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On Tuesday last here arived captain Jacob Symonsz de Wit who "has beene your prisoner ever since the last fight, he reports that himself and other 70 comon seamen broek out of prison, some Englishmen that wer lycke to have hindered ther escape they did fight with, and as he says they did kill some of them, and had on ther owne side lickwise some kild. He erys out most odiously against our countrey and says to every one that the prisoners with you doe die as so many dogs for want of meat; himself he says had no more as one pennie allowed him a day for his maintenanoe.. Ther can not be worse spoeke of our countrey as this fellow does, for when he speacks of us his expression is that wee are worser as Turcks. The drumb does bate here continually for men, but gets so few that a man wold think it in vaine to cause bate any, and they begine now to have such a sencible feeling of the want of men that it is the saying of every one: „wee have ships enough if we had but men to them". This last frost has hindered them much in the building; their business begins to loocke as it did last year when they said that in April they wold be ready to goe to sea but found themselves much disapointed; it is now just so with them for it is discoursed amongst them as not to be doubted of but their fleet will be ready against the first of April, but by all apearance they wil be so late a coming to sea as they wer last yeare. They doe talck so highlie as if they had never beene bate by you, they doe now boast rather more of ther strength then they did last yeare. The comon peopell murmers much, which appears every day more and more by the povertie many of them daylie fals in. It is ther wish hartilie for a peace, and H. M.'s letter is much of ther discourse. I heard one last day myself say in a whol eompanie that it was a most odious thing that the vulgar and others here should cry out against England and call the King a thief for bringing up those Hollands ships which came from France at the beginning of this warr, and said further that H. M. of Great Brittaign had all reason so to do, seeing de Ruyter went quyetlie away to Guinee without giving any notice to the English fleet with whom he was in the Straits to have treated with the Turcks, and that if ditto de Ruyter had not spoilled the English in Guinee H. M. of Brittaign wold never have confisked any of their ships. The voyage of de Ruyter which was before so highly cryd up as ane act of great policy, is now beginning to give a most unsavory smell. Letters from France mention that the French King has declared warr against you, which causes

1) R. O., News Letters 48. — Ongeteekend; hand B. — Adres aan rfmith; daar doorgeadresseerd „at my Lord Arlington's".