Hutten, Ulric De

, a gentleman of Franconia, of uncommon parts and learning, was born in 1488 at Steckenburg, the seat of his family; was sent to the abbey of Fulde at eleven years of age; and took the degree of M. A. in 1506 at Francfort on the Oder, being the first promotion made in that newly-opened university. In 1509, he was at the siege of Padua, in the emperor Maximilian’s army; and he owned that it was want of money, which forced him to make that campaign. His father, not having the least taste or esteem for polite literature, thought it unworthy to be pursued by persons of exalted birth; and therefore would not afford his son the necessary supplies for a life of study. He wished him to apply himself to the civil law, which might raise him in the world; but Hutten had no inclination for that kind of study. Finding, however, that there was no other way of being upon good terms with his father, he went to Pavia in 1511, where he stayed but a little time; that city being besieged and plundered by the Swiss, and himself taken prisoner. He returned afterwards to Germany, and there, contrary to his father’s inclinations, began to apply himself again to literature. Having a genius for poetry, he began his career as an author in that line, and published several compositions, which were much admired, and gained him credit. He travelled to various places, among the rest to Bohemia and Moravia; and waiting on the bishop of Olmutz in a very poor condition, that prelate, who was a great Maecenas, received him graciously, presented him with a horse, and gave him money to pursue his journey. The correspondence also he held with Erasmus was of great advantage to him, and procured him respect from all the literati in Italy, and especially at Venice.

At his return to Germany in 1516, he was recommended in such strong terms to the emperor, that be received from him the poetical crown; and from that time Hutten had himself drawn in armour, with a crown of laurel on his head, and took great delight in being so represented. He was of a very military, disposition, and had given many proofs of courage, as well in the wars as in private rencounters. Being once at Viterbo, where an ambassador of France stopped, a general quarrel arose, in which Hutten, forsaken by his comrades, was attacked by five Frenchmen at once, and put them all to flight, after receiving some small wounds. He wrote au epigram on that | occasion, “in quinque Gallbs a se profligates,” which mky be seen in Melchior Adam. He had a cousin John de Hutten, who was court-marshal to Ulric duke of Wirtemberg, and was murdered by that duke in 15 15, for the sake of his wife, whom the duke kept afterwards as a mistress. The military poet, as soon as he heard of it, breathed nothing but resentment; and because he had no opportunity of shewing it with his sword, took up his pen, and wrote several pieces in the form of dialogues, orations, poems, and letters. A collection of these was printed io the castle of Steckelberg, 1519, 4to.

He was in France in 1518-, whence he went to Mentz, and engaged in the service of the elector Albert; and attended him a little after to the diet of Augsburg, where the elector was honoured with a cardinal’s hat. At this diet, articles were exhibited against the duke of Wirtemberg, on which occasion the murder of John de Hutten, marshal of his court, was not forgotten: and a league was after formed against him. Ulric Hutten served in this war with great pleasure; yet was soon disgusted with a military life, and longed earnestly for his studies and retirement. This we find by a letter of his to Frederic Piscator, dated May 21, 1519: in which he discovers an inclination for matrimony, and expresses himself somewhat loosely on that subject.

Believing Luther’s cause a very good one, he joined in it with great warmth; and published Leo the Xth’s bull against Luther in 1520, with interlineary and marginal glosses, in which that pope was made an object of the strongest ridicule. The freedom with which he wrote against the irregularities and disorders of the court of Rome, exasperated Leo in the highest degree; and induced him to command the elector of Mentz to send him to Rome bound hand and foot, but the elector suffered him, to depart in peace. Hutten then withdrew to Brabant, and was at the court of the emperor Charles V. but did not stay long there, being told that his life would be in danger. He then retired to Ebernberg, where he was protected by Francis de Sickingen, Luther’s great friend and guardian, to whom the castle of Ebernberg belonged. There he wrote in 1520 his complaint to the emperor, to the eiee* tors of Mentz and Saxony, and to all the states of Germany, against the attempts which the pope’s emissaries made against him. From the same place also he wrote to | Luther in May 1521, and published several pieces’ in favour of the Reformation. He did not declare openly for Luther, till after he had left the elector of Mentz’s court; but he had written to him before from Mentz, and his first letter is dated June 1520. While he was upon his journey to Ebernberg, he met with Hochstratus-, and, drawing his sword, run up to him, and swore he would kill him, for what he had done against Reuchlin and Luther: but Hochstratus, throwing himself at his feet, conjured him so earnestly to spare his life, that Hutten let him go, after striking him several times with the flat sword. Such was his turbulent zeal, so disgraceful to the cause he espoused, that Luther himself, warm as he was, blamed it. During his stay at Ebernberg, however, he performed a very generous action in regard to his family. Being the eldest son, and succeeding to the whole estate, he gave it all up to his brothers; and even, to prevent their being involved in the misfortunes and disgraces which he expected, by the suspicions that might be entertained against him, he enjoined them not to remit him any money, nor to hold the least correspondence with him.

It was now that he devoted himself wholly to the Lutheran party, to advance which he laboured incessantly both by his writings and actions. We do not know the exact time when he quitted the castle of Ebernberg; but it appears, that in January 1523, he left Basil, where he had flattered himself with the hopes of finding an asylum, and had only been exposed to great daggers. Erasmus, though his old acquaintance and friend, had here refused a visit from him, for fear, as he pretended, of heightening the suspicions which were entertained against him but his true reason, as he aftersvards declared, in a letter to Melancthon, was, “that he should then have been under a necessity of taking into his house that proud boaster, oppressed with poverty and disease, who only sought for a nest to lay himself in, and to borrow money of every one he met.” This refusal of P>asmus provoked Hutten to attack him severely, and accordingly he published an “Expostulatio” in 1523, which Erasmus answered the same year, in _a very lively piece, entitled, “Spongia Erasmi adversus adspergines Ilutteni.” Hutten probably intended to reply, had he not been snatched away by death; but he died in an island of the lake Zurich, where he had liimself for security, August 1523. | tie was a man of little stature; of a weak and sickly Constitution; extremely brave, but passionate: for he was mot satisfied with attacking the Roman Catholics with his pen, he attacked them also with his sword. He acquainted Luther with the double war which he carried on against the clergy. “I received a letter from Hutten,” says Luther, “filled with rage against the Roman pontiff, declaring he would attack the tyranny of the clergy both with his pen and sword: he being exasperated against the pope for threatening him with daggers and poison, and commanding the bishop of Mentz to send him bound to Rome.Camerarius says, that Hutten was impatient, that his aif and discourse shewed him to be of a cruel disposition and applied to him what was said o Demosthenes, namely, that “he would have turned the world upside down, had his power been equal to his will.” His works are numerous, though he died young. A collection of his “Latin Poems” was published at Francfort in 1538, 12mo; all which, except two poemsj were reprinted in the third part of the “Deliciae Poetarum Germanorum.” He was the author of a great many works, chiefly satirical, in the way of dialogue; and Thuanus has not scrupled to compare him to Lucian. Of this cast were his Latin Dialogues on Lutheranism, published in 4to, in 1520, and now very scarce. He had also a considerable share in the celebrated work called “Epistolae virorum obscurorum,” which Meiners, in his “Liv$s of Illustrious Men,” says, was the joint work of Ulrick and Crotus Rubianus, alias John Jaeger, of Dornheim,in Thuringia. The produc“­tions of each, according to Meiners, may easily be distinguished. Wherever we are struck with the” peculiar levity, rapidity, and force of the style with a certain sol- ­dier-like boldness and unclerical humour, in obscene jests and pictures, and comical representations of saints, reliques, &c. with no small degree of keenness in the relation of laughable anecdotes, with a knowledge of Italy, to be obtained only by experience, with a pleasant explanation and derivation of words in the style of the monkish schools; ‘in all these places, the hand of Ulrick Hutten may be traced.“That these letters were the work of different hands, says an acute critic, is not improbable; but we are not certain that Crotus Rubianus had any share in them; nor can we tell from what authority it is sq | affirmed. Goethe, who wrote his” Tribute to the memory of Ulrick of Hutten," translated into English by Antony Aufrtre, esq. 1789, and who wrote that some years before the appearance of Meiners’ Biography, seems to have led the latter into this opinion. With much more probability might Reuchlin have been mentioned, who, indeed, by some has been supposed the sole author. Upon the whole, however, there is most reason to think them Hutten’ s. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri. Qoethe’s “Tribute,” by Aufrere Jortin’s Erasmus. —Melchior Adam. Nicergn, vol, XV. and XX, Monthly Review, vol. II. New Series.