Jan Swammerdam was a Dutch biologist and microscopist. His work on insects demonstrated that the various phases during the life of an insect—egg, larva and adult—are different forms of the same animal; as part of his anatomical research, he carried out experiments on muscle contraction. In 1658, he was the first to describe red blood cells, he was one of the first people to use the microscope in dissections, his techniques remained useful for hundreds of years. Swammerdam was baptized on 15 February 1637 in the Oude Kerk Amsterdam, his father was an apothecary, an amateur collector of minerals, coins and insects from around the world. His mother Baertje Jans Corvers died in 1661; as a youngster Swammerdam had helped his father to take care of his curiosity collection. Despite his father's wish that he should study theology Swammerdam started to study medicine in 1661 at the University of Leiden, he studied under the guidance of Johannes van Franciscus Sylvius. Among his fellow students were Frederik Ruysch, Reinier de Graaf and Niels Stensen.
While studying medicine Swammerdam started his own collection of insects. In 1663 Swammerdam moved to France to continue his studies, he studied one year under the guidance of Tanaquil Faber. Subsequently, he studied in Paris at the scientific academy of Melchisédech Thévenot. 1665 he returned to the Dutch Republic and joined a group of physicians who performed dissections and published their findings. Between 1666 and 1667 Swammerdam concluded his study of medicine at the University of Leiden. Together with van Horne he researched the anatomy of the uterus, he used a single-lense microscope made by Johannes Hudde. The result of this research was published under the title Miraculum naturae sive uteri muliebris fabrica in 1672. Swammerdam received his medical doctor in 1667 under van Horne for his dissertation on the mechanism of respiration, published under the title De respiratione usuque pulmonum. While studying medicine Swammerdam had started to dissect insects and after qualifying as a doctor, Swammerdam focused studying insects.
His father pressured him to earn a living, but Swammerdam persevered and in late 1669 published Historia insectorum generalis ofte Algemeene verhandeling van de bloedeloose dierkens. The treatise summarised his study of insects he had collected around Amsterdam, he countered the prevailing Aristotelian notion that insects were imperfect animals that lacked internal anatomy. Following the publication his father withdrew all financial support; as a result, Swammerdam was forced, at least to practice medicine in order to finance his own research. He obtained leave at Amsterdam to dissect the bodies of those. At university Swammerdam engaged in the religious and philosophical ideas of his time, he categorically opposed the ideas behind spontaneous generation, which held that God had created some creatures, but not insects. Swammerdam argued that this would blasphemously imply that parts of the universe were excluded from God's will. In his scientific study Swammerdam tried to prove that God's creation happened time after time, that it was uniform and stable.
Swammerdam was much influenced by René Descartes, whose natural philosophy had been adopted by Dutch intellectuals. In Discours de la methode Descartes had argued that nature was orderly and obeyed fixed laws, thus nature could be explained rationally. Swammerdam was convinced that the generation, of all creatures obeyed the same laws. Having studied the reproductive organs of men and women at university he set out to study the generation of insects, he had devoted himself to studying insects after discovering that the king bee was indeed a queen bee. Swammerdam knew this, but he did not publish this finding. In 1669 Swammerdam was visited by Cosimo II de' Medici and showed him another revolutionary discovery. Inside a caterpillar the limbs and wings of the butterfly could be seen; when Swammerdam published The General History of Insects, or General Treatise on little Bloodless Animals that year he not only did away with the idea that insects lacked internal anatomy, but attacked the Christian notion that insects originated from spontaneous generation and that their life cycle was a metamorphosis.
Swammerdam maintained that all insects originated from eggs and their limbs grew and developed slowly. Thus there so called higher animals. Swammerdam declared war on "vulgar errors" and the symbolic interpretation of insects was, in his mind, incompatible with the power of God, the almighty architect. Swammerdam therefore dispelled the seventeenth-century notion of metamorphosis —the idea that different life stages of an insect represent different individuals or a sudden change from one type of animal to another. Swammerdam suffered a crisis of consciousness. Having believed that his scientific research was a tribute to the Creator, he started to fear that he may be worshipping the idol of curiosities. In 1673 Swammerdam fell under the influence of the Flemish mystic Antoinette Bourignon, his 1675 treatise on the mayfly, entitled Ephemeri vita, included devout poetry and documented his religious experiences. Swammerdam found comfort in the arms of Bourignon's sect in Schleswig Holstein, but was back in Amsterdam in early 1676.
In a letter to Henry Oldenburg he explained "I was never at any time busier than in these days, the chief of all architects has blessed my endeavors". His religious cr
John Milton was an English poet, man of letters, civil servant for the Commonwealth of England under its Council of State and under Oliver Cromwell. He wrote at a time of religious flux and political upheaval, is best known for his epic poem Paradise Lost, written in blank verse. Writing in English, Latin and Italian, he achieved international renown within his lifetime, his celebrated Areopagitica, written in condemnation of pre-publication censorship, is among history's most influential and impassioned defences of freedom of speech and freedom of the press, his desire for freedom extended into his style: he introduced new words to the English language, was the first modern writer to employ non-rhymed verse outside of the theatre or translations. William Hayley's 1796 biography called him the "greatest English author", he remains regarded "as one of the preeminent writers in the English language", though critical reception has oscillated in the centuries since his death. Samuel Johnson praised Paradise Lost as "a poem which...with respect to design may claim the first place, with respect to performance, the second, among the productions of the human mind", though he described Milton's politics as those of an "acrimonious and surly republican".
Poets such as William Blake, William Wordsworth and Thomas Hardy revered him. The phases of Milton's life parallel the major political divisions in Stuart Britain. Milton studied, wrote poetry for private circulation, launched a career as pamphleteer and publicist under the personal rule of Charles I and its breakdown into constitutional confusion and war; the shift in accepted attitudes in government placed him in public office under the Commonwealth of England, from being thought dangerously radical and heretical, he acted as an official spokesman in certain of his publications. The Restoration of 1660 deprived Milton, now blind, of his public platform, but this period saw him complete most of his major works of poetry. Milton's views developed from his extensive reading, as well as travel and experience, from his student days of the 1620s to the English Civil War. By the time of his death in 1674, Milton was impoverished and on the margins of English intellectual life, yet famous throughout Europe and unrepentant for his political choices.
John Milton was born in Bread Street, London on 9 December 1608, the son of composer John Milton and his wife Sarah Jeffrey. The senior John Milton moved to London around 1583 after being disinherited by his devout Catholic father Richard "the Ranger" Milton for embracing Protestantism. In London, the senior John Milton married Sarah Jeffrey and found lasting financial success as a scrivener, he lived in and worked from a house on Bread Street, where the Mermaid Tavern was located in Cheapside. The elder Milton was noted for his skill as a musical composer, this talent left his son with a lifelong appreciation for music and friendships with musicians such as Henry Lawes. Milton's father's prosperity provided his eldest son with a private tutor, Thomas Young, a Scottish Presbyterian with an M. A. from the University of St. Andrews. Research suggests. After Young's tutorship, Milton attended St Paul's School in London. There he began the study of Latin and Greek, the classical languages left an imprint on both his poetry and prose in English.
Milton's first datable compositions are two psalms done at age 15 at Long Bennington. One contemporary source is the Brief Lives of John Aubrey, an uneven compilation including first-hand reports. In the work, Aubrey quotes Christopher, Milton's younger brother: "When he was young, he studied hard and sat up late till twelve or one o'clock at night". Aubrey adds, ""His complexion exceeding faire—he was so faire that they called him the Lady of Christ's College."In 1625, Milton began attending Christ's College, Cambridge. He graduated with a B. A. in 1629, ranking fourth of 24 honours graduates that year in the University of Cambridge. Preparing to become an Anglican priest, Milton stayed on and obtained his Master of Arts degree on 3 July 1632. Milton may have been rusticated in his first year for quarrelling with his tutor, Bishop William Chappell, he was at home in London in the Lent Term 1626. Based on remarks of John Aubrey, Chappell "whipt" Milton; this story is now disputed, though Milton disliked Chappell.
Historian Christopher Hill cautiously notes that Milton was "apparently" rusticated, that the differences between Chappell and Milton may have been either religious or personal. It is possible that, like Isaac Newton four decades Milton was sent home because of the plague, by which Cambridge was badly affected in 1625. In 1626, Milton's tutor was Nathaniel Tovey. At Cambridge, Milton was on good terms with Edward King, for whom he wrote "Lycidas", he befriended Anglo-American dissident and theologian Roger Williams. Milton tutored Williams in Hebrew in exchange for lessons in Dutch. Despite developing a reputation for poetic skill and general erudition, Milton experienced alienation from his peers and university life as a whole. Having once watched his fellow students attempting comedy upon the college stage, he observed'they thought themselves gallant men, I thought them fools'. Milton was disdainful of the university curriculum, which consisted of
Joseph Williamson (politician)
See Joseph Williamson for the Joseph Williamson famous for creating pointless tunnels in Liverpool Sir Joseph Williamson, PRS was an English civil servant and politician who sat in the House of Commons of England variously between 1665 and 1701 and in the Irish House of Commons between 1692 and 1699. He was Secretary of State for the Northern Department 1674–79. Williamson was born at Bridekirk, near Cockermouth in Cumberland, where his father called Joseph, was vicar, his father died when he was young, his mother remarried the Reverend John Ardery. His humble origins were referred to unkindly in life by his enemies after he married into the aristocracy, he was educated at St. Bees School, Westminster School and Queen's College, Oxford, of which he became a fellow. In 1660 he entered the service of the Secretary of State for the Southern Department, Sir Edward Nicholas, retaining his position under the succeeding secretary, Sir Henry Bennet, afterwards Earl of Arlington, he made himself indispensable to Arlington, due to his enormous capacity for hard work, which resulted in his employer delegating most the routine work of the department to him.
He was involved with the foundation of the London Gazette in 1665. Williamson was elected Member of Parliament for Thetford in 1669 and held the seat until 1685. No less than three previous attempts to enter Parliament had been unsuccessful, due to an increasing "backlash" against Government candidates. Samuel Pepys in his celebrated Diary records that when Williamson appeared at the hustings in 1666, he was shouted down by cries of "No courtiers!" In 1672 he was knighted. During the Third Anglo-Dutch War, he drew up plans for the Zealand Expedition, intended to land a newly formed English Army in the Netherlands; the strategy was abandoned after the naval defeat at the Battle of Texel and the Treaty of Westminster which ended the war. In 1673 and 1674 he represented his country at the Congress of Cologne, in the latter year he became Secretary of State for the Northern Department, having purchased this position from Arlington for £6,000, a sum that he required from his successor when he left office in 1679.
He served as Master of The Clothworkers' Company in 1676–77. In 1677, he became the second President of the Royal Society, but his main interests, after politics, were in antiquarian rather than in scientific matters; as Secretary of State he continued Arlington's policy of friendship towards France, hostility towards the Netherlands. William III of Orange developed a deep aversion to Williamson: apart from their opposing policies he is said to have found the tone of Williamson's dispatches unbearably offensive. Just before his removal from the post of Secretary of State, he was arrested on a charge of being implicated in the Popish Plot, but he was at once released by order of Charles II. Williamson was a particular target of the informers because he was one of the few Ministers who disbelieved in the Plot: when Israel Tonge first approached him with "information", who believed, with some reason, that Tonge was insane, gave him a "rude repulse"; as for the other informers, several of whom were members of London's criminal underworld, his efficient intelligence service no doubt told him everything necessary about their characters.
For this reason, the King, sceptical about the Plot's reality, wished to retain his services, at least in the short term. The actual charge made against Williamson, of commissioning Roman Catholic army officers, was spurious since these officers were intended for foreign service. Williamson's nerve began to give way under the strain of the Plot, he became a political liability. Charles dismissed him after he gave orders to search Somerset House, the Queen's official residence, without the King's permission. I do not wish to be served by a man who fears anyone more than me". Danby was suspected by many of having a part in Williamson's downfall, as he was said to have taken offence at Williamson's recent marriage to Lady Clifton, a wealthy widow and cousin of the King, his marriage, at the beginning of the Popish Plot, should on the face of it have strengthened him politically: his wife was Katherine Stewart, Baroness Clifton, daughter of George Stewart, 9th Seigneur d'Aubigny, sister of Charles Stewart, 3rd Duke of Richmond, of a junior branch of the Stuart dynasty.
Her first husband, by whom she had several children, was Henry O'Brien, Lord Ibrackan, an old friend of Williamson. Despite the obvious advantages of the match, John Evelyn reported that it was unpopular, it weakened Williamson politically. Since Katherine as well as her first husband was an old friend of Williamson she was not a surprising choice as a bride. More in an age of marked class distinctions, it was considered improper that the sister of a Royal Duke should marry a country clergyman's son, her children are said to have objected to the marriage. Danby, who thought that Katherine would be a good match for his own son, was suspected of having had a hand in Williamson's downfall. After a period of comparative inactivity Sir Joseph represented England at the Congress of Nijmegen, in 1698 h
Second Anglo-Dutch War
The Second Anglo-Dutch War, or the Second Dutch War was a conflict fought between England and the Dutch Republic for control over the seas and trade routes, where England tried to end the Dutch domination of world trade during a period of intense European commercial rivalry. After initial English successes, the war ended in a Dutch victory, it was the second of a series of naval wars fought between the English and the Dutch in the 17th and 18th centuries. The First Anglo-Dutch War was concluded with an English victory in the Battle of Scheveningen in August 1653, although a peace treaty was not signed for another eight months; the Commonwealth government of Oliver Cromwell tried to avoid further conflict with the Dutch Republic. It did not come to the aid of its ally, when the Dutch thwarted the Swedish attempt to conquer Denmark in the Battle of the Sound on November 8, 1658; the Commonwealth was at war with Spain in the Anglo-Spanish War. The English feared Dutch intervention in this war on the side of the Spanish, in part, because the Republic contained a strong Orangist party hostile to Cromwell.
The leading personage of the Royal House of Orange was young Prince William, the grandson of Charles I the beheaded king of England. Thus, the Commonwealth of England feared that the Orange party was under the influence of exiled English royalists. In reality, the Dutch Republic had only had its independence from Spain recognised, so had no desire to aid their hated former master; the Dutch were busy building up their shipping and trading fleet again following the devastation of the First Anglo-Dutch War. While the English had won a great many naval battles and destroyed a great many Dutch ships during the First Anglo-Dutch War, they failed to win the war; the Republic was in a better financial position than the Commonwealth of England. While the war continued, the Dutch had been free to expand their trade networks along the main sea routes outside English home waters without fear of English retaliation due to their lack of available ships. English commerce was grinding to a halt as they lost access to the Baltic and the Mediterranean Seas, when the two sides signed the peace treaty in 1654, the English were in the same position that they had begun: watching the Dutch Republic outstrip their economy to become the premier European trade power.
To make matters worse for England, the conclusion of this war was followed by the Anglo-Spanish War of 1654-1660, which disrupted the remnants of trade the Commonwealth had with Spain and Southern Italy. The Dutch were left with free rein to expand their influence in the area: this period was one of the highest points in the Dutch Golden Age, the English interference was responsible; the real problem with the English trading system was that it was based on tariffs and customs while the Dutch system was based on free trade. Dutch goods were much more attractive around the world because they lacked the additional taxing on imports and exports that came with English goods; the end of the First Anglo-Dutch War had not changed this dynamic. Indeed, the end of the war had set the United Provinces free to expand their trade while the English were still hindered by the same tariff system. Thus, another war seemed inevitable to many people of the time, as the Commonwealth was unlikely to give up its naval and economic superiority without a fight.
The Treaty of Westminster itself planted the seeds of future conflict because of its secret annexe which contained the Act of Seclusion. The Act of Seclusion forbade the Province of Holland from installing any member of the House of Orange as their stadtholder. On April 22, 1654, the States-General of the entire United Provinces approved the Treaty of Westminster, unaware of the secret annexe, attached to the Treaty in the version that the English had ratified, it was expected that each province in the United Provinces of the Netherlands would vote for a separate Act of Exclusion in which each province would refuse to install any member of the House of Orange as stadholder of that particular province. Of course, the most important province was Holland. Thanks to the influence that Johan de Witt could exert over the States-General, the Province of Holland was hardly overruled in the States General. On May 4, 1654, the Province of Holland passed its own Act of Exclusion; the Restoration of Charles II, in 1660, produced a general surge of optimism in England.
Many hoped to reverse the Dutch dominance in world trade. At first, Charles II sought to remain on friendly terms with the Republic, as he was greatly in debt to the House of Orange, which had lent enormous sums to Charles I during the English Civil War. A conflict soon developed with the States of Holland over the education and future prospects of his nephew William III of Orange, the posthumous son of Dutch stadtholder William II of Orange, over whom Charles had been made a guardian by his late sister Mary; the Dutch, in this coordinated by Cornelis and Andries de Graeff, tried to placate the king with prodigious gifts, such as the Dutch Gift of 1660. Negotiations were started in 1661 to solve these issues, which ended in the treaty of 1662, in which the Dutch conceded on most points. In 1663, Louis XIV of France stated his claim to portions of the Habsbur
Giovanni Domenico Cassini
Giovanni Domenico Cassini was an Italian mathematician and engineer. Cassini was born in Perinaldo, near Imperia, at that time in the County of Nice, part of the Savoyard state. Cassini is known for his work in the fields of engineering. Cassini discovered four satellites of the planet Saturn and noted the division of the rings of Saturn. Giovanni Domenico Cassini was the first of his family to begin work on the project of creating a topographic map of France; the Cassini space probe, launched in 1997, was named after him and became the fourth to visit the planet Saturn and the first to orbit the planet. Cassini was the son of Jacopo Cassini, a Tuscan, Giulia Crovesi. In 1648 Cassini accepted a position at the observatory at Panzano, near Bologna, to work with Marquis Cornelio Malvasia, a rich amateur astronomer, initiating the first part of his career. During his time at the Panzano Observatory, Cassini was able to complete his education under the scientists Giovanni Battista Riccioli and Francesco Maria Grimaldi.
In 1650 the senate of Bologna appointed him as the principal chair of astronomy at the University of Bologna. In San Petronio, Cassini convinced church officials to create an improved sundial meridian line at the San Petronio Basilica, moving the pinhole gnomon that projected the Sun's image up into the church's vaults 66.8 meters away from the meridian inscribed in the floor. The much larger image of the Sun's disk projected by the camera obscura effect allowed him to measure the change in diameter of the Sun's disk over the year as the Earth moved toward and away from the Sun, he concluded the changes in size he measured were consistent with Johannes Kepler's 1609 heliocentric theory, where the Earth was moving around the Sun in an elliptical orbit instead of the Ptolemaic system where the Sun orbited the Earth in an eccentric orbit. Cassini remained in Bologna working until Colbert recruited him to come to Paris to help set up the Paris Observatory. Cassini departed from Bologna on 25 February 1669.
In 1669 Cassini moved to France and through a grant from Louis XIV of France helped to set up the Paris Observatory, which opened in 1671. For the remaining forty-one years of his life Cassini served as astronomer/astrologer to Louis XIV. During this time, Cassini's method of determining longitude was used to measure the size of France for the first time; the country turned out to be smaller than expected, the king quipped that Cassini had taken more of his kingdom from him than he had won in all his wars. On 14 July 1673 Cassini obtained the benefits of French citizenship. In 1674 he married Geneviève de Laistre, the daughter of the lieutenant general of the comté of Clermont. "From this marriage Cassini had two sons. Cassini was an astronomer at the Panzano Observatory, from 1648 to 1669, he was appointed professor of astronomy at the University of Bologna in 1650 and became, in 1671, director of the Paris Observatory. He adopted his new country, to the extent that he became interchangeably known as Jean-Dominique Cassini – although, the name of his great-grandson, comte de Cassini.
Cassini observed and published surface markings on Mars, determined the rotation periods of Mars and Jupiter, discovered four satellites of Saturn and Rhea in 1671 and 1672, Tethys and Dione. Cassini was the first to observe these four Saturn's moons, which he called Sidera Lodoicea, including Iapetus, whose anomalous variations in brightness he ascribed as being due to the presence of dark material on one hemisphere. In addition he discovered the Cassini Division in the rings of Saturn, he shares with Robert Hooke credit for the discovery of the Great Red Spot on Jupiter. Around 1690, Cassini was the first to observe differential rotation within Jupiter's atmosphere. In 1672 he sent his colleague Jean Richer to Cayenne, French Guiana, while he himself stayed in Paris; the two made simultaneous observations of Mars and, by computing the parallax, determined its distance from Earth. This allowed for the first time an estimation of the dimensions of the solar system: since the relative ratios of various sun-planet distances were known from geometry, only a single absolute interplanetary distance was needed to calculate all of the distances.
Cassini held the Earth to be the centre of the solar system, though observations compelled him to accept the model of the solar system proposed by Nicolaus Copernicus, that of Tycho Brahe. "In 1659 he presented a model of the planetary system, in accord with the hypothesis of Nicolaus Copernicus. In 1661 he developed a method, inspired by Kepler's work, of mapping successive phases of solar eclipses. Cassini rejected Newton's theory of gravity, after measurements he conducted which wrongly suggested that the Earth was elongated at its poles. More than forty years of controversy about the subject were closed in favour of Newton's theory after the measurements of the French Geodesic Mission (1736
The Curtius Baronetcy of Sweden was a title in the Baronetage of England, created on 2 April 1652 for William Curtius, "Resident to the King of Sweden". Curtius was a diplomat representing the House of Stuart during the Thirty Years' War and the exile of Charles II, head magistrate for two of the Electoral Palatinate districts for many years. Curtius was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1667, was England's Resident Ambassador to the Holy Roman Empire from 1664 until 1677; the second baronet was Karl Wilhelm. The baronetcy became extinct in 1823 with the death of Wilhelm Adam; the Curti-Schloss was inherited by Julianne von Curti, by her children of her marriage into the Von Gall family. William Curtius served as secretary to King Charles I's Calvinist brother-in-law, Frederick V, Elector Palatine, up until the Elector's death in November 1632. In 1632, in the midst of the Thirty Years' War, Curtius went to the Swedish King campaigning in Germany as Secretary to the English ambassador Sir Henry Vane.
Curtius remained in Germany as an Agent of Charles I of England until December 1633. Curtis entered the Palatine Service until Charles I appointed him as representative of England at the Imperial Diet of Nürnberg in 1639 and 1649, at Frankfurt in 1642, he supported Sir Thomas Roe in Vienna in 1641-42. Curtius was appointed by Charles I as official resident of the English Crown in the Holy Roman Empire. In 1652, the time of his appointment to the Baronetcy by the then-exiled Charles II, Curtius was "resident for his majesty, with Gustavus, King of Sweden, the princes of Germany". Charles II described him as "borne in these partes, long imployed there by our father of blessed memory" On 5 August 1664, four years after Charles II's Restoration, Sir William was appointed Resident Ambassador at Frankfurt am Main, remained so until recredentialled in September 1677. Curtis was appointed Oberamtmann - Bailiff, or District Governor - for the Electoral Palatinate in the city of Umstadt from 1650 to 1672, his son Charles William again from 1681 to 1691.
At that time, half the city was owned by the Palatinate as a condominium with the changing successors of the Landgraviate of Hesse: the Landgraviate of Hesse-Darmstadt, Landgraviate of Hesse-Kassel and Hesse-Rheinfels. Sir William was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society on 3 October 1667, he corresponded with both Henry Oldenburg, the Secretary of the Society, Leibniz, bringing the latter a copy of Wilkin's Encyclopaedic Essay. William Curtius FRS, 1st Baronet. Charles Curtius, 2nd Baronet Herman Carl August Adolf Curtius, 3rd Baronet Wilhelm Adam von Curti, 4th Baronet. On his death in 1678, Sir William was succeeded as Baronet by his son, Sir Charles William Curtius, who lived until 1733. Sir Carl was appointed as Oberamtmann of Umstadt, from 1681 to 1691. Sir Charles petitioned the English Parliament to pay the substantial fees promised Sir William by "Kings Charles the First, Second"; the petition sought "for a Debt incurred upon the Account of Publick Service by his Father Sir Wm. Curtius, that to the Amount of Fourteen thousand Two hundred Fifty-five Pounds, as appears by the Accompt signed by his late Majesty King Charles the Second.
The petition was unsuccessful. Since 1785, the church in the village of Wald-Amorbach, Breuberg has rung its bells at 10am daily in the "Curti-Peal" for the salvation of the von Curti family; the peal was established by Carl August Adolf von Curti's widow, Erhardine Catharina Louise von Wahl, when she gave the Curti forest to Gross-Umstadt. Wilhelm Adam von Curti was declared bankrupt in 1790, his estate at that time included feudal leases in six towns: Groß-Karben, Klein-Karben, Kloppenheim, Burggräfenrode and Dortelweil, Kurpfalz. The baronetcy became extinct in 1823 with the death of the last male descendant. Sir William Curtius in the National Portrait Gallery Despatches and papers of Sir William Curtius 1643–1662, Surrey History Centre
Johannes Hevelius was a councillor and mayor of Danzig, Kingdom of Poland. As an astronomer, he gained a reputation as "the founder of lunar topography", described ten new constellations, seven of which are still used by astronomers. According to the Polish Academy of Sciences the origin of the name goes back to the surname Hawke, a historical alternative spelling for the English word hawk, which changed into Hawelke or Hawelecke. In Poland he is known as Jan Heweliusz, According to Patrick Moore Hevelius is a Latinised version of the name Hewelcke other versions of the name include Hewel, Hevelke or Hoefel, Höwelcke, Höfelcke. According to Feliks Bentkowski during his early years he signed as Hoefelius, Ludwig Günther-Fürstenwalde reports, next to the usage of the Latinised version, Hevelius' signature as Johannes Höffelius Dantiscanus in 1631 and Hans Höwelcke in 1639. Hevelius' father was his mother Kordula Hecker, they were wealthy brewing merchants of Bohemian origin. As a young boy, Hevelius was sent to Gądecz.
Hevelius brewed the famous Jopen beer, which gave its name to the "Jopengasse"/"Jopejska" Street, after 1945 renamed as Piwna Street, where St. Mary's Church is located. After gymnasium, where he was taught by Peter Crüger, Hevelius in 1630 studied jurisprudence at Leiden travelled in England and France, meeting Pierre Gassendi, Marin Mersenne and Athanasius Kircher. In 1634 he settled in his native town, on 21 March 1635 married Katharine Rebeschke, a neighbour two years younger who owned two adjacent houses; the following year, Hevelius became a member of the beer-brewing guild, which he led from 1643 onwards. Throughout his life, Hevelius took a leading part in municipal administration, becoming town councillor in 1651. In 1641 he built an observatory on the roofs of his three connected houses, equipping it with splendid instruments including a large Keplerian telescope of 46 m focal length, with a wood and wire tube he constructed himself; this may have been the longest "tubed" telescope before the advent of the tubeless aerial telescope.
The observatory was known by the name Sternenburg or "Star Castle". This private observatory was visited by Polish Queen Marie Louise Gonzaga on 29 January 1660; as a subject of the Polish kings, Hevelius enjoyed the patronage of four consecutive kings of Poland, his family was raised to the position of nobility by the King of Poland Jan Kazimierz in 1660, who visited his observatory in 1659. While the noble status was not ratified by the Polish Sejm Hevelius's coat of arms includes the distinctive Polish royal crown; the Polish King John III Sobieski who visited Hevelius numerous times in years 1677–1683 released him from paying taxes connected to brewing and allowed his beer to be sold outside the city limits. In May 1679 the young Englishman Edmond Halley visited him as emissary of the Royal Society, whose fellow Hevelius had been since 1664; the Royal Society considers him one of the first German fellows. Małgorzata Czerniakowska writes that "Jan Heweliusz was the first Pole to be inducted into the Royal Society in London.
This important event took place on 19th March 1664". Hevelius considered himself as being citizen of the Polish world and stated in a letter dated from 9 January 1681 that he was Civis orbis Poloni, qui in honorem patriae suae rei Literariae bono tot labores molestiasque, absit gloria, cum maximo facultatum suarum dispendio perduravit-"citizen of Polish world who, for glory of his country and for the good of science, worked so much, while not boasting much, executed his work with most effort per his abilities" Halley had been instructed by Robert Hooke and John Flamsteed to persuade Hevelius to use telescopes for his measurements, yet Hevelius demonstrated that he could do well with only quadrant and alidade, he is thus considered the last astronomer to do major work without the use of a telescope. Hevelius made observations of sunspots, 1642–1645, devoted four years to charting the lunar surface, discovered the Moon's libration in longitude, published his results in Selenographia, sive Lunae descriptio, a work which entitles him to be called "the founder of lunar topography".
He discovered four comets, in 1652, 1661, 1672 and 1677. These discoveries led to his thesis. A complex halo phenomenon was observed by many in the city on 20 February 1661, was described by Hevelius in his Mercurius in Sole visus Gedani the following year. Katharine, his first wife, died in 1662, a year Hevelius married Elisabeth Koopmann, the young daughter of a merchant family; the couple had four children. Elisabeth supported him, published two of his works after his death, is considered the first female astronomer, his observatory and books were destroyed by fire on 26 September 1679. The catastrophe is described in the preface to his Annus climactericus, he promptly repaired the damage enough to enable him to observe the great comet of December 1680. He named the constellation Sextans in memory of this lost instrument. In late 1683, in commemoration of the victory of Christian forces led by Polish King John III Sobieski at the Battle of Vienna, he invented and named the constellation Scutum Sobiescianum, now called Scutum.
This constellation first occurred publicly in his star atlas Firmamentum Sobi