1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Capefigue, Jean-Baptiste Honoré Raymond
CAPEFIGUE, JEAN-BAPTISTE HONORÉ RAYMOND (1801–1872), French historian and biographer, was born at Marseilles in 1801. At the age of twenty he went to Paris to study law; but he soon deserted law for journalism. He became editor of the Quotidienne, and was afterwards connected, either as editor or leading contributor, with the Temps, the Messager des Chambres, the Révolution de 1848 and other papers. During the ascendancy of the Bourbons he held a post in the foreign office, to which is due the royalism of some of his newspaper articles. Indeed all Capefigue’s works receive their colour from his legitimist politics; he preaches divine right and non-resistance, and finds polite words even for the profligacy of Louis XV. and the worthlessness of his mistresses. He wrote biographies of Catherine and Marie de’ Medici, Anne and Maria Theresa of Austria, Catherine II. of Russia, Elizabeth of England, Diana of Poitiers and Agnes Sorel—for he delighted in passing from “queens of the right hand” to “queens of the left.” His historical works, besides histories of the Jews from the fall of the Maccabees to the author’s time, of the first four centuries of the Christian church, and of European diplomatists, extend over the whole range of French history. He died at Paris in December 1872.
The general catalogue of printed books for the Bibliothèque Nationale contains no fewer than seventy-seven works (145 volumes) published by Capefigue during forty years. Of these only the Histoire de Philippe-Auguste (4 vols., 1829) and the Histoire de la réforme, de la ligue et du règne de Henri IV (8 vols., 1834–1835) perhaps deserve still to be remembered. For Capefigue’s style bears evident marks of haste, and although he had access to an exceptionally large number of sources of information, including the state papers, neither his accuracy nor his judgment was to be trusted.