Ruyter, Michael-Adrian De

, a celebrated Dutch admiral, was born at Flushing in 1607, and entered into the naval service of his country very early. Much of the early part of his life was spent in the service in the West Indies, to which he is said to have made eight voyages, and two to Brasil. Jn 1641 he was sent to the assistance of the Portuguese, who had thrown off the yoke of Spain, and on this occasion he was raised to the rank of rear-admiral. He afterwards rendered some important services on the Barbary coast, entering the road of Sallee in a single ship, although five Algerine corsairs disputed the passage. When war broke out, in 1652, between the English and Dutch, Van Tromp having been disgraced, De Ruyter was appointed to the command of a separate squadron, for the purpose of convoying home a rich fleet of merchantmen. He fell in with the English admiral Ayscough, with whom he had an engagement off Plymouth, in the month of August, which lasted two days, and terminated so far to the advantage of the Dutch, that he brought his convoy safe into port. In the following October De Ruyter aud De | Witte had an action with Blake and Ayscough on the Flemish coast, which was severely contested; but De Ruyter, being deserted by some of his captains, found it advisable to retreat to his own coast, the loss having been Dearly equal on both sides. Van Tromp was now restored to the chief command, and De Ruyter had a squadron under him in the battle of December, offFolkstone, in which Blake was obliged to take shelter in the Thames. De Ruyter likewise distinguished himself in the terrible battle of three days, fought in February 1653, between Tromp and Blake, near the mouth of the Channel. In the month of June, Tromp and De Ruyter engaged Monk and Dean off Nieuport; and after a battle of two days, in which the two Dutch admirals successively rescued each other from imminent danger, the Dutch confessed their inferiority by retiring behind their own sand-banks, where having received a reinforcement, they were enabled to attack the English under Monk and Lawson, near Scheveling. In the final battle between the two fleets Tromp was killed, and De Ruyter compelled to withdraw his shattered ships to the Meuse. After the peace, which was concluded the following year, De Ruyter was sent to cruize in the Mediterranean, to reinforce Opdam; and this service being effected, he returned to his station, and put an end to the predatory warfare carried on by the French privateers. The Dutch having quarrelled with Portugal, De Ruyter exhibited his vigilance, taking several Portuguese ships at the mouth of the Tagus, and made several prizes from the Brazil fleet, till a want of provisions obliged him to return to Holland. War having recommenced between the Swedes and Danes in 1658, De Ruyter, who was sent with a fleet to the assistance of the latter, made a descent on the island of Funen, defeated the Swedes, and forced them to surrender at discretion in Nyborg, whither they had retired. He then wintered at Copenhagen, where the king of Denmark ennobled him for his services. In 1662 he was sent with a strong squadron to curb the insolence of the Barbary states, who had exercised their piracy upon the Dutch shipping, and succeeded entirely to the satisfaction of his employers. At the commencement of the disputes between Charles II. and the United Provinces, De Ruyter had a command on the coast of Africa, where he recovered the forts which had been taken from the Dutch by the English, and made prizes of some merchant ships. After the defeat of the | fleet of Opdam by the duke of York in 1665, D Ruyter returned, and was raised to the rank of lieutenant-admiralgeneral of the Dutch navy. The first service of De Ruyter was to convoy home a fleet of merchantmen; and in June 1666, the great fleets of the two maritime powers met in the Downs; the Dutch commanded by De lluyter and Tromp, the English by prince Rupert, and Monk, now the duke of Albemarle. In the three days’ fight which ensued, the Dutch had the advantage, though the valour of the English rendered the contest very severe; and on the fourth, the English, who had been the greatest sufferers, withdrew to their harbours.

In the following August the duke of Albemarle and prince Rupert fell in, near the coast of Essex, with De Ruyter and Tromp, and in the ensuing action, Tromp, eagerly pursuing a defeated division of the English fleet, left De Ruyter alone to contend with the main body of the enemy, who, after a long and most severe contest, was obliged to retreat, exclaiming, how wretched he was that not one bullet of so many thousands would free him from the disgrace. The year 1667 was memorable for the disgrace which the reign of Charles II. incurred by the triumphant entrance of the Dutch into the Thames. Negociations for peace had been carrying on at Breda, which De Witte had protracted, while he hastened the naval preparations; which being completed, the Dutch fleet appeared in the Thames, under the command of De Ruyter, and took Sheerness, and burnt several English men of war. The peace which soon followed gave some repose to De Ruyter, till the alliance between Charles II. and Louis XIV. against the Dutch, rendered his services again necessary. In June 1672, with a fleet of ninety-one sail, he attacked the combined fleets of one hundred and thirty sail, under the command of the duke of York, lord Sandwich, and count d’Estrees, in Solebay; an obstinate engagement took place, which was in some measure undecided, as night parted them, but De Ruyter kept the sea, and safely convoyed home a fleet of merchantmen. In 1673 he was again sent to sea with a strong fleet in quest of the combined English and French, who were on the Dutch coast. Three engagements took place, which were obstinately fought, but both parties claimed the victory. De Ruyter’s other actions against the French were of little comparative importance. In the last, however, fought near Messina, against the French fleet, | April 21, 1676, he was mortally wounded by a cannon-shot, and died a week after in the port of Syracuse, deeply regretted by his country. He was interred at Amsterdam, at the public expense, and a superb monument erected to his* Hiemory. 1


Campbell’s Lives of the Admirals. —Rees’s Cyclopadia.