More, Alexander (DNB00)

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MORE, ALEXANDER (1616–1670), protestant divine and Milton's antagonist, was born on 25 Sept. 1616 at Castres in Languedoc, where his father, a Scotsman, was rector of the protestant college. He was educated at Castres and Geneva, where in 1639 he was elected to the chair of Greek over the head of Stephen Le Clerc, and in 1642 succeeded Frederic Spanheim in the chair of theology. Grave charges of heresy and immorality, which he was unable to repel, led in 1648 to his resignation. He was, however, in the following year elected, through the influence of Salmasius, to the chair of theology at Middelburg, which he resigned in 1652 for that of ecclesiastical history at Amsterdam. On the appearance of the anonymous 'Regii Sanguinis Clamor ad Cœlum adversus Parricidas Anglicanos' (1652), it was generally, though falsely, ascribed to More, who was merely its editor, and Milton, who believed the common report, made a violent attack upon the supposed author's personal character in his 'Pro Populo Anglicano Defensio Secunda' [cf. Moulin, Peter du].

More published a spirited defence of his life entitled 'Alexandri Mori Ecclesiastæ et Sacrarum Litterarum Professoris Fides Publica contra Calumnias Joannis Miltoni' (the Hague, 1654, 4to), but suffered Milton to have the last word. In 1655 he visited Italy, returned to Holland in May 1656 to find his reputation fatally damaged, and in 1659 he was compelled to resign his professorship. Nevertheless, the church at Charenton, near Paris, welcomed him as its pastor; and there, except for a brief sojourn in England in the winter of 1661-2, he remained till his death on 28 Sept. 1670. He was interred in the Charenton cemetery. He did not marry.

More was a fine scholar and an eloquent preacher; in theology he leaned towards Arminianism; unless grossly calumniated throughout his public career, his morals must have been far less strict than his theology. Besides the 'Fides Publica' More's remains comprise some volumes of sermons and theological treatises, a few Latin poems, a 'Panegyric' on Calvin, and some other miscellanea. A portrait of More by Vaillant, and four engravings, two by Pass and Visscher, are mentioned by Bromley.

[The Fides Publica, above referred to; Senebier's Hist. Litt. do Genève, 1790, i. 195 et seq.; Haag's La France Protestante; Bruce's Critical Account of the Life, Character, and Discourses of Mr. Alexander Morus, 1813; Biographisch Woordenboek der Nederlanden, 1869; Masson's Life of Milton, 1871, iv. 586, 627; Bayle's Hist. and Crit. Dict. 2nd edit. (1737); Chalmers's Biog. Dict.; see art. Milton, John, poet.]

J. M. R.