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Title: A Short History of the Royal Navy 1217 to 1688
Author: Hannay, David
Language: English
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 TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

 Minor punctuation errors repaired.

 Inconsistent spelling of proper names has been retained.

 Italic text is denoted by _underscores_ and bold text by ~tildes~.

 In this book, English and British ships' names are in small caps,
 other vessels' names in italics. In the plain text version, small capped
 ships' names only have been marked by =equal signs=. All other small
 caps have been changed to all caps or lower case as appropriate.

 p. 340 "which Cornelius de With had in vain" replaced with
        "which Cornelius de Witt had in vain"



    A SHORT HISTORY

        OF THE

      ROYAL NAVY

     1217 TO 1688


          BY

     DAVID HANNAY



     METHUEN & CO.
 36 ESSEX STREET, W.C.
       LONDON
        1898



PREFACE


It has been my endeavour in this book to give a popular, but clear
and not inaccurate, account of the growth, and services, of the Royal
Navy. I have not attempted a general maritime history of England. This,
which would include the rise and extension of commerce, discovery, much
scientific matter and much legislation, would be the life-work of a
Gibbon or a Hume. Such a task would be far beyond my powers, even if
circumstances, which need not be specified, did not refuse me command
of the time needed for so great an undertaking.

I am not unconscious that a landsman deals with sea affairs at a
certain risk. He has, in Southey's phrase, to walk among sea-terms
"as a cat does in a china pantry." He is liable to discover, from the
criticism of a sailor, that he has made a fleet sail within two points
of the wind--a disaster which it was once my lot to undergo. Perhaps
only long professional experience will save a writer from such errors.
If, as is only too probable, there are some in this book, I can but beg
for the favourable consideration of the friendly reader.

The present volume ends at that dividing line in our history, the
Revolution of 1688. Another will give the history of the great struggle
with France and her dependent allies, which began in 1689, and ended
only when the time of great naval wars was over--for at any rate the
larger part of a century, if not for ever. The main subject of the
present volume, apart from the formation of the naval service, is the
less known, but not less important, and assuredly not less arduous,
struggle with Holland.

I have made it the rule to adopt the accepted spelling of names--to
write Monk, not Monck; Raleigh, not Ralegh; Hawkins, not Hawkyns.
Matthew Arnold once gave it as his reason for not adopting a reformed
system of spelling classical names, that he would not pass his life in
a wilderness of pedantry in order that his children might attain to an
orthographical Canaan. That Hawkins used a "y" where we use "i" in his
name, as in other words, therein following the custom of his time, does
not seem to me to be any reason for departing from the practice of the
language as it is to-day.

  DAVID HANNAY.



CONTENTS


CHAP.                                                            PAGE
       Introduction--The Mediæval Navy                              1

    I. The Navy of the Tudors till the Accession of Elizabeth      33

   II. Reign of Elizabeth to the Defeat of the Armada              73

  III. From the Armada to the Death of the Queen                  116

   IV. James I. and Charles I.                                    146

    V. The Navy in the Civil War                                  180

   VI. The First Years of the Commonwealth                        195

  VII. The First Dutch War                                        230

 VIII. The Latter Half of the War                                 256

   IX. The Protectorate                                           276

    X. The Navy under Charles II.                                 299

   XI. The Second Dutch War to the Four Days' Battle              334

  XII. From the Four Days' Battle till the End of the War         364

 XIII. The Algerine Pirates and the Third Dutch War               398

  XIV. The Last Years of the Stuart Dynasty                       444

       Index                                                      465



A SHORT HISTORY OF THE ROYAL NAVY



INTRODUCTION

THE MEDIÆVAL NAVY

 AUTHORITIES.--Sir Nicholas Harris Nicolas has made an exhaustive
 collection of all the evidence as to the history of the Royal Navy in
 the Middle Ages, in the only two volumes published of his _History
 of the Royal Navy from the Earliest Times to the Wars of the French
 Revolution_. It is the basis of this Introduction. Captain Burrows'
 _Cinque Ports_, in the Historical Towns Series, supplements Sir H.
 Nicolas.

A glance at a globe turned so as to bring the British Isles directly
under the eye will at once reveal the most effective of all the
material causes which have made them the seat of the great naval power
among nations. It is the unrivalled advantage of their position. They
lie between the Old World and the New, with free access to the great
ocean, surrounded by seas, which, though stormy, are not unmanageable.
Their coasts are never blocked by ice. No long intervals of calm varied
by mere puffs of wind reduce sailing ships to immobility, and limit
their size by imposing on them the necessity of relying on the oar.
Steam has freed maritime war and commerce from dependence on the wind,
but the naval power of England was created during the ages of the
sailing ship. Steam, too, has only made the benefit of free access
to the ocean if possible more valuable. It is commonly said that an
island is peculiarly fitted to be the seat of a naval power, and no
doubt freedom from the perpetual risk of invasion by land is a material
advantage. Immunity from that danger has saved us from the necessity
for expending our resources on armies, which crippled Holland,
exhausted Spain, and has hampered France. But it must be remembered
that the great maritime powers of antiquity and the Middle Ages were
on the mainland round the Mediterranean, not on the islands. Again, it
is clear that if, in the place of Ireland, there lay to the immediate
west of us any great bulk of territory too strong to be conquered, too
alien to be absorbed, our insular position would not have saved us from
being much confined, if not wholly shut in. But to the west of us lies
the Atlantic Ocean, the beginning of the road which leads to wealth and
empire all over the world. No power can block our way thither while we
exercise even equal strength on water.

Before full advantage could be taken of our position, three conditions
had to be fulfilled. These islands had to become the seat of an
organised State, and to cease from being merely the field in which
hostile races were fighting for the mastery. The weapon of sea-power,
which is the seaworthy and sea-keeping ship, had to be created. The New
World had to be opened to the enterprise of the Old, and the globe to
be explored. Ages passed before these conditions were fulfilled.

The maritime history of the country divides itself into three periods.
First, there are the ages during which the people was being formed and
the weapon forged. This may be said to extend from the first beginnings
to the accession of the House of Tudor. At that date, when, be it
noted, the Portuguese were exploring the sea route round Africa to the
east, and Columbus was leading Spain to America, there was still much
to be done in the work of consolidation within, and in the perfecting
of the ship; but a vessel had been made which could sail the world
round, and in the British Isles it had come to this, that England was
predominant, and that for her fellow-islanders the choice was between
conquest at her hands, or union on honourable terms. The second period
stretches from the accession of the House of Tudor to the close of the
seventeenth century, when superiority of power at sea had been fully
won. The third, beginning with the Revolution, lasts until our own
time. It includes the two hundred years or so during which England,
having now united to herself, or conquered, all rivals within these
islands, has exercised the power she had won.

A complete history of the maritime power of England would be a vast
subject, for it must include the whole story of the growth of her
commerce, and her commercial or fiscal legislation. The object of
this book is more modest. It is merely to describe in the main lines,
and without professing to enter into detail, the growth and action of
the Royal Navy--the armed force by which England has protected her
commerce, has made her strength felt in the strife of nations, and has
first secured, and then defended, her dominions beyond the sea.

The first of the three periods just spoken of may be passed over
rapidly. In the earlier ages there was neither the organised State
which could wield a navy, nor the ships for it to use. From the days
of Julius Cæsar to those of William of Normandy, no invader found
effectual resistance for long on water when he was about invading
this country. Our own Teutonic fathers, who were raiding on the coast
long before they began their permanent settlements, the generals of
the Roman emperors who had rebellions to suppress, the "hornets," as
Simeon of Durham called them, who swarmed out of Scandinavia, and the
Conqueror himself, landed as they pleased, with rare and doubtful
exceptions. There was no State so rich and so fully organised as to
be able to maintain a permanent navy. How fully this was the case was
shown in the fateful year 1066. Harold was undisputed king in England.
The House of Godwin was familiar with the use of ships, and possessed
not a few. Yet within a few months England was twice invaded from over
sea. Harold must have known that the most effectual of all ways of
protecting his crown was by preventing the landing of an enemy. But he
was compelled to disband his land and sea forces on the Nativity of St.
Mary, for want of provisions. No organisation capable of meeting the
cost of a permanent navy existed. The ships, too, were but large open
boats, seaworthy enough, and even capable of making long voyages, but,
when full of fighting men, they could not be stored with provisions,
and they could not give cover to their crews. So there could be no
blockade, no long months of watching spent at sea, without which a
navy can never be used except as a mere means of transport. Hence
for centuries it is always the same story. The invader runs into an
estuary, or on to an open beach, and marches inland, seizing horses.
A battle on land decides whether he is or is not to succeed in his
purpose, whether of mere plunder or settlement. The Conqueror himself
made so little use of his ships, except to cross the Channel, that he
could not prevent the Danish king from hanging on the eastern coast for
months.

With the beginning of the thirteenth century there came a great
change. The conflict of races was over, State and people were formed
in England. On the throne there was a man nearly as able as he was
wicked, and he had every motive to make use of his ships to forestall
invasions. With King John begins, strictly speaking, the naval history
of this country. His predecessors since the Conqueror were masters
of both sides of the Channel, and had no need of their fleets except
for transport. They might take English ships and seamen with them on
their expeditions as far as Syria. Under their powerful rule commerce
had increased, and a seafaring class had been formed. But John is the
first king of England who effectually used his navy to stop invasion.
By 1213 his Continental dominions had been torn from him. Philip
Augustus, King of the French, was preparing an invasion, and John well
knew that an invader would find friends among his vassals. Being richer
and better armed, if not wiser, than Harold, he struck first. A fleet
of English ships, under the command of John's half-brother, William
Longsword, Earl of Salisbury, crossed to Damme, where the ships of the
French king were collected, and burned them. The scheme of invasion
broke down completely for that time. John's reign ended in anarchy. His
rebellious barons brought in a son of the French king, and set him up
as sovereign. But the death of the wicked king removed the one valid
excuse for the rebellion. The country rallied round his infant son and
against the invader. Within four years the ships of England were again
used with decisive effect to crush an invasion.

In 1217 Prince Louis and his allies, the barons, had been defeated at
the battle of Lincoln, and, being now hemmed in between their enemies
and the sea, were in urgent need of reinforcements from abroad. Stores
and men were collected for them in Normandy. Eighty ships, besides
smaller vessels, are said to have been brought together at Calais,
under the command of Eustace the Monk. This man was one of the many
mercenary fighters of the time, and had once been in the employment of
King John. With this force he put to sea, running before a southerly
wind. His intention was to round the North Foreland, and carry his
convoy up the Thames to London, which was still held for the barons.
If he had succeeded, he might have greatly prolonged the Civil War,
but, happily for England, neither the man nor the means to avert the
disaster were wanting. Hubert de Burgh, the King's Justiciary and
Governor of Dover Castle, was at his post. He appealed to the men
of the Cinque Ports, not in vain. "If these people land," he said,
"England is lost; let us therefore boldly meet them, for God is with
us, and they are excommunicate." Hubert de Burgh saw that the one
effectual way of preventing Eustace from doing harm on shore was to
beat him at sea before he could land. The man who reasoned like this
had grasped the true principle of the defence of England. Sixteen
large ships and some smaller vessels were lying in Dover harbour. They
were at once got out by the shipmen and fishermen of the town, worthy
ancestors of the men who, centuries later, volunteered to fill up the
crews of Blake, when he was threatened by Tromp in these very waters.
The knights, squires, and men-at-arms of Hubert de Burgh's following
made up the fighting crews. Training the yards of the one great square
sail which the vessels of that time carried on their single mast,
fore and aft, the English squadron kept its luff (the word is used by
Matthew Paris), and, standing out to the east, placed itself on the
track of the Monk, and between him and Calais.

As Eustace saw the Dover ships apparently standing over to Calais,
he came to the not wholly unnatural conclusion that their plan was
to plunder the town in his absence. He laughed, for he knew that he
had left it well protected. But the intention of Hubert de Burgh was
incomparably more courageous and more effective. He had begun, as every
English admiral in after time was wont to begin, by manoeuvring
to secure the windward position, which with sailing ships gives him
who holds it the option of attack. As soon as the French vessels had
been brought well to leeward, the English turned together before the
wind, and, forming what in after times would have been called the line
abreast, stood at their utmost speed in pursuit of the enemy. The Monk
was completely out-manoeuvred. His heavily-laden vessels could not
escape pursuit by flight, while they must infallibly be thrown into
confusion by the act of turning to face the pursuers. It was no small
advantage to the English that their arrows would fly with the wind. So
soon as they were within shot, Hubert de Burgh's archers let fly, and
the clothyard shafts, or the bolts from the crossbows, came whistling
down on the crowded benches of the French ships. All battles then by
land or sea were settled at close quarters with cold steel. The English
pressed on to board. Where the enemy's ships were caught in the act of
turning, they drove into them with the stem, ramming and sinking them.
When this more expeditious method could not be practised, the English
laid the enemy aboard, throwing quicklime, which the wind blew in the
Frenchmen's faces, into the air in the moment of impact. The boarders
followed close on the blinding cloud, and the axes of the Cinque Ports
men fell briskly to work.

    "Whenas he fights and has the upper hand
    By sea he sends them home to every land,"

wrote Chaucer of the shipman. The Cinque Ports men, who had had a cruel
experience of the tender mercies of John's foreign mercenaries, were
certainly in no humour to give quarter to the adventurers who were on
their way to England to renew the worst excesses of the wicked king's
followers. There was a great massacre. Taken at a disadvantage, and
scattered at the moment of attack, the Monk's ships were overpowered
in detail. So great was the fury of the English crews that it overcame
even the love of ransom which commonly introduced some measure of
mercy into mediæval battles. Eustace himself, who, we are told,
offered a great price for his life, was beheaded by one blow of the
sword by Richard, King John's bastard son. The whole fleet on which
Louis and the barons had relied to save them from destruction, was
annihilated. The neck of the opposition to the young king's government
was effectually broken. Before the end of the year Louis had returned
to France, and the barons had made their submission.

The trial stroke of the English Navy was a master-stroke. No more
admirably planned, no more timely, no more fruitful battle has been
fought by Englishmen on water. It settled for ever the question how
best this country is to be defended. In after times, during the Armada
year and later, there have been found men to talk of trusting to land
defences; but the sagacity of Englishmen has taught them to rely on
the navy first, and that protection has never wholly failed us in six
hundred and eighty years. The battle is curiously similar to the long
list of conflicts with the French which were to follow it. The enemy is
found carrying out a scheme of attack on our territory, and so intent
on his ultimate object that he neglects to attack our ships first.
Hubert de Burgh, acting exactly as Hawke, Rodney, Hood, or Nelson
would have done, manoeuvres for the "weather-gage," the position to
windward, falls upon the Frenchman on his way, and wrecks his carefully
laid scheme at a blow.

The navy was now established in all essentials as it was to remain
till the accession of the Tudor dynasty, at the close of the fifteenth
century. The ship was indeed in process of development throughout all
these ages. The stages of this growth are obscure, and belong rather
to the domain of the archæologist than to that of the historian. We
still possess an example of the original type in the Viking ship
which was dug up from the burial mound at Gókkstad in Norway. She
is a vessel of some size, nearly a hundred feet long, sharp at both
ends, high in the bow and stern. Her breadth is about a third of her
length, and she is low in the waist. The bottom is flat, as was natural
in a vessel designed to be hauled up on the beach, and to take the
ground without damage on a receding tide. Her hull is clinker-built,
that is to say, with the planks overlapping one another, and not put
edge to edge, as in the carvel-built ships of later times. One mast,
shipped exactly in the middle, and carrying one great square sail,
constituted all her rigging. There was no deck, though there may
have been small covered spaces at the bow and stern. She was steered
by an oar fixed on the right or starboard (_i.e._ steering) side, a
little before the sternpost. In battle the mast and sail were lowered,
and the vessel propelled by oars, of which the Gokkstad ship rowed
sixteen on each side. By the thirteenth century this type had been
already developed. The maritime States of the Mediterranean and the
Basque ports of Spain had begun to build more elaborately constructed
galleys and much heavier vessels. But, to judge by the illuminations
in the manuscript of Matthew Paris, the ships of Hubert de Burgh did
not differ in any essential particular of construction from those of
Saint Olaf or Canute. Indeed, as late as the reign of Edward III.,
and later, our ships were small in comparison with the Basque. Still
there was a steady though slow advance in mechanical skill. Decks were
introduced, and the vessels were built higher. Fore and after castles
began to be erected. The rudder gradually displaced the steering oar.
Two masts, and finally three, replaced the one of the early ships.
The introduction of cannon, which dates from the fourteenth century,
compelled changes in form. In order to support the weight of the guns,
and the shock of firing them, it was necessary to build ships higher
and stronger. The height could have been obtained by merely continuing
the curve of the bottom farther; but if this had been done, the vessel
would have been weak, and the leverage of the weight of the guns would
have tended to tear her to pieces. To obviate this risk, the sides were
curved in above the water-line in what was called "a tumble home."
The guns were at first fired over the top of the bulwarks. A French
builder, Descharges of Brest, has the credit of first constructing a
ship with portholes through which the cannon could be pointed. In one
respect the mediæval ship was curiously like the modern war vessel.
She carried a crow's nest on her masts, a military top, in fact, from
which archers and crossbowmen could fire, or stones be thrown, on to
an enemy's deck. It must not be supposed that these improvements were
all strictly successive. Old and new types would be found existing side
by side. The rudder and the steering oar, for instance, are found in
use together, but gradually the better drove the less good out of use.
The long low galleys of the Mediterranean, or at least craft of that
description, are heard of as employed in the Middle Ages, but our seas
are not friendly to that class of vessel. It appears, from the account
of the battle with Eustace the Monk, that the practice of lowering
masts and sails on going into action had fallen into disuse by the
thirteenth century. This implies at least a greater weight of spars
and solidity of rigging than had obtained earlier. It will be easily
understood that then, as at all times, there were wide differences in
the sizes of ships. They ranged from mere row-boats to the vessel of
250 or 300 tons, known as "cog," or by other names of which we only
dimly appreciate the significance.

The King of England drew his fleets from three sources. To begin
with, he had his own ships, which were his personal property, like
his horses or the suits of armour he supplied to his own immediate
following. These he used in war, or hired to the merchants in peace,
according to circumstances. The purely administrative and financial
management of these vessels was entrusted to some member of his
household. In earlier ages it fell to one of the "king's clerks," the
permanent civil servants of the time, who, when all learning was the
province of the Church, were naturally ecclesiastics, and for whom
the king provided by securing their nomination to benefices. William
of Wrotham, Archdeacon of Taunton, was "keeper of the king's ships,
galleys, and seaports" to King John. There is a mention, though not
continuous record, of other "clerks" who had charge of the king's ships
till the reign of Henry VIII. The number of these ships would vary
according to the interest the king took in them, the need he had for
them, and his merits as a husband of his money. In the troubled times
of the Lancastrian line the king's ships were few, but it does not seem
that at any period he was wholly without some of his own.

The second source from which the fleets were recruited was the trading
craft of London and the outports. The kings of England claimed, and
exercised from the beginning, the right of impressing all ships for the
defence of the realm. Every port was assessed according to its supposed
resources in so many vessels properly found. They were, however,
maintained by the king on service. There was a certain difference in
the method of manning these two classes. In the king's own ships all
alike were his servants. When a merchant ship was impressed, her crew
would, when possible, be taken with her. The king then put an officer
of his own, with a body of soldiers, into her. In both there was a
distinction between the military officer whose business it was to
fight, and the shipman whose business it was to sail.

Thus arose that distinction between the captain and the master of an
English man-of-war, which lasted far into this century. The practice
was universal as late as the seventeenth century. Every Spanish ship
had two captains--the "capitan de guerra" (of war) and the "capitan de
mar" (sea captain). But whereas in the Spanish ships the two officers
were co-ordinate, with us there was no question that the master was
subordinate to the captain. The Kings of England, from the Conqueror
downwards, have had no love for divided authority.

The third source from which the king drew his ships was the most
picturesque of all. The towns, with their dependent townships,
Hastings, Winchelsea, Rye, Romney, Hythe, Dover, and Sandwich, forming
the ancient corporation of the Cinque Ports, were bound by the terms of
their charters to supply the king in any one year with 57 ships, 1140
men, and 57 boys for fifteen days at their own charges, and after that
for as long as he chose to retain them at his own expense. For this
they were repaid by privileges and honours. Every ancient institution
is respectable, and the Cinque Ports men won such immortal honour by
the defeat of Eustace the Monk, that we are naturally tempted to treat
them tenderly. Yet it may be doubted whether they have not enjoyed an
historical reputation much in excess of their merits. It is the defect
of every privileged body that it is apt to be jealous. The Cinque Ports
men were no exception to the rule. Many instances might be quoted of
their savage feuds with rival towns, notably with Yarmouth. Under
so strong a king as Edward I. and in the midst of an expedition to
Flanders they fell upon and destroyed a number of Yarmouth vessels.
Under weak kings complaints of their piracies and excesses on the coast
are incessant. Although they no doubt supplied some kings with stout
shipmen and useful vessels, it may be doubted whether they did not on
the whole do as much in the way of fighting and plundering their own
countrymen as against the national enemy. In the later Middle Ages the
ports had already begun to silt up. They sank into insignificance,
and in their last stage were chiefly known as nests of smugglers and
pirates.

The crews of war vessels were divided into mariners and soldiers in
unequal proportions. There were always more of the second than of the
first. Thirty seamen were considered the full complement even of a
large vessel; and when it is remembered that two hundred or two hundred
and fifty tons was the size of a "great ship," and that the rigging
was simple, the number will appear amply sufficient. It must always,
too, be kept in mind that, though the relative number of sailors and
soldiers in ships has varied, this distinction between the two elements
constituting the crews of fighting craft has prevailed to our own time.
No man-of-war was ever manned entirely by seamen, nor was it necessary
that she should be. The number of men required to fight or to do work
only on the decks, or between the decks, was at all times much in
excess of what was needed for the purpose of sailing the ship. The
steersmen and mariners of the Middle Ages, and the prime seamen of the
eighteenth century, were highly trained men, whom it would have been
folly to employ on such work as could be sufficiently well done by less
skilful hands. From the earliest time of which there is any record, the
great and arbitrary power of impressment was used to find crews for the
king's ships. In 1208 King John ordered the seamen of Wales to cease
making trading voyages, and to repair to Ilfracombe for the purpose of
transporting soldiers to Ireland. He bade them "know for certain that
if you act contrary to this, we will cause you and the masters of your
vessels to be hanged, and all your goods to be seized for our use." In
later times this would have been called a "hot press." The forms used
might vary, and the penalties grow more humane, but the king's ships
continued to be supplied with crews, down to the end of the war with
Napoleon, after exactly the fashion in which King John provided for the
transport of his soldiers to Ireland in 1208.

All the elements of the crews of later times are found in the ships
of the Middle Ages. The mariners and "grometes" are the able seamen
and ordinary seamen. There were boys then also. The archers were
the predecessors of the marines, and of those drafts from the line
regiments which were frequently used to make up the complement of
men-of-war. The modern officers, too, have their representatives in
the vessels of the Plantagenet kings. The _Rector_, afterwards called
in official Latin _Magister_, is the master, the constable is the
ancestor of the gunner, there was a carpenter, a "clerk," who was
renamed the purser later on, and the boatswain. The nature of the work
to be done would dictate the formation of these different offices. So
soon as regular ships' companies began to be formed, it would be found
indispensable to have someone to conduct the navigation--the master;
someone to supervise the arms--the constable; someone to serve out
the stores--the clerk. As ships' companies grew larger and ships more
complicated, it would be necessary to increase the number of officers,
and little by little the staff of a modern warship was formed. The
title of captain appears at first to have been given to an officer who
held what we should call flag rank. In the fifteenth century it began
to be applied to the commander of a single ship. He was primarily a
military officer, who might or might not be a seaman, but who in either
case had a master under his command whose function it was to navigate
the ship.

The growth of what came afterwards to be called flag rank may easily
be traced. At first the king appointed some knight or noble to command
his sea forces, and the soldiers in his ships, for some definite
service. Then we hear of officers commanding in a given district for
a specified time. These were first known as "captains and governors,"
justices or constables. In the early years of the fourteenth century
the title of "Admiral" began to come into use. Captain and Admiral
is the rank of the officer who commands the North and the Western
Fleets. The first included the coast and sea from Dover to Berwick;
the second, from Dover to the duchy of Cornwall inclusive. There was
occasionally a third officer, who commanded in the Isle of Man and the
Irish Sea. Of him we hear little. His chief duty was to assist in the
work of subduing the Scots, and he was once at least chosen from among
those chiefs of the Isles and the Western Highlands who were the worst
enemies of the King of the Scots in the Lowlands. These captains and
admirals were at first simple knights. Some of them were seamen of
the Cinque Ports. The Alards, a family of Winchelsea, produced more
than one holder of the post. The first admiral for all the seas was
Sir John Beauchamp, K.G.; he was appointed by Edward III. in 1360,
for a year. But it was not till later that it became the rule to have
one admiral superior to all the others. In the fourteenth century a
considerable change began to appear in the character, though not in
formal rank or power, of these officers. In 1345 it was found necessary
to appoint the Earl of Arundel to command the Western Fleet, "for no
one can chastise or rule them unless he be a great man," to quote the
candid confession of the King's Council. The royal authority, in fact,
was growing weaker. It fell to its lowest depths in the later times of
the Lancastrian line. The inevitable consequence was, that the barons
seized upon the command of the ships, and used them for their own
purposes. Warwick the king-maker, who among his many other offices held
that of Captain of Calais and Admiral, was practically master of the
whole naval forces of the country. The office of Lord High Admiral,
which dates from the Lancastrian dynasty, was, in fact, a result of
the aggression of the baronage. The king's authority being no longer
sure of obedience, it was necessary to call in the power of the nobles,
with the inevitable result. Those who knew that they were indispensable
made their own terms. By the end of the Middle Ages the office of Lord
High Admiral had become permanent. The old captains and admirals of
the Northern and Western Fleets had disappeared, or were represented
by subordinate officials, who received their commission from the Lord
High Admiral. When the great Royalist reaction of the later fifteenth
century had restored the authority of the Crown, the office survived.
On the military side of his office the Lord High Admiral was the king's
lieutenant for the fleet, exercising immense delegated powers in
complete subjection to the Crown. But during the anarchy of the Wars of
the Roses, such a man as Warwick, who garrisoned Calais with his own
followers, and had the command of the ships, of which many were his own
property, was practically master of the Channel, and rendered as much
obedience to the king--or as little--as he pleased.

While the King of England possessed dominions on the Continent, he
drew part of his naval forces from them. There is occasional mention
of the king's ships and galleys of Aquitaine. The great reputation
of the Italian seamen of the Middle Ages led to their employment now
and then, and one, Nicholas Ususmaris of Genoa, was for a time in the
service of Edward III., though only to command the ships belonging to
Aquitaine. The Mediterranean seamen were employed very largely by the
King of France, who was driven to use them by the want of skilful men
among his own subjects. In the Middle Ages the English king appears
only to have had recourse to them when he wished to make use of that
typical Mediterranean craft, the galley. Under Henry VIII. Italians
were brought in largely to serve both as seamen and shipbuilders,
but by that time a larger class of vessel and a more extensive art
of seamanship had begun to prevail. The galley, as has been already
said, has never been found to answer in the Channel, and its brief
appearances there have been of little note. For the classes of vessels
he mainly used, that is, ships which might take to the oar as a
subsidiary resource, but relied chiefly on the sail, the king could
find men in abundance among his own subjects.

The most brief sketch of our navy in the Middle Ages would be
incomplete without some mention of the famous claim to the sovereignty
of the seas. That the King of England did make this haughty profession
of superiority is within the knowledge of everybody, and it was
advanced, in form at least, till late in the reign of George III.
Attempts have been made to carry it back to the reign of King John,
and have been supported by the inveterate mediæval practice of forging
documents to bolster up supposed rights. But the so-called ordinance
of King John, issued at Hastings in 1200, has been long given up.
It was unquestionably a mere forgery, concocted at a later time to
give the authority of antiquity to a more recent pretension. Yet
about a hundred years later we find the sovereignty of Edward II.
over the seas fully recognised by the Flemish towns. Edward III.
asserted his right to be sovereign of the four seas of Britain without
qualification. It must be remembered that this claim, which later times
found intolerably arrogant, had in the Middle Ages the justification
that it was supported by effective power. Not only was the King of
England by far the most powerful sovereign on the seas in the west,
but the possession of Calais gave him the command of the Straits of
Dover on both sides. At a time when trade was conducted by coasting
voyages, this enabled him to throttle the maritime commerce of the
south with the north at will. The Venetian and Basque ships which came
up to Antwerp in the early summer and went south again before autumn,
were not only liable to attack by English vessels coming out of Dover
or Calais, but they had constant need to use the roadsteads of these
ports. It was consistent with all the ideas and practice of the Middle
Ages that this power to injure should have been held to imply a right
to assert superiority, and compel the recognition of it. Sir Harris
Nicolas states that the first admission of this right on the part of
foreigners is found in 1320, when certain Flemish envoys appealed to
Edward II. to put a stop to piracies committed on their vessels by
English evil-doers, praying him "of his lordship and royal power to
cause right to be done, and punishment awarded, as he is Lord of the
Sea, and the robbery was committed on the sea within his power, as is
above said." It may be pointed out that the offences complained of
were committed upon the English coast, and that an astute diplomatist
of a later date might have argued that this admission did not amount
to a recognition of English sovereignty over the whole North Sea. No
serious resistance was, however, made to this claim till the reign
of Louis XIV., which we may account for by the fact that nobody was
strong enough to resist. The Venetian and Basque traders submitted to
the claim much as an African caravan might recognise the right of a
chief to extort backsheesh. The kings of France were too weak and too
much occupied elsewhere to fight on this point of honour. The Flemings
were generally our allies, and the northern powers were not concerned.
Our pretension was the more easily borne because the King of England
did not insist upon levying dues on all who passed through the four
seas, but only on a salute as a formal recognition of superiority.
This outward sign of deference, the lowering of sails, and in later
times the firing of guns, was insisted upon punctiliously till far
into the seventeenth century, and there are isolated cases in which it
was extorted even in the eighteenth. The space of sea over which the
sovereignty of England was held to extend was counted to stretch from
Finisterre to the coast of Norway.

When the words "sovereignty of the sea" are used as meaning the king's
effective superiority to any force which could be brought against him,
there can be no question as to its reality. Throughout the Middle
Ages, a king of England who was master of his own dominions was rarely
hampered by the naval force of any enemy. When he marched to subdue his
kingdom of Scotland, his fleets kept pace with his army as it advanced
through the Lothians. On the rare occasions on which he visited his
lordship of Ireland, there was nobody to say him nay. He passed and
repassed at will to and from his kingdom of France. Pirates, Scotch,
Flemish, and Scandinavian, might infest the coast. Now and then an
expedition met with disaster. French and Spanish adventurers sometimes
harried the coast, and burned small towns. But these failures of our
power were comparatively rare. They occurred only when the king was
weak, and the country exhausted or disturbed. The rule was, that when
the monarchy exerted its strength it could sweep the seas. If the
king was careless, Parliament was at hand to exhort him to action.
Englishmen were keenly alive to the importance of "guarding the narrow
seas round about." Nor were our ancestors ever in doubt as to how best
to employ their navy. Even in the bad times of Edward II., when wisdom
did not preside in the Council, a threat of invasion from France was
met by the preparation of a fleet which was to attack, so that the
enemy might first feel the evil. Centuries of experience have taught
no better way of using the sea power.

A detailed account of the naval enterprises of the Middle Ages would go
altogether beyond the scale of this work. Nor is the story one which
can be told without monotony. In spite of the many improvements in
the construction of ships and the advance of seamanship, the means of
conducting a regular naval campaign were wanting. Vessels were still
unable to keep the sea during long periods of cruising and blockade.
They were not strong enough to stand the strain, nor could they carry
the water and provisions required for the large fighting crews crowded
into vessels ranging from fifty to three hundred tons. It followed from
this double disability that warfare on sea was conducted by expeditions
of brief duration. A fleet was collected, and sailed to attack the
enemy's ships or harry his coast. When successful, it gathered all the
plunder it could find, and returned home to be laid up for repair,
while its crews were disbanded. Thus it not infrequently happened that,
immediately after a striking victory, a raiding expedition of the enemy
was able to pounce on some part of our coast, and retaliate by murder
and ravage for what he had just suffered at home. We had a prevailing
superiority, due to the greater number and efficiency of English
seamen, and the greater average faculty of the English kings; but we
must not look for examples of coherent, orderly war conducted through
months, or even years, of effort by permanent forces.

A few examples must suffice to illustrate the general character of
these centuries of conflict. No better instance of the nature of
mediæval sea warfare can be found than the story of the desperate feud
between the English and Norman fishermen, in the reign of Edward I.
In 1293 a dispute arose in some port of Normandy or Gascony--for the
authorities differ--between the French and English sailors. The point
at issue, it is said, was which was entitled to drink first. It came
rapidly from words to blows, and a man was killed. The authorities
again differ as to whether he was French or English. All agree that
the English sailors were chased back to their ships by a mob. Their
ship put to sea, pursued by French vessels, and escaped. But the
passions of the Norman seamen being now thoroughly aroused, they were
minded to pursue the feud. Meeting six English merchant ships, they
fell upon them and captured two. They hanged the crews at the yardarm,
together with some dogs by way of greater insult. Then they paraded
the Channel, plundering all they met, making "no distinction between
an Englishman and a dog." In the meantime, the four ships which had
escaped took refuge in the Cinque Ports. Here they promptly found
allies, and a foray was rapidly arranged to revenge the outrage. A
squadron of English ships, mainly drawn from the Cinque Ports, started
in pursuit of the French. Finding that the enemy had returned to port,
the English adventurers entered the Seine, captured six vessels after
a sharp burst of fighting, and carried them off, having previously
despatched their crews. Hereupon followed raid and counter raid, with
their inevitable accompaniment of "great slaughter on both sides,
shipwreck and rapine--both thirsting for blood." At last by common
consent it was agreed to set a day and fight it out. The feud had
apparently extended to all the seamen who used the Channel. Not only
did other Frenchmen join the Normans, but Flemings and Genoese also.
The Dutch and the Irish, the men, that is, of the partly English partly
Norse towns of the coast, allied themselves with us. On the appointed
day, the 14th April or May,--for once more the authorities do not
agree,--the fleets met in mid-Channel, and after a savage battle the
French and their allies were overcome with great carnage. At this
point, but not till now, the Kings of England and of the French took
up the quarrel of their subjects, and the feud between the fishermen
and seamen grew into a national war. As, however, it possessed no naval
features of interest, we need not pursue further the consequences of
this explosion of the violence and pugnacity of the mediæval seamen.

It must always be remembered that the conditions which made this
private war possible endured throughout the Middle Ages. In the
absence of strong organised fleets to patrol the sea, and when no
police had yet been formed in any State capable of depriving the sea
robber of a safe market for his booty, every sailor not only had to
fear the pirate, but he generally was prepared, upon a favourable
opportunity presenting itself, to become one. The men of the Cinque
Ports, of Yarmouth, or of Poole, to say nothing of the fact that they
were prompt to pillage one another for want of better, were ever ready
to applaud their townsman who brought in a French or Basque prize.
The Norman or Basque, again, would have been surprised indeed if he
had been asked to blame the fellow-countryman who came home with
English booty. In fact, the sea everywhere was much in the condition
of the Scotch Border. There might be truce between the kings, but the
Borderers never ceased in their raids on one another, or on the rival
clans of their own side. Hence it was that merchant ships sailed in
large fleets for mutual protection, and that the complaints of rulers
that their subjects had been pillaged by the sailors of another prince
were incessant. Nor were the kings by any means backward in encouraging
their vassals by their example. Of the two sea fights with which the
chivalrous memory of Edward III. is associated, Sluys, and the battle
off Winchelsea, known as "Les Espagnols sur Mer," the second was an
incident in this piratical warfare. King Edward did not indeed make
an unprovoked attack on the Spaniards for mere purposes of plunder,
but he retaliated for one piece of piracy by another. His act was not
one of especial violence for his time, yet it would not have been
possible except in an age when the relations of seafaring nations
were habitually lawless, and when an act of robbery by one was left
unpunished, except when it provoked retaliation in kind by the other.

The battle of Sluys was a great regular engagement fought in pursuit
of a national war. Edward III. had openly assumed the title of King
of France in January 1340, and was preparing to assert his right
by conquest. Philippe de Valois made ready to defend his throne,
and took the measure dictated by sound sense. He collected a great
fleet, composed in part of ships belonging to his subjects, in part
of vessels hired from the Genoese. But the wisdom of the King of the
French stopped at this preliminary stage. Although it appears that
his fleet was collected as early as March, when King Edward had only
forty ships in the Orwell, the great French armament lay idle in the
little Flemish river Eede, at the anchorage of Sluys. The calculation
perhaps was that its mere presence would suffice to delay the English
king from attempting to cross. King Edward was not to be frightened.
In spite of the opposition of his Chancellor and the backwardness of
some of his captains, he decided to attack. Vigorous use was made of
the time allowed him by the sloth of the enemy. Ships were called in
from the north, and about the middle of June the king stood over to
Blankenberg on the coast of Flanders. His fleet was somewhat stronger
than the French. He puts the force opposed to him at a hundred and
ninety vessels, while his own, including small craft, was over two
hundred. But the French acted as if it had been their intention to
deprive themselves of the advantage of their numbers. They remained
in the river, with their ships lashed side by side to one another in
three divisions. At a time when all battles were finally decided by
hand-to-hand fighting, this was a not uncommon device with fleets which
decided, or were compelled, to accept the attack. Nor was it altogether
unreasonable, for it seemed to possess this advantage, that it forced
the assailant to come on bow to bow, where his beaks would act with
least effect, and where his men must board along a narrow passage;
while the defender had the advantage of being able to make a barrier
across the fore part of his vessel with his yard and his oars. The
fatal defect of the formation was that an enemy who could fall on one
end of the line could roll it up. As the French were drawn up along the
bank of an estuary, and the English fleet was coming in from the sea,
there was nothing to force King Edward to make a front attack. This
fatal weakness of the position is said to have been noted by Barbavera,
the veteran admiral of the Genoese. He is credited with an effort
to induce King Philip's officers, Kiriet and Bahuchet, to stand out
to sea so soon as the English appeared on the coast, but they showed
the timidity which has commonly been noted in the sea fighting of the
French, and preferred to wait passively for the attack. As usual, the
victory fell to the side which could and would fall on.

King Edward had landed knights, who, riding over the sandhills, had
taken a leisurely view of the French fleet at anchor. The weakness of
their position must have been patent even to a less skilful captain
than the victor of Creçy, and he decided to attack without delay. The
battle was fought on the 24th of June. In the early morning the tide
was at ebb, and an advance up the river was impossible. The English
ships stood out to sea on the starboard tack till they were well
opposite the entrance to the river. Then, as the tide turned, they
swept in with it, and fell on the nearest division of the French.
The destruction which followed bears an interesting resemblance to
the battle of the Nile. On that occasion an English fleet coming
in from the sea attacked the French lying passively at anchor, and
overwhelmed them in detail. The difference was, that the Nile was
decided by broadsides, and the great fight at Sluys by sword-stroke
and the edge of the axe. Ship after ship was carried by boarding and
its crew slaughtered, for all sea fights were, as Froissart noted,
"felon," merciless and without quarter. The French had put the _Great
Christopher_, a ship of King Edward's own, of which they had formerly
made prize, at the end of their line. She fell first, and her sister
ships shared her fate. In the rear of the French, that is, at the
end farthest from the sea, some ships did indeed escape. They were
commanded by Barbavera. It is probable that the English had not reached
them when the tide turned, and the expert Genoese mercenary took the
opportunity to slip to sea, leaving the van and centre to be crushed.
In this also there is a curious similarity to the battle of the Nile,
when Villeneuve fled with the rear ships. Sluys was an incredibly
murderous battle. Upwards of thirty thousand men are said to have
perished in the French fleet. It entirely crushed the naval forces of
the Valois king, and from that time forward for years Edward crossed
the Channel with as little molestation from an enemy as he would have
met on the Thames at Oxford. The English loss was comparatively slight,
but it is said to have included four of the ladies whom the king was
taking with him to join the queen at Ghent.

The sea fight which took place ten years later is mainly memorable as a
picturesque example of the lawlessness of the times. Characteristically
enough, we owe our best account of it to Froissart, and it was just
such a battle as he loved--a fine example of high-born daring, love
of adventure, and, it is to be added, of total absence of scruple. To
understand this battle, it is necessary to remember that the sea-borne
commerce between the North and South of Europe was conducted in fleets
which came up in spring from the south, and, after unloading and
reloading at the great marts of Flanders, returned towards the end of
summer. For the reasons already stated, they were subject to plunder
on the way, and they were apt to retaliate. The king had cause of
complaint against the Spanish, that is to say, the Basque traders, who
are known to have plundered ten English ships coming from France. So,
without wasting time in diplomacy, which would indeed have brought
him little save delays and counter claims, he resolved to do himself
justice. A fleet was collected at Winchelsea, and there the king,
accompanied by some of his most famous knights, and by his still
youthful sons, the Black Prince and John of Gaunt, lay in wait for the
traders who must pass on their way home. The Basques were warned of
what was preparing for them, but, confident in the size of their ships
and their own courage, they were resolved to force a passage. They
hired at Antwerp one of those gangs of fighting men who were then to
be found in every marketplace in Europe, ready to serve any master who
would pay, and any cause which promised booty. Then they sailed, well
provided with weapons, and ready for the fray.

King Edward had taken up his quarters in an abbey near Winchelsea,
with his queen and the ladies of his household. By day he visited his
ships. By night there was feasting and dancing. When he knew that the
Spaniards must be at hand, he went on board his flagship to be ready
for them. It appears that no cruisers were stationed on the offing,
and that the English fleet lay at anchor in the expectation that the
Spaniards would seek them. If the southern traders had not been so
unduly confident in their own strength, they might have passed in
safety by keeping well out at sea. But, relying on the size of their
vessels, and on "all kinds of artillery wonderful to think of," with
which they were provided, they sought for battle, and therefore steered
well in with the coast.

On the afternoon of the day of the fight, the 28th August 1350, the
king was sitting on the deck of his vessel, the cog =Thomas=, wearing
a black velvet overcoat over his armour and a black felt hat "which
became him well." To pass the time, Sir John Chandos was singing the
German dances he had learned on a visit to that country, and the
minstrels played. While the knights and squires were amusing themselves
with the gaiety of men who lived mainly for battle, the look-out in
the top hailed the deck with "I see one, two, three, four--I see so
many, so help me God, I cannot count them." Then the king called for
his helmet, and for wine. His knights drank to the king, and to one
another, and went to their stations. The fleet stood to sea. Its
movements must have been seen by Queen Philippa, who remained in the
abbey to pray for her husband and her two sons. The young John of
Gaunt, then Earl of Richmond, and afterwards Duke of Lancaster, refused
to leave his brother, the Prince of Wales. He was a boy of only ten,
but King Edward and the Black Prince were the last men in the world to
balk his very proper desire to be in a battle.

The Spaniards came sweeping along from east to west with a good breeze.
They were fewer in number than the English, but heavier ships. "It
was passing beautiful to see, or to think of," says Froissart, who
loved the pomp and circumstance of war. Their tops were glittering
with armed men, and "their streamers bearing their coats of arms, and
marked with their bearings, danced and quivered and lept in the wind."
Coming out from the anchorage of Winchelsea, King Edward's ships struck
on the Spaniards, who were advancing in a line, at an angle. His own
vessel was steered into one of the biggest of the enemy. The two met
with such a crash that "it was as if a tempest had suddenly burst upon
them." They recoiled from the shock, and then crashed together again.
Their spars became entangled, and one of the Spaniard's tops was broken
off. All in it were hurled into the water and drowned. If the king's
ship had not been stout, she would have been broken to pieces against
the bulk of her opponent. As it was, she had enough. Her seams gaped,
and the water rushed in. The Spaniard, being the less injured of the
two, gathered way and stood on. King Edward ordered his men to lay her
aboard again, but was answered, "No, sir, you cannot have this one, but
you shall have another." It would, as his shipmen knew, but probably
had not the time to explain, have been impossible to overtake the
enemy with a vessel already in danger of sinking. The only chance was
to run into one of those coming up behind and carry her by boarding.
We may presume that the shipmen did their best to pick a smaller one.
It was done, and only just in time, for the king's ship sank almost
immediately after he and his crew had forced their way on to the
Spaniard's deck.

King Edward's adventure was an example of what happened all along the
line. The Prince of Wales was in great peril beside a tall Spaniard,
for his ship too began to sink, and he could not scale the high sides
of the enemy. From this pass he was rescued by his cousin Henry, Earl
of Derby. The two got possession of the Spaniard. Then the prince's
vessel sank, so that "he and his knights could more perfectly consider
the danger in which they had just been." The most extreme danger
was run by Robert of Namur, a Flemish noble, and a partisan of King
Edward's, who in after times was the patron of Froissart, and probably
his main authority for the battle. The king had given him the command
of the =Salle du Roi=, the vessel which carried those members of his
household who could not find quarters with himself. Robert of Namur
was grappled by a big enemy, who began to drag him along. His crew
shouted, "Rescue for the =Salle du Roi=!" but to no purpose, for it
was now getting dark, "and they were not heard, and if they had been
heard, they would not have been rescued." The Fleming was saved by the
desperate valour of his squire, Hanekin, who forced his way into the
Spaniard and cut her halyards. Then Robert of Namur boarded, and the
Spaniards "were all slain and thrown into the sea."

It was a desperate battle, for the English fought most valiantly, and
the Spaniards "gave them plenty to do." The English archers had a great
share in the victory. The enemy's crossbowmen, and others who were
appointed to hurl bars of metal or heavy stones over the bulwarks of
the tops and sides, were compelled to expose themselves to take aim,
and were shot through the head or neck by the clothyard shafts, while
thus uncovered. Seventeen Spaniards were taken in all. Against this
we had to set off the loss of several of our smaller vessels and of
many men. The booty must have been considerable. There was no pursuit,
partly because the victors were eager to rifle the prizes, but partly
also, no doubt, because they had suffered much rough usage. The king
returned to Winchelsea Abbey to celebrate his victory by festivities.

The battle with the Spaniards off Winchelsea marks the culmination
of King Edward's naval power. In the gloomy closing years of his
reign all these glories hastened to decay. His navy, drawn from so
many different sources, and composed at all times largely of hired or
impressed vessels, was peculiarly liable to suffer from the general
disorganisation of his government when the long war with France had
begun to exhaust his resources, and his faculties were failing.
Twenty years after his brilliant sea fight, he had to listen to the
bitter complaints of the Commons, who told him boldly, and with too
much truth, that the coast was unprotected, and trade ruined. So far
had the strength of the "Sovereign of the Seas" sunk, that there was
actual fear of invasion from France, while raids carried out by French
and Spanish adventurers on the ports of the Channel were numerous.
Scotch "pirates," in alliance with Flemings, Frenchmen, and Basques,
harried the north and east. The Parliament of 1371 insisted angrily
on the abuses by which the naval strength of the country was being
destroyed. There is much intrinsic probability in their complaints.
When it is remembered that the fleets were mainly formed by impressing
merchant ships, it is easy to understand how the misconduct or want of
judgment of subordinate agents under a weak government might give ample
justification for such complaints as these.

"First, that arrests of shipping were often made long before vessels
were wanted, during which interval the owners were at the expense of
keeping the ships and crews, without making any profit, by which many
of them became so impoverished as to be obliged to quit their business,
and their ships were ruined. Secondly, that the merchants who supported
the navy had been so impeded in their voyages and affairs by divers
ordinances, that they had no employment for ships; that great part of
the mariners had consequently abandoned their profession, and gained
their livelihood in some other way; and that their ships were hauled
up on the shore to rot. Thirdly, that, as soon as the masters of the
king's ships were ordered on any voyage, they impressed the masters and
ablest part of the men of other ships, and those vessels being left
without persons to manage them, many of them perished, and their owners
were ruined."

Part of this petition against grievances is concerned with the general
policy of the king in matters of trade, as expressed in his "divers
ordinances." But the greater part of it is directed against abuses
which were hardly to be escaped at a time when navies were formed
by impressing merchant ships. Corrupt or even only insolent and
overbearing officers would abuse the power of impressment. Where those
evil motives were not at work, there was still an all but irresistible
temptation to "arrest" ships long before they were needed, since,
if they were allowed to go on trading voyages, they would not be
forthcoming later on. The king's officers were to be excused if they
preferred to err on the safe side; but to the trader it was a grievous
oppression, for he was deprived of the means of earning profits, while
remaining liable to be taxed in order to provide the king with a
revenue for the support of the war. In later ages the impossibility of
combining the qualities of money-earning merchant ships and of fighting
ships, which should be always available for war, had much to do with
the formation of regular military fleets. In the seventeenth century
the State took, first, to hiring vessels for long periods, and manning
them itself; then, as the need of a special class of vessel grew with
the development of artillery, to building for itself. In the Middle
Ages no State was yet rich enough to maintain for long together a great
and costly naval force. Thus it was necessary to rely on impressed
vessels, which could only temporarily be withdrawn from commerce.
Fleets formed in such a way bore an inevitable resemblance to armies
composed of farmers, townsmen, or mountain clans collected for a single
foray or battle, and always liable to dissolution on the approach of
harvest, or even under the influence of the occasional soldier's not
unnatural desire to put his booty in a safe place. In the great Civil
War of the seventeenth century, the Parliament discovered that the
London trainbands, though capable of good marching and hard fighting,
as they proved during the relief of Gloucester and at the battle of
Newbury, soon grew eager to be back to their shops, and mutinous if
they were kept out for what seemed to them an undue period. So it must
always be with a citizen force. Since the mediæval navy was largely
of that description, it suffered from recurrent lapses of strength,
and was peculiarly liable to total collapse when the country was
overwrought by the strain of long war.

Edward's reign closed in failure and defeat. The last blow was given
to his power in the south of France, when a fleet sent to the relief
of Rochelle, under the command of John Hastings, Earl of Pembroke,
was crushed by a superior force of Spanish vessels under Ambrosio
Bocanegra, the Admiral of Castile, in 1372. The troubled reign of
Richard II. saw no improvement. At one period in his minority, a Scotch
pirate named Mercer harried the north-west unchecked, till he was
defeated by the enterprise of a citizen of London, John Philipot. It
is typical of the time, that Philipot was rebuked by some of the lords
of the Council, with foolish insolence, for taking on himself to fight
without their consent. A wealthy and important citizen of London, of
Philipot's spirit, was not a man to stand bullying tamely. He answered
that he had fought only to make good their failure to do their duty,
and to that they had very naturally "not a word to answer."

Even the astute and capable Henry IV. was for long unable to bring
about visible improvement. Amid the embarrassments of the first years
of his reign, he had recourse to a very curious experiment. In order to
deal with what may be called the ordinary work of the navy, the pursuit
of pirates, and the repulse of mere raids on the coast, he entered
into a contract with the citizens of London. They were to provide a
force of ships and men, to be commanded by their own admirals, and
were to be paid certain dues, and keep all their prizes. They did not
undertake to deal with a great hostile fleet, but only to discharge
the police duties. After a good deal of negotiation, the experiment
was actually tried from May 1406 to September 1407. The merchants
appointed two admirals, Richard Clytherow for the south and west, and
Nicholas Blackburn for the north, who were endowed with large powers of
impressment. This curious attempt to discharge the duty of the State
by contract was not satisfactory, and the arrangement was not renewed.
It is chiefly worth mentioning as showing to what shifts the Crown was
driven in its times of weakness.

In an introduction which aims only at giving an outline account of the
mediæval navy, further details of warlike operations, which were always
of the same general character, are unnecessary. There was a revival of
efficiency with Henry V., not, however, marked by any single events of
the brilliancy of the battle of Sluys, or "Les Espagnols sur Mer."
Then came another period of collapse in the dreary reign of Henry VI.
With the close of the fifteenth century the mediæval period in the
history came to an end. The establishment of the Tudor dynasty has been
described as marking the beginning of the new monarchy. This is perhaps
a somewhat arbitrary description, but it is certainly the case that
the anarchy of the Wars of the Roses had converted Englishmen, or had
brought them back, to a high conception of the need of a strong royal
authority as the one effectual security for the safety of the subject
against disorder. The administration was centralised in the king's
hand. Increase of wealth in the nation supplied him with a larger
revenue, and the formation of a Royal Navy in the modern sense became
at last possible.

Before leaving the mediæval navy, the picture may be completed by one
example of that brutal violence which has been mentioned as a feature
of the sea life of the time. I have spoken of the feuds between the
different towns, and of complaints of excesses committed on the coast
by armed forces appointed to protect them. One concrete example is
better than any amount of general statement. Here is an instance of
sheer devilry taken from the unhappy years of the minority of Richard
II., when the State was weak, and Englishmen had been brutalised by the
savage wars of France.

In 1379 Sir John Arundel was appointed to the command of a force of
archers and men-at-arms, which was to go to the help of the Duke
of Brittany. It was to sail from Southampton. As the weather was
unfavourable, there was some delay in starting, and Arundel quartered
his soldiers in a nunnery. The house, according to a common practice of
the time, contained, in addition to the nuns, many married women whose
husbands were absent, widows, and unmarried girls, who were sent there
for safety and education. Arundel's soldiers violated these women, and
pillaged the chapel. Disregarding all complaints, he not only went to
sea without punishing the offenders, but allowed them to bring their
booty and several of the women with them. There were also, it appears,
prostitutes in the ships. The ecclesiastical authorities fell back on
the only revenge then within their power. They formally cursed Arundel
and his thieves with bell, book, and candle as the ships sailed away.

To men accustomed to the licence of the French wars, this doubtless
appeared a very impotent form of retaliation. But they soon had
occasion to change their minds. A violent storm burst upon them,
apparently, since it swept them out of the Channel, from the east or
north-east. To lighten the ships, these savages threw overboard all the
women they had carried to sea. The danger might have been avoided if
Arundel had listened to the advice of his sailing-master, John Rust, a
sailor of the now very much decayed little town of Blakeney in Norfolk,
who warned him that a gale was coming on. But Arundel, though a good
soldier, as he showed when defending Southampton in 1377, was neither
a seaman himself, nor sufficiently a man of sense to listen to those
who were. Having first incurred disaster by his obstinacy, Arundel
sealed his own fate by persisting in again overriding the opinion of
Rust. He had been driven to within sight of the coast of Ireland,
and, in his frantic desire to escape the misery of his position on
shipboard, insisted that an attempt should be made to land. It was in
vain that the sailors pointed out to him that it was far safer to keep
at sea. In an explosion of sheer fury, largely excited, we may presume,
by fear, Arundel killed some of them. Then Rust and the others made
the hopeless attempt to land the madman whom they had the misfortune
to be compelled to obey. Seeing a small island near the coast, the
sailing-master attempted to get under its lee, but found the water
too broken. Then, as a last resource, he tried to beach the ship, but
she struck on the rocks, and went to pieces. Arundel, to whom every
opportunity seems to have been given by fate to display his folly, was
one of those who contrived to reach the shore. He might have escaped if
he had not stood within reach of the waves, shaking the water out of
his clothes. Rust, who had also come through alive, seeing his peril,
ran forward to drag him back, and both were beaten down and dragged
under by the next wave. An uncertain number of other vessels, with many
knights and men-at-arms, perished in the same disaster. This may stand
as sufficient example of what was possible when the brutality of the
Middle Ages coincided with the licence of the sea. We may hope that
the details of the story were heightened in the telling, but there is
no reasonable ground to doubt its substantial truth, and the mere fact
that such a tale could be told shows what was believed to be possible.



CHAPTER I

THE NAVY OF THE TUDORS TILL THE ACCESSION OF ELIZABETH

 AUTHORITIES.--Much information concerning the navy during the earlier
 Tudor period will be found in Charnock's _Naval Architecture_, vol.
 ii. cap. 2 and 3; but the chief authority now is Mr. Oppenheim's
 recently published _Administration of the Navy_, 1509-1660. This may
 be supported by numerous passages in the Calendar of State Papers for
 the reign of Henry VIII., prepared by Mr. Brewer. The details of the
 fighting in Conquet Bay are given in Echyngham's letters to Wolsey
 in the Calendar. The collection called "State Papers," edited by Mr.
 Haines, 1831-1852, contains Lisle's letters during the operations
 of 1545. The memoirs of Martin du Bellay and Blaise de Montluc give
 the French side. The early history of the Trinity House has been
 investigated by Mr. C. L. Barrett, _The Trinity House of Deptford
 Strond_, 1893.


The Tudor dynasty filled the throne of England for a hundred and
eighteen years. A hundred and six years of that period belong to the
reigns of Henry VII., Henry VIII., and Elizabeth, three rulers of
consummate ability. No other reigning house has maintained so high
a level of governing faculty during so large a proportion of its
existence, and it is not the least part of the wonderful good fortune
of England that her destinies should have been directed, at a time of
change and growth, by sovereigns of eminent capacity. She passed in
those years from an old world to a new, and, however high we may rank
the faculty of the race, it is impossible to doubt that the transition
must have been far less successful than it was if there had been
weakness or folly in its rulers. The two Henrys and Elizabeth, it must
be remembered, were, in the fullest sense of the word, rulers. They had
to submit to necessity, to abstain from much, to accept much which was
by no means pleasing to them, but it was because they could do this,
and did not persist in endeavouring to drive the world where it would
not go, in the fatal fashion of the Stuarts, that they succeeded. The
great men who served them, and the qualities of the English people,
were not made by the Tudors, but it was they who chose the servants,
and used the qualities of their subjects.

The foundation of the modern navy was a great and vitally important
part of their administrative work. It must not be supposed that there
was any sharp-drawn line dividing the Middle Ages from the later times.
The new monarchy itself cannot be said to have differed formally from
the old. Henry VII. claimed to reign by the same right and authority as
his predecessors. The difference was in the method and the spirit. From
the end of the fifteenth century till the beginning of the seventeenth,
Englishmen looked to the sovereign as the representative on earth of
that law whose "voice" is "the harmony of the world." To the great
mass of Englishmen, to all, in fact, except a few nobles, and the poor
and martial northern counties, the king was the divinely appointed
ruler who stood between them and anarchy. They expected him to govern
by the law, but they also recognised his commission to pronounce and
enforce it. In later times the authority of the Crown became an object
of hostility, but from the day that Henry VII. put on the circle of
gold which had fallen from the helmet of Richard III. on the field of
Market Bosworth, till Elizabeth sank to rest, old, weary, and half
broken-hearted, there were few Englishmen who would have drawn any
distinction between the State and the King. On the Continent of Europe
the same influence was at work, turning the mediæval king into the
modern despot.

So, too, in regard to the navy, there is no deliberate break with the
past, no express beginning of any new thing. The ships are still the
king's, commanded by his captains, manned by his mariners, administered
by his servants. Even in matters of detail the old usages lingered far
into the seventeenth century. The captain continued for long to be
more soldier than sailor, the man whose business it was to fight, not
to sail the ship. In Boteler's "Dialogues," published in the reign of
Charles II., though probably written in the reign of his father, it
is proposed, as if there were some novelty in the suggestion, that no
man should be appointed captain until he had been at least one voyage
to sea. The attempt to form a regular corps of naval officers dates
from the Restoration, and must be put to the credit of James II., then
Duke of York and Lord High Admiral. The crews were still collected for
each voyage, and disbanded at its end. This applies not only to the
men, but to the officers, though the king might keep a certain number
of captains about him, by putting them on the footing of gentlemen of
his household. It was not until the time of the Commonwealth, and then
through the exertions of the Council of State, that the navy was raised
to a strength which made it possible to dispense with the service of
pressed or hired merchant ships when a great fleet had to be fitted
out. On the face of it, in fact, and if we look to the mere letter,
there was no change at all. The admiral was still a great officer of
State, who acted as king's lieutenant in sea affairs. There were king's
ships managed by the king's servants, and in time of need the old calls
were made on the ports to provide their quota for the defence of the
country.

Yet for all that there was a change, and the beginning of something
new. The same causes which were leading to the formation of
professional standing armies on the Continent, were at work to induce
the Tudors to pay attention to their navy. English kings had done so
before them. When the Duke of Norfolk told Chapuys, the ambassador of
Charles V., in 1535, that it was a good thing for a king of England to
be provided with ships to inspire awe in those who wished to attack
him, he was saying nothing which was not well known to John or Edward
III. The difference lay in the continuity of attention paid to the navy
by the Tudors, in the proportion of their revenue which they spent
on it, and in the formation of a department expressly devoted to the
work of maintaining the king's ships. In former times so much of the
king's navy as was his personal property bore a close resemblance to
those bands of mercenaries which he raised for a particular war, and
disbanded when he had no further need for their services. From the time
of the Tudors his ships became a permanent establishment. It is from
them that the Royal Navy descends, not from the sea militia of the
Cinque Ports. The British army began with the regiments of Charles II.,
not with the host which was called out on the summons of our ancient
kings.

From the very necessity of the case, a permanent fighting force
calls for the attention of a no less permanent civil administration.
Throughout nearly the whole of the reign of Henry VIII. the work
continued to be done under the supervision of the Clerk of the Ships,
but by an increasing staff of subordinate clerks, called for by its
growing needs and the establishment of a dockyard at Portsmouth.
The office, in fact, grew, as has been commonly the case with our
administrative machinery, by adaptations to meet needs. At last,
in 1546, in the year before his death, the king formed the first
regular Navy Board by letters patent dated April 24. It consisted of a
Lieutenant of the Admiralty, a Treasurer, a Comptroller, a Surveyor,
a Clerk of the Ships, and two officials who had no special title.
A "Master of the Ordnance of the Ships" was created at the same
time, but this was a separate office. This organisation was subject
during its history to suspensions and modifications, as will be seen
further on; but four of the officers here named, the Treasurer,
Surveyor, Comptroller, and Clerk of the Ships, or of Acts, or of the
Navy, continued with brief intervals to be the chiefs of the civil
administration of the navy till 1832. Upon them fell the duties
of buying stores, building and taking care of ships, managing the
dockyard, distributing provisions, paying wages, and what we should
now call the compassionate allowances given to wounded men. This body
existed, with temporary suspensions, but little permanent modification,
till 1832, when it was merged into a body from which it must always be
carefully distinguished--namely, the Admiralty.

The Admiralty, which has now absorbed the whole administration of the
navy, originally only exercised the higher military control. It was,
in fact, the representative of the Lord High Admiral, and is still
technically described as the commission named to discharge the duties
of his office. This office descended to the Tudors from earlier times.
The Lord High Admiral was, to repeat a phrase already used, the king's
lieutenant for sea affairs. He exercised a large jurisdiction, gave
commissions to the military officers of the navy, the lieutenants,
that is to say, and captains, issued the orders, and commanded in war.
The non-military officers, the masters and their mates, whose duty was
the navigation of the ship, the doctors and pursers, fell under the
Navy Office. This department was subordinate to the admiral, and bound
to execute his orders, but he did not sit in it. In earlier times he
discharged the duties of his office in his own house. Even at later
periods, when there was an Admiralty Office at Whitehall, the Navy
Office had its own quarters in Seething Lane, or, later on, in Somerset
House, until the great reform of 1832 welded the departments together.

By the end of the reign of Henry VIII. the navy was, in so far as the
main lines are concerned, organised pretty much as it was destined
to remain for three centuries. The chief change introduced during
this long period was the formation of the regular corps of naval
officers, which dates from the Restoration. Until that time there
was no organised body of fighting sea officers, as we may call them,
in order to avoid the confusion which arises from the use of the
word "military" as applied to the naval service. Individual men were
habitually employed, and, when not on service, provided for by being
put on the footing of gentlemen of the royal household, but they had
no general commission as naval officers, and no claim to pension. The
Lord High Admiral gave commissions when a fleet was fitted out, issued
instructions, and commanded in person. The Navy Office, or Navy Board,
did the civil work. On this side of the administration the necessity
for taking care of ships and stores early led to the formation of a
regular staff of pilots, boatswains, and gunners, who belonged to the
navy, and were not merely attached to this or that ship for as long as
she was in commission.

The growth of the ship itself had much to do with bringing about the
formation of a permanent Royal Navy. By the beginning of the sixteenth
century, it was no longer possible to rely on such resources as could
be found in the Cinque Ports, even if they had not been silted up by
the action of the currents of the Channel. Little vessels built for the
coasting trade had neither the size, the strength, nor the armament
which had now become necessary for the work of war. The larger merchant
ships of the great ports were, indeed, better fitted for the purpose.
In those times of insecurity at sea they generally went armed, even in
peace. Accordingly, we find that until the middle of the seventeenth
century pressed or hired merchant ships were always to be found in
great fleets. But their inferiority to the vessel built for war was
early recognised. Queen's officers were found to declare that the
merchant ships were of little use, except to make a show, in the fight
with the Armada. The special warship early became a necessity to a
power which was bound to keep up its strength at sea. It could only
be provided by the State, which at that time meant the king. Henry
VII. saw that truth clearly, and so did his successors on the throne.
If they did not build vessels enough to render them independent of
all other sources of supply in war, it was because of the poverty of
the Crown. From the time, indeed, when vessels of any size began to
be required for purposes of war, the State was compelled to rely on
those it built for itself. The great bulk of our trade was conducted
in vessels of small size. Even at the end of the first quarter of this
century, a merchant ship of 500 tons burden was thought large. The
great majority ranged from 150 to about 250 tons for the most distant
voyages. But as early as the reign of Henry VII. warships were built
of 1000 tons. Such vessels could not be supplied by the trade. Neither
were the trading craft, being built as economically as possible, equal
in strength to those constructed for war.

The great ships of the early Tudors were an exaggeration of the cogs
of the Middle Ages. They were longer, broader, and built much higher
in the sides. But they had the same towering castles at bow and stern.
The word forecastle preserves the memory of the species of fort which
once cumbered the fore part of ships. These fortresses were shut off
from the rest of the ship by barriers, called, in later times at least,
cobridges, and defended even when the enemy was in possession of the
waist. Small guns, called "murdering pieces," were mounted on them,
to clear the deck on emergency. As parts of a castle they had their
merits, but they were very dangerous top hamper for a ship. The fate
of the =Mary Rose=, which will be mentioned later on, shows how easily
vessels of the time were upset. Their instability was exaggerated
by the nature of the rigging. In the largest vessel there were four
masts--one at the prow, another at the stern, and two between. They
were apparently complete spars, not divided, as in later times, into
lower mast and topmast. Each carried a great square sail or course of
excessive height, to which a topsail could be added. The strain thrown
on the hull by these great sails must have been severe. It was aided
by the castles, which had a constant tendency to tear away when the
ship was rolling. As the structure was weak, and the caulking alone was
trusted to keep the ships watertight, it is easy to understand that a
very short cruise or a very moderate spell of bad weather was enough
to reduce the noblest of them to the condition of a sieve. Indeed, the
unfitness of the "capital ships" of the sixteenth century for winter
cruising was recognised by everybody. Even a hundred years later, when
many improvements had been introduced, naval officers were reluctant
to keep large vessels at sea after summer was over. As late as the
reign of William III., at the end of the seventeenth century, a council
of officers declared that the heavier line-of-battle ships could not
be safely kept out after the first days of autumn. In the earlier
Tudor times they were of use only in fine-weather months. The smaller
vessels, being less built upon, and not subject to the same amount of
leverage tending to tear them to pieces, were more seaworthy. As they
must also have sailed very badly, there is no apparent reason for the
confidence inspired in our ancestors by the presence of one of these
"capital ships." They must be supposed to have trusted it to bear down
opposition by its mere weight, just as a very fine corps of mail-clad
horsemen would sweep lighter opponents before them on the field of
battle.

Their armament consisted of a multiplicity of guns, ranging from
very small pieces mounted on the castles up to the "cannon royal," a
68-pounder, on the main deck. Guns of different sizes were mounted
on the same deck. Experience gradually showed the unwisdom of this
variegated armament. In the following generations the cannon royal was
given up as too heavy, and the very small pieces as too light, while
the batteries were made uniform.

The subsequent progress of the navy is better understood when we
remember from what it was that it started. The early Tudor warship
was absurdly over-hampered with superstructures, rigged in a fashion
which was inefficient, and yet exposed the vessel to a dangerous
leverage, and armed as if the aim had been to produce confusion. It
was still so little fitted to struggle with the forces of the sea and
wind, that it could not meet winter weather. From that point the Royal
Navy advanced to the stage at which Nelson could keep his watch off
Toulon for two years, and at the end of them be still ready for the
pursuit of Villeneuve. The story is one of continual simplification
and adaptation. The towering over-built castles were cut down, the
long complete mast was subdivided into lower, top, and top-gallant.
These two last named could be lowered in case of need to relieve the
ship. The unwieldy course was reduced, and the topsails and top-gallant
sails added to the power of the ship, while remaining themselves
perfectly handy. The upright mast in the prow was lowered till through
successive stages it became the bowsprit. The armament was brought into
a comparatively few classes of guns.

The method in which the ships of the Tudors were manned and fought is
better known than their construction. During his first war with France
(1511-1514) Henry VIII. provided for the equipment of his fleet very
much after the fashion which continued to be followed in the raising
of regiments till the end of the eighteenth century. He entered into a
contract with his admiral, Sir Edward Howard. The king, on his part,
undertook to provide ships, guns, and a sum of money. The admiral,
on the other hand, bound himself to do his sovereign service, and to
give him one-half the prizes. The business of collecting the crews
was apparently left to the admiral, who was armed with the power to
press, and was entitled to command the service of local officials for
the purpose. It shows how far a fleet was looked upon as a temporary
force, that this contract was only to last for three months, and to be
renewable for periods of the same length. If the desired purpose was
effected, or peace was made, the whole force would be dissolved. Hired
or pressed ships would be paid off, and allowed to go. The king's ships
would be returned to his own docks, which were then in the Thames,
there to remain under the care of his officials of the Navy Office (or,
since we are speaking of 1512, it would be more accurate to say, the
officials who in the course of the ensuing years were to be organised
into the Navy Office) until they were again wanted. The men would be
disbanded. There would be left the admiral, who was a great officer
of State, ready to command when called upon, the civil officers, the
caretakers of the ships and stores, and the ships themselves,--the
materials, in short, out of which a fleet could be formed when required.

This was the method in its main lines. The details will be best
understood by taking a single ship, and seeing how she was manned. For
example, let us take the establishment of the =Gabriel= as she was
in the month of March in the fourth year of the reign of Henry VIII.
(1513). It gives the disposition of the crew, that is, the classes
into which it was divided, and their rates of pay. The statement, which
is taken from Charnock, does not agree with the list of the navy in
1513 as quoted in the Calendar of State Papers of Henry VIII., but it
supplies us with an account of the crew of a great ship of the time
which is substantially accurate as a model. How little confidence is to
be placed in the details of the lists of "the king's army on the sea"
which are preserved from this reign may be shown by a single fact. In
one "book," or, as we should say, "return," corrected by Wolsey, the
=Gabriel= is described as of 800 tons, having two captains, Cortney
(Courtenay) and Cornwall, with 600 men, of whom 250 are mariners. In
another she is said to be of 700 tons, with one captain, Sir Will.
Pirton, and 500 men.

                                                          Number  Wages
                                                           of      of
                                                           Men.    Men.

  Sir William Trevellian, captain, at 18d. a day              1   42/-

  His retinue, every man 5/- a month                        420   £105

  The town of Gloucester, every man 5/- a month              25   £6 15/-

  John Clerk, master                                          1       5/-

  Mariners, every man 5/- a month                           240    £60

  Dead shares, that is to say, the master, 6; his mate, 2;
    the pilot, 3; four quartermasters, 4; their mates, 3;
    the boatswain, 2; his mate, 1; the coxswain, 1; his
    mate, 1/2; the carpenter, 1; the caulker, 1; the steward,
    1; his mate, 1/2; the purser, 1 = 27-1/2, £6, 17s. 6d.

  Gunners, every man 5/- a month                             20    100/-

  Rewards to the gunners, that is to say, the master gunner,
    3/- a month; his mate, 2/6; the four quartermasters,
    every one of them 2/6 apiece, 10/-; fourteen gunners
    at 20d. apiece, 23/4                                           40/10

  Sum of the men, 602; of the dead shares, 27-1/2;
                                            of the money, £187, 10s. 4d.

No lieutenant is named, and an officer of that name only appears later,
but he probably had an ancestor in the gentleman who was captain of
the retinue of Sir William Trevelyan. This gentleman was a soldier
appointed to fight, and not to attend to the navigation and seamanship,
which was the duty of the master. From the fact that the mariners are
given as a separate class, we may confidently conclude that the retinue
consisted of soldiers, whom the captain brought with him. It will be
seen that they greatly exceeded the sailors in number, and this was for
long the rule. There is, in truth, no greater mistake than to suppose
that the crews of the great warships at any time contained a majority
of real seamen, but in Henry's reign the proportion of soldiers was
larger than was commonly the case in later times. The indenture made
in 1512 with Sir Edward Howard provides that of the 3000 men to be
raised over and above the crew of the =Regent=, which is mustered by
itself, 1750 were to be soldiers, and 1233 sailors. It is probable,
however, that under the name of soldiers were included many men who
afterwards would have been entered as "waisters" and "landsmen," parts
of the ship's company who were only expected to work on deck or below,
and were not in the proper sense "sailormen." The gunners also were
a separate class, and we may safely conclude in their case also that
they were not--at least not necessarily--sailors, but rather marine
artillerymen.

"Dead pays" is an odd expression, which, however, almost explains
itself. They were imaginary men, whose pay was applied to the purpose
of providing a sufficient salary for the warrant officers. In theory
every member of the crew received the same allowance of 5s. pay and
5s. rations for a month of twenty-eight days. The captain, who drew
eighteenpence a day, was the only exception. It was a manifestly
insufficient salary, but a gentleman in his position was probably a man
of means, who expected to serve at his own charges, and looked to prize
and ransom money, or to the king's favour, for his reward, as also
for the means of rewarding the volunteers of good family who followed
his banner. The system was one which obviously lent itself to abuse.
A poor or unscrupulous captain would be tempted to enrich himself by
making false musters, that is, by misstating the number of men actually
present in his ship, and pocketing the money paid for wages. He would
always have the help of subordinates who were bribed, or were afraid to
offend a great man when he wished to deceive the king. This absurdly
roundabout way of remunerating the officers was finally given up,
but it left a curious representative in the so-called "widows' men"
of quite recent times. They also were imaginary sailors, and the pay
allowed for them was handed over to Greenwich Hospital, to form a fund
for the pensions of women whose husbands were killed in action. The
twenty-five men of the town of Gloucester mentioned in the list of the
=Gabriel's= crew may be supposed to have been contributed by the town
to the king's navy as its quota of the levy. In the crews of other
ships we find mention of the men of Exeter, or of the county of Devon,
or the Earl of Arundel, or some other great noble, who were similarly
mustered apart. These are traces of the mediæval organisation which
survived into and overlapped the new time.

The manner of fighting of the time is sufficiently well known. Of
strategy, in the proper sense of the word, the sea-captains of Henry
VIII. knew the essential. They could harry an enemy's coast and
commerce for the purpose of provoking him to fight, or lie in front
of any port where his ships might be at anchor, and wait till he came
out. The actual management of ships when engaged with the enemy was
decidedly rough and ready. It does not appear that there was as yet
any formation of a fleet. One great number of ships advanced in a
swarm against another, and each individual vessel got into action as
speedily as the seamanship of her master and the spirit of her captain
allowed. In one of the letters of Sir Edward Echyngham to Wolsey we
have a spirited account of the preparations made to meet some hostile
French ships. He reports that on a certain day in April 1515 he spied
three French men-of-war "that made unto usward; and then I comforted
my folk and made them to harness, and because I had no rails upon my
deck I coiled a cable round about the deck breast high, and likewise
in the waist, and so hanged upon the cable mattresses, and dagswayns
(a species of coarse, shaggy blanket used by the poor), and such
bedding as I had within board, and setting out my marris pikes, and
my fighting sails all ready to encounter these three French barks,
with such poor ordnance as I had, and then they saw that I made unto
them with so good a will, and would not shrink from them, then they
put themselves to flight, and then I chased them till they came to the
Abbey of Fécamp, which lies hard by the seaside, and so they gat them
under the walls of the haven, and we followed them until they shot
their ordnance into us." From Sir Edward Echyngham's despatch, it is
clear that his ship had no bulwarks between the fore and after castles,
and the protection for the men fighting on deck was secured by making
a temporary barrier of bedding, blankets, and sails. It was here that
the enemy would naturally attempt to enter, and the men stationed
in this part of the ship, commonly called the waist, would be most
exposed to the fire of the enemy's tops and castles. The practice of
concealing this, the most vulnerable part of the deck, by hanging up
what were called waist-cloths, continued until the next century. They
were, however, a very poor substitute for bulwarks, being exceedingly
inflammable. Well-painted wood will resist fire for a long time, but
canvas sails, bedding, and blankets are much more easily set blazing.
An accidental explosion in the ship herself, the wads from the guns
on the cobridge heads, or, worst of all, the flames of a fireship
alongside, would cause all the canvas and rigging to burn up like a
bonfire. A frightful instance of the facility with which a disaster of
this kind could be produced was given in the very first naval battle
of Henry VIII.'s reign. The mention of pikes proves that Sir Edward
Echyngham calculated that a considerable part of his fighting would
consist in repelling boarders or in attempting to board. Indeed, until
it got to hand-to-hand fighting, there was little decisive result to
be expected from the sea battles of that time. The guns were, as has
been said above, often heavy, but the artillery practice of the crews
was very rough. The allowance for windage was absurdly large, and it
was consequently a matter of chance in what direction a bullet would
go. Besides, the use of cartridges had not yet been introduced, and
the powder was ladled out of a barrel--a very slow and very dangerous
practice. It seems to have been thought that a great fleet had
maintained a fire of wonderful intensity if it discharged three hundred
shot in one day's work. This is far less than the total amount of the
fire of either the =Victory= or the =Royal Sovereign= at Trafalgar.

By firmly establishing the royal authority, and by filling his
treasury, Henry VII. had prepared the way for his son's work as
an organiser of the navy. He certainly left his son a navy of no
contemptible strength, according to the standard of that time. The
Statute-book of his reign contains several acts meant to encourage
shipping. The comparative obscurity of his navy is probably mainly to
be accounted for by the fact that he looked upon war with dislike,
and never pushed a quarrel with his formidable neighbour, the King of
France, beyond the point at which Louis XI. was prepared to offer him
a bribe to keep quiet. But, however much Henry VIII. may have received
from his father, he certainly exerted himself strenuously to increase
his inheritance. He not only built ships, but he improved the naval
architecture of his subjects by inviting workmen from the great Italian
ports. He not only built and improved ships, but he took a very keen
and intelligent interest in the organisation of his fleet and in the
performances of his vessels. He extended his establishments on the
Thames, and to him belongs the credit of setting up the dockyard at
Portsmouth. And we know that in March 1513, in the fourth year of
his reign, he issued a "Licence to found a Guild in honour of the
Holy Trinity and St. Clement in the Church of Deptford Strond, for
reformation of the navy, lately much decayed by admission of young men
without experience, and of Scots, Flemings, and Frenchmen as loadsmen."
Loadsmen were those who were considered capable to throw the lead, and
were the skilled seamen from whom the masters and pilots, or, as we
now say, mates, were chosen. This was the Trinity House, which still
exists, and still continues to perform the duty assigned to it by Henry
VIII. of examining those who wished to be accepted as fit to navigate
or pilot a ship, besides taking care of the lights and buoys all round
the coast. Its connection with the navy was much closer in Tudor times
than it came to be later on; for not only did it supply the masters and
pilots of the king's ships, but it was entrusted with the supply and
transport of many kinds of stores.

A letter written by Sir Edward Howard on the 22nd of March 1513 gives
a very pleasing instance of the minute personal interest which the
king took in his ships. The document has been so damaged by time and
accident that a large part of it is illegible, but from what can be
deciphered we learn that Sir Edward gave the king a minute account of
the performances of all the vessels in his squadron, during a cruise
from the mouth of the river to the Channel. Fragments of sentences tell
how the one sailed very well, and how "your good ship, the flower, I
trow, of all ships that ever sailed," did something which the damaged
state of the paper conceals, and then "came within three spear-lengths
of the =Kateryn= and spake to John Fleming, Peter Seman, and to
Freeman, master, to bear record that the =Mary Rose= did fetch her at
the tail." "The flower of all ships that ever sailed" was apparently
the =Mary Rose= herself, Howard's own flagship, the same which was
destined to come to such a disastrous end in the Solent some thirty
years later. Sir Edward tells how she "fet" the =Mary George=, and in
all ways proved herself "the noblest ship of sail ... at this hower
that I trow be in Christendom." When they came to anchor, the admiral
noted down the order in which the vessels forming his squadron came up
to the Road: "The first after the =Mary Rose= was the =Sovereign=, then
the =Nicholas=, then the =Leonard= of Dartmouth, the =Mary George=, the
=Harry= of Hampton, the =Ann= of Greenwich, the =Nicholas Montrygo=,
called the =Sancho de Garra=, and the =Katherine= and the =Mary=." That
the king's officers were encouraged to keep him so minutely informed of
the performances of his ships is proof enough of the interest Henry
took in his navy.

Although the new time had begun, the change from the Middle Ages was
not yet very perceptible in so far as the general direction of a war
was concerned. It was still a matter of raids and casual battles. The
first naval action of Henry's reign was in pursuit of the old standing
war against the pirates. A Scotchman named Andrew Barton had been
robbed by the Portuguese, and had received letters of marque from his
own sovereign, authorising him to indemnify himself for his loss out of
any Portuguese property he could find upon the seas. In much later and
more civilised times it was never difficult to turn a privateer into
a pirate, and in the early sixteenth century the distinction between
them was fine in the extreme. Barton betook himself to considering
that everybody he came across on blue water was a Portuguese, or would
serve the purpose very well. He plundered Englishmen, Frenchmen, and
Flemings indiscriminately, and without the slightest regard to the
embarrassments he cost his own sovereign. At last he became such a
nuisance that ships had to be fitted out to pursue him. According to a
story which is not very well founded, they were sent out at the expense
of the Earl of Surrey, and were commanded by his sons, Sir Thomas and
Sir Edward. The two vessels belonging to Barton, called the =Lion= and
the =Jenny Perwin= or =Bark of Scotland=, were overtaken by Surrey's
two cruisers, and captured after a fight of a most determined and
picturesque character, for which, however, the chief authority is a
spirited ballad of much later date. There is no doubt, however, as to
the death of Barton, who was one of the numerous Scotch pirates of the
time.

The same year which saw the capture of these skimmers of the sea
saw also the beginning of a much greater naval war. In 1511 Henry
entered into the first of his wars with France. As he had then been
only two years upon the throne, the fact that he was able to despatch
a considerable naval force against the French coast at once, shows
that he must have inherited a large force of ships from his father.
Four-and-twenty vessels of his own, which he reinforced by ships
hired from the Hanse Towns and of the Spaniards, represented the, for
that time, very respectable naval power of the kingdom. The war was
carried on in the barbarous mediæval style. In 1511 Sir Edward Howard,
to whom the king gave the command as Lord High Admiral, ravaged the
coasts of Brittany. The devastation of his dominions stung the King
of France into making counter exertions, and a fleet was collected
at Brest under the command of an officer of the name of Primauguet,
which our historians, availing themselves of the licence of the
age, corrupted into Sir Pierce Morgan. In 1512 King Henry's fleet
was collected at Portsmouth, to be prepared to repel the French if
they made any attack, or to fall upon them first if their coming was
delayed. The king himself rode down to Portsmouth and reviewed the
soldiers, who formed the larger part of his crews on the Downs. Then
the fleet sailed, standing over to the coast of France. What exactly
followed it is very difficult to say on the evidence we possess. The
fleets certainly met somewhere in the neighbourhood of Brest. The
historians on either side contradict one another flatly, both as to
the respective strengths of the combatants and as to the result of the
fight, each asserting that his own countrymen were outnumbered, and
that the enemy ended by flying away in a scandalous state of panic.
The one point on which all agree is, that somehow or other, and in
consequence of manoeuvres which are perfectly unintelligible as
they are narrated, the great English ship the =Regent=, of which Sir
Thomas Knevet, the King's Master of the Horse, was captain, and the
still larger French ship named the _Cordelier_, fell on board one
another, caught fire, and blew up. Knevet and the French admiral,
Primauguet, whose flag was flying in the _Cordelier_, both perished,
and from one thousand to fifteen hundred men with them. Whether, as
the French assert, this disaster had such a terrifying effect on the
English ships that they all ran away, or whether, as our authorities
maintain, the French were completely cowed, and took refuge in Brest,
the fact that the battle came to an end with no very decisive result
is well established. The terrible circumstances of the loss of these
two ships produced a profound impression. We notice in ensuing years a
marked disinclination among French and English to come too close. It
is a feeling easy to understand. There was little use in destroying
your enemy if you perished with him; and when both were so inflammable,
and the danger of fire was so great, it was always likely that flames
would break out somewhere, and if they did, it was nearly certain
that they would spread from one to the other. The substantial fruits
of victory remained to the English, for their enemies attempted no
retaliation. King Louis XII. was plainly convinced of the inferiority
of his forces, for he prepared for the struggle of the ensuing year by
sending for a reinforcement of galleys from the Mediterranean. They
were brought round by a French Knight of Malta of the name of Pierre
Jean le Bidoulx, which was abbreviated into Pregent by his countrymen,
and corrupted by us into Perye John, and Preter John.

The winter months put a stop to the movements of ships between 1512
and 1513. In this year the operations began as before, that is to say,
the English fleet sailed over to the coast of France for the purpose
of making plundering raids, and then there was a fight between the two
fleets. In this case, however, the end was disastrous to England. In
spring Sir Edward Howard had his fleet collected at Plymouth. The total
strength was of ships 24, of tons 8460, which gives an average of some
350 tons each. The statement as to the strength of the crews drawn up
for Wolsey illustrates the superiority of the soldier to the sailor
element in the fleets of the time. It is recorded that the captains
were 26 in number, and the soldiers 4650, while of masters there were
24, and of mariners 2880. From this method of arranging the different
elements of the crew, it is obvious that the captain and his soldiers
were not looked upon as naval men in our sense of the word, but purely
as fighting men, and were altogether considered as as much superior
in dignity as they undoubtedly were in numbers to the sailors. It will
be seen that these vessels must have been crowded to what would now be
thought a dangerous extent. There were no less than two hundred men
per ship. It was no doubt for this reason that the fleets of that time
were attended by a swarm of small vessels called victuallers. There
was, in fact, insufficient room to store the provisions required for
such considerable bodies of men in such diminutive craft for any length
of time. These victuallers were of course a serious hindrance to any
fleet. They were slow, and, being only merchant ships, employed wholly
as transports, were perfectly incapable of offering any resistance
to an enemy. Thus the naval force which they were meant to feed was
not only kept back from movements of any rapidity, but was constantly
compelled to employ a large part of its strength in protecting its
own food against attacks by even insignificant ships belonging to the
other side. One short cruise out, an attack on some part of the enemy's
coast, and a prompt return home, was all that could be expected from
fleets pestered by so many obstructions.

It is said that Howard was so well pleased with the force under his
command that he urged the king to come down and take part in the
attack on France himself, for which he was soundly rebuked by the
Council as having shown an insufficient regard for the safety of His
Majesty's sacred person. Yet King Henry might have made this voyage
with very little risk, and Howard himself might have returned from
the coast of France in safety but for his own headlong courage. On
reaching the neighbourhood of Brest, which he seems to have done on
the 12th of April, the admiral found the enemy in no humour to give
him a meeting. Their ships fled back into Brest on his approach, not,
as it appears, into the actual harbour, which lies at the end of the
very appropriately named Goulet or Gullet, but into Bertheaume Bay,
which lies just outside on the north. Here they took refuge under the
protection of forts, and refused to be enticed out. Howard had, in
fact, made his appearance on the French coast at a very inconvenient
time for the enemy. Pregent, who was on his way with the galleys from
the Mediterranean, had not yet been able to join the French ships at
Brest. The English were placed between the two divisions of the enemy,
and, being apparently superior in force to either of them, could have
crushed them in detail if once they could have been got out of the
protection of their forts. But to come out was just what the French
would not do; nor could Howard by any insults, or even by the damage
he inflicted on the coast villages, sting them into giving him battle.
Provoked by the shyness of his enemy, and perhaps sore from the rebuke
inflicted on him by the Council, Howard made two successive, and, as
the result shows, very rash attacks on the enemy. He first endeavoured
to sail in and attack the French at anchor in Bertheaume Bay, but,
being very ill supplied with pilots, he speedily came to grief. One of
the largest of his vessels, commanded by Arthur Plantagenet, a natural
son of Edward IV., ran on the rocks, and became a total wreck. It does
not appear that Howard blamed "Master Arthur" for the loss of the ship.
In a letter to the king on the 17th of April he praises him for his
courage, and says that he had given him leave to go home. "For sir,
when he was in extreme danger ... he called upon our Lady of Walsingham
for help and comfort, and made a vow that, an it pleased God and her to
deliver him out of the peril, he would never eat flesh nor fish till
he had seen her." As Master Arthur Plantagenet would have been reduced
by his hasty vow to the sad necessity of living upon dry bread, it was
humane to let him get home as quickly as might be. The Middle Ages were
not yet quite over, but the years were at hand when any officer of King
Henry's who had pleaded a vow to our Lady of Walsingham as the excuse
for retiring from the presence of the enemy would have soon found
himself in another and even a worse form of peril than shipwreck.

After the failure in Bertheaume Bay, Howard turned to attack "Pery
John," as he calls him. The Knight of Malta, finding himself cut off
from Brest, had taken refuge in Conquet Bay, which lies just round the
point San Mathieu, the extreme western end of the north side to the
approach to Brest. Le Conquet is a little island, one of several which
stretch south-east from Ushant, and the bay is just opposite on the
mainland; the channel between them is called the Passage du Four. The
French commander had drawn his galleys up on the beach. It was one of
the advantages of these long, narrow, and in stormy waters unseaworthy
craft, that they could be beached with ease, and so escape larger and
heavier vessels which dared not follow them so near the shore. If
Howard could have landed men and guns, he might very soon have made
an end of the galleys. And it does appear that he had a scheme of the
kind in contemplation, but, whether because he feared interruption by
French ships coming out of Brest, or whether only because his buoyant
courage ran away with him, he took another course. The story is told
by Sir Edward Echyngham in a letter to Wolsey dated the 5th of May.
"The news of these parts be so dolorous," he begins, "that unneith I
can write them for sorrow;" and it was indeed a sorrowful story. Sir
Edward Howard, so we make out, finding that the enemy would not give
him a fair meeting, and that, while he was subject to interruption
from Brest, he could not safely land his soldiers to attack Pregent,
had at last despatched part of his fleet into what we then called the
Trade, which is now known as the Passage de l'Iroise, and had decided
to make a front attack on the enemy in Conquet Bay with the others. It
was, in fact, a cutting-out expedition; and once more we note that the
Middle Ages were lingering on, for the admiral led himself, as Sir John
Chandos might have done, on a piece of work which in later times would
have been more appropriately left to a subordinate officer. The object,
as Sir Edward Echyngham reported, "was to win the French galleys with
the help of boats, the water being too shallow for ships," and he goes
on to describe what followed in words which it would be hardly possible
to better.

 "The galleys were protected on both sides by bulwarks, planted so
 thick with guns and cross-bows, that the quarrels and the gonstons
 (gunstones) came together as thick as hailstones. For all this the
 admiral boarded the galley that Preyer John was in and Charran the
 Spaniard with him and sixteen others. By advice of the admiral and
 Charran they had cast anchor into [word illegible] of the French
 galley, and fastened the cable to the capstan that if any of the
 galleys had been on fire they might have veered the cable, and fallen
 off; but the French hewed asunder the cable, or some of our mariners
 let it slip. And so they left this [word illegible] in the hands of
 his enemies. There was a mariner wounded in eighteen places who by
 adventure recovered unto the buoy of the galley so that the galley's
 boat took him up. He said he saw my Lord-Admiral thrust against the
 rails of the galley with marris pikes. Charran's boy tells a like
 tale, for when his master and the admiral had entered, Charran sent
 him for his hand gun which before he could deliver the one galley was
 gone off from the other, and he saw my Lord-Admiral waving his hands
 and crying to the galleys, 'Come aboard again, come aboard again,'
 which when my Lord saw they could not, he took his whistle from about
 his neck, wrapped it together and threw it into the sea."

So died Sir Edward Howard, deeply lamented. "For there was never
nobleman so ill lost as he was, that was of so great courage, and had
so many virtues, and that ruled so great an army so well as he did,
and kept so good order and true justice." Sir Edward was the first of
the short list of our admirals who died in battle, and it may be said
that he was the last knight in the old sense of the word--that is to
say, a valiant man of his person, thinking more of the point of honour
than of beating an enemy by good management--who commanded an English
fleet. Although it has been the custom to speak of the valour of this
attempt as honourable to the whole force engaged, the truth seems to
be that Sir Edward Howard was not well supported. This small English
galley in which he boarded the Frenchman appears in sober fact, to have
been seized with a panic. No sooner had the knights and gentlemen leapt
on to the Frenchman's deck than their mariners left them to shift for
themselves. Nor was it only the sailors who were somewhat deficient
in spirit. Sir Edward Echyngham reports that "Sir Henry Shirborne and
Sir William Sidney boarded Prior John's galley, but being left alone,
and thinking the admiral safe, returned." These two, though brave men,
satisfied themselves hastily of the safety of their leader, and it is
not easy to understand how they could have failed to see his peril,
considering that the whole body was crowded on the narrow space of a
galley's deck.

The loss of Sir Edward Howard most certainly had the effect of
depriving his command of all spirit. Within ten days they were back
in England, and Echyngham's account of the repulse was written from
Hampton. The excuses given for this hasty return were that the fleet
did not know to whom the command ought to fall upon the death of
the admiral, and the want of victuals. They are more plausible than
convincing, and the fact probably is that the fleet was dispirited
on finding that the French were too strongly posted to be attacked.
The discipline, too, was probably not very good at a time when all
forces were raised for temporary expeditions. The death of a leader
whose rank and character secured the respect of his followers, was not
infrequently followed by the disbanding of his whole force.

The short remainder of this war, which speedily came to an end, was
filled by a mere repetition of the old raids by English ships on the
French coast, and by French on the English. Pregent plundered the coast
of Sussex, while the English ships were refitting, till he had an eye
knocked out by an English arrow. English captains in revenge plundered
the coast of France, and so it went on with much brutality and no
decisive effect till the war died a natural death.

For thirty years there were no further events in the history of the
navy which call for particular notice. Henry entered into several
wars with Francis I., the successor of Louis XII., and his navy was
used to good effect; but little would be gained by a barren recital
of the number and strength of the fleets fitted out to transport our
armies across the Channel, or harass the French coast. The superiority
of Henry during all these years was very marked. He had, in fact, no
serious enemy at sea, for Scotland was too poor to send out any naval
armament above the level of a casual pirate or semi-pirate, while
Charles V., whose dominions included both our rivals at sea in the
coming generations, the Spaniards and the Hollanders, was generally
at peace with the King of England. Francis I. might have been a most
formidable enemy if he had applied himself to developing his navy. He
did not indeed actually neglect it at any time, and towards the end of
his reign he made one strenuous attempt to get the upper hand at sea.
But he had too much to do elsewhere, not to be forced to sacrifice his
fleet. His rivalry with Charles V., both in the contest for the empire
and in the struggle to obtain possession of the duchy of Milan, made
it absolutely necessary for him to devote his resources mainly to the
maintenance of armies on land.

In this as in other cases England owed a great deal to the geographical
position which saved her from the temptations and necessities besetting
her rival. It is enough to say that from 1514 to 1544 the English fleet
carried troops across the Channel or escorted the armies marching
into Scotland, practically unresisted. This interval was, however, of
great importance in the history of the navy. The establishment of the
Navy Office was not completed till 1546, but the dockyards were more
thoroughly organised, and were greatly extended. There was still very
much to be done in the formation of a permanent service. A certain
lingering confusion between the Navy Royal and the general shipping
of the country probably accounts for the king's decision to leave the
management of Deptford Dockyard in the hands of the Trinity House.
But the tendency was always towards the formation of special services
to be employed for definite ends. Although no regular naval service
was as yet formed, the foundations were laid. Even when there was no
expedition to be carried out against the French or the Scotch, the king
took care never to leave the seas without their winter or their summer
guard--small squadrons of vessels appointed to patrol the Straits
and the Channel. This force was very small--in quiet times hardly
exceeding six or seven little vessels, and the crews were hired only
for the summer or winter commission. The fact that a man had commanded
a ship in one or other guard did not give him any right to continued
employment, but from the very nature of the case a certain continuity
of service would arise. Officers who proved satisfactory, or had
good friends at court, were employed again and again, and the king's
captains began to be a recognised body; while it is safe to presume
that there were some soldiers and mariners who found his service more
acceptable than that of private employers, and who volunteered into it
with regularity. It was during these years, too, that the first efforts
to improve the construction of ships were made by the introduction of
skilled shipwrights from the Italian ports. Of these Henry must have
had a respectable staff in constant employment. When the =Mary Rose=
was sunk at St. Helens, the efforts made to raise her were mainly
directed by Italian workmen.

After neglecting, or if not actually neglecting, then subordinating,
the naval strength of his kingdom to his armies, and to much less
worthy purposes, for thirty years, Francis I. was at last driven into
making a desperate effort at sea by the capture of Boulogne in 1544.
When the King of England had appeared in France at the head of an
army of 30,000 men, and had added another defensible position to the
fortress he already possessed at Calais, the unwisdom of leaving him
the command of the Channel was borne in upon Francis with a force which
aroused him to efforts really worthy of the occasion. In the spring of
1545 (the operations of the previous year had merely been the transport
of the army, and a few plundering expeditions) preparations were made
on both sides for something deserving to be called war. The King of
France built ships in batches, and brought from the Mediterranean not
only his own galleys, but large numbers of vessels hired from the
Ragusans, whom our ancestors called the Aragoozes. The superiority of
the fleet which he was soon able to command might have taught a French
ruler how very possible it was for his great monarchy, then certainly
more than twice as populous and rich as England, to excel her in the
number of her fleets. The English were outnumbered from the first, and
knew it. In the spring of 1545, Lord Lisle, then Henry's admiral,
and the famous or infamous Duke of Northumberland of the next reign,
made his appearance on the coast of France with a scheme for attacking
the French in the Seine; but he did not carry it into effect, and the
explanation that he found his enemy too strong is at least the most
plausible. When the French put to sea, the English certainly acted
in a manner to be expected of men who felt themselves overmatched.
They retired into Portsmouth harbour, and allowed the French admiral,
D'Annebault, to advance to the anchorage of St. Helens, and establish
himself there unopposed. The real strength of the French fleet was
by no means in proportion to its numbers. A large part of the ships
were galleys, which were of little or no use except in a dead calm. It
seems, too, that the spirits of the French fleet had been a good deal
damped by a disaster which happened before they left Havre. A great
vessel, the _Philippe_, the most beautiful in the world according to
the French writers, caught fire in the harbour of Havre, and burned to
the water's edge. Blaise de Montluc, who saw the disaster, immediately
formed the conclusion that no good would come of the enterprise; and
if he, who was the most intrepid of mankind, had come to this gloomy
conclusion, we may be sure that there were plenty more in the fleet who
were not in a more confident spirit.

A much more trustworthy indication of the little result to be expected
from the enterprise would have been the want of spirit of the officers
chosen to command by the French king. They had, in reality, an immense
superiority of strength. One hundred and fifty "great ships," and at
least a hundred smaller vessels, were collected under the command of
D'Annebault, and the troops amounted to eight or ten thousand men
under the command of Marshal Biez. The force was amply sufficient to
strike such a blow to England as would have very rapidly compelled
Henry to restore Boulogne, if it had been used with any degree of
resolution, but the French leaders were from the beginning on the
outlook for difficulties. They left Havre on the 16th of July, and
two days later made their appearance on the coast of Sussex, where
they spent some time in plundering insignificant fishing villages. No
attempt to molest them was made by the English fleet, which lay quiet
in Portsmouth harbour. After doing just enough on the coast of Sussex
to arouse the whole countryside, the French fleet came on to the Isle
of Wight, and anchored at St. Helens. Here they remained, apparently
for about ten days, neither attacking with determination, nor being
attacked to any purpose. The fine July weather and the prevailing calms
were wholly in favour of the French, whose fleet consisted largely of
galleys. On the English side, a number of the smaller vessels had been
fitted with sweeps, in order that they might act against the rowing
vessels of the enemy. But neither did they show any particular zeal
to attack. The king himself had come down to Portsmouth to survey the
fortifications, and if courtly historians did not praise him too much,
it was at his suggestion that the English vessels were provided with
oars. Henry did not stay to witness the fighting (if it deserves that
name) which ensued, but returned to London, leaving the command of the
fleet to Lisle, and of the garrison to Suffolk. The operations were of
a very monotonous description, and leave us under the impression that
each side was reluctant to fight till it had the other at a hopeless
disadvantage.

On the first day the French admiral sent forward sixteen galleys under
the command of the Baron de la Garde, for the purpose of drawing the
English admiral out to St. Helens, where he might be overpowered by
numbers. Lisle was resolute not to be tempted to put himself at a
disadvantage. Indeed, the plan was rather a futile one, which it hardly
needed any great display of skill on the part of the English admiral
to defeat. The galleys were not able to face the king's ships when any
wind was blowing. They were very lightly built, and carried only one
gun in the bow. If the English ships were able to manoeuvre, they
could either overpower their enemy by the fire of their broadsides,
or, better still, run into them and sink them. Such a vessel as the
=Great Harry= running before a good breeze would probably have gone
over a galley without suffering any material damage herself. Therefore
the vessels sent by D'Annebault could not, without extreme rashness,
come within striking distance of the English fleet, except in a dead
calm. When, however, the weather was of this kind, the English ships
were unable to move, and could not sail into the French fleet even
if they had been disposed to do so. The fight, then, between the two
resolved itself into something like this. During the calm hours of the
morning, the Baron de la Garde and his colleague Strozzi, the Prior of
Capua (the same who afterwards took the castle of St. Andrews from the
Scotch Reformers, and had John Knox for his prisoner), came near enough
to Lisle's ships to open an exasperating fire. So long as the wind did
not get up, the English vessels lay helpless, and could only reply to
the fire of their enemy with the few guns they could bring to bear. In
such a case, the galleys at all times took care, as far as possible,
to station themselves right ahead or else astern of their opponent, in
order to avoid the fire of the broadside, though this, considering the
rude gunnery of the early sixteenth century, was almost an excessive
precaution, since the narrow, low-lying galley, when end on, must have
presented a mark much more likely to be missed than to be hit. When the
breeze got up, the English ships stood toward the enemy, who thereupon
incontinently fled, and was not followed for any considerable distance.
This moment was dangerous for him, for if he did not turn quick enough
and get away before the English were quite close, he was likely to
suffer very severely, for the galleys carried no guns astern. La Garde
and the Prior of Capua were expert officers, and when, after some hours
of long bowls, the wind got up and the English ships began to bear
down, they extricated themselves very smartly from danger.

The first day having thus passed in a species of fighting which might
have been prolonged for weeks with little material damage to either
side, the French went on for a second, but not apparently for a third
day. Yet, on this occasion, they were encouraged by the conviction
that they had really inflicted a severe loss on the English fleet.
There had been a loss, but it was due, unless all contemporary
Englishmen were in a conspiracy to conceal the truth, to something
more discreditable to us than the enemy's cannon. The king's ship, the
=Mary Rose=, had been thrown away by pure mismanagement. This was the
vessel so ardently praised by Sir Edward Howard in the words quoted
already. She capsized as she was coming out of Portsmouth harbour,
owing, as it would seem, partly to defects in her construction, partly
to neglect of precautions on the part of her crew. The lower-deck ports
are said to have been only sixteen inches above the water-line, which
is certainly dangerously low. As her crew were tacking her, or altering
her course in some other way, she heeled over. If the ports had been
shut and the guns made fast, no great harm might have followed, but the
ports were open and the guns cast loose. When the water rushed in, the
additional weight caused the vessel, overburdened as she was with the
weight of her fore and after castles, to heel still further, and then
the unfastened guns fell in a rush on the lee-side, probably breaking
through wherever they fell against the planking. The =Mary Rose= filled
and sank with such amazing rapidity, that of the 400 soldiers and 200
sailors, more or less, who formed her crew, not more than 40 were saved.

The pardonable conviction that they were entitled to credit themselves
with the destruction of the =Mary Rose= had no very inspiriting
influence on the French. M. d'Annebault even gave up making any further
attacks to draw the English ships out by the use of his galleys, and
adopted the alternative course of landing small parties of men in St.
Helens Bay, at Shanklin, and the Blackgang Chine, for the purpose of
plundering the country. None of these landing-parties seem to have
been of any strength, and several of them were roughly handled by the
militia of the island. D'Annebault has been severely criticised by
his countrymen for want of energy, and on the whole with justice. He
excused himself, partly by pleading that if he had landed a great
number of men, he would have so weakened his fleet that the English at
Portsmouth could have fallen upon him with every prospect of success,
and partly by the opinion of a council of war. The first of these
excuses is very lame, for at a later period D'Annebault could afford to
put four thousand men on shore in France, and yet be strong enough to
give battle to Lisle at Shoreham. He could certainly have landed three
thousand in the Isle of Wight, and if he had done so he might have
retaliated very severely for the damage done by the English in France,
while the ships at Portsmouth must have incurred deep discredit if they
had lain idle while the houses of their countrymen were being burned
before their eyes. The council of war is only technically a better
excuse. He did indeed call a council of all the pilots in his fleet, to
ask them whether it was possible to attack the English at Portsmouth
with success. The pilots, as might have been expected, magnified the
dangers and the difficulties--the shoals, the narrowness of the entry,
the currents, the tides, the risk that the first vessels entering would
be overpowered, and block the way for those following, the chance that
a ship anchoring in a tideway would swing stern-on to the English
fire, and, in short, all the topics of dissuasion which are usually
advanced by subordinates on such occasions. If the expert knowledge of
pilots had been listened to by Nelson, he would never have fought the
battle of the Baltic. Fortunately for King Henry VIII., D'Annebault
does not seem to have reflected that you can hardly hope to inflict
serious injury upon an enemy who possesses some effective strength,
except at the very serious risk of being hurt yourself. He wanted, to
judge by his actions, to win without running any serious risk; and
as the enemy with whom he had to deal was not one likely to give him
a victory upon these easy terms, he had finally to retire without
delivering an effective stroke. His timidity and want of resource are
strikingly illustrated by the fact that he made no use of his galleys
for the purpose of towing his great ships into Spithead, which they
could easily have done. On the other hand, it must be confessed that
no very great enterprise was shown by the English in the use of their
own row-boats. We neither hear of them as being employed to tow the big
ships into action, nor of any really serious attack made by them upon
the galleys. Perhaps the fate of Sir Edward Howard was too fresh in the
recollections of our officers to allow of any repetition of his attempt
in Conquet Bay.

Whether any considerable number of men were either killed or wounded in
these very languid operations is doubtful, but both fleets certainly
lost heavily from a cause which, throughout the whole of this and the
following two centuries, was far more destructive than the sword.
Hardly had King Henry VIII. left Portsmouth when his generals began
to report to him the prevalence of sickness in his fleet; while the
plague broke out amongst the French at St. Helens, even if it had not
begun before they left Havre. Overcrowding, dirt, and salt food were
universal in old fleets, and they produced their natural effects. We
are probably well within the mark in supposing that for every man
killed in action, or mortally wounded, fifty died of fever or the
plague, and this continued to be the rule until well past the middle of
the eighteenth century. What between disappointment at the obstinacy
of the English in not fighting him on his own terms, the timidity of
his pilots, and want of enterprise, D'Annebault, after spending several
days in this futile manner, sailed away from St. Helens, coasting along
Sussex, and making, as before, small plundering attacks, which even
seem to have been very badly conducted, and could in any case serve no
purpose except to embitter the already sufficiently savage hostility of
the two countries. After a few days of this, he stood over to the coast
of France, and near Boulogne landed not only four thousand soldiers,
but three thousand pioneers, who had been supplied to him for the
purpose of erecting the fortifications in the Isle of Wight. Even after
this he still thought himself sufficiently strong to return to the
English coast, and he reappeared accordingly in a few days.

On their return to the coast of England, the French made no attempt to
renew the attack on the Isle of Wight. They prowled along the shores
of Sussex and of Kent in what reads like a very aimless manner. If they
had any definite object, it was to prevent the English from sending
reinforcements to Boulogne. On the whole, it does appear likely that
they had some such purpose, for the general direction of their cruise
was towards the narrow seas. So soon as they were relieved from their
fears at Portsmouth, the English ships were ordered out to observe the
French. It appears, from a letter of Lisle's to Paget, that he had been
instructed by the king to remain at Spithead.

 "Havyng received your letters, this morninge, wherein I do perceyve
 the Kinges Majesties plesser, as concerninge the settinge forwardes of
 His Majesties navy towardes the Narro Sees, wher, as it aperith, the
 Frenche men doo tryhumphe, I truste ther shalbe no tyme forslowyde in
 the advauncement and settinge forth of His Majesties plesser in that
 behalfe; and I moste humbly thanke His Majestie, that it hath plesed
 the same to gyve me libertye to look towardes theyme, for I never
 thought my selfe in prisone tyll now, syns the tyme of our lyinge
 here, and doe no servis. I truste in God that we shall departe hense
 uppon Tusdaye, yf the wynde will serve us."

When they did depart hence, some time was spent in finding the exact
whereabouts of the triumphing French. Lisle sent vessels to look into
Havre, who reported that a great part, if not all, of the French fleet
had returned. This, however, must have been a mistake, for D'Annebault
had certainly come back to the north side of the Channel immediately
after landing his men at Boulogne. Between the 9th of August, the date
of the letter quoted, and the 15th, Lisle found the enemy somewhere in
the neighbourhood of Shoreham. The orders he had taken in view of the
expected battle are particularly interesting, not only for what they
tell of the sea fighting of the time, but because they contain the
first mention of much which appears continuously during the succeeding
centuries of our naval history.

The fleet under Lisle's orders consisted in all of 104 vessels. He had
divided them into three squadrons, respectively called the Vanwarde,
the Battle, and the Wing. All three terms were taken from the military
language of the time. The Battle was the usual name of the main or
central division in the army, the Vanwarde needs no explanation, and
we may suppose that the Wing was used to describe the third division,
later called the Rear. This is the division into Red, White, and
Blue squadrons, which became established in the naval wars of the
seventeenth century. These titles were taken from the flags which
finally came into use. In 1545 the only flags shown were the Royal
Standard or "Banner of the King's Majesty's Arms," and the Cross of St.
George or English Ensign. Lisle provided for distinguishing his own
flagship from those of his subordinates by ordering that she should
bear the Royal Standard at the main, and one flag of St. George's
Cross at the fore. The ships of his division were to carry the St.
George's Cross at the main. The admiral of the Vanwarde was to carry
two flags of St. George--one at the main, and the other at the fore.
The ships of his division were to carry their St. George's Cross at
the foretopmasthead. The admiral of the Wing was to carry the English
Ensign at the mizen, and every ship of his division was to do the same.
It does not appear that the ships in this division were distinguished
in any way from the flagship. By night the admiral carried three
lights--one great lantern on the poop, and two smaller lights in the
midst of the bonaventure mizen shrouds. The bonaventure mizen was a
very small mast at the extreme end of the ship, where the smaller
mast of a yawl is now placed. The admiral of the Vanwarde carried two
lights, and the admiral of the Wing one light, on the bonaventure
shrouds. The last articles of the sailing orders were, "The watch
wourde in the night shalbe thus, 'God save King Henrye'; thother shall
aunswer, 'And long to raign over us.'" This has been supposed to be the
germ of the National Anthem.

In strength the fleet was divided as follows:--The Van consisted of
24 ships, carrying 3800 men, the Battle of 40, with 6846 men. Lisle
himself was in this division, with the flag in the =Henry Grace à
Dieu=. The Wing was of 40 smaller vessels, carrying only 2092 men.
Perhaps the most interesting of the admiral's fighting orders is the
third--

 "Item, when we shall se a convenient tyme to fight with thenimies, our
 Vanward shall make with ther Vanwarde, if they have any; and if they
 be in one compenye, our Vanward (takyng thadvauntage of the wynde)
 shall set uppon ther foremost ranck, bryngyng them oute of order; and
 our Vice-Admirall shall seake to bourd their Vice-Admirall, and every
 capitaign shall chose his equall, as nere as he maye."

In the thirty years which had passed since the death of Sir Edward
Howard, some progress had been made towards establishing a recognised
order of battle. Practice, helped no doubt by speculation, had brought
our admirals to see the necessity of a regular method. In this
disposition to stretch all along an enemy, and engage him from end to
end, we have the first indication of that line of battle of which so
much will be heard. It was the natural formation of a fleet relying
on its broadside as its means of offence. But the line of battle may
be left to grow a little more clearly defined before we discuss it.
What is for the present of interest is to point out that the principle
upon which the great majority of our naval battles have been fought,
was present, not in germ, but fully developed, in this third item of
Lisle's orders. It contains, in fact, the whole of the famous Article
XIX. of the Fighting Instructions. The van was to steer with the
enemy's van, the centre with his centre, and the rear with his rear,
and the captains were to take "every man his bird." In time this became
a sheer pedantry, and a burden under which the ablest officers of the
navy chafed for a generation, until a happy accident encouraged them
to throw it off. But in 1545 it was a progress, since any kind of
order was in advance of none at all, and there was no hope of finally
attaining a good system except by a series of experiments,--in other
words, by successively trying everything that was wrong, and rejecting
it.

The correspondence of the Lord Admiral was otherwise interesting. There
was, for instance, admirable sense in the reasons he gives for not
appointing two captains to the vessels fitted as galleys.

 "And wher as His Majesties plesser ys to have to capitaynes and
 leaders of His Highnes rowyng peces, I do think, yf it may so stande
 with His Highnes plesser, that one shall do His Majestie better servis
 then too. For if theyr be too rulers, one will have his mynde, thother
 wil have his; if any thinge frame a mys, thone will excuse him by
 thother; the resydue under theym will excuse theym by two comanders;
 'he bed me do that, and tother this.' Yf theyr be butt one, having
 chardge, nether he that hath the chardge commytted only to him, nether
 thos which be under one, hath any soche excuse."

Lisle's correspondence contains also several incidental notices
of the ships under his command, which are valuable as showing the
unseaworthiness of even the best vessels of the time. Thus, for
instance, he writes on the 20th of August to Lord St. John: "This
shall be to advise you that the King's Majesty's new ship called =The
Mistress= is in such case with labouring in this foul weather, that
she is not able to keep the seas, without spoiling of her masts, and
tackle overboard. Her mainstay is loose in the partners, and the
cross-trestles both of her foremast, and also of her mainmast are
broken." The foul weather of which Lisle complains must have been
experienced between the middle of July and the latter half of August.
At that season it would certainly have been thought extraordinary, in
the eighteenth century, that a new ship should have been so strained
by weather alone as to be under the necessity of returning immediately
to port. It does not appear that Lisle made any complaint of the work
done on the =Mistress=, or that he attached any blame to her officers.
He rather accepted this instant disabling of this vessel, which, be it
observed, was the flagship of the Wing, as a dispensation of Providence
to be borne with patience. Nor was the =Mistress= by any means the
only ship of his fleet which had broken down under the strain of a few
weeks' cruising in summer.

On the 21st Lisle writes again to St. John--

 "I trust your Lordshipp have advertised the Kinges Majestie of the
 state of the =Mystres=, and of the Gallye =Subtill=, and the foyste,
 which I suppose wooll be hable to do no more sarvice, until they be
 amended. And if the French armye shuld retourne agayne this yere to
 the sees, which verilly I rather thynck they wooll not, we shuld have
 no small mysse of those three peeces. There be allso in this armye
 dyvers shippes, which, after another storme, wooll be hable to loke
 no more abroode this yere. And I thynck our enimies be in as evill
 cace, or worse. For emonges such a nomber of shippes, as they have,
 and as we have, all cannot be strong, nor all cannot be well tackled."

If it appears, as on a bare narrative of the facts it must, that both
fleets showed a singular languor during their movements in this summer
campaign, it is only fair to take into account the quality of the
instruments with which the admirals had to deal. It was not possible to
do anything very rapid with clumsy, ill-balanced vessels, which were
overstrained by a summer breeze. Moreover, both leaders were in reality
hampered by what they no doubt considered an element of strength. The
numbers of their fleets alone would have made any kind of combined
action impossible. At a time when the vessels were incomparably better,
and our seamen had a far larger experience, Nelson considered it
impossible to manoeuvre more than thirty ships in a line of battle.
That is to say, he thought it beyond the power of the most skilful and
practised body of captains ever collected under one command to combine
the movements of more than thirty well-constructed ships in such a
manner that they could be brought to bear upon an enemy all together.
If this was impossible with so small a number of very superior vessels,
we can imagine how hopeless must have been the attempt of D'Annebault
or Lisle to direct the movements of a hundred and a hundred and fifty
inferior vessels of all sorts and sizes. With the best will in the
world, they could not but straggle in the variable summer breezes and
the tides of the Channel. Besides, the system of signals was hardly
yet in existence. There were, and indeed at all times must have been,
a few arbitrary signals, to anchor or to get up anchor, to fight or
leave off fighting, and so forth, but there were no means by which
an admiral could communicate an order to make a particular movement,
except by sending a boat with an officer. Of course this implies that
the movements of fleets must have been very slow, or else a messenger
who had to row could not have overtaken the captain to whom he was
sent. Even so, to send orders to the ships ahead of the admiral must
have required an amount of time which made any rapidity of movement
impossible, besides leaving an interval for accidents which would
render the order improper by altering the whole circumstances. In fact,
no battle, in the sense the word had in even the seventeenth century,
could well be expected to take place between these two fleets in 1545,
even if there had been a more manifest desire on the part of the
admirals to bring one on.

The truth is, that neither D'Annebault nor Lisle showed any such
inclination. The Frenchman returned from his own coast to ours, and
began to stretch along it from west to east. Lisle followed, with the
intention of making a stroke at the enemy if a particularly tempting
opportunity presented itself. On the 9th of August he wrote to Paget:
"If we chance to meet with them, divided as it should seem they be,
we shall have some sport with them." From the French account in the
memoirs of Martin du Bellay, which is both full and fair, it is clear
that D'Annebault was no more adventurous than Lisle. On the coast of
Sussex he showed the same incapacity to understand that, in war more
than in most enterprises, he who will nothing venture shall nothing
have. The English fleet came in sight of the French near Shoreham on
the 15th of August. D'Annebault had drawn his vessels as close to
the beach as was safe, with his galleys to the west, under a small
headland, and therefore between his great ships and the English, who
were advancing from Portsmouth. The galleys had been hauled into very
shallow water, where the larger of Lisle's ships could not reach them.
D'Annebault's calculation was, that the English admiral would not care
to run the risk of passing the galleys, for the purpose of attacking
the great ships beyond, lest they should fall upon his rear, and so
put him between two fires. According to Lisle's statement to the king
of the plan on which he intended to fight, he would not have been
deterred from attacking by the dispositions of the French admiral. He
had made counter arrangements which were skilful in intention, and
might have been effective. His plan was to fall upon the great ships
of the French fleet, with the Vanwarde and the Battle, leaving the
smaller craft which formed the Wing to stay behind, or to windward,
and ward off the French galleys. A shift of the wind from the west to
north-east rendered it impossible for him to carry out his intention.
The change in the wind had transferred the weather-gage to D'Annebault,
and if he had been as eager for battle as according to Martin du
Bellay he asserted himself to be, he had now an admirable opportunity
of fighting. But D'Annebault again found insuperable difficulties in
the way of coming to close quarters. All the use he made of his chance
was to fight a tardy, inconclusive battle. Martin du Bellay and Lord
Lisle substantially agree, but we may give the preference to our own
countryman.

 "After my right hartie commendacions. Theis shalbe tadvertise you,
 that the Kinges Majesties navie ys arrived twhart of Beauchif; where,
 for lack of wynde, we be at this present comme to ancker, to stopp
 this ebbe, and with the nexte fludd, which wooll be aboute foure of
 the clock in the mornying, we entend (God willing) tapplye towards
 Dover. I had thought the French fleete wold have been here before me,
 to have stopped us at this place, for uppon Saturdaye night last,
 both they and we came to ancker within a leage togethurs; and all
 the same daye, frome noone untill night, they assailed us with ther
 gallyes, but ther hole fleete approached us not, untill it was after
 son settyng; before which tyme ther gallies were repulced, and then
 both they and we came to ancker, within a leage one of an other: and
 yarly in the mornyng they were dislodged; for by the tyme yt was
 daye, they were asfarre unto the wynde of us, as we might escrye them
 oute of my mayne topp, halyng into the seawarde, the wynde beyng
 somewhat fresshe; so that, if they had taried, ther gallyes could
 have doon them letill pleasour. And wheras, the daye before, they
 came togethurs, like an hole wood, they kepte now, in ther removing,
 noon order; for some of our small boates, which could lye best by
 a wynde, (whome I dyd purposely send to se what course they helde,
 and what order they kept) brought me wourde, that they lay est with
 the sailes, as though it shuld seame that they mynded to fetche the
 Narrow Sees before us. Ther was five myles in lenght (as they thought)
 between ther foremost and ther hyndermost shippes. And seyng that
 they be not here in this baye (which we have alredy seane) I cannot
 perceave, howe they can be before us in any part of the Narrow Sees.
 Wherefore I have thought good to desyer you to send me some of your
 intelligence, and allso that you wold gyve knowledge to Rye, that all
 the shippes, which be there with the Kinges Majesties victualles, may
 comme and mete with me to morowe at the Nasse (Dungeness), as I goe
 towardes Dover; where, (God willyng) if the wynde wooll suffer me, I
 wooll be with thole flete to morowe at night. Herof I requier you,
 with diligence, tadvertise the Kinges Majestie. And if ther armye, or
 any parte of them, remayne in any parte of the Narrowe Sees, whethur
 it be uppon ther owne quoast, or uppon oures, I doubt not but I wooll
 have some knowledge of them, ones ere to morowe night; wherof allso
 (God willyng) I wooll not faile to signifye unto His Highnes. And thus
 I byd you right hartilly well to fare. In the Harrye, under Beauchif,
 this Mondaye, the 17th of August, at 9 of the clock in the night."

  Your assured loving Frende,

    (Signed) John Lisle.

To this lame and impotent conclusion came the great attempt of Francis
I. to punish Henry for the capture of Boulogne. When every allowance
is made for the insufficiency of the tools with which the French
admiral had to work, it is impossible to acquit him of having shown a
remarkable want of spirit. It would appear, if we are to trust Blaise
de Montluc, that his countrymen did not expect much. "Our business is
rather on the land than on the water, where I do not know that our
nation has ever gained any great battles," is the sentence in which he
dismisses the expedition. Montluc, for his part, did nothing that was
worthy to be written about. But it was perhaps because the French did
not expect much, then or at later periods, that their admirals have so
commonly shown the timidity of D'Annebault.

The war contained no further naval operations of any importance. Both
fleets were worn out by operations which for the time were lengthy and
trying. The Governments, too, were exhausted, and all but bankrupt.
Both Francis and Henry VIII. were at the end of their lives; and
although peace was not actually made till after the death of both of
them, the war was not pushed seriously. Only a very detailed history of
the navy could find place for an account of the reigns of Edward VI.
and Mary Tudor. Much could not be said, however anxious the historian
might be to pass over absolutely nothing. The only achievement of
Edward VI.'s Government with regard to the navy was to employ it for
the purpose of assisting the Protector Somerset's invasion of Scotland.
This effort appears to have exhausted the energies of King Edward's
Council, as far as the navy was concerned. In fact, all the members
of that body were far too busy intriguing against one another, to
attend to the defences of the realm. The resources of the country
had been taxed to the utmost during the reign of Henry VIII. A sum
of over £3,600,000 was calculated to have been spent on wars during
the reign of father and son, and to get the equivalent of that outlay
in our generation we must not only multiply the sum spent by 20, but
divide the existing wealth of the nation by some much larger figure.
During the few years of confusion which make up the reign of Edward
VI., the navy was reduced to half the numbers attained by Henry VIII.
Seventy-one vessels, of which thirty were of respectable size, was
the strength of Henry's navy. Queen Elizabeth never had quite so
many ships; and although those of James and Charles I. were on an
average larger, they were never more numerous. Mary Tudor inherited
the diminished navy of her brother, and she could do little to bring
it back to the former standard. Her marriage with the King of Spain
established a firm alliance, for the time being, with what was then the
most considerable naval power in Europe, while the entire exhaustion
of France in the reign of Henry II. made the possession of a powerful
fleet less necessary. But though little was demanded of the navy at
that period, it was allowed to become too weak to do even that little.
When Calais was attacked by the Duke of Guise in the winter of 1559,
Mary's navy was so unprepared that it could not be got ready in time to
give the least assistance to the garrison. A few of our ships, which
had been fitted out too late to be of any service at Calais, did make
their appearance on the flank of the French troops, which were defeated
on the sands at Gravelines, by the Count of Egmont, and that was about
the sum of the service they rendered during Mary's reign. There was
indeed something stirring among the seamen of the west of England,
which was to have great consequences in the next reign, but it will
come to be dealt with more appropriately in our account of the navy of
Queen Elizabeth.



CHAPTER II

REIGN OF ELIZABETH TO THE DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA

 AUTHORITIES.--Charnock continues to be of value for this reign, and
 indeed for the history of the navy till the end of the eighteenth
 century. Derrick's _Rise and progress of the Royal Navy_ gives
 useful official lists. Mr. Whateley gives the substance of the rules
 established for the Navy Office by Elizabeth in 1560, at pp. 131-134
 of his _Samuel Pepys, and the World he lived in_. The original is in
 the S. P. Dom. Elizabeth, vol. xv. The Calendars of State Papers of
 the reign contain much information as to the navy. More is in the
 great collection of Hakluyt. The Navy Record Society has published the
 papers referring to the Armada, while the Spanish side of the story
 is told in _La Armada Invencible_ of Don Cesareo Duro--so admirably
 extracted and combined by Mr. Froude in his _Spanish Story of the
 Armada_. Drake's first notable cruise to the West Indies is told in
 the _Drake Redivivus_.


When Elizabeth ascended the throne, in 1559, she found the navy in
the same state of weakness and confusion as all other parts of the
administration. Its downward progress from the high level at which
it had been left by Henry VIII. was rapid. In 1548, at the beginning
of the reign of Edward VI., it had consisted of 53 vessels of 11,268
tons, carrying 237 brass guns and 1848 of iron. The crews were then
estimated at 7731 men. In the sixth year of Elizabeth's reign, even
after her government had begun its efforts to restore the naval forces
of the country, the number of vessels was only 29. From that point
it gradually returned to something more like the position it had
occupied under Henry VIII. In one respect, indeed, it may be said to
have remained permanently inferior to his. It never reached the same
number, but numbers afford only one, and not necessarily the surest,
test of strength. The size and armament of the ships are often far more
trustworthy indications of power than the number of vessels. During
the queen's reign the average size of ships was much greater than it
had been in her father's. In 1578 the navy contained 24 ships of 10,506
tons, manned by 3760 mariners, 630 gunners, and 1900 soldiers. The
total force is put in Derrick's list at 6570 officers and men. If these
figures are accurate, or even only approximately correct, it would
appear that the staff of the navy, that is, the officers and their
immediate personal attendants, must have numbered 280. Ten years later
the navy had increased to 34 ships of 12,590 tons, with 6279 men. At
the death of the queen the number of ships was 42, the tonnage 17,055,
while the crews amounted to 8346 men, divided into 5534 mariners, 804
gunners, and 2008 soldiers. On comparing these figures with those
of the navy as it stood in 1548, it will be seen that the ships of
Elizabeth were on an average rather more than twice as large as those
her brother had inherited from their father. The changes which had
taken place in the constitution of the crews are somewhat different.
The little vessels of King Edward carried nearly as many men as the
much larger ships of Queen Elizabeth. No doubt, where there were more
ships to man, many men were necessary, but, scattered among small
vessels averaging 212 tons or thereabouts, they cannot have exerted the
same power as they would have done in the better and heavier warships
of Elizabeth. It is interesting to see the great change which had come
over the constitution of the crews in the course of the century. In
Henry's reign the soldiers were always more numerous than the sailors.
During Elizabeth's the proportion was entirely reversed, and at the
date of her death the mariners were almost twice as numerous as the
soldiers in her sea service. In fact, the navy was becoming necessarily
a more seamanlike force. The development of the ship had been steady.
The mere barges of King Henry's reign had given place to vessels which
were already approximating to a modern standard. Seamanship itself had
grown far beyond the humble standard of the early sixteenth century.
Then the seaman, at least the English seaman, was a mere coaster. When
the great queen died, he was already accustomed to far-ranging voyages,
and the navy was no longer expected only to carry soldiers across the
Channel, and fight a force no more expert than itself, but to invade
the West Indies, and at need to circumnavigate the globe. It followed
that the sailor became relatively more important, and as his skill
grew to be the most essential element of strength, his numbers had to
be increased. Sir Walter Raleigh in the following reign summed up the
changes which had taken place in his time.

 "Whoever were the inventors, we find that every age has added somewhat
 to ships; and in my time the shape of our English ships has been
 greatly bettered. It is not long since the striking of the topmasts,
 a wonderful ease to great ships, both at sea and in the harbour, hath
 been devised, together with the chain-pump, which taketh up twice as
 much water as the ordinary one did. We have lately added the bonnet,
 and the drabler, to the courses; we have added studding-sails, the
 weighing anchor by the capstern. We have fallen into consideration of
 the length of cables, and by it we resist the malice of the greatest
 winds that can blow. Witness the Hollanders, that were wont to ride
 before Dunkirk with the wind at north-east, making a lee shore in all
 weathers; for true it is, that the length of the cable is the life of
 the ship in all extremities; and the reason is, that it makes so many
 bendings and waves, as the ship riding at that length is not able to
 stretch it, and nothing breaks that is not stretched."

When we speak of the greater size of Elizabeth's vessels, it must be
remembered that the increase of tonnage had been among the smaller, not
the greater warships. Some of King Henry's had been as large as, if not
larger than, any of Queen Elizabeth's, but then she did not have the
same swarm of mere cockboats. The navy was, in fact, tending to become
a more uniform as well as a more seaworthy force.

The armament of these ships was still very heterogeneous, and the names
of the pieces curiously fantastic. The following list gives the mere
denominations of the guns:--

  Cannon
  Demi-cannon
  Culverins
  Demi-culverins
  Sakers
  Mynions
  Falcons
  Falconets
  Port-pece Halls
  Port-pece Chambers
  Fowler Halls
  Fowler Chambers
  and
  Curtalls.

There is some uncertainty as to the weight of the shot fired by these
various pieces, and the following list must be taken with some reserve,
but it no doubt gives the calibres of the guns with substantial
accuracy.


  +---------------+---------------------+---------------+
  |               |        Sir          |   According   |
  |               |  William Monson's   | to some other |
  |    Sorts      |       Account.      |   Accounts    |
  |     of        +---------+-----------+---------------+
  |  Ordnance.    |  Bore.  | Weight of |   Weight of   |
  |               |         | the Shot. |   the Shot.   |
  +---------------+---------+-----------+---------------+
  |               | inches. |   lbs.    |     lbs.      |
  | Cannon        |  8      |  60       |   60 or 63    |
  | Demi-Cannon   |  6-3/4  |  33-1/2   |      31       |
  | Cannon Petro  |  6      |  24-1/2   |      24       |
  | Culverin      |  5-1/2  |  17-1/2   |      18       |
  | Demi-Culverin |  4      |   9-1/2   |       9       |
  | Falcon        |  2-1/2  |   2       |       2       |
  | Falconet      |  2      |   1-1/2   |      ...      |
  | Minion        |  3-1/2  |   4       |       4       |
  | Sacar         |  3-1/2  |   5-1/2   |       5       |
  | Rabinet       |  1      |     1/2   |      ...      |
  +---------------+---------+-----------+---------------+

The quality of these guns was good. Down to the middle of the sixteenth
century they were made by welding together bars of wrought iron little
inferior in tensile strength to that used in very recent times for
Armstrong guns. About 1550 the use of cast iron, which made it possible
to turn out large numbers of guns, came in. All the changes which have
taken place in the construction of weapons of war have not been in the
direction of what we should consider progress. When in our own time the
guns which had been sunk at Spithead, in the wreck of the =Mary Rose=,
were dredged up, it was found that they were breech-loaders, and there
is evidence that experiments in the rifling of cannon were made very
early. The difficulty of making a trustworthy breech-piece accounts
for the triumph of the muzzle-loader, which drove its rival out of the
field for centuries. The distribution of the guns in the ships remained
very much what it had been during the reign of Henry VIII.; that is to
say, cannon of the most various sizes were mounted side by side on the
same deck. A few specimens taken from a list attested by the auditors
of the Prest and the officers of the Ordnance in 1599, printed by
Derrick, will show how far this practice was carried.

  +----------------------+------------+------------+------------+
  |       Names.         |    Arke    | White Bear |  Triumph   |
  +----------------------+------------+------------+------------+
  | Cannon.              |      4     |      3     |      4     |
  | Demi-Cannon.         |      4     |     11     |      3     |
  | Culverins.           |     12     |      7     |     17     |
  | Demi-Culverins.      |     12     |     10     |      8     |
  | Sakers.              |      6     |    ...     |      6     |
  | Mynions.             |    ...     |    ...     |    ...     |
  | Falcons.             |    ...     |    ...     |    ...     |
  | Falconets.           |    ...     |    ...     |    ...     |
  | Port-piece Halls.    |      4     |      2     |      1     |
  | Port-piece Chambers. |      7     |    ...     |      4     |
  | Fowler Halls.        |      2     |      7     |      5     |
  | Fowler Chambers.     |      4     |    ...     |     20     |
  | Curtalls.            |    ...     |    ...     |    ...     |
  +----------------------+------------+------------+------------+
  | Total Number of      |            |            |            |
  | Pieces of Ordnance   |     55     |     40     |     68     |
  +----------------------+------------+------------+------------+

A large proportion of the pieces named here were very small, and it
is doubtful what is to be understood by some of the terms. They apply
doubtless often to small "murdering pieces," of about the size of a
duck-gun, mounted on the cobridge heads and bulwarks, for the purpose
of repelling or driving out boarders. Therefore we must not suppose
that the 68 guns of the =Triumph= represented anything like what
that figure would have meant two hundred years later. It must not be
forgotten that if Elizabeth did less to increase the strength of the
navy than her father, she did not inherit a treasure as he did, and
neither had she the spending of the plunder of the Church. He spent his
capital. She had to confine herself to income.

No administrative changes in essentials were made by Elizabeth in the
organisation of the navy. The function of the officers of the Navy
Office, which had not as yet been strictly defined, were settled by
instructions issued by the queen in 1560. What her Government did do
was to attend to the navy with enlightened care, and to select the
officials with judgment. It is known that for years the business of
building, refitting, and taking care of the ships of the navy, and
of superintending the purchase of stores, was carried on by Sir John
Hawkins, who held the posts of Treasurer and Comptroller of the Navy.
Hawkins was the successor of his father-in-law, Benjamin Gonson, in
the office of Treasurer. It appears that he held his post under an
agreement with the queen, by which he undertook to discharge the
ordinary duties of caretaking for £5714 a year, he meeting all the
common charges and supplying part of the stores, while heavier and
exceptional expenses, whether for building new ships or for fitting out
the fleet for sea, fell to the Crown. His remuneration for the work
was apparently to be derived, in addition to the fees of his offices
of Treasurer and Comptroller, from what remained over and above after
paying for the work, and from the privilege of disposing of condemned
ships and stores. The openings for fraud in such a system are many
and obvious. If his enemies are to be believed, Hawkins did not miss
the opportunities afforded him. It is said that he robbed the queen
directly, and that, being partner in a shipbuilding yard on the Thames,
he made use of his official position to forward his private interests.
But Lord Howard of Effingham bears witness that Hawkins had the ships
of the queen's navy in admirable order in the Armada year, and he is
undoubtedly entitled to the credit of having done much to introduce
into the navy the improvements in construction and rigging detailed by
Sir Walter Raleigh.

Such in its main outlines was the instrument of which the great
queen, her ministers, and her captains made magnificent use. It was
but modest and even weak in itself; but in truth the Royal Navy was
only part of the naval force at the disposal of Elizabeth. During the
forty-four years of her reign, we constantly find that the vanguard
in all actions, and a great part of the main body of the queen's sea
power, was formed of adventurers. In the following century, and from
the time of the first Dutch war, it is possible to tell the history of
the navy with rare references to the action of those volunteers who
fought for their own hand as privateers. But this was by no means the
case with the navy of Queen Elizabeth. The most famous of her captains
gained their reputation by privateering voyages, and were only taken
into her service when they were already known leaders. To the end of
her long war with Spain the private ship is found fighting alongside
the queen's. The most successful of her expeditions against the
Spaniard, whether in Europe or in the New World, were carried out by
what, according to modern practice, would be a very strange partnership
between the Crown and speculators, who, no doubt, had patriotic
motives, but who had also very direct interest in the pecuniary
results of the campaign. In fact, the word adventurer in the language
of Elizabeth's time was commonly applied, not to the sea-captains,
mariners, and soldiers who assailed the Spaniard in the West Indies,
but to the shipowners and capitalists who found the money for fitting
out the expedition, and who claimed two-thirds of the prize as their
reward.

The privateer may be said to have made his first appearance during
the last naval war of the reign of Henry VIII. The king had issued
what were called letters of marque, that is, a species of commission
authorising anybody who could fit out an armed ship to plunder the
French and to keep a large share of the booty. His invitation to this
form of private enterprise was eagerly accepted, especially by the
seamen and country gentlemen of the West of England. They fitted out
ships in large numbers, and cruised with profitable results against
the French trade. The experience of 1545-46 seems to have thoroughly
established the taste for privateering in the western counties, and it
endured without any visible sign of abatement for generations. During
the reigns of Edward and Mary and the early years of Elizabeth the
western sea rovers continued as busy as ever, even when the country was
at peace. They had an excellent pretext in the religious dissensions
which were now beginning to swallow up, or at least to colour, the
political conflicts of the European powers. In Mary's reign, Devonshire
gentlemen of strong Protestant sympathies betook themselves to the
pious work of plundering Spaniards and the other subjects of the
queen's husband. The considerable traffic between Flanders and the
Basque Ports of Spain supplied them with an irresistible motive for
embracing the cause of pure religion. When the Low Countries revolted
against the persecuting despotism of Philip II., the Protestants, who
had been for a time crushed on land, appeared on blue water under
the well-known name of "The Beggars of the Sea." These landless and
desperate men found sympathy and help in the west country. For many
years no small part of the duty of every Spanish ambassador consisted
in making unavailing protests against the outrageous piracy of the
queen's subjects. In this school were trained the men who manned the
ships of Hawkins and Drake.

At the same time, another influence was at work to turn the energy of
Englishmen to the sea. Until the death of Mary Tudor put an end to the
Burgundian alliance, that is, the close community of interests which
had for long united England with the House of Hapsburg, there had been
few signs of distant commercial enterprise in England. The trade to the
Levant had indeed been extended, and attempts had been made to open a
route by the north-east to the Spice Islands, but England seemed to be
reluctant to break in upon the Portuguese monopoly of the route by the
Cape and the Spanish tenure of the route by the West, until she had
clearly learned by experiment that there was no third way of access
she could acquire for herself. France, which was at open war with
the sovereign of Spain and the Low Countries, had sent out swarms of
adventurers to attack the Spaniards in the New World, but we had, when
Elizabeth ascended the throne, taken no part in this warfare. No sooner
was Elizabeth well settled on the throne than a great change took place.

The persecutions of Mary's reign, if they had not made England
Protestant, had at least made it bitterly anti-Roman Catholic; and
this, at a time when the King of Spain was the recognised protector of
the Pope, meant anti-Spanish. This served to remove any disinclination
to attack our old ally. At the same time, Englishmen began to be much
more effectively desirous of sharing in the wealth to be obtained by
trade with the New World They were impatient at the thought that they
were to be for ever shut out from the commerce of the East and the West
Indies by a decision of a Pope of the previous century, who had given
the Spaniards everything to the west of the famous line drawn from
north to south, a hundred leagues to the west of the Azores, and had
left the Portuguese the exclusive right to everything in the East. We
did not recognise the Pope's right to dispose of what did not belong
to him, and were minded to have our share of the good things lying
beyond the line. The Spaniards would hear of no such pretension, and,
though they were ready enough to trade with us in Europe, insisted
upon treating all seamen of other nations whom they found in America
as pirates. According even to the principles of some of their own
thinkers, this refusal to trade was a fair justification for a war.
Elizabeth was, however, by no means prepared for open hostilities
with Spain. All she would do was to refuse to recognise the right of
the Spaniards to exclude her subjects from trading with the Indians.
Therefore they were free in her opinion to go to the New World, and if
the Spaniards refused to recognise their trade as legitimate, Elizabeth
for her part was not inclined to forbid her subjects to defend
themselves against what she considered unfair interference. The causes
of dispute between the queen and King Philip, apart from this, were
many and various. Thus it got to be known among enterprising Englishmen
that if they could make their hand keep their head from the blow of the
Spaniard, they had nothing to fear from the queen when they came home
from poaching expeditions on his preserves. For men who had, or who
only affected to have, religious motives, and who had the most genuine
desire to gain riches, this hint was enough, and so the third year of
the queen's reign saw the first voyage of Hawkins to the West Indies.

In 1562, Hawkins, who was the son of a prosperous Plymouth merchant
and shipowner, and had been bred to the sea in his father's ships
in voyages to the Canaries, made the first recorded slaving venture
carried through by an Englishman. He had learned enough in the
Canaries to know that slaves were valuable in the West Indies, and
that the Spanish planters, who were very ill supplied under the
system of monopoly which prevailed in Spain, would be ready to buy
negroes smuggled among them by an English trader. With the help of his
father-in-law Gonson, Sir William Duckett, Sir Thomas Lodge, and Sir
William Winter, all merchants and seafaring men, and some of them very
directly connected with the queen's Government, he fitted out three
little vessels and made a most profitable all-round voyage. First he
went to the coast of Africa, where he kidnapped slaves, then he went to
the Antilles and smuggled them. The second voyage, carried out in the
last months of 1563 and the first of 1564, was a repetition of this on
a much larger scale. Hawkins had now done so well that every confidence
was felt in his capacity. Lord Robert Dudley, better known as the Earl
of Leicester, became his patron. He was allowed to hire a queen's ship,
the =Jesus of Lubeck=, an old vessel built in Germany. With a larger
force Hawkins visited the coasts of Africa once more, after touching at
Teneriffe, probably to make arrangements with the Spaniards associated
with him in his smuggling speculations. On the coast of Senegambia he
plundered Portuguese slavers who had already secured a full cargo,
and then he burned, murdered, and kidnapped among the native villages
until his hold was full of what in the cant of later times was called
"ebony." With this cargo he made his way to the mainland of South
America, after a trying voyage, in which both the kidnapped blacks and
their captors suffered severely. Hawkins was borne up by a conviction
that the "Lord would not suffer His elect to perish." At Borburata
and Rio de la Hacha he sold the greater part of his cargo, partly by
the help of the planters, who were glad enough to get the slaves,
and partly by threatening to do them a displeasure if his trade was
forbidden. From Rio de la Hacha, Hawkins sailed northward across the
Caribbean Sea. The force of the westerly current, which is permanent
in those waters, was not then known, and the smugglers were carried
to the westward of the island of San Domingo. Owing to the mistake of
a Spaniard whom they had among them, either as a prisoner, or, as is
at least equally probable, as the agent of their associates among the
Spanish planters, they fell to leeward, which in the West Indies means
to westward both of San Domingo and of Jamaica. As the season was far
advanced, and his vessels foul from being long at sea, Hawkins decided
to make no further attempt to touch at the Spanish Antilles, which
he could only have reached by beating to windward against the trade
winds. He returned home by the Straits of Florida and the Banks of
Newfoundland. On his way he relieved the French colony established in
Florida by Ribault. It is one of the best-known events in the history
of the time that this colony was not long afterwards exterminated by
the Spaniard Pedro Menendes de Aviles, by methods which have, in the
opinion of Protestant writers, covered his name with the infamy of
extreme cruelty.

Although there had been no actual fighting in Hawkins's two
expeditions, they were considered by the Spaniards as hostile. That
they should have taken this view is not unreasonable, for the English
rover had undoubtedly forced an entrance into their ports by threats.
He himself must undoubtedly have been aware that his occupation was
illegal, for on his own showing he excused his presence in Spanish
ports by a tissue of lies. It was his regular practice to assert that
he was sailing with a squadron of the queen's ships, and had been
driven into harbour by bad weather or the want of stores. It is easy
to understand that the manifest falsity of this excuse was not so
obvious to the Spanish Government as it is to us. King Philip would
not unnaturally believe that although the queen disavowed the actions
of Hawkins publicly, she was encouraging him in private. In a sense
this was true; for if the queen did not actually send Hawkins to the
West Indies, she not only refused to punish him for going there, but
allowed him to enjoy the fruits of his voyage, and shared in them
largely herself as owner of the =Jesus of Lubeck=. If the sovereigns
had been disposed to go to war, the excuse for hostilities was ready to
their hands. But Philip was entangled in heavy expenses by the revolt
in the Netherlands and his wars with the Turks, who were then at the
height of their power. So he preferred to remain patient under the
provocations inflicted on him by Elizabeth; and she, who had abundant
troubles of her own, was equally little disposed to incur a war if
it could be avoided. The struggle was left to be carried on by the
subjects of both rulers in unavowed warfare, and from the nature of
the case very soon took the form of piracy on one side and of savage
repression on the other. Hawkins had been exasperated on his return
from his second voyage by what he considered a private wrong. Ships
which he had sent to Spain from the West Indies laden with colonial
produce had been confiscated by the Spanish Government. At a later
period he succeeded in getting back a part at least of the value of his
forfeited goods by pretending to betray the queen. But between 1564
and 1567, when he sailed on his third voyage, he had other schemes
for righting himself. He would have sailed sooner than he did if the
queen, who was in danger from the intrigues of Mary Stuart, had not
had particular reason to refrain from offending Philip too far. But
in 1567 Mary had ruined her own cause by the murder of her husband,
and her marriage with his murderer. The need for Philip's neutrality
was not what it had been, and so Hawkins was allowed to sail, and
was again permitted to hire the queen's ships. That his expedition
was of the nature of an act of hostility to Spain was a matter of
public notoriety. The Spanish ambassador protested against it as
against other acts of piracy, but to no kind of purpose. So little was
Hawkins restrained, that he was allowed to combine with some of the
"Beggars of the Sea" for the purpose of plundering some Spanish ships
which took refuge in Plymouth Sound while he was lying there with his
squadron. In high hopes, and with the sense that, however the queen
might refuse to justify his actions in form, she would certainly afford
him effectual protection, Hawkins sailed on his third voyage, which
ended so disastrously, in October 1567. The earlier part of the voyage
was spent in the usual round of kidnapping on the coast of Africa and
smuggling in the Spanish ports of the West Indies and the Main. When
only a remnant of his cargo of slaves remained, Hawkins departed from
his previous course and steered for the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico
to the little island of St. Juan de Ulloa, which forms the harbour of
La Vera Cruz, then, and now, the port of Mexico. He excused himself
for sailing into this harbour by his customary fiction, alleging that
his ships had been injured by bad weather, and must be refitted before
he could venture to return to Europe. But this story can hardly have
been told with the slightest expectation that it would be believed.
Indeed, Hawkins was so thoroughly well aware that the Spaniards would
see through his very transparent defence, that on his way across the
Gulf of Mexico he captured a Spanish vessel, and held her crew and
passengers as hostages. This was an act of undeniable piracy, and would
have been so considered at any period of the world's history. In truth,
it can only have been for form's sake that Hawkins put himself to the
trouble of repeating his stock invention. It had come to this, that if
the Spaniards were to make good their claim to keep the English from
trading with their American possessions, they must show themselves
strong enough to do it. For the present, Hawkins believed that the
strength was on his side, and, but for an event which he cannot be
blamed for not foreseeing, he might very well have turned out to be in
the right.

The squadron Hawkins took to La Vera Cruz on the 16th of September 1568
consisted of some ten or a dozen vessels, for he had been joined in
the West Indies by French rovers. With this force it would have been
easy for him to overpower any resistance the Spaniards could offer.
There was at that time no fortress on the island of St. Juan de Ulloa,
and the town of La Vera Cruz was not yet built. A few sheds, used only
during the time that the yearly convoy of merchant ships from Spain was
in the harbour, was all that stood upon the beach. When Hawkins made
his appearance outside the harbour, he had no difficulty in frightening
the local officials into letting him anchor. But in the course of
negotiations with them he learned a piece of news which caused him
well-grounded anxiety. On his first appearance off the harbour, the
Spaniards had mistaken him for a convoy expected from Spain, bringing
the new Viceroy, Don Martin Henriquez: of course, if this appeared,
the position would be disagreeably complicated. But it was now too
late for Hawkins to go back, so he took up his place in the harbour.
In a few days the fleet from Spain made its appearance. It consisted
almost wholly of merchant ships, but there was one heavy galleon of
war which served as the flagship of the Spanish admiral, Francisco
de Lujan. Hawkins could probably have kept the Spaniards out of the
harbour easily enough, but in the autumn months the coast of Mexico is
liable to furious gales of the nature of hurricanes, called Northers.
If one of these had burst while the Spaniards were outside the island
of St. Juan de Ulloa, the whole Spanish squadron must have perished.
As it was estimated to be worth £1,850,000, and carried hundreds of
his subjects, including so great an officer as the Viceroy of Mexico,
this would have been an outrage King Philip could not possibly have
endured. Hawkins must have been very well aware that if the queen did
not happen to wish for a war with Spain at the moment when he returned
to England after such an exploit, she would hang him without the
slightest scruple for causing her the trouble. On the other hand, if he
once allowed the Spaniards to get inside the harbour, there was every
probability that they would cut his throat with the least possible
delay. In the dreadful fix in which he now found himself, Hawkins
hit upon a middle course. He allowed the Spaniards to come in, after
exacting from them a promise that they would suffer him to trade in
safety and depart in peace. It is hardly credible that the Englishman
can have supposed that a promise extorted in such a fashion would have
been observed. If he did, his confidence did not last long, for, in
his own narrative of what our ancestors called "the treachery of the
Spaniards," he confesses that he was extremely nervous. From the day
after Don Francisco de Lujan had moored his ships beside the English
on the island of St. Juan de Ulloa, he was in constant expectation
of a sudden attack, and on the third day it came. The English had
insisted upon keeping possession of the island, but the men who had
been appointed to stand on guard broke into a panic and fled, leaving
the guns mounted for the protection of the English ships to be turned
upon them by the Spaniards. The panic spread to the ships. The crews
cast off their moorings and endeavoured to fly, but, attacked as they
were by the battery on the island and by the Spanish ships, they were
all destroyed except two--the =Minion=, in which Hawkins made his own
escape, and the =Judith=, commanded by his cousin, Francis Drake.

This, the treachery of the Spaniards, makes a great epoch in the
history of the naval adventures of Elizabeth's reign. It killed for
ever the hope of establishing a peaceful trade with the Spanish
possessions in the West Indies. It showed our men that if they were
to have their share of the wealth of the New World, it must be got
sword in hand. Hawkins, in whom there seems to have been very much
more of the fox than the lion, did not again appear in the West
Indies, till he came there to die in the disastrous failure of 1594.
But the work was taken up by other hands. The strongest and the
most famous were Francis Drake's. After two small voyages, probably
smuggling ventures with slaves, in 1570 and 1571, Drake boldly entered
the West Indies to plunder in 1572 with two very small vessels, the
=Pasha= of Plymouth, of 72 tons, and the =Swan=, of 25. This was a
pure-and-simple buccaneering venture, conducted with spirit and skill,
and finally with success. He was, indeed, beaten off at Nombre de
Dios, which the historian of his voyage mendaciously asserts to have
been a town as big as Plymouth. It was, in fact, a mere temporary
trading station, consisting of a storehouse and twenty or thirty wood
huts in a very unhealthy position, and was afterwards given up by the
Spaniards in favour of Porto Bello. But after this check, and some
months of cruising on the coast, made melancholy by the loss of a
brother and nearly half his crews in scuffles with the Spaniards or by
fever, Drake had the good fortune to capture a _recua_, the Spanish
name for a string of pack mules laden with gold. The profits of the
voyage were immense, and the audacity of it, not unnaturally somewhat
exaggerated by his countrymen, gained Drake great renown. But the real
fruits of his invasion of the West Indies were seen in the voyage of
circumnavigation which followed in 1577 and 1578. A detailed history
of this famous enterprise would be out of place here. It belongs,
properly speaking, to discovery, and such feats as the capture of
Spanish merchant ships and of the galleon _Cacafuego_ hardly entitle it
to rank among the exploits of the navy. The importance of the voyage
lies mainly in the immense stimulus it gave to the enterprise of the
whole nation, and in this, that it was an unmistakable proclamation to
the whole world that England had both the will and the power to set at
nought the pretensions of the Spaniards and the Portuguese to debar all
rivals from the free use of the ocean.

After Drake's return from ploughing a furrow round the world, we need
not treat the actions of the adventurers as standing apart. Although
open war with Spain did not come for several years, it was known to be
inevitable by both countries. The most famous leaders among the western
seamen were retained for the queen's service. Throughout the years in
which the maritime strength of England had been growing by its own
intrinsic strength, and her seamen had been gaining both in skill and
confidence, the Royal Navy, in the strict sense of the word, had played
a subordinate part. It was not yet expected to afford protection to
English traders beyond the four seas of Britain. Of what was its proper
work, it had had little to do.

In 1560 Sir William Winter had been despatched to the coast of Scotland
to aid the Lords of the Congregation in their struggle against the
French regent, Mary of Guise. In 1562-3 another English squadron had
been employed to help the French Huguenots by conveying the detachment
of English soldiers who were sent under command of Ambrose Dudley to
Havre. In 1573 it was found necessary to employ the queen's ships
against our late allies, the Huguenots, Sea Rovers, and the Beggars
of the Sea, who, having pretty effectually destroyed Spanish commerce
in the Channel, were driven to plunder their Protestant friends as
an alternative to starvation. But as the struggle with Spain grew
nearer open national war, the navy found more perilous work than
this. In 1579 a squadron of the queen's vessels did good service by
capturing the Spanish ships which had landed the soldiers of the Pope
at Smerwick in Ireland. Even yet the queen shrank from making a direct
attack on Spain, and preferred to injure her enemy by assisting his
rebellious subjects in the Low Countries. At last, when, under the
sting of multiplying provocations, Philip was known to be making ready
in his own slow way for a decisive attempt to crush England for good,
Elizabeth and her Council decided upon delivering a direct blow.

The manner of the doing of the thing was a curious example of the
partnership between the queen and her subjects. In 1585 an expedition
was organised to sweep the West Indies. The calculation was, that an
invasion of this part of his dominions would cause the King of Spain
more harm than a direct attack at home, since he drew by far the
best part of his revenue from the American mines. The English seamen
were not yet sufficiently acquainted with the details of the Spanish
establishments in America to deliver their stroke in the most effectual
manner. For one thing, they altogether over-estimated the importance of
the towns in the West Indian Islands. Yet, in principle, the policy of
the expedition was perfectly sound. To cripple the King of Spain before
his invading fleet was under way, was a far more effectual course
than to wait for him in the Channel; and there is no doubt that the
five-and-twenty ships put under the command of Drake in the autumn of
1585, to attack the island of San Domingo and Carthagena, did delay the
sailing of the Armada, besides inflicting great discredit on the King
of Spain.

In this fleet only a minority of the ships actually belonged to the
queen, the others being the property of men in business, who entered
into this warlike operation as a speculation. Unity of command
was provided for by the appointment of Drake, both as the queen's
admiral and as the privateer admiral, if such an expression is to be
admitted. Martin Frobisher, chiefly known hitherto as an explorer
who had attempted to discover a North-West Passage, was appointed
vice-admiral. The command of the troops was given to Christopher
Carleill, an officer of much experience both at sea and in the wars
of the Low Countries. The fleet sailed from Plymouth on the 14th of
September, and touched on the coast of Spain on the way out. It was
characteristic of the time that we did not profess to be at war with
the King of Spain in Spain, but only in America. Therefore there was
a good deal of rather polite negotiation between the English leaders
and the Marquis of Zerralbo, the King of Spain's governor of Galicia.
This did not prevent our seamen from plundering a Spanish ship in which
they discovered a tempting consignment of church plate; but casual
acts of piracy of this kind were too much in the habits of the time
to be counted an unpardonable infraction of the peace. From Vigo the
English fleet sailed to the Canaries, and from thence to Santiago in
the Cape de Verd Islands. At this place it made a too prolonged stay,
in the hope of extorting a ransom, but the Spanish authorities took
refuge in the hills of the centre of the island, and could neither be
threatened nor cajoled into giving themselves up. This was no doubt
a serious disappointment to Drake in his character of agent for the
adventurers, and it was not the last; for though the political results
of the cruise were great, as a financial speculation it proved to be a
failure. From Santiago the fleet stretched across the Atlantic to the
island of San Domingo, and captured the city of the same name with very
little difficulty. The Spanish towns had not hitherto been subject to
any attack more formidable than that of native Indians, and were not
seriously fortified. They fell easily before the assault of the 1200
well-appointed soldiers Carleill could land from the ships.

San Domingo proved a great disappointment to the captors. It had at
one time been the seat of a considerable export trade of bullion from
the mines of the island. But, though our men did not know it, these had
been long exhausted or deserted in favour of the far richer mines of
Mexico and Peru.

The well-to-do inhabitants of San Domingo were planters who had little
ready money, or the lawyers of the Court of Appeal. After several weeks
spent in haggling, and in burning part of the town, the English were
constrained to accept of 25,000 ducats of 5s. 6d. each as ransom for
the town, a much smaller sum than they had hoped to obtain. From San
Domingo they went on to Carthagena on the mainland of South America,
at that time a small unfortified town of a few hundred inhabitants.
Entering the land-locked harbour by the Boca Grande, the English made
themselves masters of Carthagena, after storming its only defence--a
wooden stockade. Here their experience at San Domingo was repeated. The
Spaniards had received warning of the approach of a hostile expedition,
and had had time to remove their bullion into the country. After a
good deal more haggling, 110,000 ducats were extorted as the ransom of
the town. The results of the expedition had been disappointing, but
the fleet had nothing for it but to return home without further delay.
A fever had broken out at Santiago, and the health of the crews had
suffered still more severely from the tropical malaria of the coast.
Including those who fell in action, it was calculated that more than
half of the men forming the expedition lost their lives. The total
product of the cruise was £60,000. Of this, £40,000 was due to the
adventurers, and the remaining third was to be divided between the
soldiers and sailors who manned the ships. This can have given only
about £6 a head to those who had risked their lives and had survived
the fevers and the weapons of the Spaniards. The adventurers cannot
have done much more than cover the expenses of fitting out their ships.

We are now approaching perhaps the most famous passage, and certainly
the most picturesque, in the naval history of England. From the
beginning of 1586 England was threatened by invasion from Spain,
throughout 1587 she was taking measures to avert the danger, and in
1588 the great Armada, which has been baptized in sarcasm with the name
of Invincible, actually approached our shores, and then passed away
to destruction without having as much as burned one sheepcote in this
island.

It was the habit of Philip II. to be very slow in his preparations. His
flatterers, knowing the kind of praise that would give him pleasure,
described him as thorough and prudent. In point of fact, the course
he followed was singularly inefficient and practically rather rash.
It would have cost Philip less, and would have redounded much more to
his glory, if he had armed three or four well-appointed squadrons of
active ships to protect his galleons on their way across the Atlantic,
and to keep the West Indies clear of invaders. It must be obvious
that if fifteen or twenty Spanish warships had made their appearance
in the neighbourhood of San Domingo while the English soldiers were
disembarked for the purpose of attacking the town, the squadron could
hardly have escaped destruction, and in that case the soldiers must
sooner or later have shared the fate of those members of Hawkins's
crew who were left behind in Mexico in 1567, to the "little mercy" of
the Spaniards. But when a small active squadron would have been of
immense service to Philip, he had nothing but the first beginnings of
the raw material of the great fleet with which he intended one day to
exterminate the power of Elizabeth. His admiral, Don Álvaro de Bazan,
the Marquis of Santa Cruz, told him, when the news of the sailing of
the expedition of 1585 came, that there was nothing to prevent Drake
from sweeping the West Indies, or from entering the Pacific, and
there doing as he pleased with the ill-armed and unprepared Spanish
settlements. King Philip had ships and guns and men enough among his
subjects, but when they were wanted, the guns were not in the ships
and the crews were not collected. Thus the "potent" King of Spain, as
he was called, and as he might have been with better management, had
to sit helpless while a privateering fleet ranged at will through
his possessions and plundered his subjects. As it was in 1585, so it
was in 1586 and 1587: Philip was toiling laboriously to collect his
armament, but as he would not put the various parts together till he
had collected all he wanted, no portion of his inchoate fighting forces
was ready on a sudden call.

There are few more ludicrous passages in history than the cruise of
Drake in 1587. Queen Elizabeth and her ministers were aware that
preparations were being made for an invasion of England. Although the
queen's passion for intrigue induced her to keep up a laborious show
of friendly negotiations with the Prince of Parma, Philip's viceroy in
the Low Countries, she did not in practice forget that she was at war.
In the spring of 1587 she decided to despatch Sir Francis Drake for the
purpose of looking into the preparations reported to be making in the
Spanish ports. As in 1585, the queen bore only a part of the expenses.
Of the thirty ships despatched, four, the =Bonaventure=, the =Lion=,
the =Dreadnought=, and the =Rainbow=, with two pinnaces attached as
tenders, belonged to the Royal Navy; the others were "tall ships" of
London, not hired by the queen, but joined in partnership with her
for the purpose of making what profit they could by plundering the
Spaniards.

Drake sailed from Plymouth early in April, and in the 40th degree
of latitude he learned from two German merchant ships that great
quantities of naval stores were being collected at Cadiz to be
transported to Lisbon, where the King of Spain's "Admiral of the Ocean
Sea," Don Álvaro de Bazan, had his headquarters. Portugal, it may not
be superfluous to remind the reader, had been annexed a few years
before by Philip II., who claimed to be the heir of Dom Sebastian,
slain at the battle of Alcázar el Kebir, and it continued to be
joined to the many other crowns of the King of Spain till 1640. Drake
immediately made for Cadiz, where he found the outer harbour crowded
with ships. These were the vessels which were designed to take part in
the invasion of England. But, by a piece of ineptitude of a kind not
at all rare in Philip's reign, they were for the most part unmanned. It
was easy work for the thirty efficient ships to capture, burn, sink,
or drive on shore such of these vessels as were not able to make a
timely escape into the inner harbour. The work was done thoroughly,
and to the no small profit of the adventurers. Enormous quantities
of booty were transferred from the Spanish to the English ships; and
although they were subject to an irritating fire from the distant
Spanish batteries, and to attack by the galleys, the English sailors
met with little difficulty in the discharge of their task. The work was
hard, and the men are said to have been really glad when the Spaniards
set fire to the vessels which had not yet fallen into our hands, and
thereby put a stop to the toil of collecting more plunder. Nothing more
disgraceful to the management of Philip II., nothing which more fully
revealed the essential weakness of his power, could well have happened.
From Cadiz Drake stretched along the coast to Lisbon, landing as he
pleased, and plundering as he thought fit. At the mouth of the Tagus he
anchored and sent in a challenge to the Marquis of Santa Cruz. But the
king's admiral, though he was a man of great natural courage and of an
enterprising character, could not accept it, for his vessels were in
no condition to take the sea without the stores burned at Cadiz. From
Cascaes Drake stood across to the Azores, and lay there undisturbed
on the track of the carracks, the great merchant ships employed by
the Portuguese at that time in the trade with the East Indies. One of
these, named the _St. Philip_, fell into his hands. She was the first
of these ships ever taken by us, and the sight of her cargo must have
had a good deal to do with arousing the desire of English merchants
to share in the trade of the East. This capture, added to the plunder
taken at Cadiz, secured the profits of the voyage, and therefore
Drake made sail for England with his fleet and the prize, where they
all arrived "to their own profit and due commendation, and the great
admiration of the whole kingdom."

This check did not make Philip any wiser than before, but neither
did it in any way damp his determination to collect such a fleet as
should make an end of the English pirates. He began the work of getting
his stores together again with imperturbable patient industry. Drake
described his feat in the outer harbour of Cadiz as the singeing of
the King of Spain's beard, and the phrase was accurate as well as
humorous. He had insulted the enemy, and had done him as much injury
as would compel him to abstain from action for the time being, but he
had not seriously crippled his power. By the spring of the following
year the Spanish fleet was ready for service, and if Don Álvaro de
Bazan had lived, it might have sailed sooner than it actually did.
The old man's own plan, communicated to the king some years before,
had been to embark a sufficient army in Spain, and sail direct to the
coast of England, but the resources of King Philip were not adequate
to a scheme of the scale proposed by his admiral. He had to maintain
an army under the Prince of Parma in Flanders, and could not meet the
expense of organising another. He had therefore decided to make the
fleet he was collecting in Spain co-operate with the army he already
had in the Low Countries. It was indeed to carry reinforcements to the
Prince of Parma, but it was on him that the task of providing an army
for the invasion of England was to be laid. The Spaniards have always
counted it fortunate for England that the Marquis de Santa Cruz died
on the 9th February 1588. Perhaps it was, though it may be doubted
whether the very complicated task set by the king could have been
successfully performed even by him. To bring a fleet from Spain into
the Channel, to carry it to the Low Countries, to embark an army there
and transport it to the coast of England, would have made a long and
complicated operation, to be conducted in difficult seas, of which the
Spaniards had little knowledge, and in the face of the most determined
opposition from Dutch and English seamen. However that may be, the
Spaniards were deprived of such chance of victory as they might have
had under the command of the "Iron Marquis" by his death; and then the
king, acting on motives which are not a little mysterious, selected
from among his subjects as leader of this great enterprise perhaps the
gentleman who was more fitted than any other then living to lead it
to ruin. This was Don Alonso Perez de Guzman, Duke of Medina Sidonia.
He was a youngish man, small, of a swarthy complexion, and somewhat
bandy-legged, who, according to his own candid and somewhat pitiful
confession to the king, knew nothing of war by land or sea, was always
sea-sick when he went in a vessel, and never failed to catch cold. What
qualification he had, beyond his illustrious lineage and his great
estates, for a high command nobody has ever been able to discover.
These were no doubt to be taken into account at a time when obedience
was more readily rendered to a gentleman of great social position than
to others; but there were men of the duke's own rank among Philip's
subjects who had served, and were at least not manifestly unfit for the
post. But the king chose the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and, overcoming
his manifest reluctance to take the command, sent him to succeed the
Marquis de Santa Cruz. It was in reality consistent enough with the
duke's first unwillingness to take the post, that, once in it, he had
not the smallest hesitation in contradicting the advice and overruling
the decisions of his veteran predecessor. He declared that what had
seemed enough for Santa Cruz was not enough; he wanted more ships, more
men, more stores; and thus the fleet, which ought to have started in
February, did not leave the Tagus till May. During all this time the
stores already collected began to go rotten and had to be replaced. The
pressed-men ran, and others had to be found; and so delay bred delay,
and the months passed in mere waste alike of time and material.

On our own side there were also defects of management, not, however,
attributable to the officers in command, but partly to the poverty of
the queen's Government, and partly to the vacillations of the queen.
Elizabeth, it must not be forgotten, was a very poor sovereign, and
the maintenance of a great fleet was a heavy drain upon her resources.
Moreover, she had an artistic love of tricks. She could not be
thoroughly persuaded that it was hopeless to expect to avert the
Spanish invasion by artful diplomacy. Therefore, between her impatience
under the expenses of the fleet and her profound belief in her own
cleverness, she vacillated all through the spring of that eventful
year. Her ships had been brought into excellent order by John Hawkins.
Her subjects were full of zeal; and although the smaller ports met the
demand for ships with loud complaints of poverty and of the ruin of
their trade by war, yet London freely offered twice as many vessels and
men as the Crown asked for, while the nobles and those adventurers of
the stamp of Drake and Hawkins, who had grown rich at the expense of
the Spaniards, were active in fitting out vessels and collecting crews.
The queen's Lord High Admiral, Charles Howard, Lord Effingham, was as
fit a man for the place as could have been found. He had, it is true,
no experience in war; and it does not appear, from anything recorded of
him, that he was a man of much ability. But he had character and tact,
and the happy faculty of allowing himself to be guided by his abler and
more experienced subordinates, without suffering his authority to be
diminished.

By the mouth of Howard, Elizabeth's captains implored her for leave to
repeat the cruise for 1587. They pointed out that, if we must fight
the Spaniard, it was better to fight him on his own coast than ours,
and, moreover, it was safer, since, even if we were to be beaten,
defeat would be less dangerous a long way off than at home. But
Elizabeth would not part with the hope that her diplomacy, which had
stood her in such admirable stead during the twenty-eight years of
her reign, would serve her again, and she would not allow her fleet
to sail for an attack upon Spain, which must necessarily have broken
off the negotiations of peace. Still, the preparations for war were
not neglected. The Admiral of England, Lord Howard, with Drake as Vice
and Hawkins as Rear Admiral, had his headquarters at Plymouth, while
Lord Henry Seymour commanded the ships of London and the East Coast,
in the Thames. On the approach of the enemy, his station was to be in
the Downs, where he was to watch the Duke of Parma, who was collecting
the army of invasion in the Flemish ports. In this work Seymour had the
help of a squadron of Dutch vessels, commanded by Justinus of Nassau, a
natural son of William the Silent.

At the end of May the Duke of Medina Sidonia did at last sail. All
his demands had been supplied by the king. His banners had been
solemnly blessed by the Cardinal Albert--the cardinal who was Viceroy
of Portugal; all his officers and men had taken the Communion and
confessed their sins; and at last the Armada was on the way, with
assurances from the king that "it must succeed, since God would not
fail to help it on an enterprise so much for His service as this
was." When Cromwell told his soldiers to trust in God, he also added
the order to keep their powder dry; in other words, not to allow
their reliance on divine assistance to tempt them into neglecting
ordinary human precautions. King Philip was lavish in good advice
and intelligent direction, but he was neither so practical as Oliver
Cromwell, nor would he take equally good care that what he directed
his men to do should be within their power. It was worthy of a king
who, throughout the whole of his life, was endeavouring to achieve
vast ends with very insufficient means, that Philip sent his fleet out
with the knowledge that it suffered from a great cause of inferiority,
but without making the slightest effort to remove the defect. He knew
that the gunnery of his crews was altogether inferior to the English,
and that his guns were not so good. Therefore, as he warned the Duke
of Medina Sidonia, it was to be expected that the English ships would
endeavour to engage at a distance, and would avoid coming so close that
the Spaniards would have a chance of boarding them. It was also not
unknown to Philip that the English ships sailed better than his own,
and that therefore it would be in their power to choose the distance at
which they would engage. Yet, instead of providing quicker ships and
better guns, and of training more skilful gunners, he could only advise
his admiral to come to close quarters with the English fleet without
telling him how the feat was to be achieved. The very first experience
of his fleet after leaving Lisbon ought to have shown him how little
hope there was that the unlucky Duke of Medina Sidonia would have it in
his power to engage the English except on their own terms. By a curious
coincidence, Lord Howard and the duke left port at about the same time;
the Lord Admiral sailing from Plymouth to the south and west in order
to meet the coming Spaniards, and Medina Sidonia sailing from Lisbon
towards England. Had no accident intervened, they would probably have
met in the neighbourhood of the Scilly Isles. A few days after the duke
had left Lisbon, a gale broke out from the south-west. It affected both
fleets,--the Spaniards, who had just rounded Cape Finisterre, and the
English, who were at the mouth of the Channel. But whereas these latter
were only hindered, the Invincible Armada was completely scattered. The
duke had given his fleet only one rendezvous in case of an accident
of this kind, and that was the neighbourhood of the Scilly Isles. The
squadron of _urcas_, or storeships, which accompanied his fleet held on
to the appointed place, and there remained. But the heavy galleons were
so maltreated by the wind that they were scattered along the coast. The
duke himself anchored at Corunna, and there collected his ships after
some days of confusion. A whole month passed before he was ready to go
to sea again. He himself was so dispirited that he actually proposed
to advise the king to give the enterprise up altogether, and was only
restrained from writing to that effect by the strenuous efforts of a
council of war. Meanwhile, Lord Howard, after being driven back by the
gale, had taken to the sea again, and had despatched a squadron to
reconnoitre towards the coast of Spain, while the bulk of his fleet was
stretched across the mouth of the Channel, in order to be the better
able to catch sight of the enemy if he endeavoured to pass. Nothing was
seen of the Spaniards, and Lord Howard returned to Plymouth. Although
undoubtedly better fitted than the Invincible Armada, the English
ships were not without wants of their own. In the hope of diminishing
expenses, or perhaps rather from the difficulty found in collecting
provisions, it was thought necessary to put the men "six on four,"
that is to say, that each set of six men received the rations of four.
It is doubtful whether the gaol fever, which broke out later on, had
already appeared, but the health of the fleet was not good. From Cecil
there came incessant appeals to keep down "charges," and complaints
that, no matter how much money was sent, he was worried out of his
life by appeals for more, to the no small aggravation of the gout,
from which he suffered cruelly. This idle hope to diminish expense,
at a moment when England had need to spend every man and every penny,
led the Treasurer, and perhaps Elizabeth, to propose a measure of
enormous practical folly. It was actually proposed to the Lord Admiral
to pay off four or five of his biggest ships on his return to Plymouth.
Howard, with patriotic indignation, professed that he would rather pay
the expenses out of his own pocket. The proposal was never carried out,
for the Spanish fleet appeared off the Lizard.

Medina Sidonia sailed from Corunna on the 12th of July. This date and
all the others must be understood to be in the old style used by us,
and not in the new or Gregorian employed by the Spaniards. The strength
of the Spanish fleet is put at 132 ships of 59,120 tons, carrying
29,287 men, of whom 21,621 were soldiers and 8066 were sailors. It is
doubtful whether all these vessels were actually present after the
various disasters the Armada had already experienced. The four galleys
must be deducted from its strength. They proved perfectly incapable of
facing the winds and currents of the Channel, and were compelled to
take refuge in French ports. Nearly a third of the others were _urcas_,
and of no use for fighting purposes. The whole was divided into ten
squadrons. The first in dignity--for it included the flagship of Medina
Sidonia--was the squadron of Portugal, consisting of ten galleons.
Then followed the squadron of Castile, of fourteen sail, under the
direct command of Diego Flores de Valdes. This officer had commanded
the yearly _flota_, or convoy, which went to and fro between Spain
and its American possession, carrying the trade; on account of his
experience as a seaman, Diego Flores had been especially recommended
to Medina Sidonia as his adviser, and sailed with him in the flagship.
His character seems to have been envious, and, whatever he may have
done to supply the duke's deficiencies as a seaman, he proved an
indifferent military adviser. Pedro de Valdes commanded the squadron
of Andalusia, of ten ships. The squadron of Biscay was of the same
strength, and the flag officer in command was Juan Martinez de Recalde,
who was also senior admiral of the whole fleet, by which we may perhaps
understand that he was the officer responsible for the navigation,
subject to the directions of Medina Sidonia. Miguel de Oquendo led the
ten ships forming the squadron of Guipuzcoa. The squadron of Italy,
under Martin de Bertendona, was of the same force. Twenty-three _urcas_
or storeships were under the command of Juan Gomez de Medina, while a
miscellaneous swarm of other small craft were under Antonio Hurtado de
Mendoza. Four galleasses, great overgrown galleys, formed a squadron
apart, under Hugo de Moncada. The four galleys under Diego de Medrado
proved, as has been said above, useless from the first, and never
took any share in the fighting in the Channel. They were driven by
the weather to seek refuge in French ports, and were able, later on,
to return in safety to Spain. Although the names of the various kinds
of ships forming the Armada are strange, the vessels themselves, with
the exception of the galleasse, described above, were not essentially
different from our own. The "galleon" was, for instance, only our
"capital ship." Although it has been customary to speak of the Spanish
ships as exceeding ours in bulk, it does not appear that any of them
were larger than the best of the queen's--the =White Bear=, for
instance, or the =Triumph=, or the =Ark=. Some twenty or twenty-five of
our largest were equal to eighty or ninety of the Spaniards in average
size, and far superior in seaworthiness. The smaller ships were equal
to their smaller in size, and vastly superior in number.

In the number of guns, also, the superiority of the Spaniards was much
more apparent than real. There is a doubt as to the actual excess in
the number of the Spanish cannon over the English. On the other hand,
modern Spanish writers have endeavoured to show that the English had
the advantage in the point of weight. It is, however, easy to make too
much of this. The number of cannons royal, and even of demi-cannon,
in the English navy was not great. The large majority of our guns
were culverins and demi-culverins of about the same calibre as the
guns carried by the Spaniards. For practical purposes, however, the
English had really a greater number of cannon, for it is beyond doubt
that the fire of our gunners was both more rapid and better directed.
The Spaniards themselves confessed that we fired three to one. It is
self-evident that a gun which is fired three times in five minutes is,
for the purpose of doing damage, quite as effectual as three guns which
are fired once each in the same space of time. The Spaniards, indeed,
looked down upon the use of artillery as being somewhat ignoble. The
management of the guns was left entirely to the sailors, who were a
despised and subordinate element in the crews of their ships. It does
not seem that they had any class of gunners. When, then, we remember
that the Spanish ships were ill fitted for the navigation of the
Channel, and that their seamen had no knowledge of its waters, it
will be seen that even with good leadership they would have been at a
disadvantage.

When we turn to our own fleet, the conditions are completely reversed.
In mere material force, that is to say, in the number of capital ships
and of guns, we were inferior, but in every other respect we had
the superiority. We had experience, familiarity with the waters in
which the fighting was to take place, and a far higher level of skill
in gunnery. The value of the fleet, the fighting instrument, must
depend on the skill of the men by whom it is used, that is to say,
of the seamen. Now, whereas the Spanish sailor was, as has been said
above, subordinate and despised, the English seaman had conquered his
due place of superiority in the fleet. But, after all, the greatest
element of superiority on our side was to be found in the quality
of the leaders. Lord Howard of Effingham, without being a man of
extraordinary ability, had a valuable mixture of intellectual docility
and vigour of character. And his subordinates, Drake, Hawkins, and
Frobisher, were all in various degrees capable men. The subordinate
leaders among the Spaniards were not unworthy to compete with our own.
Pedro de Valdes, Martinez de Recalde, and Miguel de Oquendo, not to
mention many others, were able officers, but they were not listened
to by the Duke of Medina Sidonia, whose conduct presented a familiar
combination of vacillation and obstinacy. He alternately allowed
himself to be earwigged by his official adviser, Diego Flores, or
insisted upon having his way when the advice of any seaman would have
saved him from committing a blunder. The number of ships with Lord
Howard at Plymouth was about a hundred, including all the best of the
queen's. The other vessels, which altogether amounted to nearly another
hundred, were either still in the ports along the Channel, or were
collecting, under the command of Lord Henry Seymour and Sir William
Winter, in the Thames and the Downs.

The orders the Duke of Medina Sidonia had received from his king were
both intelligent and explicit. He had been told that his first duty
was to cripple or destroy, if he could, the English fleet, and that
the transport of Parma's army was only to be a secondary object. A
large discretion was very properly left him in the carrying out of his
duties, while the general principles upon which he was to act were made
quite clear. How the duke contrived to disobey at once the letter and
the spirit of his orders will be seen from the following narrative.

On the 20th of July his fleet reached the Lizard, after eight days
of easy navigation from Corunna, which he had left upon the 12th. As
not infrequently happens in the case of a long-expected danger, the
actual crisis was a surprise. When the Spaniards were reported to be
in the neighbourhood of the Lizard, Lord Howard was lying with the
whole of his fleet in Plymouth Sound. As the Spaniards came up with a
good south-westerly breeze, they had, if they had known how to use it,
a great opportunity to strike with advantage. The same breeze which
brought them up made it extremely difficult for the English to get out,
since the wind was blowing across the Sound. If, then, the duke had
kept straight on and had steered boldly into Plymouth Sound, he might
have forced the English to battle under circumstances highly favourable
to himself, for in a confined anchorage the English ships could not
have manoeuvred, nor would it have been within their power to choose
their distance. The heavy Spanish galleons could have run them aboard,
and then the fight must have been conducted in conditions which it was
the interest of the Spaniards to seek. From the report of one Captain
Vanegas, a military officer serving in the flagship, it appears that
the proposal to sail in and attack the English in Plymouth Sound was
actually made to Medina Sidonia by Alonso de Leiva, but it was rejected
with the advice of a council of war, on the ground that the Spanish
fleet could not attack in a line abreast, because of the shoals at
the mouth of the Sound (those upon which the breakwater now stands);
while if they entered in line ahead, that is to say, one ship following
another through the channels on either side of the shoal, they would be
destroyed in detail by the fire of the English ships and forts. This
was a line of reasoning, and these were dangers, which, fortunately
for us, were destined to have a powerful influence with our enemies,
both French and Spanish, for centuries. In reality, the perils of an
attack in line ahead were greatly exaggerated, and, even if it had been
necessary for the Duke of Medina Sidonia to sacrifice a few ships, the
results would have repaid the cost. But the Spanish leader, who could
over-ride his professional advisers roughly enough when he pleased, was
on this occasion slavishly obedient to the advice of the mere seamen,
when it would have been better for him to have listened to the bolder
council of the military officer. He stood on past Plymouth, and by that
action he decided the fate of the Armada.

From the moment that his approach had been reported, the most strenuous
efforts had been made on the part of the English fleet to get to sea.
Working all through the night of the 20th and the morning of the 21st,
they had warped out a large part of the ships. While they were carrying
out this movement, undeterred by the Spaniards, Medina Sidonia was
rolling slowly up Channel. On the 21st July, so soon, in fact, as he
was out of harbour, Howard stood after the Spaniards and sent them in
the old chivalrous fashion a solemn defiance to battle. He despatched
a pinnace appropriately named the =Defiance=, with orders to fire a
gun at the Spaniard as a symbolical announcement that it was open war.
Then a confused action began between the two fleets. The Spaniards
were advancing along the Channel in a long half-moon, or concave line
abreast, stretching seven miles from north to south. This formation,
which was copied from the galleys, was absurdly ill fitted for vessels
carrying a broadside of guns, since it is clear that he who is between
two ships of his own side can fire neither to right nor to left without
injuring his own friends. Such a blundering arrangement almost dictated
to Lord Howard the course it was most convenient for him to adopt.
He attacked the two extremities of the Spanish line. It is probable
that the English ships more or less roughly carried out the method of
attack which has been described as "concentration by defiling"; that
is to say, they ran down from windward till within easy gunshot, then
they fired into the stern and quarter of the galleons at the extremity
of the Spanish wing, and hauled to windward so soon as there was
any danger of coming too near, or of heading, and therefore falling
to leeward of, their enemy. Under the pressure of such an attack as
this, the extremities of the Spanish half-moon would naturally flinch
inwards, and the danger of collision between the ships thus thrown out
of their order of sailing would be very serious. We know as a matter
of fact that the ships at the extremity of the Spanish line did suffer
very severely. One, the _Sta Catalina_, was very much cut up. Oquendo's
flagship was crippled by an explosion of gunpowder, said to have been
caused by a Flemish gunner in revenge for some ill usage. But the most
serious loss to the Spaniards, both materially and in honour, occurred
in the squadron of Andalusia. The _Nuestra Señora del Rosario_ was
the flagship of Pedro de Valdes, one of the best and ablest officers
in King Philip's service. In the confusion produced throughout the
Spanish fleet by the English attack, the _Rosario_ had been run into
and crippled by another ship of the squadron. Her bowsprit was carried
away and the foremast brought down. In this state Valdes was incapable
of keeping up with the fleet unless he was towed. But no help was
afforded him. At sundown, apparently immediately after the accident had
happened, the duke signalled to the fleet to hold on its course, and
stood up Channel before the westerly wind. Pedro de Valdes was left to
his fate, which not only might have been, but was, foreseen by every
ship in the Armada. There is a general agreement among the witnesses on
the Spanish side, who are many and circumstantial, that the desertion
of the flagship of the squadron of Andalusia spread a profound
discouragement. There was not a man in the fleet who did not say to
himself, "If so good an officer as Pedro de Valdes is deserted, what
can the rest of us expect if we are disabled?" During the night Lord
Howard followed the Spaniards close, but was not himself accompanied
by the rest of the fleet. Drake had been ordered to carry the guiding
light for the night, but, tempted by the sight of some vessels passing
him to the westward, he had turned back, thinking, or professing to
think, that they formed a part of the Spanish fleet endeavouring
to escape out of the Channel. Lord Howard mistook the light of the
Spaniards for that of his own vice-admiral. Meanwhile the rest of the
English fleet, having lost the guiding light, lay to. Thus when day
broke we were all scattered, though fortunately all to windward, and
the different parts of our force were most characteristically placed.
The gallant and disinterested Lord Howard was in dangerous proximity to
the enemy, the bulk of the English fleet was lying off some distance
in safety, but Drake, the ex-slaver and buccaneer, was close to the
crippled Spaniard--a prize which he could seize at no great cost of
danger or trouble to himself. Pedro de Valdes, being surrounded on
all sides, had no resource but to surrender at discretion, and the
_Rosario_ was sent into Weymouth. The remainder of the 22nd passed
without any incident of note. By the following day the Spaniards had
rolled slowly along to Portland. Here they seemed about to enjoy a
change of fortune. By this time, indeed, they had begun to understand
that it was upon fortune they must depend for a chance of bringing
the English to battle on terms fairly favourable to themselves. The
operations of the 21st had convinced them of the great superiority
of the English fleet in weatherliness. When, then, on the morning of
the 23rd the wind shifted to the N.E. and thereby gave the Spaniards
an opportunity of securing the weather-gage, they were flattered by a
prospect of taking their revenge. A part of the English were between
them and the shore. The Spaniards turned in the confident hope of
catching their slippery enemy between the "sword and the wall," to use
their own expressive idiom. But they were not to enjoy any favour of
fortune on this campaign. Just when a close engagement seemed to be
inevitable, the wind again swept round to the west, transferring the
weather-gage once more to the English. The duke resumed his course
to the east, and the English fell back a short space, and then again
followed their lumbering enemy, looking keenly for every chance to
strike him with advantage.

Nothing of note is recorded to have happened on the 24th, unless it
be that complaints were heard of want of powder in the fleet. In the
meantime the country had become thoroughly aroused. The Spaniards had
seen the beacon fires blazing on the hills of Devon on the night of
the 20th, and before daylight those flames had leapt from hill-top to
hill-top--

 "From Eddystone to Berwick bounds, from Lynn to Milford Bay."

Volunteers swarmed down to the fleet. As English and Spaniards rolled
heavily along the Channel, ships slipped out from the different ports
to reinforce Howard. To the eastward, Lord Henry Seymour and Sir
William Winter were concentrating their squadrons in the Downs, while
the squadrons of Holland and Zeeland, united under the command of
Justinus of Nassau, were blocking every port in Spanish Flanders.
It was one of the most fatal of the misconceptions of the Spaniard
that he had hoped to draw help from those very harbours which the son
of William the Silent was blockading. On the 25th of July, Medina
Sidonia despatched a quick-sailing ship in advance to the Duke of
Parma, informing him of his own approach, and begging him to come out,
in order that they might combine their forces. The Spanish fleet was
then off the Isle of Wight. It was the day of St. Dominic, founder
of the Dominican order, and a member of the house of Guzman. The
Duke of Medina Sidonia, as was only natural in a Roman Catholic, and
a gentleman of a family which had produced so eminent a saint, was
in expectation that the anniversary would be marked by some signal
manifestation of divine assistance. But none came. Lord Howard was so
little disturbed by his enemy, and, we may add, was so little anxious
to force on a battle with him, that he spent some part of the day
in conferring the honour of knighthood on Lord Thomas Howard, Lord
Sheffield, Roger Townsend, Hawkins, and Frobisher. There was indeed
some fighting, but the day was calm, with very light breezes from the
west, and the engagement was a mere artillery duel, which in times of
rude gunnery meant a great waste of powder and shot. On the 26th there
was no action, and next day the Spaniards anchored in the Roads of
Calais.

In his own belief and in that of most of his contemporaries, the
Duke of Medina Sidonia had now carried out one main purpose of his
expedition. He had come to a place at which, if distance and their own
relative position were alone to be considered, he could effect his
meeting with the Duke of Parma. From Calais, therefore, he sent another
officer, urging the prince to come out at once with his seventeen
thousand soldiers. As a matter of fact, however, the Duke of Parma was
unable to move. The vessels he had been building to serve as transports
were in no state to go to sea, and if they had been they could not
have moved, for the prince had few sailors, and the Dutch squadron,
numerous and well appointed, was waiting for him outside. Alexander
Farnese, who does not seem ever to have had any effective belief in the
advisability of invading England, made a show of embarking his men, but
until the Dutch blockading squadrons were cleared away this was a mere
parade, and there was no naval force at hand to drive them off. As on
a famous occasion in our own later history, the Duke of Medina Sidonia
waited for the Duke of Parma, while the Duke of Parma, for his part,
stood waiting for the Duke of Medina Sidonia. So the 27th and the 28th
of July wore away.

Meanwhile, Howard had been joined by Lord Henry Seymour and Sir William
Winter, and a council of war was held on the flagship, the =Ark Royal=.
At this council it was decided to do some service against the Spaniards
at anchor by fireships. Seven vessels were filled with combustibles
and primed with powder. These preparations did not pass unperceived by
the enemy, and it was at least suggested to the Duke of Medina Sidonia
to prepare pinnaces with grappling irons for the purpose of towing off
any fireships the English might send among them. Ever since a weapon
of this kind had been used against them at the siege of Antwerp,
the Spaniards had regarded the fireship with considerable fear. But
measures of precaution were either not taken at all, or were taken very
ill. After dark, and when the tide was flowing strongly, the fireships
were sent in before the westerly wind. An instantaneous panic broke
out in the Spanish fleet. The whole swarm of ships hurried to escape
their assailants by getting up anchor and running away to leeward.
The better disciplined ships, in which the officers of experience and
volunteers of noble birth were numerous, weighed anchor, and moved off
in some order. The others cut their cables, and ran for it in great
confusion. Collisions were common. One great galleasse, the flagship of
Don Hugo de Moncada, had her rudder unshipped, and was stranded while
endeavouring to get into Calais harbour. Here the greater part of her
crew deserted her. The remainder, under the command of Don Hugo, made a
gallant fight for it against the swarm of English boats, till Moncada
fell shot through the head with a harquebus bullet, when the others
surrendered. Wild confusion prevailed throughout the rest of the now
beaten fleet. The vessels which had cut their cables drifted away to
leeward, for, as the Spaniards at that time carried no anchors on deck
except those at the catheads, they could not hoist others out in time
from the hold, and had no means of bringing themselves up. Thus, when
the day broke, such of Medina Sidonia's vessels as were in a position
to anchor were separated by miles from the great majority, which the
tide had carried far to leeward. The duke got under way, and ought to
have run down to leeward. But, having been yielding when he ought to
have been firm, he was, after the not uncommon habit of timid men,
obstinate when he might very well have yielded. He stood out to sea
with the galleons immediately about him, and signalled for the rest
of his fleet to join him. As they had to tack against the wind, this
movement could not be executed by most of them in less than many hours.
The isolated position of the Spanish commander was at once obvious to
the English admirals, and their whole force fell upon the part of the
Spanish fleet nearest them. This was the hottest day's fighting of the
whole campaign. The English were confident, and threw aside some of the
caution they had hitherto displayed. They came to close quarters, and
their artillery did heavy damage to their enemies. No Spanish ship was
actually taken, but one was seen to sink, and others were so crippled
that they drifted out of action and sought refuge in the Flemish ports
held by the Duke of Parma. These, with few exceptions, became prizes to
the Dutch.

When the battle of Gravelines was over, the Armada was beaten. It had
not suffered very severe loss in numbers, but it had become convinced
both of its own inferiority in manoeuvring power to its opponents,
and of the utter incapacity of its chief. He, for his part, was
thoroughly sick of his command, and was already in a humour to tell the
king, as he did on his arrival in Spain, that he would rather have his
head cut off than meddle with the command of fleets again.

In truth, neither fleet was in a condition to continue the action. The
English had exhausted their gunpowder, and the gaol fever was extending
with dreadful rapidity. There was also a want of provisions, for which
the queen's Government has been severely, and perhaps not altogether
justly, blamed by historians. If the queen and Lord Burleigh were
eager to keep down expenses, it must be remembered that the Crown was
very poor. The resources required to keep a great fleet on foot for
any length of time could only be obtained by an appeal to Parliament.
The political difficulties of her position made Elizabeth at all times
unwilling to put herself in the position of having to make a bargain
with the House of Commons, which was certain to exact concessions in
return for supplies of money. At such a time, indeed, nothing ought to
have been allowed to stand in the way of the defence of the country,
or to prevent the fair treatment of the officers and men serving in
the fleet. Yet there is no reason to suppose that Elizabeth and her
Lord Treasurer were careless of their duty; but the Government of the
time had very little experience in the maintenance of great military
forces. The naval administration was in a rudimentary condition, and
it may very well be that the want of powder and provisions and the
very irregular payment of wages were due rather to awkwardness and
ignorance, helped perhaps by dishonesty on the part of subordinates,
than to meanness in Elizabeth. The fleet which in the following year
was sent to the coast of Spain to retaliate for the Spanish invasion
suffered much from the want of food and from pestilence. Yet it was
organised not by the queen, but by a committee of adventurers, who had
every motive to fit it out well, since they must needs rely upon its
efficiency to repay them by the capture of Spanish prizes. However the
blame must be divided, the fact remains that within a few days after
the battle of Gravelines the English fleet was in danger of being
paralysed by the want of necessary stores, and by the unmanning of the
ships through sickness and desertion.

The English fleet had the resource of retiring to its own harbours,
but there was no such escape for the Spaniards. There was no port
of their own available for the heavy ships nearer than the Bay of
Biscay. Parma did indeed advise the duke to betake himself to the free
city of Hamburg, where, as he was well provided with money, he would
have no difficulty in finding stores, and from whence he could issue
later on for the purpose either of renewing the attack on England, or
of co-operating in a serious effort to reduce Holland and Zeeland.
Whatever the worth of the advice may have been, and whether it was
physically practicable or not, the Duke of Medina Sidonia was in no
condition to act upon it. He had become completely cowed. Indeed, he
had just had a demonstration of the utter unfitness of his fleet for
the work his master the king had sent him to perform. The battle of
Gravelines was followed by strong breezes, for they do not seem to
have attained to the dignity of a storm, from the S. and S.W. Under
the impulse of these winds, the heavier ships of the Armada began to
drift on the shallows of the coast of Zeeland. By the confession of
the Spaniards, their vessels were wholly at the mercy of the wind and
the currents. They drifted along quite unable to help themselves, and
only a lucky shift of the wind saved them from going ashore. When the
wind did turn to a point more favourable to them, the Spanish ships,
still very little diminished in number, but entirely broken in spirit,
straggled out into the North Sea, and then, by the command of the Duke
of Medina Sidonia, all stood to the northward for the purpose of making
their way back to Spain by the west of the British Isles.

When the Armada was seen to be in retreat, Howard told off Lord
Henry Seymour to remain in the Downs for the purpose of operating
with Justinus of Nassau in the blockade of Parma's ports. He himself
followed the Spaniards as far north as the Firth of Forth. That he
made no attack upon them, shows either that his own vessels were
wholly destitute of stores, or that the enemy still inspired him with
an amount of respect not justified by their real condition. At the
Firth of Forth, Howard left the enemy and returned to the mouth of the
Thames. For a time there was a belief that the Duke of Parma might
still sally out, and there was even in the opinion of some of our
leaders a fear that the Armada might return. It was not, indeed, until
months afterwards that the world began to know what had been the fate
of the King of Spain's great fleet. It had stood to the north until
the pilots, by whose advice the Duke of Medina Sidonia acted, thought
it safe to turn to the west, and up to this period it had apparently
not suffered much. Nine vessels had in all been lost by capture or
abandonment to the enemy. But on the way home fifty-four perished by
shipwreck. Almost from the very day in which the galleons and _urcas_
of the King of Spain turned the north of Scotland on their way home,
they were subjected to a succession of storms of extraordinary violence
for the season of the year. Being ill provided with pilots and charts,
as well as essentially unseaworthy, they were quite unable to struggle
with the violence of the weather. Nineteen vessels were wrecked on the
coasts of Scotland and Ireland. Those of the Spaniards who were wrecked
within the dominions of Queen Elizabeth were massacred by orders of her
officers, many of them being put to death in cold blood, after they had
been received to quarter. About one-half of the King of Spain's ships
were lost. Those which reached his ports were almost unmanned, for the
scurvy broke out during the miseries of the return home, and, as the
provisions were exhausted, the crews died from actual starvation. Few
of the leaders lived to return home. Alonso de Leiva perished in the
wreck of the _Rata_. Oquendo and Martinez de Recalde did indeed live
to cast anchor in Spanish waters, but they died almost immediately
afterwards from the effect of the sufferings they had endured, and the
shame of the great disaster. The Duke of Medina Sidonia spent his time,
while returning to Spain, sitting in his cabin with his face buried
in his hands, in complete prostration and stupor, while Diego Flores
and Don Francisco de Bobadilla carried on the duties of commander.
The duke had left Spain a very prosperous gentleman; he returned a
white-haired old man.

The failure of the Armada was naturally a very conspicuous event in
the opinion of that and succeeding generations. It was the visible
deliverance of England, and with her of the Protestants of Europe. The
piety of the time accounted for the failure of the mighty armament
by saying that God had blown upon it, and it had been scattered.
This verdict has not always been accepted by the rationalism or the
patriotism of modern times, and yet it may be said to be essentially
true. The Armada failed through its own weakness and the incapacity
of its chief. With the single exception of their use of the fireships
in Calais Roads, the English leaders did nothing to force the Duke of
Medina Sidonia into a disadvantageous position. He put himself into
the worst position by his own acts. When he did decide to retreat, the
material strength of his fleet was hardly impaired. It was the moral
strength that was gone, and that partly through the discovery that
the ships were very ill fitted for their work, and partly because the
Spaniards had discovered the hopeless incapacity of their leader. Even
at the last moment, when the Spaniards had been saved by a mere shift
in the wind from destruction on the banks of Zeeland, Lord Howard
showed no wish to come to close quarters with them. The supposition
that he left them at the Firth of Forth because he foresaw they would
perish on their way home, is inadmissible. Lord Howard cannot have
known that the latter part of the month of August would be beyond
precedent stormy. If the weather had been what it might have been
expected to be, the loss of the Spaniards would probably not have
gone beyond a very few more vessels than those which had already been
taken or driven on shore, or had fallen into the hands of the enemy
in the Channel. In that case, they would indeed have failed to effect
an invasion of England; but the ships might have been refitted, and
the Armada would not have been considered to have suffered severely.
Thousands of men would no doubt have died from scurvy and want of
food, but that was usual even with the successful naval expeditions of
the time. As the English were then not familiar with the seas north of
the Firth of Forth, it is possible that if Lord Howard had pursued the
Spaniards, his own ships would have suffered much, if not quite as much
as the enemy. The storms did not cause the failure of the Armada in the
Channel or the North Sea, but they did produce its destruction.



CHAPTER III

FROM THE ARMADA TO THE DEATH OF THE QUEEN

 AUTHORITIES.--In addition to the books quoted at the head of the last
 chapters, Sir William Monson's _Naval Tracts_, to be found in vol.
 iii. of Churchill's _Voyages_, are of great value for the later part
 of the great queen's reign. Sir Richard Hawkins's account of his own
 voyage to the South Seas contains much most valuable information as
 to the naval life of the time. It has been published by the Hakluyt
 Society. Linschoten, printed in English by the same Society, is
 valuable for the loss of the =Revenge=, and for the picture it gives
 of the Spanish and Portuguese methods of conducting trade, and of
 their disasters. The accessible evidence for the voyages of the Earl
 of Cumberland is in Purchas. Southey took the cream off the narratives
 of Elizabethan sea adventure in the _Lives of the Admirals_, written
 for the Cabinet Cyclopædia.


Being now delivered from all fear of an attack by Spain, and at the
same time persuaded that there was no hope of peace with Philip till he
was thoroughly broken, Elizabeth's Government retaliated for the Armada
by a vigorous raid on the coast of Spain. In theory, the expedition
was intended to do much more than merely harass the King of Spain's
coasts. There was an avowed intention to help the Prior of Ocrato,
who claimed the throne of Portugal, to recover the kingdom out of the
hands of King Philip. But the forces provided were quite insufficient
for such a serious undertaking as the reconquest of Portugal, although
they were very large in proportion to the resources of England and her
Dutch allies. The Dutch, in fact, who were threatened by a serious
attack at home, were compelled to withhold a great part of the forces
which they had promised to contribute. Still, the expedition contained
11,000 troops and 1500 seamen. The command at sea was given to Sir
Francis Drake, and the command of the troops to the officer who had
then the greatest military reputation in England, Sir John Norris.
It did not, on the whole, prove successful. The withholding of the
old English troops in the Low Countries made it necessary to rely
wholly on new levies. They, as usual, proved untrustworthy. Upwards of
one-third of the men are said to have deserted before the expedition
sailed at all. Finding that if they delayed much longer they would
probably be weakened to a much more dangerous extent, Drake and Norris
put to sea on the 15th of April, and five days later landed in the
neighbourhood of Corunna, with the intention of taking the town. They
had no difficulty in burning the suburbs, and in scattering a body of
country militia brought down by the king's governor to attack them.
But the upper town beat off all their attacks; and in the meantime the
soldiers had broken into the stores of wine collected for export, and
had drunk so freely that illness began to infest the squadron. Corunna
having beaten it off, the fleet now went on to the coast of Portugal.
Her partners' desire for booty had once more hampered the execution
of the queen's political purposes. Every day wasted on the road to
Portugal gave King Philip more time to prepare for defending his
conquest, but the adventurers had need of the plunder of the town in
order to cover their expenses, and therefore time was wasted in futile
attempts to take a strongly fortified place without a battering-train.
After the failure at Corunna, Drake and Norris anchored at Peniche,
and there landed the troops who were still in a condition to render
service. According to the plan, they were to march overland to Lisbon,
while Drake promised to enter the Tagus and meet them at the town.
But the scheme broke down entirely. Norris did indeed march to the
gates of Lisbon, but he found it far too strongly held to be attacked
by him. The profuse promises made by Dom Antonio, the pretender, were
completely falsified by experience. The crowds of partisans on whom he
relied for help did not appear. Drake found it impossible even to enter
the Tagus, a river with a very swift current, heavily fortified at
the mouth. At last, Norris, finding that he was in danger of attack by
the troops collecting in the interior of the country, re-embarked his
men, and the expedition returned home. It hung about on the coast for a
time in the hope of picking up a few prizes, and it had a brush or two
with the King of Spain's galleys at the mouth of the Tagus. In one of
these, the galleys, aided by a dead calm, succeeded in cutting off and
setting on fire one English vessel which carried a company of soldiers.
But the Spanish trade had been so completely frightened that it had no
longer any ships at sea. The provisions began to run out. Disease had
made so much progress in the squadron that barely two thousand men were
left fit for service. It finally returned home in the midst of very
bad weather, having failed of its main purposes, but having also shown
how entirely the destruction of the Armada had prostrated the naval
strength of the King of Spain.

An equally convincing proof of Spanish weakness was given in the
following year. A squadron of ten ships, all belonging to the
queen, were sent out to the "Isles," that is to say, to the Azores
and Canaries, under the command of Sir John Hawkins and Sir Martin
Frobisher. This was a regular military expedition designed to interrupt
the trade of Spain with America, and if possible to cripple King
Philip by capturing his treasure-ships on their way home. So far
as interrupting Spanish trade was concerned, Hawkins and Frobisher
were completely successful. So feeble was the great King of Spain at
sea, that he forbade his _flota_ to return home this year lest it
should fall into the hands of the English cruisers. The loss to him
was immense, as also to his subjects, but to us the stoppage of the
Spanish treasure-ships was a disappointment. It was not enough for
Elizabeth, who had great expenses to meet, to prevent the King of
Spain from receiving his silver. She had cherished the hope that at
least some portion of it would fall into the hands of her officers.
When, therefore, they cruised for seven long months without taking a
single prize, great or small, the queen was in a very bad temper. It
was on this occasion that Sir John Hawkins, when giving an account of
his ill success, attempted to justify himself by use of his favourite
biblical language. "Paul," said the old sea-rover, "planteth and
Apollos watereth, but it is God who giveth the increase." This attempt
to console her for the loss of her money, in the style of the Puritans,
whom she loathed with a peculiar detestation, was more than enough to
provoke an explosion from the great queen. It is said that she broke
out with "God's death! this fool went out a soldier, and is come home a
divine."

Although Queen Elizabeth consoled herself for her disappointment by
snubbing the unctuous piety of Hawkins, she did not cease sending out
these expeditions to the "Isles." They were indeed the main course of
the naval war of the rest of her reign. The object was to reduce Philip
to impotence by cutting off his supplies of treasure. As the ships
which carried out the trade from Spain and returned with the cargoes
and bullion from the New World were under the necessity of stopping at
the "Isles" to water and refit, it was good policy to wait for them
where they might be expected to be met with tolerable certainty. In
order to make doubly sure, it was much the practice for the English
ships to divide, some of them taking their station off Cadiz, and
others cruising near the Azores. Thus, if the Spaniards missed the
ships at the "Isles," they might fall into the hands of the others at
the mouth of the Straits. The squadrons employed on this work did not
consist wholly of the queen's ships. A large part of them belonged to
private adventurers--either men of business who fitted out vessels as
a commercial speculation, or gallant gentlemen of the stamp of the
Earl of Cumberland, whose voyages are among the most brilliant made in
the great queen's reign. None of these voyages to the "Isles" proved
as fully successful as the queen could have wished, but they did do
enormous damage to the King of Spain, and indirectly they had important
permanent consequences for England.

The voyage of 1591 was rendered extremely memorable by the famous last
fight of the =Revenge=. In this year the queen sent out her squadron
under the command of Lord Thomas Howard. It consisted of six ships,
and it took up the cruising ground occupied to so little purpose by
Hawkins and Frobisher in the previous year. By this time it had become
impossible for the King of Spain to delay his _flota_ again. Orders
had therefore been sent to come on at all hazards. Foreseeing that his
vessels would be in danger from the English at the Azores, King Philip
had prepared another armament which was to sail from Cadiz to meet the
_flota_ in mid-voyage and escort it home. While Howard was cruising
at the Azores, the Earl of Cumberland was on a private venture on the
coast of Spain. He sighted the Spanish fleet on its way out from Cadiz,
and despatched a quick-sailing pinnace called the =Moonshine= with a
warning to Howard. The =Moonshine= found the English admiral at anchor
in Flores Bay, with a great part of his men on shore watering, and some
sick with the scurvy. The warning had barely been delivered to Howard
before the Spanish fleet under the command of Alonso de Bazan, the
brother of Don Álvaro, was almost upon him. The roadstead of Flores
opens to the N.W., and the Spanish fleet came round the western side
of the island, tacking against the westerly wind. It would have been
extremely rash in Lord Thomas Howard to allow himself to be caught with
his little handful of ships by so superior a force of the enemy in a
position where he could not avoid attack. He therefore very properly
prepared to stand out to sea without delay.

It was of course impossible to desert the men on shore. They were
provided for by leaving the =Revenge=, the flagship of Sir Richard
Grenville, the second in command, which was esteemed the best sailer of
the queen's ships, to pick them up and then to join the flag outside.
Before the men were collected, the Spanish fleet was opposite the
roadstead. Apparently Lord Thomas Howard had stood out to sea, so that
the fleet of Don Alonso de Bazan was between him and the =Revenge=.
When Sir Richard Grenville stood out from the anchorage, he had an easy
means of rejoining his admiral. All he had to do was to put before the
wind, to run to leeward of the Spaniards, and join Lord Thomas on the
other side. As a matter of fact, this course was actually followed
by a small transport, or victualler, left behind with the =Revenge=.
But although this was the safe and sensible course, it had about it
an air of flight. Flight in the circumstances would not have appeared
discreditable to an ordinary officer, but Sir Richard Grenville was
not an ordinary officer. He was a man of a passionate nature, with
a large share of what we may with all due reverence describe as the
swaggering courage of the Elizabethans. We must not judge him as a man
of to-day, but as a gentleman of Devon, with a mediæval spirit on the
point of honour and a superb valour, who had probably been fed upon
tales of chivalry, and was very capable of acting after the manner of
a knight-errant. It was, in fact, exactly as a knight-errant that he
behaved. His sailing-master advised him to put before the wind and
trust to the speed of his ship, but Grenville refused. To understand
what exactly was the point of honour upon which he fought, it is
necessary to remember that at sea the windward position is the place
of honour. He who makes way for another, and passes to leeward of him,
acknowledges the superiority of the ship for which he makes way. If,
then, Grenville had put before the wind, and had run to leeward of
the Spaniards, he would in his own opinion have confessed that they
were his betters. Now this he would not do, and he therefore decided
that at whatever hazard to himself, his ship, and his crew, "he would
pass through the two squadrons in spite of them, and enforce that of
Seville to give him way." This, it seems, if the English version of the
story is to be believed, "he performed upon divers of the foremost who
sprang and fell under the lee of the =Revenge="; that is to say, in
the modern phrase, they bore up and made way for the =Revenge=. It is
probable that these were small vessels, perhaps _urcas_, for a large
proportion of the fifty-three ships under the command of Don Alonso de
Bazan were certainly transports employed to carry soldiers, and not
provided with a battery of guns. However that may be, the _St. Philip_,
the first of the great Spanish galleons in a position to bar his way,
did not bear up for Grenville. On the contrary, she ran into him to
windward, and, being much the bigger and higher ship of the two, took
the wind out of his sails and immediately stopped his way. From that
moment the fate of the =Revenge= was settled. Other vessels joined
the _St. Philip_, and the =Revenge= was shut in. In that position she
maintained a defence so long and so desperate, that it is only to be
accounted for by the very bad gunnery of the Spaniards, and by the fact
that the action began shortly before dark, and was prolonged through
the night. The want of light had unquestionably a great deal to do with
preventing the Spaniards from overpowering the crew of the =Revenge=
by mere numbers. Lord Thomas Howard did not desert his fiery second in
command. He did, on the contrary, all that was possible for him with a
handful of undermanned ships. He attacked the Spaniards from windward
as closely as he could without allowing himself to be entangled in the
midst of their superior numbers. More he could not have done without
manifest folly; and it is even said that when he did show a disposition
to sail into the midst of the Spaniards, his master threatened to throw
himself overboard rather than have any share in the destruction of the
queen's ships. It was probably during the night that Lord Thomas Howard
left his knightly colleague to his fate, and sailed away. At daybreak
the =Revenge= was completely battered to pieces, forty of her men were
killed and a number wounded. Grenville himself was mortally hurt. If
he could still have had his way, he would rather have blown his ship
up than allow her to fall into the hands of the enemy, but his crew
were not disposed to be sacrificed any further. They insisted on being
allowed to surrender, and the Spaniards gave them quarter. Grenville
himself was carried still living onto the flagship of Don Alonso de
Bazan. He declared in his last breath, in Spanish, if Linschoten is to
be believed: "Here die I, Richard Grenville, with a joyful heart and
a quiet mind, for that I have ended my life as a good soldier ought
to do, who has fought for his country, queen, religion, and honour.
Wherefore my soul joyfully departeth out of this body, and shall always
leave behind it an everlasting fame of a true soldier, who hath done
his duty as he was bound to do. But the others of my company have done
as traitors and dogs, for which they shall be reproached all their
lives, and leave a shameful name for ever."

Linschoten was at that time a resident in the Islands, and may very
well have had at least the substance of this speech from the Spaniards
who actually heard it. It is too consistent not only with the character
of the man, but of that of the type to which he belonged, to be wholly
false. There was in the action as well as in the literature of the
Elizabethan time a strain of rodomontade. The death of Sir Richard
Grenville was emphatically what the sixteenth century described as a
rodomontade in act. The capture of the =Revenge= was much boasted of by
the Spaniards, and is still remembered by them with some complacence.
Even, however, if we allow for a large element of exaggeration in our
own accounts of the battle, it was not a feat which redounded much to
their glory. Nor was the end of this effort to protect the return home
of the trade from America fortunate. Lord Thomas Howard was indeed
driven off, and two days after the action the galleons on their way
home from America joined Don Alonso. They represented only the remains
of the convoys which had sailed from the ports of New Spain. The ships
stopped by Philip's orders in the preceding year had suffered much from
the _teredo_ or boring worm, and numbers went down before reaching the
Islands. Of the remainder few ever lived to see Spain. Shortly after
they had joined Don Alonso, a violent gale, which lasted for seven days
and blew in succession from different quarters, burst on the hundred
and forty ships now collected under the command of the Spanish admiral.
More than a hundred went down or were wrecked on the Islands. The loss
was greater than that of the Armada, and the blow sustained by the
naval power of Spain even more irreparable.

The next two years saw a repetition of these voyages to the Isles,
distinguished by the usual features of active enterprise and seamanship
on the part of the English, and of helpless adherence to routine on
the part of the Spaniards. In 1594, however, the queen's policy was
changed. Although these voyages to the Islands were sound in policy,
and had done immense mischief to the Spaniards, they had not proved
profitable to the queen. In 1594 she listened to the advice of Sir
Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins, and decided to revert to an
older method of striking at the wealth of the King of Spain. "These
two generals," says Sir William Monson, "presuming much upon their
own experience and knowledge, used many persuasions to the queen to
undertake a voyage to the West Indies, giving much assurance to perform
great services, and promising to engage themselves very deeply therein
with the adventure of both substance and life." The plan was, in fact,
a repetition of the scheme partially executed in 1585. It was to
sail to the West Indies and there seize the King of Spain's treasure
at its port of departure. The plunder of the Islands and of Spanish
ships would, it was calculated, at any rate cover the expenses of the
expedition. It was late in sailing, owing to fear of an invasion by the
Spaniards from the Low Countries.

The Cardinal Archduke Albert, Governor of the Spanish Netherlands since
Parma's death in 1592, had made himself master of the great part of
Brittany, and one small expedition did actually come out of the little
port of Blavet and burn the town of Penzance. So soon, however, as it
was known that the invasion would be limited to this trumpery raid,
Drake and Hawkins were allowed to sail. As was usual in the case, the
squadron consisted only in part of ships belonging to the queen. Of
these there were six--the =Defiance=, in which Sir Francis Drake had
his flag, and the =Garland=, the flagship of Sir John Hawkins, the
=Hope=, the =Bonaventure=, the =Foresight=, and the =Adventurer=. There
were, besides these, twenty vessels belonging to private adventurers.
Two thousand six hundred soldiers were embarked to serve on shore in
the proposed capture of Panama. They were under the command of Sir
Thomas Baskerville, a gentleman of Devon.

The old kinsmen and fellow-adventurers, who had begun the brilliant
epoch of Elizabethan naval achievement, sailed, on what was destined
to be their last voyage, from Hawkins's native town of Plymouth on the
28th of August 1594. They began by following the usual route to the
West Indies by the Grand Canary. Here, according to precedent, they
spent time in attempting to plunder. Hawkins is said to have been in
favour of pushing on at once to the West Indies in obedience to the
queen's orders. Information had been received in England to the effect
that a Spanish treasure-ship had put into Puerto Rico disabled. It
was obvious that the sooner the English squadron appeared before the
port, the better would be its chance of finding the treasure-ship
still there, and of taking the town unprepared. But although Hawkins's
advice was unquestionably sound, it was overruled by Drake and
Baskerville, who had the support of public opinion in the squadron.
The sailors, under pretence of seeking provisions, were in fact eager
for plunder. It was therefore decided to land and pillage, but the
fleet had overshot its mark. The town of Gran Canaria could not be
attacked before the Spaniards had time to put it into a defensible
position. Finding La Gran Canaria too strong to be taken, the English
commanders were constrained to be satisfied with landing a few men
at an out-of-the-way place for fresh water. Even this did not in the
end succeed with them. Some stragglers from the watering parties were
attacked by the native herdsmen, who killed most of them, and took
the others prisoners. From one of the men taken the Spanish governor
learned the destination of the fleet, and immediately despatched a
quick-sailing vessel to put the towns of the West Indies upon their
guard. They had, however, been already warned by the King of Spain, who
was well supplied with information from England. Finding that there
was nothing to be done at the Canaries, Drake and Hawkins stood on to
the Leeward Islands, and stopped to water at Dominica and Guadaloupe.
On entering the West Indies they were scattered by a storm. While they
were rejoining one another and trading with the natives of the islands
for food and water, the Spaniards were actively at work to defeat the
purpose of the expedition. King Philip had not been careless of the
safety of his treasure-ship. He had despatched from Spain a squadron
of eight _zabras_, under the command of Don Pedro Tello, with orders
to bring the bullion home. By a piece of extraordinary bad fortune for
us, five of the vessels under Tello's command captured a little bark
of thirty-five tons belonging to Hawkins's squadron. This misfortune
happened in the sight of a larger English ship, which escaped and
brought the bad news to Hawkins, who is reported to have sickened at
once as foreseeing the inevitable consequences. Don Pedro Tello did
what any English commander of the time would have done without scruple.
He put his prisoners to the torture, and compelled them to tell him
where the expedition was bound. Then he hurried on to Puerto Rico.
The English commanders delayed for some days longer at Guadaloupe,
and then continued their route in what seems to have been a very
leisurely fashion. Dissensions are said to have broken out between
Drake and Hawkins, and there is certainly in the whole history of their
proceedings a want of the promptitude and resolution they had shown
when younger men. Before they reached Puerto Rico, Hawkins died, and
was buried at sea.

Though released from a colleague with whom he had not worked happily
hitherto, Sir Francis Drake was not more successful when left to
himself. He attacked Puerto Rico in vain. The Spaniards had had time
to land the treasure and to put the port into a state of defence. The
English lost upwards of a hundred men in the repulse. This experience
seems to have convinced the surviving leaders that it was hopeless to
waste more time at Puerto Rico. They therefore proceeded to carry out
the remainder of their instructions. But for once we were doomed to
failure and to find fortune everywhere against us. As is so often the
case, bad fortune meant mistaken calculation. Drake and Hawkins had
not realised that a great change had come over the West Indies within
the last ten years. The smaller Spanish posts had been harried out of
existence, and the larger had been fortified by the King of Spain's
engineers. Thus there was no such opportunity for plunder as had been
presented a few years before to forces incapable of undertaking a
regular siege. After one or two unsuccessful attempts to extort ransom
from towns along the coast, which were deserted at their approach,
Drake and Baskerville decided to make the long-delayed attack on
Panama. Drake himself remained with the ships at Nombre de Dios, while
Baskerville with seven hundred and fifty men attempted that overland
march which in after times was triumphantly executed by the buccaneers
of Sir Henry Morgan. But in 1594 the Spanish Government was far
stronger than it was in the later seventeenth century. Baskerville met
with very serious resistance. He was harassed while marching through
the bush, and repulsed with heavy loss in attacking a stockade erected
by the Spaniards across the road. Finding his enterprise hopeless, even
if he and his comrades were prepared to "cloy the jaws of death," he
returned to Nombre de Dios. The Indians, who had been friendly when
Drake was formerly on the coast, were now hostile, perhaps because of
the excesses of the meaner adventurers who had followed Sir Francis. A
detachment of English were cut off by them in an ambuscade. It began
to be borne in upon the mind of Sir Francis Drake that his life of
daring and success was to end in failure. "Sir Francis Drake, who
was wont to rule fortune, now finding his error, and the difference
between the present state of the Indies and what it was when he first
knew it, grew melancholy upon this disappointment, and suddenly, and I
hope naturally, died at Porto Bello, not far from the place where he
got his first reputation." So says Sir William Monson; but there is no
reason to suppose that the death of Drake was due to any other cause
than the action of disappointment and the evil climate of the coast on
a constitution tried by long and hard service. After the deaths of the
two seamen leaders, Sir Thomas Baskerville brought home whatever fever
and the sword had spared in the most unsuccessful of all the fleets of
Elizabeth's reign. He returned by the Straits of Florida, fighting an
indecisive action with the squadron of the King of Spain's ships at
the west end of Cuba on his way.

Neither of the voyages to the "Isles" nor this attempt to revert to the
attacks on the West Indies had answered the expectations of Elizabeth
and her Council. In spite of his many failures and disasters, Philip
was indefatigable in refitting his fleet and in organising constant
renewed attempts to invade England. By land, the excellence of his
troops, and the capacity of his military officers in Flanders, gave
him some compensation for his disasters at sea. The Spaniards had
established themselves on the coast of Brittany, and even succeeded
in capturing Calais. In 1596, then, the queen seemed in almost as
much danger as she had been in 1588. This time, however, Elizabeth
took the course which had then been pressed upon her by her captains.
She decided to make a formidable attack on the King of Spain at
home. Acting on the earnest advice of Lord Howard, and of the Earl
of Essex, who was now at the height of his favour, she took part in
a great combined expedition to Cadiz. A fleet of 150 sail was got
together. The queen contributed 17 ships of the Royal Navy, a very
large proportion of the whole at that time, and the sum of no less
than £50,000, which was about one-eighth of her regular revenue; her
Dutch allies contributed 18 ships of war and 6 storeships; the others
were vessels either levied in the seaports by the Crown, or belonging
to adventurers. This fleet carried 1000 gentlemen volunteers, 6368
troops, and 6772 seamen, exclusive of the Dutch. It was most carefully
organised, and sailed with precise instructions to do the utmost
possible amount of damage to the King of Spain's men-of-war in his
havens, to his magazines of victuals and munitions for arming his navy,
without hazarding men or ships on merely foolish or rash undertakings.
In sharp contrast to the campaign of 1594, this was extraordinarily
successful. The fleet sailed on the 1st of June, and swept down to
Cadiz in twenty days, capturing everything it met on the way. So
thoroughly was this work done that not a single one of the caravels
which the Spaniards had at sea for the purpose of scouting was able
to escape into harbour with information of the approach of the allied
fleet. Its appearance before Cadiz on the 20th of June was a complete
surprise to the enemy.

The town rises out of the sea from a mass of rock joined to the
mainland by a long narrow spit and a bridge. This isthmus, natural and
artificial, runs from S.E. to N.W. Between it and the land to the east
lies the harbour of Cadiz, which is divided into outer and inner by a
tongue of land thrust out from the island of Cadiz itself, towards the
mainland, called Puntal, or the Point. It has a fort at the extremity.
The inner harbour stretches eastward into the mainland of Spain. Puerto
Real and the great arsenal called the Carraca lie respectively on the
northern and southern sides of the eastern end of this harbour.

When the allied fleet was seen outside, the outer harbour of Cadiz
contained a number of richly-laden galleons and a squadron of the
King of Spain's galleys. The galleons were drawn up across the mouth
of the harbour, while the galleys were stationed on either side, with
their prows turned inwards for the purpose of flanking any attack. The
appearance of resolution which this disposition of their forces was
calculated to give was not borne out by the steadiness of the Spaniards
under attack. The allied fleet had no difficulty in forcing its way
into the inner harbour, and then the galleons, except two which were
taken, and two burned by the Spaniards, fled up to Puerto Real, while
the galleys escaped to sea, through an opening in the spit connecting
the town of Cadiz with the mainland. It was the belief of some of the
officers present, that if the allies had contented themselves with
merely cutting Cadiz off from the mainland by occupying some point on
the connecting road, they might have followed the galleons and merchant
ships which took refuge at Puerto Real with the certainty of securing
an enormous booty, and with every probability that the town of Cadiz
would fall whenever they returned to attack it. This judicious plan was
rendered impossible of application by the headlong zeal of the Earl of
Essex. Having attacked, and silenced, the fort at the end of Puntal,
he landed and marched on to storm the town itself. His example aroused
the emulation of Lord Howard, of Lord Thomas Howard, and of Sir Walter
Raleigh. They hastened to land and join in the assault upon the town.
Cadiz, being destitute of a regular garrison and ill-fortified, fell
without much difficulty before the attack of the allies, though not
without sharp fighting in the streets and marketplace, in which one
distinguished English officer, Sir John Winkfield, was shot dead. Cadiz
remained in the possession of the allies for a fortnight. To the honour
of their commanders be it said, they behaved with a moderation very
seldom shown at that time after the storm of a city. Strict order was
maintained, and the allies were content to levy a moderate ransom on
the city, though they might easily have sacked it as brutally as the
Spanish armies of the time had sacked the cities of the Low Countries.

On the Spanish side nothing more effectual was performed than the
burning of the ships which had taken refuge at Puerto Real. This
was done by the orders of the same Duke of Medina Sidonia who had
commanded the Armada. He was still Captain-General of Andalusia, by the
undeserved favour of his king, and he once more had an opportunity of
covering himself with ridicule. After retaining possession of Cadiz for
as long as they pleased, the allies set it on fire, and retreated with
less booty than they had hoped to obtain, but certainly with immense
honour, and after dealing the heaviest blow to the dignity of the
King of Spain it had as yet had to endure. On the way home the fleet
plundered the little Portuguese town of Faro in Algarve, when they
carried off the library of Bishop Osorio, "which library," says Monson,
"was brought into England by us and many of the books bestowed upon the
newly erected library at Oxford." It was counted the most remarkable
proof of the good fortune and good management of this armament that it
returned in health.

Successful though the expedition had been, it had not satisfied the
queen. Honour had been gained in abundance, but the material results
were not what Her Majesty and her Council had been led to expect. No
sooner had the Lord Admiral and his colleague, the Earl of Essex,
reached home than they were importuning the queen for money to pay the
wages of their men. Now this was not what the queen had looked for.
She had been induced to advance so great a sum of money as £50,000 by
the eager assurances of Howard and Essex that an attack on the King of
Spain's harbours, made with sufficient force, must needs be extremely
lucrative. It was commonly reported that many of those who took part in
the "Cadiz Voyage" had returned with a comfortable sum of plunder. Yet
there was nothing due to Her Majesty capable of covering the expenses
of the campaign, still less of leaving her a margin of profit on her
£50,000. Therefore the generals were subjected to very searching
inquiries why they had nothing more to produce, and were compelled to
justify themselves as well as they could. The real explanation was
that they had been in such a hurry to seize the town that they had
neglected to take possession of the ships before the Spaniards had time
to burn them. For this postponement of the more profitable to the less
there were two reasons. Of these, one is to be found in the difference
between the meaning of the words "prize" and "plunder." Prize meant
whatever had to be thrown into a common stock and divided _pro rata_.
It included an enemy's ships, with their cargoes and ordnance, and
the ransom of towns, or whatever was paid for the release of goods
afloat from capture. In this the common sailor and soldier only took
his share when the whole was divided on the return home. Plunder
meant whatever the men were entitled to take possession of at once.
It included small arms, cabin furniture, the personal ransom paid for
prisoners, whatever loose cash they had in their pockets when they were
taken, their clothes and jewellery. A civilised enemy was accustomed
to exercise a certain decency in the exercise of this right of war. It
was thought more becoming not to strip the prisoners actually naked,
and, in some cases at least, it was made a rule that the women were
not to be deprived of their earrings. At Cadiz the chiefs protected
"the better sort of merchants' wives." They were allowed to go off
unmolested to the number of two hundred or so, under an escort provided
by the Earl of Essex. They availed themselves of his courtesy to put
on all their best dresses at once, together with all their rings and
necklaces. But although Essex and Howard kept the pillage of Cadiz
within exceptionally close limits, it is certain that the town must
have afforded a great deal of miscellaneous plunder. The women who did
not have the good fortune to be included among "the better sort of
merchants' wives" were probably left with little enough of whatever
finery they may have possessed. As for the men, nobody would stand on
much ceremony with them. Such portable property as plate, or the goods
in the shops, would be taken as a matter of course, every man seizing
for himself whatever came in his way.

On the ships there was much less of this promiscuous plunder than in
the town, and the men, whether soldiers or sailors, were perfectly
well aware of the fact. Essex excused himself for not seeing that the
ships were taken possession of, by saying that he had instructed the
sailors to follow up the galleons to Puerto Real, while the soldiers
of the expedition were engaged in occupying the town. But the sailors
were extremely unlikely to accept a division of labour which would
have thrown a good deal of work, with a prospect of remote reward, on
them, while it left the soldiers the exclusive enjoyment of the plunder
of Cadiz. They were the less likely to do so, because experience had
shown them that when the final division of the prize came to be made in
England, Her Majesty would take very good care that the lion's share
of it should fall to the Crown. Therefore, when once the example of
attacking Cadiz was set by the Earl of Essex, the whole combined force,
military and naval, hastened to the place where lay the largest and the
most immediate share of profit.

Another explanation of the failure to make a thoroughly successful
commercial speculation of the capture of Cadiz, is to be found in the
rivalry between the chiefs. To this there was a chivalrous side. The
eagerness with which Howard and Essex, Raleigh and Lord Thomas Howard,
strove to outstrip one another for the foremost place in driving back
the King of Spain's galleons, and storming his city, makes a very
gallant story. They behaved much after the manner to be expected of
spirited sixth-form boys. In that there was nothing dangerous to the
interests of the service. But this emulation had another side, which is
only to be accurately described by the less honourable name of rivalry.
Essex and Raleigh were both courtiers who were endeavouring to excel
one another in the favour of the queen by outdoing one another in the
flatteries Elizabeth loved. They had come to open hostility already,
and having been reconciled, they of course hated one another mortally.
At Cadiz the evil consequences of their hostility were hardly apparent.
But there was enough of it to prevent the campaign of 1596 from being
as fully successful as it might have been. There was in the greater
Elizabethan enterprises unity of sentiment and a vigour of energy which
produced success in the main, but there was hardly what in the full
sense of the word is called discipline. In addition to the rivalry
between the leaders, there was a rivalry between the different types
of men. The sailor and the sailor officer were opposed to the soldier.
The latter grew impatient when the former endeavoured to overbear him
by appeals to seamanship, and the conditions of war at sea which the
military man only vaguely understood, while the sailor was apt to think
himself sacrificed to the soldier.

Each of these forms of rivalry had a share in producing the failure of
the next considerable naval effort of Elizabeth's reign. In 1597 Philip
was still threatening England with attack, this time from the Basque
Ports. After the loss of so much money in the previous year, Elizabeth
was by no means disposed to renew the voyage to Cadiz. Indeed it is
doubtful whether she could have repeated that attack without straining
her popularity to a dangerous extent. Not she only, but London and the
smaller ports, had been put to heavy expenses for small profit. If the
queen had attempted to press ships from London and the out-ports,
there would certainly have been a considerable outcry, and it was never
her policy to give her subjects any excuse for being discontented, when
it was in her power to avoid it. She therefore fitted out a moderate
squadron of fifteen ships. It was put under the command of the Earl
of Essex, and despatched to sea, with orders to look into the King of
Spain's harbours. It was driven back by bad weather, but discovered
enough to show that Philip's threats were not serious. Although the
year was far advanced, it was decided to make another attempt to get
possession of the Spanish plate-ships by one of the usual voyages to
the "Isles." The greater part of the soldiers, recruited earlier in
the year, were disbanded. A thousand seasoned men belonging to the
old Low Country regiments were retained, and the squadron sailed a
second time. It touched the Spanish coast near Ferrol, in the hope
of drawing out the King of Spain's ships to action. But they did not
stir. Essex then continued his voyage to the Azores, but the whole
campaign was a failure. The ships separated; they either did not sight
the Spaniards at all, or if they did, were unable to catch them. Ill
luck was as usual pleaded as an excuse, but the true explanation of
the failure of the expedition is to be sought elsewhere. Sir Walter
Raleigh accompanied the expedition. He had taken to adventure at sea
ever since he had deeply offended the queen's vanity, which expected
all her courtiers to fall in love with herself alone, and had more
reasonably offended her dignity by seducing her maid of honour, Miss
Throgmorton. But he did not renounce the hope of regaining her favour,
and was bitterly angered at finding himself supplanted in the queen's
good graces by the Earl of Essex. Essex, for his part, had no love for
Raleigh, and had already accused him of spoiling the full success of
the Cadiz voyage for his own ends. Consciously or unconsciously, the
two men were engaged in counteracting one another throughout the whole
cruise. In such circumstances nothing effectual was likely to be done.
The squadron finally returned without prizes. During its absence, a
Spanish squadron had sailed against England, but had been driven back
by storms from the neighbourhood of the Scilly Isles.

After 1597 the war began to die down. In 1598 the Royal Navy was idle,
and in 1599 it did little beyond show how rapidly a squadron could be
fitted for sea by the Navy Office when the queen called upon it to
exert itself. A squadron of twenty vessels was "rigged, victualled,
and furnished to sea in twelve days." Sir William Monson records
that the feat excited the surprise and admiration of foreigners. In
1600, again, nothing was done. Spain and England were, in fact, both
becoming exhausted. War had put a stop to what was then our most
lucrative branch of commerce, and it had been found by experience that
privateering did not compensate for the want of peaceful industry.
Negotiations for peace were begun, and continued throughout the years
1599 and 1600. In the latter year three ships were sent to the Isles
under the command of Sir Richard Levison, but the King of Spain took
care to provide the _flota_ with a powerful escort, and Sir Richard
returned home without so much as a single prize. The negotiations for
peace ended for the time in failure, but the naval war did not revive
with any energy. In 1601 a Spanish squadron landed three thousand five
hundred soldiers in Ireland for the purpose of co-operating with the
Earl of Tyrone, who was then in full rebellion against Queen Elizabeth.
This invasion of her dominions roused the queen to fresh exertions.
She despatched a squadron under the command of Sir Richard Levison
to the coast of Ireland, to prevent the Spaniards from reinforcing
the detachment they had already landed. He had with him only five
ships, but they proved sufficient for the work. The Spanish fleet had
returned home after disembarking Don Juan del Aguila with his three
thousand five hundred men, but a squadron which had followed with a
reinforcement of seven hundred men was attacked in Kinsale harbour with
success; and although the failure of the Spanish invasion was mainly
due to the want of co-operation on the part of Tyrone, and the energy
of the Lord Deputy Mountjoy, the navy rendered material assistance by
cutting the communications with Spain.

The exhaustion of both parties now began to be shown by the small
scale of the armaments on either side. The three thousand five hundred
soldiers of Don Juan del Aguila, and the fleet that carried them to
Ireland, were a great fall from the standard of the Spanish expeditions
of earlier years. The squadron Queen Elizabeth sent in revenge to the
coast of Spain was trifling. It consisted only of nine vessels under
the command of Sir Richard Levison as admiral, with Sir William Monson
as his second in command. Sir William in his _Naval Tracts_, which are
the best authority for the history of the navy in Elizabeth's reign,
has given a very prominent place to the cruise of this year, and in
particular to his own very remarkable display of courage, energy,
and sagacity. Sir William was no doubt an excellent officer, and the
capture or destruction of the Portuguese carracks in the roadstead of
Zizembre was a creditable bit of service, but it is hardly entitled to
be told at length in a general history of the navy. In the following
year the same two officers commanded the squadron in the Narrow Seas,
but the war was over. Queen Elizabeth herself died in this year, and
was succeeded by the peace-loving James I. Philip II. had been dead for
four years, and his successor was a feeble prince, under whom the power
of Spain went rapidly to decay. In France, Henry IV. had established
his right to the throne at the point of the sword. Everywhere, except
in Holland, which would not make peace unless its independence was
secured, and except in the minds of the men of the stamp of Sir Walter
Raleigh, to whom war was a source of income, there was a longing for
the end of hostilities. The great Elizabethan epoch was over, and when
England was next to be engaged in serious warfare at sea, it was with a
very different enemy, and in quite another cause.

In telling the naval history of the great queen's reign from the Armada
year forward, I have thought it better to leave aside the action of
the adventurers except where they are found combined with those of the
Royal Navy. But from 1588 to the end of the century these champions
of our power on the sea were numerous, and in some cases brilliantly
successful. There were, indeed, far more of them than are recorded.
In the general suspension of trade, privateering voyages became a
very important resource of merchants and seafaring men. Commerce with
Spain did not indeed altogether come to an end. Although we did not,
like the Dutch, keep up an open trade with the enemy, English merchant
ships were not infrequently to be found in Spanish ports both in
Europe and in the islands of the Atlantic. The West Indian harbours
were indeed jealously closed to foreigners. But English merchant ships
which adopted the simple precaution of flying the Scotch flag seem to
have found little difficulty in trading with the Spaniards. Yet this
resource had its dangers, and the temptations to seek a profit by
pillaging the Spaniard were very great. Thus there were always swarms
of now forgotten English privateers at sea. Sir William Monson assures
us that the great majority of these adventures proved disastrous, or at
least barren, and we can well believe it. Small privateers, measuring
often no more than forty or fifty tons, were incapable of attacking not
only the large and well-protected Spanish _flotas_, but even of dealing
with a single fairly-armed galleon. They had not only their want of
material strength against them, but also their want of discipline,
and the fact that they were frequently fitted out by owners who were
too poor to equip them properly. Their crews were largely composed
of men who fled to them to escape the stricter discipline, and more
limited opportunities of plunder afforded by the queen's ships. Such
vessels, so equipped and so manned, would, in the ordinary course,
come frequently to grief, and it is not likely that Sir William Monson
was exaggerating when he said that a large proportion of them either
perished unheard of at sea, or returned without so much as seeing a
Spaniard.

Among these obscure men there were, however, a few whose achievements
are memorable. Of these, by far the most brilliant was George
Clifford, third Earl of Cumberland. He has not in modern times had
that measure of reputation which is his due. In truth, no man more
fully illustrated what was most brilliant in the adventures of the
Elizabethan epoch. Of some of the others--Drake, Hawkins, or Raleigh,
for instance--we may doubt whether the hope of gain was not their main
inducement. But the earl was a great noble, who did not indeed deny
that he hoped to take prizes from the Spaniards, and make his profit
by them, but who certainly was mainly influenced by a chivalrous love
of adventure, and the feeling that it became a man of his rank to set
an example. Certainly, his ten voyages undertaken between 1586 and
1597 will compare with the deeds of any of the seamen of his time.
It is true that he did not sail in all the expeditions fitted out
at his expense, but he did in many of them. Three are particularly
interesting. In 1592 the earl's ships were at the taking of the great
carrack _Madre de Dios_, which fell into the hands of a squadron
of English privateers belonging, some to Cumberland, some to the
Hawkins family, and some to Sir Walter Raleigh. It was a misfortune
of the adventurers that one of the queen's ships was present at the
capture. It was a very small vessel, and had very little share in the
merits of the enterprise. In fact, but for the strenuous exertions
of the privateers, she would have been carried off by the carrack.
Her captain, Sir Robert Cross, ran the big Portuguese on board, who
thereupon "lashed his ship fast by the shrouds and sailed away with
her by her side." Hereupon Captain Norton, Cumberland's commander,
boarded the carrack to save the queen's ship, and, being well supported
by the others, carried her after a prolonged struggle. The _Madre de
Dios_ was brought to England, and her capture proved a fruitful event.
She had come from the Portuguese possessions in the East Indies, and
carried a cargo of "spices, drugs, silks, calicoes, quilts, carpets,
and colours." The sight of it is said to have stimulated strongly the
desire of the merchants of London to share in the trade of the East,
and to have had a direct influence in the formation of the East India
Company. The earl's profit was not in proportion to his hopes; for the
queen, taking advantage of the fact that one of the least of her ships
had had the smallest possible share in the capture, contrived, by a
very characteristic mixture of force and fraud, to secure the lion's
share for herself. She indeed was robbed by her own agents, but she
forced Cumberland to put up with £36,000 as a free gift from her, in
place of the greater sum he had expected to receive. The eighth voyage,
which took place in 1594, was marked by two actions of extraordinary
ferocity with Portuguese carracks. One, the _Cinco Chagas_, was burnt
in action, after a scene of great horror. Another beat off the attack
of the privateers. But the most memorable of the earl's enterprises,
and indeed the most brilliant achievement of any subject in the queen's
reign, was the earl's voyage to the West Indies in 1597, the year in
which Essex and Raleigh were wrangling and failing at the Azores. His
experience in 1592 had shown Cumberland the disadvantage of sailing
with the queen's ships. Elizabeth was known to be very tender of her
vessels, so that whoever sailed with them had to be in continual
anxiety lest they should come to grief, while the queen was most apt
to take advantage of their presence to deprive her partners of a fair
share of the booty. The unsuccessful attack on the carracks in 1594
had also shown Cumberland the need for large vessels of considerable
strength. He therefore built one for himself at Deptford. She was of
800 tons, at that time the burden of a ship of the first rank, and was
named by the queen, who christened her at the launching the =Scourge
of Malice=. In 1597 the earl raised a force of eighteen sail, and took
the command in person. He sailed on the 6th of March, intending, if
possible, to capture the Portuguese East India ships on their way out,
but, failing that, to proceed to the West Indies, and there capture
some island or town "that would yield him wealth and riches, being the
chief end of his undertaking." The first part of his plan failed. After
cruising for a time on the coast of Portugal to very little purpose, he
sailed to the Canaries. Here, also, no booty was to be found, and the
earl then told his men that he intended to go on to the West Indies,
hoping to make profit, "by first the sacking of Margarita, which they
knew was rich, then Puerto Rico, after that, San Domingo, then in July
the outward-bound fleet would be in the Acoa, where we could not miss
them, and if these gave us not content, in the end of July or August we
should meet the fleet at Cape St. Antonio."

The earl did not seriously intend to attempt the execution of all
parts of this extensive plan. In the fragment of a history of the
voyage written by himself he confesses very candidly that he spoke
"more to carry the men with good liking thither, than for any thought
he had of them himself." But at that time it was never necessary to
spend much pains in persuading Englishmen to sail to the West Indies.
Cumberland's crews entered with "greedy desire and hopeful expectation"
into his schemes. He therefore stretched over from Lanzarote, one of
the Canaries, to Dominica in the Leeward Isles, where he cast anchor
on the 23rd of May. A week was spent in recruiting the health of
his men. The English traded with the Caribs, and bathed in the hot
springs. They found the Caribs friendly, and the tropical luxuriance
of the vegetation filled at least the more educated of them with
delight. Cumberland would have wished to make use of the time for
the purpose of drilling his men, who were still very raw. But the
hillsides of Dominica are so steep, and the tropical forests were
then so dense, that no convenient drill ground could be discovered.
After a week's rest they went on, refreshed by food and hot baths, and
reached the Virgin Islands in the course of three days of sailing to
the north-west. Here at last Cumberland was able to set about turning
the men he had collected into something approaching soldiers. A large
proportion of them had no doubt served before, but as yet there were
many who had no practice, and the whole body was still undivided into
companies. What little could be done in the course of a few days was
done, and the earl took occasion to make his men a speech. The burden
of it was that the play was over, and the work going to begin. Hitherto
he had borne with the many "gross faults committed among you, suffering
every man to do what he would, and urging no man further than he
listed." For this leniency the earl had several reasons, but now all
were to understand that discipline must be maintained, and that no
man should be allowed to infringe it. Having delivered this harangue
"standing under a great cliff of a rock, his prospect to the seaward,
stepped upon one of the greater stones, which, added to his natural
stature, gave him a pretty height above the other company," Cumberland
sent his men back to their ships, and prepared to carry out his attack
on Puerto Rico. His social rank and his power to pay wages out of his
ample revenue combined to give him a "pretty height above the other
company," and he was able to introduce a degree of good order among
his followers, which few plebeian adventurers could have attained.
Therefore his capture of San Juan de Puerto Rico was a fine orderly
operation of war, conducted with no less humanity than gallantry.

The island of Puerto Rico lies directly to the west of the Virgin
Islands. The town of San Juan is on the northern side, about thirty
miles to the west of the headland of San Juan, which is the easterly
limit of the land. The coast runs almost due east and west. The town
stands upon a little island of some two and a half miles long by a
quarter wide, which itself lies parallel to the coast. At the eastern
extremity of this little island it is connected with the mainland of
Puerto Rico by a spit on which a bridge has now been built. At the
south-east corner, the space between the lesser and the greater island
is very trifling, and at this point there is a ferry. The town of San
Juan de Puerto Rico lies at the western end of the little island, some
slight distance away from the spit and the ferry. The small island is
very rocky, particularly towards the sea front. The place is naturally
strong, and only three years before had beaten off an attack by Drake.
But at that time it was occupied by a strong detachment of soldiers
sent to protect the treasure. At the time of the Earl of Cumberland's
attack, it was left to its own resources, which, however, were not
contemptible.

Standing over from the Virgin Islands, the earl sailed past the
precipitous northern coast of Puerto Rico, till he came to the
place where the hills turn inland, and the coast begins to afford
landing-places. Here he sent forward two pinnaces under the command
of one Captain Knotsford, an old seaman trained in Hawkins's service,
with orders to choose a landing-place. Knotsford, being apparently
in fear lest he should be carried to leeward of San Juan, lay-to too
soon, and waited for the earl, who joined him by night. The choice of
a landing-place was thus thrown upon Cumberland himself. He pitched on
one, which seamen who had been there with Sir Francis Drake declared
to be unmanageable, because the surf was at all times beating on the
beach. They had probably judged too hastily from a single experience.
The earl found the sea calm, and landed his men without the least
difficulty. They were in number "not so few as a thousand." A day's
march "through most unpassable rocks and cliffs" brought them to
within sight of the island of San Juan at the east end. Their march
had been observed by a handful of Spanish horsemen, who did not offer
any effectual resistance, and who disappeared into the forest as the
English approached the end of St. Juan.

When they saw the place they had come to attack in front of them, the
earl and his companions learned for the first time that they could not
get across without boats, and, as the Spaniards had a fort at that
point, there would have been great danger in attempting the use of that
method. It seemed then, as the earl's chaplain puts it, that "we were
at a flat bay; even at our wits' end." Cumberland, however, was not
so soon at the end of his wits as the chaplain. He argued very justly
that the Spanish horsemen whom they had just seen ride off into the
woods must have some means of getting into the island, and he fairly
concluded that where the Spaniards could cross, so could the English.
The difficulty was to find the passage. On their march, Cumberland's
soldiers had captured a negro, by whom they had been guided so far. The
man spoke little Spanish, or, as we can well believe, English either,
and was moreover in extreme terror between the probability that the
English would kill him if he refused to guide them, and the prospect
that the Spaniards would hang him for acting as guide. At last he was
made to understand that the English were in search of some ford at
which they could walk into the island. He led them to a point where
there was a causeway, probably that where the bridge now stands. It was
now late, and the whole force was very tired, so Cumberland gave his
men a few hours' rest before making an attack. They all slept in their
armour on the bare ground, the earl among them with his target for a
pillow. Two hours before daybreak they were called quietly under arms,
and prepared to rush the causeway. The earl would have led himself,
but was persuaded to leave the command of the van to his lieutenant,
Sir John Berkeley. The attempted surprise was a failure, though well
planned and gallantly executed. The Spaniards had a stockade at the end
of the causeway, and, being on the look-out, they opened a hot fire at
the English as they came on. Cumberland, though he had left the leading
of the storm to Berkeley, would not keep out of the fight, and his zeal
led him into danger in a fashion which, to us, is not without a certain
absurdity. As he was cheering his men on along the causeway in the
dark, his shield-bearer stumbled and fell against him. Cumberland was
thrown off his feet and pushed into the water, falling on his back, so
that, being encumbered by the weight of his armour, he could not get
up, and would infallibly have been drowned if two of his followers had
not fished him out after several unsuccessful dives. When rescued, it
was found that he had swallowed so much salt water as to be very sick.
He spent the rest of the action sitting in complete prostration by the
side of the causeway. When the first signs of daylight were visible,
the English were called off, and retired with the loss of some fifty
men.

It was obvious that there was no getting into the island by that entry,
and therefore the earl went back to the point at which he had first
touched St. Juan; and, bringing round one of his ships, battered down
the fort at the landing. His vessel was stranded and became a wreck,
but an entry was made into the island. A march of a mile through wood
and rocky ground brought the invaders to the town, which is described,
probably with great exaggeration, as being of the same circuit as
Oxford. It had been deserted by all except the women, children, and old
men. The men capable of bearing arms had shut themselves up in the fort
called the Morra, which it was necessary to reduce by a regular siege.
As very frequently happened in the ventures of that time, there was
more honour than material profit made at San Juan de Puerto Rico; but
in this case the leader aimed chiefly at honour, or at least something
altogether beyond the mere ransom. It was Cumberland's intention to
retain possession of San Juan de Puerto Rico for the Crown of England,
and he actually remained there far longer than was wise, if he had
considered only his immediate interests. His intention to antedate
the establishment of the English in the West Indies by more than half
a century was altogether premature. His force, already weakened by
sickness and inaction, was not strong enough for the undertaking. After
losing nearly four hundred men by fevers, the earl took to his ships
and returned to England.

I have told the history of the Earl of Cumberland's capture of San
Juan de Puerto Rico at what may appear undue length if it is judged
by the intrinsic importance of the feat; but it stands here as the
representative of a score of others which could not be told without
swelling this book to irrational proportions. The naval war of
Elizabeth's reign was, above all, a war of adventurers. Cumberland was
only the richest, the best born, and, it is not unjust to add, the most
high-minded, of a large class which included Cavendish, Grenville,
Preston, Sommers, Dudley, Shirley, Lancaster, and a score of others
whose names meet us here and there as commanding ships in fights and
captures, but who came out of and returned to obscurity. The regular
naval war did not differ materially from the enterprises of these
sea-rovers. The capture of Cadiz was only the taking of San Juan de
Puerto Rico on a great scale, and the cruises to the Isles were very
much like the earl's cruises to the Canaries. It is this adventurous
quality, the touch of romance and knight-errantry, which gives its
peculiar charm to the Elizabethan time. There is a youthfulness about
the epoch which is lost by the next generation. England was "mewing
her mighty youth," springing from a small power to a great, and from
a little trading nation to one whose sails were on every sea. When
Elizabeth ascended the throne, the English flag had only once or
twice gone farther than to Archangel in the north and Scanderoon in
the Levant. Before her death, ships bearing her flag and manned by
her subjects had "prowled with hostile keel" in all the seas of the
world; and her merchants were preparing to open a permanent trade with
the East Indies, while English colonists had established a footing on
the continent of North America. In this great work the Royal Navy was
not the only instrument. It is seldom that we find it acting alone,
and never when a great display of power was required. Yet the Royal
Navy was the steel of the lance, the model of discipline and warlike
efficiency. The city of London, or so great a subject as the Earl of
Cumberland, might show a few ships not inferior to the queen's, but
that was quite the exception. The Royal Navy was already as distinctly
marked from the other shipping of the country as it was in later
generations.



CHAPTER IV

JAMES I. AND CHARLES I.

 AUTHORITIES.--Sir W. Monson's _Naval Tracts_ continue to be the
 leading authority for the early years of King James. The narratives
 which illustrate the adventures of our seamen with the Algerine
 pirates and the expeditions of 1620 have been collected by Lediard in
 his _Naval History_. The report of the Commission of 1618 is given
 in substance in Charnock's _Naval Architecture_. The original is in
 the Record Office. The Navy Record Society has printed Holland's and
 Ilyonsbie's _Discourses on the Navy_, edited by Mr. Tanner. For the
 later years included in this chapter and for the whole time of the
 Civil War and the Commonwealth, the collection of documents miscalled
 the Life of Sir W. Penn, by Granville Penn, is of great value.


In the summer of 1604 Sir William Monson was appointed to command the
squadron in the Narrow Seas. In the course of his duty he had occasion
to speak with the officer commanding the Dutch ships then engaged in
the blockade of Dunkirk. "At my coming thither," he writes, "I went
on board the Admiral of Holland, who had been my old and familiar
acquaintance by reason of many actions and services we had been in
together. I told him that after twenty years spent in the wars, I was
now become a watchman with a bill in my hand to see peace kept and no
disorder committed in the Narrow Seas." The image which Monson applied
to himself might, with equal justice, have been used of the Government
he served. After a long and stormy reign, divided into nearly
equal periods of conflict without open war and then of undisguised
hostilities, England had settled down under a sovereign whose dearest
wish it was to see peace kept and no disorders committed in the Narrow
Seas or elsewhere. It could hardly be said that King James was a
watchman with a bill in his hands. This king would, in fact, have been
a more effectual guardian of the peace, if he had taken better care to
have his weapon ready, and shown a greater faculty for using it. Yet he
chose the part of the peacemaker, and his decision inevitably had its
effect on the navy.

With the exception of one deplorably ill-managed expedition against
the pirates of Algiers in 1620, the king's reign was barren of warlike
enterprises at sea; but it is not, on that account, without great
interest in naval history. In the first place, it is during the reign
of King James that we first get a good opportunity of seeing the navy
engaged in its regular work of keeper of the peace, or protector as the
Church Service words it, of all those who go upon the sea upon their
lawful occasions. Then it was a time of great advance in shipbuilding
and of great experiments in naval administration.

The same Sir William Monson, whose name has appeared so often already,
has left an account of his services as admiral in the Narrow Seas,
written for his own justification at a time when he was accused by
the Dutch of showing partiality in the discharge of his office. The
exact merits of this accusation are hardly to be settled now, nor does
it very much matter whether Monson leant too much to one side or the
other, in the chronic disputes between Dutchmen and Spaniards which
were then disturbing the Channel. It would have been beyond the power
of any officer to convince both parties that he was fair, and we have
his word for it that he cordially disliked the Dutch. Even if he had
felt more kindly towards them, it would have been difficult for him
not to come into collision with their officers. There were pretensions
on both sides which it was clearly impossible to reconcile. The King
of England not only claimed the absolute sovereignty of the Four Seas,
but made claims to a general superiority on the ocean which were
irksome to the rising naval power of Holland. The stolid good sense of
the Dutch, who always thought more of substance than of form, and the
sagacity which showed them the folly of quarrelling with England while
their conflict with Spain was not yet ended, could alone have availed
to keep them from resenting pretensions which almost seemed to have
been designed to provoke our neighbours into war. The officers of the
King of England not only claimed the right to exact the salute within
the Four Seas, but they absolutely insisted that no flag was to be
shown in the presence of their own, even far beyond the limits of the
jurisdiction claimed for England. Sir William Monson recalls with pride
how he once rebuked the insolence of a Dutch officer who, after making
the salute, had rehoisted his own flag in Irish waters, by telling him
that it was only out of the condescending politeness of Lord Howard
that the Dutch admiral had been allowed to display his colours in the
expedition to Cadiz.

The Dutch, though they bore the lordly arrogance of England tamely
enough, when all that was at stake was the matter of the salute, were
pertinacious in insisting on their own way on points of material
advantage. Thus, for instance, they insisted upon prohibiting all trade
by English vessels to the ports of Flanders held by the Spaniards,
though they themselves never suspended their lucrative commerce with
Spain at any period during the war. In pursuit of their belligerent
rights, they did not hesitate to attack Spanish vessels, or those
belonging to the Spanish Netherlands, even in English waters. Sir
William Monson recounts the difficulty he found in preventing two
Dutch cruisers from attacking a vessel belonging to Dunkirk, in the
very roadstead of Sandwich. His task was made harder by the fact that
the men of the English seaports sympathised openly with the Dutch. The
hostility to Spain had grown strong during the great queen's reign,
and had not yet given place to the hatred of the Hollander. The great
change produced by the accession of the House of Stuart is forcibly
illustrated by the fact that one of Monson's first duties, during the
reign of King James, was to contrive the smuggling over from Dover to
Flanders of some thousands of Spanish soldiers, who were driven to take
refuge in our ports. They had come up Channel with eight war galleons,
the largest force which by the terms of the new treaty was allowed
free entry to an English harbour. It seems difficult to believe that
the Spaniards would have risked so small a squadron in the Channel in
face of the naval power of Holland, unless they had assurances that it
would not only be protected, but helped to make its way into Flemish
ports. Sir William Monson has not told by what artful management he
contrived to pass the Spaniards, who had taken refuge at Dover, across
the Channel. The story might have cost him some ill-will, and he
thought it better to keep silent. But if the Dutch learned, as they
not improbably did, that he had been giving so much zealous assistance
to an enemy who was endeavouring to conquer their country, it is not
wonderful that they doubted his impartiality. Not the least important
part of his duty consisted in escorting "such princes, ambassadors, and
others, as were entitled to the honour." Of these he convoyed no less
than thirty-two in eleven years, with all their servants and followers,
who, on some occasions, reached the figure of three hundred, all of
whom Sir William had to feed. One of these guests, the Count of Villa
Mediana, was confined for five days by foul weather in Monson's ship,
having with him a train of two hundred persons, who consumed, in all,
ten meals each. The honour of discharging such a dignified function as
that of protector of princes and ambassadors was embittered for Monson,
and indeed for naval officers, as late as Nelson's time, and later, by
the meanness of the Government, which left them to bear the expense of
entertaining these guests of the State. Monson has left it on record
that at the end of his service he was "as yet unsatisfied" for no
less a sum than fifteen hundred pounds spent in this way. Five or six
thousand pounds would probably be the modern equivalent. But Monson,
who took a pension from Spain, had ways of making the loss good. These,
varied by an occasional raid on foreign fishermen engaged in poaching
on our waters, represented the usual duties of the officer commanding
the Channel squadron, or, to use the language of the time, the Winter
and the Summer Guard, in the early seventeenth century.

Sir William Monson had a piece of work to do at the very end of his
active service of a much more lively character than any of these, and
one too characteristic of the time, and the conditions of sea life, to
be passed over.

In 1614 the king's Scotch subjects petitioned him for help against the
pirates who were infesting the coasts. The call was pressing, and was
favourably received by the king. Sir William Monson and Sir Francis
Howard were despatched at once with four ships in such haste that the
"victuals and other things" they needed were to be sent after them.
The little squadron left Margate on the 14th of May, and reached Leith
on the 23rd of the same month. Here Monson applied to the "Lords of
that Realme," for information concerning the pirates, desiring "to be
furnished with able pilots, for His Majesty's ships were of greater
burden and value than usually had been employed on these coasts, and
besides, that the navigation to the northward of that place (Leith) was
not frequented by our nation, and therefore unknown to us." Able pilots
were duly supplied, and information was forthcoming. From the Frith
of Forth Monson sailed to the north, to Sinclair Castle, the house of
the Earl of Caithness, by whom he was informed that the number and
powers of the pirates had been much exaggerated in the petition to His
Majesty. Instead of twenty, there were but two, and they men of "base
condition." From the expression it appears likely that Monson would
have not been much surprised to learn that his pirates were gentlemen
of good birth, and indeed there would have been nothing wonderful in it
at a time when a member of the distinguished Buckinghamshire family of
Verney was a noted leader among the Algerines. Monson's pirates were
very small deer. One of them hardly deserved the name, being only a
trader who had been terrified into joining his captors. This man had
seized the first chance to escape, and had just rendered up himself
and one of the two vessels to the Earl of Caithness. The other pirate
turned out to be one Clarke, who had formerly been a boatswain's mate
with Monson in the Channel. From Caithness the English officer sailed
to the Orkneys in pursuit of Clarke. Here "he found more civil, kind,
and friendly usage than could be expected from such kind of creatures
in show." Leaving Sir Francis Howard to guard the coast, he sailed in
pursuit of the runaway Clarke to Shetland. From Shetland he went on to
the Hebrides, where he intended that his consort should join him. "The
brutishness and uncivility of those people of the Hebrides exceeds the
savages of America," is the rude description given of the islanders by
Sir William Monson. Clarke was not to be found in the Hebrides, but
Monson obtained information of a certain gentleman, Cormat by name,
living in Ireland near Broadhaven, who was known as a favourer and
protector of pirates. To Broadhaven, then, Monson sailed, meeting on
the way with such weather as is "fit only for a poet to describe." In
the great storm and ground seas the squadron was scattered. Of the four
ships Monson had with him, one went down, and the three others were
separated, "and saw one another no more till they met in England."
On the 28th June Monson reached Broadhaven, a place which would have
been unknown to him, if he had not had with him a pirate whom he had
taken out of the hands of the Earl of Caithness. This man guided him
into the haven, and then was of material assistance in carrying out a
stratagem which Monson had devised for the more effectual discovery
and punishment of Cormat (whose real name was probably Cormac) and his
lawless associates.

So fine was the distinction between the lawless and the law-abiding on
the seas at that time, that Monson had no difficulty in picking out
from his crew a number of men who had formerly been pirates. "These men
he sent in his boat to the gentlemen of that place, and took upon him
to be a pirate and the name of Captain Manwaring." The ex-pirate, whom
Monson trusted, acted so as to prove the truth of the adage touching
the wisdom of employing a thief to catch a thief. He entered into the
plot with almost scandalous zest. Mr. Cormac had three daughters, all
of whom, it appears, had pirate sweethearts. "These silly women" were
cruelly deluded with stories to the effect that Captain Manwaring was
very rich with plunder, and very generous, also that he was acquainted
with all their sweethearts. Misled by this fiction, Mr. Cormac and his
belongings were at once consumed with a desire to make the acquaintance
of Captain Manwaring. He put cattle at a convenient place on the coast
with their ears slit, in order that the supposed pirates might take
them in a "warlike manner, that it might appear their cattle were
taken by violence." Next day Monson sent for the cattle, sending fifty
armed men under Captain Chester in a "disorderly manner like pirates."
Captain Chester was civilly received by the Misses Cormac, "whose
desire was to hear of their sweethearts, but all in general coveted
to see Captain Manwaring, who they confidently believed would enrich
them all." In the course of the day Mr. Cormac sent two "ambassadors,"
who "delivered a friendly (though in a rude manner like their country)
message of their love." It was an invitation to a dinner and dance.

Monson now began to put his stratagem in force. He laid the two
messengers by the heels in the hold of his ship, after cruelly asking
them whether they thought she looked like a pirate. Then he landed
himself with more men in a disorderly manner. He was received on the
beach by a large crowd with an effusive welcome. One of the crowd was
an English trader, another was a merchant from Galway. Both of these
made a trade of buying plunder from pirates. A third noted character in
the hospitable mob was Cormac's schoolmaster; for an Irish gentleman,
however lax he might be in the matter of piracy, was never indifferent
to learning. Surrounded by cheers and enthusiasm, the imaginary Captain
Manwaring made triumphant progress to Mr. Cormac's house. A royal
entertainment had been prepared. The harper, a recognised member of
every Irish household, played to welcome him, and the Misses Cormac
proposed a dance. Monson would not himself dance, but he allowed his
followers to amuse themselves. In the meantime he talked with Cormac
and his daughters, "laughing and jeering at their two messengers aboard
who they did not suspect were detained prisoners, but drinking and
frolicking in the ship, as the use was upon the arrival of pirates."
Then he had some talk with the trader, of whom he draws a most engaging
picture. Believing that he had in truth to deal with a pirate, the
man was completely candid. He explained how he treated the sheriffs,
showing "a pass procured upon false pretences from the Sheriff of
that county, authorising him to travel from place to place to make
inquisition of his goods, which he falsely pretended he was robbed of
at sea; he laughed at the cheat he had put upon the Sheriff in getting
his pass, and urged the advantage that might be made of it in sending
to and fro in the country without suspicion.... His antic behaviour was
enough to put the melancholist man in good humour, sometimes he played
the part of a Commanding Sheriff; then he acted his own with many witty
passages as to how he deceived the Sheriff." Sir William Monson pumped
this clever fellow, of whom he was making a dupe, and in particular
got a letter from him to certain mariners in the county who were the
regular associates of pirates.

So soon as he had this useful document in his pocket, Sir William
sprang his mine on this innocent Irish family. He told them who he
was, and that they were all prisoners. "Here was seen the mutability
of the world; their mirth was turned into mourning and their dancing
into lamenting, each bewailing and repenting as is the custom of
offenders." The inexorable Sir William returned on board, leaving them
all under guard, and his carpenter busy in setting up the gallows, but
the end was not tragic for the family of Cormac and their guests. After
giving them "four-and-twenty hours' fright" in irons, and receiving a
solemn promise that they would never connive at pirates again, Monson
pardoned them. He was perhaps the more readily induced to be merciful
by the fact that in the meantime another vessel had turned up outside
Broadhaven, and had at once stood off to sea on finding the anchorage
occupied. Rightly judging that the new-comer was a pirate, Monson
compelled Cormac to give help in bringing him to justice. The old rogue
was perfectly prepared to save his own neck, and wrote letters which
induced the new-comer to remain on the coast and send a large part of
his crew ashore for cattle. Monson, who watched his compulsory allies
with sleepless vigilance, seized the opportunity to board the pirate
while a large part of his crew were on shore. Hauling his boats over
a strip of land between Broadhaven and the place where the pirates
were, he dropped during the night on the deceived malefactors and
captured them without difficulty. His new prisoners were treated with
less tenderness than the Cormacs. "Examining the behaviour of all
the pirates, of many he picked out the worst, who had tasted twice
before of His Majesty's gracious pardon." This time they tasted of His
Majesty's justice, being duly hanged as a terror to evil-doers. If
Monson is to be believed, this severe example cleared the Irish coast
of pirates, but he undoubtedly overrated the efficacy of the remedy.
Years afterwards, when Strafford came to Ireland as Lord Deputy, the
coast was still infested with pirates, and very stringent measures had
been taken to re-establish security for trade.

This story, though it may seem somewhat out of place when told at such
length in a history of the Royal Navy, has appeared to me to be worth
repeating. One concrete example will do more than any number of general
statements to show what the condition of a country was. All through the
reign of Elizabeth and the first two Stuarts piracy was common on the
coast of Great Britain and Ireland. Sir William Monson's experiences
show why it could flourish. The number of ships kept in regular
commission by the king was small, and much of their time was taken up
in carrying princes and ambassadors between England and the Continent.
In outlying districts there were always persons of the stamp of Mr.
Cormac and his "hackney daughters," who were prepared to give the
pirates a friendly welcome in consideration of a share of the booty.
Traders were ready to buy their stolen goods. And it is even obvious,
from Monson's casual mention of members of his crew who had been
pirates, that nobody thought very much the worse of a man for having
followed the trade once in a way. The sea was still very lawless, and
the Royal Navy had hardly yet taken its police duties firmly in hand.

The improvement in shipbuilding which took place in this reign was
mainly the work of the most able member of a remarkable family of
shipwrights, sea-captains, and navy officials who are found engaged in
and about the royal dockyards from the reign of Edward VI. to close
on the end of the reign of Charles II. Phineas Pett, who was born in
1570 and died in 1647, was the son of Peter Pett, master shipwright
at Deptford in the reign of Queen Elizabeth. He received a better
education than had probably been given to any previous member of
his family. After preliminary schooling at Rochester and Greenwich,
he entered the famous Puritan college, the "House of Pure Emanuel,"
at Cambridge in 1586. The death of his father, in 1589, left him
destitute, and Phineas was for some years compelled to pick up a
precarious livelihood in the dockyards or in sea voyages. In 1597 he
entered the service of Lord Howard, which no doubt means his service
as Lord High Admiral, but not in any domestic capacity. His foot being
now well down, Pett kept his place, and very considerably bettered it
before long. Having been employed by Howard to build a miniature ship
for Henry, eldest son of James I., he attracted the favourable notice
of the prince, who in his short life certainly proved that he possessed
a remarkable eye for men of brains and character. Pett's favour drew
upon him a great deal of jealousy in the dockyard, and he was at last
openly accused by his rivals of incompetence. But he stood his ground
stoutly, and finally justified himself in an inquiry held before the
king at Woolwich. James, like all the house of Stuart, had a taste for
clever scientific men. He was mainly a scholar and a theologian, as
his son Charles I. was a judge of pictures and of literature, and as
his grandson Charles II. had a taste for natural science and chemical
experiments. But he could understand the merits of such a question
as was debated before him at Woolwich, and his inclination would be
to support an educated man against the merely practical men who were
accusing him of bungling because he departed from their familiar old
rules of thumb. The whole house of Stuart, indeed, had a liking for
ships and sea affairs, which they showed even before they became kings
of England. Under royal protection, Pett was able to bring about great
improvements in construction by reducing the amount of timber used and
relying on better proportion for strength. The great ship called the
=Prince Royal=, designed by him, and launched in 1610, was the finest
yet built for the Crown, and he surpassed her in the =Sovereign of the
Seas=, launched in 1637, during the reign of Charles I. He established
his family so firmly in the dockyards, that they overran all the
offices in them by the middle of the century.

The labours of this skilful shipbuilder would have been of little
avail but for the exertions of others among the king's servants who in
1618 prevailed over the interested opposition of the Lord High Admiral
to the appointment of a Committee to inquire into the state of the
navy. Even in the great queen's reign all had not been perfect in the
dockyards. During her later years, when they had lost the vigilant
supervision of Hawkins, a good deal of corruption had begun to creep
in. Under the lax government of James I., and when there was no longer
a permanent state of war to brace the energies of the admirals and
captains, and to apply a perpetual check on the execution of work, the
naval administration fell rapidly into an inefficient condition. As
early as 1608 there had been talk of an inquiry. But Lord Howard of
Effingham, or, to give him his later title, the Earl of Nottingham,
used his influence to put a stop to the proposal. He no doubt
considered that he was personally insulted when the conduct of the
department under his command was called in question. Yet inquiry was
certainly needed. We cannot believe that the hero who led the English
fleets against the Armada, and was joint commander with Essex in the
triumphant expedition to Cadiz, was himself guilty of corruption. The
truth is, that he looked upon the minute examination of accounts as
work beneath his dignity, and fit only for subordinate officials, whom
he regarded as his servants. He managed the navy, in fact, very much
as a profuse, easy-going noble would have conducted the affairs of his
own house. Of course he was robbed by his servants, and, when they
were accused of misconduct, he resented the interference as implying a
reflection on his judgment. So fraud and peculation flourished under
the protection of his honourable name.

The corruption at the Admiralty was so flagrant that another attempt to
set going an inquiry was made in 1613. It went so far that a Commission
was actually drafted, but Nottingham, thoroughly aroused at this
second insult, consulted lawyers as to the legality of the document,
and threatened a constitutional opposition. Again he succeeded in
staving off inquiry. Four years later, however, a third, and this time
a successful, effort was made to overhaul the Admiralty. The Howard
family were in conflict with the rising favour of George Villiers,
afterwards Duke of Buckingham, and the admiral suffered with the rest.
In this case there can be no question that the interests of the nation
were on the side of Buckingham. The Commission which took the work in
hand contained some excellent men of business. Lionel Cranfield, Earl
of Middlesex, was one, and another was Sir John Coke, a model public
servant, though a somewhat mean-spirited man, who continued in the
service of the Crown far into the reign of Charles I.

The report issued by this body in September 1618 gives a sufficiently
lamentable account of the condition into which the navy had fallen
during the fifteen years since the death of Queen Elizabeth. It was to
little use that Pett was building finer ships, when they were allowed
to go to decay, through mismanagement in the dockyards, from the very
day they were built. As to the scandalous defects which had been
steadily increasing under the lax supervision of Nottingham, there
can be no sort of question. The Commissioners, to begin with, found
that no accounts had been prepared for the last four years, and they
were driven to discover what the expenditure of the navy had been by
the laborious process of going over all the warrants issued during
that period. After what appears to have been a very fair and careful
examination, they came to a decision that the money spent yearly on an
average during the last four years had been £53,004, 7s. 11d. It was
far more than Elizabeth had spent to maintain an efficient sea force
in war-time, and yet it could not keep the navy from decay. Out of a
nominal force of forty-three ships, sixteen were either non-existent
or absolutely rotten. The others, though they were capable of being
repaired, were in so bad a condition as to need a thorough refit, and
this although the cost of the navy had been increasing rapidly. The
report of the Commissioners is a model of good order and explicit
convincing statement. It leaves no doubt on the mind why it was
that the strength of the navy decreased as its expenses grew. The
Commissioners give an account of the administration, which is now of
great historical interest.

First, they draw up a list of the officers to whom the government of
the navy was entrusted, showing us the whole establishment as it stood
in 1618, distinguishing between the old order created by Henry VIII.
and the recent additions:--

        The ancient Patentees and their payments are these--
  The Lord High Admiral of England               £ 133   6   8
  The Lieutenants of the Admiralty, which was
    not bestowed all Queen Elizabeth's time        322  18   4
  The Treasurer of the navy for his fee,
     travelling charges, boat hire and clerks      220  13   4
  Comptroller of the navy, the like                155   6   8
  Surveyor of the navy for the like                145   6   8
  Surveyors of victuals for the like               159  10   0
  Clerk of the navy for the like                   100   3   4
  Keeper of the stores-general for the like         78   5  10
  Keeper of the stores at Portsmouth                20   0   0
  Three assistants to the officers                  60   0   0
  A master for grounding the great ships             9   2   6
  Three master shipwrights (at first but two)       66  18   4
  A pilot or master for the black deeps             20   0   0
                                                 _____________
        Total                                    £1491  11   8

 The new erections since His Majesty's reign--

 A captain-general of the Narrow Seas for his fee at 20s. per diem, one
 clerk at 8d. and sixteen servants at 10d. per mensem--£481, 3s. 4d.
 Besides £663, 18s. 8d. paid to him by the Treasurer and victualler of
 the navy.

 A vice-admiral of the Narrow Seas for his owne fee at 10s. per diem,
 and eight servants at 10s. per mensem, the later by Privy Seal only,
 £234, 12s. 8d., besides £182, 10s. paid by the Treasurer of the navy.

 Another for service at the Narrow Seas at the like rate of 10s. per
 diem, £182, 10s. 0d., besides 10s. per diem when he serveth at sea.

 A surveyor of tonnage, £18, 5s. 0d. The charge that groweth hereby is
 per medium, £1888, 1s. 5d.

 A storekeeper at Woolwich, £54, 8s. 4d. The store not worth 40s.

 Clearer of the roads, £30. Besides £182, 1s. 8d. paid by the Treasurer
 of the navy.

 A captain and twenty soldiers in Upnor, £243, 6s.

 Total, £1244, 6s. 0d.

 Other new patents granted by His Majesty and paid by the Treasurer of
 the navy.

 A keeper of the outstores at Deptford, a new office, £66, 13s. 4d.

  Clerk of the check at Deptford}
  Clerk of the check at Woolwich} Old offices and fees.
  Clerk of the check at Chatham }

The Commissioners, after pointing out in general and in particular that
the condition of His Majesty's ships was very bad, give nine "causes"
why it was no better. Eight of these are chiefly of the nature of
illustrations of the ninth and last, which in itself is a masterly
summary of the causes and consequences of bad administration.

 "We find the chief and inward causes of all disorder to be the
 multitude of officers, and poverty of wages, and the chief officers
 commit all the trust and business to their inferiors and clerks,
 whereof some have part of their maintenance from the merchants that
 deliver in the provisions which they are trusted to receive, and these
 men are also governed by the chief officers' verbal directions, which
 the directors will not give under their hands when it is required;
 and which of all is the most inconvenient, they are the warrants and
 vouchers for the issuing of all His Majesty's moneys and stores, who
 are most interested in the greatness of his expence.

 "And therefore the business ever was and is still so carried, that
 neither due survey is taken of ought that cometh in, nor orderly
 warrant given for most that goeth out, nor any particular account
 made, nor now possible to be made, of any one main worke or service
 that is done."

The officials could not live on their pay, and were driven to cheat;
and as this was nearly as much the case with the seniors as with the
juniors, there was no supervision. Some of the cheating took the form
of downright lying; thus, of the forty-three ships on the list of the
navy, three were not in existence, even in a rotten condition. The
=Bonaventure= was broken up seven years before the Commission was
formed, and yet the king had continued to pay £63 a year for her keep.
£100, 4s. 5d. was still charged for the =Advantage=, burnt five years
before, and £60, 10s. 10d. for the =Charles=. Small pilferings were
the rule, and the system upon which the men were paid almost invited
fraud. Thus the boatswains, whose regular allowance was £10, 17s.
3d., when engaged as caretakers of the king's ships in harbour, were
allowed to make a profit by buying what were known as "old mucks" and
"brown paper stuff" at a cheap rate. These striking names were applied
to cables, moorings, and cordage generally, which were supposed to be
too worn out for the king's service. Of this refuse the officials were
allowed to make what profit they could. The reader will perceive at
once with what delightful facility this system could be worked at the
king's expense. Much larger quantities of cable were used than were
necessary, and so soon as any part was slightly damaged, the boatswains
were allowed to take the whole as "old mucks" and "brown paper stuff."
Then they resold it at a very handsome profit. If the little men
behaved in this way, it was because their chiefs not only condoned,
but shared their malpractices. The king was charged too dear even for
the stores he did receive, and he was made to pay for articles never
purchased and for work not done for him. As might have been expected,
his establishments swarmed with useless servants, the hangers-on of
his higher officials. A pathetic interest attaches to the names of
some of the useless officials who were detected by the Commissioners.
We read, for instance, of John Austin, master, aged and blind, of John
Avale, boatswain, aged and blind, of Thomas Butler, gunner, aged and
heretofore a man of great service, and may still be an instructor of
others, and of John Causton, gunner, maimed in service. These, we may
safely believe, were aged men, worn out in the wars of Queen Elizabeth,
who were suffered by charity to retain offices for which they were no
longer fit. The Commissioners recommend them for reasonable pensions.
Though such cases as these were pardonable, yet the system was bad.
The fact that one aged seaman or soldier who well deserved a pension
had been suffered to retain a post long after he had become unable
to perform the duties, was sure to be made an excuse for putting in
incompetent persons who had never seen any service at all.

Having drawn this picture of the navy as it was, the Commissioners
went on to draft a scheme by which it could again be put on a
more creditable footing. They undertook to meet the ordinary and
extraordinary expenses for £30,000 a year, to refit the ships which
were still capable of being made serviceable, to build new ones, and to
do the whole work of re-establishing the navy within five years. Their
method was one adopted at all times by administrators who have had to
deal with such a state of affairs as is described above. They dismissed
superfluous officials and raised the salaries of those that were
retained. They set themselves a definite scheme to carry out, and made
a careful calculation of the sums of money required to execute it. The
establishment of the navy, according to the plan of the Commissioners,
was to consist of no more than thirty vessels, but then they were to
be, taken together, larger by three thousand and fifty tons than the
navy of Queen Elizabeth "when it was greatest and flourished most." The
average size of the ships was therefore very much increased. Taking
one with another, they measured a little over five hundred and seventy
tons. By 1624 this scheme had been fully carried out.

The execution of the reform was accompanied, and indeed we may say was
secured, by a change in the administration. It had become impossible
that Nottingham should remain any longer Lord High Admiral. His
retirement in 1619 was soothed by pensions, and he received the sum of
£3000 from his successor as the price of his office. One of the evils
of which the Commissioners had to complain was the sale of offices,
but the practice continued long, especially in the case of the great
men. Nottingham's successor was the showy Duke of Buckingham, one of
the best abused personages in English history. It is, however, to
his credit that under his administration a great deal was done in the
interests of the navy. If he did not do it himself, he at least did not
interfere with Sir John Coke and other hard-working subordinates. Nor
was the change of Lord High Admiral all. A complete organic change was
carried out. The old offices of Treasurer, Comptroller, Surveyor, and
Clerk of the Acts were suppressed, and the members of the committee
were entrusted with the whole administration of the navy, under the
title of Commissioners.

In spite of this vigorous cleansing of the dockyards and the Navy
Office, maladministration was by no means at an end with the navy.
During the reign of Charles some at least of these evils reappeared.
King Charles took a keen interest in his navy, and did much to increase
its strength, but there were permanent conditions during all the
existence of the Stuart dynasty which militated against efficiency.
These kings were always aiming at more than they had the resources to
execute. They were at all times on bad terms with their Parliament,
and so could not raise a great revenue. Thus they were for ever short
of money, and were compelled to connive at malpractices on the part
of servants whom they could not pay. Dishonest men were not satisfied
with robbing the king of just so much as would make good their own
arrears of salary. They repaid themselves with interest, and very often
by defrauding the soldiers and sailors of their food and poor wages.
There was also a defect in the character of the Stuarts which Lord
Dartmouth defined to Pepys very forcibly as they were talking together
before dinner on their way home from Tangier. "He," Pepys writes,
"besides observed something Spragg had said that our masters the King
and Duke of York were good at giving good orders and encouragement to
their servants in office to be strict in keeping good order, but were
never found stable enough to support officers in the performance of
their orders. By which no man was safe in doing them service." This
was not less true of the first James and Charles than of the second,
and therefore it was that in spite of cleverness, of a distinct
understanding of the conditions which made for efficiency, and of the
best intentions, their navy was for ever ill supplied, ill fitted,
and manned by discontented men. The sailor who starved in the king's
service, and saw those who robbed him in the enjoyment of the royal
favour, ended by laying the blame on the king.

If all the promises made to them had been kept, neither men nor
officers would have had reason to complain. The sailors' wages had
risen steadily from the 5s. a month at which they stood at the
beginning of the reign of Henry VIII. They rose to 6s. 8d. under King
Edward, and in 1585 they were increased to 10s. Fourteen shillings
were given to the crews of the ships sent against Algiers in 1620, and
Charles I. fixed 15s. as the regular wage of a sailor. At a time when
the purchasing power of money was greater than it is now, this was
fair pay. The old system of compensating the officers by "dead pays"
disappeared in the reign of Elizabeth. In the reign of Charles I. the
captain received from £4, 6s. 8d. to £14 a month, according to the size
of his ship; the lieutenant, who was only carried in vessels above the
third rate, from £2, 16s. to £3, 10s., and the master from £2, 6s.
8d. to £4, 13s. 9d. Warrant officers were paid from £1, 3s. 4d. to
£2, 4s. The allowance of provisions was ample in quantity. Seven lbs.
of biscuits, four lbs. of beef, two lbs. of pork, one quart of peas,
three pints of oatmeal, six oz. of butter, and twelve oz. of cheese,
besides all the fresh fish which was caught, without any deduction for
it, were supposed to be served out to the men every week. They were
also entitled to an ample allowance of beer. But when a large force was
collected for service during any length of time, it was the common rule
to divide four men's food among six. At all times, too, the quality
of the provisions was liable to be bad. Complaints were particularly
common in regard to the beer. The badness of the stores was often
largely due to the difficulty of keeping them sweet during prolonged
cruises in small wooden vessels, ballasted with sand, into which all
the leakage of the beer-barrels drained, and which was soaked in bilge
water; but the stores were often bad to begin with.

During this reign we first hear of the division of the king's ships
into classes, called rates. At a later period they were classified by
armament, but in the reign of Charles I. the division was made by the
number of the crews. First rates carried 500 and 400 men, second rates
300 and 250, third rates 200 and 160, fourth rates 120 and 100, fifth
rates 70 and 60, and sixth rates 50 and 40.

The long peace which began with the accession of James I. had the
effect of throwing back the development of the navy for some time.
During the later years of Queen Elizabeth, a separate class of sea
officers was beginning to be formed. Sir William Monson, for instance,
was as much a naval officer as Lord Hawke. He went to sea young, he
passed through all grades of the service, he was a trained seaman, and
yet a gentleman who had received the education of his class. Constant
war had begun to teach Englishmen that the business of commanding
a fighting ship at sea required something more than a knowledge of
military discipline and the habit of carrying arms. If King James had
pursued the policy of constant hostility with Spain advocated by the
small party whose best-known representative was Sir Walter Raleigh, it
is probable that a corps of naval officers would soon have been formed
by the mere necessities of the case. But when peace was signed with
Spain, the necessity for maintaining a great naval force came to an
end. The ships were laid up, the crews were disbanded, the officers
either retired into private life, or were employed by the king in other
ways. The seamen among them betook themselves to the service of the
East India Company, to trade, or to colonising ventures in America.
Thus, when the time came again to fit out great fleets, no progress had
been made in the formation of a body of sea officers. In the reign of
James I. and his son, it was not much less the rule than it had been
with Henry VIII., that the captain of a king's ship was a gentleman
with little or no knowledge of sea affairs, and that the seaman was
confined to the inferior position of master. There were exceptions to
this rule. Sir John Pennington, who was much employed by Charles as
admiral in the Narrow Seas, was a seaman bred, but even he was commonly
superseded by some noble whenever the king made a serious effort to fit
out a great fleet.

The one important naval expedition of King James's reign was directed
against the pirates of Algiers in 1620. The despatch of this force
was of the nature of an innovation on the usual policy of James's
Government. It had not hitherto been the custom even to try to afford
English traders effective protection beyond the Narrow Seas. There
was no such permanent naval force as could have done the work, even
if the Government had been disposed to make the attempt. According to
the establishment drafted by the Commission of 1618, the guard to be
maintained at home was to consist of only four vessels, of which the
largest was 120 tons. This trifling squadron was not to be expected
to do more than cope with such pirates "of base condition" as the
ex-boatswain's mate Clarke, whom Sir William Monson hunted in the
Shetlands and the Hebrides. It was utterly unable to afford protection
to English traders beyond the Narrow Seas, nor indeed did they expect
to be protected. Trade to the East and the Levant was conducted by
great privileged companies, who sent their ships out well armed, and
maintained agents at foreign courts. As regards the East Indies,
it was long before a king's ship made its appearance in the waters
frequented by the Company's squadrons. But the Turkish Company, which
traded to the Levant, was less strong, and was also subject to attack
by more formidable enemies. The Algerine pirates were then, in even a
greater degree than was the case later, a standing menace to all ships
trading in the Mediterranean, and even in the more accessible parts
of the Atlantic. On one occasion they carried off a great part of the
population of the Canary Islands, on another they sacked Baltimore in
the south of Ireland. The vessels of the Turkey Company were to a
certain extent able to protect themselves, and on several occasions
they beat off the attacks of the pirates. But the smaller traders
fell easy victims. To the disgrace of Europe, a large proportion of
the pirates were renegades; one of them was an Englishman of the name
of Ward, formerly a boatswain in the navy. The seaports of the time
were full of stories of Englishmen who had been carried off by these
rovers, and had in the majority of cases remained in slavery, unless
they were ransomed by their relations. Now and then some English
sailors who had been taken would escape by turning the tables on their
captors. Thus, for instance, the =Jacob= of Bristol, a ship of 120
tons, was recaptured by four of her men who had been left on board
with the prize-crew. They took the opportunity of a storm, when they
were called upon to help the Moslem pirates, who were clumsy sailors.
As the prize-master was lending a hand to strike the sails, the four
Englishmen deftly gave him "a toss overboard." As he tried to clamber
up again by the help of a rope which was trailing alongside, he was
knocked down "by the handle of a pump." The prize-crew were then
overpowered in detail, and the vessel carried into San Lucar in Spain,
where the captive Mohammedans were themselves promptly sold for slaves.
A somewhat similar story is told of one John Rawlings, skipper of a
small vessel of forty tons, named the =Nicholas= of Plymouth. He was
taken prisoner outside the Straits of Gibraltar and carried to Algiers,
where he was sold as a slave to an English renegade of the name of John
Goodall. Goodall employed him in the crew of one of the various pirate
craft he owned, and Rawlings had the good fortune and dexterity to
organise and carry through a conspiracy among the Christian slaves, who
overpowered the Mohammedan masters and carried the ship into Plymouth.
These, however, were exceptional cases, and of those who fell into the
hands of these pirates there were few who ever saw an end to their
captivity, unless they had friends to ransom them or were prepared to
become renegades.

In 1620 a fleet was at last fitted out against these enemies of the
human race. King James acted at least as much under the influence
of the Spaniards, to whom Algiers was a perpetual menace, as in the
interest of his own subjects. Neither the Spaniard nor the English
trader profited by this solitary example of King James's naval
enterprise. The expedition was too futile to deserve detailed notice in
the history of the English Navy, when so many and such very different
events lie close ahead of us. Yet the constitution of the squadron is
interesting, as showing within a moderate space how the fleets of that
time were composed.

                        His Majesty's Ships.

       Ships.           Tons.  Men.  Brass Guns.  Commanders.
 =The Lion=, Admiral       600   250     40       Sir Robert Mansel.
 =Vanguard=, Vice-Admiral  660   250     40       Sir Richard Hawkins.
 =Rainbow=, Rear-Admiral   660   250     40       Sir Thomas Button.
 =Constant Reformation=    660   250     40       Captain Arth. Manwaring.
 =Antelope=                400   160     34       Sir Henry Palmer.
 =Convertine=              500   220     36       Captain Thomas Love.

                        Merchant Ships.

                                     Iron Guns.
 =Golden Phenix=           300   120     24       Captain Samuel Argall.
 =Samuel=                  300   120     22       Captain Chr. Harris.
 =Marygold=                260   100     21       Sir John Fearn.
 =Zouch Phenix=            280   120     26       Captain John Pennington.
 =Barbary=                 200    80     18       Captain Thomas Porter.
 =Centurion=               200   100     22       Sir Francis Tanfield.
 =Primrose=                180    80     18       Sir John Hamden.
 =Hercules=                300   120     24       Captain Eusaby Cave.
 =Neptune=                 280   120     21       Captain Robert Haughton.
 =Merchant-Bonaventure=    260   110     23       Captain John Chidley.
 =Restore=                 130    50     12       Captain George Raymond.
 =Marmaduke=               100    50     12       Captain Thomas Harbert.

The command of the squadron was given to Sir Robert Mansel, an old
officer of the Elizabethan time, who had fought against the Armada, and
had seen much service. He was a cousin of Lord Howard of Effingham, had
been a greedy if not corrupt official, and had taken an active share
in supporting the Lord Admiral in his opposition to the Commission
of 1613. The second in command, Sir Richard Hawkins, was the son
of the more famous Sir John. He had in the former reign been taken
prisoner by the Spaniards in the South Seas after a gallant fight.
During his captivity he had been converted to Roman Catholicism. His
account of his voyage to the South Seas is, next to the _Naval Tracts_
of Sir William Monson, the best contemporary account of the sea life
in the sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries. The Captain John
Pennington who appears among the commanders of the merchant ships, is
the Sir John Pennington of later years. Although not a man of great
ability or considerable achievements, he is interesting as a type.
He belonged to a family of Puritan tradesmen, who came originally
from Henham in Essex, but were settled in London. The seaman did not
share the politics of his family, but was, in the fullest sense of the
word, a king's servant, making it his boast that it was his one rule
to obey his master's orders. He began life as a merchant's skipper,
and sailed in the employment of Raleigh in the last voyage to Guiana.
He had endeavoured to enter the service of the East India Company,
without success, although (if it ought not to be because) he had the
patronage of Buckingham. The same patron probably obtained for him the
command of the =Zouch Phenix= on this voyage. From this time forward
he was regularly in the employment of the Crown, and generally in
command of the Narrow Seas. The qualities which made his fortune lie
on the surface. He was, as has already been said, the king's servant
and nothing more, ready to fight or to run away, to tell the truth or
to lie, even to tell manifestly incompatible lies, upon the order of
anybody whom the king told him to obey. Such a man was invaluable. The
combination of perfect loyalty with a total absence of scruple is never
very common. Charles appreciated Pennington's qualities to the full,
and, when the Civil War was about to break out, even inclined to give
him the great office of Lord High Admiral.

The expedition against the Algerine pirates left England on the 12th
October 1620. In June of the following year it turned homeward, having
done nothing in the interval except make one futile attempt to defraud
the Dey of Algiers, by sending a sham consul, who was, in fact, a
common sailor dressed up for the occasion, and another no less feeble
effort to burn the pirate ships in the harbour. It spent a great part
of its time at Alicante, or in the Balearic Islands. It went aimlessly
to and fro between these places and Algiers. It was in harbour when it
ought to have been cruising against the pirates, and was at sea when
the pirates were safe back in Algiers. It finally returned, having done
much more harm than good by encouraging the Algerines in their belief
of their own strength.

King James died on the 27th of March 1625. The navy which he left his
son was still at the strength fixed by the Commissioners of 1618. As
compared with the navy of Queen Elizabeth, it shows a decrease of
either nine or eleven, for there is some doubt as to the exact number
of the king's ships, and an increase of about 2350 in tonnage. The work
before the navy in the new reign was, to judge by appearances, very
serious. The failure of the negotiations for a Spanish marriage, and
the wounds inflicted on the vanity, both of Charles and of Buckingham,
during their journey to Madrid, had provoked a war. It was not long
before the management of the new favourite added a war with France to
the existing struggle with Spain. Formidable as the task looks, there
is no reason to doubt that the Royal Navy, aided by the levies of
merchant ships always made when a great fleet was fitted out for sea
at that period, would have been amply sufficient. Spain was already
exhausted, and was only too happy to be able to repel attack, while
France had, as yet, no navy at all. But in order that the strength of
England on the sea could be fully exerted, there was need for good
management, a full treasury, and hearty zeal on the part of the nation.
All these three conditions were wanted. Therefore the enterprises
of one kind or other which went on from 1625 to 1629 were little
less languid, and were even more disgraceful, than Mansel's useless
demonstration against Algiers. Their political history is of immense
interest, but it is unnecessary to be told here. The miserable business
of the surrender of the seven English ships to the King of France, to
be used against Rochelle in 1625, tells us much about the character of
Charles, of Buckingham, and of Pennington, who executed his part of a
discreditable transaction stolidly, though not without reluctance; but
it is of no interest in the history of the navy proper.

The expedition to Cadiz in 1625, the despatch of the Earl of Denbigh
with a fleet to cruise in the Channel in 1626, the attack on the Ile
de Rhé in 1627, then the two equally useless cruises of Denbigh in
April and May and of Lindsey in September and October of 1629, were
indeed all either in whole or in part naval undertakings. But they
were so languid, so barren of incident worthy to be remembered, and so
wholly without result, that to do more than mention them very briefly
would be to rob passages of our naval history, which really deserve
to be recorded at length, of their due space. The expedition to Cadiz
was a mere parody of the great foray of Queen Elizabeth's reign. The
fleet was raised in the same way, consisting partly of ships of the
Royal Navy, and partly of vessels levied on the maritime counties. The
command, too, was in the hands of men of the same classes, that is to
say, nobles and soldiers, with their subordinate council of seamen.
But the men and the times and the spirit were very different. The
commander, Sir Edward Cecil, Lord Wimbledon, was a commonplace officer
of the English regiments of the Low Countries, and he had no associate
of marked authority or experience. The young Earl of Essex, son of
Elizabeth's unhappy favourite, and later on the Lord General of the
Parliament in the Civil War, repeated his father's gallantry in the
attack on the fort of Puntal. The rest of the history of the voyage to
Cadiz is made up of divided councils, vacillation, drunkenness, and
failure. The share of the fleet was confined, apart from the attack on
the Puntal fort, to carrying the troops there and bringing them back.
In 1626, when war had broken out with France, we had some success
in capturing French prizes in the Channel, but there was no enemy to
fight, which, as the fleet were very badly equipped, was fortunate.
The expedition to the Ile de Rhé in 1627 was the Cadiz voyage over
again, but worse. Here the fleet had little more to do than to carry
the soldiers out at the end of June, and bring back all that remained
of them at the end of October. In 1629 two fleets were sent to succour
Rochelle, where the Huguenots were making their last stand against
Richelieu. They went out, they came back, and they did nothing.

A large part of the discredit of this four years of failure must be
thrown on the flighty incapacity of Buckingham, but some share of it
is due to the conditions in which the King's Government was working.
Charles I. disagreed with his Parliament from the beginning. Therefore
he never had enough money, and his armaments, fitted out by makeshifts,
were maintained from hand to mouth. Efficiency was hardly to be
expected in such circumstances. The unpopularity of the wars reacted
on the king's forces. The navy was still in a state of transition,
being neither altogether a regular force nor altogether sea militia,
but a combination of the two. A regular navy, properly officered, well
disciplined and paid, will always fight well. A sea militia will,
in favourable circumstances, do very fairly. When there is a great
national enthusiasm, a sense of the need for exertion, the hope of
booty, and capable leaders, it will render good service, as was shown
both in the fighting against the Armada, and at Cadiz in 1597. But in
the early years of Charles I. all these conditions were wanting. The
merchant ships, when pressed for the service, came unwillingly. Their
owners and crews were uncertain of getting their pay from the Crown.
The spirits of the men were damped when they saw the destitution of the
king's soldiers. Their wish was to get through as soon as they could,
to suffer as little damage as might be, and to return at the earliest
possible day to their ordinary peaceful and profitable avocations. At
Cadiz they behaved with actual cowardice, and at the Ile de Rhé they
certainly showed no zeal, whereas the royal ships did the trifling
fighting which had to be done very creditably. The deduction that the
Crown must make itself independent of their feeble aid was obvious,
and, when next England was engaged in a serious naval war, measures
were taken to arm a force solely belonging to the State.

This was not, however, to be done by the Government of Charles I. The
king never had the revenue needed for the maintenance of a really
great navy. His efforts to obtain one were among the causes of the
disasters which finally overwhelmed him. Charles was very conscious of
the need for a fleet. Indeed, a less intelligent man must have seen
the necessity. The naval power of Holland was increasing with great
rapidity, while Richelieu was supplying France with an effective navy.
The relations of England with her neighbours were always uneasy, and at
one time the French and the Dutch were talking of an alliance, which
was to end in dividing the Spanish Netherlands and the sea between
them. In the presence of this danger Charles I. made serious efforts
to raise the strength of the navy. He built no less than 19 vessels.
Ten of these were of about 120 tons each, and were known by the odd
name of the =Whelps=, numbered consecutively from one to ten. The
great =Sovereign of the Seas= was one of the ships built to bring the
navy to its proper strength. In 1633 the navy had reached the figure
of 50 ships of 23,695 or 23,995 tons, carrying in all 1430 guns. When
the Civil War broke out, it numbered 42 ships of 22,411 tons, of
which 5 were first rates, measuring on an average 1060 tons each. The
difference was due to the shedding of small ships.

The means which the king took to find money for all this building are
famous in English history. The constitutional aspects of the writs of
ship-money do not concern our subject. It is of course obvious that
if the king could tax the whole country for the support of the fleet,
if he alone was to be the judge of the amount demanded and of the use
to be made of it, he could raise any revenue he pleased. In view of
the constant attempts made by Charles I. to escape from the control
of his Parliament, it is not wonderful that the Country Party, as the
Opposition was called, suspected him of some such scheme. Yet, as
a matter of fact, it appears that when the king took to calling in
peace on the service of the coast counties, which had as yet only been
demanded in war, when he commuted the actual service of men and ships
for money payments, when he extended the assessments to the inland
counties, he was unaffectedly resolved to spend the fund thus raised on
his fleet. The administrative defects of his reign are undeniable, and
have been pointed out already. Yet, when the Civil War began, the ships
and the guns were there. The service they rendered to his domestic
enemies throughout the Civil War may be taken as satisfactory evidence
that both were good. We possess an elaborate description of the most
famous of the ships built by Phineas Pett for King Charles, written by
Thomas Heywood.

 "This famous vessel was built at Woolwich in 1637. She was in length
 by the keel 128 feet or thereabout, within some few inches; her main
 breadth 48 feet; in length, from the fore-end of the beak-head to
 the after-end of the stern, _a prora ad puppim_, 232 feet; and in
 height, from the bottom of her keel to the top of her lanthorn, 76
 feet; bore five lanthorns, the biggest of which would hold ten persons
 upright; had three flush decks, a forecastle, half-deck, quarter-deck,
 and round-house. Her lower tier had ... 30 ports for Cannon and
 Demi-Cannon,

  Middle tier      30 for Culverines and Demi ditto
  Third tier       26 for other Ordnance
  Forecastle       12

 and two half-decks have 13 or 14 ports more within-board, for
 murdering pieces, besides 10 pieces of chace-ordnance forward, and
 10 right aft, and many loopholes in the cabins for musquet-shot. She
 had eleven anchors, one of 4400 pounds weight. She was of the burthen
 of 1637 tons. She was built by Peter Pett, Esq., under the direction
 of his father, Captain Phineas Pett, one of the principal officers
 of the navy. She hath two galleries besides, and all of most curious
 carved work, and all the sides of the ship carved with trophies of
 artillery and types of honour, as well belonging to sea as land, with
 symbols appertaining to navigation; also their two sacred majesties
 badges of honour; arms with several angels holding their letters in
 compartments, all which works are gilded over, and no other colour but
 gold and black. One tree, or oak, made four of the principal beams,
 which was 44 feet of strong serviceable timber in length, 3 feet
 diameter at the top, and 10 feet at the stub or bottom.

       *       *       *       *       *

 "Upon the stem-head a cupid, or child bridling a lion; upon the
 bulk-head, right forward, stand six statues in sundry postures; these
 figures represent Concilium, Cura, Conamen, Vis, Virtus, Victoria.
 Upon the hamers of the water are four figures, Jupiter, Mars, Neptune,
 Eolus; on the stern, Victory, in the midst of a frontispiece; upon the
 beak-head sitteth King Edgar on horseback, trampling on seven kings."

According to an ancient custom which at last, when it had outlived its
time, became a nuisance, the =Sovereign of the Seas= was profusely
ornamented. Yet she was a strong ship, and under a variety of names,
dictated by the principles of her successive masters, took part in all
the naval wars of England until she was accidentally burnt at Chatham
in 1696.

The method of administering the navy underwent successive modifications
during the reign of King Charles. When he ascended the throne,
Buckingham held the post of Lord High Admiral, and the work of
administering the navy was done in his name by the members of the
Commission of 1618. When Buckingham was stabbed in the passage of the
little house in the High Street of Portsmouth, which he occupied as his
headquarters in 1628, the king had recourse to a method of governing
his navy curiously similar to the system now in use. He put the office
of Lord High Admiral in Commission. The persons entrusted with the duty
seem to have also discharged the work of the Navy Office. The military
and the civil functions of the navy were, in fact, joined in the hands
of the same body of persons, very much as is the case now. There was,
however, one important difference. The Commissioners appointed by
Charles also held other great offices. They were Jackson, Bishop of
London, who was also Lord High Treasurer; the Earl of Lindsey, the
Great Chamberlain; the Earl of Dorset, Chamberlain to the Queen; Lord
Cottington, Chancellor of the Exchequer; the elder Sir Henry Vane,
Comptroller of the King's Household; and the two Secretaries of State,
Sir John Coke and Sir Francis Windebanke. This Commission, with certain
changes in the persons, held office until 1638.

Under this interregnum it was that the two naval demonstrations known
as the Ship-money Fleets were fitted out in 1636 and 1637. The object
was to make an effective assertion of the King of England's right to
the sovereignty of the seas of Britain. They were to put a stop to
all warlike operations on the part of Spaniards, Dutch, or French, to
compel all fishermen to pay for a licence from the King of England, and
in a general way to produce an effect both imposing and terrifying on
the minds of all foreign rulers. The fleet of 1636 was perhaps in real
power the greatest sent forth by a ruler of England. The command was
given to Algernon Percy, tenth Earl of Northumberland, who succeeded
the Earl of Lindsey on the Commission of the Navy. Northumberland was
a magnificent specimen of a great noble. According to Clarendon, if
he had thought the king as much above him as he thought himself above
all other considerable men, he would have been a good subject. As it
was, he was mainly a great noble who held himself apart, and who lived
through a very stormy time without incurring any serious misfortune--a
feat, perhaps, partly to be accounted for by the fact that at times
of crises he was a little apt to follow the example of the young man
who went away sorrowful because he had great possessions. As admiral
commanding the Ship-money Fleets, Northumberland had little opportunity
to render service. The utmost he could do was to extort the price of
a licence from a few unlucky Dutch herring fishermen. The abuses of
the navy attracted his attention, and he proposed a scheme for their
reform. When it met with no attention, the pride of the noble got the
better of the zeal of the reformer. Northumberland declined to put
himself again in the way of being snubbed, declaring that he would
make no more suggestions till his opinion was asked for. In fact,
the abuses of which he complained arose from the very nature of the
king's government. Charles, by the help of ship-money and the other
devices elaborated by his lawyers, was able to raise money enough to
build ships and equip an occasional fleet, but he had not the revenue
required to maintain a permanent force. His efforts were necessarily
sporadic. His fleets were equipped by fits and starts, and there was no
order or coherence in the efforts. In the confusion, the pilferers of
the dockyards saw their opportunity, and did not fail to take advantage
of it.

In 1638 the king made the second change of his reign in naval
administration. In the March of that year he appointed Northumberland
Lord High Admiral. It had been intended to keep the office vacant for
the little Duke of York, now a boy of five years old. But in 1638 the
difficulties of his position induced Charles, who was anxious to please
a man so powerful in the North of England, to name Northumberland
Lord High Admiral. The commission was, however, only during the good
pleasure of the king, and not for life, as in the case of Nottingham
and Buckingham. The navy now reverted to the old system of government
by an Admiral and the officers of the Navy Board, the Treasurer, the
Comptroller, the Surveyor, and the Clerk of the Navy, with their
subordinate officers.

The administration of Northumberland, which lasted till June 1642, when
he was dismissed by the king in bitter wrath, is of great importance
in the history of England. It contains nearly, if not quite, the most
discreditable incident in naval history. In the September of 1639
the Spaniards sent out a great fleet with reinforcements for their
garrisons in Flanders. It arrived at the mouth of the Channel on the
7th of the month, and was at once attacked by the Dutch. A running
fight took place along the Channel, in which the Dutch, who were
constantly reinforced, soon gained the advantage. The Spanish admiral,
Don Antonio de Oquendo, the son of the Don Miguel de Oquendo who had
served in the Armada, took refuge in the Downs. His Government was
acting by arrangement with the king's, and he had reason to believe
that he would be helped, or would at least be protected from attack,
in English waters. As a matter of fact, King Charles made an effort,
which no Englishman can think of without shame, to turn the necessities
of the Spaniards into ready money, by alternately offering to let the
Dutch destroy them, or to afford them protection, according to which
of the courses he happened to think would prove most profitable.
Northumberland, in London, could not make out what the king would be
at, and said so to Pennington, who was at Dover with a squadron far too
weak to inspire any respect in the Dutch. They, again, were encouraged
by the great French Minister Richelieu, who was now triumphantly
carrying out his anti-Spanish policy, and were commanded by a man for
whose courage no risk was too great, the indomitable Martin Harpertz
(Herbertson) Tromp. The peddling vacillations of the unlucky English
king were all cut short, and his hopes of profit blown to the four
winds of heaven, when Tromp on the 11th of October fell upon the
Spaniards, and destroyed at least three-fourths of them, with the most
absolute and insolent disregard of Pennington's squadron. The great
Ship-money Fleet, for the sake of which the poor king had strained
his prerogative and had forfeited so much of the confidence of his
subjects, had proved totally incapable of defending the honour of
England when it was seriously attacked, though no doubt it had been
able to extort a few fees from the skippers of Dutch herring busses.

Whether the anger which Northumberland undoubtedly felt at being made
to play the poor figure he had cut in this shameful transaction had
anything to do with the course he followed four years later, must
necessarily be a mere matter of guess-work. Certainly, if he meant
to be revenged on his master, he could not well have taken a course
more effectual than that which he actually adopted. It was this
representative of the great feudal house of Percy who did more than any
other single man to seal the king's fate by putting the fleet into the
hands of his domestic enemy. In the Long Parliament, Northumberland
sided with the Opposition. He had been loaded with favours by the king,
and was always profuse in declarations of loyalty. Yet he put the fleet
into the hands of the king's enemies, by an act which no sophistry can
show to have been one of other than deliberate hostility to his master.
When Parliament made its demand on the king for the control of the
"militia," that is to say, of the whole armed force of the nation,
it naturally included the fleet. The command of the sea was vital to
it. If the king could have obtained help from abroad, his position
would have been far stronger than it was. For this very reason, the
king was eager to retain possession of his ships. While they were at
the orders of Northumberland, the king could hope to make little use
of them. The obvious course would have been to dismiss the earl and
put the fleet into trustworthy hands. But in the summer of 1642, on
the very eve of the Civil War, and when the last despairing efforts
were being made to arrange a compromise, this would have been an act
of open hostility against the Parliament. The king shrank from it,
and adopted an alternative which seemed to offer him some reasonable
prospect of obtaining the same practical result without provoking an
immediate conflict. The Lord High Admiral was not necessarily what we
should call the executive officer in command of the fleet. The direct
command of a squadron might be given, and pretty commonly was given,
to a vice-admiral, acting on the commission of the Lord High Admiral.
A devoted vice-admiral would have served the purposes of Charles very
well. There was some talk of selecting the veteran Sir Robert Mansel
for the post, but the king rejected him as too old. The officer whom
he finally decided to direct Northumberland to appoint, was Sir John
Pennington. Parliament in the meantime had called upon the earl to
appoint Robert Rich, the Earl of Warwick. Northumberland referred to
Parliament to ask whether he should obey the king's orders, and was
immediately instructed to appoint the Earl of Warwick. He obeyed,
and the nominee of Parliament was duly accepted by the fleet as its
admiral. The care the king had taken to provide England with a naval
force turned against himself. The loss of the fleet was one of the main
causes of the final defeat of the Crown in the approaching struggle
with Parliament.

There can, of course, be no doubt that this revolutionary measure--for
it was no less--could never have been carried out if the sympathies
of the seafaring classes had not been largely with the Parliament.
There is no question that they were. The bulk of the seamen belonged
to the southern and eastern counties, where the Puritans were strong.
They shared the opinions of their neighbours. The sailors had been
conspicuous in the excited mobs which collected to protect the
privileges of Parliament after the king's futile attempt to arrest the
five members. London was very Puritan, while the baseness of Goring,
who spent his life in disgracing or betraying both sides, had thrown
Portsmouth into the hands of the Parliament. It therefore held actual
possession of the dockyards both in the Thames and Channel. Yet,
in spite of the advantages of its position and the sympathy of the
population, it is very doubtful whether Parliament could have obtained
such complete command of the naval resources of the kingdom if it had
not had the assistance of Northumberland. The evil fortune of King
Charles spared him nothing. He had formed a strong fleet to maintain
his power, and it was made a principal instrument of his ruin. He had,
in his own bitter words, courted Northumberland like a mistress, and
that haughtiest of nobles repaid him by striking him a cruel blow.
When it was too late, the king dismissed Northumberland from his post.
It would have been better for the king if he had thought less of
what Northumberland might do if he chose, and more of what Sir John
Pennington would certainly do when he was ordered, and had named him
Lord High Admiral in 1638.



CHAPTER V

THE NAVY IN THE CIVIL WAR

 AUTHORITIES.--The general history of this time has been exhaustively
 told by Mr. Gardiner in his history of the Civil War. Mr. Granville
 Penn has collected the Parliamentary orders, pamphlets, and
 proclamations relating to naval affairs in his Life of Sir William
 Penn. The Royalist side is told by Clarendon, and in the papers
 printed by Mr. Warburton in his _Prince Rupert and the Cavaliers_.


In so far as his control over the navy was concerned, the reign of
Charles I. came to an end with the appointment of the Earl of Warwick
as vice-admiral by the authority of the Parliament in defiance of his
wishes. From that time forward the fleet became a docile instrument
in the hands of his enemies, and so remained throughout the whole of
the first Civil War. The king did indeed dismiss Northumberland from
his post as Lord High Admiral, and the order was obeyed. It may very
well be that the Parliament was not sorry to be rid of an officer
whose powers were so great. Even in the midst of armed rebellion the
Englishmen of the seventeenth century were great sticklers for the
letter of the law, and the Lord High Admiral, the legality of whose
appointment could not be questioned, might have caused the Houses at
Westminster considerable trouble if he had thought fit to act against
them, or even only to abstain from acting energetically on their
behalf. With the minor officers there was not the same probability of
trouble. The king did order them to render no obedience to Parliament,
and a few acted on his command. Others, however, had no scruple in
accepting the doctrine that the order of the king meant his order as
expressed by Parliament--a convenient sophistry by which many men at
that period contrived to reconcile the reality of rebellion with the
profession of loyalty.

Among those who actively assisted Parliament to obtain possession of
the fleet was William Batten, the Surveyor of the Navy. He is described
by Clarendon as an "obscure fellow," who obtained his post by dint of
a bribe. This account of him has been somewhat heatedly contradicted
by modern writers. But it agrees very well with the rather off-hand
account of his appointment given by Northumberland. If Batten belonged
to the Somersetshire family of that name, he was a man of strong
Puritan connections. However that may be, he had passed his life as
a merchant skipper, trading on his own account, or as master in the
navy, till he became Surveyor in 1638, when the Commission of 1628 was
dissolved and Northumberland was appointed Lord High Admiral. There is
a pretty general agreement of authorities that he paid for his post,
which at that time does not necessarily mean that there was anything
corrupt about his nomination. His assistance had a good deal to do with
Warwick's success in bringing the fleet to obedience in July 1642.

Parliament had taken measures to arm a considerable naval force in
the very first days of March, on the plea that the Lords and Commons
had "received advertisement of extraordinary preparations made by the
neighbouring princes both by land and sea; the intentions whereof have
been so represented as to raise an apprehension in both Houses that the
public honour, peace, and safety of His Majesty and his kingdom cannot
be secured unless a timely course be taken for the putting of this
kingdom into a condition of defence at sea as well as land." Orders
were issued that "all and every the ships belonging to His Majesty's
navy which are fit for service, and not already abroad, nor designed
for this summer's fleet, be with all speed rigged and put in such a
readiness as that they may soon be ready for sea." At the same time
Northumberland was requested "to make known to all masters and owners
of such ships as now are in or about any the harbours of this kingdom,
and may be of use to the public defence thereof, that it will be an
acceptable service to the King and Parliament if they likewise will
cause their ships to be rigged, and so far put in readiness, as they
may at a short warning set forth to sea upon any emergent occasion,
which will be a means of great security to His Majesty and his
dominions."

The king had left London, and was either at Royston or at Newmarket
when he heard of this order for the "speedy rigging of the navy."
Northumberland was suffering from an accident which befell him more
than once at a critical moment. He was ill, and could not take the
command in person. It was now that the king endeavoured to secure the
appointment of Sir John Pennington as Northumberland's deputy in actual
command. But Parliament, in pursuit of its policy of laying hands on
the militia, insisted on seeing a list of the officers in command. It
was presented on the 10th of March. Parliament confirmed most of the
names, but expressly voted "that the Lord Admiral shall be desired by
this House that the commander-in-chief of this summer's fleet under
his lordship may be the Earl of Warwick." At the same time Sir Harry
Vane was instructed to "carry unto the Lord Admiral the list of those
commanders that are not allowed of by this House, and desire his
lordship to supply others in the place of those, and to send the names
of them to the House with all convenient speed."

The anger of the king was unavailing, except to deprive Northumberland
of his official rank. The ships in the Downs submitted themselves with
little or no opposition to Warwick's orders. It is possible that if Sir
John Pennington had been a man of more energy, he might have caused
the Parliament considerable trouble. But his virtues were those of
a docile, trustworthy servant. When called upon to act for himself,
he could do nothing effectual. When the king forbade his servants to
submit to the orders of the officers appointed by Parliament, Warwick
boldly put his authority to the test by calling upon the ships
in the Downs to accept his commission. A few only of the captains
hesitated, and of these no more than two made any serious appearance of
resistance. Even they were ill supported by their men, for the unarmed
boats' crews of other ships were allowed to board and take possession
of their vessels. The sympathies of the navy were plainly with the
Parliament. It has been said recently that the navy was mainly neutral
between the king and his enemies in this great struggle. I do not
clearly understand what meaning is attached to the word neutral when
it is used to describe the actions of men who give the most effective
armed help to one party in a Civil War. From 1642 until a part of the
fleet revolted in 1648, the navy never failed to do the king all the
harm in its power. It attacked the garrisons held for him, and helped
to defend the coast towns which his troops were besieging. It captured
ships sailing on his service, and it fired on his wife. It is difficult
to conceive what less neutral line of conduct it could possibly have
followed. A more simple explanation of the action of the navy is, I
think, that which has been given above. It supported the Parliament
because it was Puritan, and this it was partly by choice, and partly of
necessity. The seafaring population came from the more Puritan parts
of England. The same causes which made the other inhabitants Puritan
acted on the sailor. Then, until Prince Rupert took Bristol, every
considerable seaport was in the hands of the Puritans, and a sailor
who would not serve the Parliament would have found some difficulty in
following his trade at all. Writers who have been very anxious to make
out that the navy played an important independent part have been at
some pains to show that it held some weighty constitutional doctrines,
and in particular that it combined a disinterested love of liberty with
an enlightened loyalty to the king's person. It is, however, possible
to feel admiration and respect for the seamen of the seventeenth
century without going so far as to credit them with what there is no
reason to believe they possessed. Like many other Englishmen at that
period the sailors may have thought it possible to coerce the king, to
take the command of the militia out of his hands, to beat his soldiers,
to kill his friends, to make him a prisoner, and, at the end of all
this, to establish his authority. In other words, they entered upon a
revolution without seeing more clearly than the average Presbyterian
member of Parliament what its inevitable consequences must be. They had
been brought up to have an awful reverence for the "Lord's anointed,"
and were glad to have a good legal-looking excuse before laying
unhallowed hands upon him. Therefore, with the most loyal intentions in
the world, they applied themselves with much courage and zeal to the
work of bringing His Majesty to the mercy of the root-and-branch men.

The administration of the navy was put into the hands of a
Parliamentary Committee of both Houses, under which it worked with
more energy than had ever been shown during the reign of the king.
The Houses could pay, if not with unfailing regularity, at least
much better than the king; moreover, Parliament, with its power of
naming committees of its own body, was able to exercise an amount of
supervision which had not been possible for the Crown. The work which
the navy had to do was partly on the coasts of England and partly
on those of Ireland, but it was everywhere the same. In both cases
the object was to prevent help coming from abroad to the enemies of
Parliament. This was to be done partly by capturing ships coming in
with stores, and partly by getting, or keeping, possession of the coast
towns. It was a kind of duty which required rather vigilant cruising
than much actual fighting. Although mention of the action of the fleet
is common, the number of achievements performed by it of which memory
remains is small. The majority of them are of the nature of the relief
given to the town of Lyme when besieged by Prince Maurice. The ships
brought reinforcements of men and stores when the need for them was
great. In this way, and on all parts of the coast, they helped the
cause of the Parliament. One of the feats the navy did, it is true,
made no inconsiderable noise in the world, and has been the subject
of much heated rhetoric. The Queen Henrietta Maria, who had left
England just when the Civil War was beginning, had been busy abroad
purchasing military stores for her husband. The Parliament learned
early in 1643 that these military provisions were about to be sent
over to Bridlington on the coast of Yorkshire, where the army of the
Marquis of Newcastle would be ready to receive them. Whether it was
also known that the queen was coming with the stores is not certain. If
it had been, the principal effect of the knowledge would have been to
induce Parliament to strengthen Batten, who was cruising in the North
Sea. The capture of the queen would have been an immense advantage, and
her death by a cannon ball a satisfaction. The Parliamentary officer
had with him a small squadron of four ships. He missed the queen.
The weather was stormy, and Henrietta Maria had to go through the
unpleasant ordeal of nine days' tossing about in the North Sea. At last
she reached Bridlington, and was able to land. Here a new danger, and a
worse, assailed her. Batten discovered that the transports had reached
harbour, and were landing their stores. He immediately took measures to
prevent these from reaching the king. Bringing his ships close in, he
opened fire on the transport and the houses on the quay, and continued
to discharge cross-bar and other shot for some hours. The Royalists
raised a great outcry over this "obscure fellow's" barbarous want of
respect for Her Majesty's royal person. It is certain that she was
in considerable peril. Batten's shot crashed into the house in which
she was sleeping, and the queen with her ladies had to take refuge in
a ditch, where they lay under the shelter of the bank for some time.
It was reported, to the no small glee of the Parliament's partisans
in London, that the queen had fled out of the house "barelegged"
and almost undressed, so sudden had been her flight. However that
may be, the daughter of Henry IV. had gone through the perils of
storm and battle with cheerful courage. She comforted her terrified
ladies-in-waiting on board the transport by telling them that queens of
England were never drowned. As she fled from the house at Bridlington,
she remembered that her favourite lap-dog had been left behind, and,
in spite of the terrors of her attendants, she went back to bring it
out. The Cavalier writers were more indignant for the queen than she
was for herself. Both then and since they have denounced Batten in no
measured terms for the unheard-of brutality and want of chivalry in his
behaviour. Yet it is very hard to see what the Parliamentary commander
could well have done except what he did do. The king's officers could
not have expected to be allowed to march into London only because they
put the queen at their head, and yet that would have been almost as
rational as to ask that they should be allowed to transport and land
munitions of war unmolested because a great Royalist lady travelled in
company with them.

These years of the first Civil War, though they would be tedious to
tell in detail, are of great importance in the history of the navy.
They formed the first period in which a considerable naval force was
continuously maintained. Even during the reign of Queen Elizabeth the
larger fleets had been armed only for particular expeditions, while
during the reign of James there had been but one large armament, and,
though the considerable displays of naval force had been comparatively
numerous during the first fifteen years of Charles I., still they were
intermittent. But the Parliament kept continually on foot what would
in former times have been called a Royal Fleet. In 1642 there were 18
men-of-war and 24 hired merchant ships in commission. In 1643 this
force was raised to 28 warships, 23 merchant ships, and 8 colliers for
service on the coast of England, besides 8 men-of-war and 13 hired
merchant ships for service on the coast of Ireland. This makes a total
of 80 vessels; and when we consider the average tonnage and weight of
broadside, it represents a much greater force than was ever under the
command of the officers of the great queen. The mere habit of continual
cruising together in fleets must have had an instructive effect, of
which the English Navy was to reap the benefit in the approaching
struggle with Holland. Regular men-of-war crews must have been
gradually formed, and the Parliament secured the services of a trained
body of officers.

Before the value of this practice was to be put to the test, the
nation, and the navy with it, were destined to pass through the
sharpest convulsion in the whole course of our history. The first
Civil War came to an end, having practically settled nothing except
that the Parliament had proved itself strong enough to beat down the
king's partisans. King Charles did not, however, consider himself
completely defeated. Indeed he was incapable of understanding that
utter overthrow was possible for the king who held his place by Divine
Right. Wicked rebels might prove too strong for him for a time, but it
was his firm conviction that in the long-run no party could do without
him. Thus, even before he was delivered by the Scots into the hands of
his Parliament, he began the desperate game of playing off one party
of his conquerors against the other. The Presbyterians remained of the
opinion, as when they had begun the war, that they could beat the king
utterly, and yet leave him not only king, but prepared to co-operate
with them. One of the purposes for which they expected his aid was the
suppression of the Independents, who were fully as offensive to the
Presbyterians as the Presbyterians were to the Church of England. But
the Independents were the commanding element in the New Model Army,
which represented the whole armed force of the Parliament, since its
other troops had been disbanded on the conclusion of the war. The
Independents were thoroughly resolved that, after fighting to be free
from the Church of England, they would not submit to dictation by the
Presbyterians. The king began trying to set them by the ears; and out
of these rivalries and intrigues, with the help of a Presbyterian army
from Scotland, there arose the second Civil War.

In this struggle the navy was more visibly affected by the divisions
of the nation. Its leaders had begun to discover that it was not so
simple a business as they had thought, to beat the king and yet leave
him uninjured. Moreover, professional rivalry affected them to no
small extent. The sea officers were offended when they saw the whole
effective power of the nation in the hands of the New Model Army. Their
loyalty to the king was vigorously revived when they found that not
only the Crown, but they themselves, were at the orders of a committee
of successful soldiers. So, during 1647 and 1648, the navy was agitated
by dissensions. In the spring of 1648 the party which was now, by the
help of the soldiers, supreme in Parliament began to be very uneasy
about the spirit of the fleet. There was a great deal of dangerous
talk as to the necessity for a personal treaty with the king; while
ship's companies took to imitating the "agitators" who had organised
the _pronunciamiento_ of the soldiers at Triploe Heath and elsewhere.
They also had their ideas as to the settlement of the nation. In view
of this untrustworthiness of their naval force, Parliament decided to
put the command of the fleet into other hands. Batten was removed from
his place as second in command to Warwick, and Penn, who had served
throughout the war on the coast of Ireland, and had finally been
in actual command of the station, was put under arrest. A military
officer, Colonel Rainsborough, was sent to take command of the squadron
in the Downs and the river. This measure provoked a partial revolt in
May 1648. The officers and men of the ships which were to have been
under the command of Rainsborough refused to obey his orders, and put
him on shore. This action was justified by a declaration of principles
on the part of "the commanders and officers of the ship =Constant
Reformation= with the rest of the fleet." These politicians stated
their view of the best way for providing a settlement for the nation.
They were in agreement with the Kentish petitioners, and their demands
were grouped under four heads.

 "_First_,--That the King's Majesty, with all expedition, be admitted
 in safety and honour to treat with both Houses of Parliament.

 "_Secondly_,--That the army now under the command of the Lord Fairfax
 be forthwith disbanded, their arrears being paid them.

 "_Thirdly_,--That the known laws of the kingdom may be established and
 continued, whereby we ought to be governed and judged.

 "_Fourthly_,--That the privileges of Parliament and liberty of the
 subject be preserved."

In the following month this declaration was amended by the complaints
that the Parliament had taken to issuing commissions without the name
of the king; that several landsmen had been made sea-commanders, and
that "the insufferable pride, ignorance, and insolency of Colonel
Rainsborough, the late Vice-Admiral, alienated the hearts of the
seamen." The political side of these pronouncements need not detain us
long. If these were the aims of the seamen, they were trying, as the
Presbyterian party in Parliament also were, to bring things back to the
point at which they had been before 1638, with this difference, that
the king was to show himself converted to their way of thinking by ten
years of failure, defeat, and bitter indignity. Like the Presbyterians,
they forgot to secure the co-operation of the king. The complaint that
Parliament had taken to issuing commissions without the royal name
shows that the sailors, or at least those who spoke for them, were
immensely surprised at the result of their own efforts. When they made
it a grievance that several landsmen had been made sea-commanders, they
were inventing an entirely new grievance. Landsmen always had been
sea-commanders, and were to be so again in the coming years.

It is hard to say how far the discontent of the seamen had anything to
do with the revolt, if that can be called a revolt which was, in fact,
a refusal to obey revolutionary authority. It was probably mainly the
work of a few officers, and the men were carried away by the example
of their commanders and by the contagious example of the Royalists
in the county of Kent. The officers did in some cases belong to the
Presbyterian Parliamentary party, which was now becoming Royalist under
the stimulus of rivalry with the Independents.

In any case this revolt against the predominant party in Parliament
extended such a very little way in the fleet, and proved so thoroughly
impotent, that we can hardly suppose the bulk of the seamen to have
been seriously discontented. The defection of the navy was stopped
by the use of a very moderate degree of ingenuity on the part of the
dominant faction. They sent the Earl of Warwick, whose sympathies
were known to be with the Parliamentary Presbyterians, back to take
command in place of Rainsborough. The City was very Presbyterian, and
it presented a petition on behalf of Batten, to which no attention
was paid. Warwick was successful in keeping the bulk of the fleet
steady, but the insurgent ships helped the Kent Royalists to obtain
possession of the castles of Deal, Walmer, and Sandown. No active
measures were taken against them by the Lord Admiral Warwick. He was
too busy in new-modelling the fleet. The process of new-modelling
consisted in removing all officers and men whose loyalty was doubtful,
and in replacing them by others whose principles were trustworthy, or
who belonged to that useful class of fighting men who may be trusted
to return an equivalent of service for their pay and allowances. The
mutiny of the fleet was, in fact, shattered by Fairfax, who in the
early days of June swept through the county of Kent, dashing the
Royalist forces to pieces, and driving the remnants over the river into
Essex. As the Royalist seamen were deprived of all hope of obtaining
fresh stores by the defeat of their friends on shore, and as the ships
under Warwick remained steady, there was nothing for it but to stand
across the North Sea to Holland and there put themselves under the
command of the Prince of Wales. The Prince was at that time in France,
whither he had fled from the Channel Islands. Encouraged by the news
that the ships were beginning to declare for his party, he hurried to
Helvoetsluys and there took the command on the 9th of June.

As far as the king was still master to decide who was to command either
ships or soldiers, authority over his navy belonged to the young Duke
of York, who, in theory, was Lord High Admiral. But the duke was a mere
boy of fifteen, and not on good terms with his brother. By the decision
of the Prince of Wales and his Council, the command of the squadron was
given to Lord Willoughby of Parham. Under this new admiral, who, as the
authors of the late protestation must have observed with disgust, was a
"landsman," the Royalist squadron sailed from the Dutch harbour on the
17th of July, and, carrying with it the Prince of Wales, stood over
to Yarmouth. It appeared before the town on the 22nd of July, with the
intention of favouring a Royalist rising, which might have disturbed
Fairfax, who was now engaged in the siege of Colchester. But though
the Royalists had a party in the town, the friends of the Parliament
were strong enough to hold their ground. Finding that it was hopeless
to endeavour to raise the county of Norfolk, and being, moreover, in
dire want of money, the Royalist squadron sailed for the Thames. It
found Warwick still engaged in new-modelling his fleet, and, although
the sailors are said to have been eager to engage, made no attack upon
him. Warwick reported that his men also were full of zeal and eager to
fight, but no conflict took place. The Prince of Wales summoned the
Parliamentary Admiral to take down the Royal Standard, which he flew as
Lord High Admiral; and Warwick refused to make this submission, on the
ground that he held his place by lawful authority, namely, by the will
of the king as expressed through the Parliament. While these flourishes
of summons and retort were passing between the two fleets, the prince's
ships were busily engaged in capturing merchant vessels. One of these
was estimated to be worth £20,000, and the prince demanded a ransom
of that amount for her. The City, now longing for a reconciliation
with the king, would have been well enough disposed to receive the
prince. But Parliament was inexorable. The Independents had befooled
the Presbyterians, always easy to deceive, by apparent concessions,
and, in the meantime, the victory of Fairfax in Kent and the success
of Cromwell against the Royalists in Wales were re-establishing their
supremacy. They declared that the prince and all who were acting with
him were guilty of high treason.

The prince remained in the river till the first days of September.
He was reinforced by Batten, who escaped from observation in London,
and contrived to carry over the =Constant Warwick=, one of the best
appointed ships in the Parliament's service. But here his successes
ended. The rest of the fleet continued loyal, or at least consistent
in disloyalty, and the stores began to run out. The Royalist ships
remained, it would seem, on the north side of the Thames near Leigh,
and Warwick remained at Chatham. While they were here, a number of
vessels came round from Portsmouth to reinforce the Parliamentary
squadron. It was made a subject of bitter complaint against Batten,
whom the prince had knighted, and to whom he gave a large share of his
confidence, that he allowed them to pass undisturbed. The Royalist
who had denounced Batten for firing on the queen at Bridlington must
have found this favour, shown by her son to such "a villain," somewhat
hard to digest. Under the pressure of want of stores, the prince was
disposed to return at once to Holland; but his fleet was eager for
battle, and so, at least, a pretence of engaging Warwick was made.
Upon the last day of August, when the two fleets were within striking
distance, they were separated by a sudden gale. When the wind fell, the
prince's fleet was within one barrel of pork of actual starvation; and
the game being now clearly up, the most fire-eating of his followers
saw that there was nothing for it but to stand over to Holland. The
Royalists, therefore, retreated and anchored at Goree on the 3rd of
September. The Royalist movement in the fleet had completely failed.
It did nothing to avert the disasters of their party at Colchester and
Preston, and only served to diminish the naval forces of the Parliament
by a little, and for a short time. Indeed the immediate result was to
make the navy far more anti-Royalist than it had been before. The navy
joined in that Remonstrance of the soldiers, which was the preliminary
to the trial of the king.

While that great tragedy was in preparation, Warwick was pursuing his
successes against the Royalists. On the 19th of September he was off
Helvoetsluys, and had established what was, in fact, a blockade of the
prince's ships. Correspondence and negotiations passed between the two
forces. There would probably have been blows also, if a squadron of
Dutch ships, under command of Tromp, had not dropped anchor between
them. Each appealed to the other's men, but Warwick only was successful
in withdrawing support from his opponent. The prince's squadron was
indeed shortly in a deplorable condition. He was in utter want of
money, and the loyalty of his followers was by no means equal to
standing the strain of starvation. His men had tasted the pleasures of
mutiny, and were much enamoured of them. They treated Lord Willoughby
of Parham, and Batten, as they had treated Rainsborough. A large party
of them refused to serve under Prince Rupert, on the ground that he was
a foreigner, and insisted that they would obey nobody except their own
Lord High Admiral, the Duke of York. In fact, all the dissensions at
that time existing among the Royalists were repeated in the squadron at
Helvoetsluys. The genuine Royalists looked upon the recently converted
Presbyterians as rebels, only a very little less unpardonable than
the Independents. The Presbyterians were by no means prepared to
concede all the demands of the Royalists. The perplexities of this
section of the prince's followers may be judged from the tone of the
rather pitiable apology published by Batten. He confessed that he had
been quite misled in supporting the Parliament, and this avowal of
imbecility was not made more respectable by his unconscious betrayal of
the discreditable fact that his eyes had not been opened till he had
thought himself in danger of losing his pay and allowances.

While the leaders were wrangling with one another and were being put
ashore by mutinous followers, a large proportion of the prince's
sailors became tired of their tardy Royalism, when they found that it
meant exile from home and choice of service with the Dutch, or a life
of semi-piratical adventure with Prince Rupert. Several of the revolted
ships were brought over by their crews to Warwick, and numbers of the
sailors of the others followed the example. Among the officers not a
few made their peace with the triumphant Parliament, and among them was
Batten, who, after joining the Royalists because the Parliament was
not sufficiently loyal, went back to what remained of it after Pride's
Purge, when it was manifestly ready to cut off the king's head. He
was not again employed until the Restoration, but the new masters of
England were not rigorous towards his fellow-insurgents.



CHAPTER VI

THE FIRST YEARS OF THE COMMONWEALTH

 The AUTHORITIES for this chapter are the same as for the last. By
 far the most valuable is the Life of Penn. This book is in reality a
 collection of authorities, with no other internal coherence than is
 supplied by the subject and chronological order, but the compiler has
 missed little indeed which is of interest. M. de Pontalis' _Jean de
 Witt_ gives a luminous account of the political and military condition
 of Holland at the time of the outbreak of the war with England.


The Civil War came to an end, and the interregnum began with the
execution of Charles, on January 30, 1649. The resolute men who had
now laid their hands on power made their grip felt at once. Before the
month of February was over, they had completed the work of reorganising
the navy. The change was typified by an outward symbol which told
its own tale to every sailor's eye. Warwick had carried the Royal
Standard at the main, and his ships had worn the man-of-war flag of
King Charles's reign. This was the Union in the old form, which lasted
until the end of the eighteenth century; that is to say, the Red Cross
of St. George and the White Saltire of Scotland. English merchant
ships had carried the English Ensign, the Red Cross of St. George on
the white ground, while Scotch ships used the national White Cross of
St. Andrew on a blue ground. By order of the Council of State, now the
executive governing body, the English Navy was to carry the Red Cross.
The Royal Standard disappeared, and so did the Crown, from the device
carved on the stern of the ships. In future they were to carry only
two shields--one with the arms of England, and another with those of
Ireland. The removal of the old symbols was naturally followed by the
dismissal of a commander who had of late been little more than a living
symbol of the vacillations and political incompetence of his party. On
the 22nd of February, Warwick was dismissed from his place of Lord High
Admiral. On the following day three soldiers of the victorious party
were appointed as joint commissioners for the command of the fleet,
with the title of admirals and generals at sea. These were Colonel
Edward Popham, Colonel Robert Blake, and Colonel Richard Deane. Popham
and Blake were Somersetshire men of good birth. Blake, after serving in
subordinate positions in the West, had held Taunton for the Parliament
during the year between the battles of Marston Moor and Naseby, with
signal advantage to his party, and great glory to himself. Colonel
Richard Deane was of Gloucestershire by descent. His youth had been
obscure, but he had risen rapidly to high command in the Civil War, and
was known as one of the most able and trustworthy of the Independent
officers. He had perhaps been at sea in some humble capacity in his
youth. There is nothing to show that the other two had any experience
in ships. All three were appointed because their loyalty was certain,
and because they had shown themselves resolute fighting men.

At the same time, active measures were taken to secure both the
devotion and efficiency of the fleet. According to the uniform practice
of the Long Parliament, the administration was kept in the hand of an
Admiralty Committee of members of Parliament. Under them there was
a Navy Committee, consisting of officials who discharged the duties
of the Treasurer, Surveyor, Comptroller, and Clerk. Both bodies were
composed of able and zealous men, by whom the work of administration
was excellently done. During the first years of the Commonwealth,
the navy made great strides both in number and quality. Ships were
so rapidly built that the effective strength was as good as doubled
between 1649 and 1651. The work of building was largely done by the
Petts, who were now so effectually established in the dockyards that
it would have been impossible to replace them by an equally competent
body of officials. Nor, although their grasping spirit made them
unpopular, was there any reason for getting rid of them. The Pett
family served its successive masters with the undeviating loyalty of
the Vicar of Bray. For them the commanding interest of the nation was
that they should retain their places. During these earlier years the
Commonwealth was also comparatively rich. It had not yet to bear the
strain of the great Dutch war, and it had not exhausted the resources
afforded by the confiscated estates of the Church, the Crown, and
the Royalists, nor had it yet used up the fines levied on the king's
party for the sin of Delinquency. Therefore it was able not only
to build ships rapidly and well, but also to pay the sailor with a
regularity to which he had not hitherto been accustomed. The wealth
of the Government, and the need it had for his services, were, for a
time, of immense benefit to the sailor. His pay had been raised from
15s. to 19s. a month during the Civil War. Under the Commonwealth it
was increased to 23s. for able seamen, and 19s. for ordinary seamen.
As much as 25s. a month were given to the men engaged on particular
service, such as the pursuit of Rupert. Measures were also taken to
give the men a fairer share of prize-money, and to secure its rapid
and honest distribution. Government had hitherto looked upon prizes
taken from the enemy as a resource. Being in chronic want of money, it
had treated its men with scant generosity. The evidence both of Sir
William Monson and Sir Richard Hawkins shows that Elizabeth's sailors
expected little justice at the hands of her officers. The Commonwealth
was soon beset by the same necessities as the Crown, and yielded to the
temptation of throwing as many charges as possible on the Commissioners
for prizes. Yet it did try to be handsome in its behaviour towards
its servants, who for a time, before and after the establishment of
Cromwell as Protector, profited both in pay and prize-money to a
hitherto unknown extent. At no time do they seem to have been so badly
used as they had been under Charles I., and were again to be under
Charles II. Pay and prize-money were not all. Care was taken to supply
better food, and more of it. The observance of Lent, which had hitherto
enabled the State to economise meat rations, was abolished; though
this was probably mainly done by the Puritans from a religious motive.
Better pay, more prize-money, and good feeding had the desired effect
of securing the loyalty of the seamen. We may at any rate attribute
to them at least as much effect in keeping the sailors steady to the
Commonwealth as to their high conception of that duty of preventing
foreigners from "fooling us," which is sometimes supposed to have
supplied their main motive.

The work before the navy of the Commonwealth at the beginning of 1649
was sufficiently abundant and varied. The Royalists still held the
Channel Islands, and Ireland was unsubdued. Besides this, the English
settlements in America had not yet been brought to submission to the
new Government. The Puritan colonies were indeed thoroughly in sympathy
with the Commonwealth, but Virginia was Royalist, and Barbadoes, then
our only footing in the West Indies, was held for the king. An even
more pressing duty than the subjugation of Royalist strongholds in
the Channel and the West Indies lay before the Commissioners who had
succeeded Warwick in the command of the fleet.

When the Parliament's fleet retired from Helvoetsluys, carrying with
it the revolted ships which had returned to their duty, it left a
remnant of seven vessels in the service of the Prince of Wales. It was
natural that he should endeavour to make use of these vessels for the
cause. The manner of using them was imposed upon him by circumstances.
They could not hope to meet the Commonwealth's naval forces in open
conflict, but they could prey upon the commerce of the king's disloyal
subjects. It might have been wiser not to yield to the temptation of
using them in a species of warfare which could hardly help becoming
piratical, but the need for money was great, the technical right of
the king to fight for his crown on the sea was at least as good as his
right to continue the struggle by land, and the prince did what it
would have required exceptional wisdom and virtue to restrain him from
doing. He appointed Prince Rupert as his admiral, with the proviso
that he was to vacate the place to the Duke of York if called upon,
and issued commissions authorising him and his captains to make prize
of all the king's English enemies, and all such foreigners as should
give them help. It was one thing to appoint an admiral and give him a
commission, and quite another to fit the ships for sea. The exiled king
had no money. He expected his squadron to provide him with funds. The
ships must be got to sea somehow. A resource was found by selling the
guns of the =Antelope=, and with the money thus provided another of the
ships at Helvoetsluys was armed for sea. A lucky privateering cruise
brought in funds, and with them the remainder were armed.

Rupert left Helvoetsluys in January 1649, with a squadron of seven
warships and one armed prize. This was the whole naval force which now
supported the Royal Standard of England. It ran down Channel and made
for Kinsale. The blockade of this port had been raised by Parliament
on the recommendation of Colonel Edward Popham. Prince Rupert entered
it with the ships which had accompanied him from Helvoetsluys, and
perhaps with some prizes he had picked up on the way. From this harbour
he began cruising against English commerce with such success, that
whereas the remnant of His Majesty's navy had lately been in extreme
distress, it was now able to boast itself rich. A further service was
rendered to the Royalist cause by the relief of the garrison still
holding the Scilly Isles for the king. Prince Rupert was struck by
the advantages this group of islands seemed capable of affording to
an enterprising leader engaged in harrying commerce. He thought they
might be turned into another Venice. Another Algiers would have been
a more accurate expression. His schemes for making the Scilly Isles
a basis of operations against the commerce of England were nipped in
the bud by the naval forces of the Parliament. One of his ships was
captured after a hot fight by two of the Commonwealth cruisers, and
this misfortune seems to have been received as a sharp warning by its
comrades. They returned to Kinsale, and, while engaged in getting ready
for a summer cruise, were disagreeably surprised by the appearance of a
strong blockading force under the command of Sir George Ayscue. Ayscue
was soon called away to other service, but his place was taken by two
of the new admirals and generals at sea, Blake and Deane. They held
Rupert so closely blockaded until October, that not only were his raids
against commerce entirely stopped, but great discontent arose among
his men, who were reduced to idleness and threatened by want. Many
deserted, and Rupert was compelled to disarm some of the prizes which
he had been fitting for sea. After the first successes of Cromwell had
made it clear that the king's cause was ruined in Ireland, the position
of Rupert at Kinsale became one of extreme danger. If the blockade had
continued until the Puritan army was upon the town, it is eminently
probable that, unless Rupert had been slain in action, he would have
followed Hamilton and Culpepper to the block. A heavy gale released
him from this peril. It drove the forces of the Parliament off the
coast, and gave Rupert an opportunity of escaping of which he did not
fail to avail himself. With his original seven ships, but without his
prizes, he sailed for Portugal. The overwhelming naval strength of the
Parliament in the Channel had rendered his original scheme of holding
the Scilly Isles impracticable.

On his way south he fell in with and captured some English merchant
ships near the Berlings. Rejoiced by this booty, which he calculated
would be worth forty thousand pounds to the king's service, he entered
the Tagus. At Kinsale he had heard of the execution of King Charles,
and had received a confirmation of his commission from the new king.
He appealed to the Portuguese Government for a friendly reception.
The King of Portugal owed his own throne to a successful revolt, but
he was quite as much shocked by the iniquity of the English rebels
as any of the longer established monarchs of the Continent. As the
Commonwealth was not yet fully established, the Portuguese acted as if
they thought it safe to treat it with indifference. Rupert was openly
received by the king, and was allowed to make profit of his prizes.
Complaints of his depredations, and outcries from the merchants trading
to the Straits, whose ships were endangered by his cruisers, assailed
the Council of State. In December it began to take measures to send a
squadron in pursuit. Blake and Popham were ordered to consult on the
measures to be taken. Almost immediately afterwards it was decided
that Blake should sail alone for Lisbon, while Popham remained in
the Channel. Deane had been called off for service with the army in
Scotland. The squadron appointed to go with Blake was first fixed at
five vessels--the =Tiger=, the =John=, the =Tenth Whelp=, the =Signet=,
and the =Constant Warwick=. Before Blake was ready to sail, his force
was increased to twelve vessels. There was, however, an interval of
nearly three months between the decision to send him to the southward
and the sailing of his squadron. In spite of the efforts of the New
Admiralty Committee, the navy was not yet in a condition to provide
large squadrons at very short notice. The calls upon its resources
were many. In April of 1650 thirty-nine vessels were required in the
Downs, or on the coasts of Ireland and Scotland, in addition to the
twenty which were then cruising to the southward under the command of
Popham and Blake. The establishment which the Council of State thought
necessary was sixty-five vessels in all. Blake spent the two first
months of 1650 at Plymouth, getting his squadron ready for sea. Early
in March he made his appearance off the mouth of the Tagus, with a
fleet strong enough to be too much, not only for Rupert, but for the
feeble kingdom of Portugal. He had explicit instructions, which were
confirmed and extended when Popham joined in April, to treat Rupert
as a pirate, that is to say, as an enemy of the human race, who was
not entitled to receive asylum. His orders were to point this out to
all princes in whose ports he might meet the Royalist admiral. If
they refused to take the same view, then Blake was authorised to
attack Prince Rupert, even in the harbour of a State not at war with
England--to act, in fact, on the principle that whoever treated Rupert
as a friend was an enemy of England.

When Blake found Rupert at anchor in the Tagus, he made a demand for
his surrender. A diplomatic agent was landed to represent the case of
the British Parliament to the King of Portugal. King John was in a
cruel position. He could not surrender Rupert without a certain amount
of disgrace. Indeed he was so feeble that the Royalist adventurers
would have been formidable enemies. Rupert had no scruple as to
treating his host with scant politeness, and there was a party at the
Portuguese Court in favour of helping the Royalists. On the other hand,
the king had fair warning that if he did not treat Rupert as a pirate,
the Parliament would ruin his commerce. While the king was vacillating,
the two fleets remained at anchor not far from one another, and their
sailors had frequent conflicts. An unsuccessful attempt was made by
the Royalists to blow up Blake's flagship by a torpedo. When Blake
found that the Portuguese Government was not yet ready to help him
against the Royalists, he proceeded to prove to it the danger of the
course it preferred. His station at the mouth of the Tagus enabled
him to lay hands easily on all ships coming in or going out. When the
outward-bound Brazil fleet put to sea, it was found to include several
English vessels freighted by the Portuguese. These Blake pressed for
the service of the Commonwealth, and sequestered their cargoes. The
blow was a sharp one, and was not made more palatable by an intimation
that it was only a warning, and that worse would follow if the
Portuguese persisted in their ill-advised courses. The king was not
unnaturally very angry, and appealed to Rupert to help him in driving
off Blake's squadron. Nothing could have been more to the taste of the
Royalist admiral, and if there had been any effective Portuguese fleet
to help, he would have helped it. But there was not, and therefore
when Rupert put to sea no battle took place. Rupert hoisted the Royal
Standard and made a bold show. But in reality he could not venture
to do more than skirmish with the overwhelming force opposed to him.
Blake had been joined by Popham, and their combined force was not less
than twenty vessels. The three capital ships and four small frigates of
Rupert's own following were no match for such an antagonist. Therefore,
although Rupert came near enough to have his topmast shot away, he
could not venture to do much more than skirmish at a moderate distance
from the forts, when the wind blew from a direction which gave him
security that he could get safely back again.

Shortly after this ineffectual effort to drive off the blockading
squadron, the home-coming Brazil fleet appeared, and, being quite
ignorant of the state of affairs, sailed into the hands of Blake and
Popham. This was a second and a worse blow to the Portuguese. Once
more King John was stirred up to make an effort. Again he appealed to
Rupert, and again nothing came of it. The Royalist promised help, but
Blake and Popham left him no opportunity of keeping his word. Their
ships by this time must have been very foul. They had good reason to
be satisfied with the punishment they had inflicted on the King of
Portugal, and they sailed with their prizes for the Spanish port of
San Lucar de Barrameda. By this time the Portuguese Government had
been taught that it was not wisdom to fight with the keepers of the
liberties of England. It took advantage of the absence of Blake and
Popham to get rid of Rupert, not by driving him out, a feat beyond its
resources, but by bribing him to be gone. His ships were refitted, his
prizes were taken off his hands, and he was bowed out. Rupert himself
was not loth to be at sea again, where there were prizes to be taken.
He ran through the Straits of Gibraltar and entered the Mediterranean,
with the intention of preying on English commerce.

This third stage of his career began in September 1650. It was a step
downwards. By this time the ruin of the Royalist cause had been put
beyond doubt. The Governments of the Continent were beginning to grasp
the fact that it would be wiser for them to make friends with the
new power. A naval force, which no longer represented a Government
in possession of even a part of its territory, was on the high road
to fall into sheer piracy. It could live only by plunder, and was
compelled to treat all who refused to allow it to sell its booty as
enemies. In the Mediterranean, Rupert made haste to prove to all the
world that he was not the man to stand upon trifles, or to consider
those who were not strong enough to inspire him with respect. The
extreme feebleness of the Spanish Government was a temptation to a man
of his temperament. He took a bold and simple line with the Spanish
authority in the southern ports. All English ships, he said, which obey
the present revolutionary Government are the property of the rebels. No
civilised State can be allowed to harbour such people. Therefore, when
I find English ships in your harbours, I shall attack them, and, if you
interfere with me, shall fire on you.

This declaration of policy was the answer of the exiled King's Lord
High Admiral to the Parliament's declaration that he himself was a
pirate. It was very natural, and as a matter of theory was perhaps
equally accurate, but then it was not supported by the same effective
force. When, therefore, Rupert insisted upon acting on the principle
that his opponents were rebels, who were not entitled to enjoy asylum
in the ports of foreign princes, he laid himself open to severe
retaliation. As a matter of fact, he did just enough to inspire the
Spaniards with a strong desire to see Blake's squadron make an end
of him. At Malaga, at Velez Malaga, and again at Motril, he attacked
English merchant ships, and made prize of all of them which did not
run on shore, without paying the slightest respect to the neutrality
of Spanish waters. Had there been any Spanish navy in existence, his
career would have been short. But the Spaniards were too weak to defend
themselves from insult. They were compelled to rely on the assistance
of Blake, who was refitting his squadron at San Lucar, after the
fatigues of the blockade at Lisbon.

Blake had not been able to prevent Rupert from running through the
Straits, probably because his ships were all equally foul, and equally
in need of scraping, and he was therefore unable to station vessels
at sea to intercept the Royalists. So soon as he could get ready, he
followed Rupert up the Mediterranean, and about the 7th of November
came on the bulk of the Royalist cruisers at Carthagena. Rupert
himself was absent. His ships had been scattered in a gale on the
5th of November, and he, with one other vessel, was cruising in the
neighbourhood of Formentera, where he took a richly-laden merchant ship
called the =Marmaduke=, after some fighting. With his prize, Rupert
returned to the mainland of Spain, and, not finding his consorts, left
a message informing them that he had sailed for Toulon. It was not till
he reached the French port that he heard of the disaster which had
overtaken the rest of his squadron. Blake had attacked at once. The
Royalists complained that the Spaniards had suffered the law of nations
to be outraged in their harbours. They had very little choice, but,
from their point of view, the action of Blake cannot have appeared much
worse than Rupert's. The Royalists made no resistance, many of the men
were pressed out of the English prizes, and, even of those who were
not, many were getting tired of an adventure which brought them little
but danger and exile.

Rupert had been driven on to the coast of Sicily by bad weather,
before he could make the coast of France. There he was well received,
and allowed to sell his prizes--an act of compliance on the part of
the French officers for which the commerce of France was severely
punished. Blake, acting on his instructions, immediately retaliated by
capturing French merchant vessels, and when he left the Mediterranean,
as he did shortly afterwards, the same course was vigorously pursued
by his successor, William Penn. Penn's cruise in the Mediterranean
lasted till April of '52, and was fruitful in French prizes. He had
been called from the coast of Ireland to command a squadron of eight
frigates, designed to replace the heavier ships of Blake's command.
The Parliament was now using the naval forces of England with a vigour
of which there had been no previous example. The necessity of proving
to the country that it was capable of protecting commerce against the
utmost Rupert could do, acted as a stimulus, even if there had not been
a strong wish to make the monarchies of the Continent understand that
the new Government was far too powerful to be treated with neglect.
The measures taken were not inadequate to the work on hand. In the
November of 1650 William Penn sailed with a squadron of eight frigates,
and with orders first to make a cruise against the Portuguese on their
own coast, and in the Western Islands, with the object of capturing
their merchant ships on the way home from Brazil, and then to enter the
Mediterranean, where he was to relieve Blake in the work of hunting
down Rupert. The Council of State was so resolute not to delay the
work, that it did not wait until the whole squadron was ready. Penn
sailed on the 30th of November, with five of his frigates, for the
Azores. The other three joined him there under the command of John
Lawson. The whole force contained an exceptional proportion of men who
gained distinction in the sea service: it consisted of the--

    Ships.     Men.  Guns.      Captains.

  =Fairfax=      250    52    William Penn, vice-admiral.
  =Centurion=    150    36    John Lawson.
  =Adventure=    150    36    Andrew Ball.
  =Foresight=    150    36    Samuel Howett.
  =Pelican=      150    36    Joseph Jordan.
  =Assurance=    150    36    Benjamin Blake.
  =Nonsuch=      150    36    John Mildmay.
  =Star=          80    22    Robert Sanders.

This squadron was in the Azores by the 17th of January 1651, and, after
cruising with fair success between them and the Rock of Lisbon, entered
the Mediterranean in March. In addition to Penn's squadron, another was
fitted out under command of Captain Edward Hall, for the purpose of
convoying the trade to the Mediterranean. Hall's squadron consisted of--

   Ships.            Men.  Guns.      Captains.

  =Triumph=            300    52    Edward Hall, vice-admiral.
  =Tiger=              150    36    James Peacock.
  =Angel=              150    30    William Rand.
  =Ant. Bonadventure=  150    30    Walter Hopton.
  =Trade's Increase=   160    44    William Jacob.
  =Lion=               190    44    Jac. Birkdel.
  =Hopeful Luke=       126    34    William Goodson.

There was thus a double protection. While Hall applied himself to
the convoying of merchant ships, Penn was free to pursue Rupert. The
Royalists gave no trouble, and the two squadrons of the Parliament
had little to do beyond making reprisals on the nations which had
incurred the hostility of England by showing favour to Rupert, and by
endeavouring to put some check on the excesses of the Algerines. Yet
the presence of two forces acting in the Mediterranean at once, so soon
after the appearance of Blake, must have given the Southern nations a
greatly enhanced opinion of the naval power of England. The officers
in command were well aware that they were doing much more than merely
chasing away a handful of Royalist cruisers. Their sense of the higher
importance of their work is very well expressed in a letter written by
Captain Hall from Cadiz, on the eve of entering the Mediterranean.

 "Your fleets meeting here, so soon after the departure of the other
 fleet, is of no less admiration to other foreign kingdoms (into
 which reports fly of them daily) than to Spain; who much admire your
 quickness, in such strength and full supplies. So as I believe, in a
 short time, the Spaniards, between fear and love, will grow respectful
 to us. Though, hitherto, we have had little sign of it, more than
 compliments (only free access to the shore, where we are in nowise
 molested in our business), which we fail not to equalise them in."

Although Rupert vanished from the sight of Blake and his successors
in the Mediterranean, and indeed did not again come in contact with
the naval forces of the Parliament, we cannot ignore the actions of a
gentleman who was Lord High Admiral, and who flew the Royal Standard
by commission of the rightful king. After the defeat at Carthagena he
was now reduced to three vessels, and a large part of his crews was
discontented. Only the high courage of the man, and the determination
of the exiled Royalists who had accompanied him, sufficed to prevent
wholesale desertion, or open resistance to his authority. Partly by
good management, but more by force, Rupert kept his command together.
With the proceeds of his prizes he purchased a fourth vessel, and
started on certainly the most extraordinary cruise ever undertaken by a
Lord High Admiral of England. It lasted for two years, and at the end
there remained only one of the four ships with which it began. He had
entered the Mediterranean with "poverty and despair as his companions,
and revenge as his guide." These comrades attended him, and he kept
this aim in view to the end. From Toulon he sailed to the coast of
Africa, and there began avenging the wrongs of his master and uncle,
Charles I., by capturing a Genoese carrack, partly on the pretext that
the Republic had given him offence, and partly through the "clamour of
the seamen," who, having entered on a voyage which had much the look of
piracy, were minded to enjoy the privileges of the position. Then he
took a Spanish galleon, making use of the Parliament flag as a device
to throw her off her guard. Having now done his very best to arouse
the whole naval forces of the Mediterranean against him, Rupert wisely
roamed out into the Atlantic. He had a scheme for making a cruise on
the coast of Africa, and thence over to Barbadoes, which was known to
be still held for the king by Lord Willoughby of Parham. It may be
that this scheme was not very definite, and that he in reality drifted
about very much at the mercy of accident, and the pressure exercised
on him by the hope of booty, or the constant mutinous conduct of his
men. He first went to Madeira, where he was civilly received by the
Portuguese authorities, who were subject to hostilities both from Spain
and the Parliament, and could therefore not put themselves in a worse
position by favouring Rupert. From Madeira he went to the Canaries, and
then to the Cape de Verd Islands, and then back to the Azores, always
capturing what English and Spanish ships came in his way. On the coast
of Africa he was actively helped by the Portuguese, and even by the
Dutch, who were now themselves on the eve of war with England, and were
not sorry to see the Lord High Admiral engaged in destroying the trade
and settlements of the king's disloyal subjects. The Hollanders did not
foresee that within a few years the knowledge gained in these cruises
would be turned against themselves. Among the officers who followed
Rupert was the Captain Robert Holmes who became an admiral after the
Restoration and led a squadron to the coast of Africa for the purpose
of sweeping out the Dutch.

In the September of 1651 Rupert's strength was sorely diminished.
His flagship went down in a gale with three hundred and thirty men,
although every effort was made to stop the leak, even to the thrusting
of a hundred and twenty pieces of raw beef into it, and stancheoning
them down. Rupert was saved by the devotion of his followers. Shortly
afterwards another of his little squadron ran aground in the Azores and
became a total wreck. He endeavoured to replace these losses by arming
his prizes, but his resources diminished too fast. His men continued
to desert, and he had no means of replacing them. After his disasters
in the islands, he returned to the coast of Africa in May '52, and
applied himself alternately to plundering the English at sea, and the
Moors on shore in the neighbourhood of Cape Blanco. By this time his
vessels had become strained, so that well-found merchant ships had less
difficulty in escaping them. The Portuguese, too, had made peace with
England. His refuges were being shut to him, and he could not sell his
prizes. After failing to capture an English vessel, "very snug, with
taut masts," which they took for a man-of-war (the fighting ship was
already known by her greater smartness), Rupert deserted Africa and
the Atlantic islands and betook himself to the Antilles. He had come
too late to assist in the defence of Barbadoes against the Parliament,
but the Dutch war had now begun. Rupert had not the smallest scruple
in assisting the enemies of England against the enemies of the king.
He was busy near Nevis and other parts of the Windward Islands. In
the course of his cruising he gave his name to Prince Rupert's Bay on
the western side of the island of Dominica, very close to the scene
of one of the most famous of English naval victories. At last, among
the Virgin Islands, he was overtaken by the most destructive of the
many storms he had experienced. His brother Maurice went down with all
hands, and Rupert himself, being now worn out and overmatched, returned
home with his only remaining ship. He reached Nantes early in 1653
in safety. His one surviving vessel was burned by accident, so that
nothing was left of the force with which he had originally sailed,
except a few of the adventurers.

While the small remnant of the king's naval forces was pursuing a
course of adventures which hovered between piracy and privateering, the
Council of State was making vigorous use of its navy for the purpose
of stamping out what resistance to its authority still lingered on
in outlying territories. In 1651 it armed, in addition to the Home
Guards and the squadrons of Penn and Hall, a further squadron under
the command of Sir George Ayscue. His mission was to reduce the royal
garrison at Barbadoes, and to receive the submission of the plantations
of North America. Barbadoes had passed into our hands by occupation
as far back as the reign of Elizabeth. It had never been held by the
Spaniards, who probably neglected it because it lay well out in the
Atlantic to the eastward of the Antilles. Although of little direct
value to them, its position made it desirable to a Power which wished
to be able to attack the Spanish Indies. Being to windward, it supplied
an excellent starting-point for a squadron intending to assail the
Antilles. It has a good harbour and fertile soil. The early history
of our settlement in Barbadoes is peaceful and obscure. The settlers
appear to have included an exceptional number of capitalists, and few
among them belonged to that class of emigrants who left England for
religious reasons during the reign of Charles I. By the middle of
the century it is said to have contained fifty thousand inhabitants,
over and above the black slaves and the remnant of the native Indian
population. In the desperate state to which the king's fortunes were
reduced, his desire to retain so valuable a fragment of his dominions
was very natural. He could do little to defend it in the way of
supplying men or money. It was, however, in his power to appoint a
resolute governor; and this he did. The Lord Willoughby of Parham, who
had been named Vice-Admiral by Charles at Helvoetsluys in 1648, had
been displaced by the mutiny of his men when the squadron returned
from its unsuccessful cruise into the Thames, was sent as governor to
Barbadoes, and was well received by the planters. So long as they were
not called upon to fight or suffer for the royal cause, these persons
were perfectly prepared to recognise the king's authority. They had a
militia apparently well armed, and forts in the principal settlement at
Carlisle Bay, but the reality of strength was not in proportion to the
show.

In spite of the ease with which Willoughby established his authority,
the Barbadians were not undivided. There was a Parliamentary party
among them. Some of the leaders of this section of the inhabitants
thought it more prudent to desert the island on the arrival of Lord
Willoughby. They had taken refuge in England, and had promised the
Parliament support if it could send out a force for the conquest of the
island. Several of them accompanied Ayscue. Sir George did not proceed
at once to the West Indies, but began his campaign by a cruise on the
coasts of Spain and Portugal. It was hoped that before crossing the
Atlantic he might do something towards the final suppression of Prince
Rupert. But Rupert had by this time given up even the appearance of
struggling with the Parliament's navy, and had gone farther to the
south. After searching in vain for an enemy who eluded him, Ayscue went
on to discharge the second part of his mission. It is possible that he
did not wish to reach the West Indies during the hurricane months of
July, August, and September. In October that danger is considered to
be over. On the 16th of October he appeared off Carlisle Bay, on the
western side of Barbadoes. There were several Dutch and some English
ships at anchor, and these Ayscue seized, on the ground that they were
trading with the enemies of the Parliament. Then he summoned Lord
Willoughby to surrender. The Royalist governor made a stout answer,
and the planters appeared for a time to be ready to support him. But
in truth, as the result showed, they were not prepared to risk much
for the cause. Ayscue established a blockade of the island, and put an
entire stop to its trade. This threatened the planters with ruin, and
a large party among them were soon converted to a conviction of the
necessity of bringing Lord Willoughby to reason. A very active leader
of this section of the inhabitants was a certain Thomas Modyford,
colonel of one of the regiments of colonial militia, a man who had a
very strange and varied career to run in the West Indies before he
died. He had fought for the king in England, and was a new-comer in
Barbadoes, where he had landed only in 1647, but he had brought with
him the means of buying a plantation, and now he was not inclined
to risk his possessions in the apparently desperate cause of his
master's son. He therefore made his peace with Ayscue, and gave the
Parliamentary leader assurances of support. Ayscue had but few soldiers
with him, and would probably not have risked the landing unless he
had been sure of help. In December, two months after his arrival, he
received what he had the art to represent as a reinforcement. The West
Indian Islands were commonly supplied with food for themselves and
their slaves from Virginia. The ships bringing these stores arrived
in the month of December. Trading fleets at that time, when the New
World swarmed with pirates, preferred to sail together, for the sake
of mutual protection. When they reached him, Ayscue made believe that
he had received a reinforcement of men, and at once landed at Carlisle
Bay. The resistance was so trifling that it is hard to believe the
defenders to have been in earnest. Ayscue obtained possession of the
forts without the least difficulty. The occupation of the rest of
the island would have been beyond his power if the planters had been
unanimous in the support of Lord Willoughby. Colonel Modyford had done
his work too well, and there were no doubt many other planters as
little disposed as himself to lose all for loyalty's sake. They must
have known very well that even if they beat off Ayscue, they would
only bring a more formidable armament on themselves a little later,
while their trade would be ruined in the interval. They soon made Lord
Willoughby understand that he must not expect too much from their
devotion, and the king's governor surrendered on terms which Ayscue had
the generosity, or the good sense, to make liberal. From Barbadoes the
fleet sailed to Virginia. There had been some fear that Prince Rupert
might reach the Old Dominion, and give trouble; but the prince, as we
have seen, was otherwise employed. Virginia, though partly Royalist
in sympathies, had already submitted. The plantations farther to the
north were thoroughly Puritan; and when Ayscue returned to England, he
was able to report that the authority of the Parliament was peacefully
acknowledged throughout the whole extent of the American colonies.

Whilst Sir George Ayscue was bringing the colonial settlements to
obedience of the Parliament, the work of utterly extirpating the
king's authority had been completed at home. Blake had returned from
the Mediterranean in February, leaving Penn to take his place. He
was well received by the Council of State, and rewarded not only by
thanks, but by a grant of money. The Government had immediate need of
his services again. Though completely beaten in England, the Royalists
were still struggling in Scotland, and they held possession both of
the Scilly and the Channel Isles. From these posts they carried on
harassing privateering war against commerce. It was not only the damage
they did to trade which made these garrisons highly inconvenient to
the Government. They had not been very careful to distinguish between
English and foreign property in their captures, and had at least done
enough to justify the Dutch in threatening to take the law into their
own hands. The fear that Tromp, who commanded the naval forces of the
States in the Channel, would seize at least upon Scilly was avowed,
and was possibly not wholly unfounded. The most effectual way to put a
stop to any enterprise of the kind was manifestly to eject the Royalist
garrisons from these posts. In April Blake convoyed a military force
sent to take possession of the Scilly Isles. The service was rapidly
and effectively performed, with the help of Ayscue, who was starting
on his voyage to America, and of Colonel Clarke, a military officer
despatched by Desborow. Sir John Grenville, the Royalist governor,
held out until the 24th of May, and then brought a resistance, doomed
to be unavailing, to an end by surrender. The operations against the
Channel Isles were suspended for a short time by the march of the Scots
army under Charles II. into England. But after the "crowning mercy"
of Worcester in September they were resumed. On this occasion Blake
had the sole naval command, and his military colleague was Colonel
Hayne. Sir George Carteret was helped to prolong his defence by the
bad weather, which made it impossible to land the troops for days.
But the end was inevitable. With an overwhelming naval force at their
command, and the now completely victorious New Model Army to draw on
for reinforcements, it was at best a mere question of time when the
Parliament would obtain possession of the islands. So soon as he had
done enough for honour, Sir George Carteret saved his estate from
confiscation by surrendering his forts. In these operations the share
of the navy had in a sense been subordinate. It had comparatively
little to do with the fighting, and its work had been almost wholly
confined to carrying the troops over and landing them. But in another
sense these last Royalist garrisons were in reality taken by the navy.
If it had not acquired such a commanding superiority of strength at sea
as destroyed every Royalist hope of help, Grenville and Carteret might
have held out for long. In this, as in the earlier stages of the war
with the king, it was the possession of the navy by his enemies which
proved ruinous to him.

The revolutionary party had now done its work effectually in the
domestic field of battle. Its enemies, as far as the navy was
concerned, were in future to be foreigners. There was no doubt, even
before the end of 1651, who the main enemy would be. At that time
there was but one possible opponent at sea for England, the United
States of the Netherlands. War had been preparing between them for some
time, and very little was wanted to bring it on. The passing of the
Navigation Act in 1651 was of itself an almost sufficient cause for
hostilities. The policy which this law was designed to enforce was not
in itself new. As far back as the reign of Henry VII., laws had been
passed to support English shipping against foreign competition, but
they had either been ill enforced, or ill calculated to secure their
purpose. The Navigation Act of 1651 was directed against the carrying
trade of Holland, with avowedly hostile intentions. It was drafted for
the express purpose of ruining the Dutch shipping as far as we were
concerned, by forbidding the importation of goods into England, except
in ships belonging to the nation which produced them, or in English
vessels. This of itself might not have led to open conflict between the
two countries, but there were other causes of hostility. The rivalry of
the English and Dutch at sea had not always been peaceful. In the early
days of the century the East India Companies of the two countries had
combined to assert their right of trading with the East in defiance of
the Portuguese. When their feeble opponent had been overcome, a task
very easily effected, they had fallen out with one another. The chief
scene of their conflict had been in the islands of the Indian Ocean,
and the victory had remained with the Dutch, who made these the seat
of their Eastern Empire. The most notorious incident of the expulsion
of the English from the region which the Dutch desired to reserve to
themselves, was the massacre of Amboyna, an island near the Moluccas,
in 1623. By the terms of a treaty made in 1619 between England and
the United Provinces, it had been agreed that the two nations were to
live in peace in these regions, and that their respective factories
were to share the trade. According to the English account, which is
certainly supported by probability, the Dutch vamped up an accusation
of treason against the English factors (_i.e._ commercial agents)
at Amboyna. Under the pretence that they had entered into a plot
with the Japanese to massacre their Dutch allies, they were suddenly
attacked, thrown into prison, and tortured with abominable cruelty.
Then, taking advantage of this supposed discovery of a plot, the Dutch
made it a pretext to expel the English factories from the whole of
the Spice Islands. During thirty years the memory of the massacre of
Amboyna had remained fresh with the English. The Governments of James
I. and Charles I. had made several attempts to obtain satisfaction by
diplomatic means, but the States had either been unwilling or unable to
compel the powerful East India Company to replace the English factories.

There were other causes of dispute between the Governments, such as the
not unnatural favour shown by the Prince of Orange to the cause of his
father-in-law, King Charles. The prince had indeed recently died in
the midst of a constitutional conflict with the Republican party. His
opponents were now masters in Holland, but even this served rather to
promote discord. The Commonwealth took up with a fantastic scheme for
a union between the two republics, and when it was coldly received, as
might have been expected, was, not very wisely, angry. The murder of an
English envoy at the Hague by Royalist refugees served to exasperate
existing ill-feeling. Perhaps not the weakest motive with the Council
of State was its knowledge that war with Holland would be popular.
Revolutionary Governments have at all times the strongest possible
motive for directing the energies of a nation into foreign war. Under
the influence of these different motives, England undoubtedly forced a
war upon the Dutch Republic. Trade rivalry, the memory of old wrongs,
the hope of displacing the Dutch from their commercial supremacy, and
the natural instinct of all Governments to do what will tend to their
own preservation, combined to make conflict inevitable.

The importance of the first Dutch war as an epoch in the history of the
English Navy can hardly be exaggerated. Though short, for it lasted
barely twenty-two months, it was singularly fierce and full of battles.
Yet its interest is not derived mainly from the mere amount of the
fighting, but from the character of it. This was the first of our naval
wars conducted by steady, continuous, coherent campaigns. Hitherto our
operations on the sea had been of the nature of adventures by single
ships and small squadrons, with here and there a great expedition sent
out to capture some particular port or island. When we now look back on
the long and glorious story of England on the sea during the last three
centuries, the grandeur of the later period is liable to mislead us
in our estimate of the earlier. In 1652 England was far from enjoying
that reputation for superiority in naval warfare she earned in later
generations. In fact, the majority of operations undertaken by her
fleets had been failures. The defeat of the Armada had always, and
not unjustly (whatever our national vanity may say to the contrary),
been accounted for by causes other than the strength of Elizabeth's
navy. Since then, the Cadiz expedition of 1596, in which we had the
co-operation of a Dutch squadron, had been our only signal triumph. The
voyage to Portugal in 1589, the last voyage of Drake and Hawkins to
the West Indies in 1594, the expedition against Algiers in 1620, the
expedition to Cadiz in 1625, the attack on the Ile de Rhé in 1627, had
all been either barren or disastrous. The valour and the seamanship of
the English was not disputed, but there was nothing to lead the Dutch
to believe that they would prove a specially formidable enemy on the
sea. If the States hung back from war, it was not so much because they
had reason to doubt the capacity of their fleets to contend on equal
terms with ours, but because they were a commercial power having much
to lose and little to gain by hostilities, because their long war with
Spain had burdened them with a heavy national debt, and because the
obligation to defend a vulnerable land frontier made it impossible for
them to dispense with the burden of a large standing army. This war
caused a great change in the estimate of our power at sea. It proved
that we could show ourselves superior to what was beyond all question
the greatest naval power on the Continent, and thereby raised the
position of England in the world.

The novelty of the war no less than its importance makes it convenient
to take a survey not only of the material condition of our fleet, but
of its moral and intellectual capacity for warfare at sea, before
beginning an account of the operations. There is nothing to be added
to what has been said at the beginning of this chapter as to the
organisation of the navy of the Commonwealth. Experience led to some
changes during the progress of the war, but at the beginning the fleet
was governed and organised as it had been during the Civil War. It
has already been pointed out that between 1648 and 1651 the number of
ships fit for service had been substantially doubled, and the quality
of the recent additions to the list was excellent. With the help of
hired or pressed merchant ships, the Council of State was able to meet
the Dutch with equal forces. The size of the squadrons maintained
during the Civil Wars, with the nature of their recent service in the
Mediterranean and America, had given the fleet practice, and the State
the command of a body of proved officers.

There is more doubt as to how far the navy was prepared for a great war
by the possession of a definite system or order of battle. According
to the prevailing opinion, an English fleet was a collection of ships
which fought pell-mell, each as it best could, and as the spirit of
its captain caused it to be handled. This is a view which I find
myself unable to accept. It has, in my opinion, both probability and
direct evidence against it. In the first place, it is difficult to
conceive that any force consisting of ships ranging in number from
forty to nearly a hundred can possibly have been moved about, directed
against an enemy, and led to victory, unless it had had some understood
formation which the commander could use, and the individual captains
were familiar with. A fighting force which goes in no kind of order
is a thing one finds it hard to imagine--provided, of course, that
it is also supposed to be efficient. The most barbarous tribes of
warriors have some method of marshalling a host. The most rudimentary
common-sense will teach the most backward of mankind that they cannot
fight at all unless they move together on the enemy, help one another,
and put each individual of their body in such a position that he can
use his weapons. The same experience must have taught the seamen of the
middle of the seventeenth century the same lesson. Unless they had been
incredibly stupid, they could not possibly think of rushing into battle
with an enemy so formidable as the Dutch, without some more or less
definite idea how they were to bring their whole power to bear upon
him. It is true that they did not write essays on tactics, but this
only proves that the time was not given to writing about the operations
of war at sea, while the want of minutely precise fighting orders may,
in the light of the later history of our navy, be considered as rather
a proof of sagacity than of the want of knowledge.

We are not, however, left to draw our deductions as to the existence of
a recognised formation of battle in the English Navy from probability
only. There is direct evidence that the natural order of a fleet which
fights with its broadside, the famous line of battle, was familiar
to the generation of Blake. Fourteen years after this war, Penn, in
speaking to Pepys, declared that the Dutch always fight in a line,
"and we, whenever we beat them." As this was said at the beginning
of the second Dutch war, it is impossible to believe that Penn was
not thinking of the previous struggle. Then we had been repeatedly
successful against the Dutch, and it seems to follow that it had been
for the reason given by the veteran admiral, among others. His words
in conversation to Pepys are not Penn's only contribution to the
evidence of the existence of a line of battle. In a letter describing
his share in the battle off the Kentish Knock, he says: "We ran a fair
berth against the head of our general to give room for my squadron
to be between him and us." It is to be presumed that when the ships
forming that squadron filled the place left vacant for them, they
were understood to do so in such a way as to be able to use their
broadsides. This implies that none of them were to be so placed as to
get between a comrade and the Dutch; in other words, they were to be
in "line ahead," _i.e._ one behind the other, the only position in
which a number of vessels carrying their guns on their sides could all
fire without running the risk of hurting one another. We hear, too, of
fleets tacking together, which presupposes that they were so placed as
to allow them freedom of movement, and that there was some system by
which a general order could be conveyed. But there are two pieces of
still stronger evidence which I cannot but think must be held to settle
the question. The first is to be found in a letter from Captain Joseph
Cubitt of the =Tulip=, and gives an account of the last battle of the
war.

 "The 31st, the weather being fair, and both standing to sea, we tacked
 upon them, and went through their whole fleet, leaving part on one
 side, and part on the other of us; and in passing through, we lamed
 several and sunk more. As soon as we had passed, we tacked upon them
 again, and they on us, and as we passed each other very near, we did
 very good execution on them, and some of their ships that had lost all
 their masts struck their colours, and put out a white handkerchief on
 a staff, and hauled in all their guns. My men were very desirous to go
 to them, there being two of them very close, but the fight being but
 then begun, I would not suffer it; they were fired by others after the
 fight was over.

 "As soon as we had passed each other, both tacked, the Hollander
 having still the wind, and we keeping close by, we passed very near
 and did very great execution upon each other. In this bout we cut off
 some of his fleet, which could not weather us, and therefore forsook
 him, and some of them were sunk, and we had the =Oak= fired by one
 of their Branders. We again tacked upon them and they upon us, and
 in this bout we fought most desperately, almost at push of pike. A
 Flushinger was sunk close by the =Victory=. He intending to board the
 =Victory=, had entered three or four of his men with their pole-axes,
 but the =Victory's= carpenter's axe cut them down on the side of the
 ship."

The movements described by Captain Cubitt are not conceivable unless
we suppose that the English fleet was in line ahead. When he says,
"We went through their whole fleet, leaving part on one side and part
on the other of us," and again when he says, "We cut off some of his
fleet which could not weather us," he describes the movement which
was deliberately executed by Rodney on the 12th April 1783, and was
unwittingly performed by all the ships of his fleet, counting from
Commodore Affleck's to the rear at another breach in the French line.
It could not have been executed except by ships in a line ahead, and
we have therefore sufficient reason to believe that this formation
was adopted by our fleets in the first Dutch war. The second piece of
evidence is to be found in the "Instructions for the Better Ordering
of the Fleet in Fighting," issued by Blake, Monk, Disbrowe, and Penn,
in March 1655. Here it is distinctly ordered that, when the fleet
prepares to engage, the vice and rear admirals are to place themselves
respectively to right and left of the commander-in-chief, "giving a
competent distance for the admiral's squadron"; that, when in action,
every ship is to keep in a line with the chief of its own squadron,
or, if he falls out crippled, then with the commander-in-chief; that,
if one vessel falls out injured, the others are to "keep in a line"
between her and the enemy; while signals are provided by which an
admiral can order his van or rear, which are leeward or windward of
him, to come into his "wake or graine," that is, into a line behind
or ahead of him. It may be allowed that the order of line ahead was
not very accurately preserved. It is as near impossible as may be to
keep sixty to ninety ships of very different sizes and sailing powers
manoeuvring for any length of time without allowing them to fall into
disorder. But the weakness of the execution does not prove the want of
a system. We may therefore consider it as established that, however
ill the plan may have been executed, our ancestors in the first Dutch
war did endeavour to fight in that formation which experience has
shown to be the most effective for a fleet of ships depending on their
broadsides for their power of injuring the enemy. That the Admiralty
of the time did no more than prescribe a method of engaging in general
terms, and then order their captains to do their best, is to their
honour. This is what Nelson did at Trafalgar, at a time when nobody
supposes that the line was unknown to our seamen. What the reticence
of the Admiralty of the Commonwealth proves is, that the formation
had not been degraded to the superstition which it became in the last
quarter of the century.

The reason which made the line ahead the most effective formation for
warships is implied in what has already been said. Their power lay in
their broadsides, which could only be used when the vessels were in
that order. The ancient galleys relied on their beak, and the later
galleys carried a single great gun in the bows, and would therefore
naturally be placed with their prow towards the enemy, since it was
this that they relied on as their means of offence. When several of
them were acting together, they would be placed side by side, as a
matter of course, as this arrangement put them all where they would
have an opportunity of striking the enemy, and of helping one another.
This formation is called the line abreast, and for ships armed on the
broadside is manifestly useless. It might be, and was, used when they
were moving together to attack the enemy, but, from the moment that
they came within striking distance, their natural course was to turn
their side to him. In doing so, they would take care to turn in the
same direction, since, if they did not, the fleet would be immediately
split up into a number of discordant parts going in different
directions, and in imminent danger of running into one another. But
this movement of turning in one direction from the line abreast would
inevitably bring them into a more or less accurately formed line
ahead. There remains the alternative that the fleet attacking in line
abreast--a course it could only follow from windward--might endeavour
to steer through the enemy and engage him on the lee side. This was
actually attempted by Lord Howe on the 1st of June 1794, and it has
the obvious advantage of putting the attacking force on the enemy's
line of retreat, which, in the case of sailing ships, is unavoidably
to leeward. But this method of attack could only be employed against
an enemy who remained passive, which it does not appear that the Dutch
ever did in this war.

With two fleets both moving, it could hardly happen that they could
engage except when sailing on the wind, that is, with the wind on
one side and not behind them. In that position an admiral had a much
greater control over the movements of his squadron. Thus the formation
which gradually came to be accepted as normal was the close-hauled
line of battle. In order that each vessel, while retaining the power
of striking at the enemy, was also to have the necessary freedom of
movement, a space had to be left between them in which they could turn
when occasion arose, and which would give to each the time to avoid the
ship immediately ahead of her, if it, by any chance, became disabled.
As it was desirable to employ the greatest number of men in fighting,
and as few as might be aloft, while it was obviously convenient to
diminish to the utmost the surface presented to an enemy's fire, it was
a practice imposed by the conditions of sea battles to go into action
with a diminished spread of sail. It was further necessary that every
vessel should have the power of increasing her rate of speed. If one
vessel was crippled, the next behind her had to push up and take her
place, which could only be done where there were some immediate means
of increasing the rate of speed. This margin was secured by employing
a detachment of men to spill the wind out of one of the sails, so that
it did not produce its whole effect in dragging the ship on. Spilling
the wind meant the keeping one corner of the sail loose, so that it
flapped and did not hold the wind. When the speed of the ship had to be
increased, the sail was sheeted home, or, in the old phrase, they "let
everything draw." It follows, from what has been said, that a fleet was
always compelled to regulate its speed by that of the slowest vessel in
the line. The great majority of battles fought by ships under sail were
conducted very slowly. It was seldom that the line moved at more than
two and a half or three miles an hour.

In saying that the seamen of the middle seventeenth century knew the
advantage of forming a line and attacking in that order, I do not
mean to assert that they had carried the art of handling a fleet in
battle to the perfection it attained in later times, but only that
they were not in the habit of endeavouring to fight in a mere swarm.
Their ignorance of the refinements of the conduct of a fleet was
perhaps in their favour. It is the defect of every formation for war,
whether by land or sea, that it is capable of becoming, in the belief
of dull and pedantic men, an end in itself. This did happen with the
close-hauled line of battle, within about forty years of the first
Dutch war. Every order is valuable only in so far as it enables a
fighting force to bring its whole strength to bear. When it has done
that, it has served its purpose. But it may happen that a generation of
unintelligent leaders will get into the habit of endeavouring to avoid
whatever disturbs the mere arrangement of their forces, and will aim
at preserving that, even when, by so doing, they have to let slip the
opportunity of damaging the enemy. In the first Dutch war this pedantry
had not yet begun to be visible among the admirals on either side.

That the modern navy was beginning in this war is further to be seen
in the fact that we now first meet with a general body of orders
established for the maintenance of discipline by the authority of
the State. Hitherto each admiral had drawn up his own code, and from
among them there had been formed what may, without a fantastic abuse
of words, be called a body of common law known as the Customs of the
Sea. The brief pamphlet containing the regulations of the Council
of State is the germ of the weighty volume, hardly smaller than a
family Bible, which contains the Queen's Regulations and Admiralty
Instructions. There will be occasion to return to it when we reach the
great organising period of Charles II.'s reign. It is enough to note at
present that, while maintaining the old authority of the admirals and
captains, it gave the seamen a security against the arbitrary will of
their superiors by providing that they were not to be punished until
after regular trial. One change in the internal economy of the ship
was promoted by this war. Hitherto it had been the custom to carry
lieutenants in ships of the third rate and upwards, and in them only
one. Under the strain of a great and serious war, it was found that
this did not afford a sufficient supply of the higher rank of officers,
and the number of lieutenants was increased. Admiral Penn, in a letter
to Cromwell dated early in the war, argued they should be employed in
all vessels.

 "And if the charge of it be objected, it may be answered that, by
 taking off one man from each ship that shall have these lieutenants
 (which man's victuals and wages is 1s. 4d. per diem), the lieutenant
 receiving as common pay, which is 8d. per diem, makes him 2s.; and
 truly, 'tis a sad lieutenant that's not worth two common men in time
 of action."

The enemy with whom we were about to engage was strong enough to call
for the exercise of the whole power of England. He was not, however,
of such resources but that it was within our means to overcome him
by sufficient exertions. In number of seamen and ships the United
Provinces excelled us largely, but not in the number of men available
for war, or of ships equal to the strain of battle. England was still
mainly an agricultural and pastoral country. She could, if needful,
take nearly all her seamen for her fleet, and suspend her trade for a
time. The Dutch Republics could not do so without ruin. Three hundred
and sixty thousand people depended on the herring fishery for their
subsistence. Amsterdam, according to the old proverb, was built upon
herrings. Unless this trade could be pursued, ruin stared the State of
Holland in the face. The over-sea commerce and the carrying trade were
no less vital. The Dutch were the carriers by sea, and the importers of
tropical produce, for all Europe. If the fishery and the over-sea trade
were even seriously interrupted, the loss to Holland was colossal;
therefore even an inability to drive the English fleets off the sea,
though it might stop short of complete defeat for themselves, would
entail such loss on the States that they would be forced to make peace.

In view of the strenuous exertions of both Charles I. and the Long
Parliament to strengthen the English Navy, the Dutch Government ought
certainly to have taken proportionate measures to increase their own.
But the Dutch naval strength had been rather neglected. This error can
be accounted for by more causes than one. The Republics had hitherto
had to contend with Spain alone at sea, and she had long ceased to
be a formidable enemy. In the meantime they had been called upon to
maintain a constant land warfare, first against Spain alone, and then
in the later stages of the European conflict called the Thirty Years'
War. They had to keep on foot an army of 57,000 men, which was raised
by voluntary enlistment and largely recruited abroad. It was therefore
very costly, and to it the navy had been sacrificed. The princes of
the House of Orange, though great soldiers and great statesmen, had
not been uninfluenced by professional feeling. They had consequently
devoted their attention mainly to the army by which they had won their
own glory. Between economy and the want of statesmanlike military
direction, the naval force had been treated in a somewhat peddling
fashion. Its ships were slighter and smaller than the fine vessels
constructed by the Petts. As they were also made flat-bottomed, in
order to navigate the shallows of the Dutch coast, they were less
weatherly than the English, and therefore liable to be out-manoeuvred
and out-sailed in the open sea.

The nature of the government of the United Netherlands was a cause of
weakness to their fleet and of strength to us. Although we habitually
speak of the Dutch Republic, there were, in fact, seven sovereign
republics, each independent within its own borders, joined together
by necessity, and common interests, in a very loose confederation.
The authority of the Stadtholders of the House of Nassau, Princes
of Orange, had given unity of direction to the armed forces of
the Confederacy. They were Captains and Admirals General, and so
Commanders-in-Chief by sea and land. They appointed to the higher
posts, and could secure the steady combined co-operation of all
the forces. But in 1652 there was no Stadtholder. William II., the
successor of Frederick Henry, and son-in-law of Charles I., had died
suddenly in the midst of a conflict with the State of Holland, and
the reigning Prince of Orange was his posthumous son, our own King
William, after the Revolution of 1688. William II. had been aiming at
welding the whole seven provinces into one strongly organised State,
under the hereditary rule of his own house. He had made an unsuccessful
attempt to seize Amsterdam and coerce the State of Holland. In the
course of this adventure he had imprisoned a number of the magistrates
in his castle of Loevenstein--from which the Republican party took
their name. It is possible he might have succeeded if he had lived;
and in that case we know, and the Long Parliament knew, that he had
entered into an alliance with the King of France, for the double
purpose of dividing the Spanish Netherlands between them, and upsetting
the Republic in England. But he died before doing more than arouse the
Republican Party in his own country, and convince those who now ruled
England that their own safety was bound up with the destruction of the
House of Orange Nassau.

In the absence of an Admiral-General, the control of the naval
forces of the Low Countries was divided between five Boards of
Admiralty,--that of the Maas, which sat at Rotterdam, that of
Amsterdam, that of North Holland, and the Boards of Zeeland and
Friesland. The States General, the only approach to a common government
of the Confederacy, was a body in which each republic had one vote,
though represented by a number of deputies. It was of more dignity
than real strength, and exercised only the powers delegated to it
by the different members of the Union. At a later period, the State
of Holland, the most wealthy of the seven republics, was enabled to
gain a supremacy which to some extent replaced the authority of the
Stadtholder. It owed its success mainly to the statesmanship of the
Grand Pensionary, John de Witt. But in the first Dutch war, De Witt was
at the very beginning of his career, and the republics suffered from
all the weaknesses of an ill-knit and jarring Confederacy. Even if all
the inhabitants of the seven provinces had been united in sentiment,
the defects in the construction of their government would have put them
at a disadvantage in a conflict with England. But it is notorious
that this was far from being the case. The victory of the Republicans
had been the victory of the moneyed classes in the towns, of a very
able, very patriotic, but also very narrow and jealous oligarchy. The
majority of the nobles and the mass of the poorer classes were devoted
in sentiment to the House of Orange Nassau, and would, if they had had
their way, have seen the Stadtholdership conferred at once on the young
prince, with a regent drawn from his own family to administer for him
until he came of age. Many of the army and navy officers had the same
wish, so that the States General were in constant fear of domestic
sedition, while the party feelings of the officers of the fleet are
believed to have interfered with the discharge of their duty.

The condition of England was very different. Those who ruled might be
a revolutionary party, governing by force, but they claimed to have
inherited all the rights of the Crown, and it is beyond doubt they had
effective possession of them. Thus, while on the side of Holland there
was continual need for the co-operation of independent if not always
mutually hostile bodies, there was on the side of England one central
authority acting according to its own motives, and rendering an account
of its deeds to nobody. This Government, too, was composed of men
steeled against all risks by years of conflict in which their heads had
been at stake, and trained by long practice to the rapid transaction of
public affairs. The predominance of the commercial element in Holland
prevented the development of a high military spirit among its seamen.
The Dutch were skilful mariners, and valiant in a stolid, enduring way,
but their officers in many cases showed a very unofficerlike reluctance
to face risks. In our fleet something of the same kind was found among
the merchant captains left in command of the hired or pressed ships,
and no doubt the war, which tried men as by fire, revealed the weakness
of individuals. Yet the evil with us was less, and the power to remedy
it was far greater.

Not the least cause of the superior strength of England is to be found
in her geographical position. Her coasts stretched opposite those of
Holland, while she herself was open to the west. Thus the Dutch trade,
the very life-blood of the country, was compelled to flow either along
the Channel, where it was subject to attack at every moment, or by the
longer and stormier route round the north of Scotland, where also it
was not safe, since the route ended in the North Sea opposite the naval
station of Harwich.

On a general comparison, then, of the relative strength of the two
countries, it will be seen that the advantage was on the side of
England. There were numbers against her, and a somewhat greater
experience. But she had unity of authority, better instruments of war,
a more martial spirit, a stronger geographical position, and she was
much less vulnerable. If, then, ability and energy were not wanted in
the direction of her fleet, the probability was that she would win.



CHAPTER VII

THE FIRST DUTCH WAR

 AUTHORITIES.--The Life of Penn is of the utmost value for this period,
 and is rivalled in worth by Brandt's _Life of Michael de Ruyter_.
 Admiral Colomb's _Naval Warfare_ contains a very important critical
 examination of the war from the scientific point of view. Parliament
 began the practice, afterwards imitated by the Government of Charles
 II., of publishing official narratives of events. The best of these
 are given in the Life of Penn. The Calendars of State Papers for the
 years give the most important letters from the fleet in full, and the
 others in précis.


When in the beginning of 1652 war was seen to be inevitable, England
had in hand a considerable force of ships already commissioned, manned
by crews which had been long together. Ayscue had just returned from
America, and Penn from the Mediterranean, where his place had been
taken by Captain Badiley. The summer guard was being prepared in
great strength under the sole command of Blake. Popham died about
this time, and Deane was with the troops in Scotland. In March the
Council of State was busy commissioning ships as fast as it could. It
forbade the pressing of men from outward-bound merchant vessels, on
the ground that this was a serious hindrance to trade, but it used
every other available means to increase its naval force. The higher
commands were filled by giving the place of Vice-Admiral to William
Penn, and of Rear-Admiral to Nicholas Bourne, a soldier who was mainly
employed during the course of the war as commissioner of the dockyard
at Harwich. The States General made strenuous efforts to preserve
peace, but the Council of State insisted on such terms as could not
be accepted without the surrender of the national existence of the
republics. The Grand Pensionary, Pauw de Heemstede, was sent over to
reinforce the ambassadors, but, while they were negotiating, exertions
were made to collect a competent naval force at sea. The need for one
was great. The Dutch convoys were coming up the Channel, and, in the
humour England was in, there was no small probability that they would
be seized before they reached home. To afford them protection, Tromp
was sent into the Straits of Dover with a fleet of some forty sail. He
appeared there about the middle of May, and found Bourne at Dover with
eight ships. Blake was at Rye with fifteen or sixteen. A conflict had
already taken place in the Channel, arising out of the historic quarrel
as to the right to the salute. On the 12th of May, Captain Young, on
his way westward to take command of the west guard, met a dozen sail
coming from the southward near the Start. He took them at first for the
fleet of Sir George Ayscue. They turned out to be a convoy of Dutch
ships from Genoa and Leghorn, accompanied by three men-of-war. Young at
once insisted upon the salute. It was yielded by one of the Dutchmen,
but resisted by the second, a 42-gun ship; and a hot conflict followed,
all six vessels taking active part. Young reported that he finally
compelled the recalcitrant Dutchman to strike, but that, when he also
wanted to carry him prisoner to England, the Hollanders declared that
they preferred fighting again. Upon this Young sheered off, by the
advice of his fellow-captains, Reynolds and Chapman. The action would
appear to have been somewhat indecisive, but Captain Young was well
pleased with his share. "For my own part," he wrote, "I bless God for
it, I am very well. I do believe I gave him his belly full of it;
for he sent me word he had orders from the States that if he struck
he should lose his head; but at length he did strike, which makes me
conceive he had enough of it." The States were indeed well disposed to
resist the claim to the salute, and, at the pitch things had got to,
may well have thought that there was little use in rendering a mark of
deference which seemed to do them no good.

While the convoy attacked by Captain Young was making its way up
Channel, Tromp came into Dover Road, and there exchanged civilities
with Admiral Bourne. The English were in a suspicious frame of mind,
and disposed to see offence in all Tromp's acts. They may perhaps
have remembered his high-handed attack on Oquendo at that very place
fourteen years earlier. In any case, they knew that he was a loyal
member of the Orange Party, that he had been knighted by Charles I.,
and that he was no friend to the English nation. Bourne sent word to
Blake at Rye, and the English admiral at once got under way and came
round to Dover. On the morning of the 19th he came in sight of Tromp
at anchor in and near Dover Road. When Blake was within three leagues
of him, Tromp weighed, and stood to the eastward with a north-easterly
wind. The English did not come to an anchor, but continued lying to,
watching Tromp, who held his course for some two hours. Then a small
vessel was seen to speak to the Dutch admiral. Tromp immediately
altered his course and bore down on Blake, he himself leading in his
flagship, the _Brederode_. Blake also was at the head of his own ships.
In this position he watched the Dutch admiral, whose action certainly
indicated no unwillingness to provoke a collision. The right to the
salute served to bring matters to an issue. When Tromp was within
musket-shot, Blake gave orders to fire at his flag. At the third shot
the Dutchman answered by a broadside, which may be considered as the
effectual opening of perhaps the fiercest, though one of the shortest,
of naval wars.

The place of this collision was somewhere between the South Sand Head,
the most southerly point of the Goodwin Sands, and Cape Gris Nez on
the coast of France. The time was the afternoon, and the action lasted
until dark. Blake was lying to, with the heads of his ships probably
pointing to the English shore. He in his flagship, the =James=, was
at the head of his line. Tromp in the _Brederode_ bore down with
his squadron in line behind him. In this war it is not uncommon to
find admirals leading their line, as Nelson and Collingwood did at
Trafalgar, instead of placing themselves in the midst, as was the
custom throughout the more pedantic time of the eighteenth century.
This is one of the resemblances between the earlier and the later
periods in the history of the English Navy, which bind them together
in distinction to the more dull and more formal age between. If Tromp
had had to deal with Blake only, there could have been but one end to
the conflict. The Dutch admiral directed his attack on the English
flagship. As Blake was at the windward end of his line, this would
have enabled the Dutchman to concentrate an overwhelming force on the
=James= and the ships immediately about her, before the more leewardly
of the English ships could come to their assistance. But there was
a third combatant to be considered. Bourne had got under way from
the Downs when he saw the threatening manoeuvres of Tromp, and his
position enabled him to attack the rear and northerly end of the Dutch
line. Thus the combatants were curiously mingled. While Tromp with a
superior force was attacking Blake, who was to leeward, he was himself
attacked from windward by Bourne. We know little of the details of the
battle, or of the conduct of individual ships. The =James=, attacked by
the _Brederode_ and other Dutch warships, was very severely handled.
"All our rigging and sails," as Blake reported in his despatch,
"were extremely shattered, our mizenmast shot off." The loss in men
was severe: six killed, "and nine or ten desperately wounded, and
twenty-five more not without danger; amongst them our master and one
of his mates and other officers," is the number reported by Blake. A
century later, a line-of-battle ship attacked at such disadvantage by
enemies of equal quality would have been cut to pieces in half an hour.
The wild gunnery of the time accounts for Blake's escape from utter
destruction. The struggling mass of ships wrestled in the Straits until
dark, cannonading one another to the best of their ability. When night
came, they separated. Blake, with the advice of the captains, came to
an anchor three or four leagues off Dungeness. Tromp stood over to the
coast of France. One Dutch vessel remained in the hands of the English,
so shattered that her captor, Lawson, did not think her worth keeping,
but took her crew out, and forsook her.

The news of this encounter provoked an outbreak of popular feeling
in London. The Council of State thought it necessary to send a body
of troops to defend the house of the Dutch ambassador at Chelsea.
Negotiations did not wholly cease, but they had become an idle form.
The English Government insisted upon an apology, compensation, and the
punishment of Tromp. This demand was naturally refused by the States
General, and at last the mere appearance of negotiation was given up.
Both sides prepared to exert their whole strength in an armed struggle.
The English Government took vigorous measures to deal with the
inevitable, orders were sent to the vice-admirals of the coast counties
(the justices of the peace for maritime affairs), ordering them to
hasten on the press of sailors. It was voted that forty sail of ships
should be commissioned in addition to those already in the service of
the Commonwealth. Letters were sent to Deane, who commanded the troops
in Scotland, ordering him to make haste with the reduction of Dunottar
Castle, where a forlorn Royalist garrison was still holding out, to
take measures for the protection of the fisheries, and to make himself
acquainted with the military value of the harbours of Orkney and
Shetland. At the same time, the Council of State was concerned with the
question of discipline. Two of the captains engaged on the 19th of May,
Thoroughgood and Gibbs, were charged with not having behaved themselves
well, and were called upon to answer for their "miscarriage." Here is
the first of various mentions of the measure which had to be taken
to establish a proper military spirit among the captains of the
Commonwealth's fleet. Merchant captains entrusted with the command of
hired or pressed ships were not as a class trustworthy, for reasons
very excellently stated by Penn in a letter to Cromwell, written within
a fortnight after the engagement in the Straits.

 "My lord, it is humbly conceived, that the State would be far
 better served, if, as formerly, they placed commanders in all the
 merchant-ships so taken up; for, the commanders now employed being
 all part-owners of their ships (and fearing some not so clearly
 conscientious as they should be), I do believe will not be so
 industrious in taking an enemy as other men; especially considering,
 that by engagement they not only waste their powder and shot, but are
 liable to receive damage in their masts, sails, rigging, and hull, and
 endanger the loss of all, when they may be quiet, and receive the same
 pay. If they should be oppressed, and forced, it is supposed they will
 fight for preservation and safety of their ships; which anyone the
 State shall think fit to employ would perform, and, I presume, upon
 better principles."

The men whose conduct Penn discusses were not necessarily cowards, they
were only not fighters by profession. Shocking as it may seem in view
of the traditional reputation of the two heroes about to be named, I
doubt whether every word of this paragraph might not have been made to
apply to Sir John Hawkins and Sir Francis Drake, neither of whom can
be shown to have ever fought "longer than he saw occasion"; that is
to say, longer than he had before him a clear prospect of immediate
pecuniary results. But though their standard of conduct may have done
very well for a time of plundering expeditions and private adventure,
it was absolutely unfitted for a great war, which demands that all
parts of the forces engaged shall always be ready to obey orders, and
to do their best, or be punishable for failure. A more agreeable duty
to the Council of State was to give their thanks to the mayor, jurats,
and seamen of Dover who had volunteered to reinforce Blake's fleet
during the late engagement with Tromp. They were duly thanked and
encouraged to persevere by a promise of an advance of part of the £4000
required to build their new pier.

Neither England nor Holland were sufficiently ready for a war on a
great scale to be able to dispense with time for preparation. The month
of June was passed by both in equipping fleets. Ayscue had reached
Plymouth at the end of May. He arrived, bringing with him numbers of
Dutch prizes taken on the way, for the making of reprisals had been
begun on our side long before the pretence of a treaty of peace had
been given up. He was ordered to make ready at once to reinforce
Blake, if the condition of his ships after their long cruise made it
possible for him to keep the sea. Ayscue came on from Plymouth after a
short stay. On his way he had a sharp brush with a Dutch convoy, which
beat him off, and he reached the Downs about the middle of June with
eleven men-of-war. Blake had been in the meantime largely reinforced.
His fleet at this time was estimated at forty-seven ships belonging
to the State and twenty-six merchant ships, but it does not follow
that he had this number actually with him. Indeed, with the still
unsettled organisation of the time, when fleets were suddenly made up
by additions from the outside, it was not easy for the State itself to
discover how many vessels were ready, and there were apt to be curious
discrepancies between the numbers returned by an admiral and by other
officers reporting directly to the Government. By the end of June,
or the first days of July, a sufficient force had been collected to
make it possible to despatch Blake to the northward with "a gallant
fleet" of sixty sail, while Ayscue was left in the Downs with fifteen
or sixteen. The second-named squadron included the vessels Ayscue had
brought back from the West Indies, with a few additions.

On the side of the enemy there had been no slackness. The States
General, or, to speak with greater exactness, the five Admiralty
Boards, exerted themselves to make up for the neglect of recent years
by arming the greatest possible number of vessels. By the beginning
of July a fleet of a hundred and two warships and ten fireships was
ready to sail from the Texel under the command of Tromp. Behind him
another fleet was in preparation, to be put under De Ruyter for
separate service. The object of the Dutch was to secure the safe issue
of the outward-bound convoys from the Narrow Seas, and to secure the
home-coming of the merchant fleets. It was also incumbent upon them to
afford protection to the great herring fleet which fished in the North
Sea. All these ends would have been effected if Tromp had been ready
in time to catch Blake in the Downs, and had then been strong enough
to make a victorious attack upon him. With the main English fleet well
beaten, the Dutch convoys could have gone out or come in, and their
herring busses might have fished undisturbed. But Tromp was not ready
in time, and when he came out he found his course by no means very
clear before him. As he left the Texel, he was informed by the Grand
Pensionary, Pauw de Heemstede, who had just returned from England,
that Ayscue was in the Downs with only sixteen ships. Whether Tromp
knew that Blake had sailed for the north does not appear. If he did, he
may still have thought that as he was by no means certain of meeting
with the Parliamentary admiral, and that as he could not calculate on
destroying his fleet, it would be better policy to fall upon the enemy
whose weakness was known, and who was within striking distance. Very
shortly after Blake had sailed, a portion of Tromp's force appeared at
the back of the Goodwins. Ayscue was in manifest peril, but for this
time it passed off. The Dutch officers did not feel confident enough
to attack him where he had the support of the batteries of Dover. They
retired for a few days, and then the whole fleet of Tromp made its
appearance. That there must have been want of spirit on part of the
Dutch was manifest, for in the interval Ayscue was allowed to sally
and capture a merchant convoy. When the whole force of Tromp appeared
off Dover, the peril in which Ayscue's ships stood was great. The
Council of State sent hurriedly to Blake to inform him of the danger,
leaving it, however, at his discretion to return or not, as he thought
fit. Blake had passed Dunbar before he could be informed of Tromp's
movement, and does not appear to have made great haste to return. On
his way up and down he executed the duty for which he had been sent
to the north. He fell upon the Dutch herring fleets, overpowering the
squadron of fifteen frigates which was giving it protection against
pirates, and seized the busses. The Dutch fishermen were not treated
with what was considered inhumanity in the wars of that time. They
were allowed to return to Holland after paying the tax of the tenth
herring which England claimed to exact for permitting foreigners to
fish within ten leagues, that is, thirty miles, of her coast. But
the herring fishery was ruined for the year, and very serious injury
inflicted on Holland. It can hardly be disputed that, though he may
have been right purely from a military point of view, Tromp committed a
mistake in directing his attack against Ayscue. Had he followed Blake,
he would in all probability have saved the herring fleet; and even if
a few merchant convoys had been sacrificed, this was a loss Holland
could have better spared than that which she was actually compelled to
undergo.

While Blake was ruining the Dutch herring fishery for that year, Tromp
did not even succeed in destroying the squadron of Ayscue. Light and
baffling winds made it impossible for him to attack, and, after they
had paralysed him for a time, a change of weather occurred which was
still more to his disadvantage. He was blown off the coast by storms.
The stroke he had hoped to deliver in the Downs having missed of its
aim, Tromp sailed to the north, where Holland had also commercial
interests to protect. The Baltic trade was of immense interest to
her, and at that time some of her Indiamen were expected to be on
their way back by the northern route. The Dutch admiral did not meet
Blake, either on his way up or while in high latitudes. He collected
his convoys, and turned homewards. But his fortune was destined to
be bad throughout the campaign. He was overtaken in the North Sea by
violent storms, and his convoy was scattered. The Dutch reached home
in detachments, and several of their stragglers fell into the hands of
English cruisers. The outcry against Tromp was loud. Popular judgment
held him responsible for the loss of the herring fishery. The veteran
admiral can hardly have been thoroughly satisfied with himself, for,
though fortune had been against him, it cannot be denied that it had
been helped by his own management. He had sacrificed the greater to
the less, the more pressing to the more remote, and therefore ill-luck
had smitten him, and through him his country, with the full force of
its venom. He resigned his command as Lieutenant-Admiral of Holland,
and was succeeded by two seamen of less reputation. One of these was
Cornelius Witte de With, whom we, confounding his name with that of
the famous Grand Pensionary, commonly called De Witt. He was a rough,
stout-hearted, outspoken man, who, after bearing his part with honour
during this war, died in battle with the Swedes. The other was Michael
Adrianzoon de Ruyter (_i.e._ the trooper, a nickname taken as a name),
a small, blue-eyed, pious, and gentle man, who for the next twenty
years was to fight with increasing glory for the protection of Holland.

Immediately, or very shortly after, Tromp had sailed for the north,
Sir George Ayscue was despatched down Channel on a double mission.
He had in the first place to protect our own trade against the Dutch
attacks, and in the second to fall upon the convoys of the enemy. His
fleet was reinforced to forty vessels and upwards. While he was on
his way to the west, Michael de Ruyter had sailed from Holland on a
similar mission. He had with him a great convoy which was to be seen
safe beyond the Land's End. And then he was to wait for the home-coming
ships, and bring them back. As by that time the bulk of the English
force might be concentrated in the English Channel, he was probably
assured that reinforcements from the main fleet at home would be sent
to see him safely back. On the 16th of August a collision took place
off Plymouth between Ayscue and De Ruyter. The Dutch were seen out at
sea, and to windward. Ayscue stood out to the attack, and came into
action with De Ruyter in the afternoon. The Dutch admiral, who was
a man of good judgment, and therefore understood the advantages of
attacking, discharged the duties of the commander of a convoy admirably
well. Having the advantage of the wind, he bore down at once to attack
Ayscue, leaving his convoy to make its way onward unmolested. He may
have been the more readily induced to take the bold course by seeing
that Ayscue's ships were not well in hand. The English admiral had
only part of his vessels immediately with him, the others being some
distance astern nearer the shore. With the usual boldness of the
Commonwealth's admirals, and in reliance, as we may suppose, on the
greater average solidity of the English ships, Ayscue had no hesitation
in meeting attack halfway. The movements of the fight are vaguely
reported. It is, however, said that Ayscue broke through De Ruyter's
line and gained the weather-gage with part of his fleet. If this is
so, we may conclude that the two fleets met on opposite tacks, that
the Dutch weathered the head of the English line, that Ayscue himself
was leading, that he held his wind, and made, or found, an opening,
through which he passed to windward. When this was done, he was not
strong enough to push the battle with any prospect of advantage, as a
large part of his squadron was unable to work up to his support. If
this was the case, he was cut off, and in danger of being overpowered,
but the strength of the English ships again stood them in good stead,
and moreover the night came on. De Ruyter may not have thought it
wise to do more than was sufficient to cripple the English admiral,
so as to debar him from pursuing the convoy. If this was his purpose,
he succeeded. The vessels which had followed Ayscue in his spirited
movement were badly cut up in their rigging. When daylight came,
the Dutch admiral had regained the weather-gage. Ayscue remained in
expectation of another attack, but none was made. De Ruyter contented
himself with carrying off his convoy. The conduct of Ayscue had
not been on a level with his courage, and the Council of State was
apparently persuaded that he was unequal to the command of a great
fleet. They removed him shortly afterwards from active service, though
they softened the severity of this measure by a grant of handsome
pensions.

It was perhaps some suspicion of the insufficiency of their commanding
officer in the west which induced the Council of State first to call
upon Blake to reinforce him, and then to send their admiral and general
into the Channel himself. The most effectual method of reducing Holland
would have been to establish Blake on the Dutch coast with a force
capable of maintaining a blockade. But the Council of State either did
not understand this, or did not think their fleet powerful enough. They
preferred to collect a strong force in the Channel, for the purpose of
protecting their own commerce and strangling that of the Dutch. In the
middle of September Blake was in the Channel, making his way westward
with the main fleet. When his van, under the command of Vice-Admiral
Penn, was as far westward as Bolt Head, stormy weather from the west
and south-west made it seem advisable to Blake to bear up for Torbay
with the bulk of his fleet. Penn, however, remained out with a part
of the ships. On the afternoon of the 15th he caught sight of two
Dutch vessels to windward, which were seen to be making signals. The
look-out men at the topmasthead saw behind the two Dutchmen, visible
from the deck, a large fleet of ships still farther to windward. Penn,
on his own showing, was prepared to engage in spite of the enemy's
obvious superiority of numbers. He had the approval of Bourne, the
rear-admiral, who advised that all the captains within call should be
summoned to a council, in order that they might know that the enemy was
at hand. The code of signals was in its infancy, or else Penn could
have given his captains that information more rapidly than by the
clumsy device of a council in his flagship. Penn was unwilling to act
as Bourne wished, "lest any dirty mouth should say I called for counsel
whether I should fight or no." After a decent reluctance, the council
flag was hung out on the mizen shrouds, and the captains were duly
summoned to learn the vice-admiral's intention of giving battle. He had
in sight eighteen or twenty sail, with the merchantmen and fireships.
By two in the afternoon the captains had ended their council, and were
gone back, each man to his own ship. They lay to with their head to
the offing, waiting for the Dutchmen to come down, for they could not
work up to the enemy, and, if they had stood across the Channel for
the purpose of tacking in his direction, they might have seemed to be
opening a way for him to pass. The enemy was estimated at thirty-five
or forty ships, but he made no attack. He came down to within three
or four miles, and then hauled his wind and stood out across Channel.
Penn stood after him till he was detained by an accident to Bourne's
ship. In the meantime it had become stormy, with rain and mist, and
the wind at S.W. by S. Towards midnight it cleared up, a stiff gale
from the west blew off the mist, but it was dark and the moon did not
rise until after midnight. So Penn alternately lay to and stood off in
the darkness. About half an hour after midnight, the flash of gun-fire
was seen far off on the weather quarter. Penn immediately made signals
by firing guns and showing lights, summoning his squadron to follow
him in the direction of the fire. The fire ended within a quarter of
an hour, and all was again in silence and darkness to windward. Next
morning one of Penn's look-out frigates, the =Assurance=, Captain
Sanders, bore under his stern, and let him know what had happened. The
firing had been between Captain Sanders and a "lusty ship" which he saw
bearing eastward somewhat to the north of him. Sanders "fired two guns
to make her stay, but they would not; upon which Sanders hove out his
topsail, and presently came up with him; asked him whence his ship? he
answered, of Flushing. Sanders bid him amain (shorten sail) for the
Commonwealth of England, who answered very uncivilly; upon which they
began to fire on each other, and continued until Sanders had lost sight
of all our lights, being about an hour, so left the Fleming, who all
the time of the fight steered somewhat a southerly course; and about
the time Sanders left him he saw to the southward of them several
lights, and he was certain of one whereof had a light in his maintop;
all which he clearly perceived to steer away to the eastward, and was
confident it was the Hollands fleet, who made use of the darkness of
the first part of the night to pass by us." Penn thought this "low
and poor-spirited" in the bitterness of his disappointment. The truth
was, that the English had been completely out-manoeuvred. That light
in the maintop was De Ruyter's. While Penn was lying to, waiting to
be attacked, and Blake was at Torbay, he had taken a sweep out to the
southward and carried his convoy up Channel before the stiff westerly
gale.

Between the date when he returned to face Tromp and that on which
he sailed westward to replace Ayscue, Blake had been called upon to
dispose of a little war with France. The Commonwealth was not exactly
in a state of open hostility with the French king, but it had grounds
of complaint against his officers. They had helped Rupert, and, taking
advantage of the supposed weakness of the revolutionary Government
in England, they had plundered the ships of the Smyrna Company. On
the other hand, Spain had on the whole been friendly. As it happened
in the early days of September that the Spanish governor of the Low
Countries was endeavouring to regain possession of the towns of Dunkirk
and Mardyke, then held by French garrisons, and as a French naval
force, commanded by the Duc de Vendôme, was on its way to relieve the
French soldiers, the Commonwealth saw an opportunity of delivering a
blow at those who had attempted to harass England. Blake fell upon the
Duc de Vendôme, took seven of his vessels, and scattered the others.
The French Government complained, and the Council of State ordered an
inquiry. But it gave no satisfaction, and for the present the incident
passed over among the many other violent and irregular transactions of
the time. The besieged towns surrendered to the Spaniards, and remained
in their hands until, by a strange change of fortune, they passed into
those of the Protector Cromwell.

A day or two after he had been disappointed of an encounter with
De Ruyter, Vice-Admiral Penn rejoined Blake outside of Torbay. The
reunited English ships followed the Dutch up the Channel, but failed to
overtake them. De Ruyter effected his junction with Cornelius de With,
and together they saw the convoys safe back into port; then, having
provided for the trade, they returned to the coast of England to menace
the English fleet.

On the 27th of September, Blake, who was at anchor in the Downs, was
informed that the Dutch had made their appearance to the northward.
He at once put to sea. On the following day the English fleet was
very scattered. The van, under the command of Penn, and a part of the
centre, including Blake's flagship, were together, stretching across
the mouth of the estuary of the Thames. Part of the centre and the rear
had not yet succeeded in getting clear out of the Downs. The wind was
W. by N. While the English fleet was in this scattered condition, the
look-out ships of Penn's squadron found the Dutch to the eastward, and
leeward of the Kentish Knock, the farthest out of the shallows on the
coast of Essex and Suffolk. The English ships had worked to windward,
and had the weather-gage--that is to say, the power of bearing right
down on the enemy with the wind behind them. Penn, as ready, if we
are to believe his own report, to engage a superior enemy as he had
been a month before near Bolt Head, asked Blake's leave to attack. He
was told to wait until the rest of the fleet came up, and therefore
stretched ahead of his commander-in-chief, leaving a sufficient space
for his division to fall into line between him and Blake. In the course
of stretching out, he came too near the Kentish Knock, on which his own
flagship and two others touched. He found it necessary to tack, and as
he must have been standing to the N. before, this would bring him round
so that he headed south. In the meantime Blake had been joined by the
remaining ships of the centre and rear, and held on his course to the
north, passing well clear of the Knock to leeward. The Dutch had been
lying to in a line, stretched from N. to S. As Blake stood on to the
north, they filled, and passed on his lee side, heading to the south.
While the two lines were passing one another and cannonading as they
went past, the van, under the command of Penn, was heading more or less
in the same direction as the Dutch, but on the other side of Blake's
ships. Thus, when the Dutch cleared the centre and rear of the English
fleet, the van, which had been moving in the same direction, fell, in
Penn's words, "pat to receive them," and stayed by them till night.
We must suppose that the centre and rear of the English fleet either
tacked or wore together and fell into line behind Penn.

The action was far from decisive. On the English side the leaders
did nothing to lose the supposed advantage of the weather-gage, by
endeavouring to break through the Dutch line, and so put themselves
between the enemy and his refuge in Holland. They were content to
remain to windward, cannonading, and perhaps attempting to make use of
their fireships. On the other hand, the Dutch fighting was not worthy
of its reputation. Their fleet was, if anything, rather superior in
number to the English. But they were divided by violent party and
professional jealousies. The friends of Tromp were hostile to his
successors, Cornelius de With and Michael de Ruyter. It is said that
the crew of the _Brederode_ refused to allow De With to hoist his
flag in her. Some of the captains, who were probably merchant skippers
taken into the war fleet, according to the custom which prevailed also
among ourselves, showed downright cowardice, and Cornelius de With was
provoked into saying that some of them would find there was wood enough
in Holland to make a gallows. It is clear that only the late hour at
which the action began, and the approach of darkness, saved the Dutch
fleet from a serious disaster. If the English leaders had steered
through the Dutch line from windward to leeward, and had put themselves
on the enemy's line of retreat, a long list of prizes would have been
brought into English ports. But though our admirals in this war were
always ready to break the line from leeward to windward, they seem to
have avoided the other and much more effective movement. When night
fell, the Dutch were allowed to retreat with comparatively trifling
loss. We asserted, indeed, that several of them had been sunk, but no
reliance is to be placed on statements of that kind. Nothing is more
common than to find men asserting that they had sunk an enemy, when in
fact they had only lost sight of him in the smoke. Next morning the
Dutch were in sight to the eastward, and, the wind having shifted in
the night, they had now the weather-gage. Blake endeavoured to renew
the action, but Cornelius de With and De Ruyter, having no confidence
in their fleet, retreated to their own ports. The English followed till
they had sight of the Dutch coast, and then, finding that the enemy was
beyond their reach, returned to the Downs.

Our easy victory proved somewhat misleading. Thinking that the enemy
was fairly beaten, the English Government relaxed its precautions.
A considerable part of the fleet was despatched, under the command
of Penn, to convoy the colliers who carried London's supply of fuel
from the northern ports. During the whole of October and the greater
part of November all seemed quiet, and Blake lay in the Downs with no
more than forty ships. But the Dutch were preparing for a vigorous
counter-stroke. Finding that Martin Tromp was the only man who could be
trusted to make their fleet do its duty, the States General decided
to restore him to the command. At the same time, great efforts were
made to collect a powerful force. There was, indeed, need for exertion.
The outward-bound convoys had to be seen clear of the Channel, and,
in order that this could be done, it was necessary to collect a force
capable of dealing with the main English fleet. As November drew to
its close, this had been achieved. On the 29th of the month, Tromp
made his appearance at "the back of the Goodwins," that is to say,
between the Sands and the coast of France, with eighty warships, and
behind him a convoy of merchant vessels. With a reduced force under
his orders, Blake was really incapable of preventing his enemy from
carrying his convoy through the Straits, but, with the high spirit
which the Commonwealth's commanders seldom failed to display, he made
a resolute effort to do the impossible. He weighed anchor and stood
out. The wind at first was at S.W., which gave the weather-gage to
Blake, while making it impossible for Tromp to take his great swarm of
men-of-war and merchant ships round the South Foreland. Then it chopped
suddenly and violently round to the N.W., and both fleets anchored
before night--Blake in Dover Roads, and Tromp some three leagues
farther out. Next morning the wind was less violent, though still from
the same point. Both fleets weighed anchor. Tromp steered to carry his
convoy into the Channel, keeping his warships carefully between the
merchant ships and the English. Blake followed, taking care not to
lose the weather-gage, and the two fleets swept on together until they
were in the neighbourhood of Dungeness. The odds against him were so
great that Blake would have been well justified in avoiding action.
But a council of war held in the flagship had decided that something
must be attempted. Our fleet had not yet been cured of the rashness
already shown by Sir George Ayscue in act, and by Penn in intention.
The lesson they were about to receive was very much needed, and it was
part of our fortune in this war that it did not prove more severe.
In the course of the afternoon of Tuesday the 30th of November, the
forty English ships under the command of Blake forced an action with
Tromp's eighty. As they held and kept the weather-gage, they escaped
complete destruction, but they were severely cut up, and two, the
=Garland= and the =Bonaventure=, fell into the possession of the enemy.
These two vessels, commanded by Captains Axon and Batten, had the
audacity to attach themselves to Tromp's flagship. They were promptly
surrounded and overpowered. The attempt which Blake made to rescue them
was unsuccessful, and as the English ships were unwilling to lose the
weather-gage, they could do little more than look on and cannonade from
a distance, while the two which had pushed into the midst of the enemy
suffered for their excess of daring. Night again put an end to the
battle. The English first anchored near Dover, and then returned to the
Downs. Tromp saw his convoy out of the Channel, and then cruised up and
down threatening our coast, and waiting for the home-coming merchant
ships.

Blake returned to the Downs chastened and even a little depressed by
the failure of his attempt to defeat Tromp with insufficient forces.
He offered to resign his command. The Council of State did not take
him at his word. On the contrary, they assured him of their continued
confidence, and left him entire discretion as to his movements, while
making every effort to strengthen his fleet. They began by taking
measures to enforce discipline and a proper martial spirit amongst
their captains. Blake had complained "that there was much baseness of
spirit, not among the merchantmen only, but many of the State's ships,"
and he had asked for a committee of inquiry. This request was instantly
complied with. Colonel Walton, Colonel Morley, and Mr. Chalmer were
sent down at once, not only to make a general inquiry into the action
and the condition of the fleet, but to order a trial of those captains
whose baseness of spirit had provoked the anger of the admiral. Several
of them were ordered for trial. Blake's own brother, Benjamin, was
removed from his command. As Benjamin Blake was afterwards employed,
and as the other three captains were only fined, it is to be presumed
that their conduct had not been very bad. The truth probably is, that
if all the captains had been as headlong as Axon and Batten, more of
them would have shared the same fate.

More effectual measures than the punishment of backward captains were
the recall of Penn from the north, and the commissioning of fresh
ships. It was not easy to find the men. Blake had complained in his
first despatch that the great number of "private men-of-war," that
is, privateers, allowed to cruise against Dutch commerce, served to
draw men off from the fleet. The sailors preferred the licence of
the privateer, and the opportunities for plunder it presented, to
the sterner discipline of the man-of-war. In the out-ports, too, it
was difficult to enforce the press. The magistrates were frequently
shipowners, who were unwilling to lose the crews of their own vessels,
and, when they were not, they had a fellow-sympathy with their
townsmen, which made them languid in the discharge of their duties. In
spite of the efforts made by the Commonwealth Government to tempt men
by promises of better pay and a larger share of prize-money, it was
compelled to make unsparing use of the old prerogatives of the Crown,
to force all subjects to take a share in defending the realm. Even this
did not suffice. Soldiers in large numbers had to be drafted into the
fleet to serve as marines, although that word was not in use. There
can be no doubt that these men were intended to make good the want of
sailors, for it was especially provided that they were to be called
upon to do the same work as far as possible.

Throughout the December of 1652 and January and February of 1653, Tromp
rode unmolested in the Channel. It was at this time that, according to
a legend for which there is not much foundation, he hoisted a broom
at his mainmast top as the outward and visible sign of his intention
to sweep the Channel. So little did the Council of State feel capable
of opposing him with a sufficient naval force during the earlier part
of these three months, that it sent off officers to the south coast
to remove the lights and buoys, in order to make it dangerous for the
Dutch to approach the shore. In fact, both the Government and its
admirals had learned that if the Dutch were to be fairly beaten off,
a competent force must be collected, and it must act together. To
strengthen the command, Deane was called back from Scotland, and Monk
was named to fill up the vacancy left by the death of Popham. These
two, with Blake, formed the Commission to discharge the office of Lord
High Admiral commanding at sea. Penn was continued in his place as
Vice-Admiral, but Bourne was removed from active service to direct the
dockyard at Harwich, and his place at sea was taken by John Lawson,
who had gained a high reputation for skill and courage as a captain.
These two may be said to have served as Nautical Assessors to the three
soldiers who were entrusted with the general military direction of the
fleet.

Towards the middle of February the whole of the naval forces on both
sides moved down Channel--Tromp to wait off the Land's End for the
Dutch convoys, and the English to wait for and fall upon him as he came
back to the eastward.

On the 18th of February the two fleets came in sight of one another
some fifteen miles off Portland. The wind was from the west, and was
light. Tromp had from eighty to ninety men-of-war with him, and behind
them a great flock of merchant ships. The English, numbering from
seventy to eighty ships, were to eastward and leeward, and were much
scattered. Only the smaller part of them were together, under the
immediate direction of the generals at sea--Blake and Deane. The major
part were at some distance to the eastward. Seeing the comparative
weakness and the isolation of the part of the English fleet nearest
him, Tromp took the energetic and intelligent decision to fall upon
them at once. Blake and Deane did not flinch, and a hot engagement,
in which the English were roughly handled, took place in the early
afternoon. Three of the English ships were taken by the Dutch, but
the enemy was not able to carry them off. While the ships immediately
exposed to attack were engaged, the rest of the fleet to leeward was
working up. About four o'clock it had gained a position which would
have enabled it to weather the Dutch line, and thus put Tromp between
two fires. To avoid this danger, the Dutch admiral tacked his fleet
together, and worked to windward--a sufficiently clear proof that
the fleets of the time did not fight in a disorderly swarm, but were
perfectly capable of manoeuvring together in obedience to signals.
The three ships which had fallen into the hands of the Dutch were
retaken, but a fourth vessel, the =Sampson=, was found to be so
severely shattered, and had lost so many men, including her captain,
that it was decided to withdraw the survivors and let her sink. During
the evening the English were busy taking men out of the smaller ships
to fill up the vacancies caused by death and wounds in the larger, and
refitting their damaged rigging. During the night both made their way
eastward, within sight of one another's lights, the English on the
north side of the Channel, then next them the Dutch men-of-war keeping
guard over the merchant ships, which sailed between them and the coast
of France.

On the morning of the 19th this great assemblage of ships, largely
exceeding in number and still more in tonnage the combined fleets
of Medina Sidonia and Lord Howard of Effingham, was off the Isle of
Wight. The wind was at W.N.W., which gave the weather-gage to the
English, but it was very gentle, and the day was advanced before the
English admirals could force an action. As his enemy had now his whole
force in hand, Tromp applied himself solely to the protection of his
convoy. He sent his merchant ships on ahead, and formed his men-of-war
in a half-moon, or rather obtuse angle, with his own flagship, the
_Brederode_, in the apex--that is to say, the other ships were formed
in two slanting lines branching out to right and left of Tromp himself.
Thus it was impossible for the English to attack the merchant ships,
either from N.W. or from S.E., without breaking through the Dutch
men-of-war. The action of this day began late, and led to no decisive
results, though the English claimed to have taken a few small ships. It
can easily be believed that they succeeded in disordering the formation
of the Dutch--a very difficult one to maintain; and the bad conduct of
several of the Dutch captains near the Kentish Knock makes it credible
that some of them were also guilty of misconduct on this occasion. The
States General had not shown sufficient firmness in using the trees of
Holland for the purpose indicated by Cornelius Witte de With.

The decisive day of the "Three days' battle" was the last. On the
morning of the 20th the wind had increased, and the English fleet,
not being hampered by heavily laden merchant ships, had no difficulty
in overtaking the enemy. A close action was forced as early as nine
o'clock in the morning. Both fleets were now approaching the entry to
the Straits of Dover. The English were to the north of their enemy, and
they steered so as, if possible, to head him before he reached Cape
Gris Nez and so cut his road home. The Dutch ships either did not, or
could not, serve as an effectual protection to the merchant vessels.
Tromp formed his line of battle, and did his own duty with the utmost
steadfastness and courage. But the English broke through. The credit of
the movement belongs to Penn, who as vice-admiral had been leading the
van. Between fifty and sixty merchant ships fell into our hands, and as
many more men-of-war as made up the total of our captures to seventeen.
Yet the English failed in their main purpose. They did not succeed in
heading the Dutch before they rounded Cape Gris Nez, and by dark Tromp
anchored his whole force, now in great confusion, in Calais Roads.
Under cover of night, and by taking skilful advantage of the ebb-tide,
which on that coast makes a north-easterly current, as also of the
thick and squally weather which came on after sundown, he carried off
all that remained of his convoy. In spite of our successes on the 20th,
this was still the great bulk of his merchant ships.

These three days of fighting had cost the English fleet very dear.
Both Blake and Deane were wounded, and the loss in captains and men
was heavy. The victory had by no means been so complete as had been
hoped, but it was not the less a subject of legitimate gratification
to England. The general superiority of the English fleet whenever it
was intelligently handled, and not hopelessly outnumbered, had been
proved, and the country had good grounds for believing that if the war
with Holland was pushed with energy, its enemies would be driven off
the sea. For the moment the fleet at the mouth of the Straits was in no
condition to pursue the Dutch. When day broke on the 21st, the enemy
had disappeared. The English fleet found itself alone, with some sixty
prizes. It had suffered much damage to its masts and spars. With the
wind at N.W. it was on a lee shore, and a gale, or even a very stiff
breeze, would have put it in a position of some danger. The decision
to make for an English port was both natural and proper. To put their
prizes in a place of safety was the natural instinct of the men who
looked to their prize-money for the larger part of their reward; and
as Tromp had had time enough to carry his convoy into the dangerous
shallows of the Dutch coast, there was nothing to be gained by pursuing
him. The generals therefore returned to St. Helen's and anchored on
the 23rd. Squadrons were sent out both to east and west of the Isle of
Wight, but there was no longer any enemy at sea.

The "Three days' battle" was the turning-point of the war. Hitherto
the Dutch had fairly divided the honours with ourselves, but from this
time forward the upper hand passed decisively to the English fleet. The
ships were stronger, and the crews in the main fought better. War is in
the last result decided in favour of one combatant or other by power to
win at the actual moment of contact. This power was with the English
and not with the Dutch, and therefore all the skill and patriotism of
Martin Tromp and his lieutenants, Witte de With and Michael de Ruyter,
could do no more than postpone the final disaster, and provide that
if the flag of Holland were to go down, it should at least sink with
honour.

Before the final decisive struggle was fought out, there was an
interval, during which active operations languished. Both fleets stood
in need of repairs; for if the Dutch had lost severely, not a few of
our own vessels had been compelled to drag themselves into Portsmouth
so severely crippled that they were in need of a thorough refit. The
work of getting the English fleet ready for sea once more was not
discharged without difficulties and delay. The Navy Committee had many
obstacles to overcome before its squadrons could be put in order to
continue the war. There was a great want of men. The sailors no longer
volunteered in any large numbers, and the press was ill enforced.
Colonel Overton, the governor of Hull, found the local magistrates
so lax in their discharge of their duty that he was provoked into
threatening to send them to sea in default of sailors. The unpopularity
of the navy was due to causes of long standing. One of these, at least,
endured throughout the whole course of our wars. It was discovered
under the rule of the Commonwealth that the seamen had not lost that
preference of the privateer to the man-of-war they had shown during
the reign of Elizabeth. Blake had complained of the competition of
these partisan fighters of the sea at the very beginning of the war.
Government was constrained to put a severe check upon them, partly by
limiting the issue of letters of marque to vessels of a certain size,
and partly by giving men-of-war captains the right to press sailors
from the privateers. There were also very genuine causes of discontent
to deter men from volunteering into the service of the State. Under
the pressure due to the immense demands made upon its treasury, the
Commonwealth had become a bad paymaster. Not only were the salaries
of officers and men in arrear, but the contractors were slowly paid,
and, taking advantage of the power given them by the position of
creditor to the State, they supplied their goods late, and of inferior
quality. In the summer of 1653 one Captain John Taylor reported to the
Admiralty that the men belonging to the ships at Chatham had refused
to do anything towards taking the ballast in or getting it out, or, in
fact, to put their hand to the work of fitting the ships for sea. Their
excuse was the defective state of the victuals and beer. Captain Taylor
had to confess that "they have brought me beer, bread, and butter,
worse than I ever saw in the dearest times." The beer was particularly
vile, and the brewer protested that he could not make it any better,
because he was only paid three shillings and sixpence a barrel. The men
found it so bad that they actually preferred to drink water. The crews
imputed their sickness to the state of the victuals, and there is every
probability that they were right.

That the condition of the sick and wounded was deplorable is proved
by the testimony of many witnesses. Thus Dr. Daniel Whistler, who was
sent down to Portsmouth in March to attend on General Blake, gives a
terrible picture of the state of those who, after being wounded in
the "Three days' battle," were landed at Portsmouth. There was no
hospital. The wounded men were left for hours in the streets before
the Navy Commissioners could find lodgings for them in private houses.
When they were lodged, the surgeons very often did not know where to
find them, there was a want of linen and medicines, of wholesome food
and good nursing. The houses were overcrowded, and nothing was done
to protect men against the temptation to drink ardent spirits, which
was especially strong at Portsmouth, where the water was brackish.
Four months later, Monk himself drew a hardly less dismal picture of
the condition of the wounded at Ipswich, Aldeborough, Southwold, and
Dunwich. The payments due for their support were irregularly made, and
the inhabitants, we are told, were weary of them. Monk was compelled to
stand security at his own personal risk in order to raise money for the
purpose of helping his unfortunate sailors, lying sick and wounded in
the houses of people who in some cases were as poor as themselves, and
in others were mere harpies.

These evils were no doubt primarily due to want of money, but they can
also be accounted for by the utter want of any organisation capable
of dealing with the demands of war on an unprecedented scale. The
Council of State fought hard to meet the necessities of the times, and
when it had been swept out of the way by Cromwell's expulsion of the
Long Parliament on the 19th of April, the Council of the Protector
continued these efforts. Thus, in December 1652, a number of proposals
for the encouragement of seamen had been made and accepted. They
were divided into three sections. The first dealt with the sick and
wounded men. They were promised that their pay should be continued
until their health was restored, and it was decided that a general
hospital should be erected at Deal. Some hospitals in London were to
be given up wholly to sick and wounded seamen, and so were half the
other hospitals in other parts of England. It was at this date that
the wages of able seamen "fit for the helm and lead, top and yard,"
were raised from 19s. to 24s. a month, with a deduction of 1s. for the
chaplain and surgeon, according to the ancient custom. This substantial
benefit was accompanied by profuse promises of fairer treatment in
future. Another section of the propositions was devoted to the shares
in prizes. A bonus of a month's salary was offered to every man who,
having served six months, or upwards, since the beginning of the war,
would volunteer for the coming year. In order to remove "the many and
great disappointments caused by the present way of sharing prizes,"
it was provided that in future 10s. per ton should be paid for every
vessel taken, and £6, 13s. 4d. for every piece of ordnance, "this to
be shared amongst them proportionately, according to their respective
offices in the ship, and the custom of the sea." What was probably not
less agreeable to the sailors was an order that they should have the
pillage, that is to say, the right to appropriate at once, as booty,
whatever was found on or above the gun-deck of a prize, while a reward
of £10 per gun was to be paid for every vessel destroyed. If they could
have been fairly carried out, these conditions would have done much to
reconcile men to the navy, but, as has been already said, the chronic
want of money both of the Council of State and, in later times, of
the Protector, drove them to fail in their promises of payment, and
to lay hands upon the money in the possession of the Commissioners of
Prizes. Yet these Governments strove hard to make both ends meet, and
did resolutely endeavour to stop pilfering in the administration of
the navy. By expedients and hard work they contrived to keep powerful
fleets at sea in an efficient condition.



CHAPTER VIII

THE LATTER HALF OF THE WAR

 The only satisfactory account I have met of the sea fights of 1653 and
 the transactions at Leghorn are given by the letters printed at length
 in the Calendar of State Papers of the Interregnum for this year. It
 is on them that this chapter is based, in addition to authorities
 named above.


During the pause in hostilities between the end of February and the
end of May, the scene of operations of the two fleets was shifted from
the Channel to the North Sea. It was well understood on the English
side that the most effectual way of breaking the power of the Dutch
was to attack them on their own coast. Our headquarters were fixed
for the brief remains of the war at Yarmouth and Harwich. The violent
measure by which Cromwell ended for the time the existence of the Long
Parliament made no change in the conduct of the naval war. It was on
the 19th of April that he suddenly burst in on the eloquence of Sir
Henry Vane by declaring that there had been too much of this, put his
hat on, and ordered Colonel Harrison's regiment of musketeers to turn
the honourable members into the street. His action was accepted, and
had no doubt been foreseen, by the officers commanding the fleet, and
the men followed the lead of their superiors. At a meeting of naval
officers held on board the =Resolution= at Spithead on the 22nd of
April 1653, a general declaration of adhesion to Cromwell was drawn
up. It leaves no doubt that the fleet was at least prepared to accept
Cromwell as the effectual ruler of England. It was addressed to the
Council of Officers, and is as follows:--

 "Gentlemen,--There being certain intelligence come to our hands of
 the great changes within our nation, viz. the dissolution of this
 parliament; we, the general, commanders, and officers here present
 with this part of the fleet, have had a very serious consideration
 thereof, as also what was our duty, and incumbent upon us in such
 a juncture of time; and find it set upon our spirits, that we are
 called and intrusted by this nation for the defence of the same
 against the enemies thereof at sea, whether the people of the United
 Provinces, or others. And we are resolved, in the strength of God,
 unanimously to prosecute the same, according to the trust reposed in
 us; and have thought good to signify the same unto you, desiring you
 will take the effectualest course you can for the strengthening and
 encouraging one another in this work; and doubt not but the Lord, who
 hath done great and wonderful things for His people that have trusted
 in Him, will also be found among us, His poor unworthy servants, if we
 continue firm and constant in our duties, walking before Him in faith,
 humility, and dependence; not seeking ourselves, but His glory; which
 that we may all do, is the desire and prayer of your affectionate
 friends and brethren."

This resolution was forwarded by Cromwell to the ships on other
stations, and was everywhere accepted. Blake, indeed, did not sign it,
for he was still confined on shore by his wound, but he continued to
serve as admiral and general at sea.

Towards the end of May active operations were resumed. In spite of the
losses suffered in February, the Dutch took the offensive. Their fleet,
estimated at over a hundred ships, appeared in the Downs, and attacked
the forts at Dover. On the day when the Dutch were insulting our coast
for the last time in this war, Monk and Deane were at Yarmouth with the
bulk of the English fleet. Eleven ships, very ill manned, were fitting
out in the Thames under the command of Blake, who had returned to
service, though still not cured of his wounds. It was known that Tromp
was at sea, but great doubt prevailed as to his movements. Transports
engaged in bringing stores from the Humber were warned to be on the
outlook lest they should meet the Lieutenant-Admiral of Holland in
the northern part of the German Ocean. Nimble vessels were despatched
in search of him in every direction. On the 28th of May, on the day
in which Tromp left the Downs for the north, the generals at sea were
informed of his attack on Dover. They at once weighed, and fell down
the coast to Southwold Bay. On the 31st of May they were at anchor off
Dunwich, where a few fragments of brickwork and a disused church now
mark the site of what was once one of the busiest trading towns on
the east coast of England. Here they were informed that Tromp's fleet
had been seen at the head of the Long Sand. The Long Sand is, with
the exception of the Kentish Knock, the farthest out of the belt of
shallows stretching from the mouth of the Thames to Orford Ness. Monk
and Deane immediately sailed in pursuit. On the 2nd of June they caught
sight of Tromp to leeward. During the 1st they had waited for Blake
to join them from the river with his eleven ships. This reinforcement
would have raised their fleet to a total strength of 126. But Blake
was not yet ready, and the weather was thick and hazy. On the 2nd it
cleared up, and the Dutch were seen to leeward. The English had the
wind, and immediately sailed for the purpose of attacking.

Tromp, conscious that he was outmatched in strength of ships and weight
of broadsides, adopted a plan of action which became habitual to the
French admirals of the next century. He accepted battle to leeward,
and retreated in a slanting direction, or, according to the sea phrase
of the seventeenth century, "lasking." As the English line came down
from windward, its van would naturally come into action before the
centre, or rear, were within striking distance of the enemy. This
would expose the leading ships of the attacking line to the fire of
a superior number of enemies, and there would be considerable danger
that they might suffer crippling damage. It was at this that the French
admirals habitually aimed, and the Dutch adopted this more timid
method of accepting battle when, as on the present occasion, they felt
overmatched. Its advantage lay in this, that, if several of the van
ships of the fleet acting on the offensive were severely damaged, the
total injury done might be sufficient to deter the admiral in command
from pressing his attack home. In later times, when English admirals
had become pedantically devoted to the maintenance of an orderly and
precise line, this conduct of the battle by the enemy to leeward did
avail, never indeed to win a victory, but frequently to avert a defeat.
As against the fiercer leadership of the seventeenth century it was not
equally successful.

On the 2nd of June the advancing English fleet forced the action
early in the afternoon. The Blue Division, under the command of John
Lawson, was in the van, and appears to have struck upon the enemy's
line in his van, under the command of Michael de Ruyter. The Dutch,
pursuing the evasive manner of fighting they had adopted from a sense
of weakness, flinched from the attack, and filed away to leeward,
firing high, to do the utmost possible amount of damage to the masts
and spars of the English. Tromp, indeed, bore up to support De Ruyter,
that is to say, lay close to the wind, so as to bring himself near the
English fleets, and within the range of effective fire. While the Blue
Division and a part only of the remainder of our fleet were engaged,
a shift of the wind altered the relative positions of the two fleets.
It turned to the east, and therefore gave the weather-gage to the
Dutch. The more distant centre and rear of the English fleet were thus
thrown to leeward of the Blue Squadron, now closely engaged with the
enemy. Tromp, as ready to attack where he had a reasonable prospect
of success, as he was skilful to retreat before a superior enemy,
immediately assumed the offensive, and endeavoured to throw the whole
weight of his fleet on the Blue Division. Lawson met the attack firmly,
while the Red and White Divisions worked to windward to his support.
Then the wind changed again, giving the weather-gage once more to the
English. The fleets were now so close together that the Dutch could
not, even if they wished to do so, avoid a general action. They resumed
their movement of retreat towards the coast of Flanders, but they bore
away almost yardarm to yardarm with the English. The battle did not
cease until nine at night, when the long daylight of early June came
to an end. If the claim made by the English officers was well founded,
their enemy suffered the loss of several vessels burnt or sunk. On our
side the loss of life was comparatively slight, but it included the
general-at-sea, Richard Deane, who sailed in the =Resolution= with
his colleague Monk. Deane fell cut in two by a cannon shot in the
first broadside fired by the Dutch at the =Resolution=. His blood was
splashed all over Monk, who saw the fall of his friend and colleague
with his usual imperturbable serenity. Fearing that the sight of
Deane's body, mangled almost beyond recognition, might dishearten the
men, and perhaps moved by a sense of decency, Monk took off his long
cloak and threw it over the corpse.

When night fell, both fleets were in sight of Dunkirk. The Dutch,
taking advantage of the shallow draught of their ships, ran close in
shore, where the deeper-keeled English vessels could not follow them.
The sound of the cannon had been heard by the ships under Blake's
immediate command in the estuary of the Thames. He was still ill, and
found himself growing daily worse, but he made an effort to aid his
brother generals-at-sea. On the morning of the 3rd he was clear of
the Thames, but the wind was very light, and the day was far advanced
before he could reach the scene of battle. The want of wind had in
the meantime suspended the action between the two fleets. It was not
until the afternoon that Monk, now in sole command, was again able to
bring the Dutch to battle. The second day's fight was less fiercely
contested than the first. The Dutch, convinced of their inferiority,
fought in retreat along the coast of Flanders, keeping as much as they
could in the shallow water, and heading for the protection of their own
harbours. Blake came up in time to take part in the end of the battle,
but he and Monk were unable to prevent Tromp from taking refuge in the
Weilings, the name we gave to the land-locked waters between the island
of Walcheren and the mainland.

The actual loss of the Dutch fleet was undoubtedly exaggerated in the
English reports, but, although we over-estimated the number of vessels
destroyed, there can be no doubt that the defeat of the Dutch had been
complete, and was of a kind to depress them greatly. It could not be
accounted for by accident or mere mismanagement, but was manifestly
due to the inferior quality of the fleet. This was fully recognised by
the brave and able men in command of the Dutch Navy. Tromp told the
States General that they must build better ships if they hoped to fight
the English successfully; while Cornelius de With, always an outspoken
man, declared that the English were masters of "us and of the sea."
The approaching ruin of their commerce and fisheries broke the spirit
of the United Provinces. The loss already suffered had been enormous.
Thousands of merchants were bankrupt. The fisheries were annihilated,
and the Zuyder Zee was crowded with merchant vessels unable to proceed
on their voyage from fear of the English fleets. In the meantime the
partisans of the House of Orange were stirring. The oligarchical
Government established after the death of William II. was threatened
by a most dangerous rebellion. Under pressure from abroad and at home,
it appealed for peace. The Protector insisted upon the full demands
that had been made by the Council of State. Much as the Dutch had
suffered, they were not prepared to submit so fully as this, and the
harsh insistence of England provoked a revival of national pride.
Declaring that it was better to die sword in hand than to submit to
the outrageous demands made upon them, the States General resolved to
attempt one last determined effort to regain the free use of the sea.
Every nerve was strained to equip a great fleet, and for the time all
commerce was suspended, in order the better to fit out a fighting force.

The English were no less resolute to maintain and, if possible, improve
their advantages. The fleet was not brought back from the coast of
Holland, but remained for the purpose of blockading the Dutch in their
own ports. Food and munitions of war were sent out from England to
Monk, who was again left in sole command by the illness of Blake, whose
strength broke down completely under the strain of active service. With
Penn as his second in command, and Lawson as his third, Monk was equal
to his duties. He may not have been a seaman, though by this time he
had been much at sea, but he was in the highest sense of the word a
general, a fighter, who did his work thoroughly, used the force of his
command to the utmost of its strength, and understood how to strike,
with a great compact mass, at the heart of his enemy. Towards the end
of July he stood across the North Sea for stores, and then returned at
once to his cruising-ground off the Texel, the island which prolongs
the State of North Holland, and between which and the mainland runs the
chief passage to the Zuyder Zee. Some thirty Dutch warships belonging
to the squadron of Amsterdam were at anchor behind the protection of
the land. Tromp, with eighty sail, was at Flushing, between Walcheren
and the mainland. The object of the Dutch admiral was to unite these
two divisions, and thereby raise his force to a slight superiority
over the English. Monk's aim was naturally to prevent the junction of
the enemy, and, if possible, to crush his divisions in detail while
they were endeavouring to unite. Thus the last battle of the war was
preceded by skilful manoeuvring. In the earlier movements success
was fairly won for his flag by the nerve and skill of Tromp. On the
26th of July some of his ships appeared to the south of the English
fleet, then riding outside the Texel. Monk started in pursuit on the
28th, and soon sighted the enemy. The wind was at W., and it was too
late for any extensive movement. On the 29th the Dutch were still in
sight to the south. As the English approached, they fell back. Monk
pressed on, with his lighter and better sailing ships in advance. These
vessels, the frigates of his fleet, directed their attack on the rear
of the Dutch line. Their better sailing powers enabled them to force
on an engagement, and so compelled Tromp to turn to the support of
the vessels attacked. But it was too late on the 29th for a decisive
engagement. At night both fleets anchored near Camperdown. The English,
who had in all probability aimed at getting the weather-gage, had
apparently stood farther out than Tromp, whose vessels were in any
case better able to approach the shore. Thus, when the fleets came to
an anchor, the Dutch were nearer in, and it would also seem that the
English had somewhat overshot the enemy, for they anchored a little
farther to the south. All through the night and the following day it
blew a gale with heavy squalls from the W.N.W. The wind was so high
that ships under way could scarcely bear their topsails, and, as they
were on a lee shore, the fleets had enough to do to keep off it,
without attacking one another. During the afternoon of the 30th the
Amsterdam squadron joined Tromp, raising his force to something over a
hundred and twenty vessels. So far he had effected his purpose, and had
shown himself worthy of his great reputation as a skilful captain. On
the morning of the 31st both fleets stood off the shore. The wind was
still at W.N.W., and Tromp had the weather-gage. The battle began very
early in the morning, and surpassed any of the previous engagements of
the war both in the fury of the contest and the decisive character of
the results. Monk was determined to bring the matter to an issue, and
he did not wait for Tromp to bear down upon him, but tacked upon his
enemy, and broke through the Dutch line from leeward.

It was six o'clock in the morning when the battle began. Both fleets
were heading to the W.S.W., the English somewhat ahead, the Dutch to
the northward and windward. By tacking, Monk altered the relative
positions of the fleets from parallel to intersecting lines. The bulk
of the Dutch weathered the head of the English line, but their rear
ships were cut off. We "went through their whole fleet," said Captain
Cubitt, "leaving part on one side, and part on the other of us." Tromp
was resolved not to lose the weather-gage, and he also tacked when he
saw Monk's movement. So did Monk when he had passed through the Dutch
line, and the manoeuvre was repeated three times by each. On the
second tack, all the Dutch appear to have weathered the English line.
The two fleets passed very close, engaging with the utmost fury. From
the heavy loss suffered in our ships, it may be concluded that in
this battle the Dutch fired less to dismast than to kill. Six English
captains were slain, one was mortally wounded, and the loss in the
lower ranks must have been in proportion. It was counted one of the
advantages of the windward position that it facilitated the despatch of
fireships against the enemy to leeward. The Dutch did not fail to use
a weapon, so terrible in theory, and so dreadfully destructive when it
took effect. Experience, however, proved that as against well-handled
ships under way, and under control of steady officers, it could rarely
be employed successfully. The fireship could generally be avoided
by moving vessels, and when that was difficult, or inconvenient to
do, then it was taken in charge by the boats which the warship towed
astern, and dragged away to leeward, where it burned out harmlessly. On
this occasion little hurt was done by the "branders."

We cannot suppose that the movement of tacking in succession was
performed by two fleets, each of over a hundred sail, with absolute
uniformity. On this occasion, as in the great battle of the 12th of
April 1783, when Rodney pierced the French from leeward, the main line
may have broken into smaller ones. But the general course of the battle
was in three great zig-zags, ranging along the coast of Holland, from
near Egmont towards the mouth of the Maas, which are at a distance of
about forty miles from one another. There was no shrinking on the part
of the Dutch, and no failure of effort on the part of the English to
push the attack home. In many points of the line ships were locked
together in desperate attempts to board, or repel boarders. By three in
the afternoon victory belonged to the English. A large proportion of
the Dutch had been cut off from Tromp, and had fallen to leeward. Most
of them were probably too damaged to be in case to do more than put
before the wind, and escape as best they could. They fled into Goree
and the Maas. The bulk of their fleet was debarred from that refuge
by the English, who were still to leeward, and therefore on the line
of retreat. It could only head northward and eastward to the Texel.
Thither in the afternoon it fled, leaving behind miles of sea covered
with the wreckage of the battle, and bearing with it the corpse of its
great admiral, who fell by the death he had come to long for--shot
mercifully dead by a musket bullet through the heart. He at least had
nothing to reproach himself with. All that valour and skill could do to
save Holland, he did. If he failed, it was because the mistaken policy
of the soldier princes of the House of Nassau, and the unwisdom of the
merchant oligarchy, had in false economy supplied him with inferior
ships. An Englishman does not undervalue the heroes of his own race,
when he acknowledges that not only their valour but skill enabled them
to overcome the most famous of the Dutch seamen.

We had no prizes, for we burned or sank the ships taken, and our own
damage in the battle had not been small, but the victory was decisive.
Holland again sued for peace; and as Cromwell had come to recognise
that he must not insist on too much, it was finally signed some months
later.

While the main tide of war had been ebbing and flowing through the
North Sea and the Channel, there had been minor conflicts at the entry
to the Baltic and the Mediterranean. The first is of comparatively
little importance in naval history, and is indeed hardly worth
mentioning, except on the ground that it illustrates a chronic
difficulty of the English Government in all naval wars. We drew a
great part of our stores from the Baltic. Pitch and tar, hemp for
cordage, and pine wood for spars and planking, as well as part of the
oak used in our ships, were supplied by Scandinavia and Russia. At a
later period the American plantations entered into competition with
the Baltic trade, but in the middle of the seventeenth century these
indispensable articles were obtained only in the North of Europe. If
they were cut off by the hostility of the Northern Powers, the task
of fitting a fleet for sea was rendered almost impossible. The sense
that they had it in their power to inflict so heavy a blow upon us,
rendered the kingdoms of the North occasionally somewhat exacting. In
the first Dutch war, the King of Denmark acted with open hostility to
the Commonwealth. He had strong political motives for remaining on
good terms with the United Provinces, and it is very possible that he
shared the common incredulity of Europe as to our power to overcome the
first naval power in the world. If the Dutch proved victorious, they
would certainly be obliged to him for any harm he might have done us.
Acting under the influence of a desire to please the Dutch, the King
of Denmark availed himself of a pretext to arrest an English convoy
at Elsinore in the autumn of 1652. A squadron of eighteen ships was
despatched under the command of Captain Ball to enforce their release.
Ball's force was scattered by a gale, and he was compelled to return
without the convoy. A long and angry negotiation followed between the
Governments, but the Danish king learned that it was more dangerous to
offend England than Holland, before we were compelled to teach him the
lesson directly.

The Mediterranean was the scene of a very much more lively and varied
fragment of the great war. It has been said above that when Penn left
the Mediterranean at the beginning of 1652 he was replaced by Captain
Richard Badiley, who was despatched into those seas with a squadron
appointed to protect the merchant ships against an attack by Prince
Rupert and the French. The main centres of English trade in the
Mediterranean were the Levant,--where the Turkey Company had factories
at Smyrna and Scanderoon (Alexandretta),--Venice, and Leghorn. When
the Dutch war broke out, there were six English warships in the
Mediterranean, stretching widely over it for the purpose of collecting
merchant ships at their different ports of departure, and bringing
them together into one convoy before passing the Straits on the way
home. Badiley himself was at Scanderoon with three ships. Captain Henry
Appleton was at Leghorn with two. The sixth, the =Constant Warwick=,
was at Genoa, where she had been sent to careen, because she was very
foul and eaten by worms. Appleton had several English ships with him,
and he would in the ordinary course of the service wait until he was
joined by Badiley before sailing for England. The outbreak of the war
with Holland entirely broke up the usual arrangement. The Dutch were
represented in the Mediterranean by a force numerically stronger than
ours, though the individual ships were smaller than our largest. This
advantage they were certain to use for the destruction of our trade.
The war began in June, and, as news travelled slowly then, was not
known, even in Italy, till the end of that month or the beginning of
the next. The Dutch ships in the western half of the Mediterranean
were collected in the neighbourhood of Appleton, at Leghorn. They were
fourteen in number, and were under the command of an officer named
Catz. With such a disproportion of force against him, the English
officer had no resource but to seek the protection of a neutral port.
Leghorn belonged to the Grand Duke of Tuscany, and to him Appleton
appealed for protection. The Grand Duke was not very favourably
inclined towards the English officer, who had cost him considerable
annoyance by capturing a French vessel just outside his port and
bringing her in as a prize. The position of a neutral in a great naval
war is always more or less disagreeable. The combatants are generally
either anxious to make use of its harbours as a refuge, or eager to
follow up an enemy in its waters. The ingenuity of international
lawyers has invented many pretty and plausible regulations for the
guidance of all persons in such a case. But it is the misfortune of
international law that nobody is bound to enforce its decrees unless he
feels himself injured by the breach of them, while the party who really
is injured, and therefore quotes them on his own behalf, is frequently
the weaker, and so is unable to supply that sanction which is necessary
for the validity of any law. Between the stronger who wishes to crush
the weaker, and the weaker who does not wish to be crushed, the neutral
is often in a dilemma of great delicacy, since the weaker is often
quite strong enough to be able to punish him for inability to enforce
respect for his own neutrality. Besides, it is particularly hard to
judge from the local strength of belligerents which of them is likely
to prove the more powerful on the whole. When, then, Captain Appleton
brought the French prize into Leghorn, he caused the Grand Duke very
intelligible annoyance. The English might have the upper hand at sea,
and yet the French might be quite powerful enough by land to pay
themselves for what England had taken on the water, by pillaging the
Grand Duchy of Tuscany. A not dissimilar dilemma presented itself
when Appleton appealed to the protection of the port against the
fourteen ships of Catz. The Grand Duke could hardly tell which of the
two was the most dangerous to offend. In spite of the offence given
him by Appleton, he endeavoured to hold the balance even between the
quarrelsome sea powers. He promised the English that he would not allow
the Dutchmen to attack them if they came within the Mole of Leghorn.
In regard to the waters beyond he could give no guarantee, since he had
no naval force. To make assurance doubly sure, he allowed the English
merchant ships to land their cargoes, and put them for safety in the
Lazaretto or Quarantine House of Leghorn. Appleton might possibly have
increased his force to a point which would have made it comparatively
safe for him to give battle to the Dutch, if the merchant ships in the
harbour had been willing to help him. They all carried guns, and the
crews of that time were comparatively large. The merchant captains
displayed the cowardice of the mere trader. They refused to give
Appleton any help, alleging as their excuse that they had no orders
from home to recognise his authority, and no security that they would
be paid for any damage their vessels might suffer in action with the
Dutch. During all the summer and autumn of 1652, Appleton and Charles
Longland, the agent of the Commonwealth in Florence, were engaged in
fruitless efforts to recruit the strength of the squadron from the
merchant ships at Leghorn and Venice.

Since there was no hope from this source, nothing remained but to wait
for the arrival of Badiley, in the hope that when all the six English
warships were together, they might prove more capable of dealing with
the enemy. It was a desperate chance, since all the probabilities
were that Badiley would sail into the middle of the Dutch blockading
ships. In order to reduce this danger as far as possible, Appleton
despatched Captain Owen Cox with the =Constant Warwick= to meet the
ships coming from the Levant, and warn them of the danger. The usual
course for an officer bringing a convoy from the Levant would be to
touch at Zante, picking up other merchant ships, then to go on to
Messina and Naples for the same purpose, to range the coast of Italy as
high as Leghorn, and then sail for the Straits, where he would pick up
the Spanish trade. The =Constant Warwick= found Badiley at Zante, the
most southerly of the Ionian Islands, where he was waiting for ships
still on their way from Smyrna and Cyprus. On receipt of the news of
war and the danger of Appleton, he came straight on, without making
the usual stoppages at Messina and Naples. His energy did not avert
disaster. The Dutch blockading squadron had in the meantime passed
from the command of Catz to that of Jan Van Galen, who came overland
to supersede his predecessor. Galen was sufficiently alert to make
himself aware of the approach of Badiley while the English ships were
between the islands of Elba and Corsica. His own squadron had been so
far reinforced that he was able to leave six ships to keep a watch on
Appleton, while he sailed with eleven for the purpose of attacking
Badiley. On the afternoon of the 27th of August, Galen attacked the
English convoy. It consisted of eight vessels in all, but of these only
three were warships; the other five were merchant vessels, sufficiently
well armed to be able to beat off a small privateer or Algerine pirate,
but hardly able to encounter a man-of-war of any size. Yet the Dutch
were generally small; and as Badiley's own ship, the =Paragon=, was
heavier than any of them, it may well be that if the Turkey Company's
ships had shown a manlier spirit, they might have given a fairly good
account of the enemy. As a matter of fact, not only the traders, but
the two warships with Badiley supported him either not at all, or very
little. The encounter on the afternoon of the 27th was confined to
distant cannonading, but next morning the Dutch attacked with energy,
and the =Paragon= had to make a desperate fight for the protection
of her convoy. The whole weight of the action fell upon her. She was
greatly shattered in her rigging, and the loss in killed and wounded
amounted to no less than eighty-one, a very large proportion of a
crew of about three hundred men. In the meantime the merchant ships
did very little, and the =Paragon's= two consorts not very much. One
of them did worse, for she fell into the hands of the enemy. This was
the =Phenix=, which was destined to be the cause of some exciting
events further on. If Captain Badiley told the truth, she was lost by
blundering management and the misconduct of her men. Thirty of the crew
got into the long-boat towing astern, and fled to the =Paragon=, where
they spread so violent a panic that Captain Badiley considered his own
ship in danger of being lost. Fortunately for him, it fell a dead calm,
and when the wind rose he was able to carry the =Paragon=, her one
remaining consort, and the five merchant vessels into Porto Longone, at
the south-east end of the island of Elba.

Here the governor offered him protection, and even remained loyal
to his promises, although offered a heavy bribe by the Dutch if he
would allow them to plunder the English vessels. But though Badiley
escaped destruction, both English squadrons were now blockaded. Jan
Van Galen was further reinforced, and was able to watch both Appleton
at Leghorn and Badiley at Porto Longone. The second of these officers
had been appointed to the general command. In co-operation with
Charles Longland, he kept making strenuous efforts, throughout the
last months of this year and the early months of the next, to raise
his own force so far that he could attack the Dutch with some hope of
success, or at least reunite the two squadrons. He failed to do either
one or the other. He and Longland were in want of money, the merchant
captains were in want of courage, and the vigilance of the Dutch kept
the English apart and impotent. The watch on Porto Longone was not so
close but that Badiley was able to go to and fro between that port
and Leghorn. The =Constant Warwick=, too, re-entered Leghorn, but no
general movement was possible. So the year wore away. It was noted
that when the news of Blake's defeat off Dungeness reached Italy, the
Grand Duke showed himself even less friendly than before. There were
many Royalist exiles at his court who spared no effort to injure the
Parliament's officers. Dutch diplomacy was active, and an envoy from
"the person called Charles II.," as Captain Badiley described his king,
appeared in time to support their representations.

In the meantime the English at Leghorn were subject to a perpetual
blistering irritation. The Dutch brought the =Phenix= into the
roadstead, and began ostentatiously to fit her as a man-of-war. When
she was ready, the command was given to Cornelius van Tromp, the son
of the famous admiral. The sight of this vessel was an eyesore to
the English, and in particular to Captain Owen Cox, who had been
transferred to the command of the =Bonaventure= on the death of her
captain, Witheridge. Cox began to plot schemes for retaking the
=Phenix=. Appleton, who was afraid of offending the Grand Duke, was
very angry with his subordinate's excess of zeal, and even went so far
as to put him under arrest, but Badiley restored him to his command.
At the same time, he certainly gave his approval to schemes for
retaking the prize. He justified this strong measure in the immediate
neighbourhood of the Grand Duke's harbour by arguments which no doubt
appeared convincing to himself, but are mainly remarkable for a rather
childlike simplicity. "If two people," said Captain Badiley, "who
are at enmity with one another, go into the house of a third on the
promise that they will not make a disturbance, of course they ought
to keep quiet, but if one of them filches the sword of the other, the
gentleman robbed has surely a right to recover his stolen property.
Now the Dutch have filched our ship the =Phenix=, and so the Grand
Duke cannot reasonably object if we take her back again." The English
captains were not so convinced of the unanswerable character of their
interpretation of international law as to present it for the Grand
Duke's consideration before they took the =Phenix=. The argument was
pretty, but it was better to expound the law after the =Phenix= had
changed hands. They also decided that the more quietly the thing was
done the better. According to their exposition of the practice of
nations, it was quite legitimate to take an enemy in neutral waters,
provided that the ship were taken in the small hours, and that no
pistols were fired to disturb the slumbers of the citizens.

The capture was effected in this way, but not until Cornelius van Tromp
had given the English further intolerable provocation. About the middle
of November he put to sea on a cruise, and returned a few days later
with his prize. By way of insult and glorification over his enemy,
Cornelius van Tromp had entered the roadstead trailing the English
flag in the water under his stern. On the night of the 20th November
he was punished for this piece of unmannerly brag. A cutting-out
party was prepared in Appleton's flagship, the =Leopard=. It consisted
of three boats. Captain Cox, who was very properly entrusted with
the execution of his favourite enterprise, took the first, with
fourteen men, Lieutenant Young of the =Leopard= had the second, with
thirty-three, and Lieutenant Lynn of the =Bonaventure= the third, with
the same number of men. The opportunity had been well chosen. It was
St. Andrew's Eve, and the Dutch were carousing. Captain Badiley was
informed that in order to ingratiate themselves with the Italians the
Dutch captains heard a sermon from a friar before dinner. He preached
upon the text, "Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men"; for
which sin "nearly a hundred of their men were fished from them that
night in the =Phenix=." The boats lost one another in the dark after
leaving the =Leopard=, and it was not until "the appearing of the
morning stars" that they were all alongside the prize. The capture was
easily effected, for a large part of the Dutch crew was drinking on
shore, and the other was more or less drunk on the ship. Young Tromp
was finishing a carouse in the cabin when the English broke in. He
escaped capture by diving from the stern-port and swimming to another
Dutch ship, but, although he was very quick, he did not get off till
one of the English sailors had given him a wipe with a cutlass, telling
him that that was for trailing the English flag under his stern. From
the moment he was in possession of the deck, Captain Cox cut cable
and set sail. There was a good deal of scuffling and fighting between
decks, in which Lieutenant Young was killed, but the English finally
drove the Dutch into the hold, and would have quelled the resistance
much sooner if they had not fulfilled their obligations to the Grand
Duke by rigidly abstaining from the use of firearms. Several of the
Dutch ships pursued, but they might as well have spared themselves
the trouble. The =Phenix= easily out sailed them all, and Captain Cox
carried her to Naples.

This incident filled the English both at Leghorn and Porto Longone
with high gratification, but it was the beginning of new sorrows. The
Grand Duke at first laughed at the trick, but the outcries of the
Dutch forced him to take a more serious view of the outrage. An act of
hasty ill-temper on the part of Captain Appleton gave him an excuse
for putting the English captain into prison at Pisa. Later on, he
handed him over to Badiley at Porto Longone. The English endeavoured
to propitiate the Italian prince by the sentence of a court-martial
which removed Appleton from his command. His offence had been that
he took a runaway prisoner out of the hands of the duke's sentry on
the Mole. But although the Grand Duke professed himself satisfied,
and even asked that Appleton might be restored to his command, he
was plainly annoyed with the English, and probably very tired of the
trouble they were causing him. The urgent appeals of Longland and
Badiley for reinforcements from England could not be answered at the
very height of the great war. The Grand Duke may perhaps have thought
that it was better to make friends of the Dutch. He began to press
either for the surrender of the =Phenix= by the English, or for their
departure from his port. At last, in March 1653, Badiley decided to
wait no longer. Indeed the Grand Duke was showing a temper which made
decisive action necessary. Badiley therefore sent orders to Appleton
to get ready the two men-of-war, and the four merchant ships, lying
within the Mole, to meet him. The Dutch had raised the blockade of
Porto Longone, and were concentrated outside Leghorn. The plan of the
English commander was that he should appear off the port, and that so
soon as he was known to be in the neighbourhood, Captain Appleton was
to take the opportunity to slip out by night. Badiley, in the course of
a controversy which arose between the two, asserted that he gave strict
orders to the effect that the ships within the Mole were not to come
out by day unless they saw him engaged with the Dutch. He complained
that the sloth of Appleton and his captains spoiled this plan. They
did not make the necessary exertions to come out of cover by night.
Then their rashness completed what their idleness had begun. They came
out in broad daylight, when it was impossible to slip past the Dutch
unseen. These two errors were, according to Badiley, the cause of the
disaster which ensued. As the English ships came out with a leading
wind, they had the Dutch between them and the English ships which had
come over from Porto Longone. It was the manifest interest of the enemy
to attack the English in detail. Badiley being at the greater distance
and to leeward, they naturally attacked Appleton. If they had followed
the reverse course, they would have presented the English with an
opportunity of concentrating upon them, since Appleton would have had
nothing to do but to run down from windward to the assistance of his
colleague. The two men-of-war and four armed merchant ships which had
come out from Leghorn were easily overpowered by the Dutch. Badiley
says he was unable to render Appleton any effectual assistance, and the
Council of State seems to have thought that he was telling the truth.
The =Leopard= made a stout fight, but the other ships did not offer a
prolonged resistance.

After the capture of the ships at Leghorn, there was nothing to detain
Badiley on the coast of Northern Italy, and he therefore betook himself
first to Naples, and then to the Straits. He would, if he had had
his own choice, have remained abroad to cruise, but his men were by
this time sick of the service, and were clamouring to return home.
He appears to have been afflicted by some very disorderly fellows in
his ships' companies. It was in vain that Captain Badiley appealed to
their patriotism, and threatened them with the terrors of No. 11 in the
Parliament's recently issued Articles of War. They answered persuasions
and threats alike with cries of "Home, home!" At last he sailed, and
reached England unopposed. The riotous character of his men was not
improved by the time they returned to Chatham. Their violence made the
duty of paying them off very irksome to Mr. Commissioner Pett, but he
had his revenge; for no sooner were they paid off on their return from
the Straits than they were pressed again, and sent off to serve their
country in the great decisive battles of the war in June and July.

Diplomatic difficulties arose between the Government of England
and the Grand Duke of Tuscany in consequence of this episode of the
war, but before this there had been a violent pamphlet controversy
between the parties concerned. It was one of the earliest, though not
the first, of the series of naval quarrels. Appleton, considering he
had been left in the lurch by Badiley, openly accused his commander
of treachery and cowardice, in a pamphlet dedicated to Cromwell and
supported by the testimony of his captains. Badiley replied by a
counter-pamphlet, retorting the charges of treachery and cowardice on
Appleton, and adorning his defence of himself by charges of incapacity,
impiety, and immorality against his critics. Both parties were very
angry, very hot, and very abusive. They present the reader with the
spectacle of heated seafaring men wrangling in an abusive manner, with
much clumsy irony. On the whole, it does appear that if Appleton had
been more alert and intelligent, he might have given more effectual
help to Badiley. So Cromwell apparently thought, for Appleton was not
employed again. Yet both were so furious, loud-mouthed, and brutal,
that it is impossible to accept either as a wholly trustworthy witness.



CHAPTER IX

THE PROTECTORATE

 AUTHORITIES.--Carlyle's _Letters and Speeches of Cromwell_ will
 of course be consulted for this period. Clarendon's intellectual
 greatness and his insight enable him to interpret the spirit of
 events even when he is wrong in his facts. Cromwell's instructions
 to Penn and Venables, the letters of all the officers concerned, and
 the journals of the proceedings in San Domingo, have been collected
 in the second volume of the Life of Penn. Blake's operations in the
 Mediterranean and the ocean are to be made out from the papers in
 Thurloe, his own letters, and the narratives of the capture of the
 Plate Ships and the battle at Santa Cruz, published by order of
 Cromwell's Parliament.


The Government of Oliver Cromwell was that of a usurper and, in the
strict sense of the word, a tyrant. He did not indeed use his power
with wilful cruelty, but by the very nature of the case he ruled by the
sword, and not by law. Still, usurper and tyrant as he was, his aim was
not the indulgence of any mere passion of his own. He was not only the
greatest man of his time, and one of the greatest of all time, but he
was thoroughly English in his wishes, his aims, and even prejudices.
The desire to give the nation, in return for the subversion of its
regular Government, a compensation which would take the form of an
extension of its national grandeur and the promotion of its interests,
had possibly something to do in framing his foreign policy. Yet there
was a wide difference between the course he followed and that which
commended itself, first to the Jacobins, and then to Napoleon. He did
not plunge England into a succession of wars in pursuit of glory and an
unattainable universal dominion, in order to divert it from discontent
with his own rule. He aimed at the things which the great majority of
Englishmen, whether Royalist or Puritan, knew to be consistent with the
true interests of England, and could approve. These were three. In the
first place, he undertook to teach foreign nations once more that they
must respect England--a lesson they had too much forgotten during the
weak rule of the Stuarts and the confusion of the Civil War. The old
rhyme has it, that

    "Though his government did a tyrant's resemble,
    He made England great and her enemies tremble."

In so far, he was doing what every Royalist would have wished to see
the king do. Then Oliver was resolved to obtain security for English
commerce on the sea, and on that point there were no differences of
opinion in the nation. Finally, he designed to obtain for England
that extension of her trade and that expansion of her colonial empire
after which the ambition of the nation was already straining. The
criticism that his schemes were too great for his resources is perhaps
well founded. Yet, had he lived to establish his Government firmly,
it is probable that he would not have asked the nation for more than
it could easily give. The sums spent by his Government on maritime
expeditions were not greater than those pilfered and wasted during the
reign of Charles II. But, however that may be, the fact remains that
Oliver first pointed out to England the course she was to follow in the
eighteenth century; and if he was wrong in practice, it was because the
principles of his foreign policy were in advance of their time.

There were two ways by which the Protector could carry out his
policy--by alliance with Spain or by alliance with France. The long war
between these two nations was still in progress--with growing success
and resources on the side of France, and daily increasing weakness on
the side of Spain. There were reasons which might seem to make it the
Protector's interest to ally himself with Spain. The growing strength
of France at her very doors was a menace to England. The weakness of
Spain would render her a dependent ally--that is to say, it would have
that effect if Spain were capable of being influenced by ordinary
considerations of policy. Then the close relationship between the
families of Stuart and Bourbon must always give the French monarchy a
leaning to the side of the opponents of the Protector's Government.
But Spain was not to be influenced in the way desired by England.
Before Cromwell could undertake to help the Spaniards against the
French, there were two concessions he was bound to demand from them.
The first was the exemption of Englishmen from the jurisdiction of
the Inquisition. The second was the admission of English trade to the
Spanish possessions in the New World. Pride and the blind obstinacy
with which the Spaniards, to their ruin, have always clung to their
most extreme pretensions, made it impossible for the King and Council
of Castile to yield what Oliver demanded. It is a well-known story that
when the Protector made these two concessions the price of his alliance
against France, the Spanish ambassador, Don Alonso de Cárdenas,
answered, "My master has but two eyes, and you ask him for both of
them." Spain, in fact, would rather fight on in hopeless, contumacious
obstinacy than yield up her right to protect the purity of her faith
and her pretension to retain the monopoly of the New World. Since,
then, Cromwell could not obtain his ends by treaty, he prepared to
extort them from Spain by force. He turned to the French alliance, and
made ready for war.

The attack on Spain was to be conducted on three lines. One does not
concern us, except in so far as it is necessary to remember that unless
England had possessed a superiority of strength at sea, she could
not have followed it. At a later period English troops were sent to
co-operate in the conquest of the Spanish Netherlands. But before this,
Spain had been attacked on the sea. Two expeditions were fitted out in
England. The first, under the command of Robert Blake, was to sail for
the Mediterranean, and, after disposing of certain preliminary duties,
was to attack Spain at home. The second, under the combined commands of
William Penn as general-at-sea, and of Robert Venables as general of
the land forces, was to fall upon the Spaniards in the New World. This
second expedition marks a notable epoch in our colonial history, and,
at the cost of somewhat forestalling the order of time, may be told as
an episode by itself.

According to all modern notions, the policy of Cromwell in fitting out
this expedition was eminently immoral. A great fleet carrying a force
of soldiers was sent out with orders to attack the Spaniards before a
declaration of war. But in the middle of the seventeenth century, and
in the circumstances, there was nothing even irregular in what the
Protector did. It is necessary to understand in their main lines the
relations of European States to Spain in the New World, and to do that
we must look back for a moment. At the close of the fifteenth century,
the almost simultaneous voyages of Columbus across the Atlantic and
of Vasco da Gama round the Cape of Good Hope had appeared to give the
Crowns of Spain and Portugal the rights of previous discovery over the
trade routes to the East. It must not be forgotten that Columbus was
believed to have reached the eastern extremity of Asia. He himself
died in the belief that this was what he had done. It was not until
Vasco Nuñez de Balboa had crossed the Isthmus of Darien, and Magellan
had sailed through the straits named after him, and had found a vast
expanse of ocean between him and Asia, that it came to be understood
that there was a continent of America. In 1494 it was thought that
Asia had been reached, and it appeared not improbable that Spain and
Portugal would come to blows over the limits of what we should now
call their respective spheres of influence. The two States appealed
to the Pope, Alexander VI., and he drew a line between them running
from pole to pole 100 miles to the west of the Cape de Verd Islands.
The decision of the arbitrator did not appear satisfactory to the
Portuguese, who would have been confined too closely to the coast
of Africa. They protested, and their protest was listened to by the
Catholic sovereigns, Isabel of Castile and Ferdinand of Aragon. In
the year after the Pope had given his decision, a conference was held
at the town of Tordesillas, and it was then settled that the line of
demarcation should run 300 leagues to the west of the Azores and in
the corresponding meridian on the other side of the globe. In the
course of time, it was found that this decision had thrown by very
much the greater part of the two American continents into the share of
Spain. Other nations refused, indeed, to allow that the bull "Inter
cætera" gave Spain any exclusive rights. But the Spanish Government
was of another opinion. It abstained, indeed, from interfering with
the English settlements in New England and the French in Canada, which
were poor and distant. Its own weakness forced it so far to acquiesce
in what it could not prevent, but it never recognised the legitimacy of
foreign settlements; and whenever any of them approached those regions
where the Spanish rule was strong, they were liable to attack, even
when peace prevailed in Europe. The Spaniards, in fact, recognised no
peace beyond the line--that is to say, the line of demarcation from
north to south, and not, as is sometimes supposed, the equator.

Hence there arose a permanent condition of lawless violence in the
West Indies. By far the greater part of the islands, composing the
Greater and the Lesser Antilles, were not occupied by the Spaniards
at all. European adventurers were not to be debarred from settling in
unoccupied lands, by a mere decision of the Pope which they did not
recognise as valid. During the first half of the seventeenth century,
English, French, and Dutch had swarmed in to dispute these islands with
the Spaniard. The weakness of Spain made it impossible for her to keep
them out altogether. The early history of these settlements is obscure.
One very curious colony, founded by a Puritan company, of which Pym
was one of the directors, in the island of Old Providence on the coast
of Honduras, has left no trace except a few letter-books. Barbadoes
was peacefully occupied by Englishmen, and became rapidly prosperous.
Other English adventurers, some of them holding patents from the
king and others without, had settled in Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis,
and part of St. Kitts. The other part of St. Kitts was held by the
French. The Dutch also were in the West Indies, less as settlers than
as traders with the French and English. Yet, though these settlements
had increased and prospered, they were never quite safe from Spanish
attack. One great Spanish armament, under Don Fadrique de Toledo, had
swept the West Indies in 1629; other and minor attacks had been common.
The settlement in Old Providence, after many alarms and adventures, had
been finally exterminated at some time in the earlier stages of our
Civil War. It will be seen, then, that if the Spaniards were assailed
by Cromwell without formal declaration of hostilities in the New World,
the act was abundantly justified by Spanish precedents.

In 1654 the newly established Government was being urgently pressed
to send out just such an armament as was finally despatched. An
Englishman, of the name of Thomas Gage, the son of a family of English
Roman Catholics and strong Royalists, had published an exhortation
to his countrymen to fall upon Spanish America, and had revealed the
real weakness of the land in a book called the _New Survey of the
West Indies_, published in 1648, and very popular in the seventeenth
century. Gage, who had been a priest, and who then became converted,
and preached as a Puritan divine in England, was one of the very
few Englishmen for whom it had been possible to visit the Spanish
possessions. At the same time, some at least among the planters of
Barbadoes were urging the English Government to adopt an aggressive
policy, and were promising effectual support.

Under the stimulus of all these motives, the Protector's Government
organised this expedition in the summer and autumn of 1654. It was to
consist of 38 warships, carrying 1134 guns and 4380 seamen. A land
force of 3000 soldiers, divided into five regiments of 600 each, was
to be raised. The whole, when ready, was to sail for the West Indies,
and to begin hostilities with the Spaniards from the day it crossed
the tropic of Cancer. The orders given to the expedition, as was
commonly the case with the Council of State and Cromwell, were perfect
examples of what such things should be--at once absolutely precise
in prescribing the aim, and wisely large in defining the means to be
adopted. "We shall not," said the Protector, "tie you up to a method
by any particular instructions." The generals, in fact, were deprived
of every excuse for failure by being left free to choose the fittest
means. As for the object of the cruise, on that point there was no
doubt. They were to go over to the West Indies, firstly, to chastise
the French, who had been guilty of excesses against English trade;
secondly, to enforce the Navigation Laws against the Dutch, who had
been carrying on an interloping commerce with the English islands;
thirdly, and this was the main purpose of the armament, they were to
effect a settlement among the Spanish possessions. Where it was to
be made, they were themselves to judge on the spot, and according to
circumstances. They might land on the islands, taking Hispaniola by
preference, or, failing that, St. John, that is, San Juan de Puerto
Rico. Or, again, they might pass the islands and fall upon the mainland
somewhere between the mouth of the Orinoco and Porto Bello, that part
of South America commonly called the Spanish Main. A third course was
to attack both the islands and the mainland, but it was made abundantly
clear that the hands of those who were to be responsible for doing the
work were not to be tied by too precise instructions.

This was as it should have been, but all was not equally well with
the expedition. The leaders selected by Cromwell did not do honour
to his choice. Venables, the commander of the troops, must have done
something to make the Protector think him fit for the place, but on
this expedition he showed himself a feeble, pottering, uxorious man.
He took his wife with him, and appears to have been miserable when
separated from her company. Penn was undoubtedly a brave and skilful
seaman, but he wanted the intellectual resources and strength of
character required to make good the deficiencies of his colleague. The
weakness of the usurping Government is revealed by the action which
these two men, seemingly without any agreement with one another, took
during the summer. They both wrote to the exiled king, offering him
their services. At such a time, men who have not honour enough to
stand aside from a usurping Government, and who cannot serve it with
enthusiasm, are very likely to be found looking over their shoulders
for a safe retreat, and making friends with the enemy of the Government
of to-day, who may possibly be the ruler of to-morrow. Penn and
Venables offered to bring the whole armament over to King Charles if he
could find a port for them abroad. The king, who was totally unable to
comply with the condition, declined the offer. It throws an unpleasant
light on the character of Penn, that, immediately after he had been
making this offer to betray the master who trusted in him, he was found
appealing to the Protector for a grant of land in Ireland, which land,
as a matter of fact, was the confiscated property of the supporters
of the king. He and Venables did not work harmoniously together. They
had a squabble in England before they sailed, which was made up by the
exertions of friends, but probably left them on not very confidential
terms with one another. It was not only the inferiority of, and want of
harmony between, the leaders which was likely to militate against the
efficiency of the expedition. The victualling was ill done, probably
because of the poverty of the Government. A good part of the stores was
not ready in time, and had to be sent on later. A large portion of the
soldiers raised were of an inferior quality. Cromwell could not spare
the choice troops who were the support of his rule. The five regiments
were specially raised for the service, and they consisted mainly of
discharged soldiers of the king as well as of the Parliament. These
men had lost, or in many cases had never possessed, a true military
character. The number of 3000 provided for by the scheme was never
attained. The expedition did not carry more than 2500 men, of whom
perhaps half were more likely to be a hindrance than a help where
discipline was required.

On the 20th of December 1654 Rear-Admiral Dakins was sent on with
fourteen ships in advance. The bulk of the expedition sailed on
Christmas Day, which was probably chosen at least partly from a Puritan
desire to show disrespect for the feast. In mid-ocean the heavier
ships, which hampered the speed of the fleet, were left behind. Penn
and Venables pressed on with the better sailers. By the 29th January
1655 the whole armament was assembled in Carlisle Bay in Barbadoes.

The disappointments of the expedition began at once. It was found that
those planters who had been urging the Government to send a force into
the West Indies, and had promised effectual help, had spoken without
authority. The planters of Barbadoes were by no means generally pleased
at the appearance of an expedition from England. The generals were
authorised to raise a regiment in the island, and the planters were
afraid that if the freemen enlisted in large numbers, their "servants"
would revolt so soon as the armed force was gone. By servants must be
understood both the black slaves and those white men, criminals and
prisoners of war, who were bound to a term of service. Much pressure
had to be exercised before this opposition was overcome. It was at
last surmounted, and the regiment was raised. In the meantime the news
spread through the English islands. The swarm of loose adventurers
who filled them, the runaway "servants," sailors who had deserted
from their ships,--all the raw material, in fact, out of which the
formidable buccaneering body called the "Brethren of the Coast" was
afterwards formed,--began to collect in regiments, and were burning
to take part in the service, which seemed to promise plunder. Such
men as these, the floating population of the frontier, valiant in
pothouses, but feeble in battle, were of no real value for military
purposes. Yet they were accepted to the number of several thousands.
The expedition had unfortunately been put under the command of a
committee. In this Cromwell followed the practice of the Parliament,
and was perhaps influenced by the fear of putting too much power into
the hands of a single man. Not only Penn and Venables, but Goodson
the vice-admiral, Dakins the rear-admiral, two special Commissioners,
Winslow and Gregory Butler, together with some others, were joined in
the general command, and nothing was to be done without the consent
of three of them. The opinion of the wiser few, who would willingly
have dispensed with the riff-raff of the islands, was overborne, and
the expedition was hampered by an ill-armed, worse-disciplined, and
thoroughly untrustworthy mob. It is to be noted also that this distant
and unhealthy service in the West Indies was not popular with the
sailors. While at Carlisle Bay, the sea officers came in a body to Penn
and represented to him their hope that the hardships of their service
would be allowed for in their pay and prize-money. One good measure
that had been decided upon in England was here perfected. A regiment of
sailors was formed. It was put under the command of Admiral Goodson as
colonel, with naval officers to lead the companies.

Two months were spent at Barbadoes, which might have incomparably
better been employed in assailing the Spaniards before they were
ready. At last, on the 31st of March, the expedition got under way.
It proceeded by Antigua, Montserrat, Nevis, and St. Kitts to the
south-eastern end of Hispaniola, and appeared before the town of San
Domingo on the 13th of April. San Domingo stands on the western side
of a little river called the Ozama. It is in the middle of a large
bay, some twenty-eight miles broad and some ten miles deep. The coast
is low, rocky, and beaten by a formidable surf. Looked at from the
sea, the spray thrown up from the waves was like the smoke of cannon
fringing the beach. Close to the town on the west side was a fort. To
the west of the fort, and at a distance of some five miles from the
town, another river, called by the Spaniards Jaina, and by us Hina,
falls into the sea. When there is a dead calm, or a land breeze from
the north, it is possible to land here, but at other times the surf
is too dangerous for boats. These conditions made it necessary to
disembark the soldiers to westward and leeward of the town at some
distance. In the West Indies the trade wind, or true breeze, always
blows from the east. Beyond Cape Nisao, the western extremity of San
Domingo Bay, there are a few landing-places in the surf-beaten coast.
At one of these, perhaps Catalina Bay, Venables disembarked with the
bulk of the expedition on the 14th of April. In the meantime Penn
remained, with the greater part of the fleet and two regiments of
soldiers, in front of San Domingo. The object of retaining these two
corps was to land them at the mouth of the Jaina, to co-operate with
Venables when he had got so far. They had with them stores and scaling
ladders for the purpose of attacking the town.

The story of what came of these imposing preparations is happily all
but unparalleled in English history. Venables began his march on the
day after landing, in circumstances of the most lamentable kind, if he
is to be believed.

 "Our men, the last fortnight at sea, had bad bread, and little of it
 or other victuals, notwithstanding General Penn's order, so that they
 were very weak at landing; and some, instead of three days' provision
 at landing, had but one, with which they marched five days, and
 therefore fell to eat limes, oranges, lemons, &c., which put them into
 fluxes and fevers. Of the former, I had my share for near a fortnight,
 with cruel gripings that I could scarce stand."

In this dismal condition they struggled through the narrow paths which
traversed the dense tropical forest, without meeting more than a very
trifling resistance from the Spaniards. By the 16th they had reached
the Jaina. Here they remained until the 24th, engaged in what can
only be called pottering. General Venables came back to the flagship,
partly for the purpose of taking "a vomit," and partly in search of
his wife, who went with him when he returned to his post. Every kind
of difficulty as to provisions, scaling ladders, and powder united to
hamper the attack on the Spaniards. It does not appear that the men
were absolutely destitute of courage. On the 18th a portion of them
were roughly handled in an ambush, but they rallied well, and beat the
enemy back. The hardships of the service, of which the most intolerable
was thirst, did something to depress their spirits, but what worked
upon them most was unquestionably the discovery that they were being
led without energy or intelligence. First, the army advanced from the
Jaina to Fort Jerónimo. A vaunting attack, made without sufficient
means, was followed by a retreat to the former position. When at last,
on the 24th, the real attack was to be delivered, the troops, badly
armed, badly disciplined, and mostly of bad quality to start with, were
thoroughly ready for a panic.

On Wednesday the 25th the final attack on the Fort Jerónimo was to
be made. The troops advanced and met at first with no opposition.
They established themselves on the eastern side of the fort, where
no guns were mounted. An advance guard, called in the language of
the time a "Forlorn," was to open the attack, supported by a party
of "Reformadoes"--that is to say, officers belonging to corps which
had been suppressed or broken up and incorporated with others. Behind
them were the other regiments of the expedition. When the Forlorn was
close on the fort, and the attack just about to begin, a small body of
Spanish lancers, put by all the witnesses at some forty or fifty men,
fell suddenly upon the English. Their charge was directed against the
Forlorn, which fell suddenly and shamefully into disorder, and fled
headlong back on the Reformadoes. The Reformadoes, whose part it was
to have set an example to the army, were seized with a no less ignoble
spasm of terror. The Forlorn and the Reformadoes, mingled in confusion,
retreated upon the supporting regiments, which they infected with their
own cowardice. The whole mass gave way in flight, and retreated in all
the hubbub of an utter rout. Some of the officers did indeed behave
with the gallantry to be expected of English gentlemen. Haynes, the
major-general, the same officer who had co-operated with Blake in the
taking of the Channel Islands for the Parliament, broke out of the
mob of runaways, and, armed only with a small walking-sword, threw
himself in the path of a handful of Spanish lancers who were pressing
the pursuit. He was accompanied by an ensign named Blagg, who showed
the colours in the vain hope of rallying some support. But the example
of these brave men was lost on the terror-stricken rabble. Haynes
was borne to the ground and slain; Blagg tore his colours from the
staff, and, wrapping them round his body, fell down, and there died,
pierced with many wounds. The completeness of their success appears
to have taken the Spaniards entirely by surprise. They were a mere
handful, and, although they are said to have killed between three and
four hundred, they were not supported, and were easily repulsed when
some of the English were induced to make a stand. The corps to which
belongs the honour of saving the expedition from extermination was the
sailors' regiment commanded by Admiral Goodson. These men were no
doubt veterans of the Dutch war, who were hardened to perils. They let
the cowards pass, and then closed up to cover their retreat. So soon as
they were resolutely faced, the forty or fifty Spanish lancers, who had
hitherto "had the execution" of some thousands of Englishmen, fell back.

There were those among the English who believed that all was not
lost, and that a second attempt might be made with a fair prospect
of success. But the bulk of officers and men were completely cowed.
They could think of nothing except of hurrying back with the utmost
possible speed to the landing-place, and taking refuge in the ships.
The officers would not trust themselves with such men, and indeed the
spirit of the whole force was completely broken. While retreating
during the night, they were terrified at the noise made by the
land-crabs in the bush, and opened a wild fire right and left.

While the army was making this deplorable exhibition of itself, the
ships were parading to and fro in front of San Domingo, engaging at
odd moments in a languid artillery fire with the forts. Penn declared
that he could have easily destroyed Fort Jerónimo, and have swept the
sea-wall of the town. He excused his failure to act, by saying that his
colleagues would not agree. Venables, in particular, was opposed to the
destruction of Jerónimo, on the ground that it would be useful as a
hospital. It is not obvious, however, that Penn need have been deterred
by this from attacking the town. His conduct was certainly wanting in
enterprise, and the difference between him and his colleague seems to
be this, that whereas Venables did wrong, Penn did too little.

Having lost hundreds of men by the sword, and a still larger number by
the tropical diseases which were now raging, the unlucky expedition
cast about for some means of escaping the reproach of utter failure.
Some of the more poor-spirited among them were ready to return to
Barbadoes, and from thence to England. The majority, either because
they possessed more courage, or because, however much they feared
the enemy and the climate, they dreaded Oliver Cromwell still more,
were resolved to make a last effort before returning empty-handed. A
compensation which was easily to be secured lay ready to their hands.
The island of Jamaica is almost due west of the west end of the island
of San Domingo, at a distance of about a hundred miles. Gage, the
author of the _Survey of the West Indies_, was with Venables, and he,
with the English planters from Barbadoes and St. Kitts, could easily
inform the generals that the island was almost uninhabited, and would
be an easy prize. On the 4th of May, Penn and Venables left the bay of
San Domingo, and on the 10th appeared before the Spanish town on the
south side of Jamaica. Here, fortunately for them, perhaps, there was
no opposition. The population, in fact, was very small, hardly able to
beat off a considerable raid of pirates. The town was occupied after a
mere show of resistance on the 9th, 10th, and 12th of May. The Spanish
governor made his submission at once. His countrymen, with greater
spirit, deserted the town and took refuge in the hills.

Having now at last done something, the English leaders hastened to
deprive themselves personally of all credit by deserting their command
and running back to England. The early history of Jamaica is a very
painful one, and need not be told here. Perhaps the moral of it all
is best given by a witness who wrote after the Restoration of Charles
II. He reported that when the Spaniards saw how fast the English died,
they were surprised, but that, when they learned how much they drank,
they were surprised that any of them lived. The military and naval
leaders squabbled, and the soldiers and sailors fought. At last it
was decided that Penn should return to England with the bulk of the
fleet, leaving Goodson with twelve of the lighter vessels. He sailed
on the 25th of June, returning home by the western end of Cuba and the
Florida Channel. One English vessel, the =Discovery=, had been blown
up by accident at Jamaica. On the way another disaster occurred. The
=Paragon=, which had been Badiley's ship in the Mediterranean, caught
fire and blew up, with the loss of a hundred lives. Penn returned to
England in a very intelligibly dismal state of mind. He was inclined
to see the hand of the Lord visiting the sins of the expedition, and
something he referred to mysteriously as the "sin in England," on the
men of little faith about him. He was also visibly nervous as to the
reception it was likely he would meet with from the Protector, and
began garrulously excusing himself before he reached home. It was not
without cause that he, and possibly his colleague Venables, of whom we
have less evidence, looked forward to facing Oliver Cromwell. The old
explanation of the Protector's anger, that he punished the generals for
taking Jamaica when they were ordered to take San Domingo, was given in
ignorance of their instructions; but he had good cause to be angry with
them, both for the incapacity displayed at San Domingo, and for their
hasty desertion of their conquest of Jamaica. As his spy service was
both watchful and efficient, it is at least possible that Cromwell had
warning of their letters to the king. They reached England on the 31st
August, anchoring at Spithead. Within a fortnight they were both in the
Tower, on the recommendation of the Protector's Council. They did not
escape from this till they had made abject submission. Penn retired
to the estate which he had begged for himself out of the confiscated
property of the king's friends in Ireland, and was no more employed
during Oliver Cromwell's life.

Goodson remained at Jamaica for nearly two years, prosecuting the war
with Spain. The smallness of the force left under his command made
it impossible for him to undertake operations on a great scale. In
truth, what he did bore a very close resemblance to the piratical
warfare afterwards carried on by the buccaneers. He sailed twice to
the Spanish Main, burning and plundering small towns, taking water
and provisions at unfortified places, but attempting nothing against
the great port of Carthagena. To some among the English officers at
Jamaica this method of conducting hostilities was not acceptable. They
thought it piratical, and unworthy of a great State; but it was all
Goodson could do, and it served a useful purpose. The first two years
of our establishment in Jamaica were times of miserable weakness and
suffering. The governors died one after the other, and the ranks of
their followers were terribly thinned by fever. If during this interval
a vigorous attack had been made by the Spaniards, who were acclimatised
and expert in bush fighting, it is not impossible that we should have
lost the island. The presence of Goodson's ships and his activity
warded off this danger, and it is partly to him, therefore, that we
must attribute the merit of retaining this colonial possession.

Before the fleet under Penn left to undergo its varied fortunes in
the West Indies, another naval armament had sailed from England under
the command of Robert Blake. It started somewhat earlier than the
expedition directed against the West Indies--on the 29th September.
Blake's orders were ultimately to attack the Spaniards, but the
time for hostilities against them in Europe had not yet come. In
the interval there was plenty for an English admiral to do in the
Mediterranean. In the first place, he had, in the modern phrase,
"to show the flag"--that is to say, to let foreign nations see that
England was mistress of a naval force capable of extorting respect.
Then the Protector had inherited from the Council of State a number
of diplomatic disputes with the Italian princes. The presence of a
powerful English fleet in the Mediterranean was likely to add material
weight to the expostulations of his diplomatists. Blake worked his
way slowly along the Spanish and Italian coasts of the Mediterranean,
and was everywhere treated with deference. There is a story that at
Malaga he gave the Spaniards a proof that the ruler of England did not
bear the sword in vain for the defence of his subjects. It is said
that an English sailor who was on shore on leave displayed his Puritan
sentiments by insulting the host. For this he was maltreated by the
mob, on the instigation of a friar. Blake, so the story goes, insisted
on the punishment of the ecclesiastic, and was told by the governor
that he had no power to punish churchmen, which, if it was ever
said, was untrue. Upon this, the English admiral threatened to open
fire unless the friar was given up to him. His threat and the ocular
demonstration they had of his strength brought the Spanish authorities
to reason. The friar was sent on board, presumably expecting and,
if he was a fanatic, hoping for martyrdom. Blake, however, confined
himself to rebuking the over-zealous friar, and declaring that he would
make the English name as much respected as ever was that of a Roman
citizen. There is nothing improbable in the story, which, however,
rests solely on the authority of Bishop Burnet. Whatever may be the
accuracy of this anecdote, it is beyond question that Blake's mission
was to make the name of Englishmen respected in the Mediterranean,
and that it was fulfilled. The Italian princes found that delay would
no longer be tolerated. Their disputes with the English Government
were wound up. A naval power is not limited in its influence, as the
strongest of merely military powers must needs be. The States around
the Mediterranean might have despised the menace of the New Model Army,
which was no doubt capable of marching all through Italy, if only it
could have got so far; but a fleet can make the power of the State felt
wherever ships can go. Cromwell's menaces were formidable to the very
extremities of the Mediterranean.

In that sea there was one duty to be discharged which the English Navy
had been forced to neglect for too long. The pirates of the Barbary
States had long been a pest and a menace to the commerce of Europe, and
even to the coasts of Christian States. Within the Mediterranean nobody
had yet seriously undertaken to break their power. It is true that
they no longer operated in great fleets, as they had done in the days
of Barbarossa. The age of the pirate admirals had been succeeded by
that of the Raises, or pirate captains, but they were still formidable
to commerce, if they attempted no longer to capture towns and conquer
territory. The growing English trade in the Mediterranean suffered
from them severely. When the Church of England included a prayer for
prisoners and captives in her Litany, the words had a significance
they no longer bear. In 1620 the ridiculously feeble effort already
recorded, to check this disgraceful infliction, had been made with no
better result than to convince these Mohammedan sea rovers that England
was not formidable. It was necessary to bring them to a sounder view
of the facts, and this was one part of the task entrusted to Blake.

After passing along the coasts of Spain and Italy, Blake went on to
discharge this part of his duties. He first sailed over to Algiers
in March and opened negotiations. It was his purpose to secure his
object--the release of English captives and some security for the
exemption of English ships from capture in future--without fighting, if
possible. The Barbary States were still nominally part of the dominions
of the Sultan, and there was always a chance that severe measures taken
at their expense might provoke retaliation on the servants and property
of the Levant Company at Smyrna and Scanderoon. At Algiers, then, Blake
attempted peaceful negotiations with the Dey, and even exerted himself
on his behalf with the Grand Master of the Knights of St. John. The Dey
was obstinate, or, as he habitually lived in terror of the piratical
portion of his subjects, it would perhaps be more accurate to say that
he did not dare to make such an arrangement as Blake demanded. Still
the English admiral held his hand. Before taking hostile measures at
Algiers, he decided to pay a visit to the less formidable piratical
town of Tunis. The Dey of this other town of plunderers was not less
unreasonable, and by this time Blake's patience was exhausted. After
returning for a few days to Trapani in Sicily, he came back and fell
upon the pirate ships. Tunis was strong, and the Dey believed it to
be unattackable. It lies at the very bottom of the deep gulf between
Cape Farina and Cape Bon. The approach was protected by the forts of
Farina and Goletta, famous in the wars of Charles V. and Philip II. The
pirate galleys had been hauled under the guns of these fortifications,
and their owners might with some show of reason believe them safe,
but they had never yet been attacked in the style adopted by Blake.
On the 4th of April 1655 (just one month, be it noted for purposes
of comparison, before Penn and Venables sailed away from San Domingo
shamefully beaten) the English admiral stood in and opened fire on the
Tunisian ships. The forts proved very ineffectual, and the fire of the
vessels was soon silenced. Then the English took to their boats and
boarded. They were quickly masters of the prizes, and lost no time in
burning them. From Tunis Blake went first to Tripoli, and then came
back to Algiers. In these places satisfactory arrangements were at last
made. The Orientals had, in fact, discovered that the moderation of the
English admiral was not due to fear or weakness, and they at once bowed
to force. Blake's conduct was approved by Cromwell, and he was now free
to proceed to the execution of the last part of his duty.

The alliance with France was in the meantime maturing. There was no
longer any reason for delaying an open declaration of hostilities
against Spain. On the contrary, as Penn and Venables had had time to
develop their attack on the West Indies, it was very desirable that
the Spaniards should be prevented from sending reinforcements, and
this could be most effectually done by compelling them to stand on
guard at home. Blake was therefore ordered to cruise off Cadiz, for the
double purpose of intercepting the treasure-ships on their way back
from America and of preventing the despatch of a Spanish squadron to
the West Indies. The blockade was so far successful that the Spaniards
were paralysed, but no prizes were taken, and by the approach of autumn
the English ships were severely strained. In October Blake returned to
England. The war with Spain had not as yet been prosecuted with very
triumphant success. The failure at San Domingo was a huge disgrace,
hardly balanced in the opinion of the world by the capture of Jamaica.
The successful blockade of Cadiz, though it must have caused great loss
to the enemy, had not produced those visible results in the way of
prizes and bullion which the nation could understand. But Cromwell was
resolved to persevere.

In 1656 Blake returned to the coast of Spain. On this cruise he was
accompanied by Edward Montagu, afterwards the first Earl of Sandwich,
and their object was again to capture the much-desired Plate Fleet.
This year they had a better chance of success. In 1655 the Spanish
Government had stopped the vessels, but it was now in such dire need
of money that it was compelled to run the risk of bringing them home.
In summer a first detachment reached the neighbourhood of Cadiz, only
to fall into the hands of the English blockading fleet. Blake and
Montagu were not present at the capture, for they had retired to the
friendly ports of Portugal to refit, but a squadron had been left to
watch the port, under the command of Richard Stayner. It proved amply
sufficient for the work to be done. The Spanish treasure-ships, though
of great bulk for the time, were intrinsically very feeble, and their
decks were hampered by merchandise. Stayner burned or captured nearly
the whole, with a very trifling loss to himself. The bullion and goods
taken amounted in value to nearly the revenue of England for a year--to
over two millions sterling. Montagu returned to England with the booty,
taking Stayner with him. Although the great sugar-loaves of silver
were pillaged by the sailors, there was enough left to load thirty
waggons, which were driven through London to the Tower, to the general
gratification of the Protector's subjects.

Blake in the meanwhile remained outside of Cadiz during the autumn
and winter, till the spring of 1657, waiting for the next instalment
of the Plate Fleet. It was an unheard-of thing at that time to keep a
fleet out for the winter. Even now the heavier vessels had been sent
home with Montagu and Stayner, but the persistence of the others in
remaining abroad shows that our navy was increasing in seaworthiness
and hardihood. In the April of 1657 Blake was rewarded for his
perseverance by learning that a large Spanish squadron carrying
treasure had taken refuge at Santa Cruz de Tenerife.

To attack them in this port was in the general opinion an enterprise
of the utmost hazard. The bay of Santa Cruz is deep and the island
hilly, therefore the harbour is perpetually liable either to be in a
dead calm, or to be swept by the violent gusts of wind off the land.
These natural obstacles made entrance difficult for a fleet. And Santa
Cruz was in addition very powerfully fortified. So strong, in fact,
had art and nature made the harbour, that the Spaniards considered
a successful attack impossible, and Blake's contemporaries looked
upon his triumph as an unheard-of achievement of daring. Yet the
Commonwealth admiral, like so many other men of strong mind, showed
his strength by despising the vain appearance of force. He estimated
the inefficiency of the Spaniards at its true value. Moreover, he saw
that the forts, if attacked closely, would probably fail to stop the
entry of a fleet running before a good breeze and borne on a rising
tide. Once in the harbour, and in the midst of the Spanish vessels, he
would be comparatively safe, since they would mask the fire of the guns
on shore. With the turn of the tide, aided, as it was very likely to
be, by one of the common winds off the land, he would be able to secure
his retreat. No doubt there was an appreciable risk, as there always
must be in the serious operations of war. But it was one a bold man
commanding an effective fighting force could run without temerity.

The attack was made on the 20th of April, in the early hours of the
morning. The fleet had sighted the harbour by daybreak, and the
look-out frigates had reported that the Spanish ships were still in the
bay. The decision to attack was taken at once, and the English fleet
stood in. The result fully justified the calculations we may suppose
Blake to have made. The English ships ran past the forts with little
or no damage. They were in the midst of the Spanish ships and in hot
action by eight o'clock. The Spanish galleons were as ill fitted for
war as the vessels taken outside of Cadiz. Though the English remained
in the bay while daylight lasted, they lost only 50 killed and 120
wounded, while none of the ships received more damage than could be
made good at sea in a few days' work. The fate of the Spaniards was
very different. By seven in the evening they were all sunk, driven on
shore, or set on fire. When the work was thoroughly done, the English
prepared to drift out on the ebb-tide. By this time daylight must have
been over, and in the dusk and following darkness they would probably
in any case have passed the forts with very little injury. But by one
of those strokes of good fortune which commonly come to the help of
a bold and skilfully conducted enterprise, the wind arose from the
south-west, and they regained the sea swiftly, with no further injury.

The attack on the Spaniards at Santa Cruz de Tenerife was not only the
most brilliant achievement of the navy during Cromwell's Government,
but it was by far the finest single feat performed in the seventeenth
century, and, though it has been equalled, it has never been greatly
surpassed in later times. Even Nelson's attack on Copenhagen was
not more intrepid. The delight felt by all Englishmen, without
distinction of party, was unbounded. Cromwell sent Blake a "jewel"
consisting of his portrait set in gold and diamonds, and the royal
historian Clarendon has praised him without stint or qualification.
Blake, indeed, deserved alike the jewel and the praise. Nothing quite
of the same stamp as the attack on Santa Cruz had ever been done
before, except his own bombardment of the forts of the Dey of Tunis.
The captures of the Puntal Castle at Cadiz by the Earl of Essex in
1597, and then by his son in 1625, were small in comparison. In the
Elizabethan time, ships had either shrunk from attacking forts, or,
as in the case of Drake's attack on San Juan de Puerto Rico, had been
beaten off. At the Ile de Rhé, our ships had shown no inclination to
tackle the French fortifications. It is to Blake, as Clarendon justly
pointed out, that the credit belongs of first showing what a fleet
could do. But for Blake, his work was over. The destruction of the
West India fleet had completed the task he was sent to do on the coast
of Spain. He was therefore ordered to return home, but he never lived
to reach his native country. He died, as it would seem, of scurvy, on
board his flagship, the =George=, at the mouth of Plymouth Sound, on
the 7th of August 1657. He was buried with his old fellow-admiral and
general-at-sea, Richard Deane, in Henry the Seventh's Chapel, whence
their bodies were taken with those of other Puritan leaders, at the
Restoration, and thrown into a pit on the north side of the Abbey.

During the brief remainder of Cromwell's life, the navy had little to
do except to assist the troops which were co-operating with Turenne
in the siege of Dunkirk. With the death of the Protector the whole
foundation of his Government was removed. It was based on his personal
ascendency, and was supported by his immense superiority of faculty to
all enemies. Englishmen submitted to it because the alternative was
anarchy. When Oliver died, the anarchy which he had warded off came
swiftly upon the nation. Between the end of 1658 and the beginning
of 1660 power was snatched from one feeble hand by another, till at
last Monk, at the head of the army in Scotland, imposed himself on all
rivals. By this time the vast majority of Englishmen had come to the
conclusion that their one means of escape from a succession of mere
military tyrannies lay in the restoration of the ancient monarchy.
Happily for England, no man saw that truth more clearly than Monk,
and under his sagacious, phlegmatic guidance the restoration of the
monarchy was effected in the May of 1660. A historian of the navy
is strongly tempted to endeavour to prove that it helped materially
towards attaining this result. I can, however, see no evidence that
this was the case. A navy, though powerful to ward off foreign
intervention in our affairs, was very little able to influence the
nation. It could only apply pressure by intercepting trade and cruising
outside ports,--in other words, by condemning itself to the hardships
and tedium of blockade, and that, too, in circumstances which made
effective blockade impossible, since the fleet could not draw supplies
from abroad, and could only get them at home by the goodwill of their
countrymen. The utter failure of the Royalist revolt in the fleet in
1648 even to check the triumph of the Independents is an example of the
happy incapacity of a navy to take an influential part in civil strife.
Throughout the war the navy had followed, not led, and this was its
part during the fourteen months of confusion which intervened between
the fall of the Protectorate and the Restoration of King Charles.



CHAPTER X

THE NAVY UNDER CHARLES II

 AUTHORITIES.--The Duke of York's "General Instructions" and "Orders,"
 together with the "Oeconomy of the Navy Office," give us the form
 and theory of the government of the Navy. The inestimable Pepys gives
 the spirit and the manner of the execution. The Calendars of State
 Papers supply the orders to officers abroad, and their reports.
 Clarendon's memoirs of his own administration tell the history of the
 outbreak of the war from the English side, while M. Pontalis sums up
 the Dutch story with all the lucidity, thoroughness, and criticism of
 the modern French historical school.


Three reigns of English kings stand out as of exceptional interest in
the history of the Royal Navy. King John's, for in it we first find
a fixed sea force, and the intelligent use of the power it supplies.
King Henry VIII. comes next, and to him belongs the credit of framing
a regular administration. In the reign of Charles II. the work of his
predecessors was completed. The government, or, to employ the phrase
of the time, the "Oeconomy," of the navy was finally established as
it was destined to remain. Succeeding rulers might have to fill up and
perfect, but, except in details, the navy became, under this king,
what it was destined to continue to be through a century and a half
of war and glory. The defects of Charles's character have, perhaps
justly, made posterity somewhat unfair to him. He took the base view
of his office, that it was an estate to be enjoyed. There is an almost
touching candour in his complaint to Clarendon that his subjects spoke
evilly of Barbara Palmer and her like, instead of imitating the French,
who had a becoming respect for the ladies whom the king delighted to
honour. To Charles it appeared to be a truth so manifest as to require
no demonstration that his kingdom was given him for his pleasure, and
that his subjects were to be expected to revere his amusements. In so
far Charles set a ruinous example, for his servants regarded their
offices as he did his crown. Yet the king was intelligent, knew what
ought to be done, was willing to give orders that it should be done,
and to approve of those who worked well for him. His fatal defect was
that he could never make that sacrifice of his ease which was necessary
if he was really to govern. Therefore, though many excellent measures
had his approval, they were commonly carried out detestably.

The main instrument of King Charles's government of his navy was his
brother James, Duke of York, who shared his own character, though
with a much duller intelligence and a far less genial disposition.
The duke had been destined for the office of Lord High Admiral from
his boyhood. During the exile of the Royal House he had for a time
made way for Prince Rupert, but he came into his inheritance with the
Restoration. Acting with the approval and support of the king, the
duke did a great work for the navy. The whole code by which it was
administered on shore, or sailed and fought at sea, during succeeding
generations, was outlined by the various orders of the Duke of York.
To a great extent, no doubt, the merits of the king and his brother
may be said to have been forced upon them. The time was past when the
navy could be treated as a mere collection of ships which might for the
most part lie idle, save in war, or when in peace a minute winter and
summer guard divided its time between escorting ambassadors, and giving
a languid chase to pirates on the coasts of Great Britain. The growth
of commerce, and still more the increased expectation on the part of
subjects that they were to be continually protected in their commerce,
made the maintenance of a permanent force on a large scale necessary.
The Long Parliament and Cromwell had accustomed the country to ten
times more than it had ever received from James I. or Charles I. The
restored monarchy could not safely do much less. With the necessity for
a permanent force came the need for a regular corps of sea officers,
and a great development in the dockyards. But it does not detract
from the credit due to the king and his brother that they did what was
necessary. On the contrary, it is their highest praise. They could not
possibly have had the kind of glory which belongs to Louis XIV. and
Colbert. A French ruler and his minister might create a navy for a
definite political purpose, where none existed, and where none would
ever have come into being without their fostering. The English Navy had
grown out of the needs and with the strength of the nation. It needed
only to be shaped, not built up from the foundations.

In another respect the reign of Charles is an epoch in naval history.
The Royalists might endeavour to restore the ancient framework of
government, and in show they had a great measure of success. But
the monarchy which came back with Charles II. was a very different
thing from the monarchy which perished with Charles I. It had not the
same sanctity. The Royalists might read Filmer, and preach passive
obedience, and talk of Divine Right, but their professions were at
the outside the rhetoric of a party. In Parliament they themselves
were far from disposed to approach the king with the humble deference
their fathers had shown to Elizabeth, and even James. They were
resolved to intermeddle, to control, to have a direct influence on the
administration. They spoke out bold and sharp when they were angry.
Parliament, in fact, would not pay the doctrine, that it was a merely
consultative body, the honour of refutation by argument. However the
high Royalist party might talk, the Peers or the Commons brushed all
theories summarily aside in moments of passion, and insisted on making
their real power felt in the direct control of the administration.

When the Duke of York hoisted his flag as Lord High Admiral at
Schevening in 1660, and escorted his brother back, the materials
forming the Navy of England were in existence. There were the ships,
the dockyards on the river and at Portsmouth, and there were the
officers and crews, and a staff of workmen. What remained to be done
was to establish a permanent code of regulations, and to organise a
regular corps of sea officers. This second part of the duke's duty was
encumbered by a difficulty arising out of the Civil War. The whole body
of the men in command of the ships had been the servants of Oliver
Cromwell. The lower ranks of officers were particularly suspected of
dangerous principles. Yet the monarchy could not afford to dispense
with these men altogether. The few seamen who had followed the fortunes
of the king and Prince Rupert were not numerous enough to supply the
staff of a great fleet, while many of them had lost their experience,
and had been injured in character by the debauchery which had been one
of the main resources of the exiles in idleness. The Crown, therefore,
was compelled to overlook the antecedents of the existing body of
admirals and captains, and to pick out from them those who were the
least likely to prove "factious." Not a few of these men had given
serious guarantees to the Crown. Penn had offered his services before
sailing to Jamaica in 1654. Montagu and Lawson had taken an active
share in the restoration of the king. We may credit them with an honest
conversion to the belief that the choice for England lay between
anarchy and the House of Stuart. We know from Pepys that Montagu can
have had little of what the Cavalier understood by loyalty. He told
his humble kinsman, during the period of confusion which preceded the
Conference at Breda, that the king would probably be restored, but
that unless he minded his manners he would not last long. This was not
the spirit of Sir John Berkeley or Lord Byron. But it may be taken to
represent pretty fairly the view of the average sensible man, in whom
whatever religious and political opinions he might have were modified
by a regard for his own interest. With few exceptions, the leaders of
the fleet were quite as ready as Montagu to serve the king. A few were
set aside as too Puritan to be trustworthy, and among them was Goodson,
who had done such honourable service in the conquest of Jamaica. A
selection was made among the others of men who might be relied on, and
they were bound to the king's service by a retaining fee. These men
were, properly speaking, the beginnings of the corps of naval officers.
They formed a service permanently employed by the king, and had
recognised rights to continue in pay, not only when actually at sea,
but when on shore.

The growth of the navy, and the certainty that in future a large
permanent force would be required, must of themselves have convinced
the king and his brother of the necessity for providing some way of
recruiting this body by trustworthy men as vacancies occurred. It was
no longer possible to wait until war arose, and then provide for the
command of ships by appointing gentlemen and merchant skippers. The way
in which the necessary means were provided is eminently characteristic
of that practical use of expedients by which almost every part of our
administration has been built up. When a similar necessity was seen
by Louis XIV. and his minister Colbert, they met it by establishing
the corps known in the French Navy as the Gardes de la Marine--young
gentlemen who were to be educated in a school set aside for the
purpose. The Duke of York took a very different course, described by
himself in a letter to Sir Richard Stayner.

 "Sir Richard Stayner,--His Royal Highness being desirous to give
 Encouragement to such young Gentlemen as are willing to apply
 themselves to the learning of Navigation, and fitting themselves to
 the Service of the Sea, hath determined, that one Volunteer shall be
 entered on every Ship now going forth; and for his Encouragement,
 that he shall have the Pay of a Midshipman, and one Midshipman less
 be borne on the Ship: In prosecution of this Resolution, I am to
 recommend to you the Bearer Mr. Tho. Darcy; and to desire you that you
 would receive him according to the Intentions of His Royal Highness,
 as I have acquainted you; and that you would shew him such kindness,
 as you shall judge fit for a Gentleman, both in the accommodating
 him in your Ship, and in farthering his Improvement.--I am, Your
 affectionate Friend,

  W. Coventry.

  _May 7, 1661._"

Mr. Thomas Darcy was, in the modern sense of the word, the first
midshipman in the English Navy. The title had hitherto been given to
a petty officer serving under the boatswain, and it even continued
to be used in that sense for some time. By the duke's own orders,
nobody was to be rated a midshipman who had not served seven years
at sea. There does not seem to have been any intention that the
young gentlemen who were sent in the squadron with Stayner to apply
themselves to the learning of navigation, and fit themselves to the
service of the sea, were to be known by the name. It was purely by use
and wont that midshipmen came to be the title of the young gentlemen
who were in training to make officers, and ceased to be applied as had
heretofore been the case. This appointment completed the foundation
of the corps of naval officers. Young gentlemen sent on board ship
in this way were known as King's Letter boys, and it was understood
that they were qualifying for the rank of lieutenant, though they
never were allowed to possess the right to demand it. When this modest
little expedient is compared with the imposing establishment of the
French king, it looks humble enough, yet it may, when judged by the
results, well be considered the wiser method of the two. The French
naval officers of the end of the seventeenth and the whole of the
eighteenth century were more book-learned than ours, more cultivated
men, much more addicted to the scientific side of their profession
and to writing books, but they were far less efficient as practical
seamen. Moreover, they formed a close corporation which had a strong
moral if not legal claim to the exclusive right to command the king's
ships. Such a body was very jealous, and even very selfish. It was
capable of sacrificing the interests of the country to the protection
of its own privileges. On the other hand, the English naval officer
was commonly, in the ordinary sense of the word, ignorant, but he was
thoroughly broken to the sea life, and, if he did not write about his
business, he knew it. Moreover, lads who were sent into a ship simply
to learn, and had no claim to promotion as a matter of right, were
not likely to grow up with the exclusive class jealousy of the French
officer. It must be remembered that the King's Letter boy only differed
from other boys in the manner of his entry into the ship, and because
he was to be treated on the footing of a gentleman. His right to be
promoted depended, not on his King's Letter, but on the amount of his
service and on his capacity to prove himself fit for promotion. Any
other member of the crew who had done the service and possessed the
necessary qualifications was equally capable of receiving the king's
commission. In practice, no doubt, the lad who had sufficient interest
to obtain the King's Letter was more likely to have the interest to
secure promotion than another. In practice, too, the service needed to
qualify for the rank of lieutenant was sometimes given more in show
than reality. The corruption and favouritism of the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries allowed of many abuses. One of these was the habit
of permitting the names of lads to be borne on ships' books while they
themselves were at school or in the nursery; but this is only one of
the innumerable instances in which fact and theory failed to square,
and, however ill the original scheme was carried out, the intention of
the Duke of York was secured in essentials. It came to be understood
that nobody could be an officer in the English Navy who had not served
an apprenticeship in a king's ship, and that, when once an officer,
he was regularly in the service of the king. No doubt this could not
be done at once. During early years, and before a sufficient number
of apprentices had been trained, it was necessary to continue the old
practice of appointing men from the outside. Here, as is so often the
case, the old overlapped the new, but the foundations had been laid,
and it is perfectly accurate to say that the British naval officer, in
the modern sense of the word, dates from the reign of Charles II.

There was nothing accidental in the decision of the Duke of York.
We know again from Pepys, that in the early days of the duke's
administration there was much talk of breeding men to the sea, and
making the sea service as honourable as the land. The appointment of
Darcy was undoubtedly decided on with this very intention, and the
subsequent history of the Royal Navy may be held to show that the duke
builded better than he knew. It was long before his work was complete.
Half-pay, that is, payment when not on active service, was first given
in 1668 to a limited number of flag-officers. Other ranks only got
it by degrees. But the principle was established. When once a king's
officer was in the king's service for life, it followed that he had
a claim to support when not employed. Before the reign of Charles II.
no such right had been recognised, therefore there was then no regular
service.

Another change, which had become a sheer matter of necessity, was
the establishment of a permanent code of discipline. Hitherto each
admiral, on being appointed to his office, had issued his own set of
regulations. By use and wont there had arisen what was called "the
Custom of the Sea." What remained to be done was to give expression
to this custom, with the needful improvements and developments, in a
statute, if that name can be applied to a set of orders promulgated by
an administrative and not a legislative authority. Mention has been
already made of "The Laws of War and Ordinances of the Sea, Ordered and
Established by the Parliament of the Commonwealth of England" in 1652.
This may, in a way, be said to be the first rough draft of the Queen's
Regulations and Admiralty's Instructions. Oddly enough, the code is
in thirty-nine Articles, a number which one would think a Puritan
Parliament would be likely to avoid. A great part of it deals less with
discipline and the duties of officers and men than with exhortations to
fight well and prohibitions against holding relations with the enemy,
or with "malignants." It is, however, explicit on two points: first, on
the course to be taken with prizes, and then on the duties of captains
engaged in convoying merchant ships. The prizes are not to be pillaged,
and the captains engaged on convoy duty are ordered to protect the
merchant ships, and to abstain from making profits for themselves.
Valour against the enemy and obedience to command are enforced in
repeated clauses, and the majority of them end with this formula, or
some variation of it: "upon pain of death or such other punishment as
the offence may deserve."

When the Duke of York drafted his own orders for the general
maintenance of discipline, he no doubt had the Parliament's laws
and ordinances before him. Some of its phrases were adopted, and
one of them continued in use into this century--that, namely, which
forbids unlawful and rash oaths, cursings, execrations, drunkenness,
uncleanness, and other scandalous acts in derogation of God's honour
and corruption of good manners. But there was much in the document
drawn up by the Parliament which would have been out of place in
the duke's instructions. Moreover, it was so much more a general
exhortation to good discipline and hard fighting than a body of
regulations, that the larger part of it was dropped. The Duke of York
himself issued two sets of orders, which were meant to go together and
complete one another. The first contains the "general instructions"
addressed to each captain, and consists of forty-four Articles. The
second is headed, "Orders Established for the well governing of His
Majesty's Ships, and Preservation of good order among the respective
Commanders, Officers, and Seamen serving His Majesty in the same."

The general instructions are calculated to produce a somewhat
unfavourable impression of the moral qualities both of the ships'
companies and the workmen in the dockyard. From first to last the
captain is instructed to be constantly on watch against those who will
defraud the king if they can, and is threatened with dire consequences
if he is himself guilty of fraud. The forty-third Article addresses
him in language which would be considered now highly insulting to any
gentleman. He is told that when his ship is paid off, he shall not
have any part of his pay till the principal officers of the navy are
persuaded of his honesty; and there is a rider to the effect that
if his misdeeds escaped detection at the time, and were afterwards
discovered, the duke will take care that he is duly punished. To judge
from these instructions, what the Government was chiefly anxious to
secure in the case of a captain was, that he would go early to his
ship, leave her as little as possible, and be vigilant in putting
a stop to that practice of defrauding the king which "has become a
frequent (though insufferable) abuse." There is something almost
pathetic in the indignant "though insufferable" which breaks into the
wording of this clause. Other Articles throw a light on the discipline
and organisation of the time. Thus, Article XV. orders the captain to
rate no man A.B. until he has had five years' sea service, and no man
a midshipman who has not had seven, and is able to navigate, except
by special orders. The exception provides for the case of Mr. Thomas
Darcy and others. By Article XXII. he is ordered to demand the salute
within the four seas, and under no condition to give a salute anywhere
unless he is sure it will be returned. Article XXXIX. is particularly
valuable, because it tells us what was then considered the training
required to form a seaman gunner. The captain is told to take care
"that for the first month the men be exercised twice a week, to the
end that they may become good firemen, allowing six shots for every
exercising. That the second month they be exercised once every week,
and after that only once in two months, allowing six shots to every
exercising." This does not necessarily mean that the men were not
exercised at the guns except when they were firing at the target. By
Article XL. we learn that there were many complaints that captains
carry merchandise. This they were forbidden to do, unless it be "gold,
silver, or jewels." A great deal is heard of this complaint and this
regulation during the reign of Charles and his brother. There will be
occasion to come back to it, for the purpose of showing how ill and how
little it was obeyed.

"The Orders Established for the well governing of His Majesty's Ships"
are but ten in number. They are a series of rapid prohibitions of
such offences as swearing (this was a dead letter), drunkenness (very
partially obeyed), sleeping on watch, breaking leave, and so forth.
It is noteworthy that the penalty attached is in most cases loss of
pay. There are, however, exceptions. First, Article III. declares that
if any man receiving the pay of a seaman, or less, is found guilty
of telling a lie, he shall be hoisted to the forebrace with a shovel
and broom tied to his back, and the crew shall cry, "A liar, a liar!"
Flogging, which was afterwards so common in the navy, is only mentioned
once in Article VIII., as the punishment due, according to the Custom
of the Sea, for certain dirty acts, which are specified with an
explicitness of language impossible to quote.

Alongside of the organisation of a regular service and the establishing
of a code of discipline there was much other work to be done. The first
and the most important was to settle the system of administration
in the civil branches and the dockyards. During the Commonwealth
and Protectorate the navy had been governed by Commissioners of the
Admiralty, a Commission for discharging the office of Lord High Admiral
at sea, and by other Commissioners for executing the duties of the Navy
Office. With the Restoration there was an inevitable desire to restore
the old prevailing system of the monarchy. The duke took his office as
Lord High Admiral and gathered all its power into his own hands. At the
same time, the Navy Office was replaced on the old footing, with one
significant change. Two Commissioners were added to the Navy Board,
John, Lord Berkeley, and Penn, with general powers of supervision
and control. Sir W. Coventry, who was also Secretary to the Duke of
York, was added as a third Commissioner in 1662. There were also
Commissioners of Dockyards at Chatham, Harwich (a post suppressed in
1668), and Portsmouth who did not belong to the Board. During the first
days of his rule the duke was compelled by necessity to go on with the
machinery left him by Cromwell. Until the arrears of the navy were paid
off, no new start could be made. So soon as this was done, the duke
re-established the old order. The regulations which he issued were not
in the main new, but were a repetition of those promulgated by the
Earl of Northumberland when he was made Lord High Admiral in 1638. The
duke prefixed to them a letter which is of considerable interest. From
it we learn that the necessity for removing from the navy officers of
dangerous principles and replacing them by new men had introduced many
into the king's ships who were incompetent. The officers were therefore
ordered to get reports from the captains as to the conduct of their
subordinates, in order that those who were shown to be unfit might be
removed. Then follows the body of the orders. Although they made a very
small book when published under the name of the "Oeconomy of the
Navy Office" in 1717, they are longer than they need have been if mere
repetition had been avoided, and a more businesslike arrangement had
been adopted. The officers are first to do everything jointly and then
to do it separately, and many of the articles are but echoes of one
another. As these orders are but a re-issue of Northumberland's, they
contain no notice of the functions of the two Commissioners, but we
learn from them at great length and very explicitly what the functions
of the Treasurer, Surveyor, Comptroller, and Clerk of the Acts were
and continued to be until the reorganisation carried out by Sir James
Graham. The introduction which is addressed to the Board as a whole is
minute, but the essential clause of it is the XVIIIth. It instructs
them that they are to watch and check one another, "and so all may
inspect each other's actions by their general power as officers, there
being no difference in their trust, though otherwise a distinction in
their places and particular duties and employments." What they were to
check and inspect will be best shown by the functions of each officer,
but it must be understood that whatever any head of a department could
do in his own place, all could do in any department for the general
service.

The first of these officers in dignity was the Treasurer of the Navy.
As his name shows, he was responsible for the financial management. It
was his duty to make a statement of accounts for others to pass--that
is to say, to accept as accurate in so far as their own departments
were concerned. It was he who solicited for "Privy Seals"; in other
words, he drew the money from the Lord High Treasurer. He made a yearly
report to the Lord High Admiral of the state of all the departments
in the navy. He was forbidden to pay bills by which the king or the
party to whom the same was due might be "damnified," and he was ordered
to be present at all payments and to charge himself fairly with all
abatements, etc.

The officer who ought to be named next, though he comes third in the
"Oeconomy of the Navy," is the Surveyor. It was his business to make
an estimate at the end of each year of the stores needed for the next;
to report to the Lord High Admiral on the state of the ships; to take
care by himself or his "instruments" that all stores be right as to
price and quality; to keep an account of all loans of stores issued
out of the usual course on sudden need or private service; to charge
and discharge all boatswains--that is to say, to debit them with all
stores issued to ships, and to credit them with all stores properly
used. At the end of every year he was instructed to ask his brother
officers to inspect his trust--or, in more modern phrase, to certify he
had done his work properly. He was to keep books. At the end of every
year he was to report what repairs would be required in the next. Then
comes an instruction which is very significant, for in it lies part
of the explanation of the failure of these elaborate instructions to
secure their purpose. The surveyor was told that, as the increase of
the navy and its lying in several places far distant made it impossible
for him to see to everything as heretofore, his duty might have to be
discharged by a Clerk of Survey, but in that case the clerk was not to
issue bills, nor was the surveyor to go by his subordinate's opinion
only.

The next officer to be noticed is the Comptroller. Put briefly, the
duty of this official was to check the books of the treasurer and
surveyor. For this purpose he kept a separate set of accounts, and
was expected to superintend all the payments made by the Navy Office
and to survey the stores. He was to inform the Board of the current
prices of the market; to examine the storekeeper's books every quarter;
to be present at all the meetings; to watch his brother officers
continually; to report to the Lord High Admiral on the state and
amount of the stores; to keep an account of all imprests, that is,
all money advanced; to keep a copy of all estimates, privy seals, and
assignations of money to the treasurer; and finally, to balance the
treasurer and victualler's accounts, so that he may report to the Lord
High Admiral whether any of the king's money is in hand at the end of
the year.

The last of the great officers forming the Board was the Clerk of the
Navy or Clerk of the Acts. This official answered to the permanent
Under Secretary of our time. He was, in fact, the head of the
secretariat, or purely office work, and it was his duty to attend
all meetings of the Board and to keep a record of all transactions.
It appears from the "Oeconomy of the Navy" that he was hampered by
the obligation to control what were called "petty emptions," by which
were probably meant the purchase of stationery, furniture, etc., which
were required for the office. But it was added, that as so much more
of this work has to be done now than was formerly the case, he may
leave it to be done by subordinates, whom, however, he was expected
to control. It was also his duty to see that a "plurality of persons
was proposed for the supply of all wants." The modern statement of
this obligation would be that he was bound to take care that the
surveyor and other members of the Board did not get into the habit of
dealing with one merchant only, with whom they might have a corrupt
understanding.

Beneath these great officials there were a number of lesser and
subordinate officers who did not form a part of the Navy Board. The
first of these was the Storekeeper, whose function it was to receive
all stores, stow them away, and issue them out again on a warrant
of two or more principal officers. He was to examine all bills for
stores delivered; to refuse what was unfit; to receive no stores
without a copy of the contract; to keep accounts; to do all work by
himself, and not, unless in case of necessity, by his servants. These
instructions applied to what were called in-stores--that is to say,
perishable things kept in warehouses. They held good, however, for all
out-stores--that is to say, wood, metal, etc., which lay in the open
air. He was minutely directed as to the tests to be applied to timber,
and was to take care that when ships were broken up, all the parts
worth keeping were kept.

The Clerk of the Cheque was in fact a time-clerk. It was his business
to check the number of men employed, and the time they worked. He was
to take surprise-musters whenever he pleased, and to hold an ordinary
muster once a month. He was to watch the porter and the storekeeper.
The abuses which he was especially instructed to prevent are still
familiar to all who have to superintend a great shop or workyard,
"such as men coming late to work, departing from work before the bell
rings, tippling in alehouses or the porter's taphouse, carriaging
away of timber instead of chips, etc." Chips, be it observed, came to
be the slang name for all kinds of pilfering from the dockyards. It
was a well-established joke to say that the handsome houses in their
neighbourhood were all built out of chips. The clerk of the cheque was
bound to draw up and send to the treasurer the muster-books of ships
newly commissioned.

The Master Attendant was in fact a sailing-master employed in a
dockyard, and not in a ship. He did the purely naval work of the yard,
such as shifting ships at their moorings, and maintaining discipline
among the caretakers.

The title of Master Shipwright explains itself. The officers known by
that name were in fact shipbuilders. It is worthy of note that they are
vehemently forbidden to beautify ships--that is to say, to waste the
king's stores in those elaborate carvings and gildings which the sea
officers loved. In some of the models of the time, it is not only the
case that the bow and stern are covered with elaborate carving, but the
very portholes are surrounded with wreaths of gilded laurel.

The Clerk of the Ropeyard was a clerk of the cheque for the ropewalks.
The Porter was an official of some dignity, who exercised very
necessary functions. It depended more on him than any other man to
check common and vulgar pilfering, therefore he was particularly
instructed "to take notice of all back doors, all private passages by
water, in the shipwrights' or caulkers' own boats, or through men's
houses, or over the walls, etc., and to observe from time to time all
those who used conveyances and neglect the common passage of the King's
Gate, and to give the Clerk of the Cheque notice thereof of their check
and amendments." Private passage means of course private errand, and
by that doorway many millions of the king's money leaked away during
a century and a half. The porter was carefully instructed to sell no
drink.

The boatswains of the yard took charge of the stores and tackle under
the orders of a master shipwright. The boatswains of ships were the
caretakers of the vessels at the moorings. The gunner of the yard
had general charge of the stores, and was bound to watch one night
out of three. The purser of the yard took charge of food, served out
provisions, and was also bound to watch one night out of three.

If the most elaborate provisions for standing on guard against fraud
could have kept the civil administration of the navy honest, these
orders of the Earl of Northumberland, renewed and emphasised by the
Duke of York, ought to have effected that wholesome purpose. Nothing
can surpass the care taken to check the malpractices of one individual
by the vigilance of another. The ideal which has been satirically
attributed to certain Continental politicians, namely, the employment
of half of the population as police spies on the other, would seem to
have been reached in these instructions, and it would appear to be
almost impossible for anyone to commit fraud under the vigilant watch
of so many competent observers. But we know as a matter of fact that
the administration of the navy was very corrupt under Charles II., and
that it continued to be corrupt throughout the whole of the eighteenth
century, and that the abuses were so flagrant in the beginning of this
as to provoke the appointment of a Commission when Lord St. Vincent was
head of the Admiralty. The great original cause of this failure was
unquestionably a moral one. The most artful provisions for preventing
pilfering and waste are useless when the officials whose duty it is to
carry them out are themselves wasteful and dishonest. We know that in
the reign of Charles II., everybody, from the king downwards, looked to
make his pleasure, or his profit, out of his share of the government
of the country. The more honest among them were content to get what
gifts they could from those who had occasion to frequent their office
and thought it worth while to buy their friendship. Samuel Pepys, for
instance, who, according to the standard of the time, was rather an
honest official, took every penny he could get. Pepys, however, seems
to have drawn the line at entering into a conspiracy to steal stores
or to supply bad ones. Others who were less scrupulous pushed his
practices a step or two further. They were not content with merely
taking such gifts as might be made them by a contractor who still
supplied good stores. They were ready to help a fraudulent tradesman
to sell rubbish to the State, provided he made it worth their while.
Even short of this excess a great deal was done which was in reality
fraudulent. There came to be a kind of tradition that what was taken
from the State was stolen from nobody in particular. Men who were
honourable enough in private transactions had no scruple about licking
their fingers "like good cooks" when what stuck to them was the money
voted for the navy. Such men were not likely to be vigilant in watching
the similar offences of other people. They were too conscious that
they themselves were vulnerable. Thus a tradition of dishonesty and a
habit of waste established themselves in the dockyards, and it at last
reached such a height that money disappeared by millions in a few years.

Even if the code of honour had been higher, it would have been
difficult to prevent waste and mismanagement altogether. There was
a defect in the organisation of the Navy Office which counteracted
the purpose of all the instructions. They were drawn up by the Earl
of Northumberland at a time when the navy was still a small force
and its establishments were very limited. At that time it was not
difficult for the four officers of the Navy Board to maintain that
personal supervision of every detail of the service contemplated by
the instructions. But with the growth of the English Navy in the
middle of the seventeenth century, with the great developments of
its establishments caused by the construction of the dry dock at
Portsmouth, which belongs to the time of the Commonwealth, this had
entirely ceased to be the case. It was little less than absurd to
expect the treasurer, surveyor, comptroller, and clerk of the acts
to be present at all ratings and payments, and to superintend every
detail of the receipt and issue of stores of so great a force as the
English Navy, yet this is what was contemplated. The truth that the
task was beyond the power of the officers was not recognised by the
duke and his advisers. In the instructions to the surveyor there is
some slight recognition of the fact, but it does not go nearly far
enough. The consequence of expecting four men at the head of the
civil administration of the navy to superintend personally every
detail of its working, down to the mere receipt and issue of stores
in the ordinary course of business, was an utter want of direct
responsibility for the sufficient execution of the work. The men at the
head could not do all that was expected of them in theory. Therefore
they in practice left it to their subordinates. The subordinates,
again, could do nothing of themselves, but only by the orders of their
superiors. Thus nobody was really answerable for carrying out the work.
The men at the head escaped responsibility because it was physically
impossible for them to attend to everything. The men below escaped
because they only acted by order. Between the two a host of makeshift
usages grew up, which in their origin were inspired by nothing more
lofty than the convenience of the officials. When men found that they
could take with impunity, they took. It may be doubtful, if we look
at the moral standard of the time, whether any organisation of the
office would have prevented dishonesty. It is certain, however, that
the organisation, which as a matter of fact did exist, gave corruption
every chance. Yet it is advisable not to exaggerate the extent of the
evil. That there were robbery and waste is an undeniable fact. Many
fine houses were built out of chips, and fortunes were made at the
public expense. During the reign of Charles II. and the generation
following, when the corruption was at its worst, rotten ships and bad
stores were to be found; even then, however, efficient ships were
sent to sea. Later on, corruption took the form of spending a great
deal more than was necessary, rather than supplying bad goods. The
prevailing sentiment of the time looked upon robbing the State very
much as otherwise quite honourable people still look upon a little
smuggling.

The attempt to make the principal officers of the navy jointly
responsible met with the success which, as experience has shown,
generally follows on the effort to give a collective character to what
from the necessity of the case must needs be individual. It may be laid
down as a general rule, that where several men are said to be jointly
responsible, one of two things will happen. Either they will all insist
upon acting effectively, and in that case nothing will be done; or
else one of them will gain a superiority of influence, and then the
others, though nominally his equals, will in reality be reduced to the
position of subordinates. It was the second of these alternatives which
became practically established in the working of the Navy Office. The
comptroller, who in theory was empowered only to check the treasurer
and surveyor, became gradually the most important officer of the Board.
The Lord High Admiral, or the Commissioners who were discharging the
office, learned from him what had been done or what it was desirable to
do. In the same way the members of our own Admiralty Board, though in
theory jointly responsible with the First Lord, have in practice become
subordinate to him.

In the course of time, too, other departments began to group themselves
around the Navy Board, in proportion as the work grew more complex.
The Commonwealth had already found it necessary to establish a special
commission for dealing with the Sick and Hurt. The Sick and Hurt Office
became a permanent part of the machinery of naval administration. To it
was left the management of the Chest at Chatham. This fund, originally
established by Sir John Hawkins in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, was
fed by the fines levied for breach of discipline and by percentages of
prizes. It was meant to be devoted to the support of seamen disabled
in service, either by sickness or wounds. In the reign of William III.
it was reinforced by a sum levied on the pay of all seamen, and in
later days the maladministration of this fund grew into an outrageous
abuse. The business of victualling the navy had originally been
discharged by an official in the department of the surveyor, but it
grew beyond his power to discharge. At the very end of the reign of
Charles II., in 1683, a special Victualling Board was created. Later
on, other departments were made separate, such, for instance, as the
Commissioners for Transports, who were established and abolished, and
then established again. Then there was a special Pay Office; and it
must be understood that, while the main lines remained unchanged, there
was much that was fluid, unstable, and tentative in details. When it
was fully grown, the old naval administration consisted of no less than
fifteen departments. It was a further cause of confusion that they
were not even all under one roof. The Navy Office was in Seething Lane,
the Sick and Hurt, with the Victualling Board, had their office on
Tower Hill. The Pay Office was in Broad Street.

It was another proof of the final formation of the navy in this reign,
that a special corps of soldiers was now first established for service
in the fleet. This was the Admiral's, or, as it was called from the
colour of its uniform, the Yellow Regiment. It was the first corps
of marines proper of which we have any notice. Soldiers had been
largely employed in the fleet before, but it does not appear that any
attempt had been made to distinguish between the soldier who served in
the king's ships and the soldier who was available for all military
services. The Admiral's Regiment was specially devoted to the fleet.
This corps was the predecessor, but not the ancestor, of the modern
Marines. It was created partly, as it would seem, by drafts from one of
the London trained bands in 1664, at the outbreak of the second Dutch
war, and was disbanded at the Revolution. The old belief that the naval
officer was rather a fighting man at sea than a seaman, was still so
strong that the functions of officer in the Admiral's Regiment and
naval officer were still considered interchangeable.

The period during which the sea service was growing to its full stature
was also one of strenuous and varied fighting. When King Charles II.
was restored to his throne in what is officially counted as the twelfth
year of his reign, the unstable adventurers who had temporarily held,
or professed to hold, power in England had a considerable armament at
sea. Richard Cromwell sent a force to the north, under the command of
Edward Montagu. The object of this expedition was to intervene in the
war between the Kings of Sweden and Denmark. A Commission, including
Algernon Sidney, was sent to keep a watch on the admiral. But Montagu
was too anxious as to his own fortunes in the prevailing confusion at
home to have the heart to act so far away, and his subordinate officers
were of the same way of thinking. They took a pretext to return home,
leaving the Commissioners behind them. In England, where Richard
Cromwell had been upset, there was no definite authority to call them
to account. Montagu indeed retired from the command for a time, and was
replaced by John Lawson. This seaman was an Anabaptist. From his own
account he had begun life as skipper and part owner of a small trading
vessel in the north of England. Clarendon called his trade by its name
when he described Lawson as a collier. During the Civil War he had
fought both on land and sea for the Parliament. It might be supposed
that with this past, and with what was then called his fanatical
principles, Lawson would have been an opponent of the Restoration of
the king. Yet he was found agreeing with, if not promoting, a petition
from the fleet in favour of the Restoration, and he co-operated with
Monk. When the king's Government was established, some of the Royalists
were disposed to visit Lawson's earlier sins upon him, but he and the
other experienced seamen of the Commonwealth were too useful to the
Crown to be dispensed with. King Charles II., with characteristic wit,
described them as men who having had the pest already and been cured
of it, were therefore the less likely to be infected again. The high
praise given by Clarendon to the character of Lawson shows that, in the
opinion of a thorough Cavalier, the Anabaptist seaman had accepted the
monarchy without reserve.

There was much work for the king's sea officers to do. It was
impossible, to begin with, for the restored monarchy to neglect the
work of protecting commerce in the Mediterranean, and the navy was
hardly established on its new footing under the Duke of York before
a naval force was despatched against the Barbary pirates. The latter
part of 1660 and the whole of 1661 had been spent in the work of
settling the new Government. Parliament had to vote money for the
payment of arrears, and it was indeed impossible for the new rulers
to take all in hand very speedily. So soon, however, as Parliament
had supplied necessary funds, and as the work of new modelling the
list of officers--that is, of removing all who were too Puritan, and
re-establishing as many Royalists as it was safe to employ--had been
completed, a squadron was sent abroad, under the command of Montagu,
now created Earl of Sandwich, with Lawson as second. It had a double
duty to perform. The first part of its work was to chastise the Barbary
pirates, who had recovered from the scare caused by Blake's attack on
Tunis, and were again engaged in searching and plundering English ships
in the Mediterranean. Then the fleet had to bring home the king's wife,
Catharine of Braganza, after taking possession of the post on the coast
of Africa ceded as part of her dower.

The attempt to bring the Barbary pirates to order met with very
indifferent success. Sandwich sailed to Algiers, with eighteen
men-of-war and two fireships. He appeared before Algiers in July,
and began negotiating through the English Consul, Mr. Brown. The
negotiations came to very little, for the Algerines refused to
relinquish their right of search, and the fleet was not strong enough
to bombard the town. In this dilemma, Sandwich decided on dividing the
fleet, and devoting each part of it to one of the missions he had to
fulfil. Lawson was left with twelve ships to prosecute the war against
the pirates, while the earl carried out the more diplomatic half of his
mission. The station on the coast of Africa, ceded to England as part
of the dowry of Catharine of Braganza, was the town of Tangier, which
lies just outside of the Straits of Gibraltar, and then passed for a
good port. The Government of Charles II. is open to severe criticism
on many grounds, but it cannot be said to have habitually neglected
what were then considered the commercial interests of the nation. One
of these was held to be the possession of a useful seaport, either in,
or close to, the mouth of the Mediterranean. As far back as the reign
of Queen Elizabeth, some of her officers had lamented the evacuation
of Cadiz, on the ground that it would have been of the greatest
possible use to us if we had decided to keep it. Cromwell had directed
his officers commanding his fleet on the coast of Spain to consider
the possibility of seizing on Gibraltar. When the Government of the
king asked for the possession of Tangier as part of the dowry of the
Portuguese princess, it took the best possible means of reconciling
Englishmen to a Roman Catholic marriage, and gave them something to
set off against the subsequent surrender of Dunkirk to the French king.
A less conspicuous gain, in the opinion of the time, was the transfer
to England of the island of Bombay, which also formed part of the
queen's dower. The occupation of these two posts marked another step
forward in the development of the English Navy. Bombay was not destined
to become a royal naval station for some time. It was taken possession
of by the Earl of Marlborough, James Ley, for the king, but was soon
after handed over to the East India Company. For that very reason it
had a better chance of remaining a permanent part of the dominion of
England. Tangier, which at the time seemed much the greater possession,
was destined to be handed back to the Moors by the English king, by
whom it had been received from the Portuguese. Yet the mere fact
that these two posts over sea were accepted by the king, was a sign
that he was prepared to employ his navy at all distances, and in all
climates, in the general interests of the State. This, again, implied
the maintenance of a permanent efficient force. It is possible that if
Sandwich had delayed taking possession of Tangier a little longer, it
might not have been in the power of the Portuguese to hand it over.
When the English admiral reached the bay, the white garrison had just
been wholly destroyed in an ambush by the Moors. Sandwich withdrew the
survivors of the Portuguese garrison, and left an English force to hold
the town, under command of the Earl of Peterborough. He then went on
to Lisbon, for the purpose of embarking the queen and escorting her to
England. His functions were as much diplomatic as naval, for he was
charged with receiving the money of the young queen's dower and making
the final arrangements with the Portuguese Government. This part of
his work gave Sandwich more trouble than the Algerine pirates or the
besiegers of Tangier. The Government at Lisbon had promised more than
it could pay, and when it did at last produce a part of the queen's
dower, the payment was made in goods and not in money. When he reached
England with the queen, Sandwich fell into temporary disgrace, not
because he had failed in his duty, but because the poor young queen did
not bring as much money as her impecunious husband had hoped for, and
then because she for a time rebelled against the necessity of receiving
her husband's numerous mistresses; and all who had a hand in the
marriage suffered from the king's irritation.

While Sandwich was taking possession of Tangier, and haggling
with Portuguese ministers over the queen's dower, Lawson had been
prosecuting the war against the Algerine pirates. He met on the whole
with more success than might have been expected. The lesser pirate
States of Tunis and Tripoli were comparatively easy to cow, but Algiers
was a formidable opponent. There were two ways of dealing with it
effectually, and Lawson was not able to use either to the full. One was
to bombard it with a fleet capable of beating down the fortifications
and firing the town. The other was to establish a blockade which could
put an entire stop to piratical voyages. Lawson's fleet was not strong
enough for the first, nor was it either numerous enough or well enough
supplied for the second. Yet, by pertinacity and vigilance he brought
the Government of the Dey so far to submission that he undertook to
give up some hundred and fifty English and Scotch prisoners, who
were then in slavery in the town. Some vessels also were returned--a
concession to which the Algerines were no doubt more readily brought,
because English-built craft were of little use for piratical purposes.
When, however, Lawson went on to make a demand for the captured
goods, he was refused peremptorily. He was not the man to endure the
arrogance of the pirates while it was in his power to chastise them. An
opportunity presented itself for teaching them a lesson. One of their
vessels, a cruiser of thirty-four guns, allowed herself to be caught
out of the protection of the fortifications. Lawson immediately seized
her, and retaliated for the wrong done to English captives by selling
all the Turks or Moors who formed part of her crew, as slaves to work
in the galleys of the Duke of Beaufort, the French admiral, who was
then cruising in the Mediterranean. This vigorous measure brought the
Algerines to reason for the moment; but it was only for the moment,
and several expeditions were required during the reign of Charles II.
before this pirate State was made to understand that English ships must
be left alone.

Lawson remained in the Mediterranean until 1663. During the latter
part of his stay in that sea he co-operated for a time with the
Dutch admiral, Michael de Ruyter, who also had been sent into the
Mediterranean on the never-ending duty of cowing the Algerines. The
causes which put a stop to the combined action of the Christian
admirals go far to explain why what has been justly described as
the disgrace of Christendom was allowed to endure until the present
century. The Powers of Europe were, in fact, too bitterly divided by
rivalries and quarrels of their own, either to combine for the purpose
of suppressing Mohammedan piracy, or even to allow one another to act
with energy. When De Ruyter met Lawson, he saluted the English flag
with guns and lowered his own. Lawson returned the guns, but not the
salute with the flag. The Dutch admiral not unnaturally considered this
an insult. The pretension of the English to the sovereignty of the
seas around Great Britain had been accepted by the Hollanders in 1653,
but they did not suppose that they would be compelled to acknowledge
themselves inferior to the English in all waters. De Ruyter considered
himself aggrieved, and made a complaint to the Grand Pensionary John
de Witt. His own determination was not to salute Lawson again if they
met, but he was instructed from home to lower his flag whenever he came
across the English admiral, taking care, however, to avoid him as much
as he could. When a man has to keep out of the way of another for fear
of being insulted by him, the two can hardly co-operate effectively
against a common enemy.

John de Witt, who was keenly alive to the dignity of his country, would
not have despatched such orders as these to De Ruyter if he had not
been under the influence of a great fear. If he sacrificed the feelings
of his seamen and the pride of Holland on a point of etiquette, it was
because he was then endeavouring to avert the war which the English
Court showed every sign of intending to force upon him. The causes of
the second Dutch war were, to some extent, those which had led to the
first. They were compendiously stated by Monk, now Duke of Albemarle,
when he said that it was idle to dispute as to the rights and wrongs of
the quarrels between the two nations, since they essentially amounted
to this, that the English wanted a larger share of the trade enjoyed by
the Dutch. The result of the first war had not been all that Englishmen
expected. Oliver Cromwell's policy of hostility to Spain had thrown the
whole trade with that country, formerly enjoyed by us, into the hands
of Holland. Dutch commerce had revived very rapidly after the disasters
of the naval war. The successful intervention of Holland in the war
between Sweden and Denmark had restored the prestige of the Republic,
while the administration of the Loevenstein Party, however unwise
it might be in other respects, was very vigorous, intelligent, and
economical in matters of commerce. Thus, when the return of the king
brought peace abroad to England, we found the Dutch traders competing
with us as successfully as ever. In the Far East, the powerful Dutch
East India Company remained as jealous and exclusive as before. However
willing the States General may have been to fulfil the promises they
had made to Cromwell, they were unable to control the agents of the
Dutch East India Company in the Spice Islands. English ships trading
to the East complained that they were stopped and turned back by the
Dutch. Whatever element of truth there was--and in the midst of much
exaggeration there was a certain amount of truth--in these complaints,
the English Government conducted negotiations with the obvious
intention of making the most of their grievances. Our representative
at the Hague was Sir George Downing, a man who had formerly served
Oliver Cromwell and had then made his peace with the king. Downing, who
appears to have been by nature an insolent, overbearing man, knew that
he would please his new masters by taking a high tone with the Dutch,
and he played his game heartily. He did not scruple to do, as indeed
most ambassadors of the time would have done, namely, intrigue with
those members of the States General whom he knew to be rivals of John
de Witt.

The commercial rivalry of the nations was exasperated by political
dislike between the Governments. John de Witt had been forced by
Cromwell to pass the Perpetual Edict, a law of the States General,
designed to exclude the House of Orange Nassau from the position it had
held in the United Provinces. However unwilling the Grand Pensionary
may have been to take this step under foreign dictation, the exclusion
of the Princes of Orange from the place of Stadtholder, with command
of the army and fleet, was so consistent with the interest of the
Loevenstein Party that they could not repeal the Edict. But the young
Prince of Orange was the nephew of the King of England. Family feeling
has rarely induced any prince to abstain from indulging his ambition,
but it is a useful pretext for doing what has already been resolved on
for less avowable reasons. Charles II. had not forgiven the Dutch for
excluding him from their territory at the instance of Oliver Cromwell.
When he was recalled in 1660, they had, with some poorness of spirit,
endeavoured to pacify him by profuse honours and by a loan of money.
Even if Charles II. had been a less cynical man than his education had
rendered him, he would hardly have put a high value on courtesies which
were manifestly dictated by fear. His jesting remark on the ample table
provided for him by the States General shows that he estimated their
attentions at their true value. "Their High Mightinesses," he said, "no
doubt provided a good dinner, but several of them always came to share
it, and he thought that they might be said to entertain themselves at
least as much as him." When the king returned, the interest he took in
the commerce of his country served to make him share the jealousies of
his subjects. The king and his brother became large shareholders in the
Royal Guinea Company. This was a trading corporation established for
the purpose of supplying slaves in the West Indies and America. It had
its agents in our own possessions in the Antilles, and it cherished the
hope of monopolising the whole trade in slaves. In the West Indies the
local agents were busy in endeavouring to compel the Spaniards to buy
their negroes from us. The reluctance of the Spanish authorities to
take the business away from the Genoese Company, which already enjoyed
the monopoly, and indeed to allow English trade in any form, had much
to do with provoking the attacks on their possessions by the buccaneers
who were commissioned and sent out by the king's governor in Jamaica.
In this field of activity also we had to expect the rivalry of the
Dutch, who held several stations on the West Coast of Africa, and were
no less eager than ourselves to smuggle blacks into Spanish America. At
the same time, they were very well disposed to carry on the trade with
our possessions. The English planter, like the Spaniard, preferred to
buy his negroes cheap, and, when a Dutchman would sell them for less
than an Englishman, had not the slightest scruple in dealing with the
foreign interloper. Thus the price of the Guinea Company's negroes was
kept down. To get rid of this competition was a very essential object
with the Company. It was by an effort to effect the purpose that the
second Dutch war began.

The habit of conducting colonial ventures by great chartered
companies lent itself very easily to the promotion of international
quarrels. Rival traders who had the command of an armed force were
particularly likely to come to blows, when they enjoyed a position of
semi-sovereignty, and were divided from all control on the part of
their Government by a distance of thousands of miles. The check which
even the Company itself could keep on its agents, when news took from
six months to a year to reach home, and eighteen months or two years
might pass before the superior's comment on the subordinate's actions
could reach its destination at the other side of the world, was weak.
The control of the State was illusory. It was first informed of the
real or imaginary excesses of its subjects in a complaint from a
foreign ambassador. It could not act without further evidence, which
was not to be obtained till after months of delay, and was then sure
to be vitiated by the partiality of the witness. Thus wars on a
considerable scale could be carried on by trading companies. The motive
was hardly ever wanting, since there were sure to be disputes as to
the respective rights, possessions, and, as we should now say, spheres
of influence of the parties. Even in our own time it has required all
the infinitely greater power of the central Government to prevent
collisions between bodies of adventurers in remote regions. Sometimes
the central Government has acted too late. In the seventeenth century
the utmost good-will on the part of the States General and the Crown of
England could hardly have availed to avert conflict between Englishmen
and Dutchmen, on the West Coast of Africa and in the more remote Spice
Islands. When national sentiment was loud in favour of the adventurers
on one side, a collision was inevitable. There can be no question that
sentiment in England was strongly hostile to the Dutch. If the king was
disposed to promote a war with the United Provinces, he was certainly
well supported by his subjects. The complaints of the merchants who
considered themselves aggrieved by the Dutch were favourably listened
to by the House of Commons. Both Houses joined in an address to the
king, calling on him to take vengeance for the wrongs done by the Dutch
to English traders. The amount of the injury was put at the certainly
enormously exaggerated figure of seven or eight hundred thousand pounds.

When the State was disposed to allow a trading company to conduct wars
on its own account, it was easy to take a further step. The next thing
to do was to help the Company to fight, without going to the length
of declaring war against the nation to which the Company's rivals
belonged. We have seen, in the case of Oliver Cromwell's expedition
to the West Indies, that the practice of the time allowed of what may
be called partial war--that is to say, it was thought legitimate to
conduct aggressive hostilities in one part of the world, without making
a general war. The king and the Duke of York, when they found that war
with the States would be popular, decided to follow Cromwell's example.
A squadron was fitted out to attack the Dutch possessions on the West
Coast of Africa, and was placed under the command of Sir Robert Holmes.
Holmes has been mentioned already as one of the Royalist officers who
had followed Prince Rupert. In the course of that cruise he had visited
the West Coast of Africa, and had then been encouraged by the Dutch to
attack his own countrymen. In the course of his operations, Holmes must
have become well acquainted with the coast, and it was doubtless this
knowledge that marked him out for the command. He sailed from England
with a small squadron in October 1663. His instructions were to avoid
fighting as far as possible.

We do the king and Duke of York no injustice in supposing that these
orders were rather meant to be quoted for diplomatic purposes than
to be strictly acted upon by the admiral. The whole history of Sir
Robert Holmes's cruise shows clearly that he knew beforehand that he
would not be blamed for fighting if he could find a plausible excuse
for hostilities, and that, when once the fighting had begun, he would
not be expected to confine himself to moderate reprisals. A plausible
excuse could hardly be wanting. When Holmes reached the river Gambia,
he found the English traders and the Portuguese, who were now our
allies, full of bitter complaints of the excesses of the Dutch. On his
way he had come across a Dutch ship, and, on searching her, found,
as he alleged, orders to the Dutch governor, Valckenburg, to seize
the English fort at Cape Cormantin. How Sir Robert Holmes reconciled
the act of searching a Dutch ship in time of peace, and on the high
seas, with his instructions to avoid hostilities, we are not told.
From the Dutch point of view he acted on the principles of the wolf,
and assailed the lamb for troubling the water. The rival accounts of
Dutch governors and English naval officers are utterly irreconcilable,
and perhaps not worth reconciling. When Englishmen had made their
minds up, as they had, that they wanted more of the trade enjoyed
by the Dutch, and when the Dutch were, as might have been expected,
thoroughly resolved to keep all the trade they enjoyed, it was a
matter of course either that aggressions would be committed, or that
one of the two parties would believe that they had been committed.
Sir Robert Holmes made a number of prizes in the neighbourhood of
the Cape de Verd Islands, and then swept the coast as far down as
Sierra Leone. An attack on the Dutch post at St. George da Mina was
repulsed, but he took possession of some other minor posts. His next
step supplies overwhelming evidence to show that he had not been sent
out to avoid hostilities, and had not only been driven into fighting
against his will. He stood across the Atlantic and attacked the Dutch
on the mainland of America. He fell with his squadron on the Dutch
colony of New Amsterdam, and had no difficulty in mastering it. Then he
returned to England, where he was thrown into the Tower on the demand
of the Dutch ambassador--a step which proves that the Government was
not ready to declare war on Holland, and would much have preferred
that the declaration should come from the other side, but by no means
establishes a presumption that Holmes had exceeded his confidential
instructions.

The course taken by John de Witt, when he found that the English had
committed an aggression on the West India Company, was to play them
a return match at the same game. He did not use his influence to
persuade the States General to declare war, though he must have known
that war was now inevitable. The commercial oligarchy which formed the
Loevenstein Party was very averse to war. It would infinitely have
preferred to soothe the King of England by concessions, if it could
have succeeded at any tolerable cost. If this could not be done, it
preferred to confine war to the colonies as long as possible. Even this
was difficult for it. The insolent and overbearing Downing maintained
a vigilant watch on the actions of the States General. He would have
been informed immediately if a squadron had been prepared in the Dutch
harbours to follow Sir Robert Holmes, and in that case an instant
declaration of war from England was to be feared. The fleet of Michael
de Ruyter was at the disposal of the States. It was cruising in the
Mediterranean, and ready to start at a moment's notice. But here the
same difficulty presented itself. Downing was sure to be informed if
orders were sent to the admiral. John de Witt escaped that risk by a
piece of ingenious management. He contrived to get the question what
ought to be done in consequence of Sir Robert Holmes's cruise referred
to a select committee of his own partisans. The orders were drafted by
them, and were then slipped through at a general meeting of the States
without attracting attention. By the terms of these orders De Ruyter
was directed to fill up a year's provisions on the coast of Spain, and
to follow in the track of Holmes, retaking the places he had seized,
and retaliating for the damage he had done to Dutch commerce. De Ruyter
carried out his instructions to the letter. He re-established the Dutch
on the West Coast of Africa, then he stood across to the West Indies.
An attack made by his fleet on Barbadoes proved unsuccessful, but the
damage done to English trade was considerable. Then De Ruyter stretched
along the coast of North America as far as Newfoundland. He failed to
retake New Amsterdam, which, under the name of New York, remained in
our hands at the close of the war. From Newfoundland he returned home.

This counter-stroke provoked a furious outcry of anger in England, for
it is perhaps more the custom of the English than any other nation to
be seized with unaffected moral indignation when another does unto
them the disagreeable thing which they have just been doing to someone
else. Letters of marque and reprisal were now issued on both sides, and
a privateering war of plunder preceded regular hostilities. The Dutch
oligarchy would still have made peace if they could, but the English
Court had at last found its pretext, and was resolved to force on the
quarrel. The terms upon which it insisted were such as a people far
less courageous and less powerful than the Dutch could not possibly
have accepted. The formal declaration of war was delayed until March
1665.

No great change had taken place in the relative strength of the two
navies since the conclusion of the first Dutch war. The English still
had the superiority which they derived from unity of command and the
greater strength of their ships. The Loevenstein Party had done nothing
to remove the fatal defects of organisation in the fleets of the
United Provinces. Indeed it could do nothing, since the only way in
which unity of command could be given to the different squadrons of the
Provinces was by again naming a Stadtholder, and allowing the office to
carry with it the post of Admiral-General. But to ask the Loevenstein
Party to do this was to ask them to commit suicide. So we find the same
divisions of authority in the Dutch fleet in this as in the former war.
The commercial government of the Republic had done nothing, and perhaps
from its character could do nothing, to establish a higher standard of
military spirit among its officers.

On the side of England the monarchy was still profiting by the work
of the Council of State and Oliver Cromwell. The corruption which in
the later years of King Charles's reign invaded every detail of the
administration of the navy had not yet got the upper hand. Although
the practice of giving the command of ships to young gentlemen who had
absolutely no qualification beyond their interest at Court was already
followed, still the bulk of the captains and all the flag-officers,
with few exceptions, were the veterans of the first Dutch war. These
men were already accustomed to act together; they had fought side by
side in many battles, and had cruised in company for months. They had
the tradition of the last war fresh in their minds. To this must be
attributed the general good discipline and efficiency displayed in the
coming struggle.

The fleet left by the Protector to the restored monarchy was estimated
at 154 ships of 57,463 tons. The average size of vessels was therefore
about 370 tons, and had not increased during the century. Some twenty
or thirty of these vessels were foreign built--that is to say, were
prizes taken from the Dutch, French, or Spanish. But the great majority
were built by the Petts and their school. It is somewhat curious that
although the reign of Charles II. was a time of great scientific
curiosity and activity, and although the king took an intelligent
interest in the forms and qualities of his vessels, yet the art of
shipbuilding in England appears to have rather lost than gained
ground. If we did not become positively worse, we allowed ourselves to
be outstripped by the French. During this reign we constantly hear of
English shipbuilders as imitating French models, and that not always
with success. In the time of Charles I. Phineas Pett built the finest
vessels in the world, on his own lines, and by his own calculations.
In the reign of Charles II. this superiority had been lost. Even the
Dutch, taught by experience, began to build their vessels much higher
and stronger. Pepys, who is an unanswerable authority, noted that "in
1663 and 1664 the Dutch and French built ships with two decks, which
carried from sixty to seventy guns, and so contrived that they carried
their lower guns four feet from the water, and to stow four months'
provisions, whereas our frigates from the Dunkirk-build, which were
narrower and sharper, carried their guns but little more than three
feet from the water, and for ten weeks' provisions. Observing this,
Sir Anthony Deane built the =Rupert= and =Resolution=, Mr. Shish
the =Cambridge=, Mr. Johnson the =Warspight=, and Mr. Castle the
=Defiance=. The two latter were, by contract of the Commissioners of
the Navy, bound to carry six months' provisions, and their guns to lie
four and a half feet from the water. This was another great step and
improvement to our navy put in practice by Sir Anthony Deane." Yet
this stimulus seems to have exhausted itself very soon, for eight or
nine years afterwards, in the third Dutch war, when a French squadron
of thirty-five ships came to Spithead, several of them were found to
excel ours of the same nominal rate in size and quality. It was once
more seen to be the case that ours were narrower, could stow less
provisions, and carried their guns nearer the water. Again, we took a
French ship for a model; this time it was the _Superbe_, a 74-gun ship.
The =Harwich= was built in imitation of her by Sir Anthony Deane. An
attempt was made to improve the models of our navy in the thirty ships
which were built by the special Parliamentary grant in those years.
The corruption which had by this time overwhelmed the navy made these
efforts of little avail. The vessels built out of the grant were so
ill-constructed, so carelessly looked after, and put together of such
very poor material, that they rotted at their moorings before they
were used. Perhaps the desire to possess a great many vessels had a
bad effect. When a definite sum of money has to be spent, when it is
not sufficient to pay for both number and size, and when number is
strongly desired, it will inevitably follow that vessels will be built
of the smallest size required to carry the desired number of guns. It
is certainly the case that during the latter part of the seventeenth
century and nearly the whole of the eighteenth our ships were, rate for
rate, smaller than the French. At one time in the eighteenth century
we allowed ourselves to be outstripped so far that two English 74's
were hardly more than a match in strength and tonnage for one Spanish
ship of the same nominal strength. A French 80-gun ship was as large
as an English man-of-war of 100 guns. This, however, was a later
development. In the earlier part of the reign of Charles II. we were
still superior on the whole to the Dutch in all but numbers, which in
every generation and in every kind of war is the least valuable of the
elements of strength. At the beginning of the second Dutch war the Duke
of York wrote from Portsmouth to complain that the vessels then being
built were designed on too small a scale. He argued that the Dutch
could always excel us in point of number, and that it was desirable to
possess a counterbalancing advantage in the size, and what followed
from size, the broadside weight of fire of our individual ships. The
duke's view did not prevail, but it is well worth quoting, if only
to show how old is this conflict between the two schools of naval
critics--those who rely on number and those who rely on individual
strength.



CHAPTER XI

THE SECOND DUTCH WAR TO THE FOUR DAYS' BATTLE

 AUTHORITIES.--The State Papers, which are very fully copied in the
 Calendars for these years, are by far the best authorities for
 the events of the second. The official narrative of the battle of
 Lowestoft published by the Government, and drawn up by the Duke of
 York's secretary, Sir W. Coventry, is printed in the Life of Penn. A
 very full account of the Four Days' Battle by a French eyewitness is
 to be found in the _Memoirs of the Comte de Guiche_. Clarendon gives
 the fullest account of the transactions at Bergen. Captain Mahan's
 _Sea Power in History_ and Admiral Colomb's _Naval Warfare_ now become
 inestimable, and Pepys, it is needless to say, indispensable. Brandt's
 _Life of De Ruyter_, the _Life of Cornelius van Tromp_, and M. de
 Pontalis' _Jean de Witt_ give the Dutch side.


If proof were wanted that the Dutch were not prepared for war, it might
be found in the length of time they allowed to the English Government
to get its fleet ready for sea. The cruise of Sir Robert Holmes would
have been more than sufficient provocation to a Power really in search
of a pretext for hostilities. Yet the Dutch let a year pass, and even
then did not fight until they were attacked, for it must be remembered
that the counter-cruise of De Ruyter was strictly limited to the ground
already covered by Holmes, or to reprisals in the colonies. If John
de Witt and his party had been really disposed for a new struggle
with England, it would have been easy for them to attack her at home
while unprepared. Unprepared she was until the early months of 1665.
Happily, the Dutch were not in a better case. The commercial oligarchy
had sacrificed everything to economy, and their fighting fleet was not
ready. Therefore the English Government was allowed time to fit out its
armaments.

It needed every hour which the delay of its enemy allowed. Even as late
as November 1664 the total force of the English fleet ready, or being
made ready, for sea was only this: On the coast of Ireland there were
three vessels. Thirteen were stationed in the Straits of Gibraltar. One
was on duty at Tangier. The convoy to the Newfoundland fishery employed
two, which, with the three assigned to New England, and two at Jamaica,
made seven vessels on the coast of America. There were three on the
Guinea Coast of Africa, one was in the Medway, one on transport duty,
one in the East Indies, fourteen with Prince Rupert in the North Sea,
and twenty-four in the Channel. These ships, sixty-six in all, were
ready, but a third of them were not available for service in Europe.
Thirty-seven others were being fitted for sea. When it is remembered
that this was the state of things a year after the Government of King
Charles had made an attack on the Dutch which must almost certainly
lead to war, it will be obvious that if England was unprepared it was
because her rulers were wanting in foresight, and if the Dutch were not
ready it was because they had not been casting about for an excuse for
a quarrel.

It was, in truth, not easy to fit out a fleet on the scale required
for a struggle with Holland. Parliament was indeed enthusiastic for
the war, and could supply the money. The £243,000 and odd required to
victual 20,000 men for a year were easily voted, and were not difficult
to raise among the merchants of the city, but to get the men and to
equip the ships required more than money. The difficulty of finding
men was immense. The press, though no doubt a powerful instrument of
coercion, did not work satisfactorily in the hands to which it was
entrusted. Corruption had already made way so far that the officials
entrusted with the duty of levying the sailors were vehemently
suspected of taking bribes to allow all who could afford to pay them
to escape. It was only the more miserable who were taken. Peter Pett,
the Commissioner of the Dockyard at Chatham, wrote to complain at the
end of the year of "those pitiful pressed creatures, who are fit for
nothing but to fill the ships full of vermin." At about the same time,
the Duke of York at Portsmouth was complaining that no men could be
found there, and that, unless men could be sent down from the Thames,
some of his vessels must be left behind, or all of them must go to sea
short-handed. Even when the men had been obtained, it was difficult
to keep them. The duke complained that upwards of two hundred men had
deserted in a few days. Furious threats of punishment to be inflicted
for desertion were issued by the Admiralty, and the seamen were told
that they would be hanged as an example if they dared to desert. All
this coercion appeared of very little use, and the Government of the
king was reduced, like the Council of State of the Commonwealth, to
pass Acts for the encouragement of seamen--in other words, to give them
promises of security for prize-money. These produced some effect. At
the same time, the king suspended the Navigation Acts which compelled a
shipowner to man his vessels with Englishmen. This became in time the
usual preliminary to a great war, for there were not enough seamen in
England to man both the trading and the fighting fleet of the country
when this latter was on a war-footing. The Government was so hard
pressed that it made great efforts to secure Scotch sailors, but the
measure did not prove wholly satisfactory. It was doubtful whether
Scotch seamen could be lawfully pressed by the king in England. The war
caused serious loss to the trade of the east coast of Scotland with the
Continent, and as Scotchmen did not consider themselves concerned in
the colonial quarrels of England, they were deeply aggrieved. Numbers
of them undoubtedly fought in the Dutch fleets, where their pay was
secure, which was far from being the case in the fleet of their own
king. However, the Act for the encouragement of seamen produced a good
effect, and by the spring of 1665 a really powerful fleet had been got
together.

While the main fleets were getting ready at home, hostilities were
being pursued abroad. The fleet in the Straits, meaning what we should
now call the Mediterranean Squadron, was under the command of Captain
Thomas Allen, an old Royalist seaman who had served with Prince Rupert.
Allen had succeeded Lawson in command of the force appointed to
protect our Levant trade against the Algerine pirates. In this work
he had had some success, having on one occasion captured no less than
five pirate cruisers. But the approach of war with Holland called him
off from this duty. He withdrew from the centre of the Mediterranean
and stationed himself in the Straits. Here he lay in wait for the
Dutch. Allen's orders were as contradictory as was to be expected,
considering that they were given by a Government which wanted to enjoy
the incompatible advantages of making war on another, and yet of not
declaring itself in open hostility. He was told that he might attack
the Dutch men-of-war, or the Smyrna fleet, but not such of their
vessels as came past in twos and threes. The meaning of the distinction
is not very obvious. Allen also complained that he was not allowed to
attack the Dutch in Spanish ports, which throws a light on the opinion
entertained by naval officers of the time as to what constituted
neutrality. His operations were not at first very successful. While
pursuing what he calls a Dutch fleet, and what was no doubt a convoy of
merchant ships, he ran several of his squadron of nine ships on shore,
where two of them were totally lost. The others were got off, and on
the 19th December 1664 Allen was consoled for this misfortune. He fell
in with the Dutch Smyrna convoy proceeding home under protection of
three men-of-war. It consisted of fourteen sail in all. Allen at once
attacked with his remaining seven vessels, sunk two of the Dutch, and
captured two of the others. One of the two prizes was a rich vessel
from Smyrna. The Dutch vessels which escaped destruction or capture
fled into Cadiz. This operation in the later stages of our history
would have attracted little or no attention, but it passed at that time
for a considerable achievement, and was even, for the greater glory
of the nation, very much exaggerated. The fourteen Dutch vessels were
swollen out to forty. We were not, in truth, so honestly persuaded of
our superiority to the Dutch that we could afford to make light of any
success gained against them, or to abstain, it may be added, from mere
vulgar boasting.

When, partly by the press and partly by promises, the fleet had at last
been manned, it was concentrated in the North Sea under the command of
the Duke of York. The duke himself went as Lord High Admiral, having
Penn in the flagship as his naval adviser, and Lawson as his second in
command of the centre or Red Squadron. The White Squadron was commanded
by Prince Rupert, with Myngs and Sansum as his second and third. The
Blue Squadron was under the command of Sandwich, with Cuttins and Sir
George Ayscue as his subordinates.

It would seem that our fleet was a little farther advanced than the
enemy in readiness. In the early days of May the Duke of York sailed
over to the coast of Holland, and stationed himself opposite the Texel,
in hope of provoking the Dutch to come out to battle, or, if he failed
in this purpose, of inflicting serious damage on their commerce. The
Dutch did not, however, put to sea at once, and the duke was compelled
to return to England by want of provisions. The complaint that the
victuals provided would not be sufficient had been heard for months,
and nothing gives a more vivid impression of the administrative
inefficiency of the time than the fact that it had not produced a
remedy. The English fleet returned to the coast of Suffolk to take
in stores. While there, it was visited by Court ladies and joined
by numbers of volunteers. In later times gentlemen of distinguished
family who had offered to lumber the quarter-deck of a flagship in
the Channel would probably have been answered in the spirit of the
boatswain in _The Tempest_--"You mar our labour: keep your cabins:
you do assist the storm." But in the seventeenth century it was not
yet thoroughly understood that a spirited and willing gentleman may
be a superfluity in a fight, if he has no training to the business.
The fleet of the Duke of York was full of nobles and gentlemen who
came to serve a campaign. The business of victualling the fleet was
but slowly performed, and the difficulties as to men had not yet
been conquered. Sir William Coventry, the Duke of York's secretary,
complained that sailors were not to be got, and gave a very sensible
reason for the deficiency, namely, that men who could earn £8 a month
in a collier--for, under the stress of war, wages had risen to this
height--could hardly be expected to be content with 23s. in a king's
ship, for which, moreover, they had to wait a year. Small wages,
ill-paid, were not made the more acceptable by short allowances of
food, by want of beer, and in some cases by the want even of water.
"The duchess and her beautiful maids," whose departure from the fleet
was noted by Coventry in a serio-comic vein, must have been very glad
to find themselves back in London, even though the plague had already
made its appearance there.

While the English fleet was painfully filling up with provisions and
water, the Dutch had at last got to sea. They were under the command
of Baron Opdam de Wassanaer, who had with him Courtenaer, Evertsen,
and Cornelius van Tromp. Opdam's first purpose was to cover the return
home of Michael de Ruyter with a convoy, then he was to seek out and
give battle to the English fleet. The Dutch admiral, though a man of
undoubted courage, as he showed in the ensuing action, was not much
disposed to engage the English except at an advantage. He was aware of
the inferior size of his ships, and also that the military spirit of a
number of his captains was not good. Therefore, though he discharged
the first part of his duty with success, and even made a great many
captures of English merchant vessels, he showed a certain reluctance
to force on the battle. Although he was short of men, the Duke of
York did not hang back, but stood to sea from Solebay on the 1st of
June, when he heard of the approach of Opdam and his capture of some
English merchant ships from Hamburg. He had an additional motive for
acting with vigour, since the coaling fleet was then on its way south
from the northern ports. The capture of this convoy by the Dutch would
have caused immense inconvenience to London, and would, moreover, have
been a serious misfortune to the duke himself, since it would have
deprived him of his best chance of recruiting his fleet by pressing the
colliers. The promptitude of our movements averted this misfortune. The
coal fleet was met on the 1st of June, and the duke reinforced his
ships by taking out the crews. The vessels were probably left at anchor
near the coast under the charge of one or two watchmen. The wind was
easterly, with a tendency to turn to the S.W. Opdam, distrusting the
quality of his own command, was unwilling to engage, but his reluctance
to fight was overcome by the emphatic orders of John de Witt. The Grand
Pensionary, who was not a man of military training either on sea or
land, may have underrated the difficulties which weighed on the mind of
Opdam, but as a politician he understood that it is sometimes better to
fight and be beaten than not to fight at all, and his common-sense must
have told him that if the Dutch fleet only fought hard enough, it would
certainly make the English pay very dear for their victory. It may be,
too, that John de Witt was secretly conscious of sufficient resolution
of character to make use of those means of keeping the captains up to
their duty which Cornelius de Witt had in vain threatened to set in
motion in the previous war. There was much to be said for bringing on
a battle in order to find who would do his duty and who would not,
provided it was also decided to make a necessary example of such as
showed the white feather.

The first great battle of the second Dutch war was fought on the 3rd
June between thirty and forty miles S.E. of Lowestoft. On the 1st June
the Duke of York had been at anchor at Solebay when he was informed of
the appearance of the Dutch to the S.S.E. He at once weighed, and stood
farther out, coming to an anchor at nightfall. The wind was easterly.
During the whole of the 2nd June the English were working up towards
the Dutch, who continued to decline battle; and as the wind, though
drawing round to the south, was still more or less easterly, they
had the weather-gage, and could not be forced to action. At dark we
anchored again. During the night the wind shifted round to the S.S.W.,
and when the morning came the English were to windward. The duke at
once gave the order to bear down on the enemy. Opdam, stimulated by
the orders of John de Witt, did not decline battle. He would have
done better for Holland if he had attacked while he had the wind in
his favour and could have used his fireships. The battle began at
half-past three in the morning. Rupert led the van. The duke was in
the centre with the Red Squadron, and Sandwich commanded in the rear
with the Blue Squadron. It appears that the Dutch now endeavoured to
regain the windward position which they had held on the day before,
but failed to weather the head of the English line. English and Dutch
passed on opposite tacks, we heading to the north, they to the south.
When the two fleets had passed, there was a pause in the fire. Then
both tacked, which reversed the order of the squadrons so that at
the second "charge" the rear or Blue Squadron under Sandwich led the
English line. It was now six o'clock. The opponents passed one another
again, heading in the reverse of their former direction, the English
towards the south, the Dutch to the north, and once more there was
a pause in the battle. As each fleet consisted of from eighty to a
hundred ships, it must have covered from eight to ten miles of sea,
measuring from the leading ship to the last. As the rate of speed was
certainly slow, not more than three or three and a half miles, it is
easy to understand that each of these passes, or, as they were called
at the time, charges, would take two and a half or three hours to
perform. Both fleets tacked together for the third pass, and the Dutch
had some hope of weathering Rupert's squadron, which was again leading.
But the duke with the Red Squadron was so well to windward that he
would have weathered them, and they would have been placed between two
fires. They therefore fell to leeward of Rupert. As they were passing,
the duke tacked his fleet, beginning with the Blue Squadron, and thus
brought the English fleet to head in the same direction as the Dutch.
The English fleet now pressed on to the attack so fiercely that they
baffled the attempt of the Dutch to tack. Opdam fought his own ship
bravely till she blew up by the side of the English flagship. Then some
of the Dutch ships in the centre flinched from the attack of the duke
and his vice-admiral, Lawson. They fairly ran to leeward, thus leaving
a gap in the line, through which he broke. The battle now became a
furious mêlée, in which the Dutch were completely beaten and fled
towards their own coast. Their loss would have been more serious than
it was if their retreat had not been covered by Cornelius van Tromp
with a seamanship and indomitable courage worthy of his father.

The escape of the enemy was assisted by a mysterious incident in the
English flagship. Night fell while the Dutch were still struggling
to escape with the English in pursuit. The duke led his fleet in the
=Royal Charles= of eighty guns, and the orders were that the other
ships were to follow his light. The battle had cost us less than a
thousand men in killed and wounded, but it had been extraordinarily
fatal to men of high position, and to those immediately around the
duke. Admiral Sansum had been killed. Sir John Lawson was disabled
by a musket-shot which shattered the bone of his leg above the knee,
inflicting a mortal wound. The Earl of Marlborough, who had been sent
out to take possession of Bombay for the king, had also fallen, so
had the Earl of Portland. In the flagship the Earl of Falmouth, Lord
Muskerry, and Mr. Boyle, gentlemen serving with the duke, were all
killed together, by a chain-shot, close to his side. He was drenched
in their blood, and wounded in the hand by a fragment of Mr. Boyle's
skull. The courage of the Duke of York has been praised even by his
enemies, and, although Swift recorded the cruel sneer that he made
a cowardly popish king, we are not entitled to doubt his bravery.
Yet, the horror of such a scene as this, coming on the top of the
fatigues of the battle and the anxiety of the preceding weeks, may
pardonably have been something too much for a man who was not hardened
by experience to scenes of blood and conflict. It is certain that he
left the deck on the persuasion of the officers of his household. It
is no less certain that, shortly afterwards, one of his gentlemen,
Brouncker by name, came up from the cabin to John Harman, captain of
the flagship, who remained on the quarter-deck, with the order to
shorten sail. After more or less hesitation, Harman obeyed. Sail was
shortened in the flagship, and, as the other vessels were strictly
ordered not to pass the admiral's light, the English fleet fell behind,
and the Dutch escaped into the Texel. The truth of this incident was
afterwards wrapped up in a cloud of contradictions, and of what we are
justified in asserting must in part have been lies. The duke denied
that he gave Brouncker the order, and finally dismissed him from his
service. Brouncker, who was of infamous character, was capable of
misusing the duke's name, but it is strange that if he did he was not
sooner punished. The explanation that he was valuable to his master for
services it is not well to record, is as nearly discreditable to the
duke's character as want of firmness could have been in the reaction
natural after such a terrible experience. The truth about the Duke of
York is perhaps that his courage was of the kind defined by Marryat as
negative. He had the nerve to face a foreseen danger when it came in
his way, but not that "springing valour" which can attack and adventure.

The loss inflicted upon the Dutch in this first great battle of the
war was much exaggerated in the excitement of the victory. It was said
that almost all the Dutch officers had been killed, and the number
of vessels taken or burnt was greatly over-estimated. In truth, the
loss of the Dutch in principal officers was less than our own. The
total number of prizes brought into Harwich was fifteen, and it is
doubtful if, when we add the vessels sunk and burnt, their total loss
much exceeded twenty. Their historians put it far lower. It was more
painful to the feelings of a patriotic Dutchman than any mere material
loss could have been, that the defeat was undeniably due at least as
much to the palpable misconduct of some among the captains as to the
superiority of the English in the quality of their ships and the skill
of their leaders. It had been noticed in the previous war that some
of the Dutch captains employed in their fleet, though no doubt good
seamen, were wanting in military ardour. This experience was repeated
in the battle of the 3rd of June. It provoked John de Witt to take
very stern measures. Four of the captains who had deserted their posts
in the line of battle were shot for cowardice. Others whose guilt was
less flagrant were cashiered. Unfriendly critics of the Dutch have
represented that these measures were taken merely for the purpose of
throwing the responsibility of defeat on individual officers, but the
misconduct of some of the captains in the battle of the 3rd of June is
undeniable, and it was of the kind which by the customs of all nations
deserves death. John de Witt obtained for himself a commission from the
States General to join the fleet as deputy. His numerous enemies have
founded on this an accusation of foolish vanity. Professional judges,
both seamen and soldiers, are naturally impatient of the presence of
a civilian in the midst of warlike operations, but there are times
when the interference of a representative of the State is of immense
value. If he comes to hamper the admiral or general he is no doubt a
mere nuisance, but if his purpose is to assist the commander to enforce
discipline, and to stimulate him to vigorous exertions, then the deputy
may supply an element of much-needed vigour. If John de Witt had been a
prince, his conduct would have been thought heroic, and it did instil
a spirit of decision into the handling of the Dutch fleet, which had
hitherto been wanting. It is possible that the Grand Pensionary might
have been less successful if he had not found a commander-in-chief
for the fleet who gave him effectual assistance. This was Michael de
Ruyter. Cornelius van Tromp considered himself entitled to the place.
The disappointment he felt at the nomination of De Ruyter deepened his
hatred of the Loevenstein Party. He conceived a peculiar animosity to
De Witt, which he afterwards showed in a manner highly dishonourable to
himself, by publicly gloating over the corpses of the Grand Pensionary
and his brother Cornelius, when they had been horribly murdered by a
mob. He did not, however, refuse to serve, and the Government, though
well aware of his feelings, did not venture to remove him from command.

The attention given to the war on the part of the English Government
was not so energetic as to interfere with the measures taken by John
de Witt to improve the discipline of the Dutch fleet. The Duke of
York did not stay long on the coast of Holland. His fleet, in truth,
had suffered so severely in the spars and rigging as to be in great
need of a refit. When it was found that the Dutch had contrived to
take refuge in the Texel, the English made no effort to establish a
blockade, but returned immediately to their own coasts. The ships were
brought back to the ports between Lowestoft and Harwich, and refitted
without bringing them into the Thames. Within a month they were again
ready for sea, but did not sail under the command of the Duke of York.
It is to be noted that, in spite of the reputation he has retained
as an admiral, the Duke of York's services at sea during war were
scanty and erratic. In this case, for instance, after commanding in
a successful battle, he was suddenly removed from the command. It is
difficult to believe that this was done wholly against his own wish.
He and his brother the king were not always on the best terms, but it
is not to be believed that Charles would have compelled his brother to
come on shore if the Duke of York had been really anxious to stay at
sea. Much was made of the fact that he was heir to the crown, and it is
said that the duchess laid strict injunctions on the duke's servants
not to let him engage too far, and that it was her influence with the
king that prevented her husband from going to sea again; but the world
has generally thought lightly of the courage of a fighting man who is
kept out of danger by his wife. If his relationship to the king made
his life too valuable to be risked, he ought never to have gone to sea
at all. He was succeeded in the command of the fleet by the Earl of
Sandwich, who was to have been associated with Prince Rupert, but the
prince was reluctant to share authority, and the sole command was left
in the hands of the earl.

Sandwich stood over to the coast of Holland, but found the Dutch not
yet ready to put to sea. The States General had put an embargo upon
commerce, partly to facilitate the manning of their fleet, but partly
also to diminish the risk of loss by capture. A blockade of the Texel
was therefore far from lucrative; and as Charles's Government was, as
usual, in great straits for money, Sandwich was inclined to entertain
any suggestion for making a more profitable use of his force. The Court
was equally well inclined to approve of arty enterprise which was
likely to produce plunder. At this moment a considerable temptation
was thrown in its way. Although the Dutch had put an embargo on the
outward-bound trade, they had naturally not attempted to stop the
return home of their convoys from the East Indies and the Levant. The
vessels belonging to these two fleets had only been instructed to avoid
the dangerous route up Channel, and to return home by the north of
Scotland. Twenty vessels engaged in these two lucrative branches of
the Dutch trade were reported to be lying in the harbour of Bergen in
Norway. They had taken refuge in this port probably in obedience to a
warning from Holland. Norway was then a part of the dominions of the
Crown of Denmark, which was in alliance with Holland, and had indeed
owed its escape from destruction by the Swedes, to Dutch intervention,
only a few years before this time. Gratitude is proverbially a motive
of little or no power with politicians. The then King of Denmark did
not consider that his debt to the Dutch made it obligatory upon him to
abstain from endeavouring to profit by their misfortunes. A scheme for
plundering the ships at Bergen was drawn up. Whether it was suggested
by the English envoy, Sir Gilbert Talbot, to the king, or by the king
to Sir Gilbert, is not quite certain, and it is not perhaps a matter
of much importance. The essential fact is, that a scheme was made for
plundering the Dutch, and that the host with whom they had taken refuge
was a party to it. Sandwich sailed north. He seems to have wished to
be quite sure of the co-operation of the King of Denmark. Indeed, if
it was intended that he was to sail into Bergen and attack vessels
under the protection of Danish batteries, it was obviously desirable
to be sure beforehand of the co-operation of the King of Denmark's
officers. But the king, though perfectly ready to share in the plunder
of the Dutch, had a gentlemanly disinclination to write himself down a
rogue. He refused to allow a written agreement to be made, and insisted
that the scheme should be carried out on an honourable but vague
understanding. Sandwich can hardly have liked his work, for it was
too probable that if the plan failed, the King of Denmark would deny
his own responsibility; and if he also found it useful to vindicate
himself to the Dutch by professing to quarrel with England, the whole
blame would be thrown on the English admiral. It was also within the
knowledge of Sandwich that the Dutch would make a resolute effort to
bring their fleet off safe, and that De Ruyter had been appointed to
the command. The English admiral must have been perfectly well aware
that his Dutch opponent would not fail through want of faculty or
energy. If the Dutch ships at Bergen were to be seized, the work must
be done at once.

The result might have been more profitable to the English if Sandwich
had resolved to attack immediately, and had directed the enterprise
himself. Whether because he thought that the arrival of De Ruyter was
the greater danger, or because he also was anxious to provide himself
with a scapegoat in case of failure, he entrusted the direction of
operations to his subordinate, Sir Thomas Teddiman. Teddiman sailed
into Bergen, accompanied by a Mr. Clifford, who had been sent from
Copenhagen by Talbot with the assurances that the King of Denmark was
friendly to the venture, though he did not care to take an open part in
it. This agent was landed to inform the Danish governor at Bergen that
the English were ready to perform their part in the act of brigandage
approved by his august master. The governor was aware of what was
expected of him, but had not yet received sufficiently definite
instructions from his superior, the Danish viceroy at Christiania.
He asked the English to wait for a little. Teddiman was not disposed
to wait; perhaps he had very small confidence in persons who showed
such a manifest disposition to roguery as the Danish officials, and
perhaps he was afraid of the arrival of Michael de Ruyter. He decided
to attack the Dutch the next day. In the meantime the convoy had taken
vigorous measures for its own safety. Great part of its goods had
been landed on the guarantee of the Danish governor. As the water of
the harbour at Bergen is very deep, the Dutch had been able to draw
their ships up close to the shore, and it was the more difficult to
attack them because the port is broken by masses of rock. If the Danes
had co-operated actively, the Dutch would have been at the mercy of
the associates, but the governor did not render any assistance to
Teddiman. Among persons engaged in carrying out a piece of brigandage,
it is not unreasonable to suspect the presence of the mutual distrust
common among thieves. It may well be that when the Danish governor
found Teddiman attacking in such haste, he may have thought that the
English meant to act without his consent, in order to have an excuse
for carrying off all the booty; and it would indeed be rash to assert
that he was wrong. The upshot of it all was, that when the English fell
on, they were received with a hot and damaging fire, not only from the
Dutch ships, but from the Danish batteries. In the end the English were
driven out to sea. Edward Montagu, a cousin of the Earl of Sandwich,
and several captains were killed in the fight.

On the following day the viceroy arrived from Christiania. This
official appeared to regret what had happened, and endeavoured to
persuade Sandwich to renew the attack, promising that on this occasion
he should not want for effective assistance. At the same time, however,
he suggested that before the English carried off their plunder they
should make a fair division with the Danes. Now the first scheme had
been that the whole was to be carried off by the English, and that the
King of Denmark was to receive his share from the King of England.
Reflection had brought the Danes to the judicious conclusion that it
was much safer to get the plunder into their own hands directly. But
Sandwich had no orders to make this arrangement, and may have perhaps
begun to doubt whether the Danes really meant to help him. He sailed
from the coast of Norway, and so that episode of the second Dutch war
came to an end.

As Sandwich stood to the south on his way back to England, where he
anchored at Solebay, he crossed the Dutch fleet steering to the coast
of Norway to bring off the ships at Bergen. De Ruyter was in command,
and John de Witt accompanied him. They arrived off Bergen at an
exceedingly convenient moment for their countrymen. The Danish governor
had come to the conclusion that there was no reason why he should not
do for himself what he had been told to do with the co-operation of
the English. He attempted to extort a hundred thousand crowns from the
Dutch by threats to sink them with his cannon unless they paid him
this amount of blackmail. The arrival of De Ruyter, and the presence
in the fleet of the greatest statesman in Holland, brought this greedy
ruffian to his senses. The convoy was allowed to go out, and the Danish
governor was left to console himself by seizing a few of the guns which
the Dutch had landed on the shore for their protection. De Witt turned
homeward to Holland with his convoy. In the early days of September
the weather became stormy, the fleets were scattered, a portion of the
Dutch convoy fell into our hands, but the bulk got safe back to Holland.

It was now September, and the time was approaching when, according
to the practice of the seventeenth century, it was no longer safe
to keep the great ships at sea. The fleet then must shortly be laid
up, and could no longer serve to take Dutch convoys, even if any had
been coming home so late in the year. On the whole, the result of
the summer's fighting had not been satisfactory. It is true that we
had gained an undoubted victory over the enemy, but his fleet had
not been destroyed. Amid the ringing of bells and public rejoicings,
the more sagacious men in the employment of the English Government
were well aware that the Dutch would soon be at sea again. The prizes
taken from the enemy had fallen much short of the expectations of the
Court. In spite of large grants from Parliament, the king was greatly
embarrassed. He had hoped that the war would support itself, but this
expectation, which has seldom been realised, was disappointed in this
case also. Sandwich was not well received on his return, and among
the courtiers there was a general inclination to accuse him of want
of energy. Sir William Coventry, who, as the Duke of York's secretary
and a Commissioner of the Navy, had many means of securing a hearing,
was one of the most severe of the earl's critics. A mistake made
by Sandwich on his return home laid him open to the attacks of his
enemies. His flag-officers made him a petition that "in regard of their
having continued all the summer upon the seas with great fatigue,
and been engaged in many actions of danger, that he would distribute
amongst them some reward out of the Indian ships."

The Indian ships were that part of the convoy from Bergen which had
fallen into his hands in consequence of the storm. Sandwich thought
the request reasonable, and wrote a letter to the king, asking for
his approbation. With his usual good-nature, Charles consented. But
before his approval reached Sandwich, the admiral had distributed as
much of the coarser goods as were theoretically valued at £1000 for
each flag-officer, and had taken £2000 worth for himself. Whatever the
motives of Sandwich may have been, his action was undeniably illegal,
and was not less ill-advised. It was a standing and well-known rule
that no prize taken from the enemy was to be touched until it had been
condemned by the Admiralty, and that a distribution of the shares was
to be made on a regular system. Even the king's personal consent would
not have justified Sandwich in breaking the law. But the way in which
he acted was sure not only to embroil him with the Admiralty, but to
arouse a very natural indignation among the captains and the seamen.
They said that the prizes were being plundered for the exclusive
benefit of the admiral and flag-officers, and it cannot be denied that
on the face of it they were right. The merchants interested in the East
India Company were no less indignant than the captains and seamen.
They complained that the Indian goods distributed to the flag-officers
would be thrown on the market at a cheap rate, and would spoil the sale
of those that they themselves had brought from India. The outcry on
all hands was loud, and the king was beset with complaints. According
to the regular practice of all his family, he threw over the servant
of whose action he had just approved so soon as it seemed likely to
cause him any personal inconvenience. The goods distributed to the
flag-officers were seized at the ports by orders of Albemarle, who,
partly by virtue of his office as Lord General, and partly on the
ground of the immense services he had rendered at the Restoration,
exercised a vast irregular influence during the early years of King
Charles's reign. The Duke of York, who, as Lord High Admiral, had
good ground for considering himself personally insulted by an insolent
intrusion on the rights of his office, was furious. Sandwich was
dismissed from his command, and had no further employment in this war,
though he retained sufficient influence with the king to be appointed
to diplomatic missions abroad.

This is the most favourable version of the story for Sandwich, and is,
even so, an ugly symptom of the dry-rot beginning to spread throughout
every branch of the public service. The sailors of the fleet were
months in arrear of their pay. The victualling service was thoroughly
bad. Even when food was supplied, it was of most inferior quality,
and there were loud complaints that, such as it was, it was not
always forthcoming. When Sandwich returned from the coast of Norway
to Solebay, his provisions were exhausted, although he had only been
a few weeks at sea. At such a time a zealous commander-in-chief would
surely not have seized the opportunity to enrich himself irregularly.
Sandwich, judged by the standard of the time, was not a dishonourable
man, yet we see that he went out of his way to grasp at a little money.
His recorded conversations with Pepys leave no doubt that Sandwich
was distinctly influenced by a desire to fill his own pocket. He told
his kinsman that it was better to take the money, and then get the
king's consent to keep it, than to trust to obtaining what the king had
promised he should have. Another remark of his throws a curious light
on the morality of the time. He told Pepys that the King of Denmark
was "a blockhead," for not seizing the opportunity of plundering the
Dutch fleet at Bergen, since he owed the States a great sum of money.
These were the principles of a swindler, and a man who took such a very
lax view with regard to the conduct of others was not likely to be
severe to himself. As a matter of fact, we learn again from Pepys that
the £2000 worth of goods the earl had adjudged to himself were sold
to a London merchant for £5000. When, then, Pepys observed, as he did
about this time, that, however poor the king might be, his principal
officers always took care to provide money for themselves, he was
making a very accurate remark on the morality of the time. It is not
wonderful, when we consider the example that was set them, that the
captains and seamen, who had raised such an outcry over the favours
shown to the flag-officers, were themselves accused of plundering the
prizes. Plunder, in fact, was the general rule of the service. It
raged from top to bottom. The men at the head enriched themselves by
misapplications of money on a large scale. The subordinates pilfered
and wasted. It follows, as a matter of course, that the money voted
by Parliament for the war, which in the hands of the Commonwealth's
Council of State or of Cromwell would have been more than sufficient,
failed entirely to meet the expenses of the second Dutch war. Neither
need we doubt that Pepys was very well informed when he said that the
Court looked forward to another meeting of Parliament with reluctance,
and stood in some awe of the wrath that members were likely to feel
upon discovering what had become of their money.

The difficulties which the Government had created for itself by
mismanagement were materially increased by the plague, which raged
all through the year 1665. It reached not only the dockyards on the
Thames, but the ports on the east coast, the Channel, and even the
fleet. Between the disorganisation produced by the great pest and the
vices of its own administration, the Crown was all but within reach of
bankruptcy by the close of the year. At harvest-time the workmen in the
dockyards had been so long left without pay that numbers of them went
into the fields to work for the farmers in order to escape starvation.

The winter months suspended the operations of the war, but with
the return of spring efforts were made to get the fleet to sea. As
Sandwich had been discredited, and since the Duke of York was so ready
to co-operate with those who were so concerned about his personal
safety, it was necessary to find another leader. The king must have
been allowed to have made the best choice he could when he put his
fleet into the hands of Monk. The Lord General had a reputation and
an influence which made it certain that he would be obeyed by all.
He had much experience of war at sea, and he had the energy of a
great commander. By desperate efforts a fleet of seventy-seven sail
was collected in the Downs in the course of May. Rupert was joined in
command with Monk. The prince had shown a decided reluctance to serve
with Sandwich, but he could not refuse to act with the Lord General.

The Dutch had exerted themselves strenuously to meet the English
on equal terms, and a fleet of from eighty to a hundred ships was
collected and ready for sea under Michael de Ruyter. Our enemy had
some faint prospect of assistance from France in this campaign. In
1662 John de Witt had succeeded in making a convention with France, by
which the two countries agreed to help one another in case either of
them was attacked by a third Power. The case contemplated by the treaty
had arisen when England declared war on Holland in 1665. The States
General called on Louis XIV. to fulfil his obligations. The French king
shuffled and hung back. He hated the Dutch, partly because they were
Republicans, and partly because he knew them to be the most formidable
obstacle in the way of the realisation of his plans for the conquest
of the Spanish Netherlands. At last he could no longer evade making at
least a show of fulfilling his promises without absolute disgrace, and
he therefore promised to send a squadron to co-operate with the Dutch
against the English.

When, therefore, Monk began to collect his command in May, he had to
face the possibility that he would be called upon to deal with the
united Dutch and French fleets. The movements of Michael de Ruyter
were consistent with the supposition that he was manoeuvring to join
the French. He stood across to the coast of England, and kept in the
neighbourhood of the Straits of Dover. A rumour that the French fleet
was coming up Channel worked so strongly on the fears of the Court,
that it was induced to take a measure which might well have proved
fatal to the English fleet. Rupert was despatched into the Channel with
twenty ships selected from the other squadrons, to look for the French,
and Monk's force was thus reduced to fifty-seven vessels.

Some changes in the commands were made necessary by this separation.
Sir Christopher Myngs, who had been vice-admiral of the Red Squadron,
accompanied Rupert as second in command. The ships which remained
with Monk were still divided into three squadrons. Sir Joseph Jordan
succeeded Myngs as vice-admiral of the Red, and his rear-admiral was
Sir Robert Holmes. The Blue Squadron was commanded by Sir George Ayscue
as admiral, with Sir William Berkeley as vice, and John Harman as rear.
Sir Jeremiah Smith was admiral, Sir Thomas Teddiman vice-admiral, and
Captain Utber rear-admiral of the White.

This division of the English fleet seems to have taken place just
before a spell of thick weather and heavy wind from the S.W., which
forced the Dutch off the coast. Being afraid that the wind would
sweep him back too far into the North Sea, De Ruyter anchored on the
shallows of the Flemish coast somewhere between Ostend and Dunkirk.
This was at the very end of May. On the last day of the month Monk was
at sea, on his way from the Downs to the Gunfleet, when his look-out
frigates brought him the news that the Dutch were at anchor in his
neighbourhood. Monk, with the instinct of a general, saw at once that,
being superior to him in number, and in his immediate neighbourhood,
the Dutch might force on a battle to his disadvantage if they once got
the weather-gage. The then direction of the wind from the S.W. gave the
weather-gage to him, and, with a boldness which would have horrified
the admirals of the next two generations, he decided to fall on while
it was still in his power to select his point of attack, and thus to
compensate for his general inferiority of numbers by concentrating a
superior force at a given place.

The battles which followed make up among them the so-called "Four Days'
Battle" of the Annus Mirabilis, 1666. The first encounter took place
somewhere between the Flemish coast from Ostend to Dunkirk on one side,
and the northern end of the Downs on the other. The Dutch had anchored
in three divisions some little distance at sea. They lay stretching
from S.W. to N.E. The south-westerly squadron was that of Van Tromp;
next to him, towards the N.E., was the division of De Ruyter; and
farther still to the N.E., the squadron of Jan Evertszoon. As the
wind was in the S.W., De Ruyter and Evertszoon were to the leeward
of Tromp. This disposition afforded Monk exactly the opportunity he
sought. Coming down from the W. or N.W., on Friday the 1st June, he
directed his attack on the squadron of Van Tromp. The English fleet
was on the starboard tack--that is to say, it had the wind on the
right side, and was heading to the S.E. It passed well clear of the
centre of the Dutch line, and therefore at a greater distance from the
squadron of Evertszoon, in order to fall with all its strength on the
ships of Tromp. The English line was in beautiful order, but, as was
commonly the case, the ships in the rear had a tendency to straggle.
The distance between them and the leading vessel was so great, that
when the ships at the head of Monk's line were abreast of Tromp, those
at the rear were barely visible to observers on the decks of the Dutch.
Tromp, on being attacked, immediately cut his cables and stood to the
south. The battle began at about three o'clock in the afternoon, and
for some time the two fleets ran on cannonading one another. But their
course, if followed far enough, would have stranded both of them near
Dunkirk. Both Tromp and Monk therefore reversed their course almost
simultaneously, and, instead of standing to the S., turned towards the
N. or N.N.E. In the course of these movements the lines had come very
close together, and the English, acting on their usual rule of pressing
an attack home, had stood down on the Dutch. Several English ships
broke through the Dutch line, and among them were the two admirals,
Sir William Berkeley and Harman of the Blue Division. Berkeley was
the brother of the Lord Falmouth killed in the battle of the 3rd of
June in the previous year. His vessel, the =Swiftsure=, being cut off
for a time from all English support, was attacked by several Dutch
ships at once and overpowered. She surrendered, but not until she
was completely cut to pieces and the admiral had fallen. He had been
struck in the heat of the action by a musket bullet in the throat, and,
staggering into the captain's cabin, fell dead on the table, where he
was discovered lifeless and covered by his blood when the Dutch took
possession of his ship. Harman, who had been in equal danger, fought
his way through. His vessel caught fire, and a panic spread among the
crew. Harman, who looks in his portrait by Lely a man of a singularly
fierce type, restored order by his example and a vigorous use of his
sword. The fire was got under, but the fall of a topsail yard broke
the admiral's leg. He did not leave the deck, and, when hailed by a
Dutch officer to surrender, only answered, "No, no; it has not come
to that yet." The fire of his broadside was severe enough to make the
Dutchmen sheer off, and Harman rejoined his fleet. As the English
fleet stood back, De Ruyter had worked sufficiently far to windward to
bring his ships into action. Joining with Van Tromp, he made an attack
with superior numbers on the end of Monk's line. It was here that the
fight was hottest, and the loss most severe. The last of the twilight
had come before fire ceased, but as the darkness fell the Dutch could
see Monk leading his line, little diminished in number, and still in
excellent order, seaward to the west.

This was the fortune of the first day of the Four Days' Battle. The
English had suffered, but they had shown themselves the better fighters
and manoeuvrers. The Dutch must have been depressed by finding
how little their superiority of numbers had availed them. Yet all
had not done equally well on the side of the English. The anxieties
of the last few days had made the Court very anxious to know what
was happening with the fleet. Sir Thomas Clifford was sent to gain
information. Embarking at Harwich in a small vessel, in company with
Lord Ossory, the gallant son of the Duke of Ormonde, he joined Monk
on the 2nd June. We are told by him that there were at that time only
thirty-five ships with the English admiral, and that this weakness was
due to the desertion of some of the smaller vessels. Bad example, bad
pay, bad food were beginning to produce their effect; and although
there were many of a higher courage, and some who, although greedy and
unscrupulous, were yet personally brave, there were others in our fleet
who were beginning to imitate the conduct of those Dutch captains
chastised by De Witt. Men who do not scruple to steal may be brave, yet
it is not unnatural that one kind of dishonesty should lead to another,
and that the captain who got his command by bribery, and made it pay by
pilfering, should have no scruple about deserting his post.

The battle had begun on Saturday the 2nd of June before Ossory and
Clifford reached Monk's flagship, the =Royal Charles=. It had been in
progress since eight o'clock in the morning. When day broke, the two
were in sight of one another, the English to the west of the Dutch,
and both somewhere between Ostend and the North Foreland. The Dutch
were rather to the south, and, as the wind was still at S.S.W., a
little to windward. The two fleets stood towards one another, and the
English ships, being the sharper built and more weatherly, gained the
weather-gage from the Dutch--that is to say, the two lines met at a
very obtuse angle, the English crossing the course of the Dutch, and
passing to the south of them, then they curved inwards, and the two
lines crossed on opposite tacks, cannonading as they went by. The ships
in the rear of the Dutch line were commanded in this battle by Van
Tromp. Seeing that as the English turned in they had fallen off the
wind, he tacked to gain the weather-gage upon them, and thus separated
himself from the bulk of De Ruyter's fleet. At the same time, or very
shortly afterwards, some of the vessels in the van of the Dutch line
behaved in a fashion which shows that the executions of the previous
summer had not yet produced the full effect desired. They turned before
the wind and fairly ran. Thus De Ruyter found himself left at the same
moment by his rear through the wilfulness of one admiral, and by his
van through the misconduct of others. He had but a choice of evils,
and of these he probably chose the less when he bore up and went to
leeward for the purpose of overtaking the runaways, and bringing the
bulk of his fleet again into order. Yet he gave Monk an extraordinarily
fine opportunity of cutting off the squadron of Van Tromp. The English
chief had only to pass to leeward of the Dutchman, and he must separate
him from the bulk of his fleet. Probably because he believed that the
weather-gage was the more advantageous position of the two, Monk did
not take this course. At least it appears that the English passed to
windward of Tromp. In the meantime, De Ruyter, having recalled the
runaway van ships, reversed his course and stood back to the assistance
of his self-willed and unruly subordinate. The two divisions of the
Dutch fleet were allowed to rejoin, and they remained to leeward of us
huddled in a confused body.

There was at this point a pause in the battle. It may be that the
English had defects to make good in their spars and rigging, for the
Dutch, according to their usual custom, fired high. Perhaps Monk
was so conscious of his inferiority of numbers that he did not care
to entangle himself too far. De Ruyter was allowed to restore order
in his line, and then, during the last hours of the day, the fleets
again passed on opposite tacks, and the battle ended in an ineffectual
cannonade.

The absence of Prince Rupert had been acutely felt during this
prolonged conflict. Monk had fought with a remarkable combination of
intrepidity and skill, but, though he had inflicted severe punishment
on the enemy, he could not but know that he was much weakened by loss
and desertion. If Rupert did not return shortly, and the wind were to
shift to the N. or N.E., he might have the whole Dutch fleet on his
hands when it would be no longer possible for him to pick his own point
of attack. On the Sunday, then, he decided to retire into the Thames.
Selecting sixteen of his best and strongest vessels, he arranged them
in a line abreast--that is to say, side by side, stretched from north
to south. The injured and the weaker ships were placed in front, and
the whole body retired together towards the river. The Dutch pursued,
but not with much energy, or at least at no great rate of speed. If it
had not been for an error of judgment, and, I am afraid we must add,
a certain want of nerve on the part of Sir George Ayscue, it would
seem that the retreat might have been successfully effected with very
little loss. Sir George had his flag in the =Prince=, which was counted
the finest ship in the English fleet. Her place was on the extreme
right, or northern end of Monk's line. It was of course desirable to
place powerful ships at the extremities, in case the enemies should
attempt to turn them. The approach to the Thames is made difficult by
successive rows of shallows: one of these is the Galloper Sand, a long
and narrow shoal lying N.E. of the North Foreland, and stretching from
E. of N. to W. of S., and directly opposite the coast of Essex between
Walton-on-the-Naze and Clacton. The pilot of the =Prince=, or whoever
else directed her navigation, miscalculated her room, and the vessel
ran on the southern end of the sand. A few of the other ships touched,
but were got off. This accident was instantly seen by both fleets.
The Dutch crowded on, under the immediate direction of Van Tromp, to
attack the stranded vessel. The English turned for her support, but,
before they could render any effectual assistance, Sir George Ayscue
had surrendered. He was severely blamed for want of spirit, perhaps
unjustly; and yet we cannot but believe that if the =Prince= had
carried the flag of Sir John Harman, she would have made a longer and
perhaps a successful resistance, for she was a heavily-armed vessel of
ninety guns. The loss of the =Prince= was made the more exasperating
to the English by the long-desired appearance of Rupert, who was seen
coming past the North Foreland with his twenty fresh ships, pressing on
to rejoin Monk. The reinforcement came, however, too late to save the
=Prince=. At the sight of Rupert's flag the Dutch did indeed give up
all hope of carrying her off. They removed her officers and crew, and
set her on fire. She burned in the sight of the English fleet.

Monk's often-proved valour and strength of character were never more
conspicuous than now. After three such days the most stout-hearted of
men might have thought that enough had been done for honour. But the
Lord General was resolved to fight again. He anchored for the night,
and on Monday, the 4th of June according to the old calendar and the
14th according to ours, got under way to engage the enemy once more.
The Dutch also had anchored, and when they got under way they stood on
the port tack with the wind still from the south. The English headed
in the same direction, and, being the more weatherly vessels, forced a
close action. Each fleet had fought well on the three previous days,
but on this last they may be said to have thrown away the scabbard.
The English, holding their wind, endeavoured to force their way
through the Dutch line, and, where their enemies were leewardly ships,
or ill-handled, they succeeded. The furious mêlée lasted for hours,
and Rupert's squadron fought as if it was its purpose to make up for
absence on the previous days. At the end of hours of conflict the two
fleets were broken in confused masses, the Dutch to windward here, and
the English to windward there. A portion of the English had headed
the Dutch line: they were pursued by some of the Dutch; while in the
meantime the battle in the centre and the rear was raging between De
Ruyter and Monk, the Dutch admiral being still to windward. Van Tromp,
with all the energy and more than the judgment he had displayed on the
second day of battle, recalled the pursuers, and, joining them to his
own ships, fell on the main body of the English on the opposite side to
that on which they were engaged with De Ruyter. This was the last phase
of the long and desperate struggle. Monk was for a time in great peril,
surrounded by enemies, and deprived of all support from his own side,
but he broke his way through. Even when the fight had clearly gone
against them, the English had sold their defeat dear. Their fireships
had destroyed two of the enemy, nor had any English vessel struck
till she had exacted her full price from the Dutch. Night, a fog, and
fatigue on both sides ended the Four Days' Battle. The English retired
into the river, the Dutch remained outside for a short time, and then
returned to refit.

The Four Days' Battle bears a certain resemblance to Blake's engagement
with Martin Tromp near Dungeness. It was a defeat, but one which did
nothing to diminish the pride of the English seamen or their belief
in their inherent superiority to the Dutch. We had fought against
superior numbers by our own choice, frequently with success, and never
with what could be called rout. At the close we had lost some twenty
vessels, and a number of men estimated by various authorities from 3000
to 5000 in killed and wounded. One admiral had died, and a score of
captains were slain or wounded. Our fleet had retired into the river,
and the enemy was left for a space with the sea clear, but his own
injuries were so serious that he could make no other immediate use of
his victory than to return home and make ready for the next battle,
which he knew well that the English would be ready to offer him before
many weeks were over.

The effect produced in London and at Court by the news of this great
battle is audible to us now in the Diary of Pepys. He is a very unsafe
authority for the truth of any particular statement, for he heard all
the gossip of the day and noted it down as it came. Yet, for that
very reason, he is an invaluable witness to the fluctuations of the
feelings of his contemporaries. We can trust him thoroughly when he
reports how all the world rejoiced in this new victory over the Dutch,
until it learned that we had been defeated, and that De Ruyter was for
the moment master of the Thames. His Diary records the contradictory
rumours of the day, and also the complaints of Monk's rashness, and
the sneers at the misconduct of this or that officer--the snarling
and tittle-tattle of the lower deck and the ward-room. This, also, is
not without its value as evidence. It was ominous of that fall in the
spirit and vigour of the navy which was to come in the next generation,
that men were found to blame Monk for giving battle to superior
numbers. The evil of the time was the gradual debauching of the spirit
of the nation by self-seeking and corruption, and it is visible on
every other page of Pepys. We find him recording that captains were
suspected of deserting their admiral without incurring any particular
shame. He himself, though patriotic and zealous for the king's service
in his way, did not allow the disasters of the fleet to interfere with
his innumerable little schemes for increasing that comfortable private
fortune whose growth he records with such unfeigned satisfaction; and
if others differed from him, it was in being less patriotic and much
more self-seeking.

It is to Pepys that we owe our knowledge of one of the most heroic
scenes of the time. Sir Christopher Myngs, Rupert's second in command,
had fallen mortally wounded on the last of the Four Days' Battle. He
had been shot in the throat, and had held the wound together with his
fingers till a second shot disabled him completely. It was at first
not supposed that his hurt was mortal, but he died within a few days
of the battle. The Council of State had buried Deane, and Cromwell had
buried Blake, in Henry VII.'s Chapel with splendour. The king allowed
Sir Christopher Myngs to be carried to his grave unattended, except
by Sir William Coventry, who went out of spontaneous good feeling,
and by Pepys, who went because Sir William Coventry was going. These
were the only official representatives of the nation at the funeral
of Sir Christopher Myngs, but there were others who of their own
free will came to do honour to the stout-hearted seaman in the name
of the navy. Pepys records how, on leaving the church, he had the
sentimental pleasure of witnessing a truly touching scene: "One of
the most romantique that ever I heard of in my life, and could not
have believed, but that I did see it, which was this:--About a dozen
able, lusty, proper men come to the coach side with tears in their
eyes, and one of them that spoke for the rest began and says to Sir W.
Coventry, 'We are here a dozen of us that have long known and loved
and served our dead commander, Sir Christopher Myngs, and have now
done the last office of laying him in the ground. We would be glad we
had any other to offer after him, and in revenge of him. All we have
is our lives; if you will please to get His Royal Highness to give
us a fireship among us all, here is a dozen of us, out of all which
choose you one to be commander, and the rest of us, whoever he is,
will serve him; and, if possible, do that that shall show our memory
of our dead commander, and our revenge.'" Sir William Coventry was
much moved, and Mr. Pepys even shed tears, but we do not learn that
anything effectual was done. At the time when Sir Christopher Myngs
was allowed to go to his grave neglected, the young captains who owed
their commands to Court influence incurred no punishment for deserting
their admiral in battle. Nobody denied that the impunity permitted to
such misconduct as this was an evil. Sir William Coventry knew as well
as any man how inferior the new captains were to the old, and foresaw
what the consequences of employing them must be. Before the second war
with Holland he had been in the habit of denouncing the little service
the Cavalier captains could do to the king. The evil was not that they
were Cavaliers, but that they got their places for any reason on earth
except fitness to hold them. Neither Sir William Coventry nor any other
man, but one, could have provided a remedy. The king could indeed
have made all right, but he would not. He could not give up his idle,
pleasure-seeking life in order to work at his business of king, and he
would not annoy his friends and courtiers by allowing their relations
and protégés to be punished. Thus the whole standard of conduct and
discipline in the navy was degraded. The king himself was growing tired
of the war, which had brought him neither profit nor popularity, and
within a few months he was about to take a series of steps for the
purpose of obtaining peace, which brought such a disgrace on the nation
as it had never suffered before, and has never been called upon to
endure since.



CHAPTER XII

FROM THE FOUR DAYS' BATTLE TILL THE END OF THE WAR

 AUTHORITIES.--The same as for the previous chapter, with the addition
 of the Parliamentary History for the debates in the House, and the
 Calendar of Colonial Papers for transactions in the West Indies.


Honour and interest made it necessary to try to wipe off the discredit
of the late defeat. The nation had been so deeply moved that it would
probably have been dangerous for the king to meet Parliament if this
duty was neglected. In spite, therefore, of the disturbance caused
by the plague, strenuous efforts were made to get a new fleet ready
for sea, and they were not unsuccessful. The patriotism of the nation
did something to supply resources. Even the courtiers, in a spasm of
virtue, agreed to subscribe in order to supply a vessel to replace
=The Prince=. Volunteers were found for the navy, in spite of the
unpopularity brought on the service by bad pay and bad food. What was
not done by voluntary offer was done by the unsparing use of the press.
So zealous were some of the officers entrusted with this duty, that the
pressmen at Gravesend offered to press Sir Edward Seymour. A suspicion
that this zeal was at least partly dictated by a desire to extort a
bribe, is justified by stories reported from other quarters. There were
loud complaints of the quality of the men sent into the fleet. Some of
the king's officers had no hesitation in describing the bulk of them
as worthless, miserable creatures. At the same time, it was alleged
that in some of the out-ports hundreds of stout seamen were walking
the streets unmolested. It would be strange if the only incorruptible
persons at that time had been the officers conducting the press, and we
are quite entitled to take it for granted that the work was often done
after the immortal pattern supplied by Sir John Falstaff. Bullcalf, who
could pay, was let off, while Wart and Feeble, who could not pay, were
taken.

The Dutch, who, in spite of some bragging on our side, had suffered
less than ourselves in the Four Days' Battle, were at sea a month
before our fleet could leave the Thames. As early as the 29th of June
their ships were seen off the North Foreland, engaged in picking up
the anchors they had left when attacked by Monk on the 1st of the
month. After thriftily recovering their lost property, they stood
into the estuary of the Thames and cruised between Margate and the
Gunfleet. In London the air was full of rumours of their insolence, and
ostentatious enjoyment of their victory. It was said, falsely, that Sir
George Ayscue was treated with insult, and there was another story, no
better founded, that the body of Sir William Berkeley was exposed in a
sugar-chest, with his flag beside him. Stories of this kind stimulated
the desire of the nation to see the fleet again ready for sea. Indeed,
there were other and stronger reasons for exertion. The danger of
invasion was real. If the King of France had been honestly anxious to
press the war against England, it is almost certain that a French army
might have been landed in Kent. We had absolutely no force ready to
interfere with the operations of the Dutch fleet. It could have shipped
any number of men the French king could supply, and might have landed
them pretty much where it pleased. But Louis was already contemplating
an attack on the Spanish Netherlands, and was looking forward to
secure the co-operation of the King of England. He declined to make
an irreparable breach with his brother sovereign for the sake of the
Republic, which he knew to be in reality his most serious opponent.
Therefore, although rumours of the coming of French troops were rife in
England, and although our cruisers were active in taking French prizes,
there was no attempt at an invasion, and King Louis made no effectual
effort to help the Dutch.

While the unprepared state of the English fleet caused a pause in the
great operations of war, the smaller cruisers were tolerably active
on both sides. The feats of single ships are not recorded so fully
at this time as later, but traces remain which show that captains
of spirit were active. We hear, for instance, of a desperate action
between a French East Indiaman and an English frigate, the =Orange=.
The fight had been so hot that the Frenchman was in a sinking state
when the English took possession of him. Here we have another example
of the discipline of the time. The English prize-crew fell to rifling
the Frenchman's hold, and were so intent on this occupation that they
forgot to stop the leaks. The result was, that the Frenchman went
to the bottom, carrying forty of his captors with him. The incident
is typical. In small things as in great, it was then the rule that
what was won by valour and conduct in battle was lost by greed and
self-seeking afterwards. Another incident of the time illustrates the
fall in the level of national courage. Some gentlemen belonging to the
county of Essex had banded themselves together to act as a bodyguard
to the deputy-lieutenant, who was engaged in collecting the militia
to resist the threatened Dutch invasion. Being on the sea-coast, and
finding a small armed galliot belonging to the king at hand, they
were fired with ambition to go out and have a brush with the Dutch.
The commander of the galliot, who seems to have been a man of some
humour, was prepared to indulge them. They ran to sea, and soon found
themselves in the immediate neighbourhood of a Dutch look-out vessel.
The captain of the galliot attacked at once with so much zeal that
he soon came within musket-shot of the enemy. This was more than the
doughty bodyguard of the deputy-lieutenant had bargained for. They
were seized with an extreme panic, and insisted upon being taken back.
The captain of the galliot refused, alleging that he would be hanged
if he returned for no better reason. The country gentlemen replied
that their lives were of more value than his, since some of them were
even knights. Even this appeal to the respect he owed his betters had
no effect upon the mind of the skipper of the galliot. At last the
terrified squires and knights had recourse to a more persuasive line of
reasoning. They offered him a bribe in the shape of a handsome piece
of plate. This was probably what the captain had been aiming at all
the time. The informer who sent this story to Mr. Secretary Williamson
added that it had better not be put in the Gazette as an example of
English valour; and yet, if accompanied by judicious comment, it might
have had considerable value.

The fleet which was to revenge us on the Dutch was collected, during
the latter days of June and the early days of July, at the Nore. The
command was still in the hands of Monk and Rupert, though the death of
Myngs and Berkeley, the capture of Ayscue, and the wound of Harman,
had made some changes in the subordinate places necessary. The total
force of the fleet was put at eighty-seven ships and the fireships. The
numbers might have been higher, but the admirals decided to take the
crews out of fifteen of the smaller vessels and distribute them among
the larger. Our ships had never been so strongly manned in mere numbers
before. The spirit of the men was good, and it must in justice be
allowed that the courtiers set a very honourable example. They flocked
into the fleet to take part in the coming battle; even the notorious
Rochester, who was one of the worst men of that or any other time, went
as a volunteer with Sir Edward Spragge. One gentleman, Sir Robert Leach
by name, had been told in a dream that he would kill De Ruyter with a
"fusee," _i.e._ fowling-piece, and he came to the ship of Sir Robert
Holmes to fulfil the prophecy. Holmes promised to take him near enough
to prove the truth of his dream.

It was on the 19th of July that the fleet began to drop down from
the Nore. Several channels lead out from this anchorage to the open
sea. Immediately below the Nore is the Warp, from which the West Swin
branches out on the left as you go to the N.E., the Barrow Deep is to
the right, and then the Oaze Deep beyond it. The tangle of shallows at
the mouth of the Thames is traversed by navigable channels running in
different directions. Several of these had not been surveyed in the
time of Charles II., and it is therefore not necessary to mention more
for the purpose of explaining the movements of the fleet than those
that were then in general use. It must be remembered that the coast of
Essex is fringed by shallows. At the very mouth of the river, beginning
above Shoeburyness, are the Maplin Sands, north and a little east of
the Maplin Sands is Foulness Sand, and north of that again Buxey. In
the seventeenth century these were called the Rolling Grounds. From the
north-east corner of Buxey stretches out the Gunfleet, which itself
runs towards the north-east. The navigable passage which goes along
these three channels is called, after it leaves the Warp, just opposite
the Maplin Sands, first the West Swin, then the East Swin. Here a
narrow shallow called the Middle Ground divides it from the Middle
Deep. At the end of the Middle Ground the East Swin and Middle Deep
join together to make the King's Channel, which flows past the Gunfleet
and leads into the open sea. The right-hand side of this channel is
formed, at the place where it is called the West Swin, by the shallows
known as the West Barrow, the Barrow, and the East Barrow. The Barrow
Channel is on the other side of this shallow. Both run from S.W. to
N.E. On the right hand as you go out of Barrow Deep are the Oaze, the
Nob, the North Nob, the Barrow Ridge, the Knock John, and then the
Sunk: all these have the same general direction as the Barrow. On the
eastern side of the shallows, beginning at the Oaze Deep and flowing on
till it mingles in the King's Channel at the Sunk Head, is the Black
Deep, the main channel into and out of the Thames. On the right-hand
side of the Black Deep, going out, is the Long Sand, which is fairly
described by its name. This also stretches from S.W. to N.E. Between
the south-west end of the Long Sand and the coast of Kent are the
Girdler, the Kentish Flats, the Margate Sands, and a host of confusing
shallows and channels, not necessary to be specified. Outside and on
the east of the Long Sand is the Knock Deep, and then the Kentish
Knock. This was the scene of the first battle of the first Dutch war.
A line drawn straight south from the Kentish Knock would strike on
the Goodwin Sands. At flood-tide there is a strong current which runs
through these channels and over these sands, towards London. At the
ebb the current is in the reverse direction.

Now it will be obvious that the difficulty of bringing a fleet of
sailing ships from the Nore to the North Sea through all these
obstructions to navigation is great, and that the difficulty may grow
into a very serious danger if there is an enemy waiting outside. To
carry the ships out in one tide from the Warp through the Swin or
Barrow into the King's Channel, or through the Black Deep into the open
sea, required a combination, of either a good breeze and an ebb-tide,
or such a strong wind from the west, with a flood-tide, as would
enable a fleet to make head against the current. The difficulties of
an approach to the Black Deep are so serious, in consequence of the
numerous little sands lying at the entry to it, that it was decided in
July 1666 to take the fleet out by the Swin, but this had necessarily
to be done at one tide. De Ruyter was cruising between the Long Sand
and the Naze, with an advanced detachment of ships at the Gunfleet.
If, then, the English fleet, in coming through the Swin, had been
caught by the turn of the tide at a moment when part of the fleet
had passed and the other had not, that portion of it which was still
dropping down the Channel might be stopped until the next tide. In
the meantime, those which had already passed might be subject to an
attack by the whole force of De Ruyter coming on with the flood-tide.
From this it could only escape by running back into the Swin, a very
dangerous operation for vessels in a narrow tideway under the fire of
enemies. Before, then, attempting to issue from the Sea Reach Swin and
Middle Deep into the King's Channel, it was necessary to be sure that
the wind would be strong enough to enable the whole fleet to get out
together on one ebb-tide. The opportunity did not present itself until
the 21st of July. Before that, the ships were making their way down as
far as the Middle Ground. Here they anchored in a body on the 19th. Sir
Thomas Clifford, who was again with the fleet, and the Generals Monk
and Rupert in their flagship, the =Royal Charles=, wrote a stirring
description to Lord Arlington of the spectacle presented by this great
fleet, stretching along for nine or ten miles as it worked its way down
the Channel. The length of the long column of ships working through the
fairway constituted the difficulty of getting them out in one tide.
Clifford reported that the fleet was in high spirits, and had prepared
for serious work. The cabins were pulled down, and the decks clear.
Even the common men were full of spirit, declaring that "if we do not
beat them now, we never shall." Yet we can understand the anxiety of
the generals. For two days the fleet lay at the Middle Ground. The wind
was still too much from the north to afford a reasonable security of
clearing the narrow passages between the East Barrow and Foulness. On
the 22nd it had shifted sufficiently to the west to allow the fleet
to get under way. Monk and Rupert were on deck all day, and, so Sir
Thomas Clifford reports, "sometimes a little rough with the pilots"
in their impatience at the hesitations of the technical man. Captain
Elliot led the van of eleven ships and eight or nine fireships, in the
=Revenge=, with orders to fall upon the Dutch advance guard if they did
not retire from the Gunfleet. If the work had not been done "in the
nick," it would not have been done at all. But done it was, and on the
evening of the 22nd we anchored at the buoy of the Gunfleet. The Dutch
advance squadron weighed anchor and stood out to the N. of E. as we
came on. The bulk of the Dutch fleet, with De Ruyter, was riding at the
Naze. Another English vessel, the =Rupert=, joined the fleet here from
Harwich.

On the morning of the 23rd, both fleets weighed anchor. The Dutch were
farther out than the English, and a little to the south of them. Monk
and Rupert desired to force an action at once, but the enemy worked
away to the southward, and could not be brought to battle. Our fleet
had started beating drums and preparing for action, with the pomp and
circumstance beloved by the fighting men of former times. The wind was
light, and fell before evening almost to a calm, so that we anchored
at dark on the outskirts of the shallows of the Thames estuary. The
fall of the wind was followed by a violent gale, which raged all
through the night and the early hours of the 24th of July. The Jersey
was struck by lightning, and so disabled that she was compelled to
make her way to Harwich. Her captain, Digby, pleaded to stay as a
volunteer in the flagship, but was ordered to go with his ship. Towards
the afternoon the wind moderated, the fleet weighed anchor and again
moved in pursuit of the Dutch, of whom it had lost sight during the
previous evening. Little progress was made, and the generals anchored
at nightfall eight leagues east of the Naze. It is possible that De
Ruyter, who had fallen back on the 23rd, returned when the gale had
exhausted its force. For on the morning of the 25th he was seen to the
south of the English fleet. The generals had again got under way at two
o'clock in the morning, and at daybreak the Dutch were seen to leeward
of the English. From the account given in Brandt's _Life of Michael de
Ruyter_, of the council of war held on board the _Seven Provinces_, it
appears that the Dutch had decided to accept battle to leeward.

In strength the fleets about to engage were almost exactly equal. The
fleet of the United Provinces consisted of seventy-three warships,
and twenty-six frigates and look-out vessels, with twenty fireships.
It was divided into three squadrons. The van was under the command
of Lieutenant-Admiral Jan Evertszoon. The second in command under
Evertszoon was Lieutenant-Admiral Tjerk Hiddes de Vries. The third
was Vice-Admiral Bankert, the fourth Vice-Admiral Koenders, and there
were under them two officers known by a title peculiar to the Dutch
Navy--that of _Schoutbynacht_, of which the literal meaning is the
Command-by-night. It answered to the Rear-Admiral of our navy. Their
names were Evertszoon and Brunsvelt. Jan Evertszoon, though equal in
rank to De Ruyter, carried a flag, of which the Dutch name is _Wimpel_,
at the foremast, as his actual office was only that of leader of the
van. De Ruyter commanded in the centre. His second in command was the
Lieutenant-Admiral van Nes. His third was Vice-Admiral de Liefde, his
fourth the Schoutbynacht, Jan van Nes. De Ruyter's flag was at the
mainmast; the rear was commanded by Tromp; Lieutenant-Admiral Meppel,
Vice-Admirals van Schram and Sveers, with W. van der Zaan and G't Hoen
in the rank of Schoutbynacht. Tromp, as commander of the rear, had the
Wimpel at the mizen.

The strength of the English fleet was put in the official account at
ninety, but it appears really to have consisted of ninety-two ships
fit to lie in a line of battle. We did not as yet distinguish between
battleships and light ships, and in fact there were fewer of the latter
with us than with the Dutch, so that the ninety-two of the English
were equal in effective strength to the ninety-nine of the Dutch. Our
fireships were seventeen in number. The van of the English fleet--that
is to say, the White Division--was commanded by Sir Thomas Allen, with
Sir Thomas Teddiman as vice-admiral, and Captain Utbar as rear. The
rear, or Blue Division, was commanded by Sir Jeremy Smith, with Sir
Edward Spragge as vice-admiral, and Kempthorne was rear-admiral. The
Red or Central Division was under the direct command of the generals,
Monk and Rupert, who were together in the flagship, the =Royal
Charles=. Sir Joseph Jordan was vice-admiral, and Sir Robert Holmes
rear-admiral.

Though the enemy had been sighted at daybreak, the battle did not begin
until nine or ten o'clock; both hours are mentioned by eye-witnesses,
and it may be that neither is quite accurate. Estimates of time taken
in such circumstances, and hurriedly reported after a battle, can
hardly be minutely accurate. The English fleet bore down on the Dutch
in a line abreast from the north-west, sailing on the port tack. They
stood on their course till they were parallel with the enemy, and then
bore up all together, and engaged him from end to end of the line. Sir
Thomas Allen in command of the White Squadron engaged the Dutch van
under the command of Evertszoon. The Red Squadron came into action with
De Ruyter, and Sir Jeremy Smith with Cornelius van Tromp. In accordance
with an almost universal experience, the rear division of the English
was in some disorder when it engaged Tromp. Part of the ships were out
of their place, with the result that some of them were under the fire
of the Dutch before the others. For five hours the action raged with
very equal fortunes. We do not hear of any manoeuvres on either side,
unless it be in the boast of the English that they engaged the enemy
so close as to give him no opportunity to tack. As the afternoon wore
on, the English began to gain the upper hand. The Dutch van and centre
began to flinch, and fall away to leeward. In the rear the course of
battle had been somewhat different. Sir Jeremy's Smith's squadron
was considered weaker than the other two. As it was not inferior in
numbers to the centre, this estimate was probably made to console the
national complacency for the failure of the squadron, which might be
sufficiently accounted for by the disordered state of the English ships
at the beginning of the battle. Tromp, who at all times showed a wilful
preference for acting by himself, took advantage of his comparative
success against the Blue Squadron to break away from his admiral. When
De Ruyter and Evertszoon fell away to leeward, he did not follow them,
but remained closely engaged with the English rear. Thus the battle
broke into two, the Dutch van and centre retreating towards their own
coast, with the English Red and White Squadrons in pursuit, whilst the
Dutch rear division and the English Blue Squadron remained behind,
cannonading one another with fairly equal fortunes.

By the time that De Ruyter and Evertszoon were undeniably in retreat,
it was almost dark. The night put a stop to the battle. Next day,
the 26th of July, the wind had almost fallen to a calm, and the two
fleets remained within sight of one another, but neither able to
move except at a very slow rate. Prince Rupert took advantage of the
helplessness of the enemy to play off a piece of bravado on De Ruyter.
He had bought a little sailing-yacht, which he named the =Fan-fan=,
and towed about with him behind the flagship. She carried two toy
pop-guns for ornament. A little craft of this kind could be easily
handled in breezes which produced no effect on the bulk of the _Seven
Provinces_. Rupert sent her out with orders to take her place opposite
the stern of De Ruyter's flagship and fire into her, by way of insult
and derision. The calm was so great that the little =Fan-fan= was able
to enjoy the amusement of banging away at the big Dutchman with her
pop-guns for two hours, before the enemy was able to move. At last
the breeze got up again. The =Fan-fan= ran back into our fleet, and
the pursuit was resumed. De Ruyter kept in the rear of his flying
fleet, gallantly supported by some of his captains. The historian of
his life says that in his anguish he called for death, and regretted
that none of the many bullets flying about had struck him. At last,
on the evening of the 26th, the Dutch ran into the shallow water near
Flushing, and so escaped. The English fleet anchored outside.

While two-thirds of the fleet on either side were drifting or sailing
towards Flushing, Cornelius van Tromp and Sir Jeremy Smith were
fighting their detached action on their own account. During the night
of the 26th the sound of their guns was heard by ships at anchor off
Flushing. The English fleet got under way and stood out in the hopes of
intercepting the Dutch rear division. It would have added immensely to
the glory of the victory if they could have carried out their purpose.
Only four prizes had been taken on the 25th, and against this we
have to set off the loss of one vessel of our own, the _Resolution_.
Tromp had with him twenty-five battleships, six frigates, and eight
fireships. If their road home could have been barred by the White and
Red Squadrons at a time when Sir Jeremy Smith was pressing on them from
behind, it is probable that every one of the thirty-nine might have
fallen into our hands, and then the disaster to Holland would have been
crushing. In the hope of fulfilling their triumph on this splendid
scale, the English fleet stood out to sea on the 27th of July. The wind
was at the N.E. Tromp and Smith were seen far out, engaged with one
another. The White and Red Squadrons stood out until they were opposite
to Tromp, and then tacked to put themselves in the direction he was
following, and bar his road home. It was maintained at the time that if
the admiral of the Blue had handled his squadron with spirit, he would
have driven Tromp into the bulk of the English fleet. He was violently
accused not only of incompetence, but of personal cowardice. The latter
accusation may be dismissed as being only a form of calumny common at
that time, but it does seem that Smith showed some want of skill. He
might have excused himself by alleging that he had done as well as
anybody else. The two generals who directed the fleet had little right
to complain of the mismanagement of a subordinate officer. With the
wind in the N.E., they surely had it in their power to force an action
with Tromp. They were to windward, and he was making his way homeward
against the wind. Yet they were content to lie in wait for the Dutchmen
at the point to which they took it for granted he would be driven by
the Blue Division. The upshot of it was that he slipped between the
two. During the night of the 27th the Blue Squadron lost sight of the
enemy, and Tromp, skilfully avoiding the White and Red Squadrons,
joined De Ruyter in harbour.

Although the battle had produced few prizes, and the escape of Tromp
had shorn it of its hoped-for fair proportions, it was the subject of
great and legitimate rejoicing in England. De Ruyter had been driven
from his cruising-ground at the mouth of the Thames. We had again
proved that we could overcome the Dutch in battle, and were masters of
the sea. Monk and Rupert made a vigorous use of their success. They
swept along the coast of Holland, driving the enemy's commerce into
port, or capturing all ships that dared to remain out. An opportunity
of inflicting a great blow on a Dutch corporation which was regarded
with peculiar animosity in England, was put in their way through the
treason of a Dutch officer who had been dismissed from the service.
This ignoble scoundrel informed the English admirals that a number of
vessels belonging to the Dutch East India Company were lying inside of
Vlieland and Terschelling, two islands north of the Texel and opposite
the coast of Friesland. There were also a number of other merchant
ships, some from the Baltic, and some from the coast of Africa, lying
in the same roadsteads. The islands of Vlieland and Terschelling
contained large magazines belonging partly to the Dutch East India
Company and partly to the States. Here was a mass of plunder which it
was neither the interest nor, indeed, the duty of the English admirals
to neglect. It was decided to sail in and attack. The squadron detached
for the purpose was put under the command of Sir Robert Holmes, the
rear-admiral of the Red Squadron. On the 8th of August the fleet was
close to Vlieland, but, the wind not being favourable for an attack
on that island, it turned into the roadstead of Terschelling on the
9th, and there destroyed one hundred and sixty merchant ships, and two
men-of-war that had been told off for their convoy. To the end that the
work of injuring the Dutch should be done thoroughly, orders were given
that the vessels captured should be fired at once, lest the temptation
to look after the prizes should distract the attention of the officers
and men. There was a real disinterestedness in this, for the captain
who fired a richly-laden Dutch merchant ship was in fact burning his
own chance of a fortune. It must be put to the credit of a greedy time
that these orders were thoroughly obeyed. The Dutch were fired, and not
taken off as prizes. On the following day a naval brigade was landed
in the island of Terschelling, and one of the towns was burned to the
ground. The stores found in the warehouses were carried off to the
ships, as some compensation to the men for the loss of the merchant
ships the day before. The taking of the plunder was in accordance with
the military practices of all times, but the burning of the town was a
cruel act, and compares very unfavourably with the conduct of De Ruyter
at Chatham in the following year. The loss to the Dutch was estimated
at £1,200,000. After inflicting this severe retaliation for the injury
which De Ruyter had caused by his occupation of the mouth of the
Thames, the English fleet returned home.

Yet the Dutch were not so seriously injured but that they were at sea
again within a month. The French king, provoked perhaps by the injury
inflicted on the commerce of his country by English cruisers, was at
last showing some serious signs of an intention to reinforce the fleet
of his ally. A French squadron was sent into the Channel, under the
command of the Duke of Beaufort. The Dutch, in hopes of meeting him,
stood along the French coast as far as Boulogne. They were at once
followed by the English, under the sole command of Prince Rupert.
The great fire of London had taken place during the interval. Amid
the terror and confusion it had caused, there was a loud cry for the
presence of Monk. The Lord General was one of the few leading men of
the day who had not fled from the plague. He had stood his ground,
and had kept order whilst the pestilence was at its worst, showing no
other sign of anxiety for his own safety than to indulge rather more
than usual in his habitual practice of smoking and chewing tobacco. He
chewed tobacco and spat about the deck when yardarm to yardarm with
De Ruyter, and he did it during the plague, to keep out the germs of
death. The nation had profound confidence in the stolid courage and
unfailing loyalty to duty of the man who had restored the monarchy. The
scandal of the time asserted that he had been recalled from the fleet
in disgrace, but there can be no doubt that he was summoned to London
because he was one of the very few who could be trusted to put his hand
to a piece of public work, with the intention of doing it first, and of
attending to his own pecuniary interests afterwards. Rupert's cruise in
the Channel was so far successful that no junction took place between
the Dutch and French. De Ruyter drew his vessels into the shallow water
near Boulogne, and, when bad weather drove the English fleet off, took
the opportunity to turn home. The bulk of the French fleet did not
come into the Channel, but some of them advanced far enough to give
us the only chance we had hitherto had of punishing them for joining
the Dutch. When Rupert was driven off the coast of Boulogne, he fell
back to St. Helens. The squadron of Sir Thomas Allen was kept at sea
to watch for the French. Three or four of their vessels were met in
the Channel in the course of September, and one of them, the _Ruby_,
of seventy guns, was taken. Beaufort did not venture to come on, and,
as the autumn was now begun, the fleets on both sides retired into
harbour.

The great war may be said to have come to an end with the withdrawal
of the main fleets in the early autumn of 1666. There were still some
operations of squadrons in distant seas, and the country had one
disgrace to undergo unparalleled in our own history, or, considering
the circumstances, in any other. At least it would be difficult to
find a case in which a powerful nation was compelled to see its ships
burnt within earshot of its capital, and its coast insulted, at the
close of a successful war. This disgrace was the direct result of
corruption and bad management on the part of the Government. The
excuse made for Charles II. by official apologists is that he allowed
himself to be surprised at the end of the second Dutch war, solely
because he was candid enough to rely for his protection on the peaceful
negotiations then in progress with the Dutch. The plain English of this
very lame apology is that the king was compelled to seize upon the
first plausible pretext for opening negotiations with the Dutch, by
the state of penury to which mismanagement had reduced his treasury,
and that, having provided himself with an excuse for not keeping his
fleet on a war footing by opening a correspondence with the enemy, he
took advantage of it to divert the money voted for the war to other
purposes. Hence it was that in the spring of 1667 the country was found
unprepared, and that the Dutch, under the command of De Ruyter, who was
accompanied by Cornelius de Witt in the capacity of delegate of the
States, was able to burn the ships at Chatham.

When the country found itself committed to hostilities with the Dutch
at the close of 1664, Parliament had been induced to vote the sum of
£2,500,000 for the king's service. Members were in a somewhat gloomy
mood when they were summoned to make good their loyal promises to
the king by providing so large a sum. But the House had soon been
made to understand that war could not be conducted without money.
The £2,500,000 was granted. In 1665 the sum of £1,250,000 was asked
for by the king's servants, and was obtained from the House. In the
early days of 1667 a third vote of £1,800,000 was put at the king's
disposal. The total amount, therefore, voted in those three years
had been £5,550,000. The fixed revenue of the Crown, though it fell
below the estimated amount, was not less than £1,000,000 a year. For
the three years counting from late in 1664 to early in 1667 this
would make £3,000,000, so that the total amount that had been at the
disposal of the Government during these three years had, at least on
paper, been no less than £8,550,000. A large allowance must undoubtedly
be made for the disturbing effects of the plague and the fire. The
king had to put up with delay in obtaining advances from the city
on the security of the revenue, and after the fire the whole of the
business of the Treasury was disorganised for an interval. Yet the
money actually received by the king must have been much the greater
part of the £8,550,000. None the less, his crews were a year or more
in arrear of their pay, the workmen were running from the dockyards to
escape starvation, and the navy was burdened with debt. King Charles
was under no necessity to maintain a great army. This obligation had
weighed on the Government of the Protector, who had to provide for
the Scotch and Irish establishments, and had, moreover, never enjoyed
any equivalent revenue. The sea service of the Protector did indeed
suffer through the financial difficulties of his Government, but was
never so crippled as the navy was in 1667. The religious discontents
in Scotland and conspiracies among the Puritans in England undoubtedly
made it necessary for the king to maintain a body of troops, yet a
very few would have sufficed; and when the king began raising new
regiments at the end of 1666, it was not because they were needed for
the maintenance of order.

The Dutch war had been a disappointment to the king and Court. They
found that they had entirely underestimated the difficulty of defeating
Holland. The war was not, as had been hoped, a rich but a poor one. In
spite of our victories at sea, our commerce suffered so severely that
after the conclusion of hostilities it was found necessary to suspend
those provisions of the Navigation Acts which prohibited the purchase
of foreign-built vessels. In the meantime, every appeal made to the
House of Commons for money had a tendency to strengthen its already
deeply-rooted desire to interfere with the king's administration. This
combination of disappointments abroad with the rising difficulties at
home, ended by thoroughly sickening the king of the Dutch war. He began
to think of the dangers menacing him in England, and to long to be free
from the control of his House of Commons. He was far too clever a man
to imitate the fatal courses of his father. Charles II. would never go
far enough to provoke his people into sending him on his travels for a
second time, and when Parliament became dangerous he yielded. Till it
came to that pass, he would take all he could get, and would prepare,
as far as he safely could, to make himself a despotic king on the model
of his cousin Louis XIV. One way of bringing about that much-desired
consummation was to provide himself with an army. It would have been
an act of suicidal folly to go to Parliament with a request for funds
for the maintenance of troops. Standing army was a phrase which stank
in the nostrils of all Englishmen, and was to none more offensive than
to the king's own most loyal subjects, the Cavaliers, who associated
regular soldiers with the memories of Oliver's major-generals. But
there was one thing the king could do: he could take the money the
Parliament had voted for naval armaments against the Dutch, and apply
it to the payment of soldiers. There was nothing in the "dry and
elegant cynicism" of Charles II. to make him see anything discreditable
in such a manoeuvre; so towards the end of the war he pocketed the
£1,800,000 voted by Parliament for the fleet, and applied it to the
general purposes of his Government, of which one was the formation of
fresh regiments of troops. The navy in the meantime was laid up, with
the exception of a few light squadrons, and the country left without
protection against the Dutch. It is no doubt the case that the king was
technically justified in spending the money as he saw fit. It was voted
for his service, and he was in theory the judge of what constituted his
service. What neither the king nor his advisers foresaw sufficiently
clearly was, that the House of Commons would draw its own deductions
from these facts. It would sooner or later guard itself against the
risk of seeing the money given for one service diverted to another by
insisting on allotting funds for definite purposes. From the moment it
had done that, it had taken the last step which was necessary to give
it direct control over every branch of the public administration.

The session of Parliament began in September 1666, and took a course
well calculated to warn the king of the domestic perils before him.
A bill was introduced in the House of Commons for the examination
of public accounts. According to the terms of this measure, a
Parliamentary Commission was to be appointed, which was to have the
power of calling the king's officers before it, and compelling them
to give an account of all public money that had passed through their
hands. The House was so resolute to give itself this satisfaction
that it at first refused to proceed with supply until the bill was
passed. The terror felt by the king's officers and by his courtiers was
lively. The Diary of Pepys contains ample evidence of the searchings of
heart set going in the Navy Office. The terrors of the courtiers were
even greater, as they were better founded, than those of the king's
officials. Nobody had more to fear from a parliamentary investigation
than Lord Ashley, afterwards first Earl of Shaftesbury. He was chairman
of the Commissioners of Prizes. According to the law, the Commissioners
ought, after satisfying the claims of the officers and men, to have
handed over the surplus for the purposes of the war, but it was
notorious that the fleet had not been paid either wages or prize-money,
and that vast sums of money had been pilfered by the courtiers. Ashley
had the king's orders not to reveal what he had done with the proceeds
of the prizes, and he had also the king's promise that he would be
protected against the House of Commons. The servants of the House
of Stuart had the fate of Strafford to teach them the value of such
guarantees. The danger passed away, but only because the House of
Commons was diverted by other objects. The king had announced that he
never would have passed the bill, even if he failed to get it defeated
in the House of Lords. The belief that he would refuse his consent to
a measure designed to make his servants the servants of the House of
Commons was universal. Some members at least were so convinced of
his obstinacy that they had recourse to an unchivalrous but effectual
method of coercion. They talked of attacking the king's mistress, the
Countess of Castlemaine, thereby setting an example to Ashley, who,
when he had quarrelled with the king at a later period of his career,
cowed his master by threatening to cause the Duchess of Portsmouth to
be presented as a nuisance by the Grand Jury of Middlesex. Clarendon,
though no friend to the extravagances of the Court, was opposed to the
bill, which he held, and very justly, to constitute a great reduction
of the power of the Crown.

Neither the reluctance of the king nor the management of his chancellor
would of themselves have checked the House of Commons if it had not
been diverted by a quarrel about jurisdiction with the House of Lords.
It was getting into that savage state of mind which so often made it
dangerous in the seventeenth century. Members felt that the money they
had voted had been shamefully wasted. They were filled with suspicion
by the increase in the number of troops, and were almost maddened by
fears, which we now know to have been well founded, that the king was
secretly a Roman Catholic, and was nursing schemes to favour those of
his own religion. It must be remembered, too, that the House was very
ill informed. To-day every detail of the public service is subject to
inspection by Parliament, but in the seventeenth century it had not yet
been settled that the king's servants were responsible to Parliament
in any other sense than this, that they might be impeached, and, if
found guilty, be punished for giving bad advice to the king, or for
illegal acts. They were still struggling to maintain the old doctrine
of the Tudor dynasty, that the king's servants answered to the king
alone. Feeling themselves tricked and eluded, being very ignorant of
the facts, it is not wonderful that the members of the House of Commons
were liable to get beside themselves with anger. In their frame of mind
they were always prepared to clamour for a victim. Pepys has recorded
his rueful conviction, not only that the navy officers might be, but
that it was reasonable to think that they ought to be, thrown out
as a sacrifice to the wolves to save the king and great men. On this
occasion, however, they escaped, and it was Clarendon who was thrown
out to pacify the House of Commons. The Bill for Examining Public
Accounts passed the Commons. The Lords, desirous to help the king,
decided to petition him to appoint a committee of inquiry himself. The
Commons were furious at what was manifestly a manoeuvre to avert
a reinvestigation, and a great quarrel arose between the Houses as
to the constitutional orthodoxy of the course taken by the Peers. In
the general conflict the bill was allowed to lapse, but when the king
prorogued Parliament in the beginning of 1667 he found it wise to
promise that he would cause inquiry to be made.

At the time that this promise was given, the king was in hopes of a
speedy settlement with Holland, which might help him to huddle up the
war. Informal negotiations had been going on since the close of the
summer of 1666. Occasion for them had been given by an act of humanity
and courtesy on the part of John de Witt. He caused the body of Sir
William Berkeley, who had fallen in the first day of the Four Days'
Battle, to be skilfully embalmed, and returned it to England under a
flag of truce. Charles had replied by taking the first step towards the
settlement of a peace. Some months passed before they progressed so far
as to become definite negotiations, but it was so much the interest of
both parties to put a stop to hostilities that they were not allowed to
drop. If England, or rather, if the English Treasury, was exhausted,
Holland had begun to be conscious of a danger menacing her very
existence. Her ally, Louis XIV., was entering on a course of aggression
against the Spanish Netherlands, which, if unchecked, must very soon
bring his armies to the borders of the United Provinces, and thereby
reduce them to entire dependence on his mercy. To face this peril while
hampered with a war with England was impossible, and John de Witt was
eager for peace. The King of England for his part was already engaged
in underhand schemes with his cousin Louis XIV., which had for their
ultimate object the destruction of the Dutch Republics, but some time
had to pass before their plans could be ripened. In the interval it
was desirable to make peace, and so, by putting a stop to hostilities
between England and France, leave the two Courts free to act together.
When, therefore, the King of Sweden came forward with offers to act as
mediator, he was accepted by both powers. The Conference appointed to
settle the treaty of peace met at Breda in May.

While the diplomatists were sitting in their different rooms at Breda,
drawing up protocols and sending them to the Swedish ambassador, who
acted as umpire, it was perfectly understood on both sides that the war
was to go on. This was first dishonestly, and then foolishly, denied on
our side. But the actions of our Government prove to demonstration that
it was perfectly well aware that hostilities were not to be suspended.
In May, when the Conference at Breda was just about to meet, the
king, in a letter addressed to the Duke of York as Lord High Admiral,
declared that as London was well supplied with coal, there was no need
to keep at sea more than a few light squadrons, which might distract
the enemy and disturb his trade. These were operations of war. In fact,
so little did the English Government trust to the peace negotiations
for protection, that when it was decided not to send a fleet to sea,
measures were ordered to be taken for the fortification of the coast.
In March the works undertaken for the purpose were already patent to
all the world, and were, in fact, perfectly well known in Holland. At
a later time, when the disastrous consequences of this decision had
been seen, the king threw the blame on his councillors, and the Duke of
York asserted that he had opposed the policy. These were after-thoughts
of men anxious to screen themselves at the expense of others. From
the account given by Pepys of the meeting of the Council at Whitehall
on the 24th of March, it appears that the Duke of York was very well
satisfied with the fortifications. When he was told that they were
known of in Holland, and might be taken for a sign of fear, "the King
and Duke of York both laughed at it and made no matter, but said, 'Let
us be safe and let them talk, for there is nothing that will trouble
them more, nor will prevent their coming over more, than to hear we
are fortifying ourselves.' And the Duke of York said further, 'What
said Marshal Turenne when some in vanity said that the enemies were
afraid, for they entrenched themselves? "Well," says he, "I would that
they were not afraid, for then they would not entrench themselves, and
so we could deal with them the better."'" The difference between the
Government of England and that of Holland in these months was not that
the first relied on negotiations for peace to suspend hostilities,
and that the second took a base advantage of its confidence, but that
England was governed by cunning men of no wisdom, intent on their own
amusements, and that Holland was governed by an energetic and judicious
statesman, who ranked her glory far above any personal aims of his own.

The light squadrons sent out from England were two. The less
interesting and important was sent into the higher latitudes of the
North Sea under the command of Sir J. Smith, to cruise against the
Baltic commerce of the Dutch, and it is reported to have been fairly
successful in taking prizes. It remained there till peace was actually
signed, and then returned, having made some profit for those who could
secure a share in the prizes, but having certainly done nothing to
distract Michael de Ruyter.

The second squadron had a much more varied and brilliant history.
It was commanded by that Sir John Harman who had been captain of
the flagship of the Lord High Admiral in the battle of Lowestoft,
and had afterwards fought with such conspicuous valour in the Four
Days' Battle. Harman came from that part of England which was to the
reign of Charles II. what Devonshire had been to the age of Queen
Elizabeth--a nursery of brave and skilful seamen. The more famous of
the Tarpaulin Admirals, as the regular-bred seamen were nicknamed,
were East Anglians. Harman's people belonged to Suffolk, and from his
portrait he was of that type of eastern county men with sharp, almost
hatchet faces and black hair, who perhaps represent the black Danes.
The station to which he was destined was the West Indies. However
languidly the war had been conducted in Europe by Louis XIV., the
French and English had come to very fierce blows in the Antilles. At
this period the French already possessed Guadaloupe, Martinique, and
some smaller islands. They divided the island of St. Christopher with
us. England had Barbadoes, Antigua, Nevis, which lies immediately next
St. Christopher, on the other half of that island. The Commonwealth had
given us possession of Jamaica. Whether in the French or in the English
islands, the control of the Home Government was very inefficient. There
were conflicts as to jurisdiction between the Crown and the Lords
Proprietors who had secured concessions for settling the islands, and
with the companies which had secured trade monopolies. The islands
were the home of a vast floating population of adventurers, mostly
scoundrels. The Civil War in England had consigned herds of Scotch and
Irish prisoners to what was really slavery in the West Indies. It had
also been the custom both of France and England to supply the planters
with labour by drafting out criminals who were bound to give so many
years of labour. An active trade of kidnapping conducted by rascals who
were known by the cant name of "The Spirits" tended to recruit this
curious nondescript population, which not unnaturally produced a large
proportion of men incapable of regular work. When it is remembered that
the rich Spanish colonies were close at hand, and that Spain was very
weak, no demonstration is required to prove that the West Indies were
swarming with pirates. Under the names of "Brethren of the Coast,"
"flibutiers," and buccaneers, and under the pretext of asserting the
freedom of the rest of the world to share in the possession of America,
these adventurers carried on an incessant piratical warfare against
Spain.

The French king's declaration of war had introduced a new element
into this scene of organised disorder. The French, English, and Dutch
had hitherto worked pretty harmoniously together for the purpose of
plundering the Spaniards. They were now divided, the French and Dutch
being banded together against the English. The first collision in
the war took place, as might have been supposed, in the island of
St. Christopher. The French colonists had generally an advantage
over ours on these occasions. That want of industry which in the end
ruined their chance of establishing an empire in America, made them
more ready for martial adventure. In St. Christopher's it is said that
they were guilty of a breach of faith, a charge continually made and
retorted on both sides. It was probably produced on this occasion the
more readily, because the French gained an instantaneous and complete
success. The defeat of the English may be accounted for without having
recourse to the supposition of illegitimate manoeuvres on the part of
the French. The planters among the English were peaceful persons who
did not want to fight. They had some buccaneers, who were no doubt in
their way courageous, under the command of one William Morgan (not to
be confounded with the renowned Sir Henry Morgan); but these men, if
they were brave, were very drunken and undisciplined. There were also
some Irish, victims, no doubt, of the great exportations of the Civil
War, who are described by the narrator of these events as a bloody and
perfidious people, always hostile to the Protestant interest. It is
said they fired into the backs of the English while they were engaged
with the French in the front. The end of it was, that our colony was
destroyed, and the English wholly expelled from the island. Some of
them took refuge in Virginia, others fortified themselves in the island
of Nevis, and there contrived to hold out till they were relieved.

Little help came from Jamaica, where Modyford, the governor, could not
get that part of the population which was prepared to fight, to serve
against anybody but the Spaniards. But Lord Willoughby, who was again
governor of Barbadoes, exerted himself with energy, and appeals were
made for help from home.

The West Indian interest, though not so great as it afterwards became,
was highly important in London, and the Government made an effort to
afford the plantations relief. A squadron of ten ships, mostly, if not
all, merchant vessels, taken for the occasion and fitted as men-of-war,
was sent out under the command of Captain John Berry. Berry was a
Devonshire man, the son of a clergyman who had been expelled from his
living in the Civil War. He was bred to the sea in the West India
trade, and had entered the king's service in 1663 as boatswain of the
=Swallow=. First in that capacity, and then as lieutenant, he had seen
service against pirates in the West Indies. In this service he is said
to have distinguished himself, and although the story is of dubious
authority, it may be told for the excellent doctrine it contains.
The =Swallow= had been despatched in pursuit of a certain sea-rover,
and overtook him. The chase turned out to be a larger vessel than
the =Swallow=, and Berry's captain "rather hesitated to attack him,
expressing himself in the following words:--'Gentlemen, the blades we
are to attack are men-at-arms, old buccaneers, and superior to us in
number and in the force of their ship, and therefore I would have your
opinion.' Mr. Berry is reported to have immediately answered, 'Sir, we
are men-at-arms too, and, which is more, honest men, and fight under
the king's commission, and if you have no stomach for fighting, be
pleased to walk down into your cabin.'" The pirate was attacked and
taken. A man of whom such a story looked probable would not be wanting
in resolution. On his arrival in the West Indies, Berry exerted himself
to retaliate on the enemy for their success at St. Christopher's. He
succeeded in doing some real damage to the enemy, and in protecting
Nevis from attack; but although several French prizes were taken, and a
spirited action was fought with the allies, Berry could do little more
than keep them at bay till reinforcements arrived from England.

Harman had been appointed in March, but he cannot have sailed until
May. He went first to Barbadoes, and from thence to Nevis, where he
joined Berry. Their combined forces were apparently enough to overawe
the French and Dutch, who separated and left the English in command of
the sea. Harman would willingly have retaken St. Christopher's, but, as
the English had been expelled from the island, he had no help to expect
on shore. The other English plantations gave him no assistance, and
he had brought no troops from England. In these circumstances he was
confined to pushing the war against the enemy at sea, and fortunately
an opportunity presented itself. The French admiral had retired to
Martinique, and had withdrawn himself under the protection of some
forts. Their position was reconnoitred by the =Portsmouth= ketch and
reported to Harman, who, with the hearty agreement of his subordinates,
determined to attack. He reached Martinique on Monday 24th June, and
would have attacked at once, but the breezes are always treacherous
under the land in the West Indies. It fell calm before Harman could
get at the ships, though he was able to silence the forts. On Tuesday
morning the sea breeze was favourable, and he fell on. There is a
tradition that the admiral was so seriously ill with the gout as to be
unable to move, but in the excitement of battle he mastered his disease
so completely that it disappeared for a time. The forts having been
silenced, there was nothing to distract Harman's attention from the
ships, and he assailed them with such success that eight were burned,
including the admiral's vessel, and most of the others driven on shore.
This victory disposed of the French as active enemies at sea in the
West Indies for the time being, and Harman was left free to assail
the Dutch. Their posts were chiefly on the mainland of South America,
in Guiana, or on the islands off the coast of Cumana. Harman cruised
against them with great success during what remained of the war. The
proclamation of peace in July cut short his activity. He remained in
the West Indies for the protection of trade till the close of the year,
and then returned to England with a great convoy in January 1668.

Within a few weeks after Harman sailed on this successful expedition,
the country received a lesson, which it has fortunately never
forgotten, on the folly of supposing that cruises against an enemy's
commerce can ever compensate for the want of a force capable of meeting
his main fleet in battle. All through the early spring there had come
one report after another, that the Dutch were fitting out a great naval
force under Michael de Ruyter. The Court, however, learned no wisdom,
but continued to rely on its fortifications. Even if these had been
efficient, they would not have availed to avert a disaster, but the
work was done in the slovenly style common in this reign. The fort
at Sheerness, though begun in plenty of time, was not finished when
it was wanted, and was therefore not armed. Yet as late as the month
of May the Court was diminishing the crews of the few fireships that
were still kept in commission in the Thames. Meanwhile the Dutch were
resolved on a serious effort. Towards the end of May a squadron under
the command of Van Ghent was despatched to the coast of Scotland. Its
object was probably partly to protect Dutch commerce against Smith's
squadron, and partly to distract the attention of Charles's Government
in a more effectual fashion than his own. Van Ghent entered the Firth
of Forth, and, although he was beaten off in an attack on Burntisland,
and was unable to land at Leith, he did great injury to trade, and he
certainly gave a remarkable demonstration of the feebleness of the
Government. From the Firth of Forth Van Ghent sailed south to join De
Ruyter.

On the 1st of June the main Dutch fleet started on the cruise designed
to revenge Holland for the plunder of Terschelling in the previous
year. A storm scattered it on the 4th, but the ships were rapidly got
together again, and, on the 7th of June, Michael de Ruyter's fleet, now
seventy sail strong, was sighted off the North Foreland. The officers
commanding the forts on the coast, and the county magistrates, hurried
the news up to London; and then at last, when it was too late, when De
Ruyter was anchored at the Gunfleet, and an advance squadron had come
up the river as far as Gravesend, the Court woke up to the facts of
the case. If the honour of England had not been concerned, the ensuing
scene would have been comic in the highest degree. For once, and for
a moment, the Court was reduced to sobriety. The courtiers slunk away
by back doors, and the terrors of the Navy Office were dismal. Pepys,
we know, made his mind up that something dreadful was going to happen,
and that, if he and his colleagues were not thrown out as a sacrifice
to appease the mob, they might still be massacred in an explosion of
popular fury. He has described how he took his old father and his wife
into his wife's bedroom, and, having locked the door, informed them of
the perils accumulating on all hands. In the hopes of saving something
from impending ruin, the careful Pepys sent his father and wife off
to the country, with all his available ready money. If others of that
generation had been as much in the habit of making plenary confessions
to their diaries as was the Clerk of the Acts, we should probably
know that many such scenes were transacted during those days in the
neighbourhood of Whitehall.

The surprise of the nation, and its ignorance, made the danger seem
greater than it really was. Along with the well-founded report of De
Ruyter's appearance off the North Foreland, came stories of a French
army ready to be embarked for the invasion of England. This danger was
imaginary, because the King of England had entered on that course of
secret intrigue which ended by making him the vassal of his cousin. The
actual peril was rather that we should be insulted and injured than
invaded. It was fortunate that this was the case, for the Government
was utterly unprepared to deal even with the lesser peril in front of
it. It was not until the 10th of June, when De Ruyter's plans were
matured and his attacking force was ready, that what deserved to be
called measures of defence were taken. The London train bands were
called out, and the militia of the counties immediately threatened were
ordered to march down to the coast. The Court had, as usual, recourse
to the one man who was to be trusted in a crisis. Monk was ordered down
to Chatham. The militia and train bands must have in any case arrived
too late, and Monk only reached Chatham in order to be the helpless
eye-witness of a national disgrace.

He reached Rochester on the 11th. His long military experience and
his natural sagacity must have shown him at once that the case was
hopeless. A few soldiers of a Scotch regiment scattered between
Sheppey, Sheerness, and Chatham represented the sum-total of his
effective military resources. The officers seemed to have known
something of their business, and Pepys praises them for being men
of few words, and also, a very characteristic trait of the time, for
being content to ride about their duties on horseback, whereas Lord
Brouncker, one of the Navy Commissioners, would move only in a coach
and six. But the Scotch regiment was not numerous enough to prevent
a landing, and there was nothing else. The fireships were unmanned.
The workmen of the dockyards refused to render the slightest help.
Of eleven hundred who ought to have been present, only three were
forthcoming when Monk called upon them. In fact, neither in Chatham
nor in London itself could any man be found to do work except for
money down. The sailors openly rejoiced in the embarrassments of the
Government which had cheated them of their pay, and had fed them on
stinking food. Their wives collected round the Navy Office with their
husbands' unpaid tickets, and taunted Mr. Pepys and his colleagues. It
was universally believed that the Dutch fleet was full of Englishmen,
and, though there was no doubt some exaggeration in this, it has a
foundation in fact. In the second year of the war Parliament had found
it necessary to pass a special Act against Englishmen serving in the
States of Holland. It is a fact that English prisoners of war, who
might have been released, preferred to take service with the States.
They said that the punctual pay of the Dutch was better than the broken
promises of the King of England. Pepys has reported a story that when
the =Royal Charles= was taken possession of by the enemy, a number of
the men who boarded her were found to be English, who declared, in a
rude popular copy of the cynical tone of the Court, that they were
coming to present their pay tickets for payment.

On the 9th of June De Ruyter had sent a squadron up the Thames as far
as Gravesend. The merchant ships in the river fled up before it, and
there was nothing in the shape of an armed force to prevent Van Ghent
from coming on to London Bridge. But the wind fell, and on the turn
of the tide the Dutch officer was stopped. Calculating that, as the
advantage of surprise had been lost, London would prove too strong to
be attacked, De Ruyter recalled his subordinate, and decided to be
satisfied with the taking of Chatham. On the 10th of June he entered
the Medway, after battering down the half-finished fort at Sheerness
with the utmost ease. The command of the fort and of the fireships
had been given to a naval officer, Sir Edward Spragge, who made all
the fight that was possible in the circumstances. The sailors and a
detachment of the Scotch regiment under his orders stood their ground
in the fort till the Dutch cannon had battered it about their ears,
and fell back when the enemy landed to storm. A great magazine of
naval stores, and fifteen guns, fell into the hands of the enemy. It
must be recorded, to the honour of the Dutch, that, although they had
received provocation which might have been held to justify reprisals
in the burning of Terschelling, they did no injury whatever to private
property, but contented themselves with carrying off the stores
belonging to the Crown, which were fair prizes of war. During the 11th
they were engaged in working up the Medway. In the meantime Monk had
been desperately endeavouring to arrange a defence. A great iron chain
working on pulleys on either side of the stream had been prepared
in Gillingham Reach, for the purpose of stopping such an attack as
the Dutch were now about to make. The fact that the chain had been
provided is one of many proofs that the Government was not taken by
surprise by the Dutch invasion, but was only utterly mistaken in its
estimate of effective measures. The chain was drawn across the river
not without difficulty, and five or six vessels were anchored behind
it in order to support it by their fire. There were also two trifling
batteries, one at either end. In the dockyard there was nothing but
panic and confusion, the unpaid men refusing to serve, and the higher
officials running away with their private property. They, with Mr.
Commissioner Pett at their head, took all the available boats, and
thereby deprived Monk of his best means of removing the men-of-war
lying at their moorings in the dockyard farther up the river. When Pett
was afterwards called to account for his conduct on this occasion, he
caused some laughter by saying that he considered it his duty to save
his models, and was sure that the Dutch would rather have them than
any of the king's ships. If the enemy had been aware of the little
value of the means of resistance collected against them, they would
probably have shown less hesitation in attacking than they did. The
command on the spot was left to Van Ghent. De Ruyter and the delegate,
Cornelius de Witt, remained outside with the bulk of the fleet. Van
Ghent gave the command of the ships appointed to break the chain to
Captain Brackel. Our ancestors consoled their national vanity by
inventing a story that the enterprise was considered so dangerous that
it was not undertaken until this officer, who was in disgrace at the
time, volunteered on it as on a forlorn hope, in order to re-establish
himself in favour. In point of fact, the difficulties in the way of
the Dutch were wholly caused by the intricate navigation of the river,
not by any strength of armed opposition. On the 12th of June, Brackel,
having with him some frigates and several fireships, came on with the
flood-tide, and steered straight at the chain. The first fireship hung
on the obstruction, the weight of a second snapped the chain, and then
the Dutch poured through. The English ships nearest this barrier were
immediately set on fire. Three of them, the =Unity=, the =Amity=, and
the =Mathias=, or, as it is called in the Dutch account, the =Honingen
Castle=, were prizes taken by us in the war. They were vessels of some
size, and with them were some lighter craft which shared their fate.

While Brackel was burning the ships at the chain, Monk was doing all
that lay in his power to save the vessels lying farther up the river.
The panic of Mr. Commissioner Pett and his brother officers, aided as
it was by the mutinous discontent of the men, made it impossible for
the Lord General to move the greater ships farther up the river. One of
these was the =Royal Charles=. She had carried the Duke of York's flag
in the battle of Lowestoft, and Monk himself had been in her in the
Four Days' Battle. This vessel now fell into the hands of the Dutch.
She had only thirty of her guns mounted, and could only have been saved
by flight, and, as there were no means of towing her farther up the
Medway, flight was impossible. She was run aground, and then her crew
escaped to the shore. The Dutch sent out boats which took possession
of the deserted vessel, and she was dragged off. Monk sank the =Royal
James=, the =Royal Oak=, and the =Loyal London=.

When the tide turned, the Dutch fell back and anchored. There were
hopes that the interval might be utilised for the purpose of blocking
the river. In the account which he afterwards gave to the House of
Commons of the miscarriage of the war, Monk pleaded that he had sunk
three vessels in what he was told was the only passage by which the
Dutch could come farther up, but that he was misinformed, and that they
actually made their way up by another. It is very unsafe to rely on the
evidence of men who were probably in confusion at the time, and who
afterwards had strong motives for disguising the truth. Monk indeed was
by nature courageous and phlegmatic, and not the man to lose his head,
but he probably had no great scruple in excusing himself by throwing
the blame on others. Wherever the responsibility for the failure may
rest, it is certain that on the following day the Dutch returned with
the tide and passed up to Upnor Castle, which it had been hoped would
stop them by its fire, without the slightest difficulty and with very
little loss. They found the upper works of the =Royal James=, =Royal
Oak=, and =Loyal London= standing out of the water, and immediately set
them on fire. Then, when the tide again turned, they once more fell
down the river, their trumpeters playing the air called "Joan's placket
is torn," which it was at that time a custom of the sea to play, for
the purpose of glorifying over a beaten enemy.

The loss of seven large ships burnt or captured, of an uncertain number
of smaller craft destroyed or taken, and of the stores in the magazines
at Sheerness, was far from representing the whole extent of the injury
inflicted by the Dutch. For six weeks after they retired from Chatham
they remained completely masters of the mouth of the Thames and of
the southern and eastern coasts of England. The enemies of the house
of De Witt complained that more had not been done. It was alleged
that but for the want of spirit of the delegate, Cornelius de Witt,
the dockyard at Chatham might have been completely destroyed, and
London itself attacked. But it does not appear that the fleet carried
any considerable body of troops, and, as the militia were rapidly
collecting on the English coast, it would have been rash to land small
parties. The Dutch naval officers, too, must have been aware that a
certain risk was run by remaining among the shallows of the Thames.
Two or three of their vessels were stranded and lost. Ample damage
could be done to England, and ample humiliation inflicted on her pride,
without running hazards for which there was no adequate object. De
Ruyter withdrew his advance squadron to the Gunfleet and established
a blockade of the river. The terror of his presence continued to work
in London for some time. Even after he had withdrawn from the Medway,
vessels were sunk in the upper reaches of the Thames to obstruct the
navigation, in case he should return. The king and the Duke of York
were themselves seen below the bridges directing these operations; and
so great was the flurry of the navy officers that they actually sank
a transport laden with naval stores to the value of several thousand
pounds belonging to our own fleet. De Ruyter did not return; and it was
fortunate he did not, for there was neither sense nor unity of will at
headquarters, and in the subordinate ranks there was only discontent,
and a bitter, jeering gratification over the enemy's success. Pepys,
whose invaluable evidence meets us at every turn, tells us that even
at this moment the king's officers were thinking every man of himself.
Nobody would take the trouble to do more than he was compelled to do.
The Ordnance Department, for instance, when called upon to supply
powder to the fireships, would only send the materials for making
it--though, to be sure, we cannot, with our still fresh recollection
of the Crimean War and the feats of the Government departments at that
time, attribute this necessarily to corruption or discontent. It was
perhaps only what is practically nearly as mischievous as either of
them--and that is red-tape.

The Dutch made an attack on the Landguard Fort below Harwich, but were
beaten off. Then De Ruyter, leaving Van Ghent to blockade the Thames,
sailed along the Channel as far as Plymouth without meeting any English
force to oppose him, or, so great was the panic, any number of English
merchant ships at sea. The desperate exertions of the Government did
at last succeed in collecting a squadron of frigates and fireships in
the Thames under the command of Sir Edward Spragge. Some very vague and
inconclusive skirmishing, out of which our national vanity strove hard
to make a victory, took place between Sir Edward and Van Ghent, but the
Dutch fleet was cruising unimpeded in our waters at the end of July,
when a messenger brought the news of the signing of the Peace of Breda.



CHAPTER XIII

THE ALGERINE PIRATES AND THE THIRD DUTCH WAR

 AUTHORITIES.--The operations against the pirates of the Barbary
 States were recorded in separate narratives, which have been largely
 quoted in Campbell's _Admirals_ and Charnock's _Biographa Navalis_.
 Playfair's _Scourge of Christendom_ gives full accounts of them. The
 operations of the third Dutch war are less fully recorded in the
 State Papers than the second, but we have now the advantage of the
 French historians. The most copious of these is Troude's _Batailles
 Navales_, founded on French official papers. It is particularly full
 for the battle of Solebay. Lediard and Colleber are of little value.
 An account of the capture of St. Helena will be found in Brookes's
 history of the island.


The conclusion of peace with the United Provinces in July 1667 gave the
king an interval of quiet. He had already begun secret negotiations
with Louis XIV., which were certain to lead him once more into
hostilities with Holland, but in the interval there was some work to
be done of a more honourable character. It has been said already that
the Barbary pirates had speedily forgotten the sharp lesson taught them
by Blake. One of the first duties of the navy in the reign of Charles
II. had been to cruise against Algiers. The squadron left by the Earl
of Sandwich on their coast, under the command of Sir John Lawson, had
done something to renew their respect for the power of England, but
it had not done enough. Like most other barbarians and Orientals, the
Barbary pirates could not believe in the reality of a Power which was
not always present to their eyes, and was not exercised with uniform
severity. Therefore, so soon as the second Dutch war began fully to
employ the naval power of England, they resumed their old practices.
From Sallee in the West to Tripoli in the East, their cruisers were
out again plundering and capturing every English ship they found
unprotected by a convoy. No English Government could afford to offend
the whole trading class by allowing these outrages to go on unchecked,
so, in the year after the conclusion of the Dutch war, Sir Thomas Allen
was sent with a squadron into the Mediterranean to expostulate with the
Dey of Algiers, and if possible to bring him to order. Allen sailed
in August, and was off the pirates' stronghold on the 8th of October.
The Spaniards, to whom we were in fact giving the protection they had
now become too feeble to provide for themselves, allowed us to make
use both of Cadiz and of Port Mahon in the Balearic Isles, as naval
stations.

Allen succeeded in making one of the long string of treaties with the
Algerines. These barbarians were generally ready to promise when they
were under pressure, and never hesitated to break their word when our
fleets were out of sight. Their conduct on the present occasion was
in exact accordance with their usual practices. Having secured their
worthless engagements on paper, Allen returned home in the autumn. He
was hardly out of the Straits before they began again. Once more he
was sent out, this time with the determination to make clean work. His
squadron, eighteen strong, sailed from England on the 22nd July 1669
and reached Cadiz on the 30th. From the Spanish port Allen returned to
Algiers, not to negotiate, but to blockade. In this work he had the
assistance of a Dutch squadron under the command of that Admiral Van
Ghent who had burnt the ships at Chatham two years before. The Dutch
had as good reason as ourselves to complain of the Algerines, and in
this field we could act together for a common purpose. The united
efforts of Allen and Van Ghent did something to clear the sea. On
the 8th of August six of the pirates who were fleeing from Van Ghent
were cut off by a detachment of Sir Thomas Allen's squadron under the
command of Captain Beach. They were all destroyed. Those of their crews
who were Mohammedans were made prisoners, the English and Dutch who
were found in slavery among them were restored to their countrymen.

In this year there took place an action which was long remembered in
the navy as particularly heroic, and is interesting because it makes
us acquainted with a singularly fine specimen of the Tarpaulin naval
officer of the seventeenth century. John Kempthorne was a Devonshire
man, the son of an attorney at Modbury, who had fought as a cavalry
officer in the service of Charles I. and had died in poverty. The son
was apprenticed to the sea, and entered the service of the Levant
Company. In 1657, on his way home from the Levant, Kempthorne was
attacked by a Spanish privateer of the name of Papachino, and taken
after a desperate resistance. There is a legend which may be accepted
as a more or less poetical version of the facts, that, having used up
all his bullets, he had recourse to firing bags of dollars into the
Spaniards. Papachino treated him handsomely. In the following year the
Spaniard fell into our hands, and owed his release on comparatively
easy terms to the friendly offices of Kempthorne. Such a man was
obviously destined by nature to end in the fighting fleet. In the
second Dutch war he served with distinction as a captain, and had
the honour to be chosen to act as Rear-Admiral of the Blue in the
battle of the 25th of July. In 1669 he carried an English envoy to
Morocco in his ship, the =Mary Rose=. Having landed his passenger at
Tangier, Kempthorne went on to Sallee, one of the most notorious of
the pirate strongholds. A gale blew him off the coast into the Straits
of Gibraltar. Here he fell in with a squadron of seven corsairs. There
were two small merchant ships in sight. One of the pirates sailed in
pursuit of them, and the other six fell on Kempthorne. The old opponent
of Papachino was not the man to be carried tamely into slavery by any
enemy, however superior in numbers. He fought, and was well supported
by his crew. The =Mary Rose= was cut to pieces, eleven of her men were
killed and seventeen wounded, but Kempthorne reduced the principal
ship of the corsairs to a sinking condition. The others sheered off
and left him to make his way unmolested to Cadiz. All sea fighting at
this time was fierce, but there was a peculiar quality of ferocity in
actions with the Barbary pirates. They themselves gave their victims
the choice of slavery or death, and it was given to them. Immediately
before this action in the Straits, Kempthorne had retaken a prize from
the corsairs, and had sold the prize-crew of twenty-two men as slaves.
Kempthorne's fight lived long in the memory of the navy as a model of
stout-hearted courage, and it rounds the story off pleasantly that he
was imitated eleven years later by his son, Captain Morgan Kempthorne.
In 1681 the younger Kempthorne, who was then twenty-three years of
age, was commander of a small vessel called the =Kingfisher= in the
Mediterranean. He was attacked by a squadron of Algerines, said to have
consisted of seven vessels, one more than the force his father had
fought. The =Kingfisher= repeated the obstinate resistance of the =Mary
Rose=. Morgan Kempthorne was himself killed by a cannon-shot early in
the action, but his lieutenant, Wrenn, an officer who afterwards rose
to high rank, filled his place. The pirates were finally beaten off,
and the =Kingfisher=, though seriously damaged, and having lost a large
part of her men, was carried safely into Naples.

Sir Thomas Allen remained in the Mediterranean till the close of
1670, when he returned home at his own request, leaving his second in
command, Sir Edward Spragge, behind him with a part of the squadron.
During the short remainder of 1670 and the whole of 1671 Spragge
carried out the most uniformly energetic and the most effective of our
cruises against the Barbary pirates. In December 1670 he managed, by
disguising his ship, to tempt some of the quick-sailing pirates to come
too near him, and was able to effect the destruction of one among them.
In the spring of the following year he struck a far more brilliant
blow. News reached him in April that a squadron of Algerines was lying
at Bougie, a port to the east of Algiers. Spragge set out with his
squadron and several fireships, with the determination to destroy them.
A storm crippled one of his vessels so severely that she was compelled
to return to the coast of Spain, and it also inflicted some temporary
damage on a fireship. But, though weakened, the admiral considered
himself still able to deal with the pirates. He refitted the fireship
at sea, and then went on, reaching Bougie on the 2nd of May.

The squadron had approached with a brisk gale, but as it drew near
the land the wind fell, and for the remainder of the day there were
only treacherous breezes, with calms between. In these conditions no
direct attack by the heavy ships was possible, but Spragge was in hopes
that something might be done with a fireship after dark. There were
three vessels of this class in the admiral's force, two small and one
somewhat larger--too large, in fact, to be used conveniently against an
enemy who drew few feet of water, and was hauled up close to the land
on a shelving beach. The smallest of the three was chosen. She could
be rowed, and was therefore independent of the wind. The combustibles
having been arranged and the slow matches laid, the fireship left the
squadron, accompanied by armed boats under the command of Nugent, the
first lieutenant of the flagship. The night was very dark, and the
enemy, lying close under the shadow of the land, was invisible. The
pirates had also no doubt taken the obvious precaution of putting out
their lights. In the prevailing blackness Nugent overshot the enemy.
Calculating that he had gone too far, he stopped the expedition, and
turned back with his own boat only to grope for the enemy. In a few
moments he came upon them, and then silently, with muffled oars,
slipped away to bring on his fireship. At that moment she burst
into flames, alarming the whole coast. Perhaps she was ill fitted,
and the inflammable matter in her caught fire by accident. Perhaps
she was prematurely fired by her men. The work of the "brander" was
singularly trying to the nerves of the crew; they were always liable to
become flurried, and the less resolute among them were subject to the
temptation to seek strength in the use of spirits, which betrayed their
senses just when the utmost coolness was needed. Whatever the cause
of the misfortune may have been, the chance was lost. The enemy was
alarmed, and, as he could succeed only by surprise, Nugent returned to
the flagship.

For nearly a week Spragge was baffled by calms and catspaws of wind.
His second small fireship was consumed through the folly of a drunken
gunner, who fired off his pistol in some idle extravagance, and so
set her in flames. There was now but one fireship left, the =Little
Victory=, and, as she drew eight feet of water, she could not be
used against an enemy who was drawn up on the very edge of the shore.
The corsairs had in the meantime dismasted their vessels to form a
boom, so that the difficulty of attacking them increased as the means
diminished. On the 8th May a convoy of ammunition was seen approaching
Bougie along the coast, escorted by Arab horsemen. But Spragge had
resolved not to go till he had struck an effective stroke, and fortune
favoured his pertinacity, as she is apt to do. He had lightened the
=Little Victory= till she drew only four feet of water. So soon as the
wind served, the greater ships were to engage the forts. Under the
cover they afforded, a detachment of boats was to cut the boom, and
the fireship was to be steered through the opening. Just as the convoy
was nearing the town, amid the premature rejoicings of the Algerines,
the wind began to blow in strong from the sea. Then Sir Edward Spragge
carried out his plan. He himself engaged the forts. The boats, under
the command of the younger Harman, Pearce, and Pinn, cut the boom. The
=Little Victory= was steered through the breach and laid across the
bows of the nearest pirate ship. Under the impulse of the wind the
flames spread quickly, and before next morning there were six skimmers
of the sea the less on the waters of the Mediterranean.

The destruction of the ships at Bougie was a severe blow to the
Algerines. Being unable to avenge themselves on the English, they
vented their rage on their own Dey. He was murdered, and a successor
was appointed. The new ruler did what the old must have done if he
had been spared. He made peace. Even so it required another visit of
Spragge's squadron to Algiers to compel the pirates to keep faith. At
last a treaty was made, and English trade appeared to be safe for the
time from the pirate vessels of Algiers. Spragge returned home in the
spring of 1672, having effected the purpose for which his squadron was
sent abroad with an exceptionally full measure of success.

It was, however, only for the time being. The outbreak of the third
war with Holland in 1672 employed the whole naval force of the English
Government. The fact was soon known to the Barbary States. It is
convenient to forestall the course of events, and finish with this
chapter of naval history. Although the subsequent proceedings against
the pirates belonged to the years which followed the signing of the
peace with Holland, they may be told here, since they form part of
the same story and stand wholly apart from the war in the Channel and
North Sea. The excesses of the pirates were so notorious, and the
outcries of the English merchants so loud, that another squadron was
despatched to the Mediterranean in 1674. The command was given to Sir
John Narbrough. The reader will remember that this officer comes second
in what Lord Macaulay calls the strange line of descent from Myngs
to Shovell. John Narbrough was a Norfolk man, belonging to a family
which held a position intermediate between that of the county families
and the working class. He was, in fact, almost a gentleman by birth,
but his family seemed to have been poor, and the lad, like many other
gentlemen in his position at that time, was apprenticed to a trade.
Whether he was ever, as Macaulay puts it, cabin-boy to Sir Christopher
Myngs may possibly be doubtful. There would be nothing in the habits of
the time to make it improbable. The cabin-boy of an admiral, or even of
a captain, would be very much in the position of the page of a nobleman
or the maid of his wife. We know that gentlemen and ladies of very good
birth served as the pages and maids of people of rank, and that this
position in the household of a great man was not thought discreditable.
Whether he was cabin-boy or not, Narbrough undoubtedly served under Sir
Christopher Myngs, and owed much to his recommendation. He had fought
in the second Dutch war. In the interval of peace he had commanded a
curious expedition into the South Seas. He was sent with a commission
from the Duke of York to visit the possessions of the Spaniards on
the Pacific coast of South America. The object seems to have been to
see whether it would be possible to establish a trade. The commercial
policy of the Spaniards ought to have been sufficiently well known to
the English Court to forbid any such hope. Narbrough reached the coast
of Chili. He was received by the Spanish officials with a mixture
of courtesy and suspicion, and returned, after a brief stay in the
Pacific, having effected nothing. The Spaniards would not allow of
any trade, and Narbrough was too much the king's officer to begin a
course of piracy, after the model of private adventurers when they were
debarred from commerce in the Spanish Seas.

His command in the Mediterranean was eventful and creditable. The
chief offenders on this occasion were rather the Tripolitans than the
Algerines. Narbrough cruised against them all through 1675. He began in
the customary way by negotiations which led to no result, and then had
recourse to active hostilities. In the June of that year he drove one
of their largest ships ashore and destroyed it. At the end of August
he struck another blow at the enemy. The English squadron was cruising
outside Tripoli when a Sattee, a large lateen-rigged ship working both
with sails and sweeps, was seen endeavouring to slip into port by
hugging the shore. It was a calm, and she was worked with her oars.
Narbrough despatched the boats of his squadron to cut her off. The
Sattee, finding that the boats had cut her road home, ran on shore. The
English boats were thereupon anchored close to her, with the intention
of endeavouring to set her on fire by means of a fireship, so soon as
it could be got ready. The Tripolitans were soon made aware of the
dangerous position of the Sattee. Two large armed galleys were sent out
to drive off the English boats and tow the pirate vessel into the bay.
For a time they were successful. The English boats retired, and the
galleys took the Sattee in tow. But while this was in progress the sea
breeze got up. The light frigates of Narbrough's squadron were able to
stand in, and all three corsairs were cut off together. Both the Sattee
and the galleys were now driven on shore, and while in this helpless
position were fired by the English boats.

This blow was so far effectual that the Bey of Tripoli was induced to
open negotiations for peace. Narbrough employed as his representative
his first lieutenant, Cloudesley Shovell. Shovell is the third in
Lord Macaulay's line of descent. He came into the navy under the
protection of Narbrough. He also was a Norfolk man, and his name will
be conspicuous in the campaigns of the English Navy throughout the
whole of the next generation. Shovell was still young, and it is said
that the Bey considered himself insulted by the choice of so youthful
a diplomatic agent. He vented his ill-will by insult to Shovell. The
young lieutenant was by no means of a long-suffering disposition, but
he was an officer of great care and judgment. He bore the insolence of
the barbarian with patience, and in the meantime turned his leisure to
account by making careful observations of the position of the pirate
ships in the harbour at Tripoli. His inspection satisfied him that
the corsairs were open to a vigorous boat attack, and he reported as
much to Sir John Narbrough. Since the Bey was obviously resolved not
to make peace until he was compelled to do so, Sir John decided to
apply the necessary pressure. The year 1676 had now begun, and it was
on the 14th of January that the English admiral resolved to act. The
boats of the fleet were armed and supplied with combustibles. Under
cover of night they entered the harbour. A guardship which was found
lying ready for the purpose of protecting the vessels at anchor was
carried by boarding, and the boats, pushing on, took possession of
and set fire to four of the Bey's best vessels. They then returned to
the squadron without having suffered any loss. This stroke abated the
insolence of the enemy, but he was not yet sufficiently cowed to make a
really satisfactory peace. The English insisted that the pirates should
not only release the prisoners in their possession, but should pay an
indemnity for the damage done to English trade. This they refused to
do. Finding that the burning of their vessels had not been enough,
Sir John Narbrough bombarded the town, and also effected a landing at
a place some distance from Tripoli, and burned a magazine of timber
accumulated for the construction of other cruisers.

The necessity of refitting his squadron now compelled Sir John
Narbrough to return to port. He was allowed to make use of Malta by
the Knights of St. John. After having refitted his ships, Narbrough
returned at once to Tripoli. This persistence finally broke down the
spirit of the corsairs. They agreed to make peace, on the conditions
that they should release their prisoners and pay eighty thousand
dollars. Even yet the work was not thoroughly done. No sooner had Sir
John Narbrough obtained the signature of the treaty and sailed away
from before the town, than some of the pirate vessels belonging to
it (which, having left on a cruise some months before, had escaped
the English squadron) returned. The captains of these adventurers,
supported by their crews, raised an agitation against the Bey for his
weakness. He was compelled to flee. The report of this revolution
reached Sir John Narbrough before he had left the Mediterranean, and
with it came the news that the pirates were again beginning to plunder
English trading ships. He returned to Tripoli, and once more bombarded
the town. This last act of vigour finally persuaded the pirates that
they were the weaker. The new Bey confirmed the treaty made by his
predecessor, and the ringleaders of the revolt were handed over to the
English admiral as a guarantee for the sincere observance of the treaty.

Sir John Narbrough felt justified in returning home with his squadron
in the spring of 1677, but his stay there was short. One or other of
the pirate towns was always sure to seize upon the chance afforded by
the temporary absence of English warships to renew its depredations. On
this occasion it was Algiers which broke its engagements. Undeterred
by the lesson inflicted upon Tripoli, and the memory of the punishment
they had received from Sir Edward Spragge, the Algerines returned to
their old courses in 1677. Narbrough was sent out in the summer of that
year. His second campaign in the Mediterranean lasted for two years,
and was directed against the Algerines. Several of their cruisers were
captured, and on one occasion Sir John made prize of twelve of their
merchant vessels, and two men-of-war which were sailing with them as
convoy. Then he bombarded Algiers, but the strength of the place was
so great that this measure proved of little effect. A success gained
in the month of November in 1678 did more to cow these enemies of
Christendom. The Algerines fitted out a squadron for the purpose of
retaliating on English commerce. It consisted of five vessels--the
_Greyhound_ of 42 guns, the _Golden Tiger_ and _Five Stars_ of 36,
the _New Fountain_ of 34, and the _Flying Horse_ of 32 guns. But
the whole of this squadron fell together into the hands of Sir John
Narbrough, who took it after a smart action and carried it bodily into
the friendly port of Cadiz. This blow so far weakened the Algerines
that Narbrough returned home in May 1679, with fifteen of the ships of
his squadron which stood most in need of repair. He left a detachment
behind him under the command of Arthur Herbert, who remained on the
station till 1682. The active operations of the English fleet were put
a stop to when our navy was reduced to impotence at the end of the
reign of Charles II. Herbert we shall meet again. The operations which
took place under his command are not of sufficient importance to call
for notice.

The third Dutch war, and the last in which England had Holland for a
principal adversary, lasted for two years, from the spring of 1672 to
the spring of 1674. It is not a passage in our history that Englishmen
can look back upon with pride. Our seamen indeed fought as gallantly
as ever, but the leadership they found was of the poorest. This of
itself might have been only a misfortune due to a temporary clouding of
the military intelligence of our chiefs. But the war was essentially
infamous. It was undertaken for no national purpose, and on no
sufficient grounds. It is true that, in a way, it brought us a certain
profit. The colossal piece of brigandage organised by Louis XIV., and
encouraged by the co-operation of Charles II., did undoubtedly give the
death-blow to the commercial supremacy of Holland, and it was England
that stepped into her inheritance. Yet it is certain that the United
Provinces, limited as they necessarily were to a small territory, must
have been outstripped by the great consolidated States about them.
The war can by no possibility have done more than hasten the date of
their fall. As a set-off to what we gained through the distress of the
Dutch, we have to put the immediate loss inflicted on English commerce,
the infamy which the character of the war fixed on our Government, and
the stimulus given to those passions and fears which brought England to
the very verge of a civil war. It may be doubted whether the advantage
we gained was worth the price we paid for it. Unless a small money
profit is a sufficient compensation for a national shame, we certainly
lost. It may be asserted, with as much confidence as can be shown in
maintaining any historical opinion, that the frantic fever of terror
and suspicion, which threw England into the cruelties of the Popish
Plot, can be traced directly to the policy which produced the third
Dutch war.

The conclusion of the peace with Holland in 1667 was due at least as
much to the hidden policy of Charles II. and the aims of Louis XIV. as
to the necessities of the Crown. The King of France was resolved to
extend his kingdom towards the north and north-east, where it was not
shut in by mountain barriers, by absorbing the Spanish Netherlands.
These aims of his had at once excited the fears of the Dutch and of
the more patriotic among English politicians. It was not the interest
of England to see France established as mistress of the Netherlands.
Therefore the second Dutch war was barely over before the majority of
Englishmen were ready to forget their late rivalry with the States, and
to enter into the Triple Alliance with Holland and Sweden. The avowed
object of this league was to compel Spain to make certain concessions
to France, but its unavowed though well-known purpose was to provide
the means of offering an effectual resistance to France if she went
farther than she had yet done. So long as this bond remained unbroken,
there was a barrier in the way of the ambition of the French king. For
that very reason it was the interest of the French king to break the
Triple Alliance, and he found the means of effecting his purpose in the
character and position of Charles II.

The preliminaries of the infamous Treaty of Dover, signed in May 1670,
need not be repeated here. In its main lines this treaty bound the King
of England to assist in the conquest of the Dutch Republic by an army
and a fleet. When the conquest was effected, England was to receive as
her share of the spoil the island of Walcheren and some other points on
the Dutch coast. During the progress of the war Charles was to receive
a pension from the King of France. The treaty was kept rigidly secret,
even from the majority of the king's most trusted servants.

The turbulence of the House of Commons during the sessions of 1667,
1668, and 1669 had unquestionably a large share in inducing the king
to enter into this secret agreement. In 1667 the House was in the
first flush of its anger against the mismanagement which had led to
the final disasters of the war. It was intent on paring down the
expenses of government, and insisted both on apportioning the fixed
revenue for definite purposes, and on inquiring into the spending of
the money voted for the war. It was no less resolute in voting against
a standing army, which the king was endeavouring to form, and against
Popery, which he was dimly suspected to favour. Popular fury was for
a time diverted into a clamour against Clarendon, who was driven from
office and the country. But when the House met in February 1668, it
was found to be intent as ever on investigating the miscarriages of
the war. Peter Pett, the Commissioner of the Chatham Dockyard, and Sir
William Penn were both called before the House and threatened with
impeachment on a long string of charges. The Commons called for and
received a long apologetic statement from Monk. The proceedings against
Penn and Pett fell through, and Pepys contrived to make a plausible
case for the Navy Office, but the House was in so dangerous a humour
that the king did not dare to cross it openly. The war had left him
embarrassed with debt, and it was soon made clear that, until the House
was satisfied that there would be better management in future, it
would not vote a penny for the relief of the king's necessities. The
pressure thus applied to him drove the king at last to promise that
supply should be collected and issued for those purposes, and by such
persons only as the House of Commons should think fit. He agreed, in
fact, to the demand of Parliament to be allowed to appropriate its
votes to particular services. The concession was really great, but the
Commons still refused to relieve the king, and continued to insist on
retrenchments and the regulation of the revenue. In desperation the
king prorogued the House, and did not summon it again for nearly a
year and a half. At last want of money drove him to call Parliament
together in October 1669. It was not found that this interval of delay
had produced any reduction in the passions of the members of the Lower
House. Once more they went into the abuses in the accounts, and they
expelled Sir George Carteret, who had been Treasurer of the Navy.
These incessant attacks, which, though nominally directed against
his servants, were in reality aimed at himself, made the king long
more eagerly for a release from an intolerable position. He found a
body of courtiers who were prepared to assist him in carrying out his
policy of alliance with France against Holland. The members of this
informal council were called the Cabal, a word originally only applied
to what we now call a Cabinet. It happened, oddly enough, that the
first letters of their names, Clifford, Ashley, Buckingham, Arlington,
and Lauderdale, spelt the word, and as their policy ended by becoming
odious, an unfavourable sense was ever afterwards attached to the
phrase. They were called "The Cabal," and the term became synonymous
with everything that was unscrupulous and unpatriotic. With the help
of these men, the king contrived so far to manage his Parliament in
1671 that it voted him something for the payment of his debts. As
the intrigue with Louis XIV. was ripe just at this moment, the money
voted by the House came at a convenient time. It was, however, not
sufficient, and probably would not have been if it had been spent
with more care than was ever bestowed on the management of the king's
revenue. When the time came to give active assistance to the King of
France, it was found necessary to cast about for other resources.
Charles dared not summon his Parliament and ask it for funds to help
the aggressive Roman Catholic King of France to destroy a Protestant
State. A way out of the difficulty was found by plundering the
creditors of the Crown. When Parliament voted the king money, it
was then the custom to raise the funds at once from the bankers, who
advanced the money entrusted to them by their clients on the security
of the revenue. They received 8 per cent. for the accommodation, and
were accustomed to pay their own clients 6--the difference was their
profit. Of course one result of this method of managing the revenue
was, that as the taxes came in they were paid over to the bankers. If
the money advanced by the capitalists had been wasted so soon as it
was received, the king was naturally as poor as ever. This was exactly
what had happened. Money being absolutely indispensable, the Crown
provided for itself by repudiating its debts. Orders were given that
no more payments should be made out of the Exchequer to the bankers.
Thus the king received the parliamentary vote twice over--once when it
was advanced by the bankers, and once again as the taxes came in. This
was the famous closing of the Exchequer which brought such profound
discredit on the Government of Charles II. It was the result of
conducting government on the principles of a wasteful private person.

The closing of the Exchequer took place in January 1672. It put the
king so far in funds that he was able to meet the House of Commons
with some confidence. He could now at least go on to make war without
waiting till the House voted him more money. During the whole of 1671
the danger menacing the Low Countries had been notorious. John de Witt
tried hard to secure allies, and was prepared to make great concessions
to England, in return for support against the French. But the king had
decided that the French alliance was more profitable. The piratical
character of the war was shown by the very first measure taken by the
English Government. Negotiations were still in progress with Holland
when Sir Robert Holmes was ordered to attack the home-coming Dutch
Smyrna and Lisbon convoys. The seventy or eighty merchant ships forming
convoys were known to be laden with very rich cargoes. If they could
be seized bodily, they would not only put a great deal of booty in the
way of officers employed on the service, but would also give Charles's
Government the command of a much-needed sum of money. The duty of
seizing them was given to Sir Robert Holmes. The force at his command
was supposed to be amply sufficient for the work. He had nominally
thirty-six warships under his orders, and, as the Dutch merchant ships
were only accompanied by six men-of-war for their protection, he would,
supposing his force to be efficient, have been able to overpower them
easily. But the strength of his fleet existed mainly on paper. Of the
ships actually ready there were only five or six. Holmes was cruising
with these vessels in the neighbourhood of the Isle of Wight, when
the Dutch fleet under the command of Van Nes came up the Channel. It
had perhaps been supposed by the English Court that the Dutch would
be found unprepared. They were, however, on their guard. Although the
States General had tried to pacify the King of England, they had not
been so foolish as to neglect the risk that he would attack them.
Van Nes had been warned, and was ready to defend himself. Throughout
the whole of the war now beginning, the average conduct of the Dutch
officers was better than it had ever been before. The strong measures
taken by John de Witt to improve the discipline of the service had had
their effect, and it may be believed that the deadly peril of their
country had some effect in rousing the courage of the Dutch. They are
not an easily moved people, but, when once thoroughly inflamed, their
valour is singularly tenacious. On this occasion the Dutch officer
handled his convoy with the utmost skill as well as resolution. Twenty
of his merchant ships carried guns, and Van Nes made use of them as
fighting ships. The decks were hampered with cargo, but this the Dutch
skippers threw overboard to make room for working the guns. Van Nes
adopted the usual order for a convoy. He arranged his warships and
armed merchant ships in the so-called half-moon. This formation had
been adopted by Tromp at the battle of Portland. It was, in fact, an
angle, the flagship being at the apex, and the vessels from which
fighting was expected being arranged in two lines branching out to
right and left from her. The unarmed vessels would be put in the space
contained in the angle. The action began on the afternoon of the 13th
of March. The courage of Holmes was, in fact, more conspicuous than
his good management. If he was outnumbered, it was largely due to his
own fault. On the day before the Dutch came in sight, he had met the
ships returning from the Mediterranean under Sir Edward Spragge. These
were the vessels which had been engaged in the operations against the
Algerine pirates described above. Spragge had passed the Dutch convoy
on the way. He was not acquainted with Holmes's orders, and Sir Robert
did not tell him what they were. The fact, no doubt, is that Holmes
thought himself strong enough to capture the Dutch convoy without help,
and was unwilling to share prize-money with another officer. This was
only one more example of the then general practice of subordinating
the public service to private interests. Holmes paid for his greed by
failure. He found the Dutch far too strong for him. When he attacked
on the afternoon of the 13th of March, the English ships fought well,
for, although Holmes was a man of a conceited, violent, and turbulent
character, he was abundantly brave, and his captains backed him up
stoutly. They could, however, make no impression on the Dutch. When
night fell, they were glad to draw off badly cut up, and the enemy
continued on their way. During the darkness the English ships were
refitted. Holmes's own flagship, the =St. Michael=, was so severely
mauled that he was compelled to transfer his flag to the =Cambridge=,
but he was reinforced in the morning by three fresh vessels. The
second day's fighting was as fierce as the first had been, and was
somewhat more successful. One Dutch vessel was sunk, and five or six
were captured. Several officers fell on both sides. The great bulk of
the Dutch convoy was carried safely into port. Holmes and Spragge are
reported to have had a quarrel. Sir Edward thought that his brother
officer had been meanly anxious to deprive him of prize-money, and the
probabilities are that he was right.

The failure of this attack was a great disappointment to the
Government. The open declaration of war could no longer be delayed.
The king had informed Parliament of his intention to make war on
the Dutch, and referred it to his Declaration for his reasons. The
Declaration, as might be expected where the Government could not avow
its real motives, was a somewhat pitiful document. An attempt was made
to justify hostilities by complaints that the Dutch had not fulfilled
their treaty obligations in regard to Surinam, and had persisted
in offensive measures against our trade in the East Indies. Much
prominence was given to their offences in the matter of the salute to
the English flag. This was a convenient pretext whenever an English
Government wished to quarrel with a neighbour. It could always say
that it was asserting the national dignity. In the present case the
falsity of the pretext was glaring, for the king, who was so exacting
towards the Dutch, was prepared to waive his rights as against the
French. Louis XIV. never would allow his ships to render the salute,
and King Charles did not insist on this mark of deference from his
paymaster. The greater part of the Declaration was divided between
assertions that the Dutch Republic was the enemy of all kings, and
complaints of personal insults directed against King Charles. It was
thought ridiculous, even in times which had a profound reverence for
royal dignity, that an appreciable portion of so serious a document
as a declaration of war should be found to be devoted to a rather
whimpering complaint that the Dutch had drawn pictures of His Majesty
in undignified positions. This wordy document, written in the style of
a pamphlet, produced very little impression on the House of Commons.
Members, in fact, were too intent on resisting the spread of Popery,
and had been made too angry by the king's Declaration of Indulgence to
dissenters, to pay much attention to the war. The session was employed
in passing the Test Act, and in the meantime the campaign against the
Dutch was carried on with such resources as the king had been able to
provide by closing the Exchequer and by taking the money of France.

Although one side had long been resolved on war, and the other had
every reason to consider it inevitable, the fleets of England and
Holland were so little ready that nearly two months passed before
serious operations were begun. The English Government collected its
fleet in the course of March, April, and May by the methods already
described, and in the face of much the same difficulties as had been
met with in former wars. The Navigation Laws were suspended. On the
occasion of the last war this had been done by the king without
question. But the recently published Declaration of Indulgence had
startled Parliament by showing it what extension might be given to the
king's prerogative to dispense with penal statutes. The suspension,
then, of the Navigation Acts did not on this occasion pass without
exciting comment. Yet there was no resistance to the king's exercise
of his authority. In war-time the measure was indispensable. In later
ages Parliament was accustomed itself to suspend the Acts, since it was
evident that the country did not contain a sufficient number of sailors
to man both the merchant ships and the war fleet. Crews were found by
a free use of the press. Officers who had not been employed during the
peace were recalled to the king's service. Such men, for instance, as
Richard Haddock now found the opportunity to serve the king in the
higher commands of his navy. Richard Haddock was the son of William
Haddock, who had served the Commonwealth with distinction, and had
been rewarded by the gift of a jewel as a special mark of favour. The
family had for centuries been seamen and skippers of the town of Leigh
in Essex. Richard Haddock had fought in the previous war, but, finding
no employment in peace, had returned to the command of a merchant ship,
of which he was part owner. There were still hundreds of others who,
like him, were naval officers only in war and merchant seamen in peace.
The difficulties which were put in the way of manning the fleet by the
defects of the Administration were not less than they had been before,
but in this war the King of England did not act alone, and the strain
on the Navy Office was not so great.

While the English fleet was being got ready for sea, the Dutch also
were preparing. The whole extent of their peril had now been revealed
to them. A French army of overwhelming strength poured over their
border. The Loevenstein Party had always been jealous of the army. It
feared the devotion of the soldiers to the House of Orange, and had
not only reduced their numbers, but had disorganised the diminished
force it did maintain by omitting to fill up the higher commands. This
measure, which was intended to make combined action on the part of
the soldiers the more difficult, proved utterly disastrous when the
country was suddenly entangled in war with a formidable enemy. The
towns fell fast before the invader. The neglected army was found to be
utterly inefficient, and it looked for a time as if the end of Holland
had come. The States General made appeals to the Kings of France and
England, but in vain. They were answered by both with demands which, if
complied with, would have entailed the entire destruction of Holland.
There are few more odious passages than this in European history.
Nothing like it was seen again until the time of Napoleon. The States
General, driven to despair, made desperate efforts to prepare forces
for the defence of the country. These efforts, though hampered by the
divisions of the Dutch Admiralty, were more successful at sea than on
land. If the fleet sent to sea under the command of De Ruyter was late
in getting ready, it was at least a powerful and efficient force when
once it had been collected. It consisted of over a hundred vessels.
Between seventy and eighty were of the line or were frigates. If it
had been out a month sooner, it is possible that the naval war might
have begun by a crushing disaster to the allies. The French squadron
appointed to co-operate with the English did not make its appearance
in the Channel till the first days of May. It anchored on the third of
that month at Portsmouth. The command was given to the Count d'Estrées,
Vice-Admiral of France. D'Estrées was not a seaman, but a great noble
who was entrusted with the military direction of the fleet only. The
navy of Louis XIV. was as yet but new and inexperienced. The forty
vessels under d'Estrées were likely to be more of a burden than a
help to the English fleet, yet the vessels were among the finest then
afloat. While the French admiral was at Portsmouth, he was visited by
the king, who admired the size and beauty of his ships. In the meantime
the English fleet was painfully collecting in the Downs. If at this
moment De Ruyter had been in a position to attack, it is extremely
possible that he might have beaten the allies in detail; but his fleet
also was not ready, and so the French and English were allowed to join
one another in the Downs unmolested. The English fleet consisted of
some sixty ships of the line and a number of smaller vessels. Monk
was dead, and the command was again in the hands of the Duke of York
as Lord High Admiral. The king was still childless, and the duke
was the heir-presumptive to the throne; but although this had been
made an excuse for recalling him from active command in 1665, it was
not allowed to prevent him from going to sea in 1672. The second in
command of the English fleet was the Earl of Sandwich. When the whole
force of the allies was collected, it was divided, according to the
custom of the time, into three squadrons, carrying respectively the
red, the white, and the blue flag. On this occasion the White Squadron
consisted wholly of the French. It was natural that they should carry
this ensign, for the flag of the French monarchy was white. But as the
White Squadron formed the van in the order of sailing of a great fleet,
it was made a charge against the Cabal that they had sacrificed the
dignity of England by leaving this place of honour to a foreign Power.
The Red Squadron was under the direct command of the Duke of York. His
vice-admiral was Sir Edward Spragge, and his rear-admiral Sir John
Harman. Sandwich commanded the Blue Squadron, with Sir Joseph Jordan as
vice and Sir John Kempthorne as rear-admiral.

On the 19th of May the whole fleet was at anchor in the Downs when
the Dutch fleet was seen off the North Foreland. The Duke of York
immediately put to sea, with the intention of forcing on a battle. De
Ruyter was perfectly ready to fight, but he was also resolved not to
give battle until he saw a fair prospect of striking an effectual blow.
He therefore drew off before the allies to the coast of Holland. He
perhaps calculated on the inexperience of the French to cause some
confusion in the allied fleet. To judge by the movements of the allies,
the Duke of York and his English advisers were far from sure of the
seamanlike efficiency of their associates. Soon after the fleet had
got under way, the weather became misty and squally. Thereupon the
allies proceeded to Southwold or Solebay, and came to an anchor on
the evening of the 20th. Here they remained, making no movement, for
several days. The fleet was anchored some seven or eight miles off
shore. This was hardly what was to be expected from a commander who
felt confident of the capacity of his force to fight and manoeuvre.
The Duke of York may have had another reason for remaining at Solebay.
The work of provisioning an English fleet was usually so wretchedly
done at that time, that he may very possibly have been already in want
of stores. Yet his necessities cannot have been so great as to compel
him to remain at anchor when an enemy was within a few hours' sail.
Another explanation of his action may be found in this, that the duke
was essentially no commander at all, but only a very dull man who had
acquired some knowledge of the mechanical parts of seamanship, and was
intrinsically incapable of thinking out any plan of action. Such a man
might naturally prefer to remain quiescent till his enemy came in sight
and saved him the trouble of thinking. Whatever the explanation may be,
it can hardly be consistent with the efficiency of the allied fleet
or the capacity of its commander. The disadvantages of the situation
in which the naval force of the allies was kept was patent to many of
the subordinate commanders. A well-known and fairly well-authenticated
story tells how Sandwich expostulated with the Duke of York at dinner
on the evening of the 27th. The Admiral of the Blue called the duke's
attention to the fact that when the wind was from the sea the fleet
was in a dangerous position, and recommended that it should either
stand out or be drawn nearer the shore. What Sandwich probably meant
was, that as it lay, the fleet could get no support from batteries on
shore, and might, if the wind blew from the E. or N.E., be so attacked
that the Dutch could double upon one end of it, part of them placing
themselves outside, and the others coming between the English ships and
the land. This danger might be averted either by getting under way,
or by anchoring so close to the shallow water that the enemy would be
unable to come inside. The warning was much needed, and the advice was
good. But the Duke of York took neither one nor the other. He only
answered with a silly jeer at the courage of Sandwich. The story is
credible enough of the only member of the House of Stuart of whom it
can be said that he occasionally acted like a boor, and was always
essentially dull.

The value of the opinion attributed to Sandwich was demonstrated on the
morning of the 28th of May. The French look-out frigate reported that
the Dutch fleet was at hand. The morning was hazy, and De Ruyter was
close on before he was seen from the flagships. So little was the Duke
of York prepared for a risk of which the probability must have been
patent to every thinking man in the English fleet, that a number of the
boats were getting water. That the ships had not supplied themselves
during the seven days they had been lying idle, speaks volumes for
the slovenly stupidity of the management in the French and English
squadrons. The conduct of the battle is worthy of what had gone before.
The moment the Dutch were known to be coming on, the allies did what
they ought to have done earlier. They got under way, but of course they
had to do in hurry and confusion what they might have done coolly and
in good order. The wind was blowing from the N.E. in the early hours
of the morning. If it had held steady, De Ruyter would have been upon
his enemies before they had time to get into any kind of order, but it
fell for a short space, and then shifted round towards the south. This
pause gave the allies time to cut their cables and get under way. In
the very act of preparing for battle they divided themselves into two,
thereby committing the most fatal possible blunder in the presence of
a capable enemy. The Blue Squadron was anchored to the north. To the
south of it was the Red Squadron, and south of that again the White.
In the usual order of sailing it would have fallen to this last to
lead. If the Duke of York meant to allow the Blue Squadron to lead, he
should have made his meaning perfectly clear beforehand, since, in the
absence of particular instructions, d'Estrées would naturally act on
the general sailing orders. But if the White Squadron was to lead, it
must, with the wind at N.E., stand out to S. of E. on the port tack.
This was the course taken by d'Estrées, and, unless he was told not to
take it, he was right, both because he followed the regular sailing
orders, and because this course would lead him to the open sea. But
while d'Estrées was steering south-east, the Blue Squadron, with the
Red Squadron after it, was standing to the W. of N. They went out on
the starboard tack. Why this course was followed does not appear. It
presented no possible advantage, but had, on the contrary, the serious
drawback that it carried the English ships near the coast, where they
were in imminent danger of being cooped up between the enemy and the
shallow water. Haste and want of thought, or confused directions from
the Duke of York, probably account for the blunder.

When once it had been made, the allied fleet lay at the mercy of
Michael de Ruyter. The course followed by the White Squadron was
carrying it away to leeward, whence it could not return except by
tacking against the wind. The Dutch admiral could therefore afford to
neglect it and employ the main strength of his force in attacking the
English. De Ruyter's fleet had come down in line abreast, stretching
from north to south. The ships at the northern end formed the squadron
of Admiral van Ghent. De Ruyter himself commanded in the centre. The
left wing, or most southerly end of the line, was the squadron of
Bankert. The Dutch admiral ordered this officer to follow and watch
d'Estrées. Bankert's duty was not to force close action with the French
admiral, but to keep himself to windward and check every attempt of
the enemy to return to the support of the Duke of York. This duty he
performed so thoroughly that the French were thrown out of action all
day long. Our ancestors accused d'Estrées of want of personal courage,
or at least of disloyalty to his ally, but it may be that he could not
help himself: having once fallen to leeward, his squadron had not the
seamanship to work back against the Dutch.

While d'Estrées and Bankert were engaged in a distant cannonade, a
furious battle was raging between the squadrons of Van Ghent and De
Ruyter on the one hand, and the Blue and Red Squadrons on the other.
Whether he deliberately planned to do it or not, De Ruyter contrived to
concentrate a superior force on the English line. In the order in which
we went into action, the ships at the head of the line were commanded
by Sir John Kempthorne. Next to him came the Earl of Sandwich, with
his flag in the =Royal James=. Sir Joseph Jordan followed the Admiral
of the Blue. Then came Sir John Harman, with the rear ships of the Red
Squadron. Then the Duke of York, and then Sir Edward Spragge. It would
appear that the Dutch attack was directed mainly on those parts of our
line which were immediately about the Earl of Sandwich and the Duke of
York. I am not aware that this is anywhere stated, but as it is said,
on the authority of eye-witnesses, that the Dutch had a superiority
of three to two in the battle, and as they certainly could not have
had this advantage after detaching the ships under Bankert if they had
engaged from end to end, I conclude that they managed to be superior
at the point of attack, though only equal in number to the English
fleet, by concentrating in this way. It is made further probable that
this was the case by the fact that, after the battle had lasted some
time, Sir Joseph Jordan tacked with his division of the Blue Squadron,
gained the wind of the Dutch, and came to the support of the Duke
of York, who was hard pressed. It is said, indeed, that Jordan had
previously beaten off his own immediate assailants, but the conduct of
the Dutch in the other parts of the battle renders it improbable that
Sir Joseph would have been in any condition to manoeuvre if he had
been seriously attacked. The probabilities are, that a few vessels only
were employed to watch rather than attack Jordan, and that the main
strength of the Dutch was concentrated on the flags of Sandwich and
the Duke of York. It is certain that at these two points the English
suffered very severely. As De Ruyter bore down on the English line,
he summoned his steersman, or, as we should say, quartermaster, to
him, and, pointing with his finger to the Duke of York's flagship, the
=Prince=, said, "That's our man." The _Seven Provinces_, in which,
as in the former war, De Ruyter had hoisted his flag, was brought to
within pistol-shot of the =Prince=, and the two admirals set an example
of fierce and close fighting to their fleets. The Dutch boasted that
the broadsides of De Ruyter were fired with the rapidity of volleys of
musketry, and, as he had no doubt kept his old crew and many of his
old officers about him, he may well have had them in a high state of
efficiency. The gunnery of the English fleet was generally good, and
there was abundance of courage, but the discipline had fallen from
the standard of former years. The =Prince= was cut to pieces without
being able to inflict equivalent damage on the _Seven Provinces_. The
Duke of York's mainmast was shot down, and his vessel otherwise so
damaged that he transferred himself and his flag to the =St. Michael=,
of which Sir Robert Holmes was captain. Although a regular corps of
naval officers was being formed, it had not yet been made the rule
that a man who served as admiral on a particular service was always
entitled to that rank, and Holmes, who had been a flag-officer in the
former war, was only a captain at Solebay. The =St. Michael= was nearly
as badly mauled, before the day was done, as the =Prince= had been,
and the duke was again compelled to transfer his flag to the =Loyal
London=, the flagship of Sir Edward Spragge. While the centre of the
English line was thus being broken down under the strenuous attacks
of De Ruyter, the Earl of Sandwich was hotly beset by Van Ghent. The
Dutch admiral himself fell in the heat of the battle, but the =Royal
James= was none the less furiously assailed. Whatever the defects of
his character may have been, Sandwich fought his ship on this the last
and most glorious day of his life with determined courage. The Dutch
steered fireship after fireship down upon him, but they were one after
the other sunk by his guns. At last the enemy succeeded. A shot from
the top of one of the Dutch ships wounded the left foot of Richard
Haddock, the captain of the =Royal James=. He limped into his cabin,
and was under the hands of the surgeon, who was cutting away some loose
skin and one of his toes, when he heard the cry that a fireship had
at last grappled the =Royal James=. It was said that Haddock made his
way out of the cabin to the admiral on the quarter-deck. The amount
of damage suffered by the ship makes it probable that some of her
spars had fallen, bringing down the sails with them, which would be
hanging over the side, and that they caught fire in the flames of the
fireship. It is at least certain that the =Royal James= was blazing
in a moment, and it is difficult to account for the rapidity of the
conflagration in any other way than this. Haddock, so the story runs,
implored the admiral to throw himself overboard and endeavour to escape
by swimming, but Sandwich, stung by the Duke of York's unmannerly sneer
at his well-proved courage, chose to perish in his ship. It is probable
that this is a legend invented by someone unfriendly to the duke, for
the purpose of increasing the glory of Sandwich. If he had stayed, he
would have been burnt in his ship. But his body was picked up some
days afterwards, so disfigured that it was only recognised by the star
on his coat. The great majority of the officers and men of the =Royal
James= perished with the admiral. Haddock was picked up, and it is said
by the Dutch that one of the lieutenants was taken out of the water by
their boats. They put into the mouth of this officer a confession of
his admiration for their fighting, and a statement that this battle
exceeded anything seen in the previous war. "It is not yet midday," he
is reported to have said, "and more has been done than in any of the
Four Days' Battles." Whether any imprisoned English officer said these
words or not, it is true that the battle of Solebay was extraordinarily
fierce. So savagely had both parties fought, that in the early hours of
the afternoon they were exhausted. It was probably not long before this
that Jordan came to the relief of the Duke of York. He was foolishly
enough abused in the House of Commons as if he had deserted his own
admiral, but his movement was undoubtedly correct. It relieved the
pressure on the centre of the English line, and prevented De Ruyter
from overpowering our fleet as completely as he might have done but for
this interruption. Jordan could, however, do no more than relieve the
over-taxed Red Squadron. De Ruyter was able to draw off, leaving the
English so crippled that they were utterly unable to follow, and the
French, true to their character throughout the whole battle, made no
effort to pursue.

Very persistent but also rather foolish attempts have been made to
represent the battle of Solebay as a victory for us. It was not that,
nor even a drawn battle. It is true that the obstinate valour of the
officers and men averted an utter defeat. On our side, Solebay was a
sailors' battle, to adapt a phrase usually applied to armies. With the
exception of Sir Joseph Jordan's movement to support the Red Squadron,
there was no sign of skilful management among our leaders. De Ruyter,
on the contrary, showed the qualities of a great commander. Though
inferior in numbers on the whole, he took advantage of his enemy's
blunder to be superior at the point of attack, and he pressed his
assault so fiercely home as to inflict the maximum of damage. Then,
having crippled his enemy so effectually that no counter-attack was
probable for some time, he took his own fleet home damaged, but still
in a state to serve. Indeed, so little was he disabled from keeping the
sea, that he met and convoyed home the returning East India ships. The
fruits of victory were his.

Although the whole of the summer remained to the allies, nothing was
done against the Dutch. The French and English squadrons did indeed
pay a visit to the coast of Holland, but they made a very short stay
there, and the trade of the States was not seriously interrupted. The
internal condition both of Holland and England had much to do with
suspending hostilities. In the Low Countries revolt broke out against
the Loevenstein Party. The partisans of the Prince of Orange succeeded
not only in replacing him at the head of the army and navy, but in
restoring to him the whole extent of his authority as Stadtholder. The
De Witts were cruelly murdered by the mob, and their party effectually
destroyed for the time. Although the revolution was accompanied by
circumstances of atrocious barbarity, it was on the whole beneficent
to Holland. William III. made no attempt to undo what the Loevenstein
Party had effected for civil freedom and religious toleration, and
he gave his country what it needed if it was to be saved from the
invader--that is to say, unity of military command. Having no jealousy
of the army, he was able to apply himself with whole-hearted vigour to
making it efficient. Holland rose against the French, as it had risen
against the Spaniards. The dykes were opened, and the country put
under water. During the interval of leisure provided by this desperate
measure, much was done to make the defence of the country once more
possible. In the midst of so terrible a crisis as this, the naval war
was inevitably neglected by Holland. De Ruyter had done enough to avert
the danger of invasion from the sea, and offensive operations against
England would have served no useful purpose. So hard pressed, indeed,
were the Dutch, that they were compelled to land the powder from the
ships to be used by the soldiers.

In England other causes were at work to prevent the Government from
pushing the war. The king found that the old jealousy of Holland had
been replaced, at least for the time, by another and more pressing
emotion. The growth of the power of France, the aggressive policy of
its king, the danger to a neighbouring Protestant State, combined with
the king's obvious intention to favour the Roman Catholics as shown
by his Proclamation of Toleration, had frightened the nation into one
of its paroxysms of fear of Popery. Parliament showed an obstinate
determination to give the king no help in this war. It called in
question his right to suspend the penal laws against dissenters, and
the session was devoted to passing the Test Act, which was especially
meant to exclude Roman Catholics from all offices under the Crown.
Although it was one of the secret articles of the king's treaty with
France that he was to proclaim himself a Roman Catholic whenever a
favourable opportunity occurred, he was compelled to allow the bill
to become law, for fear that an obstinate refusal would provoke an
explosion of disloyalty to the Crown. Hitherto the Parliament had
been profuse in declarations of loyalty to the king's person. It drew
careful distinction between him and his servants, and always professed
to be inspired by a tender anxiety for his safety, even at the moment
that it was engaged in defeating what it well knew to be his policy.
According to his usual custom, Charles escaped the peril by bowing to
it, and by sacrificing his servants. Among those who were thrown over
to pacify the House of Commons was the Duke of York. On the passing of
the Test Act he resigned his commission as Lord High Admiral, and was
therefore necessarily removed from the command of the fleet. He was
replaced by Prince Rupert. The choice of his cousin to command at sea
was probably due less to any confidence the king had in his ability
than to the prince's rank. As the English fleet was to co-operate with
the French, it was desirable to have someone at the head of it whom a
French noble would recognise as his social superior. Louis XIV. had
given strict orders to his officers to avoid disputes with the English,
but it is very doubtful whether even the commands of his own king
would have been enough to compel the Count d'Estrées to render ready
obedience to Spragge or Jordan.

Although he was hampered by the reluctance of his Parliament to vote
him money, and by the growing unpopularity of the French alliance
among Englishmen, the king made an effort in the following year to
push the war against Holland. Six thousand soldiers were collected at
Yarmouth, to form an invading army ready to be landed on the coast of
Zeeland or North Holland, in order to attack the Republic from behind,
while the French troops were pressing on it from the Rhine. Before
it was safe to attempt to land these men on the Dutch coast, it was
absolutely necessary to dispose of the fleet of De Ruyter. The crushing
burden thrown upon them by the French invasion made it hard indeed for
the Dutch to maintain an adequate force at sea. If they could have
devoted the whole resources of the State to the naval war, they might
perhaps have been able to meet the French and English on equal terms.
But this was far from being the case. Their resources did not do more
than enable them to fit out such a fleet as might, "by the help of God
and a good admiral," prevent the enemy from landing an army on their
coast. Happily for them, and for England also, since the success of
King Charles's mean personal policy would have been the establishment
of France in overwhelming strength in the Netherlands, the good admiral
was not wanting to Holland. Michael de Ruyter was admirably fitted for
the work he had now to do. He had to fight a defensive campaign. A rash
man might have yielded to the strain, and have risked the existence
of Holland by fighting an imprudent battle. But De Ruyter, though he
was one of the few commanders who grew bolder as he grew old, was
never rash. On the other hand, a timid man might have been oppressed
by the responsibility of his position, and might have been reluctant
to fight, even when a fair opportunity presented itself. De Ruyter had
just the needful combination of cool, self-possessed caution which
made him refrain from blindly rushing at a threatening danger, and of
intrepidity which nerved him to strike hard when he saw that a blow
could be successfully delivered. He was the last man in the world to
endeavour to behave after the fashion recommended by our own Admiral
Herbert some twenty years later--namely, to get behind a sandbank, and
trust to the effect which the knowledge that the fleet was "in being"
was likely to have on the mind of an enemy. Nor was it in his nature
to attack feebly when the time for fighting had come. Therefore it was
that he stood vigilantly on guard during the summer of 1673 amid the
shallows of the Dutch coast, watching the operations of the superior
allied fleet, leaving them unmolested when nothing was to be gained by
attack, and striking, when the time for blows had come, with might and
main. The success he achieved may be regarded by us not only with the
admiration due to a valiant and skilful enemy, but with something not
remote from patriotic approval. He won, it is true, against an English
fleet, but his victory was gained in the real interest of England.

It was obviously the interest of the Dutch to cripple the naval force
of England before it could be again united with that of France. Since
it was impossible for them, with their then diminished resources, to
do this by being beforehand with a powerful fleet, they resolved to
make the attempt to effect the purpose indirectly. A scheme, of which
De Ruyter himself can hardly have approved, was formed to block the
approaches of the Thames by sinking heavily-laden ships in the Channel.
With this purpose in view, De Ruyter came on our coast early in May,
with a force of 31 ships of the line, 14 frigates, and 18 fireships.
He came as far as the Gunfleet, but no attempt was made to put the
plan into operation. The naval preparations of the English Government
had been timely. It had a sufficient force lying outside the banks to
oppose De Ruyter's squadron. When this was known to be the case, the
Dutch admiral fell back to his own coast. The States General, with the
approval of the Prince of Orange, decided on making no more attempts
at offensive warfare for the present. The only fleet Holland could
afford to equip was stationed at Schooneveldt, a good anchorage between
shallows on the coast of Zeeland. Here it was ordered to lie, and keep
watch on the movements of Prince Rupert.

Shortly after De Ruyter had returned to the coast of his country, the
French squadron arrived in the Downs. It was still under the command
of d'Estrées, and consisted of 27 ships of the line and some smaller
vessels. The strength of the English fleet was 54 ships of the line,
and it was divided into two squadrons--the Red, under the command of
Rupert, and the Blue, of which Sir Edward Spragge was now admiral, in
succession to Sandwich. The Dutch fleet had been raised to a strength
of 55 ships of the line, 14 frigates, 25 fireships, 14 yachts, and 7
galliots--115 vessels in all. But more than half of these were small.
De Ruyter had only 55 battleships to oppose to the 81 of the allies.
The odds were very long. No English admiral has ever had to fight
against such a superiority of real force. Although bad administration
and the example of the Court had done much to injure the discipline
of our fleet, it was still far from being as inferior in efficiency
to the Dutch as the Spanish and French fleets of Nelson's time were
to us. In the allied fleet the English were just equal to the Dutch,
leaving the whole French squadron to give the allies a superiority of
power. The French were still inexperienced, and for that, together with
other reasons, they proved of little use in the campaign. Yet they were
certainly not so inferior to the Dutch as the Spaniards of the Great
War were to ourselves, and De Ruyter cannot have known that they would
not exert themselves fully.

So soon as the whole allied force was collected in the Thames, it
stood over to the Dutch coast. The conduct of the French at the battle
of Solebay had filled the English seamen with suspicion, and it was
decided to put them on this occasion where they could not go off on a
tack by themselves. Prince Rupert took the van with the Red Squadron.
The French, who still formed the White Squadron, were placed in the
centre, with the Blue Squadron under Sir Edward Spragge in the rear.
Our ally was thus sandwiched between two trustworthy English forces.
De Ruyter was found at his anchorage at Schooneveldt. Relying, as
he reasonably might, on his superior numbers, Prince Rupert decided
to make an attempt to draw the enemy out to the open sea, where he
could be crushed. A light squadron of thirty vessels, including
eight French, was sent in with eight fireships to attack the Dutch
at anchor. The wind was from the S.W., and the occasion appeared
favourable. Rupert's effort to draw the enemy proved successful in a
way he had not foreseen. De Ruyter was not the man to lie in a hole
and to think that it was enough to preserve himself in being, in order
to make himself felt by the enemy. He could rely on the zeal of his
squadron. A vehement letter of appeal from the Prince of Orange to the
officers and men on the fleet had been read on every ship. It called
on them to remember that the very existence of their country was now
at stake, to throw aside all selfish care for their own lives, and to
sink all personal animosities for the sake of Holland, This appeal to
the patriotic feeling which is profound in the Dutch heart had been
becomingly answered. De Ruyter had set his fleet a good example by
putting his personal grievances aside. The Stadtholder had appointed
Cornelius van Tromp to succeed Van Ghent. Tromp was an ardent partisan
of the House of Orange, and was very popular with the seamen, but he
was no friend to Michael de Ruyter. His disobedience in the last battle
of the previous war had almost caused a crushing disaster, and there
had been an open quarrel between the two. When, however, Tromp was
named by the Stadtholder as third in command of the fleet, the admiral
promised to forgive what had passed. Tromp was ordered by the prince to
obey his admiral, and the two were publicly reconciled. As no more is
heard of the insubordination of Tromp, he must be supposed to have been
sincere in the promises he gave, not to remember the stinging rebuke of
De Ruyter in the former war.

When, on the 28th May, the allied light squadron was seen to be
approaching, the Dutch prepared to meet the attack by a counter-blow.
Their anchors were apeak, and they were ready to get under way at a
moment's notice. They stood out on the port tack to the N.W., Tromp's
division, which was the rear according to the formal division of the
fleet, being the van in the action. De Ruyter was in the centre,
and Bankert commanded in the rear. So prompt was the action of the
Dutch that the allied light squadron had not time to run back to
the protection of the fleet before the enemy was close on it. It
fled in disorder and with loss. The allied commanders were no less
completely surprised by the vigour of De Ruyter's counter-stroke. They
had calculated that the enemy would be too frightened to take the
offensive. They thought they had to deal with a terrified opponent,
who would have to be slowly and with difficulty worried out of his
lurking-places. Under this delusion they lay at anchor in some
disorder. When, then, De Ruyter stood out to attack them, they had to
get under way in a hurry, and their line was badly formed when the
enemy was upon them. Both fleets stood out to sea on the port tack,
heading to N.W. The Blue Division was hotly engaged by Tromp, and De
Ruyter pressed hard on the French in the centre. Bankert was opposed
to Rupert with the Red Squadron in the rear. The fight was hottest in
the van and centre. The Red Division was comparatively little engaged.
According to the French accounts, d'Estrées, seeing that Rupert was not
pressing hard enough on the squadron of Bankert, ordered some of his
own ships to bear down on the Dutch rear, and they succeeded in cutting
it off from the centre. Then De Ruyter, seeing what had happened,
tacked with his division, and, running through the French ships,
rejoined Bankert. His next move, according to the same authority, was
to turn again to the north and follow Tromp, who in the meantime had
continued on the first course engaged with Sir Edward Spragge. It was
the fortune of these two to be pitted against one another in all the
battles of this campaign. The battle ended in the evening without
decisive result. De Ruyter anchored near West Kappel, and the allied
fleet stood over to the coast of England. This was but a lame and
impotent conclusion after the vigorous movement with which the French
credit themselves. One suspects that the Dutch version is nearer the
truth--namely, that Bankert, finding himself not severely pressed
by Rupert, stood on to assist De Ruyter against the White Squadron,
and that the allies were timidly handled throughout. Certainly, with
eighty-one ships and the weather-gage they might well have done more
against fifty-five enemies to leeward.

The Dutch admiral may perhaps have hoped to do sufficient injury to
a portion of his enemy's fleet to induce him to return home in order
to refit. But the allies continued on the coast, and De Ruyter, who
must by this time have seen clearly that he was not called upon to
contend against great energy or faculty, decided not to wait to be
attacked. Seven days after the battle of the 28th of May, on the 4th
of June, he had a favourable wind from the N.E. The deputies of the
States accompanied their fleets as well as their armies, but were
apparently less timid when sea-fighting was concerned than they were
often found to be on shore. Though the odds were long against him,
the field deputies gave their consent when De Ruyter asked leave to
attack. On the afternoon of the 4th he bore down from windward. As
on the former occasion, the fleets engaged headed to the N.W., with
the rear divisions in the van. The French were no longer in the centre
of the allied fleet, but had resumed the van, the place they had held
at the battle of Solebay, which, as the fleets engaged, was in fact
in rear of the line. In this, as in all his battles, De Ruyter aimed
intelligently at concentrating on a part of the enemy's line, in
order to counterbalance a general inferiority in numbers. The brunt
of the fighting fell on the two English divisions, the Red and the
Blue. Our own historians of the war, who for slovenliness in the use
of terms, vagueness of description, and mendacity of assertion are
nearly unequalled, maintain that the advantage rested with the allies.
Rupert, they say, artfully endeavoured to draw the Dutch off their own
coast by slanting to leeward. The substantial facts covered by this
plausible apology are that the Dutch and English cannonaded one another
until dark; that the English suffered as severely as the enemy, that
the French did nothing, and that on the following day the Red and Blue
Squadrons were found to have suffered so much that the allies returned
to the Thames to refit. Tromp went back to his own coast, having gained
the fruits of victory. He had driven a fleet, more than half again as
strong as his own, off the coast of the Low Countries, had stopped an
invasion, and had cleared the road for trade.

The utter failure of Rupert and d'Estrées to sweep the Dutch fleet
out of the road might have convinced the English Court that the time
had not come for an invasion of Holland from the sea. Yet, unless
something was done, the war would soon appear as ridiculous to
Englishmen as it was already odious. The ships were refitted, 4000
soldiers were embarked in the men-of-war and 2000 others in transports.
Then the whole force was sent back to the coast of Holland, in order,
apparently, to try whether, since it had been found impossible to beat
the Dutch fleet first and land the soldiers afterwards, it might not be
possible to do both things at once.

On the 23rd of July the allies were again on the coasts of the Low
Countries, about the mouth of the Maas. From this point they prowled
along as far as the islands beyond North Holland and then back
again. De Ruyter had been reinforced till he had under his command
about seventy ships of the line. As the English and French had also
been strengthened till the first numbered sixty and the second thirty
battleships, the superiority of the allies was still considerable. True
to his policy of not fighting rashly, De Ruyter followed the enemy as
they sailed to and fro, keeping his own ships in the dangerous banks
and shallows, where the sharper-keeled French and English vessels
dared not follow. But he was still resolute to strike so soon as he
had a fair opportunity. It came on the 11th of August, when both
fleets were close to the Texel. On the 10th the wind was blowing from
the sea, and Rupert pressed in as close as he dared. During the night
De Ruyter slipped between the allies and the land and anchored near
Camperdown. In the morning the wind had shifted to the S.E., giving
the weather-gage to the Dutch. De Ruyter had the permission of the
States to give battle, and he came down with his seventy against the
ninety of the allies. Both fleets were heading to the south, on the
port tack. The French were now actually in the van. The Red Division
was in the centre, under the direct command of Rupert, with John
Harman as vice-admiral and Chicheley as rear-admiral. Sir Edward
Spragge commanded the rear, with Kempthorne as second, and the Earl of
Ossory, the son of the Duke of Ormonde, who served as a rear-admiral
not because he was a seaman, but because he was a gallant gentleman,
for whom the king had a liking, and the son of a great noble. In the
Dutch fleet Bankert led the first division, De Ruyter was at his place
in the centre, and Tromp was once more opposed to his old foe Spragge
in the rear. The plan of the Dutch admiral was identical with that
which he had followed in the previous battles of the war. He decided
to concentrate his efforts on the Blue and Red Squadrons. He did not
do the French the honour to deal with them seriously. Ten vessels were
told off under Bankert to watch them, and then De Ruyter fell with
the sixty left to him on the sixty English. The battle broke into
three separate engagements. Bankert engaged the French at some little
distance. Being much more numerous than their opponents, it was in
the power of the French to stretch ahead, to make the leading ships
turn to windward, and so put Bankert between two fires. They made the
attempt to carry out this obvious movement. The leading subdivision of
the White Squadron, commanded by M. de Martel, turned to windward and
gained a position from which it could have fallen on Bankert. But the
intrepid and steady Dutchman was not minded to remain passive till he
was taken between two fires. He put his helm up and ran through the
French ships still to leeward of him. The French say that the fighting
at this moment was hot, and that they almost succeeded in destroying
Bankert's vessel with a fireship. It would have been unspeakably
disgraceful to them if there had not been hot fighting; as it is, their
inferiority to either the Dutch or English seamen in the contending
fleets is demonstrated by Bankert's success in carrying out a movement
which could never have succeeded against a skilful enemy. It is likely
that the heat of the action was felt much more acutely by the French
than the Dutch. Bankert's captains must have been very much wanting to
themselves if they did not rake the French ships as they passed through
with tremendous effect.

When Bankert broke through the French fleet, he found Rupert and De
Ruyter to the northward and a little to the leeward of him. The English
admiral had not waited quietly for the enemy to bear down upon him. He
sheered off a little towards the sea, for the purpose of drawing the
Dutch out. The intention was to entice them to such a distance from
their own coasts, that they might not be able to run back speedily
and take refuge among the shallows. It was a somewhat poor-spirited
device, since the most effectual way of preventing the Dutch from
returning to their sandbanks would have been to get between them and
the land. Rupert's ships were the more weatherly, and, if he had kept
his wind and had pressed harder on the Dutch, it is possible that he
might have worked through them as Monk had done in the last of the
Four Days' Battle. In any case, severely crippled Dutch vessels must
have drifted down on his line, and if he had remained steady he might
have taken them, whereas by edging away he made them a present of a
margin of safety. Moreover, he laid himself open to a peril which he
may be excused for not having foreseen. When Bankert had run through
the French and found the two central divisions to leeward of him, it
was in his power to join De Ruyter by simply putting himself before
the wind and coming down. This he did, and his arrival enabled the
whole of the Dutch centre and van to concentrate on the Red Squadron.
This misfortune might have been averted by the French. The wind which
carried Bankert to leeward would equally have carried them. But the
French did nothing, and, in fact, took no further part in the action.
They remained idle until late in the evening, when the battle was
over and the victory had fallen to De Ruyter. As the Dutch admiral
pressed closely on Rupert, he had broken through the Red Squadron
towards the rear. When Bankert's squadron joined him, he was able to
concentrate thirty of his ships upon twenty of ours. If the gunnery
of the seventeenth century had not been very wild, these vessels
must infallibly have been destroyed. If the Dutch fleet under the
command of Admiral de Winter in 1797 had been able to bring a force
proportionately superior to bear on the ships of Duncan, he would most
certainly have ruined them. But in the earlier century the fire of
ships' guns was still very ineffective, and therefore Rupert escaped
destruction, though he did not escape defeat. The English squadron was
compelled to fall away to leeward, and to look about for the help of
the Blue Squadron in the rear.

While the French were demonstrating their entire worthlessness as
allies, and while Rupert was being overpowered, the Blue Squadron and
its immediate opponent, the Dutch division of Tromp, were carrying on a
desperate battle by themselves. The story reads like a passage out of
a mediæval chronicle. It has been pointed out already that Sir Edward
Spragge had been pitted against Tromp in the two previous battles of
the war. A species of personal rivalry had grown up between them.
While the fleet was refitting in the Thames, Spragge had visited the
Court, and there, perhaps provoked by some jest, or perhaps merely in
ostentation, had promised the king that he would bring Tromp home
prisoner from the next battle, or would lose his life in the attempt.
Having given the promise, Spragge was the man to endeavour to keep it.
When the battle began, he fixed his attention exclusively on his own
conflict with Tromp. As the Dutch bore down, he did not continue his
course in the wake of the Red Squadron as he should have done, but
lay-to to wait for Tromp. Lying-to means that a ship braces some of her
sails round so that the wind blows them against the mast, while the
others are still kept in such a position that the wind blows behind
them. The two kinds of pressure neutralise one another, and the ship,
instead of forging ahead, begins to drift slowly to leeward. She does
not remain stationary, because the wind is always pushing her sideways
against the water, and, although she moves very slowly, yet she will
drift some miles in the course of a few hours. The result of Spragge's
action was to separate his squadron by a long distance from that of
Rupert. The prince continued moving to the south, though with a slant
towards the west. Spragge floated slowly away to the west. He did not
go alone. Tromp, who was at all times ready enough to separate his
squadron from that of his commanding officer, could not resist the
temptation offered, and he accepted the challenge thrown out to him
by the English admiral. He bore down, and the two squadrons engaged
ship to ship. There was no manoeuvring, no attempt on either side to
gain an advantage by skilful fence. Each side laid on the other with
might and main. Spragge and Tromp engaged ship to ship. Spragge's flag
was flying in the =Royal Prince= and Tromp's in the _Golden Lion_. So
well were the two matched that they had soon beaten one another to a
standstill. Then Spragge transferred his flag to the =St. George= and
Tromp his to the _Comet_. Then they renewed their duel. Before long
the =St. George= was as complete a wreck as the =Royal Prince=. Once
more Sir Edward Spragge prepared to shift his flag, but he was destined
to fulfil the alternative promise he had made the king. He was not to
bring Tromp back a prisoner, but to give his own life in the effort to
take him. His boat had hardly gone ten times her length from the side
of the =St. George= when it was struck by a cannon-shot, which took a
great piece out of the bottom. The crew made a manful attempt to regain
the =St. George=, baling the boat and rowing hard. But the damage done
was too great The boat went down before they could again reach their
ship. Sir Edward Spragge was drowned. Of the short list of English
admirals who have died in battle, the majority have fallen in action
with the Dutch.

The erratic valour of Sir Edward caused no small embarrassment to his
chief. When he turned towards the Blue Division, Rupert found it miles
to leeward of him and in no position to give him any support. The White
Division showed no sign of coming to his assistance, but lay idle to
windward, where it was in vain for the prince to endeavour to reach
them. He made no attempt to reunite with his untrustworthy allies, but,
turning off before the wind, bore down in the direction of the separate
battle raging between the squadrons of Tromp and Spragge. De Ruyter
accompanied him, and for a time the battle ceased between the two
centre divisions. It may be that their powder was becoming exhausted.
The two ran down side by side together, each aiming to regain touch
with the rear division of his own fleet. This was effected towards
evening, and, the fleets being together again, the action was resumed.
The superiority of force was now with the Dutch, for the Blue Division
had been very severely cut up in the action with Tromp, and De Ruyter,
having been joined by Bankert's squadron, had the whole of his ships
together, and excelled the English by some ten vessels. The renewed
action lasted until about seven o'clock in the evening, when De Ruyter
drew off. From the French accounts it appears that they joined Rupert
about this time. Whether De Ruyter withdrew because he saw the French
coming down, or whether the French plucked up heart of grace on seeing
that the Dutch had retired, is uncertain.

This battle ended the war, and it also ended the possibility of a
co-operation between the English and French fleets. It was the firm
belief of every man in the navy, from Prince Rupert downwards, that our
allies had betrayed us. The nation was convinced that the fleet was
right, and it came to be taken for granted that the Count d'Estrées
had deliberately allowed the English to be overpowered. It was said
that he acted on express orders from his king, directing him to keep
his squadron out of action and to leave the Dutch and the English to
exhaust one another. No evidence that any such orders were given has
been produced. If it is improbable that they ever were given, the
reason is rather that they would have been thoroughly silly than that
they would have been base. King Louis and his ministers were quite
intelligent enough to see that if they allowed the Dutch to destroy the
English, they would have to deal with them single-handed. There is no
need to attribute so much unscrupulous, and withal silly, cunning to
the French Government. The inexperience of d'Estrées, and the natural
dislike of Englishmen and Frenchmen for one another, at least in that
century, account quite sufficiently for the failure of the allies to
co-operate with success. The French must have been perfectly well aware
that the English king's alliance with their master was odious to his
subjects. They knew that the English considered them the supporters of
Popery, and they, for their part, looked upon the English as heretics.
In this war the English wished success to their enemy and defeat to
their friend. A coalition is seldom successful in war, and, when it
is conducted under such conditions as these, is inevitably doomed to
defeat.

The battle of the Texel was the end of the war in Europe. When the
fleets drew off from one another on the evening of a long day's
fighting, there was no list of prizes to show on either side. The loss
of life in the English fleet was great, for the ships were crowded with
the soldiers who were to have been landed on the coast of Holland,
and the slaughter had been proportionately severe, but no vessels had
been lost. Still, the victory was undoubtedly with De Ruyter. The
allies retired, giving up even the pretence of an attempt to land men
or maintain a blockade on the Dutch coast. He had, therefore, gained
the main object for which he fought; and if that does not constitute
victory, it is difficult to attach a definite meaning to the word. The
terms on which the allies stood to one another made it certain that
they would not act together again, and, if De Ruyter did not know that
on the evening of the battle, he must have learned it before very long.
The relations of the French and English were patent to all the world.
There is a story that a Dutch sailor, whose comrade expressed some
surprise at the inactivity of the French, explained it by saying, "Why,
you see, they have hired the English to do their fighting for them, and
have no business here except to see that their servants do their work."
That sailor may not impossibly have been an invention of the Dutch
press, which was able and active. But the opinion put into his mouth
was not unlike what was being said in England. Englishmen felt that
the king had sold himself and them, to do the work of Louis XIV., and
the war was intensely unpopular. As was usual with Charles, he yielded
immediately that the opposition of his Parliament and people began to
be dangerous. The war was first allowed to die down, and then peace was
made in the beginning of 1674.

The fighting which took place outside the North Sea was not important
in this war. Some colonial posts were taken and retaken between the
English and the Dutch in the West Indies. Sir Tobias Bridge, who
commanded for us, and Evertszoon, who led for Holland, however, did
not come to an engagement. A more interesting passage of warfare took
place far to the south in the Atlantic. The island of St. Helena had
been early occupied as a watering station and storehouse by the East
India Company. It had once before been taken by the Dutch, and retaken
by us. The Dutch were then, and for long afterwards, in possession of
the Cape of Good Hope, and it was an obvious object of policy with
them to secure possession of all those places on the road to Asia
which could be used for the purpose of refreshing a fleet. They were
always ready to endeavour to correct the oversight by which they had
allowed the island to fall into our hands. In 1672, when the news
of the outbreak of the war reached the settlement at the Cape, an
expedition was at once despatched against St. Helena. It was beaten
off in the first attempt to land, but one of the English planters
turned traitor. A convenient landing-place was pointed out by this man.
The Dutch were able to reach the higher ground, and once there they
soon made themselves masters of the East India Company's little fort.
The governor, whose name was Beale, took refuge in a ship then at the
anchorage, and fled to Brazil. On the coast of Brazil he fell in with
a squadron consisting partly of the king's ships, the =Assistance=
and the =Levant= and the =Castle= fireship, and partly of two vessels
belonging to the East India Company. It was under the command of Sir
Richard Munden. At that time, and indeed to the very close of the
eighteenth century, the voyage to the East Indies was expected to last
six months. Vessels on their way out, or on their way home, always put
in to the Portuguese ports in search of fresh vegetables and water.
Sir Richard Munden had been despatched to protect the home-coming East
India trade from capture by the Dutch "Capers" or privateers, which
were sure to lie in wait for them at the approaches to the Channel.
He would naturally go down to meet them where they could be expected.
The arrival of the fugitives at once showed Munden that he had an even
more pressing duty to perform. If St. Helena was not recovered from the
Dutch, the home-coming trade would almost certainly sail into their
hands and be lost altogether. He was an officer of great spirit, a
Tarpaulin seaman of the best stamp, whose tombstone in Bromley Church
records, that though he died at the early age of forty, he had "what
upon public duty and what upon merchants' accounts, successfully
engaged in fourteen sea fights." Munden prepared to retake the island.
Among the fugitives who had reached Brazil with Governor Beale was a
negro named Black Oliver. Black Oliver was known to possess an exact
knowledge of the landing-places and interior of the island. He had
been sold by his master to a Portuguese, but Munden redeemed him and
took him as guide. The English squadron reached the island of St.
Helena on the afternoon of the 14th of May 1673. It was not observed
by the Dutch. By the advice of Black Oliver, it was decided to land
at a spot, afterwards named Prosperous Bay to record the success of
the enterprise. The command of the landing-party was given to Richard
Keigwen, a Cornishman, who was first lieutenant of the =Assistance=,
and who afterwards had a curious and varied career in the service of
the East India Company. The plan was to climb up the cliffs surrounding
the bay, and then go on to the high ground on the side of James's
Valley, where they would be in a position to dominate the settlement at
the only convenient anchorage in the island. It was no easy work to get
up the cliffs. There was no path, and, in order to effect the ascent,
it was necessary to send one of the party on in advance, who climbed up
the precipice with a ball of twine in his pocket. As the climber made
his way up, his comrades below called out to him, "Hold fast, Tom!" and
the name has remained attached to the cliff. Tom made his way to the
top, and then, by use of the twine, hauled up a rope. The rest of the
party now scrambled up after him. If the Dutch had been on the alert,
the enterprise would have been physically impossible, but they were
quite unaware that the English were in the island. The party marched
past Longwood, destined in after times to be the prison of Napoleon,
and then seized the summit of Rupert's Hill on the east side of James's
Valley. At the same time, Richard Munden brought his ships round to the
anchorage, and the Dutch, attacked both by sea and land, were compelled
to surrender.

The success of the English did not end here. News of the taking of St.
Helena in the previous year had been forwarded to Holland. A ship was
sent out bringing a Dutch governor. She sailed into the anchorage,
where Munden lay with the Dutch flag flying, and was taken. By use of
the same stratagem he all but made a further capture of much greater
value. A home-coming squadron of six Dutch East Indiamen came to the
island, under the impression that it was in the possession of their
countrymen. Two of them laden with rich cargoes fell into our hands.
The other four escaped through the over-haste of the English ships,
which gave them the alarm. Still, the success of Munden was fairly
complete. He returned to England, having achieved a most useful piece
of service, and having fairly earned his knighthood. Keigwen was left
behind as governor, and it is satisfactory to be able to add that Black
Oliver was handsomely rewarded for his services by his freedom and the
gift of a little piece of land.

The third war with the Dutch ended in deserved failure, and was
followed by a period of decadence. Yet the years between 1660 and 1673
were, on the whole, a time of growth. The long and generally successful
series of operations against the Barbary pirates, the victorious
campaign of Harman in the West Indies, the timely intervention of
Munden so far south in the Atlantic as St. Helena, the presence of the
king's ships at Bombay, were proofs that the Royal Navy was already
growing to its full stature. It was putting out its arm round the
world, not indeed to take hold as yet, but to feel its way and measure.
The advance in organisation was real. Though the captain was still only
captain while in commission, and the Admiral of the Red, White, or
Blue held rank only while the fleet was collected, the foundation of
the corps of officers was laid by the list of 1668. The principle was
recognised, and a very slight extension of the practical application
was all that was required to form a complete establishment. What had
been gained was to be held for good. The decline of the navy at the
close of King Charles's reign was due to the personal and temporary
vices of his government. When the reins were again in stronger hands
the lost ground could be rapidly recovered, and it would be found that
the work of the earlier and better years was a permanent possession.



CHAPTER XIV

THE LAST YEARS OF THE STUART DYNASTY

 The main sources of information for the period included in this
 chapter are Pepys' _Memoirs relating to the State of the Royal Navy
 of England for the Ten Years determined December 1688_, and the Diary
 of his Journey to Tangier, included in Mr. Smith's edition of his
 _Letters_. For the naval events of the Revolution we possess the
 Memoirs of Lord Torrington, edited by Mr. Laughton for the Camden
 Society.


The fourteen years between the conclusion of the third Dutch war and
the Revolution of 1688 saw no new war. The operations against the
pirates of the Barbary coast have already been described. The events
of this interval were first the fall of the navy to a disgraceful
pitch of weakness through pure corruption and mismanagement; then
its restoration to a sounder condition through the efforts of King
James II.; and lastly, those intrigues which deprived the king of his
fleet when the country rose upon him in the autumn of the year of
the Revolution. There was, it is true, an alarm of war in 1678, and
some show of preparation for hostilities was made. It was directed
against France. The country would have been willing enough to see
itself engaged in a war with France. It feared the ambition of the
French king, and would, moreover, have considered hostilities directed
against him as a guarantee against Roman Catholic intrigues at home.
Commercial disputes also embittered the relations of the two countries.
The third Dutch war had been very disastrous to English shipping. The
Dutch, having been compelled to suspend regular commerce, had taken
to privateering on a large scale, and in the general inefficiency of
our management little had been done to check them. Thus our trade had
suffered severely. At the close of the war the Government had allowed
English shipowners to buy foreign-built vessels, contrary to the
provisions of the Navigation Act. As the war between France and Holland
went on for years after England had made peace, it is probable that
many Dutch owners took the opportunity to make collusive sales. They,
in fact, pretended to sell the vessels when they were only transferring
them to an English name, in order to secure protection against French
privateers. The French, at anyrate, insisted in treating the transfer
of Dutch-built vessels as a mere manoeuvre, and in considering them
lawful prize. These captures caused great irritation in England, and
went to strengthen the general desire for war. But the king would not
quarrel with his cousin--at least he would not go further than was
necessary to induce the King of France to continue his allowance.
The war scare passed over, and the navy was left to rot to within a
measurable distance of complete destruction.

It would indeed have been wonderful if a service requiring at once the
regular expenditure of money and a constant vigilant administrative
control had not fallen into a thoroughly bad condition during the last
years of the reign of Charles II. The king never had enough money,
and he grew daily less capable of controlling his own Government. His
health was worn out for some years before his death, and he could no
longer give constant attention to the affairs of the State, even if he
had been willing to make the effort. It is true that the king was not
left wholly without pecuniary assistance from Parliament. He obtained
one grant by consenting to pass the Test Act, and in 1677 Parliament
gave him £700,000 to pay for the construction of thirty men-of-war. But
these aids were entirely insufficient. The Dutch war, adding to the
burdens already upon him, had swollen the king's debt to no less a sum
than four millions sterling. The closing of the Exchequer had made it
certain that the king could expect no assistance from the commercial
class. Thus he suffered from continual penury. It may be allowed that
it was his own fault he was not better supplied. It cannot be denied
that even what he had, the fixed revenue of the Crown and the pensions
doled out to him irregularly by the King of France, was wasted. At a
time when he was compelled to reduce the salaries of the servants of
his household, and when his troops and his fleet were being starved
for want of money, the Duchess of Portsmouth, and other less favoured
instruments of his pleasures, drew a very large sum of money. It is
a matter of record that they received among them not much less than
half of the sum--namely, £400,000 a year--estimated as necessary for
the support of the navy in peace. It would be rash indeed to affirm
that their gains were limited to the sums of money entered into the
accounts. When a treasury is made a prey to harpies of both sexes of
this order, there is hardly any limit to be placed to their rapacity.
Subordinate officers will profess to have received money for their
departments, when, in point of fact, it has really passed into the
hands of some courtier who has secured their compliance by a bribe.
Pepys, indeed, in his _Memoirs relating to the State of the Royal Navy
of England for Ten Years determined December 1688_, asserts that,
during the worst time of King Charles's reign, the Lord High Treasurer
did annually pay out £400,000 for the service of the navy. But Pepys
was a strong Royalist, and was writing in 1690, at a time when all
partisans of the House of Stuart had the most powerful motive for
making out a case for the dethroned royal family; and then Pepys could
only know that the money was formally paid for that service, and not
whether it ever reached the hand of the naval officers for any other
purpose than to be immediately returned, in part, if not in whole, to
the courtiers and the favourites and their agents.

Pepys' evidence is, at anyrate, conclusive as to this, that whoever
stole the money, or whatever sums were set apart for the service of
the navy, the king's ships did, during the last years of his reign,
sink into abject weakness. Between 1672 and 1679 the king took the
administration of the navy into his own hands. In practice, this meant
that he was keeping the office of Lord High Admiral open for his
brother, if ever the anti-papal excitement of the time made it safe to
restore the duke to his office. The king himself could not, even if he
would, give his navy the constant attention required from the chief of
an administration. What the king could not do was not done at all. The
Duke of York, though excluded from office by the Test Act, appears to
have exercised a species of informal control over the navy until 1679,
but by that year the country had been worked into a paroxysm of madness
by the supposed discovery of the Popish Plot in 1678, and the duke was
believed to be in so much danger that the king persuaded him to retire
to the Netherlands. In the same year, Pepys, who had continued to hold
his post on the Navy Board, was imprisoned in the Tower, on a charge of
being a convert to Popery and a favourite with the Papists. He lost his
office, and had no further connection with the navy for five years. The
king, who lived in terror while the Popish Plot was still believed to
be a real danger, and whose health began to fail about this time, rid
himself of even the appearance of trouble in connection with his navy.
He appointed a Commission to discharge the whole office of the Lord
High Admiral; in other words, he suspended both the office of Lord High
Admiral and the Navy Office, and gave the whole of the administration
of the service to such a Board as had ruled the navy for Charles I.
between the death of the Duke of Buckingham and the nomination of the
Earl of Northumberland.

Under the control of these men the navy was all but destroyed. It would
be perhaps unjust to lay the blame entirely on their deficiencies. The
king had not the money required to pay the expenses of his Government,
and what he had was pilfered on all hands by servants of all ranks and
both sexes. But if they cannot be made to bear the blame alone, they
certainly must share it. It is significant that during the years this
Commission lasted no accounts were kept, nor could any afterwards be
obtained. Where no accounts were kept, it was doubtless because nobody
concerned ventured to say what had really been done with the money:
that it was not spent in maintaining the fleet is certain. When Pepys
was committed to prison in 1679, the king had in commission seventy-six
ships, carrying 12,040 men. Those of the king's ships that were not
in commission could, it was estimated, be put to sea at an expense
of £50,000 sterling. The dockyards contained stores to the value of
£60,000 over and above the six months' provisions of war served out
to the ships in commission. The thirty ships designed to be built
out of the money granted by Parliament in 1677 were all in course of
construction, and eleven of them had just been launched.

This picture of the state of the navy in 1679 is possibly much
flattered. Pepys asserts that it must be accepted as trustworthy,
because in 1679 a report was made to the House of Commons which shows
the condition of the navy at the time, and is identical with his
account of it. He does not add that the report to the Commons was made
by the navy officers, and was not checked. It is probable that there
were a great many suppressions in Pepys' account. He had made out a
plausible case for the Navy Office in 1668, when it was found necessary
to throw dust in the eyes of the House of Commons. Yet at that very
time he was drawing up a confidential statement for the benefit of the
Duke of York, in which he shows that the members of the Board neglected
their duty, that the Lord High Admiral's instructions of 1661-62 were
disregarded, and that the department was in need of a thorough overhaul
if it was to escape falling into total inefficiency. There was exactly
the same reverse to the fine portrait which Pepys drew of the navy
in 1679. Yet, though it was wastefully maintained and suffered from
many defects, there at least was a navy in that year. Five years later
there was hardly any navy in existence. Twenty-four ships only were in
commission. They were all small, and carried among them only 3070 men.
The ships not in commission were so out of repair, not through service,
but through pure neglect, that £120,000 would have been required to fit
them for sea; while the whole of the stores in the magazines hardly
amounted in value to £5000. The state of the thirty new ships in hand
when Mr. Pepys was imprisoned was worse even than that of the old
vessels. Most of them had never even been in commission, and yet they
were ready to sink at their moorings from pure rottenness.

 "The greatest part nevertheless of these _Thirty Ships_ (without
 having ever yet lookt out of _Harbour_) were let to sink into such
 Distress, through _Decays_ contracted in their _Buttocks_, _Quarters_,
 _Bows_, _Thickstuff_ without _Board_, and _Spirkettings_ upon their
 _Gun-decks_ within; their _Buttock-Planks_ some of them _started_
 from their _Transums_, _Tree-nails_ burnt and rotted, and _Planks_
 thereby become ready to drop into the _Water_, as being (with their
 neighbouring _Timbers_) in many places perish'd to _powder_, to the
 rendring them unable with safety to admit of being _breem'd_, for
 fear of taking _Fire_; and their whole _sides_ more disguised by
 _Shot-boards_ nail'd, and _Plaisters_ of _Canvas_ pitch'd thereon (for
 hiding their _Defects_, and keeping them above _Water_) than has been
 usually seen upon the coming in of a _Fleet_ after a Battle; that
 several of them had been newly reported by the _Navy-Board_ itself, to
 lye in danger of _sinking_ at their very _Moorings_."

The breeming or, according to modern spelling, breaming of a ship was
the act of cleaning the bottom by burning off the ooze, sedge, shells,
or seaweed which adhered to it during a long stay in harbour. When
vessels were not coppered, they easily became foul. The fire, applied
by faggots of wood or reed, melted the ship's coating of pitch, and
whatever adhered to it could easily be scraped off, and the ship
covered with a new coating of tar or tallow. Of course, if the ship
had been allowed to rot until she was in the condition of tinder,
this could not possibly be done without danger. This was the return
for £670,000 of money voted by the Parliament and actually paid into
the hands of the Treasurer of the Navy. "The strict provision made by
Parliament, the repeated injunctions of His Majesty, the orders of
the then Lord Treasurer and ampleness of the helps purposely allowed
(to the full of their own demands and undertakings) for securing a
satisfactory account of the charge and build of the said ships,"
were all useless. Such was the state of the navy when the king, just
before his death, in February 1685, resumed the administration into
his own hands, and decided to govern it once more by the advice of
his brother, the Duke of York. The duke brought back Pepys, who was
living in retirement at Windsor. Nothing could be done during the
brief remainder of the life of Charles II., and not much was effected
during the first year of King James's reign. In the January of 1686
the condition of the fleet, if not worse, was as bad as ever. Ninety
thousand pounds had been spent on the repair of ships, and yet the
navy officers were demanding as much more before they could undertake
to put the ships in a state of repair. Not a quarter of the ships
were graved, that is, docked and cleaned so as to be fit for service.
During Monmouth's rebellion the navy could hardly contrive to fit
out a squadron; nothing had been done to the thirty new ships, and
the magazines of stores were empty. It was clear that, unless strong
measures were taken, the navy would perish utterly. King James was
certainly not a great commander, and he was a very bad king. Still he
had so far a genuine interest in the navy, and the feelings becoming
an English king, that he was willing to save the fleet. To say that he
did the work himself would be going too far, but he did decide that it
should be done. He chose the men who could do it, and he supported them
in the discharge of their duty.

Following the precedent set by his grandfather, James I., after the
report of the Commission in 1618, the king decided to appoint a special
Commission. He did not entirely dismiss the members of the existing
naval administration, but he added four to their number. These four
were Sir Anthony Deane, the well-known shipbuilder, Sir John Berry, the
naval officer who has been mentioned already as serving against the
French and Dutch in the West Indies, Mr. Hewer, and Mr. St. Michael.
All four, if we may believe his word, were chosen on the recommendation
of Pepys. The real power was in the hands of the new members. The old
officers, Lord Falkland, Sir J. Tippets, Sir Richard Haddock, and Mr.
Southerne, were set apart to endeavour to reduce the accounts for the
past five years into some sort of order. They appear to have had no
other share in the administration. Lord Falkland, indeed, remained
Treasurer of the Navy, but in that capacity he would have little to do
except receive money from the Lord High Treasurer, and pass it on to
the other departments. Sir P. Pett and Sir R. Beach, who were on the
old Commission, were employed only at Chatham and Portsmouth. Sir John
Narbrough and Sir J. Godwin, also members of the old Commission, served
on the Board with Deane, Berry, and Hewer. St. Michael was commissioner
only at Deptford and Woolwich. Pepys did not resume his seat on the
Navy Board, but was appointed Secretary to the Admiralty, which, as the
king kept the office of Lord High Admiral to himself, meant that for
all practical purposes the government of the navy was in his hands. The
Commission was appointed in April 1686, and was determined on the 12th
of October 1688. During these two years the Commissioners brought the
navy into the condition which enabled it to be used as an effective
instrument after the Revolution. They did not succeed, and they did not
pretend to have succeeded, in removing all the defects caused by so
many previous years of corruption and mismanagement.

The sum for which the Commission undertook to do this work was £400,000
a year. It received the money for two years and a half, from the 25th
March 1686 till the 12th of October 1688. The total sum received was
£1,015,384, 12s. The money actually spent on the navy was not more than
£310,000 a year, leaving a balance of £307,570, 9s. 4d. to the credit
of the Commissioners. Pepys records, not without a certain wistful
regret, that if the work had been done by contract, the Commissioners
would have put all this money into their own pockets, while as a
matter of fact they got nothing but their modest salaries. It would be
pedantic to demand a too minute accuracy from Pepys or any Englishman
of his generation on such a point. Yet it does seem to be the case
that the work was thoroughly done. When the Commission was determined
in October 1688, amid the fall of the Stuart dynasty, there were 92
ships of the navy in commission, carrying 15,038 men. Its total force
was 173 vessels, of which 9 were of the first rate, 11 of the second,
39 of the third, 41 of the fourth, 2 of the fifth, and 6 of the sixth.
The fireships were 26 in number, and there were 14 yachts; a few
bombs hoys, hulks, ketches, and smacks made up the remainder. It was
estimated that 42,003 men were required to man these ships, and that
they carried 6930 guns. It is the boast of Pepys that at this date all
the officers and men of the navy were paid, nothing was owing to the
contractors, and the magazines were full to overflowing of stores.
There is a curious similarity between the fortunes of James II. and
his father. Both took a keen interest in their navy, both did much to
strengthen it, and it was the instrument which mainly served in the
ruin of both. Northumberland threw the navy of Charles I. into the
hands of Parliament, and thereby gave it the means of cutting the king
off from his friends over the sea. The navy went over to the side of
the Revolution in 1688, and was henceforth successfully engaged in
preventing the return of King James to England.

Great part of the work of the Commission consisted in reducing
administrative anarchy to order. The accounts were brought into a
proper condition mainly by Hewer. But there was another part of its
work, or of the work done through it by the king, which was designed
to effect a much-needed reform in the conduct of the naval officer. It
has been said already that the king's captains had from old been in
the habit of adding to their salaries by carrying cargoes for money.
They also seem to have taken money for carrying English merchants
abroad. The Parliament had endeavoured to check these practices, which
lent themselves to obvious abuses, by its orders in 1652. Under the
Council of State and the Protectorate they were kept down by vigilant
administrative control. But during the progressive degradation of the
reign of Charles II. they had revived till they became a crying abuse.
During the later years of the king they reached an intolerable point.
Whether they were worse among the ships appointed to protect the trade
in the Mediterranean than elsewhere is perhaps doubtful. But for this
squadron we have again the testimony of Pepys. In 1683 the king, being
now absolutely at the end of his resources, decided to withdraw the
costly garrison of Tangier. A squadron was sent out under the command
of George Legge, Lord Dartmouth, with orders to bring back the troops
and "destroy them all." Pepys accompanied Dartmouth, and the journal of
his voyage has been preserved. It contains an astonishing picture of
the condition of the squadron then serving in the Straits. This force
was commanded by Arthur Herbert, who had been left in command in the
Mediterranean by Narbrough. There is a general consensus of opinion
among all who knew him, that this man, though personally very brave,
was self-indulgent, debauched, and unscrupulous. Under his fostering
care the vices of the naval life of the time reached their height.
Though he had gone to sea young, he ranks among the gentlemen captains
and not among the Tarpaulins. The character of a gentleman captain was
this, that he exercised his command for his own pleasure and profit.
The Tarpaulin captain or admiral was often more of a gentleman by birth
than has commonly been supposed. Yet he was of humbler birth than such
a man as Herbert, and the tradition of his class was more wholesome.
The difference between them was, that the gentleman captain came of
that class of Cavaliers who after the Restoration consoled themselves
for the misfortunes of the Civil War by settling like a swarm of
bloodsuckers on the Treasury; or, if his family were not Cavaliers,
he at least endeavoured to obtain that distinction by assuming what
the satirist Butler, himself a Cavalier of the Cavaliers, called the
hypocrisy of vice of the time. The Tarpaulin captains were those men
whom Pepys had once seen, from Penn downwards, sober, valiant, and
loyal to their duty, and whom he saw at Tangier and Cadiz imitating the
excesses of the prevailing class.

It is impossible to dismiss the picture drawn by Pepys as a mere
exaggeration. It is too consistent with everything else we know. From
his account, then, we learn that the squadron at Cadiz was managed
for the personal profit of Herbert and his friends. A great part of
our trade at Cadiz consisted in the bullion imported by the Spaniards
from their silver mines in South America. According to Spanish law,
this ought not to have been exported, but as a matter of fact it was
generally transferred at sea to Dutch and English vessels. Merchants
naturally desired to send home cargoes of such value in armed ships as
a security against pirates. They were glad to find a king's ship that
would take it, and were ready to pay the captain a percentage. As no
captain could sail without leave of the commander of the squadron, it
will be seen what opportunities this system placed in Herbert's way.
No officer could get a cargo except by sharing the profits with him.
The captain who would toady and pay, who would attend the admiral "at
his rising and going to bed, combing his periwig, putting on his coat
as the king is served," got a cargo. The captain who would not, did
not. Herbert in the meantime lived on shore, keeping a harem, "his
mistresses visited and attended one after another as the king's are."
Drunkenness seems to have been, if Pepys is to be believed, one of the
least vices of the squadron.

It is probable that the report Pepys brought back from Tangier had
much to do with persuading the king to make an effort to cleanse the
navy of these excesses by so improving the pay of his captains as to
raise them above the temptation of seeking dishonourable profit. Bad
pay is certainly no excuse for the conduct described by Pepys, but an
officer who could not live on his salary was strongly tempted to make
the deficiency good by irregular means. The king decided to make an
allowance to his captains calculated on a very liberal scale. This is
the list as given by Pepys.

  A Table of the Annual Allowance of a Sea-Commander of each Rate.

  Rate.  Present Wages.  Present Victualling.  Additional Grant for
                                                      Table.
          £   s. d.         £   s. d.              £   s. d.
   1    273  15  0         12   3  4             250   0  0
   2    219   0  0         12   3  4             200   0  0
   3    182   0  0         12   3  4             166   5  0
   4    136  10  0         12   3  4             124   5  0
   5    109  10  0         12   3  4             100   0  0
   6     91  10  0         12   3  4              83   0  0

It will be seen that this grant of table-money had the effect of nearly
doubling the pay of every captain on active service. The object of
the king was to make it from henceforward unpardonable in any naval
officer to neglect his duty for the sake of profit. He did not confine
himself merely to increasing the salaries, but promised that in future
the captains engaged in service against his enemies should have the
whole benefit of the prizes taken from the enemy. They were to be
"divided between the commander or commanders of such our ship or ships
(with their officers and companies) as were concerned in the chase and
capture of the said prizes according to the law and practice of the
sea." In conclusion, the king promised to give special rewards to such
officers as gave "any signal instances of their industry, courage,
conduct, or frugality." This order was issued by the king at Windsor,
on the 16th of July 1686.

It was not without reason that the king thought he had attached his
navy firmly to himself, and that he could rely implicitly on its
loyalty. Yet before two years were past his fleet was turning against
him, and a few months later it failed him no less completely than his
army. The navy, no doubt, moved with the nation, but the men in command
might have been expected to prove personally loyal to the king, who
had treated them with signal kindness. Yet, as a body, and with few
exceptions, they deserted him in his need. Their motives were no doubt
similar to those of other Englishmen of the time. Some were frightened
by the favour he showed to the Roman Catholics, and rebelled out of
zeal to the Church. Others came, like Churchill, to the conclusion
that in the long-run no man who was not prepared to become an apostate
could expect favour from the king. There were certainly not a few who
remained perfectly loyal till they discovered the whole extent of the
king's danger, and who then hastened to make their peace with his
enemies. The sailors as a class were, as they had been in the Civil
War, strongly Protestant. The majority of them still came from the
southern and eastern counties, the most Puritan parts of England. So
soon as the opposition to the king's Government became general, and
leaders were found to appeal to the sailors, there could be very
little doubt that the fleet would go with the rest of the country.

During 1687 and the early months of 1688 the king was steadily
alienating the mass of his subjects. Sailors felt as other men did, and
they were conspicuous in the crowd which applauded the acquittal of
the Seven Bishops. There was no want of leaders to bring them over to
the side of those who were preparing to upset the king's Government.
The two chiefs of the sailors who played conspicuous parts in the
Revolution were gentlemen captains. Edward Russell was the grandson of
the Earl of Bedford, and the first cousin of the Lord William Russell
executed for his share in the Rye House conspiracy. He had gone to sea
young, and had seen much service. But the importance of the part he
played was due less to his personal influence and reputation than to
the dignity of his family. The part he took was natural enough, for
the Russells were leaders of the Whigs. The action of Arthur Herbert
was less to have been expected. His family were strong Royalists.
His father had been Attorney-General to Charles I., and his brother,
Sir Edward Herbert, was a very Royalist Judge. Sir Edward did indeed
lose the favour of his master by opposition to the king's arbitrary
treatment of the Fellows of Magdalen, but he remained loyal. Under a
similar provocation Arthur Herbert took a very different course. It is
said that the king, who at one time had been largely influenced by him
in the management of naval matters, had transferred much of his favour
to George Legge, Earl of Dartmouth. Dartmouth also was a gentleman
captain bred to the sea. It may be that the stories he brought back
from Tangier had done something to turn the king against Herbert. The
fact that Pepys (whose opinion of Herbert had already been given) was
Secretary of the Admiralty must also be allowed for. Yet the king
made him Master of the Robes and Rear-Admiral of England. In 1687,
when James was endeavouring to persuade all men of mark in England
to support his claim to be entitled to dispense with penal statutes,
he appealed to Herbert among others. The admiral, according to the
well-known story, replied that his honour and conscience would not
allow him to do what the king wished. The answer of the king, which
seems to have been really given, is one of the innumerable proofs that
he must have been a very silly man. He told Herbert that a gentleman
of his habits of life had no right to talk of his conscience, which,
coming from the master of the notorious Brouncker to a courtier who was
perfectly aware of the facts, was portentously foolish. Herbert made
the obvious reply that there were people whose lives were no cleaner
than his who made a much greater profession of religion. This in the
circumstances was a richly-deserved piece of impertinence. Provoked
perhaps as much by the snub as by the admiral's refusal to support his
policy, the king dismissed Herbert from his places, and caused his
accounts as Master of the Robes to be severely examined. The admiral
was not the man to submit to the displeasure of the king as his brother
Sir Edward had done. He applied himself to making the Lord's anointed
pay for depriving him of four thousand pounds a year. He went over to
Holland, and there organised the naval part of the conspiracy. Russell
remained in England, where he formed part of the Whig Council, but made
occasional trips in disguise across the North Sea.

Subordinate agents were required to work directly on the ships'
companies under the direction of these two chiefs. During the summer
of 1688 rumours that the Prince of Orange was about to intervene on
behalf of the Protestant interest were rife. A small squadron was armed
by the king and put under the command of Sir Roger Strickland, one of
the few Roman Catholic officers amongst the seamen. The king, with
characteristic folly, had chosen this gentleman to succeed Herbert as
Rear-Admiral of England. Strickland appears, from the little that is
known of him, to have had no more tact or practical faculty than his
master. He endeavoured to cause mass to be said in his ships, with
the immediate result that the crews threatened to throw the priests
overboard. This was too much even for the king. He did not indeed
remove Strickland from active service, but he appointed Dartmouth to
command over him. The disposition of the crews must have shown the
conspirators that it would be no very difficult task to make the fleet
useless to the king, and the history of the movements of the squadron
show that they were perfectly successful. The immediate agents of the
enemies of King James seem to have been two: the higher in rank, but
not the most effectual, was Captain Aylmer, afterwards Lord Aylmer; the
other was George Byng, the first lieutenant of the =Defiance=, then
commanded by Captain Ashby. Byng behaved in a manner to justify the
praise given him in Lord Hervey's Memoirs, namely, that "he had been in
his youth a resolute, able, enterprising fellow; mercenary and knowing
in his business."

Sir Roger Strickland hoisted his flag in August, and he had then with
him twenty-six vessels. They were very ill manned, and Strickland
asked that soldiers might be sent to fill up his crews. It may be that
Strickland distrusted the spirit of his command. At anyrate, the plan
of action he proposed was not one likely to occur to a bold man who
felt confident that his squadron would fight. After consulting with
his captains, he proposed to the king to lie at the Gunfleet, with an
advance squadron on the coast of Holland. This was rightly rejected by
King James. A squadron at the Gunfleet would have been nearly helpless
against a Dutch fleet standing across the North Sea with an easterly
wind, and it was only when the wind was from this quarter that an
attack was to be feared. Strickland was ordered to station himself
between the North Sands Head and Kentish Knock, to keep under sail by
day, and only to anchor at night. It was while on this station that he
nearly provoked a mutiny in his fleet, by causing mass to be performed.
A stronger squadron and a stronger admiral were both needed. Dartmouth
was sent to command, and the force of twenty-six ships was raised to
sixty-one, of which thirty-eight were of the line-of-battle class. They
were still ill manned, partly, no doubt, for the usual reasons, that
men could not be got except by the press, and the press acted slowly.
But there were other causes at work. The king's officers were loath to
attract ill-will at a time when their master's danger was patent to
everybody but himself. Then, too, numbers of English sailors had made
their way across the North Sea, and were preparing to man the ships of
the Prince of Orange under the command of Russell and Herbert. Even
if the ships had been well manned, there was a fatal cause of weakness
within. The Memoirs of Byng, published a few years ago, have enabled
us to get a glimpse of the means taken to bring the fleet over to the
side of the Revolution. His biographer, who was no doubt supplied with
information by himself, tells us that Byng had been early entrusted
with the knowledge of what was doing. At a meeting at which the Duke
of Ormonde, General Kirke, and Captain Aylmer were present in London,
Byng was especially charged with the duty of bringing over his own
captain, Ashby of the =Defiance=, and Captain Wolfran Cornwall. Byng
is honourably candid as to his own motives. Of the Protestant religion
and the liberties of England he says not one syllable, but confines
himself to telling us that "finding by further discourse that General
Kirke, Mr. Russell, and other particular persons were going over
to the Prince of Orange, he then became willing to agree to their
undertaking." In plain English, he found that the king's Government
was in great danger, and, being a resolute, able, enterprising fellow,
he very sagaciously resolved to be on the winning side. With a modest
distrust of his influence over his captain, he left Ashby to be dealt
with by Aylmer. Yet, when Aylmer failed, he exerted himself. Ashby was
finally persuaded to become a well-wisher to the cause. He had just
declared "that in their profession they were not taught to turn against
the king." It was only when Mr. Byng showed him "the dispositions of
the most considerable persons in the fleet," that Ashby was induced to
take up arms against the danger of Popish superstition. The conversion
of Captain Cornwall was somewhat more difficult.

 "Mr. Cornwall was more difficult to be persuaded from [his violence of
 temper and zeal for the king; and none but his most intimate friend
 coud undertake to mention it to him]; and in their discourse, Cornwall
 expressed the obligations of himself and family to the king, and
 thought it a villany in those who attempted anything against him. But
 when Mr. Byng named some persons that were engaged in it, that was his
 most intimate and particular friends [as Mr. Herbert, Kirk, Russell,
 etc., he was confounded, and upon his further naming a captain of the
 fleet who was a most intimate friend of his, and of whom he had the
 best opinion of as a very rightous person, he was surprised; but
 being told so by himself as they were at supper at night, here met for
 that purpose], he gave up his zeal for the king; and from that time
 no man was more heartily in the cause, using his endeavour to bring
 over severall in his own ship; and continued heartily attached to the
 Revolution principles to the day of his death."

These captains--and there were doubtless many like them--would have
remained loyal to the king, if it had not been made clear to them that
his Government was undermined. Since the broom was to be used, they
decided that it was more prudent to be on the side of the handle.
Dartmouth, who took command of his squadron on the 2nd of October, was
personally loyal, but he was also weak. It may be that he was dimly
aware of the spirit of his squadron, and feared to put its loyalty to
the test. The obvious way to prevent the Prince of Orange from coming
over was to station the squadron on the coast of Holland, and attack
him as soon as he came to sea. In the westerly winds the English
could return to their own coast for provisions, knowing that the
Dutch could not put to sea; with the wind in the east it was safe for
them to lie close up to the Dutch coast. The next best course would
be to lie in the Downs, from which the English fleet could start in
pursuit of the prince, whether he attempted to go up the Thames or
down the Channel. Dartmouth was in favour of the bolder course, and
it is said that the majority of the captains were still loyal. The
minority had, however, sufficient influence to get it arranged that
the fleet should lie at anchor by the Gunfleet, inside the Shipwash, a
long, narrow, and dangerous sand stretching in front of Harwich. Here
it proved absolutely useless when the fleet of the Deliverer passed
it in a hard gale from the E.S.E. on the 3rd of November. Six of the
prince's ships were seen from Dartmouth's fleet. The king's fleet had
their top-gallant masts and yards down on the deck, and, even when
they got them up, were unable to clear the sand. The Prince of Orange
was allowed to run through the Straits of Dover, and reach Tor Bay
unmolested. Dartmouth at last followed. If he had still any delusions
as to the spirit of his squadron, they were soon dispelled. Some of his
captains, in fact, had already resolved to go over to the enemy, if
they met them. These men, working on the fears and weakness of others,
were able to induce a council of war, held on the 5th of November, off
Beachy Head, to decide not to fight, if an action could be avoided
"with honour." Next day the wind turned round to the west. It will be
remembered that this shift of the wind stopped the progress of the
prince's ships. Yet, when it once more swung round to the west, the
Deliverer stood on to Tor Bay, while the king's fleet, under Dartmouth,
returned tamely into the Downs. On the 18th he did stand to sea, and
made his way to the west, but fresh gales of wind scattered his ships.
Some of the captains were eager to take the opportunity of going over
to the prince. Captain Ashby of the =Defiance= would have carried
his vessel into Tor Bay, if he had not met Sir Roger Strickland, as
the gale died down. It was thought better to run no risks, and the
=Defiance= joined Dartmouth with the rest of the fleet at Spithead. In
truth, it mattered very little where the ships went now. The Prince
of Orange had landed, and was marching to London. The officers of
the ships at Spithead heard what was happening by rumour. Some of
them were eager to call attention to their zeal for the cause. At the
close of November, Byng was despatched with a message. He applied for
leave from Dartmouth to visit a relation in Huntingdonshire, and when
it was given, probably because the admiral thought it was useless to
refuse, went off in the disguise of a farmer. On the way he fell in
with a part of Oxford's regiment of horse, but, thanks to his disguise,
was not molested. At Salisbury he found the inn full of relations
and acquaintances of his own, officers of the army who had deserted
the king, and were making their way westward to join the Prince of
Orange. At Sherborne, Byng finally reached the prince, to whom he was
presented by Russell. William received him kindly, promised to reward
his services, and "sent him back with an answer to the officers of the
fleet, and with a letter to Lord Dartmouth to acquaint him with the
necessity of his coming over, and of his intentions to continue him at
the head of the fleet; with promises that Admiral Herbert [between whom
there was some variance] should not be advanced over him. This letter
the prince advised Mr. Byng to put into the stuffing of his saddle,
lest, in case he was seized, it should not be found upon him; but he
thought it best to quilt it in the rollers of his breeches. So Mr. Byng
taking his leave returned safely to the fleet again." The letter was
left on Dartmouth's dressing-table by Captain Aylmer. The biographer
does not inform us whether Aylmer had or had not just been engaged
in curling Dartmouth's periwig. The admiral is said to have been
influenced by this letter into taking a more favourable view of the
prince's cause. In truth, he had lost all control over his squadron. He
only escaped a scheme hatched by some of his captains to put him under
arrest, through the loyalty of Captain David Lloyd, a "plain strict
man," who remained faithful to the king, and was a noted Jacobite agent
in the coming years. When King James sent the little Prince of Wales
down to Portsmouth to be carried over to France, Dartmouth would have
been unable to execute his orders, even if he had wished to do so. He
ended by submitting to the Prince of Orange. On the 30th of December
the fleet at Spithead was broken up. Dartmouth sailed with a part of
the ships for the Nore, and the others were left at Spithead, under the
command of Sir John Berry.

The history of the navy under the House of Stuart ends here. The
motives of those who were most active in bringing it over to the side
of the Revolution have been sufficiently indicated in these extracts
from Byng's Memoirs. It completes the picture, that Byng was made very
angry when the vacant command of a sixth-rate was given to another
officer, and was only soothed by being appointed to the command of
the =Constant Warwick=. It cannot be said that any great zeal for a
cause animated these men. The navy followed the country in deserting a
worn-out and incapable dynasty. No doubt it did well, but we cannot say
that it acted magnanimously. The later Stuarts were punished where they
sinned. They came back making a great parade of cynicism, declaring
that any man who professed to act on any higher motive than a regard
for his own interests was a canting rogue. They were taken at their
word. The time came when it was nobody's interest to fight for James
II., and not a sword was drawn for him in his fleet. They set the
example of making the gratification of their own pleasures the one rule
of their conduct. Their servants did the same. The king had no right to
complain. But the spectacle of a master deserted by those to whom he
had been kind, and who had been loudest in professing loyalty, so soon
as they found that he was giving the places to others, has something
in it, which, even when we recognise that the nation benefited by the
action, cannot well be called other than ignoble.

The moral of so plain a story as this ought surely to be obvious. Yet
the failure of the fleet to bar the road to the Prince of Orange has
been quoted in support of the contention that a strong navy is not
the sufficient defence of this country against invasion. A moment's
consideration ought to show any unprepossessed mind that the events of
the autumn of 1688 prove nothing of the sort. If the navy failed then,
it was for precisely the reasons which caused the army to be useless to
King James, namely, active treason on the part of the officers, and an
acquiescent want of loyalty in the ranks. Neither sailor nor soldier
wished to win, and therefore the invasion succeeded. We may see the
story of 1688 repeated again when Englishmen consider the Government
their enemy, and its assailant from abroad their friend--but not till
then.



INDEX


  Admiral, first, of title, 13;
    of Northern Fleet, of Western Fleet, of Irish Sea, _ibid._

  Admiral, Lord High, power of his office, 37.

  Admiral's Regiment. See Marines.

  Admiralty, origin of, 37;
    Commission of, 174.

  Aguila, Juan del, Spanish commander, 136.

  Alards of Winchelsea, Admirals, 14.

  Algiers, expedition against pirates of, 165-169.

  Allen, Sir Thomas, commands in Straits, 336, 337;
    commands White Division, 372;
    commands against Barbary pirates, 399.

  Amsterdam, New, Dutch colony seized by Sir R. Holmes, 329.

  Appleton, Captain Henry, at Leghorn, 266-273.

  Aquitaine, ships of, used by kings of England, 15.

  Armada, Invincible, 91-115.

  Armament of ships, 40, 75-77.

  Arundel, Earl of, why put in command of Western Fleet, 14.

  Arundel, Sir John, his shipwreck, 31.

  Ashby, Captain John, how persuaded to betray king, 459;
    proposes to go to Torbay, 461.

  Ashley, Lord, afterwards Earl of Shaftesbury, Commissioner of
      Prizes, 381.

  Axon, captain of =Garland=, 247.

  Aylmer, Captain, share in revolution, 458, 459.

  Ayscue, Sir George, blockades Rupert, 200;
    appointed to reduce Plantations, 210;
    reduces Barbadoes, 212, 213;
    returns home, 230;
    at Plymouth, 235;
    in Downs, 236;
    attacks De Ruyter's convoy, 239;
    removed from command, 240;
    in Blue Squadron, 338;
    surrenders to Dutch, 359;
    reported ill-treatment of, by Dutch, 365.


  Badiley, Captain Richard, succeeds Penn in Mediterranean, 266;
    at Zante, 268;
    his action with Dutch, 269;
    and operations near Elba and Leghorn, 269-273.

  Bahuchet, French admiral, 22.

  Ball, Captain, sent to coerce Danes, 265.

  Bankert, Dutch admiral, 371;
    at battle of Texel, 434, 435.

  Barbadoes, Island of, held for king, 210, 211;
    Penn and Venables at, 283.

  Barbary pirates, 292;
    Lawson cruises against, 322, 323;
    expeditions against, 398-408.

  Barbavera, Genoese in French service, 21.

  Barton, Andrew, Scotch pirate, 48.

  Baskerville, Sir Thomas, commands soldiers in expedition of 1594, 125;
    brings home squadron, 127.

  Batten, William, surveyor, 181;
    fires on queen at Bridlington, 185;
    removed from command, 188;
    escapes from London, and joins Prince of Wales, 191;
    discontent of Royalists with, 192;
    goes back to Parliament, 193.

  Batten, captain of =Bonaventure=, 247.

  Bazan, Alonso de, takes the =Revenge=, 120-122.

  Bazan, Álvaro de, Marquess of La Cruz, Spanish admiral, 92, 93.

  Beach, Captain, destroys the Algerines, 399.

  Beale, Governor of St. Helena, 441.

  Beauchamp, Sir John, K.G., first Admiral for all the Seas, 14.

  Beaufort, Duke of, his squadron, 377.

  Beggars of Sea, what were, 80.

  Bergen, attack on Dutch at, 346-348.

  Berkeley, Sir W., killed in Four Days' Battle, 355;
    story of Dutch insult to body of, 365;
    his body embalmed and sent home, 383.

  Berry, John, story of, 388;
    takes command at Spithead, 462;
    on Commission of 1686, 450.

  Bertendona, Martin de, commands squadron of Italy in Armada, 101.

  Black Oliver, serves in retaking of St. Helena, 441, 442.

  Blackburn, admiral for north, 29.

  Blagg, Ensign, gallant death of, 287.

  Blake, Benjamin, accused of misconduct, 247.

  Blake, Colonel Robert, admiral and general at sea, 196;
    blockades Rupert, 200;
    ordered to pursue, 201;
    services against Rupert, 202-205;
    returns to England, 213;
    helps in reduction of Channel Islands, 214;
    action with Tromp, 232, 233;
    sails north, 236;
    replaces Ayscue in Channel, 240;
    brush with French, 242;
    defeats Dutch near Kentish Knock, 243-245;
    fights battle of Dungeness, 246, 247;
    offers to resign, and makes complaint of officers, 247;
    in battle of Portland, 249;
    wounded, 251;
    commands squadron in Thames, 257;
    joins fleet, 260;
    health breaks down, 261;
    prepares to sail to Mediterranean, 278;
    cruise in Mediterranean, 291-294;
    returns, _ibid._;
    blockades Cadiz, _ibid._;
    attacks Spanish ships at Santa Cruz, 295, 296;
    greatness of the achievement, 297;
    his death, _ibid._

  Board, Navy. See Navy Office.

  Bocanegra, Ambrosio, Genoese admiral of Castile, 28.

  Bombay taken possession of, 321.

  Bougie, Sir E. Spragge attacks pirates at, 401, 402.

  Bourne, Nicholas, rear-admiral, afterwards Commissioner, at Harwich;
    in battle of Dover, 232, 233.

  Boyle, Mr., killed, 342.

  Brackel, Captain, breaks the chain at Gillingham Reach, 394.

  Breda, negotiations at, 384.

  Brest, battle of, in 1512, 49.

  Bridge, Sir Tobias, cruises in West Indies, 440.

  Bridlington, Queen Henrietta Maria lands at, 185.

  Brouncker, Mr., brings order to shorten sail, 343.

  Brown paper stuff, what was, 161.

  Brunsvelt, Schoutbynacht, 371.

  Buckingham. See Villiers, George.

  Byng, George, exertions in Revolution, 458, 459;
    carries message from fleet, 461;
    appointed to command of =Constant Warwick=, 462.


  Cabal, how composed, 411.

  Cadiz, attack on, 128-130;
    second attack on, 170;
    bullion trade at, 453, 454.

  Calais, possession of, by England gives command of Straits, 16.

  Camperdown, English and Dutch fleets anchor near, 262.

  Cárdenas, Don Alonso de, Spanish ambassador, his answer to Cromwell, 278.

  Carteret, Sir George, expelled from Navy Office, 411.

  Castle, Mr., shipbuilder, 332.

  Catharine of Braganza, Queen of Charles II., 320.

  Catz, Dutch officer in command near Leghorn, 266.

  Cecil, Sir Edward, commands expedition to Cadiz, 170.

  Chalmer, Mr., 247.

  Charles I., King, reasons for defects of navy in his reign, 171;
    desire to strengthen fleet, 172;
    tries to extort money from Spanish fleet, 177;
    fleet turns against, 179;
    execution of, 195.

  Charles, Prince of Wales, afterwards Charles II., joined by part of
      navy, 190;
    comes on coast of Norfolk and into Thames, 191.

  Charles II., King, his character and interest in navy, 299, 300;
    reasons for disliking Dutch, 325;
    decides to reduce fleet, 378;
    becomes tired of war, 379;
    his secret plans, 380;
    joins Louis XIV. in attack on Holland, 408, 409;
    accepts Test Act, 427;
    decline of navy in his last years, 445.

  Chatham, attack on, by Dutch, 389-397.

  Chips, what were, 312.

  Cinque Ports, men of, at Dover, 5;
    their quota, 11;
    services and decline, _ibid._

  Clerk of Ships or of Navy. See Navy Office.

  Clifford, George, Earl of Cumberland, his voyages, 137-144.

  Clifford, Sir George, joins the fleet, 356;
    describes sailing of fleet, 370.

  Closing of the Exchequer, 412.

  Clytherow, Richard, admiral for south and west, 29.

  Commission to inquire into state of navy proposed, 156;
    appointed, 157;
    its report, 157-161.

  Comptroller. See Navy Office.

  _Cordelier_, French ship, burnt, 49.

  Cormat, or Cormac, associate of pirates, 151-154.

  Cornwall, Captain Wolfran, how induced to betray king, 459.

  Courtenaer, Dutch admiral, 339.

  Coventry, Sir William, secretary to Duke of York, 338;
    criticises Sandwich, 349;
    attends funeral of Sir C. Myngs, 362.

  Cox, Captain Owen, sent to warn Badiley, 268.

  Cromwell, Oliver, government of, 276, 277;
    resolves to attack Spain, _ibid._;
    orders to Penn and Venables, 281, 282;
    death of, 298.

  Cromwell, Richard, sends fleet to north, 318.

  Cubitt, captain of =Tulip=, quoted, 220.

  Cumberland. See Clifford, George, Earl of.

  Cuttins, in Blue Squadron, 338.


  Dakins, Rear-Admiral, 283.

  D'Annebault, French admiral, commands at St. Helens, 59-61;
    his retreat, 62;
    anchors at Shoreham, 69.

  Darcy, Mr. Thomas, first-known King's Letter boy, 303.

  Dartmouth, Lord. See Legge, George.

  Dead Pays, what were, 43.

  Deane, Sir Anthony, shipbuilder, 332;
    on Commission of 1686, 450.

  Deane, Colonel Richard, admiral and general at sea, 196;
    summoned from Scotland to fleet, 234;
    in battle of Portland, 249;
    wounded, 251;
    his death, 259.

  Descharges of Brest invented portholes, 9.

  D'Estrées, French admiral, 417;
    conduct of, at Solebay, 421, 422;
    in Downs, 429;
    at battle of Texel, 434-439.

  De Liefde, Dutch vice-admiral, 371.

  Denbigh, Earl of, commander in Channel, 170.

  Denmark, King of, agrees to plunder Dutch, 346.

  De Ruyter, Michael Adrianzoon, appointed to succeed Tromp, 236;
    defends convoy, 240;
    outmanoeuvres Penn, 241, 242;
    in battle of Kentish Knock, 243-245;
    commands van of Dutch fleet, 259;
    in Mediterranean, 323;
    sails in pursuit of Sir R. Holmes, 330;
    with convoy, 339;
    appointed admiral, 344;
    relieves Dutch at Bergen, 348, 349;
    at sea, 353;
    in Four Days' Battle, 354-360;
    cruises at mouth of Thames, 369;
    at Boulogne, 377;
    directs attack on Chatham, 389-397;
    his attack on Chatham, 389-397;
    appointed to command of Dutch fleet, 417;
    masterly management at Solebay, 420-425;
    his great qualities of command, 428;
    his conduct of campaign of 1673, 429-438.

  De With, Cornelius Witte, appointed to succeed Tromp, 238;
    in battle of Kentish Knock, 243-245;
    quoted, 261.

  De Witt, Cornelius, delegate with Dutch Fleet at Chatham, 389, 397.

  De Witt, John, Grand Pensionary, 227;
    orders to De Ruyter, 324;
    retaliates for Sir R. Holmes's cruise, 329, 330;
    severe measures, 343;
    joins fleet as deputy, 344;
    eager for peace, 383;
    endeavours to secure allies, 412;
    murdered with his brother Cornelius, 420.

  Dover, battle of, 6, 7;
    battle near, 232, 233;
    Treaty of, 409, 410.

  Downing, Sir George, ambassador in Holland, 324-329.

  Drake, Sir Francis, with Hawkins, 87;
    his expeditions to West Indies, 87, 88;
    commands expedition of 1585 to West Indies, 89;
    expedition to Cadiz, 93, 94;
    captures Don Pedro de Valdes, 106;
    in expedition to Portugal, 117;
    last expedition to West Indies, and death, 124-127.

  Dudley, Ambrose, Earl of Warwick, commands at Havre, 88.

  Dungeness, battle of, 246.

  Dutch, our disputes with, as to flag, and blockade, 148;
    war, causes of first, 215, 216;
    defects of their naval administration, 226, 227;
    preliminaries of second war with, 324-330;
    third war with, infamous character of, 408;
    English declaration of war with, 415;
    war with, unpopular in England, 420, 421.


  Earl of Salisbury, William Longsword, burns French ships at Damme, 5.

  East India Company, Dutch, 324.

  Echyngham, Sir Edward, report to Wolsey, 44;
    reports death of Sir E. Howard, 53, 54.

  Edward III., King, at Sluys, 21-23;
    at Espagnols sur Mer, 24-26;
    decline of navy at end of his reign, 27, 28.

  Effingham, Lord Howard of, Lord High Admiral, his character, 97;
    his fleet scattered by storm, 99;
    offers to pay for great ships, 100;
    sends defiance to Spanish fleet, 105;
    follows but does not attack Spaniards, 112;
    neglects administration of, 156, 157;
    resigns office, 161.

  Elizabeth, Queen, revives the navy, 73, 74;
    her poverty, and love of tricks, 96;
    rebukes Hawkins, 119.

  Elliot, Captain, commands advance squadron, 370.

  Espagnols sur Mer, battle of, 23-25.

  Essex county, story of gentlemen of, 366, 367.

  Essex, Earl of, commands an attack on Cadiz, 128;
    voyage to Isles, 134, 135.

  Essex, Earl of, the young, serves in second expedition to Cadiz, 170.

  Eustace the Monk, who was, 5;
    his defeat and death, 6, 7.

  Evertsen, Dutch admiral, 339.

  Evertszoon, Jan, Dutch admiral, 354-360;
    commands Dutch van, 371;
    commands Dutch squadron in West Indies, 440.

  Evertszoon, Schoutbynacht, 371.


  Falkland, Lord, Treasurer of Navy, 450.

  Falmouth, Earl of, killed, 342.

  =Fan-Fan=, story of, 373.

  Fireships, use of, at Calais, 109.

  Fishermen's war, 18, 19.

  Flags, used in 1545;
    used by Parliament, 195.

  Flores de Valdes, Diego, commands squadron of Castile in Armada, 100;
    his character, 101.

  Four Days' Battle, 343-360.

  Francis I., King of France, efforts to form fleet, 57.

  Frobisher, Sir Martin, voyage to Isles with Hawkins, 118.


  =Gabriel=, her crew, 41, 42.

  Gage, Thomas, author of _New Survey of the West Indies_, 281;
    in attack on Jamaica, 289.

  Galen, Jan van, succeeds Catz, 269;
    operations near Leghorn, 269-272.

  Garde, Baron de la, commands French galleys, 59.

  Gillingham Reach, chain in, 393, 394.

  Godwin, J., Commissioner of Navy, 451.

  Gomez de Medina, Juan, has command in Armada, 101.

  Goodson, Vice-Admiral, 284;
    his regiment, 285;
    gallant conduct of regiment, 288;
    remains at Jamaica, 290;
    dismissed, 302.

  Gravelines, battle of, 110.

  Grenville, Vice-Admiral Sir Richard, his action in the =Revenge=, and
      death, 120-122.

  Guard, Winter and Summer, what was, 56, 149.


  Haddock, Sir Richard, account of, 416;
    Commissioner of Navy, 450.

  Hall, Captain Edward, commands squadron, 207;
    letter quoted, _ibid._

  Harman, Sir John, captain of flagship, 342;
    wounded in Four Days' Battle, 355;
    his cruise to West Indies, 385-389;
    rear-admiral of Red, 418;
    at battle of Texel, 434.

  Harold, King, disbands his fleet, 4;
    why, _ibid._

  Hastings, John, Earl of Pembroke, defeated at Rochelle, 28.

  Hawkins, Sir John, Treasurer and Comptroller of Navy, 78;
    first voyage to West Indies, 81, 84;
    third voyage, 85, 87;
    voyage to Isles, 118;
    story of, 119;
    his death, 126.

  Hawkins, Sir Richard, serves in expedition to Algiers, 168.

  Haynes, Major-General, killed, 257.

  Helvoetsluys, English ships at, 192, 193.

  Henrietta, Queen Maria, lands at Bridlington, 185.

  Henry VIII., interest in his navy, 46, 47;
    at Portsmouth, 49.

  Herbert, Arthur, serves against Barbary pirates, 408;
    his command in Straits, 453, 454;
    appointed Rear-Admiral of England, 456;
    dismissed by king, 457;
    goes over to Prince of Orange, _ibid._

  Hewer, Mr., on Commission of 1686, 450.

  Hiddes de Vries, Tjerk, Dutch admiral, 371.

  Hoen, G't, Shoutbynucht, 372.

  Holdfast, Tom, at St. Helena, 442.

  Holland, invasion of, in 1672, 417;
    restoration of Stadtholderate in, 423, 424.

  Holmes, Sir Robert, serves with Prince Rupert, 209;
    cruise against the Dutch, 328, 329;
    rear-admiral of Red, 372;
    attacks Smyrna convoy, 412-414.

  House of Commons. See Parliament.

  Howard, Lord Charles. See Effingham.

  Howard, Lord Thomas, commands voyage to Isles, 120, 122.

  Howard, Sir Edward, 41;
    report to king 47, 48;
    ravages coast of France, 49;
    at Plymouth, 50;
    urges king to join fleet, 51;
    his death, 54.

  Hubert de Burgh, who was, 5;
    his victory at Dover, 6, 7.

  Hurtado de Mendoza, Antonio, his command in Armada, 101.


  Impressment. See Press.

  Isle of Wight, French land on, 61, 62.

  Isles, voyages to the, 119.


  Jamaica, capture of, 289;
    early history of settlement, 290.

  James I., King, his love of peace, 147;
    protects Pett, 155;
    corruption in navy under, 156;
    his death, 169.

  James II., King, resolves to restore navy, 450;
    appoints Commission, _ibid._;
    increases pay of captains, 454;
    sends Prince of Wales to Portsmouth, 462.
    See York, James Duke of.

  James's Valley in St. Helena, 442.

  John, King of Portugal, harbours Rupert, 202.

  John, King, in what sense naval history begins with, 4.

  Jordan, Sir Joseph, vice-admiral of Red, 372;
    vice-admiral of Blue, 418;
    able movement at Solebay, 422.


  Keigwen, Richard, at retaking of St. Helena, 442.

  Kempthorne, Sir John, rear-admiral of Blue, 372;
    his famous action, 400;
    rear-admiral of Blue, 418.

  Kempthorne, Morgan, captain of =Kingfisher=, 401.

  Kentish Knock, battle of, 243, 245.

  King's Letter boy, what was, 304.

  Kiriet, French admiral, 22.

  Knevet, Sir Thomas, captain of =Regent=, his death, 49.

  Koenders, Dutch admiral, 371.


  Lawlessness of sea, 20.

  Lawson, Sir John, commands Blue Squadron on June 2, 1653, 259;
    rear-admiral with Monk, 261;
    early life, adheres to king, 319;
    serves against Barbary pirates, 320, 322, 323;
    vice-admiral of Red Squadron, 338;
    his death, 342.

  Legge, George, Lord Dartmouth, withdraws garrison of Tangier, 453;
    is appointed to command of fleet at sea, 457;
    anchors behind Shipwash, 460;
    enters Channel, 461;
    anchors at Spithead, _ibid._;
    resigns command, 462.

  Leghorn, conflict of English and Dutch at, 266-273.

  Leiva, Alonzo de, his advice to Medina Sidonia, 184;
    drowned in shipwreck of _Rata_, 113.

  Levison, Sir Richard, commands in Isles and on coast of Ireland and
      Portugal, 135, 136.

  Ley, James, Earl of Marlborough, takes possession of Bombay, 321;
    his death, 342.

  Lindsey, Earl of, in command at sea, 170.

  Line of battle, 218, 221.

  Linschoten, John Huighen van, account of loss of =Revenge=, 123.

  Lisle, Lord, afterwards Duke of Northumberland, admiral, 58;
    quoted, 64;
    his order, 65, 66;
    quoted, 67, 70.

  =Little Victory=, fireship at Bougie, 403.

  Lloyd, Captain David, his loyalty to King James II., 462.

  Longland, Charles, agent of Commonwealth at Florence, 268.

  Longsand, Dutch fleet seen at, 258.

  Louis XIV., King of France, his relations to Dutch, 353;
    why did, not invade England 365;
    scheme of aggression on Holland, 383;
    attack on Holland, 408, 409.

  Louis, Prince, of France, invited over by barons, 5;
    defeated at Lincoln, _ibid._

  Lowestoft, battle of, 340-342.

  Lynn, lieutenant of =Bonaventure=, 272.


  Mansel, Sir Robert, commands expedition against Algiers, 167.

  Marines, first engagement of, 318.

  Marlborough, Earl of. See Ley, James.

  Martel, M. de, French admiral, 435.

  Martinez de Recalde, Juan, commands squadron of Biscay in Armada, 101.

  =Mary Rose=, her speed, 47;
    loss of, 61;
    Kempthorne's ship, 400.

  Medina Sidonia, Duke of, appointed to command Armada, 96;
    sails from Lisbon, 98;
    his instructions from king, anchors at Corunna, 99;
    leaves Corunna, 100;
    refuses to attack at Plymouth, 104;
    sends message to Parma, 108;
    driven from Calais, 109;
    his obstinacy, 110;
    Captain General of Andalusia, 130.

  Medrado, Diego de, commands galleys in Armada, 101.

  Meppel, Dutch vice-admiral, 372.

  Modyford, Col. Thomas, assists in reduction of Barbadoes, 212, 213.

  Moncada, Hugo de, commands galleasses in Armada, 101;
    death of, 109, 110.