Caiet, Peter Victor Palma

, was born in 1525 at Montrichard in Touraine, of a poor family, and was at first a protestant divine, attached to Catherine of Bourbon, sister of Henry IV. but was deposed in a synod on a charge of practising the arts of magic, and for having written a book in favour of public stews. This sentence accelerated his abjuration, which he delivered at Paris in 1595, and died in 1610, at the age of eighty-five, doctor of Sorbonne, and professor of Hebrew in the college royal. Caiet was of a kind and officious disposition, and was so unfortunate as to have for his enemies all whom he had obliged. His slovenly dress, his manner of life, and his absurd attempts to discover the philosopher’s stone, drew upon him no less contempt than his learning brought him respect. Notwithstanding his humble and shabby exterior, Henry IV. continued to admit him to court, not without wishing, however, to avoid it, which he shewed by presenting him with a small estate in the country, a philosophical retreat sufficient to satisfy the ambition of a scholar. The Calvinists, whom he had deserted, endeavoured to expose his principles and conduct, and as after his abjuration he had had a conference with Du Moulin, this was a fresh reason for their animosity. Caiet did not remain silent, but published, in 1603, against Du Moulin, the book emphatically entitled “The fiery Furnace, and the reverberatory Furnace, for evaporating the pretended waters of Silofim (the title of Du Moulin’s work), and for strengthening the fire of purgatory.” The intimacy between the count de Soissons and the sister of Henry IV. proceeded such lengths, that they ordered Caiet to marry them immediately. On his refusal to do it, the prince threatened to kill him. “Kill me then,” replied Caiet; | I had much rather die by the hand of a prince than by that of the hangman.

He left behind him several controversial pieces, far less consulted than his “Chronologic septennaire,1606, 8vo, from the peace of Vervins in 1598 to 1604. The reception this work met with obliged him to add to the history of the peace that of the war that went before it. We have this additional history in the 3 vols. of his “Chronologic novennaire,1608, 8vo, from 1589 to 1598. The abbe“d’Artigny has collected the principal particulars of it in his” Nouveaux Memoires de Litterature.“Dr. Caiet enters into all the details that mr.y furnish amusement to curiosity, and matter of reflection to philosophy. In the” Chronologic septennaire" are contained relations, poems, manifestos, instructions, letters, pleadings, and other pieces, of which the greater part would have been lost to posterity. Besides these public pieces, we find a great number of private anecdotes, unknown to other writers, which the author vyas enabled to pick up at the court of Catherine de Bourbon, and that of Henry IV. with whom he was on a familiar footing. 1


Gen. Cayet. —Moreri. —Dict. Hist.