Louis Veuillot

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Louis Veuillot
Veuillot, by Nadar.jpg
Veuillot, by Nadar, 1873.
Born 11 October 1813
Boynes, Loiret Department, France
Died 7 March 1883 (aged 70)
Paris, France
Occupation Journalist, writer
Nationality French
Spouse Mathilde
  • Marie
  • Agnès

Louis Veuillot (October 11, 1813 – March 7, 1883) was a French journalist and author who helped to popularize ultramontanism (a philosophy favoring Papal supremacy).

Career overview[edit]

Veuillot was born of humble parents in Boynes (Loiret). When he was five years of age, his parents relocated to Paris. With little education, he gained employment in a lawyer's office, and was sent in 1830 to serve with a newspaper of Rouen, and afterwards to Périgueux. He returned to Paris in 1837, and a year later visited Rome during Holy Week. There he embraced ultramontane sentiments, and became an ardent champion of Catholicism. The results of his conversion were published in Pélerinages en Suisse (1839), Rome et Lorette (1841) and other publications.

In 1843, Veuillot joined the staff of the newspaper Univers Religieux, a journal created in 1833 by Abbé Migne, and soon helped make it the leading organ of ultramontane propaganda as L'Univers. His methods of journalism, which made great use of irony and ad hominem criticism,[1] had already provoked more than one duel, and he was imprisoned for a brief time for his polemics against the University of Paris. In 1848, he became editor of the newspaper, which was suppressed in 1860,[2] but revived in 1867, when Veuillot resumed his ultramontane propaganda, causing a second suppression of his journal in 1874.[3] Veuillot then occupied himself by writing polemical pamphlets[4] against moderate Catholics, the Second French Empire and the Italian government. His services to the papal see were recognized by Pope Pius IX, on whom he wrote (1878) a monograph. Matthew Arnold said of him:

M. Louis Veuillot is a polemic worthy of the golden age of polemics. He is singly devoted to ultramontanism; he lives on a small fixed salary from the proprietors of the Univers; he is a man of the purest and simplest domestic life; he is poor, and has a large family, but he has refused all offers of place and salary from the government, and maintains his entire independence.[5]

Some of his papers were collected in Mélanges Religieux, Historiques et Littéraires (12 vols., 1857–1875), and his Correspondance (7 vols., 1883–85) has great political interest. His younger brother, Eugène Veuillot, published (1901–1904) a comprehensive and valuable life, Louis Veuillot.


Works in English translation[edit]


"It is easy to see where North America stands at present, and whither it is tending. Its rapid progress, due to the most degrading works, has fascinated Europe; but the results of this progress, exclusively material, already appear. Barbarism, profligacy, general bankruptcy, systematic destruction of the native races, idiotic slavery of the conquerors, bound to the most trying and repulsive of lives under the yoke of their own machinery. America might founder in the ocean once for all, and the human race would suffer no loss thereby. Not a saint, not an artist, not a thinker has it produced, unless one may term thought the aptitude for twisting iron for the construction of freight trains. The priests who wear out their lives there cannot create a civilization. Thus far there is no civilization in America, and as far as appearances go, there never will be." (L'Univers)

"Newspapers have become such a danger that it is necessary to create many. You cannot contend against the Press, except through its multitude. Add flood to flood, and let them drown one another, forming no more than a swamp, or, if you will, a sea. The swamp has its lagoons, the sea its moments of slumber. We will see whether it is possible to build some Venice within it."

"When I voted, my equality tumbled into the box with my ballot; they disappeared together."

"If I could re-establish a class of nobles, I should do so at once, and I would not belong to it."

"Amongst the amusements of Paris must be counted duels between journalists."


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "In Paris M. Louis Veuillot has given us another shameful specimen of Ultramontanism. Not satisfied with comparing savants to the phylloxera, he likens Protestantism to a loathsome disease whose name is usually confined to medical works." — "The Jesuits in France," The New York Times, August 16, 1875.
  2. ^ "The Greater Excommunication, The Emperor and the Pope," The New York Times, April 20, 1860.
  3. ^ "The Clerical Press and Marshall Serrano," The New York Times, September 24, 1874.
  4. ^ "An impetuous, brutal journalist, whose verve and ardour came from Rabelais and Voltaire through Joseph de Maistre, Louis Veuillot was at the same time an exquisite writer and a violent Christian; he distributed holy water as though it were vitriol and handled the crucifix like a club." — Hanotaux, Gabriel (1905). Contemporary France. London: Archibald Constable & Co., p. 622.
  5. ^ Arnold, Matthew (1960). "England and the Italian Question." In: On the Classical Tradition, R. H. Super (Ed.), University of Michigan Press, p. 89.


Further reading[edit]

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