1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Mornay, Philippe de
MORNAY, PHILIPPE DE (1549–1623), seigneur du Plessis-Marly, usually known as Du-Plessis-Mornay or Mornay Du Plessis, French Protestant, was born at Buhy in Normandy on the 5th of November 1549. His mother had leanings toward Protestantism, but his father sought to counteract her influence by sending him to the Collège 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 Condé, 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 l'église 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 10th 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 Alençon-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 Condé 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 work on which he had long been engaged, entitled De L’institution, usage et doctrine du saint sacrernent de Veucharistie en l’église ancienne, containing about 5000 citations from the scriptures, fathers and school men. 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 Forét-sur-Sevre on the 11th of November 1623.
His principal works, in addition to De L'institution, usage et doctrine du saint sacrament de Veucharistie en l'église ancienne (La Rochelle, 1598), mentioned above, are Excellent discours de la vie et de la mort (London, 1577), a. bridal present to Charlotte Arbaleste; Traité de l'église on l'on traite des principal es questions qui ont été mues sur ce point en nostre temps (London, 1578); Traité de la verité de la religion chrétienne contre les athées, épicuriens, payens, juifs, mahométans et autres injideles (Antwerp, 1581); Le mystere d'iniquité, c'est à dire, l'histoire de la papauté (Geneva, 1611). Two volumes of Mémoires, from 1572 to 1589, appeared at La Forét (1624–1625), and a continuation in 2 vols. at Amsterdam (1652); a more complete but very inaccurate edition (Mémoires, correspondences, 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, Mémoires de Mme Duplessis-Mornay, vol. i. in the ed. of Mémoires et correspondences de Duplessis-Mornay (Paris, 1824–1825); E. and E. Haag, La France protest ante, article “ Mornay "; J. Ambert, Du Plessis-Mornay (Paris, 1847); E. Stiihelin, Der Ubertritt K. Heinrichs IV. von Frankreich zur katholischen Kirche (Basel, 1856); Weiss, Du Plessis Mornay comme théologien (Strassburg, 1867). There is a good article “Du Plessis-Mornay " by T. Schott in Hauck's Realencyklopädie, and another by Grube in Kirchenlexikon.