Morin, John Baptist

, physician and regius professor of mathematics at Paris, was born at Villefranche in Beaujolois, Feb. 23, 1583. After studying philosophy at Aix | in Provence, and physic at Avignon, of which he commenced doctor in 1613, he went to Paris, and lived with Claude Dormi, bishop of Boulogne, who sent him to examine the nature of metals in the mines of Hungary. This gave occasion to his “Mundi sublunaris Anatomia,” which was his first production, published in 1619. Upon his return to his patron the bishop, he took a fancy to judicial astrology, and began to inquire, by the rules of that art, into the events of 1617. Among these he found, that the bishop of Boulogne was threatened with the loss of either liberty or life, of which he forewarned him. The bishop laughed at Morin’s prediction; but, engaging in state-intrigues, and taking the unfortunate side, he was treated as a rebel, and actually imprisoned that very year. After the fall of his prelate, he lived with the abbe de la Bretonniere, in quality of his physician, for four years; and, in 1621, was taken into the family of the duke of Luxemburg, where he lived eight years more, Jn 1630, he was chosen professor royal of mathematics.

His abilities in his profession gave him access to the great, even to cardinal Richelieu; and, under the administration of cardinal Mazarin, he obtained a pension of 2000 livres. Richelieu is said at first to have admitted him to his most secret councils, and to have consulted him about matters of the greatest importance; but during the greater part of his life, he appears to have gained most fame by his astrological predictions, which, right or wrong, were suited to the credulity of the times. He died at Paris, Nov. 6, 1656. He wrote a great number of books, not forgotten; but did not live to publish his favourite performance, his “Astrologia Gallica,” which had cost him thirty years’ labour. It was printed, however, at the Hague, 1661, in folio, with two epistles dedicatory; the one from the author to Jesus Christ; the other addressed to Louisa Maria de Gonzaga, queen c~f Poland. That princess encouraged Morin to undertake this great work, and paid the charges of the impression. At the time when it was said that she was to be married to the prince, Morin affirmed, that that marriage should never take place, and that she was destined to the bed of a monarch; and it is thought that she the more readily engaged to bear the expences of a work whose author had flattered her with the hopes of a crown, which she afterwards wore. Of his “Astrologia Gallica,Guy Patin says, “I understand, | that the” Astrologia Gallica“of the sieur Morin is at last finished at the Hague. I am told, that it abuses the Parisian and other physicians, who give no credit to judicial astrology; and I do riot wonder, that the author should behave in this manner, for he was a fool. The book is printed in one volume, folio. The queen of Poland gave 2000 crowns to carry on the edition, at the recommendation of one of her secretaries, who is a lover of astrology. You see in what manner crowned heads are imposed upon. If it had been a book which might have been of use to the public, the author would not have found one, either to print it, or to bear the charges of the press.” Morin, however, received several testimonies of esteem from the great Des Cartes. He became acquainted with this philosopher in 1626, and, some time after, maole him a present of his book upon the longitude, which was acknowledged by a very obliging letter. He sent him also, in 1638, some objections to his “Theory of Light,” which Des Cartes thought worthy of his consideration. 1


Gen. Dict. —Niceron, vol. III. —Moreri. Life orefixed to his “Astrologia Gallica.