Online Encyclopedia


Online Encyclopedia
Originally appearing in Volume V26, Page 883 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
Spread the word: it!
JACQUES AUGUSTE DE [THUANUS] THOU (1553-1617), French historian, was the grandson of Augustin de Thou, president of the parlement of Paris (d. 1544), younger son of Christophe de Thou, " first president " of the same parlement, who began to collect a number of books and notes for a history of France which he was never to write (d. 1582), and nephew of Nicolas de Thou, who was bishop of Chartres (1573-1598). In these family surroundings he imbibed a love of letters, a firm and orthodox, though enlightened and tolerant piety, and an attachment to the traditional power of the Crown. At the age of seventeen he began his studies in law, first at Orleans, later at Bourges, where he made the acquaintance of Hotman, and finally at Valence, where he had Cujas for his master and Scaliger as a friend. He was at first intended for the Church; he received the minor orders, and on the appointment of his uncle Nicolas to the episcopate succeeded him as a canon of Notre-Dame. But his tastes led him in a different direction; not content with a knowledge of books, he wished to know the world and men. During a period of ten years he seized every opportunity for profitable travel. In 1573 he accompanied Paul de Foix on an embassy, which enabled him to visit most of the Italian courts; he formed a friendship with Arnaud d'Ossat (afterwards bishop of Rennes and Bayeux and cardinal, d. 1604), who was secretary to the ambassador. In the following year he formed part of the brilliant cortege which brought King Henry III. back to France, after his flight from his Polish king-dom. He also visited several parts of France, and at Bordeaux met Montaigne. On the death, however, of his elder brother jean (April 5, 1579), who was mafire des requetes to the parlement, hi's relations prevailed on him to leave the Church, and he entered the parlement and married (1588). In the same year he was appointed cos-miller d'etat. He served faithfully both the effeminate, bigoted and cruel Henry III. and Henry IV., a sceptic and given to love-intrigues, because they were both the representatives of legitimate authority. He succeeded his uncle Augustin as president a mortier (1595); and used his new authority in the interests of religious peace, negotiating, on the one hand, the Edict of Nantes with the Protestants, while in the name of the principals of the Gallican Church he opposed the recognition of the Council of Trent. This attitude exposed him to the animosity of the League party and of the Holy See, and to their persecution when the first edition of his history appeared. This history was the work of his whole life. In a letter of the 31st of March 1611 addressed to the president Jeannin, he himself describes his long labours in preparation of it. His materials for writing it were drawn from his rich library, which he established in the Rue des Poitevins in the year 1587, with the two brothers, Pierre and Jacques Dupuy, as librarians. His object was to produce a purely scientific and unbiassed work, and for this reason he wrote it in Latin, giving it as title Historia sui tern poris. The first 18 books, embracing the period from 1545-1560, appeared in 1604 (1 vol. folio), and the work was at once attacked by those whom the author himself calls les envieux et les factieux. The second part, dealing with the first wars of religion (1560-1572), was put on the Index librarum prohlbitorum the ramparts of the town dating from the 13th century and flanked by huge towers are still to be seen, and a bridge of the same period crosses the Thouet. The manufacture of furniture and wooden shoes, and the preparation of veterinary medicine and lime, are carried on. Wine, livestock and agricultural produce are the chief articles of trade. Thouars, which probably existed in the Gallo-Roman period, became in the 9th century the seat of powerful viscounts, who in later times were zealous supporters of the English. In 1372 the latter were expelled from the town by Bertrand du Guesclin. In 1563 Charles IX. created Louis III., the head of the family of La Tremoille, duke of Thouars. In 1793 the Vendeans took the town by assault.
End of Article: JACQUES AUGUSTE DE [THUANUS] THOU (1553-1617)

Additional information and Comments

There are no comments yet for this article.
» Add information or comments to this article.
Please link directly to this article:
Highlight the code below, right click and select "copy." Paste it into a website, email, or other HTML document.