Moulin, Pierre du (DNB00)
MOULIN, PIERRE du (1568–1658), French protestant divine, was the son of Joachim du Moulin, an eminent pastor at Orleans, by Françoise Gabet, widow of Jacques du Plessis. He was born 18 Oct. 1568 at Buhy, Vexin Français, where his father had temporarily taken refuge, and was acting as chaplain to Pierre de Buhy, brother of the so-called ‘Huguenot pope,’ Philippe de Mornay. When he was four years old his parents, compelled to flee to avoid the St. Bartholomew massacres, left their four little children in charge of an old nurse, a catholic, at Cœuvres, near Soissons. Pierre's cries, being concealed under a mattress, on the murderers' approach, would have attracted their attention had not the nurse rattled her pots and pans, pretending to be cleaning them, and had not his sister Esther, aged 7, put her hand over his mouth. Pierre was educated at Sedan. In 1588 his father, harassed by persecutions, dismissed him with twelve crowns, bidding him seek his fortune in England. There he was befriended by Menillet, who afterwards married his sister, and the Countess of Rutland sent him as tutor to her son to Cambridge, where he continued his own studies under Whitaker. In September 1592 he embarked for Holland on a visit to Professor Junius of Leyden, but was shipwrecked off Walcheren, losing all his books and other possessions, a disaster which inspired his Latin poem ‘Votiva Tabella.’ For two months teacher in a Leyden college, he was then appointed professor of philosophy at the university. He lodged with Scaliger, and Grotius was one of his pupils. In 1598 he went to see his father at Jargeau, and was induced to enter the ministry, for which he had undergone preparatory training while in London. After a farewell visit to Leyden he took temporary duty at Blois, and in March 1599 was appointed to Charenton, the suburb where the Paris protestants worshipped. He accompanied, as chaplain, Catherine de Bourbon, Henry IV's sister, on her periodical visits to her husband, the Duke of Bar, at his palace in Lorraine, preaching before her during the journey in Meaux Cathedral and other catholic churches. While he was standing by her deathbed in 1604, Cardinal du Perron, sent by Henry IV to convert her to catholicism, tried to push him out of the room, but he clung to the bedpost, and Catherine declining to change her religion the cardinal retired. Du Moulin's house in Paris was the resort of French and foreign protestants, Andrew Melville [q. v.] staying there in 1611. It was twice pillaged by mobs, and he himself had narrow escapes from violence. In 1615 his fellow-countryman, Sir Theodore Mayerne [q. v.], recommended him to James I, who required a French divine to assist him in his ‘Regis Declaratio pro Jure Regio,’ and fetched him over to London. James took him with him to Cambridge, where he was made D.D., and gave him a benefice in Wales and a prebend at Canterbury, each worth 200l. a year. After a three months' stay he returned to Paris, and being forbidden by the French government to attend the synod of Dort, to which he was one of the four elected French delegates, he sent a long memorial against Arminius, and he obtained the adoption of the decisions of the synod by French protestants. In 1619 James, who had consulted him on his scheme of protestant union, gave him a pension chargeable on the deanery of Salisbury. In 1620 Edward Herbert, first lord Herbert of Cherbury [q. v.], British ambassador at Paris, pressed him to write to James on behalf of the elector palatine. Du Moulin reluctantly complied, but the letter was intercepted, or, according to another version, was treacherously divulged by Buckingham; and its exhortations to James to justify the hopes placed in him by continental protestants were construed as incitements to a foreign sovereign to interfere in French affairs. Du Moulin, by Herbert's advice, fled to Sedan, where the Duke of Bouillon appointed him tutor to his son, pastor of the church, and professor of theology at the academy. In 1623 he revisited England.' In 1628 he was allowed to return to Charenton, which charge he occupied altogether for twenty-one years; but, finding his position again dangerous, he withdrew first to the Hague and then to Sedan. That principality was annexed to France in 1642, but he was not molested, and continued to preach and lecture, notwithstanding his great age, till within a fortnight of his death, which took place 10 March 1658. He married in 1599 Marie de Colignon, who died in 1622, and in the following year he married Sarah de Geslay. Two sons by his first wife, Lewis and Peter, are separately noticed.
Moulin's autobiography to 1644, apparently a family copy, is in the library of the History of French Protestantism Society at Paris, and was printed in its 'Bulletin' in 1858. Several of his letters are in the same library and in the Burnet MSS., Brit. Mus., vols. 367 and 371. Haag enumerates eighty-two works published by him in French and Latin, and Gory mentions ten others; nearly all are in the British Museum Library. Most are controversial, and Bayle points out that he was one of the first French protestants who ignored and evidently discredited the Pope Joan legend. His 'Elementa Logica,' 1596, went through many editions, and was translated into English in 1624.
[Du Moulin is spoken of frequently as Molinæus in a multitude of contemporary publications. The chief authorities on his life are his autobiography; Quick's Icones (manuscript in Dr. Williams's Library, London); Quick's Synodicon, ii. 105; Dernières Heures de Du Moulin, Sedan, 1658; Biog. Dict. of Foreigners resident in England, MS. 34283 in Brit. Mus.; Walker's Sufferings of the Clergy; Bates's Vitæ Selectorum Virorum, London, 1681; Freher's Theatrum Virorum, 1688; Sax's Onomasticon, 1775; Charles Read's Daniel Chamier, Paris, 1858; Haag's La France Protestante, 2nd edit. Paris, 1881; Agnew's Protestant Exiles from France, 1886 edit.; G. Gory's Thèse sur Du Moulin, Paris, 1888; Michel's Les Écossais en France, ii. 118; Brit. Mus. Cat.]