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Paul Pellisson

Paul Pellisson (October 30, 1624 - February 17, 1693), French author, was born at Béziers[?] on the 30th 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’académie 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 Mémoire in 1661, with the title Discours au roi, par un de ses idèles sujets sur le procès 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 XIV, covering the years 1660 to 1670. In 1670 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 Scudéry. 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 honnête homme que bel esprit."

See Sainte-Beuve, Causeries du lundi, vol. xiv.; and FL Marcon, Étude sur la vie et les wuvees de Pellisson (1859).

This entry was originally from the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.

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