Moor, Michael (DNB00)

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MOOR, MICHAEL (1640–1726), provost of Trinity College, Dublin, born in Bridge Street, Dublin, in 1640, was son of Patrick Moor, a Roman catholic merchant, in whose house Roger O'More, the leader of the rebellion of 1641, had lodged just before the outbreak. His mother was Mary Dowdal of Mountown. ‘Having laid in a competent stock of grammar learning at home,’ Michael was sent to France, and studied philosophy and divinity first at Nantes under the Oratorians, and afterwards at Paris. After teaching for some years at Grassin he returned to Ireland, and reluctantly took priest's orders, being ordained in 1684 by Luke Wadding [q. v.], Roman catholic bishop of Ferns. In 1685 he was made prebendary of Tymothan in St. Patrick's, and as vicar-general of Patrick Russell, titular archbishop of Dublin, had complete charge of that diocese. He also became chaplain to Richard Talbot, earl of Tyrconnel, and was by him introduced to the notice of James II. Moor persuaded the king not to confer Trinity College, Dublin, upon the jesuits, and was himself made provost in 1689, ‘on the unanimous recommendation of the then prevailing Roman catholic bishops.’ While holding this position he exercised his influence to mitigate the sufferings of the protestant prisoners in Dublin; and during the military occupation of Trinity College he, together with m'Carthy, the librarian, also a catholic, succeeded in saving the library from being burnt by the soldiery. The jesuits, however, had not forgiven him, and took advantage of a sermon preached by Moor before James, from Matthew xv. 14 (‘Let them alone, they be blind leaders of the blind; and if the blind lead the blind both of them shall fall into the ditch’), to procure his deposition. It was said that the king and Father Petre, who had a defect in his eyesight, were especially pointed at.

Moor was not only dismissed but ordered to leave the kingdom. He betook himself to Paris, where he was ‘highly caressed on the score of his learning and integrity;’ but on the arrival of James in France after the battle of the Boyne, he proceeded to Italy. He was made censor of books at Rome, and became rector of Barbarigo's newly established college of Montefiascone. He was in great favour with Pope Clement XI, who was prevented only by the representations of the jesuits from placing his nephew under his charge.

Soon after the death of James II Moor again settled in Paris, and was in 1702 selected to deliver the annual éloge on Louis XIV, which had been founded by the city of Paris. He is described as then rector of the university of Paris (Moreri, Le Grand Dictionnaire Historique, 1759, vii. 808), an elevation for which he was doubtless largely indebted to the good offices of his friend Cardinal de Noailles. He is said to have twice held the rectorship, and was also principal of the Collège de Navarre, and professor of Greek and Latin philosophy at the Collège de France. He helped to remodel the university for Louis XIV, who founded for him the college of Cambray. Moor also ‘joined with one Dr. John Farrely (or Fealy) in purchasing a house contiguous to the Irish College for the reception of such poor young men of Ireland who came there to study’ (Ware, ed. Harris). To the Irish College he left what survived of his fine library from the depredations of an amanuensis, whom Moor, being blind in his later years, employed to read to him. His plate went to the Leinster provisor. Moor died, 22 Aug. 1726, in his rooms at the Collège de Navarre, and was buried, in accordance with his expressed wishes, in the vault under the chapel of the Irish College.

Moor seems to have been a learned divine and philosopher of the old school, and his ‘critical knowledge’ of Greek is especially spoken of. He published: 1. ‘De Existentia Dei et Humanæ Mentis Immortalitate, secundum Cartesii et Aristotelis Doctrinam, Disputatio, in duobus libris divisa,’ Paris, 1692, 8vo. Ware speaks of an English translation of this ‘by Mr. Blackmore,’ but this is not to be found. 2. ‘Hortatio ad Studium Linguæ Græcæ et Hebraicæ recitata coram eminenti M. Antonio Barbarigo, Card. Archiep. de Montefaliscone,’ Montefiascone, 1700, 12mo. 3. ‘Vera Sciendi Methodus,’ Paris, 1716, 8vo; a dialogue written against the Cartesian philosophy.

[Sir J. Ware's Hist. of Ireland, ed. W. Harris, ii. 288–90; Moreri's Le Grand Dictionnaire Historique, 1740, vi. 467 (art. ‘Morus, Michel’); Brechillet-Jourdain's Hist. de l'Université de Paris, p. 285; W. B. S. Taylor's Hist. of University of Dublin, pp. 54–5, 245–6; J. T. Gilbert's Hist. of Dublin, i. 329–30; Webb's Compendium of Irish Biog.]

G. Le G. N.