Robert Joseph Pothier
A celebrated French lawyer, b. at Orléans, 9 January, 1699; d. there, 2 March, 1772. His father was a judge of the petty court, a position later filled by the son (1750), who at the same time was professor of French law at the University of Orléans (1750). His life, devoted to teaching and the administration of justice, was not marked by any important events; his considerable influence was exercised in his lectures and his works. Of an austere life, modest, disinterested, and profoundly religious, he was a characteristic representative of the legal profession under the old regime. His principal work was rather in arrangement of the texts of the Roman Law : "Pandectae Justinianeae in novum ordinem digestae," 3 vols. (Paris, 1748-52) several times re-edited, and published under the patronage of the Chancellor d'Aguesseau, who offered him a professorship after the appearance of the first volume. Having written in collaboration with Prevost de la Jannés and Jousse, a remarkable "Introduction à la coutume d'Orléans (Orléans, 1740), he published "Les Coutumes d'Orléans" (1760). He is especially known for a series of treatises on duties, sales, constitution of rents, exchange, hiring, leases, leasing of cattle, contracts of beneficence, contracts aleatory, contracts of marriage, the community, dowry, law of habitation, tenure of the estate, possession, and title; they were published between 1761 and 1772; all collected in his "Traités sur differentes matieres du droit civil" (Orléans, 1781). Other essays left in manuscript, principally on fiefs, successions, donations, civil and criminal procedure, were published between 1776 and 1778. All these works, in plain clear compilation, perfectly planned, were in the hands of the jurists who edited the new French Civil Code (Code Napoléon). As the editors took into account both the Roman and the common law, Pothier's writings were exceedingly useful for the purposes of the new codification which owed considerable to them, especially as regards questions of duties and contracts. See Thézard, "De l'influence des travaux de Pothier et du Chancelier d'Aguesseau sur le droit civil moderne" (Paris, 1866). Pothier's most interesting work, from a religious point of view, is his "Traité du contrat de mariage," in which he exposes in all their fullness the current Gallican doctrines. According to French lawyers, not only is the marriage contract distinct front the sacrament, and becomes such only through the nuptial benediction, but it is subject to the authority of princes, who can legislate on the marriages of their subjects, remove obstacles, and regulate the formalities; thus marriages of minors contracted without the consent of their parents are declared null and void. Further, marriage matters, not alone of separation or divorce, but of nullification, pertain to the secular tribunals. In this way he was a forerunner of the secularization of marriage, and the establishment of civil marriage (Esmein, "Le mariage en droit canonique" Paris, 1891, I, 33 sq.).
More Catholic Encyclopedia
Browse Encyclopedia by Alphabet
The Catholic Encyclopedia is the most comprehensive resource on Catholic teaching, history, and information ever gathered in all of human history. This easy-to-search online version was originally printed in fifteen hardcopy volumes.
Designed to present its readers with the full body of Catholic teaching, the Encyclopedia contains not only precise statements of what the Church has defined, but also an impartial record of different views of acknowledged authority on all disputed questions, national, political or factional. In the determination of the truth the most recent and acknowledged scientific methods are employed, and the results of the latest research in theology, philosophy, history, apologetics, archaeology, and other sciences are given careful consideration.
No one who is interested in human history, past and present, can ignore the Catholic Church, either as an institution which has been the central figure in the civilized world for nearly two thousand years, decisively affecting its destinies, religious, literary, scientific, social and political, or as an existing power whose influence and activity extend to every part of the globe. In the past century the Church has grown both extensively and intensively among English-speaking peoples. Their living interests demand that they should have the means of informing themselves about this vast institution, which, whether they are Catholics or not, affects their fortunes and their destiny.
Browse the Catholic Encyclopedia by Topic
Copyright © Catholic Encyclopedia. Robert Appleton Company New York, NY. Volume 1: 1907; Volume 2: 1907; Volume 3: 1908; Volume 4: 1908; Volume 5: 1909; Volume 6: 1909; Volume 7: 1910; Volume 8: 1910; Volume 9: 1910; Volume 10: 1911; Volume 11: - 1911; Volume 12: - 1911; Volume 13: - 1912; Volume 14: 1912; Volume 15: 1912
Catholic Online Catholic Encyclopedia Digital version Compiled and Copyright © Catholic Online