Encyclopædia Britannica, Ninth Edition/Jan Willem De Winter

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search

DE WINTER, JAN WILLEM (1750-1812), Dutch admiral, was born at the Texel in 1750. He entered the navy at the age of twelve, but after twenty-five years of honourable service he had attained no higher rank than that of lieutenant. In 1787 he took part with the Revolu tionists, and on the failure of their efforts fled to France. He then entered the French army, and served under Dumouriez and Pichegru in the campaigns of 1792 and 1793. In 1795 he returned to Holland and was appointed rear-admiral. In the following year he attained the rank of vice-admiral, and was named commander of the fleet at the Texel. The most memorable event in his career was the battle of the Texel, fought on the llth of October 1797, in which after a gallant struggle the Dutch fleet was defeated

and the admiral taken prisoner by the English under Admiral Duncan. De Winter was in a few months liberated by exchange ; and his conduct in the battle was declared by a council of investigation to have nobly main tained the honour of the Dutch flag. He held the post of minister-plenipotentiary to the French republic from 1798 to 1802, when he reassumed the command of the Dutch fleet. He was employed in suppressing the piracies of the Tripolitans, and negotiated a treaty of peace with the Government. He enjoyed the confidence of Louis Bonaparte, king of Holland, and afterwards of the emperor Napoleon I. By the former he was created count of Huessen and made commander-in-chief of his armies by sea and land ; and by the latter he was named grand officer of the Legion of Honour, inspector-general of the coasts of the North Sea, and in 1811 commander of the Texel fleet. De Winter died at Paris, June 2, 1812, and his remains were buried in the Pantheon at the public expense.