Paul de Rapin

?, 1661

Paul de Rapin

Paul de Rapin (25 March 1661 – 25 April 1725), sieur of Thoyras (and therefore styled Thoyras de Rapin), was a French historian writing under English patronage.

The son of Jacques de Rapin, an avocat at Castres (Tarn), he was educated at the Protestant Academy of Saumur, and in 1679 became an advocate, but soon afterwards joined the army. The revocation of the Edict of Nantes in 1685, and the death of his father led him to move to England; but, unable to find work there, he went on to the Netherlands, where he enlisted in a company of French volunteers at Utrecht, commanded by his cousin, Daniel de Rapin.

He accompanied William III to England in 1688, and during the Williamite War in Ireland he took part in the Siege of Carrickfergus and the Battle of the Boyne, and was wounded at the Siege of Limerick (1690). Soon afterwards he was promoted to captain; but in 1693 he resigned in order to become tutor to the Earl of Portland’s son. After travelling with the boy, he settled with his family (he married Marie-Anne Testart in 1699) in Holland, first at The Hague, then, to save money, at Wesel, in 1707.

It was at Wesel that he began his great work: Histoire d’Angleterre (The History of England), par Mr. Rapin de Thoyras, Tome I-X, La Haye: Alexandre de Rogissart, 1724-27: Volume I (1724): an account of Britain from the time of the Ancient British down to the Norman Conquest; Volume II: from William the Conqueror to Henry III; Volume III: from Edward I to Henry V; Volume IV: from Henry VI to Henry VII; Volume V: Henry VIII; Volume VI: from Edward VI to Elizabeth I; Volume VII (1725): James I and the beginning of Charles I; Volume VIII: Charles I; Volume IX (1727): Charles II, Volume X: James II and William III and Mary II.

L’ Histoire d’Angleterre was published with illustrations and allegorical endpieces designed and engraved by F.M. La Cave, and with a dedicatory epistle to King George I. The written style is lucid and effective.

The original version was almost the only English History available in France in the first half of the 18th century.

All volumes of his work were translated to English in a total of 14 volumes in the early 18th century by the Reverend Nicolas Tindal. Tindal added large numbers of informative notes throughout the volumes, which were illustrated with engravings, maps and genealogical tables of great quality.

Rapin de Thoyras was also the author of a Dissertation sur les Whigs et les Torys (1717).

Here you can see the artist's works that are part of the collection.