Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Sheeres, Henry

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SHEERES, Sir HENRY (d. 1710), military engineer and author, was son of Henry Sheeres of Deptford, a captain in the navy (Harl. Soc. Publ. viii. 516). In 1666 he accompanied Edward Montagu, first earl of Sandwich [q. v.], the English ambassador, to Spain in a diplomatic capacity. On his return in 1668 he became intimate with Pepys, who took a strong liking for him, but his attachment cooled owing to the advances which Sheeres, who was something of a poet, made to Pepys's wife. Sheeres left England for Tangier in May 1669, and resided in that colony as engineer for fourteen years (cf. A short Account of the Progress of the Mole at Tangier). He superintended the blowing up of the Mole in 1683, when the place was abandoned (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. v. 102). He hastened to England in 1684 in order to defend, at court, George Legge, baron Dartmouth [q. v.], the admiral at Tangier, against accusations of peculation. Aided by Pepys, he was successful in this task, and thereby permanently established himself in Dartmouth's favour (ib. pp. 112–14). In 1685 he took part in the campaign against Monmouth as an officer of artillery, and was present at the battle of Sedgmoor (ib. pp. 126, 128). In July he was knighted for his services (Luttrell, Brief Relation, 1857, i. 355), and about the same time was made surveyor of the ordnance. Sir Henry preserved his loyalty to James during the revolution of 1688, but illness prevented him taking an active share in the contest (Hist. MSS. Comm. 11th Rep. App. v. 202, 233, 236, 247). He followed the example of his patron, Dartmouth, in peacefully submitting to the new rulers when their authority was established. But he retained his devotion to James, and was twice arrested on suspicion of conspiring on his behalf, in June 1690 and in March 1695–6. On 30 March 1700 he was chosen by the commons as one of the trustees to regulate William's Irish grants, which parliament had resumed, and in March following was summoned from Ireland by the peers to explain the proceedings of the commission to their lordships (Journals of the House of Commons, xiii. 307; Journals of the House of Lords, xvi. 622, 640, 645; Luttrell, Brief Relation, ii. 64, iv. 24, 628, v. 28). He died on 21 April 1710.

Sheeres, who was a member of the Royal Society, was the author of: 1. ‘A Translation of Polybius,’ 1693, 8vo. 2. ‘An Essay on the Certainty and Causes of the Earth's Motion,’ 1698, 4to. 3. ‘A Discourse on the Mediterranean Sea and the Streights of Gibraltar,’ 1703, 8vo. He also edited two pamphlets by Sir Walter Ralegh, ‘A Discourse on Seaports,’ 1700, and ‘An Essay on Ways and Means to maintain the Honour of England,’ 1701; and was part author of a translation of Lucian, published in 1711. A poem of his was prefixed to Southern's ‘Oronooko,’ 1696. Several manuscripts by Sheeres, together with a correspondence with Pepys during his stay at Tangier, are among the Rawlinson MSS. at the Bodleian (Coxe, Catalogue of Bodleian MSS., pt. v. index, s.v. Sheres); and a manuscript work by him, entitled ‘A Discourse touching the Decay of our Naval Discipline,’ dated 1694, is in the collection of the Duke of Leeds.

[Pepys's Diary, ed. Braybrooke, index; Hasted's Kent, ed. Drake, i. 37; Pointer's Chron. Hist. of England, 1714, p. 674; Help to History, 1711, i. 114; Thomson's Hist. of the Royal Society, App. p. xxvii; Burnet's Own Time, 1823, i. l42.]

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