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One may regard Fermat as the first inventor of the new calculus. In his method De max imis et minimis he equates the quantity of which one seeks the maximum or the minimum to the expression of the same quantity in which the unknown is increased by the indeterminate quantity. In this equation he causes the radicals and fractions, if any such there be, to disappear and after having crossed out the terms common to the two numbers, he divides all others by the indeterminate quantity which occurs in them as a factor; then he takes this quantity zero and he has an equation which serves to determine the unknown sought. ...It is easy to see at first glance that the rule of the differential calculus which consists in equating to zero the differential of the expression of which one seeks a maximum or a minimum, obtained by letting the unknown of that expression vary, gives the same result, because it is the same fundamentally and the terms one neglects as infinitely small in the differential calculus are those which are suppressed as zeroes in the procedure of Fermat. His method of tangents depends on the same principle. In the equation involving the abscissa and **ordinate** which he calls the specific property of the curve, he augments or diminishes the abscissa by an indeterminate quantity and he regards the new **ordinate** as belonging both to the curve and to the tangent; this furnishes him with an equation which he treats as that for a case of a maximum or a minimum. ...Here again one sees the analogy of the method of Fermat with that of the differential calculus; for, the indeterminate quantity by which one augments the abscissa x corresponds to its differential dx , and the quantity ye/t , which is the corresponding augmentation [Footnote: Fermat lets e be the increment of x , and t the subtangent for the point x,y on the curve.] of y , corresponds to the differential dy . It is also remarkable that in the paper which contains the discovery of the differential calculus, printed in the Leipsic Acts of the month of October, 1684, under the title Nova methodus pro maximis et minimis etc., Leibnitz calls dy a line which is to the arbitrary increment dx as the **ordinate** y is to the subtangent; this brings his analysis and that of Fermat nearer together. One sees therefore that the latter has opened the quarry by an idea that is very original, but somewhat obscure, which consists in introducing in the equation an indeterminate which should be zero by the nature of the question, but which is not made to vanish until after the entire equation has been divided by that same quantity. This idea has become the germ of new calculi which have caused geometry and mechanics to make such progress, but one may say that it has brought also the obscurity of the principles of these calculi. And now that one has a quite clear idea of these principles, one sees that the indeterminate quantity which Fermat added to the unknown simply serves to form the derived function which must be zero in the case of a maximum or minimum, and which serves in general to determine the position of tangents of curves. But the geometers contemporary with Fermat did not seize the spirit of this new kind of calculus; they did not regard it but a special artifice, applicable simply to certain cases and subject to many difficulties, ...moreover, this invention which appeared a little before the Géométrie of Descartes remained sterile during nearly forty years. ...Finally Barrow contrived to substitute for the quantities which were supposed to be zero according to Fermat quantities that were real but infinitely small, and he published in 1674 his method of tangents , which is nothing but a construction of the method of Fermat by means of the infinitely small triangle, formed by the increments of the abscissa e , the **ordinate** ey/t , and of the infinitely small arc of the curve regarded as a polygon. This contributed to the creation of the system of infinitesimals and of the differential calculus. Pierre De Fermat