Brocardus, James

, a man of a visionary turn, was a native of Venice, born in the beginning of the sixteenth century. He embraced the Protestant religion, and expressed a great zeal against Popery. He published several books in Holland, in which he maintained that the particular events of the sixteenth century had been foretold by the prophets, and after he had applied scripture, as his fancy directed, to things that had already happened, he took the liberty to apply it to future events. In this he succeeded so far as to persuade a French gentleman of noble extraction, and a Protestant, that a Protestant | prince would quickly overthrow the Pope’s kingdom, and make himself the head of all the united Christians. This gentleman, Segur Pardaillan, was a faithful servant to the ing of Navarre, afterwards Henry IV. and thought heaven designed his master for the glorious enterprise which Brocardus had foretold. Big with these hopes, he proposed to him to send an embassy to the Protestant princes, offering to be his ambassador; and there being nothing in his proposal but what suited with the exigencies of the time, it was approved of, and he was actually deputed to those princes in 1583.

The catholic writers have abused Brocardus as an impostor, and a promoter of wars and insurrections; but though he might have been the cause of disturbances, he does not appear to have been a knavish impostor. He seems to have been sincere, and to have believed what he taught. He retired to Nuremberg at the latter end of his life, where he met with persons who were very kind and charitable to him. “I hear,” -says Bongars in a letter to Camerarius, dated Feb. 3, 1591, “that your republic has kindly received the good old man J. Brocard, who in his youth appeared among the most polite and learned men.” He expresses the same affection for Brocard in another, dated July 24, 1593. “I am mightily pleased with the great affection you express for Brocard. He certainly deserves that some persons of such probity as yours should take care of him. As for me, I am hardly in a capacity to oblige him. I leave no stone unturned to procure him the payment of 300 gold crowns, which Mr. Segur left him by his will.” In another, of Nov. 16, 1594: “I cannot but even thank you for your kind and generous treatment of the poor, but good, old Brocard.” He died soon after, but we do not find exactly when.

Among the works he published, which were most of them printed at Segur Pardaillan’s expence, were his “Commentary on the Revelations of St. John,” and his “Mystical and prophetical explication of Leviticus.” These both came out at Leyden, in 1580; as did some other things of inferior note the same year. The synods of the United Provinces were afraid that people would think they approved the extravagant notions advanced in them, if they were wholly silent about them; and therefore the national senate of Middleburg condemned, in 1581, that method of explaining the scripture; enjoining the | divinity-­professor at Leyden to speak to Brocard about his visions; and it has been said, that Brocard, not being able to answer the objections raised against his mode of interpreting prophecies, promised to desist. 1


Gen. Dict.