Brethren Archive

Plymouthism in Italy, a Letter

by Léon Pilatte

Timothy Stunt said ...
Léon Rémi Pilatte (1822-93) was a man with quite a story. A copper founder from Vendôme who converted to Protestantism as a teenager he was a very successful evangelist during the French republic in the years after the 1848 revolution.. . a Protestant soap-box evangelist with fairly radical political sympathies.. . (a bit unusual in France where Protestantism was more often wealthy and bourgeois). In 1850 (with the advent of Napoleon III) he was repeatedly in trouble with the police and (perhaps to get him out of trouble) he was sent to England and the USA to raise funds for the Evangelical Society. That may well have finished off his radical evangelism because in February 1852 he married Julia P Whitemore of Boston where, in the previous year, he had addressed the annual meeting of the Massachusetts Bible Society. He translated Uncle Tom's Cabin into French. His sister Zulma also secured the anglophone connection by marrying (very advantageously! ) into the distinguished Scottish family of the Hamiltons... For the rest of his life he was more of a journalist than evangelist, editing L'Église Libre in which he campaigned for the separation of Church and State. Quite an interesting character... Where, in this strange biography, to put his experiences with Count Guicciardini, is problematical. I have been unable to discover when Pilatte became a Waldensian minister.
There are sympathetic references to him in the Baptist Magazine (1850) and there is an obituary for him in Evangelical Christendom, Christian Work and News of the Churches [published by the Evangelical Alliance] xlvii (May 1893) N.S. vol. xxiv pp. 139-40.
Any further light on his career would be very useful and greatly appreciated. Timothy Stunt
Thursday, Mar 7, 2019 : 06:08

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