Bonneval, Claude Alexandre
BONNEVAL, CLAUDE ALEXANDRE, Comte de (1675-1747), French adventurer, known also as Ahmed Pasha, was the descendant of an old family of Limousin. He was born on the 14th of July 1675, and at the age of thirteen joined the Royal Marine Corps. After three years he entered the army, in which he rose to the command of a regiment. He served in the Italian campaigns under Catinat, Villeroi and Vendôme, and in the Netherlands under Luxemburg, giving proofs of indomitable courage and great military ability. His insolent bearing towards the minister of war was made matter for a court-martial (1704). He was condemned to death, but saved himself by flight to Germany. Through the influence of Prince Eugene he obtained a general's command in the Austrian army, and fought with great bravery and distinction against France, and afterwards against Turkey. He was present at Malplaquet, and was severely wounded at Peterwardein. The proceedings against him in France were then allowed to drop, and he visited Paris, and married a daughter of Marshal de Biron. He returned, however, after a short time to the Austrian army, and fought with distinction at Belgrade. He might now have risen to the highest rank, had he not made himself disagreeable to Prince Eugene, who sent him as master of the ordnance to the Low Countries. There his ungovernable temper led him into a quarrel with the marquis de Prié, Eugene's deputy governor in the Netherlands, who answered his challenge by placing him in confinement. A court-martial was again held upon him, and he was condemned to death; but the emperor commuted the sentence to one year's imprisonment and banishment. Bonneval, soon after his release, offered his services to the Turkish government, professed the Mahommedan faith, and took the name of Ahmed. He was made a pasha, and appointed to organize and command the artillery. He rendered valuable services to the sultan in his war with Russia, and with the famous Nadir Shah. As a reward he received the governorship of Chios, but he soon fell under the suspicion of the Porte, and was banished for a time to the shores of the Black Sea. He was meditating a return to Europe and Christianity when he died at Constantinople on the 23rd of March 1747.
The Memoirs published under his name are spurious. See Prince de Ligne, Mémoire sur le comte de Bonneval (Paris, 1817); and A. Vandal, Le Pacha Bonneval (Paris, 1885).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)