Sadolet, James

, a polite and learned Italian, was born at Modena in 1477, and was the son of an eminent civilian, who, afterwards becoming a professor at Ferrara, took him along with him, and educated him with great care. He acquired a masterly knowledge in the Latin and Greek early, and then applied himself to philosophy and eloquence; taking Aristotle and Cicero for his guides, whom he considered as the first masters in these branches. He also cultivated Latin poetry, in which he displayed a very high degree of classical purity. Going to Rome under the pontificate of Alexander VI. when he was about twentytwo, he was taken into the family of cardinal Caraffa, who loved men of letters; and, upon the death of this cardinal in 1511, passed into that of Frederic Fregosa, archbishop of Salerno, where he found Peter Bembus, and contracted an intimacy with him. When Leo X. ascended the papal throne in 1513, he chose Bembus and Sadolet for his secretaries men extremely qualified for the office, as both of them wrote with great elegance and facility and soon after made Sadolet bishop of Carpentras, near Avignon. Upon the death of Leo, in 1521, he went to his diocese, and resided there during the pontificate of Adrian VI.; but Clement VII. was no sooner seated in the chair, in 1523, than he recalled him to Rome. Sadolet submitted to his boliness, but oh condition that he should return to his diocese at the end of three years. Paul III. who succeeded | Clement VII. in 1534, called him to Rome again; made him a cardinal in 1536, and employed him in many important embassies and negotiations. Sadolet, at length, grown too old to perform the duties of his bishopric, went no more from Rome; but spent the remainder of his days there in repose and study. He died in 1547, not without poison, as some have imagined; because he corresponded too familiarly with the Protestants, and testified much regard for some of their doctors. It is true, he had written in 1539 a Latin letter to the senate and people of Geneva, with a view of reducing them to an obedience to the pope; and had addressed himself to the Calvinists, with the affectionate appellation of “Charissimi in Christo Fratres;” but this proceeded entirely from his moderate and peaceable temper and courteous disposition. He was a sincere adherent to the Romish church, but without bigotry. The liberality of sentiment he displayed in his commentary on the epistle of St. Paul to the Romans incurred the censure of the Roman court.

Sadolet in his younger days was somewhat gay, but reformed his manners very strictly afterwards, and became a man of great virtue and goodness. He was, like other scholars of his time, a close imitator of Cicero in his prose works, and of Virgil in his poetry. In the best of his Latin poems, his “Curtius,” he is allowed to have adorned a dignified subject with numbers equally chaste, spirited, and harmonious. His works consist of epistles, dissertations, orations, poems, and commentaries upon some parts of holy writ. They have been printed oftentimes separately and were first collected and published together, in a large 8vo volume, at Mentz, in 1607 but a more complete and excellent edition was published at Verona, in 1737, 4 vols. 4to. All his contemporaries have spoken of him in the highest terms; Erasmus particularly, who calls him “eximium setatis suse decus.1

1 Tiraboscbi. —Niceron, vol. XXVIII. -Gresswell’s Politian. Roscoe’s Lee.