Accordingly, in May 1617, Descartes set out for the Netherlands and took service in the army of Prince Maurice of Orange.
RENE DESCARTES (1596-1650), French philosopher, was born at La Haye, in Touraine, midway between Tours and Poitiers, on the 31st of March 1596, and died at Stockholm on the 1th of February 1650.
Joachim Descartes, his father, having purchased a commission as counsellor in the parlement of Rennes, introduced the family into that demi-noblesse of the robe which, between the bourgeoisie and the high nobility, maintained a lofty rank in French society.
The withdrawal of Mersenne in 1614 to a post in the provinces was the signal for Descartes to abandon social life and shut himself up for nearly two years in a secluded house of the faubourg St Germain.
During the leisure thus arising, Descartes one day had his attention drawn to a placard in the Dutch tongue; as the language, of which he never became perfectly master, was then strange to him, he asked a bystander to interpret it into either French or Latin.