Paris: Mamert Patisson for Rob. Estienne, 1581. First Edition. 8vo, 30 leaves. Woodcut Estienne device on title-page, little light marginal water stain, page some rippled. Apparantly inscribed by the author at the top of the title-page: "Hotamanus Author D(ono) D (edit) 1583 Kal. Jan." The top margin is trimmed so it is not possible to read the name on the donee. Bound in modern limp vellum, a nice clean copy. Renourad 183.1; Cioranesco 11566; National Library: 2752256R, not in Schriber. Scarce, the OCLC locates 5 copies, 4 in the US (IBV, HHG, NLM, PPC). Rare, not American Book Prices Current in the last 25 years. Item #38309
This is a legal tract on the law concerning the divorce or annulment of a marrage due to impotence or frigidity. France didn't follow the Tridentine edicts but Henry III's Edit de Blois of 1580. This tract was later issued in 1610. Francois Hotman (1524-90) was a French jurist born in Paris. Though his father was a serious Catholic and councellor to the Parliament in Paris, Hotman converted to Protestantism (1560) and was later implicated in the conspiracy of Amboise and ended up spending large parts of his life in Switzerland. He lectured in law at numerous universities and his stature brought overtures from the courts of Prussia, Hesse and Elizabeth's England. He traveled to Frankfurt with Calvin and was entrusted with confidential missions from the Huguenot leaders to German potentates, carrying at one time credentials from Catherine de Medici. "His most important work, Franco-Gallia (1573), was in advance of his age, and found favor neither with Catholics nor with Huguenots in its day; yet its vogue has been compared to that obtained later by Rousseau's "Contrat Social." It presented an ideal of Protestant statesmanship, pleading for a representative government and an elective monarchy"[Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th edn), vol. 13, p. 804). He asserted that the crown of France was not hereditary, but elective, and that the people have a right to depose and create kings. Hotman's theories have influenced political leaders for over 400 years, Indeed, modern Cuban revolutionary leader, Fidel Castro quoted Hotman to justify his movement's legitimacy in his "History will Absolve Me" speech (1953).