« PreviousContinue »
c H A P. of the Dutch commonwealth. Prince Rupert was also suspected not. to favour the king's projects for 1673. subduing Holland, or enlarging his authority at home; and from these motives, he was thought not to have pressed so hard on the enemy, as his wellknown valour gave reason to expect. It is indeed remarkable, that, during this war, though the English, with their allies, much over-matched the Hollanders, they were not able to gain any advantage over them; while, in the former war, though often overborne by numbers, they still exerted themselves with the greatest courage, and always acquired great renown, sometimes even signal victories. But they were disgusted at the present measures, which they deemed pernicious to their country; they were not satisfied in the justice of the quarrel; and they entertained a perpetual jealousy of their confederates, whom, had they been permitted, they would, with much more pleasure, have destroyed, than even the enemy themselves. . .If prince Rupert was not favourable to the designs of the court, he enjoyed as little favour from the "•court, at least from the duke, who, though he could no longer command the fleet, still possessed the chief authority in the admiralty. The prince complained of a total want of every thing, powder, shot, provisions, beer, and even water; and he went into harbour, that he might refit his ships, and supply their numerous necessities. After some weeks he was refitted, and he again put to sea. The hostile nthof fleets met at the mouth oftheTexel, and fought Another ,tne ^ast battle, which, during the course of so many sea-fight. years, these neighbouring maritime powers have disputed with each other. De Ruyter, and under him Tromp, commanded the Dutch in this action, as in the two former: For the prince of Orange had reconciled these gallant rivals; and they retained nothing of their former animosity, except that
emulation, emulation, which made them exert themselves withC H A p, more distinguished bravery against the enemies oiv^^^^ their country. Brankert was opposed to d'Etrees, de Ruyter to prince Rupert, Tromp to Sprague. It is to be remarked, that in all actions these brave admirals last mentioned had still selected each other, as the only antagonists worthy each other's valour; and no decisive advantage had as yet been gained by either of them. They fought in this battle as if there were no mean between death and victory. •*
D'etrees and all the French squadron, except rear-admiral Mariel, kept at a distance, and Brankert, instead of attacking them, bore down to the assistance of de Ruyter, who was engaged in furious combat with prince Rupert. On no occasion did: the prince acquire more deserved honour: His conduct, as well as valour, shone out with signal lustre. Having disengaged his squadron from the numerous enemies with whom he was every where surrounded, and having joined sir John Chichley, his rear-admiral, who had been separated from him, he made haste to the relief of Sprague, who was hard pressed by Tromp's squadron. The Royal Prince, in which Sprague first engaged, was so disabled, that he was obliged to hoist his flag on board the St. George; while Tromp was for a like reason obliged to quit his ship, the Golden Lion, and go on board the Comet. The fight was renewed with the utmost fury by these valorous rivals, and by the rear-admirals, their seconds. Ossory, rear-admiral to Sprague, was preparing to board Tromp, when he saw the St. George terribly torn, and in a manner disabled. Sprague was leaving her, in order to hoist his flag on board a third ship, and return to the charge; when a shot, which had passed through the St. George, took his boat, and sunk her. The admiral was drowned, to the great
Chap regret of Tromp himself, who bestowed on his valour the deserved praises. 1673. Prince Rupert found affairs in this dangerous situation, and saw most of the ships in Sprague's squadron disabled from fight. The engagement however was renewed, and became very close and bloody. The prince threw the enemy into disorder. To increase it, he sent among them two fire-ships; and at the same time made a signal to the French to bear down; which, if they had done, a decisive victory must have ensued. But the prince, when he saw that they neglected his signal, and observed that most of his ships were in no condition to keep the sea long, wisely provided for their safety by making easy sail towards the English coast. The victory in this battle was as doubtful, as in all the actions fought during the present war.
The turn which the affairs of the Hollanders took by land, was more favourable. The prince ol Orange besieged and took Naerden; and from this success gave his country reason to hope for still more prosperous enterprises. Montecuculi, who commanded the Imperialists on the Upper Rhine, deceived, by the most artful conduct, the vigilance and penetration of Turenne, and making a sudden march, sat down before Bonne. The prince of Orange's conduct was no less masterly; while he eluded all the French generals, and leaving them behind him, joined his army to that of the Imperialists. Bonne was taken in a few days: Several other places in the electorate of Cologne fell into the hands of the allies: And the communication being thus cut off between France and the United Provinces, Lewis was obliged to recall his forces, and to abandon all his conquests with greater rapidity than he had at first made them. The taking of Maastricht was the only advantage which he gained this campaign.
A Congress was opened at Cologne, under theC Hap. mediation of Sweden; but with small hopes ofyJ'Tw success. The demands of the two kings were such Icts. as must have reduced the Hollanders to perpetual o/cJIogne. servitude. In proportion as the affairs of the States rose, the kings sunk in their demands; but the States still sunk lower in their offers; and it was found impossible for the parties ever to agree on any conditions. After the French evacuated Holland, the congress broke up; and the seizure of prince William of Furstenburg by the Imperialists afforded the French and English a good pretence for leaving Cologne. The Dutch ambassadors, in their memorials, expressed all the haughtiness and disdain, so natural to a free state, which had met with such unmerited ill usage.
The parliament of England was now assembled, 20Ui Oct. and discovered much greater symptoms of ill hu-Ap"11"mour than had appeared in the last session. They had seen for some time a negotiation of marriage carried on between the duke of York and the archduchess of Inspruc, a catholic of the Austrian family; and they had made no opposition. But when that negotiation failed, and the duke applied to a princess of the house of Modena, then in close alliance with France; this circumstance, joined to so many other grounds of discontent, raised the commons into a flame, and they remonstrated with the greatest zeal against the intended marriage. The king told them, that their remonstrance came too late; and that the marriage was already agreed on, and even celebrated by proxy. The commons still insisted; and proceeding to the examination of the other parts of government, they voted the standing army a grievance, and declared, that they would
frant no more supply, unless it appeared, that the Dutch were so obstinate as to refuse all reasonable conditions of peace. To cut short these disagreeable
Chap.attacks, the king resolved to prorogue the parlia
iJ^Yj/ ment; and with that intention he came unexpectedly 1673. to the house of peers, and sent the usher to summon
4tu Nov. tng commons. It happened, that the speaker and the usher nearly met at the door of the house; but the speaker being within, some of the members suddenly shut the door, and cried, To the chair, to the chair; while others cried, The black rod is at the door. The speaker was hurried to the chair; and the following motions were instantly made: That the alliance with France is a grievance; That the evil counsellors about the king are a grievance; That the duke of Lauderdale is a grievance, and not fit to be trusted or employed. There was a general cry, To the question, to the question: But, the usher knocking violently at the door, the speaker leaped from the chair, and the house rose in great confusion. During the interval, Shaftesbury, whose intrigues with the malcontent party were now become notorious, was dismissed from the office of chancellor; and the great seal was given to sir Heneage Finch, by the title of lord keeper. The test had incapacitated Clifford; and the white staff was conferred on sir Thomas Osborne, soon after created earl of Danby, a minister of abilities, who had risen by his parliamentary talents. Clifford retired into the country, and soon after died. 16?4. The parliament had been prorogued, in order
7U»feb. to give the duke teisure to finish his marriage; but the king's necessities soon obliged him again to assemble them; and by some popular acts he paved the way for the session. But all his efforts were in vain. The disgust of the commons was fixed in foundations too deep to be easily removed. They began with applications for a general fast; by which they intimated, that the nation was in a very calamitous condition: They addressed against the king's guards, which they represented as dangerous to