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Loys de Bochat, Charles Guillaume (* 1695.12.11 † 1754.04.04)

Basic Overview Data

1695.12.11, Lausanne
1754.04.04, Lausanne
Protestant, Calvinist
Institutional Affiliation
Academy of Lausanne (Académie de Lausanne)
Keyword Filters
law of nations, law of war, balance of power, mercenary service, Calvinism, Alberico Gentili, Grotius, Pufendorf, Samuel Cocceji, Heinrich Cocceji
Important Family Relations:
Father, Isaac Loys seigneur de Bochat (1663.10.17 - 1733.01.16), lieutenant baillival
Mother, Bénigne (de) Loys,
Wife, Suzanne-Françoise Teissonnière,
Canonical URL:


Charles Guillaume Loys de Bochat was born in Lausanne on December 11, 1695. He began to study theology in 1711 at the University of Basel under Samuel Werenfels (1657-1740). Due to ill health, he returned to Lausanne, where he later studied law under Jean Barbeyrac before moving on to Basel, where he obtained his license in 1717. Against Barbeyrac’s own wish, who attempted to promote Louis Bourguet as his successor, Loys de Bochat obtained the chair of natural law and history in 1718. Thanks to a stipend from the Bernese government, he was able to complete his studies abroad (Germany, Netherlands and France) before he began teaching in Lausanne. He served as rector of the Academy from 1727 to 1730. The project to transform the Academy into a University, which he elaborated together with his friend Gabriel Seigneux de Correvon in 1738, had no favourable reception. Loys de Bochat renounced his chair at the Academy when he was appointed lieutenant baillival (deputy bailiff ) in 1740. He became contrôleur général (general auditor) in 1750.

As a professor, Loys de Bochat became well known for his public courses on history. In 1733, the public course on natural law was replaced by a course on ecclesiastical history. In his private courses, he taught natural and civil law. In addition to his public positions, Loys de Bochat also functioned as one of the main editors of the Bibliothèque italienne ou Histoire littérarie de l’Italie, published in Geneva from 1728 to 1734. He also was an influential member of the Société du compte de la Lippe, a local society founded in 1742 in Lausanne which took care of the education of the young earl Simon August von Lippe-Detmold. He was elected to the Akademie der Wissenschaften zu Göttingen in 1751.

Comment on main natural law works:

Nothing is known about Loys de Bochat’s courses on natural law. As one can gather from several of his activities, he was mainly concerned with questions related to the law of nations and the law of war. In his replies to anonymous critiques of the Swiss practice of mercenary service abroad, published as part of Ouvrages pour et contre les services militaires étrangers, considérés du côté du droit et de la morale (1738), he dealt with the general natural law principles suitable for justifying the Swiss practice. He thereby relied extensively on the natural law literature available on the subject, namely on Gentili, Grotius and Pufendorf, and on a great number of subsequently published treatises on natural law and commentaries on moral and legal questions related to mercenary service abroad. This publication owned him a review by Jean Barbeyrac in the journal Bibliothèque raisonné des ouvrages des savants de l’Europe, published in two parts in 1738-1739. However, the latter does not seem to have held in high esteem his younger colleague (see his letter to La Motte, 15 April 1738). Loys de Bochat also adopted a leading role in a discussion launched by the Société du compte de la Lippe on the balance of power in Europe and the question whether preventive warfare against a neighbouring state which augments its power and threatens weaker states by oppression is legitimate. His interest in the law of nations is further attested by his active involvement in the new Latin edition of Grotius’ De jure belli ac pacis, published in Lausanne in 1751-52, which comprised commentaries of several scholars, notably those of Heinrich Cocceji (1644-1719) and his son Samuel Cocceji (1679-1755).

Academic Data


1711 - 1711, Theology, University of Basel[Samuel Werenfels]
1716 - 1716, Law, Academy of Lausanne[Jean Barbeyrac]
1716 - 1717, Law, University of Basel


1717.03.12, Licentiate of law utroque jure, University of Basel (Dissertation De optimo principe)


1718 - 1721, Germany (Halle - ), Holland (Leiden - ), France () (Loys de Bochat was designated as successor of Barbeyrac at the Academy of Lausanne in 1718. He obtained, however, a stipend allowing him to go abroad to improve his knowledge)


1721-1733: "Natural law and history", public and private courses, Academy of Lausanne
1733-1740: "History and ecclesiastical history", public courses, Academy of Lausanne
1733-1740: "Natural law", private courses, Academy of Lausanne

Professional Data


1718 - 1721, Professor designatus, Academy of Lausanne
1721 - 1733, Professor of natural law and history, Academy of Lausanne
1733 - 1740, Professor of history, Academy of Lausanne
1740 - 1754, lieutenant baillival (Deputy bailiff)
1750 - 1754, Contrôleur général (General auditor)

Titles, Memberships and Other Relevant Roles

1751, Member, Akademie der Wissenschaften, Göttingen
1742 - 1747, Member, Société du compte de la Lippe, Lausanne (The Société du compte de la Lippe was a society of local magistrates and scholars established for the education of the young Simon August, Count of Lippe-Detmold (1727-1782). The latter was sent to Lausanne by his mother and stayed there from 1737 to 1747 when the guardianship of his mother ended. The minutes of the assemblies of the society held between 1742 and 1745 and in which Simon August participated, have been preserved and edited (https://lumieres.unil.ch/projets/lippe). Loys de Bochat was one out of two jurists who animated discussions related to the law of nature and nations.)

Printed Sources


Oratio inauguralis Qua probatur dari leges naturales (Geneva: Fabre & Barillot, 1719), [inaugural lecture presented at the Academy of Lausanne in February, 1719].

Ouvrages pour et contre les services militaires étrangers, 3 vols. (Lausanne, Genève: Marc-Michel Bousquet, 1738).

Jean Barbeyrac [reviewer], Histoire de l’ouvrage des savants de l’Europe 21/2 (octobre-décembre 1738), pp. 358-383; 22/1 (janvier-mars 1739), p. 60-94.

[participation in the edition of] Hugonis Grotii De jure belli ac pacis libri tres (Lausanne: Marc-Michel Bousquet, 1751-1752), [this work comprises annotations by Gronovius and by Barbeyrac as well as Heinrich Cocceji's commentaries and Samuel Cocceji's 12 dissertations on Grotius' law of nations which had first been published in Henrici de Cocceji, Grotius illustratus seu commentarii ad Hugonis Grotii de juri belli ac pacis libros III, ed. Samuel de Cocceji, 4 vols. (Wratislaviae: Johann Jacob Korn, 1744–1752)].


Dissertatio inauguralis juridica de optimo principe (Basel: Friderici Lüdij, 1717).

Periodica and Compiled Works:

[co-founder and contributor], Bibliothèque italique ou Histoire littéraire de l'Italie, 18 vols. (Geneva: Marc-Michel Bousquet & Cie., 1728-1734).

Ego-Documents and Biographical Materials:

Clavel de Brenles, Jacques Abram Daniel, Éloge historique de Monsieur Charles Guillaume Loys de Bochat (Lausanne: Antoine Chapuis, 1755). Also published in Nouvelle Bibliothèque germanique, vol. 27, part 2 (1755), art. 1, p. 225-274.

Manuscript Sources


Société du compte de la Lippe, “Assemblée VIII: La balance du pouvoir en Europe” in Extraits des conferences de la Société de Monsieur le compte de la Lippe, Lausanne, 5 janvier 1743, vol. 1, p. 91-111, url: https://lumieres.unil.ch/fiches/biblio/4777/

Direct Personal Connections:

1716, Jean Barbeyrac, Lausanne
Mikkel Munthe Jensen, Last Update:  21.07.2022