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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

the past eleven years, his residence and work in the various universities, his intimate association with the learned professors he had met, especially the four named above, had tremendously stimulated him. He had received the best that Europe had to give, but he was not content. Manget says that he constantly had before him the saying of his father and grandfather that the world lay open before him.

While in Leyden he received another great and even more powerful stimulus, one which was to determine his whole future life. Amsterdam, twenty-two miles away, was the headquarters of the Dutch West India Company. This company had been formed, not, like its great confrere of the East Indies, for trade and colonization, but primarily to harry the New World trade and settlements of the Spaniards and Portuguese, the ultimate objects being to capture treasure ships and to create a diversion in favor of the Belgians, with whom the Spaniards were at war. In the course of events, however, the Dutch had captured and at that time held the whole of the northeast coast of Brazil.

Marcgrave knew many Dutchmen who had returned from Brazil, and their stories of the new world fired his imagination and tremendously stirred his ambition. He seems to have made up his mind to go to Brazil, not as a mere adventurer, but as a student and scientist. Manget tells us that

He burned with great desire to study the southern stars, Mercury especially, and he saw the great (unworked) field of natural history and the harvest of no small praise to be gained (from it) in America. Therefore he moved every stone and sought every opportunity for going to America.

Living in Amsterdam at this time was Jan de Laet, "Prefect" or managing director of the Dutch West India Company. Marcgrave knew De Laet and sought his influence and help, and so successfully that he was appointed astronomer to the company was so enrolled on its archives, and was assigned in that capacity for investigation in Brazil.

Accordingly, Marcgrave left Holland, which he was destined never again to see, on January 1, 1638, and after a voyage of two months reached the coast of Brazil. This expedition was under the leadership of Johann Moritz, Count of Nassau-Siegen, to whom was entrusted the supreme command of the Dutch conquests in the New World, and who had preceded Marcgrave into Brazil by a little more than a year. This remarkable man was not merely a great soldier and statesman, but was a lover and cultivator of the sciences in which he was no mean student.[1]

  1. With regard to Count Maurice, the present writer can not do better than quote Swainson's encomium which is attested by all the other writers who speak of the Count, "It is almost inconceivable how this illustrious man, whose life, at this period, would appear to have been spent alternately in the camp and the council, could find leisure even to think of science, still less to have prosecuted it in his closet. Yet the versatility of his mind, and its power of abstraction, was so great that such was actually the fact. He not only patronized and assisted