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Appletons' Cyclopædia of American Biography/Wouwerman, Simon van

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WOUWERMAN, Simon van, Flemish author, b. in Bruges in 1690; d. in Paris in 1743. Little is known of his early life except that he was in the employ of the West Indian company about 1724, and afterward of the Mississippi company. In 1740 he secured an employment in the latter company's office at Paris, where he died. He wrote two curious works, “Histoire philosophique et morale de la Louisiane” and “Système d'administration de la compagnie des Indes,” which found afterward their way into Holland, where they were published (3 vols., Amsterdam, 1752). They contained grave accusations against the Louisiana and West Indian companies, which appear to have secured recruits and immigrants by false promises, and, when these means failed, to have shipped to America young convicts and women of questionable character. Wouwerman's works caused a scandal at the time of their publication, and all available copies were bought and destroyed by order of the officials of the company. Abbé Prévost, in his noted “Manon Lescaut,” mentions that it was the custom of the company to send criminals to the American colonies.