Aitzema, Leo D'

, a gentleman of Frizeland, was born at Doccum in 1600, of a considerable family. His father, Menard Aitzema, was burgomaster and secretary to the admiralty, and his uncle Foppius was resident for the states-general at Hamburgh, and often employed in negociations of the first importance. Leo had scarcely reached his sixteenth year, before he published his Poemuta Juvenilia, but was soon engaged in more serious studies, his uncle having procured him to be appointed counsellor of the Hanse towns, and their resident at the Hague. He is likewise said to have been twice in England on public affairs. The work for which he is best known is a compilation on the history of the United Provinces, written in Dutch, under the title of “Zaken van Staat en Oorlog.” Of this there have been two editions, the first in 16 vols. 4to, 1657 1671, including the period between 1621 and 1668. The second edition is in 7 vols. fol. 1669 1671, | with an account of the peace of Munster, and a treatise entitled the “Lion restored,” or an account of Dutch affairs in 1650 and 1651, which had been separately published in 1652, 4to. The first edition is most esteemed by collectors of history, as in the second there were several omissions, although not of great importance; on the other hand this second is more correct, and the articles better arranged. It consists of an immense collection of original acts, instructions, memorials, letters, correspondence of crowned heads, &c. taken from the most authentic and often most secret sources. He is said to have employed much address in procuring the documents which he wanted. His connection with men in office gave him considerable advantages, but he often used means not quite so ingenuous and delicate. The Dutch reproach him with having divulged their secret correspondence with foreign courts, and particularly with England, and he is also accused of irreligious principles. Wicquefort, in his Ambassador, speaks slightingly of the original part of this great work, in which Bayle says he cannot agree with him. Voluminous, however, as it is, and in many parts uninteresting, it throws great light on the history of the times, and from it the “Histoire des Provinces Unies,” 8 vols. 4to, Paris, 1757 1771, is principally taken. A continuation of it, extending to the year 1697, was published by Lambert Bos, 4 vols. fol. Aitzema died in 1669 at the Hague, his usual residence.1


Gen. Dict. Biog. Universelle. —Moreri. —Saxii Onomasticon.