The Lord Admiral, the Parliament-men and the narrow seas, 1625–27
in Connecting centre and locality
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While most historians analysing the 1620s have focused on Buckingham’s great expeditions – Mansfelt, Cadiz and the Ile de Re – contemporaries, particularly along the east coast, had their eyes on Dunkirkers, comparatively small Spanish warships then eviscerating English shipping. Indeed between late 1625 and early 1628, these Flemish corsairs captured no fewer than 522 English vessels. Several dozen Parliament-men in 1626 loudly and repeatedly complained about this situation, but aside from periodic bland reassurances, Buckingham apparently did nothing. Yet thanks to Add. MSS 37,816-7, we can see that Buckingham did respond to the complaints. In addition to repositioning naval assets to guard coastal shipping, he repeatedly exhorted his captains to try harder, rewarding those who did and punishing those who did not. He also pressed for the acquisition of small, more manageable warships which had some hope of catching Dunkirkers, and he organised relief schemes for those Britons imprisoned in Flemish jails. Furthermore, he constantly harped on these and many other counter-measures, all in the hope of soothing parliamentary critics. What makes this blizzard of orders so astonishing is that they effectively ended with the parliamentary dissolution.

Connecting centre and locality

Political communication in early modern England


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