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PAUL PELLISSON (1624—1693)

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Originally appearing in Volume V21, Page 71 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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PAUL PELLISSON (1624—1693), French author, was born at Beziers on the 3oth of October 1624, of a distinguished Calvinist family. He studied law at Toulouse, and practised at the bar of Castres. Going to Paris with letters of introduction to Valentin Conrart, who was a co-religionist, he became through him acquainted with the members of the academy. Pellisson undertook to be their historian, and in 1653 published a Relation contenant l'histoire de l'academie francaise. This panegyric was rewarded by a promise of the next vacant place and by permission to be present at their meetings. In 1657 Pellisson became secretary to the minister of finance, Nicolas Fouquet, and when in 1661 the minister was arrested, his secretary was imprisoned in the Bastille. Pellisson had the courage to stand by his fallen patron, in whose defence he issued his celebrated Memoire in 1661, with the title Discours au roi, par un de ses fideles sujets sur le proces de M. de Fouquet, in which the facts in favour of Fouquet are marshalled with great skill. Another pamphlet, Seconde defense de M. Fouquet, followed. Pellisson was released in 1666, and from this date sought the royal favour. He became historiographer to the king, and in that capacity wrote a fragmentary Histoire de Louis XI V., covering the years 166o to 167o. In 167o he was converted to Catholicism and obtained rich ecclesiastical preferment. He died on the 7th of February 1693. He was very intimate with Mlle de Scudery, in whose novels he figures as Herminius and Acante. His sterling worth of character made him many friends and justified Bussy-Rabutin's description of him as " encore plus honnete homme que bel esprit." See Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi, vol. xiv.; and F. L. Marcon, Etude sur la vie et les ceuvres de Pellisson (1859).
End of Article: PAUL PELLISSON (1624—1693)
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