(Also rendered d'Aguesseau).
Chancellor of France, born at Limoges, 27 November, 1668; died at Paris, 5 February, 1751. He belonged to a distinguished family which had produced many able magistrates, and was educated by his father, who was intendant of Languedoc and afterwards a councillor of state. Having been appointed advocate-general of the Parlement of Paris at the age of twenty-two, Daguesseau performed the duties of his office in the most satisfactory manner for ten years, his speeches being models of elegant diction and clear reasoning. In 1700 he was promoted to the office of attorney-general. In this position he re-established order in the courts, reformed the management of the hospitals, prevented and corrected abuses. In 1709 war, famine, and public distress gave him an opportunity to display all his energy, judgment and goodness of heart. He was consulted on the most difficult points of administration and drew up many memorials for the king. Towards the end of the reign of Louis XIV, however, he was threatened with disgrace for refusing to register the Bull "Unigenitus", of which, as he was a strong Gallican, he was a pronounced opponent.
In 1717 the regent, the Duc d'Orléans, appointed Daguesseau chancellor, but before a year had elapsed, the seals were taken from him because he opposed the projects of the notorious John Law. In 1720, after the failure of Law's schemes, he was recalled to his former office. He repaired the mischief done during his retirement and by his firmness and sagacity prevented total bankruptcy. With a view to conciliation he finally consented to the registration of the Bull "Unigenitus". He was again disgraced in 1722, through the influence of Cardinal Dubois, and retired to his estate at Fresnes, where he passed five years. Here the Scriptures, which he read and compared in various languages, and the jurisprudence of his own and other countries were the principal objects of his study; the rest of his time he devoted to philosophy, literature, and gardening. Daguesseau was recalled to office in 1727. Chancellor now for the third time, he revived public respect for law, introduced several important enactments regarding donations, testaments, and succession, and effected a greater uniformity in the execution of the laws throughout the several provinces. In 1750 he resigned his position, the king bestowing upon him a pension of 100,000 francs, which he enjoyed until his death.
During his long career Daguesseau was a man of spotless honesty and absolute devotion to the public interest. He was an upright magistrate, a fine orator and jurist, and a remarkable linguist. He used his extensive knowledge and intellectual acquirements in the cause of religion and morals. Saint-Simon speaks of him thus: "Talent, industry, penetration, universal knowledge, dignity, purity, equity, piety and innocence of life are the foundation of M. d'Aguesseau's character." The greater part of Daguesseau's writings and letters were edited by Pardessus, "Oeuvres complètes" (Paris, 1818-1820), 16 vols. 8vo; other letters were edited by M. Rives, "Lettres inédites" (Paris, 1823).
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online