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Coornhert, Dirck Volckertszoon

COORNHERT, DIRCK VOLCKERTSZOON (1522-1590), Dutch politician and theologian, youngest son of Volckert Coornhert, cloth merchant, was born at Amsterdam in 1522. As a child he spent some years in Spain and Portugal. Returning home, he was disinherited by his father's will, for his marriage with Cornelia (Neeltje) Simons, a portionless gentlewoman. He took for a time the post of major-domo to Reginald (Reinoud), count of Brederode. Soon he settled in Haarlem, as engraver on copper, and produced works which retain high values. Learning Latin, he published Dutch translations from Cicero, Seneca and Boetius. He was appointed secretary to the city (1562) and secretary to the burgomasters (1564). Throwing himself into the struggle with Spanish rule, he drew up the manifesto of William of Orange (1566). Imprisoned at the Hague (1568), he escaped to Cleves, where he maintained himself by his art. Recalled in 1572, he was secretary of state for a short time; his aversion to military violence led him to return to Cleves, where William continued to employ his services and his pen. As a religious man, he wrote and strove in favour of tolerance, being decidedly against capital punishment for heretics. He had no party views; the Heidelberg catechism, authoritative in Holland, he criticized. The great Arminius, employed to refute him, was won over by his arguments. He died at Gouda on the 29th of October 1590. His Dutch version of the New Testament, following the Latin of Erasmus, was never completed. His works, in prose and verse, were published in 1630, 3 vols.

See F. D. J. Moorrees, Dirck Volckertszoon Coornhert (1887); N. Delvenne, Biog. des Pays-Bas (1829); A. J. van der Aa, Biog. Woordenboek der Nederlanden (1855).

(A. Go.*)

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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