Pradt, Dominique Dufour De

Pradt, Dominique Dufour de a French prelate and diplomatist, was born at Allanches, in Auvergne, April 23, 1759. He studied for some time at the military school, but gave the preference to the ecclesiastical career, and gained in 1786 the degree of doctor of theology. Cardinal de la Rochefoucauld, archbishop of Rouen, bestowed upon him the title of vicar-general and one of the richest prebends of his cathedral. In 1789 the clergy of the diocese sent him to the Etats-Generaux, where he sided with the clerical and monarchical minority. He followed his patron into exile, and attended him at Munster, in 1800, in his last hours. In 1798 Pradt published anonymously his most celebrated work, L'Antidote au Congres de Rastadt (Hamburg, 8vo). In 1800 he published, again anonymously, La Prusse et sa Neutraliti (8vo). His opinion, as expressed in these writings, was that the Revolution would prove fatal to France. Cancelled from the roll of the emigrants, he returned to Paris, and was introduced by his relation, general Duroc, to the first consul. The latter was given to understand that military despotism could find no more faithful servant. De Pradt was appointed chaplain of the new emperor and bishop of Poitiers; he was, as such, consecrated by pope Pius VII himself, in the church of Saint-Sulpice, Feb. 2, 1805. The "chaplain of the god Mars," as he called himself, followed his master to Milan. In 1808 he was at Bayonne as one of the negotiators of the convention which removed the Bourbons from the throne of Spain, and was rewarded with a bounty of fifty thousand francs and the archiepiscopal see of Mechlin (May 12, 1808). He was one of the nineteen bishops who, March 25, 1810, solicited from the pope the dispensation which Napoleon wanted for his marriage with Maria Louisa. In 1811 he was a member of the second commission appointed for the purpose of preparing the questions to be proposed to the National Council, and the emperor, Aug. 20, appointed him member of the deputation sent to Savone to submit the decrees of that council for the pope's approbation. In the ensuing year he was sent as ambassador to Warsaw, where he opened with a speech the Polish diet, June, 1812. It was here that a spirit of opposition commenced to stir in the supple priest, and he was sent back to his diocese. He returned to France with the allies, who, he says, by his advice, "determined to break entirely with Napoleon and his dynasty, and re-establish the Bourbons on the throne." De Pradt owed to his relations with Talleyrand his nomination as grand-chancellor of the Legion of Honor, and the dignity of grand-cross of the order. In 1815 he retired to Auvergne, and in 1816 he accepted a liferent of 12,000 francs from William, king of the Netherlands, in exchange for his archbishopric. In the reign of Louis XVIII he was pleased to side with the opposition. He wrote some brilliant pamphlets against the government: one of them brought him before the Cour d'Assises of the Seine, where he was defended by the elder Dupin. In 1827 he was elected deputy of Clermont-Ferrand. After the revolution of July his opinions underwent a new change: he again declared for unmitigated royalty and against the liberty of the press. He died at Paris March 18, 1837. We mention, among his numerous writings, Histoire de l'Ambassade dans le Grand-Duchi de Varsovie (Paris, 1815, 1826, 8vo). In this amusing and witty composition he holds a review over the personages of the empire with uncommon satirical sharpness. We find in it the following regarding the principal figure: "The genius of Napoleon was fitted at the same time for the stage of the world and for that of the mountebanks; it was represented by royal attire mixed with the dress of a clown. The god Mars was nothing but a kind of Jupiter-Scapin, the like of which the world had never seen: — Memoires historiques sur la Revolution d'Espagne (Paris, 1816, 8vo): — Des Colonies, et de la Revolution actutelle de l'Amerique (ibid. 1817, 2 vols. 8vo): — Les Quatre Concordats (ibid. 1818-20, 3 vols. 8vo), one of his most curious writings: — L'Europe apres le Congres d'Aix-la-Chapelle (ibid. 1819, 8vo): Le Congres de Carlsbad (ibid. 1819, 8vo): — L'Europe et l'Amrique depuis le Congrses d'Aix - la- Chapelle (ibid. 1821-2, 2 vols. 8vo): — L'Europe et l'Amerique en 1821 et Ann. suiv. (ibid. 1821-4, 4 vols. 8vo): — Du Jesuitisme ancien et moderne (ibid. 1825-6, 8vo) etc. See L'Ami de la Religion (1837); Perennes, Biog. univ. supplem. au Dict. hist. de Feller; Jauffret, Mm. hist. sur les Affaires eccles. de France; Rabbe, etc., Biog. univ. et portat. des Contempoiains; Querard, La France litter. Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, s.v.; Lond. Qu. Rev. Jan. 1816 Monthly Rev. vol. 80 (1816).

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