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his office, which was annual, he withdrew to Paris, where he spent the remainder of his life in study and literary conversation; excepting such time as he devoted to short excursions into Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands. Father Mersenne held an epistolary intercourse with most of the learned men of his time. He was, as it were, the very centre of communication between literary men of all countries; being in France what Mr. Collins was in England. He omitted no opportunity of engaging them to publish their works; and to him the world is indebted for several important discoveries, which would probably have been lost, but for his encouragement. No person could be more curious than he was in penetrating into the secrets of nature, and carrying all the arts, and sciences to perfection. He was the chief friend and literary agent of Des Cartes at Paris; giving him advice and assistance upon all occasions, and informing him of all that passed in that city and elsewhere. So high was the opinion which Des Cartes formed of his knowledge and judgment, that he would scarcely do any thing, or at least was not perfectly satisfied with any thing which he had done, without first knowing what Mersenne thought of it. It is even said, that when Mersenne gave out at Paris, that Des Cartes was erecting a new system of physics upon the foundation of a vacuum, and found the public indifferent to it on that very account, he immediately sent information to Des Cartes, that a vacuum was not the fashion there; upon which that philosopher changed his system, and adopted the old doctrine of a plenum. Mersenne also possessed a good invention himself, and had a peculiar talent in forming curious questions, though he did not always succeed in resolving them; however, he at least gave occasion to others to exercise their ingenuity for that purpose. It has been said, that to him is to be ascribed the invention of the curve called the cycloid; which was no sooner made public than it engaged the attention of the greatest geometricians of the age,

among whom Mersenne himself held a distin

guished rank. Schooten, in his commentary on des Cartes, says, that the first notion of this elegant curve was conceived by that philosopher, and that after him it was first published by father Mersenne, in the year 1615. But Tor. ricelli, in the appendix “De Dimensione Cycloidis,” at the end of his treatise “de Dimensione Parbabolae,” says that this curve was sonsidered and named a cycloid by his predeWOL. VII.

cessors, and particularly by Galileo, about the year 1599. And Dr. Wallis, in the first volume of “The Philosophical Transactions abridged,” shews that it is of a much older standing, having been known to Bovilli about the year 15 co, and even considered by cardinal Cusa before the year 14; 1. The first work of any magnitude which father Mersenne published, made its appearance in the year 1623, and is entitled, “Quæstiones celeberrimae in Genesin), cum accurata Textus Explicatione. In hoc Volumine Athei et Deistæ impugnantur et expugnantur,” &c. folio. In that work he has entered into a particular refutation of the opinions of Vanini; and as it was originally printed, it contained a list of the other atheists of his time, and their works. This part, however, his friends prevailed upon him to suppress, thinking it probably imprudent, or dangerous, or that he had exaggerated their number beyond the limits of credibility. Accordingly,two leaves, containing columns 669 to 676 inclusive, were cancelled, and others substituted in their place; as may yet be seen by a comparison of the index under the word Athei, with that part of the work. There are copies in existence, however, in which the original leaves are to be found, though they are exceedingly rare. In the same year Mersenne published “Observationes et Emendationes ad Francisci Georgii Veneti Problemata in Genesim &c,” in folio; which was soon followed by two small devotional treatises, entitled, “The Analysis of the Spiritual Life,” and “The Use of Reason, &c.” The next production which he sent into the world was entitled, “The Impiety of the Deists, Atheists, and most subtile Libertines of the Times, combated and completely refuted,by Reasons drawn from Philosophy and Divinity,” in two volumes. In the years 1636 and 1637, he published his “ Universal Harmony, or, the Theory, and Practice of Music, &c.,” in two volumes folio, taken from a Latin edition, entitled “Harmonicorum Libri XII.;” of which a corrected and enlarged impression made its appearance in 1648, in folio. He was also the author of a profound treatise, entitled, “De Sonorum Natura, Causis, et Effectibus;” “Universae Geometriae mixta-que Mathematicae Synopsis, et bini Refractionum demonstratarum tractatus, &c.” 1644, in two volumes quarto; “Cootata physico-mathematica &c.” in two volumes quarto; a treatise “On the Truth of the Sciences,” in refutation of the opinions

of sceptics or pyrrhonists; “Les Questions I

inouies,” or, unheard-of questions, in quarto; “Harmonical Questions” &c.; “Theological, moral, physical, and mathematical Questions” &c. Father Mersenne also engaged to review and prepare for the press the “Thaumaturgus opticus” of father John-Francis Niceron, which, owing to his premature death, had been left in an imperfect state. While our author was employed about this work, and in completing a second volume of his “Quaestiones in Genesim,” as well as a similar work on the Gospel of St. Mathew, he fell sick of an internal abscess, which was mistaken by his physicians for a bastard pleurisy, and proved the cause of his death in 1648, when he was about sixty years of age. His loss was deeply regretted by persons of all ranks who were acguainted with him, by whom he was as much beloved for the qualities of his heart, his mild amiable temper, cheerful conversation, and unaffected pleasing manners, as he was respected for the extent of his learning, and profound scientific knowledge. In short, on all accounts he had the reputation of being one of the best men, as well as philosophers, of the time in which he lived. Vie Du R. P. Marin Mersenne par F. Hilarion de Coste, Nouv. Dict. Hist. Hutton's Math. Dict.—M. MERULA, GeoRGE, a critic and historian, and one of the revivers of ancient literature, was a native of Alessandria in Italy. His family name was Merlani, which he latinized, after the manner of his age, to Merula. His preceptors in Greek and Latin were Fr. Filelfo and Gregorio da Citta di Castello. He acquired much reputation for his classical knowledge, and passed the greatest part of his life in teaching the languages and rhetoric at Venice, Milan, and Pavia. He died at Milan in an advanced age, in 1494. Merula distinguished himself both as an original writer, and as an editor and commentator. Under the patronage of Lewis Sforza, he wrote “Antiquitates Vicecomitum, sive de Gestis ducum Medielanensium,” of which the first decade was printed in his life-time; and four books of the second decade, which had long remained in manuscript, were published in the last century among the “Scriptores Rerum Ital.” vol. XXV. This history is written in an elegant style, but not without considerable errors. He also composed a description of Montferrat, and of the eruption of Mount Vesuvius; and a small historical tract entitled “Bellum Scodrense,” describing the siege of Scutari by the Turks in 1474. - His merits as a classical editor were

considerable. . He was the first who gave an edition of the four Latin writers on agriculture collectively, viz. “Cato, Varro, Columella, and Palladius,” with annotations, Venet. 1472. In the same year he gave the first edition of the “Comedies of Plautus.” He likewise either first published or illustrated “Juvenal,” “Martial,” “Ausonius,” and the “Declamations of Quintilian.” He translated from the Greek of Xiphilinus, the lives of Trajan, Nerva, and Adrian, which versions. were much commended by Erasmus. To him also was owing the discovery of many ancient manuscripts in the monastery of Bobbio, in 1494. This learned man had, however, the common fault of his age and profession, that of being prone to exalt his own merits at the expence of his fellow-labourers in learning. He made attacks on several contemporary writers, among whom were his preceptor Filelfo, and Poliziano, and employed all that acrimony of language which has been the disgrace of letters. Wossii Hist. Lat. Tiraboschi. —A. MERULA, PAUL, born in 1558 at Dordrecht in Holland, acquired, in his own country, a profound knowledge of law, history, and polite literature, and then travelled for improvement into France, Italy, Germany, and England. . On his return he was appointed to succeed the famous Lipsius in the chair of history at Leyden, which he held for fifteen years. His application to study having brought on a dangerous disease, he went to Rostock for change of air, where he died in 1607. This learned man published “The Fragments of Ennius with a Commentary;” “Eutropius;” “The Lives of Erasmus and Junius;* “Cosmographia,’’ an useful work on ancient geography; a “Treatise on Law;" a “Treatise on Hunting, with the Laws respecting it,” in the Dutch lan. guage. After his death were published “P. Merule Opera varia posthuma,” 1684. Moreri.-A. MERY, John, a French surgeon and anatomist of great eminence, was born in 1645, at Vatan in Berry. His father was a surgeon, and brought him up to his own profession, to which, from his childhood, he shewed an exclusive attachment. At the age of eighteen he came to Paris to attend the Hotel Dieu and study anatomy. Such was his ardour for this science, that whenever he could get a body, he conveyed it to his bed, and passed the night in dissection. In 1681 he obtained the post of queen's surgeon, and in 1683 he was made surgeon-major to the invalids. In the following year, on the request of the king of Portugal, he was sent post to Lisbon to attend the queen, who died before his arrival. He refused the advantageous offers that were made him to continue at the courts of Portugal and Spain, and returning to Paris, was received into the Academy of Sciences in 1684. He was chosen in the succeeding year to attend upon a journey the duke of Burgundy, then a child ; but court-attendance was so irksome to him, that he returned as soon as possible to the hospital and dissecting-room. By order of the court he visited England in 1692, but on what account was never known. In 17oo he was nominated first surgeon to the Hotel Dieu, a situation which gratified his utmost ambition. To its duties, and those of the academy, with his private studies, he devoted his whole time, declining every solicitation to engage in private practice, except for the service of a few friends. He was, in fact, an enthusiast for his profession, and sacrificed all considerations of rank and emolument to the opportunity of ursuing knowledge at his pleasure. Though F. refused to give anatomical lectures to the foreigners, who often pressed him, yet he procured for the students of the Hotel Dieu the erection of a theatre, in which they might go through a regular course of anatomy, instead of the casual instructions which they had hitherto received; and he expected no additional recompense for his increased trouble. It was a great part of the labour of his life to form an anatomical museum, which at length he rendered extremely curious and complete. No man surpassed him in the accuracy with which he investigated facts relative to the construction of the human body; and it was upon actual observations that he built allhis reasonings. He entertained, indeed, a very modest opinion of the powers of the mind to comprehend the minute operations of nature in the animal frame; and was used ingeniously to say, “we anatomists are like the porters of Paris, who are well acquainted with all its streets, and even its lanes and aileys, but know nothing of what passes within the houses.” From this disposition he did not readily admit to theories of others, nor easily renounce his own when he thought them well founded upon fact; and as he was little conversant with society and the forms of politeness, he used no ceremony in contradicting opinions that he thought absurd, when advanced at the meetings of the academy, whereby he sometimes gave offence without intending it. He was married, and had several

children; his manners were regular, and he always manifested a deep sense of reliion. When arrived at the age of seventy-five, e suddenly lost the use of his legs without any other disability; and he died two years after, in 1722. s:The first publication of Mery was “ Description de l'Oreille de l’Homme,” annexed to Lamy's work “De l'Ame sensitive,” 1677 ; in which he anticipated Du Verney, who had been long employed on the same subject. In 17oo he published a chirurgical work entitled “Observations sur la Maniere de tailler dans les deux Sexes pour l'Extraction de la Pierre, pratiquée par le Fr. Jacques,” 12mo. This is a very scientific and candid discussion of the merits of that celebrated empiric's method of cutting for the stone (see jacques, Frere), the general principle of which he approves, while he points out many mischiefs in his operations occasioned by his ignorance in anatomy and the rudeness of his instruments. In the same year he published “Nouveau Système de la Circulation du Sang par le Trou ovale dans le Fetus humain,” 12mo. In this piece he combated the received opinion of the passage of part of the blood through the foramen ovale from the right to the left ventricle, and maintained that its passage was in the opposite direction, and that therefore the greater part of the blood in the fetus circulated through the lungs, and the less part through the rest of the body. In this subject he maintained a controversy with Du Verney, Tauvry, and others. His “Problèmes de Physique,” 1711, quarto, relate to the connection between the fetus in the womb and the mother, to its mode of nutrition, which he maintains to be from the maternal blood alone and not from any lacteous fluid, and to the cause of its expulsion. He was likewise the author of a great many curious and valuable dissertations on anatomical, physiological, and chirurgical subjects, printed in the Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences. Fontenelle Elages des Acad. Halleri Bibl. Amat. & Chirurg.—A. MESA, CHRIsrov AL DE, a Spanish poet of the second order, who lived five years in habits of intimacy with Tasso. He wrote three heroic poems. 1. Las Navas de Tolosa, Madrid, 1598, upon the great victory won there by Alonso VIII. over the Moors. 2. La Restauracion de Espama, Madrid, 1607, of which Pelayo is the hero; and 3. El Patron de Espana, Madrid, 1612, in honour of Santiago. Genius is not transfusable; but Christoval de Mesa acquired some taste from Tasso, and his poems are not disfigured by the faults which were then fashionable in Spain. Besides these works, he published some smaller pieces, a tragedy upon Pompey, and translations of the whole of Virgil, and left in manuscript a version of the Iliad. Nic. Antonio.—R. S. MESENGUY, FRANcis-PHILIP, a French abbé whose practical writings are held in much esteem, particularly by those who think with the Jansenists, was born at Beauvais, in the year 1677. During several years he taught the classics and rhetoric at the college in his native city; and being afterwards sent for to Paris, was appointed to preside over the rhetorical class in the college of Beauvais. Here he was chosen coadjutor to Coffin, who succeeded the celebrated Rollin in the presidentship of the college, and was made catechist of the pensionaries, for whose use he drew up his “Exposition of Christian Doctrine.” Having excited the displeasure of the court by the zeal which he displayed against the supporters of the constitution Unigenitur, in the year 1728, he found it necessary to relinquish his situation in the college, and to withdraw into privacy. The retreat which he chose was in the midst of Paris, where he spent the remainder of his days, wholly occupied in devotion, and study, and the composition of his different works. He died in 1763, at the great age of eighty-six, respected even by his enemies, on account of his unaffected piety, his zealous labours for the advancement . religion, his amiable manners, and his candour and simplicity. He was the author of “An Abridgment of the History and Morality of the Old Testament,” 1728, 12mo. on which Rollin passes high commendations; “An Abridgment of the History of the Old Testament, with Explications and Reflections,” in ten volumes 12mo, which is an extension of the preceding, and well adapted to the benefit of young persons, and general readers; an edition of “The New Testament,” in one volume, and another in three volumes 12mo., accompanied with short notes, illustrative of its literal and spiritual meaning; “An Exposition of Christian Doctrine, or, Instructions relative to the principal Truths of Religion,” in six volumes 12mo, which is written with clearness and precision, but contains some passages which gave offence at Rome, and occasioned its condemnation by pope Clement XIII. ; “The Constitution Unigenitus, with Remarks,” 12mo, ; “A Letter to a Friend,” on the subject of the same bull, 12mo, ; and “Dialogues

***

on Religion,” 12mo. The abbé Mesenguy was also largely concerned in compiling “The Lives of the Saints,” edited by the abbé Goujet; and he was one of the persons employed on “The Missal of Paris.” Nouv. Dict. Hist. —M. MESMES, CLAUDE DE, count d'Avaux, an eminent French negociator, descended from an illustrious family, was trained to public business from an early age, and was made counsellor of state in 1623. He was sent as ambassador to Venice in 1627, in which quality he afterwards visited Rome, Mantua, Florence, and Turin. Thence he was directed to pass to Germany, where he conferred with most of the princes of the empire. The account he gave of his negociations did him so much credit, that he was soon after sent to Denmark, Sweden, and Poland. In all these missions he obtained a high character for probity as well as for abi:ities, so that he acquired the confidence of all the foreign ministers with whom he treated. This enabled him to act with great effect as plenipotentiary from his court at the general peace concluded at Munster and Osnabrug, in 1648. Although continually occupied in affairs of state, he maintained a correspondence with men of letters, of whom he was the friend and protector. Several of Voiture's most lively letters are addressed to him. He died at Paris in 1650. Moreri —A. MESMES, John ANTONY DE, count d’ Avaux and marquis of Givry, nephew of the preceding, passed through a similar course of public employments with his uncle. He was ambassador extraordinary to Venice from 1671 to 1674, and in the following year was one of the plenipotentiaries at the peace of Nimeguen. Some time afterwards he was ambassador in Holland, where he effected the truce with Spain by which Luxemburgh was ceded to France. In 1689 he was the French ambassador to James II. while in Ireland. In 1692 he visited Sweden in the same quality, and was useful in settling the preliminaries of the peace of Ryswick. He was sent again to Holland, whence he returned at the renewal of the war, and died -t Paris in 1789, at the age of sixtynine. A collection of his “Letters and Negociations,” six volumes 12mo, was printed in 1752. Moreri. Nouv. Dict. Hist.—A. MESSALA, M. VALFRIUS Corvinus, an illustrious Roman of an ancient and noble family, distinguished himself in his youth by his eloquence and patriotism, and joined the repub lican army under Brutus and Cassius against the triumvirs. Of his high reputation at this time a judgment may be formed from a letter of Cicero to Brutus, in which he says, “ you have with you Messala. Do not imagine (though it is unnecessary for me to inform you of what you well know) that in integrity, constancy, care and affection for the commonwealth, he has any equal; so that eloquence, in which he wonderfully excels, is scarcely an object of praise in him. An additional proof. however, of his good sense, appears in the sound judgment and industry with which he has exercised himself in the genuine art of oratory.” Quintilian also describes his mode of public speaking as being “splendid, fair, and bearing the stamp of his nobility.” At the battle of Philippi, he had the command of a legion, which was the first that turned the left wing commanded by Octavianus Caesar. After the death of the two republican chiefs, he made his peace with the victor; and according to Velleius, “no circumstance of the victory was more pleasing to Caesar than the preservation of Messala, nor did any man ever give proof of greater attachment and gratitude than Messala towards Caesar.” Yet he was never backward in shewing his regard to the memory of his first friends, and his preference of their cause. When he recommended Strato to Caesar, “this (said he with tears) is the man who performed the last kind office for my dear Brutus;” and when Caesar observed to him that he had been no less zealous for him at Actium than against him at Philippi, “I always (he answered) espoused the justest side.” He was the emperor's colleague in the consulate B. C. 31, and was sent as his legate into Asia a year or two afterwards. In the subsequent revolt of the Gallic nations, he went ‘thither with a proconsular command, and reduced the Aquitanians, over whom he triumphed B. C. 27. Messala was the first who was created prefect of Rome; but he scon resigned the office, finding it not suited to his talents. He was indeed chiefly addicted to literary pursuits, and wrote several works mentioned by ancient writers. One of these was on the letter S.; another on auspices, a subject with which, his being a member of the college of augurs for forty-five years, must have given him a thorough acquaintance. ... In his old age he composed a work “De Familiis Romanis,” cited by Pliny. There is extant under his name a tract “De Progenie Augusti,” which, however, is proved to be a forgery of the middle ages. Messala was a great patron of

the poet Tibullus, who frequently commemorates him in his elegies, and has left an express panegyric upon him. At the age of seventy, two years before his death, the faculties of his mind underwent a total decay, so . that he forgot even his own name. Plutarch in Brut. Wossii Hist. Lat.—A. MESTREZAT, John, a celebrated mini

oster among the Protestants in France in the se

venteenth century, was descended from a respectable family, and born at Geneva in the year 1592. He was sent when very young to the academy of Saumur, where he afforded such evidence of his abilities and proficiency, that he was offered a professorship in philosophy when he was only eighteen years of age. After having completed his academical course, when he was about twenty-two years old he presented himself to the synod at Charenton as a candidate for the ministry, and displayed so much learning and ingenuity in his exercises on that occasion, that the church of Charenton chose to retain him in their service. The wisdom of this choice was afterwards sufficiently manifested, by the superior skill which he discovered in defending the protestant cause against the catholic clergy, his spirit and address in different deputations to which he was nominated, and the great excellence of his pulpit compositions, and other writings. Bein at one time deputed to Lewis XIII. by a na. tional synod, on some matters of moment re

lating to the interests of the reformed church,

he answered some questions which cardinal Richelieu had suggested to that monarch to be put to him, with so much pertinence and intrepidity, that the cardinal, putting his hand upon his shoulder, exclaimed, “Behold the boldest minister in France!” Speaking of his character as an author, Bayle says, that “ his style and language are not so neat and polished as those of M. Daillé; but he preached with greater depth of reasoning, and with more learning than that minister. There are no sermons which contain a more sublime theology than those which he preached upon the epistle of St. Paul to the Hebrews. It is said, that having met in the street an ecclesiastic of his acquaintance who had preached during a whole Lent with great applause, and having congratulated him upon it; “I took,” answered the other, “out of your sermons, the best things which I said in mine.” He conducted the controversy concerning the authority of the scripture, and the authority of the church, with peculiarly forcible reasoning,and completely refut

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