Henri Massue marquis de Ruvigny Viscount Galway

Viscount Galway
Portrait of Galway
Marquis de Ruvigny, later first Earl of
Galway, by Martin Maingaud
Irish Linen Centre & Lisburn Museum
Born:9 April 1648
Died:3 September 1720

1 Galway's family and early career

1.1 Henri's family

Galway was born1 as Henri de Massue in Paris on 9 April 1648. He was the son of Henri de Massué marquis de Ruvigny (1605-1689) deputy of the Protestants to the king, and Marie Tallemant de Rambouillet. His younger brother was named De la Caillemotte.

1.2 Service in Portugal

Henri joined the French army at an early age. He went to Portugal, and might have fought in the 1665 Battle of Montes Claros, because he was present in the subsequent Siege of Fort de la Garda. Here he was was first to enter, together with Charles Schomberg and a Portuguese sergeant. At that time he was 17.

1.3 Service in the French army

In 1675 Henry became a colonel. He served till about the end of the Franco-Dutch War, when he took over the office of deputy of the Protestants from his father.

1.4 Diplomatic Missions

In 1678 Henry came to England on two missions against the Earl of Danby, who promoted the marriage of William III and Mary Stuart. Henry was also employed in some of the negotiations that led to the Treaty of Nijmegen in 1678. His primary task was to secure that England shouls disband its army.

1.5 Henry becomes a refugie

In 1685 the revocation of the edict of Nantes compelled the family to flee and finally settle in Greenwich. Even so De Ruvigny seems to have retained some credit with Louis XIV, because he was allowed to retain his estate in France.

2 Serving William III

2.1 Henry does not join the English Army

The fact that Henry was allowed to retain his French estate was no doubt the reason that he did not join the English army after William III became king.

2.2 Ruvigny joins the army of William III

When his brother De la Caillemotte was killed on the Boyne in 1690 Henri offered his services to William III. He was made a major general and got Schomberg's Huguenot cavalry regiment. He then served under Athlone in the 1691 campaign.

2.3 Ruvigny in the Battle of Aughrim

Henry's first action was the securing of a pass between Ballymore and Athlone after securing the former. He was next in the Battle of Aughrim, where he commanded a brigade of cavalry. After the battle Ginkel embraced Ruvingy and declared how much he was satisfied with his bravery and conduct. After the battle the army marched to besiege Galway. Ruvigny and 's Gravenmoer were left at Athenry with 3,000 horse to maintain communications.

2.4 Ruvigny in the Siege of Limerick

After the conquest of Galway the army marched back to Athenry. It crossed back over the Shannon, and marched south on its east bank. On 15 August 1691 Ruvigny with 1500 cavalry, and the Prince of Hessen 1000 foot foot and 6 field pieces marched ahead to Limerick together with Ginkel. The town was besieged from 25 August, and began to capitulate on 22 September. Ruvigny and Sarsfield were the principal negotiators in the early talks.

3 Independent command

3.1 Lt-General of all forces in Ireland

On 27 February 1692 Ruvigny was made Lt-General of all forces in Ireland. His basic rank however, continued to be major-general. For more examples of the way these ranks worked cf the English Generals page. Galway did not go to Flanders in 1692.

3.2 Viscount Galway, Baron Portarlington

On 3/14 March 1692 (others have 25 November2)) 1692 Henri was made Viscount of Galway and Baron Portarlington. The name Viscount Galway was given to remember the conquest of Galway, but only gave a right to 20 marks p.a. The Barony Portarlington was designated to be the estate by which Galway would support himself.

Portarlington had once belonged to the English politician Lord Arlington, who sold it to Sir Patrick Trant. Sir Patrick Trant, knight, was a commissioner of the Irish revenue. Trant was one of the members the Jacobite senate which assembled in Dublin on 7 May 1689. He was true to James II, and so his estate was forfeited, and given to Ruvigny

3.3 Galway at Neerwinden

In 1693 Galway was destined to have a role in some kind of descent, but it came to nothing. In May he went to Flanders for instructions. He remained there and fought in the Battle of Neerwinden. King William charged at the head of Galway's regiment. Galway himself commanded an action to cover the retreat over the bridge of Neerhespen, and so signaled himself. During the battle he was captured but, knowing he would be killed for treason, some old acquaintances let him go.

3.4 to Savoy

The commander of the British expeditionary force to Savoy, Charles Schomberg, died in the Battle of Marsiglia on 24 September 1693. He had to be replaced, and Galway was selected for this post. He embarked for Holland, and travelling overland, reached Piedmont in mid December.

Galway went to Savoy in a doubl capacity. Lieutenant-General and Envoy Extraordinary to the Duke of Savoy. After the Duke of Savoy switched sides Galway started the retreat of parts of this force in November 1696.

4 Civil administration in Ireland

4.1 Earl of Galway

Galway was still commander of all the forces in Ireland, but with his own rank now Lt-General. He designed to settle permanently in Ireland. Probably because his estate at Portarlington. On 12 May 1697 Galway became Earl of Galway, with an annual reward of twenty pounds. He also received the lands of O'Demsey Viscount Clanmalier, bringing his total estate around Portarlington to 36,148 acres.

4.2 A Lord Justice

In February 1697 Galway was made a Lord Justice of Ireland together with John Methuen. However, Methuen desisted and would only execute the office of Lord Chancellor of Ireland. The Marquis of Winchester became a second Lord Justice on 25 May 1697. Viscount Villiers was the third, but was constantly employed as envoy to Holland.

4.3 Opens parliament of Ireland

On 27 July 1697 the Marquis of Winchester and the Earl of Galway entered the House of Lords of Ireland with the usual ceremonies. The Lord Chancellor then ordered the Gentleman usher of the Black rod to acquaint the commons that it is the Lords-Justices pleasure they should attend them in the House immediately.

The parliament passed two resolutions. The first to continue for ten years longer the act of 1692 for naturalizing foreign protestants. The second that a foreign Protestant minister should be appointed at a reasonable salary in every parish where 50 of such strangers might be settled.

4.4 Parliament of Ireland of 1698

William wanted Galway to achieve three points in the Irish parliament of 1698. First to make laws to promote the linen manufacture. Second: to discourage the woollen manufacturre. Third: to get as much troops as possible on the Irish establishment.

All these goals were reached in the 1698 parliament. Ireland would export unmanufactured wool to England, and the Irish parliament encourage that with an export tariff for manufactured wool. The English parliamen made laws to encourage linen manufacture in Ireland, and so was a division of labor came about. In getting a lot of troops on the Irish establishment William also got his way, but attempts to retain the Huguenot troops failed.

4.5 Founds Portarlington

Galway left his mark on the history of Ireland by successfuly founding the town of Portarlington, after a prrevious failed attempt. Here he gave leases to 400 Huguenot families that settled and so established an enclave of French culture in Ireland.

It was peculiar that Galway sent two Catholic youths, grandsons of Viscount Clanmalier to Eton in 1699 to be brought up in the Protestant religion. If they came of age and embraced that religion he would leave their grandfather's estate to them.

4.6 Grants revoked

Personally Galway gained little from his Irish lands because the Commons revoked the grant c 1700. As a born French Galway could not be maintained as Lord Justice of Ireland. He was to be replaces by Shrewsbury in 1700, but his refusal kept Galway in office somewhat longer. It was April 1701 when he retired as Lord Justice, and June when he retired as Commander of the troops in Ireland.

5 Galway during the Spanish Succession War

5.1 Mission to Cologne

Confronted with the meager English compensation for his zeal Galway must have enjoyed his appointment as colonel of the Dutch Horse guards on 7 August 17014. In July 1701 he arrived in Holland together with Marlborough. He went on a mission to discourage the elector of Cologne from a possible alliance with France,

5.2 Political mission in England

In the aftermath of the shock brougth about by the French recognition of the pretender, William III sent Galway to England on a mission to attempt to get Lord Somers and Lord Sunderland to his government.

5.3 Settles in Hampshire

In June 1701 Galway arrived in England. His Clanmalier and Portarlington estates had been sold to the London Hollow Sword Blade Company. Galway then looked to Hampshire, where Lady Russell and an attached circle of friends and acqaintances had residences where they often lived. Galway became the tenant of the Mansion House Rookley in the parish Crawley near Winchester, a few miles from Stratton House. Here he settled in 1702, busying himself with gardening and studies.

6 High command in Portugal and Spain

6.1 To Portugal

Galway came into the high command again when England was dissatisfied with Schomberg's conduct in the 1704 Portuguese campaign. He arrived in Portugal on 10 August 1704 but did not succeed in accomplishing much in the remainder of that year.

6.2 Early success in Portugal

1705 saw Galway again in command of the English troops in Portugal, which were nominally under an old Portuguese general. In fact the actual command was rotated on a weekly basis between Galway, Fagel and a Portuguese general. The campaign started with the siege and successful assault of Valencia de Alcantara under Fagel's command. On 22 May Galway then took Albuquerque by capitulation. Next the allies tried to do battle with Tessé, but he evaded them.

6.3 Failed siege of Badajoz

After the summer pause the allies started the siege of Badajoz in 1705. Here Galway lost the lower part of his right arm to a cannonball. In the end the siege of Badajoz failed due to some serious initial mistakes on the allied side.

6.4 March to Madrid

In 1706 Das Minas commanded the alliance army. It got an early success when it conquered Alcantara on 16 April and took a big booty. Against the protests of Galway and others the Portuguese then opted to take Ciudad Rodrigo which was taken on 27 May. In June the alliance then marched on Salamanca, where it was welcomed on 7 June. On 25 June the alliance army entered Madrid, but on 28 July it decided to march in the direction of Catalunia and later the kingdom of Valencia.

6.5 Battle of Almanza

1707 saw Galway again in command of the English troops but also in supreme command. At Almanza he suffered a terrible defeat against Berwick who had a vast majority over him. Here he was wounded in his face by two saber cuts.

6.6 After Almanza

After Almanza Galway seems to have done reasonably well on the defensive, but this could not redress the damage suffered at Almanza. In 1708 he returned to Portugal to command the English troops there and be the English envoy. In 1709 he then fought in the lost battle of La Gudina, but suffered only minor losses. However, for his military career this new defeat seems to have spelled the end.

7 Generalship, Career and Service of Galway

Career of Galway
1675French Colonel
1678Deputy of the Protestants and perhaps brigadier
1691January Major General and colonel of the French horse 3)
1692: 27 FebruaryLt-General of all forces in Ireland
1692: 25 NovemberViscount Galway and baron of Portarlington
169327 November Lt-General of Cavalry
1694 14 Feb.Envoy Extraordinary to the Duke of Savoy
1697 12 MayEarl of Galway
1697-1701A Lord Justice of Ireland
1704 3 JulyAppointed as General
1715Lord Justice of Ireland up to 1716
Service record of Galway
1691Present at the capture of Athlone
1691Distinguishes himself in the battle of Aughrim
1691Covers communications for the Siege of Galway
1691Present in the Siege of Limerick
1692Commanding in Ireland
1693Present at Neerwinden
1694Commander of an expeditionary force in Savoy
1704Commander of British forces in Spain up to 1710
1705Looses his right arm at the failed siege of Badajoz
1707Suffers a disastrous defeat at Almanza
1709Suffers a minor defeat at La Gudina

Galway does not feature in the list of great commanders. Let's say that one cannot doubt his personal courage and one also cannot doubt that on occasion he performed excellently when commanding part of an army. However, on the occasions that Galway was supreme commander he failed. This was true, but perhaps excusable, for the siege of Badajoz and the battle of La Gudina.

However, in the case of the battle of Almanza Galway's conduct cannot stand up to scrutiny. It might have been his old age, or constitution, or the loss of his right arm, but it was not good. At Almanza Galway was outnumbered 3:5 or perhaps even 1:2. Trying to force a battle in such circumstances meant taking a huge risk. Doing so outside of one's territory can however only be classified as irresponsible or ignorant. Sometimes people try to excuse Galway for his decision by stating that he had to fight in order to save the kingdom of Valencia. Perhaps this is true, but this could just as well have been done closer to his own lines of communication. Doing battle would still have been a great risk, but the consequences of loosing would have been far less serious. Therefore, in my opinion Galway was not a competent supreme commander, however successful he may have been in subordinate command.

8 Sources

An extensive work is Henri de Ruvigny, Earl of Galway. A filial memoir with a prefatory life of his father, le Marquis de Ruvigny. By Rev. David C.A. Agnew, Edinburgh 1864.

Galway's ancestors in France are extensively described in Lettres sur le Ponthieu by René de Belleval, Paris 1872.

9 Notes

1) Details of Galway's life can be found in Histoire des réfugiés protestants de France by Charles Weiss
2) Agnew has the 3/14 March 1692 date
3) Staatse Leger VIII/I Page 521
4) Staatse Leger VII Page 449 about these appointments