Masson, Papirius

, a French historical and miscellaneous writer, was the son of a rich merchant, and born at St. Germain-Laval, in the territory of Forez, May 16, 1544. He lost his father when a child; and, though his mother married again, she appears to have taken great care of his education. At a proper age he was put under the Jesuits at Billon, in Auvergne, with whom he continued four years; and was then called to Lyons by an uncle, who intended to send him to Toulouse, to study the law: but the civil wars rendering this unsafe, he returned to Billon, where he applied himself to the belles lettres and philosophy. Here contracting an intimacy with a fellow-student, Anthony Challon, he joined with him in a resolution of entering into the society of Jesuits: and accordingly they went soon after to Rome, where they took the habit. Masson made a funeral oration at Rome for some cardinal, in the presence of several others, and acquired by it great credit and reputation. Afterwards these two friends went to Naples, where Masson taught two years in the college of Jesuits. They returned together to France, when Challon quitted the society, as did Masson some time after, and defended this step with so much moderation and candour that the society were not displeased at it.

The marriage of Charles IX. of France with Elizabeth, daughter of the emperor Maximilian, being celebrated in 1570 at Mezieres, Masson, who was present, wrote an elegant description of it, which was published the same year in 8vo, and was the first thing from which he derived literary reputation. He then resolved to apply to the law, and with this vie<v went to Angers to study under the | celebrated Baudouin, or Balduinus. After two years he returned to Paris, and became librarian to the chancellor de Cheverney, a lover of literature, in which place he continued ten years. In 1576 he was made an advocate of parliament; yet never pleaded more than one cause, which however he gained with universal applause. The rest of his life appears to have been devoted to study, and when the troubles of France were at an end, he married the sister of a counsellor in parliament, with whom he lived thirty-four years, but had no children. The infirmities of age attacked him some time before his death, which happened Jan. 9, 1611. Rewrote, 1. “Annals of France,” a good work, the best edition of which is, 1598, 4to. 2. “Eulogies on illustrious Men,1656, 8vo. 3. “A Description of France by its Rivers,1685, 8vo. 4. “An Account of the French Bishoprics,” 8vo. “De Episcopis Urbis,” 4to, a history of the popes; and several other works, which discover great genius and learning. “Vita Joannis Calvini,” 4to, a well-written work, is also ascribed to him by some, and, by others, to James Gillot. The above-mentioned are all in Latin. His friend, M. de Thou, has written his life, which is prefixed to his Eulogies. 1


Niceron, vol. V. Bullart’s Academie <les Sciences, vol. I Perrault les Homines Illustres. —Saxii Onomasticon.