Poisson, Nicolas Joseph

Poisson, Nicolas Joseph a French ecclesiastic, noted as a writer of philosophy, was born in 1637 at Paris. He entered the Congregation of the Oratory at the age of twenty- three (1660), and undertook to propagate the principles of Descartes by writing a general commentary on all the works of that philosopher; but after publishing the Traite de la Memique Canote (Par. 1668, 4to), and Remam ques sur la Methode (Vendome, 1671, 8vo), he gave up the project for fear of compromising his congregation, whom their zeal for the new philosophy exposed to the resentment of the followers of Aristotle. The same fear prevented him from complying with the solicitations of Clerselier and of queen Christina, who promised him ample materials for a Life of Descartes. In 1677 he went to Rome, and handed secretly to pope Innocent XI, in the name of the bishops of Arras and Saint-Pens, a Memoire composed by Nicolas, and thus obtained the condemnation of sixty-five propositions of lax morals which were then in vogue in the schools of theology. The real object of his journey being discovered he was recalled by order of Pere Lachaise (1679), and relegated to Nevers, where bishop Valot made him his vicar, and gave him the direction of the diocesan seminary. After the death of this prelate, Poisson retired to a house of his order at Lyons (1705), where he died, May 3, 1710. He published, besides, Acta Ecclesiae Mediolanensis stub sancto Carolo

(Lyons, 1681-83, 2 vols. fol.), valuable for the number of documents translated by the author from Italian into Latin: — Delectus actorumn Ecclesice Universalis (ibid. 1706, 2 vols. fol.). This summary of the councils is the most extensive abridgment which we have on the subject he left a number of manuscripts, among them, Vie de Charlotte de Harlay- Sancy: — a Description de Rome moderne: — a Relation of his journey to Rome, etc. See Salmon, Trait de l'etude des Conciles, p). 275 sq.; Moreri, Grand Dict. Hist. s.v. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, s.v.

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