Venice
June 1665

Sponsor

Institute of Historical Research

Publication

Author

Allen B. Hinds (editor)

Year published

1933

Pages

128-147

Annotate

Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Venice: June 1665', Calendar of State Papers Relating to English Affairs in the Archives of Venice, Volume 34: 1664-1666 (1933), pp. 128-147. URL: http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=90166 Date accessed: 19 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


Highlight

(Min 3 characters)

Contents

June 1665

June 3.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
190. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The consuls of England and Holland have been released from arrest at the instance of their ambassadors (fn. 1) who, although enemies, combined to effect this and complained bitterly of what had been done.
Well armed Dutch ships have sailed from Cadiz to assist in convoying the ships from Smyrna and to secure a safe passage for their ships. One of them sighted an English ship from Tangier. After exchanging shots for some hours they came to close quarters, when the English ship, being struck in the magazine, blew up. A few sailors and the captain escaped by jumping into the sea and were taken prisoners by the Dutch. They also lost many men and returned to Cadiz, putting to sea again subsequently, with all speed to rejoin the squadron.
Madrid, the 3rd June, 1665.
[Italian.]
June 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Deliberazioni.
Corti.
Venetian
Archives.
191. To the Resident at Florence.
In proportion to the character which is borne by the English minister who is expected at that Court you will regulate your behaviour to him, as it is the desire of the Signory that you should perform with him all the courteous offices which are proper.
Ayes, 82. Noes, 2. Neutral, 2.
[Italian.]
June 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
192. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
A strange affair might have happened last Saturday to Lord Holles if he had not behaved with his habitual prudence and high spirit. He had gone to call at the Hotel d'Hollande to visit the countess, who is an Englishwoman. A coach stood before the door, which refused to move. The ambassador thereupon seized a stick and beat the lackeys and three English gentlemen with him followed suit. The Marquis de Benarn and the Marquis Ponyer the owners of the coach, watched the scuffle from the windows, but seeing that their lackeys were being beaten, they called to their companions and rushed downstairs, sword in hand. The three Englishmen also drew, to defend themselves. His Excellency's esquire denounced the action of the marquis as insolent, since the person of the ambassador is sacrosanct. Nevertheless the marquis, now furious, advanced to take the stick from Lord Holles, who with his habitual firmness told the marquis that he was as much surprised at the temerity of the master as at the churlishness of the servant and that, old as he was, he would settle accounts with him also. The marquis was about to rush at him with his hand on his sword, but the ambassador answered him with so much sense that the marquis was constrained to withdraw with all his followers, leaving the ambassador master of the field. (fn. 2)
Subsequently the marquis sent to ask pardon of the ambassador and to beg him not to let the king know. Lord Holles refused to accept his excuses. He said he would pardon him for his part, but he wished King Charles to be the first to know of the affair. But the king got to hear of it and he had the Marquis Benarn, Cognie, Ponyer and other principals in the affair sent to the Bastille. The king also intimated to Lord Holles that he regretted that he had not chosen to inform him. The ambassador replied that he felt obliged to inform his master first, reserving himself to ask for his Majesty's clemency. No doubt the Most Christian will wish to give every satisfaction to the crown of England.
It is clear that no human wisdom could prevent such an incident in which the English ambassador answered in every respect all the calls of honour and courage, with so much nobility of soul, it being notorious in all Paris that in his house every one lives with an exemplary modesty, more than if it were a cloister of true and good religious.
Paris, the 5th June, 1665.
[Italian.]
June 5.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
193. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The Duke of York has been obliged to leave his station and the three Dutch fleets have united and come out. Peace is believed to be hopeless and it is thought that the admiral has orders to seek out and attack the English. So the news of tragic conflicts is momentarily expected, as the mediators make no progress. King Charles says that he will hear what the republic proposes while the Dutch announce that they will wait to hear the royal views, which must come first. There are reports of a fresh conspiracy, so in the event of any disaster at sea trouble is foreseen. And since it is known that the Duke of York encouraged the rupture, his flagship will be attacked, contrary to the laws of warfare on land, where the guns always respect the royal flag.
Ruiter is supposed to be engaged on some other considerable design, although so far there is no certain knowledge about his proceedings.
By later letters of the 28th from London we learn that the Duke of York sent for his wife to the Downs and then countermanded it, so that she returned to London. According to the news from Holland a battle is expected soon and there is reason for both sides to fear the issue, since it is now found that the Dutch, under the pressure of necessity, are appearing with greater forces and with more determination than any one had thought possible. The enclosed sheets give other particulars. (fn. 3)
Paris, the 5th June, 1665.
[Italian.]
June 12.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
194. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
When everyone thought that after the first engagements between the royal and the Dutch fleets peace would follow, it would seem that King Charles has changed his plan. This was to keep his fleets in a position of safety and advantage and not to commit any other hazard to the hand of fortune seeing that the miraculous situation, the greatness of his own forces and the bravery of the nation indicate and promise that the United Provinces must finally grow tired and come to accept the composition which is so much more necessary for them, since no one can ever say that the Duke of York has not presented himself in person or waited for the enemy for several weeks, defying him to come out of his ports. The fleets were in the channel when a storm obliged the Duke to sheer off, and the royal fleet withdrew to Haruich Road. But instead of continuing the war according to the use of piracy, which would be the unique means of disturbing the quiet not to say the very subsistence of the Provinces, we hear that the Duke of York is more eager than ever to seek out the enemy, irritated by the Dutch orders to single out the flagship for attack.
Meanwhile the French ambassadors are doing little or nothing. The Duke of Vernuil has the gout and is tired of the job, while M. di Cominges, as usual, is indisposed, so Courtin is managing everything and he suggests putting the proposals in writing. But the important point is that King Charles, instead of satisfying the French request about searching French ships, has confirmed his first orders, so that they say here that the ambassadors will return re infecta. But it will be quite the contrary, because having misgivings on this side that there may be an increase of the dealings between England and the Count of Molina, ambassador of the Catholic resident there, who is very popular and enjoys ever increasing access at that Court, they have this week sent off from St. Germain a certain Petrelli, a Lucchese, the husband of a girl serving the queen mother, for no other purpose than to make sure that his Majesty's packets are delivered safely into the hands of the said ministers.
Besides this I know that the King of Denmark has signed a new contract with the King of England similar to the one previously arranged with Sweden, and has promised to proceed in unison in this great affair. Although some believe that these are simply treaties for sea affairs, I have had the good fortune to have a successive and relative agreement (capitulato successivo et relativo) between these two crowns with terms of extraordinary confidence. Thus although it appears set forth in general terms no wise man can doubt but that the best friendship and correspondence have been introduced between those princes. God grant that this may not tend to the destruction also of Hanseatic liberty, though this much is certain that towards the stronger the two others never show themselves changeful or reluctant to preserve him. Hence there has come a new decree from London that all ships, without any exception, shall be searched at sea, and if they are found with the smallest quantity of goods intended for Holland they shall be confiscated. The importance of this is obvious and if the Most Christian at first, counting on the feebleness of the Spaniards thought to secure himself against the obstacles which the States might have been able to place in the way of his plans in the event of the death of the Catholic, the scene is now changing. Those upon whom he believed he could build such machinations are beginning to render themselves equally strong by the troops introduced, by the change of governor and by the new friendships established in this northern theatre of the world. Thus it is hinted that Castel Rodrigo is doing everything to fortify himself against enterprises from this side and is further moving to draw over to his side the ancient irreconcileable enemies of his crown, namely the Dutch, while the British crown considers itself able to act as arbiter at sea. The forcing of the Dutch to require their supplies of grain from the Meuse district is also the result of Spanish cunning, to extract solid profit from the disturbances of others and to turn to their own benefit the machinations of their neighbours. All this with other particulars will be found in the enclosed sheets.
Paris, the 12th June, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.195. From London, the 4th June, 1665.
We learn at last that the Dutch fleet has united and has come out of port, but the winds have been so high and tempestuous on the Dutch coasts that they have not as yet been able to make much progress with any plan. But all the letters of those parts agree that the States of Holland and Friesland have decided to bring the affair to a conclusion by a general engagement. Although many persons of high intelligence are of opinion that those States will think twice before hazarding all their forces upon the issue of a battle, the truth is that the clamour of their people is so great that they will be forced to do something to satisfy them. On the other hand the English fleet is so formidable and so well supplied with sailors, munitions and every sort of naval provision, that it must reasonably cause them some apprehension about an encounter. Although we have learned recently that the States, by dint of spending money, have obtained a number of foreign sailors, and some taken from private ships, to fill up their fleet, yet in spite of all it is believed that after they have done their utmost they will be compelled to leave a part of their fleet in port for lack of men.
The plague is beginning to increase in this city. The mortality bills admit that fourteen have died of it this week, but some physicians say that three times that number have perished of that disease these last eight days. There is some talk, in case it goes on spreading, that their Majesties intend to withdraw with their Courts to Hampton Court.
The queen mother is beginning to make arrangements for her departure and it is believed that her journey will be much hastened by the beginning of the plague in this city.
We learn from Portsmouth that a ship belonging to the Royal Company has arrived in that port from Jamaica. This brings word that they left the English there in a prosperous state and that they were engaged upon a design very advantageous to his Majesty which they hoped would succeed. Before long we shall have a punctual account of the affair.
The ambassadors of the Most Christian here have frequent audiences of King Charles, but their negotiations are kept so secret that it is impossible to discover anything about them except that they are unable to extract from his Majesty any hope of an adjustment with the Dutch unless they propose in writing some reparation which will compensate for the damage which his Majesty and his subjects have suffered. As this rather concerns the Dutch ambassador and he does not hold any such instructions from his superiors, it is thought that the negotiations will prove lengthy.
Although the English fleet still remains in Haruich Road, H.R.H. from time to time sends out some squadron to make incursions along the coast of Holland and recently they took four prizes, laden with salt, Canary wine and oranges.
We learn that Ruyter had planned to surprise the island of Barbados, and with so considerable a force that had it not been fortuitously discovered by the vice-governor (the governor being at Sirenhame at the time) there was a good chance of its capture. But such was the care and diligence of the vice-governor that in a moment the whole island was put in a posture to receive them, and consequently Ruyter was dissuaded from that enterprise by their preparations. But although the island saved itself from this design, the governor, Lord Vuillouby was at the same time attacked at Sirenhame in the church by a desperado. This man, after wounding him in the head and three other places, was taken, but before he was taken to be examined he poisoned himself so they are in the dark as to who suborned him to make this attempt. (fn. 4)
[Italian, from the French.]
Enclosure.196. From the Hague, the 4th June, 1665.
I hope that by now in France they will have lost the unfavourable opinion they had of the forces of this State, since the English are no longer showing themselves at sea and the Dutch fleet has orders to station itself at the mouth of the Thames to force the English to fight. This is not done out of bravura, as they did, but because now, when the wind has not prevented us from uniting our fleets and putting to sea, we are able to show our determination.
The fleets in question are divided into four squadrons. The first is commanded by the Lieutenant-Admiral General and is composed of fourteen ships mounting 770 guns and of 3350 men. The Lieutenant-Admiral of Zeeland commands the second squadron of fourteen ships with 630 guns and 2927 men. The third, under the Lieutenant-Admiral of Rotterdam has fifteen ships with 753 guns and 3262 men. The fourth under the Lieutenant-Admiral of Friesland of fourteen ships, 700 guns and 3115 men. Tromp, Vice-Admiral of Amsterdam, commands seventeen ships with 774 guns and 3316 men; this is the fifth squadron. The sixth is composed of fourteen ships with 520 guns and 2235 men under the Vice-Admiral of Zeeland; and the seventh under the command of the Lieutenant-Admiral of North Holland, is of sixteen ships with 782 guns and 3350 men. (fn. 5) Thus the fleet consists of 104 ships of war with 4869 guns and 23,556 men, without counting the patacelli, (fn. 6) brulots and galeots and without the fifteen ships which are still at Texel with 558 guns and 2421 men; but at the end of the week they will be ready to put to sea when it is desired.
They are also arming elsewhere so that at the beginning of next month another forty ships will be sent to sea, without those of Ruyther. There is no news of him but it is expected that there will be about the 20th of this month. They say that he has gone to the island of St. Helena to drive out the English and that they have made a fort there to take the English ships coming from the East Indies which are accustomed to refresh there. Here we have certain news that in England they are short of money and that there is no one willing to make advances although the king has offered to pay three per cent. beyond the six per cent. which parliament promises.
With regard to the negotiations of the French ambassadors in England it may be believed that they are not very pleased with them here, since the Duke of Vernuil is uncle to the king (fn. 7) and is always with him, while the other ambassador only says what the king wishes. They complain that the ambassador of this State has given his proposals in writing to the Council of England, although he was not obliged to do so, as if he wished to exempt himself from their mediation. Such was not his intention, but he made no difficulty about giving in writing the orders which he has from the States. The King of England has promised to make the reply that the mediators find reasonable. It is not confirmed that Barclai has been here or that Tromp has been to reconnoitre the English fleet, but it has been reconnoitred by another.
The Ambassador dell' Estrade has asked permission to buy here two galleots which his king needs to strengthen the fleet of twenty-four great ships which he claims to be sending to the Ocean. He remarked that if the States knew the true feeling that his Majesty has for them they would not refuse what he asks, but would grant him all the vessels which he might desire. They have given him these two galeots and they will not refuse him anything, so that there may be nothing to reproach them with if France fails to carry out the treaty. If she does not declare herself after the engagement, Sieur Van Bouninghen may easily be called home.
A burgomaster of Hamburg has come here with letters from the emperor asking for neutrality for the Hanse towns. (fn. 8) They will give him an answer after the engagement.
At this moment letters have been received from our Admiral Opdam of the 2nd inst. He writes from a distance of twelve great German leagues from Texel, towards the north, that he has taken nine English merchant ships which were coming from Hamburg laden with divers provisions of war of the value of two millions of lire, with the capture also of the warship which was escorting them, mounting thirty-four guns. This gives great encouragement to the sailors to whom they present all the goods besides the reward given to the one who took the warship. It is also of great consequence for the English who were in need of these provisions.
The first English fleet has withdrawn in great confusion to Haruich, to the number of forty ships of war, and the remainder are at anchor at the mouth of the Thames, between the Downs and Haruich, so that it is very accessible, the States having sent galeots on the 4th inst. to the Dutch fleet with express orders to attack and fight the English wherever they may be found, even at the mouth of the Thames, without any delay.
[Italian.]
June 13.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
197. Francesco Bianchi, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The day before yesterday the expected resident of England arrived. He is keeping incognito and at the first visits I will perform the complimentary offices with him that are permitted by custom.
Florence, the 13th June, 1665.
[Italian.
June 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
198. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The English ambassador has made some sort of complaint here, remarking to some that the Most Christian has arranged for the escape of a certain number of Dutch ships which were in his ports, by permitting them to hoist the royal standard, to render them respected and safe. The ministers here while rejoicing at this bitterness are only afraid that the French will know the way to sweeten it very soon. Accordingly, to the complaints of the ambassador, who is a most sagacious man, although they administer incitement they contribute uncertain credence and scant hope (si contribuisce incerta fede et scarsa speranza).
Madrid, the 17th June, 1665.
[Italian.]
June 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
199. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch ships which came out of Cadiz in sight of Tangier, have stopped there, drawing near to the fortress which they keep practically in a state of siege on the sea side. No craft enters the port, indeed some which arrived there unexpectedly were engaged by this squadron and forced to surrender. Various English ships which are at anchor in the port have tried at various times, not to fight but to escape by night, particularly with the benefit of the darkness which prevails, but as their enemy is keeping the closest watch, they have been obliged to haul down their sails and to curb their spirits as well. Thus they have retired and are waiting for a better opportunity which the fortunes of the sea may provide.
Here they would be by no means displeased if the English were driven out of that fortress. They are tormented by the suspicion and fear that it is going to be handed over to France, as has already been rumoured, and that would be equally pernicious and troublesome to the interests of this Crown. Some even say that the attempt has been recommended to the Dutch ambassador with the utmost adroitness and secrecy, and that the communication was subsequently sent by him to the captains who were at Cadiz. I know on good authority that on the arrival of the intelligence that the place was ill supplied with munitions and food they hoped to strike a sudden blow at it and to reduce it to the necessity of capitulating. It is not credible however that provision will long be lacking in a place of so much consideration.
Madrid, the 17th June, 1665.
[Italian; the part in italics deciphered.]
June 17.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
200. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
We are waiting to hear the issue of a fierce battle in the Channel. It began on Saturday two hours after sunrise and ended on Sunday the 14th. Yesterday a courier arrived from London, no doubt with the news, and later on the victory of the Dutch was reported. Lord Holles since yesterday has been in a state of great depression and the States wisely abstain from boasting, leaving events to speak for themselves. There are many reports. The secrecy observed at St. Germain points to some great evil for King Charles. The ordinary from London has not yet appeared.
Paris, the 19th June, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.201. From the Hague, the 11th June, 1665.
We have no news as yet, but we are on the eve of receiving some of great consequence, as according to the last advices the two fleets are at sea and should be in presence. A barque came in yesterday with a report that on the preceding day the Duke of York was on the point of coming out, and that the fleet of this State had been met six or seven leagues from Harvic. The last letters of the Admiral Opdam are of the 5th of this month and report that the contrary wind had driven him back to these coasts and he had availed himself of the opportunity to send into our ports the nine Hamburg ships with the English frigate, their escort, but that he would draw near to the English coast as soon as ever the wind became at all favourable. As a matter of fact he has not been sighted off these coasts for some days although some galeots have been at sea to get word with him. The Admiral writes that when the ten ships were sighted the sailors, who thought they were the whole English fleet, displayed such joy that there is no reason to doubt but that they will fight very well. This will be known to-day or to-morrow, for it is impossible with the two fleets at sea, for them not to meet and the weather is the finest possible for fighting.
Eighteen ships of war and four of Zeeland have also left Texel to reinforce our fleet and they have sent out some flutes laden with sails, cordage, anchors and other necessary things, because it has been prohibited, upon pain of death, for the captains to abandon the admiral's flag and enter the ports with their ships, except in case of manifest danger of loss. It is believed that the engagement will last more than one day, and that the first one will not settle these differences, and that with the advantage being all on our side the English would not make peace on the same terms on which they could make it now.
Here they no longer expect the mediation or the succour of France, and after the battle they will not want to hear any more about it. It seems somewhat strange that France, which is bound to guarantee this State, instead of coming to its succour says that it wishes to carry affairs to an accommodation and in the mean time the ambassadors, to arrive at this, wish this State to suggest the means and to make proposals for this. There is no doubt that his Majesty and the ministers do not know what is being said both here and elsewhere. They know the state of affairs and public opinion, but perhaps they do not know everything, and it may be that the measures have been badly taken both by England and by this State.
It should be known in France that the English have declared contraband the wine and salt that may be brought from France into our States. This is a pretext for ruining all trade and especially that of France. And the last letters from London say that the Court there has some idea of making peace and a close alliance with Spain, irritated as they are by the prohibition by France of all foreign manufactures. It is not known what the English will do, but this is certain that one of the principal lords of parliament has written here that they must not be astonished if parliament is seen before very long more eager for peace than it showed itself in the past for the war. He adds something uncomplimentary about the mediating ambassadors.
While the English never cease speaking extravagantly all their captains are showing most remarkable faintheartedness. This is the second time that they have fled in view of Cadiz, although their ships were twice as large and carried a much larger number of guns and men. And two of their captains conducted themselves so badly against two privateers before Dunkirk that the King of England had them hanged. (fn. 9) And this last one who was taken with the nine ships of Hamburg did not even fire a single gunshot. Nevertheless he had the assurance to tell the Lieutenant-Admiral Courtenart that if he had met him alone at sea he would have captured him and taken him to England, but the other replied that if he treated him according to his deserts he would send him to the king, his master, to be hanged for his cowardice.
The Duke of York has written to London that he had gone away from this coast in order to allow the Dutch fleet to come out. But all this bravado serves for nothing and we shall soon see who does the better, hoping that God will declare for the justice of our cause and the arms of this State. In the mean time all the allies are standing by and watching, ready to offer their congratulations or their condolences after the battle, which seems very hard and will not be forgotten very soon.
The Swedes have announced their intention of sending a fleet to sea for the safety of ships, which they wish to put under their flag. This will not be suffered as the English will prevent neutral states from trading here. The envoy of this republic reached Stockolm on the 21st May. The desire of all good men to see all the naval forces of Christendom united against the Ottomans is unlikely to be fulfilled. This State, which has nothing to fear from that quarter, will not make war for the love or the interests of those who care little about her cause.
A barque of Sceveningh, half a league from the Hague, has just arrived and the master reports that yesterday, the 10th, about eight in the evening he left Admiral Opdam, who was going away in the direction of England, so that if the wind has continued favourable he should at this moment be at the mouth of the river of London.
Letters from Dunkirk of the 14th June say that the two fleets, English and Dutch, had been engaged since two o'clock of the morning of the day preceding and that the town of Dunkirk and all those in the neighbourhood shook with the thunder of the cannonading, owing to which all the window panes were broken and some houses had fallen, although the two naval forces were twelve leagues away towards the North East. It is not yet known who has the victory, and this news is written at 5 o'clock in the morning on Sunday, the 14th June.
By a note which has come from a good source we have word that at the first clash between the two fleets the Dutch, having the wind against them, lost nine ships, but afterwards, the wind having changed, the Dutch gained such an advantage that they sank thirty-seven English ships and threw the rest into disorder and flight. Particulars are awaited. A courier from the French ambassadors in London has reached St. Germain, but what he brought is kept secret.
[Italian.]
June 20.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Firenze.
Venetian
Archives.
202. Francesco Bianchi, Venetian Resident at Florence, to the Doge and Senate.
The resident of England is getting ready for his first audience. He notified his arrival and I have been to pay him my respects, to which he responded with expressions of the great friendliness of his Majesty for the most serene republic. The chief obligation which he brings is to protect the nation at Leghorn by causing the ships of war which arrive at that port for convoy duty or for other objects, to obtain everything that they may require in the way of provisions and money.
Florence, the 20th June, 1665.
[Italian.]
June 23.
Senato,
Secreta.
Diapacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
203. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
There is definite news of a considerable victory won by the Duke of York over the Dutch. The English ambassador sent to inform me of it yesterday. The secretary writes by the king's order of an obstinate fight for two days with the flight of the Dutch at the end, pursued by the royal fleet. In celebration of this happy event the ambassador caused bonfires to be lighted that same evening, namely Sunday, and he started to-day for St. Germain to inform the king. The satisfaction of Madame is beyond expression. I enclose the usual sheets from London and Amsterdam.
Reports to the contrary effect were accepted as true and probable. The Ambassador Boreel with equal prudence and firmness speaks to-day of the provisions which are being made to resist and to make all good. Lord Holles has always spoken of all the happenings with equal sincerity and modesty. I have merely expressed to these ministers the hope that this encounter will lead to the peace which is so much desired.
Paris, the 23rd June, 1665.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.204. From the Hague, the 18th June, 1665.
There is no doubt that people will speak in different ways in France and elsewhere about the victory of the English, but this is the truth. Admiral Opdam being eight leagues from our coast with a north east wind, wrote that he hoped to be facing the English fleet on the following day, and in fact he arrived in sight of the enemy on the 11th. Friday the 12th was all devoted to gaining the wind from the English, in which he succeeded very well, but as the wind changed at the same time, when the battle began on the 13th at two in the morning the English found themselves with the wind favourable. Their fleet drawn up in the formation of a half moon remained stationary, making use of the advantage when the fleet of this State attacked it. Courtenart, Lieutenant-Admiral of Rotterdam, who had the vanguard, attacked first with his squadron and passed through the enemy's force. The admiral followed him with his squadron, fighting bravely, but instead of turning immediately to gain the wind he gave the English time to draw back somewhat and to preserve their advantage of the wind. From this some unfortunate ending to the struggle was immediately anticipated. All the same they continued all that day without any advantage for the English, from whom ours took a ship of forty-six guns. (fn. 10) But Courtinart having been killed by a cannon shot, and the flagship having blown up about four o'clock in the afternoon, without it being known how this disaster came about, disorder spread in the fleet many ships fleeing under full sail. Among these John Eversen, Lieutenant-Admiral of Zeeland, who should have commanded the whole fleet after the death of the other two commanders, fled with a part of his squadron although his ship was in excellent condition, with very few dead, and it only rested with him for all the fleet to follow him.
Of the two lieutenant-admirals, of North Holland and Friesland, one had left without there being any news of him all the following day, and the other was slain. There was only Tromp, vice-admiral of Zeeland, Eversen's brother, who upheld all the following day, the 14th, fighting valiantly in the retreat without the English venturing to grapple a single Dutch ship.
Immediately the news was known here, on Sunday morning, they forthwith caused the 1400 men to turn back who had been embarked at the Brielle the preceding evening to reinforce the fleet, who were already at sea, and sent orders to Tromp and to all the vice-admirals to enter the ports which they should find most convenient. In the mean time the fleet which had begun the fight half way from Ostend, found themselves near Texel, where the deputies of the States had embarked 150,000 pounds of powder with some soldiers, and they themselves put to sea to beg Tromp to continue the fight. This he refused to do, saying that he would not expose himself with a cowardly rabble which was capable of making him lose his honour with his life and the fleet as well. Accordingly in compliance with the orders received he entered Texel with sixty ships of war, while twenty-eight other ships withdrew to Flie with the favour of a bank of sand which the English did not dare to pass. But we have not yet heard that more than eighteen have entered and in the Meuse and in Zeeland there are thirteen or fourteen of them.
It is known for certain that five ships have been burned, namely the flagship, the ship Oranges, which would not surrender although attacked by three great English ships, these attached a brulot to her which caused her to blow up; and three other ships, of seventy-eight, fifty and twenty-six guns respectively, which became entangled together and could not get themselves loose. The English attached a brulot to them which caused them to blow up, all three together, as the captains refused to surrender. This has been learned from a lieutenant who threw himself into the sea before the fire had caught the magazine. It may be that the English have also sunk some other ship, but this cannot yet be known, nor whether they have taken a single ship, although twenty of ours are still missing.
Tromp had 120 men killed in his ship and he had all the honour of this retreat, and for reward he will have the command of the whole fleet if Ruither does not arrive in a few days. It is true that it is believed that they will appoint deputies of the State, who offered themselves voluntarily. Up to Monday evening they had sent to Texel, to Helvoet and to Zeeland to repair the fleet with all speed, as also to take information and prepare the charge against the vice-admirals who have failed in their duty. In exchange they are sending 4000 crowns to the captain who captured the English ship with orders to the Admiralty to buy the ship, with its victuals and munitions and to distribute the value to the captain.
The Lieutenant-Admiral of Zeeland, Eversen, had orders to come here to render account of his actions; but on arriving at the Brielle on a diligence with a valet, he was recognised by the rabble, who threw him into the sea where he would have perished if the governor had not hurried up and pulled him out, and caused the whole garrison to be set before the house to which he had withdrawn. On Tuesday morning he was put in a coach, accompanied by a few soldiers, to be sent to this city, where he has been left in a private house with guards, under the pretext of defending him against the people, but in reality to keep him prisoner while they are preparing his trial. Many other captains have also been arrested who doubtless will serve in the future as an example to those who are guilty of like poltroonery.
Now we ought to know what they will do at the court of France after having allowed things to run to this extremity, and to think what she will do to stand against the greatness of the English, which will be no less formidable to France than inconvenient to this State, which will always find a way to come to terms with England.
The letters which the Lords States received yesterday from the deputies who are at Texel bring word that nine ships have arrived there, which are the same which sailed eight days ago and which were unable to join the body of the fleet because of the calm and the contrary wind. The English sighted them, stationary in the sandbanks, but have not dared to attack. They also have acted very faintheartedly, in spite of their advantages when ours had lost courage after the death of three of their admirals and the flight of the fourth. He was brought to this city yesterday and heard in the assembly of the States General where he made a very feeble harangue, which will not contribute much to his justification. This night he has been taken towards Texel to be examined, confronted with the other officers and judged by the Council of War.
The same letters say that Tromp, who in the retreat fought with five great English ships, only lost eighteen men killed and twenty-six wounded on his ship, and that the English have taken one of the ships which the East India Company fitted out, called the Giroflie, of fifty guns, but that it defended itself so well that the English would not want to take many of them at so great a cost. We do not yet know the other particulars of the ships, which are missing, to the number of eight or nine.
[Italian.]
Enclosure.205. From London, the 19th June, 1665.
It is confirmed by several letters that the English fleet coming from Hamburg, for lack of intelligence, has fallen with its convoy into the hands of the Dutch fleet. Encouraged by this success they immediately took this resolution, first to surprise the fleet of 200 vessels which was coming from Newcastle laden with coal, and then to engage the main body of the English fleet at a place a short way from the coasts of Haruich. But more by good fortune of the English than by their prudence or good arrangements the fleet of colliers escaped the Dutch, although it passed within a short distance of the enemy fleet, and arrived safely at Yarmouth, where the Duke of York had the opportunity to fill up his fleet with 700 experienced sailors, drawn from this coal fleet, to replace some sick men who had been recently sent ashore, and to increase his fleet with eight good warships, their convoy. This fleet also brought word of the advance of the Dutch in the direction of these coasts; accordingly H.R.H. had time to make his dispositions and take up a position to receive their visit. We learn in fact that the two fleets met at a very early hour and that about sunrise the battle began. It must have been very great and furious as the cannonading was heard as far as London.
On Monday we received an imperfect and brief account of the combat, to wit, that the two fleets had certainly engaged, that the Dutch had begun the fight and that Prince Rupert received at a certain distance more than 100 gun shots from the enemy before he would allow his squadron to fire, and that he then advanced so near to the Dutch fleet that he inflicted great slaughter. The prince having made the first assault they say he was seconded by the Duke of York and by the rest of the fleet, and that the battle continued with equal fortune. But we have since learned that it has been favourable to the English and a victory.
On Tuesday an express arrived at Court sent by H.R.H. to the king to present to him two Dutch flags, as a token of victory and to inform him that at the moment he was pursuing the Dutch fleet, then routed and dispersed, and that he hoped before long to give his Majesty a full and particular account of a complete victory.
This express gave his Majesty a brief account of what had passed in the battle before he left the fleet to the following effect: that the action was begun half way between England and Holland; that it had lasted about twenty-four hours; that the English had burned and sunk more than twenty ships of the enemy including the Admiral and the Vice-Admiral of Zeeland, and that the English fleet, so far as he could discern, was in excellent condition together with its chief commanders, having only lost the frigate Charity, which after being surrendered by its captain with scant prudence, had been courageously defended for a while by its soldiers and sailors. He said further that the Dutch, seeing that they were too weak to withstand any longer the onslaught of the English, proposed to withdraw to port, but were prevented from entering by the squadron of the Earl of Sandwich, which was in front of the door, and so they were compelled to change their plan and to fly away northwards, where they are being pursued by the Duke of York. Accordingly we are momentarily expecting news of the total destruction of that fleet together with further particulars.
The plague is spreading in several places of this city and its suburbs although there are only forty-three dead of it this week. It is feared that it will increase greatly with the intense heat of the present season.
Postscript: We have just heard that the Duke of York has completed his victory over the Dutch, having sunk, burned and taken so many of their ships that the part of their fleet which has escaped is inconsiderable. The Dutch have lost, among other persons of quality, the Admirals Opdam and Eversen and the English have lost Lord Fitsharden, Lord Marlborough, Lord Daulnort and two ships of war in the battle.
[Italian, from the French.]
June 24.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Spagna.
Venetian
Archives.
206. Marin Zorzi, Venetian Ambassador in Spain, to the Doge and Senate.
The Dutch recognising their stay before Tangier to be fruitless have gone away to the open. They are cruising about the Strait and make a prey of every ship.
Madrid, the 24th June, 1665.
[Italian.]
June 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
207. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
The affairs of the north give no indication of a durable peace. Since their victory the English dominate the sea and are ready to meet the enemy again if he comes out. The English ambassador went to St. Germain on Tuesday to inform the king. He had a long audience and it is known that the Most Christian observed that he rejoiced at the king's good fortune but at the same time he pointed out all the causes and considerations which oblige England now to embrace the proposals made by the mediators for the peace, seeing that his Majesty is disposed to see to it that the best expedients shall be found for rendering every proper satisfaction to King Charles, and he would regret if the obligations of his alliance with the States should force him to act against his will. The ambassador replied that the British crown had always desired this. The Dutch were the aggressors and the king owed his advantage to the justice of the royal cause, as everyone knew that there was no other way to bring the enemy to a reasonable composition.
This much is certain, when Monsieur and Madame, brimming over with joy, proposed to send a gentleman to London with congratulations, the Most Christian told his brother that he should persuade King Charles to profit by his victory to establish a good peace at once, as if the ambassadors extraordinary had co-operated towards this end with all their might, he hoped supremely, because of what has now happened, that he might be freed from those occasions which he is obliged to take into consideration, in view of the unrevokable articles for succouring the allied Provinces. It is further added that when authentic news reached St. Germain on Friday, the king convoked the Council repeatedly and holding up all the letters of London, even those of foreign ministers, a courier was sent from the Court to London with the orders taken. It is supposed that these consist of instructions to mediate for an adjustment seriously. When on Sunday the facts were definitely confirmed it was observed that Van Bouninghen not only betook himself to repeated conferences with the Sieur de Liona but they say that he was even summoned one day to the royal Council, perhaps to have something cleared up. Thus his Majesty was recently seen in the coach with the Sieur di Turena, although the latter's nephew Blanchefort is with the Duke of York and has been appointed to the command of his guards in place of Fitzharden. It is argued that a declaration will now be made by France to succour the United Provinces against every one. This view is confirmed in the opinion of some by the circumstance that many French vessels which sailed from the ports of Brittany and Normandy, under the pretence of search, have been brought in and not yet despatched by the Admiralty of London, while here they dissimulate about it saying that they cannot yet have knowledge of the arrest that has taken place.
It is at least the general opinion that if the Duke of York has risked more than was proper, by all standards, since it is believed that the chancellor himself has encouraged his vast designs by lending him the royal seal clandestinely, he will not be ready to abandon that course of fortune which he has begun and which has shown itself so propitious at the outset, at least for the whole of the present campaign, by troubling the enemy both with universal reprisals and by facing fresh conflict at sea where history shows that the English have never lost.
The alliance of Sweden militates in favour of this resolution, that country having already sent some ships of war into the Ocean, being offended with the Dutch for the wrongs done to their merchant ships in Guinea, and far from content with the Most Christian, the pretext being Erdford, (fn. 11) but actually because of the refusal of the ancient pensions which had been promised anew. It is noted also that Denmark likewise is on the point of carrying out the articles which it has agreed upon with the British crown, in the same way as Sweden. So there is only Spain left and it is only reasonable to suppose that to relieve themselves of the fear of another war, if they cannot remain neutral while all these northern powers are in the melee, they will prefer to take sides against the power which threatens their own frontiers. And here it must be considered that if the French have fomented such differences, they have deceived themselves in judging of the issue because the Duke of York by his hazardous but always glorious action besides having won for himself a credit without parallel has established to no less an extent the crown of his brother and for his posterity, and if fortune does not favour Ruither the Dutch may be exposed to a fresh trial, and divisions injure them more than a disaster to their arms, and the envy of the rich province of Holland.
The English ambassador came to see me on Wednesday when I again congratulated him and recalled the glorious actions of the English against the infidels. He replied that while he could not wish anything better for King Charles than an honourable peace, so nothing would give him more pleasure than a decision against the common enemy.
Paris, the 26th June, 1665.
[Italian.]
June 26.
Senato,
Secreta.
Dispacci,
Francia.
Venetian
Archives.
208. Alvise Sagredo, Venetian Ambassador in France, to the Doge and Senate.
I have perhaps given your Serenity too superficial an account, or in gross as they call it here, of the victory won by the English. I will now take the liberty of adding the details, which may be credited as being more likely than what both the nations exert themselves to have believed, altering the facts in accordance with their interests which are so important and consequential.
The Dutch came out with a fleet composed of 114 ships of war and twelve brulots. Meanwhile there arrived at Arvich the fleet of 200 craft, great and small which was expected, laden with coal from Scotland. The Duke of York reinforced the royal force with these men and so with ninety-six sail, but furnished with a larger number of sailors and soldiers, he put out of port. The order, the march and the clash at the first meeting are correctly set forth in the attached sheet given me by the English ambassador. For the space of over eight hours continuously both parties faced each other without it being clear to which side victory inclined. But in the combat the Admiral Opdam was wounded by a musket shot, and when moving with great determination to board the Duke of York he was carried away by a cannon ball from the royal flagship. Disheartened by this his men changed their plan and contented themselves with having discharged their broadside. In the heat of the battle the Dutch fleet began to fall into disorder, as the Lieutenant-Admiral Courtenart was dead with two other counter admirals. It was not long before Opdam's own ship blew up, according to the duke through a shot from his guns, according to the Dutch through the betrayal of an Englishman who had got on board, who was observed to throw himself into the sea without necessity, that is after, it is supposed, he had set the match lighted for this purpose. As soon as this principal ship of the republic of Holland exploded the Admiral Eversen of Zeeland, instead of succeeding to the command, as he should, and resisting the confusion beginning among his countrymen, spread all his sails to the wind and gave himself to a most disgraceful flight. A part of his squadron undoubtedly set itself to follow him out of fear, although some are trying to justify themselves on the score of obedience, and others, unworthily, did the same to save their lives. This is contradicted by the English ambassador, it is uncertain whether to give greater credit to the valour of his countrymen or to utter a friendly word to save Eversen, who among other things is devoted to King Charles. But his Excellency agrees that only Vice-Admiral Tromp, who had his own ship burned, with the greatest courage placed himself in a chaloupe upon the castle of the next ship, which should have been commanded by one of the dead vice-admirals, displayed the great standard usually flown for such a purpose and although Eversen would not consent to the resistance and still less obey Tromp, the latter placed himself last in the retreat and by dint of the discharge of his guns, supported by a few other ships, stayed the fury of the English and prevented further mischief from happening with his countrymen so disheartened, by their being pursued right into their own ports by the Duke of York and his victorious fleet.
The English claim to have taken seventeen large ships and to have sunk or burned thirteen. The loss of the enemy consists in all of thirty sail and 8000 men, including killed and prisoners, besides a very large number of wounded. The Duke of York writes to Madame that this victory has cost the British crown the loss of a single frigate and of 500 men killed, and no more.
Van Bouninghen on the other hand admits to fifteen ships taken and nine sunk or burned, and according to the description given the Dutch fleet has only lost about 6000 men. He confesses besides the loss of five standards which have either been burned or fallen into the hands of the Duke of York.
Some who do not believe this account to be true, because not a single English ship was sunk, have pointed out that the royal ships are built of a soft wood, which is grown with great secrecy and kept in the island so that when a cannon ball penetrates it simply makes a clear round hole without splintering, and it is only necessary to hasten with a safe remedy to close the breach. Further the battery or rows of guns are placed lower so that they always strike the enemy on the water line. The English keep an extra man to serve every gun, and in building they take care to make the decks so that the smoke can get away and to allow height so that the gunners may work at ease. Dutch ships on the other hand are built of Norwegian oak, which is of another nature, so that when a ball enters the body of a ship the wood rends and splits; and their machines are high or for a double purpose, to wit, trade and war, and owing to this their guns are placed higher up and do not strike such vital parts on the level of the water.
I may add that only forty-four sail of the Duke of York entered the fight on that occasion, the others not having place or time to satisfy their ardour, and although during the retreat, that is from the 13th to the 17th much gun firing was heard, the chief effort was made on the first day of the engagement until the moment when the principal ship with the Dutch commander blew up, as related. The English had no occasion in the action for further incitement, for they showed themselves all of one mind, and determined by natural instinct and also because the royal fleet is entirely composed of native forces, islanders and subjects of the crown, without any foreigners in it except Prince Rupert, who did wonders on that great occasion, throwing himself into it several times for the purpose of throwing the enemy's force into disorder. Here we have posed the ancient problem whether a prince is safer when defended by his own citizens or by foreign soldiers and mercenaries.
I will just add in conclusion a very rare item for your Serenity of a private affair in the royal force, from which the Duke of York was able to win himself the full halo of military glory four days before putting out from Harvich.
An English captain who was out reconnoitring, sighted two Dutch ships which were coming to attack him. He immediately summoned his crew, pointed out to them the disadvantage of fighting one against two, which might eventually prove even more severe, and as the wind was favourable for retreating, he would put about and not run the risk. The soldiers, much more eager for glory, said that they must wait for them and do their utmost to win. The captain replied that it was his business to command and no one could ever reproach him, as man is not bound to resist odds. The soldiers enraged or fearing the loss of honour, bound the captain, put him under decks and did their duty valiantly, so that they took one of the Dutch ships, while the other, seeing the peril of her consort without being able to help her, took to flight. Returning later as in a small triumph, they reported everything to the Council of War, which ended by condemning the captain to death, protesting that the crime of cowardice in one who offers to serve in war should never be pardoned. The Duke of York, hearing of the circumstances and the sentence had the prisoner brought to him, gave him pardon for his life, deprived him of all the decorations of captain and gave him a musket, saying that he would merely degrade him, for while it is true that captains of the British crown are obliged to resist several enemies, he was satisfied, as a first example to spare his life, allowing him to pass the rest of his life in the royal service as a soldier, seeing that he had not the courage to fight more than one, when it was his duty to encourage and command others.
Paris, the 26th June, 1665.
[Italian.]

Footnotes

1 By order dated at Madrid 19th May, 1665. S.P. Spain, Vol. xlviii.
2 Holles makes a brief reference to this affair in this despatch of 3rd June, but gives more particulars in a letter to Lionne of the 16th June. S.P. France, Vol. cxx.
3 The sheets from London and the Hague are missing from the file.
4 This was in March. The deputy governor was Col. Henry Willoughby, nephew of the governor. The Newes of 25th May. Lord Willoughby himself was attacked in January, at Surinam by one John Allen. Ibid.
5 After Opdam, Admiral Jan Evertszoon commanded the second squadron, Egbert Cortenaer the third squadron, Volkert Schram the fourth, Cornelis Evertszoon the sixth, and Captain Stellingwerf the seventh. Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. v., pp. 433, 443. Le Clerc: Hist. des Provinces Unies Vol. iii., page 73.
6 Presumably a small patache.
7 Henry de Bourbon, duke of Verneuil, was the natural son of Henry IV of France by Henriette de Balzac, marquise de Verneuil. Recueil des Instructions, xxiv. Angleterre (ed. Jusserand), Vol. i., page 341.
8 Herr Westerman, senator of Hamburg. He was received at the Hague on the 1st June. Aitzema: Saken van Staet en Oorlogh, Vol. v., page 630.
9 Capt. Edward Nixon of the Elizabeth and Captain John Stanesby of the Eagle. The engagement took place off Scilly. Nixon was condemned to be shot. Stanesby was exonerated. Cal. S.P. Dom. 1664–5, pp. 367, 370, 387. Pepys: Diary, Vol. iv., page 419.
10 The Great Charity, Captain Robert Wilkinson.
11 In April Louis had sent 4000 men at the request of the elector of Mainz, to reduce Erfurt, a Protestant town, to subjection. Lavisse et Rambaud: Hist. de France, Vol. vii., pt. ii., page 278.


<--Previous:
Venice:
May 1665