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the famous pensionary of Holland, was the second son of Jacob De

, the famous pensionary of Holland, was the second son of Jacob De Witt, burgomaster of Dort, and deputy to the states of Holland; and born in 1625. He was educated at Dort, and made so great a progress in his studies, that at twenty-three he published “Elementa Curvarum Linearum” one of the ablest books in mathematics that had appeared in those days. After he had taken the degree of LL. D. he travelled for some years; and, on his return in 1650, became a pensionary of Dort, and distinguished himself early in the management of public affairs. He opposed with all his power the war between the English and Dutch, representing in strong colours the necessary ill consequences of it to the republic: and, when the events justified his predictions, gained so great credit, that he was unanimously chosen pensionary of Holland; first to officiate provisionally, and afterwards absolutely into the office. On this occasion, some of his friends, reminding him of the fate of his predecessor Barnevelt, he replied, that “human life was liable to trouble and danger; and that he thought it honourable to serve his country, which he was resolved to do, whatever returns he might meet with.” The continuance of the war was so visibly destructive to the commerce and interest of the republic, that the pensionary with his friends used all their skill to produce a negociation. Ambassadors were sent to Cromwell, who by this time had called a new parliament. To this assembly the Dutch ministers were directed to apply, but quickly found them very different people from those with whom they had been accustomed to deal; for they entertained the ambassadors with long prayers, and discovered a total ignorance of the business, telling Cromwell, that, if he would assume the supreme authority, they might soon come to a right understanding. This was precisely what he wanted; and though he rejected their advice in words, declaring himself an humble creature of the parliament, yet he soon after found means to get rid of them, and took upon him the government under the title of protector. He then made a peace with the Dutch; the most remarkable condition of which was, the adding a secret article for the exclusion of the house of Orange, to which the States consented by a solemn act. But the article of the exclusion raised a great clamour in Holland: it was insinuated to be suggested to Cromwell by De Witt; and the pensionary and his friends found it difficult to carry points absolutely necessary for the service of the people. The clergy too began to meddle with affairs of state in their pulpits; and, instead of instructing the people how to serve God, were for directing their superiors how to govern their subjects. But his firmness got the better of these difficulties; and so far overcame all prejudices, that when the time of his high office was expired, he was unanimously continued in it, by a resolution of the States, Sept. 15, 1663.