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1911 Encyclopedia Britannica

Abraham Nicolas Amelot de la Houssaye

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ABRAHAM NICOLAS AMELOT DE LA HOUSSAYE (1634-1706), French historian and publicist, was born at Orleans in February 1634, and died at Paris on the 8th of December 1706. Little is known of his personal history beyond the fact that he was secretary to an embassy from the French court to the republic of Venice. In his Histoire du gouvernement de Venise he undertook to explain, and above all to criticize, the administration of that republic, and to expose the causes of its decadence. The work was printed by the king's printer and dedicated to Louvois, which points to the probability that the government did not disapprove of it. It appeared in March 1676, and provoked a warm protest from the Venetian ambassador, Giustiniani. The author was sent to the Bastille, where he remained, however, only six weeks ( Archives de la Bastille, vol. viii. pp. 93 and 94). A second edition with a supplement, published immediately after, drew forth fresh protestations, and the edition was suppressed. This persecution gave the book an extraordinary vogue, and it passed through twenty-two editions in three years, besides being translated into several languages; there is an English translation by Lord Falconbridge, son-in-law of Oliver Cromwell. Amelot next published in 1683 a translation of Fra Paolo Sarpi's History of the Council of Trent. This work, and especially certain notes added by the translator, gave great offence to the advocates of unlimited papal authority, and three separate memorials were presented asking for its repression. Under the pseudonym of La Motte Josseval, Amelot subsequently published a Discours politique sur Tacite, in which he analysed the character of Tiberius.

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Bibliography Information
Chisholm, Hugh, General Editor. Entry for 'Abraham Nicolas Amelot de la Houssaye'. 1911 Encyclopedia Britanica. 1910.

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