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De Witt Jan

De Witt, Jan (1625-1672), a Dutch statesman. He was son of Jacob de Witt, burgomaster of Dort, and led the party that opposed the Prince of Orange. In 1652, two years after the death of William II., De Witt was made Grand Pensionary of Holland, in which office he was the great opponent of the Orange family, and made an effort to abolish the office of Stadtholder. In 1665 he was engaged in a war with England, which he carried on with vigour, and in 1672 a war between Louis XIV. and the Spanish Netherlands involved Holland. De Witt became very unpopular and resigned his office, and on the occasion of his paying a visit to his brother Cornelius, who was in prison on a charge of conspiring against the life of the Prince of Orange, the mob raised a tumult and murdered the two brothers. Alexandre Dumas has utilised this episode in his Tulipe Noire. De Witt was a man of high character, simple manners, and modest disposition.