Dupra t ANTOINE, Chancellor of France and Cardinal, b. at Issoire in Auvergne, January 17, 1463; d. at the Château de Nantouillet near Meaux, July 9, 1535. Educated for the law he won a high position in his profession and in 1507 became first president of the Parliament of Paris (the highest court of France). In 1515 Francis I made him chancellor and prime minister. In 1517, after his wife’s death, he took Sacred orders and gradually rose in the hierarchy: first as bishop of several dioceses held by him in plurality; then as Archbishop of Sens, 1525; cardinal, 1527, and legate a latere, 1530. Duprat’s influence extended much beyond the departments of justice and finance placed under his direct control. Hanotaux, in the introduction to his “Recueil des instructions”, calls Duprat “one of the most notable men of ancient France, second only to Richelieu in the decisive influence he exercised on the destinies of his country”. This influence was constantly exerted to strengthen royal absolutism; it was felt in the stern measures he took against the grands Seigneurs, and in his elaborate fiscal system. Duprat’s influence was also manifested, together with his perfect orthodoxy, in those measures which affected the relations of France with the Church, namely, the signing of the Concordat of 1516, and the checking of nascent Protestantism. The Concordat, which Duprat himself negotiated with Leo X at Bologna, did away with the schismatical principles of the “Pragmatic Sanction“; on the other hand, by causing the appointment of the French hierarchy to rest on royal nomination instead of the old canonical elections, it vested in the civil power an easily abused authority over Church affairs. Duprat’s uncompromising attitude towards Protestantism was dictated both by his political sense and his orthodoxy. The wiles of Luther, Melanchthon, and Calvin did not deceive him; even so the well-known Protestant sympathies of Marguerite d’Angouleme, the Duchesse d’Etampes, and the Minister du Bellay failed to move him. The Sorbonne and the Parliament were instructed to exclude the writings of the innovators; in 1534 the posting of subversive pamphlets at the door of the royal apartments cost the perpetrators their lives. Duprat left no writings, but took a leading part in the compilation of the “Coutumes d’Auvergne”; he also did much to encourage the renaissance of letters.
(2) GUILLAUME, son of the foregoing, b. at Issoire, 1507; d. at Beauregard, 1560. Appointed Bishop of Clermont in 1529, he led a zealous and saintly life and is favorably known by the leading part he took in the last sessions of the Council of Trent as well as by his patronage of the Jesuits. Not only did he receive them in his diocese, where they were put in charge of the colleges of Billom and Mauriac, but, in face of much opposition, he helped them financially and in other ways to found in Paris the Collège de Clermont, so called after Duprat’s episcopal city.
J. F. SOLIER