weeke full of prizes that they take, and will 'still be 50 unless it shall be thought fitt to lett no ship stirre out of any part of England but such as shall have convoy, and though this may seeme to be an impossibie thing, on the contrary I am sure it is very practicable as to very many trades, and for what cannot be conveyed it is much more wisedom to prohibit them goeing out for the present then to loose your ships and men, as they doe dayly ruine the merchants in their storks and credit, whereby when times of tradenig shall come, they will not be in a capacity of tradeing, and besides they hereby incourage and increase dayly the number of their capers, which on the contrary if no trade were suffered but what were under convoy, must breake and starve in a short time; and lett it not be thought that I write notions in the aire, I write what I know and understand, if 1 understand anything in the world.
177. DOWNING AAN ARLINGTON, 7 Aug. 1665 *»).
De Witt before his goeing hence said to some of his friends that he will conquer or dye, but yet if they had certaine news that de Ruyter and their East I,ndia fleet ware safe in Norway, be would not be overhasty to putt to sea.
My servant that is come from Rotterdam tells me that he beheld them there drive their marine men into their boates like sheep to send to their fleet, and that the people have no heartes there, and he saw 6 clapt in prison for refuseing to goe. A person that I spoke with that is come out of Zeiand tells me, that about 14 dayes agoe there came thither a captaine of a private man of warre, that he had made his escape out of England, and that every weeke more or lesse of their prisoners escape home, whereas here they keep ours all within iron barres, and he saith also that the people in Zeiand begin to smell that the buisiness of the Prince of Orange is at the bottome of the quarrell between His Majestie and this State. By my letters this day from Amsterdam no news yett of their East India fleet, nor, of de Ruyter; all their hopes is that they will gett into Norway, and that from thence they shall be able to gett them hither at leisure. Moreover that their men of warre from Zeiand and the Maes are arrived at the Texell, so that they have now full 100 men of warre there according to the account I have severall times given of them, but Trump said when he was here, that if he can have about 80 of their best ships and well manned it was enough and that he desired no more, and he and de Witt are doing what they can possible to gett such a number in readinesse. The new great ship at
1) R. O., Holland 177. — Uit den Haag.