establish as a practical law the convention of the unities that plays so large a part in the history of the French stage; but the laws of dramatic method and construction generally were codified by d’Aubignac in his Pratique du théâtre. The book was only published in 1657, but had been begun at the desire of Richelieu as early as 1640. His Conjectures académiques sur l’Iliade d’Homère, which was not published until nearly forty years after his death, threw doubts on the existence of Homer, and anticipated in some sense the conclusions of Friedrich August Wolf in his Prolegomena ad Homerum (1795).
AUBIGNÉ, CONSTANT D’ [Baron de Surineau] (c. 1584-1647), French adventurer, was the son of Théodore Agrippa d’Aubigné, and the father of Madame de Maintenon. Born a Protestant, he became by turns Catholic or Protestant as it suited his interests. He betrayed the Protestants in 1626, revealing to the court, after a voyage to England, the projects of the English upon La Rochelle. He was renounced by his father; then imprisoned by Richelieu’s orders at Niort, where he was detained ten years. After having tried his fortunes in the Antilles, he died in Provence, leaving in destitution his wife, Jeanne de Cardillac, whom he had married in 1627. He had two children, Charles, father of the duchess of Noailles, and Françoise, known in history as Madame de Maintenon.
AUBIGNÉ, JEAN HENRI MERLE D’ (1794-1872), Swiss Protestant divine and historian, was born on the 16th of August 1794, at Eaux Vives, near Geneva. The ancestors of his father, Aimé Robert Merle d’Aubigné (1755-1799), were French Protestant refugees. Jean Henri was destined by his parents to a commercial life; but at college he decided to be ordained. He was profoundly influenced by Robert Haldane, the Scottish missionary and preacher who visited Geneva. When in 1817 he went abroad to further his education, Germany was about to celebrate the tercentenary of the Reformation; and thus early he conceived the ambition to write the history of that great epoch. At Berlin he received stimulus from teachers so unlike as J. A. W. Neander and W. M. L. de Wette. After presiding for five years over the French Protestant church at Hamburg, he was, in 1823, called to become pastor of a congregation in Brussels and preacher to the court. He became also president of the consistory of the French and German Protestant churches. At the Belgian revolution of 1830 he thought it advisable to undertake pastoral work at home rather than to accept an educational post in the family of the Dutch king. The Evangelical Society had been founded with the idea of promoting evangelical Christianity in Geneva and elsewhere, but it was found that there was also needed a theological school for the training of pastors. On his return to Switzerland, d’Aubigné was invited to become professor of church history in an institution of the kind, and continued to labour in the cause of evangelical Protestantism. In him the Evangelical Alliance found a hearty promoter. He frequently visited England, was made a D. C. L. by Oxford University, and received civic honours from the city of Edinburgh. He died suddenly in 1872.
His principal works are—Discours sur l’étude de l’histoire de Christianisme (Geneva, 1832); Le Luthéranisme et la Réforme (Paris, 1844); Germany, England and Scotland, or Recollections of a Swiss Pastor (London, 1848); Trois siècles de lutte en Écosse, ou deux rois et deux royaumes; Le Protecteur ou la république d’Angleterre aux jours de Cromwell (Paris, 1848); Le Concile et l’infaillibilité (1870); Histoire de la Réformation au XVIième siècle (Paris, 1835-1853; new ed:, 1861-1862, in 5 vols.); and Histoire de la Réformation en Europe au temps de Calvin (8 vols., 1862-1877).
The first portion of his Histoire de la Réformation, which was devoted to the earlier period of the movement in Germany, gave him at once a foremost place amongst modern French ecclesiastical historians, and was translated into most European tongues. The second portion, dealing with reform in the time of Calvin, was not less thorough, and had a subject hitherto less exhaustively treated, but it did not meet with the same success. This part of the subject, with which he was most competent to deal, was all but completed at the time of his death. Among his minor treatises, the most important are the vindication of the character and aims of Oliver Cromwell, and the sketch of the contendings of the Church of Scotland.
Indefatigable in sifting original documents, Aubigné had amassed a wealth of authentic information; but his desire to give in all cases a full and graphic picture, assisted by a vivid imagination, betrayed him into excess of detail concerning minor events, and in a few cases into filling up a narrative by inference from later conditions. Moreover, in his profound sympathy with the Reformers, he too frequently becomes their apologist. But his work is a monument of painstaking sincerity, and brings us into direct contact with the spirit of the period.
AUBIGNÉ, THÉODORE AGRIPPA D’ (1552-1630), French poet and historian, was born at St Maury, near Pons, in Saintonge, on the 8th of February 1552. His name Agrippa (aegre partus) was given him through his mother dying in childbirth. In his childhood he showed a great aptitude for languages; according to his own account he knew Latin, Greek and Hebrew at six years of age; and he had translated the Crito of Plato before he was eleven. His father, a Huguenot who had been one of the conspirators of Amboise, strengthened his Protestant sympathies by showing him, while they were passing through that town on their way to Paris, the heads of the conspirators exposed upon the scaffold, and adjuring him not to spare his own head in order to avenge their death. After a brief residence he was obliged to flee from Paris to avoid persecution, but was captured and threatened with death. Escaping through the intervention of a friend, he went to Montargis. In his fourteenth year he was present at the siege of Orléans, at which his father was killed. His guardian sent him to Geneva, where he studied for a considerable time under the direction of Beza. In 1567 he made his escape from tutelage, and attached himself to the Huguenot army under the prince of Condé. Subsequently he joined Henry of Navarre, whom he succeeded in withdrawing from the corrupting influence of the house of Valois (1576), and to whom he rendered valuable service, both as a soldier and as a counsellor, in the wars that issued in his elevation to the throne as Henry IV. After a furious battle at Casteljaloux, and suffering from fever from his wounds, he wrote his Tragiques (1571). He was in the battle of Coutras (1587), and at the siege of Paris (1590). His career at camp and court, however, was a somewhat chequered one, owing to the roughness of his manner and the keenness of his criticisms, which made him many enemies and severely tried the king’s patience. In his tragédie-ballet Circe (1576) he did not hesitate to indulge in the most outspoken sarcasm against the king and other members of the royal family. Though he more than once found it expedient to retire into private life he never entirely lost the favour of Henry, who made him governor of Maillezais. After the conversion of the king to Roman Catholicism, d’Aubigné remained true to the Huguenot cause, and a fearless advocate of the Huguenot interests. The first two volumes of the work by which he is best known, his Histoire universelle depuis 1550 jusqu’à l’an 1601, appeared in 1616 and 1618 respectively. The third volume was published in 1619, but, being still more free and personal in its satire than those which had preceded it, it was immediately ordered to be burned by the common hangman. The work is a lively chronicle of the incidents of camp and court life, and forms a very valuable source for the history of France during the period it embraces. In September 1620 its author was compelled to take refuge in Geneva, where he found a secure retreat for the last ten years of his life, though the hatred of the French court showed itself in procuring a sentence of death to be recorded against him more than once. He devoted the period of his exile to study, and the superintendence of works for the fortifications of Bern and Basel which were designed as a material defence of the cause of Protestantism. He died at Geneva on the 29th of April 1630.