Wicquefort, Abraham De

, famous for his embassies and his writings, was a Hollander, and born in 1598; but it is not certain at what place, though some have mentioned Amsterdam. He left his country very young, and | went and settled in France, where he applied himself diligently to political studies, and sought to advance himself by political services. Having made himself known to the elector of Brandenburg, this prince appointed him his resident at the court of France, about 1626 and he preserved this post two- and-thirty years, that is, till 1658. Then he fell into disgrace with cardinal Mazarin, who never had much esteem for him, and particularly disliked his attachment to the house of Conde. The cardinal accused him of having sent secret intelligence to Holland and other places; and he was ordered to leave the court and the kingdom: but, before he set out, he was seized and sent to the Bastille. M. le Teilier wrote at the same time tp the elector of Brandenburg, to justify the action; which he did by assuring him that his minister was an intelligencer in the pay of several princes. The year after, however (1659), he was set at liberty, and escorted by a guard to Calais; whence he passed over to England, and thence to Holland. There De Witt, the pensionary, received him affectionately, and protected him powerfully: he had indeed been the victim of De Witt, with whom he had carried on a secret correspondence, which was discovered by intercepted letters. He reconciled himself afterwards to France, and heartily espoused its interests; whether out of spite to the prince of Orange, or from some other motive; and the count d’Estrades reposed the utmost confidence in him. JFor the present, the duke of Brunswic-Liwienburg made him his resident at the Hague; and he was appointed, besides this, secretary-interpreter of the States General for foreign dispatches.

The ministry of De Witt being charged with great events, the honour of the commonwealth, as well as of the pensionary, required that they should be written; and Wicquefort was selected as the properest person for such a work. He wrote this history under the inspection, as well as protection, of the pensionary, who furnished him vxithsuch memoirs as he wanted, and he had begun the printing of it when, being accused of holding st-cret correspondence with the enemies of the States, he wa> made prisoner at the Hague in March 1676; and, November following, condemned to perpt tual imprisonment, and to the forfeiture of all his effects. His son published this sentence in Germany the year after, with remarks, which he addressed to the plenipotentiaries assembled then at Nimeguen to treat | of peace: but these powers did not think proper to meddle with the affair. Wicquefort amused himself with continuing his history of the United Provinces, which he interspersed, as was natural for a man in his situation, with satirical strokes, not only against the prince of Orange, whom he personally hated, but also against the government and the court of justice who had condemned him. This work was published at the Hague in 1719, with this title, “L’Histoire des Provinces Unies des Pays-Bas, depuis le parfait etablissement de cet Etat par la Paix de Munster:” it contains 1174 pages in folio, 246 of which were printed off when the author was thrown into prison.

He continued under restraint till 1679, and then contrived to escape by the assistance- of one of his daughters, who ran the risk of her own liberty in order to procure his. By exchanging clothes with the lady, he went out, and took refuge at the court of the duke of Zell; from which be withdrew in 1681, disgusted, because that prince would not act with more zeal in procuring his sentence to be reversed at the Hague. It is not known what became of him after; but he is said to have died in 1682. His “L’Ambassadeur et ses Fonctions,” printed at the Hague, 1681, in 2 vols. 4to, is his principal work, and is a very curious miscellany of facts and remarks, the latter not always profound, but often useful. He published also in 1677, during his imprisonment, “Memoires touchant les Ambassadeurs et les Ministres publics.” He translated some books of travels from the German into French and also from the Spanish, “L’Ambassade de D. Garcias de Silva f igueroa en Perse, contenant la Politique de ce grand Empire,” &c. These works, which Wicquetort was at the pains to translate, are said to contain many curious and interesting things. 1


Niceron, vol. XXXIII. —Moreri. —Dict. Hist.