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§ 64. Antoine Froment.


A. Froment: Les actes et gestes merveilleux de la cité de Genève, nouvellement convertie à l’Evangile. Edited by G. Revilliod, Genève, 1854. A chronicle from 1532 to 1536, fresh and lively, but partial and often inac-curate. Much used by Merle D’Aubigné. Letters in Herminjard, Tom. IV.

There is no special monograph of Froment, and he is omitted in Beza’s Icones and also in Verheiden’s Imagines et Elogia (Hagae, 1725), probably on account of his spotted character. Sketches in La France Protest., VI. 723–733, and notices in Roget, Merle D’Aubigné, Gaberel, Polenz. A good article by Th. Schott in Herzog2, IV. 677–699, and by Roget in Lichtenberger’s "Encycl.," V. 342–344. On his literary merita see Phil. Godet, Histoire litteraire de la Suisse Romande, 82 sqq.


Antoine Froment was born in 1509 in Mens, in Dauphiné, and was one of the earliest disciples of Farel, his countryman. He accompanied him in his evangelistic tours through Switzerland, and shared in his troubles, persecutions, and successes. In 1532 he went for the first time to Geneva, and opened an elementary school in which he taught religion. He advertised it by placards in these words: "A man has arrived, who in the space of one month will teach anybody, great or small, male or female, to read and write French; who does not learn it in that time need not pay anything. He will also heal many diseases without charge." The people flocked to him; he was an able teacher, and turned his lessons into addresses and sermons.

On new year’s day, in 1533, he preached his first sermon on the public place, Molard, attacked the pope, priests, and monks as false prophets (Matt. 7:15 sq.), but was interrupted by armed priests, and forced by the police to flee to a retreat. He left the city by night, in February, but returned again and again, and aided Farel, Viret, and Calvin.

Unfortunately he did not remain faithful to his calling, and fell into disgrace. He neglected his pastoral duties, kept a shop, and at last gave up the ministry. His colleagues, especially Calvin, complained bitterly of him.356356    "Froment," says Farel, "a dégénéréen ivraie (ivresse)." In December, 1549, he was engaged by Bonivard, the official historian of the Republic, to assist him in his Chronicle, which was completed in 1552. Then he became a public notary of Geneva (1553). He got into domestic troubles. Soon after the death of his first wife, formerly abbess of a convent, he married a second time (1561), but committed adultery with a servant, was deposed, imprisoned, and banished, 1562.

His misfortune seems to have wrought in him a beneficial change. In 1572 he was permitted on application to return to Geneva in view of his past services, and in 1574 he was reinstated as notary. He died in 1581(?). The Genevese honored his memory as one, though the least important, and the least worthy, of the four Reformers of their city. His chief work is the Chronicle mentioned above, which supplements the Chronicles of Bonivard, and Sister Jeanne de Jussie.357357    Michelet (Hist. de France, XI. 91): "Nul livre plus amusant que la chronique de Froment, hardi colporteur de la grâce, naif et mordant satirique que les dévotes génevoises, plaisamment dévoilées par lui, essayèrent de jeter au Rhône."




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