IN THEE STAITS SERVIS 123 Foreign service was not unusual in navies, though the Scots comprising 64% of Swedish naval captains in 1628 must be exceptional." In 1649 a 24-gun ship left Dutch service to join Prince Rupert's Royalist squadron: the entire crew and cap tain were Scots.20 From 1665, Swedish diplomats intervened to secure the release of Swedes pressed into the Royal Navy, whilst Swedish officers and, later, French Protestants of all ranks volunteered. In the Dutch navy men from ports all over Europe and beyond could be found. Foreigners - 'mostly Englishmen, Germans and Frenchmen' - made up one quarter to one third of the Sea Beggars, the Dutch proto-navy, during the 1570s.21 Overall, Scandinavians and Germans were thought to be the largest foreign contingents as elsewhere in the maritime sector. In Zeeland, however, around 1600, these groups were outstripped by the Southern Netherlands, equalled by English, and nearly so by Scots; together, these five for eign groups comprised 37% of the total manpower. The Scandinavians and Germans disappeared as appreciable groups in Zeeland warships by 1685-6, only to re-emerge as the dominant foreign components by the middle of the eighteenth century each comprising 17% of the crews.22 In 1688, Sir Robert Holmes, the Governor of the Isle of Wight - and retired naval officer of great notoriety noted a 'great many English' in William Ill's invasion fleet; there is evidence that English and Scots comprised a 'significant' part of Dutch naval manpower at that time.23 British personnel in the Dutch navy British sources give estimates for four of the five wars. With war imminent in 1652, Sir Oliver Fleming, the Commonwealth Master of Ceremonies, told the Venetian Secretary in England that 5-6,000 British were in Dutch service.24 We have already seen the 3,000 men reported in the fleet in 1667. In 1672 a Royal Navy officer at Harwich in regular receipt of intelligence from the Republic passed on seamen's estimates of 1,000 English and 1,500 Scots in the Dutch fleet.25 In 1728 a Scots Member of the British Parliament - and former merchant with extensive experience in Amsterdam - told Parliament that 3,000 English and 2,000 Scots were in Dutch service during 'Queen Anne's time'.26 These are aston ishing levels of British seamen either in the Dutch navy or across the Dutch mar itime sector as a whole: again indicating very roughly around 10% of the respec tive manpower totals. Do the Dutch sources confirm these figures for the navy? The Dutch navy was decentralized in typical Dutch fashion into five separate admiralties: Zeeland; three in Holland (Amsterdam, Rotterdam, the North Quarter) and Friesland (with contributions from Groningen). Unfortunately, most of the ships' musters have been destroyed - by fire, or even used as toilet paper! Only minimal evidence exists for the latter four admiralties. However, apart from the First Anglo-Dutch War, the Zeeland admiralty payrolls are almost intact and survive at the Zeeuws Archief.27 This presents a probably unparalleled oppor tunity to examine the crew compositions of an Early Modern navy. J.R. Bruijn's pioneering work albeit sometimes based on small samples has shown that English and Scots comprised a hefty 14.5% of Zeeland crews around 1600 and that the British presence in Zeeland warships thereafter declined, but never fell below 3% in wartime during the present period of study.28 J. Francke's

Tijdschriftenbank Zeeland

Archief | 2004 | | pagina 125