BLTC Press Titles


available for Kindle at Amazon.com


The Count of Monte Cristo

Alexandre Dumas


The Art of Worldly Wisdom

Baltasar Gracian


Theory of Colours

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe


The Diplomatic Background of the War

Charles Seymour


Memoirs of Sir Andrew Melvill

by Andrew Melville

Excerpt:

* * * *

He first saw real service in 1647, when the Thirty Years' War was already drawing to a close. During the remaining two years he fought with the French army in Flanders, over ground which has become familiar in a

B 2

still greater struggle: Ypres, Lens, Dixmude, La Bassee.

The Peace of Westphalia (1648), while it broke up the Thirty Years' War, was for France but a diplomatic incident. The war with Spain continued, and Melvill fought in it until 1655, mainly in the service of the Duke of Lorraine, himself a soldier of fortune and an exile. While in 1651 he joined Charles Stuart in his ill-fated attempt to regain the Crown, which collapsed at the Battle of Worcester.

In 1655 Melvill turned east. A great conflict had broken out at this time among the Powers of the North, fired by the ambition of Charles Gustavus of Sweden. In the wars which followed, Melvill fought, first for Brandenburg and then for Sweden, until this northern conflagration was extinguished by the death of the Swedish King and the Peace of Oliva in 1660.

At this time an event occurred which might have ended Melvill's wanderings. Charles II. was recalled to the English throne, and Melvill came over in the expectation of entering his service; but he was disappointed, and returned to Brandenburg.

He was not long wanting in active employment. In 1661 the Turks invaded Hungary. The forces of the Empire were summoned, and the contingent of Brandenburg was among them. As Quartermaster-General under Coun t Josias von Waldeck, Melvill fought throughout this war, and at the decisive battle of St. Gothard which turned the tide of Ottoman invasion (1664).

On his return to Germany, Melvill entered permanently the service of George William, Duke of Liineburg-Celle, and a few years of comparative quiet followed which enabled him to pay another visit to the court of Charles II. (1667). But a great storm that had long been gathering was about to burst upon Europe.

In 1672 Louis XIV. attacked and almost overwhelmed Holland. The Dutch maintained, however, a desperate resistance, and the Princes of Europe under the leadership of the Emperor rallied to their defence.

Of the confederates who opposed France the Duke of Celle was one, and with his army Melvill fought, first on the Rhine (1674) and then in Pomerania, where a part of it was sent to support the Elector of Brandenburg against the Swedes, allies and instruments of Louis. After six years of war, in which Holland was saved, but in which the arms of Louis made steady progress against her allies, the Dutch made a separate peace (Nimeguen, 1678); and the confederates one by one submitted to the terms which Louis was then able to impose. Thus ended, gloriously for France, the first bout of her long duel with Europe. It was Melvill's last campaign.

* * * *

With the Peace of Nimeguen, which marked the close of his active career, Melvill's narrative ends, and therefore what little we know of his remaining years is to be gathered from the brief notice of his contemporaries. For the early part of his life, such notice is generally absent. His entry into the service of Liineburg in 1666 marks a change in this respect that henceforward his name figures, to a certain extent at any rate, in the letters and accounts of the time.

He was early (1666) made Commandant of Celle and as such came to the notice of Sophia, Duchess of Hanover, sister-in-law of George William and mother of George Lewis, afterwards George I. of England. In her Household was a lady named Mile. Lamotte, who became a favourite with Eleanor d'Olbreuse (Madame d'Harburg) wife of George William, and who in 1666 visited Celle at her request. The next year Sophia writes :—

"I believe Madame d'Harburg has proposed a match between Lamotte and the Governor of Cell. He is a Scotsman called Melleville; soldier of &7/-fortune I call him, for a cannon-shot has carried away part of his chest, which is only supported by an iron contrivance. With all his valour he has won no greater prize than his present charge. Yet, if she be willing I am content." 1


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