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Henry de Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford (24 February 1593 – June 1625) was an English aristocrat, courtier and soldier.

Henry de Vere, 18th Earl of Oxford.

Life

He born on 24 February 1593 at Newington, Middlesex, the only son of Edward de Vere, 17th Earl of Oxford, by his second wife, Elizabeth Trentham. He succeeded his father as on 24 June 1604.[1]

He is said to have been educated at Oxford. He was admitted a member of the Inner Temple in November 1604, and was created M.A. of Oxford on 30 August 1605. He was made a knight of the Bath on 3 June 1610, and keeper of Havering Park on 15 November 1611. In his youth he had a reputation for debauchery.[1]

On his mother’s death, early in 1613, he inherited a share of her fortune, and set out on an extended foreign tour. From Brussels he made his way through France to Italy. At Venice in 1617 he offered to raise a body of volunteers for the service of the republic, and he exerted himself to obtain the release of his kinsman Sidney Bertie, who had fallen into the hands of the Inquisition at Ancona.[1]

While Oxford was still abroad, he was involved vicariously in a tangled family drama. Against the wishes of Sir Edward Coke, Lady Hatton, Coke's wife, offered Oxford the hand of her daughter Frances Coke, whom the king wished to marry to Sir John Villiers, the brother of George Villiers, 1st Duke of Buckingham. Lady Hatton was in fact obstructing Coke's plan to improve his standing at court, with Buckingham; she did this by claiming Frances was already promised to Oxford, and by placing Frances out of reach in houses of allies.[2] This failed matchmaking laid the seeds of a future quarrel between Buckingham and Oxford, though the Villiers marriage for Frances went ahead in September 1617.[3] Oxford returned to England in October 1618. On 22 May 1619 he was admitted to the hereditary office of Lord Great Chamberlain.[1]

Between June and November 1620 he served under his kinsman, Sir Horatio Vere in the Palatinate, and on his return home was appointed, in January 1621, to the council of war that was ordered to determine the aid that England would render Frederick V, Elector Palatine. In July 1621 an incautious expression of dissatisfaction with the Spanish match led to a few weeks' imprisonment in the Tower of London. In December 1621 he was nominated by Buckingham to command the Assurance, a vessel that was commissioned to guard the Channel. He captured a Dutch Indiaman, which he had to restore. On returning from sea he expressed a hope that a time might come when justice should be free and not pass through the favourite's hands. He was sent to the Tower on 20 April 1622 for a second time. Friends agitated for a public trial; but in order to satisfy popular clamour a bill was filed in the Star Chamber charging him with scandalous attacks on the government in private conversation. No legal proceedings were taken against him, and he was released in December 1623, after a twenty months' imprisonment.[1]

Immediately afterwards (1 January 1624) Oxford married Lady Diana Cecil, daughter of William Cecil, 2nd Earl of Exeter and Elizabeth Drury, a beauty, who brought him a fortune of £30,000. Francis Bacon in his disgrace asked favours in an obsequious letter which he addressed to the Earl in the month of his marriage. Oxford declined a reconciliation with Buckingham.[1]

Lady Diana Cecil in 1614, portrait by William Larkin.

In June 1624 he went to the Low Countries as colonel of a volunteer regiment of foot that was raised for the service of the Elector Palatine. He was present in June at the unsuccessful assault on Ter-heiden, in connection with the operations to relieve Breda but soon afterwards died at The Hague of fever. He was buried in Westminster Abbey on 25 July 1625. He left no issue, and was succeeded by a second cousin, Robert de Vere.[1]

References

Notes

  1. ^ a b c d e f g s:Vere, Henry de (DNB00)
  2. ^ Lisa Jardine and Alan Stewart, Hostage to Fortune: The Troubled Life of Francis Bacon (1998), p. 400.
  3. ^ http://www.thepeerage.com/p18739.htm#i187389

This article incorporates text from the entry Vere, Henry de in the Dictionary of National Biography (1885–1900), a publication now in the public domain.

Peerage of England
Preceded by
Edward de Vere
Earl of Oxford
1604–1625
Succeeded by
Robert de Vere
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