Charles Mercier, the son of Rev. Lewis P. Mercier, who came of Huguenot descent, and of his wife Anne, had a brief education at Merchant Taylors’ School before going to sea as a cabin boy and working as a clerk in a warehouse. After this varied upbringing he studied for his future profession at the London Hospital, qualifying in 1874 and taking the F.R.C.S. in 1878, in which year he won the University gold medal for mental science in his final M.B. examination. Having served in junior appointments at the London Hospital, he lived in Norwich for a time, acting as superintendent of the Bethel Hospital and surgeon to the Jenny Lind Hospital and the Lying-In Charity. He then became, successively, an assistant medical officer at the Leavesden Asylum and the City of London Asylum and resident physician at Flower House Private Asylum, Catford. In addition he lectured, first, on neurology and insanity at the Westminster Hospital, and, secondly, from 1906 to 1913, on psychological medicine at Charing Cross Hospital, where he was also physician for mental diseases. Mercier was a prolific writer on insanity and its legal aspects and on psychology; among his works were A Textbook of Insanity (1902), Criminal Responsibility (1905), and Crime and Criminals (1918). The value of the two last was recognised by the award, by the Royal College of Physicians, of the Swiney Prize in 1909 and again in 1919; he was FitzPatrick Lecturer in 1913-14. He held office as president of the Medico-Psychological Association. Mercier was a man of wide reading and mordant wit, and he revelled in controversy. He suffered from severe bodily disablement for many years, but triumphed over every difficulty and remained mentally alert to the end. He was twice married, his second wife, whom he married in 1913, being Mary, daughter of Donald MacDougall. He died at Park-stone in Dorset.
G H Brown
[Lancet, 1919; B.M.J., 1919; Plarr, ii, 52]