For the twenty-six months covered by the present volume, April 1664, to May 1666, the Venetian republic had no representative at the English Court. The circumstances which had led to the departure of Giavarina at the beginning of 1663 rendered it practically impossible to fill his place, at least so long as Clarendon should remain in power. (fn. 1) But the long drawn-out war of Candia had now reached a very critical stage, and it was of the highest importance that the Senate should be supplied with trustworthy information of affairs in the North, particularly of England and Holland, whose strained relations most immediately threatened the peace of Christendom, which it was the main object of the republic's policy to preserve. This task was entrusted to Alvise Sagredo, who had gone to serve the republic at Paris just before Giavarina left London. He was a diplomatist of experience, who had been sent as the first ambassador of the republic to Turin, when relations with Savoy had been resumed, after an interruption of over thirty years. (fn. 2) Up to the time of his leaving Paris, in November 1665, he continued to forward letters of advices from both London and the Hague, as well as information culled from other sources, which he incorporated in his own despatches. He was on very friendly terms with the English ambassador, Lord Holles, for whose character he had obviously conceived a great admiration. “The Venetian ambassador here,” Holles wrote to Fanshawe, “is much an Englishman.” (fn. 3) The regular stream of advices from London ceases after June 1665, owing to the ravages of the plague and the departure of the Court into the country. For the remainder of the year there are only three letters from Tonbridge.
The advices from the rival capitals forwarded by Sagredo with complete impartiality, convey the strong national partisanship of their writers and illustrate graphically the passions which led up to and fomented the war. Sagredo does not afford any clue as to the identity of his correspondent at either place, but for the whole of the period from November 1664 the advices from England are practically identical with those forwarded by the Tuscan agent, Giovanni Salvetti Anterminelli, to his government. (fn. 4) It is curious that while Salvetti's letters are all in Italian, those forwarded by Sagredo are either in French or have been translated from the French.
After Sagredo's departure from Paris his successor, Marc Antonio Giustinian continued to supply information about English and Dutch affairs, but, except in a solitary instance, he incorporates this in his own despatches. The outbreak of war between England and France soon after his arrival, no doubt made it more difficult for him to get authentic English news.
The material of the present volume is mostly concerned with war and diplomacy. The latter is extraordinarily complex, and besides London and Paris much was going on both at Vienna and Madrid. Venice was well represented at three of the four Courts, but it is unfortunate that three of her ministers at this time, Sagredo, Cornaro and Zorzi, were all possessed by an ambition for fine writing. This occasionally leads the first two into long involved sentences, the meaning of which threatens to be lost in mere verbosity. Zorzi, on the other hand, cultivated what he no doubt regarded as a Tacitean style, which at times renders his meaning very hard to unravel.
When England and Holland concluded their treaty in 1662 the settlement was not expected to be enduring. It left the chief causes of difference unsettled, and there would probably have been no treaty at all but for the conclusion just before of another treaty between Holland and France. The knowledge that the Dutch might have France behind them gave the English pause in pressing their claims, while the Dutch, relying on French support, were much less likely to show themselves accommodating.
In England the merchants were becoming convinced that war would be the only way to save their trade. In April 1664 the merchants of London appeared before parliament and set forth a bitter complaint against the Dutch for injuries inflicted over a course of thirty years (No. 21). The East India Company estimated their losses at 237,000l. Other traders to the Levant, Portugal, Africa and elsewhere presented similar estimates, amounting in all to a total of 500,000l. (No. 23). Commissioners were appointed by parliament to make inquiry and ascertain the facts upon which claims for satisfaction from the Dutch could be based. This was expected to lead to the issue of letters of marque. The Dutch remembered the losses which they had incurred in this way in the time of Cromwell, and were determined to face an open rupture rather than submit to the like again (No. 15). They meant to be prepared for all eventualities and set to work to arm a powerful fleet, appointing Opdam to the chief command (Nos. 15, 40).
These measures aroused resentment in England and Charles promptly responded by calling for the arming of forty-five more ships, while a proclamation was issued recalling all English sailors who were in foreign service, and directing that none should return to serve outside his own country (Nos. 35, 39). On both sides outlying squadrons were called home, Tromp from Spanish waters and Lawson from the Mediterranean (No. 11). The situation was becoming critical and there was additional danger in the belief that neither party would venture to take the final plunge. The Dutch believed that Charles would be deterred by the insecurity of his position at home, the difficulty of finding money and the possibility of having to deal with France also. Charles was assured by his minister Downing that the States would never make war; that they would not take up the interests of the India Company, that Friesland and Groningen would not consent to it and that Zeeland would be embarrassed because of the interests of the prince of Orange (No. 142).
There were indeed strong reasons to prevent an appeal to arms. With England lying across their trade routes the Dutch realised that their commerce would speedily be ruined unless they could secure and keep the command of the sea, while Charles might well dread the consequences of an unsuccessful war and the dependence, in any case, on parliament for the funds he would require to wage it. Supported by his brother, Clarendon and Southampton, on the Council, he stood out against the clamour of the war party and strove for a settlement by friendly accommodation.
The Dutch were quite ready to meet the king. In May 1664 they sent over Gogh to treat. They felt very sanguine of a settlement by negotiation. They knew that England had no great forces at sea; that the Barbary corsairs were keeping their hands full and that the sectaries might easily cause trouble, and they counted on the goodwill of the king (No. 26). Downing, who had originally shown a very aggressive spirit, had now become much milder (No. 35). In June he set out from the Hague for London, taking with him the reply of the States to the claims made by the English with an assurance from the assembly that they were ready to give the king satisfaction on the two principal points. It was generally expected that things would quiet down and that the crisis would be safely passed (No. 40). The Dutch eagerly awaited Downing's return, hoping that he would bring them a settlement already concluded (No. 47).
It was at this moment that news arrived that shattered all hopes of a peaceful solution. Three years before the Spanish ambassador Gamarra had predicted that the treaties concluded at that time by the Portuguese with the English and Dutch would lead to war between those two powers, over conflicting claims in Africa. (fn. 5) This prediction was now being fulfilled as Robert Holmes was reported to be on the Guinea coast, taking possession of all the Dutch stations, which he claimed to be the rightful property of his king (Nos. 42, 47). Great indignation was roused in the Netherlands by this intelligence. Almost immediately the States of Holland took a step that was almost certain to lead to war. Secret orders were sent to de Ruyter, then supposed to be operating against the Barbary corsairs, to proceed to Guinea to recover the places taken and to expel the English. The issue of such orders to an admiral by a single province was contrary to the constitution of the Netherlands, (fn. 6) but the Dutch plumed themselves upon having in this way outwitted Downing, who had boasted that there was no secret of the state that he could not find out (No. 89).
Downing's return to the Hague, from which so much had been hoped, thus proved no more than the introduction of further wrangling and ill feeling. When he arrived he had shown himself in no hurry to present himself before the States General, though it was known that he had in his hand the final intentions and decisions of his master (No. 49). When he did at length appear they seemed satisfied, believing him to be inclined to remove all fear of a rupture (No. 50). This satisfaction was speedily dissipated by the news from Guinea, on which the States firmly demanded a promise of restitution from the king (No. 51). This was countered by a memorial from Downing charging the Dutch governor of Mina with bribing the King of Fantee to attack the English fort of Cormantine. When Downing made the ill-advised remark that if the Dutch had given the English the money which they had employed on equipping their fleet, they would have arrived at an agreement long ago, he was told that they had no assurance that such an agreement would last for long, and that they were not in the humour to pay tribute to the King of England (No. 57). Feeling was further exacerbated by the news that the English had driven the Dutch out from Tobago and from New Amsterdam. Downing was negotiating with de Witt at the time about delimitating the boundary between the English and Dutch settlements in the new world, and he denied the truth of the report, though it is alleged that he was fully aware of what had happened (No. 82). On receipt of the news the States of Holland, instead of separating, decided to arm eighteen more ships. Instructions were sent to van Gogh to demand the restitution of this territory. On this and on the question of Guinea they had no intention of yielding, considering it a matter of reputation (No. 87). They told Downing that it was useless to waste time in discussing reparation for the ships Bona Ventura and Good Hope and other small differences while the English made difficulties about restoring what they had taken and about accounting for the operations of Holmes on the Guinea coast (No. 94).
In England, although the orders sent to Ruyter were not known, strong suspicions were entertained of Dutch intentions and they were openly preparing to send a fleet to Guinea. At an audience in September van Gogh admitted to the king that the Dutch were sending a squadron to Guinea, but he said they had orders not to molest the English. At this Charles took him up sharply. He said he knew the Dutch and their ways. He had not been sleeping in the meantime, and if they sent a fleet to Guinea they would find one ready to receive them and perhaps another on the road to stop them. At the Council he had been the only one to take the part of the Dutch, but if they would not do justice to his subjects they would no longer have only subjects to deal with. Although they had shown themselves the better hands at boasting they might find their match when it came to blows (No. 72).
In Holland as in England it was the mercantile community that was most prepared to push matters to extremes. The East India Company sent a special deputation to the States General to oppose the acceptance of the suggestions made by Downing for a settlement (No. 82). In the event of war they believed that they would drive the English out of the East Indies altogether, and were only waiting for the signal to act. Within a year from the outbreak they did not believe that a single English ship would dare to show its face there (Nos. 82, 107).
The Dutch generally did not wish for war, if it could be avoided without sacrifice, but if it was to come they believed that they held the best cards in their hand. They felt confident in their naval strength, possessing as they did over a hundred ships of war, the least of which was larger than any employed in the time of Cromwell (Nos. 43, 87). In finance they considered that they had a great advantage. As a mere demonstration of financial strength they floated a special war loan, and in two days the state obtained a million francs from the Amsterdam merchants at the rate of three per cent. (No. 43). Before the end of 1664 they professed to have enough money in hand to wage war at sea for four years without having to raise any loan at more than four per cent. (No. 105). In contrast with this Charles had to pay six per cent. for 100,000l. borrowed to equip ships, even though the loan was backed by the city of London (No. 42). A few months later Charles was finding it difficult to raise money even at the rate of nine per cent. (No. 196).
The chief reason which delayed the beginning of hostilities was uncertainty about the attitude of France. By the treaty of 1662 Louis was bound to come to the assistance of the Dutch if they should be attacked. If they could show the English to be the aggressors, they could call upon France to fulfil its obligations under the treaty. They believed that their diplomacy was sufficiently skilful to achieve this end (No. 87). Without the assurance of French support they had misgivings about their ability to cope with the might of England. The correspondent at the Hague goes so far as to say that in such case they would have to come to a settlement with England on the best terms that they could get (No. 100).
Through the autumn and a good part of the winter both parties were manoeuvring for position, with an eye on France. On the face of things it looked as if Louis would have everything to gain from a war between his two neighbours (Nos. 28, 93). It was actually reported in Paris that he was encouraging Charles to persist with his demands against the Dutch (No. 91). But, as a matter of fact, the French king by no means desired a war in which he might himself become involved. The chief object of his policy was the occupation of the Spanish Netherlands in right of his wife, on the death of her father, Philip IV. It suited him much better that England and Holland should be bidding for his support. He hoped to maintain the peace by holding the balance even and so to win for himself a place of commanding authority. Accordingly he offered his mediation by means of his ambassadors at London and the Hague, an offer which was received with polite evasiveness by both parties. As the year drew on and the situation became more menacing the French ambassador Comenge had orders to warn Charles that in the event of a rupture his king was under an obligation to help the Dutch, and the arrival of Ruvigny from France at this time was supposed to be about the same subject (Nos. 95, 96). Soon after this Comenge had audience of Charles and asked the meaning of his warlike measures, as he knew that such preparations would not be pleasing to his master. In response to this Charles at once sent Lord Fitzhardinge to Paris to satisfy Louis of his intentions (No. 100). To counteract any evil effects that Fitzhardinge might have, the Dutch sent van Beuningen to the French Court and to claim the fulfilment of the treaty (No. 104).
Ostensibly the mission of Fitzhardinge was purely complimentary, about the queen's convalescence, but the distinguished reception accorded to him and the unusual magnificence of his present aroused the suspicions of the Dutch (No. 104). The French profited by the occasion to forward their own schemes. It was suggested to van Beuningen that some article about Flanders should be inserted in the treaty (No. 135); it was indeed reported at Madrid that the French were asking for an assurance of Dutch co-operation when the time came for invading Flanders (No. 127). Meanwhile Holles had submitted a proposal for England and France to unite to drive the Dutch from the Indies and Guinea, and to divide the spoil, the new French Company to have the trade in the Indies and the English to have Guinea (No. 69).
In France a stately embassy was preparing to go to England and take up the question of mediation, but the arrangements for this proceeded with the utmost deliberation (Nos. 135, 139, 141). While both sides were competing for their favour there seemed to be no need for haste, and the French appeared to think that there was no immediate danger of war.
But in England opinion had hardened in favour of an appeal to arms. In July Charles had assured van Gogh that the Council had resolved not to do anything to encourage the merchants by way of a rupture (No. 44). A few weeks later the Duke of York expressed to the same ambassador his great dissatisfaction with the conduct of the Dutch (No. 72) and told him that he was quite ready to serve his brother in war, in person, as he had already served foreign princes. By the end of the year the king and leading men, who had hitherto favoured an accommodation, had come to the opinion that open war was desirable, for which parliament had already voted ten million crowns (No. 105).
The approach was made with some hesitation. In November the king ordered the release of some ships which had been seized, only to have them seized again immediately afterwards (No. 105). In January Robert Holmes, returning from Guinea, was sent to the Tower to answer the complaints of the Dutch against him, but was released after a short detention (No. 135). General letters of reprisal were issued against the Dutch in December and on the 29th Allen attacked the Dutch Smyrna squadron off Cadiz. But though Dutch shipping suffered very severely, they refused to be provoked being resolved not to proceed to hostilities until such time as France had declared herself (No. 111). So in spite of the discontent of the merchants their fleets were kept in port and their merchantmen were forbidden to sail. Meanwhile the hesitation of Charles to take the final step was provoking some to say that the talk of war was only a sham, and used by the king in order to induce parliament to grant him the ten million crowns (No. 143). At last, on 22nd February, 1665, the king took the decisive step and war was formally declared. The proclamation was made in London, Bristol, York and other principal towns, and everywhere the people manifested their joy, hoping that after the Dutch had been humbled a little they would be able to trade freely in every part of the world (No. 155), a sentiment that was interpreted in Holland as a determination to ruin Dutch trade in the only way in which it could be done (No. 107). The issue of the king's declaration at a time when an embassy was expected from Paris to mediate upon the differences between the two countries, gave rise to considerable comment and much speculation (No. 143). At the Hague it was observed that the king had taken this step at a time when parliament was no longer sitting, indicating that he was as much in favour of war as his subjects (No. 156).
Active preparation for war had been going on for months. The shipyards had for a long while been exceedingly busy. A special regiment for service with the fleet was raised under the command of Sir William Killigrew. In November regulations had been issued concerning the distribution of prize money, for the care of the wounded, for providing for widows and orphans and for the granting of medals (No. 94). Prince Rupert was given the first active command in the fleet. He was to take a squadron to Guinea to deal with Ruyter, who was suspected to have gone there (No. 81). It was considered unwise, however, to detach so considerable a force at a time when the Dutch were arming so strongly in home waters, with the danger that Rupert might be caught between Ruyter's fleet and one sent from the Netherlands (No. 96). His sailing was in any case rendered impossible by a serious accident which befel him soon after, as when inspecting a ship he was struck on the head by a piece of wood falling from aloft and so seriously injured that his life was in danger (No. 100). (fn. 7)
The temporary disablement of Rupert mattered the less as the Duke of York was coming forward to take the place which belonged to him by birth and by his office. His presence had the most stimulating effect. The sailors and old officers of the time of the Commonwealth came forward of their own accord protesting their loyalty to the crown (No. 100). Every confidence was felt in a successful issue. Men laughed at those who shook their heads at the accident to Rupert and the blowing up of the frigate London as bad omens, saying that these were tales to frighten women and children and that grown men paid no attention to them (No. 150).
The Dutch on their side kept their fleet at home, partly as a matter of policy, hoping that during the winter the English would cool down and be ready for negotiations (No. 100). Considerable anxiety was felt for the safety of ships returning from various parts of the world and orders were issued to provide for their safety. Such traffic as was permitted took the long route round Scotland, as the Channel was thought to be too dangerous. To provide against this and to make a base for operations against the Dutch herring industry the English had a fort built in the Shetland Islands (No. 115).
As the tale of prizes mounted up the Dutch merchants grew very discontented at the inactivity of their fleet, which exposed them to such heavy losses after all the expenses which they had incurred (Nos. 105, 112). To satisfy them Banckert was sent to sea in February with a small squadron on a report that seven English ships had been sighted off Scotland, but he soon returned to port and announced that he had found nothing. According to the English account he had been followed by the English fleet and retired precipitately to Zeeland (Nos. 137, 139).
The first clash of warships was Allen's attack on the Smyrna fleet off Cadiz before any declaration of war had been made. Although in inferior force Allen attacked with great vigour and resolution and inflicted considerable loss on the enemy, the Dutch commander Brakel being slain (Nos. 113, 121, 126). It was thought that Allen might proceed towards Guinea in order to engage Ruyter, but instead he came straight back to England, escorting a convoy of rich merchant ships and bringing the prizes and booty which he had taken (No. 155). He arrived in time to join the grand fleet in home waters where the decisive actions must be fought.
The English declaration of war deprived the Dutch of their chief reason for maintaining a passive attitude; but before coming out to fight they naturally wished their fleet to be as powerful as possible. Their most competent admiral, by their own choice, was far away in Africa, and they sighed for the return of Ruyter as for the coming of the Messiah (No. 166). Within a very short time of the English declaration they were made painfully aware how uncertain was the support of France, on which they chiefly relied. The French had bought five ships at Amsterdam, two of war and three merchantmen. The immediate delivery of these ships was now demanded by the Ambassador d'Estrades. The Dutch, who needed every ship they could lay their hands on, at first shuffled and then refused absolutely to give the ships up. They offered to repay the purchase money or to supply four or five transports instead of the two fighting ships. They feared that if they gave way, other princes would make similar demands, including the King of Spain for whom they had built a powerful ship of eighty guns. Incensed by this refusal Louis, without loss of time ordered the seizure of all Dutch ships found in French ports. The effect of this was the more sensible because many had taken refuge there from the English. The States General had perforce to give way and surrender the ships and they might well wonder whether the French king intended to drive them to desperation (Nos. 154, 159, 161, 164).
Another reason for delay in putting to sea was a difficulty in finding sailors, as the men preferred service in privateers, although the government offered an increased rate of pay (No. 160). The English believed that this shortage would compel them to leave many of their ships in port (No. 167). At the end of April they were still 1,200 men short, but a further increase in the rate of pay brought in more than were needed (No. 171), they included a large proportion of foreigners, French, Germans, Flemings, English and Scots, by contrast with the English crews, who were all native born subjects of King Charles (No. 166).
To bring the Dutch to action the Duke of York, now in command of the whole English fleet, decided to enforce a blockade of their ports (No. 163). At the end of April he sailed for the Texel and remained off the Dutch coasts for two or three weeks, when the weather caused him to relax the pressure (No. 186). Frigates sent out to reconnoitre passed along the whole coast of Holland, chasing Dutch merchantmen in sight of their fleet and towns and burning some lighthouses, after which they returned unmolested to the main body (No. 173).
The policy of the duke proved quite successful. The people began to murmur at the inactivity of their own fleet and criticised the government for having landed them in such a plight (No. 166). This feeling became so strong that the government felt forced to do something to satisfy them (No. 195), while it was also necessary to take measures to secure the safe return of their merchant ships.
All this time the grand fleet had been gradually assembling at the Texel. They seemed to be in good fighting trim. A large number of ships were being secretly armed, beyond the usual contingents, and they had 12 ships capable of engaging upon equal terms the greatest vessels of the English fleet (No. 156). The men were stirred by reports of English cruelties in Guinea, and asked nothing better than to fight (Nos. 171, 172). They were further encouraged by a belief that English captains were showing a remarkable faintheartedness, two instances being cited from Cadiz (No. 201), and two captains they learned had been condemned to be shot for cowardice against certain privateers. Coming out from the Texel they had the good fortune to capture an important convoy from Hamburg. The captain of the warship in charge confirmed their opinion of English degeneracy by surrendering without offering the least resistance. When he boasted to his captor, Cortenaer, that if he had met him alone at sea he would have carried him off to England, the Dutch commander replied that if he had treated him according to his deserts he would have sent him to the king his master to be hanged for his cowardice (No. 201). The Dutch admiral Opdam reported that when the convoy was sighted the sailors, who thought it was the whole English fleet, displayed such joy that there was no reason to doubt but that they would fight very well.
Encouraged by their initial success, the Dutch decided first of all to surprise the fleet of colliers coming from Newcastle, and then to engage the main body of the enemy's fleet in the neighbourhood of Harwich. By a stroke of good fortune the colliers escaped safely into Yarmouth, bringing to the Duke of York useful information of the approach of the Dutch fleet, and supplying him with a number of sailors to fill up his crews (No. 205).
The fleets came in sight of each other on the 1st June, old style, and the action began on the 3rd. The roar of the guns was heard in London (No. 205), and at Dunkirk the reverberation was so great that all the window panes in the town were broken and some houses collapsed (No. 201). These papers contain three separate accounts of the battle, in Nos. 204, 205, 208, besides other particulars elsewhere.
The engagement began at 2 in the morning, the English having the advantage of the wind. Cortenaer succeeded in passing through their line, closely followed by Opdam, but the latter failed to profit by this manoeuvre and the English, by drawing back somewhat, retained the advantage of the wind. The brunt of the first attack was borne by Rupert, who received more than 100 shot before he would allow his men to fire, but when he had arrived at close quarters his guns wrought great havoc.
The battle raged with equal fortune for eight hours, during which the Dutch scored the only outstanding success by the capture of the Charity a former prize, surrendered faintheartedly by its captain against the wishes of his crew.
The main weight of the Dutch attack was delivered against the English flagship, in accordance with instructions issued before the action. A reward had been offered to any one who should take the Duke of York prisoner, and prizes to whoever should board or destroy his ship (No. 215). One Captain Senten, of the Orange, in particular, had sworn to take the duke. For a while the duke's flagship was in great peril. Some Dutchmen actually succeeded in boarding and were slain by the duke's own hand. At the critical moment Captain Smith in the Mary with two others came to the rescue, sank the Orange and relieved the pressure (No. 211). In the melee the Dutch Admiral Opdam was wounded by a rifle bullet, and later on was killed by a cannon shot. At four in the afternoon his ship blew up, the cause being uncertain. By this time most of the leading Dutch commanders had fallen in the fight and at this disaster they lost all heart. Evertsen, who should have taken over the supreme command on Opdam's death, was the first to give the signal for flight. The retreat threatened to degenerate into a rout, especially as Sandwich brought up his squadron to cut off the nearest way of escape.
At this juncture Tromp saved the situation. His own ship being sunk, he swam to another and hoisting his flag gathered a few other ships about him to stave off the English pursuit. This was not very vigorously pressed and so the bulk of the fugitives were able to get away safely to their own shallow waters and behind their sandbanks, where the heavier English ships did not venture to pursue them.
The Dutch losses in the battle were estimated at between 8 and 10,000 men, while the English claimed that theirs did not exceed 500. Many prisoners were taken, boats being put out to save the drowning Dutchmen; but the duke did not wish quarter to be given to Frenchmen, of whom, to the indignation of the English, many were serving as volunteers on the enemy fleet. The chief English losses were incurred on the flagship, where 200 were killed, including four lords and twenty-three volunteers (No. 210).
The brunt of the action was borne by only 44 ships. This was said to be because the others had not place nor time to satisfy their ardour (No. 208). But the behaviour of some of the captains seems to have been suspect. After the battle they all came on board the flagship to congratulate the duke on his victory. Some he received cordially, thanking them for their service; but others, who had not chosen to fight when they had the opportunity, he received with a frown. These were mostly old Commonwealth officers whose loyalty was suspected. It was supposed that they had an understanding with the Dutch and that they would have changed sides, if the English had not been successful and if they had been more sure of their men (No. 211).
That the fighting spirit was livelier among the crews than in the captains had appeared on one or two other occasions, notably in the case of the Charity, the only English ship lost in the fight. Another instance, related at some length, occurred just before the battle. In this case the captain refused, singlehanded, to engage two enemy ships. His crew, disgusted at such faintheartedness, had him bound and sent below, while they engaged and worsted the enemy ships, capturing one of them (No. 208).
The completeness of the English victory was due in large measure to the superiority of their ships. These were built of a special soft wood, peculiar to the island and guarded with great care. When a cannon shot penetrated this wood, it did not splinter it but made a clean round hole, which could easily be stopped. The guns were set low down in the ship's hull and always struck the enemy on the water line. Ample space was allowed overhead permitting the gunners to work at ease and making it easier for the smoke to clear away, while an extra man was kept to serve each gun. The Dutch ships, on the other hand, were built of Norwegian oak, which rent and splintered when struck. They were built high to serve the double purpose of trade and war and their guns did not hit such vital parts (No. 208).
The worst feature of the action from the Dutch point of view was that they were not only defeated but, for the time being at least, demoralised. When Tromp by his gallantry had enabled the fugitives to escape safe to port, the deputies of the States General put out to meet him and begged him to continue the fight. This he flatly refused to do, declaring that he would not expose himself with a cowardly rabble, which was capable of making him lose his honour as well as his life (No. 204). Evertsen was greatly blamed and on landing had been rescued with difficulty from an indignant mob. At a subsequent inquiry he was exonerated on the testimony of all the officers of the fleet and by the evidence of his own ship, which had been struck by over 115 cannon shot (No. 216); but three captains were subsequently put to death for misconduct and five others branded with infamy (No. 225).
The English victory seemed to have assured Charles of a commanding position in Europe, with power to lay down the law to all and with no occasion to fear even a Franco-Dutch combination against him. If the advantage had been pushed home the Dutch might have been crippled beyond recovery. But the opportunity was lost. The material losses of the Dutch were not serious and were soon made good, while the very success of the English alarmed other powers and inclined them to side against them.
France was very advantageously placed at this time, and Louis hoped to profit by his good fortune and make himself arbiter between the two hostile powers, and to this end he was intent on building up a powerful fleet and land army (No. 138). Neither of these was ready at the time and the king's ambition being turned in another direction, he did not desire a war which might easily involve him in unpleasant complications. The declaration of war by Charles took him by surprise and without loss of time he hastened the despatch to England of his ambassadors Verneuil and Courtin on their mission of mediation, the preparations for which had proceeded in such leisurely fashion up to then (No. 144). It was considered certain that the king would not have sent so pompous an embassy without having a previous assurance from Charles that his mediation would be accepted (No. 150). This clearly was not the case, and uncertainty on this point led to further delay, so that the ambassadors did not reach London before the middle of April. They hoped to arrive in time to prevent the sailing of the fleet, but were told that they were too late, although it was not really so (No. 172).
Few thought that the ambassadors were likely to achieve any success (No. 167). The Dutch considered that they were too biassed to act as mediators, both being in the confidence of Charles (No. 142). Verneuil indeed as a natural son of Henri IV of France, was a near relation, and as such was made much of and royally entertained. But instead of attending to business he left London almost immediately to go hunting (No. 169), and before many weeks had passed he had grown tired of his job (No. 194). The real business was left in the hands of Courtin, who would have liked to stay on as ambassador in ordinary (No. 177). But though in frequent secret conference with the king he could get nothing out of him except that there could be no hope of an adjustment unless the Dutch would promise to make reparation for the injury which they had done (No. 195). Charles told the ambassadors roundly that the Dutch had offered much more before their king had interposed, so that they could see how much value they attached to the mediation of so great a prince (No. 224).
Mediation was not the only business of the embassy, but no better success attended their other efforts. No notice was taken of Courtin's representations about the detention and search of French ships, or about including salt and wine in the list of contraband of war, for these and not arms and munitions were just the things of which the Dutch were short (No. 210). On the delicate question of the flag he does not seem to have ventured to touch. But when the Marquis d'Humières, who accompanied the ambassadors to London, raised this point with the Duke of York he received a very uncompromising reply (No. 224). The French ambassadors were no more successful with the Dutch. When they asked van Gogh to make some proposals for an adjustment he told them that he had no orders and that the States would take good care not to make any overture before they knew whether the King of England had accepted the mediation of France or no (No. 172).
The news of the English victory at Lowestoft caused a great impression at the French Court. The king called the Council together repeatedly and van Beuningen, who had several conferences with Lionne, was also sent for (No. 207). Louis probably expressed his true sentiments to Holles when he said that he hoped King Charles would profit by his good fortune to make a good peace. Holles could not do him a greater favour than to contribute to this, as he desired nothing more earnestly than to escape from an embarrassment of which Holles might be aware without it being necessary for him to repeat it (No. 209). Louis had no wish to go to war at this moment and least of all with England. He had no affection for the Dutch while his relations with the English Court were intimate. He loved his aunt, Queen Henrietta, as if she were his own mother (No. 389), and he had a great affection for Madame, his sister-in-law. The two kings had an excellent understanding together and the nobility of the two countries were on the most friendly terms (No. 228). In London Verneuil celebrated the English victory by bonfires; strange behaviour in a mediator and naturally resented by the Dutch. His two colleagues had their windows broken by the mob because they would not follow his example (No. 209). It was observed that Louis, who had been so quick to resent affronts from the pope and Spain, bore this without a protest as well as the constant seizure of the ships and goods of his subjects (No. 222).
Yet the obligations of the treaty with the Dutch were specific, and if Charles would not make peace as desired, some sort of action must be taken. Happening to meet the king one day Courtin urged upon him the desirability of an adjustment with the Dutch, adding that, speaking in a private capacity as one gentleman to another, he must say that France was committed to succour the Dutch, without any possibility of drawing back. Charles promptly returned this drive by saying that, as from one gentleman to another he could assure him that the sentiment of London had been shown by paying him, instead of 100,000l. to continue the war with the United Provinces, four times as much if he should break with France. Courtin showed his wisdom by not pursuing the matter further (No. 209).
In Paris van Beuningen was constantly urging the government to fulfil its obligations under the treaty. The ministers daily gave him fresh assurances, begging him to have patience for a week or two, because they hoped that in that time the King of England would propose conditions upon which a sound and reasonable peace could be made (No. 225).
Probably in order to bring pressure to bear upon England the king, early in July, caused an edict to be registered in the parlement of Paris which bore the appearance of a fresh alliance with the Dutch although ostensibly dealing only with trade in the Indies. A clause was inserted that this article in no wise affected the original treaty, which consisted of an offensive and defensive alliance contra quouscunque, whenever either of the parties was attacked, after exhausting every attempt at mediation and at preventing hostilities by previous negotiation for an adjustment (No. 215). This almost amounted to a declaration of war if the king's efforts for peace were put aside, and Louis was observed to be thoughtful, not to say sad, for there was some fear in France of a coalition against her of England, Spain, Portugal and some of the Protestant princes of Germany (No. 228).
There seemed no likelihood that Charles would accept such a peace as France desired. He told the ambassadors that there could be no peace without the reinstatement of the Prince of Orange, a war indemnity and some trading arrangement to put a stop to disputes beyond the line (No. 251). Before September was out it had become clear that there was no hope of England accepting French mediation. They were, on the contrary, trying to detach the Dutch and to induce them to make a separate peace. Courtin reported that he feared Charles might agree to some arrangement advantageous to the Dutch because of the ravages of the plague and the intolerable cost of his fleet (No. 259).
The Dutch were certainly not without inducements to listen to the proposals of England. They considered that the declaration of war by Charles was clearly a casus foederis and that France was evading her plain obligations. They were profoundly dissatisfied with the policy she was pursuing. Van Beuningen was constantly pressing for the fulfilment of the treaty, but he was put off with offers that he rejected as entirely inadequate (No. 231). Despairing of anything more he announced that it would be enough if France merely declared in favour of the Dutch, without any material assistance; but there was not the slightest sign that Louis would do even that much (No. 245). Growing impatient the States instructed him to ask the king for a categorical answer, and either break with England or declare that he did not mean to do anything, because they could not remain in uncertainty any longer (No. 257).
At last, after lengthy consultations it was decided to assist the Dutch against the Bishop of Munster who, with encouragement from Charles was threatening them on their North Eastern frontier (No. 269). This was only another means of evading the obligation, as Louis did not mean to break with England if he could help it, and almost as soon as the decision had been taken Lord St. Albans left for England with secret proposals.
This turn of affairs greatly puzzled and distressed van Beuningen (No. 298). The Dutch had no wish for French help against the bishop. They professed to be quite capable of dealing with him by themselves. The seeming friend might easily become more dangerous than the open enemy, for the French might make Holland the field of battle, with the after thought that a strong force there would not be amiss for enforcing the king's claims on Flanders (No. 312).
The obvious futility of further efforts at mediation led to the withdrawal of the French ambassadors at the end of 1665. Their departure was regretted by Charles, as it looked like a step in the direction of war and he dreaded the consequences of a rupture. The House of Lords shared the king's reluctance to go to war with France, and was beginning to give expression to this feeling (No. 312). But the people of England were becoming increasingly eager for such a war (No. 301), and this inclination was fomented by Clarendon who, both in the Council and in the House of Commons spoke strongly about the intrigues of France and French ministers and of the assistance supplied by them to the Dutch (Nos. 289, 308).
The French king and his Council were of opinion that war with England would bring them no advantage and would be fraught with peril (Nos. 312, 330), and they were determined to avoid it if they could find a way. They seem to have concluded that the best plan would be to bribe or otherwise influence the Commons. In October Clarendon intercepted a despatch of Courtin in which he wrote that he had bribed some members of the Lower House to vote against supplies for the war (No. 285). Charles was greatly incensed at this disclosure and he told Courtin plainly that such conduct was not expected of the minister of a friendly prince or of one who had claim to be a gentleman, a point on which the ambassador was likely to be sensitive (fn. 8) (No. 289). But in parliament Charles spoke in fulsome terms of his brother monarch and it was believed that Louis would recall the offending minister (No. 294). Yet the French still pursued the same object in a less offensive way, as St. Albans was sent to sound the inclination of the leading members of parliament and to try and conciliate their goodwill (No. 306). Much was built upon this and his return to Paris was awaited with great eagerness.
The French government believed that peace might be bought by a lavish expenditure of money and that Clarendon was the most suitable person on whom to try this form of persuasion. Frequent consultations took place at Paris between the secretaries of Colbert and Holles. At the same time Talon was sent to Calais with liberal supplies of money, ostensibly to distribute in Flanders, but it was firmly believed that he would proceed to England. This method was expected to be costly, as the appetites of the English were known to be voracious. There was talk of buying Tangier, as Dunkirk had been bought, and they were prepared to pay up to four millions for it (Nos. 314, 319).
To the surprise of the French this device, upon which they relied so confidently, failed to serve their turn, indeed it only did harm. The mob, suspecting Clarendon, surged to his house to punish him for his venality (No. 327). In London the houses of ministers were placarded with bills announcing “Here peace is sold for five millions.” Cartoons represented ministers at auction, asking for bids “How much, how much for peace” or kneeling to implore it (No. 330).
With popular feeling running so high Louis began to feel that war was inevitable. He regretted it deeply, the more so as it caused division in his own household. Madame was a strong partisan of her countrymen and her husband was entirely under her influence. The king did his best to soothe her and said that he knew that all the trouble was due to that canaille of the rabble, as he called the Commons (No. 319).
In the end the declaration of war came suddenly and unexpectedly from the French side. It took Holles by surprise and he called it an act of French impetuosity (No. 349). The reason assigned, that it was because of the treaty with the Dutch was the direct contrary of what the French had recently been assuring the English, that the help given to the Dutch against Munster was for defence only, in accordance with the treaty, a discrepancy noted by the Spanish Ambassador Fuente (No. 331). Another sign of impetuosity was the order to attack all Englishmen everywhere and at once, without consideration for the number of Englishmen who had crossed to France to escape the plague or others who were there for trade. Hollès made strong remonstrances against such treatment and on reconsideration English subjects were allowed three months' grace in order to clear up their affairs (No. 343).
In France the declaration was taken in different ways by different sections of the community. The more spirited were relieved to see that the government had at last decided on a policy more worthy of the national genius, instead of trying ignominiously to purchase peace with gold. In Paris the news was received with great rejoicing, not from any animosity against England but through ill will towards their own government, as the people believed that war would give them an opportunity to get rid of unpopular ministers (No. 331). In Poitou and in the islands of Ré and Oleron, the seafaring inhabitants abandoned their homes and went to live inland to take up agricultural work, for fear they might have to serve against the English (No. 342). At Marseilles it was noticed that no shots were fired against an English squadron that appeared in sight of the port (No. 357).
The French government, though aware of the dangerous discontent among its own subjects, had decided to take this action because it considered the difficulty of avoiding war to be insuperable. Louis told Queen Henrietta that he loved peace and would have done anything to preserve it, but he had been forced to act by the aggressiveness of the English (No. 330). A further reason, not avowed, was the fear that Spain might join with England to crush Holland (No. 355).
In England, although the declaration of war came as a surprise and caused some commotion, the war was very popular, and it was received with more applause than had ever been shown before (No. 362). One reason for this feeling is said to have been the introduction into France of the English method of weaving cloth, together with the manufacture of stockings, ribbons and other fabrics, which they used to obtain from England. New French laws forbad the importation of these commodities, bringing many English families to ruin thereby, and those thrown out of work thought it better to die by the sword than to perish of hunger (No. 331).
Although the Dutch were greatly cast down by their defeat at Lowestoft their government put a bold face on matters and at once set to work to repair the disaster, being determined to risk everything rather than to make a disadvantageous peace (No. 210). Within a short time they hoped to have ready a fleet of ninety sail, although the English believed that they would experience great difficulty in finding men to man them, as both sailors and soldiers had lost heart, and desertions were constant (No. 221). The English were left in command of the sea and numbers of Dutch merchantmen, returning from foreign parts, could not venture into home waters, for fear of capture, many of them taking refuge at Berghen and other Norwegian ports. Their trade was paralysed and they were beginning to experience a shortage of everything (No. 233). Internal dissensions added to their troubles, and fear and suspicion may easily have magnified such dissatisfaction as existed. In July 1665 M. Oudart, a former secretary of the Princess of Orange, was arrested and all his papers seized. On the same day they arrested an English merchant living at Amsterdam. He was said to have spoken out and accused many persons, some of such high rank that they might not dare to publish it (No. 234). In September following a plot was discovered for betraying Arnheim and Doesborgh to the bishop of Munster (Nos. 253, 262, 265). De Witt, who directed the government, was accused of having brought the Provinces to their present plight by his excessive ardour or presumption (No. 284).
Great efforts were made to get the fleet into fighting trim, the supreme command being given to Tromp, a brave man but whose faults of character unfitted him for such a position. There was a great longing for the return of de Ruyter, the one man who inspired general confidence and to whom they all looked to restore the affairs of the republic (No. 233).
On the English side the fleet was rapidly made ready for sea again, but neither the Duke of York nor Rupert returned to their commands. This was largely due to the efforts of Bennet, backed by parliament and the people, to restrain the duke from risking his life at sea again, because he was the heir presumptive (No. 220). There was some talk of Monk putting to sea once more, as grand admiral, but Charles decided to give the command to Sandwich, with three equal subordinates under him (No. 224), Penn taking charge until he arrived (No. 234).
The task set before Sandwich was a straightforward one. The enemy fleet was defeated and discouraged and he could range the sea freely. His main object was clearly to prevent the return home of de Ruyter, which meant so much to the Dutch. This should not have been difficult, since there was only one route open to him and his ships were certain to be foul after a long cruise in southern waters. A second object was to prevent the numerous Dutch merchantmen, arriving from all parts of the world, from reaching home safely with their cargoes. Sandwich dismally failed to achieve either of these objects. By a combination of misunderstandings, impetuosity and greed a premature attack was made on the port of Berghen, where some of the richest of the Dutch merchantmen had taken refuge. This attack was beaten off with considerable loss to the assailants. The English had expected the Danes to assist instead of resisting them, on condition that they shared the spoil. The Danish governor, Alefelt, was suspected of having been bought by the Dutch, but in any case he was hardly a free agent. The Dutch sailors there were in the majority and controlled the situation. It was they who occupied the forts, landed guns from their ships and worked them (No. 246).
In the confusion that followed this reverse Ruyter slipped through and arrived safely in his native country. He was at once appointed admiral of the Dutch fleet, all the captains preferring to serve under him rather than under Tromp (No. 241). His arrival caused an extraordinary revulsion of feeling in the Provinces, the people becoming joyful and confident when previously they had been depressed and despairing (No. 250).
Ruyter lost no time in putting to sea, escorting a convoy of some fifty outgoing merchantmen and going to protect the homeward voyage of those which had taken refuge in Norwegian ports. He met with no opposition, as the English fleet had withdrawn, ostensibly in order to refit (No. 255, 256). When the English fleet put to sea again in order to encounter Ruyter it was driven back by a storm, and the ships were huddled together in the port of Solebay in great confusion. Of all the Dutch merchantmen sailing homewards at that time, only two fairly considerable convoys were captured, making a total of thirty-five ships, with other odds and ends, against an English loss of only one old warship (No. 278). Such a result was a striking proof of Ruyter's skilful handling of a difficult situation, and a measure of the incapacity of his chief opponent. Sandwich seems to have thought he had done enough with the capture of the convoys, and the ships dispersed to winter quarters, the largest being dismantled. Ruyter however, still kept at sea and advanced boldly with his fleet to within sight of Harwich, showing his readiness to offer battle and threatening to blockade the Thames. Stirred by this audacity Charles ordered his ships to be rearmed (No. 285); but Ruyter's demonstration was intended chiefly to secure the safe return of the ships that still remained to come from Norway and Cadiz (No. 285). By the beginning of November the Dutch fleet was recalled to port (No. 299) and active operations ceased for the winter.
The entry of France into the war made little immediate difference to the situation. At the moment the French were very indifferently equipped for waging war with England. France had been busily arming for some time and grandiose projects were on foot. The king meant to have an army of from 50 to 60,000 men in the spring, as well as a powerful navy. Thirty ships were to be purchased in Holland, thirty more built in the French dockyards and eight or ten to be purchased in Denmark (Nos. 306, 316). But all this was in the future. The troops immediately available were not numerous, and the requirements of coast defence would make heavy demands upon them (No. 331). The military appointments were not distributed and Louis was much annoyed when Charles called home Colonel Douglas and the French king's Scottish guard (No. 361). Material also was lacking. For most of her supplies of lead and tin France had been accustomed to depend upon England. They now had to look elsewhere and sought to make arrangements with merchants of Constantinople and Germany (No. 361).
The united naval forces of the allies looked formidable upon paper and were estimated to amount to 214 ships (No. 387). The main French force of forty ships was at Toulon, under the command of Beaufort. He had orders to make every effort to engage the English squadron then in the Mediterranean. For tactics he was advised to close immediately and attempt to carry the enemy by boarding, as the French expected to succeed better with cold steel than with the guns (Nos. 357, 382). Beaufort showed no eagerness to engage with any sort of weapon and lingered in port until well into April. Guitry, who happened to be returning that way from Constantinople, then persuaded him to put to sea (No. 398). By that time the English squadron had left the Mediterranean and the French had the opportunity of acquiring the provisions that had been stored for them at Leghorn (No. 401). Finding the way clear of enemy ships Beaufort then proceeded cautiously to Rochelle, where he was to receive reinforcements and would then sail for Brest where he would await contingents from Denmark and the Dutch (No. 412).
When the fleet was handled with such extreme caution there seemed little chance of striking an effective blow at the English. Almost immediately after the declaration of war plans for an invasion of England were discussed in the king's cabinet; but a careful study of maps only served to reveal the difficulty of the operation, and all idea of it seems to have been dropped. The best they could hope for was to prevent an invasion or raids from the English side (No. 356). The French plans were known in England, and though the difficulties and impossibilities in the way of their execution were recognised, suitable precautions were taken, important points being garrisoned by picked men (No. 367).
The Dutch fleet under Ruyter was less numerous than in the preceding year. This seems to have been due, in part at least, to lack of funds. The Provinces were confronted with innumerable difficulties, and the East India Company, which had promised 400,000 crowns for the equipment of ships had not paid more than 70,000 (No. 356). Nevertheless Ruyter put to sea at an early date. But his main object was to effect a junction with Beaufort and he was not disposed to risk a general action before that had been managed. This left the English in command of the Channel, where they had a fleet of eighty sail. They were suffering from a shortage of sailors, salt provisions and money (No. 407), but in spite of these disadvantages they astonished their enemies by the vigour they displayed. The abundance of their ships enabled them, at one and the same time, both to trade and to fight, while the French and the Dutch found their trade paralysed and themselves exposed to heavy expense without the hope of gain (No. 379). Since the French declaration of war it was estimated at Paris that sixty merchantmen of France and Holland had fallen into the hands of the English in less than three months, causing a great outcry among the mercantile community (No. 398).
Both the allies would have welcomed gladly an honourable chance of making peace, and the way to peace had been left open by both of them. The ambassadors Downing and van Gogh remained at their posts long after the declaration of war. Although Downing was held by the Dutch to be largely responsible for the war he had told a member of the States General that it was lamentable to see two nations about to cut each others throats about the interpretation of a phrase, while their neighbours would get all the profit out of it and would laugh at their folly (No. 142). After the battle of Lowestoft he had long conferences with two of the leading ministers and in England Clarendon spoke to van Gogh, offering very reasonable terms if the Dutch would treat without the interposition of France (No. 235). Some weeks later Charles pressed van Gogh to obtain precise orders to treat for peace, and these friendly advances were persisted in (No. 294). When van Gogh at length left England for the Hague he took with him a letter from Charles expressing his strong desire for peace between princes of the same faith and representing that the assistance which they sought from foreign princes would cost them more than the reasonable conditions which he would always be ready to grant them (No. 327).
Many in the Provinces were inclined to listen to these advances, especially while the attitude of France remained so doubtful. They had grown tired of the war, they were ill agreed among themselves and were far from satisfied with the attitude of France, fearing that the French would use the difficulties of the Dutch to advance their own interests (No. 317). A suggestion was put forward that the Prince of Orange should be made captain general and sent to London with commissioners to negotiate peace. This proposal was vetoed by the province of Holland and while de Witt remained in power he kept the Provinces faithful to the French alliance.
When at last France came into the war the Dutch will to fight was naturally strengthened. But the French government had entered into the melee with great reluctance and would have been glad to find a way out. They would have considered it a stroke of good fortune to exchange the war with England for one against Spain for the possession of Flanders (No. 361). There was always danger from disaffection at home and Louis had not forgotten the experience of his boyhood. He was much perturbed by a letter of King Charles, shown to him by Queen Henrietta. This spoke of the way in which the French king had been misled about the spirit of the English nation and went on to show that Charles was acquainted with consultations which had taken place between Louis and only three of his ministers (No. 378). It was, perhaps a sign of frayed nerves that he complained somewhat petulantly about the lampoons which were published against him in London (No. 389).
A war between France and England was difficult to keep up as it could not be continued for long without conquests on land and that would be equally difficult for both parties (No. 402). The chief desire of the French king was to make peace, so that he might be able to settle the internal affairs of the country (No. 405). As was the case between England and Holland, the way to peace was kept open from the outset. Long before the declaration of war Queen Henrietta had gone over to France in the hope of promoting friendly relations between the two countries and preventing a rupture (No. 221). After the declaration her familiar, Lord St. Albans was passing to and fro on mysterious business, while M. Bastide was sent over to England to report upon current affairs and to be ready for transactions (No. 378). It was not long before the queen had ready proposals for an accommodation which would be acceptable to the Dutch. These were rejected somewhat curtly by Charles, who told his mother that her action might be misconstrued in England, because she was of French birth and too fond of living in that country. To proceed with the negotiations would do her too much harm with the English, and the chancellor principally objected to it. He recommended her, after she had taken the waters, to return at once to England (No. 389).
In spite of this discouraging reception the queen persisted with her efforts, apparently with the authorisation of Charles. Not long afterwards she presided at two conferences held at her house and attended by the leading ministers. At one of these an altercation took place between Holles and van Beuningen, in which Lionne intervened to keep the peace; but he told the Dutch minister that they were trying to force the hands of France. They were taking advantage of the situation, but if they became too extravagant in their demands France might withdraw her support and therefore they ought to show themselves more moderate (No. 407). With the opening of the campaigning season these projects of peace receded into the background.
When the war broke out with Holland Allen had been in the Mediterranean with what was left of Lawson's fleet, originally sent out against the Algerines. After fighting the action off Cadiz Allen returned home almost at once and the southern sea was left for a time without any regular force to protect commerce. A convoy reached Portsmouth early in May after a six weeks' voyage from Malaga, without any molestation from the Dutch (No. 182); but at Zante three small English ships were saved from capture by a Dutch squadron through the intervention of the Venetian Proveditore who persuaded the Hollanders to respect the neutrality of the port (No. 153). The war naturally played havoc with trading in those waters. At all the Mediterranean marts the traders, perturbed by the difficulties which they foresaw, applied to their consuls for direction (No. 168). In the autumn of the year the Proveditore of Zante wrote lamenting the serious falling off in the revenue from the customs, owing to the interruption of the currant trade through the war (No. 268).
To protect their own commerce and disturb that of the enemy the Dutch early set about organising a squadron that was practically based on Cadiz, disarming some ships in order to equip others more powerfully (No. 168). An English frigate which appeared off Cadiz in May was attacked by two ships of this squadron. After an indecisive action with some advantage to the Englishman, the combatants put into Cadiz to effect repairs. The English sent a challenge to the Dutch to renew the combat, and this was accepted, but when the the fight was expected to begin, the Englishman, who went out first, sailed right away, amid the jeers of the enemy (No. 184). The English captain justified his action by explaining that the Dutch had ten ships ready to fight him, and this may perhaps be accepted as the strength of the squadron which they had there.
Feeling between the English and Dutch at Cadiz ran so high that the consuls of the two nations challenged each other to a duel. The Spanish governor impartially clapped them both into gaol, from which they were soon afterwards released on representations being made by their ambassadors (Nos. 184, 190).
The Dutch squadron continued its activities near the Strait and soon after the incident mentioned they attacked another English ship coming from Tangier, which was struck in the magazine and blew up (No. 190). For the rest of that year the Dutch continued to assert their mastery in the Strait, providing a safe passage for their own merchantmen; and no English ships appeared in those waters to trouble them (No. 219).
Although the fortifications at Tangier had been completed in the preceding year (No. 97), little use was made of it as a naval base. It was indeed in great danger of being captured. The Dutch squadron at Cadiz kept the place practically blockaded, preventing any ships from coming out and capturing some that tried to get in. The Spaniards strained the rules of neutrality in allowing the Dutch such facilities at Cadiz, but they were in great dread lest the English should sell the fortress to the French. They were suspected of encouraging the Dutch to carry it by a coup de main, as it was understood to be very ill supplied with munitions and food (No. 199). The place was in fact very hard pressed at this time as it was being attacked simultaneously on the land side by the Moors (No. 210). Apparently the Dutch found the place better provided than they had expected, as in June they relaxed the pressure by sailing away to the open sea though they continued to cruise about the Strait of Gibraltar and to take prizes (No. 206). On hearing of the blockade the King of Portugal sent two ships to the town with abundant supplies and he offered to send more in case of need; but by that time the urgency had ceased (No. 243). The Dutch however, still continued off the Strait and in November successfully attacked a convoy of English merchantmen which was inadequately defended by two frigates (No. 296).
No attempt seems to have been made to relieve this state of affairs, although after the battle of Lowestoft the government might have been expected to detach a squadron to those waters. The only measure taken in this direction was the despatch of Sir John Finch to act as resident at Florence. This was chiefly in order that he might look after the interests of the English merchants at Leghorn and make provision there for the requirements of ships of war on convoy duty or other service (Nos. 189, 202).
The entry of France into the war and the presence of Beaufort's squadron at Toulon greatly multiplied the dangers awaiting English merchantmen in those waters. In February there were nine ships laid up at Leghorn which dare not lade goods or venture out for fear of falling into the hands of enemies (No. 359). But by this time an English squadron under Sir Jeremy Smith was on its way to the Mediterranean and Finch was soon busy laying in stores at Leghorn for its expected requirements (No. 370). The approach of this force caused considerable apprehension to the pope who was uneasily aware that he had given the King of England legitimate cause for offence. He had steadily refused to grant the Queen of England a dispensation for her marriage and he had declined to give the red hat to the king's cousin Aubigny (No. 365).
The pope's fears were needless for Smith did not push far into the Mediterranean. He may not have felt himself strong enough to cope with the French under Beaufort. He devoted himself mainly to the protection of convoys and to searching all ships he fell in with for contraband of war. At Alicante he appeared soon after a Dutch squadron had left the port. The Spanish governor there refused him permission to enter, because of the suspicion of plague. Smith exclaimed angrily that the Dutch were favoured, while the English received nothing but discourtesy. He seemed disposed to wait outside for the Dutchmen to return. An intimation from the governor that he would not permit acts of aggression at the port caused another angry outburst, but in the end Smith decided to sail away (No. 374). He took up his station instead in the neighbourhood of the Strait of Gibraltar, cruising between Tangier and Cadiz and keeping the latter place virtually in a state of blockade (No. 381). But in April, to the great relief of that town, he was recalled to England, leaving Beaufort at liberty to make his voyage towards the Channel unmolested.
In the summer of 1664 when war with the Dutch seemed to be imminent, Charles was doing his best, by diplomacy, to isolate the United Provinces. Besides the efforts to detach France or to enlist her help against her ally, ambassadors were sent in August to Sweden and Denmark, who, like England, were interested in the affairs of Guinea (No. 46). The ministers sent reported that they had obtained promises from those monarchs not to supply the Dutch with corn, timber for ships or cordage in the event of a war with England (No. 97). Both states were under obligation to assist the Dutch in a defensive war, but the King of Denmark, when reminded of this, told the Dutch resident that he considered that the United Provinces were the aggressors in Guinea, because they had set on the Moors to attack the English fort at Cormantine (No. 89). In June 1665 Sagredo reported the signing of a new treaty between England and Denmark which he believed involved a most friendly understanding between the two crowns (No. 194). Denmark had already declared himself neutral in the war, but had shown a bias towards England by recalling all Danish subjects from the Netherlands (No. 159). An envoy had been sent from Holland to Copenhagen, but the Dutch did not build greatly upon his negotiations because some of the ministers at that Court were very partial to the English (No. 161).
With the Swedes also negotiations promised to be successful. They shared with the others the resentment against the exclusive Dutch policy in Guinea, and they had an ancient grudge against the Provinces for their interference in the war with Denmark in 1658. Their Protestant susceptibilities had been roused by French interference in Erfurt, and they had a yet greater grievance against France for withholding pensions that used to be paid to them (Nos. 207, 308). It seemed that Sweden was even more likely than Denmark to join with England in the war (No. 138), and indeed this was reported to have actually happened.
In sober fact nothing further resulted from English diplomatic efforts in this direction than a commercial treaty which left unaffected the treaty obligations of Sweden to the States (No. 164). The Dutch indeed received an assurance from Sweden that the treaty of Elbing should be punctually observed (No. 115), though an appeal to the king for help by virtue of the alliance drew from him the rather stiff reply that though Sweden had been most punctual in the execution of its treaties, he did not know if as much could be said of the United Provinces. He did not say this by way of reproach and he would not fail to carry out the treaty after right had been done to him (No. 142).
Shortly before declaring war on the Dutch, besides asking Sweden and Denmark to join him, Charles had made similar advances to the emperor and to Brandenburg and Nenburg, offering advantageous conditions (Nos. 111, 115). These advances met with no response, a result due in part to the efforts of d'Estrades, the French ambassador at the Hague, who employed his good offices to adjust outstanding differences of the United Provinces with the neighbouring princes of Germany and the knights of Malta (Nc. 111). It was also morally certain that French policy would have a decisive influence on the line to be taken by both Sweden and Denmark.
Until France declared herself definitely these two powers were unlikely to take decisive action. The conduct of Denmark over the Berghen affair had been extremely ambiguous. Soon afterwards the king decided to send ministers to both England and Holland to promote an adjustment (No. 252), while in November he sent to England to justify his proceedings in the Berghen affair and to make sure of the goodwill of Charles (No. 305). His own goodwill was considered doubtful and Sir Thomas Clifford was sent from England to try and keep the king loyal or at least neutral (No. 278). As had been anticipated French action proved decisive in this case, and early in 1666 Denmark declared definitely for the Dutch (No. 331). In return for a subsidy the French wished King Ferdinand to keep a large number of ships at sea for the service of the allies, and to dispute the control of the Baltic with the English, while Louis undertook to guarantee whatever the Dutch might promise him (No. 342).
French diplomacy was equally busy in Sweden, a country which the English felt confident of having on their side. In the summer of 1665 Traslon was sent from Paris to Stockholm to try and keep Sweden from coming to any arrangement with England, and to offer the prompt payment of money already promised if they would ally themselves with the Dutch. Such a mission did not seem to have much hope of success, since the offer to fulfil an old promise indicated that France would only keep her word when driven to it by necessity, while the Swedes were sure that the Dutch would always intervene to prevent them from making any conquests in the Baltic (No. 231). The Swedes found it advantageous to leave their attitude doubtful. They continued to treat with Holland and promised themselves all the satisfaction they desired by keeping the Dutch in dread of their making an alliance with England (No. 305). It was expected that in the end Sweden would come down on the side that offered most (No. 331). The English counted on Swedish resentment against France for withholding their pensions, and on their old grudge against the Dutch for their action in 1658. To counteract their representations M. de Pompone was sent from Paris towards the end of 1665 and in a few weeks he had so far succeeded that he obtained a promise from Sweden to observe neutrality in the war, as well as to use their offices to persuade England to come to an accommodation, and at the same time to make strong representations to the English not to bind themselves to the Austrians, as this would be taken in ill part by the Protestant party and in the long run England would suffer most by it (No. 384).
This success of French diplomacy was preceded by an agreement with Brandenburg arranged by Charles Colbert. Holles referred bitterly to the matter and called the elector a faithless prince, since only a few weeks before he had signed a defensive treaty with England (No. 349). French diplomacy had in fact won all along the line and left England practically alone and faced by a powerful coalition. Even in Africa the French were busy making agreements with the corsairs of Tunis, Bizerta and Algiers, in order to deprive the English of the use of their ports as places of repair. The Algerians had only recently made a treaty with England, but they claimed that this had been broken because the English had seized as a prize a Spanish ship which had escaped from their clutches into Tangier (Nos. 355, 382). But the corsairs were ticklish folk to deal with and Giustinian asserts that in the spring of 1666 ten of their ships were serving with the English fleet in the Channel “more for piracy than for war” (No. 407).
The most spectacular achievement of French diplomacy in this field was the prompt elimination of the only ally that all the efforts of Charles had secured for himself on the continent. Christopher Bernard von Galen, the warlike bishop of Munster, had many grievances against the Dutch notably about disputed territory in Friesland. Being unable to obtain what he wished by way of negotiation, he tried to form a coalition against the Dutch of princes like Neuburg and the elector of Cologne, who also had claims against the Provinces. He also had hopes of assistance from the emperor, whose resident, Friquet at the Hague had threatened the Dutch that he would support the bishop (No. 89). After the Dutch defeat at Lowestoft the bishop considered the moment favourable for invading the territory of the republic, and Charles, considering this would be a useful diversion, sent him supplies of money. A treaty was concluded in June 1665 by which the bishop pledged himself to keep a definite force in the field, while the share of England was to consist in the forwarding of subsidies. (fn. 9) There was indeed some talk of sending Monk to make a landing in Friesland with a force of 5,000 men (No. 228), and later on it was actually reported that Prince Rupert had gone thither to take command of the bishop's forces (No. 233). In the end English assistance was limited to supplies of money, said to have amounted to 500,000 crowns in all (No. 386).
The bishop's attack provided France with an opportunity to prove to the Dutch that she really meant to abide by the terms of the treaty, and was also welcome as an excuse for sending French troops into the Netherlands. The bishop was warned that if he persisted in his attacks he would have to deal with the forces of France. This method of intervention was not particularly pleasing to the Dutch, but it was effective in preventing the German princes from supporting Munster. The bishop speedily found himself isolated, for it was clear he would get no help from the emperor. The concern of imperial policy was to provide for the defence of Flanders against French aggression, and for this they looked for help from the Dutch. The emperor's threat to the Dutch was merely to bring pressure upon them to make a alliance with him for this object (No. 89), and he hastened to give the States an assurance that he would do nothing with England (No. 115). Later on Friquet protested that the emperor had done everything to prevent the bishop arming, he had refused to give him troops an it was his desire to live on good terms with the Dutch (No. 261).
Deprived of the support he had looked for and with supplies from England falling off the bishop found himself in parlous case. In March 1666 he sent an envoy to England to ask for succour or for permission to come to terms. The English told him rather roughly that the bishop's friendship was of little value to their interests. They were quite able to beat the Dutch without him. They had not asked for his friendship, and as he had been prompted by self interest to join with England he might equally well consult his own interests by dissociating himself from them (No. 384). The final collapse of the bishop was brought about by Brandenburg who announced that he would turn his forces against whoever would be so bold as to support the bishop, were it the emperor himself. Terrified by the threats of the elector Munster promptly submitted giving his promise to Brandenburg that he would not give the slightest trouble to the Dutch (Nos. 384, 407).
Although they had given him leave to do as he pleased the English were angry with Munster for his defection, as having recently sent him 30,000l. they expected he would show more constancy (No. 402). Scarcely had he made his submission than Temple arrived from England with the offer of 10,000 men and the promise of further supplies of money; but it was then too late and nothing remained to the bishop but to disarm.
The renewal of diplomatic relations between England and Spain after the unfortunate affair of Batteville had been sought chiefly from the Spanish side, and through the operations of the Irish friar, O'Moledy, it had been decided to send Sir Richard Fanshawe as ambassador to Spain. This was chiefly the work of the Duke of Medina de las Torres, the most influential of the Spanish ministers during the last years of Philip's reign. He had come to the conclusion that some adjustment with England was necessary. The king also was in favour of making some concession in matters of trade though the Council of the Indies and the Inquisition were strongly opposed to anything of the kind (No. 3). Considerable sums in specie were being forwarded to England from Spain about this time (Nos. 16, 18), possibly to further the operations of O'Moledy.
Fanshawe arrived at Cadiz in March; at this very time troops were being raised in England for service in Portugal (No. 2), and Fanshawe himself had come by way of Lisbon and was said to have left considerable succour there. It seemed a strange prelude to a friendly embassy, especially as the English were simultaneously plundering Spanish ships in the West Indies (Nos. 11, 42). Yet Fanshawe was received in Spain with unparalleled demonstrations of honour and popular rejoicing, his journey from Cadiz towards Madrid being a triumphal progress (Nos. 3, 11, 19). Medina explained these demonstrations as being due to the eagerness of the Andalusians for the continuation of trade, though he himself is said to have been the author of them and was criticised for this at Court (No. 3). The complacency of the government towards the Englishman went so far as to commandeer for him the house occupied by the Venetian ambassador (No. 25). The reluctance of Cornaro, the outgoing ambassador, to make way for him and so prejudice the claim of his successor to the house, seems to have delayed Fanshawe's entry into Madrid, as he remained for some weeks at Vallecas, five miles outside the capital. While he was there Medina arranged to meet him at Valdemoro, where he entertained him at a sumptuous banquet and where they held a long conference together (No. 19).
After this start matters proceeded with great deliberation, such negotiations as took place being almost entirely with Medina and conducted with great secrecy. The chief objects sought by Fanshawe were the concession of trade facilities and to induce the Spaniards to make peace with Portugal. On this latter point he did not consider a truce sufficient and told the Spaniards that the fire ought either to be put out altogether or set blazing more fiercely. If negotiations were cut short, that would be the end and he intimated that the Portuguese had better prospects of success in the future than they had had in the past (No. 108).
On the Spanish side the desire was for an assurance of help from England in case the French should attack Flanders. They represented the danger to England if the power of France was extended along that coast. In reply Fanshawe said that he fully appreciated this but he intimated that if they wished England to incur these risks, it was necessary to offer some reward.
In Spain opinion was divided. They feared that the English might make exorbitant demands in Flanders, including possibly the cession of some port. They had an unpleasant recollection of the Dunkirk affair and suspected that the English might intend to use them in order to obtain concessions from the French.
In the matter of trade one minister argued that they should gracefully accord what they could not persist in refusing. Spain being powerless at sea ought not to provoke the naval powers, as the tenure of their overseas possessions would always be precarious. They should give up some portion of the dish in order to moderate the demands made, otherwise the appetites of the claimants would only be whetted (No. 92). On the other hand another minister contended that the more England pressed to obtain trade the more firmly should the king persist in refusing it (No. 98).
In the mean time nothing was done and no progress was made, the object of the Spanish government being to avoid all manner of trouble (No. 98). Fanshawe grew impatient at the delay and at the futility of these negotiations. His methods were rough and he had no respect for Spanish susceptibilities. He hinted not obscurely at the trouble and confusion that would be likely to ensue on the king's death, which would materially lessen any prospects of success in the war with Portugal (No. 108). He said quite openly, and especially to the foreign ministers, that the policy of the Spanish government would have been vexatious even in the most flourishing times of Charles V. Now that the crown was in decadence it only showed a pride quite out of relation with their power. He complained of the lengthy formalities and asked for a decision with some impatience. He talked to everyone of his approaching departure, though he made no sign of a move (No. 98). Medina did his best to soothe him, and in spite of Fanshawe's irritation the confidential relations between these ministers were maintained (No. 128). The Spaniards were anxious to keep up diplomatic relations between the two countries, especially as they were about to send the Count of Molina to England, and they wished him to be in London before Fanshawe left Madrid (No. 133).
The Anglo-Dutch war which broke out about this time was considered by the Spaniards as likely to be favourable to them on the whole. They thought it would make it more difficult for the English to help the Portuguese, and it would also divert their attention from the Indies; it was also likely that they would be more careful about offending Spain. They anticipated that the French would leave the Dutch in the lurch and that this would make the Provinces anxious for a closer union with Spain. At the same time they recognised that the situation was extremely delicate if not dangerous (No. 123). They determined to observe a strict neutrality; but all their hopes were built upon the success of the Dutch (No. 138). The undisputed pre-eminence of the English at sea was the last thing they desired while if the war went against the Dutch they would become more dependent upon France and ready to sign any treaty at her bidding (No. 176).
The news of the Dutch defeat at Lowestoft greatly perturbed the government especially as reports suggested demoralisation among the vanquished. All their fears that the Dutch would be thrown into the arms of the French seemed likely to be realised (No. 218) they impressed upon Fanshawe the need to make peace and sent instructions in the same sense to Molina, who was now established in London and popular there (No. 194). On the strength of these he offered his services as mediator, and from the exceeding friendliness of the king to him personally he felt sanguine of their being accepted. In Spain, however, they thought he was allowing himself to be deceived by appearances (No. 227).
The situation in the North continued to cause them great uneasiness. They particularly disliked the English support of Munster, as they feared that the war would extend to Germany (No. 254). A demand from the French to allow troops to pass through Flanders caused much perturbation, though they were inclined to think it a trick, to court a refusal and make the Butch believe that the Spaniards were responsible for preventing help from France (No. 248). But the French repeated the demand and pressed it, leaving the Spaniards uncertain what course to pursue, and even contemplating the weak expedient of granting the request on practically impossible conditions (Nos. 295, 300).
Amid all these distractions the government did not know which way to turn. The tightening of the bonds between France and Holland made them wish for a closer union with England (No. 291). Those who believed a war with France to be inevitable, thought it would be better to make it with allies than alone (No. 323). The Dutch ambassador, to prevent them moving in this direction did his best to allay their suspicions (No. 295).
In spite of all this negotiations with Fanshawe were resumed towards the end of the year, and in the quiet of the Retiro he had long conversations with Medina (No. 295). The ministers denied that these were for an alliance and said that they were merely for the renewal of the ancient correspondence between the two nations (No. 323). Nevertheless it was rumoured that Clarendon, who used to be so hostile to Spain, had been bought over (No. 318), while English good will was shown in the permission accorded to Marsin to levy 6,000 men in Ireland for the service of Spain in Flanders (No. 334). Yet simultaneously with these negotiations they were proposing to the United Provinces an alliance for common defence; and so they were treating simultaneously with the two belligerents, England and Holland (No. 300).
The chief outcome of all these deliberations was the consent of the Spanish government to allow Fanshawe to go to Portugal to negotiate a truce in their name. This was almost a council of despair, born of the urgent need for relief to which England alone opened the way. By treating through England they also saved their pride in avoiding difficulties about titles of the recognition of independence.
Fanshawe accepted the task with enthusiasm, promising himself great glory from success, of which he was sanguine. He gave the Spaniards to understand that if Portugal should prove difficult, great pressure would be brought to bear to force him to an accommodation, even to the extent of taking sides against him (No. 318).
This initial enthusiasm speedily cooled. The difficulties of the task were patent. It seemed unlikely that Portugal would be in a yielding mood. The wisest ministers thought it would be a miracle if they agreed to a truce. To entrust such a task to Fanshawe went much against the grain. The Spaniards were cautious about granting him the powers he desired, and he himself admitted that he was going chiefly in the interest of England and not in that of the Catholic crown (No. 322). Division and jealousy among the Spanish ministers did not help to lighten his task. Since the death of Philip IV in September, Medina had lost his ascendancy in the government. From the outset the negotiations with England had been in his hands, but now an attempt was made to substitute some one else to continue the conversations. Fanshawe steadily refused to deal with any one but Medina, but it was certain that the duke's enemies would do their best to prevent any good coming of the negotiations (No. 318).
No one at Court really approved of entrusting a matter of such moment to the English ambassador. On the ground of religion and the English marriage connection he was very unpopular at Madrid, so much so that he had not ventured to celebrate the English victory at Lowestoft for fear of provoking a counter demonstration (No. 218). When at length he set out on his mission he deliberately chose to pass by the most frequented streets but instead of the applause for which he looked he was received with execration and abuse, though in a subdued tone (No. 328).
The renewal of the negotiations with Fanshawe and his proposed expedition to Portugal stirred the French ambassador Embrun to feverish activity. Peace between Spain and Portugal by no means suited the French book for they counted on that war as a useful diversion of Spanish strength that would favour their designs on Flanders. He made a great stir, representing that England was only actuated by selfish motives. He complained that he had not himself been employed, since France was the proper medium for such advances as she thought of nothing but the interests of the Spanish crown (No. 323, 328).
Although it was easy to show the insincerity of these professions, there was a strong pro French party at Court to which they made appeal. It did not prevail on this occasion. At a junta held in the queen's presence, after the matter had been argued, it was resolved not only to treat but to hasten the effectuation of the treaty. On learning this Fanshawe decided to start at once without waiting to hear from Lisbon (No. 325). Before he set out he had a long audience of the queen, whom he promised to serve as if he were her native born subject, though he did not minimise the difficulties of his task (No. 328).
When he had gone ill will against him and his mission continued to be rife at the Court. Some deplored the employment of such an emissary, suspecting that instead of a mediator he might easily become an enemy, though from his notorious greed for gold, they hoped to keep him faithful by sending him ample supplies of it. To conciliate his good will Medina sent flattering messages after him, expressing the royal appreciation of his efforts and the desire of the Court that he should remain permanently as ambassador, as they did not want any one else (No. 345). Ample powers were also sent after him by letter with abundant remittances of money, while generous gifts were made both to himself and his wife.
All this went on in an atmosphere of mingled suspicion and expectancy (No. 351). The general attitude was critical and Fanshawe was blamed for remissness in not sending back promptly reports of his proceedings. It was suspected that the Portuguese were merely trying to gain time in order that they might begin the next campaign with advantage (No. 358). When he had to send word that the negotiations had failed utterly a violent storm was inevitable.
Fanshawe returned post to Madrid and entered the city entirely without ceremony. He went at once to see the queen, and soon after handed to her a paper with an account of his proceedings and a justification of what he had done. It was clear that he had had no chance of success, as from the outset Portugal had insisted on the recognition of the royal title, which he had not power to concede. French diplomacy had triumphed there as in other fields. France was offering mediation to both Spain and Portugal, but merely in order to thwart the operations of England (No. 388). Fanshawe had been forestalled by St. Romain, who reached Lisbon before he arrived on the frontier. By lavish promises of assistance if the English should fail them the French minister stirred up the Portuguese spirit of resistance. They showed resentment at the intervention of England to abate their pretensions. Several conferences failed to move them from their position and when the ambassador decided to leave, hoping that this step might induce them to give way somewhat, they only hastened his going. They were perfectly ready to discuss the other articles, and these were practically all accepted, but without the principal one this was of no avail (Nos. 403, 411).
Fanshawe created some impression at Madrid when he told the Spaniards that the French, in addition to offers of money and men had promised the Portuguese that they would attack Spain from three quarters, making a powerful diversion (No. 380). Yet the Spaniards were furious against the ambassador, declaring that he had behaved infamously (No. 390). He had promised to bring pressure to bear on the Portuguese to agree to conditions that were not exorbitant, and he had failed to do anything of the kind. They proposed to send to London, to complain of him to the king and to demand the fulfilment of the promise (No. 390).
The failure of this mission to bring the expected relief caused deep depression in Spain. The discredit fell chiefly upon Medina, who had been the one most responsible for the negotiations with England from the outset, from which he had looked to win credit and increased influence (No. 403). At first he had defended himself vigorously, declaring that Portugal had intimated a readiness for an accommodation, and the step had been approved at Rome and by the foreign courts (No. 368). But afterwards he ignored Fanshawe's appeal to him to corroborate statements made in his own justification, and the cordial relations previously existing between these ministers were changed into aversion (No. 385).
This affair virtually brought Fanshawe's mission to an end. Another envoy, Sir Robert Southwell, had come with him from Portugal and Sandwich was already on his way to Spain. There was talk of his leaving at once, and his wife actually took leave of the queen, it being understood that her father desired her presence at home (No. 405). But there was no other sign of either of them going and it was reported from the embassy that Fanshawe would stay on even after the departure of Sandwich (No. 413).
Such further negotiation as took place at this time was conducted by Southwell. He did not find smooth sailing. His audience of the queen was strictly ceremonial and he was not permitted to speak to her about Portugal. He had some conversation with Medina and at the request of the ministers presented a memorial containing his proposals. When no notice was taken of this, he grew impatient. His attitude was resented by the ministers, but on consideration they decided to appease him by representing that as the ambassador extraordinary was not far off it was considered proper to wait for his arrival (No. 408).
The mission of Sandwich belongs to a later volume. Every courtesy was shown to him and the time of his quarantine was curtailed (No. 394). The Spaniards believed him to be coming with fresh instructions about Portugal and he was practically certain to renew the treaty for an alliance. There was a difference of opinion in Spain about this. Those who believed a war with France to be inevitable contended that they must have an ally and must not be left to stand alone, while others feared that by provoking France they would only precipitate the catastrophe (No. 408). In the meantime the French declaration of war against England was welcomed in Spain as a pledge of confidence and quiet for Flanders (No. 368); they believed that England, in the desire to derive advantage from Spain, would leave nothing undone to oblige her (No. 358).
Another rather half-hearted attempt to get allies was the mission of Lord Carlingford to Germany. After visiting Brussels and some of the German princes, he reached Vienna early in January 1666. He was not one of the confidential advisers of the king, but an Irish Catholic peer without other employment or office (No. 346). The Venetian Ambassador Cornaro conceived a very poor opinion of him, saying that he was fond of nothing but eating and drinking and destitute of the knowledge and ability required for great affairs of state (No. 386). His reception was friendly, though he did not meet with all the recognition he looked for, and leading ministers were deputed to confer with him. The chief object of his mission was to obtain help for Munster. That was a hopeless quest for reasons which have been given already. He further proposed an alliance between England and the House of Austria. The ministers were merely evasive and half suspicious that England only meant to use them to gain advantage in treating with France. Under such circumstances no progress was made, especially as Carlingford lacked the necessary powers (Nos. 360, 366). Finally becoming convinced that the Austrians did not wish to be mixed up in the disputes of France and England, he decided to leave, the emperor having destroyed all hope by declaring that he did not wish for war or commitments (No. 386).
Hardly had Carlingford gone than events called him back. He had been told that his negotiations depended largely upon what happened at Madrid. When he informed them, somewhat prematurely, that a truce for thirty years had been arranged with Portugal, the emperor remarked to a gentleman of his bedchamber that he had received a piece of news that allowed him to sleep soundly (No. 333). The intelligence that the negotiations had broken down left the emperor greatly distressed and the Court utterly disconsolate (No. 392). This was followed closely by the news of the collapse of the Bishop of Munster. Carlingford had warned them that if the bishop was forced to make terms his troops would go over to serve under the French flag, to the obvious danger of Flanders (No. 377). It now appeared that this is exactly what was happening. Carlingford had got as far as Prague when he received fresh instructions from England, directing him to return to Vienna, and the emperor also asked for him (No. 402). Accordingly he returned at once. But he remained without formal business at the Court. There was more show than substance in the renewal of relations. England, faced by a coalition and without an ally, wished to give at least the appearance of an understanding with the House of Austria, while the emperor hoped that the like appearance would make France pause before attacking Flanders. Meanwhile Carlingford harped on the chord that England could not afford to see Flanders invaded and occupied by France (Nos. 410, 415). But the policy of the imperial Court was to maintain a cautious reserve and wait to see what time would bring forth; to avoid commitments and trouble and not to provoke disputes or court losses (No. 383), while benefiting by the troubles of others (No. 360).
There is singularly little in these papers about domestic affairs. A few scattered notices indicate a certain amount of unrest. In March 1664 three men were executed as conspirators, a fourth being reprieved at the last minute (Nos. 10, 15). The judges sent to Yorkshire to deal with conspirators commuted various sentences of death to exile or imprisonment, an act of mercy that was universally applauded (No. 21). At the end of the year the danger of a rising of Quakers, Independants and other sectaries, was obviated by sending their leaders to prison (No. 112). Greater severity was shown against Quakers, as instead of letting them off with a fine, for attending conventicles, they were to be transported to the West Indies (No. 21). A riot of the London apprentices at the end of March 1664 was serious enough to require the services of Monk and his soldiers to restore order (No. 15). (fn. 10) Some trouble being anticipated from Cromwell's old officers, who were without employment and discontented, a proclamation was issued commanding them to leave London and not to return without the permission of three members of the Council, particular care being taken to see that this order was observed (Nos. 10, 15, 16). A man named Henry Chapman of Bath was fined for claiming, untruly, to have been the executioner of Charles I (No. 97). In Scotland an agitation was directed against the bishops, and troops were used to stop gatherings of the sectaries and to break up their meetings (No. 1). In September 1664 the advice and assistance of the Council was invoked for dealing with the clan of the Gordons, who were suspected of an intention to release a murderer imprisoned at Aberdeen (No. 70). Early in 1666, at the time of the French declaration of war, three leading gentlemen were arrested in Scotland, who were making arrangements for a general rising in several parts of the country (No. 350). For the rest Sagredo records that reports of the proceedings in parliament gave the impression of the most steadfast and particular devotion of those realms to the king (No. 35). He also mentions the great competition among the leading gentlemen to obtain a seat in parliament (No. 21). A duel which had been arranged between two members of parliament, Lord St. John and Mr. Henry Seymour, was stopped by the intervention of the Speaker's officers, and the parties were taken under arrest to the Speaker's house (No. 137).
The plague naturally figures largely in the references to London. As recorded elsewhere, the official figures were suspected of understating the deaths. Monk refused to abandon his charge, and set up barracks for his troops in Hyde Park (No. 233). The lord mayor, to protect himself from infection, had a cabinet made, entirely of glass, in which to conduct the affairs of the city (No. 237). In the autumn of 1664 the city succeeded in preventing the construction of a bridge between Lambeth and Westminster, which had been proposed (No. 74). Soon after this it is reported that the king had decided to rebuild Whitehall in the style of the banqueting hall (No. 94). The king showed his interest in science by attending a lecture on anatomy at the College of Physicians, where he put many curious questions to the lecturer and afterwards knighted him (No. 173).
Other matters that may be briefly mentioned are the colonisation of Jamaica from Barbadoes (No. 39); the satisfactory ordering of affairs in New England, by the commissioners sent thither by the king (No. 152). Successful canalisation of the River Wye, making it navigable from Hereford downwards (No. 70); some evidence that a medal of Rawlins is of an earlier date than has generally been supposed (No. 210); the appearance of two distinct comets, at a short interval (Nos. 117, 167); the report of a monstrous fish brought by a ship of the royal company returning from Guinea (No. 16).
There are three references to English national characteristics: (1) they consider very deeply before taking a decision, but once it is made they never change and nothing but death can divert them. (2) Like the ancient Romans, as described by Hannibal, they could never distinguish when they were victorious or when they had been beaten (No. 233). (3) Perhaps less gratifying to national self complacency, they do not know how to have a perfect jollification without a plentiful distribution of wine (No. 292).
In conclusion I would once again express my grateful appreciation of the courtesy I always receive from the officials at the state archives at the Frari, Venice.
A. B. HINDS.
London, June, 1933.