- Samuel Iperusz. Wiselius
name = Samuel Iperusz Wiselius
image_size = 200px
caption = Portrait by H. W. Caspari after being knighted in 1815
office = Committee on the East-Indies
Trade and Possessions
term_start = 1796
term_end = 1801
4 February1769 [http://www.dbnl.org/auteurs/auteur.php?id=wise001 Samuel Iperusz Wiselius at DBNL.org] accessed 28 September2007]
nationality = Dutch
party = Patriots
parents = Iperus Wiselius
occupation = Lawyer, writer, historian and police commissioner.
Samuel Iperusz, Knight Wiselius (
4 February 1769– 15 May 1845) was a successful Dutch lawyer and a prominent Patriot and democrat, involved in the dismantling of the Dutch East India Company("Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie"; VOC) and the negotiations over the Cape. Wiselius was a witty, Voltairian spirit with political views far ahead of his time who would end his days writing dramas on Classical themes. ... [Hooft, H. (1998) Patriot and Patrician: To Holland and Ceylon in the Steps of Henrik Hooft and Pieter Ondaatje, champions of the Dutch democracy, p. 187.] Wiselius corresponded with nearly all the main players at the time of the Batavian Republicand it would be impossible to know that period completely without his carefully-kept and neatly written correspondence. He was also a poet, historian and superintendent of the police.
Samuel was born in
Amsterdam, the only son of the oil merchant Iperus Wiselius, himself a Patriot and a captain in the civic guard, promoted to colonel in May 1787. He grew up on Nieuwezijds Kolk, probably the oldest spot in the city centre. Samuel studied law and classics on the Athenaeum Illustre. In 1786 he travelled to Franeker, and showed his essay on dismissing the local militiain 1650 to Johan Valckenaerand Theodorus van Kooten, then progressive professors at the local University. [Limburg Brouwer, P. van (1846) Het leven van Mr S.I. Wiselius, p. 24-5.] Although the article went missing, the friendship remained, when the three took a prominent role in the country's future after the year 1795.
Samuel had to write a new thesis and obtained his doctorate from Leiden in 1790. He immediately became a lawyer at the Council of Holland, which also served as a court of law. In 1791 Wiselius was the founder of the brotherhood of "l'Infanterie des Cinq Sabres" ("Infantry of the Five Sabres") at Leiden, a flirtation with
freemasonry. [Kluit, M.E. (1953) Cornelis Felix van Maanen tot het herstel der onafhankelijkheid.] (Mozart had gained great success that year with his masonically-inspired opera " The Magic Flute"). Wiselius moved with his family to Amsterdam in a house at Prinsengracht, across the Noorderkerk. He had full house in 1793 with three lectures for the society "Doctrina et Amicitia" in the Kalverstraat. [Wit, C.H.E. de (1965) De strijd tussen aristocratie en democratie in Nederland 1780-1848, p. 83-93.] Wiselius proclaimed that the French Revolutionsignalled a radical new beginning. No longer was it necessary to take heed of the heavy burden of the past, he argued, but the future could be based on development and progress. [ [http://books.google.com/books?id=_EsKX3r0Mv4C&pg=PA59&lpg=PA59&dq=%22samuel+wiselius%22&source=web&ots=eLrE3BXciX&sig=XLBuQ9SknkNFXY-MTcVPAT37PHk Dutch Culture in a European Perspective] by Willem Frijhoff, Marijke Spies, Published 2004Uitgeverij Van Gorcum ISBN 9023239644 accessed 28 September2007]
When French troops had approached the rivers Rhine and Meuse in November 1794, the Patriots started to prepare for a revolution and to stockpile weapons. The hiding place was discovered, and Jacobus van Staphorst and
Cornelis Rudolphus Theodorus Krayenhoffhad to leave the city to avoid being captured. The society in the Kalverstraat was closed down by the police and Wiselius, the president, had to announce the message to its members. In January 1795 Wiselius and Nicolaas van Staphorstwere part of the revolutionary committee that occupied the townhall. Wiselius stood before the city government in the nearby townhall on the Dam Squareto state that the time had arrived for them to resign. [Dunk, H.W. von der (1995) Het gebouw van de Vaderlandsche Sociëteit. In: Maandblad Amstelodamum, Jrg 82, p. 65-75.] The next morning, the new leaders moved in without much ado and voted Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninckas their president. Stadholder William Vescaped by boat from the beach near the Hague to England; there were no casualties and it is known as a velvet revolution.
Pieter Paulus, Wiselius advocated an entirely new order, with more powerful central leadership. He distanced himself clearly from the Union of Utrecht, which in his view was only "a weak, barely coherent, and in many senses useless treaty violated almost daily" ("een zwak, weinig samenhangend, veelszins nutteloos en schier dagelijks geschonden tractaat"). [Vles, E.J. (2004) Pieter Paulus (1753 - 1796) Patriot en Staatsman, p. 92.] The vast powers which the Provincial States (the highest authorities in the provinces) had wielded over the past two hundred years were to be reduced to those of mere clerical institutions . [Idem, p. 112.]
In 1796 he was appointed one of the twenty-eight members of the Committee on the East-Indies Trade and Possessions ("Committé tot den Oost-Indische [n] Handel en Bezittingen"), along with
Wybo Fijnje, with whom he quarrelled two years later. The committee had to come up with a way of dealing with the bankrupt VOC, a symbol of the Ancien Régime's power. The Dutch East India Companywas nationalised, its so-called Outer Chambers in Middelburg, Delft, Enkhuizenand Hoornclosed down and its surplus employees dismissed. In 1798 the Unitarists Wiselius, Von Liebeherr, Wybo Fijnjeand Quint Ondaatjewere involved in the plans of a coup by Daendels. The French ambassador Charles Delacroixwas willing to help if the Dutch came up with a substantial financial reward. [Hooft, H. (1998) Patriot and Patrician: To Holland and Ceylon in the Steps of Henrik Hooft and Pieter Ondaatje, champions of the Dutch democracy, p. 193.] In 1801, Wiselius wrote a pamphlet making a laughing-stock of Guillelmus Titsingh, a former VOC-administrator. [ Habermehl, N.D.B. (1987) Guillelmus Titsingh, een invloedrijk Amsterdams koopman uit de tweede helft van de achttiende eeuw (1733-1805). In: Jrb 97 Amsteldodamum, p. 81-124.] As a result, Wiselius was not re-appointed as one of the nine members of the Council of Asian Possessions and Establishments ("Raad van Aziatische Bezittingen en Etablissementen"). A furious Wiselius accused his former colleagues of mismanagement. [Schutte, G.J. (1974) De Nederlandse Patriotten en de koloniën: Een onderzoek naar hun denkbeelden en optreden, 1770-1800 ("The Dutch Patriots and the colonies. An inquiry into the ideas and practices of the Dutch Enlightenment with regard to the colonies, 1770-1800. With a summary in English. pp. 121-2); Schama, S. (1987) Patriots and Liberators. Revolution in the Netherlands 1780 - 1830, p. 216; G.D. Homan, Nederland in de Napoleontische Tijd 1795-1815, p. 38.] Wiselius had more respect for Dirk van Hogendorp, a precursor of Multatuli. In 1807 Herman Willem Daendelswas sent to Batavia to prepare for the necessary changes. Kingdom of Holland
The appointment of
Louis Bonaparteas King of the Netherlands led to vehement protests in 1806. Wiselius was among those refusing to offer their services to "Mr Bonaparte" ("den heer Bonaparte"). Left without a post, Wiselius now devoted himself to his private interests: the history of Ancient Greeceand of the city of Amsterdam, and writing plays and poems, living in his country house at the borders of the River Vecht.
Later Wiselius was to publish the charter of 1275. He was also involved in the repairs of the dilapidated historic castle
Muiderslot, which was to become museum. [Dunk, H.W. von der (1995) De redding van het Muiderslot. De plannen voor de bestemming van een middeleeus kasteel tot Nederlands-Historisch Museum tijdens koning Willem I. In: Maandblad Amstelodamum, Jrg 82, p. 138-168.]
It was long suggested that it was Wiselius, not
Maria Aletta Hulshoff, who wrote the radical pamphlet entitled "Oproeping aan het Bataafse volk" ("An Appeal to the Batavian People"). Valckenaer defended her and Wiselius helped the radical Hulshoff escape to England. [Joor, J. (2000) De Adelaar en het Lam. Onrust, opruiing en onwilligheid in Nederland ten tijde van het Koninkrijk Holland en de Inlijving bij het Franse Keizerrijk (1806–1813), p. 487-489.] In 1811, the year after, she moved to New York. Kingdom of the Netherlands
In 1814, Wiselius was appointed director of the Amsterdam Police after he had refused to accept a position in Batavia. He preferred to stay with his children when his wife died. In 1817, Wiselius was appointed secretary to the Royal Institute of Sciences (KNI) as successor to
Willem Bilderdijk. On August, 8th 1824 Wiselius was visited in his recently rented house, at a prestigious canal in the Jewish neighborhood, not by Louis Bonaparte (as a long-lived legend about his house at Nieuwe Herengracht 99 would have it), but by Gustav IV, the deposed and exiled king of Sweden. [Wijnman, H.F. (1974) Historische Gids van Amsterdam, p. 224; Limburg Brouwer, P. van (1846) Het leven van Mr S.I. Wiselius, p. 260.] The two men discussed "Het Réveil", a new, revivalist religious movement, which had started around 1810 in Switzerland. [Stunt, T.C.F. (2000) From Awakening to Secession; radical evangelicals in Switzerland and Britain 1815-35). Edinburgh (UK): T&T Clark - ISBN 0567087190] Wiselius showed him the largest room of his house, with a view on the park and five enormous fixed paintings: hunting scenes by Jan Weenix. A few years before Gustav had given up his atticat the smelly Birsigin Basel.
The fixed paintings were very fashionable and appreciated in the Romantic era. Actually the building had always been favoured by rich and illustrious art lovers, such as
Hendrik Gravéand Isaac de Pinto. In 1923, the paintings were sold in a private arrangement by the Order of Poor Ladiesto the media magnate William Randolph Hearst, who was travelling through Europe in search of objects for his Hearst Castleestate on the Californian coast. Since a few decades the paintings have been dispersed; two of them are in the Hotel Carlylein New York, where Hearst lived for some time, one is in Edinburgh, one is since 1953 in the Allen Memorial Art Museumand one painting seems to be lost.
In 1835, as the head of the police, Wiselius was involved in controlling the tax revolts, organized by house owners at
Herenmarktsquare and in the Jordaanneighbourhood. Afterwards he and the city mayor were heavily criticised, while sitting dozy in their chairs, after a meal. [Kannegieter, Z.J. (1935) Het belastingoproer te Amsterdam in 1835. In: Amstelodamum XXXII, p. 287.] Wiselius had not attended in person, but had dispatched a commissioner instead. [Kempen, A.F.J. van (1985) IJ-vorst en IJverzucht. Ambities en rivaliteit in stadsbestuur en gouvernement rondom het belastingoproer van 1835. In: Amstelodamum, p. 136-69.] Wiselius resigned in 1840, but kept his position as secretary of the KNI's literary division for a few more years.
After his death his son-in-law, P. van Limburg Brouwer, a physician and writer, wrote a dull biography, but with some crucial details. The statesman J.R. Thorbecke in his "Historische Schetsen" ("Historical Sketches"), published in 1860, criticised the biographer, his subject and his florid jargon. Some authors regard Wiselius as forceful, sharp-witted, animated or even overstrung.
Simon Schamahardly ever has a positive opinion of Wiselius and the Patriot brotherhood, describing them as only quasi-intellectual [Schama, S. (1977) Patriots and Liberators. Revolution in the Netherlands 1780 - 1830, p. 170, ] , and Wiselius himself as a minor figure, a Jacobin, a renegade[Ibid, p. 229, 231, 237, 244, 256, 273, 463, 487, 499] and an over-loud, pessimistic drawing-room liberal who shirked real issues, and ended up leaving politics an embittered man.
* "Proeve over de verschillende regeringsvormen, in derzelver betrekking tot het maatschappelijk geluk / door S.I.Z. Wiselius (1831)
* "De staatkundige verlichting der Nederlanden, in een wijsgeerig-historisch tafereel geschetst : een geschrift van den jare 1793. Wiselius, Samuel Iperuszoon / 2e dr / Brest van Kempen / 1828
* "Geschiedenis van Oud-Griekenland / J. Del. de Sales ; in het Nederduitsch vert. en met aanm. en bijvoegzelen verm. door Samuel Iperuszoon Wiselius ; 1808-1817
* "Berijmde vertaling van het XIVde hoofdstuk van den propheet Jesaia. Wiselius, S.Iz. / Hendrik Gartman / 1813
* "Wederlegging van het Nader request en de zogenaamde Memorie adstructief van Mr. H. C. Cras, W. Willink en D. M. van Gelder de Neufville, aan het staats-bewind der Bataafsche Republiek, ingediend van wegen eenige participanten in de gewezen Oost-Indische Compagnie. Wiselius, Samuel Iperuszoon / Willem Holtrop / 1803
* "Beroep van mr. S.Iz. Wiselius, lid van den Raad der Asiatische Bezittingen en Etablissementen, op het Bataafsche volk, ter zake van den inhoud eens briefs door het wetgeevend ligchaam van het Bataafsch gemeenebest aan het staats-bewind der Bataafsche Republiek, gezonden ten geleide van de toestemming in de begroting der staats-behoeften over den jaare 1804.Wiselius, S.Iz. / W. Holtrop / 1804
* "Berijmde vertaling van den lierzang van Habakuk, zijnde het 3de hoofdstuk diens propheets. Wiselius, S.Iz. / H. Gartman / 1815"
* [http://www.ilab.org/db/book1091_6368.html Entry on Wiselius]
* [http://books.google.nl/books?id=WMUlp-ZQt_MC&pg=PA243&lpg=PA243&dq=Ondaatje+Hooft+Wiselius&source=web&ots=KB9BH7E2qT&sig=5iaBS3dGXG3u45tnDeBpn54dM84&hl=nl#PPA186,M1 Patriot and Patrian on Wiselius]
* [http://www.dbnl.nl/tekst/aa__001nieu03/aa__001nieu03_0582.htm DBNL entry for Wiselius]
* [http://www.tanap.net/content/voc/history/history_frenchperiod.htm History of the arrangement of the VOC archives]
* [http://www.nationalgalleries.org/index.php/collection/online_az/4:322/results/0/17494/ One of the paintings by Jan Weenix, made for Nieuwe Herengracht 99]
* [http://www.collignon.tv/ Wiselius's introduction of the word "apekool" (humbug or codswallop) into the Dutch language.] The word most probably originates in Yiddish.
* [http://www.nationaalarchief.nl/kind_tot_burger/html/schoolwet_cultureel1.html Wiselius handwriting]
* [http://www.peter-hug.ch/lexikon/1888_bild/16_0693 Entry in German Meyers Grosses Konversation Lexicon]
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