Jacques Davy Duperron, a French cardinal, born in St. Lo, Normandy, Nov. 15, 1556, died in Paris, Sept. 5, 1618. He received his education in Switzerland, whither his father, who had given up the practice of medicine to become a Protestant minister, had removed to escape persecution. At the age of 20 he went to Paris, where he abjured Protestantism. Brought to the notice of Henry III., he was appointed reader to the king. Although a layman, he was selected to preach before the king and court; and some of his sermons won him so much praise that he took orders. On the death of Mary Stuart he was chosen to pronounce her eulogy, in which he spoke so harshly of Queen Elizabeth that the king thought it necessary to disavow his sentiments. Toward the end of the reign of Henry III. he became the confidant of the cardinal de Bourbon, and he has been accused of selling his secrets to Henry IV. He acquired the favor of the latter monarch, who created him in 1591 bishop of Evreux; and he was the chief agent in inducing Henry to abandon the reformed religion.
After the taking of Paris he went to Rome and persuaded the pope to remove the interdict which had been placed upon France. In 1600 he was successful in a theological disputation, held before the court at Fontainebleau, over Duplessis-Mornay. In 1604 he was sent to Rome with the title of charge des affaires of France, and the same year received a cardinal's hat from Clement VIII. He contributed greatly to the election of Leo XI. in 1605, and in the same year to that of Paul V., so that French influence was retained at the papal court. For these services he was made archbishop of Sens and grand almoner to the king. The principal controversial works of Duperron were collected and published in Paris in 1622 (3 vols. folio). He wrote also a number of hymns, ballads, and poetical satires, a poem entitled L'Ombre de l'amiral de Joyeuse, and translated into French verse a portion of the AEneid and some of the odes of Horace.