Friday, February 03, 2006
From my translation of an article from Oud-Holland 17
This is the start of my translation of this article:
The battle near Folkestone between Maarten Tromp and Blake, on 19 May 1652, was followed in July by the first war between the Netherlands and England. It began under unfavorable circumstances for our land. The Dutch fleet was weaker than the English and was hampered by the merchant fleets, which were given to them and furthermore by the administration here that was as bad as that in England was good. The war took an unfortunate turn in July when Tromp set to see from the Zeeland coast. He wanted to attack Ayscue, who was near the Downs, watching for Dutch merchant vessels. Adverse winds, however, impacted execution of his plan. After that, he wanted to follow Blake, who went to the North Sea to destroy the Dutch herring fleet. Storms prevented him from doing this, as well. On 16 August he headed homeward with undone business. His actions had failed so badly that his policies were subjected to intense scrutiny. He was dismissed and Witte Corneliszoon de With was appointed in his place.
In the beginning of August, M. A. De Ruijter sailed with a Zeeland squadron to escort a merchant fleet through the Channel. On 26 August he beat Ayscue near Plymouth. This was the first battle in this war and the last of Ayscue. Against the return of De Ruijter, Blake sailed, after defeating a French fleet near Calais on 14 September. In the Channel, he united with Penn, to combine against De Ruijter. This threat to the county was foreseen and a fleet was collected near the Wielings, under the command of Vice-Admiral Witte Corneliszoon de With. De Ruijter passed Penn in the night, unobserved, and on 2 October, near Dunkirk and Nieuport, he met the dispatched fleet. On 8 October, the State's fleet was seen, not far from the Kentish Knock, somewhat North of Blake's fleet, which was somewhat more numerous. Blake immediately sailed their way, with great resolve. They had the advantage of the wind, larger ships with larger cannons. The Dutch made the initial mistake of firing at the masts and sails, rather than the ship hulls. When about 20 captains, mostly Zeelanders, fled, so Blake achieved the victory and sailed triumphantly back to England, while the defeated Dutch fleet turned back toward Goeree on 10 October.
One result of this defeat was that Maarten Harpertsz. Tromp was restored as commander of the fleet. On 1 December he set sail to sea fro the Meuse, burned with merchant vessels destined for Bordeaux to get wine. Jan Evertsen operated near him with some warships and 70 merchant vessels. By that time, our fleet was comprised of approximately 90 ships, 8 fireships, and some small craft, accompanied by more than 400 merchant vessels. On the 4th or 5th of December, they anchored at the latitude of Dunkirk. On the 9th, Tromp was near the Southern entrance to the Downs, where Blake was situated. He left his hiding place, however due to the change of wind, he had to anchor at the latitude of Dover. Tromp was near the same area, only to the leewards, on the next afternoon, about 3 o'clock, when the two fleets started fighting near Dungeness, near the Singels. The Dutch were now more powerful than the English, and twenty ships, mostly hired merchant vessels, and were with Blake during the encounter. These had to turn toward Dover, and on the next day, he was back in the downs, where the most ships were there in the Thames. After his victory, Tromp accompanied the merchant vessels to the Isle of Rhé, taking several English prizes along the way. He stayed near Bordeaux to wait for the returning merchant fleet.