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approbation. The bishop, however, in token of his high esteem, sent him a most beautiful ring, set with a sapphire, which his own brother, his predecessor, in the bishopric, had constantly worn, and which he desired Erasmus to wear for his sake.
The commencement of the reformation, under Luther, was i a circumstance of considerable importance in the life of Eras
mus. He had shown himself inimical to the superstitions of the times; he had arraigned the principles and practices of the monks, and had done much to undermine the whole system of popery, and to expose the various frauds which had been attached to its observance by avaricious and licentious priests; yet he was not prepared to join the reformers as such, his zeal was not sufficient to enable him to endure persecution; he did not wish to break openly from the church, nor was he quite satisfied with the doctrines of the reformers, and still less was he disposed to coalesce with the rudeness, vulgarity, and contempt of polite literature which characterized some of that class of people. It has also been said that he was very desirous of being noticed by the great, that he had habituated himself to that degree of indulgence, which would render the prospect of poverty and imprisonment absolutely insupportable to his mind. His income likewise arose almost entirely from pensions which he received from crowned heads, prelates, and men of consequence belonging to the Catholic persuasion, which he would unquestionably have lost had he gone over to the opposite side. These are the reasons which have been assigned why Erasmus did not come holdly forward in defence of the reformation ; but with these deductions there is enough in his character, to challenge the admiration and gratitude of the friends to liberty and the human race. He was ever the undaunted advocate of free inquiry, and perpetually waged war against the ignorance and bigotry that characterized the age in which he lived. On these accounts he was, in the first years of his reformation, highly regarded by Luther, and it was owing to some unadvised, and, probably, unwarranted attacks made upon Erasmus, about the year 1520, by the zealous reformers, that he was driven to enlist among the defenders of the church of Rome.
In the year 1522, he published his “Colloquies," which, though apparently intended for young persons, were generally read, and are supposed to have been very efficacious in promoting the principles of the reformation. As soon as their tendeney was discovered, the clergy attempted to stop their sale, but it was then too late ; inore than twenty thousand copies of them were disposed of in Paris, besides a number of editions which were printed and sold in other places.
In 1524, Erasmus published his treatise, “ De Libero Arbitrio,” which was an avowed attack uponLuther's opinion concerning predestination, but the author, in his zeal, spoke against reformers in general; Luther replied, and had unquestionably the best of the argument; in some passages he seemed to commiserate the case of his antagonist, and to regret the necessity which he was under of exposing him. “We saw,” says he, " that the Lord had not conferred upon you the discernment, the courage, and the resolution to join us in opposing those monsters, and therefore we dared not to exact from you that which greatly surpasses your strength and capacity.” He then refers to the motive of worldly interest by which Erasmus had suffered himself to be swayed from the path of rectitude. The controversy increased in violence, and much unjustifiable acrimony proceeded from the pens of the disputants.
Another antagonist with whom our author had to contend was Julius Cæsar Scaliger, who had put himself at the head of those who were so fastidious in the use of pure Latin as to reject every word not to be found in the works of Cicero, and who on that account had assumed the title of “Ciceronians.” Erasmus, superior to this pedantry, employed new words for new ideas, and in justification of his conduct, published, in 1578, a dialogue entitled “De Recta Latini Ciceronianus," in which he attacked the sect both with argument and ridicule. Scaliger wrote against him with all the malignity that human wit and learning could devise, and he was backed in his scurrility by others of the Ciceronians less able in the warfare, but not less inveterate than their master. The nature of this controversy is fairly exhibited in the notes on the life of Erasmus by Bayle.
Erasmus, wearied, perhaps, by disputation, published, in a short time after his “ Ciceronianus” had made its appearance, a treatise of much ability and learning, entitled De Recta Latin Græcique sermonis Pronunciatione." In the year 1529, Erasmus left Basil for Friburg, in order to show his attachment to the church which had for some years been losing ground in Basil, and so completely had the reformed religion gained an ascendancy there at this period, that all the images were taken from the town-house and other public places and burnt, which was supposed to have been the means of putting an end to the differences among the common people. Erasmus was now advancing in life, and seemed, more than ever, fearful of being thought friendly to the reformation, and to shew his zeal for the opposite system, he wrote and published an epistle against some “who falsely call themselves Evangelists,” and as they from his former works, had produced his authority against persecution, he began to maintain that there were certain cases in which they might lawfully be punished capitally as blasphemers and seditious persons. Such were the unworthy steps to which he was led by an anxiety to keep on good terms with his patrons and protectors..
Erasmus now began to complain to his friends, and to represent himself as quite worn down with age, pain, and sickness; and, in 1535, he returned to Basil, and so highly was he esteemed by the church of Rome, that there was an intention to give him a place in the college of cardinals; but it was too late for him to accept of the high honour. His health rapidly declined, and on July 12, 1536, he died of a dysentery at the age of sixtynine. He was buried with great funeral pomp in the cathedral church of Basil, where his tomb still remains. By his will he left legacies to several friends, and the residue of his property he devoted to charitable purposes. In person he was below the middle size, well shaped, of a fair complexion, with a cheerful countenance, a low voice, and agreeable elocution. He had assumed the name of Erasmus in conformity with the pedantic taste then prevailing among men of letters of taking names of Greek or Latin Etymology; he translated his name of “Gerrard,” signifying “Amiable,” into the equivalent ones of “De. siderius” in Latin, and “Erasmus” in Greek, making use of both, but the latter was his common and perpetual appellation.
Erasmus was a voluminous writer ; and his works were published in nine volumes folio. They consist of numerous translations from the Greek ; of grammaticaland philological pieces; of poems, declamations, and orations; of a collection of adages and apophthegms; of works in divinity on various topics, moral, didactic, and controversial; of a version of the New Testament, paraphrases of the gospels and the epistles, and commentaries on some other parts of Scripture; and of apologies, epistles to correspondents, &c. A new and handsome edition of his works was published in Holland by le Clerc in eleven volumes folio, 1703. Dr. Jortin, the biographer of Erasmus, speaking of his Latin style, says, it " is that of a man who had a strong memory, a natural eloquence, a lively fancy, and a ready invention; who composed with great facility and rapidity, and who did not care for the trouble of revising and correcting; who had spent all his days in reading, writing, and talking Latin ; for he seems to have had no turn for modern languages, and perhaps he had almost forgotten his mother tongue. His style therefore, is always unaffected, easy, copious, fluent, and clear, but not always perfectly pure and strictly classical.”
No one contributed so much as Erasmus to throw discredit upon the barbarism and ignorance of the schools, or to make literature agreeable, and connect it with good sense and solid criticism. He was a great public benefactor; and therefore he is justly regarded as one of the principal glories of his age and country. His memory is equally honoured at the place of his birth and of his death. Several of his relics are preserved at the latter place, and at the former, the house in which he was
born, is marked with an inscription, and his statue decorates the great square. · OMNIBONUS, one of the best grammarians in this century. He took the surname of Leonicenus, because he was born at Lunigo, in Latin Leonicum, in the Vicentino. He studied under Victorius of Feltri, one of the first restorers of the ancient Latin style. He applied himself to the Greek tongue at Venice under Emanuel Chrysoloras. He wrote commenta, ries on Lucan, Sallust, Valerius Maximus, Tully's offices, on his treatise De Oratore, &c. He translated into Latin some of Æsop's fables, and Xenophon de Venatione, and a piece of St. Athanasius, contra Gentes and Hereticos, and yet these are but part of his works. · SCIPIO CARTEROMACO, whose proper name was Fortiguerra, a learned Italian, was born in 1467 at Pistoia, of which city his father was gonfalonier. Scipio studied first at a college in his native place, founded by his family, and afterwards at Rome, Florence, and Padua. His reputation for Greek literature was so great, that the republic of Venice, in 1500, appointed him, with a liberal salary, to teach that language to the Venetian youth. The tumults of war, however, caused him a few years after to accept an invitation to Rome by pope Julius II., who placed him with his nephew cardinal Galeotti de la Roveres After the death of that cardinal, Carteromaco attached himself to cardinal Francis Alidosio, who was killed at Ravenna in 1511. He then returned to Rome, and was patronized by cardinal John de Medici, afterwards pope Leo X.; but just as the sun of prosperity began to shine upon him, he was cut off by death, at the age of forty-six, in 1513. He was one of the most learned and most modest men of his time. He wrote a Latin oration in praise of Greek learning, 1504; and a translation of the oration of Aristides, in praise of the city of Rome. He was also the editor of Ptolemy's Geography, and other works.
ANGELO COLOCCI, in Latin, Angelus Colotius, an elegant Italian scholar, descended of an ancient and noble family, was born at Jesi, in 1467. He obtained in his youth the ho. nour of knighthood. The family of Colocci took up their residence at Rome, but during the pontificate of Innocent VIII., they were, for political reasons, obliged to quit that city. Angelo, in consequence, repaired to Naples, where he cultivated an acquaintance with the most celebrated poets and wits of the age. Six years afterwards he was permitted to return to Rome, where his house became the resort of men of learning and genius. His gardens were adorned with statues, inscriptions, and other remains of classic antiquity. The senate of Rome, struck with his liberality, bestowed on him the title of
as born at Scholar, descendo Latin, Angelo
patrician; and Pope Leo X., independently of 4000 crowns which he gave him for some verses in his praise, made him his secretary, and created him bishop of Ancera in 1521, Colocci having at that time survived two wives. This gift was afterwards confirmed to him by Clement VII., who also appointed him governor of Ascoli. On the sacking of Rome, in 1527, the house of Colocci was burnt, his garden pillaged, and he was compelled to pay a large sum for his life and liberty. He retired for a time, and then returned to Rome, and assembled round him once more his literary friends. He died at Rome in 1549.
WILLIAM BUDEUS, the most learned man in France in the age in which he lived, was born at Paris in 1467. He was placed young under masters, but spent his whole time in idleness, till his parents sent him to the university of Orleans to study law, where he passed three years without adding to his knowledge. His parents sending him back to Paris, found his ignorance not diminished, and his reluctance to study, and love to gaming, &c. much increased. They talked no more to him of learning, but, as he was heir to a large fortune, left him to follow his own inclinations. He was passionately fond of hunting, and took great pleasure in horses, dogs, and hawks. But the fire of youth beginning to cool, he was at length seized with an irresistible passion for study. He immediately disposed of his hunting equipage, and even abstracted himself from all business, to apply wholly to study; in which he made, without any assistance, a very rapid and amazing progress, particularly in the Latin and Greek languages. The work which gained him great reputation, was his treatise de Asse. His erudition and high birth, were not his only advantages; he had an uncommon share of piety, modesty, gentleness, and good breeding. The French king Francis I., often sent for him; and at his persuasion, and that of Du Bella, founded the royal college of France, for teaching the languages and sciences. The king sent him to Rome, as his ambassador to Leo X.; and in 1552, made him master of requests. The same year he was chosen provost of the merchants. He died at Paris in 1540. His works, in four vols. folio, were printed at Basil in 1557.
LAURA CERETA, a learned Italian lady, a native of Brescia, and born in 1469. She was instructed in the learned languages and in philosophy, in which she became a proficient. She married Peter Serini, who left her a widlow after an union of eighteen months. Restored to her liberty, she devoted herself with renewed ardour to her studies, and maintained a literary correspondence with the most eminent scholars of the age. She died in the flower of her age. A collection of her Latin letters were printed at Padua, in 1680, by Tommasini.
NICHOLAS MACHIAVEL, a celebrated political writer, was born at Florence in 1469, of a distinguished family. He