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Title: Anglo-Dutch Rivalry during the First Half of the Seventeenth Century - being the Ford lectures delivered at Oxford in 1910
Author: Edmundson, George
Language: English
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*** Start of this LibraryBlog Digital Book "Anglo-Dutch Rivalry during the First Half of the Seventeenth Century - being the Ford lectures delivered at Oxford in 1910" ***

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       *       *       *       *       *







  F.R.G.S. F.R. HIST. S.





The varying fortunes of the obstinate and fiercely contested
struggles with the Dutch for maritime and commercial supremacy in
the days of the Commonwealth and the Restoration are familiar to
all readers of English history, and especially of English naval
history. Never did English seamen fight better than in these Dutch
wars, and never did they meet more redoubtable foes. The details
of the many dogged contests marked by alternate victory and defeat
are now more or less unintelligible save to the expert in the naval
strategy and tactics of the times, but legends have grown round the
story of Martin Tromp sailing down the Channel with a broom at his
mast-head, and of the exploit of Michael de Ruyter in burning the
English ships at Chatham, which are never likely to be forgotten.
The names of these two famous seamen are probably better known to
Englishmen than those of any of the contemporary English admirals
save that of Robert Blake alone. This fact should bespeak for the
attempt that is here made to trace the causes and the growth of the
Anglo-Dutch rivalry at sea and in commerce, which culminated in
the collision between Blake and Tromp off Dover on May 29, 1652,
and the declaration of war that followed. It has been my object
in these Ford Lectures to treat of the relations between England
and the United Provinces during the half-century that preceded the
first outbreak of hostilities, and to make it clear that these
wars of 1652-4, 1665-7, 1672-4 were the inevitable outcome of a
long-continued clashing of interests, which were of fundamental
importance and indeed vital to the welfare of both nations.

The first half of the seventeenth century was one of the most
critical periods in English history. In any account of the reigns
of the first two sovereigns of the House of Stewart political and
religious questions of primary significance thrust themselves into
the foreground of a picture full of deepening dramatic interest,
with the result that other questions, apparently subordinate but
in reality closely bound up with the national destinies, have
been either relegated to the background or wholly overlooked and
neglected. It has been so in regard to the questions dealt with in
these pages.

The history of the revolt of the Netherlands and of the rise of the
Dutch Republic shows to us Englishmen and Dutchmen united by bonds
of sympathy and fighting side by side against a common foe. To both
alike the Spaniard and the Inquisition were hateful, and in shedding
their blood freely for the cause of Dutch freedom Englishmen were in
fact acting in their own self-defence against the ambitious projects
of Philip II. At first sight then it appears strange that the
conclusion of the truce for twelve years in 1609 should have been
followed by a coolness and growing estrangement in the relations
between the two countries, and by a series of endless bickerings,
grievances, and disputes which all the resources of diplomacy in
protracted negotiations proved unable to settle amicably to the
satisfaction of both parties. The truth is that the very points
of resemblance in the racial characteristics of the English and
the Dutch brought them into collision in almost every part of the
world. Born colonizers, traders, and explorers, each people was
instinctively conscious that its destiny was upon the water, and
that mastery of the seas was a necessity of national existence.
Hence a rivalry which was unavoidable, inexorable, a rivalry which
could eventually have only one of two issues, either the voluntary
submission of one of the rivals to the other, or a trial of strength
by ordeal of battle.

James I and Charles I, whatever the deficiencies and mistakes of
their foreign policies, were not blind to the significance of
the appearance of this new sea-power on the other side of the
'narrow seas', and were quick to recognize that the Dutch menace
to the essential interests of their island kingdom was at least
as formidable as the Spanish menace had ever been. The diplomacy
of both these kings was on the face of it vacillating, uncertain,
and opportunist, but it is unjust to attribute this wholly to
constitutional infirmity of purpose, or to an innate propensity
to carry through their schemes by tortuous by-ways and dubious
intrigues. There was no lack of steadfast determination on the part
either of James or Charles in their resolute attempts to conduct
the government and administration of their kingdoms autocratically
without that adequate financial aid which Parliament alone could
grant. But in consequence their treasury was generally empty, and
it is therefore not surprising that, confronted with the constant
fear of imminent bankruptcy, they were compelled to be shifty in
their dealings with foreign powers, and to work for the achievement
of their ends by the processes of a devious diplomacy rather than
risk the costly charges of an appeal to arms. Nevertheless it
will be seen that in their negotiations with the United Provinces
never for a single moment would either James or Charles make the
slightest concession in regard to the claims of the British Crown to
undisputed sovereignty 'in the narrow seas', and they insisted that
every foreign vessel should recognize that sovereignty by striking
its flag when meeting a British war-ship in those waters.

The period with which I am dealing was one of chartered companies,
of trade monopolies, and of commercial protection in its most
aggressive form. Probably at that stage in the world's history
no other economical system was conceivable or would have proved
workable. In any case most of the disputes and differences between
the English and the Dutch at this time arose from questions
connected with trading privileges, and these lectures contain much
concerning them. It is still, however, extremely interesting and
not without instruction to read the arguments that were used and
the principles that were upheld by these statesmen and diplomatists
of former days. Economical questions are always with us, and men's
opinions differ now as to their right solution as much as they did
three centuries ago.


  _May 24, 1911._


  I: 1600-1610

  The Elizabethan spirit of enterprise. Elizabeth and the revolt
  of the Netherlands. Mission of Leicester. Rise of the Dutch
  Republic. Its cumbrous form of government. Oldenbarneveldt and
  Maurice of Nassau. Character of Elizabeth's policy. Treaty of
  1598. Attitude of James I to the Dutch. Negotiations for the
  twelve years' truce. Intrigues of the Spaniards to gain James's
  support. The Venetian, Nicolo Molin's review of the situation.
  Conclusion of the truce. Changed relations between England and
  the States. Royal proclamation of 1609 restricting liberty of
  fishing in the British seas. Indignation in Holland. Dutch
  embassy sent to London. The States-General promise protection to
  their fishermen. Winwood's interview with Oldenbarneveldt. The
  Fisheries question. _Magnus Intercursus._ Treaty of Binche. The
  Great (or Herring) Fishery. Its importance. The basis of Dutch
  trade. The Proclamation popular in England. James's motives.
  Grotius's _Mare Liberum_. Conferences with the Dutch envoys.
  The Jülich-Cleves Succession. Siege of Jülich. Execution of
  Fisheries Proclamation postponed. The Spanish Marriage question.
  Situation in 1611 as reported by the Venetian, Marcantonio
  Correr PAGES 11-33.

  II: 1610-1618

  Growing rivalry between the English and Dutch. English public
  opinion expresses itself in pamphlets. Ralegh's _Observations_.
  _England's Way to Win Wealth_, by Tobias Gentleman. _The Trades'
  Increase_, by J. R. Views of the Venetian, Pietro Contarini.
  Gondomar, Spanish ambassador in London. His influence with James.
  Deaths of Robert Cecil and Prince Henry. Effect on English policy.
  Rapid progress of the United Provinces in trade and wealth.
  Oldenbarneveldt ransoms the Cautionary Towns. Sir Dudley Carleton,
  ambassador in Holland. The Greenland (or Spitzbergen) Fishery
  dispute. Monopoly granted to the Muscovy Company. Dutch opposition.
  The rival claims. Sir H. Wotton's mission. Armed collision of 1618.
  History of the cloth trade between England and the Netherlands.
  The Merchant Adventurers. Alva expels them from Antwerp. Their
  settlement at Middelburg, 1598. Revocation of Charter by James,
  1615. Patent granted to Cockayne's Company. Dutch prohibition.
  Failure of Cockayne. Adventurers' Charter restored. Anger of James.
  Attempt to levy a toll on the Dutch fishing busses. The John Browne
  affair. Browne arrested. English reprisals. Satisfaction given by
  the States. Fishing dispute remains an open sore. Rivalry of the two
  East India Companies. The spice trade. Situation acute. Carleton
  demands that a special embassy be sent to London to discuss all
  points of difference PAGES 34-57.

  III: 1618-1623

  Civil discord in the United Provinces. The embassy of 1618 to
  England. Its powers limited to the Greenland and East Indian
  questions. The herring fishery and cloth disputes not to be
  discussed. James demands peremptory settlement of fishery question.
  Reply of the States' envoys. Difficulties insuperable. James grants
  a brief delay. Long discussions upon the Greenland and East Indian
  differences. No agreement arrived at. Outbreak of the Thirty Years'
  War. Disasters of the Elector Palatine in Bohemia. Confronted
  by a common danger, English and Dutch negotiators become more
  amenable. Temporary _modus vivendi_ agreed upon. James's Spanish
  proclivities feared in Holland. Dutch embassy of 1621. Presses for
  an alliance for mutual defence and recovery of the Palatinate.
  James's difficulties with his Parliament and financial straits.
  Strong influence of Gondomar with the King. James demands settlement
  of disputes as the preliminary to an alliance. Embassy returns
  without result. The Merchant Adventurers set up their Court and
  Staple at Delft. Another Dutch embassy in 1622. Francis Aerssen van
  Sommelsdijk at its head. Its instructions. Conferences in London.
  Testiness and ill-humour of the King. An East Indian accord. After
  fourteen months in England the embassy returns, leaving all other
  points of dispute unsettled PAGES 58-81.

  IV: 1623-1629

  Prince Charles and Buckingham at Madrid. The English and Scottish
  regiments in the Dutch service. The Dutch West India Company.
  Conciliatory policy of the States General. Effect of the failure
  of the Spanish Marriage project. James's hand forced. Interview of
  Carleton with Maurice of Nassau. Mission of Aerssen and Joachimi,
  February, 1627. Defensive alliance concluded, June 15. English
  levies for the Netherlands. Negotiations interrupted. Death of
  Caron, December 12; James I, March 27; Maurice of Nassau, April 25.
  Albert Joachimi succeeds Noel Caron as Dutch resident minister in
  England. Francis van Aerssen and Rienck van Burmania, with Joachimi,
  sent (June, 1625) on special embassy to Charles I on his accession.
  Treaty of Southampton (an offensive and defensive alliance)
  signed September 17. A Dutch squadron takes part in the ill-fated
  expedition to Cadiz. The old differences between the two countries
  revive. States-General refuse to give the English Resident a seat
  on the Council of State. Complaints of the Merchant Adventurers.
  Right of search for contraband. Jacob Cats goes to London, 1627.
  The massacre of Amboina, and fishery questions. Dutch policy of
  delay. No settlement reached. Comment of Aitzema on the Cats'
  mission. Difficulties of Charles I. The disastrous expedition to La
  Rochelle. Lord Carleton sent as envoy extraordinary to the Hague.
  His secret instructions and attempts at negotiation. Another Dutch
  embassy dispatched to England, January, 1628. Lord Carlisle sent to
  join Carleton at the Hague with further instructions (May). Small
  results of so much diplomacy. Assassination of Buckingham. Final
  breach of Charles with his Parliament. Dutch mediation brings about
  peace with France, April 24, 1629 PAGES 82-104.

  V: 1629-1641

  Vacillating foreign policy of Charles I. Alliance between France
  and the United Provinces, 1635. Cornelis van Beveren sent by the
  States-General (March, 1636) to try in conjunction with the French
  ambassador at Whitehall to draw England into a triple alliance.
  Charles issues a Proclamation (April), prohibiting fishing upon His
  Majesty's coasts and seas without a licence and payment of a toll.
  John Selden's _Mare Clausum seu Dominium Maris_. Joachimi summoned
  to the Hague. An English fleet sails north to enforce payment of
  the toll. Instructions given to Joachimi. He returns and meets the
  King at Woodstock, September 3. The King obdurate. Dutch squadron
  sent to protect the fishermen. No collision between the rival
  fleets. The toll uncollected. Van Beveren renews negotiations.
  Offers Dutch co-operation in the Palatinate for withdrawal of
  fishing proclamation. Charles undertakes not to enforce the
  licence, but will not yield on question of the sovereignty of
  the seas. Conference arranged at Hamburg for conclusion of a
  quadruple Protestant alliance. Insincerity of Charles. Suspicions
  of the Dutch. Difficulties, delays and intrigues. Failure of the
  Conference. The King turns again to Spain. Sailing of Spanish armada
  under Admiral Oquendo in 1639. Encounter with a Dutch squadron,
  September 21. Driven to seek refuge in English waters. Battle of
  the Downs, October 21. Total destruction of the Spanish fleet by
  Tromp. Infringement of English neutrality. Indignation of Charles.
  Aerssen sent over on a mission of conciliation. His diplomatic
  skill and tact. The matter hushed up. The King has no alternative.
  His bankrupt state. Compelled to summon Parliament. His domestic
  complications and difficulties. Meeting of the Long Parliament.
  Evidence to show that the King did not invite the Spaniards to take
  refuge in English waters. They arrived unexpectedly and as unwelcome
  guests. Heenvliet arrives in London to negotiate a marriage between
  William, the only son of the Stadholder, and Mary, Princess Royal of
  England. His overtures successful. The marriage takes place amidst
  public rejoicings, May 12, 1641 PAGES 105-31.

  VI: 1641-1653

  Ominous political state of England at the time of the marriage of
  William and Mary. Confidential relations of Heenvliet with Henrietta
  Maria. Visit of the Queen to Holland. Her efforts to secure help
  for the royalist cause. Goodwill of Frederick Henry. The Dutch
  people generally anti-royalist. Mission of Walter Strickland
  from the Parliament. The States-General refuse to receive him.
  Under pressure from Holland they declare for strict neutrality.
  They send two envoys in 1644 to offer mediation between the
  King and the Parliament. After more than a year of futile effort
  they return. Death of Frederick Henry, March, 1647. Peace of
  Munster, January, 1648. Character and ambitions of William II,
  Prince of Orange. His affection for and generosity to his English
  relatives. Mission of Dr. Doreslaar. The States-General will not
  grant him audience. Adrian Pauw and Albert Joachimi commissioned
  to intercede for the life of Charles I. The news of the King's
  execution excites universal horror and detestation in the States.
  Condolences are officially offered to King Charles II. The English
  Council of State send over Isaac Doreslaar and Walter Strickland
  to propose closer relations between the two republics. Doreslaar
  is assassinated. Recall of Strickland. Joachimi ordered to leave
  London. The province of Holland takes independent action. The States
  of Holland send Gerard Schaep to London to bring about a better
  understanding, January, 1650. The Prince of Orange engages in a
  struggle for supremacy with the States of Holland. Supported by the
  States-General, he compels the submission of the Hollanders by armed
  force. His ultimate aim with the aid of France to attempt a Stewart
  restoration. His sudden death by small-pox, November 6, 1650. His
  death followed by revolution. The Stadholderate is abolished. The
  Great Gathering. Holland supreme in the State. The Commonwealth
  recognized. Joachimi returns to London. St. John and Strickland
  make a state entry into the Hague. Hostile reception. Negotiations
  for 'a more strict and intimate alliance and union'. Divergence of
  views. No prospect of agreement. The English envoys leave the Hague,
  July, 1651. Bitterness in England against the Dutch. All the old
  grievances raked up. Navigation Act. Deadly blow to Dutch commerce.
  Mission of Cats, Schaep, and Perre, December 27, 1651. Both sides
  arming. Exorbitant English demands. Refusal of the Dutch to accept
  them. Conflict between Tromp and Blake off Dover, May 19. Final
  negotiations. Dutch envoys leave England, June 30. War declared
  PAGES 132-57.



  A. THE GREAT OR HERRING FISHERY                    158-61

  B. THE NARROW SEAS                                  161-2


       ADVENTURERS                                    163-8

  E. THE INTERLOPERS                                    169

       SERVICE                                       169-73

       FISHING, 1636                                  173-4

  BIBLIOGRAPHY                                          175

I: 1600-1610

The last two decades of the sixteenth century hold a place apart
in English History. The exploits of the great Elizabethan seamen
helped to shatter the supremacy of Spain upon the sea, but they did
more than this. They aroused in the English people the instinct of
their true destiny, as a maritime, trading, and colonizing power.
The granting of Charters to the Eastland (Baltic) Company (1579),
to the Levant Company (1581), to the Guinea Company (1588), the
foundation of the great East India Company (1600), the opening
out by the Muscovy Company of a new trade route to Persia by way
of Astrachan, the daring efforts to discover a North-West and a
North-East passage to Cathay and the Indies, the first attempts to
erect colonies in Virginia and Newfoundland, all testify to the
spirit of enterprise which animated the nation, a spirit whose
many-sided activity never failed to command the Queen's sympathy
and encouragement. In thus entering, however, upon that path of
colonial and commercial expansion which in later times was to become
world-wide, the Englishman found himself in the first half of the
seventeenth century confronted by a more formidable rival than the
Spaniard. The defeat of the Invincible Armada was followed[1] by the
rise of a new Sea-Power. At the opening of the seventeenth century
the Dutch Republic had not only succeeded in resisting all the
efforts made for its subjugation to Spanish rule, but, after more
than thirty years of continuous and desperate struggle, was thriving
in the midst of war. In the course of that struggle much help had
been given, both in money and men, by Elizabeth. But the English
Queen was not for many years whole-hearted in her support. She saw
in the revolt of the Netherlands a means for draining the resources
of a dangerous adversary. It was no small relief to her that the
coast lying opposite to the mouth of the Thames, with its many
ports and hardy sea-faring population, should no longer be at the
disposal of the master of the strongest navy in the world. She felt
a certain amount of sympathy with the Dutch on religious grounds,
but a sympathy tempered by political considerations, and strictly
subordinated to them. To support the rebellion of subjects against
their legitimate ruler was to the instincts of the Tudor Queen
a course which only necessity could justify. Hence her repeated
refusal of the proffered sovereignty, her niggardly aid, her
temporizing and apparently capricious attitude. As a matter of fact,
throughout this critical period of her reign the policy of Elizabeth
was not governed either by sentiment or by caprice. She always
kept steadily in view the welfare and the security of England,
with whose interests those of her own throne were identified, and
she held aloof from entanglements which might be dangerous to the
safety of her kingdom. Not until after the assassination of William
the Silent, followed by the success of Parma in capturing Antwerp,
August, 1585, did she make reply to the threatening attitude of
Spain by openly taking sides with the rebel provinces. Still
refusing the sovereignty, she sent Leicester at the head of a strong
body of English troops to act in her name, as Governor-General,
at the same time characteristically bargaining that the seaports
Flushing and Brill with the fort of Rammekens should be delivered
to her in pledge for the repayment of her costs. The mission of
Leicester was a failure, whether it be regarded from the military
or the political standpoint, but it gave the Dutch at a transition
period of disorganization and pressing peril a disciplined force to
assist in their defence, and a breathing space for recuperation.

  [1] See the admirable monograph on the subject by the late Professor
  Robert Fruin, _Tien Jaren uit de Tachtigjarigen Oorlog, 1588-98_.

The resignation of his post by Leicester (April, 1588) may be
taken as the date at which the history of the United Netherlands
as a self-governing State really begins. The treaty with England
still subsisted by the terms of which the Commander of the English
auxiliary troops with two colleagues had seats in the Council of
State, but the Council of State ceased ere long to have any but
executive functions. The conduct of affairs affecting the whole
Union was vested in the States-General as representing the States
of the seven sovereign provinces from which its authority was
derived. A more cumbrous system of government than that under which
the United Provinces were now to develop rapidly into a powerful
and flourishing State, probably never existed. That it was workable
was due to two facts. The voices of the provinces were nominally of
equal weight in the States-General, in reality that of Holland was
dominant. Holland contributed 60 per cent. of the general expenses
and contained about one-half of the entire population of the Union.
With Zeeland she furnished almost the whole of the navy and was
already becoming one of the most thriving centres of commerce in
the world. At this time the influence of an exceptionally able
statesman, John van Oldenbarneveldt, who filled the office of
Advocate of Holland, was supreme in the States of that province, and
as their representative and spokesman he was able to exercise an
authority in the States-General which placed for thirty years in his
hands the general administration of the country and the control of
foreign affairs. By his side stood Maurice of Nassau, respected and
honoured as the son of William the Silent, wielding as Captain and
Admiral-General authority over all the armed forces of the Republic,
and exercising as Stadholder of five provinces large executive
powers. A consummate general but no politician, Maurice was content
to leave the business of administration and the conduct of diplomacy
in the hands of the statesman who had been his father's friend.
Thus by the efforts of these two men, each eminent in his separate
sphere, the youthful Republic, despite the inherent weaknesses of a
confederacy so loosely compacted as that of the United Provinces,
was able to carry out a wise and consistent foreign policy, to
defend its borders, and meanwhile to thrive and flourish.

The relations between England and the States required the most
careful handling during the whole of the period that intervened
between the return of Leicester and the death of Elizabeth. The
assistance given by the English Queen had not been without a
return: it had been fully repaid by the services rendered by the
Dutch fleet during the spring and summer of 1588 in blockading the
ports in which lay the transports collected by the Duke of Parma
for the invasion of England. When the Armada entered the Channel,
Parma with his splendid veteran army was thus compelled to remain a
helpless spectator of events, unable to take any part in promoting
the success of the great enterprise which Philip had been so
long preparing. But Elizabeth had been piqued by the opposition
that Leicester had encountered, and by the evident determination
of the States, under the leadership of Holland, not to permit any
interference on the part of the representative of a foreign power
with their provincial rights and privileges. She did not withdraw
her help, but it was given from motives of pure self-interest rather
than from any love for the cause she was supporting, and in a
huckstering spirit. With her it was a question of give and take, and
the military successes of Maurice, accompanied as they were by the
rapid growth of commercial prosperity in Holland and Zeeland, only
encouraged her to drive a harder bargain in her negotiations and to
press for repayment of the loans she had advanced.

In these circumstances friction in the relations between England
and the Republic was at times inevitable, but the community of
interests was so strong that friendly co-operation never ceased.
An English contingent took part in the campaigns of Maurice; a
powerful Dutch squadron sailed with the fleet of Essex to the sack
of Cadiz in 1595. The conclusion of peace between France and Spain
in May, 1598, brought about a fresh treaty between England and the
United Provinces, the terms of which point clearly to the great
change which had taken place in the relative position of the two
States since the time of Leicester's mission. The Dutch were now in
a position to promise the repayment of their debt to Elizabeth by
equal annual instalments[2] and to undertake in case of a Spanish
attack upon England to come to the assistance of their allies with
thirty ships of war and a force of 5,000 infantry and five cornets
of cavalry. On the other hand, only one Englishman henceforth was
to have a seat upon the Council of State, and the English auxiliary
troops in the Netherlands were transferred to the service of the
States as their paymasters and were required to take an oath of
allegiance to them. This English brigade in the Dutch service, now
first formed, was to have a long and honourable career. It was
speedily to prove its worth and gain immortal fame by the share that
it took in winning the great victory of Nieuwport (July 2, 1600),
and in the heroic defence of Ostend (1601-4).

  [2] The towns of Flushing and Brill and the fort of Rammekens were
  delivered into the hands of Elizabeth, as security for repayment.

Such was the state of things when James I ascended the English
throne. From him the Netherlands could hope for little active aid.
The chief aim of James's policy from the first was to live on
friendly terms with Spain, and in 1604 he concluded a treaty of
peace with Philip III and with the Archdukes, as sovereigns of the
Netherlands. His attitude to the United Provinces was not indeed
unfriendly. He still retained the cautionary towns, as a pledge for
the debt, and his representative sat in the Council of State, but as
one of the conditions of peace he promised to lend no assistance to
the Dutch. The privilege of recruiting in England for the regiments
in their service was not withdrawn, but in return a like privilege
was extended to the Spaniards. Thus there were occasions on which
Englishmen were found fighting against one another on opposite
sides. The Court of Madrid on their part, exhausted by the long and
costly struggle, were already in 1606 making tentative proposals
to the rebel provinces for the conclusion of a peace or truce, and
meanwhile spared no efforts to prejudice the mind of James against a
people for whose cause as a stanch Protestant it was feared he might
have secret leanings, and at the same time to secure his benevolent
support in the coming negotiations. The arguments that were used
and their effect upon the King are well summed up in the words of
the keen-eyed Venetian Ambassador, Nicolò Molin, who in 1607 thus

     'The Spaniards are ceaselessly urging upon the King that for
     his own interests he ought to use his utmost endeavours in this
     negotiation in order to bring it to some conclusion, since by
     continuance of the war the Dutch might come to make themselves
     masters of those seas. Having their fleets ordinarily of a
     hundred or more ships, and these widely scattered in different
     places, they can thus say, and with truth, that they are masters
     of those seas for the possession of which the ancient kings of
     England have made very long and very costly wars against the
     princes of Europe. The King knows all this to be true, but is
     likewise of opinion that at a single nod of his the Dutch would
     yield to him all that dominion that they have gained; which
     without doubt would follow so long as the war with the Spaniards
     lasted, since they are not able at one and the same time to
     contend with two of the greatest princes of Christendom. But if
     with time that ripens affairs peace should be effected between
     them and the Crown of Spain, I do not know if they would be so
     ready to yield as the King of England promises himself; since
     just as this profession of the sea is manifestly more and more
     on the wane in England, so more and more is it increasing and
     acquiring force and vigour among the Dutch.'

The perspicacity of this review of the situation was completely
justified by the events. On April 9, 1609, after prolonged and
acrimonious negotiations, a treaty for a truce of twelve years
between the belligerents was signed, but on conditions imposed by
the Dutch. To the Spaniards the terrible drain on their resources
made a respite from war a matter not of choice, but of necessity. To
obtain it they had to treat with the United Provinces 'as if they
were an independent State', and, worst of all, they had by a secret
clause to concede liberty of trading in the Indies. From this moment
the relations of the States with England were sensibly changed. The
attitude of King James had hitherto been a mixture of condescension
and aloofness, and he had not troubled himself to consider seriously
the question of Dutch rivalry upon the seas and in commerce, which
had so profoundly impressed the Venetian envoy. Nicolò Molin was in
1607 undoubtedly correct in his supposition that at that date James
still looked upon the Dutch as dependents on his favour, who would
not venture to run counter to any expression of his will. The course
of the negotiations for the truce must have gradually undeceived
him, and their issue left him face to face with a power compelled to
maintain to the utmost the interests of the extensive commerce on
the proceeds of which its very existence as a State depended.

No sooner were the signatures appended to the treaty than James took
a step which exposed to a very severe strain his relations with the
people whose emancipation from Spanish rule he had, ostensibly at
least, worked hard to accomplish. Many indeed in Holland had been
suspicious of the real friendliness of his attitude during the
negotiations, but very few probably imagined that he was preparing,
as soon as they were ended, to put to the test their sense of the
value of his services and of his alliance by striking a deadly blow
at the most important of their industries. On May 16, 1609, the King
issued a proclamation, in which, after stating that though he had
hitherto tolerated the promiscuous liberty that had been granted
to foreigners to fish in the British seas, he has now determined,
seeing that this liberty

     'hath not only given occasion of over great Encroachments upon
     our Regalities, or rather questioning of our Right, but hath
     been a means of daily Wrongs to our own People that exercise the
     Trade of Fishing ... to give notice to all the World that our
     express Pleasure is, that from the beginning of the Month of
     August next coming, no Person of what Nation or Quality soever,
     be permitted to fish upon any of our Coasts and Seas of Great
     Britain, Ireland and the rest of the Isles adjacent, until they
     have orderly demanded and obtain'd Licences from us....'

The news of the publication of this edict caused in Holland no
small surprise, not unmingled with indignation. On June 12 the
matter was discussed in the States of that Province, and it was
resolved[3] that the States-General be requested to adopt measures
for the vigorous defence of the land's rights as based upon the
treaties. The States-General on their part resolved[4] that a full
inquiry should be made into the question of treaty rights and a
special embassy be sent to London, and as early as July 6, King
James agreed[5] to receive such a deputation, and to appoint
commissioners to enter into conference with it on the subject of
the privileges and immunities for freedom of commerce claimed in
virtue of ancient treaties. Meanwhile the States-General promised
the fishermen their protection, at the same time bidding them to be
very careful not to give any cause for new complaints on the part
of the King. So far indeed were the Dutch from yielding immediate
submission to the demand of James, or from admitting its justice,
that Sir Ralph Winwood (the resident English ambassador at the
Hague), reporting to the Secretary of State, Lord Salisbury, the
results of an interview he had had with Oldenbarneveldt September
16, 1609, informs him:--

     'the States do write expressly to their ambassador [Noel Caron]
     urging him to advertise his Majesty their purpose to send to
     beseech him upon the necessity of this affair [i.e. liberty of
     fishing] in the meantime to have patience with their people
     trading upon his coast that without impeachment they may use
     _their accustomed Liberty and antient Privelidges_; which he
     [Oldenbarneveldt] said they were so far from fear that his
     Majesty upon due consideration will abridge, as that they hope
     he will be pleased to inlarge and increase into new ones.'[6]

  [3] Res. Holl. June 12, 1609.

  [4] Res. St.-Gen. June 12, 1609.

  [5] Art. 6 of the Treaty between James and the States, July 6 (June
  25, 1609, o.s.).

  [6] Winwood, _Memorials_, vol. iii.

For a right understanding of the importance of the fisheries
question and of the reasons which led King James at this particular
time to issue his proclamation, a short retrospect is necessary.

Special rights of free fishing in English waters had been granted
to the Hollanders and Zeelanders, as early as 1295, by King Edward
I, and afterwards renewed by several of his successors. Finally
a treaty was concluded, dated February 24, 1496, known as the
_Magnus Intercursus_, between Henry VII and Philip the Fair, Duke
of Burgundy, which was destined to regulate the commercial relations
between England and the Netherlands during the whole of the Tudor
period, and was still in force in 1609. Article XIV of this treaty
ran as follows:--

     'Conventum, concordatum et conclusum est quod Piscatores
     utriusque Partis Partium praedictarum (cujuscunque conditionis
     existant) poterunt ubique Ire, Navigare per Mare, secure Piscari
     absque aliquo Impedimento, Licentia, seu Salvo Conductu.'

Nothing could be more explicit or complete, and it was to this
clause of the _Magnus Intercursus_ and the rights it had so long
recognized that Oldenbarneveldt referred when he spoke to Winwood of
the Dutch fishermen's 'accustomed Liberty and antient Privelidges.'

The rights of the Netherlanders to trade and navigate in Scottish
waters, 'sine aliquo salvo conductu aut licentia generali aut
speciali', were guaranteed by the Treaty of Binche, dated December
15, 1550, which had been confirmed by James himself, as King of
Scotland, in 1594. But neither in this treaty of 1550, nor in
an earlier treaty of 1541 to which it expressly refers, '_circa
Piscationem et liberum usum Maris, ea quae per Tractatum anno 1541_
... inita, conclusa ac conventa fuerint debite ac sincere observari
debebunt', is there any definite statement that the free use of
the sea carried with it the right to fish without payment, though
undoubtedly that right seems to be implied, and was certainly
exercised without let or hindrance before 1609.

The question at issue was of vital consequence to the Dutch. It
may be asserted without any exaggeration that the commerce and
prosperity of Holland and Zeeland had been built upon the herring
fishery, and rested upon it. The discovering of the art of curing
the herring by Willem Beukelsz at the close of the fourteenth
century had transformed a perishable article of local consumption
into a commodity for traffic and exchange. Soon the 'great fishery',
as it was called, afforded, directly or indirectly, occupation and
a means of livelihood to a large part of the entire population
of the Province of Holland.[7] Not only did many thousands of
Hollanders put out to sea to follow the track of the herring shoals
along the British coasts, but thousands more found employment on
shore in building the busses, pinks, and other boats engaged in the
lucrative industry, and in providing them with ropes, nets, and
other necessaries. The profit from the fishery alone before the
outbreak of the revolt was estimated by Guicciardini at 500,000
Flemish pounds. But such an estimate was far from representing the
real value of what was styled by the States-General in an official
document 'one of the chiefest mines of the United Netherlands'.[8]
Salt was required for the curing. It was brought in Dutch bottoms
in its rough state from French and Spanish ports, or direct from
Punta del Rey on the coast of Venezuela, and salt-refineries quickly
sprang up at Enkhuysen, Hoorn, and other fishing centres. In a land
which had no natural products, the cured herrings and the refined
salt which were not required for home use served as articles of
commerce, and freights were dispatched to the neighbouring lands
but specially to the Baltic to be exchanged for corn, timber, hemp,
and other 'Eastland' commodities. The enterprising Hollanders and
Zeelanders, at first competed with the Hanse towns in the Baltic
ports, but long before the opening of the seventeenth century had
practically driven their rivals from the field, and at the time
with which we are dealing it has been computed that no less than
3,000 Dutch vessels were engaged in the 'Eastland' traffic through
the Sound. The corn in its turn brought by so vast a fleet far more
than sufficed even for the needs of a country where no corn was
grown. Some thousands of other ships laden with grain voyaged along
the coast of France, the Peninsula and the Western Mediterranean,
discharging their cargoes and returning with freights of wine, silk,
olive oil, and other staple products of the South. The Spaniards
and Portuguese were in fact largely dependent upon the Hollanders
for their necessary food supplies, and these keen traders had no
scruples in enriching themselves at the cost of their foes. An
abundance of timber and hemp also came from the Baltic and furnished
the raw material for flourishing shipbuilding and ropemaking
industries. Sawmills sprang up on the banks of the Zaan, and before
long Zaandam became the chief centre of the timber trade of Europe.
It will thus be seen at once how many Dutch interests were involved
in the full maintenance of the rights to free fishing on the British
coasts guaranteed by treaty, and why it was that the States-General
under pressure from the States of Holland should have determined
to send a special embassy to protest strongly and firmly against
the edict of King James, and should have meantime promised the
fishermen their protection in case of any attempt being made to
compel them by armed force to pay the licences.

  [7] The Zeelanders in the seventeenth century, though they sent out
  many fishermen to the Dogger Bank, to Greenland and Spitzbergen, did
  not take much part in the herring fishery. See note.

  [8] Groot Placaet-Boek (July 19, 1606).

The step taken by King James had, however, from the English point
of view much to recommend it. The English people saw the growing
maritime strength and rapidly increasing commercial prosperity of
the Dutch with jealous eyes. Their practical monopoly of the British
fisheries was deeply resented. Pamphlets were written lamenting the
decadence of English shipping and trade.[9] It was felt that the
ancient claim of England to the sovereignty and dominion of the
narrow seas was being challenged, and that its maintenance depended
upon the numbers and the experience of the sea-faring population,
for whom the fisheries were the best and most practical school.
A petition is extant from the fishermen of the Cinque Ports to
the King, showing that the Netherlanders drive them from their
fishing, and sell fresh fish contrary to the laws, and beseeching
His Majesty to impose on them a tax of fifteen shillings upon
every last of fish, the same as they imposed on the English.[10]
James was far from indisposed to listen to their complaints. Early
in his reign, in 1604, an attempt had been made to enforce the
eating of fish in England on fast-days, and the motive of it was
plainly stated. It had little to do with religious observances. It
was 'for the better increase of Seamen, to be readie at all times
to serve in the Kings Majesties Navie, of which the fishermen of
England have euer been the chiefest Seminarie and Nurserie.'[11]
The suggestion that licences should be required for which a tax or
toll should be paid naturally presented itself to the King, at this
time in sore straits for money and at his wit's end how to obtain
it, as a welcome expedient. It also afforded a means by which the
sovereignty and jurisdiction of the British King in the British seas
could be asserted and his regalities safeguarded.[12] The large
revenue derived by Christian IV of Denmark from the tolls in the
Sound had no doubt often made the impecunious James envious of his
brother-in-law, whose right to levy such an import in Danish waters
differed in no way from the right, which as King of Great Britain
and Ireland he was now asserting, to demand a licence from all
foreigners who desired to fish on the British coasts. His decision
to issue the proclamation was confirmed by the appearance in March,
1609, of the famous treatise of Hugo Grotius, entitled _Mare
Liberum_. The argument in this work seemed to be directed against
the principle of a _dominium maris_ such as the English Kings had
claimed for centuries in the 'narrow seas', and its publication
at this time aroused the resentment of James, always tenaciously
jealous of any infringement of his sovereign prerogatives. As a
matter of fact, as has been shown by the late Professor Robert
Fruin[13], the _Mare Liberum_ was originally a chapter of a larger
unpublished work of Grotius, written to prove that the Portuguese
had no exclusive rights in the Indian Ocean but that the Eastern
seas and all others were open to the traders of every nation. The
most burning question in the negotiations for the twelve years'
truce, then just drawing to a close, had been that of the liberty to
trade in the Indies, demanded with insistence by the Dutch, refused
up to the very last peremptorily by the Spanish King, and conceded
by him finally not directly but by a kind of subterfuge. The _Mare
Liberum_ of Grotius saw the light at a time when it was hoped that
his learned arguments might tend to allay the acuteness of the
dispute by showing the reasonableness and legality of the position
taken up by the Dutch. It is clear now that these arguments, though
their application was general, had their special reference to
Portuguese and not to British pretensions. Curiously enough, as
will be seen later, it was in the long succession of Anglo-Dutch
negotiations over the fisheries in the seas over which the Crown
of England claimed paramount sovereignty and jurisdiction that the
thesis put forward by the author of the _Mare Liberum_ was destined
to be the source of embittered controversy. The acute mind of King
James was quick in grasping its importance.

  [9] _A Pollitique Platt_, by Robert Hitchcock, 1580.

  _Observations made upon the Dutch fishery about the year 1601_, by
  John Keymer. Ralegh, _Works_, i. 144.

  Sir Thomas Overbury's observations in his travels in 1609: _Harleian
  Misc._ viii. 349.

  Discourse addressed to the King by Sir Nicholas Hales, on the
  benefit derived by the Dutch from English fisheries. Terms suggested
  for granting them a licence to fish for twenty-one years. _Calendar
  of State Papers, Dom. Ser., 1603-10_, p. 509.

  [10] _Cal. State Papers, Dom. Ser., 1603-10_, p. 509.

  [11] _Statutes of the Realm_, iv. 2, p. 1058.

  [12] Letter of Salisbury to Cornwallis, June 8, 1609. Winwood's
  _State Papers_, iii. 44-50.

  [13] Fruin's _Verspreide Geschriften_, vol. iii, pp. 408-45.

Delayed by various causes, it was not till April 16, 1610, that
the embassy from the States set sail from Brill for England. The
object of the mission was ostensibly a complimentary one--to thank
the King for the active part he had taken, as a mediator, in
bringing the truce negotiations to a favourable issue. The two
matters which called for serious discussion were: (1) the critical
situation which had arisen in the Jülich-Cleves Duchies owing to
a disputed succession; (2) the proclamation about the fisheries.
The importance of the last question was revealed by the fact that
all the five envoys originally selected were representatives of
the two maritime provinces. One of the five died at Brill just
before starting. The four who actually sailed (April 16) were:
Johan Berck, pensionary of Dort; Albert de Veer, pensionary of
Amsterdam; Elias van Oldenbarneveldt, pensionary of Rotterdam; and a
Zeelander, Albert Joachimi, who was later to show himself a skilful
diplomatist during the twenty-five years that he was resident Dutch
ambassador in London. Elias van Oldenbarneveldt was the brother
of the Advocate of Holland. According to a letter from Sir Ralph
Winwood[14] to Lord Salisbury he had special charge of the fishery
question, a proof of the peculiar interest felt by the Advocate in
the issue raised. With them was joined the resident ambassador, Noel
Caron. Their instructions required them to seek from His Majesty an
explanation of his intentions in the proclamation, 'since their High
Mightinesses the States-General could not believe that he meant to
include the inhabitants of the United Netherlands among those who
were bidden to pay for a licence to fish, since this was contrary
to the ancient treaties subsisting between them and the Crowns of
England and Scotland. After audiences with the King (April 27) and
with the Privy Council (May 8), it was arranged that a Conference
on the fisheries question should be held, with a Committee of the
Council, two of whose members were Sir Julius Caesar, Chancellor
of the Exchequer, and Sir Thomas Parry, Chancellor of the Duchy
of Lancaster. The Conference opened on May 16, and the points in
dispute were argued at length. The Dutch case was presented in a
memorandum drawn up with much skill, probably by the hand of Hugo
Grotius himself. The freedom of fishing was claimed on two grounds:
(1) that of the privileges granted by ancient treaties still in
force; (2) that of abstract right, because the sea, like the air,
is for the common use of all and cannot be private property. The
weak point of the case lay in the fact that these two grounds,
that of treaty right and that of the _Mare Liberum_, seemed to
be in a certain sense contradictory. The English, however, would
not admit that the question of the immemorial claim of the Kings
of England to sovereignty and jurisdiction in the seas adjoining
the British coasts was open to discussion, and seizing upon the
argument placed in their hands by the Dutch memorandum itself,
pleaded with great force that the granting of privileges implied
the power to take them away or modify them, should the King deem
such a step necessary to protect the interests of his own subjects.
The Conference therefore effected nothing more than the bringing
out in relief of the differences of view of the two parties. But
reflection brought wisdom. There was no wish on either side to
press matters to extremities. Already on May 10 the States-General,
unwilling to run the risk of making James an enemy, at a time when
they were very anxious to secure his help in the settlement of
the Jülich-Cleves succession question[15], had sent instructions
to their ambassadors not to make difficulties or unpleasantness
about the fisheries, but rather to propose that the execution of
the proclamation should be postponed for two years, in order that
the question might be thoroughly investigated. There were several
claimants to the Jülich-Cleves inheritance, Protestant and Catholic,
and it was of vital importance to the States, and also to a lesser
extent to all Protestant princes in Germany and to James, that this
frontier territory on the Rhine should not fall under the rule of a
Catholic sovereign. But the Archduke Leopold had seized the fortress
of Jülich, and Henry IV of France, jealous of the power of the House
of Habsburg in Europe, had put himself at the head of a coalition to
secure the succession to the Elector of Brandenburg, and William,
Count Palatine of Neuburg, as joint possessors. There was a general
desire to avoid hostilities, but Henry IV had pushed forward his
preparations for a great campaign, and war seemed inevitable. At
this moment the assassination of the French king at the very time
the Conference was being held in London changed the whole aspect
of affairs. The new French Government was favourably disposed to
Spain. The Dutch therefore were left face to face with the task of
expelling the Archduke from Jülich, and they felt that all other
matters were for the moment of secondary importance to that of
having the friendly co-operation of James in case of the outbreak
of war. Their attitude to the fisheries question was therefore
considerably modified. It became much more conciliatory, and for
precisely similar reasons a like change took place in the attitude
of the English King. He too felt that the friendship of the Dutch
was essential to him at such a critical juncture, and at a meeting
with the Earls of Salisbury and Northampton, May 24, the Dutch
envoys were agreeably surprised to find that the King, while not
formally abating one jot of his sovereign rights in the matter of
issuing licences for fishing, was willing to postpone the execution
of his edict for two years. The ambassadors took leave of the King
the same day and started on their return journey. Of this audience
the Lords of the Council, in a letter to Winwood, dated May 18, 1610
(o.s.), write:

     'For the States Ambassadors, His Majesty is now dismissing them
     with sufficient assurance of his inward affections towards them
     and the preservation of their State, which next to his own he
     holdeth most dear above all other respects in the world. And
     as for the matter of fishing and Reglement of commerce, His
     Majesty thinketh not fit now to spend any more time in it, but
     to refer the one and the other to some better season; and in
     the meanwhile that things may remain in the same state as now
     they are. So as we conceive these Deputies will return with good
     contentment, having no other cause either for the public or for
     the private; and His Majesty having also been careful to give
     them the rights that appertain to their title, and all other
     external courtesy and honour in their reception.'

  [14] Winwood's _Memorials_, March 16, (o.s.), 1610. See also letter
  of April 6 (o.s.).

  [15] See Note C.

This good understanding was to bear good fruit. The army, which
Maurice of Nassau led into the duchy in June, contained a fine
body of English troops under the command of Sir Edward Cecil.
Jülich was besieged and surrendered to the Dutch on September 1,
and the Archduke Leopold was compelled to leave the territory.
Of this achievement Sir Ralph Winwood, writing to Lord Salisbury
from Dusseldorf, August 22 (o.s.), says: 'The honor of the conduct
of this seige no man will detract from the Count Maurice, who is
the _Maistre-ouvrier_ in that _Mestier_. But that this Seige hath
had so happy an end, himself will and doth attribute it to the
Diligence and Judgement of Sir Edward Cecil.' The capture of Jülich
did not indeed end this thorny little dispute. Anglo-Dutch and
Spanish-Imperial armies, under Maurice and Spinola respectively,
manoeuvred within a short distance of one another. But the quarrel
was localized, no further hostilities took place, and finally by the
Treaty of Xanten, November 12, 1614, an arrangement was arrived at.
During all this time the relations between James and the States were
friendly. The King, however, had quarrelled with his Parliament,
and even had he wished to take a stronger line in foreign politics,
lack of funds compelled him to temporize. The English contingent in
Maurice's army was recruited indeed in England, but the troops were
in the pay of the States. Moreover, James was all the time hankering
after a Spanish marriage for the Prince of Wales, from mixed motives
doubtless, but chiefly from a misguided notion that such an alliance
between the leading Catholic and the leading Protestant State would
enable him to play the part of arbiter in the religious differences
which were dividing Europe into two hostile camps, and by his
influence to prevent an actual breach of the peace. This was the
underlying motive which prompted all the apparent fluctuations of
his policy. Hence the persistence with which for so many years he
pursued the _chimaera_ of a Spanish match, while at the same time he
allowed his only daughter to marry the Elector Palatine, the head of
the Protestant Union in Germany, and endeavoured to maintain good
relations with the United Provinces, notwithstanding the continual
friction between his subjects and the Dutch regarding the increasing
monopoly by the latter of the fisheries and of sea-borne trade. The
situation in 1611 is thus described by the Venetian, Marcantonio

     'With the lords of the United Provinces of the Low Countries,
     there exists at present perfect friendship and union; formerly
     he [James] used to despise them, as rebels, but now he loves
     and esteems them, as princes of valour and quality, an effect
     of the truce made with the Catholic king.... Now H.M. desires
     and procures the preservation of the Dutch, but not a further
     increase of their greatness, since their forces on sea are not
     inferior to those of any potentate whatsoever, because that in
     time of war necessity has been their best mistress. Of these
     forces the English are not without some jealousy, seeing their
     own diminished, and the dominion of the sea, that they have
     been accustomed to hold in that part of the ocean transferred
     to others.... In the herring fishery alone they [the Dutch]
     send out every year to the east coast of the Kingdom of England
     1,700 vessels, in which perhaps 30,000 men are employed.[17]
     After the truce the King made a proclamation, that no one was
     allowed to fish in those parts without licence, perhaps incited
     by the great sums of money, that formerly the Spaniards offered
     Queen Elizabeth to have the user of it; but just as at that time
     that scheming did not succeed in despoiling the Dutch, so now
     these with two special ambassadors have not obtained any promise
     of an alteration, as he [the King] is always intent upon the
     conservation of his jurisdiction and the increase of the royal
     incomings. The King at present regards the possession of such
     great sea power as being in itself of great moment for the needs
     of England, and united with his own it could with difficulty
     be resisted. He holds further that these same provinces are a
     barrier rampart of his kingdoms, and he is interested in them
     through the debt of a million and a half of gold that remains to
     him of the sum of more than two millions already lent by Queen
     Elizabeth, the repayment of which is at present spread over a
     number of years, a portion every year. Meanwhile three principal
     places are pledges in the hands of his Majesty....'

  [16] _Relazioni venete_, _Inghilterra_, serie iv, p. 128.

  [17] See Note A.

The possession of these fortresses was indeed at this time placing
King James in a position of no small advantage in his dealings with
the States, and he was well aware of it. On the other hand, it was
galling to the Dutch, now that they had compelled the Spaniard to
treat with the United Provinces as if it were an independent State,
to feel that two chief doors of entrance into their land were in the
hands of foreign garrisons. James professed to be their good friend,
and it appeared to be his interest to cultivate their alliance, but
it was inevitable that his assiduous advances to gain the goodwill
of Spain and to obtain the hand of an Infanta for his son should
render him suspect.

II: 1610-1618

The resolve of the King in 1610 to postpone any action in the matter
of his proclamation on the fisheries question seems not to have
aroused any popular expression of disapproval. The English people
were from the political and religious standpoint well disposed to
the Dutch. What they suspected and dreaded was the King's obvious
leaning to Spain. Their intense dislike to the Spanish marriage,
concerning which it was common knowledge that negotiations were
on foot, led them to favour a good understanding with the United
Provinces. But the spectacle of the growing Dutch monopoly of the
carrying trade, and the decline of English commerce in the face of
these formidable rivals, could not fail before long to stir public

A succession of noteworthy pamphlets drew attention to the subject.
Foremost among these, from the personality of the writer, was
Ralegh's[18] _Observations touching trade and commerce with the
Hollanders and others, wherein is proved that our sea and land
commodities serve to enrich and strengthen other countries than
our own_. These _Observations_ were, as the title page informs us,
presented to King James, and there are indications that the date
of their presentation was about the time of the Dutch embassy of
1610. Their object was to show how Dutch trade was prospering at
the expense of that of England. Ralegh pointed out in particular
the immense profit derived by the Hollanders from their fishing
in the British seas, and he asks why 'this great sea-business of
fishing' should not be kept in English hands, and suggests that the
King should appoint Commissioners to inquire into the matter, and
'forthwith set forward some scheme for preventing foreigners from
reaping all the fruits of this lucrative industry on his Majesty's
coasts.' He warns the King that 'the Hollanders possess already
as many ships as eleven kingdoms, England being one of them', and
expresses his conviction that 'they [the Hollanders] hoped to get
the whole trade and shipping of Christendom into their own hands, as
well for transportation, as otherwise for the command and mastery of
the seas.'

  [18] Ralegh's _Works_, viii. 351-76.

Ralegh's pamphlet did not affect the King's decision to defer, for
political reasons, taking any active steps concerning the fisheries,
but we may well believe that the hint about 'the command and mastery
of the seas' would not pass unheeded. It touched a question about
which James was peculiarly sensitive. That question, though for a
few years apparently dormant, was one that neither King nor people
could afford to disregard. The command of the sea--then as at all
times--was vital to an island power. The English were beginning to
see in the Dutch not merely competitors in trade, who were ousting
them from every market, but possible rivals for the dominion even
of those 'narrow seas[19]' in which the Kings of England had so
long claimed to have paramount sovereignty and jurisdiction.
Thus a feeling of dissatisfaction and resentment gathered head
which found vent, as was the custom of those days, in political
pamphlet-writing. Two of these pamphlets[20], no less than that of
Ralegh, call for particular notice, for they are full of material
bearing upon the subject of the relations between the English and
Dutch at the time of their publication, and throwing light upon the
causes of the growing estrangement between the two people.

  [19] See Note B.

  [20] See Note.

_England's Way to win Wealth_, by Tobias Gentleman, Fisherman
and Mariner, bears the date 1614. The purpose of the writer is
thoroughly practical. He sets out in great detail the statistics
of the fisheries on the British coasts, and of the immense profits
derived by the Hollanders from the pursuit of this industry, and
he then proceeds to urge upon his countrymen to take a lesson from
the foreigners, and not to neglect, as they are doing, a source of
wealth which lies at their very doors. The following quotation is
a good specimen of the homely vigour and directness of Gentleman's
arguments; it will be seen that here, as throughout the pamphlet,
they profess to be based on his own personal experience:--

     'What their [the Hollanders] chiefest trade is, or their
     principal gold mine is well known to all merchants, that have
     used those parts, and to myself and all fishermen; namely,
     that his Majesty's seas is their chiefest, principal, and only
     rich treasury whereby they have so long maintained their wars,
     and have so greatly prospered and enriched themselves. If
     their little country of the United Provinces can do this (as
     is most manifest before our eyes they do) then what may we,
     his Majesty's subjects, do, if this trade of fishing were once
     erected among us, we having, in our own countries, sufficient
     store of all necessaries to accomplish the like business?...
     And shall we neglect so great blessings, O slothful England and
     careless countrymen! Look but on these fellows, that we call the
     plump Hollanders, behold their diligence in fishing and our own
     careless negligence.'[21]

  [21] _Harleian Misc._ iii, pp. 397-8.

Another pamphlet, _The Trades Increase_[22], was of wider scope. It
was directly inspired, as its anonymous author J. R. informs us, by
the reading of _England's Way to win Wealth_. It deals not only with
the question of the fisheries, but of shipping and trade generally,
and rightly with shipping first of all. 'As concerning ships,' J.
R. writes--and how true do his words ring in an Englishman's ears
to-day--'by these in a manner we live, the kingdom is, the King
reigneth.... If we want ships, we are dissolved.' As Gentleman's
pamphlet is valuable for its detailed statistics of the fishing
industry of the Hollanders, even more so is that of J. R. for its
broad survey of and comparison between the Dutch and English trade
in every part of the world. From country to country and sea to sea
in all branches of commerce he shows how the English are being
driven out by their more enterprising competitors.

  [22] _Ibid._ iv, pp. 212-31.

     'In consequence want of employment is breeding discontents and
     miseries, while the means for remedying threatened disaster
     are in our own hands, the place our own seas and within his
     Majesty's dominions.'

Nor is J. R. content with mere assertion. Basing his arguments
on those of Gentleman, he proceeds to set forth how by the
encouragement of English fishing

     'we shall repair our Navy, breed seamen abundantly, enrich the
     subject, advance the King's custom, and assure the Kingdom, and
     all this out of fishing and especially out of herrings.'

As to the Hollanders, he remarks significantly:--

     'Howsoever it pleaseth his Majesty to allow of his royal
     predecessor's bounty, in tolerating the neighbour nations to
     fish in his streams, yet other princes take more straight

This powerful and reasoned summary of a condition of affairs so
threatening to England's supremacy as a maritime power, and to the
welfare of her people, testifies to the mixture of indignation and
alarm with which the English people regarded the rapid progress in
commerce and wealth of 'their neighbours the new Sea-Herrs', as J.
R. names the Dutch. If further evidence were wanting as to the state
of feeling in the country, it is furnished by the striking language
of the Venetian envoy, Pietro Contarini (1617/18). According to the
report of this impartial observer[23]:--

     'Loud praises of past times and the worthy deeds of forefathers
     form the topic of conversation. I have heard great lords with
     tears of the deepest affliction lamenting the present state of
     things and grieving how England has already fallen in reputation
     with all the world, England whose name and whose forces were
     feared by foes and esteemed by friends. Now the memory of past
     glory lost, as it were fallen into forgetfulness of herself, she
     abandons not only the interests of others, but even her own.'

  [23] _Relazioni Venete_, _Inghilterra_, iv. 206.

Such was the result of the forciful feeble policy of James, striving
to pose as the keeper of the peace of Europe, and to hold the
balance between the rival forces of Catholicism and Protestantism
already arming for the terrible struggle of the Thirty Years' War.
After the marriage of his only daughter with the head of the
Protestant Union in Germany, he was soon once more in eager pursuit
of the phantasmal Spanish match, which was for so many years to make
him follow a vacillating policy. The skilful diplomacy of Diego
Sarmiento d'Acuña, Count of Gondomar, who represented Philip III
in London after 1613, enabled him at this time to acquire a great
ascendancy over James, which with brief intervals he maintained
for some years. The Spanish envoy left no steps untried in the
course of the disputes which arose with the United Provinces to
prejudice the King's mind against the Dutch. He found the moment
peculiarly favourable for making his influence felt, and he used his
opportunities to the utmost. It must be remembered that the year
1612, in which first Robert Cecil, Lord Salisbury, died, and then
six months later Henry, Prince of Wales, a youth of great promise
and popularity, whose strong personality must have impressed itself
on the history of his times, is a critical dividing point in the
reign of James I. Ranke has in his account of this period laid
considerable stress on this fact:--

     'In the first years of his reign in England', he writes,
     'so long as Robert Cecil lived, King James exercised no
     great influence. The Privy Council possessed to the full the
     authority, which belonged to it of old custom. James used
     simply to confirm the resolutions, which were adopted in the
     bosom of the Council under the influence of the treasurer. He
     appears in the reports of ambassadors as a phantom King, and the
     minister as the real ruler of the country. After the death of
     Cecil all this was changed. The King knew the party divisions
     which prevailed in the Council; he knew how to hold the balance
     between them, and in the midst of their divisions to carry
     out his views.... Great affairs were generally transacted
     between the King and the favourite in the ascendant at the
     time in conferences to which only a few others were admitted,
     and sometimes not even these. The King himself decided, and
     the resolutions that were taken were communicated to the Privy
     Council, which gradually became accustomed to do nothing more
     than invest them with the customary forms.'[24]

  [24] Ranke, _Hist. of England_ (Oxf. trans.), i. 473.

It was at this very time, when King James, yielding himself more
and more to the persuasive blandishments of Gondomar, began to take
a more markedly personal part in the direction of foreign policy,
that a succession of fresh difficulties with the Dutch arose. The
execution of the proclamation, which had been deferred for two
years in 1610, actually remained a dead letter until 1616. Not
that there had been any removal of the causes which had originally
called it forth. On the contrary, the first years of the truce were
a period of marked activity and vigorous forward policy in the
United Provinces. In every direction, through the energetic and
vigilant statesmanship of Oldenbarneveldt, the commercial enterprise
of the people was enabled to open out fresh outlets for trade,
and finally to secure the recognition of the young Republic as an
influential member of the European family of nations. Diplomatic
missions were dispatched to Venice in 1609 and to Constantinople
in 1612, which prepared the way for a great extension of Dutch
trade in the Eastern Mediterranean. Even more important were the
close relations established with Sweden and Russia. Göteburg became
after 1609 virtually a Dutch town, and before the middle of the
century all Swedish industries and Swedish commerce had passed
more or less into Dutch management or under Dutch control. In the
reign of Elizabeth the friendliest relations had subsisted with
the Tsar, Ivan the Terrible and his successors, so that for some
years the English Muscovy Company had almost a monopoly of Russian
trade by the White Sea. But all this was now changed. A famous
Dutch merchant, Balthazar de Moncheron, established a factory at
Archangel in 1584, and from that time forward the Dutch, at first
vigorous competitors with the English for the Russian market,
gradually gained the supremacy. The appearance of a Russian embassy
at the Hague in 1614 was the mark of the triumph of Dutch diplomacy
at Moscow: henceforth Russia was practically closed to all but
Netherlanders. In 1615 a treaty with the Hanse towns placed the
Baltic trade even more completely than it had been in Dutch hands.
In the East Indies the English Company could not compete with its
far wealthier and more thoroughly organized rival.

There was, however, one element of weakness in the position of the
United Provinces on which the English were never weary of insisting.
By his possession of the cautionary towns the King of England
appeared in the eyes of the world to be recognized as a protector of
the Dutch Republic, who had certain rights over it. Oldenbarneveldt
in his negotiations had doubtless been hampered by the plain
evidence which the presence of English garrisons in Flushing, Brill,
and Rammekens afforded, that the States did not exercise full
sovereign authority within their own borders. In these circumstances
he (Oldenbarneveldt) knowing full well the financial straits to
which King James was reduced through the long-standing disagreement
between him and his Parliament, made overtures in 1615 through the
resident ambassador Caron to redeem the towns by the payment of a
sum of ready money. The annual charge of £40,000 received from the
States was barely more than sufficient for the maintenance of the
garrisons. The total amount claimed by the English Government was
£600,000; the Dutch offered £100,000 in cash, and three further
sums of £50,000 in half-yearly instalments, or £250,000 in all. The
offer was accepted and in June, 1616, the cautionary towns were
transferred into the hands of the Dutch.

It was, however, agreed that, for the sake of maintaining good
relations between the two countries, the new English ambassador,
Sir Dudley Carleton, should like his predecessor, Sir Ralph
Winwood, retain his seat in the Council of State. This was the more
important, as the King had (as already stated) for the past three
years been steadily moving towards a Spanish alliance. What were
his precise aims and what his ultimate purpose it was difficult
even for the practised and penetrating insight of a statesman of
Oldenbarneveldt's experience to discover. Perhaps James scarcely
knew himself. But the retention of fortresses like Flushing and
Brill at the mouths of two most important Dutch waterways by a
foreign sovereign, who was intriguing to win the favour of the
Spanish foe, was for the Republic a most serious danger. Their
redemption therefore at so trifling a cost was a stroke of policy
by which the aged Advocate did a great service to his country.
Certain it is that James felt a grudge against Oldenbarneveldt, and
that, when shortly afterwards civil strife broke out in the United
Provinces, Sir D. Carleton, acting on the King's instructions, did
his utmost to bring about the great statesman's downfall and to
support his enemies in compassing his death.

But to return. Sir Dudley Carleton, when entering upon his duties at
the Hague in January, 1616, found, in addition to the negotiations
for the 'reddition' of the cautionary towns, several thorny
questions requiring delicate handling. In his instructions[25] the
following somewhat enigmatical passage occurs:--

     'Some two years since there did arise between the Company of
     our Muscovy Merchants and the Merchants of Amsterdam a great
     difference concerning the navigation of Greenland[26] and the
     fishing of whales in those parts. Our desire is that all good
     correspondence may be maintained, as between our Crowns and
     their Provinces, so between our and their subjects. Therefore,
     whenever the subject shall fall into discourse, either in public
     or in private, you may confidently relate, when this question
     was debated before the lords of the Council, between Sir Noel
     Caron their embassador and the Governor of our Muscovian
     Company, it was evidently proved, and in a manner without
     contradiction, that our subjects were first discoverers of that
     negotiation and that trade of fishing; that privately they were
     possessed of that island, and there had planted and erected
     our standard, thereby to signify and notify to the world the
     property, which we challenge; which our subjects, by their
     industries, having appropriated to themselves, did not hold it
     reasonable they should be forced to communicate to others the
     fruits of their labours.'

  [25] Dated Jan. 6/16. Letters to and from Sir Dudley Carleton during
  his embassy in Holland from January 1615/16, to December 1620.
  London, 1757.

  [26] Greenland here stands for Spitzbergen. All through these
  disputes, owing to geographical ignorance, the two terms are used
  almost interchangeably.

The origin and cause of this new fishery dispute requires to be
briefly told, as it is characteristic of the times and of the way
in which, in almost every part of the world, the English trader and
the Dutch trader met in rivalry, and with the inevitable result
that their interests clashed and bad feeling arose. Certain English
fishing vessels as early as 1608 made their way to the Arctic Ocean
to fish for whales off the shores of Spitzbergen. The adventure
was successful, and was repeated. The news of it attracted some
Biscayans, then other foreigners, and in 1612 two Dutch ships to try
their fortune in the same waters. But King James in the following
year (1613) granted to the Muscovy Company an exclusive monopoly of
the Greenland, meaning thereby the Spitzbergen, whale fishery. He
claimed these northern waters as the property of the British Crown,
because, so it was averred, Hugh Willoughby had in 1553 discovered
Spitzbergen. The conferring of this monopoly caused in 1613 a
numerous fishing fleet, some of the vessels strongly armed, to set
sail from England for Spitzbergen. A landing was made, and the whole
archipelago formally annexed and named King James' Newland. The
next step of the Muscovy Company's fleet was to clear the ground of
intruders, whether foreigners or English 'interlopers.' Among the
foreigners were several Dutch boats. These were attacked, boarded,
plundered, and then sent home.

Such an act of violence naturally aroused resentment in Holland.
The States-General took the matter up, and refused to admit the
right of James to interfere with the fishermen. They denied that
Hugh Willoughby had sighted Spitzbergen at all in 1553, and
confidently affirmed that the discovery of the island was made
by Jacob van Heemskerk in 1596, who named it Spitzbergen, planted
the Dutch flag upon it, and spent the winter on its shores. If,
then, any people had preferential rights in the waters surrounding
Spitzbergen, it was the Dutch, but the States did not claim or
admit any such rights. They held that the sea was open to all to
navigate and to fish in without let or hindrance. To Winwood, who
in August, 1613, quitted the Hague to become Secretary of State in
London, was entrusted the mission of bringing the complaints and
the protest of the States to the notice of James, and further, of
asking for reparation to the Amsterdammers, whose vessels had been
seized and plundered. The King at this time was anxious to be on
friendly terms with the Dutch, and an answer was returned (October
25) that 'not only reparation should be made, but that steps should
be taken to prevent a recurrence of such disorders.' The States
were not satisfied, however, with so general a reply, and wished
that the English claim to exclusive rights in the fisheries should
be abandoned. The ambassador Caron was instructed to present to
the King an argument from the pen of the geographer Plancius, in
which this claim was shown to be without foundation. It produced no
effect upon James, always unwilling to yield in a matter affecting
his sovereign prerogatives, however shadowy. But the States were
equally determined. Their reply to the _non-possumus_ attitude of
the King was the granting of a charter, early in 1614 (January
27), to a company, generally known as the Northern (sometimes as
the Greenland) Company, which conferred on a group of merchants
the exclusive privilege of fishing for whales and walrus, and of
trading and exploring in the Northern seas between the limits
of Nova Zembla and Davis's Straits; Spitzbergen, Bear Island,
and Greenland therein included.[27] The States-General likewise
consented that warships at the charges of the company should
be allowed to accompany the fishing fleet for their protection
(April 4). The effect of these strong measures was seen in the
changed attitude of the Muscovy Company, who in the summer of
1614 (July 2) made an agreement with their rivals, that they
should each of them use a portion of the island as a basis for
their fishery, and should unite in keeping out all intruders. The
extraordinary mission of Sir Henry Wotton in February, 1615, to
the Hague to treat for a settlement of the Jülich-Cleves question,
gave an opportunity for proposing that he should, while in the
Netherlands, meet Commissioners of the States to discuss also other
important matters, and among these the dispute about the so-called
'Greenland' fisheries. In April the conference took place. The
Dutch, while laying stress upon their primary rights as discoverers,
disclaimed any desire to exclude the English; on the contrary, they
endeavoured to arrive at a friendly arrangement by which the two
nations should share the fishery 'in unity and security' together.
Nothing, however, was effected. The language of King James in
his ambassador's instructions, in which mention is made of the
differences that had arisen 'on account of the fishery in the North
Sea, near the shores of Greenland, of right solely belonging to us
and our people, but interrupted by the Hollanders', showed that he
approached the subject in an irreconcilable spirit. All that Wotton
could say was that he would report the matter to the King, who
would inform Caron later of his decision. The affair was, in other
words, hung up, and the dangerous spectacle was again witnessed of
two fishing fleets carrying on their trade in close proximity, each
under the protection of warships.

  [27] Aitzema _Saken van Staet en Oorlog_, ii. 356.

The Dutch force in 1615 was, however, far stronger, and no
hostilities took place. For the same reason an armed peace was
maintained in 1617, but in the following year acts of aggression
were committed, and loud complaints were raised on both sides. An
attempt was now made by the King to strengthen the hands of the
Muscovy Company by sanctioning for the purposes of the whale fishery
an alliance with the East India Company. The two companies were, as
far as regards the Spitzbergen enterprise, to be regarded as one,
thus making a larger amount of capital available for the outfit of
the fishing fleet and for the maintenance of the storage huts and
so-called 'cookeries' on shore. Thirteen well-equipped ships sailed
for Spitzbergen in 1618, and an even superior number from Holland
and Zeeland, accompanied by two war vessels. Neither the English
nor the Dutch sailors were in the mood to brook interference, and
from the outset it was almost certain that if they met there would
be mischief. The English were the first aggressors, but were in
their turn attacked by the Dutch with the result that their fleet
was dispersed and many of their vessels plundered. The 'Greenland'
fisheries question had reached an acute stage. Such a condition of
things could not continue, and Sir Dudley Carleton, the English
ambassador, appeared in person before the States-General (October 3,
1618) to utter a strong remonstrance and to urge the States, if they
wished to remain on good terms with the King, to dispatch a special
embassy to deal with the disputes that had arisen between the two
countries, not only concerning the 'Greenland' fishing, but in the
East Indies, and about the herring fishery and the cloth trade also.

At this point, before giving an account of the embassy of 1618,
we must turn back and bring up to date the history of the herring
fishery question from 1610, when the execution of the proclamation
requiring a licence from the fishermen was postponed, and also
briefly touch upon the two other causes of grievance in regard
to the cloth trade and the disputes between the two East India

For several years after the return of the embassy of 1610 the
Dutch herring fishery appears to have been quietly carried on
as usual without let or hindrance from the English Government.
No attempt was made to enforce the proclamation until 1616. The
cause of the alteration of James's policy at that date was due to
the refusal of the States-General to admit English dyed cloths
into the United Provinces. The manufacture of woollen cloth had
long been the chief of English industries, and the monopoly of
the trade in wool and woollen goods in the Netherlands, Northern
France and Western Germany had been in the hands of one of the
oldest of English Chartered Companies, the Fellowship of Merchant
Adventurers[28], whose first charter was granted by Henry VI in
1462. The Adventurer's Court and Staple were for many years placed
at Antwerp. But in 1568 they were driven away from the Netherlands
by Alva, and forced to settle elsewhere. They went first to Emden,
then to Hamburg. But the Hanse towns were jealous of their trade
and prosperity, and the Emperor was induced in 1597 to banish them
from Germany. At this date the authority of Spain was no longer
recognized north of the Scheldt. The Adventurers accordingly in
1598 moved to Middelburg in Zeeland, and extensive privileges were
conferred upon them by the States-General, the States of Zeeland,
and the town of Middelburg, including freedom from duties on imports
or exports, as well as from charges for staple rights and harbour
dues, and the right to be tried in their own courts.

  [28] See Note D.

The trade of the Adventurers consisted entirely in undyed cloths.
The English, though the best weavers of woollen cloth in the world,
had not learnt as yet the art of dyeing, and the unfinished cloths
were imported into the Netherlands, there to be dressed and dyed
for the continental markets. The consequence was that a great
industry sprang up in the provinces, especially in Holland, and many
thousands of skilled hands were employed in this work.

When James I came to the throne, he listened eagerly to every
one who could point out to him any means of raising money by
the sale of monopolies or patents. Among the proposals that
attracted him was one made by Alderman Sir William Cockayne, who
represented to his Majesty the great profit which might be derived
from finishing and dyeing English cloth before exportation. The
Merchant Adventurers naturally used their utmost influence on the
one hand to persuade the King not to grant to Cockayne a patent,
which would be subversive of the rights granted to their Company
under their Charter, and on the other to obtain the help of the
States in preventing such a breach of existing privilege to the
injury of the Dutch dyers and finishers. The monopoly of the
Adventurers had, however, many enemies among the English merchants
who did not belong to the Fellowship, and who already, under the
name of 'Interlopers'[29], carried on an extensive illegitimate
trade through the ports of Amsterdam and Flushing. Cockayne and
his adherents prevailed. A patent was granted to him in 1608,
his Majesty reserving to himself the monopoly of the sale of all
home-dyed goods. It was clear, however, that the existence of the
two monopolies side by side could not continue. After much friction
and constant complaints, James, in 1615, took decisive action. He
forbade the export of undyed and unfinished cloth from England, and
commanded the Merchant Adventurers to return their Charter. Cockayne
immediately formed a company, but his hopes of creating a new and
lucrative English industry were speedily dashed to the ground. The
States of Holland passed a resolution forbidding the importation
of dyed cloths into their province, and their example was followed
by the other provinces separately, and by the States-General. The
English woollen trade was stricken fatally by such a prohibition,
Cockayne's Company failed, and James was at last compelled in 1617
to renew the Charter of the Adventurers.

  [29] See Note E.

It is needless to say that the King, who had hoped to replenish his
empty treasury through his active promotion of Cockayne's scheme,
was sorely disappointed at the issue, and deeply resented the strong
measures taken by Holland and the United Provinces generally to
checkmate his plan for the creation of a new English industry to
their injury. Baulked in this direction, James, on his side, turned
his thoughts to reprisals, and in so doing had on this occasion the
full approval of his subjects. Secretary Winwood wrote, September
14, 1616, to Sir Dudley Carleton, at the Hague:--

     'It is in the mouth of every true-hearted Englishman that
     as a reprisal for the publication of the rigorous placard
     against English dyed and dressed cloths, that his Majesty with
     justice and equity and in reason of state ought to forbid the
     Hollanders, by a fresh revival of former proclamations, to
     continue their yearly fishing on our coast.'

But Winwood had had long personal knowledge of the Dutch, and he did
not like the prospect of the two nations, so long and closely bound
together by ties of friendship and alliance, thus drifting apart
through trade rivalries into enmity.

     'If we come', he writes, 'to these extremities I know both we
     and they shall suffer and smart for it'. And then he continues
     in words rendered weighty by the experience which lay behind
     them: 'I know well the nature of that people and the humour of
     those masters, who sit at the stern of that State. They will
     not be willingly crossed in their courses--_et quod volunt,
     valde volunt_. Yet it is never too late to be wise, and no
     counsel is evil but that which cannot be changed. I profess
     unto you I am in great anguish of spirit, how to accommodate
     these differences to the full contentment of all parties. This
     is most certain--_couste que couste_--and though _coelum terris
     misceatur_, his Majesty is resolved not to swallow, much less
     to digest, these indignities. As before I have said, only the
     Spaniards have cause to triumph and to make bonfires of joy and
     gladness.' He requests Carleton to see Oldenbarneveldt and urge
     accommodation for the mutual good of both countries. 'If the
     States', he adds, 'do persist in their resolutions, _actum est
     de amicitia_.'[30]

  [30] Carleton's letters during his embassy in Holland, January
  1615/16, to December 1620, p. 111.

But although Winwood speaks in this letter, dated September 24,
as if the King was only considering the question of a revival of
the proclamation of 1609, steps had already been taken (apparently
with his knowledge) to levy a toll upon the fishers on the Scottish
coast. As early as June 16, the Duke of Lennox, in his capacity as
Admiral of Scotland, had received instructions from the Scottish
Council to take from every fishing 'buss' a payment either in money
(an angelot) or in kind (one ton of herring and twelve codfish).
Accordingly, on August 7, a vessel appeared in the midst of the
fishing fleet, having on board a certain John Browne, the Duke's
Secretary. The Dutch envoy (Caron) had been induced, under a
misconception of the purpose for which it was required, to write
a commendatory letter for this man to show to the captains of the
Dutch convoy-ships. Browne demanded in the name of the King from
the skippers of each 'buss' the above-named toll or excise, and he
proceeded to make a list of all their names and the names of the
boats, giving receipts to those who paid, and informing those who
did not do so that they would have to pay double the following year.
The greater part paid without opposition, until the two convoy-ships
arrived on the scene. Browne was seized and requested to produce his
commission. At the sight of Caron's letter, however, they dismissed
him, as he had used no violence, but they would not allow him to
collect any more toll.

The two captains, as in duty bound, reported the matter at once to
the home authorities. Great was the surprise and indignation at
Enkhuysen and other centres of the fishing industry at the reception
of the news. On August 27 it was discussed by the States-General,
who denounced the attempt to levy a toll as 'an unheard-of and
unendurable novelty, conflicting with previous treaties'. Two
dispatches were sent, one to Caron telling him 'that the States
had taken the matter extremely to heart, and desired him to seek
for redress by every possible means'; the other to the captains of
the convoy bidding them 'not to permit any toll to be exacted'. In
obedience to his instructions Caron made repeated representations
to the King, to Lennox, to the Scottish Council, but his arguments
and remonstrances fell on deaf ears, and his efforts to obtain
satisfaction proved fruitless. In these circumstances the opening
of the fishing season of 1617 was awaited in Holland with anxiety,
and by those acquainted with the temper of the Dutch seamen, with
apprehension. Their fears were justified.

Browne again visited the fishing fleet, and began his task of
levying toll, which according to all testimony he carried out
in a tactful and considerate manner. Arriving at the Rotterdam
convoy-ship he met with a flat refusal from the captain, Andries
Tlieff of Rotterdam, in his own name and that of the other Dutch
fishermen. After having received this refusal in writing, Browne
was preparing quietly to go away to visit the other fishing
boats, mostly French, when Jan Albertsz, captain of the Enkhuysen
convoy-ship, stepped on board. He was one of the two captains who
had in the previous year forcibly compelled Browne to stop his
collection of toll. Albertsz now declared that he had orders to
arrest Browne, and, despite his protests, the Scottish official was
made a prisoner and carried to Holland.

The indignation of James, when he heard of what had taken place,
knew no bounds. Two captains of Dutch vessels in the Thames were
seized, as hostages, and Carleton was instructed to go in person
to the States-General and demand satisfaction for the insult and
injury done to his Majesty's honour by the 'exemplary punishment
and in a public and open fashion of those, who had committed such
an act: a satisfaction such as may hold a just proportion unto the
insolency of the grievance.'[31] On August 23, Carleton, describing
the result of an interview with the Advocate, spoke of 'Barneveldt
not knowing what to say, but that the taking of Browne was ill-done,
and desiring me with his hat in his hand (much differing from his
use) to make report thereof to his Majesty.' Both he and also
Maurice disavowed Albertsz's action, and the States-General in their
turn declared that the captains had acted without instructions, and
ordered Browne to be released. At the same time they respectfully
insisted that their fishermen were specially exempted from paying
any toll for their fishing. They ask Carleton to beg James, as
Browne had been set free, to release the hostages that he had
seized. But Winwood peremptorily informed Carleton (August 27,
O.S.), 'His Majesty will take no satisfaction, but to have the
captains and chief officers of the ships sent over prisoners to
England.' This demand, however, was most unpalatable in Holland. The
States of that province stood upon their privileges. The captains
should be tried, they said, but only by their own courts and laws.
James, however, would not give way. In Winwood's words 'he insisted,
_fort et ferme_, on the offenders being delivered into his hands'.
Thus for many months the obstinate dispute continued. At last
(February 1) the States of Holland, the opposition of the towns of
Rotterdam and Enkhuysen to deliver up their citizens having been
overcome, consented that Albertsz and Tlieff should be sent to Noel
Caron to submit themselves to his Majesty's mercy, 'for which,' says
Carleton,[32] 'in a letter they sue, and' he adds 'they also ask for
the freedom of fishing on the coast of Scotland, to which they lay
claim, without molestation.' Not till April did Tlieff actually set
sail for England, and then without the worse offender, Albertsz,
who was very ill, and in fact died shortly afterwards. James now,
however, professed himself satisfied, the hostages were set free,
and the Browne incident closed without a breach of the peace.

  [31] Carleton's _Letters_, pp. 156-7. Report of the Lords of the
  Council with the King in Scotland, to the Lords of the Council in
  England, Aug. 4/14, 1617.

  [32] Carleton's _Letters_, October 11.

The fishery dispute meanwhile remained an open sore. Loud complaints
were made by the Scottish Council that the Dutch not only claimed
the right to fish free from any toll, but they under the protection
of their armed convoy hindered the Scottish boats from fishing, and
took away their nets and otherwise treated them 'with daily outrages
and insolences'. This was the state of affairs in 1617. Carleton
made many and strong remonstrances, but in 1618 the complaints of
the Scotch that they were driven away from the fishing grounds by
acts of violence were louder than ever. Instructions had been given
to Carleton (April 10, 1618) that, as a means for avoiding these
disputes and encounters, he should request the States to order their
fishermen to ply their trade out of sight of land, as had been, so
he averred, their former custom. After a delay of two months the
States, while promising to punish severely all who could be shown
to have committed such acts as those complained of, declared that
after examination of witnesses on oath they could not discover that
any offences such as those spoken of by the King had taken place. As
to the Netherlanders fishing out of sight of land, they denied any
knowledge of such a custom, and prayed the King not to disturb their
countrymen in the exercise of that right of free fishing granted
them from time immemorial by a succession of treaties.

Thus in the summer of 1618 we have seen that no less than three
burning questions--the Greenland or Spitzbergen fishery, the Great
or Herring fishery, and the refusal to admit English dyed or dressed
cloths into the Netherlands--were causing the relations between
England and the United Provinces to be very strained. A fourth
question, that of the disputes of the rival East India Companies as
to trading rights in the Banda Islands, Amboyna, and the Moluccas,
where the Dutch, being in far stronger force, prevented the English
from sharing in the lucrative commerce in spices, was also becoming
acute. Several islands--among them one named Pulo Run, which the
English, by the consent of the natives, had occupied--were seized by
the Dutch, and actual hostilities between the fleets representing
the two nations in those waters were only avoided because the
English were not in a position to offer effective resistance to
their superior adversaries. Negotiations had therefore been set on
foot as early as 1615 to effect a friendly understanding by which
the English should be allowed a fair share in the spice trade, and
the companies co-operate for their common interest. So far, however,
in 1618, were matters from being arranged, that a strong fleet had
been dispatched from London in that year under Sir Thomas Dale to
restore the balance of power in the Bunda archipelago.

When, therefore, as has been already related, Carleton on October 3
appeared in the States-General to protest in the strongest possible
language against the acts of hostility committed against the fishing
fleet of the Muscovy Company off Spitzbergen, he did not confine
himself to this one cause of embittered dispute, but demanded that
the States should send at once, promptly and without delay, the
special embassy, which had been often spoken of but never taken
seriously in hand, to discuss in London all the points of difference
between the two nations--the East Indian spice trade, the herring
fishery, and the dyed cloth question--and to strive to arrive at
a friendly arrangement. Otherwise, he warned them that the King,
though he had shown himself willing to bear much at their hands, had
now reached the limit of his endurance.

III: 1618-1623

In the Netherlands the minds of all men were throughout the year
1618 preoccupied with the fierce political and religious discords
that had brought civil strife into the land. The sword of Maurice
had, in the name of the States-General of the Union, overthrown
the power of the provincial oligarchies, and despite the strenuous
opposition of the States of Holland under the leadership of
Oldenbarneveldt, had made good the claim of the States-General to
sovereign authority in the Republic. The aged Advocate of Holland,
so long supreme in the administration of public affairs, with his
chief adherents, lay in prison awaiting trial and condemnation.
Anxious, therefore, at such a crisis, to avoid a breach with King
James, or to provoke on his part measures of reprisal (especially
in view of the approaching meeting of the Synod of Dort, at which
James was to be officially represented), the States announced their
readiness (October 18) to accede to Carleton's request for the
speedy dispatch of a special embassy. But they wished to confine the
subjects of discussion to the East Indian and Greenland disputes. In
vain Carleton pressed upon the States the urgency of including the
Great (Herring) Fishery and dyed cloth questions in the instruction.
The reply was that it would be dangerous in the disturbed condition
of the country to touch matters of such great importance affecting
the interests of so large a portion of the population of the
maritime provinces. A clear indication was moreover given that on
these two points there was little possibility of concession.

The ambassadors arrived in England (December 7) accompanied by five
commissioners of the East India Company. The King received them with
expressions of friendliness (December 20), but the examination of
their instructions by the Privy Council at once revealed that the
subject of the Great Fisheries, which had most interest for the
English, was omitted. The Dutch envoys accordingly were informed
that the King was very astonished that the warnings of Carleton
had been without effect, and that their mission would be fruitless
unless this point, which concerned the King's sovereign rights,
were placed in the forefront of the negotiations. James, indeed,
refused to proceed unless the instructions were altered, and held
out the threat of an alliance with Spain if his wishes were not
complied with. Carleton, indeed, in a long and angry representation
made to the States-General, January 12, 1619, practically demanded,
not only that the ambassadors should be instructed to deal with the
Great Fishery question, but to admit that their rights under ancient
treaties and their contention as to the freedom of the sea were
claims that could not be sustained in face of the King's 'lawful
title and exclusive sovereign rights and property in the fisheries
upon the coasts of his three kingdoms'. In case of delay, England
would maintain her rights with the armed hand. The King was resolved
that the grievances of which his subjects complained must cease.

The States-General, however, dared not in the midst of the crisis
through which the country was passing, interfere with the fishery
question. Maurice, as Captain-General of the Union, had by military
force overpowered the resistance of the Province of Holland to the
will of the States-General. Its leaders had been incarcerated, and
the town magistracies throughout Holland changed. Feelings were very
embittered, and the position of the new magistrates would have been
seriously endangered had the dominant party consented to yield to
English threats the rights of free fishing, an industry on which
some 50,000 persons in Holland depended for their livelihood. Both
Maurice and his cousin and trusted adviser, William Lewis of Nassau,
Stadholder of Friesland, were agreed that such a course was at the
moment unwise, if not impracticable. These considerations were laid
before James, who had throughout the discussions in the Republic
strongly sympathized with the triumphant Contra-Remonstrant party.
The result was a modification in his unbending attitude. The King
agreed to defer the discussion of the 'Great Fishery' question until
the internal state of the Netherlands had become more settled, and
to proceed with the Greenland fishery and East Indian matters first,
on condition that the delay was to be as short as possible and
not to extend beyond the end of the year. Indeed, September 1 was
named as the actual limit of time. The States were quickly informed
(January 21) of the English concession, and now that the tension was
relieved, took more than three weeks in which to consider carefully
the terms of their answer to Carleton. They were in a difficult
position, and they finally (February 13) gave in general terms a
non-committal undertaking that 'so soon as the affairs of this land,
political and religious, shall be brought into a better state--if
possible within a year', they will send ambassadors to treat of the
Great Fishery, the cloth trade, and other points, as a preliminary
to the revision of the treaties of intercourse. Meanwhile they
trusted that all should go on as before, and that the English would
make no innovation in contravention of the ancient customs and
treaties. So the matter rested, the States being warned that the
King demanded that the placard of June 5, 1618, forbidding the Dutch
fishermen to commit further outrages and excesses 'on pain of severe
penalties', or to approach within sight (the English said within 14
miles, but to this the Dutch objected) of the Scottish coast, should
be rigidly enforced during the intermediate period of delay.

The efforts of the Dutch ambassadors to settle the two questions
which according to their instructions were the chief object of
their mission nevertheless encountered serious difficulties, and
it was soon apparent that the views of the two parties were almost
irreconcilable. The scheme for a working union of the two East
India Companies was speedily given up. For months, however, the
rights and wrongs of the two nations with regard to the Greenland
(Spitzbergen) fisheries were the subject of many conferences and
interchanges of notes. The English maintained that they, on the
ground of first discovery and of being the first to fish in the
Spitzbergen waters, had exclusive rights of sovereignty both on
the land and the seas that surrounded it. The Dutch set up the
counter-claim that they had not only first discovered, but first
occupied the land, and they held firmly that the sea was free to
all nations. For the damages suffered by the English fishing fleet
at the hands of the Netherlanders in 1618 an indemnity was demanded
by the English Government amounting to £43,800, and this did not
include the amounts due to private ship-owners for the loss of
their trade, and to the relatives of those who had been killed or
wounded. The Dutch replied by pointing to the repeated provocations
the Hollanders and Zeelanders had had year by year to endure, and to
the losses they on their side had suffered not only through being
hindered in their fishing, but through actual plundering of their
goods. The ambassadors promised to give reparation, if the English
would do the same. Tired at last of fruitless discussions, prolonged
month after month, the Dutch envoys sought a personal interview with
the King, July 10, at Greenwich, to see if any _modus vivendi_ could
be arrived at. All the old arguments on both sides were repeated,
and neither would yield on the point of their several 'rights'; the
utmost the King would concede was a suggestion that, as a favour,
he might connive at the Netherlanders fishing in his waters. This
did not satisfy the ambassadors, and they fell back on the familiar
device of asking that the question should be put off for later
settlement. To this finally James agreed, and it was arranged that
the matter should be deferred for further negotiations for a period
of three years, and that meanwhile the English and Dutch were to
fish peaceably together. The King insisted that restitution should
be made for the damage done by the armed attack on the English fleet
in 1618 within three months, and for all other losses inflicted
by the Dutch within the three years. As soon as the full English
claims were settled (such was the ultimatum), the question of the
satisfaction due to the Netherlanders should be considered. With
this decision, however unpalatable to them, the envoys had perforce
to be content. They sailed from Gravesend, on August 1, without
having really effected anything but a postponement of disputes,
which mere delay was more likely to aggravate than to appease.

The results then of the embassy of 1618 were disappointing to both
parties. The English resented the continued presence of the Dutch
fishermen both in the home waters and in the Northern Seas, for
they not only carried off the profits from what were regarded as
British industries, but behaved with overbearing arrogance as if
in their own domain. The Hollanders found themselves permitted, as
it were on sufferance, to continue an occupation which supplied a
large part of their population with sustenance and was the basis of
their prosperity. The States-General, though they were committed by
their envoys to send a fresh embassy to deal with the question of
the Great Fisheries, as soon as the internal troubles of the country
were settled, were in no hurry to move in the matter. It was in vain
that Carleton in the early months of 1620 reminded them of their
undertaking. The general opinion in Holland, and in this Prince
Maurice himself shared, was that there could be no surrender of the
treaty right to free fishing, even though it should be at the cost
of war.

Their position was greatly strengthened by the momentous events that
had been occurring in Germany. The Elector Palatine, Frederick--King
James's son-in-law--had accepted the Crown of Bohemia (November,
1619) but a year later his forces were crushed by the Imperial army
at the White Hill near Prague (November 5). Meanwhile his hereditary
dominions had been invaded and conquered by a Spanish force under
Spinola. Frederick was head of the Protestant Union, but the
forces of the Union were disunited (indeed it was soon afterwards
dissolved), and although Sir Horace Vere, at the head of a fine
body of 2,000 English volunteers, escorted by a strong Dutch force,
made his way to the scene of conflict, he was unable to prevent the
Spanish conquest of the Lower Palatinate. The unfortunate King of
Bohemia, a homeless fugitive, was compelled with his wife, Elizabeth
of England, to seek refuge with his uncle, the Prince of Orange, at
the Hague. The Dutch were greatly disturbed, as the twelve years'
truce was drawing to an end, at the prospect of the Spaniards being
able through their alliance with the Emperor to march from their
post of vantage on the Rhine straight upon the Netherlands, and
were therefore anxious to secure the goodwill and help of England
in the serious struggle which they saw before them. They felt
confident that, despite his love of peace, James would be forced to
take active steps to defend his son-in-law's lands from conquest,
and the cause of Protestantism in Germany from ruin. The news of
the complete defeat of Frederick at the White Hill therefore,
together with the necessity of renewing the treaty between the
two countries, which expired in April, 1621, at the end of the
truce, had more effect than Carleton's remonstrances and threats
in hastening a renewal of negotiations. The English ambassador was
instructed to assure the States that James would lend assistance for
the recovery of the Palatinate, and it was resolved by them that a
special mission should be dispatched as soon as possible. It was
well known that the King was still on the most confidential terms
with Gondomar, and that the Spanish envoy continued to exercise a
strong influence upon the royal policy, and that the project of a
Spanish marriage had not been abandoned. It was felt therefore
that a strong effort should be made to counteract this secret
leaning of James to listen to the subtle counsels of the Spaniard,
and to persuade him to break with Spain and to take decisively the
Protestant side in the war against the allied forces of the House of

The ambassadors set sail from Veere, January 28, 1621, and arrived
in London on February 1. They were six in number, representing
the three maritime provinces of Holland, Zeeland, and Friesland,
in itself a proof that though the affairs of the Palatinate were
the principal subject that filled their instructions, the fishery
questions, for the moment placed in the background, had in reality
lost none of their importance. The names of the special envoys were
Jonkheer Jacobus van Wijngaerden, Johan Camerling, Albert Sonck,
Albert Bruyninck, Jacobus Schotte, and Jonkheer Frederik van Vervou
tot Martenahuys, and with them was associated the resident in
London, Noel Caron. At their first audience with the King (February
7) the situation in Germany was almost exclusively referred to. They
laid stress upon the extent of the Spanish conquests on the Rhine,
and after pointing out that the States had been paying monthly
subsidies to certain of the Protestant princes and had collected a
great army on the frontier, expressed their gratification at the
information that had been received through Sir Dudley Carleton to
the effect that the King would, if diplomacy failed, restore his
children in the possessions by force. Should he indeed be prepared
to take steps for military intervention, they were commissioned to
assure him that the States would be ready to second his action and
to go to war.

The embassy had arrived at a critical moment in the reign of James
I, and after some words of friendly compliment their conference with
the Privy Council was deferred until February 15. In the interval
James's third Parliament had met (February 9). The King's financial
necessities had forced him to summon a Parliament, and the session
was to prove a very stormy one. The leaders of the Commons at once
demanded the redress of many grievances and proceeded to attack
those whom they charged with being the cause of the abuses they
denounced, more especially the omnipotent favourite, Buckingham
himself. The sojourn of the Dutch mission therefore coincided with
a period of political stress and anxiety. But the envoys had the
satisfaction of knowing that the English Parliament, which in this
was thoroughly representative of public opinion in the country, was
enthusiastically in favour of active support being given to the
King of Bohemia for the recovery of the Palatinate. Subsidies were
without delay voted for that purpose, and the vote was accompanied
by a petition urging the King to make war with Spain and to break
off the negotiations for the Spanish marriage.

But Gondomar found no difficulty in trading upon James's habitual
preference for peaceful methods. According to the testimony of the
Venetian, Girolamo Lando, the Spanish ambassador 'had access to
the King at any hour, and found all doors open to him which were
accustomed to be shut to others', and he is described as 'with
ever-increasing boldness carrying on a campaign against these
kingdoms with unspeakable intrigues and corruption.' Through his
counsels the King entered upon a series of negotiations with the
Courts of Madrid and Vienna in the interests of Frederick, which
were perfectly futile and merely afforded the Catholic powers time
to strengthen their position upon the Rhine. At the same time James,
by opposing himself to the expressed wishes of his Parliament
and people in this matter of the Palatinate, only heightened the
determination of the House of Commons to assert their privileges
and insist upon their demand for a redress of grievances. In
foreign no less than in domestic affairs, the views of the King
and those of the representatives of his people proved to be
diametrically opposed. In December accordingly, no compromise being
possible, Parliament was dissolved, and James, left in desperate
financial straits, was unable to carry out any policy that involved
expenditure. In considering the course of the negotiations with
the Dutch, these facts must be borne in mind, for they are vitally
important for a right understanding of the situation.

The embassy, delayed by the opening of Parliament, had a conference
with the Privy Council on February 15. Once more they impressed
upon their audience the seriousness of the dangers which threatened
both the United Provinces and England from the war in Germany,
and urged, now that the truce with Spain was almost expired, the
renewal of the treaty of alliance between the two countries to
defend the Protestant cause against a common enemy. In the words
of the contemporary historian Aitzema, 'they laid strong emphasis
upon this last point as if it were the only object and aim of the
embassy.' But the Council had no desire, so immediately after the
meeting of Parliament, to commit themselves on the subject of
military intervention, for they were well aware of the King's
disinclination to break with Spain. The question was accordingly
put to the Dutchmen as to whether there were no other points in
their instructions, mention being specially made of the fisheries,
the cloth, and the East Indian disputes. The reply was that in the
present critical condition of European affairs the interest of both
States required that secondary questions should be allowed to rest
and continue on the same footing as before in the presence of the
grave danger (now the truce was drawing to an end) from a mighty
enemy. Some lesser differences which had arisen about the 'tare' in
the cloth trade, and the 'mint', they were ready to discuss, but
nothing more.

The matter was referred to the King, and on March 2 the envoys had
a second conference with the Council, when it was made clear to
them that the fisheries questions must be settled as a preliminary
to any treaty of alliance. The Dutch could only answer (March 10)
that they had received no powers to negotiate upon the fisheries,
but in accordance with their instructions they pointed out the
difficulty and the danger of trying to interfere with an industry
in which so large a part of the population were interested, while
civil discords were scarcely appeased and a renewal of the war with
Spain was on the point of breaking out. So much was this the case
that though the value of the fishing (so they said) was steadily
decreasing, the States were granting large subsidies for convoys
in order to provide the means of sustenance for so large a number
of their subjects. The smallest toll or charge, they argued, would
either cause 'their fishery to be entirely destroyed and ruined,
or possibly stir up this rude sea-faring population to fresh
commotions to the manifest peril of the repose of the Republic,
scarcely cured of the wounds of its late infirmity.' They begged
therefore that the consideration of the matter might be put off to
a more fitting time, and meanwhile that the old privileges should
continue in force. As to the Greenland fishery, it was pleaded that
the three years' delay that had been granted in 1619 was not yet
expired. Similarly in the East Indian disputes, which continued with
no less frequency and bitterness, although an accord between the
two companies had been agreed upon in June, 1619, the Netherlanders
met the complaints of the representatives of the English Company
with excuses and counter-protests. There was much talking, but
practically no progress made. After several interviews with the
Council and the King himself it was finally arranged that things
should remain as they were for a short time longer, but the King
insisted (April 8) that 'the fishery questions concerned his right
and his honour and that he could not allow them to be any longer in
debate and suspense', and that a special Commission must be sent by
the States to deal with these disputes, and further, that he would
not wait longer than May 31. He also demanded a settlement of the
quarrels in the East Indies, and a withdrawal of the 'tare' edict,
which was declared to be the ruin of the cloth industry in England.
So soon as these matters were satisfactorily arranged, he promised
that he would conclude an alliance with the States. The Dutch envoys
left London on their return journey on April 26.

As a proof of the very close relations subsisting at this time
between England and the United Provinces, it may be mentioned
that in the very same months that the Wijngaerden embassy was thus
holding ineffectual conferences in London with the King of England
and his Privy Council, the Fellowship of the Merchant Adventurers
were transferring their Court to the Prinsenhof at Delft.

Driven from Antwerp in 1582 the Adventurers had, as already related,
set up their Great Court first at Emden, then at Hamburg and Stade.
But in 1598 the enmity of the Hanse towns compelled them to leave
Stade, and to establish themselves at Middelburg in Zeeland. Until
the suppression of the Adventurers' Charter in 1615, this town was
the staple for English cloth and wool in the Netherlands, though
the 'interlopers' as they were called, succeeded in carrying on
an active smuggling trade through Amsterdam and Flushing. After
the renewal of the Charter in 1617 the Adventurers returned to
Middelburg, but on account of the unhealthiness of the place, and
other reasons, they determined to remove to Delft. To effect this
involved elaborate negotiations with the Town Corporation, with
the States of Holland, and with the States-General. Moreover,
the consent of the King was necessary as a preliminary step. Sir
Dudley Carleton was largely instrumental in bringing the matter to
a successful issue. James gave his consent that the Court should
move from Zeeland within the borders of Holland, 'to show his
Majesty's great affection for that Province'. On April 21, 1621,
the contract with Delft was signed, just as the Dutch envoys were
leaving England. But Amsterdam, with whose cloth merchants the
'interlopers' had been engaged in a profitable trade, sent in to
the States of Holland a very strongly worded remonstrance. They
objected to the privileges which the Delft Corporation had granted
to the Adventurers as injurious to themselves and the interests of
the province. The States of Holland on receiving this remonstrance
resolved that the contract made by Delft and the monopoly of the
Adventurers should be examined by a commission. Against this Delft
and a number of other towns sent in a counter-remonstrance, but
the influence of Amsterdam outweighed theirs in the provincial
States, who by a majority of votes persisted in their determination.
The Merchant Adventurers, however, appealed from the provincial
authorities to the States-General, who had always been their
protectors. And now began one of those curious struggles so common
in Dutch history between the town of Delft, the States of Holland,
and the States-General, all of them claiming independent authority
to deal with the matter. The Corporation of Delft refused to hand
over their contract with the Merchant Adventurers to be examined
by the Commission of the States of Holland. At last, however, it
was agreed by both parties that it should be placed in the hands of
Prince Maurice and some impartial persons, who should then confer
with the States, and draw 'a good regulation for the preserving of
the common industries'. Maurice appointed a commission on which the
ten towns interested in the cloth trade (of which naturally Delft
was one) were represented, to take the matter in hand, and on June
19, 1621, the 'Regulation' was drawn up which defined the privileges
and conditions under which the Adventurers henceforth for many years
carried on their trade in Holland. Its terms therefore deserve
to be briefly indicated. The old privileges giving freedom from
import and export duties, harbour and market tolls, &c., originally
granted in 1598, were not revoked, but defined afresh and modified.
Art. i gave the Fellowship permission to have their Court at Delft,
but only with the licences 'which we [the States of Holland] and
the States-General shall be pleased to accord, in trust that the
Netherlanders shall enjoy their old privileges in England.' This
last clause clearly referred to the fishing rights, with which at
that very moment the English Government were proposing to interfere.
Art. ii reminded the Adventurers that when residing in Holland 'they
would be subject to all our edicts and enactments made or still to
make.' Art. iii dealt with the excise recently imposed on foreign
woollen cloth. On this no concession was made; it must be promptly
paid. Art. iv insisted on the strict carrying out of the edict of
1614 forbidding the importation of dyed or prepared cloth, and also
of the edict on the 'tare', which had been renewed in 1617. Both
these edicts were regarded as grievances by the English, and had in
1618 and in 1621 been among the subjects on which negotiations had
proved fruitless.

Before this 'Regulation' of June 19, 1621, had come into force
the time fixed by King James for the dispatch of another embassy
to settle all outstanding disputes had passed by. Through the
representations of Carleton at the Hague, and the letters of their
own ambassador Caron from London, it was made clear, however, to the
States that a temporizing policy was no longer possible. Indefinite
delay would not be brooked. Steps were accordingly taken to approach
certain of those who claimed damages against the Greenland Company
with an offer to compound with them by a cash payment. Nor did
the States confine themselves to words, but gave practical proof
of their desire for peace, for when the Greenland Company applied
for a convoy of warships to accompany the whale-fishing fleet to
Spitzbergen, the States-General, after consultation with the States
of Holland, declined to grant the request, April 28. The determined
attitude of Carleton, who threatened reprisals in the Channel upon
the ships returning from the East Indies had its effect, and the
slow-moving Netherlanders were at last stirred to action. The new
envoys were appointed early in October, and though even after their
nomination there was further delay while the instructions were being
drawn up, within two months all preliminaries were completed, and
the embassy finally arrived in London, December 8, 1621.

Its arrival coincided with the final rupture between James and
his Parliament, and the situation was far from favourable to a
really friendly settlement. The King was in bad health, worried
and embittered in temper by the affronts which he had just been
enduring from what he regarded as the insolent demands of a House
of Commons which neither by threats nor by persuasion had he been
able to bend to his will. Both Philip III of Spain and the Archduke
Albert of the Netherlands had recently died. A young king reigned
in Madrid, but his favourite, the Count of Olivares, held the reins
of power, a man filled with the ambition of raising Spain once
again to her old position of ascendancy in Europe. His policy,
as stated in the Cortes of Castile, was to assist the Emperor to
crush the Protestant cause in Bohemia and in Germany, to attack
the Dutch rebels now that the truce was expired, and to defend with
all the power of the monarchy 'the sacred Catholic faith and the
authority of the Holy See'. Yet in spite of so clear a declaration
James fell more and more under the spell exercised over him by
Gondomar, who had Buckingham and other English councillors in his
pay, and who continued to dangle before the eyes of the infatuated
King, still dreaming of a Spanish match for his son, the hope that
by the friendly intervention of Philip IV at Vienna, he might be
able to secure without hostilities good terms for his son-in-law,
and a settlement of the Dutch and other questions in a manner
satisfactory to all parties. It was, of course, a purely visionary
project, nevertheless it is probable that James was sincere in his
aims, and thought that he was acting nobly in playing the part of
arbiter of peace and war. But he was really a puppet in the hands
of those who were far more astute than himself, and who, while he
was negotiating, were grimly preparing for the prosecution in real
earnest of the longest and most cruel war Europe has ever seen. It
was well known moreover to the statesmen, who treated him as their
dupe, that the breach between James and his Parliament effectually
prevented him, even if he wished it, from serious intervention.

The Dutch Embassy, which was accompanied by three Commissioners
on behalf of the East India Company, had at its head Francis van
Aerssen, Lord of Sommelsdijk. Aerssen, already distinguished as a
diplomatist and noted for the prominent part he had taken in the
recent overthrow of Oldenbarneveldt, was for many years to be the
trusted councillor of the Stadholders Maurice and Frederick Henry.
Richelieu, at a later time, spoke of him as one of the three ablest
statesmen of his time. He had now before him a long and difficult
task. Aitzema lays special emphasis on the duration and the expense
of this special mission. It lasted, he tells us, 454 days, and cost
80,850 guilders. 'In the course of it', he further remarks, 'King
James at the audiences made very particular and most remarkable
discourses, which were replied to by the Lord of Sommelsdijk with
exceptional prudence, he being a man of great sharp-sightedness,
eloquence, and experience.'

The skill of Aerssen is shown in the instructions for the embassy,
which, once more according to Aitzema, were drawn up by himself.
The following are the important points. Art. vii deals with the
'questions which have arisen on the whale fishery between the
English nation and the Greenland Company of their lands and
their differences concerning the pretended losses suffered on
either side.' The envoys are instructed, if possible, to come to
a friendly understanding, 'if not, by authoritative decision to
draw up for the future a Regulation of the aforesaid fishery' on
the lines of the previous negotiations, but 'not so as to cause
any disadvantage to the land's service or to the rights of the
privileged company,' Above all, nothing is to be concluded on this
matter without awaiting the orders of the States-General, should
time and opportunity permit. The next five articles treat of the
affairs of the two East India Companies, which were, in fact, the
main object of the mission. The cloth trade disputes are next
dealt with. If complaints should be made about the raising by the
States of Holland of the duty on foreign woollen goods, the lines
of defence are laid down in Arts. xiv and xv. In Art. xvi the
envoys are bidden to avoid any reopening of the 'tare' question,
but should the placard enforcing an examination of the goods by the
tare-masters be denounced, it must be shown to be necessary in the
interests of the cloth trade, and for the prevention of fraud. If
English subjects pretend to suffer any injury through the 'tare',
let them bring their grievances before their High Mightinesses,
who will see that justice is done. Likewise on the subject of the
'interlopers' (Art. xvii) silence is enjoined. The reply, however,
to any complaint is that his Majesty has the remedy in his own hands
by forbidding the 'interlopers' to trade. It would be far easier to
prevent their egress from England than their ingress into the United
Provinces. Art. xviii deals with the question of the Mint. Last of
all, the instructions arrive at the Great Fisheries difficulty.
The envoys are carefully to avoid any reference to this matter. If
compelled to speak about it, they are to say that they have received
no instructions thereon,

     'as their High Mightinesses had hoped that the King would
     leave this matter untouched, as His Majesty had thought good
     to delay this whole question for a further period still and a
     more fitting season. In any case this industry is necessary for
     the subsistence of many thousands of the sea-faring folk of
     their Lands, and to consent to a course that would ruin them is
     _impossible_, and there is no hope that such consent would be
     given either now or hereafter.'

Conferences were held with the Privy Council on January 15, February
17, and March 14, the Dutch trying to concentrate attention on the
East Indian differences, about which public opinion in England as
well as in Holland had been much stirred, and about the renewal of
the treaty of alliance, urging that the King should take sides with
his old allies against the Spaniards and active steps to recover
the Palatinate for his son-in-law. Buckingham's efforts to discuss
the alleged acts of violence by the Dutch fishermen to the King's
Scottish subjects only led to the reply that the States had issued a
strong edict against such acts and would punish them if proved. As
no progress to any agreement was being reached, the envoys suggested
a personal audience with the King. This was granted on April 27.
James was far from well, and in a very irritable humour. He received
them alone, and, contrary to his habit, sat in his chair during the
interview with his hat on, while the ambassadors stood the whole
time with uncovered heads. Aerssen, after the usual compliments,
spoke at considerable length, in accordance with the terms of his
instructions, upon the East Indian and other matters on which the
States desired to treat. The effect of this speech is best told in
the words of the original report of the proceedings:--

     'They [the envoys] noted that His Majesty was entirely
     prejudiced and prepared by his Council to set his heart against
     them. To their compliments he gave no reply, letting them pass
     unnoticed. When they (through their spokesman Aerssen) were
     entering into the business, he said, "Make an end of your long
     harangue. I will give a short and good answer. You are a good
     orator, I know it well; when I was younger, so was I also; now
     my memory fails me." Six times with great discourtesy did he
     interrupt them.'

The violence of the 'short and good answer' in which he finally
poured forth the pent-up vials of his wrath upon the Dutchmen is at
least a proof that James, despite his age and infirmities, still
possessed considerable powers of invective. Speaking of the East
Indian disputes, he exclaimed:--

     'You have taken away the goods of my subjects, have made war on,
     murdered and mishandled them, without once thinking of what you
     have enjoyed from this Crown, which has made you and maintained
     you. You must give them satisfaction.... I hold that you ought
     to show respect to my nation. You are speaking of the accord (of
     1619), I decline to treat with you on equal terms. You have in
     the Indies a Man[33] who well deserves to be hanged. Your people
     over there represent everywhere your Prince of Orange as a great
     King and Lord, and hold me up as a little kinglet, as if I stood
     under him, thus misleading the barbarian kings.

       *       *       *       *       *

     Tell me what you are thinking of doing, whether you will take
     action and give me satisfaction or not? Will you do it, then
     do it the sooner the better; it will be best for you; when
     will you begin? Surely you are like leeches, bloodsuckers of
     my realm, you draw the blood from my subjects and seek to ruin
     me; there are six points that show it clearly; take _the great
     fishery_--you come here to land against the will of my subjects,
     you do them damage, you injure them, you desecrate the Churches,
     doing filthy acts in them, you hinder them from fishing; the
     Greenland whale fishery you wish to dispute with me, without
     making good the loss; France and Spain have ceded it to me,
     with Denmark I have come to an agreement, you alone wish to
     maintain it against me. I would not endure it either from France
     or from Spain, do you think I either can or will bear it from
     you? In the Cloths you are playing at _passe-passe_, as if you
     were laying a burden on your inhabitants, and yet this is the
     cause; these (the Cloths) are no more carried, therefrom as you
     may have heard a mutiny and wellnigh a rebellion exists in my

  [33] The Governor-General, Jan Pietersz Coen.

Having mentioned these three points, the other three appear to have
escaped his Majesty's memory. After this outburst the negotiations
were renewed, the East Indian questions being taken first. This
admirably suited the Dutch, who knew they had the upper hand in
the Indies and were anxious to shelve the fishery dispute as long
as possible. For months the weary negotiations proceeded, until in
August there was once more a deadlock. The King again granted an
audience (August 16), was again angry, and with small result. An
event now occurred which gave rise to fresh complaint. The Dutch
fishermen off the Scottish coast had encountered an Ostend vessel
with some Dutch prisoners on board. The Ostender was attacked and an
attempt made to set the captives free. A conference was held on the
matter in the King's presence, September 25, and the Hollanders were
accused of a breach of neutrality. The envoys rejoined that it was
the Ostender which had committed a breach of neutrality by bringing
prisoners into Scottish waters, and pointed out 'that no one had
so great an interest as his Majesty to prevent Spain from sharing
the sovereignty of the sea on which his Majesty was so mighty and
whereon his chief security lay'. This reference to James's relations
with Spain was more than the testy King could brook.

     'It is you', he said, 'who are masters of the sea, far and wide,
     you do just what you like, you hinder my own subjects from
     fishing on my coasts, who at any rate according to all Rights
     ought to enjoy the first benefit, but when I raise the question,
     and urge you to observe my rights, to listen to what I have to
     say, you will not agree to a single word being spoken about it;
     yes, my ambassador writes to me that he might just as well
     speak to you of the rights of my fishery, as of a declaration of
     war with you. When you are at war, you say that your Government
     has not yet been granted time for your community to get on its
     legs. In peace, you have other excuses. The long and the short
     is, you don't want to enter into it.'

The ambassadors were, however, not to be entrapped into a discussion
of the Great Fisheries; remarking that his Majesty had agreed to
defer speaking about this question, they skilfully turned his
attention to other subjects. One result of this conference was the
resolve of the Privy Council to make a serious effort to accommodate
the Greenland fishery dispute. A formal statement of the English
grievances was set forth in a letter to the ambassadors, and they
were requested, now that far more than the three months' delay which
the King had conceded was past, to pay up the indemnity of £22,000
for the losses that had been suffered. The Netherlanders at once
replied that they were ready to consider the Greenland differences
as soon as the East Indian were settled, but not before. Unless the
East Indian negotiations were pushed on, they threatened to return
home (October 3). For some two months accordingly the Indies held
the field. When, however, the middle of December had arrived the
Council once more repeated their demand that the indemnity, which
had been promised in 1619, should now be handed over. The envoys
denied having any knowledge of such a promise. They would make
inquiries about it, meanwhile their instructions only allowed them
to discuss the Greenland question as a whole and without prejudice.
They asked for proofs of the alleged promise. None were forthcoming.
So by raising this side-issue the Dutch achieved their object of
gaining time. An accord at last having been reached on East Indian
affairs, the envoys announced that after fourteen months' sojourn
in London they were unable to remain longer. Caron, they said,
would have full powers to carry on negotiations about the Greenland
matter. So far as any real settlement of disputes was concerned, the
embassy was again a complete failure. Even the accord in the East
was a sham. The English Company had obtained a nominal position of
equality with its Dutch rival in the Indies, and a definite share
of the coveted trade in the Spice islands. But all the power was in
the hands of the Dutch, and such an artificial arrangement was more
likely, as events were speedily to show, to breed fresh discords
than to allay the old ones.

IV: 1623-1629

The embassy of 1622 returned to the Netherlands early in February,
1623. A few weeks later Prince Charles, accompanied by the Duke
of Buckingham, was on his way to Madrid to woo in person his
prospective Spanish bride. No more conclusive proof could have been
shown of the lack of success of Aerssen in obtaining any assurance
of armed support from King James for the States in their renewed war
with Spain or for the recovery of the Palatinate.

Yet, strangely enough, at this very time of increasing political
alienation, four English and two Scottish regiments formed (as
indeed was the case throughout the remainder of the eighty years'
war) the very kernel of the States army, and campaign after campaign
bore the brunt of the fighting. When the Spaniards laid siege to
Bergen-op-Zoom in July, 1622, Maurice had reinforced the garrison
by fourteen English and Scottish companies. The gallant defence of
the town first by Colonel Henderson, then, after this officer fell
mortally wounded, by Sir Charles Morgan, excited general admiration
in Europe. In October, Spinola, after making repeated and desperate
efforts to capture the place, was compelled to raise the siege.
These troops were recruited by royal permission in England and
Scotland, remained British subjects, and were distinguished by
their national uniforms and colours, by the beat of the drum and
the march. They were, however, in Dutch pay, and took an oath of
allegiance to the States-General, from whom the officers received
their commissions.[34]

  [34] See special note F.

This same period saw also the beginnings of rivalry in the West as
well as in the East. In 1621 a Charter was granted to the Dutch
West India Company. This Charter was framed on the model of that
of the East India Company, and it was hoped that the new venture
might be attended by the same good fortune and phenomenal success as
had followed Dutch enterprise in Java and the Malayan Archipelago.
Far from being a mere commercial undertaking, it was intended from
the first that the West India Company should be required to equip
considerable armed forces, naval and military, wherewith to strike
a blow at the Spanish power in America, and cut off those sources
of revenue which supplied King Philip with the sinews of war. In
carrying out such projects of aggression in the Spanish main there
was less risk of disputes arising between the Dutch and English than
had been the case in the East Indies. Nevertheless, the colonists
and traders of the two nationalities were in America also rivals and
competitors in the same localities. Netherlanders and Englishmen had
already for some years before 1621 been carrying on traffic with the
natives and setting up trading posts side by side in the estuary
of the Amazon, and in the various river mouths along the coast of
Guiana. In 1609, by letters patent, a grant was made by James I to
Robert Harcourt, of Stanton Harcourt, in the county of Oxford, for
the planting and inhabiting of the whole coast of Guiana between the
rivers Amazon and Essequibo, and this grant was renewed to Roger
North in 1619, and again by Charles I to the Duke of Buckingham
in 1626. Yet within the limits of these grants the Dutch in 1616
established themselves permanently on the river Essequibo, and in
1627 on the river Berbice, while a number of abortive attempts were
made to set up trading posts and colonies at other points of this
coast. More important than any of these, a settlement had been
made in 1614 on the island of Manhattan at the mouth of the Hudson
river, a grant having been given at that date by the States-General
to a body of Amsterdam merchants of all unoccupied land between
Chesapeake Bay and Newfoundland. This settlement and those in Guiana
were in 1622 taken over by the newly erected West India Company.
Thus in North America the Dutch took possession of the best harbour
on the coast, and their colony of New Netherland with its capital
New Amsterdam (afterwards New York) was thrust in like a wedge
between the English colonies of Virginia and New England. In the
West Indian islands and on the Gold Coast of West Africa the keen
traders of the two nations also found themselves side by side, with
the result in almost all cases, as has been well said, that the
Dutch extracted the marrow, leaving the English the bone.[35] It
will at once be seen therefore that the activities of the Dutch West
India Company, though it came into being primarily for the purpose
of 'bearding the King of Spain in his treasure house', were certain,
sooner or later, to come into conflict with English enterprise and
to enlarge the area within which their respective interests and
claims were divergent.

  [35] _Cambridge Modern History_, iv. 758.

But to return to my immediate subject. The ill-success of the
embassy of 1622 in effecting any settlement except the accord
relating to the East Indies, an accord which was not regarded in
Holland with much favour and which was speedily to prove a failure,
caused considerable disquietude to the States. It was resolved
therefore to make another real effort to accommodate the old
grievances of the English in regard to the acts of violence charged
against the Dutch fishermen both on the coast of Scotland and off
Spitzbergen. It was hoped that by so doing, any further raising
of the question of fishing rights might be avoided. The news of
the journey of Prince Charles to Madrid changed disquietude into
genuine alarm, lest James, irritated as he was by a succession
of fruitless negotiations and long-protracted disputes, might be
tempted to cement the Spanish marriage by an alliance with the
hereditary foe, and to seek redress against the United Provinces by
force of arms. Steps were accordingly taken to enforce strictly the
placards by which the skippers of the herring-busses were forbidden
under heavy pains and penalties to interfere with or to disturb the
Scottish fisherfolk in their industry (April 20, 27, May 6, 1623),
and they were also warned not to approach too near to the coast.
Caron was requested to inform the English Council of these measures
of precaution. The States-General were likewise anxious in their
desire to arrive at a friendly understanding that the claims for
damages against the Greenland (Northern) Company should be paid.
But the old difficulties supervened. The directors of the Greenland
Company reminded them of the counterclaim for damages suffered at
the hands of the English. To pay therefore the English claim before
demanding from the Muscovy Company a simultaneous settlement of
Dutch grievances would be, they pointed out, playing into King
James's hands. It would be regarded as an admission of his exclusive
and particular rights in the Spitzbergen fishery, rights which
the Greenland Company and the States had repeatedly refused to
acknowledge. So, despite pressure both from Carleton and Caron, the
matter dragged on. At last, December 14, a letter was sent to Caron,
denying that any promise had been given by the embassy of 1618-9
of a one-sided payment of damages, as stated by the English, but
expressing the willingness of the Dutch to make a mutual settlement.
As, however, so often before in these negotiations, delay had served
its purpose.

When this letter reached Caron, a dramatic change in the English
policy had taken place to the advantage of the Netherlands. The
negotiations with Spain for the restitution of the Palatinate had
broken down. Philip IV and Olivares had never intended to purchase
the friendship of England at such a price, and the marriage
prospect, on which for so many years his heart had been set, had to
be reluctantly abandoned by King James. 'I like not', he said, 'to
marry my son with a portion of my daughter's tears.'

The return of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Buckingham,
October 5, angry at the treatment accorded to them at Madrid, led
to the overthrow of the party at Court which had favoured a Spanish
alliance. Parliament was summoned, and Buckingham in advocating an
anti-Spanish policy found himself for once a popular favourite.
Pressed by his son, by Buckingham, by Parliament, and by public
opinion, the aged King with a heavy heart saw himself compelled
to abandon his cherished scheme of recovering the Palatinate by
peaceful negotiations, and to take steps for armed intervention. The
States-General, on seeing the turn that events were taking, wisely
determined to send another embassy to London to take advantage
of the opportunity for concluding the wished-for offensive and
defensive alliance between England and the United Provinces. There
was this time no delay in drawing up the instructions, and Aerssen
and Joachimi, the two best men they could have chosen, departed on
their mission February 24.

There can be little question that the moving cause for the sending
of this embassy with such unusual dispatch is to be found in an
interview between Sir Dudley Carleton and Prince Maurice, which the
former records in a letter to the Duke of Buckingham dated December
9, 1623.

     'I have thought fit', wrote the ambassador, 'to set down at
     large (whilst it is fresh in my memory) an opportunity as
     properly given unto me this day by the Prince of Orange (who is
     the only person of power and confidence we have here to treat
     withal) as I hope your Grace will think it seasonably taken.'

Some business at the Council of State, at which both were present,
having been got through more quickly than was expected, Maurice, so
Carleton informed his correspondent,

     'gave me a long hour's leisure afterwards in his garden, which
     he himself desired of me ... he asked me bluntly (after his
     manner) _Qui at'il de vostre mariage?_[36] I told him it was
     now at a stay upon this point, that the restitution of the
     Palatinate must be first concluded. And that the Queen of
     Bohemia was not only well comforted with this assurance, but
     pleased herself with a further conceit that the opportunity
     was never fairer for this State to regain the King her father's
     favour, and return to the ancient support of his Crowns, which
     by way of gratitude for her good usage, since she had her refuge
     into these parts, she could not but admonish his Excellency of
     and advise him not to let it slip. Here I took occasion to play
     my own part, and to remember unto him how things had passed
     within the compass of my experience from the beginning, letting
     him know what friendship his Majesty had shewed this State in
     making their truce; what sincerity in rendering their cautionary
     towns according to contract when they were demanded; what
     affection in supporting their affairs during their late domestic
     disputes; what care in settling our East-Indian differences;
     finally, what patience in conniving at all the misdemeanours and
     insolences of their seamen without seeking revenge.'

  [36] The orthography of the original.

Carleton then proceeds to defend the King's attitude to the Dutch,
'whose ill course, pursued through some years' continuance, bred a
deserved distaste in his Majesty'; and his listening on the part
of Spain to 'fair overtures of friendship, being continually made
and confirmed by the tender of a match.... But (he is careful to
add) now the cause is removed, the effect may possibly cease in
like manner.' The reply of Maurice was 'that nothing could be more
certain than the affection of this State to a Prince embracing their
cause of opposition to Spain. And if his Majesty could take that
resolution, he might dispose of these their lives and fortunes.'
A further discussion led finally to the Prince's declaration,
'When the King would be to this State as Queen Elizabeth was, this
State would be to him as it was to Queen Elizabeth.' The advice of
Carleton to the Duke is to seize the chance of effecting a good
understanding with the Netherlands. 'The present opportunity [to
quote the actual words] of the Prince of Orange's good affection,
and strength of these provinces both by sea and land as it yet
stands, but not possible so long to continue, being seasonably laid
hold of, his Majesty may have with this State a firm and fruitful

The embassy then, which reached England on February 26, 1624,
had a comparatively easy task before it. It was received by the
populace with acclamations, and by the King, now completely under
the influence of Buckingham, with friendliness and distinction. Even
the news of the (so-called) massacre of Amboina in the far East,
which was to arouse in England for many years a bitter feeling of
resentment against the Dutch, did not now lead to any delay in the
negotiations, which proceeded smoothly from the first. Aerssen and
Joachimi had English public opinion with them, and a treaty for a
defensive alliance between the two countries was signed on June
15. By this treaty James allowed an additional force of 6,000 men
to be raised in England, the pay to be at his charges, the States
undertaking to refund the amount advanced on the conclusion of a
peace or truce. So quickly was the enlistment carried out, that
four regiments of 1,500 men each, commanded by the Earls of Oxford,
Essex, and Southampton and Lord Willoughby de Eresby, landed in
Holland ready for service on July 23. The contingent arrived at an
opportune moment, as Spinola had just invaded Dutch Brabant at the
head of an army of 24,000 foot and 3,000 horse, and had laid siege
to Breda.

This treaty of alliance of June 15, 1624, was followed as a matter
of course, by negotiations for a settlement of the long-standing
disputes about the Greenland fisheries indemnity and other
questions, but despite the efforts of the States-General and the
two residents Carleton and Caron, but little progress was made.
The directors of the Greenland (Northern) Company had the powerful
influence of Amsterdam behind them, and they raised, with the same
obstinacy as on previous occasions, strong opposition to making
any payment for damages, unless the English agreed to satisfy
their counter-claim for losses sustained in 1613 and 1617. Matters
were still further delayed by the illness and death of Noel Caron,
December 11, 1624. Caron was a real loss at this moment, for he
had during fourteen difficult and anxious years filled the post
of ambassador of the United Provinces in London with conspicuous
industry, ability, and tact. The selection of Albert Joachimi, Lord
of Ostend, as his successor was probably the best that could have
been made, and met with general approval. He was a man of proved
experience, and had been recently in England with Aerssen with the
mission that so successfully concluded the treaty. It was intended
that he should at once enter upon his duties and take with him
to England instructions for a prompt settlement of the Greenland
indemnity, if possible by a friendly agreement; if not, in any
case 'decisively and authoritatively', and in their turn the other
pending disputes and complaints.

Events, however, occurred which effected so complete a change in
the political situation that his departure was perforce delayed.
On March 27, 1625, James I died. A month later, Maurice, Prince
of Orange, breathed his last, April 25, 1625. Charles I ascended
the throne of England, and it was hoped this would mean a more
decisive intervention of England in foreign politics. The new King
was embittered against Spain, and it was known that the Duke of
Buckingham, who at this time professed friendship for Holland, and
through private pique was even more hostile to the Spaniards than
his master, held an influence over him greater even than that which
he had exercised over his father. It was largely through his efforts
that, after the rupture of the Spanish match, a marriage had been
arranged between the Prince of Wales and the sister of Louis XIII.
The accomplishment of this union was one of the very first acts of
the new reign. Charles and Henrietta Maria were married at Paris by
proxy, May 11, and at Canterbury, June 12, with Anglican rites.

Richelieu was now firmly established in power, and in his hands
Henry IV's policy of hostility to the ascendancy in Europe of the
house of Habsburg was revived. Charles was therefore not without
hopes of obtaining armed assistance from France in that war with
Spain for the recovery of the Palatinate on which his heart was
set. In the United Provinces, Frederick Henry, Prince of Orange,
succeeded to all the posts and to more than the influence of his
brother. He was, as a general, the equal of Maurice, and was far
superior to him as a statesman. During his Stadholderate, strong
in the support and affection of all parties and classes, Frederick
Henry was able for many years, despite the cumbersome and intricate
machinery of government in the Dutch Republic, to exercise a
control over the conduct of foreign affairs that was practically
undisputed. He, as the son of Louise de Coligny, had throughout
his life strong French leanings, and the aim of his diplomacy was
from the first to secure the goodwill of Richelieu and the help of
French troops and subsidies for the Netherlands. To send Joachimi
at such a juncture to London to discuss the settlement of a fishery
indemnity was clearly inadequate. It was resolved accordingly that
with the newly appointed resident ambassador a special embassy
should go to England to congratulate the King upon his accession
and his marriage, and, in view of the strained relations between
Charles and Spain, to negotiate a treaty between the two countries
on the basis of an offensive and defensive alliance. Francis van
Aerssen and Rienck van Burmania were chosen as envoys extraordinary
for this mission. They set sail, accompanied by Joachimi, on June
16. All the circumstances were favourable to the success of their
mission, no difficulties supervened, and on September 17 the treaty
of Southampton was signed. By this time a great expedition was being
prepared in England for the destruction of the port of Cadiz and
the capture of the Plate fleet. Already, efforts had been made by
Buckingham to persuade the States to allow 2,000 seasoned English
troops in their pay to serve on the great fleet he was equipping, in
exchange for 2,000 recruits. But although the 2,000 recruits were
sent over (June 19) to Rotterdam, the States-General would not part
with their veterans, whose services they sorely needed. Sickness
carried off numbers of the raw levies, who were not allowed to land,
and the remains had to return in miserable plight to Plymouth at
the end of August. Being without pay, these unhappy men had lived
during the interval at the personal charges of Sir Dudley Carleton.
In a letter to Sir F. Nethersole, secretary to the Queen of Bohemia,
dated August 30, the ambassador wrote:

     'I have had no small trouble with 2,000 soldiers sent hither
     out of the North of England to be exchanged with the States for
     so many old musquettiers, which the weakness of the States'
     army, especially in the English nation, could not admit, and,
     having understood his Majesty's intention to use these 2,000
     in the service of the fleet, I caused them three weeks since
     to be embarqued at Rotterdam, where they have layn ever since,
     attending the wind, but I hope they will now get away.'

Charles, having already quarrelled with his first Parliament, which
was dissolved August 12, had failed to obtain the subsidies he
required for carrying out his ambitious foreign policy. The States,
however, consented to allow General Sir Edward Cecil and several
other officers of experience in their service to absent themselves
for three months and take part in the expedition against Spain,
provided that they took none of their soldiers with them. Cecil,
although a land soldier without any naval experience, was induced
by Buckingham to take command of the great armada, a post for which
he was quite unfitted. The fleet, after many delays, at last set
sail October 5, badly equipped, with victuals only for six weeks,
foredoomed to failure. In accordance with the terms of the treaty,
a squadron of twenty Dutch ships under William of Nassau, a natural
son of Maurice, took part in the expedition. There is no need to
follow its fortunes further here. 'One by one,' says Dr. Gardiner,
'all through the winter months the shattered remains of the once
powerful fleet came staggering home, to seek refuge in whatever port
the winds and waves would allow.'

Such an ignominious issue to this great enterprise was of evil
omen to the new reign. It was wounding to English pride and roused
public indignation against Buckingham to a high pitch. In these
circumstances it is not to be wondered at that the alliance between
Great Britain and the United Provinces did not prevent a fresh crop
of differences arising between them. The massacre of Amboina rankled
in the mind of Charles, and it had not been forgotten or forgiven
by his people. The right of the English ambassador at the Hague to
a seat on the Council of State had strictly ceased when the treaty
which granted it came to an end with the close of the truce in 1621.
But Dudley Carleton had continued without gainsaying, so long as
Maurice lived, to enjoy his former privileges. By a resolution of
the States, June 5, 1626, however, he was informed that henceforth
he was permitted to take part in the deliberations of the Council
not as a right, but simply by courtesy. Carleton attempted to obtain
a withdrawal of the resolution, but in vain. As the most important
affairs were at this time no longer transacted in the Council of
State but in the States-General, the loss of influence was not
really great, nevertheless the mere passing of such a resolution
when the treaty of Southampton was not yet a year old was resented
by the English as a slight. Difficulties had also arisen over
the restrictions placed and the duties levied upon the Merchant
Adventurers, who had the staple of the English cloth trade at Delft.
Worse than all, a number of Dutch merchant vessels had been seized
and searched on the ground that they were carrying contraband and
trading with the Spanish enemy. The Hollanders throughout the
War of Independence had always insisted on the right to freedom
of commerce even with their foes, and by supplying the Spaniards
not only with food but with arms and munitions, had made immense
profits, which helped largely to fill the rebel war-chest. It was
the attempt of Leicester to stop this commerce, which chiefly caused
his unpopularity in the Netherlands. The treaty of Southampton
(arts. 20-23) had forbidden all such traffic, but the keen traders
of Amsterdam could not be restrained from the secret evasion of a
restriction, to which they had so long refused to submit. Hence
acts of reprisal on the part of the English Government, and bitter
complaints on both sides.

Once again it was necessary to send a special envoy to London. The
chosen ambassador this time was Jacob Cats, better known as the
People's Poet of the Netherlands than as a statesman, though he was
far from being undistinguished in the latter capacity, seeing that
he was to fill for a number of years the important post of Grand
Pensionary of Holland. He departed upon his mission March 9, 1627.
His object was to negotiate a Navigation Treaty (_traité de Marine_)
dealing with the various thorny questions regarding contraband
of war and right of search at sea which had been causing so much
trouble. But no sooner had the conferences with the Privy Council
begun than the Dutch envoy was confronted with complaints that the
old outstanding disputes, the indemnities claimed in reparation
for the Amboina massacre, and for the acts of violence committed
by the herring fishers off the coast of Scotland, and by the whale
fishers at Spitzbergen, had never been settled. Cats had to plead
that these matters were not included in his instructions, and after
some controversy he succeeded in securing the postponement of these
obtrusive and troublesome matters. They were at the first suitable
opportunity to be discussed with the resident ambassador, Joachimi,
who would be furnished with special instructions from the States.
The policy of delay, which had proved so successful in the past,
once more gained for the Netherlanders all that they required.
The fisheries went on, under protest indeed, but undisturbed. The
indemnities continued to be claimed, but remained unpaid. The main
purpose of Cats's mission was, however, not achieved. No agreement
about contraband and right of search and seizure was reached. The
comment of Aitzema upon the negotiations is worth reproducing; it is
scarcely possible to describe what took place more pithily or with
greater acuteness:

     'With these and such-like proposals, with plaints and
     counterplaints, was the time spent, without either the one or
     the other being made any the wiser. Each one thinks that he is
     most in the right; everybody looks outwards, nobody homewards,
     and for much of the time each was taxing the other with offences
     in which they themselves were the more guilty. The big fishes
     eat the small ones. He who has the might uses it; every one
     speaks merely of uprightness, of sincerity, of affection, and
     there is nothing but deception and hypocrisy on all sides. The
     English thought also (as was quite true) that they had done much
     for the common cause and for the Reformed Religion: and that
     it behoved this State likewise to suffer some inconvenience
     in their commerce; because otherwise all business which was
     in England, would find its way to the United Provinces, if
     these with too great and undisturbed freedom should use the
     sea, and not the English. Thus the Ministers of this State
     did not accomplish much. To Heer Cats, however, an honourable
     farewell was accorded with the usual present, and the dignity of
     Knighthood. He returned to the Hague August 30.'

The spring of 1627 had found the Government of Charles I involved
in so many difficulties that it is not surprising that the King
should not have found it possible to take any decisive line in his
negotiations with the Dutch. He had quarrelled with his Parliament,
and knew not where to turn to raise the money to meet the heavy
liabilities in which he had involved himself. The attack on Cadiz
had utterly miscarried, and had failed to give any help to the cause
of the Palatinate. At this moment of sore disappointment he had seen
with misgiving that the new Stadholder, Frederick Henry, and his
minister Aerssen, had turned to France with friendly overtures, and
had found Richelieu willing to receive them. France had promised
to the States a yearly subsidy, and a loan of troops on condition
that the Dutch would send a squadron to assist in the blockade of La
Rochelle, and would undertake not to conclude a peace or truce with
Spain without the knowledge and consent of the French King. Charles
felt that his strenuous efforts to increase his fleet and render
it more efficient, with the aim of making the English navy supreme
in the Channel and the North Sea, were directly threatened by such
an alliance. It was known that it was the policy of Richelieu to
strengthen the position of France as a maritime power, and the
traditional English jealousy of French aggrandizement was increased
rather than diminished by the close bond which united the royal
families. The French marriage had always been unpopular in England,
great resentment being felt at the concessions that had been made
with regard to the public performance of Roman Catholic rites.
Charles himself found the position of things at Court so difficult
that he was obliged finally to take the strong step of sending back
the French attendants of the young Queen. This gave great offence
at Paris, and the soreness between the two countries was aggravated
by the high-handed action of the English on the sea during the
Spanish war. French ships had been searched and seized, and in
reprisals an embargo had been laid upon English vessels and goods at
La Rochelle and other places. Finally, the countries drifted into
war. Charles hoped that he might secure the friendly neutrality of
Spain, but his efforts failed, and Spain allied herself with France.

In June a great expedition sailed under the command of Buckingham
to relieve La Rochelle. To meet its cost without the help of his
Parliament, Charles had been compelled to have recourse to forced
loans and other unpopular expedients, and the issue was to be
a disaster even more humiliating than that of Cadiz. In these
circumstances, while this fleet in the spring of 1627 was being
prepared, but its destiny still unknown, it was necessary for the
King to keep on good terms with the United Provinces, and to pursue
a temporizing policy with regard to the grievances that he had
against them. While therefore Jacob Cats, as special ambassador
from the States, was busily engaged in negotiations with the
English Government in London, Charles sent on his part an envoy
extraordinary to the Hague, nominally for the presentation of the
Order of the Garter to the Prince of Orange, in reality to sound the
disposition of the Dutch Statesmen and to make proposals to them.

The man selected to carry out this commission was the former
ambassador at the Hague, Sir Dudley (now Lord) Carleton, who had
returned to London in the previous year. In his secret instructions
(dated May, 1627) are several interesting passages.[37] The
document opens thus:--

     'The mayne scope of your imployment consisting of two points;
     the one to prevent the practices of the French, who seeke by
     presentation of new treatyes, and profers of summes of money,
     to make, as it were, a purchase of the affection of that
     State, and to gaine it from us; the other, to provide that no
     misunderstanding growe upon such overtures of pacification as
     are made unto us by the Spanyard; we may well consider that in
     cases of this nature, with people so composed as they are, there
     is required a very cautious proceeding.... We would have you
     begin with declaration of our purpose constantly to continue
     our preparations against Spayne, as against a common enemie,
     in conformity to the league, offensive and defensive, betwixt
     us and that State, and to make the same more manifest, you
     shall have a list of the Shipping now sett out under our High
     Admiral, the Duke of Buckingham, with such as we are now further
     preparing for the security of these seas; and hereupon you are
     to require them to arme, in like manner extraordinarely to sea,
     according to treaty....'

  [37] Sir Dudley Carleton's _State Letters_, 1627, pp. 5-15.

Thus was Carleton to attempt to blind the Dutch statesmen as to the
overtures that had been made to Spain and as to the purpose of the
fleet gathered at Portsmouth. With regard to the second point, the
instructions proceed:--

     'We would have you take knowledge of such griefs and
     discontentments, as their resident Ambassador Joachimi, and
     Catz their extraordinary deputy, have complained of against
     our seamen, and thereupon make knowen the charge (wherewith
     you are well acquainted) we have given certaine select persons
     of our Council to treate with them, of all due and reasonable
     satisfaction for what is past, and a reglement for the future;
     but with all you are to remember unto them, that, as we are to
     have a care of their contentments, so we are not to neglect the
     protection we owe to our own subjects.'

And then follows a setting out of the old grievances, the Amboina
affair and the differences between the East India Companies
generally, and the exactions upon the Merchant Adventurers now
having their Court in the staple town of Delft under the title of
tare. There is no mention here of the fisheries. As regards the
choice of friendship with France or with England, the instruction,
after a recitation of all that the Republic has owed to English
goodwill in the past, thus presents the alternative:--

     'Therefore, as things may growe to greate extremity betwixt us
     and the French King, in case you find no disposition in the
     States to joyne with us in assistance, as their enemys do with
     France, we like well you should persuade them to hold themselves
     neutrall, whereby to reserve to themselves the liberty of
     mediation of attonement, to which we shall be at all times ready
     to lend a willing ear to them, as common friends. And as they
     may apprehend danger to their State, by want of such pecuniary
     ayde as is verbally presented to them by the French King as the
     price of their affections; or may be prest to the renewing of
     the triennial treaty of Compiegne, let them in their wisdomes,
     waigh what is the less of evils, in forbearing for a while the
     acceptation of the weak and faltering friendship of France,
     which, being in warre with England, cannot have meanes to
     assist them, though never so willing and constant; or provoking
     England to the necessity of conjoyning with their enemies,
     for which they cannot but know the doore is allways open to
     us; and then consider that when the flame betwixt France and
     us hath no such fewell from this country as is ministered to
     the French from Spayne, it will be the sooner extinguished and
     these crownes may be quickly reunited, not only to their ayde as
     formerly, but likewise to the support and restitution of such
     friends in Germany, in whose welfare they, with us, have common

Finally, Carleton is requested to remonstrate with the States for
the difficulties they had raised to the admission of his successor
at the Hague--a nephew, named Dudley Carleton like himself--to a
seat in the Council of State, which had always hitherto been granted
to all English ambassadors and agents since 1585.

Carleton had his first audience in the assembly of the
States-General, June 14/24, and a second five days later. In the
first he read an address setting forth the various objects of his
diplomatic mission; in the second he asked permission of the States
for the Prince of Orange to accept the Garter. In a letter dated
June 27 (o.s.), to Lord Killultagh, the ambassador gives an account
of a conference that he had with a deputation of the States-General,
consisting of one member representing each province. 'He laid open
to them', he writes, 'all that had passed from the beginning to
the end', and tried to persuade them of the advantage of clinging
to the English in preference to the French alliance. He found it,
however, a difficult task to remove the apprehensions that were
felt that Charles's quarrel with France meant a drawing nearer to
Spain. Carleton, at the same time, does not scruple to point out
that the fact that he has gone to Holland without any money to pay
even interest on the expenses that had been incurred by the States
for the maintenance of Mansfeld's English levies in 1625, or for the
creditors of the Queen of Bohemia, or for preventing the forfeiture
of 'His Majesty's Jewells, which are in pawn at Amsterdam', would be
ruinous to his mission, and begs for the necessary cash to be sent.
The money, it is needless to say, was not forthcoming, and such was
the suspicion against England that, despite Carleton's efforts to
secure for the English resident ambassador a seat on the Council
of State, the proposal was rejected by the vote of every province
separately. Nevertheless there was genuine alarm in the Netherlands
that the continuance of the war between France and England would
be injurious to their interests by forcing one of the combatants
to seek the alliance of Spain. The missions of Cats to England and
of Carleton to the Hague, though they failed in bringing about any
real settlement of the differences between the two powers, at least
effected an understanding that, for a time at any rate, grievances
were not to be pressed. The interests of Dutch trade rendered the
undisturbed passage of the Channel, free from interference by
hostile fleets or cruisers, a consideration of the very utmost

It was resolved, therefore, to send yet another special embassy to
England to offer the mediation of the States between the belligerent
powers, and to negotiate for the release of the many Dutch ships
which had been seized on the high seas and kept in English harbours.
The lord of Randwijk and Adrian Pauw, pensionary of Amsterdam,
were accordingly sent. They arrived in London, January 25, 1628,
and stayed in England some fourteen months. Carleton meantime
remained at the Hague. In May of this same year the Earl of Carlisle
joined him, bringing further instructions from the King. By these
instructions he was bidden to assist Carleton in pressing upon the
States the advantages of friendship with England in preference
to France, and the necessity, if they wished to obtain it, of
forbidding the construction of French war-vessels in the Dutch
ports, and of punishing adequately the perpetrators of 'the foule
and bloody fact' of Amboina. It will thus be seen that diplomacy
during these years 1627 and 1628 was indeed busy, so busy that it
is by no means easy to see light clearly amidst such a tangled web
of negotiations. This is certain, that they had small result. The
Prince of Orange, and his chief adviser Francis van Aerssen, had
made the French alliance the sheet-anchor of their policy. They
wished to be on friendly terms with England, and to bring the war,
which was so injurious to Dutch interests, to a speedy conclusion,
but they distrusted the intentions of Charles I, and knew that the
breach with his Parliament in any case must deprive him of the
resources for carrying out any bold and active intervention in the
German war. They suspected, moreover, that it was not unlikely
that Charles might follow in his father's footsteps and strive to
help his relatives in the Palatinate by means of negotiations with
Spain rather than by hostilities against that power. The efforts
of Carleton and Carlisle met therefore with little or no success.
The influence of Amsterdam in the States of Holland was too strong
for any steps to be taken to punish those who had been concerned in
the Amboina tragedy, and the English demands were met by evasion
and delay. But though Carleton was unsuccessful, the envoys in
London, in carrying out their task as mediators between England and
France, were helped by the pressure upon Charles of the financial
difficulties in which, after the assassination of Buckingham (August
23, 1628), he was becoming more and more involved. The dissolution
of March, 1629, was a final breach with his Parliament. The King had
therefore little or no alternative but to bring his war with France
to a speedy conclusion. The Dutch envoys, on their part, did their
best to remove the obstacles to an Anglo-French understanding, and
peace was signed April 24, 1629.

V: 1629-1641

The foreign policy of Charles I during the eleven years of
autocratic rule which followed the dissolution of Parliament in
1629, was conditioned by his lack of money. His schemes were
ambitious and were obstinately pursued, and the charge that has
frequently been preferred against him of inconstancy and fickleness,
though it has a basis of truth, is on the whole unjust. Charles's
projects had to be frequently modified, because he found himself
without the means for carrying them out. In November, 1630, peace
was concluded with Spain. It was his dearest desire to see the
Palatinate restored to the Elector Frederick, and his sister, to
whom he was much attached, freed from the necessity of living as
an exile in Holland; but the cost of a military expedition to the
aid of the Protestants in Germany was prohibitive. He was also
suspicious of French motives and of the policy underlying their
alliance with the Dutch. Perhaps at this time the predominant idea
before Charles's mind was the restoration of the navy to a position
of supremacy in the British seas. His most earnest endeavours
were for some years directed to this end, but its attainment was
seriously threatened by the close bonds which united the powerful
fleets of the Dutch Republic with the growing naval strength of

In these circumstances, he attempted to pursue his father's policy
of seeking to counterbalance the Franco-Dutch alliance by a good
understanding with Spain, through whose intervention with the
Emperor he hoped he might be able to secure for Frederick V some
portion at any rate of his ancestral possessions. In 1631 a treaty
with Spain for the partition of the Netherlands was actually
drawn up, but it came to nothing, and its failure was followed by
negotiations with Gustavus Adolphus. These also were fruitless, for
Charles was unable to offer the Swedish King the military assistance
without which the proffered alliance had no value. Hopes, however,
no doubt lingered in Charles's mind that the phenomenal success of
Gustavus would lead to the restoration of the Elector Palatine to
his rights, but Gustavus was slain at Lützen (November, 1632), and
the disastrous defeat of the Swedes and their Protestant allies at
Nördlingen (August, 1634) gave a decisive superiority in Germany to
the Hispano-Imperialist forces. The Habsburg family alliance had for
the time completely gained the upper hand.

Charles, who had been tentatively making overtures to France, now
turned once more to Spain (October, 1634) with a fresh scheme for
the partition of the Netherlands, and though the time was now
past for any real change in Spanish policy, a treaty was actually
signed (May 1, 1635) by which the English King agreed to assist
the Spaniards with a naval force against the Dutch. He had been
impelled to take this step from fear of French designs. The battle
of Nördlingen had had the effect of drawing the French and Dutch
nearer together in the common dread of a Habsburg predominance. A
treaty of subsidies was at once agreed upon, and it was followed
(February, 1635) by an offensive and defensive alliance between
the two powers. Both France and the United Provinces bound
themselves not to make a separate peace, and it was provided that
the Spanish Netherlands--the southern provinces, by the death of
the Archduchess Isabel, had in 1633 reverted to Spain--should be
conquered and partitioned between the two contracting parties.
Charles had therefore looked to a Spanish alliance as a counterpoise
to a Franco-Dutch supremacy in the 'narrow seas'. He hoped also
that he might at the same time secure favourable terms for his
nephew--Frederick V had died in November, 1632--in the Palatinate.
He was soon to learn by the publication of the Treaty of Prague
(May 30, 1635) that the Emperor had transferred the territory and
the electoral dignity of the Palatinate to the Duke of Bavaria.
Direct negotiations with Vienna, backed, as they were, by no force,
were barren, and Charles was compelled to see in the aid of France,
who had concluded an offensive and defensive alliance with the
Swedes, two months after that with the States, his only hope for the
furtherance of his nephew's interests. Richelieu had now definitely
ranged himself with the two leading Protestant powers in a league
against the house of Austria, and had pledged all the military and
financial resources of France to the task of carrying out the policy
of Henry IV, which a quarter of a century before had been rendered
abortive by the dagger of Ravaillac.

The States judged this to be a fitting time to send over to England
a special envoy, and Cornelis van Beveren, lord of Strevelshoek, was
selected for the post. He set out for London, March 19, 1636. His
instructions were to act in concert with Joachimi and the French
ambassador De Senneterre, in urging Charles to join in a triple
bond with the United Provinces and France for the purpose of making
a combined attack upon Spain. Van Beveren was to point out that
only by such a course could he lend any effectual assistance to his
nephew. It was hoped that Charles Lewis, who was now residing at the
English Court, would use all his influence in forwarding the objects
of the mission.

The negotiations, however, were doomed to take a very different
direction from what had been intended. On April 5 the Secretaries of
State, Windebank and Coke, came to Van Beveren with a communication
from the King. It was to the effect that Charles was preparing
to send out a fleet 'to preserve and maintain his sovereignty
and hereditary rights over the sea, and for the preservation and
protection of commerce', and the Dutch envoy was informed that
no one would in future be allowed 'to fish in the King's seas
without express licence and suitable acknowledgement.' So long a
time had elapsed since the last attempt at interference with the
Dutch fishing that all mention of it had been omitted from the
instructions of Van Beveren; it was hoped, indeed, that the question
would not be revived. On Van Beveren expressing his astonishment at
this sudden change of policy, and asking for the reasons which had
prompted it, he was referred to the recently published _Mare Clausum
seu Dominium Maris_, by John Selden, in which he would find a
complete exposition of the King's rights and of the object he had in
asserting them. This famous work, written originally, as the author
himself tells us, at the command of James I, to establish the claims
of the King to the exclusive sovereignty of the British seas, had
for some years remained unprinted. The attention of Charles having
been drawn to it, he read it carefully, and immediately commanded
its publication. Its appearance in December, 1635, had thus an
official character, for its principles and policy were henceforth
adopted by Charles, as matters demonstrated by irrefutable proofs,
and they were endorsed by English public opinion wherever Selden's
treatise, which rapidly passed through two editions, was read.

Van Beveren, seriously disturbed, at once wrote home for further
instructions, and his fears were not allayed when at an audience,
April 15, the King declined the proffered alliance, and expressed
his wish for a discussion of the question of maritime rights. His
dispatch at this very time of Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel, on
a special mission to Vienna, showed indeed that he still trusted
to the result of direct negotiations with the Emperor. Arundel
had to pass through Holland, where his presence on such an errand
warned the Dutch that the attitude of Charles was anything but
friendly, and that grave dangers might be threatening them. In
these circumstances the States-General, leaving Van Beveren to
continue his negotiations in England, summoned Joachimi to the
Hague to consult with them as to the course it was best to take
should Charles persist in his purpose. They had need of his advice,
for May 10/20, 1636, a proclamation was issued by the King--'for
restraint of Fishing upon His Majesty's Seas and Coasts without
licence'--which plainly stated the King's intention 'to keepe such
a competent strength of shipping upon Our Seas, as may by God's
Blessing be sufficient, both to hinder further encroachments on
Our Regalities, and assist and protect those our good Friends and
Allies, who shall, henceforth, by vertue of Our Licences (to be
first obtained) endeavour to take the benefit of Fishing upon our
Coasts and Seas, in the places accustomed.'[38]

  [38] See note G.

For some weeks no steps were taken to enforce the proclamation, but
on July 20 news reached Van Beveren that an English fleet of fifteen
vessels was ready to sail to the fishing-grounds with orders to
seize as prizes any boats that refused to pay the toll. To plead
for delay was the only course open to the Dutch envoy. He had an
interview with the King in person at Windsor, July 27, but was
able to effect nothing. Charles assured him that the object of the
fleet, so far from being hostile, was intended for the protection of
the fisher-folk especially against the Dunkirk pirates (from whose
daring attacks they had as a matter of fact suffered much during
the past few years), and that the payment of a small toll was but a
recognition of the benefit they would receive. With this doubtful
assurance he had perforce to rest content. On July 31 twelve ships
under Vice-Admiral Pennington actually sailed northwards, and
compelled the fishermen that they encountered--most of the boats
had already returned home, it being late in the season--to pay the
toll. No opposition was made. One of the captains of the Dutch
guard-ships had, however, in consequence of his protest against
these proceedings, been taken prisoner.

The Dutch Government on hearing this news took decided action.
Joachimi was ordered at once to return to England, and as soon as
possible to seek an audience with the King. Armed with instructions,
Joachimi accordingly left Holland, August 18, convoyed by a fleet
under Lieutenant-Admiral Van Dorp. He landed at Southwold, and
finding that Charles was at Woodstock he made his way at once to
that place. The interview took place September 3.

In accordance with his instructions the ambassador expressed their
High Mightinesses astonishment that an Armada should have appeared
in the midst 'of the poor fishers and herring-catchers of these
lands', and had seized one of the captains of the guard-ships and
caused such terror among the fisher-folk that the larger part of
them had fled and dared no longer pursue their avocation. His
Majesty was courteously requested to withdraw his demand for a
licence and to allow the fishers to ply their trade as heretofore,
and it was proposed that a conference should be held to consider
the fishery question in its entirety. Joachimi did not neglect
the opportunity of pointing out how closely the questions of the
fisheries and of the Palatinate hung together. Charles was unmoved
by these representations, and finally, September 9, declined the
proposal of a conference. 'There could be no debating', he said,
'about his Majesty's rights already confirmed publickly before all
the world'. The recognition of his rights was a condition which must
precede negotiation. After discussion with Van Beveren, seeing that
the situation was serious, Joachimi determined to return to the
Hague. His start was, however, delayed by various causes, and he did
not make his appearance before the States-General until November 22.

Meanwhile the aspect of affairs had not improved. Admiral Van Dorp,
who had in the middle of August convoyed Joachimi to England, also
had his instructions. He was first to sail with his fleet to the
fishing grounds to prevent any injury being done to the fishermen.
This accomplished, he was to blockade Dunkirk, and to destroy any
privateers or Spanish ships cruising in the Channel. His orders
were strict, that he was not to allow his ships to be visited or
searched, and during his blockade of Dunkirk he was to keep a
watchful eye upon the fisheries of the land and to protect them
against the Spaniards or any others who should wish to molest them.
These instructions were in fact a direct reply and challenge to the
proclamation of King Charles.

The Dutch herring fleet having recovered from their alarm had
ventured out, as was their custom, about the middle of September,
to the English coasts for a second catch of fish. The Earl of
Northumberland had been charged with the collection of the toll from
them. He had, however, at this time but three ships with him, and
learning that a Dutch squadron of sixteen sail was near at hand he
promptly sent for reinforcements. In response, twelve vessels were
dispatched from the Thames, October 8. Actual hostilities, however,
did not take place. One large detachment of 'busses', not having a
sufficient convoy, was made to pay, the rest were left unmolested.
The English commander finding himself in the presence of thirteen
Dutch war-ships did not venture to attack them. Both sides showed in
fact more caution than aggressiveness. The authorities in Holland,
however, did not approve Van Dorp's attitude and conduct, and he was
requested to resign his command.

The course of events was fortunately to relieve a strain that was
rapidly approaching the breaking point. Charles's negotiations with
the Emperor had led to no satisfactory result. It was at last made
clear to him that by this means there was no hope of obtaining a
restoration of the Palatinate. Van Beveren seized the opportunity of
placing himself in communication with Charles Lewis, at this time
residing in London, with the hope of securing through his aid a
better understanding between England and the States. Charles Lewis
was only too willing in his own interests to act as intermediatory,
and his influence with his uncle was great. His mother, the Queen of
Bohemia, was at this time writing pressing letters to her brother
begging for his active intervention, and it was urged upon King
Charles that the assistance of the Dutch army and navy would be far
more valuable to him than any sum of money that could be extracted
in the shape of toll from the fisher fleet. On the point of the
toll the King showed himself not unwilling to yield, but not one
inch would he concede of his claims to the undisputed sovereignty
of the sea. If he withdrew his proclamation and allowed the Dutch,
as heretofore, freedom of fishing without licence, it would be in
compensation for services rendered in the cause of the Palatinate,
not as a right based upon ancient treaties and long usage. The
Dutch, on the other hand, were keenly alive to all that was involved
in any admission of such a dominion of the sea as that claimed by
the English King, and were determined not to grant it. On Charles's
side, however, financial difficulties at this time rendered any
straightforward course impracticable. The King had not the means to
fit out an expedition for the help of his nephew, and he hovered
hither and thither between divergent policies in the vain hope
that without recourse to a Parliament he could find some way of
furthering the cause of Charles Lewis, without involving himself in
an outlay that he was unable to meet. Scheme after scheme floated
before his mind, all of them equally visionary when confronted with
the stern realities of impecuniousness. From Ferdinand and Philip he
turned to Richelieu. The French armies were advancing in Lorraine
and Elsass, and were co-operating with the Dutch in the Netherlands,
and with the Swedes and their Protestant allies in Germany. For
awhile it appeared as if Richelieu were inclined to an English
alliance. In February and March, 1637, a treaty was indeed actually
drawn up. It is strongly suspected, however, that the Cardinal
was never in real earnest, and only wished to amuse the English
King with negotiations, and thus at any rate keep him back from
purchasing Spain's goodwill on the Rhine by an offer to take part in
a joint naval attack upon the United Provinces. Charles was quite
aware of the solidarity of the bond which united France and the
States, and that a French alliance implied friendly relations with
the Dutch. On February 13 therefore he sent the Secretary of State,
Coke, to Van Beveren, who was still in London, to reopen direct
negotiations. It was now proposed that there should be a combined
Anglo-Dutch naval expedition in which a French squadron should be
invited to participate, which, after driving the Spanish fleets
from the sea, should effect a landing in the Peninsula and dictate
terms to Philip IV. Meanwhile the King expressed his willingness
to allow the Dutch fishermen to pursue their industry along the
coasts of his kingdoms freely and without hindrance. During the
following season the English fleet would blockade the Flemish ports,
but would not appear on the fishing grounds nor make any demands
for licences. But with this latter concession the States were not
satisfied. Such an act of toleration implied that Charles maintained
to the full his claim to the undisputed sovereignty of the sea. He
would not during the time of the allied operations press his rights
to issue licences and exact toll, he only waived them as a favour.
Further than this he could not go. On the question of the _dominium
maris_, despite the earnest entreaties of Charles Lewis, he refused
any compromise. But on the other side there was no less obstinacy.
The Prince of Orange himself wrote (March 1) to Van Beveren, that
he was on no account to commit himself or assent to any terms
unless the proclamation concerning the fishing licences was first
withdrawn. With France the negotiations for an alliance appeared
to be proceeding smoothly, the treaty lay ready for signature, and
on March 4 Charles sent full powers to his ambassador at Paris to
conclude the matter. On the 23rd came the news that difficulties had
arisen, and that France also required that the proclamation should
be withdrawn, at least during the period of the treaty. But Charles,
though the negotiations still dragged on, absolutely declined to
discuss a question which concerned his rights and honour, and so he
now once more lent a not unwilling ear to the tempting offers made
to him by the Spanish ambassador. Spain was willing in return for
an offensive and defensive alliance against the United Provinces
to recognize the King's sovereign rights on the seas, and to hand
over at once the Lower Palatinate. They even went so far as to
promise the surrender of certain towns in Flanders as pledges for
the ultimate restitution of the Upper Palatinate and the electoral
dignity to Charles Lewis. It is extremely doubtful whether these
proposals were serious, in any case they were not seriously

The mere prospect of an Anglo-Spanish agreement had, however, the
effect which Charles probably intended it to have in making the
French and Dutch more conciliatory. Negotiations were resumed,
and the fishery question by mutual consent was relegated to the
background. It was finally arranged that a conference should be held
at Hamburg at the end of June to settle the terms of a quadruple
alliance between France, England, the United Provinces, and Sweden.
Terms of peace were to be laid before the Emperor by the four powers
conjointly. In case of their rejection the King of England was to
declare war against Austria and Spain. Everything now seemed to be
working smoothly, and no one doubted that the conference would meet
and that its issue would be favourable. The Dutch fishermen had not
been interfered with, and such was the confidence in the States that
England had now finally thrown in her lot with the coalition against
the house of Austria, that instructions were sent to Van Beveren to
return home where his presence was required.

Nevertheless the Dutch after his recall did not show any eagerness
to proceed. Reflection made them doubtful about Charles's bona
fides. They misliked the high pretensions of the English to the
sovereignty of the seas, for in his insistence on this point the
King was but voicing the sentiment of his people. It was becoming
a really grave issue of practical politics. With astonishment the
Dutch learnt that Charles had even given a patent granting exclusive
rights of fishing off the shores of Newfoundland, and had forbidden
foreigners to fish in those waters without his licence, April, 1637.
If he claimed the right to do this, where was the line to be drawn?
Under pressure from their French allies, Charles van Cracauw, the
ambassador of the States in Denmark, was at length appointed to
represent the United Provinces at the Hamburg Conference, but his
instructions were not drawn up, and he continued to reside for some
time longer in Copenhagen. Throughout the whole of 1637 the Dutch
could not be moved to take any further steps in the matter. In the
letters of Hugo Grotius (at this time Swedish resident ambassador
at Paris) to the Chancellor Axel Oxenstierna many interesting
references are made to the attitude of the States, and it must be
remembered that Grotius not only had access to the best sources of
information, but had an unrivalled acquaintance with the question
which was uppermost in the minds of all Dutch statesmen, the freedom
of the sea and of the fisheries. On June 4, the very day after
the nomination of Cracauw as delegate for the conference, Grotius

     'The ambassador of the States in England informs me that the
     Spaniards there have great power--that they wish that the
     restitution of the Palatinate should be regarded as a certain
     thing; that they promise aid for the safeguarding of the
     possession of the sea against the Dutch. Would that these things
     were not true! The same adds that proposals were made by the
     Spaniards that after the death of this Bavarian the electoral
     law should be altered, conditions were even offered by the
     Spaniard to the English, if they could be dragged into war
     against the Dutch Republic, which however I do not fear. For I
     see that the action of the English is principally directed to
     the aim of having their commerce into all nations free and to
     deprive others of theirs. The Dutch had formed a hope that the
     contest about the fishery would this year be at rest; but I see
     that the English envoys, who are here [at Paris] hold that for

A fortnight later (June 18) occurs the following passage:--

     'After I had written this there came to me the English Envoy
     Extraordinary, Lord Leicester.... He says, that Northumberland
     (to whom he is nearly related) is again about to disturb the
     Dutch in their liberty of using the sea, unless the Dutch
     purchase it by great services to the Palatine house and by
     declarations not injurious to English rights. I, restraining
     myself from a definite declaration about the controversy, have
     been content to demonstrate, how necessary liberty of fishing
     was to that Republic and how necessary the Republic itself to
     the security of all Europe.[39]

  [39] _Rikskansleren Axel Oxenstierna's Skrifter och Brefvexling,
  Hugo Grotii bref_, ii. 1633-9, pp. 335-58.

Such being the feelings and the relations subsisting between the
two countries, it can excite no astonishment that the States were
exceedingly cautious before committing themselves to an alliance,
which might entail further sacrifice upon them, and tie their hands
in a matter of primary importance to their welfare. According to
Grotius, proposals were made for holding the conference at the Hague
instead of Hamburg, in order to make sure of Dutch co-operation.
But they came to nothing. Charles, however, in the spring of 1638
appears to have been really in earnest. Again and again the English
Resident at the Hague appeared before the States-General to urge
them to send a representative to the conference. Not, however, until
fresh pressure had been put upon them in the name of France and
Sweden by the French ambassador, D'Estampes, were definite orders
sent to Van Cracauw to go to Hamburg, April 8. Even now he did not
have any powers given to him to negotiate as plenipotentiary, but
was required to refer all matters to the States-General for their
decision. Already, on March 4, a new treaty had been concluded
between France and Sweden for the joint prosecution of the war, but
the quadruple alliance was never accomplished. Difficulties and
intrigues prevented the ratification either of the Anglo-French or
Anglo-Swedish Treaties, and the States were more than half-hearted
in the business. The ill success of the young Elector Palatine, who
had taken the field in the spring of this year at the head of a
force raised by the help of his uncle Charles I, virtually brought
the conference to an end. Charles Lewis's army was completely
defeated at Lemco on October 8. Differences, which had been for
some little time endangering the friendly relations of England and
France, now came to a head.[40] The representatives of the powers
gathered at Hamburg, only to disperse without result. The long drawn
out negotiations gave birth to nothing but sterile discussions.
The outbreak, indeed, of the troubles in Scotland regarding
'Laud's Liturgy', and the resistance that was being offered to
the collection of ship-money, effectually crippled Charles's
efforts on behalf of his nephew in Germany. Richelieu no longer
saw any advantage in tying his hands by entering into an alliance
which promised so little. He preferred therefore to cut himself
adrift from the English connexion, and to trust to his alliances
with Sweden and the United Provinces[41] for pushing on the war
vigorously. It was not for Protestantism that he was fighting,
but for the aggrandizement of France at the cost of the House of

  [40] _Grotii bref_, April 9, 1639, p. 595, 'video cum dolore inter
  Anglos et Gallos veteres recrudescere inimicitias.'

  [41] _Grotii bref_, April 23, 1639, p. 602, 'Haud equidem
  affirmaverim, quod suspicantur Angli, Gallicis pecuniis sustentari
  Scoticam factionem pauperiorem ceteroqui quam ut bello diu
  sufficiat. Creduntur autem id facere Galli, non tantum ex aemulatu
  vetere, verum etiam quod cum Batavi nunc consilia socient ad
  capienda Flandriae oppida maritima, quod cum solus prohibere possit
  Anglus, domestico ob id negotio distinendus sit.'

This failure of his efforts to bring about, in conjunction with
France, a coalition of the Protestant powers for the reconquest of
the Palatinate and the restoration of his nephew to his electoral
dignity and possessions, made Charles turn his eyes once more to
Spain. The presence at the English Court of Mary de Medicis and
the Duchess de Chevreuse in 1638 gave fresh life to that party,
who had always favoured a Spanish alliance. The news that the
Spaniards were making great preparations for a determined attack
upon the United Provinces led the King to hope that, despite
previous disappointments, he might be able to forward by friendly
negotiations with Spain the cause of Charles Lewis. The help of
the English fleet could not but be serviceable to a Spanish naval
expedition, and possibly Charles had visions of being able to attain
through this means that undisputed sovereignty of the British seas
which, since the publication of Selden's book, he had set before
himself, as we have seen, as one of the chief and unchangeable
objects of his policy, and at the same time, perhaps, the pecuniary
assistance he so much needed for the suppression of the Scottish
rebellion against his authority. With characteristic uncertainty
and wavering, however, while negotiating with Spain, the King did
not cease his endeavours to gain French support for his nephew. The
Spanish preparations caused uneasiness in Paris, as well as at the
Hague, and the English fleet was an asset not to be despised in
the event of a Spanish armada threatening to dominate the Channel.
The death of Duke Bernhard of Saxe-Weimar in July, 1639, left
the powerful force of mercenaries which he had commanded without
a leader. Charles wished to buy their services for the Elector
Palatine, but he could only do this through the good offices of
Richelieu, who was already offering good terms to the 'Bernardines'
to enter the French service. A treaty between the French Government
and the chief officers of the 'Bernardine' army was in fact on the
point of being concluded, when Charles Lewis made his appearance at
the head-quarters with a supply of English money and tried to induce
the leaders to place themselves under his command, as an independent
force. The result was his immediate arrest by Richelieu's command,
October, 1639. He was imprisoned at Vincennes for several months.
This act was a final breach of good relations between France and

Meanwhile Charles's approaches to Spain had been equally
unfortunate. The Cardinal Infant, Ferdinand, the victor of
Nördlingen, had, as Governor-General of the Netherlands, been
successful in the conduct of the war against the Dutch and French in
the years 1638 and 1639. In the latter year Olivares determined to
dispatch a powerful Spanish reinforcement by sea to the Netherlands
to take part in the next campaign. Accordingly, early in September,
a fleet left the Spanish ports consisting of seventy-seven vessels,
many of them of the largest size, commanded by a veteran admiral
who had seen much service, Antonio de Oquendo. Its object was
to disembark at Dunkirk an expeditionary force of 10,000 men. A
Dutch squadron had been cruising in the Channel all the summer,
keenly on the look-out for the Spaniards, under the command of
Lieutenant-Admiral Martin Harpertzoon Tromp. On September 16 he
sighted the armada. He had with him at the moment only thirteen
ships. But without hesitation he fiercely attacked the Spaniards,
and after a tremendous fight he forced Oquendo to fly for refuge
to the English coast. Oquendo, after passing through the Straits
of Dover, anchored under the lee of the Downs, side by side with
an English squadron of ten ships under Vice-Admiral Pennington.
Tromp sent at once urgent messages to Holland for reinforcements.
With a squadron that joined him from Dunkirk he lay in the offing
blockading the Spanish fleet in the Downs. In all the harbours of
Holland and Zeeland the greatest efforts were now made to send every
available ship to sea at the earliest moment. Day by day Tromp's
fleet increased in number. His orders were uncompromising. He was
to attack the Spaniards wherever he found them, as soon as he was
in a position to do so with success. Accordingly, on October 21,
being now at the head of a fleet of 105 sail with 12 fireships,
the Dutch admiral, although the Spaniards still lay in English
waters, resolved to take the offensive. Detaching thirty ships under
Vice-Admiral De With to watch Pennington, he sailed straight for the
enemy's galleons as they sheltered under the cliffs between Dover
and Deal. The contest was sharp, but decisive. Under cover of a fog,
Oquendo himself with seven vessels made his way to Dunkirk. All the
rest were captured or destroyed. Some 15,000 Spaniards perished,
about 1,800 were taken prisoners. The Dutch only lost two ships and
about 100 killed and wounded. Tromp had won one of the most crushing
of naval victories, and had annihilated the power of Spain upon the

This daring infringement of English neutrality could not but give
deep offence to King Charles, and be hurtful to the feelings of
the English people. It was at once felt in the States that an
explanation must be offered for the instructions given to Tromp,
which had been so successfully carried out. It was accordingly
resolved to dispatch a special envoy to London, and Francis van
Aerssen (now generally known as Lord of Sommelsdijk) was himself
chosen to undertake the difficult mission. His instructions were
that he should complain of the help frequently afforded to the
Spaniards by the English, and plead that the attack of Tromp at the
Downs was a necessary sequel to the previous encounter from which
the Spanish fleet had fled to seek refuge in English waters, and
that it was justified by Art. 15 of the Treaty of Southampton. He
was further to express the readiness of the States to conclude with
the King a fresh treaty of alliance. Sommelsdijk found everything
against him. The King was very angry at the gross affront to his
honour and his sovereignty of the seas, and the most influential
of his counsellors, among them Strafford and Laud, were strongly
anti-Dutch. The affair was made an excuse for pressing forward the
collection of ship-money, and the Spanish party continually gained
strength. The Queen-Mother of France and Madame Chevreuse, who were
then at the English Court, did their utmost to further the cause of
Spain, and there was talk of cementing an alliance by the marriage
of the Princess Royal with the heir to the Spanish crown.

Sommelsdijk, finding he could effect no good result, asked
permission to return to Holland.[42] He probably knew that Charles
was anxious not to break with the States, for his request brought
about a change in the King's demeanour. Charles requested him
to remain, and showed himself more friendly. On January 16 the
ambassador, whose correspondence with Frederick Henry at this
time is of great interest, wrote to the Stadholder that he was
not without some hopes now of soothing the resentment of the King
by abstaining as far as possible from the irritating topic of the
Downs, and letting it fall into oblivion by drawing his attention to
other subjects of discussion. Sommelsdijk had persuasive manners,
and by the exercise of patience, tact, and conciliation, he did
succeed to a large extent in his aim. He was much helped in his task
by another negotiation which was now set on foot. Frederick Henry,
in this same month of January, 1640, sent over a secret envoy, Jan
van der Kerkhoven, Lord of Heenvliet, to propose a marriage between
his only son and an English princess. The matter had been first
suggested by Marie de Medicis during a visit to the Hague in 1638.
The proposal was favourably received, and became the ground for a
long-continued struggle between the Spanish and the Franco-Dutch
factions at Court. In the meantime, gradually 'the bitterness of
the pill' of the Downs was 'sweetened' by marriage negotiations, and
the 'scandal' of the infringement of the King's sovereignty over his
own waters was, if not forgiven, at least overlooked.

[42] _Archives de la Maison d'Orange-Nassau_, 2nd ser., iii. 171,
'dès aussitôt que j'auray endormi le faict des Duyns, qui est le
seul object de ma commission.'

The King saw in fact that it was wiser to keep silence. Spain was
clearly a broken reed, and the Dutch had given a signal proof of
their possession of a naval strength that it would be dangerous to
challenge. Sommelsdijk was quite content on his part to let the
matter drop. On February 8, 1646, he wrote to the Stadholder[43]:--

     'The scandal of the Downs has been so thoroughly justified, that
     the greater part of the Council, in the presence of the King,
     has sustained that we both could and were obliged to do it; so
     it is sufficiently lulled to sleep, seeing that up to now there
     has not been made any further complaint. As long as I remain I
     will take good care that neither on one occasion nor another
     shall it be revived.'[43]

[43] _Archives de la Maison d'Orange-Nassau_, 2nd ser., iii. 200,

And two days later (February 10) he wrote again:--

     'It is not our business to stir up again the affair of the
     Downs. If we were to press for an answer, it could be none other
     than condemnation after so much noise and menaces; silence
     then must suffice us, as a kind of answer, in place of an open
     approval, which neither the state of the time or of men's minds
     permits one to hope.'

Sommelsdijk had judged rightly that his mission, so far as the
matter of the Downs was concerned, had achieved all the success that
was necessary.

The truth is that Charles, though his pride had been so deeply
hurt by the destruction of the Spanish fleet in the presence of
an English squadron close to the English shore, was secretly
displeased with the Spaniards for having, so to speak, forced his
hands in the matter. It was generally assumed at the time, and the
statement has frequently been made in histories since, that Charles
was aware of the intention of the Spanish admiral to make use of the
anchorage at the Downs, should it be necessary for him to seek a
place of refuge either from storms or hostile attacks, and that he
had previously given permission for him to do so before the fleet
left the Spanish harbours. This was not the case. A dispatch[44]
from the Secretary of State, Windebank, to Sir Arthur Hopton, the
English ambassador at Madrid, dated September 29 (o.s.), that is
nearly three weeks after the arrival of Oquendo at the Downs, is
conclusive testimony to the contrary. It runs as follows:--

     'Your lordship's dispatch of the 3/13 September gives account
     of a message delivered to you by the Secretary of the Council
     of War in the King's [Philip IV] name, that he was resolved to
     put his great fleet to sea for the transportation of his forces
     to Dunkirk, with intention to chastise the insolences of the
     French and Hollanders; and thereupon desired his Majesty to
     afford the fleet a good passage in his seas and accommodations
     in his harbours, with supplies of the necessary commodities, if
     it should happen to put into any of them. These letters though
     they came in extraordinary diligence, yet they arrived not until
     the fleet had been here in the Downs some days. Now that so
     great a force of near seventy vessels should put into any of his
     Majesty's ports, with such numbers of men of war, without his
     Majesty's leave at all, or so much as his knowledge until they
     were actually in the ports, besides the neglect and disrespect,
     is beyond the articles of the peace, and gives occasion enough
     of jealousy, and would no question be taken highly by them, had
     his Majesty done the like within their dominions. I am sure
     it has cast his Majesty into some difficulties and jealousies
     with the French and Hollanders, and what prejudice it may bring
     upon his treaties with them is much to be apprehended. It is
     very true that Don Alonso [the Spanish ambassador, de Cardenas]
     gave some intimation when his Majesty was in the North that
     some vessels were preparing in Spain for the transportation
     of forces into Flanders, and desired his Majesty would not
     take apprehension at it, but that they might have a friendly
     reception and treatment in his ports, as occasion should be
     presented. But he spoke not of so great a number nor such a
     strength; and it was to be presumed he had meant no other than
     those English merchant ships that first transported the 1,400
     or 1,500 soldiers, and were intercepted and visited by the
     Hollanders.... When the fleet was come in, notwithstanding they
     were in distress, having been shrewdly torn and beaten by only
     seventeen of the Holland ships in their first encounter (a
     shameful thing, considering the number of the Spanish ships and
     their vastness, and their ostentation before to chastise both
     the French and the Hollanders), they refused to do the usual
     duties by striking to the King's ships; insomuch as Sir John
     Pennington, our Vice-Admiral, was enforced to threaten to shoot
     them, if they did it not, and then, after some dispute and much
     unwillingness, it was yielded to.'

[44] _Clarendon State Papers_, ii. 71.

Nothing can be more clear from this whole statement of the situation
than the two facts that the Spaniards were not expected, and that
they were unwelcome guests.

Why then, it may well be asked, did Charles endure their presence
so long in English waters, when it was known that the Dutch were
collecting a great fleet in the offing? or why, having endured,
did he not take steps to secure his guests from attack by a plain
declaration that any breach of neutrality would be treated as a
declaration of war and would be resisted by the English admiral?
It was because he hoped to be paid for his protection. 'It must be
money that must carry the business', wrote Windebank to Hopton.
Charles in fact asked for £150,000 sterling, of which £50,000 was
to be paid at once; and the Cardinal Infant was busily engaged in
obtaining the required sum from the Antwerp money-lenders, when
the blow fell and there ceased to be any longer a Spanish fleet
to protect. As a striking instance, however, of the diplomatic
double-dealing of the times, and one peculiarly characteristic of
Stuart policy, it may be mentioned that a dispatch of the French
ambassador, Bellievre, dated October 9, testifies to the fact that
the Queen was at this very time in the name of the King promising
the French Government that, if they would consent to the Palatine
prince assuming command of the late Duke Bernhard's army, 'le roi
feroit tout ce que nous et les Hollandois pourrons souhaiter en
leur faveur contre la flotte d'Espagne, sans néanmoins se déclarer
ennemi, en sorte toutefois que les Hollandois auroient lieu
d'entreprendre et de faire tout ce que bon leur sembleroit.'[45]
Hence the explanation of Pennington's inactivity. Charles was in
reality far more angry that Tromp had marred his prospects of
striking a good bargain with one or other of the belligerents than
at his venturing to infringe a neutrality which was actually in
the market. He had not reckoned on the Dutch being able to put so
formidable a fleet to sea in so short a time, or bold enough to
strike home with such tremendous energy and effect.

[45] Ranke, _Englische Geschichte_, ii. 362.

Charles, however, should not be altogether blamed for not pursuing
at this crisis of his reign a firmer and more consistent policy.
Scotland was in rebellion, and he had no funds to raise an army
strong enough to restore order. He was face to face with seething
disaffection in England. In April, 1640, he found himself compelled,
after an interval of ten years, to summon a Parliament in the hopes
of obtaining a grant of supplies. Supplies were refused until
grievances were amended, and the Short Parliament, as it was called,
was dissolved after sitting three weeks. The Long Parliament was to
meet in November. It is no wonder that in such circumstances the
King became a pure opportunist in his conduct of foreign policy. His
domestic troubles and his financial bankruptcy made it exceedingly
difficult for him to steer a straightforward course. The bitter pill
of the battle of the Downs had to be swallowed, however disagreeable
it might be. It was an accomplished fact, the results of which could
not be undone save by war against France and the States, which
was in 1640 absolutely impossible. His high pretensions to the
sovereignty of the seas, and his claims to demand licences for the
fisheries could no longer be insisted upon, his whole interest and
attention henceforward were concentrated on the struggle with his
own subjects and the maintenance of his sovereign rights within his
own Kingdoms.

The proposal therefore for a marriage between the young prince
William of Nassau and one of the English princesses was not
unwelcome. The Princes of Orange were not of royal rank, but they
filled a position of so much dignity and influence in the United
Provinces, that it was felt that a union between the families might
be advantageous to Charles in securing to him the goodwill of the
Dutch in the dangers and difficulties which were thickening round
his throne. William was only fifteen years of age, and at first the
hand of the younger princess Elizabeth was proposed, that of the
Princess Royal being assigned to a Spanish Infant. But Elizabeth was
only five years old, the prospect of a Spanish match fell through,
and at last in February, 1641, it was arranged that Mary the
Princess Royal should be the bride.

The greater part of one of the volumes of the archives of the House
of Orange-Nassau, edited by Groen van Prinsterer, is filled with
the negotiations concerning this marriage, and the study of the
endless notes and dispatches on the subject is replete with interest
both for the student of the manners of the times, and because
they contain many passages giving lifelike and charming touches
concerning the Court of Charles I and Henrietta Maria, and their
intimate domestic life. Here it is not possible to treat the subject
in greater detail.

The proposed marriage was very popular in England, whose people saw
in it the definite adhesion of the King, after many tergiversations,
to the Protestant cause. On May 2, Prince William disembarked
at Gravesend and proceeded to London in great state to meet his
_fiancée_. He was convoyed from Holland by a strong squadron under
the command of Admiral Tromp; and was accompanied by the special
envoys, Brederode, Aerssen van Sommelsdijk, Heenvliet, and the
resident ambassador, Joachimi. In their report to the Stadholder of
the reception (May 2, 1641), the envoys write:

     'We had to pass through so many people, it was almost impossible
     to reach the Court, except for the good order which was kept
     from street to street. Your Highness could not imagine with
     what blessings and acclamations his Highness was received, and
     we would venture to say that not for a century has a reception
     taken place in which great and small have testified so much joy
     and satisfaction.'

It was to be the last glimmer of brightness in the life of Charles
and Henrietta Maria. The boy and girl, aged respectively fifteen
and ten years, were married in state on May 12, 1641, in the chapel
at Whitehall--a marriage destined to sorrow, but which was to have
such important results upon the future relations of England and the
United Provinces. Nine years later William was suddenly cut off by
an attack of small-pox in the midst of a promising career. A week
after his death Mary gave birth to a son, who was to be famous in
history as William III, Prince of Orange and King of England.

VI: 1641-1653

The marriage of the Princess Royal with the son of Frederick
Henry, Prince of Orange, on May 12, 1641, took place at an ominous
time. Ten days later Strafford was executed. There can be little
or no doubt, that the eagerness of the King and Queen for the
accomplishment of this union was due to the desire to secure the
goodwill of the Stadholder, and through him of the States, in
the troublous times which they saw before them. It fulfilled two
objects. It gave satisfaction to the Puritan party in England as
being a Protestant alliance, and it was accompanied by secret
assurances on the part of Frederick Henry of friendly support to the
King in his coming conflict with his subjects. These assurances,
we may well believe, were very guarded and strictly personal, for
no one knew better than the Stadholder the limitations of his
actual power. The following passage from a letter in the hand of
Sommelsdijk, written March 5 in the name of the envoys to Frederick
Henry, puts the matter very clearly:

     'We have found so much frankness and affection on the part
     of the King and Queen for the furtherance of the marriage,
     that we have no fear in recommending your Highness to hasten
     the departure of Monseigneur the Prince your son, as much
     as possible, so as to put everything in security; for their
     Majesties have resolved to push forward without allowing
     themselves to be stopped by any machinations to the contrary
     from whatever part they come, and whatever they write to you,
     upon the good faith and confidence of Mr. de Heenvliet, remains
     secret without anything of it escaping either here or there, for
     fear lest the cognizance of it should come to the knowledge of
     the Parliament.'[46]

[46] _Archives_, 2nd series, iii. 381.

William returned to Holland at the end of May alone, leaving
his child-bride for awhile in her parents' home. But the Grand
Remonstrance, the impeachment of the five members, and other
events now followed in rapid succession, and soon it was seen
that the issues which divided King and Parliament admitted of
no accommodation by peaceful means. Heenvliet, who was still in
England, became the trusted confidant of the distracted King and
Queen, and his letters to Frederick Henry at this time show how
anxious Charles was to avoid a civil war, if by any concessions
that did not utterly despoil him--'le dèpouiller tout-à-fait'--he
could come to terms with the Parliament. In private interviews
Henrietta Maria was urgent with Heenvliet to use his good offices,
and many times expressed the hope that should matters come to an
extremity 'the Prince would not allow the King to perish'. In reply
the Stadholder impressed upon their Majesties not to have recourse
to arms, for victory was uncertain. A reconciliation on whatever
terms could not but be to the profit and advantage of the King.
Unfortunately such advice was already too late to be of any avail
(February, 1642).

At the beginning of March Henrietta Maria accompanied the Princess
Royal to Holland. Her real object was to collect funds and to
secure, if possible, the active assistance of the Prince of Orange.
She was received with much distinction and magnificence, but her
thoughts were not upon the shows of state. Letter upon letter
passed from her to the Stadholder in his camp, begging him to help
her in procuring supplies of money, arms, men, and munitions of war
for her husband's service. She tried to borrow upon her jewels,
but the Jews would give her nothing without the guarantee of the
Prince. Lords Jermyn and Digby hurried backwards and forwards
upon her confidential missions, and she had many interviews with
Heenvliet, with whom she had become so intimate during his sojourn
in London. What a picture of the feverish state of anxiety to which
her troubles had brought the once gay and buoyant Henrietta Maria,
is contained in a report of one of her conversations with him sent
by Heenvliet to the Prince of Orange.

     'I confess that this interview has troubled me not a little. The
     Queen did not speak to me on the subject without trembling, and
     she kept asking me so piteously, if there were not any hope that
     by any means your Highness could be persuaded to assist her,
     that I am still troubled at it.'

Frederick Henry did his very best to give all the help he could,
both in his private and official capacity. He allowed the English
officers serving in his army to return home and join the King's
forces, where their services were of great value. He gave the
guarantee she required for a loan upon the Crown jewels, he
advanced a considerable sum of money out of his private purse,
and he connived at arms and ammunition being secretly bought and
sent to England from Dutch ports; but he was unable to promise any
assistance from the States, nor indeed could he venture even to
suggest it. The bulk of the Dutch people in the opening stages of
the Civil War took the side of the Parliament, more especially
the Hollanders. The Prince's influence could still command the
support of a majority in the States-General, but he, like all
the Stadholders of his House, had constantly to struggle with
the opposition of the aristocratic burgher-regents of the towns
of Holland, who controlled the States of that dominant province.
Maurice had crushed by force in 1618 the attempt of Oldenbarneveldt
to claim for each province of the Union independent sovereign
rights, but the spirit of Oldenbarneveldt survived, and the
Hollanders, conscious of the power of the purse that they possessed,
were ready to thwart the plans and policy of the Stadholders, though
these were supported by the other provinces, and indeed did thwart
them by raising difficulties in the way of obtaining supplies.
Frederick Henry, during the first decade of his Stadholderate,
exercised a larger personal authority in the direction of the
affairs of the Republic than any of his predecessors or successors.
But during the last years of his life, prematurely worn out by
constant campaigning, he had continually to confront the bitter
opposition of the town corporations of Holland to that vigorous
prosecution of the war that he desired. The Prince of Orange then
was not his own master, and could not in face of the strong leanings
of a large part of the population, in Holland particularly, towards
the Parliamentary cause in the Civil War give effect to his own
inclination to lend the King active support in his efforts to
suppress rebellion by armed force.

Matters came to a crisis when, at the end of August, a special envoy
from the Parliament, Walter Strickland, appeared at the Hague with
instructions to protest against the dispatch of warlike stores to
the King from Dutch ports, and the permitting of officers in the
Dutch service to join his army. The Queen was highly indignant. The
English resident ambassador, Boswell, at her bidding immediately
presented himself before the States-General to protest and demand
that Strickland should not be received or acknowledged. To the
Prince she wrote, September 6, 1642, begging him to prevent such
an affront being offered to the King, 'for assuredly', to quote
her actual words, 'it would be so great, that he could never have
any friendship with these States after this; and, God be thanked,
he is not yet in such a state as to be despised.' But although the
majority of the States-General were ready to refuse Strickland
any audience, they were forced by the insistance of the States
of Holland to make a compromise. They would not admit him to
the assembly of the States-General, but they agreed to send two
deputies to confer with him. The result was, again by the pressure
of Holland, that the States-General declared for strict neutrality,
and forbade the export to either side in the Civil War of arms or
munitions of war. Despite this prohibition, by the connivance of
the Stadholder, friends of the royal cause contrived to dispatch
ammunition and other stores to Dunkirk, and from thence to ship it
to England. Strickland, having heard of this, ventured to make a
written complaint to the States-General of the Prince's conduct.
Frederick Henry thereupon declared that such an aspersion was an
insult to his person and demanded satisfaction. The States-General,
May 7, 1643, declared thereupon the accusation of Strickland to be
false, and broke off all relations with him.

Henrietta Maria had returned to England the previous February, never
ceasing to the end her tireless efforts on her husband's behalf.
Before leaving she had broached the project of a second alliance
between the families, that of the Prince of Wales with the eldest
daughter of the Stadholder. It was not a mere ephemeral project,
for the following year a certain Dr. Goff, who had been chaplain to
one of the English regiments in the Dutch service, was sent over
by the Queen, with a letter in which she says 'from me you will
only know that the King my lord has given me full and authentic
powers to negotiate and to conclude the marriage of my son the
Prince of Wales with Mademoiselle d'Orange.' With these powers Dr.
Goff was entrusted. In his instructions were contained the onerous
conditions, which must be the price paid for the honour of such
a match. The States were to break with France unless the latter
would consent to give armed assistance to the King, or in default
of this to make peace with Spain, one of the conditions of such a
peace being a promise of help to Charles. It is needless to say
that the proposal was not acceptable, for the simple reason that
Frederick Henry had no power to comply with the conditions, even if
he had wished. The negotiations, however, went on all through 1645,
although the desperate state of the King's affairs after the battle
of Naseby rendered any successful issue impossible. Louise of Nassau
became shortly afterwards the wife of the Great Elector.

In 1644 two envoys, William Boreel and Jan van Rheede, were sent to
England to attempt to mediate between the King and the Parliament.
Their instructions, containing fifty-seven articles, are dated
October 6, 1643, but they did not actually set out until January
15 following. They had interviews with Lord Denbigh, Sir Harry
Mildemay, and Sir William Strickland, representing the Parliament,
and afterwards, February 19, an audience with the King in the hall
of Christ Church at Oxford. During the whole of the year 1644 they
remained in England, and took part in the abortive negotiations
of Uxbridge, which came to an end February 22, 1645. It became
now evident to the ambassadors that they could do no further
good, more especially as the Parliament more and more showed a
disinclination to accept foreign mediation. After farewell audiences
they reached the Hague again, May 4, 1645, and made their report
to the States-General. It was unfavourable to the attitude of the
Parliament. On being informed of this by their representative,
Strickland, who was again at the Hague, the Parliament requested him
to appear before the States-General and offer a justification on
their behalf in reply to Boreel and Van Rheede. The States-General,
by the votes of Utrecht, Groningen, Zeeland, and Overyssel against
Holland, Gelderland, and Friesland, refused him admission, while at
the same time they permitted the King's resident, Boswell, to appear
in their assembly and address them. The Parliament on this had their
justification printed in English and Dutch, and secretly distributed
throughout the Provinces. It was eagerly read, the mass of the
people being in favour of what they regarded as the cause of civil
and religious freedom against despotic rule, especially as there
were many points of resemblance between the struggle in England and
their own long drawn out struggle against Spanish tyranny. This
marked division of opinion in the Netherlands effectually prevented
any further steps being taken to interfere in English affairs during
the two next years.

Events, however, had been moving fast during that interval. On March
14, 1647, Frederick Henry died. At the very end of his life he had
deserted the French alliance, of which he had so long been a strong
advocate, and had joined his great influence to that of the Province
of Holland in bringing about a separate peace with Spain. With the
increasing growth of the military strength of France, the project of
a division of the Spanish Netherlands with that power ceased to have
attractions for him. At the time of his death all the conditions
of peace with Spain had been practically settled, the terms being
virtually those dictated by the Dutch. By the treaty which was
actually signed at Munster, January 30, 1648, Spain, after eighty
years of strife, was at last compelled to recognize the independence
of the United Provinces, and all the conquests made by Frederick
Henry in Flanders, Brabant, and Limburg remained in the hands of
the Dutch, as prizes of war. At this proud moment in commerce, in
sea-borne trade, in finance, in colonial expansion and enterprise,
in arts and in letters, the Dutch Republic had reached the zenith of
its prosperity. The Civil War in England had paralysed the energies
of its chief rival upon the seas, and left the way clear for the
United Provinces to step into the very first rank of maritime powers.

Frederick Henry was succeeded in his posts and dignities by his son.
William II, Prince of Orange, had only reached his twenty-second
year at the time of his father's death, but he was full of talent
and energy, fired with ambition, eager to emulate the great deeds
of his ancestors, and, if possible, to excel them. His wife, Mary
of England, was still a girl. Haughty in manner, and exceedingly
tenacious of her royal rank, she preferred always to be styled
the Princess Royal, rather than Princess of Orange. The relations
between the youthful pair were, however, thoroughly sympathetic,
and William was ever ready to lend a helping hand to his English
relations and never made any secret of his zeal in their cause. His
hospitality to them was unbounded, and his purse open. First, the
Duke of York made his escape from England to Holland, April, 1648,
and he was followed by the Prince of Wales in July. As the Queen of
Bohemia was still residing at the Hague with her daughters, quite a
family party were assembled at the Court of William and Mary. The
Prince of Wales, who was courteously received by a deputation of the
States-General, found a loyal squadron assembled at Hellevoetsluys,
of which he assumed command. He also raised some troops for his
service in the islands of Borkum and Juist. There was at one time
danger of a collision in Dutch waters between the royal ships and
a Parliamentary squadron under the Earl of Warwick. The Parliament
dispatched an envoy, Dr. Doreslaar, a native of Enkhuysen, who had
settled in England and had become Professor of History at Cambridge,
to protest against the protection and assistance accorded to the
royalists. The States-General refused to grant him an audience.
Towards the close of the year, Walter Strickland was again sent to
the Hague, furnished with fresh credentials, to join Dr. Doreslaar
and demand in the name of the Parliament that the royal fleet should
not be furnished with arms and stores in Dutch harbours. He was
escorted by Lord Warwick, with a fleet of twenty-one ships. The
States-General took steps to prevent a hostile encounter between
the rival fleets, but could not be moved even to give a hearing to
the Parliament's request. The States of Holland, however, received
Doreslaar, and passed a resolution forbidding the royal ships and
stores to remain in the harbours of that province.

The news of the impending trial of Charles I for high-treason caused
consternation in the States, and especially in Orangist circles.
The Prince of Wales himself, who had now handed over the command of
his fleet to Prince Rupert and was residing with his brother-in-law
at the Hague, appeared in person before the States-General to
ask them to intercede for his father. All parties concurred in
granting his request, and it was unanimously resolved that an
extraordinary embassy should be sent to London, and in order to
strip it of any appearance of partisanship, the chosen envoy was
not an Orangist, but Adrian Pauw, lord of Heemstede, the veteran
leader of the Aristocratic-Hollander party. With him was associated
Albert Joachimi, who through the whole of the Civil War had
remained at his post, as resident ambassador in London. Besides his
credentials, Pauw carried with him letters for Fairfax, Cromwell,
and other Parliamentary leaders. The embassy was received with
courtesy Feb. 5/Jan. 26, 1649, and Pauw pressed for an immediate
audience. It was too late. On the following day the death sentence
was pronounced. The envoys now approached, Sunday, Feb. 7/Jan. 28,
Fairfax, Cromwell, and others privately, asking for a respite of
the sentence, but failed to get any definite answer. On the Monday
they were granted an audience at a special sitting of the House of
Commons, and in the name of the States-General, Pauw and Joachimi
read an address interceding for the King's life, and setting out
the reasons for the course for which they were pleading. A general
answer was given, that what they had said should be considered.
In reality the decision had already been taken for the public
execution of the King the next morning, Tuesday, Feb. 9/Jan. 30. The
ambassadors had their address translated from French into English,
and on seeing the preparations in Whitehall, again made an effort
to obtain an immediate audience, but they found the way barred by
troops, and knew that the object of their mission could no longer be

Not till February 25/15 was an official answer given to Pauw and
Joachimi, in which, after thanking the States for their friendly
intentions, the Parliament declined to discuss the question of
the King's execution. But at the same time an earnest desire
was expressed for the establishment of a firm peace, a right
understanding and good correspondence between the governments of
the two countries, which had so many common interests. 'We shall',
they said, 'be ever ready not only to hear but to contribute with
them all good means and offices to fulfil such works as shall be
necessary for the general good of Christendom, as well as our
own.' There can be no doubt that Cromwell's influence may be seen
in this friendly overture. Cromwell had already given Pauw an
assurance in a private interview of his wish for the establishment
of close relations of friendship with the Dutch, and had spoken
of a proposal being made for giving the Netherlanders the same
commercial privileges in England as the inhabitants of the country.
Already there was floating before his eyes that idea, which he was
afterwards in a position to try and realize, of effecting such a
close union between the two republics as would make them into one

In 1649 any thought of such a thing was a mere dream. The news of
the King's execution caused a wave of horror and indignation to
sweep over the Netherlands without distinction of class or party.
The States-General decided unanimously to offer their condolences to
the Prince of Wales and also to congratulate him on his accession.
The Orangists would have liked his full title to have been given to
him of King of Great Britain and Ireland, but the States of Holland
and Zeeland, who were the most interested in trade and shipping,
opposed this, as they were afraid of the resentment of the new
government in England. So it was agreed that he should be addressed
simply as King Charles II. To this title he had an undoubted
right, as he had been proclaimed king in Scotland on his father's
death. The States of Holland separately also sent a deputation to
him for the same purpose. The number of broadsheets and pamphlets
that issued from the press are a proof of how deeply moved the
whole country was at the tragic death of the English King. What
was most remarkable was the fact recorded by Clarendon[47] as to
the change of attitude among the preachers, who had hitherto been
strongly on the side of the Parliament. 'The body of the clergy',
he writes, 'in a Latin oration delivered by the chief preacher of
the Hague, lamented the misfortune in terms of as much asperity, and
detestation of the actors, as unworthy the name of Christians, as
could be expressed.' Nevertheless, in order to avoid an open breach
with the Commonwealth, as it was now styled, Joachimi was allowed to
remain, as the States' resident ambassador in London.

[47] _History of the Rebellion_, v. 418.

The English Council of State, on their part, determined to send
over once more Dr. Isaac Doreslaar to join Strickland at the Hague,
with instructions to propose to the States-General the knitting
together in closer relations of the common interests of the two
countries. He arrived May 9. Doreslaar was especially hateful to
the royalists, who were gathered at that time in large numbers in
the Dutch capital, as he had taken part in the King's trial, and
rumour had even designated him as the masked headsman. It was an
unhappy choice, which had serious consequences. Three days after his
arrival, Doreslaar, as he sat at table in his hotel, was attacked
by five or six men, and assassinated. The assassins, their work
accomplished, walked off undisturbed. The body was sent back to
England, and was honoured with a public interment in Westminster
Abbey. 'Though all who were engaged in this enterprise', writes
Clarendon, 'went quietly away, and so out of the town, insomuch
as no one of them was ever apprehended or called in question, yet
they kept not their own counsel so well (believing they had done
a very heroic act) but that it was generally known that they were
all Scottish men, and most of them servants or dependents upon the
Marquis of Montrose.'

The States of Holland, as soon as news reached them of what had
happened, made great efforts to track the murderers, but in vain,
and Joachimi was commissioned to express their horror at the act,
and to try and appease the Parliament. The Parliament, on their
side, did not feel themselves sufficiently secure to take decisive
action, and Strickland was instructed to approach the States-General
once more with offers of friendship. But the influence of the Prince
of Orange in the States-General was paramount, and Strickland
was refused an audience. On the other hand, despite Strickland's
protest, the Scottish envoy, Macdowell, sent by Charles II to
announce his accession to the throne of the northern kingdom, was
received by them. The English Council of State were unable to regard
this conduct in any other light than as a deliberate insult to them
and their representative. Strickland was recalled, and Joachimi was
informed that unless he was provided with fresh letters of credit
to the Republican Government within a fixed time he must leave the
land. Strickland left Holland, July 22, 1650. Joachimi received
orders to quit London, September 26. All this time the States of
Holland had been doing their utmost to effect an accommodation. The
trade interests of the province with England were so great that they
were most anxious to avoid a breach with the new Commonwealth. They
on their own authority received Strickland in a public audience, and
even ventured so far as to send a commissary, Gerard Schaep by name,
to London, January 22. This high-handed act of independence only had
the effect, however, of stiffening the backs of the States-General.
All the efforts of Holland to change their attitude towards England

The acute differences of view in regard to this particular line of
policy between the self-willed province and the Stadholder were
but the signs of a general estrangement; and the struggle for
predominance was destined to come to a head at the very time of
the return of Joachimi. The Prince of Orange had been altogether
opposed to the abandonment of the French alliance and the conclusion
of a separate treaty with Spain in 1648. The peace of Munster had
carried into effect the policy of the States of Holland, and William
II was determined, as soon as he got the reins of power firmly into
his hands, to reverse it. He entered into secret negotiations with
Mazarin for a renewal of a French alliance against Spain, with
the aim of conquering and partitioning the Spanish Netherlands.
Devotedly attached to the Stuart cause, it was his intention with
French help to try to overthrow the English Commonwealth and
establish Charles II on his father's throne. His generosity to his
wife's exiled relations was so great that he impoverished himself
and had to raise large loans on his estates. With ambitious schemes
of war and conquest filling his brain, he found himself speedily in
disagreement with the merchant burghers of the Province of Holland.
The chief interest of the Hollanders was peace, which would reduce
taxation and increase commerce. They had long grudged the heavy
charges of the war, and the Provincial States, as soon as peace was
concluded, clamoured for the disbanding of a large number of the
regiments, which, though they formed part of the federal army, were
in the pay of the Province of Holland. William, as Captain-General
of the Union, opposed this, and was supported by the States-General.
Into the details of this contest for supremacy it is needless
to enter here. It was to a certain extent a repetition of that
between Maurice and Oldenbarneveldt. Armed with the authority of
the States-General, William in the summer of 1650, at the head of a
strong body of troops, forced the States of Holland to submission.
In the previous year Charles, on his departure for Scotland, had
begged the support of the States-General, and had promised in return
to settle favourably the long-standing differences about Amboina and
Pulo Run in the East Indies, and other questions, but owing to the
opposition of Holland and Zeeland no active assistance was given.
The States-General, however, as a mark of sympathy and goodwill,
assembled in a body to bid him farewell. The royal cause had at
first prospered in Scotland, until September 13/3, 1650, when the
battle of Dunbar shattered Charles's fair prospects. But at this
very time his brother-in-law had just brought his contest with the
Province of Holland to a triumphant issue. William II was now in a
position to bring about that active intervention of the States in
alliance with France in support of the Stuart cause, and for the
expulsion of the Spaniards from the Southern Netherlands, on which
his heart was set. To the Prince of Orange therefore the eyes of
the English royalist party were turned, as their chief hope in the
hour when it seemed as if nothing could stem the tide of Cromwell's
victories. They were doomed to a terrible disappointment. William,
in the very midst of secret negotiations with France, suddenly fell
sick of the small-pox, and after a week's illness died, November
6, 1650. He was but twenty-four, and in him Charles II lost a
chivalrous and true-hearted friend. Eager for fame, gifted with
uncommon abilities, William, had he lived, was undoubtedly prepared
to have put his far-reaching plans into execution, and to have
risked much for the upholding of his kinsman's rights.

His decease brought about a revolution in the United Provinces. He
left no one of his family to take his place. His only child was
not born until a week after his death. The Province of Holland
straightway seized the opportunity to assert that predominance in
the Union for which it had been striving so long. Its leaders at
once took steps to call an extraordinary assembly, known as the
'Great Gathering', to take into consideration the state of the
Union, of religion, and military affairs. The Great Gathering met at
the Hague, January 18, 1651. The office of Stadholder was abolished,
in all the provinces but Friesland, as were also the posts of
Captain-General and Admiral-General of the Union. The population and
the wealth of Holland gave henceforth to the States of that province
a position of supremacy in the federation, and, as in the days of
Oldenbarneveldt, all the threads of administration and the conduct
of foreign affairs passed during the Stadholderless period into the
hands of its chief functionary, the _Raad-Pensionaris_ or Grand

This complete change in the system of government of the United
Provinces caused much satisfaction in London. The aristocratic
burgher oligarchy, who were now in power at the Hague, had
no special sympathy for Charles II. Indeed it was embittered
against him at this time, since Prince Rupert's ships from their
head-quarters in the Scilly Islands had been plundering Dutch
merchantmen in their passage up channel. The Parliament therefore
determined to send a special embassy to propose that close alliance
between the two neighbouring republics, almost amounting to a
political union, which Cromwell had already set before him as an
end to be aimed at for the mutual advantage of both States. The
States-General on their side had, on the proposal of the States of
Holland, determined, January 28, 1651, to recognize the English
Commonwealth as a free republic, and to receive its envoys, and
Joachimi again went to London to take up his old post as the
resident ambassador of the States.

The English ambassadors were Oliver St. John and Walter Strickland,
the latter of whom, as we have seen, had spent many years in Holland
without being able to obtain an audience with the States-General.
The Parliament were now determined that their representatives should
make their state entry into the Hague with a splendour befitting the
envoys of so mighty a power. They were accompanied by a suite of
some 250 persons in brilliant uniforms and liveries, and travelled
in twenty-five state coaches. On March 27, 1651, the solemn entry
took place. The ambassadors were, however, to pass through the
ordeal of an unpleasant experience. As the procession made its
way through the crowded streets, St. John and Strickland were
greeted with loud cries of 'Regicides', 'Executioners', 'Cromwell's
bastards', and other abusive epithets. No doubt there were many
royalist refugees in the Hague, but though these may have given
the lead to the mob, there can be little question of the general
hostility at this time of the masses of the people, even in Holland
itself, to the Parliament. It is a common mistake to suppose that
the Orangist was the aristocratic, the republican, or so-called
'States' party, the popular party in the United Provinces. The
States of Holland, which was the stronghold of the republican party,
was entirely in the hands of the close oligarchic corporations of
the chief towns of the province. In each town a few aristocratic
burgher families monopolized all offices and authority, the rest of
the townsmen had no votes or representation, and the country people
were ignored altogether. The great influence and executive powers
of the Stadholders of the house of Orange were therefore a check
upon the domination of these burgher oligarchies, and so by them
resented accordingly. On the other hand, the Princes of Orange were
loved and respected by the people, alike for their high qualities
and the great services they had rendered to the country, and there
was scarcely any time when they had not the enthusiastic support of
the great majority of those classes, the bulk of the population,
who were excluded from any share in the government of the State.
A knowledge of these facts is absolutely necessary to a right
understanding of what the 'Stadholderless' régime in the time of
John de Witt really meant.

The parliamentary ambassadors were really alarmed, remembering the
fate of Doreslaar, at this hostile reception. Neither they nor their
attendants dared to venture into the streets but in parties of five
or six and sword in hand; and everywhere they were followed by the
cry of 'Regicides'. On March 29, St. John and Strickland presented
their credentials before the 'Great Gathering', and in a long speech
expressed the desire of the English Government for the establishment
of good relations of enduring friendship between the two republics.
'It is the wish of the Parliament to conclude', they said, 'a
closer union of the two States, which would be for both more
advantageous than heretofore, since it would not be dependent upon
the life and will and private interests of a single individual.'
Six commissioners were appointed by the Assembly to discuss their
proposals, and a conference was opened on April 4. The grounds on
which the English proposed to the Netherlanders that 'a more strict
and intimate Alliance and Union bee entred into by them, whereby
there may bee a more intrinsecall and mutual interest of each other,
than hath hitherto beene for the good of both', were: (1) community
of religion, (2) community of political liberty, (3) community of
interest in freedom of trade and navigation. The Dutch, however,
showed themselves very wary. They had no intention of giving their
consent to any general propositions before informing themselves of
their precise meaning. There was considerable variety of opinion
in the different provinces and much indecision. On April 6, the
commissioners were only empowered to reply, that the States were
willing 'not only to renew the ancient friendship between the two
nations, but also to conclude a treaty for common interests'. This
response did not satisfy the English envoys, who rejoined that 'the
union for common interests' they had in view 'was one closer than at
any previous time'. These words required explanation, but it seemed
that they could only point to an alliance so intimate and binding
as to be another term for coalition. Such was indeed its meaning in
the minds of those who proposed it, and so the Dutch interpreted
it. To them, however, not unnaturally, the only idea suggested
by a coalition with the English Commonwealth was the loss by the
smaller republic of its independence, and its practical absorption
in the larger. Such an idea was simply unthinkable to men who had
just won the recognition of their independence after eighty years
of heroic struggle. The reply of the Assembly was not hurriedly
given. At last, on April 26, it came, and was so far unsatisfactory
that, while expressing their readiness for a closer union, the
reservation was made that it must be one 'in which both States could
better promote their interests for themselves and for the common
welfare'. St. John and Strickland now went a step further, and
gave a hint that if an offensive and defensive confederation such
as they had in mind could be accomplished, it would be accompanied
by many advantageous concessions to the Dutch. At this point the
negotiations came to an end. The Parliament did not believe that
in the present temper of the Dutch their proposals were likely
to be received in the spirit in which they were offered, and the
ambassadors were recalled. They and their attendants were constantly
insulted by Royalists and Orangists whenever they showed themselves
out of doors, and though the provincial authorities strictly forbade
such outrages on pain of severe penalties, and urged the citizens to
assist in the protection of the representatives of a foreign power,
they effected little. Some of the offenders were of high rank[48],
and they openly braved the threats of the magistracy and remained
unpunished. Earnest representations were now made to the English
Parliament on behalf of the States of Holland by their agent, Gerard
Schaep, who was still residing in London, that they would allow the
envoys of the Commonwealth to remain awhile longer and continue the
negotiations. The Parliament, however, would only consent to do
this on condition that full satisfaction be made to St. John and
Strickland for all that they had endured, and that the attacks upon
them should cease. The States of Holland promised to do this. Prince
Edward of the Palatine and other prominent offenders were summoned
before a court of justice, and warned; some of their servants were
punished. It was a sorry piece of business. But it was an index to
the real feeling of the populace that such a state of things should
have been possible in a town like the Hague.

[48] Among them Prince Edward, son of the Queen of Bohemia.

The negotiations were accordingly renewed by the presentation of
fresh proposals, May 10, by St. John and Strickland. There was
now no mention of coalition, only of an offensive and defensive
alliance, but there was an ominous addition: both States were
required to bind themselves severally not to permit the sojourn on
their soil of declared enemies of the other. This was especially
directed against the adherents of the Stuarts and the members of
the Orange and Palatinate families. The great desire of the party
now in power in the Netherlands was the maintenance of peace. The
Hollanders were willing to conclude a treaty extending their trade
privileges, but they were anxious not to be drawn into the war in
Scotland, and in face of the popular affection for the house of
Orange they dared not venture at the dictation of a foreign power
to treat the young prince and his mother harshly. They responded
therefore, after some delay, by counter proposals for the renewal
of the Treaty of 1496, the _Magnus Intercursus_, but revised in
favour of the Dutch to suit present-day conditions. Complete
freedom of trade, navigation, and fishery without pass, toll, or
other hindrances in each other's domains was what was aimed at.
No mention was made of the English proposal to banish from the
Netherlands those who gave help to the Stuart cause. With such
differences of view there was of course no prospect of any agreement
being reached. The English embassy accordingly left the Hague, July
31, 1651, and returned home.

The report made to Parliament created a bad impression in England,
and led to all the old complaints against the Dutch being raked
up once more: the massacre of Amboina, the seizure of Pulo Run
and other high-handed acts in the East Indies, their monopoly of
the fisheries on the British coasts, their attacks on the English
whalers off Spitzbergen, and their attempts to drive out English
trade from the Baltic, from Russia, and elsewhere. Then on the top
of this the shameful treatment to which the parliamentary envoys had
been persistently exposed was angrily recalled, the refusal of the
States-General for years to admit Strickland to an audience, the
murder of Doreslaar, and lastly the insults offered to the latest
embassy. All these things formed a formidable bill of indictment.
As the efforts of the Parliament to effect a close union between
the republics for their common interest had failed, it became the
clear duty of the English Government to take measures to protect the
national interests against unscrupulous rivals. There was no delay
in taking drastic action.

On October 9, 1651, the famous Navigation Act was passed, which
forbade the importation of foreign goods and products into English
harbours save in English bottoms, or those of the countries from
whence the goods and products came. A deadly blow was thus struck
at the Netherlanders, who had at that time almost a monopoly of the
most important branches of sea-borne trade and were the carriers of
the world. Scarcely less serious was the prohibition to foreigners
to fish in British waters. Every infringement of this edict would
be punished by the confiscation of the offending vessels. It has
already been seen in previous lectures of what vital importance
these fisheries were to the welfare of Holland.

The States-General now determined to make a serious effort to resume
the negotiations which had been broken off, and Jacob Cats, Gerard
Schaep, and Paulus van der Perre were sent on a special embassy
to England. They reached London, December 27. Their task was a
difficult one. They pressed for the revocation of the Navigation
Act and of the embargo upon fishing, and for the release of the
confiscated ships, and proposed that negotiations should again be
set on foot for the conclusion of a treaty based upon the _Magnus
Intercursus_. The news at this critical moment that the Dutch
were fitting out 150 new war vessels for the protection of free
navigation did not tend to smooth the way to an understanding. It
was regarded in England as a threat. The English now formulated
their demands. These were such as they must have known would never
be conceded. They required the payment of the arrears of toll due
for the fishing on the British coasts, the surrender of the Spice
Islands, the punishment of the survivors of those concerned in the
Amboina massacre, satisfaction for the murder of Doreslaar, and the
payment of the indemnities due for losses sustained by Englishmen at
the hands of the Dutch in various parts of the world. It is clear
that these demands were practically an ultimatum. The Netherlanders
were required to choose between coalition or humiliation, and in
case neither were accepted, war. Both sides were, however, averse
to taking the final step, and conferences and negotiations still
dragged on for some months, while strenuous preparations were at the
same time being made on both sides of the Channel for hostilities.
It was a dangerous situation, and was made wellnigh desperate by
a conflict which took place off Folkestone, May 19, 1652, between
the Dutch fleet under Tromp and an English squadron under Blake,
through a misunderstanding about the question of striking the flag.
This event excited public opinion in England to fever pitch, and
made war practically inevitable. The Dutch Government, however,
knew that they were not prepared for such a mighty conflict. The
peace party in Holland had insisted on the disbanding of a large
part of the land forces after the death of William, and the navy
had been neglected and was far from being as formidable as a few
years before. In all haste therefore the experienced Adrian Pauw,
now holding the important post of Grand Pensionary of Holland,
was sent over to London to join Cats, Schaep, and van Perre, and
endeavour even at the last moment to avoid a final breach between
the two nations. His efforts proved vain, for the English would not
give way in their demands for conditions too humiliating for the
Netherlanders to accept. The 'States' party in power had, in fact,
not a free hand, even had they been inclined to preserve peace at
the cost of submission to English dictation, for the Orangists
were delighted at the thought of trying conclusions with the hated
Commonwealth, and they had strong support throughout the country.
The fear of a revolution compelled the States-General to refuse
the only terms by which war could be avoided. The die was cast. The
Dutch ambassadors left England, June 30, and the struggle between
the two maritime powers for supremacy, which had been so frequently
imminent but so long delayed, at last began.



From the nature of the land, Holland and Zeeland were always the
home of fisher-folk. The herring fishery off the coast of Great
Britain was from early times an industry pursued by many Hollanders
and Zeelanders, but it was comparatively limited, until the
invention of 'curing' made by Willem Beukelsz of Biervliet in the
latter part of the fourteenth century (he probably died in 1397)
converted a perishable article of food into a commercial commodity.
The method of Beukelsz, which remained practically unchanged
for some five centuries, without going into minute particulars,
consisted in the following processes. Immediately after the hauling
in of the nets the guts were in a particular manner removed from the
fish, which were then packed in layers in barrels with salt between
the layers. In the brine or pickle that was formed they were allowed
to lie some time, fresh salt being added every fortnight. At first
the Zeelanders were the chief herring fishers, but afterwards the
towns on the Zuyder Zee and on the Maas became the head-quarters of
the industry. During the Burgundian period many laws were enacted
regulating the herring fisheries, but the edict[49] of Charles V,
May 18, 1519, which extended and codified all previous enactments,
remained the permanent basis of future legislation on the subject.
The chief regulations concerned the branding of the barrels, the
sorting of the fish, and the date of the beginning of the fishing.
This date was originally August 24 (St. Bartholomew), but was
afterwards changed first to July 25 (St. James), and finally to
June 24 (St. John the Baptist). It is possible that some change in
the habits of the herring shoals may have led to this considerable
shifting of the date. After 1519 there were many fresh enactments
made, referring particularly to matters concerning convoys and their
cost, the duties levied, and many details in regard to the boats,
tackle, and crews, and again a codification of all laws was carried
out by a series of edicts in 1580, 1582, and 1584. These edicts of
1580 and 1582 (Groot Placaetboek van Holland en West Vriesland, tom
i., 684-691, 696-707, 715-727, 748-751), continued to regulate the
fisheries during the period with which these lectures deal; i.e. the
first half of the seventeenth century. Especial attention was given
in these regulations to the branding of the barrels in which the
herrings were packed. Each fishing town had its official inspectors,
who themselves branded the barrels with the mark of the cooper
and that of the town, and no others were allowed to be used. The
kind of salt for the curing was rigorously prescribed, and careful
precautions taken that no other kind or damaged salt was smuggled
on board. Not less minute were the regulations to ensure that the
quality of the fish which came to the market should be guaranteed.
All fish had to be sorted. Such as were caught before July 25 (St.
James), being not fully developed, had to be kept apart. Such as
were caught after July 25 had to be divided according to technical
categories, 'full and sweet', 'empty', 'undersized or damaged'; and
the skipper was enjoined under oath to place his own mark upon each
barrel and to be personally responsible for the quality assigned,
and not only so, the fisherman who packed the fish in the barrel was
required to place his mark upon it. The most stringent rules were
laid down as the correct method of curing. In fact, everything was
done to show the importance of the industry, and the necessity of
securing that the market was supplied with no counterfeit article,
but only with herrings prepared in Dutch fashion by Dutch hands.
In order to keep a fast hold upon the monopoly, the fishermen were
forbidden under heavy penalties to sell their fish in foreign ports.
In the seventeenth century, the interests of those engaged in this
profitable trade were vigilantly looked after by a body known as
the 'College of the Great Fishery', which met at Delft. The College
consisted of five deputies from the towns of Enkhuysen, Schiedam,
Delft, Rotterdam, and Brill, and so exclusive were they that during
the period with which we are concerned other towns, even such
important places as Amsterdam, Dordrecht, and Hoorn, were refused
admission. One of the chief tasks of the College was to enforce the
carrying out of the regulations.

[49] 'Placaet ende Ordonnantie op 't stuk van den Haring-Vaert,
't branden van de tonnen en 't soorten van den Haringh.' _Derde
Memoriael boek 's Hof v. Holland._

During the reigns of the two first Stuarts, the Dutch fishing
fleet was accustomed to sail out for the Scottish waters between
the Shetlands and Cape Buchan Ness in the middle of June, so as to
begin their fishing operations on St. John's Day, June 24. From
June 24 to July 25, the fishing was wholly in the north; from
July 25 to September 14 to the south of Buchan Ness, but still
along the Scottish coast; from September 25 to November 25 in the
neighbourhood of Yarmouth; from November 25 to January 31 off the
mouth of the Thames and the Kentish coast. The fleet sailed out
twice only, in June and again in the autumn, the task of conveying
the barrels of fish from the fishing 'busses' to the Dutch harbours
being carried out by a number of light vessels called 'ventjagers.'
The herring fleet was always accompanied by an armed convoy, to the
upkeep of which the State contributed 20,000 florins annually. In
war time a small naval squadron was also detached to keep watch and
ward against the attacks of Spanish cruisers and Dunkirk pirates.

The Herring or Great Fishery was compulsorily closed on January 31.
During the spring months the fishermen occupied themselves with
fishing by hook on the Dogger Bank, for cod, soles, and other fish.
This was named 'The Small Fishery'.


The expression 'the Narrow Sea', or 'the Narrow Seas', which so
often appears in seventeenth-century diplomatic dispatches and
controversial writings, is a term upon whose exact signification
geographically there has been much dispute. The English kings from
ancient times claimed 'sovereignty'--_dominium maris_--in the
'narrow seas' or _mare britannicum_. Evidence is fairly conclusive
that the term under the Tudors and until the friction with the Dutch
arose on the questions of free fishery and the striking of the flag
in the reign of James I, was confined to the Channel, the narrow sea
between England and France. Lord Salisbury, as late as 1609, writing
to Sir R. Winwood at the Hague (Winwood, _Mem._ iii, p. 50), speaks
of 'his Majesty's narrow seas between England and France, where the
whole appertayneth to him in right, and hath been possessed tyme out
of mind by his progenitors.' It soon, however, became the accepted
interpretation of English statesmen, jurists, and writers that the
'narrow seas' meant the two seas between England and France, and
England and the Netherlands; thus Rapin (_Hist. d'Angleterre_ vii,
p. 454), 'la domination des deux Mers, c'est-à-dire, des deux bras
de Mer qui se trouvent entre l'Angleterre et la France et entre
l'Allemagne et la Grande-Bretagne.' This extension of the term was
vigorously contested by the Dutch. In the peace negotiations at
Cologne in 1673 the Dutch protested that no treaty between England
and any other power 'n'ait meslé la Mer Britannique avec celle du
septentrion' (_Verbaal der Amb._ 1673/74). The English popular view
of the question appears clearly in an anonymous pamphlet, _The Dutch
Drawn to the Life_, published in 1664, just before the outbreak
of the Second Dutch War. The writer speaks of 'the command of the
Narrow Sea, the Dutch coast and ours' (p. 53); and again, referring
to the action taken by King Charles I in 1640 (p. 148), 'When our
neighbours the Dutchmen minded their interest and were almost
Masters at Sea in the Northern Fishing ... upon our Fishmongers'
complaint the King encouraged several overtures and projects
concerning Busses for our own Coasts service, the prevention of
strangers, and the improvement of the Narrow Seas, &c.'


The death of John William (March 9, 1609), the mad Duke of
Jülich-Cleves, without issue, raised the important question of
the succession to his territory, which lay astride the Rhine on
the eastern frontier of the United Provinces. It was felt to be
essential for the protection of Protestant interests in Germany and
the Netherlands that the Duchies should not fall into the hands of
a partisan of the house of Habsburg. Duke John William had four
sisters, but only the claims of the descendants of the two eldest
really counted. Maria Eleanora had married Duke Albert Frederick
of Prussia. All her sons, however, had died young, but it was held
that her claims had passed to the son of her daughter Anna, who had
married John Sigismund, Elector of Brandenburg. This was disputed
by the Count Palatine, Philip Lewis of Neuburg, who had married the
second sister of the deceased duke, also named Anna. Eventually
the Elector and the Count Palatine agreed to occupy the disputed
territory jointly, and were known as 'the Possessors'. The Dutch
recognized the title of 'the Possessors', but the Emperor Rudolph
refused to do so, and with his sanction the Archduke Leopold, Bishop
of Passau, at the head of an armed force, made his way into the
Duchies and seized the fortress of Jülich. Henry IV of France, who
had been meditating an expedition for the overthrow of the Habsburg
power, seized the opportunity for planning a great alliance with the
Dutch, James I of England, and the Protestant princes of Germany
for the expulsion of the Archduke and the recovering of Jülich. His
assassination, May 14, 1610, put an end to his ambitious schemes,
but though deprived of the help of a great French army, Maurice of
Nassau, at the head of a considerable force of Dutch and English
troops, entered the Duchies and was joined by the troops of the
'Possessing' princes. On September 1, Jülich surrendered, and
Archduke Leopold left the territory. The troubles were not, however,
yet over. The 'Possessors', as perhaps might have been expected,
quarrelled. John Sigismund of Brandenburg became a Calvinist,
Wolfgang William of Neuburg married the sister of the Duke of
Bavaria, and announced his conversion to Catholicism. In September,
1614, Maurice of Nassau, with Dutch troops, and Spinola at the
head of a Spanish force, both entered the Duchies, and a hostile
encounter seemed inevitable. Hostilities were, however, avoided, and
by the treaty of Xanten (November 12) the two rivals agreed to a
partition of the territory.


The Fellowship of Merchant Adventurers has the distinction of
holding the first place, not only in England, but in Western and
Central Europe, as the pioneer of great trading corporations. The
Gilds of the Middle Ages were municipal and local institutions. The
Hansa League in Germany was a bond, not between merchants dealing in
particular wares, but between a group of towns.

England in the fourteenth century had no manufactures. Her only
industries were cattle-breeding and agriculture; her exports were
raw materials, chiefly wool. English wool was famed for its quality,
and was much sought after by the cloth weavers of the Netherlands,
Germany, and Italy. The trade was almost entirely in the hands of
the Hansa and of Italians, who sent over agents to England to buy up
the wool and export it to the Continent. In England itself, before
a.d. 1300, the sale of the best wool, that of the royal flocks and
of the great landowners, was conducted under the royal licence by
an official body or group of merchants, known as 'Merchants of the
Staple'. A Staple (_stabile emporium_) was a place set apart for the
export and import of certain articles; and there were ten or a dozen
English towns, known as Staple Towns--among them Newcastle, York,
Norwich, Westminster, and Bristol--where alone the wool traffic
could be carried on. Also on the Continent there was a Staple
Town, which was the recognized centre of the foreign trade, having
exclusive rights. No wool could legally be shipped from England to
any other port. During almost the whole of the fourteenth century
the Staple was at Bruges. The institution by Philip the Good, Duke
of Burgundy, of the famous Order of the Golden Fleece, at Bruges
in 1430, had a direct reference to the English wool, which had so
much contributed to the town's prosperity. By that date, however,
a change had already taken place in England. Flemish refugees
had, during the troubled times of the Arteveldes, fled across the
Channel, taking with them their skill in the textile industries.
Many of them settled at Norwich, then one of the Staple towns, and
introduced the art of cloth-weaving. Only the coarser fabrics, rough
white cloths, baize, and kersey, were produced, and these were sent
over to Ghent, Bruges, Ypres, and other places, to be finished and
dyed. To a monopoly of this trade the Staple Company, which had in
1359 removed from Bruges to Calais, had no claim, and the exporting
of cloth fell into other hands. Enterprising English traders, under
the name of Merchant Adventurers, had already begun to visit foreign
countries with their wares, the pioneers of a commerce which was
one day to encircle the world. Their first official recognition
came from the Kings of the house of Lancaster. By a letter patent
of Henry IV, 1407, they were granted the privilege of appointing a
governor or consul to represent them in certain towns, where they
traded. Their consolidation into an organized society appears to
have been a gradual process, and little is known of the actual
steps by which the court or central governing body of the Merchant
Adventurers came into being, but in the middle of the fifteenth
century it was in existence, and at the same time Antwerp became the
port to which exclusively their goods were sent and from which they
were distributed to other parts of the continent--in other words,
their Staple. At Antwerp a wharf, warehouse, and dwellings were
erected for their use, and extensive privileges granted to them,
including a certain autonomous jurisdiction.

The Charter which constituted them into an organized corporation
was granted by Henry VI in 1462. By this Charter the Fellowship
obtained the monopoly of the trade in woollen goods, at least all
traders who were not members of the Fellowship had to pay a tax for
their privilege, low at first, but which at the end of the century
had risen so high as to be practically prohibitive. By this Charter
the right of jurisdiction at Antwerp was confirmed and placed in the
hands of a court consisting of a governor and twelve assistants, the
governor being appointed by the King, the assistants elected by the
members. Shortly after the granting of this Charter the activity
of the Adventurers at Antwerp aroused the hostility of the Flemish
weavers, and Duke Philip the Good was induced by their complaints
to forbid in 1464 the importation of English woollen goods into his
dominion. They had therefore for awhile to withdraw to Utrecht. On
Philip's death in 1467 the interdict was removed, and Antwerp again
became the Staple of the Adventurers, and was to be their home for
wellnigh two centuries.

The period of the greatest prosperity of the Fellowship was the
sixteenth century, the period of the Tudors. This prosperity was
built up on the privileges and monopoly granted to them by the
Charter of Henry VII in 1501, which was extended in 1505 and
remained in force until the reign of James I. The governing body
consisted of a governor and twenty-four assistants, elected by the
'General Court', as the whole assembly of members was styled. This
governing body had extensive powers, legislative, executive, and
judicial. Their jurisdiction over the members was not confined to
civil actions, but they had the power of inflicting heavy fines and
even imprisonment for criminal offences. To become a member--'a free
and sworn brother'--of the Fellowship an apprenticeship of not less
than eight years had to be served, except in the case of sons of
members; and proof had to be given of English birth and parentage. A
'brother' who married a foreigner or acquired foreign property was

Four times a year the ships of the Fellowship gathered at London and
sailed to Antwerp, carrying a cargo of half-finished white cloths,
kerseys, and baize. The merchants themselves had to accompany their
goods, for it was prescribed 'that every one must sell his own
wares'. These sales could only take place in the Court-house, and
only three times a week, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. The
carrying out of these regulations and jurisdiction within the Staple
was entrusted to a secondary governing body or court consisting,
like the head body in London, of an elected governor and assistants.
The great rival of the Adventurers had been the Staple Company and
the Hansa League, but both these bodies became in the sixteenth
century decadent, and with the capture of Calais in 1558 the Staple
Company ceased to exist. But though the loss of Calais made Antwerp
more than ever the centre of the English continental trade,
troubles were in store for the Merchant Adventurers.

With the accession of Elizabeth disputes arose between the English
and Spanish Governments about the interpretation of the treaty
of commerce, known as the _Magnus Intercursus_, concluded in
1496 between Henry VII and Philip the Fair. Margaret of Parma,
the Governor of the Netherlands, took in 1563 the strong step of
forbidding the entrance of English goods into the Netherlands.
Elizabeth replied by closing the English harbours to ships from the
Netherlands. For about a year this state of things spelt ruin to
the Adventurers, but no less so to Antwerp. In 1564, accordingly,
an understanding was reached, and the Court once more returned to
its old quarters on the Scheldt. But for a brief space only. The
outbreak of the Revolt led to the banishment of the Adventurers from
the Netherlands, and at the end of 1564 they left Antwerp finally.

Shut out from the Netherlands, the Fellowship now tried to set up
their Staple further north in the region dominated by their chief
rivals the Hansa League. At first they found a resting-place at
Emden, but in 1567 they were tempted by an invitation from Hamburg
to set up their Court in that great seaport, from whence by the Elbe
they had access to the German market. Hamburg thus played for its
own profit the part of traitor to the League, of which it was one
of the foremost members. The residence at Hamburg lasted ten years,
but the bitter opposition of the Hansa to their presence proved too
strong, and by an Imperial decree of Rudolph II they were in 1577
banished from German soil. The energies of the Adventurers were
now diverted into different channels, small factories being placed
at Stade, Emden, and even at Elbing near Dantzic. A more important
move was the attempt to re-enter the Netherlands by the erection of
a subsidiary court at Middelburg in 1582. Holland and Zeeland had
now practically freed themselves from Spanish rule, and Middelburg,
on the island of Walcheren, was the capital of Zeeland, and at that
time a flourishing port. With the growth of the United Provinces in
power and wealth, it was clearly the best policy of the Fellowship
to establish its chief Staple and Court within the boundaries of
the Republic. There were many claimants, among them Groningen,
Delft, and Rotterdam. But after many negotiations, an influential
deputation sent by Middelburg in January, 1598, to London, decided
the choice of the English Government and of the General Court of
the Adventurers in favour of making this town their sole Staple
upon the Continent, and the seat of their Great Court. Many points
concerning the rights and privileges to be enjoyed, together with
the restrictions imposed, were the subject of much discussion
before the terms of the agreement was finally settled between the
town of Middelburg, the States of Zeeland, and the States-General
on the one hand, and the English Privy Council and the governing
body of the Fellowship on the other. The principal conditions were
that the Adventurers should carry on their entire business within
the Republic at the one Staple-town, and all English subjects were
forbidden to bring woollen goods to any other port of the United
Provinces. Their later history is told in the lectures that precede.
The Staple and Court remained at Middelburg from 1598 to 1621;
at Delft from 1621 to 1634; at Rotterdam from 1634 to 1656; at
Dordrecht from 1656 to 1665. After the close of the Second English
War the States-General in 1668 refused to grant the Adventurers
their old privileges, and the long connexion with the Netherlands


This name for the smugglers who, despite the exclusive rights of
the Merchant Adventurers, carried English woollen goods to other
Dutch ports than the privileged Staple, was derived from the Dutch
term _inter-_ or _entre-loopers_, i. e. 'runners-in'. During the
whole time that the Court and Staple were at Middelburg, the port of
Flushing, only a few miles distant on the same island of Walcheren,
was in English hands, being one of the so-called 'cautionary' towns,
which were a pledge to Queen Elizabeth for the repayment of her
loans, and were garrisoned by English troops. Flushing was during
this period a centre of smuggling, and the Flushing 'interlopers' a
great annoyance to the Adventurers. The smuggling went on, however,
with activity after the retrocession of Flushing in 1616, especially
to the port of Amsterdam. The powerful Amsterdam merchants, who
profited by the illicit trade, did their utmost to encourage the
'interlopers', and to protect them in spite of the angry protests
of the Adventurers, and of the corporations of the interested

The word 'interlopers' was soon universally applied to all private
traders who trespassed against the privileges of a Chartered
Company, more especially in the East Indies.


Bodies of English volunteers were to be found fighting under the
Prince of Orange against the Spaniards from the very beginning
of the Dutch War of Independence. In 1572 a force of 1,500 men
under Sir Humphrey Gilbert landed at Flushing, with the connivance
of Queen Elizabeth, and from this time forward English troops
took part in all the fiercest fighting. In 1571 there were four
English regiments in the field, commanded by Colonels Norris,
Cavendish, Cotton, and Morgan. During the time of Leicester's
Governor-Generalship, 1585-7, the number of the English army in
the Netherlands amounted to 8,000 men, horse and foot. After his
departure, a considerable though reduced force was left under the
command of Lord Willoughby. In 1589 he was succeeded in this post
by the famous Sir Francis Vere, the hero of the battle of Nieuport,
1600, and of the siege of Ostend, 1601-4, and many another desperate
struggle. It was during the time of his command that in 1595 an
arrangement was made between the States-General and Queen Elizabeth,
by the terms of which the English troops were henceforth to enter
the service of the States and receive Dutch pay. The English
Government allowed them to be recruited in England, and they were
to wear distinctive English uniforms, carry English colours, and
have their own national march and beat of the drum, but were to take
during their service an oath of allegiance to the States-General
from whom the officers received their commissions. The number was
fixed at 4,000.

Sir Francis Vere was followed in the command by his younger brother
Sir Horace Vere, afterwards Lord Vere of Tilbury, in 1608. During
the twelve years' truce, 1609-21, the English regiments were
retained in the service of the States, and in 1610 under Sir Edward
Cecil, afterwards Lord Wimbledon, distinguished themselves at the
siege of Jülich. From the outbreak of the war again in 1621 to
the peace of Munster in 1648, the English regiments took part in
all the campaigns of Maurice (died 1625) and of Frederick Henry,
Prince of Orange. In 1622 the names of the four Colonels were
Edward Vere, Edward Cecil, Charles Morgan, and Edward Harwood.
On them and the Scottish Brigade always fell the brunt of the
fighting. They particularly distinguished themselves in the defence
of Bergen-op-zoom (1622), and in the capture of Hertogenbosch
(1622), of Maestricht (1632), and of Breda (1637). In 1626, the
army of Frederick Henry included 14,500 English troops and 5,000
Scottish. At Hertogenbosch, Colonel Sir Edward Vere was killed; at
Maestricht, Colonel Sir Edward Harwood and the Earl of Oxford; at
Breda, Colonels Sir Charles Morgan and Goring were wounded. In 1644,
the names of the four Colonels were Craven, Cromwell, Herbert, and

After the peace of Munster (1648), followed in 1650 by the death
of the Stadholder William II, the republican party in the States,
now predominant, resolved to reduce the number of their standing
army, but the English regiments were retained until the outbreak
of the war with the Commonwealth, when they were all disbanded. In
1656, however, when peace had been restored, a single regiment was
recruited from the veterans, who had remained in Holland, chiefly
royalist refugees, and it was henceforth known as the Holland
regiment. The command was conferred on Colonel John Cromwell, a
cousin of the Protector, but a stanch loyalist.

On the declaration of war between England and the United Provinces
in 1665, the Holland regiment was summoned home. It became the 4th
Regiment of Foot, but still retained its old name, the Holland
Regiment, until 1689. In that year William III changed its title
to 'Prince George of Denmark's Regiment', and it became the 3rd
Foot. On the death of Prince George in 1708, their style was once
more altered, and this time, from the colour of their waistcoats,
breeches, and stockings, they were styled 'the Buffs,' a name
they were to retain until our own day. They are now the East Kent

Not less interesting, and even more prolonged, is the story of the
Scottish regiments in the Netherlands. The first record of Scottish
volunteers is in 1573. From 1603 to 1628 there were two regiments.
After 1628 there were three, except during the reign of William
III, when their number was increased. The group of regiments was
always known as the Scots Brigade, and it was continuously in the
Dutch service receiving Dutch pay for more than two centuries,
except the decade 1688-98, when, under the Dutch King of Great
Britain, they received British pay. Even during the Anglo-Dutch
wars of 1653, 1665, and 1672 they were not disbanded, but were
converted for the time into Dutch regiments, and in consequence
of this their composition during this period became considerably
leavened with an admixture of foreigners. Of the Scots who
remained, it must always be remembered that a number of them had
been settled in the Netherlands for two or three generations.
After 1674 their thoroughly Scottish character was restored. From
that date until 1781 the Scots Brigade remained in Holland. But
when Great Britain declared war against the United Provinces in
that year, the question of the position of the Scottish regiments
was raised, and the States-General resolved that they should be
completely denationalized and the officers be required to take an
oath abjuring allegiance to their own country. The large majority
at once threw up their commissions, and the Scots Brigade in the
Dutch service ceased to exist. The subsequent history is curious.
In 1794 the Scots Brigade was by order of the British Government
reformed. In 1803 its strength was reduced, and the 'Brigade'
became the 94th Regiment. Until 1809 the 94th wore Highland dress,
but this was then discontinued. The regiment, however, retained
the green facings which they had inherited from one of the Dutch
regiments. Disbanded in 1818, but reconstituted in 1878, the facings
remained green, and a diced band round the shako still proclaimed
the Scottish connexion. Its last service as the 94th was in the
Boer War of 1880, when a part of the regiment when on march in time
of peace was suddenly attacked at Bronker's Spruit, and had heavy
losses. The army reorganization of 1881 led to the 94th becoming
the battalion linked to the 88th, an Irish regiment, probably for no
other reason than the green facing. The glorious Scottish tradition
therefore of three centuries was henceforth lost, and the regiment
which represented the Scots Brigade became the 2nd battalion of the
Connaught Rangers, with its head-quarters at Galway.


Whereas our Father of blessed memory King James did in the seuenth
yeere of His reigne of Great Brittaine, set forth a Proclamation
touching Fishing; whereby for the many important reasons therein
expressed, all persons of what Nation or quality soeuer (being not
His naturall borne Subjects) were restrained from Fishing vpon any
the Coasts and Seas of Great Brittaine, Ireland and the rest of the
Isles adjacent, where most vsually heretofore Fishing had been,
vntill they had orderly demanded, and obtained Licences from Our
said Father or His Commissioners in that behalfe, vpon paine of such
chastisement as should be fit to be inflicted vpon such wilfull
Offenders: Since which time, albeit neither Our said Father, nor Our
Selfe haue made any considerable execution of the said Proclamation,
but haue with much patience expected a voluntary conformity of Our
Neighbours and Allies to so iust and reasonable Prohibitions and
Directions as are contained in the same.

And now finding by experience, that all the inconueniences which
occasioned that Proclamation, are rather increased than abated: We
being very sensible of the premisses, and well knowing how farre
we are obliged in Honour to maintaine the rights of our Crowne,
especially of so great consequence, haue thought it necessary,
by the aduice of Our priuie Councell, to renew the aforesaid
restraint of Fishing vpon Our aforesaid Coasts and Seas, without
Licence first obtained from Us, and by these presents to make
publique Declaration, that Our resolution is (at times conuenient)
to keepe such a competent strength of Shipping vpon Our Seas, as
may (by God's blessing) be sufficient, both to hinder such further
encroachments vpon Our Regalities, and assist and protect those Our
good Friends and Allies, who shall henceforth, by vertue of Our
Licences (to be first obtained) endeauour to take the benefit of
Fishing vpon Our Coasts and Seas, in the places accustomed.

       *       *       *       *       *

Giuen at Our Palace of Westminster the tenth day of May, in the
twelfth yeere of Our Reigne of England, Scotland, France, and

  God saue the King.



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