Historian and controversialist, b. at Rouen, France, Feb. 8, 1649; d. at Paris, June 23, 1728
Daniel, GABRIEL, historian and controversialist, b. at Rouen, France, February 8, 1649; d. at Paris, June 23, 1728. He entered the Society of Jesus at Paris in 1667, and after making his last vows at Rennes, 1683, was assigned to the professed house of Paris where his extraordinary talents resulted in his being appointed historiographer of France by Louis XIV. Of the published writings of Father Daniel, consisting of philosophical, theological, and historical treatises, many have been translated into German, English, Spanish, Italian, and Latin. In the first class perhaps the most famous was the oft-reprinted “Voyage du monde de Descartes”, a refutation of the vortex theory of that philosopher. His refutation of Pascal’s “Provincial Letters”, which underwent several revisions and reprints, and his published correspondence with Natalis Alexander respecting the Dominican and Jesuit doctrines of Probabilism, Grace, Predestination, etc., stand out conspicuously among his theological works. He published also many shorter works, principally against the Jansenists, and one volume of a projected course of theology for seminaries.
But it is as the author of the celebrated “Histoire de France” that Father Daniel has achieved his most lasting fame. This work in seventeen volumes was the fruit of his ripest years and was the most complete and accurate history of France that had then appeared (1713). It is still valuable, though overshadowed by more recent works. It went through many editions, and an abridgment of it in eight volumes made by the author was translated into German, English, and Italian. Besides this, a valuable work from original sources, the “Histoire de la milice francaise”, contributed much to Daniel‘s reputation as a scholarly historian. The best edition of his great history is that of Paris (1755-60), in seventeen quarto volumes.
JOHN F. X. MURPHY