Les tribulations d’un député général des Eglises : l’affaire Du Plan (1743-1751)

Benjamin Du Plan (1688-1763) was named Deputy General of the French Reformed Churches to the Protestant Powers in 1725, at a time when these churches led a clandestine existence and appealed to the churches abroad for support. In the 1740s he was relieved of several of his functions and replaced by James Serces and Antoine Court. This led Du Plan, in spite of the fact that he had promised to serve the churches at his own expense, to demand a substantial stipend, citing the significant sums he had collected for the churches in support of his claim. The Du Plan affair reveals important conflicts of jurisdiction within the European network supporting the churches ‘under the Cross’ at the time. Furthermore, this episode from the Desert sheds significant light on the network’s financial organisation. Finally, it demonstrates that the Genevan committee in charge of the ecclesiastical funds had significant sums (some 80 000 Genevan livres) at their disposition to train future pastors of the Desert at the seminary in Lausanne.