de Courcy, Henry
DE COURCY, HENRY
Historian, foreign correspondent; b. Brest, France, Sept. 11, 1820; d. Lawrence, Mass., May 14, 1861. He was born of a family famed for soldiers and seamen; he came to New York in 1845 as the business agent of the Paris glass company of Saint-Gobain. Here he also acted until 1856 as correspondent for the Paris publication L'Univers of Louis Veuillot. His writings on Catholic affairs in North America influenced French opinion, but in America he was best known for his work, translated by John Gilmary Shea in 1856, on The Catholic Church in the United States; a Sketch of its Ecclesiastical History. This book, one of the earliest histories of the American Church, was characterized by ultramontanism, stress on the Irish character of American Catholicism and on the exploits of French missionaries, and distrust of Protestants. These qualities caused Orestes Brownson, a convert and a Yankee, to attack the book. Because much of his writing was polemical, De Courcy, for business reasons, adopted the pen name C. de Laroche-Héron. As Laroche-Héron he wrote Les Servantes de Dieu en Canada (1855); as De Courcy he published Lettres inédites de J.-M. et F. de La Mennais adressées à Mgr. Bruté, de Rennes, ancien évêque de Vincennes (1862). He wrote also four short works.
Bibliography: r. sylvain, La Vie et l'oevre de Henry de Courcy, 1820–1861 (Quebec 1955).
[b. r. weitekamp]