Texel 341, Part 3

And now for the third and final part of my account of the Battle of the Texel/Kijkduin, 11/21 August 1673. Apologies for the week’s delay in posting this – twenty-first century real life always trumps seventeenth century history, at the end of the day!

I’ll post what would have been the appendix of my proposed book on the battle, namely an attempt to reconstruct the order of the fleet in its line of battle, on my website.

***

Prince Rupert and his critics

On 16 August 1673 a seaman calling himself ‘Tom Tell Truth’, from Kempthorne’s flagship, the Saint Andrew, wrote a short note to the secretary of state, Henry Coventry: ‘This is to let you understand that Prince Rupert ran away from the Dutch fleet, and that if you doe not acquaint his Majesty with it you do the nation a great wronge’.75 Rupert’s entire command of the 1673 fleet had been controversial, and by the time of the battle of the Texel the prince’s reputation was not what it once had been. Even in June, one commentator in London had remarked ‘God sende him better luck than I feare is generally wisht’, and his lack of success in the two battles of the Schooneveld provoked widespread criticism, some of it, at least, encouraged by the supporters of the duke of York – perhaps even by the duke himself, whose relationship with his cousin had always been frosty.76 Even the king was reported to have said that Rupert needed a victory to remove the question-marks against him. His hostility to the French was well-known, although he had made an effort to construct a working relationship with d’Estrées and to give the French praise when it was due (albeit with blatant bad grace).77 Rupert did not trust his second-in-command, Spragge, who had been foisted on him by Charles and James in preference to the prince’s own client, Sir Robert Holmes; Spragge reciprocated the feeling, and his journal is full of explicit and implicit criticism of Rupert’s tactics.78 Many of the prince’s subordinates were unhappy with his command. In addition to those who were closely tied to the interests of the duke of York, even more independent captains like George Legge resented Rupert’s appointment and promotion policies, and the way in which a few of Rupert’s favourites (notably Sir William Reeves, flag captain of the Sovereign) dominated their master.79 In the light of all these internal jealousies and divisions, it is hardly surprising that Rupert’s own conduct at the battle of  the Texel should have been subjected to serious criticism. Although he remained popular in the country at large, and his interpretation of the battle had been largely accepted (as it has been by most historians), a few more sceptical voices were being heard in the coffee-houses as early as September 1673: ‘The Prince is much adored by the people, and chiefly, it’s thought, for his hatred to the French, but all say his Highness wants that which makes a happy Commander, success…’.80 Moreover, a good case can be made for claiming that much of the criticism of Rupert’s conduct was perfectly justified.

Rupert’s own relation of the battle begins at daybreak on 11 August. This fact may well be significant; the prince had apparently researched the events of the previous day, and may have omitted them because he realised they did not reflect well on him.81 On 10 August, as noted earlier, Rupert had a clear advantage of the wind over the Dutch, and many in the fleet expected that he would engage that day; one critic claimed that instead, ‘the Prince only edg’d towards ym to ye great amazement of ye English as well as ye French commanders who could not guess ye reason, why he should omitt takeing soe fayre an advantage’.82 This was certainly the feeling of d’Estrées and Martel, who were to agree about so little else, and they were supported by Legge, who believed that ‘if we had borne more roundly upon them we might easily have been engaged by 4 a clock’ and privately attacked Rupert for ‘not making use of good opportunities…meeting the enemy with disadvantage though theye did yecontrary’.83 The fact that the combined fleet faced the Dutch ‘with disadvantage’ on the morning of 11 August was, of course, due to the fact that it had lost the wind during the night. In The Exact Relation and other pro-Rupert accounts, the prince’s faction attempted to blame the French for this, suggesting that d’Estrées in the van deliberately shortened sail twice during the night despite express orders to the contrary. D’Estrées, on the other hand, claimed that he was only acting under orders when he shortened his sails, and this seems to be supported by Legge, by John Narbrough, Ossory’s flag captain on the Saint Michael, and by Arthur Herbert, captain of the Cambridge, all of whom implicitly or explicitly blamed Rupert for the peculiar manoeuvring during the night.84 Moreover, this rather introspective analysis of the reasons for losing the wind fails to give due weight to the fact that the wind changed in any case, and to the brilliance of the Dutch manoeuvre – as one commentator on the Royal Katherine put it, ‘had wee maid saile we had kept it [the wind] but drifting along with an easy sayle and being darke they like Cunning fellows maid sayle and stood under our bowsprits’, a manoeuvre assisted by the Dutch captains’ naturally superior knowledge of their own coastal waters.85

Once the battle began on the morning of the eleventh, the scope for alternative interpretations of events becomes even more apparent. Although Rupert criticised the other two squadrons for deserting him, the French complained that Rupert had effectively abandoned them by fighting off to leeward, before unilaterally sailing off to join the blue, and that rather than Spragge not supporting him, he had not supported Spragge.86 These contentions seem to be supported by several journals from the red squadron, in which the authors expressed considerable surprise that they had stayed on the larboard tack for virtually the entire battle regardless of changes of wind.87 Of course, it was possible for Rupert and his clients to attack the dead Spragge with impunity, and they had a good case for charging him with breach of orders – though as Legge judiciously observed, ‘if he had lived this battaile would have proved more succesfull to ye English, & not had so much durt thrown in his face as hath beene upon his ashes’.88 Moreover, Rupert could hardly censure the French for stretching ahead and attempting to gain the weather gage – this was what they had been specifically ordered to do.89 Thereafter, many aspects of Rupert’s conduct of the battle came in for criticism. The fact that at one point he was sailing with de Ruyter in his wake – presumably the stage of the battle to which ‘Tom Tell Truth’ alluded – led one critic to claim that it was the first occasion in history when an English admiral had fired his stern chase guns during a battle, a sure sign that he was running away: ‘the Pr[ince] for reasons best knowne to himselfe had as fully betray’d the honor of ye English nation as d’Estrées of ye French: and in playne English a Coward’s a Coward be he wt Countryman he will!’90 Rupert’s cruise to rejoin the blue squadron in the early and mid-afternoon astonished Narbrough, who could not believe that two fleets could sail along within range of each other without exchanging fire – although, of course, this was just as much de Ruyter’s doing as Rupert’s.91 Several critics, including Herbert and Narbrough, claimed that when Rupert had rejoined the blue squadron he could have won the battle anyway if he had tacked, with or without the assistance of the French, and this does not seem to have been altogether wishful thinking.92

As the battle came towards its close, the infamous blue flag at the mizzen peak became one of the most bitter bones of contention between Rupert and the French. There is no doubt that the French saw the signal, but that remains one of the few certainties in the matter. Most commentators have assumed that the signal was unequivocal, but this was not necessarily the case – even the Exact Relation presented two explanations of the signal, one that it was an order to fall on the enemy, the other that it was a sign to fall into the admiral’s wake (the interpretation that Rupert himself claimed he put on it). When d’Estrées presented his detailed reposnse to Rupert’s charges in November 1673, he claimed that Charles II had agreed with his claim that the signal was confusing, and it was subsequently felt that the instructions had to be clarified to cover such eventualities. However, d’Estrées also admitted that the meaning of the signal was effectively irrelevant, as he had no intention of obeying it in any case. Both he and Seignelay agreed that it was vital for him to keep the wind ahead of an anticipated engagement the next day, rather than becoming entangled (as Rupert had done) among the disabled ships of the blue squadron.93 Therefore, the final French charge against Rupert was that he failed to resume the battle on 12 August, but instead stood away to the westward, and it was reported that many English captains also held this opinion. Rupert himself tacitly admitted that he could have engaged on the following day when he admitted, rather lamely and disingenuously, that the only reason he failed to do so was because he could not guarantee that d’Estrées and many of his own captains would behave better than he believed they had done on the eleventh.94 He certainly had the powder and shot to engage again – the Ordnance office later claimed that even the Prince had expended only a third of her shot, and the fleet as a whole expended only about a sixth of its supply.95 Apart from the Prince, which had been completely dismasted, there were only five other ships which were considered so badly damaged that they had to be sent home as soon as possible.96 However, many ships had been damaged in their rigging, with virtually all the surviving accounts from the English, French and Dutch forces mentioning the prevalence of this type of damage; several ships had been forced to drop out of the battle to make repairs or had found their manoeuvrability restricted by damage to masts and sails, but on the whole repairs to this sort of damage were made rapidly and should not have affected the ability of most individual ships to resume the fight on a new day.97 If disgust with his subordinates was the only reason for Rupert’s failure to resume the engagement, then the French undoubtedly had a case, and in this they were supported by one of the best seamen in the English fleet, Narbrough, who wrote of the end of the action:

Thus the enemy and our fleet parted; we having the weather gage of the enemy, stood away from them, a sight unpleasant to the English seamen. I had rather fall in the battle than ever to see the like more, that so mighty a fleet of ships as ours is to stand away, as now we do, from so mean a fleet as the Dutch fleet is to ours, without the loss of one ship or any other damage considerable to us.98

Conclusion

Ultimately, the various mutual recriminations about individuals’ and squadrons’ conduct at the battle of the Texel are just as difficult to resolve in the present day as they were at the time. For example, it is ironic that the Exact Relation, the various rejoinders to it, and many comments in letters from August 1673 onwards, should have explicitly recognised the existence of factions in the English squadrons and the problems which this posed for analysing the battle, while at the same time accepting Martel’s relation as gospel. In fact, there is good reason to suppose that Martel’s attack on d’Estrées was a product of a factional quarrel of which the English admirals would have been proud: there had been bad blood between the two before the battle, since Martel had joined d’Estrées relatively late in the campaign from the Mediterranean and they had become embroiled in a dispute over precedence and Martel’s role in the fleet.99 It has been suggested that Martel, a far more experienced seaman, resented being under the command of the recently ‘converted’ army officer, d’Estrées, and that perhaps as a marquis he also resented being under a mere comte.100 Martel was certainly taking a great risk by presenting his version of events to the English and ended up in the Bastille as a result, but it could have been part of a clumsy attempt to discredit and thereby supplant d’Estrées – an attempt based on the criticism of Martel’s own actions by d’Estrées and Hérouard and perhaps on a complete misunderstanding of the likely reaction to his actions in both London and Paris.101

Cutting through all the claims and counter-claims, it is clear that there were certain problems inherent in the conduct of the battle of the Texel over which neither Rupert nor his subordinates had much, or any, control. In the first place, the quality of the English gunnery seems to have been markedly inferior to that of the Dutch.102 The sheer length of the allied line-of-battle was commented on by several in the fleet, and this may well have caused some of the problems with seeing and obeying signals – indeed, an anonymous commentator on the fighting instructions apparently in use at the time was able to call on the events of the battle to suggest a whole series of improvements, including the introduction of repeating ships.103 The fighting instructions themselves proved to be inadequate in several instances. Apart from the dispute over the blue flag signal, another example of the inadequacy of the existing system was provided by the fleet’s tack to form into its line-of-battle at six a.m. – as no signal existed to order the whole fleet to tack together, Rupert improvised one by flying simultaneously the signals for the van and rear squadrons to tack.104 The need for one particularly critical new instruction was revealed by Spragge’s death: the fact that he had taken the blue flag with him, and that it was lost with him, was not an eventuality covered by the instructions, whereas his opposite number, Tromp, also made a series of changes of flagship but ensured that his flag was flying at all times, thereby giving no advantage to the English and giving a clear focus for captains seeking new orders which the blue entirely lacked after Spragge’s death.105 The weather played its part as well. The change of wind direction during the small hours of the eleventh helped to give the Dutch the advantage when the battle began, and it changed again shortly after midday to the south-west, and this threw the battle between the blue and Tromp into confusion for some time, although it also gave most of the allied ships the wind again and an opportunity which they failed to take.106 During the morning, a heavy cloudburst followed by a couple of hours’ persistent drizzle, at the very time when the three allied squadrons were starting to lose contact with each other, virtually prevented any communication between them; thereafter the perennial problem in naval battles of the sailing era, smoke, severely restricted the visibility from individual ships.107

Even if the French could plead mitigating circumstances up to a point, namely the debatable nature of Rupert’s tactics and the many other problems which beset the combined fleet at the battle, the fact remains that by their own admission they did not take as great a part in the engagement on 11 August as they could have done. The emphasis which d’Estrées and his political masters placed on the textbook manoeuvre of gaining the wind, and the obvious pride which the French subsequently took in the quality of that manoeuvre, suggests that perhaps they were going very much by the textbook, rather than responding flexibly to circumstances as they arose. In a way, this is hardly surprising. Compared with both the English and the Dutch, the French were very inexperienced, both individually and as a unit; given the newness of Colbert’s magnificent navy as a whole, the battle of the Texel must be placed in context as the first major line battle which the French navy had ever fought in the open sea – the previous battles of the third Dutch war, at Solebay and the Schooneveld, had all been curious affairs fought in coastal waters (indeed, Solebay had been a case of hurried improvisation in response to what was effectively an ambush by de Ruyter). The French performance in all the previous battles had been called into question, not always fairly, but this fact in itself explains why Rupert’s and the francophobes’ version of the battle of the Texel gained such widespread popular acceptance in the autumn of 1673 – there was a general expectation that the French would perform badly, so in that sense their behaviour at the Texel was very much a case of a self-fulfilling prophecy.108 The lack of confidence in the French squadron’s ability was perhaps demonstrated most clearly in the way in which it had been moved around from one position in the line-of-battle to another during the 1672 and 1673 campaigns, as if the English commanders were trying to hide it wherever it would have the least opportunity to do damage to its own side; only a fortnight before the battle of the Texel, the French had formed the centre squadron with Rupert and the red in the van.109 As a result, and not unnaturally, the French had very little experience of operating as the van squadron.

The English lack of confidence in the French seems to have been shared by the Dutch. De Ruyter’s strategy of virtually ignoring the French and concentrating the bulk of his forces on the centre and rear squadrons of the combined fleet was to be held up in later years as the classic tactic for an admiral in command of a smaller fleet, but whether de Ruyter hit upon it by accident or by design remains to be seen: while the records of the councils-of-war of the Dutch fleet survive for every other campaign of the second and third Anglo-Dutch wars, those for the 1673 campaign are missing, and the surviving Dutch journals suggest that they had originally intended the entire Zeeland squadron to engage the French.110 Nevertheless, it may well be that recent experience suggested to de Ruyter that the French were too incompetent or too inexperienced to present much of a threat, but even so, keeping only Evertsen’s eight ships engaged against their van and allowing them to gain the weather gauge was a remarkably dangerous gamble. It is possible, therefore, that when Banckert’s main force broke off from the French in order to join de Ruyter against Rupert, it was not doing so as part of a pre-conceived strategic plan but as a hurried response to what was perceived to be a crisis, particularly after the French had successfully weathered them and tacked.111 As the French were to prove later in the 1670s, often against de Ruyter himself, and in 1690 against the self-same Arthur Herbert of the Cambridge, when they did actually engage an enemy they often fought impressively. Indeed, the little fighting in which the French actually took part at the Texel saw them more than hold their own against the veteran Zeeland crews, and the thirty deaths on d’Estrées’ flagship La Reine was a respectable return by any standards.112 De Ruyter has usually been praised by modern naval historians for his genius, and for effectively saving the Dutch republic by using brilliant defensive tactics, but he may well have come closer than has been realised to losing everything in a battle which, after all, had been foisted on him by William of Orange and the VOC. The survival of the Dutch, and of the career of William himself, may have had rather more to do with the poor tactics of Prince Rupert, the ineptitude of the French, the conditions on 11 August 1673, and on the factional squabbles among the English and French. Ironically, de Ruyter’s fleet had been divided by quarrels which were, if anything, more vicious and deep-rooted than those among his opponents, namely the traditional inter-provincial rivalry which, for instance, had sometimes prevented de Ruyter and Tromp serving together in the same fleet; but in the autumn of 1673 these divisions took second place to the paramount need to play their part in the last-ditch defence of their country.113 Rupert’s fleet had no such great cause to fight for – it was fighting a war which was already deeply unpopular in England, and was at sea to support an invasion project which had already effectively been abandoned.

Perhaps the final words on the battle of the Texel should be left to one of the very few complete neutrals to have commented in detail on the events of that summer, the Venetian ambassador, Alberti. When the fleet originally set out for the 1673 campaign he had observed ‘the success and glory of so great a preparation depend for the most part on accidents and it never yields profit to the winner’, while over five weeks before the battle of the Texel he had written prophetically of ‘the inherent vanity of this nation, holding the Dutch in no account, [which] anticipates easy victory and unfairly accuses the commanders [and, he may have added, their allies] when the result is not in accordance with the national vanity’.114 The near-hysterical public response to the events of the battle of the Texel may well have played a significant part in bringing about the end of the Anglo-French alliance, but it also provides an early example of that particularly unattractive characteristic of the English in wartime, the belief that they have an innate right to win.

NOTES

75. Coventry MS 95, fo. 404.

76. Quotation: Sir Charles Harbord to Sir Justinian Isham, 19 June 1673: NRO, Isham MS 778; Alberti to Doge and Senate, 6/16 and 20/30 June 1673: CSPVen 1673-5, 59, 67; Yard to Williamson, 29 Aug 1673: Letters to Williamson, I, 195; Davies, Gentlemen and Tarpaulins, 165-71.

77. Ibid., 172-3. Report of Charles II’s doubts about Rupert: Staffs R.O., MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 22nd document in folder (‘A Full Answer’ – cf Davies, Gentlemen and Tarpaulins, 167), p16. Cf Alberti to Doge and Senate, 21 Feb/3 Mar 1673, and Giustinian to Doge and Senate, 16/26 July 1673: CSPVen 1673-5, 20, 78.

78. Journals and Narratives, 315-30, especially pp 320-3, 327-8.

79. Cf document cited in n72 above

80. Ball to Williamson, 1 Sept 1673: Letters to Williamson, II, 2.

81. Ball to Williamson, 5 Sept 1673: ibid., I, 13; CSPD 1673, 520-2.

82. Quotation: Staffs R.O. MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 22nd document (‘A Full Answer’), p 17.

83. Ibid, 19th and 23rd documents (cf ns 48 & 72 above); Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 319 (Martel), ??

84. Criticism of French manoeuvring: ibid., 302, 304; Journals and Narratives, 380-1. Criticism of Rupert: Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 313 (d’Estrees); ?? (Legge); Journals and Narratives, 353-4 (Narbrough); Bod, Carte MS 38, fo 34 (Herbert); Staffs R.O., MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 22nd document in folder, p 1.

85. Quotation: document cited at n54 above. Cf Staffs R.O. MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 9th document in folder – ‘The Reasons how the Dutch came to get the Weather Gage of Our Fleet’, a purely factual account which lays no charges against either Rupert or the French.

86. Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 314, 329, 352-3, 355-8.

87. Staffs R.O., MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 4th document (anonymous journal), 8th document (journal by Thomas Fletcher, midshipman and master’s mate on Royal Katherine); PRO ADM 51/588 (log of Mary Rose); Journals and Narratives, 311. Remaining on the larboard tack in this way, given the wind directions on 11 August, would have been contrary to the fighting instructions: Corbett, Fighting Instructions, 153 (third instruction).

88. Staffs R.O., MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 23rd document (‘Legge Rejoinder’), fo 13.

89. Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 303, 352.

90. Staffs R.O., MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 22nd document (‘A Full Answer’), pp 2, 18.

91. Journals and Narratives, 359.

92. Ibid., 360-1; Bod., Carte MS 38, fo 35. Cf Staffs R.O. MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 23rd document, fo 16, where Legge takes the same line.

93. Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 328n, 356, 358; Journals and Narratives, 383-4. Cf Staffs R.O., MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 22nd document (‘A Full Answer’), p 19. The fighting instructions support Rupert’s interpretation (see n103), and the French certainly had been issued with copies of these in translation: BL Add MS 34,729, fos 135, 190-2. Cf James, duke of York, to d’Estrees, 2 May 1672: BL Add MS 38,846, fos 27-8. However, Seignelay’s rebuttal of Rupert’s charges casts some doubt (perhaps speciously!) on d’Estrees’ possession of such a copy: Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 358. Ultimately, of course, the most obvious flaw in d’Estrees’ and Seignelay’s defence of the ‘strategy’ of waiting for a resumption of the battle the next day is that it hinges on the wind remaining the same between dusk on 11 August and dawn on the twelfth – hardly a certainty in the light of what had already happened on the tenth and eleventh!

94. CSPD 1673, 522; Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 358.

95. A Just Vindication of the Principal Officers of His Majesty’s Ordnance, from the False and Scandalous Aspersions Laid upon them in a Printed Libel, Entituled ‘An Exact Relation…’ (1674), 7-9.

96. Rupert to Charles II, 14 August 1673: CSPD 1673, 494. Cf Legge’s comments about the lack of damage in the fleet as a whole: Staffs R.O., MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 23rd document (‘Legge Rejoinder’), fo 16.

97. In addition to the journals and accounts enumerated in ns 50, 52, 53 and 55 above, cf also PRO, ADM 106/284/327; ADM 106/285/1, 50, 248, 250, 300; ADM 106/27, fo 31 (reports of damage); Bod., Carte MS 38, fos 55-6 (damage to Saint Michael); Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 331 (newsletter from Amsterdam, 15/25 Aug 1673: damage to Dutch ships’ masts). It was said that between them, even thirty of the ships which had remained in the fleet (rather than being sent in for repairs) would require sixty new masts: Yard to Williamson, 5 September 1673: Letters to Williamson, II, 9.

98. Journals and Narratives, 361.

99. D’Estrees to Seignelay, 2/12 Aug 1673; Seignelay to d’Estrees, 3/13 Aug 1673; Martel to Colbert de Croissy, 27 Aug/6 Sept 1673: Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 297, 298-9, 339.

100. Ekberg, Failure, 164.

101. Criticisms of Martel’s part in the battle: Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 314, 327, 342, 353-4; P. de Villette-Mursay, Mes campagnes de mer sous Louis XIV, ed M Verge-Franchesci (Paris, 1991), 147-8.

102. Journals and Narratives, 355-6.

103. Ibid., 327; Bod., Carte MS 38, fo 38. As Sir Julian Corbett noted (Fighting Instructions, 140) there is no clear evidence to determine which instructions were in use in the 1673 campaign. On the other hand, the weight of negative evidence – ie the absence of any new set of instructions from all the relevant major collections of naval papers (eg those of Kempthorne, Legge and the Admiralty itself); the fact that Charles and James had limited Rupert’s freedom to govern the fleet in 1673 in many other ways (cf Davies, Gentlemen and Tarpaulins, 166, 169-70); and the formalisation of the set of orders issued in 1672 – all this suggests that the instructions followed were those of the previous year. For discussions, see Corbett, Fighting Instructions, 133-45; B Tunstall, Naval Warfare in the Age of Sail (1990), 38-41, 43-5. For an overview of line tactics in this period, see Maltby, ‘Sailing-Ship Tactics’, 53-63.

104. Corbett, Drawings, 36-7.

105. Journals and Narratives, 358-9; Corbett, Instructions, 162. Cf Maltby, ‘Sailing-Ship Tactics’, 56-7.

106. Confusion caused by change of wind at midday: Bod., Carte MS 38, fo 30r; Journals and Narratives, 356; Corbett, Drawings, 40-1 & plate VII.

107. Smoke: Bod., Carte MS 38, fo 30r; deposition by John Dawson, Advice, 26 Sept 1673: B.L., Harleian MS 6845. fo 183. Rain in the morning: inter alia, Staffs R.O., MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 4th & 17th documents; Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 303.

108. Journals and Narratives, 15.

109. Ibid., 30-1, 37, 44, 330. Cf Aungier to Essex, 20 May 1673: B.L. Stowe MS 202, fo 50.

110. Bruijn, Oorlogvoering, 89-90, 152, 185. Council of war resolutions are preserved in Algemeen Rijksarchief, Den Haag, Collectie de Ruyter, inventory 1.10.72.01. Those for 1672 constitute piece no. 54, but the only remaining pieces in this sequence, nos. 55 and 56, are the minutes for 1674 and 1675 respectively. The most detailed Dutch account of the Texel remains that by J. C. de Jonge, Geschiedenis van het Nederlandsche zeewezen, ii (Haarlem, 1859 edn), 410-24.

111. Even one pro-Rupert account admitted that Banckert’s whole squadron could not engage the French because the latter were carrying so much sail (which, of course, was what Rupert had ordered them to do), and that it was for this reason alone that Banckert fell back against the red: Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 303. On the other hand, Legge suggested that the deployment of Banckert’s squadron was part of a deliberate strategic plan, although he also claimed that Banckert’s subsequent retirement to join de Ruyter was a direct response to the French having weathered him: Staffs R.O., MS D(W)1778/Ii/355, 23rd document, fos 13-14.

112. The most detailed summary of French casualties is in d’Estrees’ first account of the battle: Colenbrander, Bescheiden, 315.

113. See J R Jones, ‘The Dutch Navy and National Survival in the Seventeenth Century’, International History Review, X (1988), 30-2 and 18-32 passim; J R Bruijn, The Dutch Navy in the Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries (Columbia, South Carolina, 1993) 10-11, 89-90, 113-14, 122.

114. Alberti to Doge and Senate, 11/21 April, 20/30 June 1673: CSPVen 1673-5, 38, 67.

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