Sabran, Lewis (DNB00)

SABRAN, LEWIS (1652–1732), jesuit, was the son of the Marquis de Sabran, of the Saint-Elzear family, of the first nobility of Provence. His father was for many years resident ambassador to the court of St. James's, and married an English lady. Lewis was born at Paris on 1 March 1652, and educated in the college of the English jesuits at St. Omer. He entered the novitiate of the Society of Jesus at Watten on 17 Sept. 1670, and was admitted to the profession of the four solemn vows on 2 Feb. 1688. On the accession of James II he was appointed one of the royal chaplains at St. James's Palace, and on the birth of the Prince of Wales on 10 June 1688 became the prince's chaplain. At the outbreak of the revolution he was ordered (November 1688) to proceed to Portsmouth in charge of the royal infant but was afterwards directed to return to the metropolis. In endeavouring to escape to the continent, disguised as a gentleman in the suite of the Polish ambassador, he fell into the hands of a furious mob, was brutally treated, and committed to prison. He was soon liberated, and escaped to Dunkirk.

He was appointed visitor of the province of Naples, and subsequently of the English province. On 23 June 1693 he was chosen at the triennial meeting of the province at Watten as the procurator to be sent to Rome. In 1699 the prince-bishop of Liège, by leave of the father-general of the order, constituted him president of the episcopal seminary in that city (Foley, Records, v. 294; De Backer, Bibl. des Écrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus, 1872, ii. 746). He held the office till 1708, when he was declared provincial of the English province. In 1712 Sabran was appointed rector of the college at St. Omer, and in 1715 spiritual father at the English College, Rome. He died in Rome on 22 Jan. 1731 2.

Of two separately issued sermons by Sabran, published in 1687, one (on 2 Tim. iv. 7) ‘preached before the King at Chester on August 28, being the Feast of Saint Augustin,’ raised a heated controversy concerning the doctrine of the invocation of saints, in which Edward Gee [q. v.] was Sabran's chief antagonist. Sabran replied to Gee's first attack in ‘A Letter to a Peer of the Church of England,’ London, 1687, 4to; to his second in his ‘Reply;’ to his third in ‘The Challenge of R. F. Lewis Sabran of the Society of Jesus, made out against the Historical Discourse [by Gee] concerning Invocation of Saints. The First Part,’ London, 1688, 4to. A manuscript copy of the last pamphlet is among the printed books in the British Museum (T. 1883/12). Gee replied to this in 1688; and another reply by Titus Oates appeared in 1689. Sabran answered Gee's attack in ‘A Letter to Dr. William Needham,’ 1688, 4to, which elicited from Gee an anonymous ‘Letter to the Superiours (whether Bishops or Priests) … concerning Lewis Sabran, a Jesuit,’ London, 1688, 4to.

Sabran is also credited with ‘Dr. Sherlock sifted from his Bran and Chaff’ (London, 1687, 4to) and ‘An Answer to Dr. Sherlock's Preservative against Popery’ (anon.), London, 1688, 4to. When William Giles, ‘a Protestant footman,’ published a reply to the latter, Sabran retorted in ‘Dr. Sherlock's Preservative considered,’ 1688, 4to. Sherlock published ‘A Vindication … in answer to the cavils of Lewis Sabran,’ 1688.

[De Backer's Bibl. des Écrivains de la Compagnie de Jésus, 1876, iii. 449; Dodd's Church Hist. iii. 493; Foley's Records, v. 291, 1004, 1005, vii. 676; Halkett and Laing's Dict. of Anon. Lit. i. 115; Jones's Popery Tracts, pp. 146, 147, 408–11, 458, 484; Oliver's Jesuit Collections, p. 183; Cat. of Library of Trinity Coll. Dublin.]

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