The parish churches of Dronfield, Hathersage (with some notable stained glass), Sandiacre and Tideswell exemplify the Decorated period; the last is a particularly stately and beautiful building, with a lofty and ornate western tower and some good early brasses. The churches of Dethic, Wirksworth and Chesterfield are typical of the Perpendicular period; that of Wirksworth contains noteworthy memorial chapels, monuments and brasses, and that of Chesterfield is celebrated for its crooked spire.
The remains of castles are few; the ancient Bolsover Castle is replaced by a castellated mansion of the 17th century; of the Norman Peak Castle near Castleton little is left; of Codnor Castle in the Erewash valley there are picturesque ruins of the 13th century. Among ancient mansions Derbyshire possesses one of the most famous in England in Haddon Hall, of the 15th century. Wingfield manor house is a ruin dating from the same century. Hardwick Hall is a very perfect example of Elizabethan building; ruins of the old Tudor hall stand near by. Other Elizabethan examples are Barlborough and Tissington Halls.
The village of Tissington is noted for the maintenance of an old custom, that of "well-dressing." On the Thursday before Easter a special church service is celebrated, and the wells are beautifully ornamented with flowers, prayers being offered at each. The ceremony has been revived also in several other Derbyshire villages.
See Davies, New Historical and Descriptive View of Derbyshire (Belper, 1811); D. Lysons, Magna Britannia, vol. v. (London, 1817); Maunder, Derbyshire Miners' Glossary (Bakewell, 1824); R. Simpson, Collection of Fragments illustrative of the History of Derbyshire (1826); S. Glover, History and Gazetteer of the County of Derby, ed. T. Noble, part 1 of vols. i. and ii. (Derby, 1831-1833); T. Bateman, Vestiges of the Antiquities of Derbyshire (London, 1848); L. Jewitt, Ballads and Songs of Derbyshire (London, 1867); J. C. Cox, Notes on the Churches of Derbyshire (Chester, 1875), and Three Centuries of Derbyshire Annals (2 vols., London, 1890); R. N. Worth, Derby, in "Popular County Histories" (London, 1886); J. P. Yeatman, Feudal History of the County of Derby (3 vols., London, 1886-1895); Victoria County History, Derbyshire. See also Notts and Derbyshire Notes and Queries.
DEREHAM (properly EAST DEREHAM), a market town in the Mid parliamentary division of Norfolk, England, 122 m. N.N.E. from London by the Great Eastern railway. Pop. of urban district (1901) 5545. The church of St Nicholas is a cruciform Perpendicular structure with a beautiful central tower, and some portions of earlier date. It contains a monument to William Cowper, who came to live here in 1796, and the Congregational chapel stands on the site of the house where the poet spent his last days. Dereham is an important agricultural centre with works for the manufacture of agricultural implements, iron foundries and a malting industry.
DERELICT (from Lat. derelinquere, to forsake), in law, property thrown away or abandoned by the owner in such a manner as to indicate that he intends to make no further claim to it. The word is used more particularly with respect to property abandoned at sea (see WRECK), but it is also applied in other senses; for example, land gained from the sea by receding of the water is termed dereliction. Land gained gradually and slowly by dereliction belongs to the owner of the adjoining land, but in the case of sudden or considerable dereliction the land belongs to the Crown. This technical use of the term "dereliction" is to be distinguished from the more general modern sense, dereliction or abandonment of duty, which implies a culpable failure or neglect in moral or legal obligation.
DERENBOURG, JOSEPH (1811-1895), Franco-German orientalist. He was a considerable force in the educational revival of Jewish education in France. He made great contributions to the knowledge of Saadia, and planned a complete edition of Saadia's works in Arabic and French. A large part of this work appeared during his lifetime. He also wrote an Essai sur l'histoire et la gographie de la Palestine (Paris, 1867). This was an original contribution to the history of the Jews and Judaism in the time of Christ, and has been much used by later writers on the subject (e.g. by Schrer). He also published in collaboration with his son Hartwig, Opuscules et traits d'Abou-'l-Wald (with translation, 1880); Deux Versions hbraques du livre de Kalilh et Dimnah (1881), and a Latin translation of the same story under the title Joannis de Capua directorium vitae humanae (1889); Commentaire de Maimonide sur la Mischnah Seder Tohorot (Berlin, 1886-1891); and a second edition of S. de Sacy's Sances de Hariri. He died on the 29th of July 1895, at Ems.
His son, HARTWIG DERENBOURG (1844-1908), was born in Paris on the 17th of June 1844. He was educated at Gttingen and Leipzig. Subsequently he studied Arabic at the cole des Langues Orientales. In 1879 he was appointed professor of Arabic, and in 1886 professor of Mahommedan Religion, at the cole des Hautes tudes in Paris. He collaborated with his father in the great edition of Saadia and the edition of Abu-'l-Wald, and also produced a number of important editions of other Arabic writers. Among these are Le Dwn de Nbiqa Dhobyānī; Le Livre de Sbawaihi (2 vols., Paris, 1881-1889); Chrestomathie lmentaire de l'arabe littral (in collaboration with Spiro, 1885; 2nd ed., 1892); Ousma ibn Mounkidh, un mir syrien (1889); Ousma ibn Mounkidh, prface du livre du bton (with trans., 1887); Al-Fkhr (1895); Oumra du Gmen (1897), a catalogue of Arabic MSS. in the Escorial (vol. i., 1884).
DERG, LOUGH, a lake of Ireland, on the boundary of the counties Galway, Clare and Tipperary. It is an expansion of the Shannon, being the lowest lake on that river, and is 23 m. long and generally from 1 to 3 m. broad. It lies where the Shannon leaves the central plain of Ireland and flows between the hills which border the plain. While the northerly shores of the lake, therefore, are flat, the southern are steep and picturesque, being backed by the Slieve Aughty, Slieve Bernagh and Arra Mountains. Ruined churches and fortresses are numerous on the eastern shore, and on Iniscaltra Island are a round tower and remains of five churches.
Another LOUGH DERG, near Pettigo in Donegal, though small, is famous as the traditional scene of St Patrick's purgatory. In the middle ages its pilgrimages had a European reputation, and they are still observed annually by many of the Irish from June 1 to August 15. The hospice, chapels, &c., are on Station Island, and there is a ruined monastery on Saints' Island.
DERHAM, WILLIAM (1657-1735), English divine, was born at Stoulton, near Worcester, on the 26th of November 1657. He was educated at Blockley, in his native county, and at Trinity College, Oxford. In 1682 he became vicar of Wargrave, in Berkshire; and in 1689 he was preferred to the living of Upminster, in Essex. In 1696 he published his Artificial Clockmaker, which went through several editions. The best known of his subsequent works are Physico-Theology, published in 1713; Astro-Theology, 1714; and Christo-Theology, 1730. The first two of these books were teleological arguments for the being and attributes of God, and were used by Paley nearly a century later. In 1702 Derham was elected fellow of the Royal Society, and in 1716 was made a canon of Windsor. He was Boyle lecturer in 1711-1712. His last work, entitled A Defence of the Church's Right in Leasehold Estates, appeared in 1731. He died on the 5th of April 1735. Besides the works published in his own name, Derham, who was keenly interested in natural history, contributed a variety of papers to the Transactions of the Royal Society, revised the Miscellanea Curiosa, edited the correspondence of John Ray and Eleazar Albin's Natural History, and published some of the MSS. of Robert Hooke, the natural philosopher.
D'ERLON, JEAN BAPTISTE DROUET, COUNT (1765-1844), marshal of France, was born at Reims on the 29th of July 1765. He entered the army as a private soldier in 1782, was discharged after five years' service, re-entered it in 1792, and rose rapidly to the rank of an officer. From 1794 to 1796 he was aide-de-camp to General Lefebvre. He did good service in the campaigns of the revolutionary wars and in 1799 attained the rank of general of brigade. In the campaign of that year he was engaged in the Swiss operations under Massna. In 1800 he fought under Moreau at Hohenlinden. As a general of division he took part in Napoleon's campaigns of 1805 and 1806, and rendered excellent service at Jena. He was next engaged under Lefebvre in the siege of Danzig and negotiated the terms of surrender; after this he rejoined the field army and fought at Friedland (1807), receiving a severe wound. After this battle he was made grand officer of the Legion of Honour, was created Count d'Erlon and received a pension. For the next six years d'Erlon was almost continuously engaged as commander of an army corps in the Peninsular War, in which he added greatly to his reputation as a capable general. At the pass of Maya in the Pyrenees he inflicted a defeat upon Lord Hill's troops, and in the subsequent battles of the 1814 campaign he distinguished himself further. After the first Restoration he was named commander of the 16th military division, but he was soon arrested for conspiring with the Orlans party, to which he was secretly devoted. He escaped, however, and gave in his adhesion to Napoleon, who had returned from Elba. The emperor made him a peer of France, and gave him command of the I. army corps, which formed part of the Army of the North. In the Waterloo campaign d'Erlon's corps formed part of Ney's command on the 16th of June, but, in consequence of an extraordinary series of misunderstandings, took part neither at Ligny nor at Quatre Bras (see WATERLOO CAMPAIGN). He was not, however, held to account by Napoleon, and as the latter's practice in such matters was severe to the verge of injustice, it may be presumed that the failure was not due to d'Erlon.
He was in command of the right wing of the French army throughout the great battle of the 18th of June, and fought in the closing operations around Paris. At the second Restoration d'Erlon fled into Germany, only returning to France after the amnesty of 1825. He was not restored to the service until the accession of Louis Philippe, in whose interests he had engaged in several plots and intrigues. As commander of the 12th military division (Nantes), he suppressed the legitimist agitation in his district and caused the arrest of the duchess of Berry (1832). His last active service was in Algeria, of which country he was made governor-general in 1834 at the age of seventy. He returned to France after two years, and was made marshal of France shortly before his death at Paris on the 25th of January 1844.
DERMOT MAC MURROUGH (d. 1171), Irish king of Leinster, succeeded his father in the principality of the Hui Cinsellaigh (1115) and eventually in the kingship of Leinster. The early events of his life are obscure; but about 1152 we find him engaged in a feud with O Ruairc, the lord of Breifne (Leitrim and Cavan). Dermot abducted the wife of O Ruairc more with the object of injuring his rival than from any love of the lady. The injured husband called to his aid Roderic, the high king (aird-righ) of Connaught; and in 1166 Dermot fled before this powerful coalition to invoke the aid of England. Obtaining from Henry II. a licence to enlist allies among the Welsh marchers, Dermot secured the aid of the Clares and Geraldines. To Richard Strongbow, earl of Pembroke and head of the house of Clare, Dermot gave his daughter Eva in marriage; and on his death was succeeded by the earl in Leinster. The historical importance of Dermot lies in the fact that he was the means of introducing the English into Ireland. Through his aid the towns of Waterford, Wexford and Dublin had already become English colonies before the arrival of Henry II. in the island.
See The Song of Dermot and the Earl, an old French Poem (by M. Regan?), ed. with trans. by G. H. Orpen, 1892; Kate Norgate, England under the Angevin Kings, vol. ii. (H. W. C. D.)
DERNA (anc. Darnis-Zarine), a town on the north coast of Africa and capital of the eastern half of the Ottoman province of Bengazi or Barca. Situated below the eastern butt of Jebel Akhdar on a small but rich deltaic plain, watered by fine perennial springs, it has a growing population and trade, the latter being mainly in fruits grown in its extensive palm gardens, and in hides and wool brought down by the nomads from the interior. If the port were better there would be more rapid expansion. The bay is open from N.W. round to S.E. and often inaccessible in winter and spring, and the steamers of the Nav. Gen. Italiana sometimes have to pass without calling. The population has recovered from the great plague epidemic of 1821 and reached its former figure of about 7000. A proportion of it is of Moorish stock, of Andalusian origin, which emigrated in 1493; the descendants preserve a fine facial type. The sheikhs of the local Bedouin tribes have houses in the place, and a Turkish garrison of about 250 men is stationed in barracks. There is a lighthouse W. of the bay. A British consular agent is resident and the Italians maintain a vice-consul. The names Darnis and Zarine are philologically identical and probably refer to the same place. No traces are left of the ancient town except some rock tombs. Darnis continued to be of some importance in early Moslem times as a station on the Alexandria-Kairawan road, and has served on more than one occasion as a base for Egyptian attacks on Cyrenaica and Tripolitana. In 1805 the government of the United States, having a quarrel with the dey of Tripoli on account of piracies committed on American shipping, landed a force to co-operate in the attack on Derna then being made by Sidi Ahmet, an elder brother of the dey. This force, commanded by William Eaton (q.v.), built a fort, whose ruins and rusty guns are still to be seen, and began to improve the harbour; but its work quickly came to an end with the conclusion of peace. After 1835 Derna passed under direct Ottoman control, and subsequently served as the point whence the sultan exerted a precarious but increasing control over eastern Cyrenaica and Marmarica. It is now in communication by wireless telegraphy with Rhodes and western Cyrenaica. It is the only town, or even large village, between Bengazi and Alexandria (600 m.) (D. G. H.)
DROULDE, PAUL (1846- ), French author and politician, was born in Paris on the 2nd of September 1846. He made his first appearance as a poet in the pages of the Revue nationale, under the pseudonym of Jean Rebel, and in 1869 produced at the Thtre Franais a one-act drama in verse entitled Juan Strenner. On the outbreak of the Franco-German War he enlisted as a private, was wounded and taken prisoner at Sedan, and sent to Breslau, but effected his escape. He then served under Chanzy and Bourbaki, took part in the latter's disastrous retreat to Switzerland, and fought against the Commune in Paris. After attaining the rank of lieutenant, he was forced by an accident to retire from the army. He published in 1872 a number of patriotic poems (Chants du soldat), which enjoyed unbounded popularity. This was followed in 1875 by another collection, Nouveaux Chants du soldat. In 1877 he produced a drama in verse called L'Hetman, which derived a passing success from the patriotic fervour of its sentiments. For the exhibition of 1878 he wrote a hymn, Vive la France, which was set to music by Gounod. In 1880 his drama in verse, La Mobite, which had been accepted by the Thtre Franais, was forbidden by the censor on religious grounds. In 1882 M. Droulde founded the Ligue des patriotes, with the object of furthering France's "revanche" against Germany. He was one of the first advocates of a Franco-Russian alliance, and as early as 1883 undertook a journey to Russia for the furtherance of that object. On the rise of General Boulanger, M. Droulde attempted to use the Ligue des patriotes, hitherto a non-political organization, to assist his cause, but was deserted by a great part of the league and forced to resign his presidency. Nevertheless he used the section that remained faithful to him with such effect that the government found it necessary in 1889 to decree its suppression. In the same year he was elected to the chamber as member for Angoulme. He was expelled from the chamber in 1890 for his disorderly interruptions during debate. He did not stand at the elections of 1893, but was re-elected in 1898, and distinguished himself by his violence as a nationalist and anti-Dreyfusard. After the funeral of President Faure, on the 23rd of February 1899, he endeavoured to persuade General Roget to lead his troops upon the lyse. For this he was arrested, but on being tried for treason was acquitted (May 31). On the 12th of August he was again arrested and accused, together with Andr Buffet, Jules Gurin and others, of conspiracy against the republic. After a long trial before the high court, he was sentenced, on the 4th of January 1900, to ten years' banishment from France, and retired to San Sebastian. In 1901, he was again brought prominently before the public by a quarrel with his Royalist allies, which resulted in an abortive attempt to arrange a duel with M. Buffet in Switzerland. In November 1905, however, the law of amnesty enabled him to return to France.
Besides the works already mentioned, he published Le Sergent, in the Thtre de campagne (1880); De l'ducation nationale (1882); Monsieur le Uhlan et les trois couleurs (1884); Le Premier grenadier de France; La Tour d'Auvergne (1886); Le Livre de la ligue des patriotes (1887); Refrains militaires (1888); Histoire d'amour (1890); a pamphlet entitled Dsarmement? (1891); Chants du paysan (1894); Posies Militaires (1896) and Messire du Guesclin, drame en vers (1895); La mort de Hoche. Cinq actes en prose (1897); La Plus belle fille du monde, conte dialogu en vers libres (1898).
DERRICK, a sort of crane (q.v.); the name is derived from that of a famous early 17th-century Tyburn hangman, and was originally applied as a synonym.
DERRING-DO, valour, chivalrous conduct, or "desperate courage," as it is defined by Sir Walter Scott. The word in its present accepted substantival form is a misconstruction of the verbal substantive dorryng or durring, daring, and do or don, the present infinitive of "do," the phrase dorryng do thus meaning "daring to do." It is used by Chaucer in Troylus, and by Lydgate in the Chronicles of Troy. Spenser in the Shepherd's Calendar first adapted derring-do as a substantive meaning "manhood and chevalrie," and this use was revived by Scott, through whom it came into vogue with writers of romance.
DE RUYTER, MICHAEL ADRIANZOON (1607-1676), Dutch naval officer, was born at Flushing on the 24th of March 1607. He began his seafaring life at the age of eleven as a cabin boy, and in 1636 was entrusted by the merchants of Flushing with the command of a cruiser against the French pirates. In 1640 he entered the service of the States, and, being appointed rear-admiral of a fleet fitted out to assist Portugal against Spain, specially distinguished himself at Cape St Vincent, on the 3rd of November 1641. In the following year he left the service of the States, and, until the outbreak of war with England in 1652, held command of a merchant vessel. In 1653 a squadron of seventy vessels was despatched against the English, under the command of Admiral Tromp. Ruyter, who accompanied the admiral in this expedition, seconded him with great skill and bravery in the three battles which were fought with the English. He was afterwards stationed in the Mediterranean, where he captured several Turkish vessels. In 1659 he received a commission to join the king of Denmark in his war with the Swedes. As a reward of his services, the king of Denmark ennobled him and gave him a pension. In 1661 he grounded a vessel belonging to Tunis, released forty Christian slaves, made a treaty with the Tunisians, and reduced the Algerine corsairs to submission. From his achievements on the west coast of Africa he was recalled in 1665 to take command of a large fleet which had been organized against England, and in May of the following year, after a long contest off the North Foreland, he compelled the English to take refuge in the Thames. On the 7th of June 1672 he fought a drawn battle with the combined fleets of England and France, in Southwold or Sole Bay, and after the fight he convoyed safely home a fleet of merchantmen. His valour was displayed to equal advantage in several engagements with the French and English in the following year. In 1676 he was despatched to the assistance of Spain against France in the Mediterranean, and, receiving a mortal wound in the battle on the 21st of April off Messina, died on the 29th at Syracuse. A patent by the king of Spain, investing him with the dignity of duke, did not reach the fleet till after his death. His body was carried to Amsterdam, where a magnificent monument to his memory was erected by command of the states-general.
See Life of De Ruyter by Brandt (Amsterdam, 1687), and by Klopp (2nd ed., Hanover, 1858).
DERVISH, a Persian word, meaning "seeking doors," i.e. "beggar," and thus equivalent to the Arabic faqīr (fakir). Generally in Islam it indicates a member of a religious fraternity, whether mendicant or not; but in Turkey and Persia it indicates more exactly a wandering, begging religious, called, in Arabic-speaking countries, more specifically a faqir. With important differences, the dervish fraternities may be compared to the regular religious orders of Roman Christendom, while the Ulema (q.v.) are, also with important differences, like the secular clergy. The origin and history of the mystical life in Islam, which led to the growth of the order of dervishes, are treated under ṢŪFI'ISM It remains to treat here more particularly of (1) the dervish fraternities, and (2) the Ṣūfī hierarchy.
1. The Dervish Fraternities.—In the earlier times, the relation between devotees was that of master and pupil. Those inclined to the spiritual life gathered round a revered sheikh (murshid, "guide," ustadh, pir, "teacher"), lived with him, shared his religious practices and were instructed by him. In time of war against the unbelievers, they might accompany him to the threatened frontier, and fight under his eye. Thus murābit, "one who pickets his horse on a hostile frontier," has become the marabout (q.v.) or dervish of French Algeria; and ribat, "a frontier fort," has come to mean a monastery. The relation, also, might be for a time only. The pupil might at any time return to the world, when his religious education and training were complete. On the death of the master the memory of his life and sayings might go down from generation to generation, and men might boast themselves as pupils of his pupils. Continuous corporations to perpetuate his name were slow in forming. Ghazali himself, though he founded, taught and ruled a Ṣūfī cloister (khānqāh) at Tus, left no order behind him. But 'Adī al-Hakkārī, who founded a cloister at Mosul and died about 1163, was long reverenced by the 'Adawite Fraternity, and in 1166 died 'Abd al-Qādir al-Jilānī, from whom the Qādirite order descends, one of the greatest and most influential to this day. The troublous times of the break up of the Seljuk rule may have been a cause in this, as, with St Benedict, the crumbling Roman empire. Many existing fraternities, it is true, trace their origin to saints of the third, second and even first Moslem centuries, but that is legend purely. Similar is the tendency to claim all the early pious Moslems as good Ṣūfīs; collections of Ṣūfī biography begin with the ten to whom Mahomet promised Paradise. So, too, the ultimate origin of fraternities is assigned to either Ali or Abu Bekr, and in Egypt all are under the rule of a direct descendant of the latter.
To give a complete list of these fraternities is quite impossible. Commonly, thirty-two are reckoned, but many have vanished or have been suppressed, and there are sub-orders innumerable. Each has a "rule" dating back to its founder, and a ritual which the members perform when they meet together in their convent (khānqāh, zāwiya, takya). This may consist simply in the repetition of sacred phrases, or it may be an elaborate performance, such as the whirlings of the dancing dervishes, the Mevlevites, an order founded by Jelāl ud-Dīn ar-Rūmī, the author of the great Persian mystical poem, the Mesnevi, and always ruled by one of his descendants. Jelāl ud-Dīn was an advanced pantheist, and so are the Mevlevites, but that seems only to earn them the dislike of the Ulema, and not to affect their standing in Islam. They are the most broad-minded and tolerant of all. There are also the performances of the Rifā'ites or "howling dervishes." In ecstasy they cut themselves with knives; eat live coals and glass, handle red-hot iron and devour serpents. They profess miraculous healing powers, and the head of the Sa'dites, a sub-order, used, in Cairo, to ride over the bodies of his dervishes without hurting them, the so-called Dōseh (dausa). These different abilities are strictly regulated. Thus, one sub-order may eat glass and another may eat only serpents. Another division is made by their attitude to the law of Islam. When a dervish is in a state of ecstasy (majdhūb), he is supposed to be unconscious of the actions of his body. Reputed saints, therefore, can do practically anything, as their souls will be supposed to be out of their bodies and in the heavenly regions. They may not only commit the vilest of actions, but neglect in general the ceremonial and ritual law. This goes so far that in Persia and Turkey dervish orders are classified as bā-shar', "with law," and bī-shar', "without law." The latter are really antinomians, and the best example of them is the Bakhtashite order, widely spread and influential in Turkey and Albania and connected by legend with the origin of the Janissaries. The Qalandarite order is known to all from the "Calenders" of the Thousand and One Nights. They separated from the Bakhtashites and are under obligation of perpetual travelling. The Senussi (Senussia) were the last order to appear, and are distinguished from the others by a severely puritanic and reforming attitude and strict orthodoxy, without any admixture of mystical slackness in faith or conduct. Each order is distinguished by a peculiar garb. Candidates for admission have to pass through a noviciate, more or less lengthy. First comes the 'ahd, or initial covenant, in which the neophyte or murīd, "seeker," repents of his past sins and takes the sheikh of the order he enters as his guide (murshid) for the future. He then enters upon a course of instruction and discipline, called a "path" (tarīqa), on which he advances through diverse "stations" (maqāmāt) or "passes" ('aqabāt) of the spiritual life. There is a striking resemblance here to the gnostic system, with its seven Archon-guarded gates. On another side, it is plain that the sheikh, along with ordinary instruction of the novice, also hypnotizes him and causes him to see a series of visions, marking his penetration of the divine mystery. The part that hypnosis and autohypnosis, conscious and unconscious, has played here cannot easily be overestimated. The Mevlevites seem to have the most severe noviciate. Their aspirant has to labour as a lay servitor of the lowest rank for 1001 days—called the kārrā kolak, or "jackal"—before he can be received. For one day's failure he must begin again from the beginning.
But besides these full members there is an enormous number of lay adherents, like the tertiaries of the Franciscans. Thus, nearly every religious man of the Turkish Moslem world is a lay member of one order or another, under the duty of saying certain prayers daily. Certain trades, too, affect certain orders. Most of the Egyptian Qādirites, for example, are fishermen and, on festival days, carry as banners nets of various colours. On this side, the orders bear a striking resemblance to lodges of Freemasons and other friendly societies, and points of direct contact have even been alleged between the more pantheistic and antinomian orders, such as the Bakhtashite, and European Freemasonry. On another side, just as the dhikrs of the early ascetic mystics suggest comparison with the class-meetings of the early Methodists, so these orders are the nearest approach in Islam to the different churches of Protestant Christendom. They are the only ecclesiastical organization that Islam has ever known, but it is a multiform organization, unclassified internally or externally. They differ thus from the Roman monastic orders, in that they are independent and self-developing, each going its own way in faith and practice, limited only by the universal conscience (ijmā', "agreement": see MAHOMMEDAN LAW) of Islam. Strange doctrines and moral defects may develop, but freedom is saved, and the whole people of Islam can be reached and affected.
2. Saints and the Ṣūfī Hierarchy.—That an elaborate doctrine of wonder-working saints should have grown up in Islam may, at first sight, appear an extreme paradox. It can, however, be conditioned and explained. First, Mahomet left undoubted loop-holes for a minor inspiration, legitimate and illegitimate. Secondly, the Ṣūfīs, under various foreign influences, developed these to the fullest. Thirdly, just as the Christian church has absorbed much of the mythology of the supposed exterminated heathen religions into its cult of local saints, so Islam, to an even higher degree, has been overlaid and almost buried by the superstitions of the peoples to which it has gone. Their religious and legal customs have completely overcome the direct commands of the Koran, the traditions from Mahomet and even the "Agreement" of the rest of the Moslem world (see MAHOMMEDAN LAW). The first step in this, it is true, was taken by Mahomet himself when he accepted the Meccan pilgrimage and the Black Stone. The worship of saints, therefore, has appeared everywhere in Islam, with an absolute belief in their miracles and in the value of their intercession, living or dead.
Further, there appeared very early in Islam a belief that there was always in existence some individual in direct intercourse with God and having the right and duty of teaching and ruling all mankind. This individual might be visible or invisible; his right to rule continued. This is the basis of the Ismā'īlite and Shī'ite positions (see MAHOMMEDAN RELIGION and MAHOMMEDAN INSTITUTIONS). The Ṣūfīs applied this idea of divine right to the doctrine of saints, and developed it into the Ṣūfī hierarchy. This is a single, great, invisible organization, forming a saintly board of administration, by which the invisible government of the world is supposed to be carried on. Its head is called the Quṭb (Axis); he is presumably the greatest saint of the time, is chosen by God for the office and given greater miraculous powers and rights of intercession than any other saint enjoys. He wanders through the world, often invisible and always unknown, performing the duties of his office. Under him there is an elaborate organization of walīs, of different ranks and powers, according to their sanctity and faith. The term walī is applied to a saint because of Kor. x. 63, "Ho! the walīs of God; there is no fear upon them, nor do they grieve," where walī means "one who is near," friend or favourite.
In the fraternities, then, all are dervishes, cloistered or lay; those whose faith is so great that God has given them miraculous powers—and there are many—are walīs; begging friars are fakirs. All forms of life—solitary, monastic, secular, celibate, married, wandering, stationary, ascetic, free—are open. Their theology is some form of Sūfi'ism.
AUTHORITIES.—The bibliography of this subject is very large, and the following only a selection:—(1) On Dervishes. In Egypt, Lane's Modern Egyptians, chaps. x., xx., xxiv., xxv.; in Turkey, D'Ohsson, Tableau gnral de l'emp. othoman, ii. (Paris, 1790); Turkey in Europe by "Odysseus" (London, 1900); in Persia, E. G. Browne, A Year among the Persians (1893), in Morocco, T. H. Weir, Sheikhs of Morocco (Edinburgh, 1904); B. Meakin, The Moors (London, 1902), chap. xix.; in Central Asia, all Vambry's books of travel and history. In general, Hughes, Dict. of Islam, s.v. "Faqir"; Depont and Cappolani, Les Confrries religieuses musulmanes (Alger, 1897); J. P. Brown, The Dervishes, or Oriental Spiritualism (London, 1868). (2) On Saints. I. Goldziher, Muhammedanische Studien, ii. 277 ff., and "De l'asctisme aux premiers temps de l'Islam" in Revue de l'histoire des religions, vol. xxxvii. pp. 134 ff.; Lane, Modern Egyptians, chap. x.; Arabian Nights, chap. iii. note 63; Vollers in Zeitsch. d. morgenlnd. Gesellsch. xliii. 115 ff. (D. B. MA.)
DERWENT (Celtic Dwr-gent, clear water), the name of several English rivers. (1) The Yorkshire Derwent collects the greater part of the drainage of the North Yorkshire moors, rising in their eastern part. A southern head-stream, however, rises in the Yorkshire Wolds near Filey, little more than a mile from the North Sea, from which it is separated by a morainic deposit, and thus flows in an inland direction. The early course of the Derwent lies through a flat open valley between the North Yorkshire moors and the Yorkshire Wolds, the upper part of which is known as the Carrs, when the river follows an artificial drainage cut. It receives numerous tributaries from the moors, then breaches the low hills below Malton in a narrow picturesque valley, and debouches upon the central plain of Yorkshire. Its direction, hitherto westerly and south-westerly from the Carrs, now becomes southerly, and it flows roughly parallel to the Ouse, which it joins near Barmby-on-the-Marsh, in the level district between Selby and the head of the Humber estuary, after a course, excluding minor sinuosities, of about 70 m. As a tributary of the Ouse it is included in the Humber basin. It is tidal up to Sutton-upon-Derwent, 15 m. from the junction with the Ouse, and is locked up to Malton, but the navigation is little used. A canal leads east from the tidal water to the small market town of Pocklington.
(2) The Derbyshire Derwent rises in Bleaklow Hill north of the Peak and traverses a narrow dale, which, with those of such tributary streams as the Noe, watering Hope Valley, and the Wye, is famous for its beauty (see DERBYSHIRE). The Derwent flows south past Chatsworth, Matlock and Belper and then, passing Derby, debouches upon a low plain, and turns south-eastward, with an extremely sinuous course, to join the Trent near Sawley. Its length is about 60 m. It falls in all some 1700 ft. (from Matlock 200 ft.), and no part is navigable, save certain reaches at Matlock and elsewhere for pleasure boats.
(3) The Cumberland Derwent rises below Great End in the Lake District, draining Sprinkling and Sty Head tarns, and flows through Borrowdale, receiving a considerable tributary from Lang Strath. It then drains the lakes of Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite, after which its course, hitherto N. and N.N.W., turns W. and W. by S. past Cockermouth to the Irish Sea at Workington. The length is about 34 m., and the fall about 2000 ft. (from Derwentwater 244 ft.); the waters are usually beautifully clear, and the river is not navigable. At a former period this stream must have formed one large lake covering the whole area which includes Derwentwater and Bassenthwaite; between which a flat alluvial plain is formed of the deposits of the river Greta, which now joins the Derwent from the east immediately below Derwentwater, and the Newlands Beck, which enters Bassenthwaite. In time of high flood this plain is said to have been submerged, and the two lakes thus reunited.
(4) A river Derwent rises in the Pennines near the borders of Northumberland and Durham, and, forming a large part of the boundary between these counties, takes a north-easterly course of 30 m. to the Tyne, which it joins 3 m. above Newcastle.
DERWENTWATER, EARL OF, an English title borne by the family of Radclyffe, or Radcliffe, from 1688 to 1716 when the 3rd earl was attainted and beheaded, and claimed by his descendants, adherents of the exiled house of Stewart, from that date until the death of the last male heir in 1814. Sir Francis Radclyffe, 3rd baronet (1625-1697), was the lineal descendant of Sir Nicholas Radclyffe, who acquired the extensive Derwentwater estates in 1417 through his marriage with the heiress of John de Derwentwater, and of Sir Francis Radclyffe, who was made a baronet in 1619. In 1688 Sir Francis was created Viscount Radclyffe and earl of Derwentwater by James II., and dying in 1697 was succeeded as 2nd earl by his eldest son Edward (1655-1705), who had married Lady Mary Tudor (d. 1726), a natural daughter of Charles II. The 2nd earl died in 1705, and was succeeded by his eldest son James (1689-1716), who was born in London on the 28th of June 1689, and was brought up at the court of the Stewarts in France as companion to Prince James Edward, the old Pretender. In 1710 he came to reside on his English estates, and in July 1712 was married to Anna Maria (d. 1723), daughter of Sir John Webb, baronet, of Odstock, Wiltshire. Joining without any hesitation in the Stewart rising of 1715, Derwentwater escaped arrest owing to the devotion of his tenantry, and in October, with about seventy followers, he joined Thomas Forster at Green-rig. Like Forster the earl was lacking in military experience, and when the rebels capitulated at Preston he was conveyed to London and impeached. Pleading guilty at his trial he was attainted and condemned to death. Great efforts were made to obtain a mitigation of the sentence, but the government was obdurate, and Derwentwater was beheaded on Tower Hill on the 24th of February 1716, declaring on the scaffold his devotion to the Roman Catholic religion and to King James III. The earl was very popular among his tenantry and in the neighbourhood of his residence, Dilston Hall. His gallant bearing and his sad fate have been celebrated in song and story, and the aurora borealis, which shone with exceptional brightness on the night of his execution, is known locally as "Lord Derwentwater's lights." He left an only son John, who, in spite of his father's attainder, assumed the title of earl of Derwentwater, and who died unmarried in 1731; and a daughter Alice Mary (d. 1760), who married in 1732 Robert James, 8th Baron Petre (1713-1742).
On the death of John Radclyffe in 1731 his uncle Charles (1693-1746), the only surviving son of the 2nd earl, took the title of earl of Derwentwater. Charles Radclyffe had shared the fate of his brother, the 3rd earl, at Preston in November 1715, and had been condemned to death for high treason; but, more fortunate than James, he had succeeded in escaping from prison, and had joined the Stewarts on the Continent. In 1724 he married Charlotte Maria (d. 1755), in her own right countess of Newburgh, and after spending some time in Rome, he was captured by an English ship in November 1745 whilst proceeding to join Charles Edward, the young Pretender, in Scotland. Condemned to death under his former sentence he was beheaded on the 8th of December 1746. His eldest son, James Bartholomew (1725-1786), who had shared his father's imprisonment, then claimed the title of earl of Derwentwater, and on his mother's death in 1755 became 3rd earl of Newburgh. His only son and successor, Anthony James (1757-1814), died without issue in 1814, when the title became extinct de facto as well as de jure. Many of the forfeited estates in Northumberland and Cumberland had been settled upon Greenwich Hospital, and in 1749 a sum of 30,000 had been raised upon them for the benefit of the earl of Newburgh. The present representative of the Radclyffe family is Lord Petre, and in 1874 the bodies of the first three earls of Derwentwater were reburied in the family vault of the Petres at Thorndon, Essex.
In 1865 a woman appeared in Northumberland who claimed to be a grand-daughter of the 4th earl and, as there were no male heirs, to be countess of Derwentwater and owner of the estates. She said the 4th earl had not died in 1731 but had married and settled in Germany. Her story aroused some interest, and it was necessary to eject her by force from Dilston Hall.
See R. Patten, History of the Late Rebellion (London, 1717); W. S. Gibson, Dilston Hall, or Memoirs of James Radcliffe, earl of Derwentwater (London, 1848-1850); G. E. C(okayne), Complete Peerage (Exeter, 1887-1898); and Dictionary of National Biography, vol. xlvii. (London, 1896).
DERWENTWATER, a lake of Cumberland, England, in the northern part of the celebrated Lake District (q.v. for the physical relations of the lake with the district at large). It is of irregular figure, approaching to an oval, about 3 m. in length and from m. to 1 m. in breadth. The greatest depth is 70 ft. The lake is seen at one view, within an amphitheatre of mountains of varied outline, overlooked by others of greater height. Several of the lesser elevations near the lake are especially famous as view-points, such as Castle Head, Walla Crag, Ladder Brow and Cat Bells. The shores are well wooded, and the lake is studded with several islands, of which Lord's Island, Derwent Isle and St Herbert's are the principal. Lord's Island was the residence of the earls of Derwentwater. St Herbert's Isle receives its name from having been the abode of a holy man of that name mentioned by Bede as contemporary with St Cuthbert of Farne Island in the 7th century. Derwent Isle, about six acres in extent, contains a handsome residence surrounded by lawns, gardens and timber of large growth. The famous Falls of Lodore, at the upper end of the lake, consist of a series of cascades in the small Watendlath Beck, which rushes over an enormous pile of protruding crags from a height of nearly 200 ft. The "Floating Island" appears at intervals on the upper portion of the lake near the mouth of the beck. This singular phenomenon is supposed to owe its appearance to an accumulation of gas, formed by the decay of vegetable matter, detaching and raising to the surface the matted weeds which cover the floor of the lake at this point. The river Derwent (q.v.) enters the lake from the south and leaves it on the north, draining it through Bassenthwaite lake, to the Irish Sea. To the north-east of the lake lies the town of Keswick.
DES ADRETS, FRANOIS DE BEAUMONT, BARON (c. 1512-1587), French Protestant leader, was born in 1512 or 1513 at the chteau of La Frette (Isre). During the reign of Henry II. of France he served with distinction in the royal army and became colonel of the "legions" of Dauphin, Provence and Languedoc. In 1562, however, he joined the Huguenots, not from religious conviction but probably from motives of ambition and personal dislike of the house of Guise. His campaign against the Catholics in 1562 was eminently successful. In June of that year Des Adrets was master of the greater part of Dauphin. But his brilliant military qualities were marred by his revolting atrocities. The reprisals he exacted from the Catholics after their massacres of the Huguenots at Orange have left a dark stain upon his name. The garrisons that resisted him were butchered with every circumstance of brutality, and at Montbrison, in Forez, he forced eighteen prisoners to precipitate themselves from the top of the keep. Having alienated the affections of the Huguenots by his pride and violence, he entered into communication with the Catholics, and declared himself openly in favour of conciliation. On the 10th of January 1563 he was arrested on suspicion by some Huguenot officers and confined in the citadel of Nmes. He was liberated at the edict of Amboise in the following March, and, distrusted alike by Huguenots and Catholics, retired to the chteau of La Frette, where he died, a Catholic, on the 2nd of February 1587.
AUTHORITIES.—J. Roman, Documents indits sur le baron des Adrets (1878); and memoirs and histories of the time. See also Guy Allard, Vie de Franois de Beaumont (1675); l'abb J. C. Martin, Histoire politique et militaire de Franois de Beaumont (1803); Eugne and mile Haag, La France protestante (2nd ed., 1877 seq.).
DESAIX DE VEYGOUX, LOUIS CHARLES ANTOINE (1768-1800), French general, was born of a noble though impoverished family. He received a military education at the school founded by Marshal d'Effiat, and entered the French royal army. During the first six years of his service the young officer devoted himself assiduously to duty and the study of his profession, and at the outbreak of the Revolution threw himself whole-heartedly into the cause of liberty. In spite of the pressure put upon him by his relatives, he refused to "emigrate," and in 1792 is found serving on Broglie's staff. The disgrace of this general nearly cost young Desaix his life, but he escaped the guillotine, and by his conspicuous services soon drew upon himself the favour of the Republican government. Like many other members of the old ruling classes who had accepted the new order of things, the instinct of command, joined to native ability, brought Desaix rapidly to high posts. By 1794 he had attained the rank of general of division. In the campaign of 1795 he commanded Jourdan's right wing, and in Moreau's invasion of Bavaria in the following year he held an equally important command. In the retreat which ensued when the archduke Charles won the battles of Amberg and Wrzburg (see FRENCH REVOLUTIONARY WARS) Desaix commanded Moreau's rearguard, and later the fortress of Kehl, with the highest distinction, and his name became a household word, like those of Bonaparte, Jourdan, Hoche, Marceau and Klber. Next year his initial successes were interrupted by the Preliminaries of Leoben, and he procured for himself a mission into Italy in order to meet General Bonaparte, who spared no pains to captivate the brilliant young general from the almost rival camps of Germany. Provisionally appointed commander of the "Army of England," Desaix was soon transferred by Bonaparte to the expeditionary force intended for Egypt. It was his division which bore the brunt of the Mameluke attack at the battle of the Pyramids, and he crowned his reputation by his victories over Murad Bey in Upper Egypt. Amongst the fellaheen he acquired the significant appellation of the "Just Sultan." When his chief handed over the command to Klber and prepared to return to France, Desaix was one of the small party selected to accompany the future emperor. But, from various causes, it was many months before he could join the new Consul. The campaign of 1800 was well on its way to the climax when Desaix at last reported himself for duty in Italy. He was immediately assigned to the command of a corps of two infantry divisions. Three days later (June 14), detached, with Boudet's division, at Rivalta, he heard the cannon of Marengo on his right. Taking the initiative he marched at once towards the sound, meeting Bonaparte's staff officer, who had come to recall him, half way on the route. He arrived with Boudet's division at the moment when the Austrians were victorious all along the line. Exclaiming, "There is yet time to win another battle!" he led his three regiments straight against the enemy's centre. At the moment of victory Desaix was killed by a musket ball. Napoleon paid a just tribute to the memory of one of the most brilliant soldiers of that brilliant time by erecting the monuments of Desaix on the Place Dauphin and the Place des Victoires in Paris.
See F. Martha-Beker, Comte de Mons, Le Gnral L. C. A. Desaix (Paris, 1852).
DSAUGIERS, MARC ANTOINE MADELEINE (1772-1827), French dramatist and song-writer, son of Marc Antoine Dsaugiers, a musical composer, was born at Frjus (Var) on the 17th of November 1772. He studied at the Mazarin college in Paris, where he had for one of his teachers the critic Julien Louis Geoffroy. He entered the seminary Saint Lazare with a view to the priesthood, but soon gave up his intention. In his nineteenth year he produced in collaboration with his father a light opera (1791) adapted from the Mdecin malgr lui of Molire.
During the Revolution he emigrated to St Domingo, and during the negro revolt he was made prisoner, barely escaping with his life. He took refuge in the United States, where he supported himself by teaching the piano. In 1797 he returned to his native country, and in a very few years he became famous as a writer of comedies, operas and vaudevilles, which were produced in rapid succession at the Thtre des Varits and the Vaudeville. He also wrote convivial and satirical songs, which, though different in character, can only worthily be compared with those of Branger. He was at one time president of the Caveau, a convivial society whose members were then chiefly drawn from literary circles. He had the honour of introducing Branger as a member. In 1815 Dsaugiers succeeded Pierre Yves Barr as manager of the Vaudeville, which prospered under his management until, in 1820, the opposition of the Gymnase proved too strong for him, and he resigned. He died in Paris on the 9th of August 1827.
Among his pieces maybe mentioned Le Valet d'emprunt (1807); Monsieur Vautour (1811); and Le Rgne d'un terme et le terme d'un rgne, aimed at Napoleon.
An edition of Dsaugiers' Chansons et Posies diverses appeared in 1827. A new selection with a notice by Alfred de Bougy appeared in 1858. See also Sainte-Beuve's Portraits contemporains, vol. v.
DESAULT, PIERRE JOSEPH (1744-1795), French anatomist and surgeon, was born at Magny-Vernois (Haute Sane) on the 6th of February 1744. He was destined for the church, but his own inclination was towards the study of medicine; and, after learning something from the barber-surgeon of his native village, he was settled as an apprentice in the military hospital of Belfort, where he acquired some knowledge of anatomy and military surgery. Going to Paris when about twenty years of age, he opened a school of anatomy in the winter of 1766, the success of which excited the jealousy of the established teachers and professors, who endeavoured to make him give up his lectures. In 1776 he was admitted a member of the corporation of surgeons; and in 1782 he was appointed surgeon-major to the hospital De la Charit. Within a few years he was recognized as one of the leading surgeons of France. The clinical school of surgery which he instituted at the Htel Dieu attracted great numbers of students, not only from every part of France but also from other countries; and he frequently had an audience of about 600. He introduced many improvements into the practice of surgery, as well as into the construction of various surgical instruments. In 1791 he established a Journal de chirurgerie, edited by his pupils, which was a record of the most interesting cases that had occurred in his clinical school, with the remarks which he had made upon them in the course of his lectures. But in the midst of his labours he became obnoxious to some of the revolutionists, and he was, on some frivolous charge, denounced to the popular sections. After being twice examined, he was seized on the 28th of May 1793, while delivering a lecture, carried away from his theatre, and committed to prison in the Luxembourg. In three days, however, he was liberated, and permitted to resume his functions. He died in Paris on the 1st of June 1795, the story that his death was caused by poison being disproved by the autopsy carried out by his pupil, M. F. X. Bichat. A pension was settled on his widow by the republic. Together with Franois Chopart (1743-1795) he published a Trait des maladies chirurgicales (1779), and Bichat published a digest of his surgical doctrines in OEuvres chirurgicales de Desault (1798-1799).
DES BARREAUX, JACQUES VALLE, SIEUR (1602-1673), French poet, was born in Paris in 1602. His great-uncle, Geoffroy-Valle, had been hanged in 1574 for the authorship of a book called Le Flau de la foy. His nephew appears to have inherited his scepticism, which on one occasion nearly cost him his life. The peasants of Touraine attributed to the presence of the unbeliever an untimely frost that damaged the vines, and proposed to stone him. His authorship of the sonnet on "Pnitence," by which he is generally known, has been disputed. He had the further distinction of being the first of the lovers of Marion Delorme. He died at Chalon-sur-Sane on the 9th of May 1673.
See Posies de Des Barreaux (1904), edited by F. Lachvre.
DESBOROUGH, JOHN (1608-1680), English soldier and politician, son of James Desborough of Eltisley, Cambridgeshire, and of Elizabeth Hatley of Over, in the same county, was baptized on the 13th of November 1608. He was educated for the law. On the 23rd of June 1636 he married Eltisley Jane, daughter of Robert Cromwell of Huntingdon, and sister of the future Protector. He took an active part in the Civil War when it broke out, and showed considerable military ability. In 1645 he was present as major in the engagement at Langport on the 10th of July, at Hambleton Hill on the 4th of August, and on the 10th of September he commanded the horse at the storming of Bristol. Later he took part in the operations round Oxford. In 1648 as colonel he commanded the forces at Great Yarmouth. He avoided all participation in the trial of the king in June 1649, being employed in the settlement of the west of England. He fought at Worcester as major-general and nearly captured Charles II. near Salisbury. After the establishment of the Commonwealth he was chosen, on the 17th of January 1652, a member of the committee for legal reforms. In 1653 he became a member of the Protectorate council of state, and a commissioner of the treasury, and was appointed one of the four generals at sea and a commissioner for the army and navy. In 1654 he was made constable of St Briavel's Castle in Gloucestershire. Next year he was appointed major-general over the west. He had been nominated a member of Barebones' parliament in 1653, and he was returned to the parliament of 1654 for Cambridgeshire, and to that of 1656 for Somersetshire. In July 1657 he became a member of the privy council, and in 1658 he accepted a seat in Cromwell's House of Lords. In spite of his near relationship to the Protector's family, he was one of the most violent opponents of the assumption by Cromwell of the royal title, and after the Protector's death, instead of supporting the interests and government of his nephew Richard Cromwell, he was, with Fleetwood, the chief instigator and organizer of the hostility of the army towards his administration, and forced him by threats and menaces to dissolve his parliament in April 1659. He was chosen a member of the council of state by the restored Rump, and made colonel and governor of Plymouth, but presenting with other officers a seditious petition from the army council, on the 5th of October, was about a week later dismissed. After the expulsion of the Rump by Fleetwood on the 13th of October he was chosen by the officers a member of the new administration and commissary-general of the horse. The new military government, however, rested on no solid foundation, and its leaders quickly found themselves without any influence. Desborough himself became an object of ridicule, his regiment even revolted against him, and on the return of the Rump he was ordered to quit London. At the restoration he was excluded from the act of indemnity but not included in the clause of pains and penalties extending to life and goods, being therefore only incapacitated from public employment. Soon afterwards he was arrested on suspicion of conspiring to kill the king and queen, but was quickly liberated. Subsequently he escaped to Holland, where he engaged in republican intrigues. Accordingly he was ordered home, in April 1666, on pain of incurring the charge of treason, and obeying was imprisoned in the Tower till February 1667, when he was examined before the council and set free. Desborough died in 1680. By his first wife, Cromwell's sister, he had one daughter and seven sons; he married a second wife in April 1658 whose name is unrecorded. Desborough was a good soldier and nothing more; and his only conception of government was by force and by the army. His rough person and manners are the constant theme of ridicule in the royalist ballads, and he is caricatured in Butler's Hudibras and in the Parable of the Lion and Fox.
DESCARTES, REN (1596-1650), French philosopher, was born at La Haye, in Touraine, midway between Tours and Poitiers, on the 31st of March 1596, and died at Stockholm on the 11th of February 1650. The house where he was born is still shown, and a mtairie about 3 m. off retains the name of Les Cartes. His family on both sides was of Poitevin descent. Joachim Descartes, his father, having purchased a commission as counsellor in the parlement of Rennes, introduced the family into that demi-noblesse of the robe which, between the bourgeoisie and the high nobility, maintained a lofty rank in French society. He had three children, a son who afterwards succeeded to his father in the parlement, a daughter who married a M. du Crevis, and Ren, after whose birth the mother died.
Descartes, known as Du Perron, from a small estate destined for his inheritance, soon showed an inquisitive mind. From 1604 to 1612 he studied at the school of La Flche, which Henry IV. had lately founded and endowed for the Jesuits. He enjoyed exceptional privileges; his feeble health excused him from the morning duties, and thus early he acquired the habit of reflection in bed, which clung to him throughout life. Even then he had begun to distrust the authority of tradition and his teachers. Two years before he left school he was selected as one of the twenty-four who went forth to receive the heart of Henry IV. as it was borne to its resting-place at La Flche. At the age of sixteen he went home to his father, who was now settled at Rennes, and had married again. During the winter of 1612 he completed his preparations for the world by lessons in horsemanship and fencing; and then started as his own master to taste the pleasures of Parisian life. Fortunately he went to no perilous lengths; the worst we hear of is a passion for gaming. Here, too, he made the acquaintance of Claude Mydorge, one of the foremost mathematicians of France, and renewed an early intimacy with Marin Mersenne (q.v.), now Father Mersenne, of the order of Minim friars. The withdrawal of Mersenne in 1614 to a post in the provinces was the signal for Descartes to abandon social life and shut himself up for nearly two years in a secluded house of the faubourg St Germain. Accident betrayed the secret of his retirement; he was compelled to leave his mathematical investigations, and to take part in entertainments, where the only thing that chimed in with his theorizing reveries was the music. French politics were at that time characterized by violence and intrigue to such an extent that Paris was no fit place for a student, and there was little honourable prospect for a soldier. Accordingly, in May 1617, Descartes set out for the Netherlands and took service in the army of Prince Maurice of Orange. At Breda he enlisted as a volunteer, and the first and only pay which he accepted he kept as a curiosity through life. There was a lull in the war, and the Netherlands was distracted by the quarrels of Gomarists and Arminians. During the leisure thus arising, Descartes one day had his attention drawn to a placard in the Dutch tongue; as the language, of which he never became perfectly master, was then strange to him, he asked a bystander to interpret it into either French or Latin. The stranger, Isaac Beeckman, principal of the college of Dort, offered to do so into Latin, if the inquirer would bring him a solution of the problem,—for the advertisement was one of those challenges which the mathematicians of the age were accustomed to throw down to all comers, daring them to discover a geometrical mystery known as they fancied to themselves alone. Descartes promised and fulfilled; and a friendship grew up between him and Beeckman—broken only by the dishonesty of the latter, who in later years took credit for the novelty contained in a small essay on music (Compendium Musicae) which Descartes wrote at this period and entrusted to Beeckman.
After spending two years in Holland as a soldier in a period of peace, Descartes, in July 1619, attracted by the news of the impending struggle between the house of Austria and the Protestant princes, consequent upon the election of the palatine of the Rhine to the kingdom of Bohemia, set out for upper Germany, and volunteered into the Bavarian service. The winter of 1619, spent in quarters at Neuburg on the Danube, was the critical period in his life. Here, in his warm room (dans un pole), he indulged those meditations which afterwards led to the Discourse of Method. It was here that, on the eve of St Martin's day, he "was filled with enthusiasm, and discovered the foundations of a marvellous science." He retired to rest with anxious thoughts of his future career, which haunted him through the night in three dreams that left a deep impression on his mind. The date of his philosophical conversion is thus fixed to a day. But as yet he had only glimpses of a logical method which should invigorate the syllogism by the co-operation of ancient geometry and modern algebra. For during the year that elapsed before he left Swabia (and whilst he sojourned at Neuburg and Ulm), and amidst his geometrical studies, he would fain have gathered some knowledge of the mystical wisdom attributed to the Rosicrucians; but the Invisibles, as they called themselves, kept their secret. He was present at the battle of Weisser Berg (near Prague), where the hopes of the elector palatine were blasted (November 8, 1620), passed the winter with the army in southern Bohemia, and next year served in Hungary under Karl Bonaventura de Longueval, Graf von Buquoy or Boucquoi (1571-1621). On the death of this general Descartes quitted the imperial service, and in July 1621 began a peaceful tour through Moravia, the borders of Poland, Pomerania, Brandenburg, Holstein and Friesland, from which he reappeared in February 1622 in Belgium, and betook himself directly to his father's home at Rennes in Brittany.
At Rennes Descartes found little to interest him; and, after he had visited the maternal estate of which his father now put him in possession, he went to Paris, where he found the Rosicrucians the topic of the hour, and heard himself credited with partnership in their secrets. A short visit to Brittany enabled him, with his father's consent, to arrange for the sale of his property in Poitou. The proceeds were invested in such a way at Paris as to bring him in a yearly income of between 6000 and 7000 francs (equal now to more than 500). Towards the end of the year Descartes was on his way to Italy. The natural phenomena of Switzerland, and the political complications in the Valtellina, where the Catholic inhabitants had thrown off the yoke of the Grisons and called in the Papal and Spanish troops to their assistance, delayed him some time; but he reached Venice in time to see the ceremony of the doge's wedlock with the Adriatic. After paying his vows at Loretto, he came to Rome, which was then on the eve of a year of jubilee—an occasion which Descartes seized to observe the variety of men and manners which the city then embraced within its walls. In the spring of 1625 he returned home by Mont Cenis, observing the avalanches, instead of, as his relatives hoped, securing a post in the French army in Piedmont.
For an instant Descartes seems to have concurred in the plan of purchasing a post at Chtellerault, but he gave up the idea, and settled in Paris (June 1625), in the quarter where he had sought seclusion before. By this time he had ceased to devote himself to pure mathematics, and in company with his friends Mersenne and Mydorge was deeply interested in the theory of the refraction of light, and in the practical work of grinding glasses of the best shape suitable for optical instruments. But all the while he was engaged with reflections on the nature of man, of the soul and of God, and for a while he remained invisible even to his most familiar friends. But their importunity made a hermitage in Paris impossible; a graceless friend even surprised the philosopher in bed at eleven in the morning meditating and taking notes. In disgust, Descartes started for the west to take part in the siege of La Rochelle, and entered the city with the troops (October 1628). A meeting at which he was present after his return to Paris decided his vocation. He had expressed an opinion that the true art of memory was not to be gained by technical devices, but by a philosophical apprehension of things; and the cardinal de Berulle, the founder of the Congregation of the Oratory, was so struck by the tone of the remarks as to impress upon the speaker the duty of spending his life in the examination of truth. Descartes accepted the philosophic mission, and in the spring of 1629 he settled in Holland. His financial affairs he had entrusted to the care of the abb Picot, and as his literary and scientific representative he adopted Mersenne.
Till 1649 Descartes lived in Holland. Thrice only did he revisit France—in 1644, 1647 and 1648. The first of these occasions was in order to settle family affairs after the death of his father in 1640. The second brief visit, in 1647, partly on literary, partly on family business, was signalized by the award of a pension of 3000 francs, obtained from the royal bounty by Cardinal Mazarin. The last visit in 1648 was less fortunate. A royal order summoned him to France for new honours—an additional pension and a permanent post—for his fame had by this time gone abroad, and it was the age when princes sought to attract genius and learning to their courts. But when Descartes arrived, he found Paris rent asunder by the civil war of the Fronde. He paid the costs of his royal parchment, and left without a word of reproach. The only other occasions on which he was out of the Netherlands were in 1630, when he made a flying visit to England to observe for himself some alleged magnetic phenomena, and in 1634, when he took an excursion to Denmark.
During his residence in Holland he lived at thirteen different places, and changed his abode twenty-four times. In the choice of these spots two motives seem to have influenced him—the neighbourhood of a university or college, and the amenities of the situation. Among these towns were Franeker in Friesland, Harderwyk, Deventer, Utrecht, Leiden, Amersfoort, Amsterdam, Leeuwarden in Friesland. His favourite residences were Endegeest, Egmond op den Hoef and Egmond the Abbey (west of Zaandam).
The time thus spent seems to have been on the whole happy, even allowing for warm discussions with the mathematicians and metaphysicians of France, and for harassing controversies in the Netherlands. Friendly agents—chiefly Catholic priests—were the intermediaries who forwarded his correspondence from Dort, Haarlem, Amsterdam and Leiden to his proper address, which he kept completely secret; and Father Mersenne sent him objections and questions. His health, which in his youth had been bad, improved. "I sleep here ten hours every night," he writes from Amsterdam, "and no care ever shortens my slumber." "I take my walk every day through the confusion of a great multitude with as much freedom and quiet as you could find in your rural avenues." At his first coming to Franeker he arranged to get a cook acquainted with French cookery; but, to prevent misunderstanding, it may be added that his diet was mainly vegetarian, and that he rarely drank wine. New friends gathered round him who took a keen interest in his researches. Once only do we find him taking an interest in the affairs of his neighbours,—to ask pardon from the government for a homicide. He continued the profession of his religion. Sometimes from curiosity he went to the ministrations of anabaptists, to hear the preaching of peasants and artisans. He carried few books to Holland with him, but a Bible and the Summa of Thomas Aquinas were amongst them. One of the recommendations of Egmond the Abbey was the free exercise there allowed to the Catholic religion. At Franeker his house was a small chteau, "separated by a moat from the rest of the town, where the mass could be said in safety." And one motive in favour of accepting an invitation to England lay in the alleged leanings of Charles I. to the older church.
The best account of Descartes's mental history during his life in Holland is contained in his letters, which extend over the whole period, and are particularly frequent in the latter half. The majority of them are addressed to Mersenne, and deal with problems of physics, musical theory (in which he took a special interest), and mathematics. Several letters between 1643 and 1649 are addressed to the princess Elizabeth, the eldest daughter of the ejected elector palatine, who lived at The Hague, where her mother maintained the semblance of a royal court. The princess was obliged to quit Holland, but kept up a philosophical correspondence with Descartes. It is to her that the Principles of Philosophy were dedicated; and in her alone, according to Descartes, were united those generally separated talents for metaphysics and for mathematics which are so characteristically co-operative in the Cartesian system. Two Dutch friends, Constantijn Huygens (von Zuylichem), father of the more celebrated Huygens, and Hoogheland, figure amongst the correspondents, not to mention various savants, professors and churchmen (particularly Jesuits).
His residence in the Netherlands fell in the most prosperous and brilliant days of the Dutch state, under the stadtholdership of Frederick Henry (1625-1647). Abroad its navigators monopolized the commerce of the world, and explored unknown seas; at home the Dutch school of painting reached its acme in Rembrandt (1607-1669); and the philological reputation of the country was sustained by Grotius, Vossius and the elder Heinsius. And yet, though Rembrandt's "Nightwatch" is dated the very year after the publication of the Meditations, not a word in Descartes breathes of any work of art or historical learning. The contempt of aesthetics and erudition is characteristic of the most typical members of what is known as the Cartesian school, especially Malebranche. Descartes was not in any strict sense a reader. His wisdom grew mainly out of his own reflections and experiments. The story of his disgust when he found that Queen Christina devoted some time every day to the study of Greek under the tuition of Vossius is at least true in substance. It gives no evidence of science, he remarks, to possess a tolerable knowledge of the Roman tongue, such as once was possessed by the populace of Rome. In all his travels he studied only the phenomena of nature and human life. He was a spectator rather than an actor on the stage of the world. He entered the army, merely because the position gave a vantage-ground from which to make his observations. In the political interests which these contests involved he took no part; his favourite disciple, the princess Elizabeth, was the daughter of the banished king, against whom he had served in Bohemia; and Queen Christina, his second royal follower, was the daughter of Gustavus Adolphus.
Thus Descartes is a type of that spirit of science to which erudition and all the heritage of the past seem but elegant trifling. The science of Descartes was physics in all its branches, but especially as applied to physiology. Science, he says, may be compared to a tree; metaphysics is the root, physics is the trunk, and the three chief branches are mechanics, medicine and morals,—the three applications of our knowledge to the outward world, to the human body, and to the conduct of life.
Such then was the work that Descartes had in view in Holland. His residence was generally divided into two parts—one his workshop for science, the other his reception-room for society. "Here are my books," he is reported to have told a visitor, as he pointed to the animals he had dissected. He worked hard at his book on refraction, and dissected the heads of animals in order to explain imagination and memory, which he considered physical processes. But he was not a laborious student. "I can say with truth," he writes to the princess Elizabeth, "that the principle which I have always observed in my studies, and which I believe has helped me most to gain what knowledge I have, has been never to spend beyond a very few hours daily in thoughts which occupy the imagination, and a very few hours yearly in those which occupy the understanding, and to give all the rest of my time to the relaxation of the senses and the repose of the mind." But his expectations from the study of anatomy and physiology went a long way. "The conservation of health," he writes in 1646, "has always been the principal end of my studies." In 1629 he asks Mersenne to take care of himself "till I find out if there is any means of getting a medical theory based on infallible demonstrations, which is what I am now inquiring." Astronomical inquiries in connexion with optics, meteorological phenomena, and, in a word, the whole field of natural laws, excited his desire to explain them. His own observation, and the reports of Mersenne, furnished his data. Of Bacon's demand for observation and collection of facts he is an imitator; and he wishes (in a letter of 1632) that "some one would undertake to give a history of celestial phenomena after the method of Bacon, and describe the sky exactly as it appears at present, without introducing a single hypothesis."
He had several writings in hand during the early years of his residence in Holland, but the main work of this period was a physical doctrine of the universe which he termed The World. Shortly after his arrival he writes to Mersenne that it will probably be finished in 1633, but meanwhile asks him not to disclose the secret to his Parisian friends. Already anxieties appear as to the theological verdict upon two of his fundamental views—the infinitude of the universe, and the earth's rotation round the sun. But towards the end of year 1633 we find him writing as follows:—"I had intended sending you my World as a New Year's gift, and a fortnight ago I was still minded to send you a fragment of the work, if the whole of it could not be transcribed in time. But I have just been at Leyden and Amsterdam to ask after Galileo's cosmical system as I imagined I had heard of its being printed last year in Italy. I was told that it had been printed, but that every copy had been at the same time burnt at Rome, and that Galileo had been himself condemned to some penalty." He has also seen a copy of Galileo's condemnation at Lige (September 20, 1633), with the words "although he professes that the [Copernican] theory was only adopted by him as a hypothesis." His friend Beeckman lent him a copy of Galileo's work, which he glanced through in his usual manner with other men's books; he found it good, and "failing more in the points where it follows received opinions than where it diverges from them." The consequence of these reports of the hostility of the church led him to abandon all thoughts of publishing. The World was consigned to his desk; and although doctrines in all essential respects the same constitute the physical portion of his Principia, it was not till after the death of Descartes that fragments of the work, including Le Monde, or a treatise on light, and the physiological tracts L'Homme and La Formation du foetus, were given to the world by his admirer Claude Clerselier (1614-1684) in 1664. Descartes was not disposed to be a martyr; he had a sincere respect for the church, and had no wish to begin an open conflict with established doctrines.
In 1636 Descartes had resolved to publish some specimens of the fruits of his method, and some general observations on its nature which, under an appearance of simplicity, might sow the good seed of more adequate ideas on the world and man. "I should be glad," he says, when talking of a publisher, "if the whole book were printed in good type, on good paper, and I should like to have at least 200 copies for distribution. The book will contain four essays, all in French, with the general title of 'Project of a Universal science, capable of raising our nature to its highest perfection; also Dioptrics, Meteors and Geometry, wherein the most curious matters which the author could select as a proof of the universal science which he proposes are explained in such a way that even the unlearned may understand them.'" The work appeared anonymously at Leiden (published by Jean Maire) in 1637, under the modest title of Essais philosophiques; and the project of a universal science becomes the Discours de la mthode pour bien conduire sa raison et chercher la vrit dans les sciences. In 1644 it appeared in a Latin version, revised by Descartes, as Specimina philosophica. A work so widely circulated by the author naturally attracted attention, but in France it was principally the mathematicians who took it up, and their criticisms were more pungent than complimentary. Fermat, Roberval and Desargues took exception in their various ways to the methods employed in the geometry, and to the demonstrations of the laws of refraction given in the Dioptrics and Meteors. The dispute on the latter point between Fermat and Descartes was continued, even after the philosopher's death, as late as 1662. In the youthful Dutch universities the effect of the essays was greater.
Spread of Cartesianism.
The first public teacher of Cartesian views was Henri Renery, a Belgian, who at Deventer and afterwards at Utrecht had introduced the new philosophy which he had learned from personal intercourse with Descartes. Renery only survived five years at Utrecht, and it was reserved for Heinrich Regius (van Roy)—who in 1638 had been appointed to the new chair of botany and theoretical medicine at Utrecht, and who visited Descartes at Egmond in order more thoroughly to learn his views—to throw down the gauntlet to the adherents of the old methods. With more eloquence than judgment, he propounded theses bringing into relief the points in which the new doctrines clashed with the old. The attack was opened by Gisbert Vot, foremost among the orthodox theological professors and clergy of Utrecht. In 1639 he published a series of arguments against atheism, in which the Cartesian views were not obscurely indicated as perilous for the faith, though no name was mentioned. Next year he persuaded the magistracy to issue an order forbidding Regius to travel beyond the received doctrine. The magisterial views seem to have prevailed in the professoriate, which formally in March 1642 expressed its disapprobation of the new philosophy as well as of its expositors. As yet Descartes was not directly attacked. Vot now issued, under the name of Martin Schoock, one of his pupils, a pamphlet with the title of Methodus novae philosophiae Renati Descartes, in which atheism and infidelity were openly declared to be the effect of the new teaching. Descartes replied to Vot directly in a letter, published at Amsterdam in 1643. He was summoned before the magistrates of Utrecht to defend himself against charges of irreligion and slander. What might have happened we cannot tell; but Descartes threw himself on the protection of the French ambassador and the prince of Orange, and the city magistrates, from whom he vainly demanded satisfaction in a dignified letter, were snubbed by their superiors. About the same time (April 1645) Schoock was summoned before the university of Groningen, of which he was a member, and forthwith disavowed the more abusive passages in his book. So did the effects of the odium theologicum, for the meanwhile at least, die away.
Discourse of Method, and Meditations.
In the Discourse of Method Descartes had sketched the main points in his new views, with a mental autobiography which might explain their origin, and with some suggestions as to their applications. His second great work,. Meditations on the First Philosophy, which had been begun soon after his settlement in the Netherlands, expounded in more detail the foundations of his system, laying especial emphasis on the priority of mind to body, and on the absolute and ultimate dependence of mind as well as body on the existence of God. In 1640 a copy of the work in manuscript was despatched to Paris, and Mersenne was requested to lay it before as many thinkers and scholars as he deemed desirable, with a view to getting their views upon its argument and doctrine. Descartes soon had a formidable list of objections to reply to. Accordingly, when the work was published at Paris in August 1641, under the title of Meditationes de prima philosophia ubi de Dei existentia et animae immortalitate (though it was in fact not the immortality but the immateriality of the mind, or, as the second edition described it, animae humanae a corpore distinctio, which was maintained), the title went on to describe the larger part of the book as containing various objections of learned men, with the replies of the author. These objections in the first edition are arranged under six heads: the first came from Caterus, a theologian of Louvain; the second and sixth are anonymous criticisms from various hands; whilst the third, fourth and fifth belong respectively to Hobbes, Arnauld and Gassendi. In the second edition appeared the seventh—objections from Pre Bourdin, a Jesuit teacher of mathematics in Paris; and subsequently another set of objections, known as those of Hyperaspistes, was included in the collection of Descartes's letters. The anonymous objections are very much the statement of common-sense against philosophy; those of Caterus criticize the Cartesian argument from the traditional theology of the church; those of Arnauld are an appreciative inquiry into the bearings and consequences of the meditations for religion and morality; while those of Hobbes (q.v.) and Gassendi—both somewhat senior to Descartes and with a dogmatic system of their own already formed—are a keen assault upon the spiritualism of the Cartesian position from a generally "sensational" standpoint. The criticisms of the last two are the criticisms of a hostile school of thought; those of Arnauld are the difficulties of a possible disciple.
In 1644 the third great work of Descartes, the Principia philosophiae, appeared at Amsterdam. Passing briefly over the conclusions arrived at in the Meditations, it deals in its second, third and fourth parts with the general principles of physical science, especially the laws of motion, with the theory of vortices, and with the phenomena of heat, light, gravity, magnetism, electricity, &c., upon the earth. This work exhibits some curious marks of caution. Undoubtedly, says Descartes, the world was in the beginning created in all its perfection. "But yet as it is best, if we wish to understand the nature of plants or of men, to consider how they may by degrees proceed from seeds, rather than how they were created by God in the beginning of the world, so, if we can excogitate some extremely simple and comprehensible principles, out of which, as if they were seeds, we can prove that stars, and earth and all this visible scene could have originated, although we know full well that they never did originate in such a way, we shall in that way expound their nature far better than if we merely described them as they exist at present." The Copernican theory is rejected in name, but retained in substance. The earth, or other planet, does not actually move round the sun; yet it is carried round the sun in the subtle matter of the great vortex, where it lies in equilibrium,—carried like the passenger in a boat, who may cross the sea and yet not rise from his berth.
In 1647 the difficulties that had arisen at Utrecht were repeated on a smaller scale at Leiden. There the Cartesian innovations had found a patron in Adrian Heerebord, and were openly discussed in theses and lectures. The theological professors took the alarm at passages in the Meditations; an attempt to prove the existence of God savoured, as they thought, of atheism and heresy. When Descartes complained to the authorities of this unfair treatment, the only reply was an order by which all mention of the name of Cartesianism, whether favourable or adverse, was forbidden in the university. This was scarcely what Descartes wanted, and again he had to apply to the prince of Orange, whereupon the theologians were asked to behave with civility, and the name of Descartes was no longer proscribed. But other annoyances were not wanting from unfaithful disciples and unsympathetic critics. The Instantiae of Gassendi appeared at Amsterdam in 1644 as a reply to the reply which Descartes had published of his previous objections; and the publication by Heinrich Regius of his work on physical philosophy (Fundamenta physices, 1646) gave the world to understand that he had ceased to be a thorough adherent of the philosophy which he had so enthusiastically adopted.
It was about 1648 that Descartes lost his friends Mersenne and Mydorge by death. The place of Mersenne as his Parisian representative was in the main taken by Claude Clerselier (the French translator of the Objections and Responses), whom he had become acquainted with in Paris. Through Clerselier he came to know Pierre Chanut, who in 1645 was sent as French ambassador to the court of Sweden. Queen Christina was not yet twenty, and took a lively if a somewhat whimsical interest in literary and philosophical culture. Through Chanut, with whom she was on terms of familiarity, she came to hear of Descartes, and a correspondence which the latter nominally carried on with the ambassador was in reality intended for the eyes of the queen. The correspondence took an ethical tone. It began with a long letter on love in all its aspects (February 1647), a topic suggested by Chanut, who had been discussing it with the queen; and this was soon followed by another to Christina herself on the chief good. An essay on the passions of the mind (Passions de l'me), which had been written originally for the princess Elizabeth, in development of some ethical views suggested by the De vita beata of Seneca, was enclosed at the same time for Chanut. It was a draft of the work published in 1650 under the same title. Philosophy, particularly that of Descartes, was becoming a fashionable divertissement for the queen and her courtiers, and it was felt that the presence of the sage himself was necessary to complete the good work of education. An invitation to the Swedish court was urged upon Descartes, and after much hesitation accepted; a vessel of the royal navy was ordered to wait upon him, and in September 1649 he left Egmond for the north.
The position on which he entered at Stockholm was unsuited for a man who wished to be his own master. The young queen wanted Descartes to draw up a code for a proposed academy of the sciences, and to give her an hour of philosophic instruction every morning at five. She had already determined to create him a noble, and begun to look out an estate in the lately annexed possessions of Sweden on the Pomeranian coast. But these things were not to be. His friend Chanut fell dangerously ill; and Descartes, who devoted himself to attend in the sick-room, was obliged to issue from it every morning in the chill northern air of January, and spend an hour in the palace library. The ambassador recovered, but Descartes fell a victim to the same disease, inflammation of the lungs. The last time he saw the queen was on the 1st of February 1650, when he handed to her the statutes he had drawn up for the proposed academy. On the 11th of February he died. The queen wished to bury him at the feet of the Swedish kings, and to raise a costly mausoleum in his honour; but these plans were overruled, and a plain monument in the Catholic cemetery was all that marked the place of his rest. Sixteen years after his death the French treasurer d'Alibert made arrangements for the conveyance of the ashes to his native land; and in 1667 they were interred in the church of Ste Genevive du Mont, the modern Pantheon. In 1819, after being temporarily deposited in a stone sarcophagus in the court of the Louvre during the Revolutionary epoch, they were transferred to St Germain-des-Prs, where they now repose between Montfaucon and Mabillon. A monument was raised to his memory at Stockholm by Gustavus III.; and a modern statue has been erected to him at Tours, with an inscription on the pedestal: "Je pense, donc je suis."
Descartes never married, and had little of the amorous in his temperament. He has alluded to a childish fancy for a young girl with a slight obliquity of vision; but he only mentions it propos of the consequent weakness which led him to associate such a defect with beauty. In person he was small, with large head, projecting brow, prominent nose, and eyes wide apart, with black hair coming down almost to his eyebrows. His voice was feeble. He usually dressed in black, with unobtrusive propriety.
Philosophy.—The end of all study, says Descartes, in one of his earliest writings, ought to be to guide the mind to form true and sound judgments on every thing that may be presented to it. The sciences in their totality are but the intelligence of man; and all the details of knowledge have no value save as they strengthen the understanding. The mind is not for the sake of knowledge, but knowledge for the sake of the mind. This is the reassertion of a principle which the middle ages had lost sight of—that knowledge, if it is to have any value, must be intelligence, and not erudition.
But how is intelligence, as opposed to erudition, possible? The answer to that question is the method of Descartes. That idea of a method grew up with his study of geometry and arithmetic,—the only branches of knowledge which he would allow to be "made sciences." But they did not satisfy his demand for intelligence. "I found in them," he says, "different propositions on numbers of which, after a calculation, I perceived the truth; as for the figures, I had, so to speak, many truths put before my eyes, and many others concluded from them by analogy; but it did not seem to me that they told my mind with sufficient clearness why the things were as I was shown, and by what means their discovery was attained." The mathematics of which he thus speaks included the geometry of the ancients, as it had been handed down to the modern world, and arithmetic with the developments it had received in the direction of algebra. The ancient geometry, as we know it, is a wonderful monument of ingenuity—a series of tours de force, in which each problem to all appearance stands alone, and, if solved, is solved by methods and principles peculiar to itself. Here and there particular curves, for example, had been obliged to yield the secret of their tangent; but the ancient geometers apparently had no consciousness of the general bearings of the methods which they so successfully applied. Each problem was something unique; the elements of transition from one to another were wanting; and the next step which mathematics had to make was to find some method of reducing, for instance, all curves to a common notation. When that was found, the solution of one problem would immediately entail the solution of all others which belonged to the same series as itself.
The arithmetical half of mathematics, which had been gradually growing into algebra, and had decidedly established itself as such in the Ad logisticen speciosam notae priores of Franois Vieta (1540-1603), supplied to some extent the means of generalizing geometry. And the algebraists or arithmeticians of the 16th century, such as Luca Pacioli (Lucas de Borgo), Geronimo or Girolamo Cardano (1501-1576), and Niccola Tartaglia (1506-1559), had used geometrical constructions to throw light on the solution of particular equations. But progress was made difficult, in consequence of the clumsy and irregular nomenclature employed. With Descartes the use of exponents as now employed for denoting the powers of a quantity becomes systematic; and without some such step by which the homogeneity of successive powers is at once recognized, the binomial theorem could scarcely have been detected. The restriction of the early letters of the alphabet to known, and of the late letters to unknown, quantities is also his work. In this and other details he crowns and completes, in a form henceforth to be dominant for the language of algebra, the work of numerous obscure predecessors, such as tienne de la Roche, Michael Stifel or Stiefel (1487-1567), and others.
Having thus perfected the instrument, his next step was to apply it in such a way as to bring uniformity of method into the isolated and independent operations of geometry. "I had no intention," he says in the Method, "of attempting to master all the particular sciences commonly called mathematics; but as I observed that, with all differences in their objects, they agreed in considering merely the various relations or proportions subsisting among these objects, I thought it best for my purpose to consider these relations in the most general form possible, without referring them to any objects in particular except such as would most facilitate the knowledge of them. Perceiving further, that in order to understand these relations I should sometimes have to consider them one by one, and sometimes only to bear them in mind or embrace them in the aggregate, I thought that, in order the better to consider them individually, I should view them as subsisting between straight lines, than which I could find no objects more simple, or capable of being more distinctly represented to my imagination and senses; and on the other hand that, in order to retain them in the memory or embrace an aggregate of many, I should express them by certain characters, the briefest possible." Such is the basis of the algebraical or modern analytical geometry. The problem of the curves is solved by their reduction to a problem of straight lines; and the locus of any point is determined by its distance from two given straight lines—the axes of co-ordinates. Thus Descartes gave to modern geometry that abstract and general character in which consists its superiority to the geometry of the ancients. In another question connected with this, the problem of drawing tangents to any curve, Descartes was drawn into a controversy with Pierre (de) Fermat (1601-1663), Gilles Persone de Roberval (1602-1675), and Girard Desargues (1593-1661). Fermat and Descartes agreed in regarding the tangent to a curve as a secant of that curve with the two points of intersection coinciding, while Roberval regarded it as the direction of the composite movement by which the curve can be described. Both these methods, differing from that now employed, are interesting as preliminary steps towards the method of fluxions and the differential calculus. In pure algebra Descartes expounded and illustrated the general methods of solving equations up to those of the fourth degree (and believed that his method could go beyond), stated the law which connects the positive and negative roots of an equation with the changes of sign in the consecutive terms, and introduced the method of indeterminate coefficients for the solution of equations. These innovations have been attributed on inadequate evidence to other algebraists, e.g. William Oughtred (1575-1660) and Thomas Harriot (1560-1621).