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first Dutch war, weakly begun, and with dishonour concluded; and the Triple
position for his own particular interest; and that it is for this sole reason, principally, that the duke of York goes to have an interview with your majesty at Dunkirk, to give you stronger assurances of this: and, I believe, he will be furnished by the chancellor with some informations, which may be of use at any such time as your majesty may form any designs in Flanders ?.”The royal brothers and Hyde, we see, in the opinion of D’Estrades, were very good Frenchmen; and the chancellor merited the thanks Lewis returned him for his favour in this negotiation. If this man merited too at the hands of his country, on this occasion, it must have been by mere luck: for whether settlements on the continent are eligible for England, or not, was no part of the consideration with him: but how he could get most money for his master, and ingratiate himself with the king of France, who treated him, after all, in the time of his distress, but very scurvily for his pains. It was, however, a just reward for his iniquitous behaviour in this affair. If the reader will be pleased to turn to lord Clarendon's own account of the sale of Dunkirk, he will find a very striking instance of his truth and sincerity. For notwithstanding all here written by D’Estrades, at the very time, and on the spot, the chancellor tells the world, that "he was averse to it: that the king [of France] sent M. D’Estrades privately to London to treat about it: that the business was first referred to a committee, and then to the privy council, where it was fully debated and agreed to, lord St. Alban's only dissenting: and that
* D'Estrades' Letters, p. 285.
• Id. p. 319.
League", so well known, and so much talked of; may be thought exceptions to
whether the bargain was ill or well made, there could be no fault imputed to him; he having only, with some other lords, been appointed to treat for the sale, the matter having been deliberated and fully debateda.” What belief is due to such a writer! Party-men may call him great and good; but the impartial enquirer into facts will be at a loss to know how he merited these characters. It should not be omitted, “ that the advising and effecting the sale of Dunkirk,” was one article of impeachment against his lordship by the house of commons.
19 The first Dutch warmand-the Triple League.] It is not my design to enter into a minute detail of the one or the other of these remarkable events, as they may be found very particularly related in most of our histories. Suffice it here to say, that the aversion his majesty had to the Dutch; the hatred entertained against them by the duke of York; the desire of gain by the merchants; and the readiness of a pension-parliament to advance the necessary supplies; all concurred to engage in a measure which turned out greatly to the nation's dishonour. In his majesty's “ declaration, touching his proceedings for reparation and satisfaction for several injurious affronts and spoils done by the East and West India companies, and other the subjects of the United Provinces,” he says, “ Whereas upon complaint of the several injuries done unto and upon the ships, goods, and persons of our subjects, to their grievous damages, and amounting to this assertion; as the one made a breach
a Clarendon's Continuation, vol. II. p. 383_-391. • Journal, 6th Nov. 1667. (Fol. Lond. 1664,.O.S. See also Temple's Works, vol. I. p. 305.
vast sums; instead of reparation and satisfaction which hath been by us frequently demanded, we found that orders had been given to De Ruyter not only to abans don the consortship against the pirates of the Mediterranean seas (to which the states general had invited us); but also to use all acts of depredation and hostility against our subjects in Africa. , We thereupon gave order for the detaining of the ships belonging to the States of the United Provinces; yet, notwithstanding, we did not give any commission for letters of marque, hor were there any proceedings against the ships de tained, until we had a clear and undeniable evidence that De Ruyter had put the said orders in execution, by seizing several of our subjects ships and goods, But now finding that our forbearance, and the other remedies we have used to bring them to a compliance with us, have proved ineffectual--we have thought fit to declare to all the world, that the said states are the aggressors,
&c." These reasons were not very extraordinary. For as to the injuries done to the merchants, they were old complaints, and in a way of accommodation : and the Dutch themselves had reason to complain of the taking of Cape de Verde, and some East India ships by the English; and, consequently, there was ground rather for arbitration than war. But the court wa not to be diverted from ito It began with vigour, and was carried on with zeal on both sides. Many battles were fought with great bravery, in which the English, for the most part, were the conquerors. The French, with Denmark, pretended to come in in aid of the vanquished. They did, however, but little. At length the Dutch took a severe revenge: their feet entered the Thames, and burnt part of the between the two crowns, and the other
royal navy; to the no small mortification of their adversaries. This brought on a peace (which was concluded at Breda, in June, 1667); whereby the English were no great gainers.- Sir William Temple, in a letter to lord Arlington, dated Brussels, July 19, N. S. 1667, speaking “ of the good news writ him by his lordship of the Dutch being beaten off at Harwich;". adds, “ for since we are in a disease, every fit we pass well over is so much of good, and gives hopes of recovery. I doubt," continues he,“ this is not the last; for, I hear, De Witt is resolved that their fleet shall not give over action till the very ratifications of the treaty are exchanged: in which he certainly pursues his interest, that the war may end with so much the more honor abroad, and heart at home; for, commonly, the same dispositions between the parties with which one war ends, another begins. And though this may end in peace; yet, I doubt, it will be with so much unkindness between the nations, that it will be wisdom on both sides to think of another, as well as to avoid it. All discourse here is of the peace as a thing undoubted; and every pacquet I receive from England confirms me in the belief that a war abroad is not our present business, till all at home be in beta ter order; no more than hard exercise, which strengthens healthy bodies, can be proper for those that have a fever lurking in the veins, or a consumption in the flesh; for which rest, and order, and diet are necessary, and, perhaps, some medicine too, provided it come from a careful and a skilful hand. This is all I shall say upon that subject; which, I presume, has before this received some resolution by my lord ambassador Coventry's arrival : for, I confess, my stomach is come
a check to the French conquests in Flan
down; and I should be glad to hear the peace ended, and our coasts clear, since it will not be better : but all this while, multa gemens ignominiam plagasque superbi hostis; and, I am sure, would not desire to live, unless with hopes of seeing ourselves one day in another posture; which God Almighty has made us capable of, whenever we please ourselves ."A war of this nature, carried on with so much spirit and resentment, by nations whose real interest was very different from that of France, could not but give her much pleasure. “ For France had an interest either to dispose us to so much good will, or, at least, to put us into such a condition that we might give no opposition to their designs: and Flanders being a perpetual object in their eye, a lasting beauty for which they have an incurable passion, and not being kind enough to consent to them, they meditated to commit a rape upon her,' which they thought would not be easy to do, while England and Holland were agreed to rescue her whenever they should hear her cry out for help to them. To this end they put in practice seasonable and artificial whispers, to widen things between us and the States. Amboyna and the fishery must be talked of here; the freedom of the seas, and the preservation of trade, must be insinuated there: and there being combustible matter on both sides, in a little time it took' fire, which gave those that kindled it sufficient cause to smile and hug themselves, to see us both fall into the net they had laid for us. And it is observable, and of good example to us if we will take it, that their design being to set us together åt cuffs to weaken us, they kept
* Temple's Works, vol. I. p. 290.