Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Devisme, Louis

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DEVISME, LOUIS (1720–1776), diplomatist, third son of Phillippe de Visme, a Huguenot, of distinguished family, who fled from Normandy to England after the revocation of the edict of Nantes, was born on 25 Sept. 1720. He was educated at Westminster School, and proceeded thence to Christ Church, Oxford, where he took the B.A. degree in 1743 and his M.A. in 1746. Being destined for the church he was ordained a deacon, but abandoned that career for the diplomatic service. In 1763, a few months after the second Catherine's accession to the throne of Russia, Devisme was appointed secretary to the British embassy at St. Petersburg. His next appointment was as minister plenipotentiary to the electorate of Bavaria. He was concurrently the representative of England at the diet of Ratisbon (1769–73), and in 1773 he succeeded Sir John Goodrich as envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at Stockholm, where he died, unmarried, on 4 Sept. 1776. Frederick the Great of Prussia allowed him, as a proof of esteem, to bear the Prussian eagle as a crest. Devisme's character for penuriousness peeps out in Lady Minto's ‘Memoir of Hugh Elliot,’ whose predecessor he was at the court of Munich (1775). ‘He had no secretary, contenting himself with a boy who understood no language but his own, merely to copy for him.’ He was also apparently shocked at Elliot's extravagance in giving a hundred louis to the widow of a kind friend, Baron Garny (Mem. of Elliot, pp. 46, 46).

[Welch's Alumni Westmonasterienses (1852), p. 320; Oxford Graduates; Burke's Commoners, iv. 321; Memoir of Hugh Elliot, by the Countess of Minto (1868).]

R. H.