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SEVERY—SEVIGNE, MADAME DE

offshoot of Gnosticism had no single feature about it which could soften the hostility of a character such as Martin's, but he resisted the introduction of secular punishment for evil doctrine, and withdrew f rom communion with t hose bishops in Gaul, a large majority, who invoked the aid of Maximus against their erring brethren. In this Connexion it is interesting to note the account given by Severus of the synod held at Rimini in 359, where the question arose whether the bishops attending the assembly might lawfully receive money from the imperial treasury to recoup their travelling and other expenses. Severus evidently approves the action of the British and Gaulish bishops, who deemed it unbecoming that they should lie under pecuniary obligation to the emperor. His ideal of the church required that it should stand clear and above the state.

After the Chronica the chief work of Severus is his Life of Martin, a contribution to popular Christian literature which did much to establish the great reputation which that wonder-working saint maintained throughout the middle ages. The book is not properly a biography, but a catalogue of miracles, told in all the simplicity of absolute belief. The power to work miraculous signs is assumed to be in direct proportion to holiness, and is by Severus valued merely as an evidence of holiness, which he is persuaded can only be attained through a life of isolation from the world., In the first of his Dialogues (fair models of Cicero), Severus puts into the mouth of an interlocutor (Posthumianus) a pleasing description of the life of coenobites and solitaries in the deserts bordering on Egypt. The main evidence of the virtue attained by them lies in the voluntary subjection tothem of the savage beasts among which they lived. But Severus was no in discriminating adherent of monasticism. The same dialo ue shows him to be alive to its dangers and defects. The second dialogue is a large appendix to the Li e of Martin, and really supplies more information of his life as bishop and of his views t an the work which bears the title Vita S. Martini. The two dialogues occasionally make interesting references to personages of the epoch. In Dial. 1, cc. 6, 7, we have a vivid picture of the controversies which raged at Alexandria over the works of Origen. The judgment of Severus himself is no doubt that which he puts in the mouth of his interlocutor Posthumian us: “I am astonished that one and the same man could have so far differed from himself that in the approved portion of his works he has no equal since the apostles, while in that portion for which he is justly blamed it is proved that no man has committed more unseemly errors.” Three Epistles on the death of Martin (ad Eusebium, ad Aurelium diaconum, ad Bassulam) complete the list of Severus’ genuine works. Other letters (to his sister), on the love of God and the renunciation of the world, have not survived.

Authorities.—The text of the Chronica rests on a single 11th century MS., one of the Palatine collection now in the Vatican; of the other works MSS. are abundant, the best being one of the 6th century at Verona. Some spurious letters bear the name of Severus; also in a MS. at Madrid is a work falsely professing to be an epitome of the Chronica of Severus, and going down to 511. The chief editions of the complete works of Severus are those by De Prato (Verona, 1741) and by Halm (forming vol. i. of the Corpus Scriptorum ecclesiasticorum Latinorum, Vienna, 1866). There is a most admirable monograph on the Chronica by J. Bernays (Berlin, 1861). Sea: alsp Goelzer, Grammaticae in Sulp. Severum observationes (1884) (thesis).


SEVERY (probably connected with the English word “sever”), in architecture, any main compartment or division of a building. The word has been supposed to be a corruption of Ciborium, as Gervase of Canterbury uses the word in this sense; but he probably alludes to the vaulted form of the upper part of the web of each severy.


SEVIER, JOHN (1745–1815), American frontiersman, first governor of Tennessee, was born in Rockingham county, Virginia, on the 23rd of September 1745, of Huguenot ancestry, the family name being Xavier. He settled on the Watauga on the western slope of the Alleghanies in 1772, and served as a captain in Lord Dunmore's War in 1774. Early in 1776 the Watauga settlements were annexed to North Carolina, and Sevier, who from the beginning had been a member of the Watauga government, now represented the district in the provincial congress, which met at Halifax in November-December 1776 and adopted the first state constitution, and in 1777 he was a member of the state House of Commons. He took part in the campaign of 1780 against the British, especially distinguishing himself in the battle of K1ng's Mountain, where he led the right wing. In December 1780 he defeated the Cherokees at Boyd's Creek (in the present Sevier county, Tennessee), laying waste their country during the following spring. Later in the same year (1781), under General Francis Marion, he fought the British in the Carolinas and Georgia. In 1784, when North Carolina. first ceded its western lands to the Federal, government, he took part in the revolt of the western settlements; he was president of the first convention which met in Jonesboro on the 23rd of August, and opposed the erection of a new state, but when the state of Frankland (afterwards Franklin, in honour of Benjamin Franklin) was organized in March 1785, he became its first and only governor (1785–1788), and as such led his riflemen against the Indians; in May 1788, after the end of his term, men in his command massacred several Indians from a friendly village, and thus provoked a war in which Sevier again showed his ability as an Indian fighter. He was arrested by the North Carolina authorities, partly as a leader of the independent government and partly for the Indian massacre, but escaped. About this time he attempted to make an alliance with Spain on behalf of the state of Franklin. In 1789 he was a member of the North Carolina. Senate, and in 1790–1791 of the National House of Representatives. After the final cession of its western territory by North Carolina to the United States in 1790 he was appointed brigadier-general of militia for the eastern district of the “Territory South of the Ohio ”; and conducted the Etowah campaign against the'Creeks and Cherokees in 1793. When Tennessee was admitted into the Union as astate, Sevier became its first governor (1796–1801) and was governor again in 1803–1809. He was again a. member of the National House of Representatives in 1811–1815, and then was commissioner to determine the boundary of Creek lands in Georgia. He died near Fort Decatur, Georgia, on the 24th of September 1815.

See J. R. Gilmore, The Rear-Guard of the Revolution (New York, 1886), and John Sevier as a Commonwealth Builder (New York, 1887); errors in Gilmore's books are pointed out in Theodore Roosevelt's The Winning of the West (Ne'w York, 1894–1896).


SÉVIGNÉ, MARIE DE RABUTIN-CHANTAL, MARQUISE DE (1626–1696), French letter-writer, was born at Paris on the 5th of February 1626. The family of Rabutin (if 'not so illustrious as Bussy, Madame de Sévigné's notorious cousin, affected to consider it) was one of great age and distinction in Burgundy. It was traceable in documents to the 12th century, and the castle which gave it name still existed, though in ruins, in Madame de Sévigné's time. The family had been gens d'épée for the most part, though Francois de Rabutin, the author of valuable memoirs on the sixth decade of the 16th century, belonged to it. Marie's father, Celse Bénigne de Rabutin, Baron de Chantal, was the son of the celebrated “.Saintei” Chantal, friend and disciple of St Francis of Sales; her mother was Marie de Coulange[s]. Celse de Rabutin, a great duellist, was killed during the English descent on the Isle of Rhé in July 1627. His wife did not survive him many years, and Marie was left an orphan at the age of seven years and a. few months. She then passed into the care of her grandparents on the mother's side; but they were both aged, and the survivor of them, Philippe de Coulanges (or Coulange), died in 1636, Marie being then ten years old. Her uncle Christophe de Coulanges, abbé de Livry, was chosen as her guardian. He was somewhat young for the guardianship of a girl, being only twenty-nine, but readers of his niece's letters know how well “ Le Bien Bon ” -for such is his name in Madame de Sévigné's little language acquitted himself of the trust. He lived till within ten years of his ward's death, and long after his nominal functions were ended he was in all matters of business the good angel, of the family, while for half a century his abbacy of Livry was the favourite residence both of his niece and- her daughter. Coulanges was much more of a man of business than of a man of letters, but either choice or the fashion of the time induced him to make of his niece a learned lady. lean Chapelain and Gilles Ménage are specially mentioned as her tutors, and Ménage at least fell in love with her. Tallemant des Réaux gives more than one instance of the cool and good-humoured raillery with which she received his passion, and the earliest letters of hers that we possess are addressed to Ménage. Another literary friend of her youth was the poet Denis Sanguin de Saint-Pavin. Among her own sex she was intimate with all the coterie of the Hotel Rambouillet, and her special ally was Mademoiselle de la Vergne, afterwards Madame de la Fayette. In person she was extremely attractive, though the minute critics of the time