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HUYGENS, SIR C.—HUYSMANS
a speculation concerning the inhabitants of the planets—was printed posthumously at the Hague in 1698, and appeared almost simultaneously in an English translation. A volume entitled Opera posthuma (Leiden, 1703) contained his “Dioptrica,” in which the ratio between the respective focal lengths of object-glass and eye-glass is given as the measure of magnifying power, together with the shorter essays De vitris figurandis, De corona et parheliis, &c. An early tract De ratiociniis in ludo aleae, printed in 1657 with Schooten’s Exercitationes mathematicae, is notable as one of the first formal treatises on the theory of probabilities; nor should his investigations of the properties of the cissoid, logarithmic and catenary curves be left unnoticed. His invention of the spiral watch-spring was explained in the Journal des savants (Feb. 25, 1675). An edition of his works was published by G. J.’s Gravesande, in four quarto volumes entitled Opera varia (Leiden, 1724) and Opera reliqua (Amsterdam, 1728). His scientific correspondence was edited by P. J. Uylenbroek from manuscripts preserved at Leiden, with the title Christiani Hugenii aliorumque seculi XVII. virorum celebrium exercitationes mathematicae et philosophicae (the Hague, 1833). The publication of a monumental edition of the letters and works of Huygens was undertaken at the Hague by the Société Hollandaise des Sciences, with the heading Œuvres de Christian Huygens (1888), &c. Ten quarto volumes, comprising the whole of his correspondence, had already been issued in 1905. A biography of Huygens was prefixed to his Opera varia (1724); his Éloge in the character of a French academician was printed by J. A. N. Condorcet in 1773. Consult further: P. J. Uylenbroek, Oratio de fratribus Christiano atque Constantino Hugenio (Groningen, 1838); P. Harting, Christiaan Huygens in zijn Leven en Werken geschetzt (Groningen, 1868); J. B. J. Delambre, Hist. de l’astronomie moderne (ii. 549); J. E. Montucla, Hist. des mathématiques (ii. 84, 412, 549); M. Chasles, Aperçu historique sur l’origine des méthodes en géometrie, pp. 101-109; E. Dühring, Kritische Geschichte der allgemeinen Principien der Mechanik, Abschnitt (ii. 120, 163, iii. 227); A. Berry, A Short History of Astronomy, p. 200; R. Wolf, Geschichte der Astronomie, passim; Houzeau, Bibliographie astronomique (ii. 169); F. Kaiser, Astr. Nach. (xxv. 245, 1847); Tijdschrift voor de Wetenschappen (i. 7, 1848); Allgemeine deutsche Biographie (M. B. Cantor); J. C. Poggendorff, Biog. lit. Handwörterbuch.

 (A. M. C.) 


HUYGENS, SIR CONSTANTIJN (1596–1687), Dutch poet and diplomatist, was born at the Hague on the 4th of September 1596. His father, Christiaan Huygens, was secretary to the state council, and a man of great political importance. At the baptism of the child, the city of Breda was one of his sponsors, and the admiral Justinus van Nassau the other. He was trained in every polite accomplishment, and before he was seven could speak French with fluency. He was taught Latin by Johannes Dedelus, and soon became a master of classic versification. He developed not only extraordinary intellectual gifts but great physical beauty and strength, and was one of the most accomplished athletes and gymnasts of his age; his skill in playing the lute and in the arts of painting and engraving attracted general attention before he began to develop his genius as a writer. In 1616 he proceeded, with his elder brother, to the university of Leiden. He stayed there only one year, and in 1618 went to London with the English ambassador Dudley Carleton; he remained in London for some months, and then went to Oxford, where he studied for some time in the Bodleian Library, and to Woodstock, Windsor and Cambridge; he was introduced at the English court, and played the lute before James I. The most interesting feature of this visit was the intimacy which sprang up between the young Dutch poet and Dr Donne, for whose genius Huygens preserved through life an unbounded admiration. He returned to Holland in company with the English contingent of the synod of Dort, and in 1619 he proceeded to Venice in the diplomatic service of his country; on his return he nearly lost his life by a foolhardy exploit, namely, the scaling of the topmost spire of Strassburg cathedral. In 1621 he published one of his most weighty and popular poems, his Batava Tempe, and in the same year he proceeded again to London, as secretary to the ambassador, Wijngaerdan, but returned in three months. His third diplomatic visit to England lasted longer, from the 5th of December 1621 to the 1st of March 1623. During his absence, his volume of satires, ’t Costelick Mal, dedicated to Jacob Cats, appeared at the Hague. In the autumn of 1622 he was knighted by James I. He published a large volume of miscellaneous poems in 1625 under the title of Otiorum libri sex; and in the same year he was appointed private secretary to the stadholder. In 1627 Huygens married Susanna van Baerle, and settled at the Hague; four sons and a daughter were born to them. In 1630 Huygens was called to a seat in the privy council, and he continued to exercise political power with wisdom and vigour for many years, under the title of the lord of Zuylichem. In 1634 he is supposed to have completed his long-talked-of version of the poems of Donne, fragments of which exist. In 1637 his wife died, and he immediately began to celebrate the virtues and pleasures of their married life in the remarkable didactic poem called Dagwerck, which was not published till long afterwards. From 1639 to 1641 he occupied himself by building a magnificent house and garden outside the Hague, and by celebrating their beauties in a poem entitled Hofwijck, which was published in 1653. In 1647 he wrote his beautiful poem of Oogentroost or “Eye Consolation,” to gratify his blind friend Lucretia van Trollo. He made his solitary effort in the dramatic line in 1657, when he brought out his comedy of Trijntje Cornelis Klacht, which deals, in rather broad humour, with the adventures of the wife of a ship’s captain at Zaandam. In 1658 he rearranged his poems, and issued them with many additions, under the title of Corn Flowers. He proposed to the government that the present highway from the Hague to the sea at Scheveningen should be constructed, and during his absence on a diplomatic mission to the French court in 1666 the road was made as a compliment to the venerable statesman, who expressed his gratitude in a descriptive poem entitled Zeestraet. Huygens edited his poems for the last time in 1672, and died in his ninety-first year, on the 28th of March 1687. He was buried, with the pomp of a national funeral, in the church of St Jacob, on the 4th of April. His second son, Christiaan, the eminent astronomer, is noticed separately.

Constantijn Huygens is the most brilliant figure in Dutch literary history. Other statesmen surpassed him in political influence, and at least two other poets surpassed him in the value and originality of their writings. But his figure was more dignified and splendid, his talents were more varied, and his general accomplishments more remarkable than those of any other person of his age, the greatest age in the history of the Netherlands. Huygens is the grand seigneur of the republic, the type of aristocratic oligarchy, the jewel and ornament of Dutch liberty. When we consider his imposing character and the positive value of his writings, we may well be surprised that he has not found a modern editor. It is a disgrace to Dutch scholarship that no complete collection of the writings of Huygens exists. His autobiography, De vita propria sermonum libri duo, did not see the light until 1817, and his remarkable poem, Cluyswerck, was not printed until 1841. As a poet Huygens shows a finer sense of form than any other early Dutch writer; the language, in his hands, becomes as flexible as Italian. His epistles and lighter pieces, in particular, display his metrical ease and facility to perfection.

 (E. G.) 


HUYSMANS, the name of four Flemish painters who matriculated in the Antwerp gild in the 17th century. Cornelis the elder, apprenticed in 1633, passed for a mastership in 1636, and remained obscure. Jacob, apprenticed to Frans Wouters in 1650, wandered to England towards the close of the reign of Charles II., and competed with Lely as a fashionable portrait painter. He executed a portrait of the queen, Catherine of Braganza, now in the national portrait gallery, and Horace Walpole assigns to him the likeness of Lady Bellasys, catalogued at Hampton Court as a work of Lely. His portrait of Izaak Walton in the National Gallery shows a disposition to imitate the styles of Rubens and Van Dyke. According to most accounts he died in London in 1696. Jan Baptist Huysmans, born at Antwerp in 1654, matriculated in 1676-1677, and died there in 1715-1716. He was younger brother to Cornelis Huysmans the second, who was born at Antwerp in 1648, and educated by Gaspar de Wit and Jacob van Artois. Of Jan Baptist little or nothing has been preserved, except that he registered numerous apprentices at Antwerp, and painted a landscape dated 1697 now in the Brussels museum. Cornelis the second is the only master of the name of Huysmans whose talent was largely acknowledged. He received lessons from two artists, one of whom was familiar with the Roman art of the Poussins, whilst the other inherited the scenic style of the school of Rubens. He combined the two in a rich, highly coloured, and usually effective style, which, however, was not free from monotony.