128 IN THEE STAITS SERVIS 'if they had noticed the King's proclamation; they replied that they took service there [France] when they could have none in England, but when the voyage was done they would consider of it.' 54 For these men, clearly, the need to work took priority over obeying the decrees of their king. As a corollary to this attitude, or the explicit anti-Stuart motivations of some British personnel, others did answer the recall home to fight the enemies of their dread sovereign - or at least decided to make a run for it once hostilities became official. The Bo'ness (Fife) seamen Alexander Moody and Alexander Williamson, with the Orcadian Andrew Misseth, deserted their posts aboard Admiral Johan Evertsen's flagship Het Hoffvan Zeeland (58) within days of the for mal Dutch declaration of war in late January 1665. They left behind at least three other Scots and a number of Englishmen.55 Having eventually issued a Parliamentary recall Act in 1652, early the following year the Commonwealth was angered - and also seemed genuinely surprised - when large numbers of British were found amongst the Dutch prisoners taken at the Battle of Portland. Decimation was suggested you will find many Scots, Irish, and English among the seamen that you have taken, whether it were not fitting to cause martial law to be executed on some of them for example's sake, and put them to fling the die that one out of them may suffer for it, for there hath past one or two Acts of Parliament for their return home to serve the State and not to serve any foreign State upon the pain of death.' 56 Amongst the Dutch prisoners there were enough English and Scots to place the issue near the very top of the Government agenda in both the Council of State and the Committee for Trade and Foreign Affairs.57 Just a few days after the British vic tory at the St James' Day Fight [Tweedaagse Zeeslag), 25 July/4 August-26 July/5 August 1666, it was decreed that all English subjects taken prisoner in the future were to be hung 'as rebels and traitors'.58 Enough such men must have been found amongst the large haul of prisoners to warrant such an instruction. A close inti mate of Secretary of State Lord Arlington, the rising political star Sir Thomas Clifford, Member of Parliament, was aboard Royal Charles as a volunteer during the battle and seems to have been present at initial interrogations of prisoners immediately afterwards.59 Most of the Dutch prisoners came from the two ships taken; Sneek (66, Friesland admiralty) and Tholen (60, flagship of the Vice-admi ral of Zeeland, Adriaan Banckert). Tholen certainly had British crew aboard (see below); some escaped with Banckert in the final moments before she was taken, but most were killed or taken prisoner. But even the periodic emphasis of death sentences for non-compliance may have remained merely theoretical it was probably just as impractical to execute every man taken as it was to make an exam ple of every deserter and mutineer. The educated Scotsman George Morris of Leith served with Banckert, 1665-6, was wounded aboard Tholen but escaped with the Vice-admiral, and later captured. Morris survived his imprisonment: either escaping or exchanged, he was back aboard Zeeland warships in early 1667.60 Did Morris pass for a Dutchman, shielded by his shipmates and knowl edge of the language, or was his nationality discovered and ignored?

Tijdschriftenbank Zeeland

Archief | 2004 | | pagina 130