[Page] A DISCOURS OF DUNKIRK, With some REFLEXES UPON The late Surrender therof, &c.

And other Additions, By a knowing and very worthy Person.

LONDON: Printed by J. C. for Samuel Speed, at the Rainbow in Fleetstreet. 1664.

A Discours of DUNKIRK.

IT can hardly be parallelld in Story, That any place of such Defence, as Dunkirk pretends to be, had more various turns of Fortune, and change of Masters in so short a revolution of time; For this is the Fift New-Master that Dunkirk hath had in less then the compass of XX yeers, wherof fower of them got Her by Force; Which makes the World much question the strength and tenableness therof.

The late Surrender that England made of this Town to the French, though it was a pure Act of State, (therfore not disputable [Page 2] by any) yet being a business of that gene­ral concernment, and so open to the Eye of the world, it hath ministred matter of much Talk, and banding of Opinions a­mong the Critiques of the Times, as well Forreners as Others.

The dessein of this small Tract is to set down the Arguments Pro and Contra, rela­ting to this great Action: For according to the Rule of the Schools, Contraria juxta se posita magis elucescunt; Contraries put cross grow more cleer. And as out of the Collision of Flint and Steel, ther issues forth Fire, so by confrontation, and clash of Argument, Truth comes to appear more perspicuous.

The Affirmatif Arguments for de­taining of Dunkirk.
  • [Page 3]1. IT stood convenient to invade Flanders, France, and some Territories of the Hol­landers.
  • 2. It might have served for a Nursery of training up Soldiers.
  • 3. It had secured Navigation, and the Traf­fic of his Majesties Subjects.
  • 4. It might have bin brought to have bin a Porto Franco, a Free Port, and so have ad­vancd Trade.
  • 5. It had bin a Repute for England to have kept it, And a Disparagement to part with it.

This I beleeve is all that can be said for the Affirmatif part.

[Page 4] BEfore Arguments be producd to the contrary, tis expedient that this di­stinction should precede, Viz.

That there are Forren Possessions or Places of two sorts.

1. Ther are some that are got by the dis­covery of the Marchant, where finding the Clime temperat, the Soyle healthful, and proper, by the help of Industry, to pro­duce some Staple Commodities that may feed Trade, and be fit for Sale or Barter, He takes firm footing, puts in his Spade, and Plants. Such Transmarin Possessions car­ry many advantages with them; They in­crease Shipping and Seamen; They dis­burden the Kingdome of superfluous Pee­ple; They nourish and improve Mutual Commerce, and all this while consume no­thing of the Publique Tresure, but are a­ble to subsist of themselfs, The Souverain Prince giving only his Royal Protection, encouragement and countenance, with fit Governors therunto: Virginia, Maryland, the Bermudas, Barbados, with others of the Ca­ribbe [Page 5] Islands, and divers more in the Indies, are places of this nature, as Jamayca, &c. And ther are great hopes that in Afric Tan­ger will prove so, with other extraordinary advantages besides.

2. But there are other Forren Possessions which cannot support themselfs either by benefit of Trade, or Contributions of the adjacent Country, but are meerly main­tained by Praesidial Forces or Garison, and by the exported tresure of the possessing Prince. England in Ages passd hath had divers Forren places of this quality, But twas dayly found, That they still Exhau­sted her Tresure and Armories; They en­creasd her cares and trouble; They begot Jelousies in her Neighbours; They di­sturbd her repose and quietude at home, England slept best when she was without a­ny such. And in the procedure of this Discourse, I beleeve Dunkirk will appeer to be a place of that nature.

This Distinction going before, we will now take the Affirmatif Arguments for keeping of Dunkirk in their order.

Touching the first three, Tis tru that [Page 6] Dunkirk by the site therof, stands for a con­venient Inlet into Flanders, and the Territo­ries annexd; But for France and the United Provinces, ther is another Prince's Country interposd before an Army can enter any of them, but may be interrupted, unless leave be granted; And to force a passage would be an infringement of the peace by the one party; And to permit a passage may be a breach of Article by the other part, being in friendship with both.

But touching the foresaid Nations, ther be choice of other places, and bold coasts far cheaper for England, and more accessi­ble, and easie to be made use of for an Inva­sion in case of a war, without keeping such a costly Key as Dunkirk, yet not knowing when we shold have occasion to make use of it, In regard His Majesty is at present in good terms with the said Nations, and like to continue so for the future, His Incli­nations propending naturally rather to Peace then War, according to the Genius of his two blessed Immediat Predecessors. Now the keeping still of Dunkirk wold have inevitably drawn a War upon us, and per­chance from all the three. And let this surlice for an answer in part to the first [Page 7] three Arguments, till we proceed further.

Touching the other Argument, viz. that Dunkirk might have served for a Seminary of Soldiers which England might have made use of in time of need; To this tis answerd, That the hundred and thirty thousand Pounds Sterling that went yeer­ly to maintain those Soldiers in Dunkirk, (and towards the fortifying therof) which exported mony may be said to be like the Soul of Judas, which never came back a­gain, as the Italian hath it; I say, that huge sum wold be far better spent at home within the Land to maintain a Military a­ctual strength for security of Prince and Peeple against any Civil Insurrection, by constant Regiments of Horse and Foot a­shore, and a Squadron of Iusty men of War at Sea, both which the Moneys that were transported weekly to Dunkirk, will be able to keep in constant pay.

Touching the fift Argument, viz. That the keeping of Dunkirk wold have securd Navigation and Traffic; Tis answered, That the next yeer after that England had a Garison and Governour in Dunkirk, the town of Ostend & those of Biscay did us more mischief far then Dunkirk ever had done in [Page 8] so short a time: for the Dunkirk-Men of War going to those places, ther were ships of ours of greater bulks, and richer bur­dens taken then before; the strength and soule of Dunkirk passing as it were by a kind of transmigration into those places. Moreover, observable it is, That when Queen Elizabeth was advisd by the Hollan­ders to take Dunkirk, the matter being re­ferrd to her Privy Council, after much de­liberation it was resolved, That England was better without Dunkirk then with it, and that for divers reasons of State; One whereof was, That it wold be a means that English Ships of a greater burden wold be built, and cause her Marchant-men to go better armd abroad, and with stouter Vessels, which in case of necessity might serve the Public.

Touching security of Trade; Tis well known that England hath Ports and Ca­stles of her own, to make her Seas narrow enough for Her, to check and give Law to any that shall sayle in her Channels, and consequently to defend her Marchants and others without the help of Dunkirk: But touching Trade it self, Now that Dunkirk is in Other hands, it will be much more ad­vantagious [Page 9] unto England in point of Trade; for while we kept it, ther was scarce any Commerce at all in that Town, or the Country about it; And far less now since the French have had it.

Touching the making of Dunkirk a Free-Port (or a kind of Sound as that in the Bal­tik) tis but a sandy Conceit, For the Na­tions round about being but ill inclind unto us in this particular, we shold not have bin able to have beaten any conside­rable Trade into the Inland Countries un­less we had forcd it, which could not have bin done without a violation of the Peace.

Besides, how much this wold have pre­judicd our so long settled Staples in Dort, and Hamborough, let any man judge: But the truth is, Dunkirk is not a place proper for a Free Port, because tis made a Port ra­ther by Chance then by Nature; for tis ob­servd that the Harbour which goes from Mardike to Dunkirk, together with the Splinter, is accidentally causd by the great Scowre that proceeds from the check, or reverberations and Eadies which the stream receaves that runs from the West twixt Dover and Callis, by the Cliffs which jett out from the English shore; And the [Page 10] shore on that side being all sand, was easily in tract of time worn into a Harbour. But such Harbours have bin known to alter as the points of the Cliffs did wear out and vary, or as the sands did fill, or were washd away: wherof divers Examples may be producd, as the Port of Stavere [...] in Frise­land, which was once a Town of much Traffik, but now is become a poor place, the Haven being choakd up with sand. Adde hereunto, that scarce any Boat can come to Dunkirk upon low water, but the Keele will be grating upon the sands all a­long; nor can any ship of any great bur­den come near her but upon a Spring-tyde. Tis also a wild kind of Harbor lying open to the Sea, without any windings or high­land shelter: so that let the wind blow from what point of the Compass it will, the ships riding there are exposd to the fury of it, and upon the dragging of an Anchor, wrecks do commonly follow upon the ad­joyning strand.

Touching the punctilios of honor that Eng­land may hazard in parting with Dunkirk, tis answerd, That twas nothing dishonorable for England to give away that which she ne­ver got: for indeed twas the French King who [Page 11] got it; He had a Royal Army of Effectif men both Horse and Foot to beleager it; twas His Musket that kill'd Marquiss de Leda the brave Governor; ther was only a Brigade of English Auxiliaries, who, tis tru, performed their parts very gallantly, and did contribute much to the service: But twas the French King with whom the town did capitulat; twas to Him she opend her Gates, and gave up her Keys; twas He who did ride Conquerer into the place, where he put up his Standard, causd Te De­um to be sung, and so took full possession of it. Tis tru, a little after, according to private Articles with Cromwel, he left there an English Garison, and a Scotch Governor, who had then dependence of service upon him, as having bin bred in his Court; Now, the Gallican Civilians say, that Cromwel to whom the Article was made be­ing dead, and the Government of England quite alterd, (from a kind of Commonwealth to a Kingdom) the French King was not o­bliged to perform it longer, for in some cases, Pactum moritur cum Persona.

Moreover, touching point of Honor, It had bin (under favour) rather a kind of Dishonour that England shold still hold [Page 12] Dunkirk: For first, it had been to continue the Fame of an infamous Rebel, in regard the world held Dunkirk to be an Acquest of His. Adde herunto that the Honor of Eng­land among the wisest Nations began to be questiond both in point of Prudence and Providence, for her to export and expend such a vast tresure to hold so dry a place, (the Benefit wherof made such poor Re­turns) and not to accept of 400 thousand pounds Sterling En Argent comptant, spe­cially now that there is such a general complaint of scarcity of Coyn in England; wheras Hen. 8. though a high boysterous Prince, had not much above the third part of such a sum for Tournay and Terwyn, and that to be paid in twelve yeers by the French.

Furthermore, by the opinion of the knowingst Commanders who had some­times servd in Flanders, & having bin quar­terd a long time in Dunkirk, knew evry inch of the unsortifiable and sandy loose insta­ble soyl about it; I say, by the Positive O­pinion of old experienced English Officers, Dunkirk was not a place Tenable, she was not Leager-proof; for if she had bin so, she would not have changd Masters so often in [Page 13] 18 years; I say, Dunkirk was not Tenable in case a numerous storming resolut Army had stood before it, (unless such another numerous Army had bin in the town to oppose it) but that half that mony which was given for it might have servd to have regaind it, and a private sudden League might have bin struck to that effect twixt the French, Spaniard & Hollander, or any two of them, who wold have concurred in hot tertio: For they did all malign us that we kept such footing in Flanders. Nor could ther ever have bin a perfect Cordial Peace twixt us, and any of the said three Nations while we kept Dunkirk, but it wold have still ministred matter of Jelousy, of Quar­rels about Contributions, of Plottings ever and anon how to make us weary of holding it; which made one say, That the English settling in Dunkirk, was like the Mouse who made her Neast in the Cats ear.

Adde herunto that tis well known (though not by All) that in the late Treary and transactions of Peace twixt France and Spain, ther was a private Article relating to Dunkirk, which bound both the Kings in reciprocal ties, to the prejudice of England in this particular.

[Page 14] We know that England hath had from time to time divers Extraneous Possessions of this nature; yet they were but as fethers in her Cap, never any did quit cost, or by a­ny real advantages countervail her trouble, expences, and hazards in keeping them. Now among all such, the town of Callis bears the nearest analogy and similitude with Dunkirk: But first we will give a touch only at the other in order of time.

The first Forren thing that England ever had, was Normandy, which came to be her Inheritance; a rich and copious Country, yet we could never make that Country sub­sist of it self, but our Mony, Men, and Arms went still over to secure it. William the Conqueror, though her Native Duke, did (as an authentique Historian hath it) Angliam deglubere, He did shear England to keep it; Rufus his son did Angliam Exco­riare, He did fley England to preserve it; His Granchild did Angliam emulgere us (que) ad sanguinem, He did milk England till the blood came forth to defend Normandy, be­ing forcd to raise 13 Castles to protect it against the Incursions of the confining French; insomuch that when the Duke of York was Regent, a computation being [Page 15] made of the charge in keeping Normandy, twas found in the Chamber of Accounts, that the Expences from the beginning in keeping that Province exceeded the Reve­nues thereof three hundred forty and eight thousand pounds, which was a prodigious sum in those days.

The next Forren Country that came to truckle under England, was Aquitane, Guy­en, and Gascony, the most exuberant and fertillst Provinces of all France, yet they could never countervail the cost, but they still draind moneys, and multitudes of men out of England, who at their returns in steed of spoils and wealth, brought nothing but poverty, and so increasd the number of Beggers and Thiefs.

The town of Bourdeaux her self, though a rich Mercantile City, did hardly defray the Salary of the English Praesidiary forces that were in it; and Fronsack Castle alone did cost 1000 l. per ann. as the Record hath it; As also, that it was deliverd in Parle­ment 7 Ric. 2. that Gascony with other pla­ces we held then in France, stood England in above the Revenues therof, 24000 l. a yeer.

The benefit we receavd by taking footing [Page 16] in Armorica, or little Britaine, may appeer by a few examples; For twas declard in Parlement 3 Hen. 2. That ad defensionem Britanniae non sufficiebat the saurus totius An­gliae. The Town and Castle of Brest a­lone cost Ric. 2, 12000 Marks a yeer, and the 9 of his Raign it stood in 13118 l. 18 s. 6 d. as the Record hath it.

Touching Tournay (and Terwya) Hen. 8. spent most of that mighty tresure his parsi­monious Father left him, in getting and keeping it: But finding the charge so ex­cessive, he sold it to the French for a far smaller sum then was had for Dunkirk: For he had but 150000 l. for it, and that to be paid in twelve yeers, wherof some part is not paid to this day. And touching the town of Bulloigne, his son Edw. 6. sold it, not many yeers after, but for 100000 l.

We are now come to Callis, which not­withstanding the Contributory Territo­ries about it be far more large then those adjoyning to Dunkirk, and that the trans­fretation thence to England be shorter half in half, yet it stands upon good Record, That from Edw. 3. who first got it, to the 2 of Queen Mary who lost it, it cost England 337400 l. 9 s. 4 l.

[Page 17] Concerning Ireland, which comes in the rank of Forren Acquests, though it be a fruit­ful felf-sufficient Country, and as one said, a good fat Goose to pluck, yet the Revenues therof never counter-balancd the charge till the Earl of Staffords time, who maybe said to be the first which made Ireland a Nown Sub­stantif to stand by it self, without any sup­port of tresure from England. Nor could Queen Eliz. though cryed up for a great Housewife, bring it to subsist of it self, no not in time of Peace, but still Moneys were sent over from the Exchequer in Westmin­ster, which may be seen upon exact record: But in time of War, the example of Sir John Perrot may serve for all, who in his two years Government there, spent England 116368 l.

The last Forren places which England had, were the Cautionary Towns of Flush­ing, Brill, and the Ramakins; But when the 80000 l. for which they were hypothequd or pawnd was paid King James, twas found that almost the whole sum had bin drunk up in paying the English Garisons all the while.

From these Premises this Conclusion [Page 18] may be deducd, That no Outlandish or Transmarin Possessions (except those late­ly in the Indies pointed at before, which are supported by the Merchant) did ever make England thrive, but they were a cause of perpetual issues of tresure, which is the great Artery of any Country, wherby Eng­land may be said to have spent her very blood and Vital Spirits upon them from time to time.

Now, the Reason may well be, that such Excentrique Possessions did not prosper with England, in regard that by the Primitive in­stitution of God and Nature, the Ile of Great Britain is a compleat distinct Mass of Earth, and an Empire of it self; She may be said to be as the Spaniard saith of Her, Comola Tortuga en su concha, like a Tortoise in her shell, who is so prodigiously armd, (but for Defence only) and the Divine Pro­vidence accordingly hath made Great Bri­tain more apposit and proper to Defend, then to Extend her self further. And to that Defensive end she hath those two pro­perties which the Philosopher requires in a strong self-preserving Country, viz. An easie Egress for the Natives who know her shallows and shelfs of sands, her Flats and [Page 19] Rocks, &c. and a hard Ingress for the Stran­ger who knows them not.

Moreover, Great Britain hath the advan­tage of having the best shipping of any o­ther for her own Defence; For no Country hath such tough Oke as she hath for K [...]ee-Timber, and for other Naval uses: Her Peeple also have a Natural Dexterity and Aptitude to Navigation, with a courage extraordinary that way.

Adde herunto, that the Position of her Seas, with the straightness therof in point of distance from her Neighbours, is such, and her Ports upon those Seas are so ad­vantagiously situated, that none can pass or repass through her Sleeve or Channels, but she may controul them without the help of Dunkirk, or any other coadjuvant place on her opposit Coasts, specially at such a monstrous rate: For according to the cautious old saying, A man may buy Gold too dear.

To conclude: Wheras some do insist much on point of Honor by parting with Dunkirk, in the judgment of the most seri­ous and well-weighd men, it had bin taken rather as a Dishonor for a King of Great [Page 20] Britain to distrust his strength so much, as not to be able to gard his own Seas and Subjects as his Royal Progenitors did, without the adventitious help of a Forren place got by so notorious a Regicide, with an aim & intent to enable him the more to have still kept him out. And it may be well remembred, that his present Majesty of England appeerd then against the taking of it; to which purpose the Dukes of York and Glocester were actually in Arms in the field for opposing it; and it was the Duke of York who gave the first charge, and did notable execution.

Lastly, It may well stand with the reach of tru Policy, and the interest of Eng­land, to leave the town of Dunkirk like a bone twixt France and Spain, as very pro­bably tis like to prove in time. Moreover, this so neer approach of the French begins alredy to make some Impressions of Jelou­sie in the Hollanders, being awakend by the old Proverb, Ayez le Francois pour ton Amy, non pas pour ton Voisin; Have the French for thy Frend, not for thy Neighbor if thou canst chuse.

[Page 21] Thus have we twisted this great Busi­ness upon a small bottome, for the satisfa­ction of evry true Childe of Reason, and confutation of those who, being transported by Aery Conceits, cry it down for an Un­politik Act of State.

Jam. Howell.

Nevv Additions Concerning the HARBOUR AT DUNKIRK.

THe Sea retreats upon e­very ebb and low wa­ter at the least one English Mile back from the Harbour, so that the Har­bour is all dry, and a man may go along the deepest part of the [Page 24] said Harbour with his shooes dry a Mile towards the Sea.

And at the highest Spring-tyde there is no deeper water at the co­ming in, or at the going out of the Habour at the utmost, but 15 Eng­lish foot.

Insomuch, That no Ships or Ves­sels can go out, or come into the said Harbour, which go deeper then 11 or 12 foot; and when the Ships or Vessels which go deep 11 or 12 foot, that must be just at the highest Spring-tyde, within an hours time before the water begins to ebb or fall, and that the weather and Sea be smooth and calm, otherwise if the Sea be rough and tumbling, the Ships or Vessels by the cappling of the Sea will strike to the ground, and break themselves in an hundred pieces, as very often is seen, if they [Page 25] take not great heed. The Ground within and without the Harbour is hard all over, and the Ships or Ves­sels within must lie at every ebb of the water upon the hard ground, in danger to crack and break them­selves by their own weight, with that of their Ordnance and La­ding.

And every Frigat, Ship or Vessel of about 180 or 200 Tun in bur­then, with their Cargos, and Ord­nance, and Provision in it, goes at the least 12 or 13 foot deep: inso­much that Dunkirk is onely a Har­bour for small Vessels and Boats, such as their first and former Trade of Fishing and drying of Herrings was; and nothing at all fit for any men of War, or Ships of conse­quence.

The Splinter or Schourtien of Mar­dike, [Page 26] which is a Creek along the Sea there, about an English Mile in length, accidentally occasioned by the current of the Sea all along the shore, or coast, is of a much deeper water, and of more consequence then the Harbour of Dunkirk but it lies so open to the Sea, that by hard winds and stress of weather no ships can possibly ride there in win­ter but are in danger to break their Cables, and be cast upon the shore by any Westerly Winds.

The Splinter or Schourtien goes not to the Harbour of Dunkirk, but is by one Mile or more short of the Harbour: but if any Ships will go from thence to Dunkirk, they must pass over a hard s [...]ndy Bank, where no Ships can go over which goe deeper then 8 or 9 foot at the high­est Spring-tyde; and that must be [Page 27] with a calm water, or smooth Sea.

And for to gain two foot deeper, all Ships that are of any conside­rable burthen, must go round a­bout, and backwards by the Sea to come into Dunkirk at the highest Spring-tyde, over the sand-banks, which are a great many, all about, two or three Leagues broad near the said Harbour and Sea-shore, and very moveable, and altering upon every stress of weather, so that most great Ships or Men of War going from thence are put to the trouble to provide themselves with an ex­traordinary Pilot, or Costerer, as they call him, by reason of the said shelfs and banks of sands, between which the Hollands Men of War were used to lie at Anchor, but in Summer only.

Captain Cadde and others have [Page 28] made several Sea-Maps of the said sandy Banks for their better infor­mation, which are printed, and may be had for 6 or 8 d. apiece.

Dunkirk is not worth the tenth part of the Charges which a Gari­son must needs cost to keep the said Town, if the King of England, the King of France, or the States of Hol­land should possess it.

And indeed it is not fitting for any to hold, excepting it be for the King of Spain, whose Country lies round about it, being a fit Port for his sub­jects, & their in ward Commerce, and commodity of Trading, because the King of Spain needs not have any greater Garison therein then two, three or four Companies of Foot­souldiers to keep the Inhabitants in obedience.

[Page 29] Moreover, Dunkirk is inclosed, bounded and confined between Graveling, Bourborgh, Linken, Wy­nox-Bergen, Honscatey, Furne and Newport: so that the Garisons in Dunkirk can go no further, nor have any Contribution beyond it out of any Friends or Enemies Country; being so narrowly en­compassed, that it is not possible to maintain and nourish the tenth part of the Garison with Victuals, if they be not supplyed from abroad ever and anon.

Now, if Dunkirk should have a bold and ventrous Enemy com­ing from or along the Sea-shore, the said Enemy may lodge himself the first night between the Fort rouge and the Harbour, and be Ma­ster of the said Harbour the first [Page 30] night, so that no Vessel can go out, nor come in, or subsist in the said Harbour, but may be be battered in pieces: whereby 'tis no hard matter to destroy also the Brick-wall be­tween the Town and the Harbour level to the ground, and so take the Town that way by a Ship-bridge o­ver the said Harbour, or at low wa­ter, in spight of all their fortificati­ons round about it.

But to think to make there a kind of Sound, as that in the Baltik Sea between Elsenore and Elsenborg, which are but one League distance the one from the other, is but a shal­low imagination: for England could not do it when she had Calis by rea­son of the great distance the one from the other, which is seven Leagues from Dover; and much less likely is such a thing to be [Page 31] done between Dover and Dunkirk, being twelve Leagues distant the one from the other: besides, the im­peachment of the many shallows, and ill-favoured banks under water in the Sea, & the contrary courses of the streams, occasioned by the said banks, make commonly the passage more confused and incertain by ma­ny hours difference in sayling.

J. Haes Donke.

There is lately Published,

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[Page 34] Parsons Law, or a View of Advow­son's. 8.

Bibles in Latine in 12.

Genealogies of the Bible in all Volumes.

Holdsworth's Sermons, 4.

Purchas of Bees, 4.

Wise-mans Crown, or the Glory of the Rosie-Cross, by J. Heydon, 8.

Painting of the Ancients, 4.

White on the Sabbath, 4.

Buchanus Body of Divinity, 4.

Greenbill on Ezekiel, second part, 4.

Holiokes Doctrine of Life, 4.

Oughtred of Proportions, 8.

Henry the fourth of France his Life, by the Bishop of Rodez, 8.

These, with variety of all sorts of Books, are to be sold by Samuel Speed, at the Rain­bow in Fleetstreet.


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