Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 58.djvu/244

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

(afterwards Viscount Wimbledon [q. v.]), and Sir Edward Harwood [q. v.]

The outset of Sir Horace's individual career in the Dutch service was marked by the fall of Ostend on 24 Sept. 1604 before the great Spanish general, Ambrosio Spinola. As a makeweight to Ostend, Prince Maurice meditated the recapture of Sluys. The Spanish general opposed the advance upon the town with a force of two thousand men strongly entrenched at Damme, situated be-tween Sluys and Bruges. This force, under the Spanish general of horse, Velasco, had to be dislodged, and it was in this risky operation‒for the place had to be approached by a narrow causeway environed by swamps and stagnant water‒that Vere first won for his command the special approbation of the States-General. In July 1604 Spinola was foiled in an attempt to relieve the town, and on 20 Aug. it was surrendered (cf. Prinsterer, Archives de la Maison d'Orange-Nassau, 1e série).

The year 1605 was, owing mainly to the superior strategic skill of Spinola, the reverse of fortunate to the cause of the united provinces. At the battle of Mulheim on 9 Oct. 1605 the Dutch cavalry were completely outmanoeuvred, and several of the troops broke and fled in panic. Had it not been, in fact, for a diversion most promptly and skilfully conceived, planned, and executed by Vere, who crossed the river with four companies of infantry and kept the Spaniards at bay for over an hour, while the Dutch forces had time to rally and retreat in some order, there is little doubt that the army of the states would have been destroyed. This was the opinion expressed by Spinola, and entertained no doubt by Prince Maurice; for from this time Sir Horace became one of the most trusted and valued of his officers.

The battle of Mulheim was followed by Vere's return to England, and by his marriage in 1607. Two years later came the twelve years' truce between the united provinces and Spain. In October 1609 Sir Horace succeeded his brother as governor of the Brill (Winwood, Memorials, 1725, iii. 80). In 1609 he was promised the reversion of the mastership of ordnance after Lord Carew [see Carew, George, Baron Carew]. In 1610 he served at the siege of Juliers under Sir Edward Cecil (cf. Herbert of Cherbury, Autobiography, ed. Lee, pp. 113, 117). In 1616 he yielded up the cautionary town of Brill to the Dutch upon the repayment by them of the loans received from England, receiving a life pension of 800l. in compensation for his loss of the governorship. Two years later Sir Horace received from Maurice the governorship of Utrecht, in which city he was joined by his wife towards the close of 1618. He had previously aided the prince in disarming and suppressing the provincial levies, raised at the instance of the ill-fated Barneveldt.

In May 1620 James I was being strongly urged by popular opinion to defend the cause of his son-in-law, the elector palatine, against the catholic combination on the continent. After much hesitation James allowed Count Dohna, the palatine envoy, to levy a body of volunteers at his own cost, and to issue a circular to the whole kingdom, calling upon the gentry to imitate the example of the London citizens (who had given 10,000l. to the cause) by contributing to the expenses of an expedition (Gardiner, Hist. iii. 351; Cal. State Papers, Dom. Addenda, James I, p. 629). Dohna, as paymaster, selected the commander, and Dohna's choice fell upon Sir Horace Vere, although Vere had not even asked for the appointment. Buckingham had destined the post for Sir Edward Cecil, and, in high dudgeon, withdrew his countenance from the expedition. Such, however, was Vere's reputation as the first English soldier of the day that as soon as his appointment was known the flower of the young nobility were pressing forward for the honour of serving as subordinates under so distinguished a commander (ib. 1619–23, p. 159). Yet up to the end of June the contributions for the payment of Vere's troops came in but slowly. The whole sum which had been levied from the counties did not exceed 10,000l., and it was announced by Dohna that, even if this sum were considerably increased, he would be able to provide for a regiment of only two thousand men, instead of the four thousand for which he had hoped. When the news arrived of the treaty of Ulm (23 June) between the union of catholic princes and the league, preparing the way for a catholic invasion of the palatinate, the money came in more rapidly. On 9 July Vere went to Theobalds to take leave of the king, and on 22 July the regiment, 2,200 strong, set sail from Gravesend to Holland, whence they were to be escorted to the seat of war by a body of Dutch cavalry. The service was one of great risk. Sir Dudley Carleton wrote in August: 'We cannot yet conceive with what safety they can make into the palatinate; Spinola being before them with one army, Don Luis de Velasco in the way with another.' Vere's plan was to effect a junction with the protestant force near Mannheim, under the margrave of Anspach. He marched through Wesel into the neighbourhood of