British communities ashore and Dutch service afloat IN THEE STAITS SERVIS 137 cal for the later Interregnum regimes: after a year as a private shipbuilder, the dis contented Raven emigrated to Holland in 1662, advising on the massive Dutch warship construction programme. He later had doubts, and in 1665 very naively asked to return to Britain if he could be allowed liberty of conscience. At sea with the Dutch fleet in 1666 - with De Ruyter aboard De Zeven Provinciën off the Kent coast that summer - he urged attacks on Chatham and Harwich, but was mortal ly wounded in action and died as he was carried ashore.96 Even without biographical evidence of ideological commitment, the actions of some British seamen in Dutch service clearly demonstrate their devotion to the Dutch cause. In a hopeless position at the battle of Solebay in May 1672, Sir John Chicheley's flagship Royal Katherine (84) had surrendered after being cut off from the rest of the Allied (British and French) fleet and surrounded by Dutch fireships. She was boarded by the Dutch and taken, the British officers and some of the men were taken off; the rest of the crew were shut up below decks. She remained in Dutch possession for some hours. The British prisoners later burst up through the hatches and retook her. According to a colourful account given by the Governor of Sheerness, a Scots prisoner taken had been more than willing to give his life spectacularly: soon after the British regained control of the ship a Scots member of the Dutch prize crew was taken prisoner in the magazine - he had tried to blow up Royal Katherine single-handed and was caught 'match in his hand'.97 Unfortunately we do not yet know his name or fate. British emigrant communities in the Republic were long-established - facilitated by geographical proximity and sea communications, stimulated by the opportuni ties for trade at the world economic core, the settling of English and Scots troops in Dutch service during the Revolt against Spain, and those seeking the advantages of Dutch religious tolerance. English churches could be found at The Hague, Amsterdam, Middelburg - long the seat of the Merchant Adventurers - and Flushing. Scots kirks were established at Rotterdam and the Scottish staple port of Veere. In the case of the Rotterdam Scots, D. Catterall has already conclusively demonstrated the assimilation of these British communities into Dutch society whilst simultaneously retaining their own identity. Catterall details numerous examples of these Scots serving across the Dutch maritime sector. Catterall has also shown that the levels of poor relief administered by the Rotterdam city coun cil to the families of Scots seamen were dependent on whether they had served in the fleet at that time.98 This extra 'incentive' was firmly backed by the specific tar geting of the English and Scottish quarters in Rotterdam by Dutch naval recruiters.99 The Dutch were certainly eager to 'obtain assistance' from all the English and Scots communities in the Republic, this was noted by Downing from The Hague from the early stages of the second war in the winter of 1664/5.100 The English community at Flushing appeared totally committed to the Dutch cause: the congregation of the English Church intensively prayed, fasted, and sang psalms for Dutch victory (usually in company with the Dutch congregations) throughout all three of the Anglo-Dutch wars.101 Admittedly, the Flushing English

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Archief | 2004 | | pagina 139