Ver Huell, Carel Hendrik

STATESMAN, ADMIRAL (NETHERLANDS)
BORN 4 Feb 1764, Doetinchem, Gelderland - DIED 25 Oct 1845, Paris
GRAVE LOCATION Paris: Père Lachaise, Rue du Repos 16 (division 28)

Carel Hendrik Ver Huell was the fifth son of Quirijn M. Ver Huell and Judith, Baroness van Rouwenoord van den Ulenpas. He entered the infantry of the Dutch republic but he quickly switches to the navy. On 30 December 1799 he saw action near the Isle of Wight during the 'Affair of Fielding and Bylandt', when a Dutch convoy that was attacked by a British squadron. In 1781 he participated in the Battle of the Dogger Bank. He was woundend, but it also earned him a military order 62 years after the battle in 1843. He married Maria Johanna de Bruyn on 23 February 1789 and they had three sons who all died before there father. After she suffered from smallpox in 1793 Maria Johanna was disfigured.

In 1791 he was promoted to commander and in 1792 he became adjutant to adminral Van Kinsbergen. In 1793 he was promoted to captain. He supported William V and was fired like many other navy officers in 1795 after the Batavian Republic was proclaimed. After the coup of general Augereau he was elected mayor of his birthplace Doetinchem in 1802. In 1804 he returned to the navy as a vice-admiral. After Napoleon witnessed him succesfully transporting ships from Vlissingen to Dunkirk despite an attack by Sir William Sydney Smith he awarded him the Légion d'Honneur. The Dutch government (the Staatsbewind) appointed him minister for the navy, but he lost this position after Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck came to power in 1805.

He started a correspondence with Talleyrand and Napoleon to undermine the position of Schimmelpenninck. On 5 June 1806 he led a Dutch delegation that asked for Napoleon's brother Louis Napoleon to become king of Holland. He was awarded the Grand Aigle de la Légion d'honneur afterwards. Louis Napoleon made him marshal Holland and reinstated him as minister for the navy. He was said to have an affair with the king's wife Hortense de Beauharnais and there were speculations that he might have fathered the future Emperor Napoleon III.

In 1807 Ver Huell was appointed ambassador to France. In 1809 he temporarily commanded the Dutch royal navy during the Campaign of Walcheren. He supported Napoleon in the implementation of the Continental System that was opposed by Louis Napoleon. After the Netherlands were annexed by France in 1810 he became a vice-admiral in the French navy. In 1811 Napoleon made him Count of the Empire. In 1813 he became naval commander of Den Helder and he defended the fortress in Den Helder until Napoleon's abdication in 1814.

He went in exile in France afterwards without his wife. He joined the French navy and obtained the French nationality under Louis XVIII in order to protect his financial interests. During the 100 Days he visited the emperor but he didn't offer him his services and he wasn't too compromised when the Bourbons once more came to power. He was retired as vice-admiral from the French navy in 1816 and returned to the Netherlands for a year, but in 1819 he became a Pair de France and a member of the Chambre des Pairs for life. He conducted a long term relationship with Marie-Thérèse Rougeot (born Corneillan), the wife of a merchant from Paris. He had a son, Charles Rougeot (1820-1896) and a daughter, Caroline Sophie Mauriciene Pfrimmer (b.1821) by her. In 1836 was he was ambassador to France in Berlin for a while. He died in 1845 in Paris. Ver Huell is the only Dutchman whose name is on the Arc de Triomphe in Paris.

Related persons
• was a friend of Beauharnais, Hortense de
• cooperated with Napoleon I Bonaparte
• was opponent of Smith, Sidney

Events
0/4/1806A Dutch delegation talks to Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. The delegation was led by admiral Ver Huell and was instructed to aks Napoleon to maintain the Batavian Republic. But Napoleon wanted to make his brother Louis king of Holland. He refused to meet the delegation and ordered them to negotiate with his unwilling brother. The negotiations succeeded after Ver Huell, the leader of the delegation and a supporter of Napoleon, mediated succesfully. On 5 May 1806 Napoleon appointed his brother King of Holland. [Napoleon I Bonaparte]

Images

The grave of Carel Hendrik Ver Huell at Père Lachaise, Paris.
Picture by Androom (02 Nov 2018)

 

Sources
Carel Hendrik Ver Huell - Wikipedia


Verdi, Giuseppe

Published: 07 Jan 2024
Last update: 07 Jan 2024