Nieuwentyt, Bernard

, an eminent Dutch philosopher and mathematician, was born Aug. 10, 1654, at Westgraafdyk in North Holland, of which place his father vvas minister. He discovered a turn for learning in his first infancy, and his father designed him for the ministry; but when he found him averse from this study, he suffered him to gratify his own taste. He then applied himself to logic, and the art of reasoning justly; in which he grounded himself upon the principles of Des Cartes, with whose philosophy he was greatly delighted. Thence he proceeded to the mathematics, where he made a great proficiency; and added so much to his stock of various knowledge, that he was accounted a good philosopher, a great mathematician, a celebrated physician, and an able and just magistrate. Although naturally of a grave and serious disposition, yet his engaging manner in conversation made him be equally admired as a companion and friend, and frequently drew over to his opinion those who, at first, differed very widely from him. Thus accomplished, he acquired great esteem and credit in the council of the town of Purmerende, where he resided; as he did also in the states of that province, who respected him the more, as he never interfered in any cabals or factions. His disposition inclined him to cultivate the sciences, rather than to obtain the honours of the government and he therefore contented himself with being counsellor and burgomaster of the town, without wishing for more bustling preferments, which might interfere with his studies, and draw him too much out of his library. He died May 30, 1718, in the sixty-third year of his age. His works are, 1. “Considerationes circa Analyseos ad Quantitates infinite parvas applicator principia,” &c. Amst. 1694, 8vo. 2. “Analysis infinitorum seu curvilineorum Proprietates ex Polygpnorum natura deductse,” ibid. 1695, 4to. 3. “Considerationes secundoe circa differentialis Principia r & Responsio ad Yirum nobilissimum G. G. Leibnitium,” ibid. 1696, 8vo. This piece was attacked by John Bernoulli and James Hermant, | celebrated geometricians at Basil. 4. “A Treatise upon a New Use of the Tables of Sines and Tangents.” 5. “Le veritable Usage de la Contemplation de TUnivers, pour la conviction des Athees & des Incredules,” in Dutch. This is his most esteemed work; and went through four editions in three or four years. It was translated into English by Mr. John Chamberlaine, and printed three or four times under the title of the “Religious Philosopher,” &c. 3 vols. 8vo. This was, until within these forty years, a very popular book in this country. We have also, by our author, one letter to Bothnia of Burmania, upon the 27th article of his meteors, and a refutation of Spinosa, 1720, 4to, in the Dutch language. 1


Niceron, vol. XIII.—Martin’s Biog. Phil.—Hutton’s Dict.Moreri.