The Nuttall Encyclopaedia
Edited by Rev. James Wood
Part 34 out of 53
MAYER, JULIUS ROBERT VON, German physicist, born in Heilbronn; made
a special study of the phenomena of heat, established the numerical
relation between heat and work, and propounded the theory of the
production and maintenance of the sun's temperature; he had a controversy
as to the priority of his discoveries with Joule, who claimed to have
anticipated them (1814-1878).
MAYHEW, HENRY, litterateur and first editor of _Punch_, born in
London, and articled to his father, a solicitor; chose journalism as a
profession, and in conjunction with Gilbert a Beckett started _The Thief_
in 1832, the first of the "Bits" type of papers; he joined the first
_Punch_ staff in 1841, in which year his farce "The Wandering Minstrel"
was produced; collaborating with his brother Augustus, he wrote "Whom to
Marry" and many other novels between 1847 and 1855, thereafter works on
various subjects; his principal book, "London Labour and the London
Poor," appeared in 1851 (1812-1887).
MAYNOOTH, village in co. Kildare, 15 m. W. of Dublin; is the seat of
a Roman Catholic seminary founded by the Irish Parliament in 1795 on the
abolition of the French colleges during the Revolution; an annual grant
of L9000 was made, increased to L26,000 in 1846, but commuted in 1869 for
a sum of L1,100,000, when State connection ceased; the college trains 500
students for the priesthood.
MAYO (245), maritime county in Counaught, west of Ireland, between
Sligo and Galway; has many indentations, the largest Broadhaven,
Blacksod, and Clew Bays, and islands Achil and Clare, with a remarkable
peninsula The Mullet; mountainous in the W., the E. is more level, and
has Lough Conn and the Moy River; much of the county is barren and bog,
but crops of cereals and potatoes are raised; cattle are reared on
pasture lands; there are valuable slate quarries and manganese mines;
Castlebar (4), in the centre, is the county town; Westport (4), on Clew
Bay, has some shipping.
MAYO, RICHARD SOUTHWARK BOURKE, EARL OF, statesman, born and
educated in Dublin; entered Parliament 1847, and was Chief Secretary for
Ireland in Conservative Governments 1852, 1858, and 1866, opposing
Gladstone's Irish Church resolutions; in 1868 he succeeded Lord Lawrence
as Viceroy of India, in which office he proved himself a prudent
statesman, a sound financier, and a just and wise administrator; he was
murdered by a fanatic in the Andaman Islands, and universally mourned
MAZARIN, JULES, cardinal, born at Piscina, Abruzzi; having been sent
by the Pope one of an embassy to France, he gained the favour of
Richelieu, who recommended him to Louis XIII. as his successor, and whose
successor, being naturalised as a Frenchman, he became in 1642, an office
which he retained under the queen-regent on Louis' death; he brought the
Thirty Years' War to an end by the peace of Westphalia, crushed the
revolt of the FRONDE (q. v.), and imposed on Spain the treaty of
the Pyrenees; at first a popular minister, he began to lose favour when
cabals were formed against him, and he was dismissed, but he contrived to
allay the storm, regained his power, and held it till his death; he died
immensely rich, and bequeathed his library, which was a large one, to the
College Mazarin (1602-1661).
MAZARIN BIBLE, the first book printed by movable metal types, a copy
of which is in the Mazarin library, and bears the date 1456.
MAZEPPA, IVAN, hetman of the Cossacks, born in Podolia; became page
to John Casimir, king of Poland; was taken by a Polish nobleman, who
surprised him with his wife, and tied by him to the back of a wild horse,
which galloped off with him to the Ukraine, where it had been bred, and
where some peasants released him half-dead; life among those people
suited his taste, he stayed among them, became secretary to their hetman,
and finally hetman himself; he won the confidence of Peter the Great, who
made him a prince under his suzerainty, but in an evil hour he allied
himself with Charles XII. of Sweden, and lost it; fled to Bender on the
defeat of the Swedish king at Pultowa in 1709 (1644-1709).
MAZURKA, a lively Polish dance, danced by four or eight couples, and
much practised in the N. of Germany as well as in Poland.
MAZZINI, JOSEPH, Italian patriot, born at Genoa; consecrated his
life to political revolution and the regeneration of his country on a
democratic basis by political agitation; was arrested by the Sardinian
government in 1831 and expelled from Italy; organised at Marseilles the
secret society of Young Italy, whose motto was "God and the People";
driven from Marseilles to Switzerland and from Switzerland to London, he
never ceased to agitate and conspire for this object; on the outbreak of
the Revolution in 1848 at Paris he hastened thither to join the
movement, which had spread into Italy, and where in 1849 he was installed
one of a triumvirate in Rome and conducted the defence of the city
against the arms of France, but refusing to join in the capitulation he
returned to London, where he still continued to agitate till, his health
failing, he retired to Geneva and died (1805-1872).
MEAD, a brisk liquor made by fermenting honey, and used in civilised
and barbarous Europe from very early times.
MEADE, GEORGE GORDON, American general, born at Cadiz, son of an
American merchant; he passed through West Point and joined the engineers;
he served in the Mexican War, became captain and major, and was employed
surveying and lighthouse building till the Civil War; in it, first in
command of volunteers and afterwards as general in the regular army, he
distinguished himself chiefly by frustrating Lee in 1863; after the war
he continued in the service till his death at Philadelphia (1815-1872).
MEANDER. See MAEANDER.
MEATH (77), a county in Leinster, Ireland, touching the Irish Sea
between Louth and Dublin, is watered by the Boyne River and its tributary
the Blackwater; the surface is undulating, the soil fertile; some oats
and potatoes are grown, but most of the county is under pasture; there is
a little linen and coarse woollen industry; the chief towns are Navan
(4), Kells (2), and the county town Trim (1).
MEAUX (13), on the Marne, 28 m. NE. of Paris, a well-built town,
with Gothic cathedral; has a large corn and provision trade, and some
copper and cotton industries; Bossuet was bishop here, and it contains
MECCA, the birthplace of Mahomet, the Holy City and Keblah of the
Moslems, the capital of Hedjaz and the true capital of Arabia; in the
midst of sandy valleys, and 60 m. distant from Jeddah, its port; a city
to which every true Mussulman must make a pilgrimage once in his life;
has a population which varies from 30,000 to 60,000. See CAABA.
MECHANICAL POWERS, the lever, inclined plane, wheel and axle, screw,
pulley, and wedge, the elementary contrivances of which all machines are
MECHANICS' INSTITUTES, associations of working-men which aim at
providing a general education for artisans, and particularly instruction
in the fundamental principles of their own trades; are managed by
committees of their own election, usually have a reading-room and
library, and provide classes and lectures; Dr. Birkbeck started a
journeymen's class in Glasgow 1800, and in 1824 in London organised the
first Mechanics' Institute.
MECKLENBURG-SCHWERIN (578), a German grand-duchy, on the shores of
the Baltic, between Schleswig-Holstein and Pomerania; is mostly a level,
fertile plain, with numerous small rivers and many lakes; agriculture is
the chief industry; merino sheep are renowned; there are iron-founding,
sugar-refining, and tanning works, and amber is found on the coasts;
social institutions are very backward; still largely feudal; serfdom was
abolished in 1824 only. SCHWERIN (34), on Lake Schwerin, is the
capital. ROSTOCK (44), has a university; is a busy Baltic port, from
which grain, wool, and cattle are shipped; has important wool and cattle
fairs, shipbuilding, and other industries. MECKLENBURG-STRELITZ
(98), adjacent to the foregoing on the SE., presents similar
characteristics, and is united to it in government; the capital is
MEDEA, a famous sorceress of Greek legend, daughter of AEetes, king
of Colchis, by whose aid JASON (q. v.) accomplished the object
of his expedition, and acquired the Golden Fleece, and who accompanied
him back to Greece as his wife; by her art she restored the youth of
Eson, the father of her husband, but the latter having abandoned her she
avenged herself on him by putting the children she had by him to death;
the art she possessed was that of making old people young again by first
chopping them in pieces and then boiling them in a caldron.
MEDIA, a country on the SW. of the Caspian Sea, originally a
province of the Assyrian empire, from which it revolted; was after 150
years of independence annexed to Persia by Cyrus, of which it had formed
the NW. portion.
MEDIAEVALISM, a tendency in literature and art to conform in spirit
or otherwise to mediaeval models.
MEDICAL JURISPRUDENCE OR FORENSIC MEDICINE, is the branch of medical
study which bears on legal questions, the detection of crime or the
determination of civil rights.
MEDICI, an illustrious family who attained sovereign power in
Florence in the 15th century, the most celebrated members of which were:
COSMO DE, surnamed the "Father of his Country," was exiled for ten
years but recalled, and had afterwards a peaceful and prosperous reign;
was a student of philosophy, and much interested in literature
(1389-1464). LORENZO DE, the Magnificent, did much to demoralise
Florence, but patronised literature and the arts (1448-1492). Other
celebrated members of the family were POPES LEO X., CLEMENT
VII., and CATHERINE AND MARY DE MEDICI (q. v.).
MEDICINE-MAN, one among the American Indians who professes to cure
diseases or exorcise evil spirits by magic.
MEDINA (lit. the city) (76), called also Medina-en-Nabi, 210 m. N.
of Mecca, the City of the Prophet, as the place in which he found refuge
after his "flight" from Mecca in 632; it was here he from that date
lived, where he died, and where his tomb is, in a beautiful and rich
mosque called El Haram (i. e. the inviolate), erected on the site of
the prophet's house. See HEGIRA.
MEDITERRANEAN SEA, so called by the ancients as lying in the
presumed middle of the earth surrounded by Europe, Asia, and Africa; the
largest enclosed sea in the world; its communication with the Atlantic is
Gibraltar Strait, 9 m. wide; it communicates with the Black Sea through
the Dardanelles, and in 1869 a canal through the isthmus of Suez
connected it with the Red Sea, 2200 m. long by 100 to 600 m. broad; its
S. shores are regular; the N. has many gulfs, and two great inlets, the
AEgean and Adriatic Seas; the Balearic Isles, Corsica, and Sardinia,
Sicily, Malta, Cyprus, and Crete, the Ionian Isles, and the Archipelago
are the chief islands; the Rhone, Po, and Nile the chief rivers that
discharge into it; a ridge between Sicily and Cape Bon divides it into
two great basins; it is practically tideless, and salter than the
Atlantic; its waters too are warm; northerly winds prevail in the E. with
certain regular variations; the surrounding territories are the richest
in the world, and the greatest movements in civilisation and art have
taken place around it in Africa, Phoenicia, Carthage, Greece, and Rome.
MEDIUM, in modern spiritualism a person susceptible to communication
with the spirit-world.
MEDJIDIE, an Ottoman order of knighthood instituted in 1852 by the
Sultan Abd-ul-Medjid, as a reward of merit in civil or military service.
MEDOC, a district in the dep. of the Gironde, on the left of the
estuary, in the S. of France, famous for its wines.
MEDUSA, one of the THREE GORGONS (q. v.), is fabled to have
been originally a woman of rare beauty, with a magnificent head of hair,
but having offended Athena, that goddess changed her hair into hideous
serpents, and gave to her eyes the power of turning any one into stone
who looked into them; PERSEUS (q. v.) cut off her head by the
help of Athena, who afterwards wore it on the middle of her breastplate
MEDWAY, a river in Kent, which rises in Surrey and Sussex, and which
after a NE. course of 58 m. falls into an estuary at Sheerness.
MEEANEE, a village in Sind, 6 m. N. of Hyderabad, where Sir Charles
Napier defeated an army of the Ameer of Sind in 1843.
MEERSCHAUM (lit. sea-foam), a fine white clay, a hydrate-silicate
of magnesia, supposed, as found on the sea-shore in some places, to have
been sea-foam petrified.
MEERUT (119), an Indian town in the North-West Provinces, on the
Nuddi, 40 m. NE. of Delhi; is capital of a district of the same name, and
an Important military station; it is noted as the scene of the outbreak
of the Mutiny in 1857.
MEGARIS, a small but populous State of ancient Greece, S. of Attica,
whose inhabitants were adventurous seafarers, credited with deceitful
propensities. The capital, Megara, famous for white marble and fine clay,
was the birthplace of Euclid.
MEGATHERIUM, an extinct genus of mammalia allied to the sloth, some
18 or 20 ft. in length and 8 ft. in height, with an elephantine skeleton.
MEHEMET ALI, pasha of Egypt, born in Albania; entered the Turkish
army, and rose into favour, so that he was able to seize the pashalic,
the Sultan compromising matters by exaction of an annual tribute in
acknowledgment of his suzerainty; the Mamelukes, however, proved unruly,
and he could not otherwise get rid of them but by luring them into his
coils, and slaughtering them wholesale in 1811; he maintained two wars
with the Sultan for the possession of Syria, and had Ibrahim Pasha, his
son, for lieutenant; compelled to give up the struggle, he instituted a
series of reforms in Egypt, and prosecuted them with such vigour that the
Sultan decreed the pashalic to remain hereditary in his family
MEISSEN (15), a town of Saxony, on the Upper Elbe, 15 m. NW. of
Dresden; has a very fine Gothic cathedral and an old castle. Gellert and
Lessing were educated here. There is a large porcelain factory, where
Dresden china is made, besides manufactures of iron.
MEISSONIER, JEAN LOUIS ERNEST, French painter, born at Lyons; began
as a book illustrator of "Paul and Virginia" amongst other works,
practising the while and perfecting his art as a figure painter, in which
he achieved signal success, from his "Chess-player" series to his designs
for the decoration of the Pantheon, "The Apotheosis of France," in 1889
MEISTER, WILHELM, a great work of Goethe's, fraught with
world-wisdom, the hero of which of the name represents a man who is led,
in these very days, by a higher hand than he is aware of to his appointed
MEISTERSAeNGERS or SINGERS, a guild founded in Germany in the
15th century or earlier for the cultivation of poetry, of which HANS
SACHS (q. v.) was the most famous member.
MEKHONG, is the great river of Siam. Its source In the mountains of
Chiamdo is unexplored. Its course, 3000 m., is southerly to the China
Sea; the last 500 m. are navigable. It carries great quantities of silt
which goes to form and augment the delta through which it issues.
MELANCHTHON, PHILIP, Protestant Reformer, born in the Palatinate of
the Rhine; was the scholar of the German Reformation, and a wise friend
of Luther's, having come into contact with him at Wittenberg, where he
happened to be professor of Greek; he wrote the first Protestant work in
dogmatic theology, entitled "Loci Communes," and drew up the "Augsburg
Confession"; the sweetness of temper for which he was distinguished,
together with his soberness as a thinker, had a moderating influence on
the vehemence of Luther, and contributed much to the progress of the
Reformation; he was the Erasmus of that movement, and combined the
humanist with the Reformer, as George Buchanan did in Scotland
MELANESIA, eleven archipelagoes of crystalline, coralline, and
volcanic islands in the W. of Polynesia, all S. of the equator, and
inhabited by the Melanesian or dark oceanic race; includes the Fiji,
Solomon, Bismarck, and New Hebrides islands.
MELBA, NELLIE, a celebrated operatic singer, born in Australia; made
her first appearance when she was only six; has often appeared in opera
in London; her private name is Mrs. Armstrong, and she resides in Paris;
MELBOURNE (491), the capital of Victoria, at the head of Port
Phillip Bay; is the largest and most important city in Australia; built
in broad regular streets, with much architectural beauty, and containing,
besides the Government buildings, a Roman and an Anglican cathedral, a
mint and a university, numerous colleges, hospitals, and other
institutions. Its shipping interests are very large; a ship canal enables
the largest ships to reach the quays; exports of gold and wool are
extensive. Melbourne is the railway centre of the continent. It has
manufactures of boots and clothing, foundries and flour-mills. It has a
hot climate. Its water supply is abundant, but defective drainage impairs
its healthfulness. First settled in 1835, it was incorporated in 1842,
and nine years later was made capital of the newly constituted colony. It
was the scene of an exhibition in 1888, of a great industrial struggle in
1890, and of a very severe financial crisis in 1893.
MELBOURNE, WILLIAM LAMB, VISCOUNT, English statesman, born in
London; educated at Cambridge and Glasgow Universities; entered
Parliament as a Whig in 1805, but was Chief Secretary for Ireland in the
Governments of Canning, Goderich, and Wellington; succeeding to the title
in 1828, he reverted to his old party; was Home Secretary under Earl Grey
in 1830, and was himself Prime Minister for four months in 1834, and then
from 1835 till 1841, when he retired from public life; he was a man of
sound sense, and showed admirable tact in introducing the young queen to
her various duties in 1837 (1779-1848).
MELCHIZEDEK (i. e. king of righteousness or justice), a
priest-king of Canaan, to whom, though of no lineage as a priest, but as
a minister of God's justice, Abraham did homage and paid tithes; a true
type of priest as ordained of God, and one in that capacity "without
father and without mother."
MELEAGER, a Greek mythic hero, distinguished for throwing the
javelin, and by his skill in it slaying a wild boar which devastated his
country, and whose life depended on the burning down of a brand that was
blazing on the hearth at the time of his birth, but which his mother at
once snatched from the flames. But a quarrel having arisen between him
and his uncles over the head of the boar, in which they met their death,
the mother to be avenged on him for slaying her brothers threw back into
the fire the brand on the preservation of which his life depended, and on
the instant he breathed his last.
MELIORISM, the theory that there is in nature a tendency to better
and better development.
MELODRAMA, a play consisting of sensational incidents, and arranged
to produce striking effects.
MELPOMENE, the one of the nine muses which presides over tragedy.
MELROSE, a small town in Roxburghshire, at the foot of the Eildons,
on the S. bank of the Tweed, famed for its abbey, founded by David I. in
1136; it is celebrated by Sir Walter Scott in his "Lay of the Last
MELTON-MOWBRAY (6), a town 15 m. NE. of Leicester, the centre of the
great hunting district; celebrated for its pork pies.
MELUSINA, a fairy of French legend, who married Raymond, a knight,
on condition that on a particular day of the week he would not visit her,
a stipulation which he was tempted to break, so that on a day of her
seclusion he broke into her chamber, and found the lower part of her body
from the waist downwards transformed into that of a serpent, upon which
she straightway flew out at the window, to hover henceforth round the
castle of her lord and only appear again on the occasion of the death of
any of the inmates.
MELVILLE, ANDREW, Scottish Presbyterian ecclesiastic, born near
Montrose; of good and even wide repute as a scholar; became Principal
first of Glasgow College and then of St. Mary's College, St. Andrews; was
zealous for the headship of Christ over the Church, in opposition to the
claim of the king, James, and spoke his mind freely both to the king and
the bishops, for which he was sent to the Tower; on his release, after
four years, he retired to a professorship at Sedan, in France, having
been forbidden to return to Scotland (1545-1622).
MELVILLE, WHYTE-, novelist; his novels were chiefly of the hunting
field, such as "Katerfelto" and "Black, but Comely," though he wrote
historical ones also, such as "The Queen's Maries" (1821-1878).
MEMEL (19), Baltic seaport at the mouth of the Kurisches Haff, in
the extreme NE. of Prussia; ships great quantities of Russian and
Lithuanian timber, and has some chemical works and shipbuilding yards.
MEMNON, a son of Tithonus and Aurora, who was sent by his father,
king of Egypt and Ethiopia, to the assistance of Troy on the death of
Hector, and who slew Antilochus, the son of Nestor, and was himself slain
by Achilles, whereupon Aurora, all tears, besought Zeus to immortalise
his memory, which, however, did not calm her sorrow, for ever since the
earth bears witness to her weeping in the dews of the morning; a statue,
presumed to be to his memory, was erected near Thebes, in Egypt, which
was fabled to emit a musical sound every time the first ray fell on it
from the rosy fingers of Aurora.
MEMPHIS, an ancient city of Egypt, of which it was the capital; it
was founded by Menes at the apex of the delta of the Nile, and contained
MEMPHIS (102), a Tennessee port on the Mississippi, 826 m. above New
Orleans, accessible to the largest vessels, is also a great railway
centre, and therefore a place of great commercial importance; has many
industries, and a great cotton market.
MENADO (549), a Dutch colony in the N. of Celebes.
MENAI STRAIT, a picturesque channel separating Anglesey from
Carnarvonshire, 14 m. long and at its narrowest 200 yards wide; is
crossed by a suspension bridge (1825) and the Britannia Tubular Bridge
for railway (1850).
MENANDER, a Greek comic poet, born at Athens; was the pupil of
Theophrastus and a friend of Epicurus; of his works, which were numerous,
we have only some fragments, but we can judge of them from his imitator
TERENCE (q. v.) (342-291 B.C.).
MENCIUS or MENG-TZE, a celebrated Chinese sage, a disciple,
some say a grandson, of Confucius (q. v.); went up and down with his
disciples from court to court in the country to persuade, particularly
the ruling classes, to give heed to the words of wisdom, though in vain;
after which, on his death, his followers collected his teachings in a
book entitled the "Book of Meng-tze," which is full of practical
instruction (372-289 B.C.).
MENDICANT ORDER, a religious fraternity, the members of which denude
themselves of all private property and live on alms.
MENDELSSOHN-BARTHOLDY, FELIX, celebrated German composer, grandson
of the succeeding, born in Hamburg; he began to compose early in life,
and his compositions consisted of symphonies, operas, oratorios, and
church music; his oratorios of "St. Paul" and "Elijah" are well known,
and are enduring monuments of his genius; he was a man universally loved
and esteemed, and had the good fortune to live amidst the happiest
MENDELSSOHN, MOSES, a German philosopher, born at Dessau, of Jewish
descent, a zealous monotheist, and wrote against Spinoza; was author of
the "Phaedon, a Discourse on the Immortality of the Soul," and did a great
deal in his day to do away with the prejudices of the Jews and the
prejudices against them; he was the friend of Lessing, and is the
prototype of his "Nathan" (1720-1786).
MENDOZA (137), province in the extreme W. of Argentina; has the
Andes in the W., Aconcagua (23,500 ft.), the highest peak in the New
World, otherwise is chiefly worthless pampa, fertile only where irrigated
from the small Mendoza River; there vines flourish; copper is plentiful,
coal and oil are found. MENDOZA (20), the capital, 640 m. W. of
Buenos Ayres by rail, is on the Trans-Andine route to Chili, with which
it trades largely; suffers frequently from earthquakes.
MENELAUS, king of Sparta, the brother of Agamemnon and the husband
of Helen, the carrying away of whom by Paris led to the Trojan War.
MENHIR, a kind of rude obelisk understood to be a sepulchral
MENINGES, the name of three membranes that invest the brain and
spinal cord, and the inflammation of which is called meningitis.
MENNONITES, a Protestant sect founded at Zurich with a creed that
combines the tenets of the Baptists with those of the Quakers; have an
episcopal form of government, and maintain a rigorous church discipline.
MENSCHIKOFF, ALEXANDER DANILOVITCH, Russian soldier and statesman,
born in humble life at Moscow; became servant to Lefort, on whose death
he succeeded him as favourite of Peter the Great, whom he accompanied to
Holland and England; in the Swedish War (1702-1713) he won renown, and
was created field-marshal on the field of Pultowa; he introduced to the
Czar Catharine, afterwards czarina, whom he captured at Marienburg, and
when Peter died secured the throne for her; during her reign and her
successor's he governed Russia, but his ambition led the nobles to banish
him to Siberia 1727 (1672-1729).
MENSCHIKOFF, ALEXANDER SERGEIEVITCH, general, great-grandson of the
former, served in the wars of 1812-15, in the Turkish campaign of 1828,
was ambassador to the Porte in 1853, and largely responsible for the
Crimean War, in which he commanded at Alma, Inkermann, and Sebastopol
MENTEITH, LAKE OF, a small beautiful loch in Perthshire, 13 m. W. of
Stirling, with three islets, on one of which stood a priory where, as a
child, Mary Stuart spent 1547-48; on another stood the stronghold of the
MENTHOL, a crystalline substance obtained from the oil of
peppermint, used in nervous affections, such as neuralgia, as a
MENTONE (8), town and seaport in France, on the Mediterranean, 11/2 m.
from the Italian border; was under the princes of Monaco till 1848, when
it subjected itself to Sardinia, which afterwards handed it over to
France; protected by the Alps, the climate is delightful, and renders it
a favourite health resort in winter and spring; it exports olive-oil and
MENTOR, a friend of Ulysses, and the tutor of his son Telemachus,
whose form and voice Athena assumed in order to persuade his pupil to
retain and maintain the courage and astuteness of his father.
MENZEL, ADOLF, German painter, born at Breslau, professor at Berlin;
best known for his historical pictures and drawings; _b_. 1815.
MENZEL, WOLFGANG, German author and critic, born in Silesia; wrote
on German history, literature, and poetry, as well as general history,
and maintained a vigorous polemic against all who by their writings or
their politics sought to subvert the Christian religion or the orthodox
policy of the German monarchies (1789-1873).
MEPHISTOPHELES, the impersonation in Goethe's "Faust" of the modern
devil, the incarnation of the spirit of universal scepticism and
scoffing, who can see not only no beauty in goodness but no deforming in
iniquity, alike without reverence for God and fear of his adversary,
blind as a mole to all worth and all unworth throughout the universe, yet
knowing and boastful of knowledge, by means of which he sees only "the
ridiculous, the unsuitable, the bad, but for the solemn, the noble, the
worthy is blind as his ancient mother."
MERCATOR, a celebrated Dutch geographer who has given name to a
projection of the earth's surface on a plane (1512-1592).
MERCENARIES, originally hired soldiers as distinguished from feudal
levies, now bodies of foreign troops in the service of the State; the
Scots Guards in France from the 15th to 18th centuries were famous, and
Swiss auxiliaries once belonged to most European armies; William III. had
Dutch mercenaries in England; under the Georges, German were hired and
were used in the American War, the Irish rebellion, and the Napoleonic
struggle; in the Crimean War German, Swiss, and Italian were enrolled.
MERCIA, one of the three chief kingdoms of early England; founded by
Anglian settlers in the Upper Trent Valley (now South Staffordshire) In
the 6th century; it rose to greatness under Penda 626-655, subsequently
succeeded Northumberland in the supremacy, but after the death of Cenwulf
819, waned in turn before Wessex and the Danes.
MERCURY, the Roman name for the Greek Hermes, the son of Jupiter and
Maia, the messenger of the gods, the patron of merchants and travellers,
and the conductor of the souls of the dead to the nether world.
MERCURY, an interior planet of the Solar system, whose orbit is
nearest the sun, the greatest distance being nearly 43,000,000 m. and the
least over 28,000,000, is one-seventeenth the size of the earth, but is
of greater density, and accomplishes its revolution in about 84 days; it
is visible just before the sun rises and after it sets, but that very
seldom owing to the sun's neighbourhood.
MER-DE-GLACE, the great glacier of the Alps near Chamouni, was the
subject of the experiments of Professor J. D. Forbes of Edinburgh about
1843, and on which the movement of the glaciers was first observed.
MEREDITH, GEORGE, poet and novelist, born in Hampshire; began his
literary career 1851 as a poet, in which capacity he has since
distinguished himself and given expression to his deepest personal
convictions, but it is chiefly as a novelist he is most widely known and
is generally judged of; as a novel-writer he occupies a supreme place,
and is reckoned superior in that department to all his contemporaries in
the same line by the unanimous consent of one and all of them; his
novels, however, appeal only to a select few, but by them they are
regarded with unbounded admiration, some giving preference to this and
others to that of the series; "The Ordeal of Richard Feveril," published
in 1859, is by many considered his best, though it is over "The Egoist"
that Louis Stevenson breaks out into raptures; Meredith has most
sympathetic insights into nature and life, has a marvellous power in
analysing and construing character, and shows himself alive to all the
great immediate interests of humanity; _b_. 1828.
MEREDITH, OWEN, the _nom de plume_ assumed by Edward Robert Bulwer
Lytton, from his descent from a Welsh noble of the name.
MERGUI, a small seaport near the mouth of the Tenasserim, British
Burma, which exports birds' nests to China.
MERIDIAN, an imaginary great circle passing through the poles at
right angles to the equator.
MERIMEE, PROSPER, a great French writer, born in Paris; abandoned
law, to which he was bred, for literature; became under Louis Philippe
inspector-general of historical documents, and travelled in that capacity
in the S. and W. of France, publishing from time to time the fruits of
his researches; he wrote in exquisite style stories, historical
dissertations, and travels, among other works "Guzla," "Chronicles of
Charles IX.," the "History of Don Pedro, King of Castile," "Letters to an
Unknown"; he was a man of singularly enigmatic character (1802-1870).
MERIO`NETH (49), a mountainous county of North Wales, abutting on
Cardigan Bay, between Carnarvon and Cardigan; lofty peaks, Aran Mowddy,
Cader Idris, and Aran Benllyn; rivers, Dee and Dovey, and Lake Bala
afford picturesque scenery; the soil is fit only for sheep-grazing; but
there are slate and limestone quarries, manganese and gold mines; the
county town, Dolgelly (2), on the Wnion, has woollen and tweed
MERIVALE, CHARLES, dean of Ely, born at Exeter; held a succession of
appointments as lecturer; wrote a history of Rome from its foundation in
753 to the fall of Augustus in 476, but his chief work is the "History of
the Romans under the Empire," indispensable as an Introduction to Gibbon
MERLE D'AUBIGNE, JEAN-HENRI. See D'AUBIGNE, MERLE.
MERLIN, a legendary Welsh prophet and magician, child of a wizard
and a princess, who lived in the 5th century, and was subsequently a
prominent personage at King Arthur's' court; prophecies attributed to him
existed as far back as the 14th century; Tennyson represents him as
bewitched by Vivian; legend also tells of a Clydesdale Merlin of the 6th
century; his prophecies, published in 1615, include the former; both
legends are based on Armorican materials.
MERMAIDS and MERMEN (i. e. sea-maids and sea-men), a class of
beings fabled to inhabit the sea, with a human body as far as the waist,
ending in the tail of a fish; the females of them represented above the
surface of the sea combing their long hair with one hand and holding a
mirror with the other; they are supposed to be endowed with the gift of
prophecy, and are of an amorous temper.
MEROVINGIANS, a name given to the first dynasty that ruled over
France, and which derives its name from Merovig, the founder of the
MERRILEES, MEG, a half-crazy Border gipsy; one of the characters in
Scott's "Guy Mannering."
MERRY MONARCH, a title by which Charles II. of England was at one
time familiarly known.
MERSEY, river rising in NW. Derbyshire, flows westward 70 m. between
Lancashire and Cheshire to the Irish Sea; is of great commercial
importance, having Liverpool on its estuary; its chief tributary is the
Irwell, on which stands Manchester.
MERTHYR-TYDVIL (58), industrial town in Glamorganshire, on the Taff,
15 m. NW. of Cardiff; is the centre of great coal-fields and of enormous
iron and steel works, which constitute the only industry.
MERV (500), an oasis in Turkestan, belonging to Russia, being
conquered in 1883, 60 m. long by 40 broad, producing cereals, cotton,
silk, &c.; breeds horses, camels, sheep, with a capital of the same name,
on the Transcaspian railway.
MERYON, CHARLES, etcher of street scenes, born at Paris; son of
English doctor; died insane (18211868).
MESMER, FRIEDRICH ANTON, a German physician, born near Constance;
bred for the Church, but took to medicine; was the founder of animal
magnetism, called mesmerism after him, his experiments in connection with
which created a great sensation, particularly in Paris, until the
quackery of it was discovered by scientific investigation, upon which he
retired into obscurity, "to walk silent on the shore of the Bodensee,
meditating on much" (1733-1815).
MESMERISM, animal magnetism so called, or the alleged power which,
by operating on the nervous system, one person obtains control over the
thoughts and actions of another.
MESOPOTAMIA, the name given after Alexander the Great's time to the
territory "between the rivers" Euphrates and Tigris, stretching from
Babylonia NW. to the Armenian mountains; under irrigation it was very
fertile, but is now little cultivated; once the scene of high
civilisation when Nineveh ruled it; it passed from Assyrian hands
successively to Babylonian, Persian, Greek, Roman, and Arab; now, after
many vicissitudes, it is in the deathly grasp of Turkish rule.
MESSENIA, a province of Greece, mainly the fertile peninsula between
the Gulfs of Arcadia and Coron; in ancient times the Messenians were
prosperous, excited Spartan envy, and after two long wars were conquered
in 668 B.C. and fled to Sicily.
MESSIAH (i. e. the Anointed one), one consecrated of God, who the
Jewish prophets predicted would one day appear to emancipate the Jewish
people from bondage and exalt them in the eyes of all the other nations
of the earth as His elect nation, and for the glory of His name.
MESSINA (78), on a bay at the NE. corner of Sicily; is a very
ancient city, but rebuilt after the earthquake of 1783; has a
12th-century cathedral, two old castles, and a university, founded 1549;
it manufactures light textiles, coral ornaments, and fruit essences; its
excellent harbour encourages a good trade.
MESSINA, STRAIT OF, 24 m. long, and at its narrowest 21/2 broad;
separates Sicily from the Italian mainland; here were the Scylla and
Charybdis of the ancients.
MESSUAGE, a dwelling-house with buildings and land attached for the
use of the household.
METABOLISM, name given to a chemical change in the cells or tissues
of living matter.
METAMORPHOSIS is a classical name for the changing of a human being
into a beast, an inanimate object, or an element, stories of which are
common in all folk-lore.
METAPHYSICS, the science of being as being in contradistinction from
a science of a particular species of being, the science of sciences, or
the science of the ultimate grounds of all these, and presupposed by
them, called by Plato dialectics, or the logic of being.
METASTASIO, an Italian poet, born at Rome, the son of a common
soldier named Trapassi; his power of improvising verse attracted the
attention of one Gravina, a lawyer, who educated him and left him his
fortune; he wrote opera librettoes, which were set to music by the most
eminent composers, was court poet at Vienna, and died there 40 years
after his active powers were spent (1698-1782).
METEORS or SHOOTING STARS are small bodies consisting of iron,
stone, and certain other familiar elements which are scattered in immense
numbers through planetary space; they revolve round the sun in clouds or
in long strings, and when the earth gets close to them numbers are drawn
down to its surface, friction with the atmosphere rendering them luminous
and grinding them usually to fine dust; larger meteors are known as
fireballs and aerolites, many of which have reached the earth; comets are
masses of meteors.
METHODISTS, a body of Christians founded by John Wesley in the
interests of personal religion, ecclesiastically governed by a Conference
with subordinate district synods, and holding and professing evangelical
principles, which they teach agreeably to the theology of Arminius; the
name is also given to the followers of Whitefield, who are Calvinists in
METHYLATED SPIRIT, is alcohol adulterated with 10 per cent. of
METIS (i. e. wise counsel), in the Greek mythology the daughter of
Oceanos and Tethys, and the first wife of Zeus; afraid lest she should
give birth to a child wiser and more powerful than himself, he devoured
her on the first month of her pregnancy, and some time afterwards being
seized with pains, he gave birth to ATHENA (q. v.) from his
METRE, the name given to the unit of length in the metric or decimal
system, and equal to 39.37 English inches, the tenths, the hundreds, and
the thousands of which are called from the Latin respectively decimetres,
centimetres, and millimetres, and ten times, a hundred times, and a
thousand times, which are called from the Greek respectively decametres,
hectometres, and kilometres.
METTERNICH, CLEMENT, PRINCE VON, Austrian diplomatist, born at
Coblenz; served as ambassador successively at the courts of Dresden,
Berlin, and Paris, and became first Minister of State in 1809, exercising
for 40 years from that date the supreme control of affairs in Austria;
one of his first acts as such was to effectuate a marriage between
Napoleon and the Archduchess Maria Theresa, himself escorting her to
Paris; he presided at the Congress of Vienna in 1815, and from that date
dominated in foreign affairs in the interest of the rights of kings and
the repression of popular insurrection; he had to flee from Vienna in
1848, but returned in 1851, after which, though not called back to
office, he continued to influence affairs by his advice (1773-1859).
METZ (60), strongest fortress in Lorraine, on the Moselle, 105 m.
SW. of Coblenz, captured in 1870 from the French, who had held it since
1552; has a cathedral, library, museum, and school of music; industries
are unimportant; the trade is in liquor, leather, and preserved fruits.
MEUNG, JEAN DE, mediaeval French satirist; continued the unfinished
"Roman de la Rose," in which he embodied a vivid satiric portraiture of
contemporary life (1250-1305 ?).
MEUSE, river, 500 m. long, rises in Haute-Marne, France, and
becoming navigable flows N. through Belgium, turns E. at Namur, where the
Sambre enters from the left, N. again at Liege, where it receives the
Ourthe from the right; enters Holland at Maastricht, is for a time the
boundary, finally trends westward, and joins the Rhine at the delta.
MEXICO (12,050), a federal republic of 27 States, a district, and
two territories, lying S. of the United States, between the Gulf of
Mexico and the Pacific, and including the peninsulas of Lower California
in the W. and Yucatan in the E.; is nearly half as large as Europe
without Russia; it consists of an immense plateau 3000 to 8000 ft. high,
from which rises the Sierra Nevada, 10,000 ft., running N. and S., and
other parallel ranges, as also single peaks. Toluca (19,340 ft.), Orizaba
(18,000), and Popocatapetl (17,000); the largest lake is Chapala, in the
centre; the rivers are mostly rapid and unnavigable; the chief seaports
are Vera Cruz (29) and Tampico (5) on the E. and Acapulco on the W., but
the coast-line is little indented and affords no good harbours; along the
eastern seaboard runs a strip of low-lying unhealthy country, 60 m.
broad; on the Pacific side the coast land is sometimes broader; these
coast-lines are well watered, with tropical vegetation, tropical and
sub-tropical fruits; the higher ground has a varied climate; in the N.
are great cattle ranches; all over the country the mineral wealth is
enormous, gold, silver, copper, iron, sulphur, zinc, quicksilver, and
platinum are wrought; coal also exists; the bulk of Mexican exports is of
precious metals and ores; there are cotton, paper, glass, and pottery
manufactures; trade is chiefly with the United States and Britain;
imports being textile fabrics, hardware, machinery, and coal; one-fifth
of the population is white, the rest Indian and half-caste; education is
backward, though there are free schools in every town; the religion is
Roman Catholic, the language Spanish; conquered by Cortez in 1519, the
country was ruled by Spain and spoiled for 300 years; a rebellion
established its independence in 1821, but the first 50 years saw
perpetual civil strife, and wars with the United States in 1848 and
France in 1862; since 1867, however, when the constitution was modelled
on that of the United States, there has been peace and progress, Ponfirio
Diaz, President since 1876, having proved a masterly ruler. MEXICO
(327), the capital of the republic, 7000 ft. above the level of the sea,
in the centre of the country, is a handsome though unhealthy city, with
many fine buildings, a cathedral, a picture-gallery, schools of law,
mining, and engineering, a conservatory of music, and an academy of art;
there are few manufactures; the trade is chiefly transit.
MEXICO, GULF OF, a large basin between United States and Mexican
territory; is shut in by the peninsulas of Florida and Yucatan, 500 m.
apart, and the western extremity of Cuba, which lies between them; it
receives the Mississippi, Rio Grande, and many other rivers; the coasts
are low, with many lagoons; ports like New Orleans, Havana, and Vera Cruz
make it a highway for ships; north-easterly hurricanes blow in March and
MEYER, CONRAD FERDINAND, Swiss poet and novelist, native of Zurich;
has written "Der Heilige" and many other novels; _b_. 1825.
MEYERBEER, illustrious musical composer, born at Berlin, of Jewish
birth; composer of operatic music, and for over 30 years supreme in
French opera; produced "Robert le Diable" in 1831, the "Huguenots" in
1833, "Le Prophete" in 1844, "L'Etoile du Nord" in 1854, the "Dinorah" in
MEZZOFANTI, GIUSEPPE, cardinal and linguist, born at Bologna;
celebrated for the number of languages he knew, some 58 in all; lived
chiefly in Rome, and was keeper of the Vatican library; Byron called him
"a walking polyglot" (1771-1848).
MEZZOTINT, a mode of engraving on steel or copper in imitation of
Indian ink drawings, the lights and shades of the picture being produced
by scraping on a black ground.
MIALL, EDWARD, journalist, English apostle of disestablishment,
founder of the Liberation Society; sat for Rochdale and Bradford; was
presented on his retirement with a sum of ten thousand guineas for his
MICAH, one of the minor prophets of the Old Testament, a
contemporary of Isaiah, Hosea, and Amos; his prophecies are in the same
strain as those of Isaiah, and numerous are the coincidences traceable
between them; though a great sternness of temper and severity of tone
appears in his prophecies, a deep tenderness of heart from time to time
reveals itself, and a winning persuasiveness (chap. vi. 8); chap. vii.
8-20 has been quoted as one of the sweetest passages of prophetic
writing; his prophecies predict the destruction both of Samaria and
Jerusalem, the captivity and the return, with the re-establishment of the
theocracy, and the advent of the Messiah.
MICAWBER, a character in "David Copperfield," a schemer whose
schemes regularly came to grief, yet who always wakes up after his
depression, and hopes something will turn up to his advantage.
MICHAEL, an archangel, the leader of the heavenly host, at
never-ending war with the devil and his angels in their arrogance of
claim; is represented in art as clad in armour, with a sword in one hand
and a pair of scales in the other to weigh the souls of men at the
judgment. Festival, September 20.
MICHAEL, the name of a succession of eight emperors who, at
different periods, occupied the throne of the East from 811 to 1282, the
last being Michael VIII., the founder of the Palaeologic dynasty.
MICHAEL ANGELO BUONAROTTI, painter, sculptor, architect, and poet,
born at Caprese, in Tuscany, one of the greatest artists that ever lived;
studied art as apprentice for three years under Domenico Ghirlandajo, and
at seventeen his talents attracted the notice of Lorenzo de' Medici, who
received him into his palace at Florence, and employed as well as
encouraged him; on the death of his patron he left for Bologna, and
afterwards, in 1496, went to Rome, whither his renown as a sculptor had
gone before him, and there he executed his antiques "Bacchus" and
"Cupid," followed by his "Pieta," or Virgin weeping over the dead Christ;
from 1503 to 1513 he was engaged on the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel; in
1530 we find him at Florence dividing his time between work as an
engineer in the defence of the city and his art as a sculptor; three
years after this he was back in Rome, and by-and-by _busy painting_ his
great fresco in the Sistine Chapel, the "Last Judgment," which occupied
him eight years; in 1542 he was appointed architect of St. Peter's, and
he planned and built the dome; sculpture was his great forte, but his
genius was equal to any task imposed on him, and he has left poems to
show what he might have done in the domain of letters as he has done in
those of arts, with which his fame is more intimately associated
MICHAELIS, JOHANN DAVID, an Orientalist and Biblical scholar, born
at Halle; was a man of vast learning; professor of Philosophy as well as
of Oriental Languages at Goettingen; wrote an "Introduction to the New
Testament," and "Commentaries on the Legislation of Moses"; was one of
the first to correlate the history of the Jews with that of the other
Oriental nations of antiquity (1717-1791).
MICHAELMAS is the festival in honour of St. Michael and the angels,
held on the 20th September, the day being one of the quarter days on
which rents are levied.
MICHEL, FRANCESQUE, French antiquary, born at Lyons; was
commissioned by the French Government in 1835 to visit the libraries of
England in the interest of the history and literature of France; was a
most erudite man, and edited a great many works belonging to the Middle
Ages; wrote even on the Scottish language and Scottish civilisation
MICHELET, JULES, French historian, born in Paris; was the author
among other works of a "History of France" in 18 vols., and a "History of
the Revolution" in 7 vols.; he cherished a great animosity against the
priests, and especially the Jesuits, whom he assailed with remorseless
invective; he was from 1838, for 13 years, professor of History in the
College of France, but he lost the appointment because he refused to take
the oath of allegiance to Louis Napoleon; from this date he abandoned all
interest in public affairs, and gave himself to the quiet study of nature
and animal life; wrote on birds and insects, on the sea, on women, on
love, on witchcraft, and the Bible and humanity; as a writer of history
he gave his imagination free scope, and he painted it less as it was than
as he regarded it from his own personal likes and dislikes (1798-1874).
MICHIGAN (2,094), a State of the American Union, larger than England
and Wales, is broken in two by Lake Michigan; the western portion has
Wisconsin on its S. border, the eastern portion has Indiana and Ohio on
the S.; the rest of the State is surrounded by Lakes Superior, Huron, and
Erie. The western section is mountainous, with great forests of pine,
little agriculture, rich mines of copper and iron, and some gold; the
eastern section is much larger, very flat and low, has coal, gypsum, and
marble quarries, but is chiefly a wheat-growing area; in the Saginaw
Valley are great salt wells; the climate is modified by the lakes. At
first a French colony, the country was handed over to England in 1760,
and to the United States in 1776; it was organised as a territory in
1805, and admitted a State in 1837; the chief commercial city is
DETROIT (206), on Detroit River, in the E., has manufactures of
machinery and railway plant, leather, and beer, and a large shipping
trade. GRAND RAPIDS (60), on the Grand River, has furniture works,
and makes stucco-plaster and white bricks. LANSING (13) is the State
capital, and an important railway centre.
MICHIGAN, LAKE, in the N. of the United States, between Michigan and
Wisconsin, is the third largest of the fresh-water seas, its surface
being three-fourths that of Scotland; it is 335 m. long and 50 to 80
broad, bears much commerce, has low sandy shores and no islands; the
chief ports are Chicago, Milwaukee, and Racine.
MICKIEWICZ, ADAM, Polish poet, born in Lithuania, of a noble family;
in 1822 published at Kovno a collection of poems instinct with patriotic
feeling; was exiled into the interior of Russia, in 1824, for secret
intrigues in the interest of his nation; while there published three
epics, conceived in the same patriotic spirit; left Russia in 1829 for
Italy by way of Germany; was warmly welcomed by Goethe in passing; in
1834 published his great poem "Sir Thaddeus," and in 1840 was appointed
to a professorship of Polish Literature in Paris, where to the last he
laboured for his country; died at Constantinople, whence his bones were
transferred to lie beside those of Kosciusko at Cracow (1798-1855).
MICKLE, WILLIAM JULIUS, translator of the "Lusiad" (q. v.), born
at Langholm, in Dumfriesshire, author of "There's nae Luck aboot the
MICROBE, a minute organism found in the blood of animals, especially
when suffering from disease. See BACTERIA.
MICROCOSM, name given by the Middle Age philosophers to man as
representing the macrocosm or universe in miniature.
MICROPHONE, an instrument invented in 1878 by Professor Hughes, and
consisting of charcoal tempered in mercury, which intensifies and renders
audible the faintest possible sound.
MICROZYME, a minute organism which acts as a ferment when it enters
the blood and produces zymotic diseases.
MIDAS, a king of Phrygia who, in his lust of riches, begged of
Bacchus and obtained the power of turning everything he touched into
gold, a gift which he prayed him to revoke when he found it affected his
very meat and drink, which the god consented to do, only he must bathe in
the waters of the Pactolus, the sands of which ever after were found
mixed with gold; appointed umpire at a musical contest between Pan and
Apollo, he preferred the pipes of the former to the lyre of the latter,
who thereupon awarded him a pair of ass-ears, the which he concealed with
a cap, but could not hide them from his barber, who could not retain the
secret, but whispered it into a hole in the ground, around which sprang
up a forest of reeds, which as the wind passed through them told the tale
into the general ear, to the owner's discomfiture.
MIDDLE AGES, is a term used in connection with European history to
denote the period beginning with the fall of the Roman Empire in 476, and
closing with the invention of printing, the discovery of America, and
the revival of learning in the 15th century.
MIDDLE ENGLISH, the English in use for two centuries and a half from
1200 to 1460.
MIDDLE PASSAGE, in the slave-trade the part of the Atlantic
stretching between Africa and the West Indies.
MIDDLESBROUGH (99), iron manufacturing and shipping town at the
mouth of the Tees, in the N. of Yorkshire, 45 m. N. of York; has also
shipbuilding yards and chemical works, and exports coal. It owes its
growth to the discovery of one of the largest iron-fields in the country
in the Cleveland hills, near at hand, in 1850.
MIDDLESEX (560), a small county on the N. of the Thames, adjacent to
and W. of London; has no hills and no rivers, only undulating pasture
land and small streams. In 1888 the populous part next the metropolis was
detached for the new county of London, leaving no big town but many
suburban villages, Brentford, reckoned the county town, Harrow with its
school, Highgate, and Hornsey. Hampton Court, Hampstead Heath, and
Enfield Chase are in the county. There are many market gardens.
MIDDLETON, CONYERS, a liberal theologian, Fellow of Cambridge; was
engaged a good deal in controversy, particularly with Bentley; wrote an
able Life of Cicero; is distinguished among English authors for his
"absolutely plain style" of writing (1683-1750).
MIDDLETON, THOMAS, dramatist, born in London, where he was
afterwards City Chronicler, married Mary Morbeck, and died; was fond of
collaboration, and received assistance in his best work from Drayton,
Webster, Dekker, Rowley, and Jonson; his comedies are smart and buoyant,
sometimes indecorous; his masques more than usually elaborate and
careful; in the comedy of "The Spanish Gypsy," and the tragedies of "The
Changeling," and "Women beware Women," is found the best fruit of his
MIDGARD, a name given in the Norse mythology to the earth as
intermediate between the ASGARD (q. v.) of the gods and
UTGARD OF THE JOeTUNS (q. v.).
MIDIANITES, a race of Arabs descended from Abraham by Keturah, who
dwelt to the E. of Akaba; though related, were troublesome to the
Hebrews, but were subdued by Gideon.
MIDRASH, the earliest Hebrew exposition of the Old Testament;
included the Halacha, or development of the legal system on Pentateuchal
lines, and the Hagada, a commentary on the whole Scripture, with ethical,
social, and religious applications. The name Midrash came to refer
exclusively to the latter, in which much fanciful interpretation was
mixed with sound practical sense.
MIGHTS AND RIGHTS, the Carlyle doctrine that Rights are nothing till
they have realised and established themselves as Mights; they _are_
rights first only then.
MIGNE, THE ABBE, French Catholic theologian, born at St. Flour;
edited a great many works on theology, such as "Patrologiae Cursus
Completus," and "Orateurs Sacres," and founded _L'Univers_ journal
MIGNET, FRANCOIS AUGUST, French historian, born at Aix, settled at
Paris; was a friend of Thiers; became keeper of the archives of the
Foreign Office, and had thus access to important historical documents;
wrote a number of historical works, among others a "History of the French
Revolution," and "History of Marie Stuart" (1796-1884).
MIGNON, an impassioned Italian child, a creation of Goethe's in his
"Wilhelm Meister," of mysterious origin and history; represented as a
compact of vague aspirations and longings under which, as never
fulfilled, she at length pines away and dies.
MIGUEL, DON, king of Portugal, born at Lisbon; usurped the throne in
defiance of the right of his brother, Don Pedro, emperor of Brazil, who,
however, conceded to him the title of regent on condition of his marrying
Donna Maria, his daughter; on his arrival in Portugal he had himself
proclaimed king, but refused to marry Maria, who followed him, and
prohibited her landing, which, together with his conduct of affairs,
provoked a civil war, in which the party of Don Pedro prevailed, and
which ended in the capitulation of the usurper and his withdrawal to
MIKADO, the emperor of Japan, regarded as the head of both Church
and State in his dominions.
MIKLOSICH, FRANZ VON, philologist, born at Luttenberg, studied at
Graetz; in 1844 was appointed to an office in the Imperial Library,
Vienna, where from 1850 to 1885 he was professor of Slavonic; his works,
all philological, are the authority on the Slavonic languages; _b_. 1813.
MILAN (296), the largest city in Italy except Naples, is in
Lombardy, 25 m. S. of Lake Como; of old much vexed by war, it is now
prosperous, manufacturing silks and velvets, gold, silver, and porcelain
ware, and trading in raw silk, grain, and tobacco, with great printing
works, and is the chief banking centre of N. Italy; it is rich in
architectural treasures, foremost of which is the magnificent Gothic
cathedral of white marble; has a splendid picture-gallery, and many rich
frescoes; in 1848 it revolted finally from Austrian oppression.
MILAN DECREE, a decree of Napoleon dated Milan, 27th Dec. 1807,
declaring the British dominions in a state of blockade, and under penalty
prohibiting all trade with them.
MILETUS, the foremost Ionian city of ancient Asia Minor, at the
mouth of the Maeander, was the mother of many colonies, and the port from
which vessels traded to all the Mediterranean countries and to the
Atlantic; its carpets and cloth were far-famed; its first greatness
passed away when Darius stormed it in 494 B.C., and it was finally
ruined by the Turks; Thales the philosopher and Cadmus the historian were
among its famous sons.
MILITARY ORDERS were in crusading times associations of knights
sworn to chastity and devoted to religious service; the Hospitallers, the
earliest, tended sick pilgrims at Jerusalem; the Templars protected
pilgrims and guarded the Temple; the Knights of St. John were also
celibate, but the orders of Alcantara and others in Spain, of St. Bennet
in Portugal, and others elsewhere, with different objects, were permitted
MILITIA, a body of troops in the British service for home defence,
the members of which have as a rule never served in the regular army, nor
have, except for a short period each year, any proper military training.
MILKY WAY. See GALAXY.
MILL, JAMES, economist, born in Logie Pert, near Montrose, the son
of a shoemaker, bred for the Church; was a disciple of Locke and Jeremy
Bentham; wrote a "History of British India," "Elements of Political
Economy," and an "Analysis of the Human Mind"; held an important
lucrative post in the East India Company's service (1773-1836).
MILL, JOHN STUART, logician and economist, born in London, son of
the preceding; was educated pedantically by his father; began to learn
Greek at 3, could read it and Latin at 14, "never was a boy," he says,
and was debarred from all imaginative literature, so that in after years
the poetry of Wordsworth came to him as a revelation; entered the service
of the East India Company in 1823, but devoted himself to philosophic
discussion; contributed to the _Westminster Review_, of which he was for
some time editor; published his "System of Logic" in 1843, and in 1848
his "Political Economy"; entered Parliament in 1865, but lost his seat in
1868, on which he retired to Avignon, where he died; he wrote a book on
"Liberty" in 1859, on "Utilitarianism" in 1863, on "Comte" in 1865, and
on "Sir William Hamilton's Philosophy" the same year, and left an
"Autobiography"; he was a calm thinker and an impartial critic; he
befriended Carlyle when he went to London, and Carlyle rather took to
him, but divergences soon appeared, which, as it could not fail, ended in
total estrangement; he had an Egeria in a Mrs. Taylor, whom he married
when she became a widow; it was she, it would almost seem, who was
responsible for the fate of Carlyle's MS. (1806-1873).
MILLAIS, SIR JOHN EVERETT, painter, born of Jersey parentage, at
Southampton; studied at the Royal Academy, and at 17 exhibited a notable
historical work; early associated with Rossetti and Holman Hunt, he
remained for over 20 years under their influence; to this period belong
"The Carpenter's Shop," 1851, "Autumn Leaves," 1856, and "The Minuet,"
1866; "The Gambler's Wife" marks the transition from Pre-Raphaelitism;
his chief subsequent work, in which technical interest predominates, was
portraiture, including Gladstone and Beaconsfield; he was a profuse
illustrator, and wrought some etchings; he was made R.A. 1864, a baronet
in 1885, and P.R.A. February 1896 (1829-1896).
MILLBANK PRISON, Westminster, constructed 1812-21 on the plans of
Howard and Bentham, so that each of its 1100 cells were visible from the
governor's room, was used for solitary confinement preparatory to penal
servitude, and as a convict prison until 1886, and demolished 1890.
MILLER, HUGH, journalist and geologist, self-taught, born in
Cromarty, of sailor ancestry; began life as a stone-mason; editor of the
_Witness_ newspaper from 1839 till his death; wrote the "Old Red
Sandstone," "Footprints of the Creator," and the "Testimony of the
Rocks," books which awakened an interest in geological subjects, besides
being the author of an account of his life, "My Schools and
Schoolmasters"; died by his own hand at Portobello; he was a writer of
considerable literary ability, and "nothing," says Prof. Saintsbury, "can
be more hopelessly unliterary than to undervalue Hugh Miller"
MILLER, WILLIAM, line-engraver, lived at Millerfield, Edinburgh;
famed for his engravings of Turner; was a member of the Society of
Friends, and stood high in his art as an engraver (1797-1882).
MILLET, JEAN FRANCOIS, French painter of French peasant life, born
near Greville, of a peasant family; sent to Paris, studied under Paul
Delaroche, withdrew into rustic life, and took up his abode at the
village of Barbizon, near the Forest of Fontainebleau, where he spent as
a peasant the rest of his life, honoured though poor by all his
neighbours, and produced inimitable pictures of French country life,
completing his famous "Sower," and treating such subjects as the
"Gleaners," the "Sheep-Shearers," "Shepherdess and Flock," &c., with an
evident appreciation on his part of the life they depicted so faithfully
MILMAN, HENRY HART, dean of St. Paul's, ecclesiastical historian,
born in London; edited Gibbon's "Decline and Fall," wrote "History of the
Jews," "History of Christianity to the Abolition of Paganism under the
Empire," and "History of Latin Christianity," all learned works,
particularly the last in 9 vols., described by Dean Stanley as "a
complete epic and philosophy of mediaeval Christianity"; was professor of
Poetry at Oxford (1791-1865).
MILNE-EDWARDS, HENRI, eminent naturalist, born at Bruges, of English
parentage; wrote extensively and learnedly on natural history subjects,
dissented from Darwin, and held to the theory of different centres of
creation, and to this he stoutly adhered to the last (1800-1885).
MILNER, VISCOUNT, High Commissioner of South Africa since 1897, and
Governor of the Transvaal and Orange River Colonies since 1901; a student
of Balliol (graduating with a first class in classics), and a Fellow of
New College, Oxford; called to the bar in 1881; Private Secretary to Mr.
Goschen (1887-1889); Under-Secretary for Finance in Egypt (1889-1892);
Chairman of the Inland Revenue Board, from 1892 to 1897, when he
succeeded Lord Rosmead at the Cape; represented the Mother Country with
great ability before and during the Boer War; visited England and raised
to the peerage in 1901; declined the Colonial Secretaryship in 1903;
resigned in 1905; _b_. 1854.
MILNER, JOSEPH, Church historian; master of the Grammar School,
Hull; his "History of the Church" reaches down to the 16th century
MILO, a celebrated athlete, born at Crotona, of extraordinary
strength, said to have one day carried a live bullock 120 paces along the
Olympic course, killed it with his fist, and eaten it up entire at one
repast; in old age he attempted to split a tree, but it closed upon his
arm, and the wolves devoured him.
MILTIADES, an Athenian general, famous for his decisive defeat of
the Persians at Marathon, 490 B.C.; failing in a naval attack on Paros,
and fined to indemnify the cost of the expedition, but unable to pay, was
cast into prison, where he died of his wounds inflicted in the attempt.
MILTON, JOHN, poet, born in London, son of a scrivener; graduated at
Cambridge, and settled to study and write poetry in his father's house at
Horton, 1632; in 1638 he visited Italy, being already known at home as
the author of the "Hymn on the Nativity," "Allegro," "Penseroso,"
"Comus," a mask, and "Lycidas," an elegy on his friend King, who was
drowned in the Irish Sea in 1637, besides much excellent Latin verse; the
outbreak of the Civil War recalled him, and silenced his muse for many
years; settling in London he took pupils, married in 1643 Mary Powell,
and became active as a writer of pamphlets on public questions; his first
topic was Church Government, then his wife's desertion of him for two
years called forth his tracts on Divorce, a threatened prosecution for
which elicited in turn the "Areopagitica, a Speech for the Liberty of
Unlicensed Printing"; his father died in 1647, his wife in 1652; under
the Common wealth he was "Secretary of Foreign Tongues," and successfully
defended the execution of Charles I. in his Latin "Defence of the English
People," and other bitter controversial works; he married in 1656 his
second wife, who died two years later; the Restoration gave him back to
leisure and poetry; his greatest work, "Paradise Lost," was composed
rapidly, dictated to his daughters, and completed in 1663, but not
published till 1667; 1671 saw "Paradise Regained" and "Samson
Agonistes"; he had been blind since 1652; he married Elizabeth Minshull
in 1663, who comforted him in his closing years; a man of fervent,
impulsive temperament, and a lover of music, he was sincere in
controversy, magnanimous in character, and of deep religious faith; the
richness, melody, and simplicity of his poetry, the sublimity of his
great theme, and the adequacy of its treatment, place him among the
greatest poets of the world; in later years he leaned to Arianism, and
broke away from the restraints of outward religious practice; his last
prose work, a Latin treatise on "Christian Doctrines," was lost at the
time of his death, and only recovered 150 years later (1608-1674).
MILWAUeKEE (285), chief city of Wisconsin, U.S., on W. shore of Lake
Michigan, 80 miles N. by W. of Chicago. Exports grain, iron ore, &c.;
manufactures flour, machinery, and pig-iron.
MIMES, dramatic performances among the Greeks and Romans, in comic
representation of scenes in ordinary life, often in extempore dialogue.
MIMIR, in the Norse mythology the god of wisdom, guardian of the
sacred well which nourished the roots of the TREE IGGDRASIL (q. v.),
and a draught of whose waters imparted divine wisdom.
MINARETS, a salient feature of Mohammedan architecture, are tall
slim towers, in several storeys with balconies, from which the muezzin
calls the people to prayer, and terminated by a spire or finial.
MINERVA, the Roman virgin goddess of wisdom and the arts, identified
with the GREEK ATHENA (q. v.); born full-armed from the brain of
Jupiter, and representing his thinking, calculating, inventive power, and
third in rank to him.
MINERVA PRESS, a printing establishment in Leadenhall Street,
London, which about a century ago issued a set of trashy, extremely
sentimental novels with complicated plots, in which hero and heroine were
involved before they could get married.
MINGHETTI, MARCO, Italian patriot and statesman, born at Bologna; a
man of liberal views; a friend and associate of Cavour; held office under
him as Minister of the Interior in 1862; was ambassador to the Court of
St. James's in 1868, and Prime Minister at Rome from 1873 to 1876
MINIMS, an order of monks founded by St. Francis of Paula in 1453, a
name which signifies "the least" to express super-humility.
MINNEAPOLIS (203), city of U.S., Minnesota, on both sides of the
Mississippi, the greatest centre of the wheat and flour trade in U.S.
MINNESINGERS (i. e. love-singers), a name given to the lyric poets
of Germany during the latter part of the 12th and the first half of the
MINNESOTA (1,302), one of the United States of America; lies between
the Dakotas on the W. and Wisconsin on the E., Canada on the N., and Iowa
on the S., round the upper waters of the Mississippi, the St. Lawrence,
and the Red River of the North; the State is largely prairie, with
hundreds of lakes, the largest Red Lake, and is chiefly a wheat-producing
area; there are pine forests in the N., iron mines, slate and granite
quarries; the climate is dry, equable, and bracing; education is good;
the State university is at Minneapolis; the capital is ST. PAUL
(133), where the Mississippi is still navigable, a fine city, founded in
1840, the centre of the grocery and dry-goods trade; the largest city is
Minneapolis (203), which has great lumber and flour mills; Duluth (33)
has a magnificent harbour and good shipping trade.
MINORCA (34), the second of the Balearic Isles, hilly, with
stalactite caves and rocky coast; is less fertile than Majorca, from
which it is 25 m. distant NE.; it produces oil, wine, and fruits, and
makes boots and shoes, but under Spanish misrule is not prosperous; the
capital Mahon (17), in the SE., is strongly fortified, and has a good
MINOS, an ancient king of Crete, celebrated for his administration
of justice; was fabled to have been appointed, along with AEacus and
Rhadamanthus, one of the judges of the dead on their descent into the
MINOTAUR, in the Greek mythology a monster, half-man half-bull with
a bull's head, confined in the Labyrinth of Crete, fed by the annual
tribute of seven youths and seven maidens of Athenian birth, till he was
slain by Theseus with the help of ARIADNE (q. v.).
MINSTRELS, a body of men who during the Middle Ages wandered from
place to place, especially from court to court, singing their own
compositions to the harp for accompaniment.
MINTO, EARL OF, Governor-General of India; was bred to the bar,
served in Parliament and as ambassador, went out to India in 1806,
consolidated the British power, captured Java, and opened diplomatic
relations with powers around (17501814).
MIRABEAU, GABRIEL HONORE RIQUETTI, COMTE DE, son of the succeeding,
born at the mansion-house of Bignon; was a man of massive intellect and
strong physical frame, who came to the front in the French Revolution;
being expelled from his order by the noblesse of Provence, he ingratiated
himself with the Third Estate, and was elected commons-deputy of Aix to
the States-General in 1789, where he became, as the incarnation of the
whole movement, the ruling spirit of the hour, and gave proof, if he had
lived, of being able to change the whole course of the Revolution, for he
was already in communication with the court and in hopes of gaining it
over to accept the inevitable, when he sickened and died, to the
consternation of the entire people, whose affection and confidence he had
won (1749-1791). See CARLYLE'S "FRENCH REVOLUTION" and his Essay
in his "MISCELLANIES."
MIRABEAU, VICTOR RIQUETTI, MARQUIS DE, "crabbed old friend of men,"
born at Pertuis, in Provence, claimed to be of Florentine descent; "could
never make the world go to his mind," and set about reforming it by
coercing a family as self-willed as himself, to the driving of his
celebrated son to desperate courses and reckless excesses; advocated the
doctrines of the French economists in a series of writings instinct with
a certain theoretical philanthropy (1716-1783).
MIRACLE PLAYS were strictly speaking dramas founded on legends of
the saints, as distinct from mysteries founded on scriptural subjects,
but the name came to cover all those religious representations for the
instruction of the people fostered by the Church of the Middle Ages,
performed first in churches, afterwards in public places; they were
common in England from the 12th century, but latterly became corrupt
through the introduction of grotesque indecorous comicalities; the rise
of the drama led to their abandonment; on the Continent ecclesiastical
action was taken against them, not by the Reformers, but by the Church
itself in the 18th century, and everywhere they have all but disappeared;
the Passion Play acted every 10 years at Oberammergau, Bavaria, is the
only important survival.
MIRANDA, the beautiful daughter of the magician Prospero in
MIRANDA, FRANCESCO DE, a Portuguese poet; wrote sonnets and epistles
in verse; was predecessor of Camoens (1495-1558).
MISERERE, a carved bracket on the under side of the stall seats in
mediaeval churches, which, when the seat was turned up during the standing
portion of the service, afforded support to the older clergy. Miserere,
the Catholic name for the 51st Psalm.
MISHNA, the oral law of the Jews, which is divided into six parts,
and constitutes the text of the Talmud, of which the Gemara is the
MISPRISION, a high offence under, but close upon, the degree of a
capital one; misprision of treason being a concealment of a felony
without consenting to it.
MISSAL, a book containing the service of the mass for the entire
year, such as is now in almost universal use throughout the Catholic
MISSISSIPPI (1,290), an American State on the E. bank of the Lower
Mississippi, abutting on the Gulf of Mexico, between Louisiana and
Alabama; has a hilly surface, traversed by numerous rivers, the Yazoo, a
tributary of the Mississippi, forming a great fertile delta; the climate
is free from extremes; the chief industry is agriculture; the best crops
are grown in the N., and on the alluvial bottom lands; in the centre and
NE. are good grazing farms; cotton, corn, oats, and fruits are the chief
crops; virgin forests of hardwood cover much of the delta; valuable
deposits of pipe and ochre clays and of lignite are found; cotton is
manufactured, and there is trade in lumber; more than half the population
is coloured, and the races are kept distinct in the State schools; the
State university is at Oxford, and there are many other colleges; Jackson
(6), the capital, is the chief railway centre, Meridian (10) has iron
manufactures, Vicksburg (13) and Natchez (10) are the chief riverports;
Mississippi was colonised by the French in 1699, ceded to Britain 1763,
admitted to the Union 1817, joined the South in 1861, but was readmitted
to the Union in 1869.
MISSISSIPPI RIVER rises in Lake Itaska, Minnesota, and flowing S.
for 2800 m., enters the Gulf of Mexico by a large delta; its earlier
course is through picturesque country, often in gorges, with rapids such
as the St. Anthony Falls, the Des Moines and Rock Island Rapids. After
receiving the Missouri, 3000 m. long, from the Rocky Mountains, it flows
21/2 m. per hour through great alluvial plains, which are protected from
its overflows by hundreds of miles of earth embankments, and is joined by
the Ohio from the E., the Red and Arkansas Rivers from the W., and many
other navigable streams. The Mississippi is navigable by large steamers
for 2000 m.; St. Louis, Memphis, Vicksburg, Natchez, and New Orleans are
among the chief ports on its banks.
MISSISSIPPI SCHEME was started in France 1717 by John Law and the
Government, ostensibly to develop the Mississippi basin, but really to
ease the pressure on the exchequer; a company was formed and empowered to
monopolise almost all the foreign trade; 624,000 shares were issued;
depreciated paper currency was accepted in payment, and the national bank
issued notes without stint; in 1719 the demand for shares was enormous;
the nation was completely carried away; next year the crash came; the
Government made every effort to save the position, but in vain; the
distress was extreme, and Law had to leave the country.
MISSOLONGHI (6), Greek seaport and fishing town, on the Gulf of
Patras, chiefly noted for heroic defences in the War of Independence
1821-1826, and as the place of Byron's death 1824.
MISSOURI (2,679), an American State on the right bank of the
Mississippi, between Iowa and Arkansas, is half the size of the British
Isles, and is traversed by the Missouri River; N. of that river the
country is level, S. of it there rise the Ozark tablelands; the soil is
very fertile, and the State principally agricultural; immense crops of
maize, oats, potatoes, cotton, and tobacco are raised; there are large
cattle ranches, and dressed beef and pork are largely exported; the
climate is subject to extremes; coal, iron, lead, zinc, and other
minerals abound, while marble, granite, and limestone are quarried; the
rivers afford excellent transport facilities; the educational system is
very complete; admitted to the Union in 1821, Missouri was divided in the
Civil War, and suffered terribly, but since then has been very
prosperous; the capital, St. Louis (452), is one of the greatest
commercial and manufacturing towns in the Union, does a vast trade in
grain and cotton, and has hardware, leather goods, and tobacco factories;
Kansas City (133), has great pork-packing establishments and railroad
MISTRAL, FREDERICK, poet of Southern France, born near Maillaune,
was a peasant's son, and himself a peasant; his fame rose on the
publication of the epic, "Mireio," in Provencal dialect, 1859; in 1867 he
published "Calendou," and in 1876 a volume of songs, and in 1884 "Nerto,"
a novel; _b_. 1830.
MITFORD, MARY RUSSELL, authoress, born at Alresford, Hants, lived
with her father, an extravagant physician, at Lyme Regis and London; she
published poems in 1810-11-12, but, forced to earn a living, took to
dramatic work; "Julian," "The Foscari," and "Rienzi" were successful if
ephemeral tragedies; her best work was "Our Village," sketches of homely
English life written with much care, and after appearing in the _London
Magazine_, published in 5 vols., 1824-32 (1786-1855).
MITFORD, WILLIAM, English author; wrote a "History of Greece" and on
the "English Metre, or the Harmony of Language" (1744-1827).
MITHRAS (i. e. the Friend), the highest of the second order of
deities in the ancient Persian religion, the friend of man in this life
and his protector against evil in the world to come, sided with Ormuzd
against Ahriman, incarnated in the sun, and represented as a youth
kneeling on a bull and plunging a dagger into his neck, while he is at
the same time attacked by a dog, a serpent, and a scorpion.
MITHRIDATES THE GREAT, surnamed Eupator, king of Pontus from 123 to
63 B.C.; an implacable enemy of the Romans, between whom and him there
raged from 90 to 63 a succession of wars, till he was defeated by Pompey
near the Euphrates, when, being superseded by his son, he put an end to
his life; he was a great man and conqueror, subdued many surrounding
nations, and was a collector of works of art; he made a special study of
poisons, and familiarised himself with all their antidotes, in view of
possible attempts by means of them to take away his life.
MITRAILLEUSE, a gun consisting of several, as many as 25, barrels,
from which a number of shots may be fired simultaneously or in rapid
succession, used by the French in the Franco-German War.
MIVART, ST. GEORGE, naturalist, a Roman Catholic professor at
Louvain, distinguished for his opposition to Darwinianism; _b_. 1827.
MNEMOSYNE in the Greek mythology the daughter of Uranos, the goddess
of memory, and the mother of the Muses by Zeus.
MOA, the name of several species of New Zealand and Australian
birds, from 2 to 14 ft. high, and quite wingless; almost extinct since
the 17th century; two living specimens were captured in 1876.
MOAB, a pastoral region extending along the E. of lower parts of the
Jordan and the Dead Sea, and inhabited by the descendants of Lot, now
extinct, or merged among the Arabs.
MOABITE STONE, a stone 4 ft. high and 2 ft. broad found by Dr. Klein
in 1868 among the ruins of Dhiban, a town in Moab, now in the Louvre at
Paris, describing a victory of the Moabites over the Israelites; it was
broken by the Arabs, but the fragments have been collected and put into
their proper places.
MOBILE (31), a city and port of Alabama, U.S., 30 m. N. of the Gulf
of Mexico; a thriving place; exports cotton, lumber, &c.
MOBILIER CREDIT, a banking and financial company founded in Paris in
1852; lends money on security of property other than real, and takes
shares in public schemes, such as railways.
MODENA (31), Italian town, 62 m. N. of Florence; has a cathedral,
with noted campanile, university, library, and art collections, and
manufactures silk and leather; capital of a duchy (303); incorporated in
the kingdom of Italy 1860.
MODERN ATHENS, Edinburgh, from its resemblance to Athens and its
repute for literary culture; applied also to Boston, in America.
MODERN BABYLON, London, from its huge extent and the miscellaneous
character of its inhabitants.
MODJESKA, HELENA, actress, born in Cracow; went on the stage after
her first marriage in 1861, and from 1868 to 1876 was the favourite of
Warsaw; retired to California on her second marriage, but returned to the
stage, having learned English in seven months in California 1877, and
till her final retirement in 1895, was eminently successful in America
and Britain in such parts as Rosalind, Beatrice, &c.
MODRED, SIR, a treacherous knight, the rebellious nephew of King
Arthur, whose wife he seduced; was slain in battle, and buried in Avalon.
MOFFAT, ROBERT, African missionary, born at Ormiston,
Haddingtonshire; the scene of his nearly lifelong labours was among the
Bechuanas in South Africa, whom he raised from a savage to a civilised
state; he was sent out in 1816 by the London Missionary Society. He
married (1819) Mary Smith, a daughter of his former employer at
MOHAMMED, great prophet of the Arabs, and founder of Islamism, born
at Mecca, the son of Abdallah, of the tribe of the Koreish; left an
orphan, brought up by his uncle Abu Taleb; became steward to a rich
WIDOW KADIJAH (q. v.) whom he married; was given to serious
meditation, would retire into solitude and pray, and one day, by the
favour of Heaven, got answer which left him "in doubt and darkness no
longer, but saw it all," saw into the vanity of all that was not God,
that He alone was great, inconceivably great; that it was with Him alone
we had to do, we must all submit to Him; this revelation made to him he
imparted to Kadijah, and after a time she assented, and his heart leaped
for joy; he spoke or his doctrine to this man and that, but made slow
progress in persuading others to believe it; made only 13 converts in 3
years; his preaching gave offence to the chief people, and his relatives
tried hard to persuade him to hold his peace, but he would not; after 13
years a conspiracy was formed to take his life, and he fled, through
peril after peril, to Medina, in his fifty-third year, and in 622 of our
era; his enemies had taken up the sword against him, and he now replied
with the same weapon, and in 10 years he prevailed; it was a war against
idolatry in all its forms, and idolatry was driven to the wall, the motto
on his banner "God is Great," a motto with a depth of meaning greater
than the Mohammedan world, and perhaps the Christian, has yet realised;
it is for one thing a protest on the part of Mohammed, in which the
Hebrew prophets forestalled him, against all attempts to understand the
Deity and fathom "His ways, which are ever in the deep, and whose
footsteps are not known" (571-631).
MOHAMMEDANISM, the religion of MOHAMMED, or ISLAM, (q. v.),
is essentially much the same as the religion of the Jews with some
elements borrowed from the Christian religion, and is defined by Carlyle
as a bastard Christianity; originating in Arabia it spread rapidly over
the W. of Asia, the N. of Africa, and threatened at one time to overrun
Europe itself; it is the religion to-day of two hundred millions of the
human race, and the profession of it extends over a wide area in western
and southern Asia as also in northern Africa, though its limits in Europe
do not extend beyond the bounds of Turkey.
MOHAWK, a tribe of American Indians, gave name to a band or club of
ruffians who infested the streets of London in 1711-12.
MOHIC`ANS, an American Indian tribe, took sides with the English
settlers against the French and with the former against England.
MOHL, JULIUS, Orientalist, born in Stuttgart; edited the "Shah
Nameh" of Firdushi, a monumental work (1800-1876).
MOeHLER, JOHANN ADAM, a Roman Catholic theologian, born at
Wuertemberg, author of "Symbolik," a work which discusses the differences
between the doctrines of Catholics and Protestants, as evidenced in their
respective symbolical books, a work which created no small stir in the
theological world (1796-1838).
MOIR, DAVID MACBETH, the "Delta" of _Blackwood_, born in
Musselburgh, where he practised as a physician; was author of "Mansie
MOIRA, FRANCIS RAWDON-HASTINGS, EARL OF, son of the Earl of Moira;
entered the army 1771, and served against the Americans in the War of
Independence; created Baron Rawdon in 1783; succeeded to his father's
title 1793; entered political life under Fox, and was Governor-General of
India 1813-23, in which period fell the Goorkha War, for the successful
negotiations subsequent on which he was created Marquis of Hastings; his
administration encouraged native education and freedom of the press; from
1824 he was Governor of Malta till his death at Naples (1754-1826).
MOKANNA, AL, "the veiled one," a name given to Hakim ben Allah, who
wore a veil to hide the loss of an eye; he professed to be an incarnation
of the Deity and to work miracles; found followers; founded a sect at
Khorassan; seized some fortresses, but was overthrown at Kash A.D. 780,
whereupon he took poison.
MOLDAU, largest river in Bohemia, rises on the N. of the Boehmerwald
Mountains, flows SE. along their base, then turns northward through
Bohemia, passes Budweis, becomes navigable, is 100 yards broad at Prague,
and joins the Elbe at Melnik after flowing 278 m.
MOLDAVIA, once independent, now the northern division of Roumania,
lies between the Carpathians and the Pruth River, and is well watered by
the Sereth; its chief town is Jassy, in the NE.
MOLE, LOUIS MATTHIEU, COMTE, French statesman, born in Paris;
published in 1805 an essay on politics which, defending Napoleon, won for
its author a series of minor offices, and in 1813 a peerage and a seat in
the Cabinet; retaining power under Louis XVIII. and Louis Philippe, he
was Minister of Marine 1817, Foreign Minister 1830, and Premier 1837, but
retired from politics two years later (1781-1855).
MOLECULE, the smallest particle of which an element or a compound
body is composed, and that retains all the properties in a free state.
MOLESWORTH, SIR WILLIAM, British statesman, born in London; was an
advanced Liberal; editor and proprietor of the _Westminster Review_;
edited the works of Hobbes (1810-1855).
MOLIERE, JEAN BAPTISTE POQUELIN, great French comic dramatist, born
in Paris; studied law and passed for the bar, but evinced from the first
a proclivity for the theatre, and soon associated with actors, and found
his vocation as a writer of plays, which procured him the friendship of
Lafontaine, Boileau, and other distinguished men, though he incurred the
animosity of many classes of society by the ridicule which he heaped on
their weaknesses and their pretensions, the more that in his satires his
characters are rather abstract types of men than concrete
individualities; his principal pieces are, "Les Precieuses Ridicules,"
"L'Ecole des Femmes," "Le Tartuffe," "Le Misanthrope," "George Dandin,"
"L'Avare," "Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme," "Les Fourberies de Scapin," "Le
Malade malgre Lui," "Les Femmes Savantes," and "Le Malade Imaginaire";
though seriously ill, he took part in the performance of this last, but
the effort was too much for him, and he died that night; from the grudge
which the priests bore him for his satires on them he was buried without
a religious service (1622-1673).
MOLINA, LUIS, a Spanish Jesuit and theologian, author of a theory
called Molinism, which resolves the doctrine of predestination into a
mere foreknowledge of those who would accept and those who would reject
the grace of God in salvation.
MOLINOS, MIGUEL DE, a Spanish theologian, born at Saragossa;
published a book called the "Spiritual Guide," which, as containing the
germ of Quietism, was condemned by the Inquisition, and its author
sentenced to imprisonment for life (1627-1696).
MOLLAH, a judge of the highest rank among the Turks on matters of
law, both civil and sacred.
MOLLWITZ, a village in Silesia, 20 m. SE. of Breslau, where
Frederick the Great defeated the Austrians 1741.
MOLOCH or MOLECH, the chief god of the Ammonites, the worship
of whom, which prevailed among all the Canaanites, was accompanied with
cruelties, human sacrifices among others, revolting to the humane spirit
of the Jewish religion; originally it appears to have been the worship of
fire, through which the innocent as well as the guilty have often to pass
for the achievement of the noblest enterprises, which degenerated at
length into selfish sacrifices of others for interests of one's own, into
the substitution of the innocent for the guilty by way of atonement to
MOLTKE, COUNT VON, surnamed the Silent, great German field marshal,
born in Mecklenburg-Schwerin, of an old family; was pre-eminent as a
military strategist, planned and conducted the Prussian campaign against
Austria in 1866, and the German campaign against France in 1870-72; was
in the service of Denmark before he entered the Prussian (1800-1891).
MOLUCCAS or SPICE ISLANDS (400), an archipelago of mountainous
islands, mostly volcanic, between Celebes and New Guinea, is in two main
groups; in the N. the largest island is Jilolo, but the most important
Tidor and Ternate, which export spices, tortoise-shell, and bees-wax; in
the S. Buru and Ceram are largest, most important, Amboyna, from which
come cloves; the people are civilised Malays; the islands are equatorial,
but tempered by sea-breezes, and healthy; discovered by the Portuguese in
1521, they have been in Dutch possession since 1607, except when held by
MOMBASA (Africans and Arabs 20), capital of British East Africa, on
a rocky islet, close inshore, 50 m. N. of Pemba; was ceded with a tract
of country six times the size of the British Isles, and rich in gold,
copper, plumbago, and india-rubber, to the British East African Company
by the Sultan of Zanzibar in 1888, since when it has been rebuilt, and
the harbour, one of the best and healthiest on the coast, made a naval
coaling-station and head-quarters.
MOMMSEN, THEODOR, historian, born in Schleswig, a man of immense
historical knowledge; his greatest work the "History of Rome"; was
professor of Ancient History at Berlin; his _forte_ was his learning more
than his critical capacity; _b_. 1817.
MOMUS, the god of raillery, the son of Night, a kind of ancient
MEPHISTOPHELES (q. v.).
MONACHISM, or MONASTICISM, is an institution in which
individuals devote themselves, apart from others, to the cultivation of
spiritual contemplation and religious duties, and which has constituted a
marked feature in Pre-Christian Jewish asceticism, and in Buddhism as
well as in Christianity; in the Church it developed from the practice of
living in solitude in the 2nd century, and received its distinctive note
when the vow of obedience to a superior was added to the hermit's
personal vows of poverty and chastity; the movement of St. Benedict in
the 6th century stamped its permanent form on Western Monasticism, and
that of St. Francis in the 12th gave it a more comprehensive range,
entrusting the care of the poor, the sick, the ignorant, &c., to the
hitherto self-centred monks and nuns; during the Middle Ages the
monasteries were centres of learning, and their work in copying and
preserving both sacred and secular literature has been invaluable;
English Monachism was swept away at the Reformation; in France at the
Revolution; and later in Spain, Portugal, and Italy it has been
suppressed; brotherhoods and sisterhoods have sprung up in the Protestant
churches of Germany and England, but in all of them the vows taken are
MONACO (13), a small principality 9 m. E. of Nice, on the
Mediterranean shore, surrounded by French territory and under French
protection; has a mild salubrious climate, and is a favourite winter
resort. The capital, MONACO, is built on a picturesque promontory,
and 1 m. NE. stands Monte Carlo.
MONAD, the name given by Leibnitz to one of the active simple
elementary substances, the plurality of which in their combinations or
combined activities constitutes in his regard the universe both spiritual
and physical; it denotes in biology an elementary organism.
MONAGHAN (82), an inland Ulster county, Ireland, surrounded by
Louth, Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Cavan, and Meath; is undulating, with
many small lakes and streams; grows flax and manufactures linen, and has
limestone and slate quarries. The chief towns are CLONES (2), and
the county-town MONAGHAN (3), which has a produce market.
Back to Full Books