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Hoby, Sir Thomas

HOBY, SIR THOMAS (1530-1566), English diplomatist and translator, son of William Hoby of Leominster, was born in 1 530. He entered St John's College, Cambridge, in 1545, but in 1547 he went to Strassburg, where he was the guest of Martin Bucer, whose Gratulation . . . unto the Church of Englande for the restitution of Christes Religion he translated into English. He then proceeded to Italy, visiting Padua and Venice, Florence and Siena, and in May 1550 he had settled at Rome, when he was summoned by his half-brother, Sir Philip Hoby (1505-1558), then ambassador at the emperor's court, to Augsburg. The brothers returned to England at the end of the year, and Thomas attached himself to the service of the marquis of Northampton, whom he accompanied to France on an embassy to arrange a marriage between Edward VI. and the princess Elizabeth. Shortly after he returned to England he started once more for Paris, and in 1552 he was engaged on his translation of The Courlyer of Count Baldessar Castilio. His work was probably completed in 1554, and the freedom of the allusions to the Roman church probably accounts for the fact that it was withheld from publication until 1561. The Cortegiano of Baldassare Castiglione, which Dr Johnson called " the best book that ever was written upon good breeding," is a book as entirely typical of the Italian Renaissance as Machiavelli's Prince in another direction. It exercised an immense influence on the standards of chivalry throughout Europe, and was long the recognized authority for the education of a nobleman. The accession of Mary made it desirable for the Hobys to remain abroad, and they were in Italy until the end of 1555. Thomas Hoby married in 1558 Elizabeth, the learned daughter of Sir Anthony Cook, who wrote a Latin epitaph on her husband. He was knighted in 1 566 by Elizabeth, and was sent to France as English ambassador. He died on the 13th of July in the same year in Paris, and was buried in Bisham Church.

His son, SIR EDWARD HOBY (1560-1617), enjoyed Elizabeth's favour, and he was employed on various confidential missions. He was constable of Queenborough Castle, Kent, where he died on the 1st of March 1617. He took part in the religious controversies of the time, publishing many pamphlets against Theophilus Higgons and John Fludd or Floyd. He translated, from the French of Mathieu Coignet, Politique Discourses on Trueth and Lying (1586).

The authority for Thomas Hoby's biography is a MS. " Booke of the Trayaile and lief of me Thomas Hoby, with diverse things worth the noting." This was edited for the Royal Historical Society by Edgar Powell in 1902. Hoby's translation of The Courlyer was edited (1900) by Professor Walter Raleigh for the " Tudor Translations " series.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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