Open main menu

Page:Catholic Encyclopedia, volume 10.djvu/211

This page needs to be proofread.


MENCIUS


179


MENDANA


walls imploring aid (hroiigh tlie intercession of the saint, and thousands of little water pitchers and oil lamps. The rich finds are partly in the Museum of Alexandria and Cairo, and partly in Frankfort and Berlin. The monsignor published an official report of his expedition in 1908, "La d^couverte des Sanctu- aires de Menas dans le desert de Mareotis ". His feast is celebrated on 11 November.

Several saints of the name Menas were highly hon- oured in the ancient Church about whose identity or diversity much dispute is raised. Delahaye (.\nal. Boll., XiXIX, 117) comes to the conclusion that Menas of Mareotis, Menas of Cotysus, and Menas of Constanti- nople, surnamed KalUkelados, are one and the same person, that he was an Egyptian and suffered martyr- dom in his native place, that a basilica was built over his grave which became one of the great sanctuaries of Christendom, that churches were built in his honour at Cotysus and Constantinople, and gave rise to local legends.

Qdentin, Les Martyrologes hisloriquea (Paris, 1908), 271; Rom. Quarialschr., XX, ISS; Pastoralhlatt (.St. Lnuis), XLIV, 41.

Fhancis Mershman.

Mencius (Latinized form of Cliinese Meng-tze, i. e. Meng the Sage), philosopher, b. .371 or 372 B. c. He was a disciple of the grandson of Confucius, and ranks next to the great master as an expounder of Confu- cian wisdom. His work, known as the " Book of Men- cius", or simply, " Mencius", is one of the four Shuh, or books, given the place of honour in Chinese litera- ture after the King, or classics. Of Mencius' life only a meagre account has been handed down, and this is so like the story of Confucius in its main outlines, that one is tempted to question its strictly historical character. He is said to have lived to the advanced age of eighty-four years, being thus a contemporary of the great Greek philosophers, Plato and Aristotle. His father died when he was very young. The care of his training was thrown upon his mother, and so well did she fulfil her task that she has been honoured ever since, among the Chinese of all classes, as the pattern of the true mother. After a thorough in- struction in the doctrine of Confucius, Mencius was honoured with the position of minister of state to one of the feudal princes, Hsuan. But after some years, see- ing that the prince was not disposed to follow his coun- sels, he resigned his charge, and for years went aljout from state to state, expounding the principles of Con- fucius. At last he was kindly received by Prince Hui, and was instrumental in promoting the welfare of his people through his wi.se measures of reform. After the death of the prince he retired to private life, and spent his last years instructing his disciples, and pre- paring with them the book that bears his name.

The "Book of Mencius" consists of seven parts or books, and treats of the proper regulation of human conduct from the point of view of society and the state. Religion as a motive of right conduct seems to have concerned him much less than it did Confucius. He is interested in human conduct only in so far as it leads to the highest common weal. One of liis recorded sayings runs: — "The people are of the highest impor- tance ; the gods come second ; the sovereign is of lesser weight." His work abounds in sententious utter- ances. If we may trust the records, he knew how to speak plainly and strongly. To Prince Hui, whom he found living in careless luxury, while his people were perishing for lack of economic reforms, he said: — "In your kitchen there is fat meat, and in your stables there are sleek horses, while famine sits upon the faces of your people, and men die of hunger in the fields. This is to be a beast and prey on your fellow men." Mencius was a staunch champion of the Confucian principle that human nature tends to what is morally good, and only runs to evil by reason of the perverse influences of external environment. His treatise is


one of the most noteworthy attempts to teach moral- ity independently of rehgion. The " Book of Mencius " is generally accepted as genuine, though the evidence of its Mencian authorship is of a kind that would not be judged sufficient if it fell within the scope of modem historic criticism. In a Chinese history dating from 100 B. c, a short account of Mencius is given, in which he is declared to be the author of the work in .seven books that bears his name. There are extant portions of literary works composed as early as 180-178 b. c, containing quotations from the "Book of Mencius". There remains still, somewhat more than a century to bridge over, but the reputation for accuracy of the Chinese annals is taken as a warrant that the work goes back to the days of Mencius and issued from his pen.

A partial acquaintance with the teachings of Men- cius was obtained by European scholars through the writings of the Jesuit missionaries to China in the eighteenth century. The "Book of Mencius" was translated into Latin by Stanislaus Julien in the early part of the last century. English readers have ready access to the sayings of Mencius in the admirable edi- tion and version of the " Chinese Classics ", by J. Legge.

Legge, The Works of Mencius, Chinese Classics, II (London, 1861); Julien, Menu Tscu (Paris, 1829); Fabeu, The Mind of Mencius (Boston, 1882); Giles, A History of Chinese Literature (New York, 1901).

Chaeles F. Aiken.

Mendana de Neyra, Alvaro de, a Spanish navi- gator and ex]ilorer, b. in Saragossa, 1541; d. in Santa Cruz, Solomon Islands, 18 October, 1596. Little is known of his early years, but about 155S he went to Lima upon invitation of his uncle, Lope Garcia de Castro, who was then Viceroy of Peru. At that time the Spaniards were well aware that the Pacific offered an extensive field for exploration and discovery, and Garcia de Castro, wi.shing to explore that vast region, equipped an expedition of two ships at the head of which he placed his nephew Mendaiia. The expedi- tion set out from Callao in November, 1567. In the course of about a year they discovered several islands of Oceanica, and returnetl to Peru in 1568. Men- dana's travels did not awaken much interest at first, so he gave an elaborate and glowing description of the archipelago to which he gave the name of Solomon Islands, as it was supposed that here King Solomon had obtained the gold with which he had adorned the temple at Jerusalem. These reports of the wealth of the islands, some years later, caused the fitting out of a second expedition for the purpose of colonizing them. By order of Philip II, Mendana was placed in com- mand, and the expedition sailed 11 April, 1595. Sev- eral groups of islands were discovered, among them the Marquesas Islands which he so named in honour of the wife of Garcia de Mendoza, Marquis of Caiiete, who was at the time Viceroy of Peru. The explorer Cook, in 1774, gave the name of Nukahiva to this group, that being the native name of the largest island of the archipelago. The expetlition continued west- ward, visiting several other groups of islands, but Mendana died before he reached the end of the voyage. Before his death, he delegated his powers to his wifein whom he had great confidence and who was with him on the voyage. The widow, a very resolute woman, took charge, and led the expedition into Manila, where they arrived safely in February, 1596. Mendana left notes describing both of his voyages which were col- lected after his death by the historian Pedro Gucrico de Victoria under the title of " Derrotero de Mendana de Neyra". The manuscript is now in the National Library in Paris.

Mendana de Neyra in Bulletin de la Society deGeooraphie (Paris, 1898); Discoverii of the Solomon Islands in Scottish Geographical Magazine (Edinburgh, 1902); Discover!/ of the Solomon hlandt in Publicalions of the Hakluyt Society (London, 1901).

Ventuka Fuentes.