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Mornay, Philippe De

MORNAY, PHILIPPE DE (1549-1623), seigneur du PlessisMarly, usually known as Du-Plessis-Mornay or Mornay Du Plessis, French Protestant, was born at Buhy in Normandy on the 5th of November 1 549. His mother had leanings toward Protestantism, but his father sought to counteract her influence by sending him to the College de Lisieux at Paris. On his father's death in 1559, however, the family formally adopted the reformed faith. Mornay studied law and jurisprudence at Heidelberg in 1565 and the following year Hebrew and German at Padua. On the outbreak of the second religious war in 1567, he joined the army of Conde, but a fall from his horse prevented him from taking an active part in the campaign. His career as Huguenot apologist began in 1571 with the work Dissertation sur I'eglise visible, and as diplomatist in 1572 when he undertook a confidential mission for Admiral de Coligny to William the Silent, prince of Orange. He escaped the St Bartholomew massacre by the aid of a Catholic friend, and took refuge in England. Returning to France towards the end of 1573, he participated during the next two years with various success in the campaigns of Henry of Navarre. He was taken prisoner by the duke of Guise on the' loth of October 1575, but not being recognized was ransomed for a small sum. Shortly afterwards he married Charlotte Arbaleste at Sedan. Mornay was gradually recognized as the right-hand man of the king of Navarre, whom he represented in England from 1577 to 1578 and again in 1580, and in the Low Countries 1581-1582. With the death of the duke of Alencon-Anjou in 1584, by which Henry of Navarre was brought within sight of the throne of France, the period of Mornay's greatest political activity began, and after the death of the prince of Conde in 1588 his influence became so great that he was popularly styled the Huguenot pope. He was present at the siege of Dieppe, fought at Ivry, and was at the siege of Rouen in 1591-92, until sent on a mission to the court of Queen Elizabeth. He was bitterly disappointed by Henry IV.'s abjuration of Protestantism in 1593, and thenceforth gradually withdrew from the court and devoted himself to writing. He founded in 1593 the Protestant academy or university at Saumur, which had a distinguished history until its suppression by Louis XIV. in 1683. In 1598 he published a work on which he had long been engaged, entitled De institution, usage et doctrine du saint sacrement de I 'eucharistie en I'eglise ancienne, containing about 5000 citations from the scriptures, fathers and schoolmen. Jacques Davy Du Perron, bishop of Evreux, afterwards cardinal and archbishop of Sens, accused him of misquoting at least 500, and a public disputation was held at Fontainebleau on the 4th of May 1600. Decision was awarded to Du Perron on nine points presented, when the disputation was interrupted by the illness of Mornay. His last years were saddened by the loss of his only son in 1605 and of his devoted wife in 1606, and were marked only by perfecting the Huguenot organization. He was chosen a deputy in 1618 to represent the French Protestants at the synod of Dort, and though prohibited from attending by Louis XIII., he contributed materially to its deliberations by written communications. He was deprived of the governorship of Saumur at the time of the Huguenot insurrection in 1621, and died in retirement on his estate of La Foret-sur-Sevre on the nth of November 1623.

His principal works, in addition to De L'institution, usage et doctrine du saint sacrement de V eucharistie en I'eglise ancienne (La Rochelle, 1598), mentioned above, are Excellent discours de la vie et de la mart (London, 1577), a bridal present to Charlotte Arbaleste; Traite de I'eglise ou I' on traite des principals questions qui out ete mues sur ce point en npstre temps (London, 1578); Traite de la verite de la religion chretienne centre les athees, epicuriens, payens, juifs, mahometans et autres infideles (Antwerp, 1581); Le mystere d'iniquite, c'est a dire, I'histoire de la papaute (Geneva, 1611). Two volumes of Memoires, from 1572 to 1589, appeared at La Foret (1624-1625), and a continuation in 2 vols. at Amsterdam (1652); a more complete but very inaccurate edition (Memoires, correspondances, et vie) in 12 vols. was published at Paris in 1624 1625.

See the life of Mornay written by his wife for the instruction of their son, Memoires de Mme Duplessis-Mornay, vol. i. in the ed. of Memoires et correspondances de Duplessis-Mornay (Paris, 1824 1825); E. and E. Haag, La France protestante, article " Mornay "; J. Ambert, Du Plessis-Mornay (Paris, 1847); E. Stahelin, Der Vbertrilt K. Heinrichs IV. von Frankreich zur katholischen Kirche (Basel, 1856); Weiss, Du Plessis Mornay ccmme theologien ( Strassburg, 1867). There is a good article " Du Plessis-Mornay " by T. Schott in Hauck's Realencyklopadie, and another by Grube in Kirchenlsxikon.

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

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