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off by a cannon ball; yet the fight continued from about twelve to six in the afternoon, when the Dutch gave way, and retreated fighting.
On the 4th, in the afternoon, Blake came up with eighteen fresh ships, and procured the English a complete victory; nor could the Dutch any otherwise preserve their ships than by retiring once more into the flats and shallows, where the largest of the English vessels could not approach.
In this battle Van Trump boarded vice-admiral Pen; but was beaten off, and himself boarded, and reduced to blow up his decks, of which the English had gotten possession. He was then entered at once by Pen and another; nor could possibly have escaped, had not De Ruyter and De Witt arrived at that instant and rescued him.
However the Dutch may endeavour to extenuate their loss in this battle, by admitting no more than eight ships to have been taken or destroyed, it is evident that they must have received much greater damages, not only by the accounts of more impartial historians, but by the remonstrances and exclamations of their admirals themselves; Van Trump declaring before the States, that “without a numerous reinforcement of large men of war, he could serve them no more ;" and De Witt crying out before them, with the natural warmth of his character, “Why should I be silent before my lords and masters ? The English are our masters, and by consequence masters of the sea."
In November, 1654, Blake was sent by Cromwell into the Mediterranean with a powerful fleet, and
may be said to have received the homage of all that part of the world, being equally courted by the haughty Spaniards, the surly Dutch, and the lawless Algerines.
In March, 1656, having forced Algiers to submission, he entered the harbour of Tunis, and demanded reparation for the robberies practised upon the English by the pirates of that place, and insisted that the captives of his nation should be set at liberty. The governor having planted batteries along the shore, and drawn up his ships under the castles, sent Blake an haughty and insolent answer, “ There are our castles of Goletta, and Porto Ferino,” said he, upon which you may do
your worst;" adding other menaces and insults, and mentioning in terms of ridicule the inequality of a fight between ships and castles. Blake had likewise demanded leave to take in water, which was refused him. Fired with this inhuman and insolent treatment, he curled his whiskers, as was his custom when he was angry, and entering Porto Ferino with his great ships, discharged his shot so fast upon the batteries and castles, that in two hours the guns were dismounted, and the works forsaken, though he was at first exposed to the fire of sixty cannon.
He then ordered his officers to send out their long boats well manned to seize nine of the piratical ships lying in the road, himself continuing to fire upon the castle. This was so bravely executed, that with the loss of only twenty-five men killed, and forty-eight wounded, all the ships were fired in the sight of Tunis. Thence sailing to Tripoly, he concluded a peace with that nation ; then returning to Tunis, he found nothing but submission. And such indeed was his reputation, that he met with nofarther opposition, but collected
akind of tribute from the princes of those countries, his business being to demand reparation for all the injuries offered to the English during the civil wars. He exacted from the duke of Tuscany 60,0001. and, as it is said, sent home sixteen ships laden with the effects, which he had received from several states.
The respect with which he obliged all foreigners to treat his countrymen, appears from a story related by bishop Burnet. When he lay before Malaga, in a time of peace with Spain, some of his sailors went ashore, and meeting a procession of the host, not only refused to pay any respect to it, but laughed at those that did. The people, being put by one of the priests upon resenting this indignity, fell upon them and beat them severely. When they returned to their ship, they complained of their ill treatment; upon which Blake sent to demand the priest who had procured it. The viceroy answered that, having no authority over the priests, he could not send him: to which Blake replied, “that he did not inquire into the extent of the viceroy's authority, but that if the priest were not sent within three hours, he would burn the town." The viceroy then sent the priest to him, who pleaded the provocation given by the seamen. Blake bravely and rationally answered, that if he had complained to him, he would have punished them severely, for he would not have his men affront the established religion of any place ; but that he was angry that the Spaniards should assume that power, for he would have all the world know “ that an Englishman was only to be punished by an Englishman.” So having used the priest civilly, he sent him back,
being satisfied that he was in his power. This conduct so much pleased Cromwell, that he read the letter in council with great satisfaction, and said, “he hoped to make the name of an Englishman as great as ever that of a Roman had been.'
In 1656, the Protector having declared war against Spain, despatched Blake with twenty-five men of war to infest their coasts, and intercept their shipping. In pursuance of these orders he cruised all winter about the Streights, and then lay at the mouth of the harbour of Cales, where he received intelligence that the Spanish platefleet lay at anchor in the bay of Santa Cruz, in the isle of Teneriffe. On the 13th of April, 1657, he departed from Cales, and on the 20th arrived at Santa Cruz, where he found sixteen Spanish vessels. The bay was defended on the north side by a castle well mounted with cannon, and in other parts with seven forts with cannon proportioned to the bigness, all united by a line of communication manned with musqueteers. The Spanish admiral drew up his small ships under the cannon of the castle, and stationed six great galleons with their broadsides to the sea : an advantageous and prudent disposition, but of little effect against the English commander; who determining to attack them, ordered Stayner to enter the bay with his squadron; then, posting some of his larger ships to play upon the fortifications, himself attacked the galleons, which, after a gallant resistance, were at length abandoned by the Spaniards, though the least of them was bigger than the biggest of Blake's ships. The forts and smaller vessels being now shattered and forsaken, the whole fleet was set on fire, the galleons by Blake, and the smallest vessels by Stayner, the English vessels being too much shattered in the fight to bring them away. Thus was the whole plate-fleet destroyed, " and the Spaniards,” according to Rapin's remark, “sustained a great loss of ships, money, men, and merchandize, while the English gained nothing but glory.” As if he that increases the military reputation of a people did not increase their power,
and he that weakens his enemy in effect strengthens himself.
“ The whole action,” says Clarendon, “ was so incredible, that all men, who knew the place, wondered that any sober man, with what courage soever endowed, would ever have undertaken it, and they could hardly persuade themselves to believe what they had done : while the Spaniards comforted themselves with the belief, that they were devils and not men who had destroyed them in such a manner. So much a strong resolution of bold and courageous men can bring to pass, that no resistance or advantage of ground can disappoint them; and it can hardly be imagined how small a loss the English sustained in this unparalleled action, not one ship being left behind, and the killed and wounded not exceeding 200 men; when the slaughter on board the Spanish ships and on shore was incredible.” The general cruised for some time afterwards with his vic, torious fleet at the mouth of Cales, to intercept the Spanish shipping ; but finding his constitution broken by the fatigue of the last three years, determined to return home, and died before he came to land.
His body was embalmed, and having lain some