1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/D'Ewes, Sir Simonds

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D’EWES, SIR SIMONDS, Bart. (1602–1650), English antiquarian, eldest son of Paul D’Ewes of Milden, Suffolk, and of Cecilia, daughter and heir of Richard Simonds, of Coaxdon or Coxden, Dorsetshire, was born on the 18th of December 1602, and educated at the grammar school of Bury St Edmunds, and at St John’s College, Cambridge. He had been admitted to the Middle Temple in 1611, and was called to the bar in 1623, when he immediately began his collections of material and his studies in history and antiquities. In 1626 he married Anne, daughter and heir of Sir William Clopton, of Luton’s Hall in Suffolk, through whom he obtained a large addition to his already considerable fortune. On the 6th of December he was knighted. He took an active part as a strong Puritan and member of the moderate party in the opposition to the king’s arbitrary government in the Long Parliament of 1640, in which he sat as member for Sudbury. On the 15th of July he was created a baronet by the king, but nevertheless adhered to the parliamentary party when war broke out, and in 1643 took the Covenant. He was one of the members expelled by Pride’s Purge in 1648, and died on the 18th of April 1650. He had married secondly Elizabeth, daughter of Sir Henry Willoughby, Bart., of Risley in Derbyshire, by whom he had a son, who succeeded to his estates and title, the latter becoming extinct on the failure of male issue in 1731. D’Ewes appears to have projected a work of very ambitious scope, no less than the whole history of England based on original documents. But though excelling as a collector of materials, and as a laborious, conscientious and accurate transcriber, he had little power of generalization or construction, and died without publishing anything except an uninteresting tract, The Primitive Practice for Preserving Truth (1645), and some speeches. His Journals of all the Parliaments during the Reign of Queen Elizabeth, however, a valuable work, was published in 1682. His large collections, including transcripts from ancient records, many of the originals of which are now dispersed or destroyed, are in the Harleian collection in the British Museum. His unprinted Diaries from 1621–1624 and from 1643–1647, the latter valuable for the notes of proceedings in parliament, are often the only authority for incidents and speeches during that period, and are amusing from the glimpses the diarist affords of his own character, his good estimation of himself and his little jealousies; some are in a cipher and some in Latin.

Extracts from his Autobiography and Correspondence from the MSS. in the British Museum were published by J. O. Halliwell-Phillips in 1845, by Hearne in the appendix to his Historia vitae et regni Ricardi II. (1729), and in the Bibliotheca topographica Britannica, No. xv. vol. vi. (1783); and from a Diary of later date, College Life in the Time of James I. (1851). His Diaries have been extensively drawn upon by Forster, Gardiner, and by Sanford in his Studies of the Great Rebellion. Some of his speeches have been reprinted in the Harleian Miscellany and in the Somers Tracts.

DE WET, CHRISTIAN (1854–), Boer general and politician, was born on the 7th of October 1854 at Leeuwkop, Smithfield district (Orange Free State), and later resided at Dewetsdorp. He served in the first Anglo-Boer War of 1880-81 as a field cornet, and from 1881 to 1896 he lived on his farm, becoming in 1897 member of the Volksraad. He took part in the earlier battles of the Boer War of 1899 in Natal as a commandant and later, as a general, he went to serve under Cronje in the west. His first successful action was the surprise of Sanna’s Post near Bloemfontein, which was followed by the victory of Reddersburg a little later. Thenceforward he came to be regarded more and more as the most formidable leader of the Boers in their guerrilla warfare. Sometimes severely handled by the British, sometimes escaping only by the narrowest margin of safety from the columns which attempted to surround him, and falling upon and annihilating isolated British posts, De Wet continued to the end of the war his successful career, striking heavily where he could do so and skilfully evading every attempt to bring him to bay. He took an active part in the peace negotiations of 1902, and at the conclusion of the war he visited Europe with the other Boer generals. While in England the generals sought, unavailingly, a modification of the terms of peace concluded at Pretoria. De Wet wrote an account of his campaigns, an English version of which appeared in November 1902 under the title Three Years’ War. In November, 1907 he was elected a member of the first parliament of the Orange River Colony and was appointed minister of agriculture. In 1908-9 he was a delegate to the Closer Union Convention.

DE WETTE, WILHELM MARTIN LEBERECHT (1780–1849), German theologian, was born on the 12th of January 1780, at Ulla, near Weimar, where his father was pastor. He was sent to the gymnasium at Weimar, then at the height of its literary glory. Here he was much influenced by intercourse with Johann Gottfried Herder, who frequently examined at the school. In 1799 he entered on his theological studies at Jena, his principal teachers being J. J. Griesbach and H. E. G. Paulus, from the latter of whom he derived his tendency to free critical inquiry. Both in methods and in results, however, he occupied an almost solitary position among German theologians. Having taken his doctor’s degree, he became privat-docent at Jena; in 1807 professor of theology at Heidelberg, where he came under the influence of J. F. Fries (1773–1843); and in 1810 was transferred to a similar chair in the newly founded university of Berlin, where he enjoyed the friendship of Schleiermacher. He was, however, dismissed from Berlin in 1819 on account of his having written a letter of consolation to the mother of Karl Ludwig Sand, the murderer of Kotzebue. A petition in his favour presented by the senate of the university was unsuccessful, and a decree was issued not only depriving him of the chair, but banishing him from the Prussian kingdom. He retired for a time to Weimar, where he occupied his leisure in the preparation of his edition of Luther, and in writing the romance Theodor oder die Weihe des Zweiflers (Berlin, 1822), in which he describes the education of an evangelical pastor. During this period he made his first essay in preaching, and proved himself to be possessed of very popular gifts. But in 1822 he accepted the chair of theology in the university of Basel, which had been reorganized four years before. Though his appointment had been strongly opposed by the orthodox party, De Wette soon won for himself great influence both in the university and among the people generally. He was admitted a citizen, and became rector of the university, which owed to him much of its recovered strength, particularly in the theological faculty. He died on the 16th of June 1849.

De Wette has been described by Julius Wellhausen as “the epoch-making opener of the historical criticism of the Pentateuch.” He prepared the way for the Supplement-theory. But he also made valuable contributions to other branches of theology. He had, moreover, considerable poetic faculty, and wrote a drama in three acts, entitled Die Entsagung (Berlin, 1823). He had an intelligent interest in art, and studied ecclesiastical music and architecture. As a Biblical critic he is sometimes classed with the destructive school, but, as Otto Pfleiderer says (Development of Theology, p. 102), he “occupied as free a position as the Rationalists with regard to the literal authority of the creeds of the church, but that he sought to give their due value to the religious feelings, which the Rationalists had not done, and, with a more unfettered mind towards history, to maintain the connexion of the present life of the church with the past.” His works are marked by exegetical skill, unusual power of condensation and uniform fairness. Accordingly they possess value which is little affected by the progress of criticism.

The most important of his works are:—Beiträge zur Einleitung in das Alte Testament (2 vols., 1806–1807); Kommentar über die Psalmen (1811), which has passed through several editions, and is still regarded as of high authority; Lehrbuch der hebräisch-jüdischen Archäologie (1814); Über Religion und Theologie (1815); a work of great importance as showing its author’s general theological position; Lehrbuch der christlichen Dogmatik (1813–1816); Lehrbuch der historisch-kritischen Einleitung in die Bibel (1817); Christliche Sittenlehre (1819–1821); Einleitung in das Neue Testament (1826); Religion, ihr Wesen, ihre Erscheinungsform, und ihr Einfluss auf das Leben (1827); Das Wesen des christlichen Glaubens (1846); and Kurzgefasstes exegetisches Handbuch zum Neuen Testament (1836–1848). De Wette also edited Luther’s works (5 vols., 1825–1828).

See K. R. Hagenbach in Herzog’s Realencyklopädie; G. C. F. Lücke’s W. M. L. De Wette, zur freundschaftlicher Erinnerung (1850); and D. Schenkel’s W. M. L. De Wette und die Bedeutung seiner Theologie für unsere Zeit (1849). Rudolf Stähelin, De Wette nach seiner theol. Wirksamkeit und Bedeutung (1880); F. Lichtenberger, History of German Theology in the Nineteenth Century (1889); Otto Pfleiderer, Development of Theology (1890), pp. 97 ff.; T. K. Cheyne, Founders of the Old Testament Criticism, pp. 31 ff.