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Admiral's ship and four others, but fog stopped the fight.
The Spaniards took refuge in the Downs. King Charles wished to assist them against the Dutch, and set an English fleet under Pennington to watchtheir operations. Van Tromp desired the English to withdraw, and threatened to fight both fleets. Pennington had no confidence in the Spaniards, and besides had doubts of his own people consenting to fight the Dutch.
He had some years before had experience of the temper of his fleet. At that time the French and Dutch both being at war with Spain, and the Huguenots in rebellion against France, the Dutch sacrificing their co-religionists had joined the French against the Huguenots, and the Spaniards were secretly supporting the Huguenots against France. The British seaman however thought more of religious motives than politics, and desired to help the Huguenots, so that when the King ordered the fleet under Pennington to join the French in an attack on Genoa (an ally of the Spaniards) the fleet had refused to sail, because they suspected they were to be employed against the Huguenots in Rochelle.
Pennington found it better therefore to declare himself neutral, but to announce that he would join whichever party was attacked. D'Oquendo was advised to withdraw, but found it was no longer possible. Pennington, under pretext that the Spaniards had violated neutrality, withdrew his protection. Van Tromp then attacked them on the 11th October and totally defeated them. Fourteen men of war were destroyed, amongst them the Teresa, of one hundred guns and eight hundred men. The Vice-Admiral of Spain and the Admiral of Galicia shared the same fate. Sixteen large ships were taken, and four thousand five hundred prisoners. Fourteen ships were wrecked between Boulogne and Calais, and the remainder were saved by the interposition of the English. Only eight ships under D'Oquendo reached Dunkirk in safety, and the Spanish loss exceeded eight thousand men.
The following extracts from the Public Records, kindly pointed out to me by Mr. Overend, are of interest in connection with the Song:
"Dover Castle, 8th Sept., 1639. Sir John Manwood to Theophilus, Earl of Suffolk, Lord Warden of the Cinque Ports. Packet sent yesterday that the Dunkirkers' fleet that came out of Spain was upon our Coast, and that the Hollanders' fleet was not far from them, of which we should see more by night. The Dunkirkers' fleet lay off upon the Ness Point, and the
Hollanders' men with the sea to the S.W. between one and two o'clock there began a most terrible fight, and so continues still, being now in sight not half seas over between Dover and the "hie" white cliffs over against it. The Dunkirkers's fleet of men of war and merchant ships consists of 140 or thereabouts, and the Holland fleet between 30 and 40, and I believe the Spanish fleet consists of as many men of war besides their merchant men.”
"10th Sept., 1639. Algernon, Earl of Northumberland, to Sir John Pennington. Lord Conway being desirous upon this occasion to see what passes between the Spanish and Holland fleets, is resolved to spend some days at sea among the Hollanders,” and asks him to help in gratifying this curiosity. See verse 6.
Voulez ouïr le contenu
Que le roy d'Espagne a tenu
Qu'en ces parties a fait venir
L'an quinze cent octante huit :
Ses canons de furie;
Se sont sauvés comme couards,
Aucun dedans son centre,
Les a vomis avec son flux,
Comme on a vu par son reflux,
Voilà pour le combat premier
Le prince et les estats sitost,
Jean Never, le vice-admiral
Tremblottant, estant comme morts,
Comme on fait de la peste.
* Se charge.
Durant ce temps on voit venir
Qu'avoit Martin Trompe avec soy,
De la Bretagne, sont venus,
Lui, d'autre part, les ayant vus,
En toute modestie.
Marchands, artisans et bourgeois,
Chacuns, désireux de le voir,
Martin, et prier Dieu pour lui
La main au grand ouvrage
Du roy d'Espagne en son dessein :