- Du Vair, Guillaume
- (1556-1612)French politician and moral philosopher. Trained in both law and theology, he remained Catholic and was concerned about the rapid spread of Protestantism in France before and during the Wars of Religion (1562-1598), but the excesses of the Catholic League made him into a Politique, the group of Frenchmen (mostly Catholic) who regarded the preservation of national unity and domestic tranquillity as more important than the forcible extirpation of heresy. He had served as a member of the highest judicial court, the Parlement of Paris, during the violent coup d'état staged at Paris by extremist members of the Catholic League in 1588. Du Vair became a trusted adviser to the new King Henry IV, serving as intendant of justice in Marseille, and becoming premier président of the Parlement of Provence. Under Louis XIII he became keeper of the seals and bishop of Lisieux. His contemporary fame rested partly on his eloquent oratory, notably his Exhortation à la Paix / An Exhortation to Peace (1592), supporting the moderate royalist Politiques against the extremist Catholics.Du Vair was also a highly regarded moral philosopher, defending a neo-Stoic philosophy that blended ancient Stoicism with Christian faith and emphasized the duty of public service as second only to Christian faith. These ideas were best expressed in his La philosophie morale des Stoiques, his Exhortation à la vie civile, and his Traité de la constance et consolation ès calamités publiques. In these books he criticized citizens who reacted to the civil wars by retreating into private life and abandoning public service.
Historical Dictionary of Renaissance. Charles G. Nauert. 2004.