From Butterboxes to Wooden Shoes: The Shift in English Popular Sentiment from Anti-Dutch to Anti-French in the 1670s

by Steven C. A. Pincus
From Butterboxes to Wooden Shoes: The Shift in English Popular Sentiment from Anti-Dutch to Anti-French in the 1670s
Steven C. A. Pincus
The Historical Journal
Start Page: 
End Page: 
Select license: 
Select License

Tlze Historical Joztrrzal, 38, 2 (1gg5), pp 333-361 Ciopyright 01995 Cambridge University Press




CTniversig of Chzcago

ABSTRACT. While Restoratiolz historians haae tmditionalb assunzed that there zcas little public intprest in foreign affairs, and that English attitudes towards Europe zcere determined either bq religious or domestic concerns, this essny argnes that there was a liaeCy and sophisticated English debate about Europe which turned on the proper ident$cation of the uniaersal monarch rather than religion. In the later 1660s the English political nation zaas deeplq diaided in its understanding of European politics. Enthusiastic supporters of the restored n~onarc/v thought that the republican

Lfnited Proainces sought ilniaersal dominion, zchile the nzonarchq's radical critics identged absolutist France as an aspirant to uniaersal monarchj. French success in the earb phases of the third Anglo- Dutch war, the failure of the French nag to support the Englishjeet at sea, and the oaerthroti of the Dutch republican regime in faaoilr of M'illiam III, Prince of Omnge, conainced the aast majorit?) of the English that France represented the greater threat, Ultimateb popular pressure compelled Charles II to abando~~

the French alliance. In addition, the popzllar conaictiotz that Louis IYIV had succeeded in corrupting the English court resulted in a new-found desire for popillar accountabili~ in foreign affairs, and a consequent diminution of the royal prerogatiae in that sphere.

'No one is able to explain why the people of England detest the French alliance so violently or why they wish for peace with Holland at any cost', complained the Venetian secretary in England, Girolamo Alberti, in the autumn of 1673.' Especially perplexing for contemporary observers was the sudden shift in English opinion from general support of the third Anglo-Dutch war (1672-4) to virtually unanimous condemnation.

Modern historians, while acknowledging the importance of this shift in popular opinion, have been no less uncertain of its causes. K. H. D. Haley, in his path-breaking study PVilliam of Orange and the English opposition 1672-4, offered an intriguing and persuasive explanation. Prior to the summer of I 6 73, Haley argued, public opinion and the house of commons were 'quite unmoved by foreign consideration^'.^ It was at this point that William of Orange, and his propagandist par excellence Pierre Du Moulin, intervened decisively on

* I am grateful to Toby Barnard, Gerald MacLean, Peter Miller, Kelly Oliensis, Jenny Paxton, John Robertson, Jennifer Poulos, Claire LTalente, and Blair \\'orden for commenting upon and criticizing this essay.

Alberti to Doge and senate, 31 Oct./~o Nov. 1673, Calerzdar oJState Papers Venetian, p. 170.

K. H. D. Haley, Pl'illiam Orange nlzd the Erzglisit oppositiorz 1672-4 (Oxford, 1953), p. go.


the English political scene. Haley carefully describes, with language redolent of Cold War spy thrillers, how Du Moulin wrote and disseminated his classic pamphlet England's appeal from the private cabal at Whitehall to the great council of the nation. 'It was this famous pamphlet', Haley contends, 'which did more than anything else to identify the French alliance in foreign affairs with the danger of Popery at home, and consequently to lead public opinion and the Country Party in Parliament to turn against the war'. In so doing Du Moulin, and the rest of William's agents, had begun 'a process which culminated in I 688-8~~'.~

Recently Haley's thesis has come under attack by revisionist historians. The English throughout the period, these historians claim, were far more interested in local, county and domestic events than in international politics. Members of parliament might be 'men of considerable local standing and influence' but they had 'often limited their mental and political horizons'.' 'The atmosphere of free debate, the sense of plurality of possible futures, the discussion of fundamental issues from all points of view ' so characteristic of the Interregnum had come to an end with Charles 11's return to England in hlay 1660. The restored monarchy, Ronald Hutton argues, aimed to promote a 'lack of interest in public affairs', and it largely succeeded.' This outlook was typical of the makers of policy as well as of the public at large. The historian of the Cabal has argued that Charles I1 and his chief ministers were 'insular' in outlook, always determining their foreign policies 'by the exigencies of [Charles's] position at home '.6

From this perspective, then, the effect of European affairs in shifting popular sentiment must have been small indeed. 'The war', J. R.Jones has suggested, 'affected relatively few men directly'. Given English political insularity the only reason that Du Moulin's pamphlet had any impact was that it concentrated 'on the king's domestic policies, rather than on the war it~elf'.~

The decisive domestic event, 'the one event that changed everything', Hutton has concluded, was ',James's public profession of his faith'.' Fears for the protestant religion, not concern for the European balance of power, convinced the English political nation to turn against the war.'

Haley, pp. 97-8, 220. John Miller has also recently claimed that the 1670s marked a watershed in the public awareness of foreign political developments. See John hliller, Charles II (London, 19g1), p. 221. hliller, it must be noted, claims that the public was susceptible to the Dutch propaganda campaign because of the conspicuous 'lack of success' enjoyed by the English navy [p. 2 I 0). J. R.Jones, Britairz and the world 164p181j [Glasgow, 1g8oj, p. 12.

Ronald Hutton, The Restoration: a political arzd religiozis histog OJ England 16j8-1667 (Oxford, 1985), p. 1j7 and passim. Maurice Lee, The Cabal (Urbana, 1965), pp jg (Arlington), 96 (Charles 11), 213 (Shaftesbury). ' J.R.Jones, Charles 11: rgal politiciarz (London, 1987), pp 97, I I 2, Ronald Hutton, Charles 11[Oxford, 1989), pp. 308-17 Maurice Lee also makes this point,

p. 226. Perhaps it should be emphasized that Jones, Lee and Hutton interpret the Restoration period very differently, but they do largely agree about the fundamental insularity of English public opinion.

Recently a new group of historians has argued that the English were concerned with international developments, but they understood them in exclusively confessional terms. See Conal Condren, 'Andrew Marvel1 as polemicist: his account of the growth of popery and

In this essay, by contrast, I will claim that there was a native and lively popular discussion about European affairs in England throughout the later seventeenth century,l0 and that this discussion had always connected domestic and foreign concerns. In England, as in the rest of Europe. this debate turned on the proper identification of the universal monarch. The third Anglo-Dutch war proved to be a time in which two rival interpretations the one claiming


that the republican Dutch, the other that the absolutist French, were seeking universal monarchy could be tested. iVhile England's appeal did play a large


role in persuading the English to demand peace with the Dutch and war with the French, it could only do so because it dovetailed nicely with earlier English polemic. Far more important than Du Moulin's pamphlet were the political developments of 1672, which invalidated claims that the Dutch were seeking universal dominion, while strengthening the belief that Louis XIV coveted the throne of Charlemagne. This shift in popular sentiment took on added significance when Charles I1 and his government attempted to evade demands for peace. Political moderates as well as their more radical brethren became convinced that court corruption was preventing England from going to war with France and allying with the united Provinces. that the government was conducting a private foreign policy. When the depth of popular feeling was finally revealed in parliament in the autumn session of 1673, it became clear that no English monarch could ever again go to war without first consulting parliament.

Far from exhibiting an indifference to European events, the English in the Restoration eagerly sought out, collected, and commented upon the tiniest titbits of information about continental affairs. Newspapers and newsletters were dominated by summaries from foreign correspondents. Patrons of coffee- houses, ale-houses and clubs chattered incessantly about the most recent reports from abroad. The streets of London and provincial towns were littered with pamphlets, broadsides and poems offering glosses on and witticisms about the most recent doings of European dignitaries. Oxford and Cambridge society was enlivened with conflicting comparisons between contemporary

arbitrary government', in Conal Condren and A. D. Cousins (eds.), Tlzepolitil-a1 identi9 of Andrea Marvel1 (Aldershot, 1990) ; Jonathan Scott, Algenzon Sidny and the restoration c~isis1677-1683 (Cambridge, 1991;. Ho~vever, these scholars have not yet pushed their interpretation back into the early 1670s.

lo For the purposes of brevity I am restricting this article, on the whole, to 1670s material. For the 1660s see my 'Popery, trade and universal monarchy: the ideological context of the outbreak of the second Anglo-Dutch war', English Historical Rerliew, ccccxx~~gan. ~ggz), 1-29; and Protestantism and patrzotism [Cambridge, forthcoming). C. R. Boxer has also argued that the English 'reading public' was 'reasonably well informed' about the United Provinces, though he has not made clear how the English understood the totality of European poxier politics, or when the English became well informed. See his 'Some second thoughts on the Third Anglo-Dutch war, 1672-1674', Transactions ojthe Rval ffistorical Sociey, fifth series, XIX i1969), 94.

336 STEVEN C. A. PINCUS events and the heroic deeds of the ancient Greeks and Romans. Anglican churches and dissenting meeting houses thundered with sermons inciting congregations to take an interest in momentous developn~ents across the English Channel. Frequently the English placed their interpretations of international events within the framework of a discussion about universal monarchy. The English knew that their forebears had successf~~llv

obstructed the Habsburgs' quest for


universal monarchy, a quest which definitively ended when the Spanish were compelled to acquiesce to the ignominious Treaty of the Pyrenees. They also knew that in the 1660s they had fought a war to prevent the Dutch Republic from achieving universal dominion and that they had been party to a treaty designed to prevent Louis XIV from conquering the Spanish Low Countries. an area long seen as the key to European domination.

Unlike their forebears, however, Restoration Britons knew that commerce


especially long-distance maritime commerce -and not mere population forged the sinews of power. Since the establishment of the lucrative East Indian spice trade and the exploitation of the South American silver mines; the nature of European warfare had changed: supplying armies for long periods of time determined victory or defeat more often than battlefield proLvess. The aspiring universal monarch, therefore, needed to achieve control of the sea. 'Whosoever commands the sea, commands the trade', Sir Walter Raleigh had noted in an essay reprinted and quoted often in Restoration England, 'whosoever commands the trade of the world con~n~ands

the riches of the world and consequently the world itself'." Tracts were written to confirm that political domination and economic prowess had always gone hand in hand.'' The Earl of Orrery made the same point in the epilogue to his play The Black Prince: 'And when the universe was to be made IThe vast design was on the waters laid'.13 John Evelyn summed up current political thinking when he insisted that 'to pretend to Universal Monarchy without fleets was long since looked on as a politick chimera'."

This new emphasis on trade made claims that the Dutch were seeking universal monarchy, voiced frequently by supporters of the Restoration regime, appear credible. While the Dutch Republic was made up of a small cluster of water provinces in Europe, its merchants dominated trade in the East Indies, the West Coast of Africa, the Caribbean, and the Mediterranean. 'The sole design of the Hollanders', averred the aptly named MJilliam De Britaine, 'is to get the riches, trade, and dominion of the whole Indies into

l1 Sir LValter Raleigh. Judicious and select cssaz~s and obselz~atior~s (London, 1667). p, 20. See also Sir John Evelyn. .~lrauigation and co~nnzerce, their original andprogress (London, 1674). p. 15. This was the preface to his intended history of the second Aliglo-Dutch war.

l2 John Smith, England's irnprourment reiliv[e]d (London. 16733, p. 2: The Advice L$C'/zarles tile Fqth (London, 1670). pp. 26-7 One author proposed to Joseph \Villiamson, the earl of Arlington's secretary, that he publish a 'dissertation on trade as the sinews ofwal and strength ofa kingdom'. April I 673, Calendar State Papers, Domestic, p. I 97.

l3 Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery. .The Black Prince', in [Villiam Smith Clark '(etl.), The drarnntir zoorks L$Koger B~de earl of Orreg '(Cambridge, MA, 1937). I, 372. Evelyn, p. 16.

their o~vn power'.15 In the very British seas, the English were appalled to discover, the Dutch had usurped control of trade. No wonder one polemicist thought that the English had bred 'up a serpent in [their bosom], that at length might devour [them] '.I6

English observers claimed that the Dutch had not achieved their economic domination through virtue and industry, but through unfair trading practices. 'The Netherlanders from the beginning of their trade in the Indies, not contented with the ordinary course of a fair and free commerce, invaded diverse islands, took some forts, built others; and labored nothing more than the conquests of countries, and the acquiring of new dominion'.17 In the MJest Indies, exclaimed America in the Lord Mayor's show of I 672, 'the cruel Dutch (than which the Devil is not worse) ' follo~ved the old practices of 'the haughty Spaniard' and 'did rob and slay / My naked natives, s~~ch I

as knew no art in war-like weapons, but the bow and dart' in order to seize upon 'the treasures of Peru and Mexico'.'* The tragedy of Amboyna -an event memorialized in plays, skits, poems, and squibs in the early 1670s -made certain that every social stratum of English society was aware that the basis of Dutch prosperity was 'the bloody and inhumane butcheries committed by them against us'.'" It was clear that 'the artifice and undue practices of the Hollanders', 'their lies and cheats', aimed only 'to supplant all our foreign trade'."

All of this convinced supporters of the restored monarchy that the Dutch republic was indeed seeking universal dominion. 'What straits, gulfs, trading bays, spare they to pierce I By water to take in the Universe?' queried the author of a poetic rendering of one of Aesop's fables. 'Are they with force not able to invade2 I No matter; they'll undo the world by trade'." Charles 11's

" \.\:illiam De Britaine, The Diitc11 usilrbatioz (London, 16721, p. 18. The same point was made

. .

by the Venetian observer Pietro Mocenigo in his 'Account of England'. 30 hIay/g J~me 1671, C'SPI'. p. jc).

lG "lhi~liar discourse. betzeen George, a true-hearted English gerltlernor~: and Hans a Diitci~ me,chont (London, 1674. p. 4. See also Smith, England's in~prouenzent. p. 2; \.V. H., 'The Dutch insolence', in London drollel3 (London, 16733, pp. j-6.

l7 The en~blen~

Of ingratitiide; a tlue relation of the ilnjiist, cruel and ba,bnloiis proceedir~gs against the English at drnbojna (London, 1672), sig. A7. See also 4 discoufse zclitte71 bj .Sir Geo~ge Doz~lning (London, 1674, pp. 44-5. l8 Thomas Jordan. London tliii~nphant (London, 1672). p. 10.

'"oo? Robins cha?acter ga Dtitch-?nun (London, 1674). p. 2 :\.irilliam Lilly, The dongeroiis condition ofthe hited Provinces #:London, 1672). p. 4; A discoiirse zi'ritter~ bj Si? Geroge Dozuning. pp. 3-4; John Dryden. Ambgna: a trageb (London, 16733 ;Theophilus Philalethes. Great Blitnirlsglo~ (London, 1674, p. 9; De Britaine, Dutch lisurpation, pp. 14-1 j: d propl~ecie lnteb tlorrscribed from 011 old manuscript of Dr. Barnabj Googe (London, I 6721, p. 3 :Afamiliar discozirse, betzeeen George, a t~ite-hearted EII~JISII

gentleman: and Hans a Dutch nzerchant, pp. 8-9; 1Il.s E.P., On 131s Rcya1 13igh71ess /IZS expedition against the Dutch (1672)> hroaduide; among Joseph \.irilliamson's papers, dated I I Novemher 1672, appears an 'Announcement of a representation, from 2 to 4 p.m., of the Dutch cruelties at Amboyna', CSPD. p. 148.

20 \\:illian~ De Britaine. The interest OfEnglar~d in the preser~t war zoitil Holland (London, I 674). p. I ; A famzliar discozirse, p. 28.

TheJi-og, or the Low-Countrg nightingale, sweet sznger gAn2sterdan1. Based on Aesop's Fable of the Frogs (?I 67". pp I-" there was a broadside version of this poem rvhich appeared in I 67"s well : John Ogilhy, 7th Holland nightingale or- the sujeet Singers of iirnsterdanz (London. 16721. Another poetic fabulist made a similar point. See The fable ofthe siirz and the frog^ ~London, 16721, p. 8.

338 STEVEN C. A. PINCUS chaplain Francis Gregory insisted that the question now was 'whether rebels shall lord it over sovereigns? whether the Texel shall rule the ocean? Or, which is all one, whether Amsterdam shall give check to London, and law to the world?'" With such lectures from his divines, it was hardly surprising that Charles I1 was 'convinced that the Dutch republic, at its present pace, would monopolize all trade and crush neighbouring powers'.23 This perception was clearly not limited to courtly circles. MJhen a Dutch Inan in a country tavern demanded to know 'why the English called his countrymen butter-boxes', he was reputedly told 'because they find you are so apt to spread every where, and for your sauciness, must be melted down'." In a poem aimed at popular audiences, Robert Wild claimed that the Dutch 'sought to grasp a pow'r great as old Rome, I Striving to carry all commerce away, I And make the universe their only prey'," \Vhy had the Dutch, who were so recently England's allies against Habsburg imperialism, suddenly become aspirants to universal dominion? For enthusiastic supporters of the restored monarchy, for men and women who had loathed and feared the English commonwealth, the answer was not far to seek. The Dutch truly had been a virtuous and liberty-loving people when led in war and peace by a member of the House of Orange. However, since the death of William I1 in 1650, and the subsequent political revolution, the Dutch people had been deluded and deceived by a corrupt republican government. The Dutch republicans, the Loevestein party, had turned the United Provinces into an 'academy of revolting'." 'A republic is nothing but an engine (erected by sedition and treachery to subvert monarchy) ', sneered MJilliam De Britaine, 'and we see that Holland hath been a retreat for all rebels, and a sanctuary to the worst of men. All heresies, schisms, and anti- monarchical principles have been there hatch'd, and then fly into the dominions of Kings and Princes, and on their way carry nothing but poison and contagion to infect their subjects'." D~ltch republicanism was not merely a theoretical problem for English royalists. They were convinced that the Dutch 'were a precedent to the late Usurper, who for many years, steeped the

22 Francis Gregory. rector of Hambleton, chaplai11 to Charles 11, The right waj to aictory. Preached at the Guildhall nn June 1673 iLonclon. 16731, sig. A3v. Identical arguments were made in poems and plays as well. See Dryclen, dmbojnu, prologue, sig. ar; T. S. '(of Gray's Inn:, @on His ~Wujesties lute declaration Jor tolerution. a12dpublitatzort roar ugai1zst the Hollar~der I London, 167n),

p. 2.

23 As reported by Alberti to Doge and Senate. 19/q 'April 167% C'SPV. p. 203. James. duke ofYork, was reputed to hold similar vierrrs: Alberti to Doge and Senate. 511 5January 1672. CSPII;

'"he con2plaisa~1t cornpaniorz (London, 16741, part 11, p. 32. '' Robert \.\;ild, d paneg)ricke hztrnbb addlesst to the Kiftg's ,Most Exrellerzt Majesb. On meeting of

the parliament 4, 5Feb. 1673 (London, 16731, p. 3.

2G Hogan-Moga~zides: or, The Dutch Hudibros (London, 1674). pp. 7-8.

" De Britaine, Interest oj'England, p. 14. The same point was made in The fable oJtIie sli11 and the fiogs. p. 7. The Venetian ambassador explained this as the main cause of the war: Alberti to Doge and Senate. 24 Slay/g June 1672, CSPP. p. 221.

P. 145.

three kingdoms in their own bl~od'.'~ In 1641, some claimed, the Dutch republicans had 'sent over their rabbis of sedition here into England, and infus'd their anti monarchical principles and dangerous doctrines into some giddy heads of the English nation'.'Vow, of course, the republicans were harbouring English rebels, providing them with a safe base for a new attempt on the behalf of the Good Old Cause.30 Meanwhile 'in print and pulpit', 'in their abusive pictures' and in 'their satirical effusions' the Dutch themselves did all they could to 'excite rebellion against the King of England'.31

The Dutch Loevestein party, much like the earlier Roman republicans, was expansionist in its aims.3' The Dutch had 'built their State on other's ruin, I And therefore always sought by warring I To keep their neighbours still a jarring'. Since the merchant republic was able to grow 'fat upon the prey' of warring European states, 'she hath been the common incendiary, directly or collaterally, of all the combustions that have happened this side the line, ever since [the] revolt from Spain'.33 Another observer thought the Dutch 'the scourge of Europe' who have 'made greater distempers and confusions, and caused more effusion of blood, and expense of treasure in Europe, than the Great Turk hath done for these joo years'.34 The only hope for Europe, the only chance to 'establish peace in Christendom', was 'to reduce them under the obedience of a good prince' -a Prince of Orange.35

Republicanism led ineluctably to grasping imperialism, English royalists argued, because the very essence of a commonwealth necessitated the evisceration of virue. 'It llath been observed particularly of your nation above others', the Englishman George pointed out to his Dutch counterpart Hans in one dialogue, 'that when gain comes in competition, they do forego not only all honor and honesty, but even all religion 'Interest's the God they worship in their State', thought John Dryden while pointing out that 'Monarchys may own religion's name I But States are atheists in their very frame'.37 Sir John Birkenhead agreed, telling the house of commons that 'religion in Holland is subservient to trade'.38 In fact, in the United Provinces religion itself 'was but a trade.. . Where saint and devil link together, I Turk,

A discotirse z~lritteri bj Sit Geotge Downirlg. pp. 58-9.

2g See for example, De Britaine, DZL~C/Zlis~lrpatio~l,p. 25.

'' Duke of Lauderdale's speech to the Scottish parliament. 12 June 1672. CSPD, p. 209; A

discourse writtell bj Sir George Downitig. pp. 62-3 Significantly Ellglish royalists called Dutch

republican heroes 'Good-Old-Cause hIartyrs'. See Tlzejiog, p. 3.

Theophilus Philalethes, p. 8; d discourse w~itten b~ Sir Geolge Downiflg, p. 30; Alberti to Doge

and Senate, 24 Slay/g June 1672. CSPT7, p. 221 ; An1zztsfirodigioslls (London, 16721, p. 4.

32 This, the Venetian secretary thought, was the perception of the English privy council. Alberti to Doge and Senate, 19/29 Jan. 1672. CSPK p. 156. The Loevestein party- named after the Dutch prison where its leaders were incarcerated by Prince Maurice -\irere the Dutch republican and Remonstrallt grouping. led in the period 1650-j2 by the pensionary of Holland John De Liritt. " Hogarz-,iloganides, pp. 26, j1-2, I 13-14.

'"e Britaine, Dutclz us~~rpation,

pp. 23, 33-4, 35 De Britaine, Interest oj!'Er~gland. pp. I j-16. " faji2n1iliar discoiirse, p. 10." Dryden, dmboya, prologue, sig. av. 38 Sir John Birkenhead, I I hlarch 1668, in Anchitell Grey. Debotes dthe house oj!'co?n7r~ons

jiorn the jea? 1667 to the year 1694 (London. 1763, I, I 13.


Jew; and makes no matter whether, I As far as for their ends they make I Not conscience, but for commerce-sake'.39 The point mas that the Dutch in grasping for glory had sacrificed all to satisfy their own ambition. The Dutch, like all 'those mho study to be great by any means', did 'by all means forget to be good'.40

Supporters of the restored monarchy, then, wanted war against the Dutch because they thought the Dutch republican leaders were seeking unil rrsal dominion. The point was not to seize Dutch trade routes -most merchants knew that 'trade will suffer' during a maritime war -but to prevent the Dutch from monopolizing all the wealth of the in die^.^' The Dutch were not to be punished because of their commercial saw y but for 'their ingratitude, incivility and rag-manners'." This war was not fought to annihilate the Dutch people, but rather to liberate them from 'the tyranny and oppression of those insolent States'." After all, John Dryden pointed out, 'their neu Commonwealth has set 'em free, ( Only from honour and civility'." War against the Dutch, it was asserted, mas necessary because their republicanism was a cancer which ate away at all monarchies, a cancer which mould not stop spreading until it had achiel ed unil ersal dominion.

English political and religious radicals, by contrast, maintained that it was rather the absolutist and clericist French King Louis XIV who was attempting to establish a new universal monarchy. Far from accepting the claim that the Dutch were morally depraved and devoid of political virtue, the English radicals praised the Dutch for their historical role in defending protestantism and liberty. The Dutch, argued the republican Slingsby Bethel, were the 'principal instruments in preventing the House of Austria in their grand design for the Universal Monarchy, and consequentl;; in the propagation of the Reformed Religion'. 'Having traveled their countries, observed their manners, and read their disputes with other nations,', he insisted, 'I think it but an act ofjustice to acknowledge that in the generality of their morals, they are a reproach to some nations'.45

Nor surprisingly such a virtuous nation had not become wealthy by illegitimate means. Rather the success of Dutch commerce was 'alone the effects of industry and ingenuity'.4G All of the Dutch 'advantages in point of trade which we term wrongs', testified Robert I\/lac\Vard, 'do proceed directly on their part from their sobriety and industry, and on England's part from our

39 Hogan-Moganides, pp. g 7-9. " De Britaine, Dzitch uslirpntion, p. 19.

" Dr LVilliam Denton to Sir Ralph Verney, 28 Sept. 1671. Princeton University Firestone Library. Verney SISS (microfilm) reel 124 (unfoliated); Alberti to Doge and Senate, 10/2o Nov. 1671,CSPT7, p. 121.

" 2 discozirse written by Sir George Doming. p. 50. See also Theophil~~s

Philalethes, p. 8; Hogan,2loganides, pp. g 7-8: T. s.,[$on His lClajesties late declaration, p. 2; 2 pnnegyrick to His Highness Prince Rzipert (London, 1673) broadside: LVilliam Hunt (Dartmouth) to \\:illiamson. 18 June 167% CSPD. p. 249. 49e Britaine, Dutch usurpation. pp. I I. 33.

" Dryden, Arnby~za,epilogue, sig. Kv.

" [Slingsby Bethel]. The preserzt interest OJ Ellgland stated (London, 167 I), pp. 30-1,

" Bethel, The present interest of England stated, p. 31; the same point was made by Thomas Culpepper, Plain Eriglish (London. 16731, p. 15.

idleness and l~ixury'. All of the supposed Dutch abuses in the Indies and Africa, he thought, were only 'an invention' meant to cover the 'groundless contrivance at home' of the Anglo-Dutch wars. In fact the Dutch success in these regions was directly attributable to 'their more happy and dexterous address, in these many lawf~il ways and methods, that may be practiced, and indeed prevail, and carry the affection and trade of these countrie~'.~~

The celebrated massacre at Amboyna was, even Bethel confessed, 'to be had by all in abhorrence', but it 'was acted but by a few, and diso~vned' and could be overlooked since 'the Popish Nations 11ai.e (in all ages down to our times) driven in massacres, and cruel t~rturings'.~'

From this ideological perspective, wars against the Dutch made no economic sense. The nonconformist divine Joseph Hill derided 'the senseless clamor of men' for war, crying 'We are competitors for trade! It's our interest! Our interest! Down with the Dutch! Down with the English!' because it was manifestly clear that 'the world is wide enough, and the sea large enough for both nations to exercise their skill and ind~stry'.~" It could no way be the interest of England to ruin [the Dutch] to the end to increase their o~vn trade, because if their aims be only traffic, the world affords matter enough to satisf>l both nation^'.^' MJars, especially naval wars, were disastrous for the econon~ic health of trading nations. It was clear to the author of Ajee colference touching the present state of England that 'for merchant-men's fleets to be changed into naval armies, and the substance of the people melted into magazines unusefully, which might more profitably be el-nployed in rich and gainful navigations, cannot be the proper interest of England'.51

Instead of advancing the economic aims of either the English or the Dutch, the Anglo-Dutch wars only made France into a great maritime trading power. 'The English and Dutch have of late by a furious war contended who should enjoy' the world's trade, agreed the merchant Roger Coke, 'but whilst these covetous combatants contend so fiercely for her, the French King by all the modes of France courts her for himself'.5Wl~ile the two great protestant maritime powers were 'ruining themselves', Algernon Sidney fumed, 'the ICing of France will gain all the traffic, and increase his power at sea, as fast as either of ours can diminish', putting him in a position to 'give law to them all'.53

English radicals proclaimed with a united voice that universal monarchy was in fact the sole aim of French policy. They, like the rest of Europe, were

" hIac\.irard, pp. 14-15. 30. " Bethel. Obse~ilatio~~s,

p. 4.

Jo~eph Hill. The interest ofthese L'nzted Proainces, 30 No\,. 1672 'Amsterdam. 16731, sig. Gr. 50 Bethel, The presei~t interest of England stated, pp. 32-3. " A free col@rence touching the present state oj'Englar~d both at home and abroad: zn order to the designs

of France (London. 16683, pp. 12-13, 52 Roger Coke. A disroztrse oj'trade (London, 16701, sig. B I v. The same point is also made in A frei corferenre. pp. 48-9; L~~dlo.iv ,

'A Voyce'. Bodleian Library. MSS Eng. Hist. C 487, p, 1052.

53 Algernon Sidney, 'Court Maxims', \.irarrrick County Record Office, p. I 77. The T'enetian

observer Pietro Mocenigo also noted 'the spleen of the nation' as the English vie.iirecl French

commercial and naval expansion 'with resentment '. 'Accourlt of England', 30 May/g June 1671,

CSPT7, p. 69.


aware of 'the great design of France, who seemeth no less now to endeavour and affect the same design of an Universal Monarchy & direction of affairs as Spain was once doing'.54 'It is agreed at all hands', insisted Slingsby Bethel in pamphlet after pamphlet, 'that the French set up for an Universal Monarchy'. The implication was that 'the interest of the European princes is changed from that of being against the House of Austria, and for France, to that of being for it, and against Fra'nce, the latter being at present, under more than suspicion, that having now got the advantage of Spain, they intend to improve it to an Universal Monarchy, as Spain formerly desigl~ed'.~' It 'is the utmost excess of madness' not to oppose the growing power of France, exclaimed Algernon Sidney. For 'though France may have many hard steps before it can arrive at such a monarchy as can deserve the name of universal; yet that King doth at present enjoy many advantages that may reasonably give him higher expectations that way than any other Prince in Europe. And having a mind equal to his fortune, he is not like to omit any opportunity'.5G France, thought another politiucal observer, was using England 'like a pair of stairs, on which they do mean to tread in order to their obtaining the Universal Monarchy '."

After the French invasion of the Spanish Netherlands in 1667, this line of argument appealed to an increasingly broad segment of the English political nation. 'Here hath been great talk of the French', Dr William Denton reported from London in I 67 -I .j8 'The French indeed [are] generally hated to the devil by all the English except the King in the first place & the gentry or noblesse who had seen the world and traveled abroad', explained the English envoy John Doddington to a French traveller in a Savoyard inn.'%ndrew Marvell complained that 'whilst the King of France with pow'rful arms I Frightens all Christendom with fresh alarms 1 We in our glorious bacchanals dispose I The humble fate of a plebeian nose'.60 A few radicals already blamed Anglo-Dutch tensions, and the government's failure to do battle with France, on the king himself. One Dalley in Surrey was heard to say 'that the King was the beginning of the wars with the Dutch, and wished that the King might be set in the forefront of the battle, and be killed first, and

j4 M. Appelbome to chancellor of Spain, 61 16 Oct. 1665, Bodleian Library, Clarendon MSS 83, fo. 251 r. This point was, of course, classically made by the Baron de Lisola. He complained that 'all the pretexts with which the French do labour to disguise the vast designs that they have in hand, are but false colours to mask the true spring which gives the motion to this machine, and to make an ambition which goes at a great pace to the Universal 1,Ionarchy pass under the veil ofjustice'. Francois Lisola, The buckler of state a~~djustice

against the designs manfit& discoaered oj the uniaersal monarchy, under the vain pretest of the Queen of France lierp?etension :London, 16733 sig. A6r. j5 Bethel, Tilepresent interest ofEngland stated, sigs. Az-A3; Bethel, Thepresent state of christe~zdorne, pp. I I, 15; Bethel, The French usurpation, pp. 1-2; Bethel, Interest ojprince and states, sigs. A3-Aq, A6. 56 Algernon Sidney, 'Court maxims', 1666, It'arwick County Record Office, pp. I 52, I jj. See

also A j?ee conference, pp. 8-9. 5' A jree conference, pp. 61-2.

j8 Dr It'illiam Denton to Sir Ralph Verney, 20 April 1671, Verney MSS, Reel 24 (unfoliated).

59 John Doddington to Joseph \Villiamson, 27 June 1670, Huntington Library, hISS STT 625.

6o Andrew Marvell, 'Further advice to a painter', 1670, in George deF. Lord (editor), Poe~ns on affairs ojstate (New Haven, 19631, I, 165 bIy dating is based on that assigned by Sir William Haward in his collection in the Bodleian, MSS Don b. 8, p. 205.

343 then there would be an end of the wars'.61 The London milliner John Tudor fumed 'that trading was dead, money scarce, and this the worst war that ever was made and that he.. . and our children might cast the day that ever the King came in'.62 Prior to the outbreak of the third Anglo-Dutch war it was possible to accept some aspects of both of these interpretations. It was possible to believe -and many did -that the Dutch republic was trying to achieve universal dominion by monopolizing commerce, while Louis XIV sought universal monarchy through brute force. But when England, in concert with France, declared war against the United Provinces in spring 1672 the English political nation was forced to decide which was the greater threat. Most moderates trusted the government's assessment and supported the war.63 Seamen volunteered to serve in the fleet in droves, provoking one observer to exclaim that 'never so great a cheerfulness [was] known in the seamen to enter into that service as now; everyone freely offering themselves to it & pressing who shall get in first'.64 'It cannot be denied', insisted the earl of Arlington to Henry Coventry, 'but the world is now generally convinced that the provocations his Majesty hath exposed in his declaration to have received from the Dutch do sufficiently justify the war he is making upon them'.65 'War against Holland was proclaimed yesterday at all the usual places in London', the Venetian secretary Alberti reported to the Doge and Senate, 'there were crowds of people who being aware of the causes, through the declaration reported, approved of the step, blessing his Majesty with one accord and willingly sacrificing all commercial considerations for the sake of the honour and glory of the country'.66 FVhile John Miller is probably right to claim that 'the

61 Information of George Massey, East Horsley, Surrey, 22 May 1672, CSPD, p. 72.

62 The examination of Thomas Joyce by Henry Coventry, 26 Dec. 1672, Longleat House,

Coventry hISS XI, fo. jr.

63 Edmund Verney was one such moderate who was extremely fearful of the French in the later 1660s and early 167os, but supported the war. His ideological progression is discussed in the next section. Thomas Papillon, whom Margaret Priestley has described as violently anti-French in the later 167os, clearly appreciated the threat from the United Provinces in this period. As a negotiator at Breda in 1667 he had castigated the Dutch for their economic greed. Throughout the third Dutch war he served as a victualler of the navy. See Margaret Priestley, 'London merchants and opposition politics in Charles 11's reign', in Bulletin of the Institute of Historical Research, xx~x119j6), 205-19; Thomas Papillon's 'Account of the negotiations at Breda', Centre for Kentish Studies, MSS UI~I


'' Newsletter from London, 6 Feb. 1672, Library of Congress, 1,ISS 18124, 3, fo. 1q8r. See also Nelvsletter from London, 10Feb. 1672, Library of Congress, MSS 18124, 3, fo. I jor for a similar report from the west country. This account of naval recruitment in the early phases of the war is substantiated by the most recent and authoritative historian of the Restoration navy. See J. D. Davies, Gentlemen and tarpaulins: the o#cels and men of the Restoration nauj (Oxford, 1991), pp. 160-3.

" Arlington to Henry Coventry, 29 March 167% Coventry MSS LXV, fo. I jjr. The letter also

emphasizes the enthusiastic support for the fast declared to implore divine support in the war. For

the declaration itself: His Majesties declaration against the States General ofthe Ciitted Provinces oj the

Low-Cour~trgs(London, 1672). See also John Trevor to Henry Coventry, 2 April 1672, Coventry

MSS LXV, fo. I59L

66 Alberti to Doge and senate, 29 March18 April 1672, CSPV, p. 195. See also Alberti to Doge

and senate, 3/13 Nov. 1671, CSP17, p. I 19. This was also the opinion of the French ambassador

344 STEVEN C. A. PINCUS government was going into a war with far less support than in 1665', the government was clearly able to persuade most people that war against the grasping and insolent Dutch republic was necessary.67

Yet even as news reached England of the spectacular early successes of the allied forces in the very first campaign, English popular opinion turned against the war. Political moderates, those who had been willing to accept the government's argument that the Dutch Republic represented a more immediate and dangerous threat than the French monarchy, reversed their assessment. Sir Thomas Clarges was sure there was an 'universal hatred against this French allian~e'.~'Reports of French military defeats were received 'by the generality of the people as good news'.6g The Venetian secretary thought 'that the country would subscribe any sum for an open war with France'." 'The English nation is not to be cured of their aversion to that people', the elder Sir Thomas Player informed Sir Joseph Williamson, 'terrible things were spoken in the House of Commons against them, and the same things are said all over the kingdom'."

There could be no doubting parliament's antipathy for the French alliance in the autumn session of 1673 On one morning the speaker discovered a wooden shoe on his chair with the arms of the king of France on one side and those of Charles I1 on the other, and the note 'of one of the In January a memorandum entitled Verburn Sapienti was circulating among M.P.s proclaiming that 'all the mischiefs we have felt or may hereafter fear from the

Colbert. Colbert's letter of 20 March 1672, quoted in IV. D. Christie, '4 lfe of Anthony Asi~leq. Coopel, jrst Earl of Shaftesbzclj (London, 1871), 11, 83.

67 IvIiller, p. 188. The Essex clergyman Ralph Josselin was probably displaying his own partisanship, rather than accurately reporting popular sentiment when he noted in his diary on I 7 April: 'a fast on occasion of the Dutch war, \vhich all are against'. Alan MacFarlane (ed.), The diny ojRalph Josselin 1616-1683(London, 1976), p. 563. C. R. Boxer has also claimed that there was no popular support for the war at its beginning, but his argument is based exclusively on Dutch newspaper reports, reports concerned above all in demonstrating that the English could not sustain the war. Boxer, 'Some second thoughts', pp. 74-5. Ronald Hutton agrees with my position, arguing that 'M.P.s who opposed the court in other respects seemed genuinely to accept that the Dutch deserved to be fought'. Hutton, Charles 11, p. 297.

68 Sir Thomas Clarges, 12 Jan. 1674, Grey, I, 232. See also Major T. Fairfax to \Villiamson, 7 Nov. 1673, CSPD, p. 10. 69 Henry Ball to \Villiamson, 19 Sept. 1673, in IV. D. Christie ;ed.), Lettels nddressedfrom London

to Sir Joseph M'illiamson (London, 18741, 11, 20.

70 Alberti to Doge and senate, 24 Oct./g Nov. 1673, CLSPL7,p. 163.

71 Sir Thomas Player to Williamson, 3 Nov. 1673, Christie, 11, 56-7.

" Alberti to the Doge and senate, 31 Oct./~o Nov. 1673, CSPV, p. 168. It should be noted that

the sentiment of parliament came as no surprise. Well before the opening of the session R.I.P.s were

known to be meeting and planning an assault on the French alliance. See Alberti to Doge and

senate, 29 Aug.18 Sept. 1673, CSPV, p. 106; Alberti to Doge and senate, 1o/2o Oct. 1673, CSP17,

pp. 143-4; Robert Yard to \Villiamson, 17 Oct. 1673, Christie, 11, 48.

Hollanders, though ten times greater than what are falsely pretended, cannot possibly be of half that dangerous consequence to us, as the advantages now given to the grom th of French power, by this pernicious league', advantages m hich had allom ed Louis XIV to 'overcome the greatest difficulty in his way to that universal monarchy to which he has so long aspired'.73 These were not the works of cranks and radicals. Sir John Hobart reported that 'the House were clear and unanimous in their dislike of the war with the Dutch & friendship with the French'.'%ir Christopher hIusgrave agreed that 'as much sharpness was expressed against the mar with Holland and the alliance of France, as the spirits of our corner could conceive'."

Similar sentiments were expressed in London shops and in the streets of country towns. In London coffee-houses 'the people continue their too open hate to the French, and discourse of them with the greatest contempt imaginable'.76 'From peace with the French and mar with the Dutch I From a new mouth which will cost us as much I And from councils of wits which advise us too much ( Libera Nos Domine', ran a litany found in a Lincoln's Inn privy in 1672." People all over town expressed 'wishes [that] his Majesty mere off the league with France'." 'The dissatisfaction is so great at this conjunction with the French', Robert Yard wrote to FVilliamson, 'that the general speech in the City and that amongst the soberest and chiefest persons is that unless this alliance with France be broken the nation will be ruined'."

The same pattern of Francophobia was manifest throughout the country. 'Our country talk is of no war but, if any, with France', reported Allan LYharton from FVhitby in North Y~rkshire.'~ Richard Bower, FVilliamson's Yarmouth correspondent, lamented that 'we are so Dutchified here that a Dutch man cannot be more dejected than our people are generally for the sad condition we understand the Hollander to be in'." In Dartmouth 'the agitation for peace was very melcome, and we pray the hastening of it'.82

Those who mere fighting the war, the same men who had rushed in droves to volunteer, quickly turned against it. Seamen complained constantly of the practices of the French navy.83 One reported that the French sailors 'bragged

73 Verbtim Snpienti, Jan. I 674, CSPD, pp. I 28-9. " Sir John Hobart to Mr John Hobart, I Nov. 1673,Bodleian Library, Tanner 1,ISS 42, fo. 56r. 75 Sir Christopher Musgrave to It'illiarnson, 3 Sov. 1673, Christie, 11, jg. 76 Henry Ball to \Villiamson, I Sept. 1673, Christie, 11, I; see also Henry Ball to IVilliamson, 29 Aug. 1673, Christie, I, 194. 77 'A litany', in Lord, POAS, p. 190. " Henry Ball to LVilliamson, 25 Aug. 1673, Christie, I, 184-5. See also Ball to Williamson, 21 July 1673, Christie, I, 122; Ball to It'illiamson, 10 Oct. 1673, Christie, 11, 34.

79 Robert Yard to \Villiamson, 29 hug. 1673, Christie, I, 194-5. See also IVilliam Bridgeman

to IVilliamson, 16Jan. 1674, Christie, 11, I 12; Sir Francis Chaplin to It'illiamson, 14July 1673,

CSPD, p. 437.

Allan \Vharton (TVhitby) to James Hickes, I I July 1672, CSPD, p. 330,
Richard Bower (Yarmouth) to TYilliamson, 24 June 1672, CSPC, p. 272. See also Captain

T. Guy (Yarmouth) to \Villiamson, 30 Sept. 1672, CSPD, p. 671. 82 \Villiam Hurt (Dartmouth) to James Hickes, jSoy. 167% CSPD, p. 127. 83 Reports of French naval performance played a large role in turning opinion against the war.

I will elaborate on this point in the next section.

346 STEVEN C. A. PINCUS that after they had Holland, they hoped to have England'.8"y the summer of 1673 the naval officer Sir Charles Lyttleton prayed that 'god send his Majesty a good peace', which he assured Arlington was 'as well the prayer of almost all I have spoken with of that matter'." That same summer the English land forces 'were ready to mutiny at their decamping at Blackheath, only upon a report of their uniting with the French army'.86 This sort of behaviour was hardly surprising, Edmund Verney explained to his father Sir Ralph, 'because it is a very hard thing to force men to hazard their lives and fight for those whom they hate'.87 Many moderate royalists of all social strata now joined their more radical brethren in denouncing the French alliance and the war with the United Provinces. The presbyterian-royalist Anthony Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, was merely the most flamboyant of those who shifted from an anti-Dutch to an anti-French alignment in the early 1670s. As Lord Chancellor, and member of the infamous Cabal, the earl of Shaftesbury had delivered the single most celebrated piece of Restoration oratory. Comparing England to Rome, the United Provinces to Carthage and himself to Cato, he had exclaimed 'Delenda est Ca~tha~o'.'~

'Let this be remembered', Shaftesbury thundered, 'the States of Holland are England's eternal enemy both by interest and inclination'. This, he explained, was because they were 'the common enemies to all monarchies, and I may say especially to ours, their only competitors for trade and power at sea, and who only stand in their way to an universal empire, as great as Rome'.89 Although this speech has usually been interpreted as a spectacular piece of Hollandophobic rhetoric, Shaftesbury was at pains to make clear that he attributed Dutch policy not to the nation as a whole but to the republican faction. England declared war against the Dutch Republic, Shaftesbury made clear in the autumn of 1673, because 'the king was obliged for the security of a lasting peace, as also by the laws of gratitude and relation, to see the House of Orange settled, and the Loevestein, that Carthaginian party brought down'.g0

84 Nathaniel Osborne (LVeymouth) to James Hickes, 10 Aug. 1672, CSPD, pp. 470-1.

" Sir Charles Lyttleton to Arlington, 23 July 1673, CSPD, p. 455.

86 Henry Ball to LVilliamson, 18 July 1673, Christie, I, I 16.

" Edmund Verney to Sir Ralph Verney, 20 Sov. 1673, Verney MSS, Reel 27 (unfoliated) ;my translation). Edmund Verney habitually wrote to his father in French. 88 Grey, jFeb. 1673,11, 2. Significantly, Grey doubted his sincerity even at this juncture, noting that Shaftesbury 'was in a secret management with another party'.

89 Anthony Ashley Cooper, earl of Shaftesbury, 'Delenda Carthago, or the true interest of England in relation to France and Holland', printed in Sir Lt'alter Scott jed.), A collection of scarce and aaluable tracts.. .particularQ that of the late Lord Somers (London, I 8I 2j, VII, 37-9 ;journal of the house of lords, 5 Feb. 1673, xrr, 525-6 The comparison between the Anglo-Dutch rivalry and that between Carthage and Rome was a common trope in Restoration literature. Both were seen as naval conflicts in which 'the empire of the universe' was at stake. Thomas Ross, The Second Punick War...from the latine of Szlitts Italicus (London, 1674, sig. B2 r. See also Dryden, Amboyna, sig. Kv; Roger Palmer, A short and true account of the material passages in the First IW'ar between the English and the Dutch since His Majesties restauration, 2nd edn (London, 1674, pp. 103, 108-9; The Rolnaii histoy of Lucius J. Florus (London, 16693, pp. 53, Go, 71-2.

journal ofthe House ofLords, 27 Oct. 1673, XII, $9.

347 Shaftesbury was not being inconsistent, nor displaying pique for having been dismissed from the privy council,g1 when in 1675 he warned that the King of France 'is grown the most potent of us all at sea'.

'Tis incredible the money he hath: and is bestowing in making harbours, he makes nature itself give way to the vastness of his expense, [marvelled Shaftesbury] and after all this, shall a Prince so wise: so intent upon his affairs, be thought to make all these preparations to sail over land and fall on the back of Hungary, and batter the walls of Kaminitz, or is it possible he should oversee his interest in seizing Ireland, a thing so feasible to him, if he be master of the seas, as he certainly now is; and which when attained gives him all the Southern hIediterranean, East and Jt'est India trade and renders him both by situation and excellent harbours, perpetual blaster of the Seas without dispute.

The only hope for 'disengagement from the French interest', Shaftesbury insisted, lay in the 'two Houses differing from the sense and opinion of FVhitehall'.92 Who mere these men who prevented England from going to war against France? This pernicious 'French interest' and 'opinion of Whitehall', Shaftesbury identified as 'some of the Episcopal clergy of our British isles' as well as the 'High Episcopal Man and the Old Ca~alier'.'~

The pamphleteer and scientist Henry Stubbe made the same ideological odyssey in the early 167os.~"n his two pamphlets published in support of the third Anglo-Dutch war, Stubbe deployed the full arsenal of Hollandophobic polemic, while always making clear that it mas the immoral and ambitious rule of the republican party, not the nature of the Dutch themselves, which was to blame. Because it was 'a received aphorism amongst the Hollanders' that 'trade and the repute of strength are inseparably linked together', Stubbe explained before the demise of De M'itt and his party, they 'covet all' the world's trade." The Dutch republicans represented the only real threat of universal monarchy.

Let it be conceived that the designs of Universal Monarchy in Europe are vain and success-less projects; that a thousand casualties may disappoint them, and that his Most Christian Majesty may die, and leave an infant, or a successor whose inclinations, wisdom, and conduct may not be equal to his, [Stubbe argued] but the case is different

Indeed Hutton has claimed that Shaftesbury was dismissed from office because Charles

thought he had turned against the war. Hutton, Charles 11,p. 308.

92 Shaftesbury's speech, 20 Oct. 1675, Tzuo speeches (Amsterdam. 1675),pp 8-9.

93 Shaftesbury's speech, Two speeches, pp. 10-1 I ;Earl of Shaftesbury, A lettef from a person of

qualio to his friend in the countv (I 6jj),pp I, 7. 34,

94 James Jacob in Heniy Stubbe, radicalprotestantism and the earb Enlightenment (Cambridge, 1983), pp. I 17-18, 131-2 has suggested close ties between the two men. Stubbe was certainly commissioned to write his two Hollandophobic pamphlets by Joseph L\'illiamson. Even when acting as a government propagandist, however, Stubbe made it clear that he was no absolutist, making it clear 'that the security of the King against Holland or France (if occasion) lies in the affection of his people'. Henry Stubbe to ~Yilliamson. 8 July 167% CSPD. p. 320.

95 Henry Stubbe, Ajust$cation ofthepresent war against the LrnitedJ+i\etherlallds (London, 1672'1,sigs. A3-Aq.


in regard to the Dutch: for there is no death to be looked for of the States General, but in the subversion of the Republic: a succession of men educated to the same principles, and capable to manage the same projects, is there perpet~ated.'~

It was clear to Stubbe 'that the source and original of all these perils was the ambition and treachery of the Hollanders, and the implacable animosity of the De Witts against England'." So central was the nefariousness of the De TZ'itts to Stubbe's anti-Dutch polemic that he felt compelled to apologize for his Further justGcation of the present war against the United "C'ethe~lands. 'This ensuing treatise was written long before the late revolutions in Holland and the death of the two brothers Cornelius and John De Witt', he confessed to his readers, 'and whatsoever therein doth reflect upon the treacherous designs and villainy of the States General and People, it is to be applied unto the Loevestein faction, which hath always presided, directed and swayed in the Councils and determinations of the United Provinces, partly by artifice and popular insinuations, partly by the interest of the Province of H~lland'.~'

The re-establishment of the Prince of Orange and his party at the helm of the Dutch Republic completely altered Stubbe's attitude toward European affairs. The new circumstances called for a new polemical foray. Since 'the late revolutions in the United Netherlands brought into my memory the Republic of Achaia, this being the original from whence the Dutch framed their Common-wealth', Stubbe decided to publish an elaborate political allegory, The histov of the United Provinces of Achaia." In Achaia, Stubbe noted, there 'was a perfect equality betwixt all the United Cities; all were equally capable of honors and employments in the state: they fought not to enlarge their territories by the oppression of their neighbour~'.~~~

It was not Achaia but Rome/France which threatened the peace of Greece/Europe.

The grand stratagem of the Romans, [Stubbe explained] [was] to contract an alliance with all petty princes and states; to embolden them against their puissant neighbours; and then by a feigned generosity to undertake the protection of their distressed allies; whereby the weak ally became their slave, and the concluest of the other added to the riches and puissance of the Republic. They drew all controversies to their cognizance;

96 Stubbe. A further just$catio~~, pp. 9-10. 18-19; Stubbe, A just$cation, sig. A2r. Significantly Stubbe claims to have derived his ideas from the Elizabethan virtuoso, and writer on navigation and empire John Dee. Stubbe to It'illiamson, 8 July 1672. CSPD, pp. 319-20. On Dee see It'illiam Sherman. 'A liaing librav': the readings arid writings of 3oh11 Dee (Cambridge Ph.D. dissertation.
1991). especially chapter 7.     97     Stubbe. Ajirther jtist$ration,     p. 9.
98     Stubbe, '4 further jttst$cation,     sig. BI v. Th    is was in fact true. Francis B    enson to ~Yilliamson,
9JLlly 1672, CSPD, p. 323.             

99 Henry Stubbe, The histov of the Cizited Proainces of Achnia. Based on Jacobus Gothofredus, but sign$cantlq. altered (London, 1673), sig. A2 r. The association ofthe Dutch republic with Achaia was not original, indeed I think it was a far more common identification than that of Venice. See Boccalini, pp. 222, 250; Martinus Schookius, Belgitirn Federaturn (Amsterdam, 1652): Martinus Schookius, Resptiblicae Achaeorum et L'eientu~n (Trajecti ad Rhenum, 1664). By this time Stubbe had apparently found a new patron. more sympathetic to his outlook, the earl of Anglesey. George Seignior to Dr. I\'illiam Sancroft, I June 1673, Bodleian, Tanner 1,ISS 42. fo. 12r. Stubbe was also said to have written against the Modena marriage in I 673. John Tillison to Dr I\'illiam Sancroft, 27 Oct. 1673, Bodleian, Tanner MSS qz, fo. q8r. looStubbe. Achata, p. 2.

they interposed in all quarrels, and thereby made themselves at first arbitrators, then Lords of the

The commentary on the Anglo-Dutch wars must have been all too obvious for Stubbe's English readership. 'It was the undoubted interest of Greece to oppose itself against the growing power of the Romans', Stubbe hinted strongly, 'they and all Asia ought to have united against them, and not by making separate wars at sundry times, to facilitate the general conquest'. Just in case the point was missed Stubbe concluded that the 'modern policies of Europe' were 'to preserve the neighbouring powers equally balanced', which 'made it esteemed lawful and wise to change alliances, according as either side declines'.lo'

The Buckinghamshire gentleman Edmund Verney, a member of an extremely moderate family, adopted less prominent but equally typical viewpoints over the course of the third Anglo-Dutch war. Before the war began, before English government propaganda had hit the presses, Edmund Verney worried openly of 'the great preparations of the French King', a king 'who troubles all of Christendom', warning that an Anglo-Dutch war would be 'an unparalleled folly'.lo3 Once war was declared, however, Edmund's views changed. He castigated the unjust pretensions of the republican Dutch, and had to be restrained by his father from volunteering to fight in the English fleet. After hearing of the downfall of the De IYitts, the spectacular victories of the French armies, and the perfidious actions of the French fleet, Edmund Verney's views shifted again. He now had nothing but praise for the Dutch, comparing them to the courageous Romans facing Hannibal at their gates. By contrast, he hoped that 'the one time Grand Monarch, so glorious, so opulent, so magnificent, so powerful, so formidable, would become a poor little ridiculous gnat'. Nevertheless Verney was well aware of the reality of French power. For this reason, he thought that 'it was the interest of all Christendom to chase the French from the Low Countries'. At home, Edmund explained to his father, 'all our great danger of losing' our 'property, liberty, privileges and laws' stemmed from Louis XIV's political support. By aiding the French king against the Dutch, he concluded, the English 'gained neither honour, nor profit, nor security, but ran the risk of being eaten by him last, which was the ordinary reward of crazy men'.''"

Sir William Coventry, who despite his impeccable royalist pedigree had lived quietly under the Protectorate and apparently adopted that regime's support for religious liberty,lo5 was one of the most prominent opponents of the

lo' Stubbe, Achain, p. j. lo2Stubbe. Achnin. pp. 9. 27.

lo3Edmund Verney to Sir Ralph Verney, 10July 1671, Verney MSS, Reel 24; Edrnund Verney to Sir Ralph Verney, 18 Dec. 1671, Verney MSS, Reel 24; Edmund Verney to Sir Ralph Verney, I Jan. 1672. Verney hISS, Reel 24.

lo' Edmund Verney to Sir Ralph Verney, 24 June 1672. Verney ltISS, Reel 25: 28 Nov. 1672, Verney MSS, Reel 25: 15 Jan. 1673, Reel 25: 29 Jan. 1673, Reel 25: 27 Sov. 1673, Reel 27; I Feb. 1674. Reel 27. All the translations are mine.

lo5William Coventry to Thomas Thynne, 23 Nov. 1672, Longleat House, Thynne MSS 16. fo. 24r; L\'. Coventry to Thomas Thynne. I Jan. 1673, Thynne MSS 16, fo. j3r.


35O third Anglo-Dutch War. 'It is vain to think that the European trade can be maintained by us by a war', he argued, asking i~lcredulously 'what probability is there, if we beat the Hollander, that we shall get all trade?'.lo6 Indeed, Sir William thought it 'strange that we and Holland should be divided by one whose interest is destructive to us both'.lo7 The real danger to Europe was that 'France is too big'. The true 'interest of the King of England', he reminded the house of commons, 'is to keep France from being too great on the continent'. Endless procrastination, debate, and negotiation simply would not do. 'If you stay till all Flanders be gone', he urged the historically minded, 'you will do as King James did in the Palatinate War, treat, and treat, till all was gone, and nobody to treat with him'.''' Although Louis XIV was certainly responsible for spoiling English markets, he did not intend to stop there, 'the end and purpose of France's conquests is not for trade'.''' 'The main stress of our matter is to hinder the French from universal trade, all the world over', Coventry reasoned, not because trade was an end in itself, but because the French were 'an enemy to us and all Christendom'. If France was not stopped in the United Provinces 'he may the sooner fall upon us' since 'this swelling monarchy of France is founded on maxims of greatness and action'.'1° Even those, like Sir Philip Warwick, who had loyally served the Caroline court and who had castigated the Dutch for pursuing the 'Sea-1lIonarchy as eagerly as Charles the Fifth or Francis the First did the Land-1lIonarchy ', found French power simply too threatening to ignore. 'I believe, he had never affected to have been an East and West Indian merchant, but as he foresaw with Old Rome, in vain it was to affect the Universal European Land Monarchy without he became considerable at sea', wrote Warwick of Louis XIV, 'nor had he become considerable but as the jealousies of Holland toward us shrouded him till he thrust forth a top, that will shade us both, unless we hold a stricter correspondence & confidence in each other than hitherto we have done'.'" After hearing the news of the spectacular French victories, the bishop of Lincoln -hardly a radical critic of the court -worried that while 'Holland deservedly suffers all the miseries it now lies under.. .if it submits to France, where are we? I am persuaded France will treat and conquer on, till lo6Sir M'illiam Coventry, 31 October 1673, Grey, rr, 203. For William Coventry's opposition to the earlier war, see my Protestnntism nnd~ntriotism. lo' Sir William Coventry, 31 Oct. 1673, Grey, 11, 204. lo8Sir M'illiam Coventry, yr Oct. 1673,Grey, 11, 213; Sir William Coventry, 22 Feb. 1677, Grey, IV, r 33 ; Sir M'illiam Coventry, I I May 1678, Grey. v, 38 7. He expressed similar vie~vs calling Louis XIV 'a Match for all Europe' -in a letter to Thomas Thynne, 4Jan. 1675,Thynne MSS 16, fo. 212 r. logSir M'illiam Coventry, 6 March 1677, Grey, IV, 188-9. On France's pernicious economic policies see Sir William Coventry, 27 Feb. 1668,Grey, I, 97; Sir M'illiam Coventry, 10 May 1675, Grey, 111, r 25. "O Sir William Coventry, 29 Jan. 1678, Grey, v, 18-20. Sir Philip War\vick, 'Ofgovernment', 28 Aug. 1679,Huntington Library, MSS HM 41956, fo. 182.See also Sir Philip Warwick, 14March 1678,Grey, v, 230. Despite having harboured the great Anglican theologian, Henry Hammond, during the Interregnum, M'ar\vick had come to support 'some indulgence' for dissenters: 11 March 1668, Grey, I, I r I. This was a position not dissimilar from that of his patron the earl of Southampton. For more on Warwick, see Henning (ed.),111, 674-7 I owe this reference to the kindness of Blair Worden.

35' there be little left to treat for'.ll"By what I have heard', chimed in Henry Robinson, one of Arlington's correspondents, 'the French King cannot likely be hindered from conquering most, if not all, their inland country, and it may be feared the sea towns to be revenged of the King of England, if he does not suddenly take them under his protection, will strike in with the French King on terms that may quickly encourage, if not also enable him to invert the royal title of England, France, Scotland, and Ireland, into France, England, Scotland and Ireland'.ll3 Although different people perceived the danger from France at different times, and expressed their concerns with varying degrees of sophistication, the events of the third Anglo-Dutch War convinced most moderates that the most serious aspirant to the universal monarchy and the greatest threat to English political culture, was Louis XIV. People were not disillusioned with the war because it was a military disaster; they felt rather that it was manifestly contrary to England's interest. The English people not only called for the end of an economically disruptive war, but also for a diplomatic and ideological realignment.

Why did moderate English opinion shift from an Hollandophobic to a Francophobic orientation over the course of the third Anglo-Dutch war? Why did they insist that their government withdraw from a war when they had every reason to believe that the Dutch could be forced to an ignominious peace?

Some have claimed that the revelations in the summer of 1673 that the duke of York and Lord Treasurer Clifford were Roman catholics explains the shift in popular sentiment. Fear of catholicism, and consequently catholic France, was revived in I 673 the same fear which would be rekindled in I 6 78


and again in 1688. Religion rather than altered perceptions of European developments, then, accounted for the demands for peace with the protestant Dutch and war against catholic France.

There are, however, many reasons for questioning this claim. For example, the shift in public opinion began in the summer of 1672, well before anyone could be certain of the religious proclivities of James or Clifford. Nor were fears of popery exclusively religious fears. By the later seventeenth century most English people understood popery as a means of instituting arbitrary government. Popery was the religion of seventeenth-century baroque monarchies. Charles and James men known more for the amount of time


they spent with their mistresses than their spiritual advisers -were thought to be sympathetic to the catholic religion because it was 'the only one which keeps subjects to their allegiance'.'14

The panic about popery grew out of fears of a French universal monarchy, rather than the other way round. 'The Papists are not considerable here',

William, bishop of Lincoln, to \Villiamson, 22 June 1672, CSPD, p. 264 Henry Robinson (\Vestminster) to Arlington, 19 June 1672, CSPD, p. 250. l1"1berti to Doge and senate, 31 I\lay/~o June 1672, CSPT', p. 225.


Henry Powle pointed out, they would hardly be a danger 'unless they had encouragement at home, or dependence on some foreign prince', some 'great prince aspiring to the Western Monarchy'.'15 'Our jealousies of Popery, or an arbitrary government, are not from a few inconsiderable Papists here', concurred the moderate Sir Thomas Meres, 'but from the ill example we have from France'.'16 Louis XIV sought universal monarchy purely to satisfy his lust for power; he was not thought to be promoting a religious crusade. It was true that he persecuted his protestant subjects, but, Sir William Coventry was quick to point out, 'the rigours in religion in states, arise from interest rather than religion; formerly Spain was more rigorous in religion, and now France'.'" There is therefore little reason to doubt the Spanish ambassador's assessment that 'the Duke of York was too partial to France, and that was the reason, not his marriage to a Catholic' -not his religious proclivities -'why he suffers so much persecution at the moment'."'

The heated popular debate about the Duke of York's marriage makes it clear that the English feared French domination more than they feared Roman catholicism. Soon after the death of Anne Hyde the English government began negotiating for a new bride for the Duke of York. The first nominee was the Archduchess of Innsbruck, a catholic member of the House of Hab~bur~."~

Far from eliciting cries of 'No Popery', it was 'publicly hoped that the marriage' would soon be c~ncluded.'*~ The moderate Edmund Verney wrote to his father full of enthusiasm for the prospect.1" lor did parliament disapprove. The negotiations for the Innsbruck marrige were well known, Gilbert Burnet later marvelled, 'and yet no address was made to the king to hinder [the Duke's] marrying a papist'.'*' It was only after the negotiations for the Innsbruck marriage fell through -the Archduchess chose to marry the Holy Roman Emperor instead -that the Duke of York selected the Duchess of hlodena. The marriage was immediately unpopular. 'The generality of the people ...cannot now be pleased', Robert Yard wrote to Wi1liarn~on.l~~

Edmund Verney, writing from Buckinghamshire, thought that

Henry Powle, 23 Oct. 1675, Grey, III, 334. Powle, significantly, was one of the leaders of the opposition to the Modena marriage: tY. Bridgeman to \\'illiamson, 20 Oct. 1673, Christie, 11, 49. 'I6 Sir Thomas Meres, I I May 1675, Grey, 111, I 36. For his moderation see Henning, 111, 48-59, Similar views hvere expressed in L7erbum Sopienti, Jan. 1674, CSPD, p. 13 I.

'I7 Sir M'illiam Coventry, 31 Oct. 1673, Grey, 11, 203.

'I8 Alberti to Doge and senate, 28 Nov./8 Dec. 1673, CSPL7, p. 182.

'lo Alberti to Doge and senate, 7/17 April 1671, CSPV, p. 38; Alberti to Doge and senate, 19/29 April 1672, CSPV, p. 203. ''O Alberti to Doge and Senate, 17/27 Oct. 1672, CSPV, p. 306. 12' Edmund Verney to Sir Ralph Verney, lo Feb. 1673, \'erne! MSS, Reel 25 (unfoliated).

Gilbert Burnet, Histoy his orclri time (London, 181 j), I, 467 Henry Coventry made a similar point in parliament: Alberti to Doge and senate, 31 Oct./~o Kov. 16 73, CSPL7,p. 169 Sir Heneage Finch also pointed out that the Innsbruck marriage elicited no religious opposition: Speech of Sir Heneage Finch, 30 Oct. 1673, Leicestershire Record Office, D.G. 7/Box 49571~.


Robert Yard to Williamson, I 7 Oct. 1673, Christie, 11, 48; Miller, p. 210. Effigies of popes were burned as soon as she set foot on English soil: Thomas Derham to tYilliamson, 5 Dec. 1673, CSPD, p. 44; Walter Overbury to Williamson, I Dec. 1673, CSPD, p. 40.

'very few of his Majesty's subjects.. . celebrated [the marriage] from their hearts or with their mouth~'.'~"he explanation for this popular antipathy was ubiquitous. Marriage with the Duchess of Modena was a wedding with 'an adopted daughter of France', a 'marriage by the French interest', a marriage 'of French contri~ing'.~~'

The people were said 'to wish there may be [no marriages] of the French making'.lZ6 The English were terrified that the Italian princess would act as a French agent at the English court. In fact, as the Duchess of Modena and her mother made their way through France toward.; England, it was rumoured that 'the French King goes hilnself to meet the old lady, and to instruct her how to work his interest here'.''' The Venetian secretary merely emphasized the obvious when he informed his government that 'the opposition to the hlodenese marriage proceeded from the princess being the nominee of France and not of Spain, like the Archduchess of Innsbruck'.lZ8

The English political nation was far more concerned with putting a halt to French expansionism than with reviving a protestant confessional alliance. Rumours that Spain or the Empire would take the field against the French were greeted with unbridled enthusiasm. In his outline of the desired ends of English foreign policy, the country IL1.P. Sir Richard Temple made it clear that 'foreign alliances' are to be secured 'with respect to the balance of monarchy & obviating that design [for universal monarchy]'. Therefore, Temple concluded, 'not only Protestants but all who are on a distinct foot as the Portugal, the Catholic Princes of Germany, Dutch, Italian Princes not dependent on Spain, nay the Pope himself, qua Prince are to be united in this common bottom'.'29

The argument that the Dutch propaganda campaign successfully trans- formed English popular sentiment is more plausible. There can be no doubt that the Dutch successfully smuggled large numbers of pamphlets into England duriilg the war.l3' Nor can it be questioned that the English

12' Edmund \'erney to Sir Ralph \'erney, 27 Nov. 1673, \'erney MSS, Reel 27 lunfoliated).

A lelntiol! dthe most ?nnterinl matters inj~n~linme~it

/elating to religion, jrofier9, and the liberg of the szitject 1 1673), pp. 19-20; Ralph Josselin, Dini:~,I I February 1674, p. 573; Alberti to Doge and senate, I/I I Aug. 1673, CSPI: p. 85. See also Henry Ball to tYilliamson, 31 July 1673, C:hristie, I, I 37-8; Robert Yard to Williamson, 4 'lug. 1673, Christie, I, 142-3; Henry Ball to M'illiamson, 4 Aug. 1673, Christie, I, 144. This was how the nlarriage was recalled in popular verse. See 'The Duke of York's farelvell speech to his friends', c. 1680, Folger Library hZSS G, c. 2.

Robert Yard to Williamson, 22 ,lug. 1673, Christie, I, 182.

12' Henry Ball to M'illiamson, 10Oct. 1673, Christie, 11, 36. It was long known that Louis XI\' hoped to gain political influence through the Duke of York's bride: Alberti to Doge and senate, 711 7 April 1671, CSPV,p. 38; Alberti to Doge and senate, 16/26 May 1673, CSPV, p. 52. Charles I1 was said to support the match for precisely those reasons: Alberti to Doge and senate, 8/18 hlary 1673, CSPV, p. 91.

Alberti to Doge and senate, 7/17 Nov. 1673, CSPV, p. I 74

12'~Sir Richard Temple, 'An essay upon government', 1667?, Bodleian Library, XISS Eng.

Hist. c. 201, fo. 13s.

130 Alberti to Doge and senate, 25 March14 April 167% CSPV,p. 189; ,Arlington to Sir \Villiam Thompson, 21 hlay 1672, CSPD, p. 30; Silas Taylor to Williamson, 18 I\.Iarch 1673, CSPD, pp. 58-9; examination of George Verleken, 19 March 1673, CSPD, p. 66; examination of Kicholas


government was extremely fearful of the efficacy of the Dutch polemics.131 But no work of propaganda, not even one by so skilled a polemicist as Pierre DLI hloulin, can persuade its target audience if its assumptions are not credible. England's '4ppeal worked so well precisely because it fitted in so well with English experience and English perceptions of European power politics. DLI Moulin emphasized, as English defenders of the Triple Alliance had done in the late 166os, 'the ambitious designs of France', pointing out that Louis XIV was already acting like 'an Universal Monarch' by pretendillg 'to a right of displacing Princes, and disposing both of their lives and of their territories'.13" More importantly, he conceded that the Dutch republican regime had been pernicious. Now, Du Moulin insisted, everything had changed since 'the Prince of Orange was miraculously restored to the dignity and authority of his ancestors'.133 In these new circumstances continuing the Anglo-Dutch war would only enable Louis XIV 'to invade all Christendom 8r to extend his Empire without bounds'.13"u Moulin's pamphlet, which was after all the work of an Englishman and a former client of the Earl of Arlington, was read as a contribution to an English debate, not as a foreign intervention on the English political scene. So familiar were the arguments of England's Appeal that

at least one contemporary attributed the anonymous pamphlet to the former privy councillor Sir William C~ventry.'~'

Why had these Francophobic arguments become so persuasive? Why were political moderates now willing to accept the political analysis that the radicals had long offered? Three decisive developments during the war had served to heighten fears of French universalist aspirations, and to invalidate arguments that the Dutch aimed at universal dominion.

First, the French land offensive of 1672 was far more successful than anyone had expected. Throughout the spring and early summer each packet boat arriving in England brought news of another French military victory. By June, the once mighty Dutch republic had been largely reduced to the province of Holland. In desperation the citizens of Amsterdam and The Hague flooded their suburbs to slow the onslaught of the seemingly invincible French troops. It was very hard to imagine a Dutch universal dominion while so much of what was left of the United Provinces lay under water. '\'Ye discourse of nothing but sea [affairs] and Holland', Henry Coventry wrote in the late summer, 'and most of the latter we hear is water'.13' The Dutch had clearly

\'an Hull, 22 March 1673, CSPD, p. 74; \V. Bridgeman to \l;illiamson, 26 Dec. 1673, CSPD, p.

69. l3' ? to Marquess of Baden Hochberg, 3 April 1673, C,SPD,p. 127; privy council minute, 18

June 1673, CSPD, p. 380. 13' England's a#ealfiom ttleprirnte cabal at Pl'hite-Hall to the great coii~~cil

of the nation 16731, p. 34. 133 England's aMeal, p. 2 I. 13' England's ajjeal, pp. 1-2. 13' See LISS inscription in Bodleian Library, G Pamph. I 125. 136 Henry Coventry to M'orden, 2 Aug. 1672, Coventry MSS LXXXII, fo. 28r; Stephen Temple to Sir Richard Temple, q March 167% Hu~ltillgto~l

Library, h1SS STT 2200; newslettel., g June 1672, CSPD, p. 185; Arlington to Sunderland, 17 June 1672, ill T. Bebington, Arlzngtori's letters to

355 been humbled; the time had come, many thought, to negotiate a satisfactory peace.13' The French invasion not only made claims that the Dutch were seeking universal monarchy appear ridiculous, but it also gave rise to a political revolution in the United Provinces. The English moderates had supported war against the Dutch because the Dutch republican party, led by John De IYitt, had been committed to the overthrow of the English monarchy.'38 All of the Dutch infringements on the English fishing trade, the atrocities perpetrated in the East Indies, the casuistical application of treaties, even the ideological justification for Dutch mercantile policy, Grotius's LMnre Lzbe~um, indeed 'all the mischief which hath befallen this nation, hath ever been occasioned by, or fomented by that [republican] party'.13' The moderates had 'never aimed at the destruction of the Dutch republic', they never hoped to eviscerate the United Provinces, they 'merely sought to humble it'.l4O The English could not have been happier when news arrived in August 1672 that 'the people of The Hague have in a great fury first cut, mangled, killed pensionary De IVitt and then his elder brother Ruwaert Van Putten and then hanged them on the gallows by the heels, cut off [their] fingers & toes & ears & sold them'.'" Even more reassuring were the reports that 'in all places they have made a reformation of the magistracy', reports that suggested the Dutch people now relied upon the Prince of Orange to 'redeem them from the misery, the treachery, and the folly their governors have reduced them to'.14' When the first false rumours reached East Claydon that De It'itt had been stabbed to death, Edmund Verney enthused that 'he had received his just recompense, having been along with his accomplices the cause.. .of all the ills of his compatriots'.'" Henry Coventry found it difficult to feel sorry for the De

Sir TW. Te~nple,11, 374; Sir Ralph \'erney to Edmund Verney, 18 June 167% \\'erney SISS, Reel

I 25 unfoliated). 13' Edmund \'errley to Sir Ralph \'erne)., 17 June 167% \'emey MSS, Reel 25 lunfoliatedj. 13' Henry Coventry to Duke of York, I 7 July 1672, Coventry AISS LXXXII, fo. I I r; Stephen

Temple to Sir Richard Temnple, 4 March 1672, Huntington Library, SISS STT 2200; Alberti to Doge and senate, 23 Aug.12 Sept. 167% CSPL7,p. 274; Sir Ralph \'erne). to Edmund Verney, 22 Feb. 1672, \'erney MSS, Reel 25 (unfoliated).

130 Stubbe, A j5irttier jlist$catio,i, sig. C I.

l" Alberti to Doge and senate, 6/16 Sept. 1672, CSPL7,p. 281. See also Alherti to Doge and senate, 30 Aug./g Sept. 1672, CSPL7,p. 278; John Trevor to Henry Coventry, 12 Dec. 1671, Coventry MSS LXV, fos. 69"-7or; John Trevor to Henry Coventry, 5 Jan. 1672, Cloventry MSS LXV, fo. 93. This was the hope expressed in much of the English propaganda. See for example, -4 letter out oj" Holland, 20/30 April 167qLondo11, 1672), pp. H,4-5.

l" Dr kt'illian~ Denton to Sir Ralph \'erney, 22 Aug. 1672, Verney MSS Reel 25 (unfoliated~ ; newsletter from London, 17 Aug. 1672, Library of Coilgress MSS 181 24, 111, fo. 230r; Silai Taylor to Navy Commissioners, I 7 Aug. 1672, CSPD,pp. 499-500; Henry Coveiltry to Earl of Essex, 29 Aug. 1672, Coventry MSS LXXXII, fo. 51.

l" Kehvsletter from London, 11 July 1672, Librar) of Congress MSS 18124, III, fo. 214s; nehvsletter from London, 22 Aug. 167% Library of Congress hISS 18124, 111, fo. 232s. l" Edmund \'erney to Sir Ralph Verney, 24 June 1672, Verney hISS, Reel 2j lunfoliated). i\Iy translation.

the French in the last battle', exclaimed Sir Thomas Player, 'the citizens of London looked more disconsolate when their city lay in ashes'.'" Many celebrated Guy Fawkes Day by shooting a Frenchman in effigy 'because they accuse the French of having shirked in the sea fights'.''' The English Admiral Prince Rupert, while carefully avoiding any direct criticism of the French, let it be known that he was furious at their perfidy.15* Almost overnight he became a popular hero. He and his close friend Shaftesbury -ho was already known to be a great Francophobe -were popularly 'looked upon to be the great Parliament men, and for the interest of Old England'.'j3

For the English, the failure of the French fleet to engage meant a great deal more than a mere breach of contract. It confirmed that France's real intent was for the English and Dutch fleets to destroy each other by attrition, 'that the game of France is to depress all powers which are capable of obstructing the torrent of their enterprises'."%fter the 1673 campaign 'all men cried out', Burnet later recalled, 'and said, we were engaged by the French, that they might have the pleasure to see the Dutch and us destroy one another, while they knew our seas and ports, and learned all our methods, but took care to preserve themselves'.'" The third Anglo-Dutch war was now understood as part of the French grand strategy to achieve control of the sea.

English popular opinion turned decisively against the third Dutch LVar because developments had discredited claims that the Dutch were on the brink of achieving universal dominion. The spectacular French military advance, the Orangist revolution in the United Provinces, and the manifest French naval perfidy convinced all but the firmest friends of France that it was now in the national interest to ally with the Dutch against Europe's most pouerful monarch, Louis XIV. English moderates shifted their foreign policy orientation not because they feared the revival of catholicism at home, but because they were well aware that the strugle for European mastery had begun.

Once the English convinced themselves of the real and imminent danger posed by the expansionist Louis XIV they were compelled to explain their alliance with France and their war with the Dutch. As the war dragged on, as ever

15' Sir Thomas Player to IVilliamson, g Sept. 1673, Christie, 11, 16. Player went on to assert that 'though the wisdom of the state might think fit to stifle any public narrative wherein the French might be exposed, yet there were so many letters from the commanders and others of the fleet charging [them] with cohvardice and treachery, that it was impossible to conceal it'.

'" Alberti to Doge and senate, 7/ 17 Nov. 1673, CSPV, pp. I 73-4.

15' Rupert to Charles 11, 17 Aug. 1673, CSPD, p. 498; Rupert to Arlington, 23 Aug. 1673, CSPD, p. jog; i\lberti to Doge and senate, 22 Aug.11 Sept. 1673, CSPV, p. I 10;Alberti to Doge and senate, 12/22 Dec. 1673, CSPV, p. 187.

153 Henry Ball to IYilliamson, 19 Sept. 1673, Christie, 11, 21-2; M'illiam Coventry to Thomas Thynne, 18June 1673, Longleat, Thynne MSS 16, fo. 136r;Yard to \Villiamson, 18Aug. 1673, Christie, I, 171; Yard to \Villiamson, 29 Aug. 1673, Christie, I, 195; Ball to Williamson, I Sept. 1673,Christie, 11, 2; Miller, p. 210; Leslie Chree O'Malley, 'The whig prince: Prince Rupert and the court vs. country factions during the reign of Charles 11', Albion, VIII :1g76;, 338-42.

15%isola, p. 13. Burnet, p. 456.

358 STEVEN C. A. PINCUS larger numbers of English moderates became certain that the Orangist-led United Provinces had no aspirations for universal dominion, it became increasingly difficult to justify the continuance of the war. Many concluded that the English government's policy was not in fact designed to reform the Dutch polity and exalt the Prince of Orange but 'in truth a manifest and direct tendency to the destruction of the illustrious prince': a prince who was 'the most valuable pawn and most helpful pledge offuture happiness to us and our posterities'.15G The Anglo-Dutch war only served to enfeeble England's most trustworthy ally, the hope for England's future, while paving the road for Louis XIV to achieve the universal monarchy. who cared to contemplate the English political scene reasoned that the French had duped the political nation while at the same time corrupting the court. French women had been flocking to the English court in droves. \%'hen, in the early 167os, Charles I1 himself began bestowing his favours on a new French mistress, Louise de Kerouaille, duchess of Portsmouth, it became clear that the favours these women sought were not merely sexual, Many suspected that as Charles and his courtiers whiled the hours away with their French amours, the French women were using the time to advance the interests of France. Charles 'was so entirely possessed by the Duchess of Portsmouth', Burnet recalled, 'and so engaged by her in the French interest, that this threw him into great difficulties and exposed him to much contempt and di~trust'."~ Those without French mistresses were persuaded by French louis d'ors. Louis XIV's liberality, it was thought, had converted 'the strongest opposers of his intere~t'."~ It was French gold, thought Edmund Verney, 'which dissuaded us from follo~ving the best road'. The result might well be that 'we are predestined to become subjects or slaves of Fral~ce'."~ Gilbert Burnet later claimed that 'the nation, and our religion, as well as the king's faith and honour [was] set to sale and sold'.lGO More dangerous, more subtle, and more ubiquitous than French bribes and French mistresses was French fashion. 'A curse on these French cheats', swore one of Thomas Shadwell's stage creations, 'they begin to be as rife amongst us as their country disease, and do almost as much mischief too: No corner without French tailors, weavers, milliners, strong water-men, perfumers and surgeons'.161 It was a time, Nathaniel Lee lamented, in which 'Plain sense is as despicable as plain clothes, 1 As English hats, bone-lace, or woollen hose'.1G2 Polite society, it was claimed, sought blindly to mimic all things French. 'No English man that does not absolutely abandon his dull English nature, can

156 Verburn Sapienti, Jan. 1674, CSPD, p. 130; Burnet, p. 414.

157 Burnet, pp. 437-8: Dr William Dellton to Sir Ralph Verney, 4 Oct. 1671, Verney MSS, Reel 24 :unfoliated) . England's interest, p. 36.


15' Edmund \'erney to Sir Ralph \'erney, 15 Jan. 1672, Verney- hfSS. Reel 24 (unfoliated). AIy translation. '60 Burnet, p. 398. 161 Thomas Shadwell, The hzlmorists (London. 1671), p. 2. See also Shadwell, 'The miser', in hfontague Summers (ed.), The complete works of Thofnns Shndzeell :London, 19271, II. 17. 16"atl~aniel Lee, The tiagedv oj "4210 (London. 1675). prologue. (i\'.B. The play Ivas first performed in 1674.)

359 ever be a competent judge of the fitting of tops, or the garniture of clothes, or mounting of feathers, and all other things of this kind, that belong to the judgement of a right French accomplish't person', exclaimed James Howard's French10ve.l~~

Shad~vell's characters complained about everything from that 'foolish French kickshaw claret' to ' that mighty universal lallguage'.16"ne pamphleteer lamented that the French 'look upon us as a nation to whom they give the laws of mode.. . this is a great pride to them, whilst they see themselves to preside over our genius, and to guide it into all the fashions which their rambling fancies take'.16' The French aim, clearly, was to achieve cultural hegemony, 'the Universal Monarchy for clothes'.166 Infatuation with French fashions, love of French women, and attachment to French money led ineluctably to an adoration of French principles. 'A colony of French possess the court', observed one scurrilous poet, 'pimps, priests, buffoons, i'th' privy chamber sport 1 Such slimy monsters ne'er approached a throne, 1 Since Pharaoh's time, nor so defil'd a crown 1 I'th' sacred ear tyrannic arts they croak I pervert his mind & good intentions choke I Tell him of golden Indies, Fairy lands I Leviathan & absolute commands Thus fairy-like the King they steal away And in his place a Lewis changeling lay'.lfi7

This conviction that English policy had succumbed to French seduction persuaded many to call for a more public way of proceeding. Without a public watchdog, the Frenchified court was all too likely to emulate Louis XIV and seek to establish absolutism in England. Not only was England fighting on the side of baroque monarchies against liberty, but the government was pursuing absolutist policies at home. The Declaration of Indulgence had bypassed parliamentary statute to make dissenters dependent exclusively on the king's person.168 In order to stifle political criticism the court issued a proclamation 'against speaking of state affairs'.16' hlore ominously, the new forces called up to fight the Dutch, and stationed throughout the country, raised widespread fears of 'a new army which is to govern us'.l7' One biting rhymer recalled that 'our Blackheath host without dispute I Rais'd, put on board (why no man knows) 1 Must Charles have rendred absolute I Over his subjects or his foes'.17'

163 James Howard, The Erlglish mounsieur :London, 16741, p. 48. This was a revival of a 1660s


164 Thomas Shad~vell, 'Epsom-\Yells1, Krks, 11, 150: Shad~vell, 'The virtuoso', Works, I, 314.

166 Rernarques 012 tile humours arld co~i~'ersation

ojtile towtz (London, 16731, pp. 97-8.

Shadwell, 'The miser'. Works, 11, I 7 (prologue).

167 '4dialogue between Britannia and Rawleigh', 167j. Sir W. Halvard's Collection,

Bodleian Library, MSS Don b. 8, fo. 53F

This point Ivas perceived by- the L'enetian secretary-. See Alberti to Doge and senate, 22

March11 April 1672, CSPV, p. 188.

160 Sir Ralph Verney to Edmund Verney, 18 June 1672, Verney AISS. Reel 25 :unfoliatedj:

proclamation. I 2 June I 672, CSPD, p. 2 14.

Cary- Gardiner to Sir Ralph \'erney, 25 Kov. 1672, \'erne). I\/ISS, Reel 25 :unfoliatedj. See

also Richard Bower :Yarmouth) to il'illiamso11, 4 Sept. 1672. CSPD, p. j67; John Wright

:Ipswichj to Sir William Doyley, 19 Aug. 1672, CSPD, p. jog: Sir Ralph L'erney to Edmund

Verney, g Dec. 1672, \'erne). I\/ISS, Reel 25 (unfoliated).

17' 'The history of insipids'. Huntington Library-. MSS EL 8808.

360 STEVEN C. A. PINCUS By the end of the first year's campaign, many throughout England thought war against the Dutch served no purpose other than to make Charles I1 as absolute as his French cousin. One poet accused the Cabal of advising Charles that 'parliaments are clogs to Princes and their brave intents'."" 'When the English Prince shall Englishmen despise, I And think French only loyal, Irish wise', predicted one prophet, 'Then wooden shoes shall be the English wear, I And Magna Carta shall no more appear; Then th' English shall a greater tyrant know Then either Greek or Gallic stories show'.173 This doggerel was not the work of a few disaffected radicals, rather it depicted the fears of many moderates. 'Many persons have said that the King, having undertaken the war without notifying Parliament, and decided arbitrarily concerning religion', reported the Venetian secretary, 'it was evident that he intended to destroy the authority of that a~sembly'.~~"All men's eyes' had been opened, Gilbert Burnet later explained, 'and the whole conduct showed a design to govern by the French model'.17' While war against the Dutch republican party was potentially in the national interest, the continuation of the struggle long after the ascension of the Prince of Orange suggested that pernicious forces were at play. 'The nation's interest', thought Lord Cavendish, 'is laid aside for private interest'.176 Lord Cornbury, no radical, was convinced the private interest being pursured was that of 'such persons.. . near the king that wish well to the French alliance'.177 The English government was secretly paving the way towards Louis XIV's universal dominion. The only way to prevent a French universal monarchy, the only means to circumvent the domestic implications of French cultural hegemony, was to govern in a distinctly English way. Policy, especially foreign policy, needed to promote the national interest. Decisions to go to war, because they necessarily determined England's ideological orientation, needed to be made in public, not behind closed doors. LYhile the publication history of many of the tracts advocating a reorientation of English foreign policy might be the stuff of cloak- and-dagger thrillers, the cultural significance of the pamphlets themselves was very public. They had convinced most English men and women that the government was pursuing a perverse foreign policy. As a result the political nation, manifested in the national assembly, sought 'not merely to compel the king to break the present alliance with France, but to bind him for the f~lture to acquaint them with his intentions about the war, although hitherto such matters have always depended on his Majesty's will, as a prerogative of the

""The christians gamball or a poem of the grand Caball', 31 Dec. 1672, Public Record Oflice. SP 2g/319/ 159. 173 'Nostradamus' prophecy '. Poems or1 tile affairs of state, I, 188.

Alberti to Doge and senate, 31 l\lay/~o June 1672, CSPI', p. 225. Alberti clearly accepted this argument himself. 'For the last fifty years', he Ivrote, 'a struggle has been going on between the sword, which is wielded by- the king. and the purse. which is in the hands of the people'. Alberti to Doge and senate, 19/29 Dec. 1673: CSPV, p. 192: see also Alberti to Doge and senate, 8 Jan./ng Dec. 1671, CSPV, p, 143; Alberti to Doge and senate. 26 April/6 hlay 1672, CSPV, p. 2oj. Burnct, pp. 388. 445-F Lord Cavendish, 31 Oct. 1673, Grey, I. 200.

177 Lord Cornbury. 26 Jan. 1674. Grey, I, 348.

36 I cro~vn'.'~' Not long before parliament compelled Charles I1 to break the alliance with France and sign a peace with the Dutch, the staunch royalist Sir Heneage Finch explained the inevitable consequences. 'No man here doubts but that the right of making war and peace is solely in the king. No man doubts but the right or not giving a supply is wholly in you', Finch lectured the house of commons, 'but to deny an aid because you do not like the grounds of the war or the league, is indirectly and by consequence to make yourselves judges of both'.17' Never again would an English monarch go to war without consulting national opinion in parliament. The public outcry against the third Anglo-Dutch war did represent a fundamental turning point in the fortunes of the restored monarchy. Its significance lay not in the revival of fears of Roman catholicism, but rather in the conviction that only an English parliament could protect the nation from French universal dominion and a French style of government. By the mid-167os, then, most moderates were convinced that it was the two houses of parliament which establish 'our liberty, property and la~vs'.'*~

Alberti to Doge and senate, 2/12 Jan. 1674, CSPV, p. 196. I agree with Professor Miller that 'by- the end of 1673 that trust [in the King] had been shattered'. But I disagree ~vith him 'that the reasons for this lay less in the French alliance as such than in ~vhat many saw as its likely- effects within England'. Since the French alliance Ivas perceived to be the policy of absolutism, the two were inextricably intertwined. War with France would preclude the possibility of absolutism in England. See Miller, p. 175,

Sir Heneage Finch, speech for supply, 31 Oct. 1673, Leicestershire Record Ofice. D.G. 7/Box 49571 PP. 33, Edmund Verney- to Sir Ralph \'erney, 25 Jan. 1674, \'erney MSS. Reel 27 lunfoliated).

  • Recommend Us