Bonfadio, James

, an elegant Italian scholar of the sixteenth century, was born at Gorzano in the Brescian territory, but in what year is not known. He was three years secretary to cardinal Bari at Rome; but lost the fruits of his services by the death of his master. He then served cardinal Glinucci in the same capacity; but long sickness made him incapable of that employment. When he was recovered, he found himself so disgusted with the court, that he resolved to seek his fortune by other means. He continued a good while in the kingdom of Naples, then went to Padua, and to Genoa; where he read public lectures on Aristotle’s politics. He was ordered to read some likewise upon his rhetoric, which he did with great success to a numerous auditory. His reputation increasing daily, the republic of Genoa made him their historiographer, and assigned him a handsome pension for that | office. He now applied himself laboriously to compose the annals of that state, and published the five first books; but by speaking too freely and satirically of some families, he created himself enemies who resolved to ruin him, by a prosecution for an unnatural crime, and being convicted, he was condemned to be first beheaded, and then burnt, or as some say, sentence of burning was changed into that of beheading. Some have attributed this prosecution to the freedom of his pen; but the generality of writers have agreed that Bonfadio was guilty, yet are of opinion, that he had never been accused, if he had not given offence by something else. He was executed in 1560. Upon the day of his execution he wrote a note to John Baptist Grimaldi, to testify his gratitude to the persons who had endeavoured to serve him, and recommended to them his nephew Bonfadio, who is perhaps the Peter Bonfadio, author of some verses extant in the “Gareggiamento poetico del confuso accademico ordito,” a collection of verses, divided into eight parts, and printed at Venice in 1611. The first five books of Bonfadio’s history of Genoa were printed at Padua, 1586, 4to, under the title “I. Bonfadii annales Genuensium ab anno 1528, ubi desinit Folieta, ad annum 1550,” and was in 1597 published in Italian. He also published an Italian and very elegant translation of Cicero’s oration for Milo, an edition of which was published at Bologna in 1744, with his letters and miscellaneous works, “Lettere famigliari, &c.” 8vo, dedicated to pope Benedict XIV. with a life of the unfortunate author, and a curious Latin poem by Paul Manutius, in honour of those persons who used their interest to save Bonfadio from punishment. 1

1 Gen. Dict. —Moreri. —Saxii Onomast.