1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tschudi
TSCHUDI, or Schudy, the name of one of the most distinguished families of the land of Glarus, Switzerland. It can be traced back as a peasant, not a noble, race to 1289, while after Glarus joined the Swiss Confederation in 1352 various members of the family held high political offices at home, and were distinguished abroad as soldiers and in other ways.
In literature, its most eminent member was Giles or Aegidius Tschudi (1505-1572), who, after having served his native land in various offices, in 1558 became the chief magistrate or landammann, and in 1559 was ennobled by the emperor Ferdinand, to whom he had been sent as ambassador. Originally inclined to moderation, he became later in life more and more devoted to the cause of the counter-Reformation. It is, however, as the historian of the Swiss Confederation that he is best known; by incessant wanderings and unwearied researches amongst original documents he collected material for three great works, which therefore can never wholly lose their value, though his researches have been largely corrected by those of more recent students. In 1538 his book on Rhaetia, written in 1528, was published in Latin and in German - De prisca ac vera Alpina Rhaetia, or Die uralt wahrhafftig Alpisch Rhätia. The historical reputation of Giles Tschudi has suffered very much owing to recent researches. His inventions as to the early history of the Swiss Confederation are described under Tell. His statements and documents relating to Roman times and the early history of Glarus and his own family had long roused suspicion. Detailed examination of late years has proved beyond the shadow of a doubt that he not merely claimed to have copied Roman inscriptions that never existed, and amended others in a most arbitrary fashion, but that he deliberately forged a number of documents with a view to pushing back the origin of his family to the 10th century, thus also entirely misrepresenting the early history of Glarus, which is that of a democratic community, and not (as he pretended) that of a preserve of several aristocratic families. Tschudi's historical credit is thus hopelessly ruined, and no document printed or historical statement made by him can henceforward be accepted without careful verification and examination. These discoveries have a painful interest and importance, since down to the latter part of the 19th century Swiss historical writers had largely based their works on his investigations and manuscripts.
Subjoined is a list of other prominent members of the family. Dominic (1596–1654) was abbot of Muri and wrote a painstaking work, Origo et genealogia gloriosissimorum comitum de Habsburg (1651). Joseph, a Benedictine monk at Einsiedeln, wrote a useful history of his abbey (1823). The family, which became divided in religious matters at the Reformation, also includes several Protestant ministers: John Henry (1670–1729), who wrote Beschreibung des Lands Glarus (1714); John Thomas (1714–1788), who left behind him several elaborate MSS. on the local history of Glarus; and John James (1722–1784), who compiled an elaborate family history from 900 to 1500, and an account of other Glarus families. John Louis Baptist (d. 1784), who settled in Metz and contributed to the Encyclopédie, and Frederick (1820–1886), the author of Das Thierleben der Alpenwelt (1853), were distinguished naturalists. Among the soldiers may be mentioned Christopher (1571–1629), a knight of Malta and an excellent linguist, who served in the French and Spanish armies; while the brothers Louis Leonard (1700–1779) and Joseph Anthony (1703–1770) were in the Neapolitan service. Valentine (1499–1555), the cousin of Giles, was, like the latter, a pupil of Zwingli, whom he afterwards succeeded as pastor of Glarus, and by his moderation gained so much influence that during the thirty years of his ministry his services were attended alike by Romanists and Protestants. The best-known member of the family in the 19th century was Iwan (1816–1887), author of an excellent guide-book to Switzerland, which appeared first (1855) under the name of Schweizerführer, but is best known under de title (given in 1872 to an entirely recast edition) of Der Tourist in der Schweiz. (W. A. B. C.)