Nassau, Henry (DNB00)

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NASSAU, HENRY, Count and Lord of Auverquerque (1641–1708), general, born in 1641, was third son of Louis, count of Nassau (illegitimate son of Maurice, prince of Orange, grand-uncle of William III, king of England), by his wife Elizabeth, daughter of Count de Horn. Henry accompanied William, prince of Orange, on his visit to Oxford in 1670, and received from the university the degree of D.C.L. (20 Dec.). He attended William with great devotion during his illness in the spring of 1675, and saved his life at the risk of his own at the battle of Mons, 13 Aug. (N.S.) 1678. In recognition of this service he was presented by the States-General with a gold-hilted sword, a gold inlaid pair of pistols, and a pair of gold horse-buckles. He came to England in 1685 as William's special envoy to congratulate James II on his accession, attended William to England in 1688 as captain of his bodyguard, was appointed in February 1688–9 his master of the horse, and the same year was naturalised by act of parliament. He fought at the battle of the Boyne, 1 July 1690, and afterwards occupied Dublin with nine troops of horse, and served at Limerick. Advanced to the rank of major-general 16 March 1690–1, he served in the subsequent campaign in Flanders, and distinguished himself by the gallant manner in which he rescued the remains of Mackay's division at the battle of Steinkirk, July 1692.

In February 1692–3 he was appointed deputy stadtholder, and in the summer of 1697 was promoted to the rank of general in the English army. William on his deathbed thanked him for his long and faithful services. In command of the Dutch forces, with the rank of field-marshal, he co-operated with Marlborough, whose entire confidence he enjoyed, in the earlier campaigns of the war of the Spanish succession, and died in the camp before Lille on 17 Oct. (N.S.) 1708. He was buried at Owerkerk (Auverquerque) in Zealand, of which place he was lord.

Nassau married Isabella van Aersen, daughter of Cornelius, lord of Sommelsdyck and Plaata, who survived him, and died in January 1720. By her Nassau had issue five sons, the eldest of whom died in his lifetime, and one daughter. Nassau's only daughter, Isabella, became in 1691 the second wife of Charles Grenville, lord Lansdowne, afterwards second Earl of Bath. His second son, Henry (d. 1754), was raised to the peerage by letters patent of 24 Dec. 1698, by the titles of Baron Alford, Viscount of Boston, and Earl of Grantham. He married Henrietta, daughter of Thomas Butler, styled Earl of Ossory, by whom he had issue two sons, who died without issue, and three daughters, of whom the youngest, Henrietta, married, on 27 June 1732, William, second earl Cowper.

[Foster's Alumni Oxon.; Wood's Fasti Oxon. (Bliss), ii. 324; Harris's Life of William III, 1749, p. 60; Harl. Misc. ii. 211; Clarendon and Rochester Corresp. i. 115, 116 n.; Dalrymple's Memoirs of Great Britain and Ireland, ii. 115; Fox's Hist. of the Early Part of the Reign of James II, App. p. xl et seq.; Hist. MSS. Comm. 5th Rep. App. p. 381, 7th Rep. App. p. 759, 10th Rep. App. v. 130 et seq., 11th Rep. App. v. 178; Dean Davies's Journ. (Camd. Soc.) p. 144; Grimblot's Letters of William III and Louis XIV, i. 323, 427, ii. 236; Burnet's Own Time, fol., ii. 78, 303, 381; Luttrell's Relation of State Affairs; Coxe's Marlborough, ii. 556–8; Carte's Ormonde, ii. 507; Hist. Reg. Chron. Diary (1728), p. 6; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. iv. 525; Commons' Journ. x. 130; Lords' Journ. xvi. 357; Groen Van Prinsterer's Archives de la Maison d'Orange-Nassau, 2me série, v. 348, 350; Burke's Extinct Peerage; Imhof's Notitia S. Rom. German. Imp. Procer. (1699), l.v. c. 6, § 30; Eg. MS. 1707, f. 328; Kobus and Rivecourt's Biog. Handwoordenboek van Nederland; Van der Aa's Biog. Woordenboek der Nederlanden; Peerage of England, 1710, ‘Grantham;’ and Complete Peerage, 1892, ‘Grantham.’]

J. M. R.