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derations concerning his geometrical and direct method for finding the apogees, excentricities, and anomalies of the planets. . Martin's Biog. Phil. Hutton's Math. Dict.—M. MERCIER, John LE, or, when latinized, Mercerus, a very learned French professor of Hebrew in the sixteenth century, was descended from a respectable family, and born at Usez in Languedoc, but in what year we are not informed. Being designed by his parents for some public employment, they took care to give him the advantage of an excellent education, and sent him to study the law, at first at the university of Toulouse, and afterwards at Avignon. In this faculty he made respectable progress, and, while he was at the last-mentioned university, translated from the French into Latin the “Promptuarium Juris civilis” of Harmenopulus. Philology, however, and biblical literature had stronger charms for him than legal studies, and he soon relinquished the latter, that he might devote himself entirely to the favourite objects of his pursuit. . . He accordingly made an astonishing proficiency in the belles lettres, and in the Latin, Greek, Hebrew, and Chaldee languages. In the two latter, especially, he was so profoundly skilled, that, upon the death of Francis Vatable in 1546, who had deservedly acquired the title of “. Restorer of the Hebrew tongue,” Mercier was considered to be the best qualified person to become his successor in the Hebrew chair at the Royal College at Paris. In this department he acquitted himself with the highest reputation; and his “lectures were so famous,” says Dupin, “that the royal auditory was always full when he read. The Jews went to hear him, and owned that he understood Hebrew best of any man of that age. From his school came out all those who understood anything of Hebrew in France at that time. Besides his great skill in the tongues, he had an admirable judgment, abundance of erudition, great candour and simplicity ; and his conversation was without reproach.” Mercier was brought up in the catholic religion; but, in consequence of his maturer enquiries he was led to renounce it, and to embrace the protestant faith. Owing to this change of sentiment, when the civil wars broke out he found it necessary to consult his safety by retiring from France; and he removed to Venice, where he had an asylum afforded him by Arnoul du Ferrier, the French ambassador, who was his particular friend. In this city he remained for some time, and had frequent con
ferences with the Jews on subjects of Hebrew literature. At length, the Protestants having obtained peace in France, and the royal promise of the undisturbed exercise of their religion, Mercier returned home with the ambassador. , Being desirous, however, to visit his native place before he resumed the duties of his professorship, he went to his father's house at Usez, where he was attacked by a fatal illness, and died in the year 1570. This event was a most deplorable loss to the republic of letters, and to the interests of biblical literature. Of the indefatigable diligence, however, with which while living, he conferred obligations on men of learning, and particularly divines and orientalists, our readers will be able to form some idea from the enumeration at the end of this article of the works which he himself committed to the press, or which were published from the manuscripts which he left behind him. When speaking of his merit as a commentator on the sacred books, father Simon observes, that he is “one of the most learned and judicious interpreters of the scriptures, among those of the reformed religion, and he would have been entitled to higher commendation, had he not forsaken the religion of his fathers to follow Calvin's novelties. He perfectly understood both Greek and Hebrew, and could read well the books of the rabbis, Hence his method of expounding the Bible is more exact and critical, than the method adopted by other authors before him. He endeavoured solely to find out the literal sense of his text, and the proper signification of the Hebrew words. With this view he usually gives the different explanations of the rabbis, which he sometimes corrects; he has not neglected the septuagint, or other ancient versions of the Bible, which yet he might have done more frequently; and he has also consulted the Hebrew MS. copies of the Bible in the king's library. In a word, he had all the qualities requisite for a learned interpreter of the scriptures, and he would without doubt have succeede 1 better, had he not adopted the novelties of his day. His best commentaries are those on the book of Job, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, and Canticles.” The folk wing is a list of le Mercier's learned productions: “Commentaria in Genesin,” 1598, folio, edited by Beza; “Commentaria in Jobum, Proverb. Eccles. et Cant. Cantic.” 1573, folio, edited by the same ; “Commentaria Merceri et alior, in quinque priores Prophetas Minores,” a posthumous work like the preceding, and edited by Peter Cevallerius; * Duodecim Minores Prophetae Chaldaicé, cum Versione et Notis,” 1557; “Joel, cum R. D. Kimchi Commentariis et Indice Locorum qui ex Thalmude citantur,” 1557, quarto; “Libellus Ruth, cum Scholiis Masorae ad Margi– nem, et succincta in eundem Expositione, cujus Author in MS. exemplari praefertur R. D. Kimchi,” 1563, quarto ; “Chaldaea Translatio Abdiae et Ionae,” 155o, quarto; “Targum Jonathanis in Aggaeum,” I 551, quarto; “Tractatulus de Accentibus Jobi, Prov. et Psalmorum, Authore R. Juda, filio Bilham Hispano,” 1556, quarto; “ Liber de Accentibus Scripturae, Authore R. Juda,” 1565, quarto; “Aben Esra in Decalogum,” 1568, quarto; “Evangelium Matthaei ex Heb. Latinë versum,” 1555, 12mo; “Tabulae in Chaldaeam Grammaticen,” 155o, quarto; “Alphabetum Hebraicum,” 1566, quarto; Eruditio Intellectus, Proverbiorum Libellus, Authore R. Haj Gaon, cum Versione Lat.” 1561, octavo ; “Scutella argentea, Libellus Sententiarum, Auth. R. Joseph. Hyssopaeo, cum vers. Lat.” 1559, octavo 3. “Orus Apollo Niliacus de S. Notis, cum observat.” I551, octavo ; “Grammatica Chaldaica cum Abbreviat.” 1560, quarto; and “Notae in Thesaurum Ling S. Pagnini,” 1577, folio. Dupin. Moreri. Simon's Crit. Hist. Old Test. b. iii. ch, 14. Colomejii Gallia Orientalis, in which the reader may find a crowd of very honourable testimonies, both from Catholics and Protestants, to our author's extraordinary learning and merits.--M. MERCIER, Josias LE, son of the preceding, a learned critic, made himself known by an edition of Nonius Marcellus ; and by notes on. Aristaenetus, Tacitus, Dictys Cretensis, and the treatise of Apuleius de Deo Socratis. He died in 1626. he learned Saumaise was his son-in-law. Moreri, A. MERCKLEIN, GEoRGE ABRAHAM, a learned physician, son of a physician of the same name, was born in 1644 at Weissemburg, in Franconia. He studied at various German universities and at Padua, and graduated at Altdorf in 1670. He succeeded his father as §. to the Teutonic order of the house of
uremberg, and was appointed first physician,
to two princes Palatine, grand-masters of that order. He passed a life of great activity in the
employments of his profession, and died at.
Nuremberg in 1702. Mercklein was a member of the academy Naturae Curiosorum, to which he communicated several papers on me
dical subjects, printed in their ephemerides. He also wrote, “Tractatio de Ortu et Occasu Transfusionis Sanguinis,” 1679, in which he gives a history of this invention, and argues against its utility: “Lindenius renovatus,” an augmented edition of the work of Antonides Vander Linden, “De Scriptis Medicis” (see Linden: ) and “Sylloge Casuum Medicorum In cantationi vulgo adscribi solitorum,” a curious subject; but treated with too little discrimination between real and supposititious facts. HalIeri Bibl. Med. Eloy I)ict.—A. MERCURIALE, GIRoLAMo (JERoM), a very eminent and learned physician, was born at Forli in Romagna, in 1530. Where he received his education is not known, but it was É. at Padua; he graduated in physie,’ owever, at Venice in 1555. He settled first in his native place, by the citizens of which he was delegated on some public business to pope Pius IV. in 1562. His character and talents appeared to so much advantage at the court of Rome, that he was honoured with the citizenship of that metropolis, and was urged to. make it his residence. He was particularly esteemed by cardinal Alexander Farenese, with whom he made a tour to Sicily. During his, abode in Rome, he not only employed himself in professional concerns, but paid great attention to classical literature and the monuments of antiquity. His studies of this kind enabled him to compose the learned and elegant work. which first rendered him celebrated in the literary world, “De Arte Gymnastica Libr. sex,” first printed at Venice in 1569, and frequently reprinted. This is rather to be regarded as a philological than a medical performance, since, while it throws much light on. the private life and customs of the ancients, . its reasonings and precepts are almost solely. derived from their schools. In 1569 he was invited to the first medical, chair at Padua, in which he succeeded Francanzano, a professor of high reputation. His own fame was proved by a summons from the emperor Maximilian II. to Vienna, in 1573, to recover him from a severe illness, His treatment was so successful, that he returned loaded with presents, and with an imperial patent creating him a knight and count palatine. His professorial stipend was gradually augmented to a greater sum than. had ever been allotted to the medical chair. In 1576 he was called, together with another physician, to Venice, in order to give his advice respecting a pestilential disorder which had broken out there. On this occasion he and his, colleague appear to have fallen into the error which has prevailed among other medical theorists, of denying the reality of contagion ; and their counsels are said to have produced much mischief. He removed to Bologna in 1587, where he was attended by a numerous alldience. After passing some years in this university, he accepted an invitation from the grand-duke Ferdinand, to Pisa, where his stipend was finally raised to two thousand gold crowns, a very considerable sum at that time. He remained there, till the calculous complaints under which he laboured incapacitated him from further usefulness, when he retired to his native city of Forli. He sunk under his disorder in 1606, and was buried with great honour in a chapel which he had erected. He left a large property to his heirs in money and effects, among which was a fine collection of pictures. Mercuriale was a voluminous writer in his profession, and the list of his works forms an ample catalogue. He was a learned commentator upon Hippocrates, of all whose works he published a classified edition. Of his own compositions, besides that on ancient gymnastics above mentioned, the principal are “Consultationes et Responsa Medicinalia,” four volumes folio: “Medicina Practica, seu de cognoscendis, discernendis et curandis omnibus humani Corporis affectibus,” folio: “De Morbis Cutaneis,” quarto: “De Morbis Puerorum,” quarto: “De Morbis Muliebribus,” octavo: “De Venenis,” octavo. A prejudiced attachment to the ancients, and a disposition to vague and hypothetical theory (the fault of the age), runs through all his writings. Tirabatchi. Halleri Bibl. Med & Anat. Eloy Dict.—A. MERCURII, GIRo1.AMo, a physician and monk, remarkable for his adventures, was a native of Rome. In his youth he studied at the universities of Bologna and Padua, where he attended particularly to the science of medicine, one of his masters in which was J. C. Aranzio. An inclination then seized him of entering into the order of Dominicans, which he puvin execution at Milan about 1568. He continued, however, to practise as a physician, and the novelty of uniting the two characters caused him to be in great request. It also exposed him to obloquy ; and at length, dissatisfied with his ambiguous situation, he threw aside his religious habit, left the cloyster, and rambled through various provinces of Italy, assuming the name of Scipio, which was probably his baptismal one. He travelled
through several countries of Europe, and was two years in France in 1572-3 as physician to the commandant of the German troops under the duke de Joyeise. He resided several years at Peschiera in the Veronese, where he was much esteemed by the inhabitants, whom he boasts of having freed from the bad esfects of the insalubrious air to which they were exposed. He purchased a farm there, and refused offers from the pope and republic of Venice to come and settle in their states. At length he was touched with remorse for the desertion of his religious profession; and in 1601, having received absolution for his offence, he resumed his habit, and
practice of the age, in a style and manner suit
able to his title of “The Good Wife or Gossip.” Another of his works was “Degli errori popolari d'Italia,” 1603, a verbose but amusing performance, containing much curious information relative to the opinions and customs of the times, and usefully correcting many errors whilst it inculcates others. Tirahorchi. Halleri Bibl. Med. Eloy. Dict. Hist. Med—A.
MERIAN, MARIA SYBILLA, an elegant artist and skilful naturalist, was born at Francfort in 1647. Her father, Matthew Merian, was an eminent engraver and geographer, known by a topographical work printed in Germany, in thirty-one volumes folio. Her mother was the daughter of the engraver Theodore de Bry. An early taste for the art of design might be expected from one so descended; it was so decided in Sybilla, that, her mother being unable to controul it, she was placed under the tuition of Abraham Mignon, a flower-painter. She soon learned to represent with great beauty and accuracy flowers, fruits, and insects; at the same time she attended to the cultivation of her mind, and applied with success to the study of natural history and the Latin language. At the age of eighteen she married Adrian Graaf of Nuremberg, a painter and architect; she still, however, preserved the name of Merian, and her husband at
length assumed the same. Household cares did not prevent her from continuing to exercise the pencil; she painted from nature all the insects that she could procure, and even employed herself in a close observation of all their metamorphoses, and modes of life. The fruit of her labours was given to the public in a “History of the Insects of Europe” in the German language, published in two parts, 1679 and 1683, and afterwards republished together in 1)utch, after she had settled in Holland. Such was her passion for natural history, that in 1698 she embarked on board a Dutch ship for Surinam, assisted by a liberal pension from the States-General, and attended by her daughter Maria Dorothea, for the purpose of drawing from nature the insects and reptiles with which that country abounds. She employed two years in this task, during which she painted with the utmost delicacy and exactness upon vellum a great number of subjects, with all their changes,and the mysteries of their birth and generation, not disgusted even with the loathsome forms of toads, snakes, spiders, and other extraordinary productions of those prolific regions. On her return she presented all her drawings to the magistrates of Amsterdam, who deposited them in the Stadt-house, where they still attract the admiration of strangers. A publication was the result, “On the Generation and Metamorphoses of the Insects of Surinam,” first printed in Dutch, Amst, large folio, 1705 ; reprinted in 1719 ; and more fully in French and Dutch at the Hague in 1726. To each insect is added the plant on which it delights to feed, painted with great elegance, though without the botanical characters, as she was unacquainted with that science ; their names in Latin were added by Commelyn. Sybilla died at Amsterdam in 1717, at the age of seventy, leaving two daughters, both artists. Dorothea, after her mother's death, added a third part to the history of European insects.The whole of this work was published in Latin at Amsterdam in 1708, folio, and in French by John Marret, . D. in 1730, folio. D'Argenville /ies des Peintres. Halleri Bibl. Botan.—A. MERLIN, JAMEs, a learned French priest who flourished in the sixteenth century, was a native of Limoges, who appears to have pursued his studies at the university of Paris, where he was admitted to the degree of doctor of divinity by the faculty, in the year 1499 For some time he was rector of the parish of Montmartre, and afterwards canon of the
church of Notre-Dame at Paris. In 1525, he was chosen grand-penitentiary. He was so far
transported by his zeal against the principles of the reformed religion, that he indulged to no little freedom in declaiming against those courtiers who were supposed to be favourable to them; of which such reports were made to king Francis I. that he commanded him to be arrested, and committed prisoner to the castle of the Louvre, in 1527. After remaining two years in confinement, at the request of the canons of Paris he was enlarged; but at the same time banished to Nantes by the commissaries whom the king had appointed to be his judges. - At length the king having been appeased, Merlin was permitted to return to Paris in 1530; where he was afterwards promoted to the dignity of vicar-general to the bishop of that see, and was made rector and arch-priest of the church of St. Mary Magdalen. With the character of being the most zealous and most affectionate of pastors, he died in the year 1541. He is celebrated as the .
first person who undertook to publish “A Collection of the Councils,” of which there
were three editions: the first published at
Paris in two volumes folio, in 1523 and 1524; the second at Cologn in 1530, in two volumes octavo, and the third at Paris in 1535, in two volumes octavo ; and notwithstanding that the value of this work is greatly diminished, owing to the publication of more ample and correct. performances of the same kind, yet the author is entitled to the honour of having excited. others by his example to engage in such arduous undertakings. Merlin is also the first person who, when publishing the works of Origen, ventured to defend that great man against the charges of error preferred against. him ; which he did in an apology for that father prefixed to his edition of his works, in, four volumes folio, of the date of 15 11. Merlin likewise published “The Works of Richard de St. Victor,” in 1518; “The Works of Peter of Blois,” in 1519; and “The Works of Durand of St. Pourgain,” in 1515. Dupin. Moreri. Nouv. Dict. Hist.—M. MEROVEUS, MERovee, or, MERoues, king of France, or rather of the Franks, whose monarchy was yet confined to both banks of the lower Rhine, began his reign about A. D. 448. Great uncertainty prevails concerning his origin and descent ; but the most probable. opinion seems to be that he was the younger. of the two sons of his predecessor Clodion, and that he obtained the crown of the Franks. through the protection of Valentinian III. and his minister Aetius. Attila supported the cause of his elder brother ; and Meroveus was present as an ally of the Romans in the famous !. of Chalons fought against that conqueror in 451. It is said that he afterwards extended his dominion into the provinces of Mentz and Rhcims to the banks of the Seine; and that his renown was the cause that all the French kings of the first race bore the name of Merovingian. A learned critic has, however, proved that this appellation is older than the sovereign in question. He died in 456 or 458. Univers. Hist. Moreri. Gibbon.—A. MERRET, CHRISTOPHER, a physician and naturalist, was born in 1614 at Winchcombe, in Gloucestershire. He was entered of Gloucester-hall, Oxford, in 1631, whence he removed to Oriel college. He applied to the study of physic, in which he took the degree of doctor in 1642, and about that time settled in London. He came into considerable practice, was a fellow of the College of Physicians, and one of the original members of the Philosophical Society, which, after the restoration,became the Royal Society. He died in 1695. The first publication of Dr. Merret was “A Collection of Acts of Parliament, Charters, Trials at Law, and Judges' Opinions concerning those Grants to the College of Physicians,” quarto, 16oo. This book, which became the basis of Dr. Goodall's work on the College of Physicians, displayed his attachment to the privileges of the body to which he belonged; and was followed in 1669, by “A short View of the Frauds and Abuses committed by Apothecaries, in relation to Patients and Physicians.” The latter involved him in an angry controversy with Henry Stubbe, of which it is unnecessary to give any further account. As a naturalist he made himself known by a volume entitled “Pinax Rerum Naturalium Britannicarum, continens Vegetabilia, Animalia, et Fossilia, in hac Insula reperta,” 1667, octavo. This, though a dry and incomplete catalogue, and abounding with errors, has the merit of being the first of the kind relative to this country, and doubtless was instrumental in promoting the study of natural history here. The botanical part, which is the fullest, is an alphabetical list according to the Latin names, with few synonyms; and is followed by a rude arrangement of plants into classes. The author's professional engagements did not permit him to investigate many plants personally, but he employed several persons in the task, and in
F. procured Thomas Willisel, a noted erbalist, to travel through the kingdom for him during five summers. By these means he formed an ample catalogue of English plants with their places of growth ; but he was not sufficiently skilled in botany to distinguish accurately the species from the varieties, or the native from the exotic. The zoological and mineral parts of his pinax are very meagre. In 1662 Merret translated into English Neri's “Ars Vitriaria;” and in 1686 an edition of the same work was published in Latin with Merret's observations and notes, equalling in bulk the work itself. We are not told how he came to acquire the knowledge of an art so little connected with his profession. He contributed several papers to the Philosophical Transactions, which are printed in the earlier volumes. Among these are experiments on vegetation; an account of the tin mines of Cornwall, and on the art of refining; and some curious observations on the fens of Lincolnshire. J/ood's Athen. Oxon. Pulteney's Sketches of Botany in England—A. MERSENNE, MARIN, a learned French monk, philosopher, and mathematician, who flourished in the seventeenth century, was born at Oyse in the province of Maine, in the year 1588. After having been initiated in the rudiments of learning at Mans, he was sent to pursue his studies at the college of La Fleche, where he had Des Cartes for a fellow-student; with whom he contracted an intimate friendship, which lasted during their lives. Here Mersenne rendered himself conspicuous by hist proficiency, not only in the besies-lettres, bu in logic, natural philosophy, metaphysics, and the mathematics, and he also commenced the study of divinity. From La Fleche he went to the university of Paris, where he made further progress in the mathematical sciences at the College-royal, and went through a course of
theology at the Sorbonne. When he had completed that course, he entered into a convent of .