Maimbourg, Louis

, a man celebrated in the republic of letters, was born at Nancy, in Lorrain, in 161O. He was very well descended, and his parents were people of considerable rank and fortune. He was admitted into the society of the Jesuits in 1626; but obliged afterwards to quit it by the order of pope Innocent XI. in 1682, for having asserted too boldly the authority of the Gallican church against the court of Rome. Louis XIV. however, made him sufficient amends for this disgrace by settling on him a very honourable pension, with which he retired into the abbey of St. Victor at Paris. Here he died in 1686, after having made a will by which it appears that he was extremely dissatisfied with the Jesuits. Bayle has given the substance of it, as far as relates to them, and calls it a kind of a declaration of war. It sets forth, “That a gentleman of Nancy, in Lorrain, had been educated and settled in France from twelve years of age, and by that means was become a very faithful and loyal subject of that | king; that he was now almost seventy-six years old that his father and mother being very rich ha J founded a college for the Jesuits at Nancv., fifty years ago; and that for ten years hefore this foundation they had supplied those fathers with every thing they wanted. He declares, that they did all this in consideration of his being admitted into that order; and yet that now he was forcibly turned out of it. he wills, therefore, by this testament, that all the lands, possessions, &c. which the Jesuits received of his father and mother, do devolve, at his decease, to the Carthusian monastery near Nancy; affirming, that his parents would never have conferred such large donations upon them, but upon condition, that they would not banish their son from the society, after they had once admitted him; and that, therefore, since these conditions had been violated on the part of the Jesuits, the possessions of his family ought to return to him.

Maimbourg had a great reputation as a preacher, and published two volumes of sermons. But what have made him most known were the several histories he published. He wrote the History of Arianism, of the Iconoclasts, of the Croisades, of the Schism of the West, of the f-chism of the Greeks, of the Decay of the Empire, of the League, of Lutheranism, of Calvinism, the Pontificate of St. Leo; and he was composing the “History of the Schism of England” when he died. These histories form 14 vols. 4to, or 26 in 12mo. Protestant authors have charged him with insincerity, have convicted him of great errors and misrepresentations, in their refutations of his “History of Lutheranism and Calvinism.” The Jansenists criticued his “History of Arianism,” and that of the “Iconoclasts,” leaving all the rest untouched. The “History of Calvinism,” which he published in 1681, stirred up a violent war against him; the operations whereof he left entirely to his enemies, without ever troubling himself in the least about it, or acting either offensively or defensively. The abbé L’Avocat says that his historical works were admired at first, on account of a kind pf romantic style which prevails in them; but this false taste did not continue long, and the greatest part of them were exploded while their author was yet living. It is asserted that P. Maimbourg never took up his pen till he had heated his imagination by wine, nor ever attempted to describe a battle till he had drank two bottles; making use of this precaution, as he said | jestingly, lest the horrors of the combat should enfeeble his style. The same biographer adds, that Theodore Maimbourg, his cousin, turned Calvinist, then went back to the catholic church, then changed afresh to “what is called the reformed religion,” and died a Socinian at London, about 1693. This last left an answer to “M. Bossuet’s Exposition of the Catholic Faith” and other works. 1


Gen. Dict. —Moreri. L’Avocat’s —Dict. Hist.