Naval recruitment systems; supply and demand 124 IN THEE STAITS SERVIS comprehensive analysis of the Nine Years' War gives 6% British, making them the second largest foreign group aboard Zeeland warships after the Southern Netherlands.25 New samples from other periods, however, in Figure 1 below indi cate comparable or increased levels. Figure 1: British personnel aboard Zeeland warships, 1643-170930 Sampled British British 1643-8 1829 323 17.7 1672 931 44 4.7 1700-9 2463 236 9.6 Though still relatively small, these samples suggest that British seamen maintained both an appreciable and a continual presence during the period of study here - and that the British estimates, although probably exaggerated and doubtless inac curate, may not actually be that far from reality. How did these Britons come to be in the Dutch navy? Figure 1 above suggests that more British were in the Dutch fleet when the two nations were not at war: probably national identity and patriotism were a braking influence on the overall flow during wartime - other factors excepted, though more data is clearly required. Conversely, the turmoil within the British conglom erate state over this period augmented the British presence during the Dutch wars by offering those with religious/ideological motivations opportunities to fight the hated regime at home. After 1688, however, this prospect ended with the Anglo- Dutch alliance. The Dutch Republic - the centre of world trade - was also already home for whole communities of ex-patriate British seamen who were assimilated to various degrees into the Dutch 'host' country. For many it was entirely natural to join the navy of their adopted nation. The poor incidence of payment of wages to Royal Navy crews was clearly an issue in 1667, but we shall see that other eco nomic differentials in the field of pay formed 'push' factors away from British serv ice and 'pull' factors towards that of the Dutch. In the bigger picture, British- Dutch trade and naval recruitment systems play a considerable part. The State had developed permanent navies - composed increasingly of purpose- built warships instead of converted merchantmen, and the associated infrastruc ture of dockyards and industry - but simply could not afford to retain the huge amounts of naval seamen required for war during peacetime. Besides, there never seemed to be enough men, and these were needed for trade in any case. Instead, naval powers maintained small peacetime navies with the majority of the warships laid up; when war seemed imminent, a desperate race ensued between belligerents to get men into the navy from elsewhere in the maritime sector. Whoever com pleted their crews first could get to sea first and seize the initiative. Manpower fluctuations also took place during wartime: after the summer campaigning sea son deployments and therefore manning levels were usually heavily reduced dur-

Tijdschriftenbank Zeeland

Archief | 2004 | | pagina 126