HôpItal (aLso hOspital), mIchel dE l
Hôpital (also Hospital), Michel de L'
A distinguished French statesman and opponent of the Inquisition, was born at Aigueperse, in Auvergne, about 1504. He studied law at Toulouse, and first became known as an advocate in the Parliament of Paris; and after discharging various public functions, he became chancellor of France in 1560, during the minority of Francis II. That country at this time was torn by contending factions. "The Guises, in particular, were powerful, ambitious, and intensely Catholic; and when one of the family, the Cardinal de Lorraine, wished to establish the Inquisition in the country, Hôpital boldly and firmly opposed it, and may be said to have saved France from that detestable institution. He summoned the states general, which had not met for 80 years, and, being supported by the mass of moderate Catholics, he forced the Guises to yield." His speech at the opening of the assembly was worthy of his wise and magnanimous spirit: "Let us do away," said he, "with those diabolical words of Lutherans, Huguenots, and Papists names of party and sedition; do not let us change the fair appellation of Christians." An ordinance was passed abolishing arbitrary taxes, regulating the feudal authority of the nobles, and correcting the abuses of the judicial system. He also secured various benefits for the persecuted Huguenots in various ways, but especially by the edict of pacification, which granted to the Protestants the free exercise of their religion (issued January 17, 1562). In 1568 he was instrumental in establishing the peace of Longjumeau, when, on account of his opposition to Catharine de Medicis, who was inclined to break the compact, he was suspected of being a Huguenot. Finding it impossible to prevent the execution of Catharine's plans, he resigned his position (October 7, 1568), and retired to his estate at Vignay, near Etampes. He died May 13,1573. Hôpital's family had all embraced the Protestant faith, and this was well known even at court while he occupied his prominent position there. But his character was so blameless that he held his position for some time even during the fearful contests preparatory to the massacre of St. Bartholomew. — Hoefer, Nouv. Biog. Géneralé, 31, 86 sq.; Chambers, Encyclop. 5, 414 sq.; Pierer, Univers. — Lex. 8, 334; Bayle, History Dict. p. 505 sq.; Herzog, Real-Encyklop. 6, 283 sq.; Raumer, Gesch. Europa's, 2; Soldan, Gesch. d. Prot. in Frankf. 2. SEE HUGUENOTS. (J. H. W.)