Neuhof, Theodor, Baron Von
corsica king theodore
NEUHOF, THEODOR, BARON VON (C. 1690-1756), who for a short time was nominally king of Corsica as Theodore I., was the son of a Westphalian noble, and was born at Metz about 1690. His father, an officer in the French service, had won the special favour of the duchess of Orleans, and on his death in 1695 his son and daughter were taken under her protection. The young baron was thus early initiated into the usages of courts, and received a thorough training in all the accomplishments best fitted to gain him influence with the great. Losses in play having compelled him to leave Paris, he entered the service of Charles XII. of Sweden, by whom he was sent on a secret diplomatic mission in connexion with a project for the restoration of the Stuarts. In connexion with the same intrigue he was also resident for a short time in London. In 1718 he came to Spain, where, obtaining the favour of the duke of Ripperda, he received the commission of colonel, and married Lady Sarsfield, one of the maids of honour of the queen. Finding his position at the court insecure, he made his escape with his wife's jewels. After various adventures he came in 1732 to Florence as representative of the emperor Charles VI. Having here made the acquaintance of several Corsican patriots, he succeeded by expressing strong sympathy with their cause, and promising to gain assistance for them in their resistance to the Genoese, in being accepted as a candidate for the Corsican throne. After fruitless endeavours to interest various European sovereigns in their behalf, he made his way to the dey of Tunis. From him he obtained a shipload of supplies and ammunition, with which he landed at Corsica on the 14th March 1736. He was received with the utmost enthusiasm, and in the following April was crowned king as Theodore I. By the help of a body-guard of 400 men, and the lavish distribution of new titles, he succeeded for some time in retaining his position, but failing in an effort to capture Bastia from the Genoese, he at the end of eight months resigned his power into the hands of a council of regency, and left the island with the view of arousing sympathy in behalf of his oppressed subjects. Making his way finally to Amsterdam, he was thrown into prison by some of his old creditors, but, succeeding in satisfying their demands, he appeared before Corsica in September 1738 with a considerable supply of provisions and war materiel, only to find it under the power of the French, who had become allies of the Genoese. After the departure of the French in 1743 he endeavoured to reestablish his authority, but found the faction against him so strong that he was soon compelled again to leave Corsica, and went to England, where he suffered several years imprisonment in the King's Bench prison at the instance of his Dutch creditors. Through the efforts of Horace Walpole a subscription was raised in his behalf, and, an understanding having been arrived at with his creditors, he obtained his freedom in 1756. He died 11th December of the same year.
Neuhof's son, who entered the service of the duke of Wiirtemberg, published an account of his father's life under the title Mdmoires your ser,'ir h l'histoire de Corse, 1768. See also Filippini, Histoire des Revolutions de Vile de Corse et de l'Elevation de Theodore I. sur to Tyke de cet Etat, The Hague, 1738 ; D'Argentcourt, De Gekrooncle Nog' of Theodorus op Stelten (Utrecht, 1739), and De Dwaalonde Moff of Verfolg van Theodorus oy Stelten (Deventer, 1740) ; A General Account of the Island of Corsica, with authentic Memoirs of Baron de Neuhoff, London, 1839 ; History of Theodore I., King of Corsica, London, 1843 ; Varnhagen von Ense, Biographische Denkniale, part i.