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MERCY (adapted from Fr. merci, Lat. m...

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Originally appearing in Volume V18, Page 160 of the 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica.
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MERCY (adapted from Fr. merci, Lat. merces, reward), compassion, pardon, pity or forgiveness. The Latin word was used in the early Christian ages for the reward that is given in heaven to those who have shown kindness without hope of return. The French word, except in such phrases as Dieu merci, sans merci, is principally used in the sense of " thanks," and is seen in the old English expression " gramercy," i.e. grant merci, great, many thanks, which Johnson took for " grant me mercy." In the medieval Church there were seven " corporal " and seven " spiritual works of mercy " (opera misericordiae); these were (a) the giving of food to the hungry and drink to the thirsty, the clothing of the naked, the visitation of the sick and of prisoners, the receiving of strangers, and the burial of the dead; (b) the conversion of sinners, teaching of the ignorant, giving of counsel to the doubtful, forgiveness of injuries, patience under wrong, prayer for the living and for the dead. The order 'Of the Sisters of Mercy is a religious sisterhood of the Roman Church. It is found chiefly in England and Ireland, but there are branches in the United States of America, in South America and in Australia and New Zealand. It was founded in 1827 in Dublin by Miss Catherine McAuley (1787-1841). The object was to per-form the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. MERCY-ARGENTEAU, FLORIMOND CLAUDE, COMTE DE (1727-1794), Austrian diplomatist, son of Antoine, comte de Mercy-Argenteau, entered the diplomatic service of Austria, going to Paris in the train of Prince Kaunitz. He became Austrian minister at Turin, at St Petersburg, and in 1766 at Harrington. Meichisedek was 35 when in 1796 he was initiated as Paris, where his first work was to strengthen the alliance between a freemason at Portsmouth; and he appears to have been known France and Austria, which was cemented in 1770 by the marriage locally as " the count," because of a romantic story as to an of the dauphin, afterwards Louis XVI., with Marie Antoinette, adventure he once had at Bath; he was churchwarden in 18o1 and daughter of the empress Maria Theresa. When four years later 1804; and some of the church plate still bears his name. Louis and Marie Antoinette ascended the throne, Mercy-Argen- Meredith's mother died when he was three years old, and teau became one of the most powerful personages at the French he was made a ward in chancery. He was sent to school at court. He was in Paris during the turbulent years which Neuwied on the Rhine, and remained in Germany till he was heralded the Revolution, and his powerful aid was given first to sixteen. During these impressionable years he imbibed a good Lomenie de Brienne, and then to Necker. In 1792 he became deal of the German spirit; and German influence, especially governor-general of the Belgian provinces, which had just been through the media of poetry and music, can often be traced in reduced to obedience by Austria, and here his ability and experi- the cast of his thought and sentiment, as well as in some of the ence made him a very successful ruler. Although at first in intricacies of his literary style. Returning to England he was favour of moderate courses, Mercy-Argenteau supported the at first articled to a solicitor in London, but he had little inclinaaction of Austria in making war upon his former ally after the tion for the law, and soon abandoned it for the more congenial outbreak of the Revolution, and in July 1794 he was appointed sphere of letters, of which he had become an eager student. At Austrian ambassador to Great Britain, but he died a few days the age of twenty-one he began to contribute poetry to the maga- after his arrival in London. zines, and he eked out a livelihood for some years by journalism, See T. Juste, Le Comte de Mercy-Argenteau (Brussels 1863) ; A. for the Daily News and other London papers, and for the Ipswich von Arneth and A. Geoff roy, Correspondances secretes de Marie Journal, for which he wrote leaders; a certain number of his Therese avec le cmte de Mercy (Paris 1874) ; and A. von Arneth and more characteristic fugitive writings are collected in the memo- J. Flammermont, 1889-1891). Correspondance secrete de Mercy avec Joseph rial edition of his works (1910). In London he became one of et Kaunitz (Paris 1889889-1891). Mercy-Argenteau's Correspondances ces secretes de Marie Therese has been condensed and translated into the leading spirits in the group of young philosophical and English by Lilian Smythe under the title of A Guardian of Marie positivistic Radicals, among whom were John (afterwards Lord) Antoinette (2 vols., London 1902). Morley, Frederic Harrison, Cotter Morison and Admiral Maxse.
End of Article: MERCY (adapted from Fr. merci, Lat. merces, reward)
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