Goldast, Melchior Haiminsfeld

, a laborious writer in civil law and history, was born at Bischoffsel in Switzerland, in 1576, and was a protestant of the confes-^ sion of Geneva. He studied the civil law at Altorf under Conrade Rittershusius, with whom he boarded; and returned in 1598 to Bischoffsel, where for some time he had no other subsistence but what he acquired by writing books, of which, at the time of publication he used to send copies to the magistrates and people of rank, from whom he received something more than the real value; and some of his friends imagined they did him service in promoting this miserable traffic. In 1599 he lived at St. Gal, in the house of a Mr. Schobinger, who declared himself his patron; but the same year he went to Geneva, and lived at the house of professor Lectius, with the sons of Vassan, whose preceptor he was. In 1602 he went to Lausanne, from a notion that he could live cheaper there than at Geneva. His patron Schobinger, while he advised him to this step, cautioned him at the same time from such frequent removals as made him suspected of an unsettled temper. But, notwithstanding Schobinger’s caution, he returned soon after to Geneva; and, upon the recommendation of Lectius, was appointed secretary to the duke of Bouillon, which place he quitted with his usual precipitation, and was at Francfort in 1603, and had a settlement at Forsteg in 1604. In 1605 he lived at Bischoffsel; where he complained of not being safe on the score of his religion, which rendered him odious even to his relations. He was at Francfort in 1606, where he married, and continued till 1610, in very bad circumstances. Little more is known of his history, unless that he lost his wife in 1630, and died himself Aug. 11, 1635. He appears to have been a man of capricious temper, and some have attributed to him a want of integrity. The greatest part of the writings published by Goldast are compilations arranged in form, or published from Mss. in libraries; and by their number he may be pronounced a man of indefatigable labour. Conringius says he has deserved so well of his country by publishing the ancient monuments of Germany, that undoubtedly the Athenians would have maintained him in the Prytaneum, if he had lived in those times; and adds, that he neither had, nor perhaps ever will have, an equal in illustrating the affairs of Germany, and the public law of the empire. | The following are the most considerable among his various works: A collection of different tracts on civil and ecclesiastical jurisdiction, entitled “Monarcbia Sancti Romani Imperii*” &c. 1611, 1613, and 1614, 3 vols. fol. “Alamaniae Scriptores,1730, 5 vols. fol.; “Scriptores aliquot rerum Suevlearum,1605, 4to; “Commentarius de Bohemise regno,” 4to “Informatio de statu Bohemia3 quoad jus,” 4to “Sybilla Francica,” 4to which is a collection of pieces relating to the Maid of OrleansParaeneticorum veterum pars prima,1604, 4to. A curious collection of letters was published in 1688, under the title “Virorum clarissimorum ad Melchior Goldastum Epistolae,” 4to, Francfort. 1


Gen. Dict.—Moreri. —Niceron, vol. XXIX, Clement Bibl, Curieuse. —Saxii Onomast.