Appleton's Cyclopedia of American Biography, edited by James
Grant Wilson, John Fiske and Stanley L. Klos. Six volumes, New York: D. Appleton
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FOCHER, Jean (foshay'), Flemish monk, born in Ghent in 1501; died in the City of Mexico, 30 September 1572. He studied in his native City and in Leyden, was graduated as doctor in canonical and common law, and in 1526 entered the order of St. Francis, going, in 1531 to Mexico to offer his services as a missionary. His erudition became soon apparent to his superiors, who sent him as professor to their newly established College of Santiago de Tlaltelolco, where he instructed the sons of the native emperors and eaciques who had been sent by order of Charles V. to this College. He soon became the oracle of the Mexican prelates and men of letters, and his sense of justice was so inflexible that once, when his decision on a point of law went against the dictate of the superior of his convent, he preferred undergoing a disciplinary chastisement rather than change his decision.
At his death nothing but his Bible and body of law were found in his cell, and such was his reputation as an authority on literary and canonical points that one of the most illustrious clergymen of Mexico, Alonso de la Veracruz, exclaimed, on hearing of his death, "Now that Father Focher is dead we shall all be in utter darkness." Focher wrote numerous works, part of which were sent to Spain, and many of them lost; part exist in manuscript in the Biblioteca National of Mexico, A few of the most noteworty are "Itinerarium catholicum proficicientibus ad infideles convertendos" (Mexico ; reprinted, Seville, 1574); "Arte de la Lengua Mexicana" (MS. in Biblioteca Nacional of Mexico); "De Fratre professo ab Ordine eject(), matrimonium contrahere volente" (MS. in the library of the Franciscan convent of Tezcoco); "Responsa ad Fr. Nichaelem de Zarate super dubia quaedam juris" (manuscript in Biblioteca Naeional of Mexico); and "Enchiridion baptismi adultorum; ann. 1544 scriptum" (manuscript in the Franciscan library of Toledo, Spain).
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