Sewell, William (1)

Sewell, William (1), the historian of the Quakers, was the son of Jacob Williamson Sewell, and was born at Amsterdam in 1650. His grandfather left his native country, England, that, as a Brownist, he might enjoy more freedom in Holland. William Sewell lost both his parents in early life, but, having been instructed by them in the principles of the Quakers, he adhered to them during life. He was a student of unwearied application, attaining a knowledge of Greek, Latin, English, French, and High Dutch. He is chiefly noted for his History of the People called Quakers, written first in Low Dutch, and afterwards by himself in English. One principal object with the author was a desire to correct what he conceived to be gross misrepresentations in Gerard Croese's History of Quakerism. The work seems to have been first published in 1722, folio, and reprinted in 1725.

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