Dublin News-Letter (Newspaper) - September 6, 1840, Dublin, Dublin
Vol. IV, R IC HARD R El L L Y Numb. 1 ISu iin News-Letter. From Satcruay September the 6th, to Tuesday September the 9th, 1740. At a Time when the Nation is engaged in a War with ao Enemv, whefc Ini'u! s. Ravages and Barbarities hive long call'd for Vengeance, en Accoent of fuck Enghfli Commanders as have mrrited the Acknow ledgcroen:s of Polhrity, by extending the Power, and raiting the Honour of their Country, feem to be no improper Entertainment for our Readers. We fha!l therefore .utsaipt a fuccinft Narrative cf the Life and Aifnns of Admiral Blake, in which we hav�noihii!g far'her in View than to do Juftice to his Bravery and Conducl, without intending any ParraiJel between his Achievements and thofe of our preltnt Admirals. The Life of Mmiral BLAKE. OBKRT BLAKE was born at Bridge-water, in Somerieifhire, in Augu'l 159S, his Father being a Merchant of that Piace, who had acquired a cdnfiderab.e Fortune by the Spanifh Trade. Ofhi> carlielt Years we have no Account, and therefore can amure the Reader with to t of thole Fro^nc-il icks of his future Actions, fo often met with in Memoirs. fn 1615 he entered in:o the Lniverhty of Oxford, where he continued till 1623, though without being roue* countenane'd or carefs'd by his Superiors, for he was more than once difrppointed in his Endeavours after Academical Preferments, It is ob.ervable that Mr. Wood (.n his Afhente Oxonienfes) afcribes the Rcpulfe he met with at VVacJham College, where he was Competitor for a Fellowfhip, either to want of Learning, or cf Stature. With regard to the ftrlt Objection, tre faid Writer had before informed as, that ie was �n early Rifer. and ftudious, tho' he fometimes reliev'd his Attention by the Amufements of Fowling and Fifhing. As it is highly probable that he did not want Capacity, we may therefore conclude, upon this Confeflion of his Diligence, that he could not fail of .being learned, at lea it in the Degree requifice to the Enjoyment of a Fellowfhip; and may fafely afenbe hisDiiappointment to his want of Stature, it being the Cuttomof Sir Henry Savil, then Warden of that College, to pay much regard to the outward Appearance of thofe who follicited Preferment in that Society. So much do the gr^atelt Events owe fometimes to Acer dent or Folly I He afterwards retired to his native Place, where 4 He lived (fays Clarendon) without any Appearance ' of Ambition to be a greater Man than he was, but ' inveighed with great Freedom againft the Licence ' of the Times, and Power of the Court. In 1640.be was chofcn Burgeis for Bridgevvater by the Puritan Party, to whom he had recommended hiraielf by his Dilapprobation of frfhop Liud's Violence and Severity, an>lhis Non-compliance with thole new Ceremonies wthich he was then endeavouring to introduce. Wh�n the Civil War broke out, Blake, in conformity with his avowed Principles, declared for the Parliament ; and, thinking a bare Declaration for Right not at all the Duty of a good Man, raifed a Troop of Dragoons for his Party4 and appeared in the Field with ib much Braveiy, that he was inafhort n'roe advanced, without meeting any of thofe Obftruc-tions which he had encounter*d in the Univerfity. In 1645 ne was. Governor of Taunton, when the Lord Goring came before n with an Auny ol 10,000 Men. The Town was ill fortified, and urtfuppfy'd with almoft every thing aeccilury for (upponuig 6 , Siege. The Statsxof this Garrifon encoun^sd Col. Windham, who was.acquainted.with Blake, toctfopofe , a Capitulation ; which was rejected by Blake whh Indignation and Contempt: JNor Xvtta either Menaces , or Periuaficns of any, effect, for he maintained the Place under all its Difadyarifages, till the Siege,wis raifed by the Parliament's-Araiy. He continued, on many other occafions, to,- giv� Proofs of an infuperable Ooarage, and a fteadnTcis of Relblution not to be ihaken ; and, bs a Proof of his �rm Adherence to the Parliament, jom'd with the So-rough of Taunton in returning Thanks for their Refo-hition to nuke no more AddiegVt to the Kjng. Vet *as he fo far from approving the Death of Chaile* f. �hat he made no Scruple of declaring, that he would venture his Life to fave km, as willingly as he had doae to ferve the Parliament; In February 164.8*9. he was made a Commiflionef of the Navy, and appoiaud to farve on that E eaicnr, for wlkh he iccnu J*y Nature to Jwte keca ea, and take Sanfluary at :he'Span fh Court. In February 1650-1, Blake, flill continuing, to-cruile in the Mediterranean, met with a F.ench bhip of ccnfiderable Force, and commanded the Captain 10, come on board, thee being no War declared between the two Nations. The C^puin, when fce came, was afk'd by him, whether be inas iL-i/tttrg to Lq do-jjn ba SvjorJ, andyittd; which he gallantly re*Ui'd, though in hisEnemy% Power: BL.ke, fcorning to take Ad vantage ol an Aru&ce, and detefling the Appearance' of Treachery, told him thru he ivas at liberty toga back to his Ship, and defend it at hug as he couidl The Captain wiilmgly accepted his Offer, ar,d after; a Fight of two Hours conleflied himfelf conquered,' kiffed his Sword, and lurrender'd it. Jn 1652 broke out the memoraVit War between the two Commonwealths of England and Holland ; a War, in which the greateit Admirals, that perhaps any Ag-i has produced, were engaged on each Side, in which nothing lefs was couteiteJ thin the Domi nion of theSea, and which was carried" on with Vigour, Aaimofuy, and Rtfolution proportion'o to the lniport-aoct of the Dffpute. The chief Cojdroanders of the1 Dutch Fleets were Van Trump, de liuyter, ayid as "Witt, tht mod celebrated Names of their own Nation, and .who bad been perhaps more renowned, had they been eppofed by any other Bncmie?. The States ot Holknd having carried on their Trade without Oppo-t ii'.ion, and almoft without Competition, not only iiu-riug the unadive Reign of Jamae I. bit duriog the Coaimotiens, of linglasd, had arrived to that Height of Naval Ep'wer, and thai Affluence of Wealth, that with the .Arrogance which � |pug continued Profpe-fity naturally produces, they Taegarj to invent new* Cl^unB, and to treat other Nacons with IrJoIeiice, [ which nothing can defend bat SO^'cmy u Forte. Thsy had for foms time mf.de uncommon Preparati" ons at a vail f xpence, and had equipped a large F:�t� wuhiat any apparent Danger threatning thtm, or any avomd Dcfi^n of a'.tackiog their Neighbours. This una u�l Armament was no: beheld by the Eng.-ii(h without tome je.Jouly, and care, was taken to nt outiuch a Fleet, us m.ight fecure the Trade from In-lerrupton, and the Coaftsfrcm Infults; of this Blaks was ccfiJiiiutcd Admiral for nine Montis. Jn th*3 Situation the two Nations remained, keeping a watchful Fye upon each other, without actual Fioftilities on either Side, till the 18th oF May, 1652, when Van Trump appealed io the Dawns with a Fleet of 4J M--n cf War. Blake, who had then but 20 Ships, upon ihe Approach of the Dutch Admiral faluted h:m w th three lirgle Shots, to requite that he fhould, by ltr;kit-g bis FLg, lhew tha: Refptfft to the Englifh, v/hich is due to every Naticn in their own DcminicK. 1 o wh'ch the Dutchman anlwer'd with a Broadfide ; and Flake, perceivirg that he intended to difputo the Point of Ht-nuur, advanced with hia own Ship before the ret! of his Fleet, that, if it were pcdfible, a general Bittle might be prevented But the Dutch intlead of admitting hun to treat, fir'd upon him fiom' theic whole fleet, without any regard to the Cuftoms cf War, or the Law of Nations. Blake for fome time flood alone agamit their whole Force, till the ref\ of his Squadron coming up, the Fight was cdrtlinced' fn in between 4 and 5 in the Afternoon till 9 at Night," when the Dutch retired with the Lofs of two Ships, having notdellrcy'd a Gng'e VeiTel, nor more than iy Men, moll of which were ch board the Admiral, who, as he wrote to the Parliament, was himfetf engaged for four Hours with the main Body of the Dutch Fleet, being the Mark at which they aimed ; and, as Whit-lock re'at�, receiv'd above a thoufand Shot.* Blake in his Letter acknowledges the particular ElefUng and] Preservation of God, and afcriBes his Sactefs to the Juftice ef his Caafe, the Dutch having firft attacked hfm upon the Englilh Coaft. It is" indeed Tittle lefs) than miraculous that a thodfand great Shai Oiouid not do more Execution, and thofe who will not admit the) Interpofiiicn of Providence, ma/ draw at leaft this Inference from it, that the brat/eft Matt is sol always in the moji Danger. In July he met the Dutch Fifhery Fleet with * Convoy of 1 2 Men of War, all which he tcolaj with 100 of their Herring BufTes. And in September, being; ltation'd in the Downs with about 60 Sail, "he difco-ver'd the Du'di Admirals de Witt and de Riiyterwith near the fame Number, and advanced towards them ; but the Dutch being obliged, by Natur^cf their Coaft, and (T.allownefs oj their Rivers, td build their Ships in fach ;i manner- tb?t they require lefs Depth of Water than the Fngh'fh T'efTels, took AdAanfege of the Form of their Shipping, s.nJ 3helter*d themfclvc's tebind a Flat cal!\j Kectfh-knock ; fo that the Englilh finding fome of their Ships aground, were obliged to alter their Courf.-; but peicejving early the next Morning that the Hollanders had forfaken their Station, they purfued litem with ail the Speed that the Wind, which was weak arid uncertain, allowed ; but found them-felve5 irrmblc to reach them wirh the Bulk of their Fitet,,and therefore detached fome cf the lighteft 'Frigates to chace them. Thefe ennefo near as to *ht? ilp'jn the:n af>iuf three iii the After noon ; but the DuTch. inilT.d of Ucking about hoifted their Sails, fleered tow^rJ their own Coaft, and finding themfelves the nt'xt D^y followed by the who e EngTiflt Fket.rr-rired into Go'ree. The Sar*ors were eager to attack Hem in their o.vn Harboui^, but a Council of War being cooverc-J, it \y\s judg^imprudent to hazard th' Fhet upon the Shcals, or to engage in any important Enterprize without a frefh Supply of Provi-fiom. That in this Enjjsgemect the Viclory belonged to the Englifh is beyond Difpure, fmce, without the lofs bf one bhip, and with no more than 40 Men ki"ed, :iicy drove the E'itnij into *his own Ports, took the R^ar Admiral and another Veflel,' and fo difcOurag*d the Duuh Admirals, who had not a'grerd ,in their MtJlures, that de Ruyter, who had declared agaioft hi/Zitdjiig a Battle, 'defirM to refign rtis CommiliTon, aiiu cie Wittj who had infilled upon Fighting,feilTKb, &<, it wii (uppos'd, witii Vwtation. But how great tue T.olt of the i'Jutch was is not certainly known j that two were taken they are too wife to deny, bet affirm that thofe two were all that were deftroyed. "i"he. Englilh, on the other fide, affirm that three of fheiV Vefftl. were difabled at ahe fait Encounter, that the*; Ni.ts:J�cts oil tkc iicond D*y were wfihty dim5- niftwi.