The year 1628 was for the West India Company one of extraordinary activity. Fleet after fleet left the Dutch ports, well equipped and under experienced leaders, to attack the king of Spain in the western seas. The first of these, under Dirk Simonszoon van Uitgeest,1 consisting of twelve2 ships and yachts, sailed from the Texel on 24 Jan., bound in the first instance for the coast of Brazil. On the very same day a squadron under Pieter Adriaanzoon Ita put to sea, its destination being the West Indies. This detachment was followed in the course of the next month by other vessels belonging to Ita's fleet, which was equal in number to that of Uitgeest, but the ships of larger size and more powerful armament. The voyages of both commanders were attended by exceptional success. Uitgeest had the good fortune to capture a Portuguese fleet returning from Goa, richly laden with the products of the East, including a number of large diamonds and other precious stones, while, besides lesser prizes, on 1 Aug., after a desperate struggle, in which 300 Spaniards lost their lives, Ita made himself master of the two large and well-equestrian galleons the 'Nuestra Señora de los Remedios' and the 'S. Jago,' which carried on the traffic between the mother country and the Honduras,3 and whose cargoes, consisting of hides, indigo, ginger, and other articles, were of great value. The success of these expeditions, however, was entirely cast into the shade by the great feat of Piet Hein, to which I have already referred.4 At the end of May 1628 the renowned admiral was once more at sea, having under his command a fine fleet of thirty-one, mostly powerful vessels.5 p677His destination was the West Indies, his aim to intercept, if possible on their way to Spain, the galleons which annually bore across the ocean the treasures of Mexico and Peru. To enter into a detailed account of this famous expedition does not lie within my purpose. It is sufficient to say that, while cruising off Cuba, Hein learnt from prisoners that not only was the fleet expected, but the Spaniards were ignorant of the presence of the Dutch. This was welcome news. A keen look-out was kept, and at length, on 8 Sept., sails were descried on the horizon. It was the longed-for fleet, unsuspiciously approaching in two divisions. The first of these, consisting of nine armed merchantmen laden with hides, cochineal, indigo, and other wares, lay to leeward. Hein at once despatched a number of boats and sloops to attack them, and, though they were manned by crews of some forty men apiece, scarcely any resistance was offered, and all were speedily captured. A short distance behind them followed the treasure ships, comprising four large galleons and two other vessels, which made for the shore when they saw the fate of their comrades, and, despite the utmost efforts of the Dutch to cut them off, succeeded in gaining the entrance of the bay of Matanzas before their adversaries could come up with them. This took place just as night was beginning to fall, and the darkness was utilised in transferring a portion of the cargo to the land. Early on the following morning Hein entered the bay with his fleet; but after an exchange of shots at a distance, finding that the Spaniards had run their ships aground in shallow water, he saw that he must have recourse to his boats. Those of three ships were lowered, and filled with sailors and musketeers. The general himself took his place, according to his wont, in one of the boats, his second in command, Admiral Lonck, in another.6 Arrived beneath the lofty sides of the great galleons, one of the Dutch sailors, seizing hold of a hanging rope, clambered on board; the rest, fired by his example, followed as best they could. The Spaniards had not the courage to face the assault, and speedily surrendered on the condition that their lives were spared. Thus almost without striking a blow, and at a trifling loss of life, the whole treasure fleet fell into the hands of Hein. The vast booty comprised 177,537 lbs. of silver in chests and bars, 135 lbs. of gold, 37,375 hides, 2,270 chests of indigo, 7,961 pieces of logwood, 735 chests of cochineal, 253 of sugar, besides a quantity of p678pearls, spices, and other costly and precious wares.7 The total was valued at 11,509,524 fl., and sufficed to pay a dividend of 50 percent to the shareholders of the West India Company.8 This was a grievous mistake, and led to the eventual ruin of the company. Had a portion been laid aside to meet the stress of future needs, the directors might have been able to make head against the evil days that were to come, but for the moment so prodigious a stroke of good fortune turned their brains. Piet Hein himself was fêted by municipalities and admiring throngs on his return home, and rewarded by the state by being appointed to the highest post, after that of admiral-general held by the prince of Orange himself, in the Dutch navy, the post of lieutenant-admiral of Holland. But the brave sailor was not on his part dazzled by the blaze of triumph with which he was welcomed, but with characteristic modesty, not unmixed with scorn, remarked to De Laet, when he saw how the crowds ran together to greet him, because he had brought back this great treasure, 'that he had done little to earn it, and that when previously he had had real fighting to do, and had performed far greater deeds than this, people had scarcely turned round to look at him.'9 Hein, unfortunately for his country, did not long enjoy his new dignity, as he fell heroically in a victorious encounter with the Dunkirk pirates in the following year, and was honoured by the state with a public funeral in his native town of Delft.
Yet another expedition set sail for the West Indies on 15 Aug. of this same year 1628, consisting of nine ships and three yachts, under Adriaan Janzoon Pater as admiral and Marten Thijszoon as vice-admiral, which was strengthened in the following spring by a reinforcement of five ships and three yachts taken from Hein's old fleet. Admiral Pater distinguished himself by sacking and burning the town of St. Thomé de Guiana, upon the Orinoco, which was the chief Spanish settlement in those parts. Two years later we shall find him, and also Vice-Admiral Thijszoon, further south taking an important part in the defence of the first Dutch conquests in Brazil.
Such is a brief sketch of the vast efforts made by the West India Company at this time, efforts that were to a certain extent p679desultory, and rather partaking of the nature of buccaneering on a large scale than of any serious encounter to found permanent colonies or establishments across the Atlantic. The remonstrance addressed by the directors against the negotiations for a truce with Spain, which had been set on foot in 1629, on the ground of the terrible loss which thereby would be caused to the shareholders, and also to the United Provinces, were the operations which had been undertaken against the king of Spain suddenly stopped, and he allowed breathing time to replenish his coffers, which were being slowly drained by the cutting off of his sources of supply,10 contains remarkable statistics as to the armaments of the company. The directors claim that they have no less than 100 ships at sea, most of them equipped for war, manned by 15,000 sailors and soldiers, and carrying 400 bronze pieces of ordnance, 2,000 iron, 600 stone, and 100,000 lbs. of powder.11 Such a naval force was undoubtedly of the very greatest advantage to the state and a powerful aid to the national defences, and the arguments put forward in their own self-interest by a body of shareholders, who had their chambers in all the seafaring and merchant centres of the provinces, could not fail to lend strength to the war party in the states-general and the council of state.
One issue of the successes of the year 1628 was to revive the idea of an attack up Brazil. The failure at Bahia had proved how great were the difficulties of such an undertaking, but, nevertheless, how easily with prudence and good fortune these might be surmounted. So, after due deliberation, Pernambuco was selected as the most suitable spot against which to direct an expedition on a large scale, partly because it was believed that the defences of this portion of the coast would be in a less prepared state than those of Bahia, partly because of its known wealth in sugar plantations, Brazil wood, and other profitable commodities.12 Orders were at once given for the equipment of a fleet and the enrolment of troops, and the services of some of the most capable of the many experienced seamen of the time were secured, so that nothing might be wanting to ensure the success of the undertaking. p680As Hein was not available, Hendrik Corneliszoon Lonck, who had so lately distinguished himself as second in command at the capture of the treasure fleet, was appointed commander-in‑chief, with the title of general; Pieter Adriaanzoon Ita, just returned with the spoils of the Honduras galleons, accepted the post of admiral; Joost van Trappen, surnamed Banckart, that of vice-admiral; Cornelis Claesz Melck-Meydt that of schoudt-by‑nacht, or rear-admiral; and under these Uitgeest, Jol, Kat, Sickes, and other tried sea captains, who had already given proofs of courage and conduct. As colonel or commander of the military force the Jonckheer Diederik van Waerdenburgh was chosen, an admirable selection, as the subsequent narrative will clearly show.13
On 17 May 1629 the first squadron, that of the chamber of Zealand, set sail under Vice-Admiral Banckart, consisting of five ships and one yacht, the flagship, the 'Princess Amelia,' being of 600 tons burden with 38 guns, and manned by 154 sailors and 200 soldiers. On 23 June these were followed by five ships and one yacht from the Texel; among these was the 'Salamander,'14 of whose voyage in particular and of the incidents connected with the expedition as a whole such an interesting record has been left by a young Strassburger of good position, Ambrose Richsoffer, who, smitten with the love of adventure, had enrolled himself as a volunteer in Waerdenburgh's force. Lastly, on 27 June the general himself in his flagship, the 'Amsterdam' (1,000 tons burden, with 24 bronze and 18 iron guns, manned by 155 sailors and 107 soldiers), accompanied by Admiral Ita in 'Den Hollandschen Thuyn' (800 tons, 16 bronze and 22 iron guns, 118 sailors, 102 soldiers), with six other ships and three yachts, put to sea. Richsoffer gives curious details as to the food and mode of life on board a man-of‑war in 1629. As a landsman all was strange to him and far from agreeable. He comments on the fact that they had no tables, and that they were only allowed meat on two days in the week, and a rasher of bacon on a third; on the other hand each man was supplied with an allowance of three cheeses — the best Gouda, let us p681hope — which he could consume at his own free will, but with a constant check upon over-indulgence before his eyes in the knowledge that this provision had to last for the whole of the voyage. But bad though the future might be, the drink was worse. Scarcely had they started when the water began to stink, and grew more and more nauseous as they proceeded. The appointed rendezvous was in the first place the Canaries, then Tenerife, and on 18 August Lonck found himself under the last-named island at the head of sixteen ships and yachts. These, in order to keep the better look-out for strange sails, whether friends foes, the general divided into two squadrons, one, under his own command, to sail eastwards, the other, under the rear-admiral, Melck-Meydt,15 westwards, but so as to meet each evening under the Punta de Naga.
On 23 August Lonck with his eight vessels, while thus cruising between Tenerife and the Grand Canary, unexpectedly found himself at the peep of dawn in the presence of a great Spanish fleet, under the command of Frederico de Toledo, the conqueror of San Salvador, which was on its way to the West Indies, and consisted of no less than forty vessels, most of them very large ships.16 Seeing the overwhelming odds, the Dutch commander did his utmost to get the weather gauge of his opponent, and to get round the point of Canary; but finding himself unable to effect this, the only course left to the Netherlanders was to turn about and boldly sail thru the enemy's fleet. Suddenly wheeling round, therefore, Lonck's squadron bore down with all sail set before a strong E. N. E. breeze past the main body of the Spaniards, some of whom were too far off to attempt to cross his path; most of the others made way on his approach; only three succeeded in getting to the windward. These three, from one of which the admiral's flag was flying, opened so fierce a fire upon the nearest of the Dutch vessels that the balls fell like hail;17 but only two men, in the 'Overijssel,' one of them the captain, were killed. One of the galleons tried to throw herself across the bow of the 'Amsterdam,' but missed, and as she fell off to leeward Lonck poured his whole broadside into her with such effect that loud shrieking and groans were heard to arise from the ship.18 Towards evening the Dutch succeeded in rounding the Punta de Naga, and were pursued by the Spaniards during the night, but in vain. Owing to their superior sailing qualities Lonck's ships gradually increased the advantage they p682had gained, and when morning dawned only eleven pursuers were in sight. On perceiving this the Dutch admiral at once drew up his line in close order to await their attack. But no attack was made; the enemy finding themselves so few in number, and thinking probably that the Dutch must have been reinforced, deemed prudence the better part of valour and went on their way to rejoin the main body of their fleet. It was a most fortunate escape. No doubt Toledo, whose orders were explicit that he should go to the West Indies and secure the safe convoy of the fleets homeward-bound from the Honduras, Terra Firma, and New Spain, did not wish to run any risk of delay in an encounter with so small a force as Lonck's appeared to be.19
By 6 Sept. the Dutch commander had collected about half his force, twenty-seven vessels in all, at the island of St. Vincent, and here for several long weary months he lay anxiously awaiting the coming of the rest of the expedition. Not till 29 Oct., when he was already seriously thinking about returning home, was Lonck's mind relieved by the arrival of the yacht 'Eendracht,' which had been despatched by the directors to inform him of the causes of the delay. The news brought was of a startling character. A simultaneous invasion of the United Provinces by the Spaniards and the imperialists, at the moment when their army, under the command of the prince of Orange, was engaged upon the siege of Hertogenbosch, had placed the country in the utmost danger. At this conjuncture the directors of the West India Company, when the enemy had already penetrated into the heart of the land, placed with the utmost patriotism all their available resources at the service of the state. The troops which had been enrolled by Waerdenburgh were sent to occupy the Veluwe and the Utrecht; sloops and boatmen were despatched to break down or burn the bridges, and a loan of 600,000 fl. advanced to meet the necessities of the crisis.20 The genius of their great stadtholder had, however, been sufficient to dissipate the danger speedily. Hertogenbosch and Wesel had fallen into his hands, and the campaign had ended in a complete triumph for the Netherlanders. This being so, the company were now making all haste in pushing on the departure of the belated ships. During the months of October and November these were all despatched, and at length, after a sojourn of three months p683and twenty-four days at St. Vincent, Lonck found all his fleet assembled round him. The following day, the 19th, was observed as a day of fasting and prayer, and on the 26th the expedition entered upon its voyage across the Atlantic. It was one of the most powerful that had ever sailed from Holland. It consisted in all of fifty-two ships and yachts, together with thirteen sloops armed with four to six guns, and in addition to these two small vessels captured from the enemy; the whole were manned by 3,780 seamen, carried 3,500 soldiers, and mounted 1,170 guns.21 Before describing its further progress it would be well now to turn our attention to Spain and Portugal, and inquire what steps were being taken in the Peninsula and in the threatened colony of Brazil itself to resist the imminent attack.
The equipment of so large an armament in the various Dutch ports did not escape the vigilance of the court of Brussels, and before the end of 1629 the infanta Isabella gave timely warning to the Madrid authorities of the contemplated invasion of Pernambuco. A despatch boat was accordingly at once sent to Oliveira at Bahia, requesting him to put San Salvador and Olinda in a state of defence. With this step, however, the home government were for the present content. The Spanish treasury was at a low ebb, owing to the recent capture of the treasure fleet. This had been a very heavy loss in itself, and had besides necessitated a very large outlay in the equipment of Toledo's protective expedition. Olivares, therefore, finding that there was great download in the starting of the Dutch force, and wishing to avoid, if possible, the cost of sending out yet another armada to Brazil, showed no inclination to burden the impoverished country with any unnecessary charges.22
It happened that in the spring of 1630 Matthias de Albuquerque, who had already shown military capacity in the struggle for Bahia in 1625, chanced to be in Spain. Being the brother of Duarte de Albuquerque, the proprietor of Pernambuco, and having himself a considerable stake in the welfare of that territory, Olivares rightly judged that he was the man who would be most fitted, both from his proved capacity and from motives of private interest, to undertake its defence. He therefore received the king's commands to come to Madrid, and was on 24 May 1630 nominated to the post of superintendente na guerra e fortificador das capitaneas de norte. His orders were to visit Rio Grande, Paraiba, Tamarica, and Pernambuco, and put them in a state of defence. He hoped that a considerable p684armament would have been placed at his disposal, but in this he was doomed to disappointment. Whatever may have been the words of Olivares, his object was for the present to avoid expenditure, and when Albuquerque arrived at Lisbon he found only a single caravel with twenty-seven soldiers, and two smaller vessels containing munitions.23 With these the high-spirited young man24 set sail on 12 Aug., and arrived at Olinda 19 Oct. He found affairs in even a worse state than he had anticipated. There were only 130 soldiers in the whole province. The fortifications were in ruins, the inhabitants without military experience or training, and with few arms. Matthias set to work at once25 with the assistance of the sargento mor, Pietro Correa di Gama, a veteran of the Flemish wars, who had been sent some months previously by the governor of Bahia to assume the command in Pernambuco. The half-dismantled forts were repaired and new ones erected, the governor himself encouraging the others by working with his own hands. He also exerted himself to the utmost to raise fresh troops, and, having succeeded in getting together some 2,000 men, to give to these raw recruits such training as time and circumstances permitted. Fortunately the long delay in the assembling of the Dutch fleet gave him breathing time, and of this, according to his own account, he availed himself to the full.
Meanwhile, as already related, on the morrow of Christmas day Lonck had started from St. Vincent with his whole force. Richsoffer26 gives a detailed account of the experiences of the voyage, which was attended by much sickness and mortality. Already on 1 Jan. more than 800 men had fallen ill, and on 30 Jan. 246 had died, and 1,200 were on the sick list. On 3 Feb. the coast of Brazil was sighted, but, owing to a south-east wind with a strong stream setting north, the Dutch commander was obliged to put out to sea again, nor was it until the 13th that he was able to bring his fleet round into the offing of Olinda. A council of war was now held to decide on the method of procedure. It was found that there were only 2,515 sailors and 2,325 soldiers fit for service.27 It was determined, however, that an attack should be at once delivered, and orders were given that the soldiers under Waerdenburgh should be placed on sixteen vessels to effect a landing, while the fleet under Lonck and Ita assailed the sea defences.
For the sake of clearness in describing the important events which were now to take place, it will be necessary to give some account of the curious natural features of the remarkable p685locality which the Dutch expedition was preparing to attack, and which for so many years was the centre of Dutch power in Brazil. Along the entire Brazilian coast there runs at a short distance from the shore a long, flat, and thick ridge of rocks, which in some places is twenty, in others thirty paces broad, and in this are to be found at intervals openings wide enough to allow the passage of ships.28 One of these openings existed at a spot about two leagues north of the city of Olinda, and three others about a league and a half to the south. The city of Olinda itself, the capital of Pernambuco, was situated on a hill, or rather a group of hills, a short distance to the north of Cape St. Augustin. At this time it was in a most flourishing condition.29 The population numbered about 3,000,30 and among these some 200 wealthy merchants. Like all Spanish and Portuguese settlements it was rich in religious houses and churches, there being four cloisters — Jesuit, Capuchin, Dominican, Benedictine — a nunnery, and seven churches. Below the town, on the south-west, flowed the river Biberibe, before the mouth of which lay a long sandy spit. At the extremity of this was a village known as Povo, or the Reciff, consisting chiefly of warehouses, and serving as the port of Olinda, the spit aforesaid affording an easy road of communication between the two places. Beyond Povo, and separated from it by a narrow channel of shallow water, was an island lying between the two arms of the river Capibaribe, called Antonio Vaz, after the name of a former proprietor. Between the outer ridge of rock, which fronted the ocean, and the inner ridge of sand, which formed the bar of the rivers, and which were distinguished from each other as the Stone and the Sand Reciffs respectively, was enclosed a considerable sheet of water, named the Pozo, which being from •eighteen to nineteen feet in depth formed a safe and sheltered haven. It has already been mentioned that there were three entrances through the Stone Reciff into this harbour, one on the north, the Barra, available for large vessels, two on the south, the Barrette dos Affogados and the Passa de los Corrales, which admitted only smaller craft to pass.31
[and if you need it,
here's help in using the map,
p686 The defences of this harbour consisted of two forts, one named San Jorge, between Olinda and the village (the Reciff), originally intended as a guard house against the Indians, but now strengthened,32a and another on the Stone Reciff, on the south side of the Barra, known as San Francisco. On hearing of the approach of the Dutch fleet Albuquerque had taken all possible precautions, as far as his limited resources permitted, to make the Pozo and the Reciff impregnable to an attack from the sea.32b The garrisons and armaments of the forts were personally inspected by the governor, and supplied with all necessaries, and two tried soldiers appointed to their command, Captain Antonio de Lima to San Jorge, Captain Manuel Pacheco d'Aguiar to San Francisco. Within the Barra sixteen ships were drawn up in two lines, chained together and filled with combustibles, and Captain Amaro de Quiros had orders to fire them should the Netherlanders attempt to force the passage.33 Two ships were also sent under the command of Nuno de Mello de Albuquerque to hold the narrower passages. For the defence of the Reciff entrenchments were thrown up and armed with cannon from the ships; and two batteries, each mounting eight guns, were erected on either side of Fort Jorge. Having taken these vigorous measures of precaution for the security of the port, the attention of the governor was next bestowed upon Olinda, where his presence was even more urgently required than on the Pozo, for, as we have seen, it was the intention of the Dutch commanders to make a simultaneous attack by the fleet on the sea defences and by the soldiery, under Waerdenburgh, on the town of Olinda. There was no time to be lost, as on the evening of 14 Feb. sixteen vessels, under the command of the rear-admiral, Claes Corneliszoon Melck-Meydt, having the main body of the troops on board, sailed northwards, to effect, if possible, a landing above the town, while Lonck with the rest of the fleet ran south to get to the windward of the harbour.
The manoeuvre of the admiral, whose movements we will first follow, was successfully carried out. On the next morning, the 15th, in lovely weather before a fair breeze, his ships came into the offing, prepared for action. His orders were that the 'Leeuwinne' p687and five other ships, manned only by sailors, were to sail through the Barra, and then to anchor between the two forts and bombard them. These were to be followed by nine yachts under Admiral Ita, each carrying twenty sailors and two companies of soldiers, which were to be ready to run into the harbour under cover of the ships, as soon as the forts were silenced. Two other ships were sent to reconnoitre, and, if possible, force the Barrette. Lonck himself took up his post with the rest of his force close to the reef, on the alert and prepared to take action as circumstances should direct.34 The 'Leeuwinne' and her five comrades accordingly advanced gallantly, and did their utmost to effect their entrance into the Pozo, but without result. The barrier opposed by the double line of ships chained together effectually prevented a passage. These were intended to have been used as fire ships, but when sunk by the storm of balls poured upon them by the Dutch35 they presented, perhaps, an even more formidable obstacle than when afloat. In a similar way the attempt to enter the Pozo through the Barrette channel failed. After a brave defence the ship of Nuno de Mello de Albuquerque was sunk, but not before its captain had removed the guns, and had caused his crew to scuttle three other ships laden with stones in its rear. Lonck meanwhile at long range from outside the reef had engaged the forts in a fierce cannonade, which lasted for six hours, but without causing much serious damage, his men being prevented from taking accurate aim, owing to the rolling of the sea.36
In the afternoon Matthias de Albuquerque, on hearing the continuous roar of the firing, and seeing the harbour enveloped in smoke, hurried back from Olinda, and visited both the forts in person.37 He found all well, and learned that the bombardment, though so heavy and long sustained, was doing little harm; indeed, the loss of life among the defenders seems to have been ridiculously small, not amounting, according to Portuguese authorities, to more than four killed and six wounded. As evening drew on Lonck saw that his efforts to get possession of the harbour were fruitless, and accordingly gave directions to cease firing and withdraw the ships out of range of the enemy's batteries. The naval assault had p688ended in failure in this first encounter, as naval assaults upon land defences have so often failed unless adequately supported by a military force on shore. The admiral, however, had not to wait long before such combined operations were successfully employed.
The squadron conveying Waerdenburgh and his army meanwhile sped on its way, and on the morning of the 15th came to land through an opening in the reef a little to the south of the Pao Amorello. All the day was occupied in bringing the troops on shore on board the sloops and boats; Waerdenburgh was himself the first to land, so as to be able personally to superintend the operations, and keep his men well in hand to resist any sudden attack from the enemy. Nothing, however, occurred to interfere with the disembarkation. A few Portuguese were seen in the distance, but no opposition was offered. The number of men under Waerdenburgh's command, as given by Ambrose Richsoffer, in all probability with the utmost exactness, amounted to 2,101 soldiers and 699 seamen, with two three-pound pieces, and in addition to these 300 sailors for the train.38 The troops, as they landed, were drawn up in order of battle, and, as night drew on and dense woods lay at a short distance from their right flank, they were bivouacked upon the beach, and every precaution taken to guard against surprise. Richsoffer, to whom we owe such an interesting personal narrative of these events, brings the scene more vividly before us by telling us how, as he stood on watch between ten o'clock and midnight, worried by the flies, and constantly on the alert through false alarms, he recalled that exactly eighteen years before, at that very hour, he had himself first seen the light in the good city of Strassburg. It was indeed a strange situation for so young a man thus to be standing on the shore of that vast and wonderful continent, to visit which he had adventured so much; but the sense of exultation was evidently calmed and solemnised by the thought of the unknown dangers that lay before him on the morrow, and the recollection that it was his birthday brought amidst the darkness of the tropic night soft memories of his old home near the far-off Rhine. But with the first dawn the call to arms quickly put an end to sentiment and moralising in the presence of the stern realities of the situation. The first act of the p689general was to order all the boats to return to the ships,39 thus plainly telling his men that there lay before them no hope of safety except in victory. Prayers were then offered up, after which Waerdenburgh proceeded to divide his force into three divisions. The advance guard consisted of 934 men, under the command of Lieut.‑Colonel Adolf van Elst, the centre of 1,049 men, under Lieut.‑Colonel Herman Gottfried van Stein-Callenfels, the rear-guard of 965 men, under Major Foucke-Honcx. Waerdenburgh himself accompanied the vanguard, and as soon as all was ready the troops began to march along the beach, under the guidance of a Jew, Antonio Diaz Paparrobale,40 formerly a merchant in Olinda, in the direction of that town, which lay •some six miles to the south. They met with no resistance until they arrived at the Rio Doce, a tidal river, behind which, strongly entrenched, they found a considerable force of the enemy awaiting them. It was now 6 A.M., and for a short time Waerdenburgh halted his men until the ebb, which had now set in, should render the stream fordable.
Such was the position of affairs when Matthias de Albuquerque arrived upon the scene with reinforcements.41 The governor, as related above, had betaken himself on the previous evening to the Reciff, and had personally visited the forts in the thick of the enemy's fire, to encourage the defenders in their resistance. After seeing the Dutch fleet retire, foiled in this their first attempt to capture the harbour, and having satisfied himself that all was in readiness to oppose successfully a renewal of the attack, Albuquerque had returned to Olinda. He there learnt of the landing of Waerdenburgh, and finding that it was too late to oppose the disembarkation, he lost no time in collecting such troops as were available, and in giving orders that the right bank of the Rio Doce should be entrenched, and the passage of the river disputed. The force consisted in all42 of 550 infantry, 100 cavalry, and 200 Indians, under the command of Antonio Felipe Camaran, afterwards so famous. Between nine and ten o'clock, the tide being sufficiently low, the Dutch vanguard boldly waded across the stream, which rose to their waists, and fiercely attacked the enemy's entrenchment. Meanwhile three armed launches advanced up the river and opened fire upon their flank.43 The resistance at first was p690resolute, and the assailants were twice repulsed,44 but the effective fire of Waerdenburgh's field-pieces, and the danger of their retreat being cut off by the advancing boats, caused a panic among the raw troops, and in half an hour's time all was over. The greater part fled into the neighbouring woods, leaving Albuquerque at the head of only about 100 men. With these he retreated towards the town, but on receiving a reinforcement made another effort to stem the progress of the invaders; the newcomers, however, speedily took flight and followed their comrades into the shelter of the woods.45
Waerdenburgh now ordered his three divisions to attack the town at three different points — that of Van der Elst to assault the Jesuit cloister, that of Stein-Callenfels to march straight up a narrow street between the Jesuit and Franciscan cloisters towards the upper town, while Foucques-Honcx was directed to make his way along the shore, with the object of capturing the north fort, which defended the approach from the sea.46 The Portuguese general threw himself with the remnant of his troops into the road leading to the Jesuit cloister, which he barricaded; but Waerdenburgh, guided by a prisoner, made a détour through the wood, and Albuquerque, finding his position turned, fled with only twenty followers to the Reciff.47 The Dutch, pressing on, found the cloister gates shut, but ladders were at once placed against the walls, and after a short but vigorous resistance the place was carried.48 While this was taking place Stein-Callenfels's men had occupied the heights without resistance, and were from that point of vantage able to fire down into north fort, which was quickly abandoned by its garrison to the advancing troops of Foucques-Honcx. With the appearance on the south side of the town of another detachment of 500 men, which had been sent by the admiral from the fleet to render assistance, all resistance ceased and the capture was completed. Thus, with the loss of only fifty or sixty men in all, Waerdenburgh found himself in possession of the town of Olinda.
The soldiers, worn with heat, marching, and want of food, committed some acts of disorder, chiefly in their search for wine; but p691the accusation against them49 of gross excesses cannot be sustained. Not much loot, indeed, was found in the town, since, contrary to the express commands of the governor, most of the wealthy inhabitants had fled to the woods, taking their valuables with them. Two hundred chests of sugar and various articles of merchandise were all that was found. On the following day the commander-in‑chief and the admirals joined Waerdenburgh, in order to consult on the next steps to be taken, and, as the place was too large and scattered to be adequately defended, it was resolved to concentrate the troops in the upper town and to barricade the streets.
The position was a difficult one in the midst of an unknown and hostile country, until by the capture of the Reciff the fleet could find a harbour, and thus a base for future operations. But as the leaders of the expedition sat there in consultation upon the heights they must have perceived that already their enemy had deprived them of all hope of an immediately profitable victory. Albuquerque had, no doubt, as Portuguese writers unanimously aver, committed a great mistake in leaving the strong position of the Reciff and going out to fight with far inferior forces the advancing columns of Waerdenburgh, whose landing he had not been able to hinder. And as he fled away from Olinda with a mere handful of followers he was probably fully conscious of his serious error of judgment. He had not been able to protect the city, and he had lost the only troops that were available for a successful defence of the harbour. Seeing, then, that he could not save the warehouses of the Reciff from the foe, he determined to destroy them, and thus at the same time give vent to his anger against the merchants of Olinda for the poor support they had given him and for their cowardly disregard of his orders. So at midnight he commanded that everything should be burnt, and before the next morning the Povo with all its vast stores of merchandise was reduced to ashes. The flames had consumed 17,000 chests of sugar, besides vast quantities of Brazil wood and other valuable wares. Albuquerque claimed that he had thus deprived the Netherlanders of booty worth 4,000,000 ducats.50 At the same time all the merchantmen in the harbour were either fired or scuttled at the entrance; and having, as far as his means permitted, strengthened the garrisons of the two forts of San Jorge and San Francisco, the governor withdrew, taking with him a few men and some powder and munitions to a house on the mainland, a musket-shot only from Fort San Jorge and accessible to it at low water, known as the 'Casa da Asseca.' Here he was able to watch the progress of events, and at the same time to gather round him from the neighbouring p692villages and plantations materials for the creation of a fresh fighting force. His position was, in fact, very similar to that of the Portuguese after the capture of San Salvador six years before, and his experience on that occasion led him to hope much from a renewal of the same tactics.
The Netherlanders meanwhile were fully aware that without possession of a safe harbour their position was untenable. On the 19th, therefore, while the land forces at Olinda were busily occupied in making the upper town secure against surprise, the fleet sailed down once more to the Stone Reciff to reconnoitre, and if possible to force a passage through the Barra. In face of the strengthening of the forts and the number of vessels that had been sunk in the entrance the admirals deemed it, however, an impracticable enterprise. It was clear that the forts must first be captured, and, after consultation with the general, it was resolved that an immediate attempt should be made to seize San Jorge by a night assault. Accordingly Waerdenburgh ordered Lieut.‑Colonel Stein-Callenfels to choose out twenty to thirty men from each company, making a total force of about 400 to 500 men.51 These set out from Olinda at sundown, and at 10 P.M. all was in readiness. The garrison of San Jorge consisted of but thirty-six men, but they were under an experienced and brave commander, Captain Antonio de Lima, and the governor had himself on the previous day, in anticipation of an assault, animated them with his presence, and with his own hands assisted the soldiers in placing beams upon the parapets to fling down upon the assailants should an attempt be made at an escalade. He likewise gave orders that three pieces of artillery should be charged with nails and musket-balls, and so placed as to sweep the foot of the ramparts.52 At midnight the Dutch scaling parties advanced to the walls, but they found the defenders on the alert. They rushed up their ladders only to find them too short; the beams that were in readiness were hurled upon them from above, and then, as the mass of fallen men lay struggling in the ditch, they were fully exposed to the deadly fire of the guns on the ramparts. Again and again, with useless gallantry, the Netherlanders renewed their attacks; they even circled round the fort and attempted, axe in hand, to break through the gate; but they were driven away by the fire to which they were here exposed from Fort San Francisco, and at length, after two hours' fighting, were compelled to retire. They left behind them twenty dead and forty or fifty wounded, their ladders, and some prisoners.53 The p693loss of the defenders amounted to five killed and eight wounded.54 Albuquerque visited the fort on the following morning to congratulate De Lima and his men on their brave defence, and foreseeing a renewal of the attack in yet stronger force increased the garrison to the number of eighty.
This success gave great encouragement to the Portuguese, and the Dutch commanders saw plainly that they must set about the siege of the place in all earnest if they hoped to get it into their hands, and use their military superiority by investing the place in regular form. On the 25th, accordingly, two bodies of five hundred men each were placed under the command of Lieut.‑Colonel van der Elst and Major Foucques-Honcx respectively, with orders to collect materials for making trenches, and this done to proceed to the task with the utmost despatch, relieving each other alternately.55 Already on the 27th the investing force had made themselves secure against attack from without, and had begun to draw their lines nearer to the forts, which meanwhile kept up an incessant fire on them, but without doing much damage. On 1 March a battery was erected, armed with three large and three smaller guns, for the bombardment of the walls. These at once began to pour in a continuous stream of balls, and, as the defences were but weakly constructed, the walls quickly fell in ruins, and a breach was opened. Antonio de Lima on the very first day of bombardment sent a message to the governor to say that he could not hold out without assistance.56 But Albuquerque could do nothing, so that on the following day, after valiantly attempting to reply to the fire of the Netherlanders, the brave commandant at last, having lost nineteen killed and twenty-two wounded out of an effective of eighty men, and finding that there was no hope of succour, at 9 A.M. hoisted a white flag, and after a short parley57 surrendered on the condition that the garrison should give up their artillery and stores, and should march out with flags flying and matches burning, and should, on taking an oath not to serve against the United Provinces for six months,58 be set free to go whither they would. There can be p694absolutely no doubt as to the authenticity of these articles of surrender, which are textually given in the various Dutch authorities; but there can be no question that, owing to some misunderstanding, De Lima and some forty of his men refused to take the oath, and were in consequence made prisoners and placed in confinement.59
As soon as San Jorge was in his hands Waerdenburgh at once sent a summons to Fort San Francisco to call upon the commandant to surrender. Manuel Pacheco d'Aguiar at first asked for three days' respite, that he might communicate with the governor; but the Dutch general was peremptory, and seeing the hopelessness of resistance with his small garrison, D'Aguiar capitulated on the same conditions as had been awarded to De Lima. On the following day a general thanksgiving was held for the success which had placed so valuable a possession in the hands of the West India Company. On 3 March, the obstacles in its path having at length been removed, the fleet sailed through the Barra into the harbour, and on the same day a force under Stein-Callenfels crossed over from the village of the Reciff to the island of Antonio Vaz, and without opposition occupied the cloister that stood upon it. No time was lost in completing the conquest.
Meanwhile Matthias de Albuquerque was well aware, through his experience at Bahia, that with the loss of Olinda and the Reciff the fate of Pernambuco was as yet by no means sealed; the real struggle was still to come. His position was a difficult one; he had few troops at his disposal, and suffered from an almost total want of the munitions of war, and, what was even worse, he had made enemies among the settlers. Some of them were ready to treat with the invader; others were so openly hostile that two attempts were made to set fire to his house, La Asseca.60 Knowing, however, as he did, how entirely dependent a large force confined in the upper town of Olinda and the forts to Reciff were for fresh provisions of every kind, and especially for fresh water,61 upon free access to the surrounding country, he skilfully formed his plans accordingly, and at once took measures for putting them in execution. He selected as the site for a central fortified camp the p695house of a settler named Antonio de Abreu. This was most advantageously situated on a small eminence, about a league alike from Olinda and the harbour, lying not far from the left bank of the river Capiberibe, and about a musket-shot from a small stream called Paranamerim, which was at times dry. It thus dominated the roads leading inland, which, owing to the windings of the Capiberibe and the floods of the Biberibe, were confined within a comparatively narrow belt of country between those rivers. Here, within reach of abundance of wood and water, he, as early as 4 March, began to erect a strong fortification, on which he mounted four guns which had been taken from the vessel sunk in action at the mouth of the Barrette.62 To this fortified camp Albuquerque gave the name of 'El Real del Buen Jesus.' At first the garrison was but twenty in number, but reinforcements rapidly came in from the towns and villages and mills, regulars, settlers, negroes, and Indians. These last, amounting at first to 300 men of the nation of the Tobayares, were under the command of a chieftain named Antonio Felipe Camaran, an able and important man, who had already for his services been honoured by the king with the title of Don, and made knight and commander of the order of Christ.63 But the Real or Arrayal was not sufficient in itself to keep the Dutch imprisoned in their fortress; the scheme of Albuquerque was that it should form the centre and rallying-point for a much wider distribution of his forces. All points of exit from the Dutch stronghold to the mainland were seized and held. To a rich inhabitant, Antonio Ribeira de Lacerda, was entrusted the task of defending the passage of the Rio dos Affogados with 130 men; at a cannon-shot's distance from Lacerda, and scarcely a musket-shot from the Reciff, was stationed, on the bank of the Biberibe, Lourenço Cavalcanti de Albuquerque, at the head of a detachment of sixty men; with a similar force at a short distance from these last Luis Barbalho Begerra held some deserted houses;64 lastly, at 400 paces from Olinda a force of 180 men despatched from Paraita by the governor, Antonio de Albuquerque, were posted under the command of Antonio's brother Matthias de Albuquerque Maranhão. Thus the Netherlanders found themselves enclosed by a string of fortified posts. Nor was this all. From the Indians and the settlers most accustomed to live in the open the Portuguese general formed small companies, known as ambush captaincies,65 of p696about a dozen men, each under tried leaders, with the duty of lying in wait for any parties of the enemy who might venture into the woods, thus rendering it impossible for them to leave the cover of their entrenchments except in force and with the utmost precaution. In devising so rapidly such a scheme of defence Albuquerque showed that he possessed very considerable military abilities, and by the great measure of success which attended his efforts made amends to no small extent for his initial failure.
It was a strange situation, the Dutch being without wood, water, fruit, or fresh meat, unless they obtained it through foraging on the mainland at the risk of falling into ambuscades amidst the unknown wooded country, the Portuguese likewise suffering great privations, the men some days having nothing but a spike of maize to eat, their garments in rags, mostly barefoot, and plagued by swarms of mosquitoes and other stinging insects.66 On 11 March a welcome reinforcement reached the Reciff. On that day the nine ships of the original expedition which were still wanting arrived in the harbour, having on board three representatives of the board of directors of the company, Jehan de Bruyne, Philips Serooskercken, and Horatio Calendrini,67 together with 665 soldiers, under Lieutenant-Colonel Seton, and large quantities of ammunition and stores. The arrival of the fresh troops at once led to an effort being made to free the garrison from the annoyance to which it was exposed through the 'ambush captaincies,' from whose wonderful activity and omnipresence several foraging parties had already suffered, by an assault being made in force on the centre of the enemy's position, the camp of Bom Jesus itself. The attack was entrusted to Stein-Callenfels and a force of about 600 men. It failed. Heavy rain fell, the Portuguese defended themselves valiantly, and the assailants were obliged to retire with the loss of four killed and twenty wounded. Finding that they could not drive the enemy away, the Dutch now set to work to make their own position secure. The cloister in the island of Antonio Vaz was entrenched and known henceforth as Fort Ernest, and a new fort was built on the Sand Reciff, near to San Jorge, so as to command the entrance to the harbour; this was named, after one of the 'councillors of policy' Fort de Bruyne.68
Measures were also taken for the future administration of the conquered territory. On 14 March, according to the instructions p697which they had brought with them from the Nineteen, the representatives De Bruyne, Serooskercken, and Calendrini installed themselves in office as councillors of policy. The new council was invested with supreme authority in the company's Brazilian domains, and consisted of four members, the three representatives and Waerdenburgh, who was appointed governor. The governor had the command of the troops, named the officers, and was responsible for the punishment of crime and the maintenance of law and discipline, but in all matters of higher policy was under the necessity of consulting the council, in which body he occupied only the second seat, each of the other councillors becoming president in turn. By this means the directors hoped to keep the real control in the hands of their own civilian representatives, the governor, except in matters of military detail, having no independent executive authority.69
The necessities of the situation gave, however, to Waerdenburgh his full share of occupation and responsibility. Constant skirmishes were taking place, generally to the disadvantage of the Netherlanders, and it was understood on both sides that it was war to the knife;70 no quarter was given or asked. The position of affairs was that of a deadlock. The Portuguese could effect nothing against the Dutch fortifications. On the other hand the Dutch were unable in safety to set foot upon the mainland in quest of the necessaries of life. Lonck himself, as on 26 March he was making his way along the sandy spit between the Reciff and Olinda with an escort of 50 men, was attacked by a party of Indians, and the admiral barely escaped with his life. His horse, wounded with two darts, carried him out of the fight, but of his men 36 lost their lives, and most of the others were wounded.71
Emboldened by this success, the guerilla companies made it almost impossible for the Dutch to venture out of the cover of their lines; their foraging parties were invariably attacked, and sometimes suffered heavily. It was time now for the original fleet to be setting their faces homewards. Banckart accordingly on 8 April set sail with eight ships for St. Helena, and on the 20th Uitgeest with eight others to cruise off Bahia. At the same time reinforcements p698kept arriving. On 5 April two vessels laden with ammunition and provisions, and carrying 84 soldiers, entered the Pozo, and were followed on the 20th and 21st by four others, likewise bringing stores, and, besides 70 soldiers, having on board three directors of the company, with their wives and families. Two of these, Servatius Carpentier and the commandeur Joannes van Walbeeck, took their seats as additional councillors of policy.72 Their arrival was the signal for Lonck's departure. On 5 May the admiral-in‑chief resigned his functions into the hands of the council, and on the same day Dirck de Ruyter started for the West Indies with a squadron of six ships and two yachts, and Lonck himself set sail directly for Holland with eight ships and a yacht. Only Ita of the original naval commanders remained, and him the council determined to send with yet another squadron of ten vessels to the West Indies, in order that after junction with De Ruyter he might be at the head of a force sufficiently strong to intercept, if possible, the homeward-bound Spanish treasure fleet.
On 14 May Ita, having received his instructions, set out for Olinda to take leave of the council, and rested the night in the town. On the following day, as he was returning to the Reciff under the convoy of ninety soldiers under Colonel Daye, the force was suddenly attacked by a large body of the omnipresent guerillas. A heavy rain was falling, which prevented the Dutch from using their muskets, and left the soldiers exposed to the arrows and darts of the Indians, so that, despite all the efforts of the admiral and colonel, they broke and fled. Ita was in great danger, and defended himself with the utmost valour as he retreated slowly towards the town. Fortunately his evil plight was seen by Waerdenburgh, who hastened with a detachment of troops to the rescue. He arrived in time to save the admiral's life, but thirty of the escort already lay dead upon the field.73 These two narrow escapes of Lonck and Ita, within so short a time, while traversing the main road between Olinda and the Reciff, show conclusively how daring the 'ambush captains' had become, and that the Netherlanders were not masters of a single foot of ground outside their forts. Ambuscades and guerilla warfare, however, are one thing, the assault of entrenched positions quite another. On 24 May74 Albuquerque resolved to try and storm the new Fort Ernst on Antonio Vaz. The attack, which was made in great force, was skilfully planned. The garrison were taken by surprise; the outworks were rushed and the guns dismounted. But it was only a momentary panic. The Netherlanders, under the gallant leadership of Major Schups,75 quickly rallied, and a fierce p699struggle ensued, which, after a fight lasting for two hours, led to the defeat of the assailants. Neither side suffered heavily, but on that of the Dutch Lieutenant-Colonel van der Elst was wounded, and on that of the Portuguese the valiant Captain Lacerda was killed.76 Another attack on Fort Ernst on 2 June was likewise driven off with considerable loss, as was a later assault on Fort Frederick Henry, a new fort with five bastions, which the Dutch had erected on the further side of Antonio Vaz, in order to make sure of their possession of the island. These defeats aroused much dissatisfaction among his followers against Matthias de Albuquerque, and there were general complaints that it was unwise and rash to hurl untrained men against entrenchments defended by disciplined troops. It was, perhaps, not good generalship, but the difficulties of Albuquerque were so great that he doubtless, encouraged by the success of his men in the woods, thought it well to divert their thoughts from their privations by a serious attempt to dislodge the enemy, even at the risk of failure.
His situation was indeed at this time deplorable, though no worse than that of the invaders. The Dutch were shut off from the land, the Portuguese from the sea, and while the former, dependent upon the intermittent arrival of ships for their stores, could get no fresh meat or fruit, the latter, living amongst wild impassable woods, were in equally sore need of regular provisions, and had no hospitals or adequate shelter.77 During this month of June we find Richsoffer78 complaining that the garrison of the Reciff were reduced to eating cats and rats, and dared not send out foraging parties for fear of being surprised, and we read of the troops of Albuquerque at the same time receiving as their daily ration 'a single spike of maize' each.79 And so, without much that was eventful taking place, the year wore on, each side with grim tenacity holding its own and awaiting the arrival of aid from the home authorities.
1 De Laet, p132.
2 De Laet (p124) says twelve, but only gives the names of eleven vessels.
3 De Laet, pp128‑30. Antonii Thysii Historia Navalis (Lugd. Bat. 1657), p231. In this fight Jan Mast, captain of the 'Walcheren,' afterwards admiral of the Brazilian coast, specially distinguished himself.
5 For accounts of the taking of the treasure fleet see Antonii Thysii Historia Nav. pp240‑244; Gottfried, Hist. Antipodum (Frankfort, 1633), pp130‑44; Aitzema, Saken van Staet en Oorlog, I.720‑5 (on p809 is Piet Hein's own report to the states-general); De Laet, pp137‑47 (here is a complete list of ships and armament); Luzac, Rijkdom van Holland, I.320; Leeven en Daaden der Doorluchtigste Zeehelden door V. D. B. (Amsterdam, 1683), pp502‑11.
6 The commander of a large fleet under the West India Company always received the title of general, and he had under him, as second in command, an admiral, and sometimes also a vice-admiral. The commander of a small squadron was named commandeur or admiral, with a vice-admiral under him. These titles, although approved by the states-general, did not confer rank in the service of the state — only in that of the company.
7 A complete list of the by is given in De Laet, pp145‑7, and Leeven en Daaden, pp507‑11, the last very detailed.
8 Aitzema, Saken van Staet en Oorlog, I.725; Luzac, Rijkdom van Holland, I.320.
9 De Laet, p143: 'Dus werdt dese kostelijcke Vloot genoeghsaem door sonderlinge bestellinghe ende genade Godes inde handen van de onse ghelijck gheworpen sonder groote weer daarop te doen. D'welck de Generael oock wel erkende want my wel ghedenckt dat weder t'huys ghekommen zijnde ende siende het toelopen van't volck ende de goote Loff die hem op alle plaetsen gaven; my seyde: siet hoe het volck nu raest om dat soo grooten Schat t'huys brenghe daer weynich voor hebbe ghedaen; ende te voren als ick der voor hadde ghevochten ende verre grooter daden ghedaen als dese, en heeft men sich naeuwelijcks aen my ghekeert.'
10 Aitzema, Saken van Staet en Oorlog, I.900: 'goude en zilvere springaders.'
11 Ibid. I.900; De Laet, Kort Verhael, pp3‑31; Knuttel, Catalogue Pamph. no. 3909.
12 De Laet, pp166‑7; Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. foll. 1‑4. This last work, whose full title is Memorias Diarias de la Guerra del Brasil por discurso de nueve años desde el de 1630, escritas por Duarte de Alburquerque Coello (Madrid, 1654), is an authority of the very first value for the Portuguese side. Duarte de Alburquerque or Albuquerque was the proprietor of Pernambuco, and himself an eye-witness of all he relates from August 1631; for the previous portion he relied upon the equally authentic information contained in the despatches, letters, and probably the diary of his brother Matthias, who, as the narrative will show, was sent out by the Spanish government to undertake the defence of the colony, and was better qualified than any one else to furnish an account of his own military operations.
13 De Laet (pp167‑9) gives the fullest details about the expedition and its commanders, with the names, size, armaments, and crews of the several vessels; also Aitzema, Saken van Staet en Oorlog, I.993; Kommelijn, Leven en Bedryf van Frederick Hendrick van Nassauw, I.92. To these must be added another authority to which frequent reference will be made, Ambrosii Richsoffers Brassilianisch und West-Indianische Reise-Beschreibung (Strassburg, bey Josias Stadeln, ao 1677), pp40‑2. Richsoffer tells us that he was born 5 Feb. 1612, and was therefore only seventeen years old when he enlisted in the West India Company's service. He sprang from good Strassburg merchant families on both sides; his maternal grandfather fought at Lepanto. Two years before this he left home to complete his education. He spent 1627 at Sedan, 1628 at Paris, and then went to Mainz, Cöln, and Amsterdam. Here on 20 April he, as a volunteer, was with eighty-four others shipped on the 'Salamander' for transport in Lonck's fleet to Brazil.
14 The 'Salamander,' Captain Pieter Fransz, 600 tons, 38 guns, 138 sailors, 85 soldiers, a three-decker (Richsoffer, p3; De Laet, p167).
15 Ita was at this time with two vessels at the Grand Canary; Banckart with other two was sailing from Madeira.
16 Antonii Thysii Hist. Nav. pp250‑1; De Laet, p169; Kommelijn, p93; Van der Capellen, Gedenkschriften, p578; Brito Freyre, p163.
17 'Ghelijck of't ghehagelt hadde' (De Laet, p170).
18 'Soo datter groot geschreeuw ende ghekerm in't selve schip weirde ghehoord' (ibid.)
19 This is expressly stated by Brito Freyre, p163. De Laet gives extracts from a number of captured letters containing accounts of the fortunes of Toledo's fleet, pp177‑9. In one of these, dated Carthagena, 15 Jan. 1630, the following allusion is made to the encounter with Lonck: 'Den dry en twintigsten der selver maendt dese Armada slaeghs gheweest met acht Hollandschen schepen de welcke beneden de windt waren maer alsoo de selve wel konden zeilen en extraordinaris wel ghemonteert waren, soo zijnde naer wel schieten van d'een ende d'ander zijde verlaten.'
20 Van der Capellen, Gedenkschriften, pp507, 526‑7, 600; English Historical Review, V.61‑62 (1890).
21 De Laet, pp174‑6. The different chambers contributed as follows: — Amsterdam, 14 ships, 6 yachts; Zealand, 7 ships, 3 yachts; Maas, 5 ships, 3 yachts; North Quarter, 4 ships, 2 yachts; Groningen (Stadt en Landen), 5 ships, 2 yachts. Richsoffer makes the total 56, including some small vessels not reckoned by De Laet. Albuquerque with gross exaggeration gives the number of ships as seventy, of soldiers as 8,000, of sailors 5,000; so likewise the other Spanish and Portuguese authorities.
22 For a defence of Olivares see Santa Teresa, p90.
23 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 5; Brito Freyre, p164.
24 Kommelijn, I.90. He was thirty-six years of age.
25 Albuquerque, foll. 5‑11; Brito Freyre, pp115‑68; Santa Teresa, p91.
26 Richsoffer, pp42‑50; De Laet, p184.
27 De Laet, p185.
28 The best contemporary description of the natural features of Olinda and the Reciff is to be found in Nieuhof's narrative of his travels in Dutch Brazil. It may be read in Pinkerton's voyages, vol. XIV, p708, &c.
29 Santa Teresa, p90, writes, 'Olinda che in nobiltà e ricchezze pareggiavasi alle più opulenti di America.'
30 Brito Freyre, p170. De Laet says 2,000, p190 (exclusive of cloisters); vide also Arnoldus Montanus, De Nieuwe en Onbekende Werelt (Amst. 1671), pp387‑8.
31 De Laet, p191; Kommelijn, I.91. There are in contemporary writers a number of good maps of Olinda, the Reciff, and their surroundings, illustrating the operations of the Dutch forces under Lonck and Waerdenburgh. Among these may be mentioned those in Richsoffer's narrative, in Gottfried's Historia Antipodum siue Novi Orbis, 1631, also in a pamphlet in the British Museum (9772, aaa, 33), 1630, of which more will be said below, entitled A True Relation of the Vanquishing of the Towne Olinda, &c.
33 Albuquerque, fol. 11. This writer expressly states this: 'Hizo poner cables por las patillas de los timones, para que se encadenassen, i que se enramassem de brusca, i alquitran i otros artificios de fuego . . . quando lo intentasse ordenò se diessen fuego los ocho navios. Luego despues destos tenia otros ocho con la misma prevencion.' The Dutch authorities speak only of sunken ships — i.e. the writer of the True Relation says, 'The governor had stopped the mouths of the river of the Recife (namelie, the Poso and Barrete) with soncken ships;' similarly De Laet, p186. Possibly they were sunk, before being fired, by the cannonade of the Dutch themselves.
34 De Laet, pp185‑6; Aitzema, III.994; Kommelijn, pp97‑8; Brito Freyre, p170; Raphael de Jesus, Castrioto Lusitano, p27; Santa Teresa, p90; A True Relation, p4.
36 Raphael de Jesus, p27. 'The forts also plaied hostilie upon the ships, and with advantage, for the ships could not shoot level by reason of the wavering of the sea, and when they lighted upon the walls it made onelie whit spots without doing anie damage to the forts, onelie a little at the verie top of the walls' (A True Relation, p4).
37 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 16.
38 Richsoffer, p53. De Laet gives about 2,100 soldiers, 700 sailors (p185). Waerdenburgh, in his despatch to the states-general (Brit. Mus. Pamph., a contemporary translation into English), says: 'We resolved to fall upon the enemy in twoo places, to witte I with 2,400 soldiers and 300 saylers, with 300 saylers more to the traine.' The only difference here is that the line of division between the strictly military and naval contingents is not the same as with Richsoffer. The figures of the latter bear the appearance of authenticity. The Portuguese and Spanish exaggerate the number largely. Albuquerque speaks of 4,000 men, Santa Teresa of 6,000. Raphael de Jesus, however (p28), on this occasion gives the numbers correctly.
39 Waerdenburgh's despatch, 'Next morning very early I did send the boates towards the ships' (Richsoffer, p56). The Portuguese writers give an extension to this order; thus Brito Freyre, 'mãdando a todas as embarcações que se fisessem ao largo,' and Santa Teresa, 'ordinò all' armata, che si slargasse verso il mare.'
40 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 18.
41 Ibid.; Brito Freyre, p171.
42 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 18. Richsoffer, Commelijn, Montanus, Gottfried, Waerdenburgh, A True Relation, all the Dutch narratives, in fact (with the exception of De Laet, who is accurate) give the numbers as 1,800.
43 This is expressly stated by Albuquerque, fol. 19; so Brito Freyre, p173, Santa Teresa, p92, &c. It is not mentioned in any of the Dutch accounts of the fight, but there can be little doubt that these boats came from the yachts 'Overijssel' and 'Muyden,' which had been sent by Lonck 'te lopen onder de Stadt Olinda en te bespieden ofte gheleyentheyt was om eenigh volck aen landt te brengen' (De Laet, p185).
44 A True Relation, p5: 'The skirmidge was hot, and ours put back twice.'
45 Gottfried, p147: 'Cum nostri aliquo-usque progressi essent, aliud agmen Hispanorum se obtulit, qui tamen levi proelio commisso, mox in fugam versi in silvam se recepissent.' Richsoffer (p57) gives the combatants' description: 'Wir machten ihnen durch bestendiger Scharmutzieren den Sandt unter den Füssen so heiss.'
46 De Laet, p187; Montanus, p388.
47 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 19.
48 Waerdenburgh's despatch, p13. 'Wee did amount into the Jesuits' Cloyster, where the Backgates were bollwarckt and wee in clyming sawe them in the Cloyster arme themselves,' &c.
49 Notably by Santa Teresa, p92; but see Richsoffer, p58, and De Laet, p188.
50 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 21. Gil Correa de Castel Blanco, in a letter to the king, places it at 2,000,000.
51 Richsoffer, p61. The writer himself accompanied the column, and distinguished himself in the assault.
52 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 23.
53 Waerdenburgh's despatch to the states-general, p14. The writer of A True Relation says (p6), 'The Coronel [Waerdenburgh] commanded the Lieutenant Stein-Callenfels with 400 to 600 men, who quitted himselfe well in that action, and stormed twoo houres in the night upon the Fort, but seeing the skaling Ladders, which were raised, were found a fadden to short, and that the gates could not be opened because those of the small Fort, that lies on the Sea Recif, did much annoy us with their cannon, we resolved to retreite to spare our men, leaving us behind us aboute 20 dead and 40 or 50 wounded.'
54 Brito Freyre, p177; Santa Teresa, p93; Raphael de Jesus, p37.
55 Richsoffer, pp62‑3; A True Relation, p7; Waerdenburgh's despatch, p14; De Laet, p189.
56 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 30.
57 The surrender is thus quaintly described in A True Relation, p7: 'Afterwards, being the 2 March, having played all the morning with the ordinance, those of the Fort rolled up there Auncient, and put out a white sheete, and sought to parle.'
58 For the articles of surrender see Waerdenburgh's despatch, p14; Richsoffer, p64; A True relation, p9; De Laet, p189; Gottfried, p22.
59 The Portuguese and Spanish writers, following Albuquerque, accuse the Dutch of treachery (Brito Freyre, p174; Santa Teresa, p94; Raphael de Jesus, p40). Albuquerque's statement, fol. 30, runs thus: 'Assentaron que saldrian con armas libremente se irian para donde estava su General. Pero el enemigo guardò tan mal lo assentado que saliendo aun del Fuerte 60 hombres, obligaron a los demas a que lebantando dos dedos de la mano derecha jurassen de no tomar las armas seis meses contro los Estados de Olanda, Principe di Orange, Compañia occidental i ellos. El Capitan del Fuerte Antonio de Lima i su Alferez Jacinto Barreto, i los otros Capitanes Roque de Barros, Alonso de Alburquerque, i Francisco de Figueroa i algunas personas de mas obligaciones no lo quisieron hazer, respo[n]diendo, que era contra lo capitulado, i que aunque los degollassen no lo harian. Poniendolos en prision, &c.
60 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 26.
61 Ibid. fol. 33: 'en que no ay agua.'
62 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 31B; 'Estava ella en una pequeña eminencia, en medio, ia vista, casi una legua de la villa i Puerto, i Poblacion del Arrecife. Tomavanse de alli todos los caminos. Quedava tambien cerca al Rio Capibaribe, i aun mas el riachuelo Paranamerin con buena agua, i leña en terreno a proposito para ser soccorrido,' &c.
63 Brito Freyre, pp183‑4.
64 Ibid. p183: 'Casas de João de Velho Barreto.'
65 'Capitanes de emboscadas.' For a list of these see Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 34.
66 Brito Freyre, p89; Santa Teresa, p98. Many of the officers went unshod in order to encourage their men. Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 40, writes, 'Los mosquitos son un formidable adversario . . . segun lo jusgara quien lo conociere, i lo sufrio tantos años.'
67 They bore the title of politique raden — i.e. councillors charged with political control.
68 Corrupted by Portuguese writers into 'de Brum.' Its remains still exist (Netscher, Hollandais en Brésil, p181).
69 The regulations for the government of Pernambuco were drawn up by the Nineteen at its meeting at Middelburg in 1630, and are to be found in Aitzema, Saken van Staet en Oorlog, I.1055.
70 De Laet, p199; Montanus, p417. Some Portuguese were caught by Captain Jol in the act of poisoning a spring on Antonio Vaz, and two soldiers, who incautiously drank of the water, died.
71 Richsoffer, p22; De Laet, p194; Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 37; Brito Freyre, p192; Santa Teresa, p100; Raphael de Jesus, p60; Van der Capellen, Gedenkschriften, p563. All the Portuguese and Spanish writers grossly exaggerate the number of Lonck's escort. The Memorias Diarias are not to be relied on in the matter of dates until the arrival of Duarte. The writer here gives the date as 11 May. The attack on Lonck is clearly confused with that on Ita later.
72 Richsoffer, p73; De Laet, p195.
73 Richsoffer, p76; De Laet, pp195‑6.
74 The date given in Albuquerque, Mem. Diar., 24 March, is an error.
75 Richsoffer, p78.
76 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar., fol. 35; Brito Freyre, p198; Raphael de Jesus, p53; De Laet, p196; Richsoffer, p78; Van der Capellen, p600. Each side claim that the other lost about 200, but the Dutch put their loss at 1 killed and about 25 wounded, the Portuguese theirs at 6 killed and 10 wounded. It was impossible for either side to say how many their opponents lost, as the Indians dragged away the dead with ropes fastened round their necks; it is difficult to believe, however, that the numbers of casualties did not exceed those admitted above.
77 Albuquerque, Mem. Diar. fol. 38.
78 Richsoffer, p80.
79 Brito Freyre, p187: 'Hũa sola espigna de milha grossa.' The following quotation is made from a despatch of Matthias de Albuquerque: 'Dice mas Mathias de Albuquerque que nuestras fuerzas en el cuartel y puestos que ocupa en Pernambuco se van diminuyendo porque los mayores soldados son muertos y otros estan estropeados, los de menos cuenta no acuden à servir de buen animo, y la mayor parte estan enfermos, y cada dia enferman mas, con la entrada del ynvierno y asistencia de los ceuartles en los quales no hay los medicamientos necessarios para curarse por manera que se mueren destas faltas y de la que tienen de vestidos y calçado para repararse el tiempo,' &c. Consulta de la Junta de Portugal (24 Sept. 1631), Arch. Simancas.
Images with borders lead to more information.
on Dutch History
History of Brazil
A page or image on this site is in the public domain ONLY
Page updated: 11 Aug 11