ÉMILE DESMAISONS Portrait of Bossuet (1627-1704) ca. 1860 [R/V] - x +
DesE1860boss


CN: DesE1860boss

MT: albumen print on paper mounted on card (9x6 / C:10x6)

TX: embossed at center left of picture <ED>, printed at lower left of margin in French <Collection E. DESMAISONS>, inscribed with fountain pen at lower center of margin <Bossuet>, inscribed with pencil at rear upper left <Bossuet>, printed at center <E. DESMAISONS / 22, Rue de l'Arbre-Sec / PRÈS LE PONT NEUF / PARIS / Ci devant Rue des Grands Augustine, 5 / Copyright Secured for England>, stamped below <MAISON / ALPH. GIROUX>

PR: Maison Alphonse Giroux, Paris

DN: Mr. Megakles Rogakos - 2009

CM: Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet (27 September 1627 - 12 April 1704) was a French bishop and theologian, renowned for his sermons and other addresses. He has been considered by many to be one of the most brilliant orators of all time and a masterly French stylist. Court preacher to Louis XIV of France, Bossuet was a strong advocate of political absolutism and the divine right of kings. He argued that government was divine and that kings received their power from God. He was also an important courtier and politician. The works best known to English speakers are three great orations delivered at the funerals of Henrietta Maria, widow of Charles I of England (1669), her daughter, Henrietta Anne, Duchess of Orléans (1670), and the outstanding soldier Le Grand Condé (1687). § When Bossuet was chosen to be the tutor of the Dauphin, oldest child of Louis XIV, he wrote several works for the edification of his pupil. One of which was Politics Derived from the Words of Holy Scripture, a discourse on the principles of royal absolutism. The work was published posthumously in 1709. The work consists of several books which are divided into articles and propositions which lay out the nature, characteristics, duties, and resources of royalty. To justify his propositions, Bossuet quotes liberally from the Bible and various psalms. Throughout his essay, Bossuet emphasizes the fact that royal authority comes directly from God, and that the person of the king is sacred. In the third book, Bossuet asserts that "God establishes kings as his ministers, and reigns through them over the people." He also states that "the prince must be obeyed on principle, as a matter of religion and of conscience." While he declares the absolute authority of rulers, he emphasizes the fact that kings must use their power only for the public good and that the king is not above the law, "for if he sins, he destroys the laws by his example." In books six and seven, Bossuet describes the duties of the subjects to the prince, and the special duties of royalty. For Bossuet, the prince was synonymous with the state, which is why according to him the subjects of the prince owe to the prince the same duties that they owe their country. He also states that "only public enemies make a separation between the interest of the prince and the interest of the state." As far as the duties of royalty, the primary goal is the preservation of the state. Bossuet describes three ways that this can be achieved: by maintaining a good constitution, making good use of the state's resources, and protecting the state from the dangers and difficulties that threaten it. In books nine and ten, Bossuet outlines the various resources of royalty (arms, wealth, and counsel) and how they should be used. In regards to arms, Bossuet explains that there are just and unjust grounds for war. Unjust causes include: ambitious conquest, pillage, and jealousy. As far as wealth is concerned, he then lays out the types of expenditures that a king has and the various sources of wealth for the kingdom. He emphasizes that the true wealth of a kingdom is its men, and says that it is important to improve the people's lot and eliminate the poor and the beggars. [Jacques-Bénigne Bossuet "Politics Derived from the Words of Holy Scripture" in Keith Michael Baker 1987, p.31-47]

BIBLIOGRAPHY:
BAKER, KEITH MICHAEL The Old Regime and the French Revolution 1987 The University of Chicago Press, Chicago

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