Despeisses, Anthony

, an eminent French lawyer, and a protestant, was born at Montpelier, in 1594. Being admitted to the bar, he pleaded in the parliament of Paris. Having communicated his ideas on the subject to his friend and countryman Charles de Bouques, they resolved to labour conjointly in the explanation and illustration of the civil law, and the first fruits of their labours was a “Traittdes successions testamentaires et ab intestat,Paris, 1G23, fol. dedicated to the son of the chancellor de Sillery, who patronized both authors, and encouraged them in the prosecution of their work. De Bouques was removed by death, and the undertaking would have been discontinued, had not Despeisses taken the whole upon himself, and made it the employment of nearly forty years of his life. He was about to have sent it to press, when he died almost suddenly, in 1658. The work, however, appeared under the title, “Les OEuvres d‘Antoine Despeisses, ou toutes les matieres les plus importantes du clroit Remain sont expliquees et accommode’es au droit Francois,” 4 vols. fol. The last edition was printed in 1750, 3 vols. fol. It is a work of vast labour, but according to Bretonnier, not exact in the quotations. It is recorded of Despeisses, that at one time of his life he returned to Montpellier, with a view to practice at the bar, but was diverted from it by an incident very trifling in itself. As he was addressing the court, with many digressions from the main subject, which was then the fashion, he happened to say something of Ethiopia, on which an attorney, loud enough to be heard, said, “He is now got to Ethiopia, and he will never come back.” Despeisses was so much hurt at this, and probably at the laugh which it occasioned, as to confine himself afterwards to chamber-practice, and the compilation of his great work. 2