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to incur in exhibiting his other inventions, in making the
models, and otherwise, and that the five hundred guilders per
month be also paid him which were promised to him by resolu-
tion of the Council of State, and approved of by their High
Mightinesses, and this without prejudice to the pay he draws
as captain, and also that said pay continue during the time
the aforesaid projects are being carried out. After discussion
thereanent, the above-mentioned gentlemen are authorised to
take action in the matter, with the advice of His Excellency.

April 24. — Messrs. Walta and Schaffer, who were commis-
sioned along with Mr. Nobel to conclude the business with
Captain Douglas, reported that, in addition to the conditions
contained in the above resolution of April 8th, he requests
letters-patent for himself and his two brothers for a period of
twenty-three years, to the effect that nobody at sea shall
imitate his inventions. And in case their High Mightinesses
should desire at any time to use the weapons invented by him,
that the premium appointed in that case shall be granted him.
To which their High Mightinesses consented ; the aforesaid
gentlemen being once more requested to see the matter put
through, with advice of His Excellency. As he also requests
to be allowed to export some of his manufactured weapons to
other potentates, it is resolved to take the advice of the
Council of State on that point.

April 26. — Messrs. Nobel, Walta, and Schaffer, having
reported about the agreement made with Captain Douglas, it
was approved, and the Council of State was instructed to
despatch an order for twelve thousand guilders, in settlement
of his past expenses, according to the said agreement, inserted
here, as follows :


Memorandum of the Agreement or Contract made on behalf
of their High Mightinesses wifh Captain William Douglas,
April 25th, 1628.

As to the remonstrance presented by Captain William
Douglas to their High Mightinesses with reference to the
sinking, burning, and destruction of the enemy's vessels in
the roads of ' Het Scheurken ' and the harbour of Dunkirk,
and elsewhere, their High Mightinesses commissioned Messrs.
Nobel, Waltha, and Schaffer, with the advice and consent of
the Prince of Orange, to make a provisional contract with the
said Douglas, and to report about it to their High Mighti-
nesses. After they had taken action accordingly, and pre-
sented a report to their High Mightinesses and my lord the
Prince of Orange, on April 24th last, the above-mentioned
commissioners were again requested by their High Mighti-
nesses and my lord the Prince of Orange, and fully authorised,
as principals, to contract, conclude, and settle with Captain

Accordingly the said commissioners contracted and agreed
with Captain Douglas as follows :

In the first place, the said Captain Douglas hereby under-
takes and promises that he, with his two brothers, at their own
expense, risk, and trouble, shall sink, destroy, or burn the
ships (which carry guns and are in the enemy's service) in
' Het Scheurtgen,'' and in the harbour of Dunkirk, and else-
where (as their High Mightinesses may determine). On the
sole condition that the country shall contribute for the pur-
pose a man-of-war, with two or three sloops, to convey the
said Douglas to the place or its neighbourhood, so as to put
his appliances into action, and, after having done this, to
allow him to return in the same man-of-war, and nothing
more. For which service aforesaid Captain Douglas, at the
express command of their High Mightinesses and my lord the
Prince of Orange, is promised by the said commissioners, and
they do hereby promise to pay, at the office of the Receiver-
General Doublet, for every ship of the kind above described,
as follows :

For a ship over 100 tons, . . . 30,000 guilders.
„ 70 tons, . . . 20,000 „


For a ship over 50 tons to 70 tons, . 15,000 guilders.
„ „ 30 tons, . . . 10,000 „

„ „ 20 tons, . . . 8,000 „

For a yacht below 20 tons, and provided

with at least four small guns, . . 4,000 „

For a frigate which can be propelled by

twelve oars on each side, . . . 8,000 „

For a ship's boat or long boat with eight

thwarts or sixteen oars, . . . 2,000 ,,
For a ship's boat or long boat with six

thwarts, 1,200 „

For a ship's boat or long boat with four

thwarts, ...... 600 „

And, besides, the said Captain Douglas shall have as his own,
and retain as his undisputed property, all ships, yachts, sloops,
cannon, anchors, cables, merchandise, and all other things,
without exception, which he can save from the enemy's ships
(which he, in the manner aforesaid, may sink, destroy, or
burn). It is also agreed that the said Captain Douglas, in
addition to the aforesaid premium, shall now immediately be
indemnified and paid in ready money for the expenses incurred
by him and the trouble expended by him on his former inven-
tions, on the cannon made, the pikes, muskets, and other
things, of which the models are and will remain in the posses-
sion of the country, in full satisfaction of the statement handed
in by him, the total sum being twelve thousand guilders.

And when he has effected all the above on the enemy's ships,
the aforesaid Receiver-General shall, in addition to the said
sum of twelve thousand guilders, settle with and pay him the
sum of eight thousand guilders, which were promised him for
his former invention of cannon and muskets, according to the
Act of the Council of State, and the resolution of their High
Mightinesses of March 2nd, 1627. And as the said Captain
Douglas will put into action and carry out against the enemy's
ships all the things above mentioned at his own expense and
risk, except for a man-of-war with two or three (ship's) boats,
as was said before, while, on the other hand, all and sundry,
by proclamations of their High Mightinesses, were granted


leave to win the aforesaid premiums with the country's ships,
arms, and men, at the country's .expense, therefore it had to
be taken into consideration what extra premium he ought to
have and enjoy as a recompense. And this is to be so much
as my lord the Prince of Orange shall adjudge and award, in
whose hands the whole matter has been placed and now
remains. And if this contract be completely and effectually
carried out, the said Captain Douglas shall, in addition to
what has been specified before, receive from the Receiver-
General, for life irrevocably, a pension of five hundred guilders
per month, payable monthly. Lastly, the said Captain
Douglas has further been promised, in case his former inven-
tion (which as yet has not been approved of practical value)
be afterwards at any time employed or used in this country,
that in that case their High Mightinesses shall allow him for
it the conditions, premium, and payment in the Act of March
2nd, 1627 ; and that the said Douglas, with his two brothers,
shall be granted for all the aforesaid inventions letters-patent
for a period of twenty -three years, in debUaJbrma.

April 29. — The Council of State having intimated, with
reference to the application of Captain Douglas, that they do
not know what weapons and to what potentate he wishes to
send them ; it was resolved that a designation of the weapons,
delivered to-day by him be handed over to the Council of
State, that they may take action in the matter.

July 3. — The petition of Douglas was read requesting that
their High Mightinesses would provide him, at reasonable
wages to be paid by the petitioner, with some trusty workmen
to help in the manufacture of his proposed contrivances. After
discussion thereanent, it was resolved to send the petitioner's
request, along with a letter to Mr. Nobel, at present in Rot-
terdam, enjoining and desiring him with the co-operation of the
magistrate of that town, to provide the petitioner, according
to his request, with some trusty workmen.

September 6. — The remonstrance was read of Captain
William Douglas, asking for a warship and some ship boats
with two hundred pounds of gunpowder to be used in his
intended enterprise. Secondly, for a mandate, by which the
captains, sailors, and soldiers serving on the men-of-war on the


coast of Flanders shall be ordered to obey him in whatever
may be done for the benefit of the country. Thirdly, for pay-
ment of the money granted him by the last contract. Fourthly,
for an authentic copy of the said contract. After discussion
thereanent, it was resolved to remit these points to the Council
of State for advice.

September 7. — The petition of Captain William Douglas,
presented yesterday to their High Mightinesses, being brought
up again for consideration, it was resolved and decided, after
discussion, that an order for the sum of twelve thousand
guilders on the Receiver-General Doubleth be sent him ; the
Council of State is also hereby requested to send to the said
Douglas meanwhile, in part payment of the aforesaid sum,
two hundred pounds of gunpowder from the country's magazine,
that letters of introduction be granted him to His Excellency
as soon as he shall be ready to carry into action his intended
exploit, in order that three ships' 1 boats and as many soldiers
and sailors be placed at his disposal as he may require for
manning and managing the said vessels, as well as a man-of-
war in which he has leave to retire.

And, as regards the required copy of the contract between
their High Mightinesses and him, drawn up and concluded on
April 25th last, which is set down in their book of secret
resolutions, there are found to be difficulties in the way of
granting it, till he shall have carried out his exploit.

September 15. — Mr. van Noortwyck brings to the notice of
the meeting that on the 7th inst., at the request of Captain
William Douglas, it was resolved that an order should be de-
spatched to him on Receiver-General Doubleth, for the sum of
twelve thousand guilders, in terms of the contract made with
him on April 25th last, and entered in the secret registers, but
that it has since been found that a similar order had been de-
spatched to him before on the same grounds. After discussion
thereanent, it was resolved that the second order of twelve
thousand guilders, if it has been despatched, shall be recalled,
and if it has not yet been issued, that directions be given that
it be not despatched.

October 2. — With regard to the petition of William Douglas
to receive payment of a certain order for the amount of twelve


thousand guilders granted and allowed him as payment for
several new inventions, of which the models are preserved by
the country, it was resolved that the Receiver- General be
spoken to about it, in order that the petitioner may obtain
half of it provisionally.

1629, January 24. — The petition was read of William
Douglas, intimating that, in accordance with their High
Mightinesses" 1 resolution, he has exhibited to His Excellency
and the Council of State the weapons and contrivances invented
by him, contained in the first contract ; and further, that he
is prepared to execute what is contained in the second with
reference to the contrivances for use at sea for burning and
sinking ships ; and requesting, accordingly, that some resolu-
tion may be taken either to accept the invented weapons and
maintain the conditions, or at least that their High Mighti-
nesses by a downright negative should declare that they do not
wish to be importuned any longer on the subject, and that,
accordingly, he shall be permitted, without prejudicing his
contract or the patent contained in it, to communicate his con-
trivances to all monarchs, states, or free cities, which are not
declared enemies of this State. After discussion thereanent, it
is resolved to place the petition in the hands of the Council of
State, for advice about it.

February 6. — The advice of the Council of State was read,
of date the 2nd inst., about the inventions of Captain Douglas,
to the effect that they have communicated several times with
His Excellency about them, and that they themselves also
have seen some experiments, which their honours have found to
be of such a nature that they cannot but say that Douglas is an
ingenious man, and the inventions very pretty, and some of
them may be found useful on some occasion or other, but, not-
withstanding their honours do not consider that they are of
such importance that because of them there should be any
change introduced into the present good arrangements for the
use of ordinary weapons in this country, as the soldiers through
length of time and practice have now become very skilled in
handling them. And accordingly their honours would advise
that, if the said Captain Douglas is inclined to show his said
inventions to some other princes or republics, that he be per-


mitted to do so ; but not to such as are enemies of this State.
But as regards his marine inventions to destroy the enemy's
ships, that he be encouraged to put them into action, the sooner
the better. After discussion thereanent, their High Mighti-
nesses conformed to the advice, and further resolved that the
said Douglas should make a trial, as soon as possible, of his
inventions for destroying ships, on a ship, which shall be
brought to Schevelinge [Scheveningen ?] or thereabout, a little
out at sea.

February 16. — At the request of William Douglas, after
foregoing discussion, Messrs. Bar and Eysinga are requested
and commissioned to hear the particulars about the communi-
cation of his inventions to other princes and states ; also about
making a trial of his marine inventions on a ship at sea near





Letters from the King to the States.

Levy of Cavalry. Furlough for Balfour,

Hauts et puissans Seigneurs noz bons Amis et Alliez, — Diplomatic
Nous trouvans pousse par les occurences de noz affaires a faire encg espon
quelques levees de cavallerie et provisions d'armes. Nous avons
fait choix de la Personne du Chevalier Balfore, pour Tenvoyer
de par dela a cet effet, et Vous avons bien voulu prier de le
favoriser et donner toute assistance, a ce qu'il puisse d'aultant
plus librement et promptem 1 faire les dites levees et provisions
et les transporter avec plus de seurete. L'asseurance que
Nous avons en vostre bonne affection envers Nous, Nous fait
esperer que Vous Nous en rendrez cette nouvelle preuve, et
qu 1 en suitte il vous plaira, comme Nous Vous en prions tres
affectueusem*, de continuer le dit Sieur Balfore, un des premiers
gentilshomes de nostre charabre privee, en la charge et solde
qu'il a soubs vous, et de vouloir estimer que son absence et
le service qu'il Nous rendra, moyennant la grace de Dieu, sera
comme si c'estoit pour le service de vostre Estat.

En cette confiance Nous demeurons, Hauts et puissans
Seigneurs, Vostre tres affectionne Amy, Charles R.

De nostre palais de Westmestre, le 2 me de febvrier 1627.

1627, March 27. — A letter received from Mr. Joachimi,
dated the 6th instant, to the effect that the king requests
permission for Captain Balfour to raise a company of har-

1 See supra, pp. 69, 199, 215, and 250.



quebusiers, formed of people not in any service, and to
bring them to England. This will be communicated to His

March 30. — It having been reported that His Excellency
approved of a reply being sent to the letter of Mr. Joachimi,
received on the 27th inst., to the effect that the company of
cavalry of Captain Monioye would be placed at the disposal
of the King of Great Britain ; but as the officers have received
orders to be with their companies on April 1st, that therefore
the permission requested for Captain Balfour to raise a com-
pany of harquebusiers and go with it to England must be
refused. Their High Mightinesses agreed to this, and decided
to reply to Mr. Joachimi in these terms, with instructions to
announce their consent as regards Captain Monioye, and their
refusal as regards Captain Balfour ; and to direct Monioye to
hasten his departure, as his month commenced on the 20th
inst., and at its expiry their High Mightinesses will not pay
him any longer, being of opinion that the current month
ought also to be charged to the king, as Monioye is pre-
paring himself during it for His Majesty's services. He must
also provide the ships required for his transport, as the ex-
penses of it will not be borne by their High Mightinesses.

The King asks furlough for William Balfour.

Hauts et puissaxs Seigneurs, noz boxs amis et alliez. —
Nous ne faisons point difficulte de vous communiquer le besoin
que nous avons de quelqu'un de noz subiets qui sont a vostre
solde, lors que les occasions de noz affaires le requierent, et
ayant pour le present suiet d"employer nostre feal et bien ame
Guillaume Balfore en un service qui nous importe et auquel
son experience, capacite et debuoir envers Nous, rend le choix
que Nous faisons de sa personne fort considerable. Nous vous
avons voulu instamment prier de luy donner licence de se
rendre aupres de Nous, pour Nous en servir pour quelque
temps en cet employ. Esperant aussi qu'il Vous plaira, comme
Nous Vous en prions affectueusement de luy continuer son en-
tretenement aupres de Vous, sans que son absence Luy puisse
prejudicier, ou qull luy en soit rien rabbattu, Vous asseurans


que Nous le recognoistrons en toutes les occasions qui s'en

Sur ce Nous demeurons, Hauts et puissans Seigneurs, Vostre
bien bon Amy, Charles R.

De nostre Cour a Bagshott, ce 20 me d'Aoust 1627.

October 6. — The Ambassador also presented a missive written Resolutions

of States

by the king on the 20th of last August, in which His Majesty 0l
asks for leave of absence for Captain Balfour, in order that he
may employ him while he retains his post and salary in this
country. No resolution was come to thereanent as yet.

October 14. — After discussion regarding the letter of the King
of Great Britain, presented on the 6th instant by Ambassador
Carleton, Baron dlmbercourt, and the recommendation added
to it by the said Ambassador, that Captain Balfour may be
permitted to take service under His Majesty while retaining
his command and pay in this country, it was agreed that,
though their High Mightinesses are desirous of pleasing the
king as much as possible, yet they are debarred from entering
into this question, as they cannot infringe the resolution, which
had to be taken for very great and pregnant reasons, concerning
the defence of the country.

1628, March 2. — A letter received from the King of Great
Britain, written at Westminster on the 2nd of last month of
February, and presented by Captain Balfour, in which His
Majesty requests their High Mightinesses to lend their support
to the said captain in raising some troopers and providing
them with arms, which the said captain has orders to do in
this country, and that he at the same time may retain his
commission and pay during the time he shall be absent in
the service of His Majesty. After discussion on this matter, it
was decided that, as this country can expect nothing else than
that the King of Spain with his armies, assisted by the entire
force of the Papal League, will seek to attack this country, as
already a large portion of the said league has descended upon
the frontiers of Friesland, Overyssel, and Stad en Landen and
arrived in East Friesland, in these circumstances their High
Mightinesses are themselves forced to make a new levy of a
large body of soldiers for their defence ; that the constitution


of the country does not allow of consent being given for any
foreign levies in the country, so as not to rob it of soldiers
most necessary to it ; further, that by such levies the cavalry
of this country would be demoralised and spoiled, as experi-
ence has taught, far too repeatedly, at other times. And as
regards the continuation of the said captain in the service of
this country during the time of his absence, it is found that
the affairs of the country having required them to take a formal
and stringent resolution regarding absent officers, the same
cannot be changed. But should His Majesty desire to employ
Captain Balfour in his service, their High Mightinesses will
not prevent him, but his place will have to be filled by another
capable officer, as is done in other cases of absent officers, in
order that his company may be commanded in a proper way.

March 8. — It having been announced that Captain Balfour
and N. Dolbier had left to make their levy of cavalry for the
Kins: of England in foreign countries, and were to make their
headquarters at Emden, it was resolved to inform the provinces
of Friesland and Stad en Landen, also to call the attention of
the Stadtholder, Duke Ernest Cassimir of Nassau, to this,
that they may give orders that no troopers are to pass through
their provinces to Emden, and to summon the said Captain
Balfour to come here and declare if he wishes to continue in
the service of this country or not, in order that in case of his
departure, suitable arrangements may be made about his com-

March 10. — Captain Balfour being present was informed
that he would have to declare if he wished to remain with his
company or not, asked for a delay till next Monday, and this
was granted him.

March 13. — Captain Balfour being present declared that it
is not his intention to retire from their High Mightinesses'
service, but only requests leave for three or four months to go
to the King [of England] and find out His Majesty's intention,
whether he wishes to keep him or permit him to remain here.
This matter will also be considered to-morrow.


Request of W" Balfour to the States. (Exhibit. March 14, 1 628.)

Mes Signeurs, — Touchant vostre iuste resolution e le question Diplomatic


si ie veus quiter ma compagnie en vostre service, ie vous supplie l

de prandre en bonne part ceste remonstrance. Primirement ie
vous assure, que ceste une de me plus grande desires de servire
c^este estate toute ma vie et suis bien marri d^ntendre qla
charge qu'il a plu a sa Maiestie de la grande Britagne me doner
vous desplet, mes Signors ie vous prie de croer que ie n'ay pas
recerche ceste employment, mais puis que le Roy nVa com-
mands pour son service pour une temps ie m^assure qull trovera
estrange que ma compagnie me serot oste, a cose quMl n^a
done ordre de contibruer a son service pour une peu de temps,
e a cose que ie ne desire en fason quelconque, que mon parti-
culir sera cose d'aucune malentendue entre l 1 Roy e ceste estate,
come estant subiect dTune e serviture dTautre, ie vous sup-
plie tres humblement de me vouloir conceder conge pour trois
ou quatre mois selon vostre resolution, tente pour doner
quelque satisfaction a sa Ma 6 que de ne perdre point si
abruptement une fidele serviture a TEstat, en lequele temps ie
pouray savoir la resolution de sa Ma 6 pour me retinnier aupres
de lui ou de me lesser returnir icy a ma charge en vostre ser-
vice, en la quelle i'ay continue, y ''espere sens reproche, ces
vint e cinque annes passes le flure e'melior partie de mon age,
ce que ie represente en toute humilite a vos considerations,
comme ausi le bone service de mon peere, de mon uncle, et de
plusiurs de mes amis et de mon nome, qui ont este prodigues
de leur sange et leurs vies en vostre service. .Fespere ausi
qu'il pleyra a vos Sing . . . d^admitter en vostre consideration
les grandes pretensions et decompts qu" 1 Tavoy quite sur le
reception de ma compagnie de cavallerie passe dix annes, les
quelles considerations (ie suis confident) seront bastentes
pour emouyer vos Sig. a consentier et favoriser mes iustes

[On the margin is written] : — Ha. Ho. Mo. slaende aff het
versoeck in desen gedaen, geven den Suppl. noch den tijt tot
morgen omme ronde verclaringe te doen off hij in dienst van
den lande wil continueren off niet, "twelck men liever soude
sien. — Act. den 14 Martij 1628.




March 17. — A memorial was read, presented by Captain
Balfour, in which he declares that as he must obey his king in

Online LibraryScottish History Society. cnPublications of the Scottish History Society (Volume 32) → online text (page 37 of 59)