, and published at London, 8vo. The chief object of it seems to be to vindicate Calvin from the reproaches usually thrown upon him for the share he had in the prosecution of Servetus; but some will probably think that he has at least been equally successful in throwing new and not very favourable light on the conduct and principles of Servetus.

A selection of Chaufepie’s “Sermons” was published after his death by his nephew and colleague in the church at Amsterdam, Samuel de Chaufepié. But the work which gives him the best title to a place here, is his “Nouveau Dictionaire Historique et Critique pour servir de Supplement, ou de Continuation au Dictionaire de M. Pierre Bayle,Amsterdam, 1750—1756, 4 vols. fol. The editors of the French Dict. Historique, of 1804, messieurs Chaudon and Delandine, speak of this as an ill-digested work, and say that the author, in continuing Bayle, has imitated him neither in his good nor his bad qualities, and that he does not interest his readers like the philosopher of Rotterdam, his style being inferior and incorrect. They allow, however, that he respects religion, although he declaims sometimes against the Roman Catholics; and they give due praise to his researches respecting the literature of France, England, and Holland. That he declaims against the Roman catholics sometimes, is an objection very natural to the editors of the French dictionary, but frequent recourse to Chaufepie’s work convinces us that he speaks with impartiality, and engages as little as possible with points of controversy. The work was originally intended as a supplement to Bayle, but various circumstances stated by the author in his preface, prevented the booksellers from prosecuting this plan, and it may rather be considered as a new work, founded partly on Bayle, and partly on the English “General Dictionary,” 10 vols. fol. The new articles from the pen of Chaufepié are in general accurate, and this work ought to be better known in this country, because, owing to the author’s religious principles, less use has been made of it abroad than it deserves. The English articles, although this circumstance is not perhaps of much importance here, are more full than in any other work published on the | Continent, and the additions the author has made not only to them, but to Bayle’s series, afford a very favourable idea of the labour and research he must have employed. He appears to have been first applied to by the booksellers of Amsterdam in 1739, and to have spent several years in preparing it for the press. With respect to the charge that it is less interesting to readers than Bayle, we can only remark that in proportion as any biographer follows Bayle, he will render his work a tissue of interrupting impertinencies and crude sentiments. 1