Desmares, Toussaint

, priest of the oratory, famous for his sermons, was born in 1599 at Vire in Normandy. He first studied at Caen, put himself under the direction of cardinal de Bemlle, and entered into his congregation. He afterwards devoted himself to the study of the Holy Scriptures and the fathers, and became a very celebrated, preacher. He was sent to Rome to defend the doctrine of Jansenius; where he pronounced a discourse on that subject before Innocent X. which may be seen in the “Journal de Saint-Amour.” His attachment to the opinions of Jangenius was the cause or the pretext of search being made after him in order to convey him to the Bastille, but he escaped the pursuit, and retired for the rest of his days to the seat of the duke de Liancourt, in the diocese of Beauvais. One day, when Louis XIV. happened to be there, the duke presented Desmares to him. The old man said to the monarch, with an air of respect and freedom: “Sir, I ask a boon of you.” “Ask,” returned Louis, “and I will grant it you.” “Sir,” replied the old man, “permit me to put on my spectacles, that I may contemplate the countenance of my king.Louis XIV. declared that of all the variety of compliments that had been paid him, none ever pleased him more than this. Desmares died in 1687, at the age of 87, after having composed the “Necrologe de Port-royal,” printed in 1723, 4to, to which a supplement was added by Le Fevre de St. Marc, in 1725; “Description de Tabbaye de la Trappe,Lyons, 1683, and various theological and controversial works, enumerated by Moreri. 1