(Etienne de Grellet du Mabil-lier), the fifth child of Gabriel Marc Antoine de Grellet, was born at Limoges, in France, Nov. 2,1773. His parents were wealthy, and ranked high among the nobility. His father was comptroller of the mint, the friend and counsellor of Louis XVI, and was proprietor of iron-works and of extensive porcelain manufactories. Etienne was trained in the Roman Catholic faith, but at the early age of six years, by a remarkable visitation of the Holy Spirit, was brought to experience the efficacy of private prayer. At the age of seventeen he was chosen one of the king's body-guard. Daring the horrors of the Revolution the family estates were confiscated. Etienne and his brothers became prisoners of war, and were sentenced to be shot, but escaped to America. In the year 1795, at Newtown, L. I., whilst walking in the evening twilight, he heard a voice pronouncing thrice the word ETERNITY, and he was overwhelmed with powerful convictions of sin. He was not at that time a Christian believer, and had never seen a Bible. Waiting patiently upon the Lord, the divine Spirit opened to his mind the scheme of salvation by Christ, and the truth as it is in him, and, uniting himself to the religious Society of Friends, he became one of the most illustrious ministers and missionaries of that Church. In 1798, during the prevalence of yellow fever in Philadelphia, he devoted himself to ministrations to the sick, the dying, and the afflicted, and, taking the disease, his name was one day reported in the death-list. His wife was Rebecca, daughter of Isaac Collins, a lady of extraordinary loveliness and virtues. He engaged in mercantile business, in which he was remarkably blessed, always winding up his temporal concerns when required to go forth to proclaim the gospel of salvation, and carefully defraying his own expenses in his long and arduous journeys, being very jealous that the ministry should not be blamed, and feeling conscientiously bound to bestow without charge what he had freely received. He visited Europe four times. Alexander, the czar of Russia, received him to his friendship and to his warm embrace, and at his suggestion adopted various governmental measures, and introduced into the schools of the empire comprehensive Biblical selections prepared by Grellet and his friend, W. Allen. He penetrated the secret archives of the Inquisition at Rome, and in an audience granted him by the pope, he preached boldly to him as a fellow-sinner, and exposed various outrages which he had witnessed.
These the pope condemned, and at parting gave him his benediction. His missionary labors embraced also Great Britain, North America, Hayti, etc., and were attended with memorable experiences and success. For a full account thereof, see an interesting biography written by Benjamin Seebohm, one of his converts. See also the memorial issued by the Society of Friends, and The Fight, Faith, and Crown, by Dr. Van Rensselaer, of the Presbyterian Church; also a memoir published in London, called Etienne de Grellet, the French Evangelist. During his last illness, which was one of great suffering, he glorified God in a wonderful manner, and his seasons of excruciating agony only drew from him expressions of thanksgiving and praise. He died at Burlington, N. J., Nov. 16, 1855. See London Quarterly Review, April, 1862, art. vi. (W.J.A.)