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rally thought it will bee the conclusion of the warre, and an utter confusion of one partie. I extremely long for that thundering day; wherein I hope you shall heare wee have behaved ourselves like men, and to the honour of our country. Wee have been for divers dayes from the body of the main fleet, since we heard of the Duch being out; and are now with some other frigates riding at the buoy of the middle grounds, as a forlorne hope, in sight of the Duch fleet; where wee wayt and observe their motions, and make signes accordingly to the fleet. Five dayes wee judge will bee the longest time before wee engage. If the Duch will stand to it, wee hope to make an end of the warre, otherwise wee may have cause to repent that wee ever beganne it; wee having now the strength of England with us. Our men are resolute; and I know the temper of our squadron; that by God's assistance you may expect notable service from them. Wee now lye in a sollicitous and wachful guard, in the face of the enemie; but expect dailie to joyne with our fleet, in order to sudden action. I thank you for your directions for my eares agaynst the noyse of the gunnes, butt I have found that I could endure it; nor is it so intolerable as most conceave; especially when men are earnest, and intent upon their business, and unto whom muskets sound but like pop gunnes: it is impossible to expresse unto another how a smart sea fight elevates the spirits of a man, and makes him despise all dangers. Hee that so often stands in the face of a cannon will thinck nothing terrible. In and after all sea fights I have been very thirstie, which makes mee alwayes provide some bottles of quick and fresh middle beere to carry with mee, whereby I having found so great relief in the hot fight the last moneth," I have got six bottles from a gentleman on the Essex shoare, which I reserve for that use. For want hereof I found a great inconvenience when I was in the Foresight, at Bergen fight;where wee had little and bad beere. I humbly crave your blessing and good prayers; and if it shall please God that I survive this battayle, I hope to see you before winter. I am very sorry
1 On the third of June, between the English Aleet, commanded by Lord Albemarle, and the Dutch, under De Ruyter and Van Tromp.
2 Third of August, 1665. VOL 1.
to heare the plague increaseth so much in Norwich ; butt am glad you are removed out of it. I receaved your two last letters, and give you many thanks for the discourse you sent me out of Vossius De Motu Marium et Ventorum. It seemed very hard to mee at first; butt I have now beaten it out, and wish I had the booke. Butt I am not able to beat it into our seamen's heads; and the truth is, I meet not with any so refined as to enquire after such ingenious tracts; and so I leave them to their Wagoner and Seaman's Kalender, as their nil vltra. Reading in the Fiery Columne I found this passage:
Among the rocky islands in the coast of East Finland, neare Cape Sound, and the Liet of Abboo, among the rocks lyeth a great rock vnder water, which is a magnes or loadstone; and the ground seemeth there to have the virtue of the loadstone; for there the compasse doth not stand, but runne and turne without any certain station, till you bee at least at a league past it.” Nor must I omitt a story which an honest knowing seaman lately told mee, while hee sayled formerly in the Crowne frigat with stormy weather in the Gulf of Lyons: there appeared two Corpos Santos, or St. German's fires; the one in the foreyard arme, about the sheet-block, the other, being lesse, on the crosse sack: hee having seene some before, and now desirous to knowe what substance they were of, went up, and sliding along the foreyard, perceaved it to make from him, till it came to the end; and being at the extreme part, began to drop down in light droppes; hee laid his hand on it, and found it extreme cold and slimie, sticking to his fingers, where it would seeme to burne while the matter was dryed on, and having drawne it to him a good while, till most of it was consumed, he left it. They are many times seen sticking to the skuppers of ships in very fowle weather, and the like I remember I saw in bad weather upon the coast of Oran, in Barbarie, in our voyage with Sir Jeremie Smith. If Radziuill had observed or knowne what a poore peece of corruption this admired light was, hee might have spared his superstitious feares concerning it, which may bee seene at length in his Trauayls: but hereof I hope to receave something hereafter from you. I was diuers times on shoare when we lay farther up. At Quinborough I saw the foundation of
a very old round castle, nothing now standing above ground, a poore and meane place. At East Church, at the other end of the Isle of Sheppey, there hath been a very noble howse, belonging to the Earle of Penbrooke, now almost runne to ruine, and only vsed for a farme howse. Many of the people on both shoares are runne up into the country as fearing the presse, and some of our seamen have been so rude as to bring away not only common labourers, butt farmers and constables, not sparing a justice of peace from the Essex side. They are at a very great height of licentiousnesse, which wee are fayne to overlooke in many things, because of the present action; yet there were two hanged last weeke for a mutinie, at the buoy of the Nore. I should have been very glad to have seen my brother Edward, hee having been almost in all the places of France where I have been. I hope wee may exercise that languadge together. When hee writeth or goeth to Cambridge, I desire him to present my service to Mr. Craven, Mr. Nurse, Mr. Arrowsmith, and all our friends in Trinitie College. I humbly beg your prayers and blessing, resting, Sir, your most obedient and dutifull sonne,
Sir Thomas Allen and Captain Darcy present their service.
Mr. Thomas Browne to his Father.
(MS. SLOAN. 1745.]
September, 1666. HONORD FATHER,
After our returne from the coast of Holland, the firing and destroying of at least an hundred and fiftie good marchand shippes and some men of warre, and the burning of the handsome towne of Brandaris, on Skellink island, we returned to England, to fitt up our shipps, especially such as had been damaged in the last July fight; and to make hast out agayne to meet with the Duch fleet, who, by this time, had recruited, and had, as wee conceaue, an intention to joyne
with the French fleet. Wee went out agayne well prouided and resolved, the Duch making to the French coast, and, indeed, sauing themselues there ; for had not the winds been uery high, in all probabillity, wee had ruined their fleet. In the late July fight, though it lasted not many howers before the Duch made away, yett our shippe spent many shot, and not in vayne; butt a Duch flagge shippe lay hard upon us, and so batterd our sayles and mayne-mast, that Sir Thomas Allen thought it best that wee should make for England, and repayre, and so make hast to them agayne, then going for the coast of Holland. Butt wee were not willing to heare of that, but fished our mast, and so well repayred our shippe at sea, that wee were in good case to go along with our squadron, and returned not till all was over at Skellink, in company with the fleet. Then I brought the shippe to Woollage, and layd her fast in the dock; the captaine being gone to London. She is now repayred, and wee are designed to conuay the Cales and Malaga fleet, with others bound for the Straights. Wee are to take up the marchands at the Downs, and conuey them through the Channell to Plimouth, and there to expect admirall Kempthorne, with 6 or 7 shipps more, and so to passe forward. Wee are now riding in the Long Reach, and hindred by this hard wether, which is so extreme that the whole riuer of Thames is couered ouer with huge flakes of ice, which, with the foame of the tide, doth so gall us, that wee are forced to lay chaynes ouer our cables, and fasten great elme plancks to the sides and bowes of our shippe to saue her; and if this extreme wether continueth, wee shall bee fayne to hale her ashoare, the wind not presenting to carry us lower downe. I confesse I could not butt call to mind what I had read in captain James his trauayles, though with no comparison unto his dangers. I receaued some time ago all the things you sent; violin, nocturnall, and Wagoner, which is a very good one, though not of the last edition, which was printed 1600. No newes at present butt what cometh from your coast, of the taking and spoyling 5 sayle of Duch men of warre. The discontent of the seamen, for want of pay, is no newes unto you.
Yesterday diuers of them, now bound outward, presented a petition to
the Duke of York, for some of their pay, to prouide for themselues and families, wch they are to leaue at home. What the euent will bee it is easie to judge, by what hath alreadie passed. Certaine it is that they are in a sad and pitifull condition; and no small trouble it is unto us, who are to command a company of mutinous unpayd men. For my part, while I haue a penny, I cannot but releiue them, of whose fidelity and valour I can giue so good testimonie; nor do I find them so untractible, who all this while, though the captaine were ashoare, haue kept them aboard and unto their duties better then I might haue feared I should haue done. I cannot butt wonder at this unreasonable and unpolitick course, to disoblige the seamen, who haue behaued themselues so stoutly, and discontent the whole land, who haue so largely disbursed for their paye. The consequence must be bad, and at least honourable
I neuer looke to see another fleet so well manned and readie for the seruice, except a speedie recouery be made of their affections unto it. I hope by this, my third winter voyage to the Strayghts, much to improue my knowledge of what I haue seen and learned alreadie, and wee hope to bee in England by April, before any action. Prince Rupert being pleased to take notice of my endeauors, gaue mee counsell by all means to take paynes to be a good channell man, and to understand the narrow seas as exactly as I could; and therefore, though I haue alreadie taken the best notice I could thereof, yet in this voyage I shall bee a more strict obseruer; and if it please God I returne, shall send you my obseruations thereof, with what discriptions and draughts time will give mee leaue to sett downe. I am much satisfied that I haue got my boy Will Blanchot's pension settled for his life; haueing had his thigh broake by a splinter in the last fight butt one, to the greif, not only of myself, butt of all the shippe : it will be hard to meet with a boy so boald and useful in a fight, though I haue another that doeth well. I shall take all the care to bind him out; and I hope it is alreadie done by those I have employed about it. His father was chief gunner of our shippe, at Bergen, where hee was slayne, and his sonne left to the wide world till I tooke him into my care.
The honest Moore hath leave to go to London