Vane, Sir Henry

, an English statesman, whose family name had for some generations been Fane, but originally Vane, to which he restored it, was born Feb. 18, 1589. The family is said to have been at first of the diocese of Durham, but were now settled in Kent. (See Collins, art. Darlington). In 16 11 he had the honour of knighthood conferred upon him by king James I. after which he improved himself by travel, and the acquisition of foreign languages. On his return he was elected member of parliament for Carlisle, in which his abilities were conspicuous. Such also was his attachment to the royal family, that king James made him cofferer to his son Charles, prince of Wales, on the establishment of his household, and he was continued in the same office by the prince when Charles I. He was also sent by the new king to notify to the States of Holland the death of his royal father, and made one of the privy-council. In Sept. 1631 he was appointed ambassador extraordinary, to renew the treaty of friendship and alliance with Christian IV. king of Denmark; and to conclude peace and confederacy with Gustavus Adolphus, king of Sweden. He returned to England in Nov. 1632, and in May of the following year, entertained Charles I. in a sumptuous manner, at Raby-castle, on his way to Scotland to be crowned; as he did again, April 30, 1639, in his majesty’s expedition to Scotland, when sir Henry commanded a regiment of 1099 men. In 1639 he was made treasurer of the household, and next year, principal secretary of state in the room of sir John Coke. Hitherto he had enjoyed the confidence of the king, and had always been employed in the most important public affairs. But when he appeared in the prosecution against the earl of | Strafford, his motives to which appear to have been of a personal kind, the king was so offended, that he removed him from his places of treasurer of his household, and also from being secretary of state, though, in the patent granting that office to him, he was to hold it during life. The parliament therefore made this one of their pleas for taking up arms against the king. In their declaration, they avowed, “it was only for the defence of the king’s person, and the religion, liberties, and laws of the kingdom, and for those, who for their sakes, and for those ends, had observed their orders. That, by the instigation of evil counsellors, the king had raised an army of papists, by which he intended to awe and destroy the parliament, &c.; and the putting out the earl of Northumberland, sir Henry Vane, and others, &c. from their several places and employments, were sufficient and ample evidences thereof.

It does not, however, appear that he was concerned in any measures against the king, but continued in London, without acting in the rebellion. And although on December 1, 1645, the parliament, debating on propositions of peace with the king, voted, that it be recommended to his majesty 10 create sir Henry Vane, senior, a baron of the kingdom, he never accepted any commission or employment under them. Before the murder of the king, he retired to his seat at Raby castle, neither he nor his sons being concerned therein. The earl of Clarendon is severe in his character of sir Henry Vane. He certainly was at one time in full confidence with the king, but his taking part against Strafford did incalculable mischief to the royal cause. Clarendon allows that, in his judgment, “he liked the government, both in church and state.” As to what his lordship observes, “of his growing at last into the hatred and contempt of those who had made most use of him, and died in universal reproach;” it may, says Collins, be more justly represented, that he saw the vile use they made of their power, and, contemning them, chose retirement. He lived to the latter end of 1654, when he departed this life, at his seat at Raby-castle, in the sixtyninth year of his age. 1


Collins’s Peerage, art. Darlinctox. Biog. Brit.