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Measure for Measure, to honest ELBOW, the Constable, who found himself in a similar situation. — Esc. “ Truly « Officer, because he hath some offences in him that thou « wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his « courses till thou knowest what they are.”
The SoverEIGN and PARLIAMENT of this Country have, in the most solemn manner, offered their Thanks to the Almighty, for the Three GREAT NAVAL Victories which have distinguished the present War.
Undoubtedly it must afford, to every British Subject, the most heartfelt satisfaction to observe, that in the midst of the difficulties and dangers with which we have had to contend, the Naval Superiority of the Country appears more conspicuous than at any former period of its History; and that if, by the treachery or weakness of other Powers, we have been disappointed in many of our wellfounded expectations as to the general result of the Contest, in that part of it in which we have stood alone, our Success has been uniform.
If the contemplation of this Success cannot fail to inspire us with a proper sense of what we owe to ProviDENCE, a Review of it, as compared with the Advantages obtained in former Wars, may be useful, as it will furnish us with a just confidence in our present Power and Resources.
The Victory obtained over the Spanish Armada in the reign of Queen ELIZABETH, is well known to have been the foundation of the Naval Glory of Great Britain; and it was not till more than half a century after
that event, that there was any Power who had the means of disputing with us the Empire of the Sea. France cannot be considered as having been in possession of a Navy till the majority of Louis XIV. But the spirit of enterprize and exertion to which the Revolution in the Low Countries had given rise in every part of the World, created in Holland, about the middle of the last Century, a most formidable Maritime Rival to Great Britain.
As soon as CROMWELL had succeeded in establishing his authority at home, he considered it as his interest to employ the Spirit and Energy of the Country in vigorous Foreign Enterprizes. This policy was the real cause of the first Dutch War, which commenced in the year 1652. The first Naval Action of importance in this War, was fought between TROMP and BLAKE, in the Road of Dover. The former commanded a Fleet of forty-two Sail. The Squadron of Blake, in the beginning of the Action, consisted only of fifteen Sail; and in no part of it, of more than twenty-three. The Engagement lasted five hours; and Blake, notwithstanding the inferiority of his force, succeeded in sinking one Ship of the Enemy, and taking another. Night parted the Combatants; and the Dutch retired to their own Coasts.
A short time afterwards, another Action took place between two numerous Fleets under the same Commanders; but a furious storm came on in the beginning of the Action, and both Fleets were dispersed. On the 10th of August in the same year, Sir George Ayscue, with a Fleet of forty Ships under his command, engaged a Dutch Fleet of fifty Sail under the command of De RUYTER. This Action was as undecided as the former; the two Fleets being parted in the heat of battle by the night.
On On the 28th of September following, BLAKE attacked a Dutch Squadron commanded by De Witte and De RUYTER. This Contest terminated in favour of the English: the Dutch Rear-Admiral's Ship was boarded and taken, two Vessels were sunk, and one was blown up. The War was not confined to the Coasts of Britain and Holland : in the Mediterranean, the Dutch Admiral Van Galen obtained several advantages over Captain BODLY; but the English Force was very inferior to that of their Opponents; and no Squadron in the course of the War gained greater credit than they acquired, for the bravery and skill with which they disputed the Contest.
On the 29th of November, TROMP and De Ruyter fell in with BLAKE near the Goodwins. The Dutch Fleet was superior, but BLAKE was determined to engage. After a most desperate Action, two English Ships were taken, two burnt, and one was sunk. The remainder of the English Fleet was probably saved by the night. The Parliament showed great steadiness in their support of BLAKE. The most vigorous measures were taken for manning and equipping the Fleet, and BLAKE was soon able to put to sea, with Dean and Monk, and a Fleet of eighty Sail under his command. On the 18th of February 1653, he engaged a Dutch Fleet of seventysix Sail under TROMP: the Battle lasted three days, and was at length decided in favour of the English; the number of slain was nearly the same on both sides; but the Dutch lost eleven Ships, and the English only one.
On the 2d of June another Action took place between the two Fleets, of a hundred Sail each, under Monk and Dean on the part of the English, and Tromp on the part of the Dutch. This Battle lasted two days : at the end of the first day, BLAKE arrived with a Squadron of
eighteen Sail; but the contest was, notwithstanding, renewed in the morning by the Dutch, with the greatest fury. Dean was killed; six of the best Dutch Ships are said to have been sunk, two blown up, and eleven taken: the remainder were able, with the greatest difficulty, to gain their own Harbours.
The Government of Holland discovered on this occasion the greatest skill and industry in equipping their newbuilt Ships and in refiting their old ones. Before the end of July they had a Fleet of ninety Sail at sea; and on the 29th, the last Action in this War was fought between Monk and Tromp. This was the most hard fought Battle of any that had happened in the course of the War. On no occasion was there ever shewn more spirit and gallantry than was displayed on both sides in this Engagement. It was decided in favour of the English, in consequence of Tromp being killed. This event discouraged the Enemy; the greatest confusion prevailed throughout their Fleet; near thirty of their Ships were taken or sunk.
On the 15th of April, 1654, Peace was signed between the two Republics, on terms highly honourable to Great Britain. It should be observed, that, in this first Dutch War, the English had a prodigious advantage over the Dutch, arising from the superior size of their Ships.
A few years after the Restoration of King CHARLES the Second, Great Britain and Holland were again en. gaged in Hostilities. The cause of this War was not very honourable to ourselves. The Dutch, by their industry and exertions, had gained possessio:1 of the most advantageous branches of Commerce; and the object of this Country was to reduce, if not to destroy, that ComVOL. I.
merce, which was supposed to be prejudicial to our own.
The first Action of importance, in this War, was fought in the month of June, 1665. The English Fleet consisted of one hundred and fourteen Sail, under the command of the Duke of York. The Dutch Fleet, under OPDAM, was of nearly the same force. In the midst of the Action, OPDAM's Ship blew up; the Dutch Fleet fled in consequence; and nineteen of their Ships were sunk or taken. In consequence of this Defeat, Louis XIV. determined to declare himself in favour of the Dutch, and to give them every assistance in resisting the Naval Power of England. A French Fleet of Forty Sail, under the command of the Duke of BEAUFORT, entered the Channel, and a Dutch Fleet of seventy-six Sail, under the command of De RueTER, was at sea for the purpose of joining them. The Duke of ALBEMARLE, with a Fleet of seventy-four Sail, was ready to oppose them; but he had the imprudence to detach Prince Rupert with twenty Sail to intercept the Duke of BEAUFORT. This weakened his force considerably; but the Battle which ensued was, notwithstanding, the most memorable which had hitherto been fought. It lasted four days. Fortune at different times appeared to favour each Party. The English Fleet was so shattered as to be obliged to retire to their own Coast; but ALDEMARLE dea termined to renew the contest, and Prince Rupert coming to his assistance, enabled him again to face the Enemy. After the contest had been renewed for some time with great vigour, the Fleets were parted by a mist. The Victory, if it can be called one, was most dearly bought by the Dutch. According to the best accounts, the