Koenig, Samuel

, a learned philosopher and mathematician, was a Swiss by birth, and came early into eminence by his mathematical abilities. He was professor of philosophy and natural law at Franeker, and afterwards at the Hague, where he became also librarian to the stadtholder, and to the princess of Orange; and where he died in 1757. The academy of Berlin enrolled him among her members; but afterwards expelled him on the following occasion. Maupertuis, the president, had inserted in the volume of the Memoirs for 1746, a discourse upon the laws of motion; which Koenig not only attacked, but also attributed the memoir to Leibnitz. Maupertuis, stung with the imputation of plagiarism, engaged the academy of Berlin to call upon him for his proof; which Koenig failing to produce, he was struck out of the academy. All Europe was interested in the quarrel which this occasioned between Koenig and Maupertuis. The former appealed to the public; and his appeal, written with the animation of resentment, procured him many friends. He was author of some other works, and had the character of being one of the best mathematicians of the age. He had a brother, Daniel, who was murdered at the age of twenty-two, at Franekei 4 The populace, overhearing him talk in French, imagined that he was a French spy, and would have killed him on the spot, if the academicians had not rescued him from their fury: but the wounds which he received hurried him to the grave in a few months. He translated into Latin Dr. Arbuthnot’s “Tables of Ancient Coins,” which remained in ms. till 1756, when it was published at Utrecht, with a curious and useful preface, by professor Reitz. 2