History of the United Netherlands, 1584-1609 Part 146
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The wonder-man of Alkmaar, Cornelius Drebbel, who performed such astounding feats for the amusement of Rudolph of Germany and James of Britain, is also supposed to have invented the thermometer and the barometer. But this claim has been disputed. The inventions of Jansens are proved.
Willebrod Snellius, mathematical professor of Leyden, introduced the true method of measuring the degrees of longitude and latitude, and Huygens, who had seen his manuscripts, asserted that Snellius had invented, before Descartes, the doctrine of refraction.
But it was especially to that noble band of heroes and martyrs, the great navigators and geographical discoverers of the republic, that science is above all indebted.
Nothing is more sublime in human story than the endurance and audacity with which those pioneers of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries confronted the nameless horrors of either pole, in the interests of commerce, and for the direct purpose of enlarging the bounds of the human intellect.
The achievements, the sufferings, and the triumphs of Barendz and Cordes, Heemskerk, Van der Hagen, and many others, have been slightly indicated in these pages. The contributions to botany, mineralogy, geometry, geography, and zoology, of Linschoten, Plancius, Wagenaar, and Houtmann, and so many other explorers of pole and tropic, can hardly be overrated.
The Netherlanders had wrung their original fatherland out of the grasp of the ocean. They had confronted for centuries the wrath of that ancient tyrant, ever ready to seize the prey of which he had been defrauded.
They had waged fiercer and more perpetual battle with a tyranny more cruel than the tempest, with an ancient superstition more hungry than the sea. It was inevitable that a race, thus invigorated by the ocean, cradled to freedom by their conflicts with its power, and hardened almost to invincibility by their struggle against human despotism, should be foremost among the nations in the development of political, religious, and commercial freedom.
The writer now takes an affectionate farewell of those who have followed him with an indulgent sympathy as he has attempted to trace the origin and the eventful course of the Dutch commonwealth. If by his labours a generous love has been fostered for that blessing, without which everything that this earth can afford is worthless--freedom of thought, of speech, and of life--his highest wish has been fulfilled.
ETEXT EDITOR'S BOOKMARKS:
About equal to that of England at the same period An unjust God, himself the origin of sin Butchery in the name of Christ was suspended Calling a peace perpetual can never make it so Chieftains are dwarfed in the estimation of followers Each in its turn becoming orthodox, and therefore persecuting Exorcising the devil by murdering his supposed victims Foremost to shake off the fetters of superstition God of vengeance, of jealousy, and of injustice Gomarites accused the Arminians of being more lax than Papists Hangman is not the most appropriate teacher of religion He often spoke of popular rights with contempt John Wier, a physician of Grave Necessity of extirpating heresy, root and branch Nowhere were so few unproductive consumers Paving the way towards atheism (by toleration) Privileged to beg, because ashamed to work Religious persecution of Protestants by Protestants So unconscious of her strength State can best defend religion by letting it alone Taxed themselves as highly as fifty per cent The People had not been invented The slightest theft was punished with the gallows Tolerate another religion that his own may be tolerated Toleration--that intolerable term of insult War to compel the weakest to follow the religion of the strongest.
History of the United Netherlands, 1584-1609 Part 146
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History of the United Netherlands, 1584-1609 Part 146 summary
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