want of seamen alsoe was too greate to be forgotten, which I beleeve was partly oceasióned by the ill management of the presse, and partly out of the hopes they had to goe into the merchants and colliers shipps where theire pay was greater and the danger lesse.
In the next place I must remember the greate neglect of His Majesties officers and workmen of his yards, for the proffe whereof there needs but two instances: the one that of the fireshipps wee desired to have supplyed to us after the 2d fight, wee having spent the greatest parte of ours in the fight and in the action at the Vly, after about 5 weeks importunity wee were told should have 5 or 6 fireships out of the Thames where all necessaries were at hand, when in as many days wee provided as many fireships ourselves at Soase Bay, and those that were promised out of the river came not to us till the want of them was over.
The next is as considerable that whereas wee were in greate expectation against the second fight of having the Loyall London, Warspight, Cambridge and Greenwich, which were all ships of soe great force that wee thought not fitt to sett sayle till they were ready, after wee had with all imaginable importunity in vain desired the fitting and sending them, wee were inforeed at last to send up Sir Robert Holmes with some of our owne number out of the fleete for the 3 latter, and Sir Jeremy Smith for the Loyall London, who in few days brought the said ships to our fleete, where wee fitted them ourselves; and though these are very considerable instances, yet the late miscarriage at Chatham hath more eminently proved it.
From that expedicion where wee commanded I returned home in the middle of Octobre, but before I came in with the fleete I sent it as my humble advice to tbe King amongst other things which I thought for his Majestys service that care should by taken to prevent an attempt upon Harwich which was to be feared might be attempted some time or other by the enemy after the fleete should be come in, and his Majesties commands were accordingly issued forth for the fortyfying both Harwich and Sheernesse which would have prevented any such dessigne but though many' months passed ere the Dutch made their attempt, yet nothing had beene done to render Sheernesse defensible against the enemy, to whiph neglect wee may justly ascribe the bnrning the ships at Chatham and tbe disbonoure that attended it.
Last of all I doe esteeme it none of the least miscarriages tbat have beene observable in the late warr, that noe fleete was kept in a body the last summer, especially since the enemy was well knowne to be arming, whereas wee had all that while on board above 18000 men in pay in dispersed shipps, of which if but parte had beene kept together in the Thames, it had probably prevented the mischeifs that insued. Rupebt.