[MANUSCRIPT]. [MONTAUBAN, Académie de]. CHARLES, Paul. Generalis ad libros physicorum Aristotelis introductio; BURNET, Gilbert. Primae philosophiae in partem communem synopsis, in Latin, MANUSCRIPT ON PAPER. [Montauban], 1605
222 x 156mm. 277 and 381 paper leaves bound together, variable number of lines per page in a cursive script in black ink, first section with diagram of windrose and second section with decorated titlepage (fol. 55 torn and lower half lacking). Contemporary calf gilt, covers blind panelled, central gilt laurel wreath, gilt floral tools at the corners, spine with repeated gilt floral tool, gilt and gauffered edges (clasps lacking, some pale staining and soiling).
With the Edict of Nantes (13 April 1598), signed by Henry IV at the end of the French Wars of Religion, the Huguenots were granted legal status, civil equality and subsidies to support their pastors and schools. Almost immediately a university was founded at Montauban to train their clergy and provide university education for their young men. Following the precedent of Calvin's foundation in Geneva it was called the Académie. Its rules were published 22 October 1600: 'L'Académie qui se dresse à Montauban par la permission du roi, à la requëte et supplication des Églises réformées de France, sera composée de docteurs et professeurs publiques en théologie, jurisprudence, médecine, mathématiques, langues hébraïques et grecques; de professeurs qui enseigneront la physique, la logique, l'eloquence et la grammaire' (M. Nicolas, Histoire de l'ancienne Académie Protestante de Montauban (1598-1659) et de Puylaurens (1660-1685), repr. Geneva, 1971, p.8). There were two divisions: theology and philosophy, each with three professors. The authors of the works in this manuscript were both professors of philosophy in the early years of the 17th century. Gilbert Burnet (d.1629) -- one of numerous Scots who went to help the Calvinists in France -- arrived at Montauban around 1600; Paul Charles (d.1648) had hardly finished his studies there before he was appointed to teach philosophy: Nicolas, Histoire, pp.35, 165, 189-194, 249-51 and 390. The texts in the present manuscript, the first on Aristotle's Physica and the second summarising his Metaphysica, both dated 1605, are no doubt the texts of lecture courses their students would have followed. Charles offered general comments while Burnet gave a synopsis; they complemented one another to provide the student with an extensive introduction to the works fundamental to philosophy and natural science. The high regard for Burnet's teaching is shown by the publication in Leiden in 1649 of his Ethicae dissertationes. Charles spent the last three years of his life as professor of theology at Montauban and was preparing a work on the catechism of the reformed churches; it would have been a complete theological course. After his death it was brought to completion by a colleague Antoine Garissoles and was published in Geneva in 1656 entitled Catecheseos ecclesiarum in Gallica et alibi reformatorum explicatio. The brief flowering of Protestant education in France came to an end in 1685 with the revocation of the Edict of Nantes by Louis XIV.