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A SHORT EXTRACT OF THE LIFE OF FRANCIS HOTOMAN, Taken out of Monsieur Bayle’ s Historical Dictionary and other Authors. - Robert Molesworth, An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor 
An Account of Denmark, With Francogallia and Some Considerations for the Promoting of Agriculture and Employing the Poor, Edited and with an Introduction by Justin Champion (Indianapolis: Liberty Fund, 2011).
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A SHORT EXTRACT OF THE LIFE OF FRANCIS HOTOMAN,
Francis Hotoman (one of the most learned Lawyers of that Age) was Born at Paris the 23rd of August, 1524. His Family was an Ancient and Noble one, originally of Breslaw, the Capital of Silesia. Lambert Hotoman, his Grandfather, bore Arms in the Service of Lewis the 11th of France, and married a rich Heiress at Paris, by whom he had 18 Children; the Eldest of which (John Hotoman) had so plentiful an Estate, that he laid down the Ransom-Money for King Francis the First, taken at the Battle of Pavia: Summo galliae bono, summâ cum suâ laude,13 says Neveletus.
Peter Hotoman his 18th Child, and Master of the Waters and Forests14 of France (afterwards a Counsellor in the Parliament of Paris) was Father to Francis, the Author of this Book. He sent his Son, at 15 Years of Age, to Orleans to study the Common Law; which he did with so great Applause, that at Three Years End he merited the Degree of Doctor. His Father designing to surrender to him his Place of Counsellor of Parliament, sent for him home: But the young Gentleman was soon tired with the Chicane of the Bar, and plung’d himself deep in the Studies of Humanity and the Roman Laws;15 for which he had a wonderful Inclination. He happen’d to be a frequent Spectator of the Protestants Sufferings, who, about that Time, had their Tongues cut out, were otherwise tormented, and burnt for their Religion. This made him curious to dive into those Opinions, which inspired so much Constancy, Resignation and Contempt of Death; which brought him by degrees to a liking of them, so that he turn’d Protestant. And this put him in Disgrace with his Father, who thereupon disinherited him; which forced him at last to quit France, and to retire to Lausanne in Swisserland by Calvin’s and Beza’s Advice; where his great Merit and Piety promoted him to the Humanity-Professor’s Chair, which he accepted of for a Livelihood, having no Subsistence from his Father. There he married a young French Lady, who had fled her Country upon the Score of Religion: He afterwards remov’d to Strasburg, where he also had a Professor’s Chair. The Fame of his great Worth was so blown about, that he was invited by all the great Princes to their several Countries, particularly by the Landgrave of Hesse, the Duke of Prussia, and the King of Navarre; and he actually went to this last about the Beginning of the Troubles. Twice he was sent as Ambassador from the Princes of the Blood of France, and the Queen-Mother, to demand Assistance of the Emperor Ferdinand: The Speech that he made at the Diet of Frankfort is still extant. Afterwards he returned to Strasburg; but Jean de Monluc, the Bishop of Valence, over-persuaded him to accept of the Professorship of Civil Law at Valence; of which he acquitted himself so well, that he very much heighten’d the Reputation of that University. Here he received two Invitations from Margaret Duchess of Berry, and Sister to Henry the Second of France, and accepted a Professor’s Chair at Bourges; but continued in it no longer than five Months, by reason of the intervening Troubles. Afterwards he returned to it, and was there at the time of the great Parisian Massacre, having much-a-do to escape with his Life; but having once got out of France (with a firm Resolution never to return thither again) he took Sanctuary in the House of Calvin at Geneva, and publish’d Books against the Persecution, so full of Spirit and good Reasoning, that the Heads of the contrary Party made him great Offers in case he would forbear Writing against them; but he refused them all, and said, The Truth should never be betray’d or forsaken by him. Neveletus says, “That his Reply to those that would have tempted him, was this: Nunquam sibi propugnatam causam quae iniqua esset: Nunquam quae jure & legibus niteretur desertam praemiorum spe vel metu periculi.”;16 He afterwards went to Basel in Swisserland, and from thence (being driven away by the Plague) to Mountbelliard, where he buried his Wife. He returned then to Basel (after having refused a Professor’s Chair at Leyden) and there he died of a Dropsy in the 65th Year of his Age, the 12th of February, 1590. He writ a great many learned Books, which were all of them in great Esteem; and among them an excellent Book de Consolatione. His Francogallia was his own Favourite; though blamed by several others, who were of the contrary Opinion: Yet even these who wrote against him do unanimously agree, that he had a World of Learning, and a profound Erudition. He had a thorough Knowledge of the Civil Law, which he managed with all the Eloquence imaginable; and was, without dispute, one of the ablest Civilians that France had ever produced: This is Thuanus and Barthius’s Testimony of him. Mr. Bayle indeed passes his Censure of this Work in the Text of his Dictionary, in these Words: “Sa Francogallia dont il faisoit grand etat est celuy de tous ses ecrits que l’on aprouve le moins:17 —and in his Commentary adds, C’est un Ouvrage recommendable du costè de l’Erudition; mais tres indigne d’un jurisconsulte Francois, si l’on en croit mesme plusieurs Protestants.”;18 I would not do any Injury to so great a Man as Monsieur Bayle; but every one that is acquainted with his Character, knows that he is more a Friend to Tyranny and Tyrants, than seems to be consistent with so free a Spirit. He has been extremely ill used, which sowres him to such a degree, that it even perverts his Judgment in some measure; and he seems resolved to be against Monsieur Jurieu, and that Party, in every thing, right or wrong. Whoever reads his Works, may trace throughout all Parts of them this Disposition of Mind, and see what sticks most at his Heart. So that he not only loses no Occasion, but often forces one where it seems improper and unreasonable, to vent his Resentments upon his Enemies; who surely did themselves a great deal more wrong in making him so, than they did him. ’Tis too true, that they did all they could to starve him; and this great Man was forced to write in haste for Bread; which has been the Cause that some of his Works are shorter than he designed them; and consequently, that the World is deprived of so much Benefit, as otherwise it might have reap’d from his prodigious Learning, and Force of Judgment. One may see by the first Volume of his Dictionary, which goes through but two Letters of the Alphabet, that he forecasted to make that Work three times as large as it is, could he have waited for the Printer’s Money so long as was requisite to the finishing it according to his first Design. Thus much I thought fit to say, in order to abate the Edge of what he seems to speak hardly of the Francogallia; though in several other Places he makes my Author amends: And one may without scruple believe him, when he commends a Man, whose Opinion he condemns. For this is the Character he gives of this Work: “Cest au fond un bel Ouvrage, bien ecrit, & bien rempli d’erudition: Et d’autant plus incommode au partie contraire que l’Auteur se contente de citer des faits.”;19 Can any thing in the World be a greater Commendation of a Work of this Nature, than to say it contains only pure Matter of Fact? Now if this be so, Monsieur Bayle would do well to tell us what he means by those Words, Tres indigned’un jurisconsulte Francois. Whether a French Civilian be debarred telling of Truth (when that Truth exposes Tyranny) more than a Civilian of any other Nation? This agrees, in some measure, with Monsieur Teissier’s Judgment of the Francogallia, and shews, that Monsieur Bayle, and Monsieur Teissier and Bongars, were Bons Francois in one and the same Sense. “Son Livre intitulè, Francogallia, luy attira AVEC RAISON (and this he puts in great Letters) les blame des bons Francois.20 For (says he) therein he endeavours to prove, That France, the most flourishing Kingdom in Christendom, is not successive, like the Estates of particular Persons; but that anciently the Kings came to the Crown by the Choice and Suffrages of the Nobility and People; insomuch, that as in former Times the Power and Authority of Electing their Kings belonged to the Estates of the Kingdom, so likewise did the Right of Deposing their Princes from their Government. And hereupon he quotes the Examples of Philip de Valois, of King John, Charles the Fifth, and Charles the Sixth, and Lewis the Eleventh: But what he principally insists on, is to show, That as from Times Immemorial, the French judg’d Women incapable of Governing; so likewise ought they to be debarred from all Administration of the Publick Affairs.” This is Mr. Bayle’s Quotation of Teissier, by which it appears how far Hotoman ought to be blamed by all true Frenchmen, AVEC RAISON. But provided that Hotoman proves irrefragably all that he says (as not only Monsieur Bayle himself, but every body else that writes of him allows) I think it will be a hard matter to persuade a disinterest’d Person, or any other but a bon Francois, (which, in good English, is a Lover of his Chains) that here is any just Reason shewn why Hotoman should be blam’d.
Monsieur Teissier, although very much prejudiced against him, was (as one may see by the Tenor of the above Quotation, and his leaving it thus uncommented on) in his Heart convinc’d of the Truth of it; but no bon Francois dares own so much. He was a little too careless when he wrote against Hotoman, mistaking one of his Books for another; viz. his Commentary ad titulum institutionum de Actionibus, for his little Book de gradibuscognationis; both extremely esteemed by all learned Men, especially the first: Of which Monsieur Bayle gives this Testimony: “La beauté du Stile, & la connoissance des antiquités Romaines eclatoient dans cet Ouvrage, & le firent fort estimer.”21 Thuanus, that celebrated disinterest’d Historian, gives this Character in general of his Writings. “He composed (says he) several Works very profitable towards the explaining of the Civil Law, Antiquity, and all Sorts of fine Literature; which have been collected and publish’d by James Lectius, a famous Lawyer, after they had been review’d and corrected by the Author. Barthius says, that he excelled in the Knowledge of the Civil Law, and of all genteel Learning.22 ‘ Ceux la mesmes qui ont ecrits contre luy (says Neveletus) tombent d’accord quil avoit beaucoup de lecture & une profonde Erudition. ’”;23 The Author of the Monitoriale adversus Italogalliam, which some take to be Hotoman himself, has this Passage relating to the Francogallia: “Quomodo potest aliquis ei succensere qui est tantum relator & narrator facti?Francogallista enim tantum narrationi & relationi simplici vacat, quod si aliena dicta delerentur, charta remaneret alba.”24 It was objected to him, that he unawares furnish’d the Duke of Guise and the League at Paris with Arguments to make good their Attempts against their Kings. This cannot be deny’d; but at the same time it cannot be imputed to Hotoman as any Crime: Texts of Scripture themselves have been made use of for different Purposes, according to the Passion or the Interests of Parties. Arguments do not lose their native Force for being wrong apply’d: If the Three Estates of France had such a fundamental Power lodg’d in them; who can help it, if the Writers for the League made use of Hotoman’s Arguments to support a wrong Cause? And this may suffice to remove this Imputation from his Memory. He was a Man of a very handsome Person and Shape, tall and comely; his Eyes were blewish, his Nose long, and his Countenance venerable: He joined a most exemplary Piety and Probity to an eminent Degree of Knowledge and Learning. No Day pass’d over his Head, wherein he employ’d not several Hours in the Exercise of Prayer, and reading of the Scriptures. He would never permit his Picture to be drawn, though much intreated by his Friends; however (when he was at his last Gasp, and could not hinder it) they got a Painter to his Bed’s-side, who took his Likeness as well as ’twas possible at such a time. Basilius Amerbachius assisted him during his last Sickness, and James Grinaeus made his Funeral-Sermon. He left two Sons behind him, John and Daniel; besides a great Reputation, and Desire of him, not only among his Friends and Acquaintance, but all the Men of Learning and Probity all over Europe.
[13. ]“For the greatest benefit of France, with its highest thanks.” The source is Neveletus’s Life of Hotman cited in Note 3 to Remark [A] in Pierre Bayle’s entry on Hotman. Monsieur Bayle, An Historical and Critical Dictionary, translated into English, . . . (London: Harper, Brown, et al., 1710), pp. 1716–21.
[14. ]Note in margin: “Maistre des Eaux & Forrests,” i.e., Master of Forests and Waters.
[15. ]Note in margin: “Les belles lettres.”
[16. ]This passage is taken from Bayle’s entry Remark [E]. Translation: “That he never had defended an unjust cause, and never had deserted a just and honorable one, either for hope of rewards or fear of danger.” Bayle, An Historical and Critical Dictionary.
[17. ]From the main text of Bayle’s entry: “Of all his writings, his Francogallia, which he some much valued, is least approved.” Bayle, An Historical and Critical Dictionary.
[18. ]From Remark [E]: “It is a commendable work in point of learning, but very unworthy of a French civilian, if we believe even many Protestants concerning it.” Bayle, An Historical and Critical Dictionary.
[19. ]Cited from Bayle, Remark [I]: “That book of Hotman is at the bottom a fine piece, well written. And full of learning, and so much more vexatious to the contrary party, because the author contents himself to cite matters of fact.” Bayle, An Historical and Critical Dictionary.
[20. ]Cited from Bayle, Remark [D]: “His book intituled Francogallia, drew upon him, with reason, the censure of true French men.” Bayle, An Historical and Critical Dictionary.
[21. ]Remark [B]: “The beauty of the style, and the knowledge of the Roman antiquities, that shined in that piece, gave him a great reputation.” Bayle, An Historical and Critical Dictionary.
[22. ]Note in margin: “Belles literature.”
[23. ]“Even those that wrote against him concurred with each other that he was well read and had a deep learning.”
[24. ]Remark [I]: “How can anybody be in a passion with a person who is only a relater of a fact? For the writer of that book doth nothing but relate, and if his quotations from other writers were taken away nothing would be left but clean paper.” Bayle, An Historical and Critical Dictionary.