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Sylvain Van de Weyer: Wikis


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The Provisional Government of Belgium: from left to right, Alexandre Gendebien, André Jolly, Charles Rogier, Louis de Potter, Sylvain Van de Weyer, Feuillien de Coppin, Félix de Mérode, Joseph Vanderlinden, Emmanuel van der Linden d'Hooghvorst.

Jean-Sylvain Van de Weyer (19 January 1802–23 May 1874) was a Belgian politician, and then the Belgian Minister at the Court of St. James, effectively the ambassador to the United Kingdom.

Born in Louvain or Leuven, Van de Weyer's family moved to Amsterdam in 1811. The family returned to Leuven when his father, Josse-Alexandre (1769-1838), was named police commissioner for the city. Jean-Sylvain studied law at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and set up as a lawyer in Brussels in 1823. Here he frequently defended newspapers and journalists which fell foul of the government of the United Kingdom of the Netherlands, of which modern Belgium then formed the southern half.

Statue of Sylvain Van de Weyer on the Kapucijnenvoer in Leuven, built by public subscription.

On the outbreak of the Belgian Revolution in 1830, Van de Weyer was in Leuven, but hurried to Brussels where he became a member of the central committee of the Provisional Government of Belgium. His command of the English language resulted in him serving as a diplomatic representative of the revolutionaries. King Leopold I appointed Van de Weyer his "special representative" in London.

Madame Van der Weyer (Elizabeth Bates), from a print after Thomas Sully

Van de Weyer later served as Prime Minister of Belgium.

He married Elizabeth, only daughter of Joshua Bates of Barings Bank, and formerly of Boston. They had two sons and five daughters, who were brought up in Marylebone and on their country estate at New Lodge in the parish of Winkfield in Berkshire. Their youngest daughter, Eleanor, was the mother of Sylvia Brett, last Ranee of Sarawak.

He was Vice-President of the London Library from 1848 till his death in 1874.

Political offices
Preceded by
Jean-Baptiste Nothomb
Prime Minister of Belgium
30 July 1845–31 March 1846
Succeeded by
B. T. de Theux de Meylandt


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