daring this whole warre. De Ruyter hath on board of his ship 500 men and 86 brasse guns. The names of the other captains, and an account how strong they are both in men and guns shall follow by the first.
Mean time, there are preparing 60 ships more for a reserve, upon which they labour night and day. The sea men are paid monthly, some having 15 some 16 gilders, bnt van Gent must pay to his men 18 gilders a piece and is obliged to pay the overplus of the common pay out of his own purse, without which he would not have been sufficiently manned, when shey all feared the English would have fallen on first.
The order sent after the fleet is this, that they shall goe directly for England and particularly to the isle of Wight and there to hinder the conjunction of the English and French fleet. And because news was brought that 10 English men of warr were gone nordward to look for the Dutch Indian shipps, they were enjoyn'd to have also a watchfull eye that way.
At my arrival here I lighted npon two base pamphlets, made by the Dutch upon the English declaration; one entitled The perfidiousnesse of the English; the author of it Johan van Paessen, who goes from this State as Ambassador into Spaine, in which libell the King of England is exceedingly reviled. The other is calld Considerations upon the present State of the United Netherlands, of which de Witt is said to be the author.
Much talk there is here of a good success upon the conjunction of the English and French fleets, and they believe they shall sooner overcome now than if the English were alone, considering that the English keep good order, but the Freuch easily cause confusion.
The fleet hath order not to fight in calm weather bnt in the time of a fresh gale of wind, to the end that not so much blood may be shed, as also that the English may not be able to use their lower tire of guns, which they say here they cannot doe if the wind blow hard.
Théy have also order to board wherever théy can, which is all I could learn at present1).
1) Vervolgens deelt schrijver (die geen Hollander is, maar zich, zooals hij in een hierop volgenden brief van 17 Mei mededeelt, in den Haag aandient als „a Saxon gentleman" op reis naar Hamburg) den uitslag eener onderhandeling mede, die hij heeft gevoerd met een persoon in dienst op het kantoor der Staten, „in their most secret affaires", wonende op de Turfmarkt; „his true name is already known to you". Deze man verlangt 130 rijksdaalders voer een jaar berichtgeving, benevens vergoeding van kosten. 31 Mei zendt Hildebrand het contract over dat hij 18 Mei gesloten heeft met L. B. Timeus, S. Rom. Imperii Lycentiaet, tot het leveren van berichten gedurende een jaar. De brieven van Timeus zijn in de News Letters aanwezig, maar volstrekt onbelangrijk. Hildebrand zelf heet in die overeenkomst „Henrick Hildebrand, van Koningsbrugge" [Koningsbergen].