1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Schomberg, Friedrich Hermann

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SCHOMBERG (originally Schonberg), FRIEDRICH HERMANN (or Frederic Armand), Duke of (c. 1615–1690), marshal of France and English general, was descended from an old family of the Palatinate, and was born in December 1615 or January 1616, at Heidelberg, the son of Hans Meinard von Schönberg (1582–1616) and Anne Sutton, daughter of the 9th Lord Dudley. An orphan within a few months of his birth, he was educated by various friends, among whom was the “Winter King,” Frederick V. of the Palatinate, in whose service his father had been. He began his military career under Frederick Henry, prince of Orange, and passed about 1634 into the Swedish service, whence he entered that of France in 1635. His family, and the allied house of the Saxon Schönbergs had already attained eminence in France.[1] After a time he retired to his family estate at Geisenheim on the Rhine, but in 1639 he re-entered entered the Dutch army, in which, apparently, with a few intervals spent at Geisenheim, he remained until about 165O. He then rejoined the French army as a general officer (maréchal de camp), served under Turenne in the campaigns against Condé, and became a lieutenant-general in 1665, receiving this rapid promotion perhaps partly owing to his relationship with the duc d’Halluin, but mainly because he was looked upon as the eventual successor of the great generals then at the height of their fame.

After the peace of the Pyrenees (1659) the independence of Portugal being again menaced by Spain, Schomberg was sent as military adviser to Lisbon with the secret approval of Charles II. of England (who knew him personally and about this time created him baron of Tetford) and Louis XIV., who in order not to infringe the treaty just made with Spain, deprived Schomberg of his French offices. After meeting in the three first campaigns many difficulties from the insubordination of many of the Portuguese officers, Schomberg won the victory of Montes Claros on the 17th of June 1665 over the Spaniards under the prince of Parma. After participating with his army in the revolution which deposed the reigning king in favour of his brother dom Pedro, and ending the war with Spain, Schomberg returned to France, became a naturalized Frenchman and bought the lordship of Coubert near Paris. He had been rewarded by the king of Portugal, in 1663, with the rank of Grandee, the title of count of Mertola and a pension of, £5000 a year. In 1673 he was invited by Charles to England, with the view of taking command of the army, but sentiment was so strong against the appointment, as savouring of French influence, that it was not carried into effect. He therefore again entered the service of France. His first operations in Catalonia were unsuccessful owing to the disobedience of subordinates and the rawness of his troops, but he retrieved the failure of 1674 by retaking Bellegarde in 1675. For this he was made a marshal, being included in the promotion that followed the death of Turenne. The tide had now set against the Huguenots, and Schomberg’s merits had been long ignored on account of his adherence to the Protestant religion. The revocation of the edict of Nantes (1685) compelled him to quit his adopted country. Ultimately he became general-in-chief of the forces of the elector of Brandenburg, and at Berlin he was the acknowledged leader of the thousands of Huguenot refugees there. Soon afterwards, with the elector’s consent, he joined the prince of

Orange on his expedition to England in 1688, as second in command to the prince. The following year he was made a knight of the Garter, was created successively baron, marquis and duke, was appointed master-general of the ordnance, and received from the House of Commons a vote of £100,000 to compensate him for the loss of his French estates, of which Louis had deprived him. In August he was appointed commander-in-chief of the expedition to Ireland against James II. After capturing Carrickfergus he marched unopposed through a country desolated before him to Dundalk, but, as the bulk of his forces were raw and undisciplined as well as inferior in numbers to the enemy, he deemed it imprudent to risk a battle, and entrenching himself at Dundalk declined to be drawn beyond the circle of his defences. Shortly afterwards pestilence broke out, and when he retired to winter quarters in Ulster his forces were more shattered than if they had sustained a severe defeat. His conduct was criticized in ill-informed quarters, but the facts justified his inactivity, and he gave a striking example of his generous spirit in placing at William’s disposal for military purposes the £100,000 recently voted him. In the spring he began the campaign with the capture of Charlemont, but no advance southward was made until the arrival of William. At the Boyne (July 1, 1690) Schomberg gave his opinion against the determination of William to cross the river in face of the opposing army. In the battle he commanded the centre, and while riding through the river without his cuirass to rally his men, was surrounded by Irish horsemen and instantly killed. He was buried in St Patrick’s cathedral, Dublin, where there is a monument to him, erected in 1731, with a Latin inscription by Dean Swift.

His eldest son Charles, the second duke in the English peerage, died in the year 1693 of wounds received at the battle of Marsaglia.

The most important work on Schomberg’s life and career is Kazner’s Leben Friedrichs von Schomberg oder Schönberg (Mannheim, 1789). The military histories and memoirs of the time should also be consulted.

  1. Of the Misnian Schönbergs in French history may be named Gaspard de Schomberg, count of Nanteuil (d. 1599), French soldier and statesman, his son, Henri, count of Nanteuil and Duretal, marquis d’Espinoy (1575–1632) grandmaster of the artillery, marshal of France, and Henri’s son Charles (d. 1656), who by marriage became duc d’Halluin, and was marshal of France and also, during the war with Spain, viceroy of Catalonia. Of the Palatinate family, Theodoric (d. 1590) was killed at Ivry in the service of Henry IV.