the Westward, whether false or true, would have tempted a divisiou of the fleet. On tbe contrary, they would have sail'd direetly to fight the Dutch, before their confederates the French could possibly come to ayd them.
The admiralls did plainly perceive the loss they were at for want of intelligence: aud ever after, they kept scouts abroad with the greatest care and exactness immaginable.
But besides the defect of intelligence, and the dividing of the fleet thereby occasioned, there were afterwards in the fight almost as many errors as steps.
The Generall, with 56 ships of warr, compell'd the Dutch to fight (who had about niuety), when he might qnietly, and safely, have sail'd to the Swin, where he was design'd; or to the Buoy of the Nore if he pleas'd.
It was reported, before the Generall went from Whitehall, that he had said he would undertake with forty saile of ships, to beat the Dutch out of the sea.
Fortune had so long attended him at sea and land, that perhaps he took her for his slave, and she would now let him know to his cost, she was his commandresse. He did undoubtedly promise himself a Victory before the battell; or else he would never have begun it, and it is not unlike, he was greedy to iugrosse all the glory of beating the Dutch to himself.
In the former warr, between the two rebell commonwealths, the English (being possess'd of the best ships then in the world, part of the spoils they had robb'd their Royall master of) did with facility overcome the Dutch, who had at that time no such floating castles to command. I have been told, that in one of the great fights, one of the Eversons, vice admirall of Zealand, commanded a ship of but 26 guns.
If the Generall could think still so contemptibly of the Dutch, that might be his reason for his hasty fighting, and if he did not appreheud they would run away that night, nobody can imagaine why he would fight'them when none of his own captains thought of it a few hours before, and were not ready for it, and in so stiff a gale, that he could not bear out his lower tire of guns. He did questionlesse expect, that all his captains would fight with as much resolution as he did; but therein I am sure he was mistaken, for some of the captains had the lampions in their guns the next morning. There was a want of of courage in some, and of conduct in others, during all the first days engagement.
Sir William Berkley had from the June fight the year before, undergone the aspersion of a Coward; whether deservedly or not I can't teil, for I was not at sea when that battell was fought. However the