AGUESSEAU, HENRI FRANCOIS D' chancellor of France, was born at Limoges Nov. 27 1668, the son of Henri d'Aguesseau, who held many important posts in the Government. He studied law under Jean Domat and was one of the first masters of forensic eloquence in France. He was procu rator general from 1700 to 1717, and defended the rights of the Gallican Church against Rome in the controversy which led to the promulgation of the bull Unigenitus.
In 1717 he was made chancellor by the Regent Orleans, but was dismissed next year because of his steady opposition to the finan cial projects of John Law which had been adopted by the regent. He was recalled in 1720. He then assented to the truce which Dubois made with Rome because he feared the outbreak of civil war. Popular opinion unjustly ascribed his attitude to base com pliance with Dubois; but he opposed other measures of Dubois and was dismissed when the favourite became chief minister. Af ter five years of retirement spent in study, he was recalled by Cardinal Fleury, and again became chancellor. He attempted, in vain, the codification of French law, but he executed a body of reform which placed him in the same rank with L'Hopital and Lamoignon.
His grandson, HENRI CARDIN JEAN BAPTISTE, MARQUIS D' AGUESSEAU (1746-1826), was advocate general in the parlement of Paris and deputy in the Estates-General. Under the Consulate he became president of the court of appeal and later minister at Copenhagen. He was elected to the French Academy in 1787.
Of H. F. d'Aguesseau's works the most complete edition is that of Jean Marie Pardessus, published in 16 vol. (1818-2o) ; his letters were edited separately by Rives (1823) ; a selection of his works, Oeuvres choisies, was issued, with a biographical notice, by E. Falconnet in 2 vol. (Paris, 1865). His works include a treatise on money; a life of his father, which is interesting from the account which it gives of his own education; and Metaphysical Meditations.
See Charles Butler, Mem. of Life of H. F. d'Aguesseau, etc. (1830) ; Boullee, Histoire de la vie et des ouvrages du chancelier d'Aguesseau (Paris, 1835) ; Fr. Monnier, Le Chancelier d'Aguesseau (Paris, 186o ; z nd ed., 1863) .