determined to act on his own responsibility, and giving battle to Don John at Almeixal or Estremos, on 8 June, won a complete victory over him, due, in the opinion of competent observers, to his own generalship and the valour of his English troops, mostly old Cromwellians.
The victory cleared the air. Villaflor was removed, and the chief command, under certain restrictions, conferred on Schomberg, who was at the same time created a grandee by the king, with the title of Count of Mertola, and according to Frémont, ‘'tis certain that had he not been of a contrary religion, they would have granted him great commanderies for himself and for his children, and that for ever.’ Towards the end of November he repaired to Lisbon, but all his remonstrances could not induce the government to make adequate preparations for the next campaign. On 10 June 1664 he sat down before Valencia de Alcantara, which capitulated a fortnight later; but the mismanagement of the commissariat department preventing him accomplishing anything further, he sent his army into quarters, and returned to Lisbon in high dudgeon with the Count of Castel-Melhor. A reconciliation was effected by Frémont, and promises were made him of greater activity in the following year. Nevertheless he was unable to convince the ministers of the necessity of strengthening the fortifications of Villa Viciosa, and in June 1665 the Marquis of Caracena, having supplanted Don John, invested the place. His attempt to capture it failed, and on 17 June Schomberg forced him to give battle at Montes Claros. During the fight he had a horse shot under him, and, engaging in personal combat with the prince of Parma, he was in imminent danger of being killed; the prince's sword was shattered on the cuirass he wore under his uniform (Brusoni, Hist. d'Italia, p. 808). The victory completely established the independence of Portugal, and confirmed Schomberg's reputation as one of the first soldiers of the time. After again defeating the Marquis of Caracena and the Prince of Parma on the Cebora at the beginning of October, he marched northwards to co-operate in an invasion of Gallicia; but his plan for an attack on Bayonne was frustrated by the opposition of the Count of Prada, and shortly after the capture of the fortress of La Guarda, on 22 Nov., he returned to his post in the Alemtejo. Taking at this time no part in the intrigues of the court, he crossed the Guadiana into Andalusia on 8 Jan. 1666, and captured Algueria de la Puebla, but, being compelled by lack of provisions to return to Estremos, he joined the court at Salvaterra. He was for some time laid up by illness, but, recovering, he quitted Lisbon about the middle of April, and, having furnished his troops with fifteen days' provisions, he again crossed the Guadiana. His action was not approved by the government, and, returning to Estremos in June, he shortly afterwards proceeded to Lisbon. During the winter he took his share in the public festivities connected with the marriage of King Alfonso; but in order not to compromise himself in the feud between the king and his brother, Don Pedro, afterwards Pedro II, he returned to Estremos on 7 March 1667, and shortly afterwards attacked Albuquerque. Misled by false information, he was, after looting the town, compelled to retire. Meanwhile, the intrigues against the king and Alfonso's own misconduct having rendered a revolution inevitable, Schomberg was reluctantly induced to intervene on behalf of Don Pedro. His influence with the army was very useful in frustrating Castel-Melhor's attempt to employ it on behalf of Alfonso, and the revolution having been successfully carried out, a peace was concluded, on 13 Feb. 1668, between Spain and Portugal, whereby the independence of the latter kingdom was formally recognised.
The peace putting an end to his occupation, Schomberg embarked at Lisbon on 1 June, and a fortnight later landed at Rochelle. His wife had died in the meanwhile, on 21 March 1664, at Geisenheim, and feeling no longer bound to Germany, he and his two sons, Meinhard and Charles, became naturalised French subjects. He purchased the lordship of Coubert, in the neigbourhood of Paris, and on 14 April 1669 married Susanne d'Aumale, a daughter of Daniel d'Aumale, sieur d'Harcourt of his own religion. In the summer of 1671 he paid a visit to Germany, and on the renewal of the war against Holland, he was present, though without a command, in 1673 at the siege of Maastricht.
Discontented at his inactivity, he entered the service of England as commander, under Prince Rupert, of the army of invasion, which it was intended to throw into Holland. He arrived in England on 3 July, and embarking at Gravesend on the 20th, with six thousand foot and some cavalry, he moved round the coast to Yarmouth, where he encamped pending the result of the combat between the English and Dutch fleets. The battle off Texel, if not actually a defeat for England, at any rate put an end to the scheme for invading Holland; and Schomberg after trying, not