In this country , it is good to kill an admiral from time to time



On June 21st , Anne Hilarion Constentin de Tourville took the command of the combined Brest and Mediterranean fleets totalling 75 ships of the line and 23 fireships and sailed on 23rd June into the Channel . By 30st June, the French were off the cape Lizard. Admiral Torrington of the Royal Navy sailed too, however he was convinced the French would be stronger : much of the Royal Navy had been diverted to protect their maritime commerce from privateers, and the Allied fleet now only had 57 English and Dutch ships of the line, totalling 4,173 guns, to Tourville's fleet of 4,600 guns.

On 10th July, off Beachy Head , Admiral Torrington advanced towards the French in line of battle commanded by Admiral Tourville. He placed the Dutch white squadron with 21 ships – commanded by Cornelis Evertsen in the van. Torrington himself was in the centre red squadron; the rear blue squadron, commanded by Vice-Admiral Ralph Delaval comprised both English and Dutch ships.
Tourville divided his force into the customary three squadrons, with white and blue, white, and blue pennants respectively. Tourville, aboard the Soleil Royal a 104-gun ship of the line commanded the centre squadron.The blue squadron in the French fleet was commanded by Chateaul-Renault , Admiral D'Estrées commanded the rear white and blue squadron.

At about 08 a.m. the Dutch and English fleets , being to windward, ran down together in line abreast, elongated in order to cover the whole French fleet and prevent doubling at either end. The Dutch squadron bore down on the leading French squadron to engage on a parallel course, but left the leading division of Château-Renault's squadron without opponent .
The French admiral wasn't going to wait for the Dutch admiral to correct his mistake and cut across Evertsen's path . Doubling on the Dutch squadron he was able to inflict heavy losses.
Vice Admiral Ashby of the red squadron failed to help the Dutch , as his ships were under fire from the Marquis de la Villette's division . When Admiral Torrington brought the remainder of the red squadron into action, he found difficulty in getting close enough of the French line and came no closer than twice gunshot range.Admiral Tourville, finding himself with few adversaries in the centre, find himself able to push forward , further strengthening the French attack .The Dutch were now opposed by the whole of Château-Renault's squadron, and the van and centre divisions of Tourville's squadron.
Delaval's blue squadron fought a desperate battle with d'Estrées in the rear. Evertsen , however, was forced to withdraw. The Dutch had maintained the unequal contest with very little assistance from the rest of the English fleet and he left two Dutch ships sunk, two shattered and dismasted vessel captured, and many badly damaged. Outmatched, Admiral Torrington try to end the battle late in the afternoon . In taking advantage of the tide , he believed to be able to escape and gain the safety of the Thames . Then , the one-sided destruction of the English fleet began as Admiral Tourville ordered a general chase . Dispersed and completely outgunned by their opponents , the ships already badly damaged were burnt by their crews to avoid capture . If Torrington's flagship was one of the few ships lucky enough to avoid capture , Vice Admiral Delaval hadn't that chance and was forced to surrender .

Without losing a ship , Tourville had managed to destroy or capture more than 40 ships of the Dutch and English fleet . More , Admiral Torrington hadn't had the time to remove the navigation buoys of the Thames .

The defeat of Beachy Head had given the possibility for the French to invade England . Worse for the English side , Admiral Tourville realised this immediatly and dispatched a messenger immediatly to Versailles , asking for troops to attack Southern England ...


Jean Bart

On July 12th , the French task force leaded by Captain Jean Bart of the frigate l'Alcyon sailed into the mouth of the Thames. Despite having only three frigates and two fireships , the attack caught the English completely unprepared for such a raid . The news of Beachy Head had caused a schock to the country , the king and the army were in Ireland , the Navy was in the West Indies and the Mediterrannean . In the afternoon with the arrival of Tourville's fleet , it became clear that the government in London had never really considered that the French fleet could do what the Dutch had done thirty years ago .
To oppose the threatened invasion, 6,000 regular troops, together with the organised militia, were prepared by the Earl of Marlborough for the country's defence.
However , Tourville's most powerful ships of the line were not able to navigate on the Medway and the Thames , leaving only the ships of the line of third and fourth ranks with the frigates and the fireships to make the raid .

The French fleet arrived at Sheerness on July 13th, and launched an attack on the fort , Victor -Marie d'Estrées sailed as close to the fort as possible to engage it with cannon fire. Admiral Torrington was in command of the ships at anchor in the Medway and those off Sheerness, but his ships were deseperately outgunned and outnumbered now . It didn't help that Jean Bart had deliberately attacked his fireships .
When the French sailors began to land to take the fort , Torrington had no choice but to order the scuttling of his seven remaining ships . With Sheerness lost, its guns blown up by the French , Torrington sailed up the river for Chatham and organised the defence . Many officers were now assembled there with Torrington himself,but the next day several men of the admiralty board with orders to relieve Torrington of his command arrived . All gave orders countermanding those of the others .
River defences were hastily improvised with ships sunk, and the chains across the river were guarded by light batteries. But they weren't enough men again to defend the ships and the artillery . Again ,they made the mistake of trying to blockade the way by sinking blockships .
With the fact that the French fleet was using its lighter vessels to raid the Medway , the blockships were once again completely useless .
Using pilots loyal to King James who knew the Medway , D'Estrées's squadron took six days to assault the Medway and took Gillingham , Upnor Castle and raided heavily Chatham . It was only the arrival of Marlborough's troops who convinced him to disengage .

While D'Estrées's squadron was advancing up the Medway on July 14th, attacking the English defences at the chain, Château-Renault and Tourville's squadrons were raiding the Thames . Despite the fact , that they didn't even go as far as Gravesend , the effect was quite significant .
The following day, July 15th, the whole of England was in a panic as rumours were spreading that the French were in the process of transporting an army from Le Havre for a full-scale invasion and many wealthy citizens fled the city, taking their most valuable possessions with them . The government , which was at the time the Coucil of the Nine , was issuing completely confusing orders and the raid on Chatham on July 19th didn't reassure them .
Finally , on July 20th Admiral Tourville gave the order to retreat . He had lost nine fireships and two frigates , 240 sailors had been killed and 300 wounded .
The English had lost 21 warships , along with several dozens merchantmen the garrisons of Sheerness , Upnor Castle along the Medway and of course Chatham's dockyard had been badly damaged .

For the English people , such a disaster was evidently someone's fault . Luckily for the government , they had the perfect scapegoat for it ...

Aftermath July 20th - August 20th

Arthur Herbert , 1st Earl of Torrington

As soon it became clear that the French fleet was withdrawing from the Thames , the Earl of Nottingham ,England's secretary of state , accused Admiral Torrington of treachery , cowardice , to be unfit for a command , informing King William on July 13th "In plain terms ... Torrington deserted the Dutch so shamefully that the whole squadron had been lost if some of our ships had not rescued them." Nottingham was anxious to shift blame, it was he who had given the order to Torrington to make a stand and fight , despite beeing badly outnumbered .Nottingham's motives were obvious , but no one disputed his interpretation . Carmathen , Admiral Russel and Queen Mary had all urged Torrington to fight , at the time they were unconvinced that the French were as strong as Torrington reported, and considered that only the admiral's pessimism, defeatism or treachery could account for his reports .Admiral Russel himself had drafted the order to fight , and this order had been countersigned by Nottingham .

On July 23rd Torrington was sent to the Tower of London to await a court martial . The substance of the charges was that he had withdrawn and kept back, had not done his utmost to damage the enemy , failed to assist his own and the Dutch ships , failed to defend the Thames and the Medway and lost an entire fleet . Torrington blamed the defeat on the lack of naval preparations and intelligence – he had not been informed that the Brest fleet had been reinforced with the Toulon squadron. He also contended that the Dutch had engaged too early, before they had reached the head of the French line. For the impossibility to defend the Thames , he blamed the defensive preparations , which were according to him inadequate . To the outrage of the English seamen who, rightly or wrongly, regarded him as a political sacrifice to the Dutch – the court convicted him of all the charges quoting that he had failed to do his utmost , and condemned him to death . There was no royal prerogative of mercy , nobles and commoners wanted blood for Beachy Head and the raid on the Medway , they were unlikely to see reason . Cornelis Evertsen was not in England at the time , Vice-Admiral Delaval was prisoner and Vice-Admiral Ashby had been killed off Sheerness , leaving Torrington by far , as the sole possible culprit for the disaster .

On August 16th , Admiral Torrington , former first Lord of the Admiralty and Lord High Admiral was executed at Chatham . His execution was considered by a lot of officers as a judicial murder to cover the errors of the Council of Nine .

When he received the news of the execution at Versailles , Louis XIV is knowned to have asked in a letter to Tourville why such an act had been done . Tourville , who at the time was anchored off Le Havre to refit , answered " Your Majesty ,in this country, it is good to kill an admiral from time to time, in order to encourage the others " (Dans ce pays là, il est bon de tuer de temps en temps un amiral pour encourager les autres).

Very interesting so far. Hope to see more soon.
Thanks !

The Sun King changes his plans (July - September 1690)


The day after Beachy Head King William decisively defeated Louis' ally, King James, at the battle of the Boyne in Ireland. James fled to France, and appealed to Louis for an invasion of England .The problem was , no troops had been prepared for the invasion . The Marquis de Seignelay , Colbert's son , who was at the time the naval minister had not planned for an invasion and had thought no further than Beachy Head, writing to Tourville before the engagement " ... I shall be content if you will let me know as soon as possible after the battle your thoughts on the employment of the fleet for the rest of the campaign." After the raid on the Medway , Tourville anchored off Le Havre to refit and land his sick , waiting for troops and reinforcements for his fleet .The French corsairs , leaded by Jean Bart raided heavily the British Isles , forcing William's army , if not William himself , to remain in Ireland.

To the fury of Louis and Seignelay, James II had proved himself to be a nuisance . Politically , he managed to rally absolutely no one to his cause , on the military side , to say he was idiot was insulting the idiots .
The Sun king ,along with his prime minister Louvois wanted to break the Augsbourg's league . With the complete failure of Ireland , it seemed the invasion of England itself was a necessity now .
From July to August , 20 000 men were gathered to Le Havre to invade England . Bernardin Gigault , Marquis de Bellefonds and Marshal of France , was in command of the army , Tourville was in command of the naval forces . The problem was , Tourville had not complete control over the Channel anymore , with the return of Vice-Admiral Henri Killigrew from the Mediterranean .
Fortunately for the French ,Killigrew appeared to be a political admiral and declined to take any action against the French fleet , perhaps distressed over the fate of Torrington .Absent any orders , he decided not to contest the Channel to Tourville's fleet and instead sailed to the Netherlands for repairs , intending to add his ships with Dutch Admiral Philips van Almonde .
To say his actions were not appreciated in London were a huge understatement . King William , who just came back from Ireland to his capital was given the news by Nottigham and Russell . As they presented it , Killigrew's actions were those of a coward and a traitor . William agreed with them , but chose not to relieve Killigrew of his command immediatly . Instead , he gave the order that the Anglo-Dutch fleet was to seek battle against the French fleet , and in his own words , avenge Beachy Head and the Medway .
What the King didn't realise , and that his advisors included his wife neglected to tell him , was that the naval situation had drastically changed . Without Chatham's dockyards and Torrington's fleet , the superiority of the Anglo-Dutch fleet had been reduced to almost nothing , giving the Sun King's fleet a tactical parity for the first time in decades .Yet, sea battles were rarely decisive and it was almost impossible to inflict enough damage on ships and men to win a clear victory: ultimate success depended not on tactical brilliance but on sheer weight of numbers .

However , Killigrew received his new orders and sailed straight into the Channel , not wanting to be the next admiral to be court-martialed .On August 28th , Admiral Tourville received his new orders : he was under the command of Bellefonds , not King James . In the same time , Louis XIV gave the order to his admiral that if an English fleet was to threaten the invasion , he was under direct orders to search and destroy it . Warned by one of his frigates of the arrival of Killingrew , Tourville ordered his fleet to sail out Le Havre and to prepare for battle . On August 30rd the two fleets found each other .

BATTLE OF BARFLEUR (August 30rd 1690)


The fleets sighted each other at first light on August 30rd 1690 , off Cap Barfleur. On sighting the allied fleet Tourville held a conference with his officers. Their advice, and his own opinion, was to attack : Tourville felt bound by strict orders from the king to engage , while his others officers were eager to destroy and capture the allied fleet . In the light southwesterly breeze the fleets slowly closed, Killigrew from the northeast, and Tourville from the south, on a starboard tack to bring his line of battle into contact with Killigrew's. Both fleets were in three squadrons, each split into three divisions and commanded by a flag officer.
For the French fleet , the admirals commanding were Chateaurenault , Tourville and D'Estrées , for the Anglo-Dutch fleet , it was Almonde , Killigrew and Rooke .
The French fleet had gathered 78 ships of the line , 14 frigates and 15 lighter ships , 6460 cannons and nearly 41 000 men .
The Allied fleet had 82 ships of the line , 18 frigates and 17 lighter ships , for 6780 cannons and approximately 42 000 men .

Because of the calm conditions it was not until after 11 am, five hours after first sighting each other, that the two fleets engaged. Tourville had reinforced his centre, the White squadron under his own command, in order to engage Killigrew's Red squadron with a crushing superiority .
In order to achieve this , he had gathered his most powerful first-rank ships in the centre , including the Soleil-Royal , the Royal-Louis , two 104-gun ships and Ambitieux and Merveilleux which were 96-gun and 90-gun ships .
Elsewhere, Tourville sought to minimize damage by extending and refusing the van, to avoid them being turned and overwhelmed, while the rear was held back to keep the weathergage. Killigrew tried to counter by holding fire as long as possible, to allow the French to come closer . Almonde, in the van extended to try to overlap the French line, while Admiral Rooke , with the rear and some light units , sought to close and bring his Blue squadron into action. From around 11 am, and for the next hours, both fleets bombarded each other, causing considerable damage.
The battle continued for the rest of the day and was a massacre . But at 5 pm it became clear that while Almonde and Rooke were an equal match for Chateaurenault and D'Estrées , Killigrew was not able to contain Tourville anymore .

At 6 pm Joseph Andrault de Langeron of the 80-gun Souverain of the white squadron was able to break the English line , soon followed by an entire division of ships of the line . Immediatly , the French commanders launched their ships against the English fleet , trying to crush and capture as many ships as they could at close quarters .
Almonde and Rooke realised the battle was lost and escaped with the tide , while Tourville was annihilating Killigrew's squadron . At 8 pm the Royal Sovereign , Killigrew's flagship began to burn . The sight of the flames was a terrible shock to the moral of the English sailors who started to realise that they had failed to win the day .

By 10 pm the battle was almost over. Unsurprisingly, most ships on both sides were damaged, and some severely . It was the main reason why the French didn't give chase into the night. The other was of course , that all the officers were arguing who should have the honor to report the victory to Versailles ...

Tourville had lost two ships of the line and two frigates , while the Allied fleet had lost fifteen ships of the line ( thirteen burned and two captured ) , along with one frigate and six lighter ships .The human casualties were huge : it was estimated that more than 1 500 French and 2 000 English and Dutch had died , with a number of wounded twice these numbers . More than 2 000 men of the Anglo-Dutch fleet were prisoners of war . Vice -Admiral Killigrew was dead , along with Rear -Admiral John Carter and Vice-Admiral Callenburgh .

While Almonde decided to go back to Amsterdam after the battle , Vice-Admiral George Rooke decided to escape to Porthmouth .
The Allied fleet was no more , the invasion of England could begin ...

James and his kingdom ( September 1690 - November 1690)


On September 5th , for the first time since five hundred years , the French army invades England . The first landing is near Porthmouth , as the French wants to finish once for all the surviving fleet in its harbour . It is a complete success , the English commanders are forced to burn or scuttle their ships to avoid capture . Soon the 20 000 men army begin its campaign to reach London . If the only battle they have to fight is easily won against thirteen thousand untrained miltia , the French officers soon realise the hostility of the people .
James II's ill-advised attempts to catholicise the army and the government have proved increasingly unpopular with his subjects. His open catholicism and his dealings with catholic France have made him in the eyes of the protestants nothing more than a French vassal . After his escape , he has been seen as a puppet of the Sun king , and William's ministers are only too eager to support this view . As a result , they are few volunteers to help the French , and the majority are catholic . With the hostility against the invaders growing steadily , the only thing England needs is a spark to explode .
On September 7th , after a month of advance , the French army is at the gates of London . Marshal Gigault sent a messenger to the Earl of Marlborough , asking him to surrender the city . In his letter , the marquis of Bellefonds asked the English commander to be reasonable , that a battle here and now , in the most important town of England would be a disaster for both sides . The answer of the Earl is less than diplomatic , affirming to his opponent that if he wants the city , he is welcome to have it , but he will have to pass on his dead body first.

History will never know if Gigault really intended to do this , but the letter is read by James II too . Enraged and now mad with vengeance , James gives the order to the catholic troops he had gathered during the last month to storm the city . Nearly two thousand of his loyalists charge this day , followed quickly by the entire French army . Despite taking heavy casualties by the forts guarding the Thames , the soldiers crush the defences and the artillery defending London . Then begin the bloodbath . Marshal Gigault , realising what is happening , try to stop his troops but his efforts are too little and too late . After a few hours of real battle , the majority of his army is not enclined to the notion of mercy . The sack of London start in the afternoon and is going to end after an entire night of killing . Many houses where there is resistance are burned , sometimes with the inhabitants alive in it .
On September 8th , a red dawn and huge clouds of smoke are upon London . Wasting absolutely no time , James crowns himself in Westminster Abbey King of England , Scotland and Ireland . The cathedral at the time is not crowded : no way the French troops are going to allow too many of the English people to assist , when their dearest dream is now to kill the King .
Gigault wastes no time to request reinforcements , stating in a letter to Louvois " ... today we won a battle and took the capital , I'm afraid that James 's actions lost us England ." In that point he is quite right . Informed by the survivors of London and Marlborough himself , William takes the opportunity of the butchery to rally all the English and Scots to his banner and march to the South . Unfortunately for him , he moves too early and the French forces are more experienced than his own troops . He is defeated in open battle and must return to Nottingham. However , if William has taken a beating , he has not renounced the fight . The country is with him , he will wait the next campaigning season to defeat the French . In an hostile land where they have almost no support , the invaders are going to bleed .
While October and November passing , James II's supporters have to put down rebellions and revolts by the dozens in southern England . Atrocities are now countered by atrocities on each side , catholics are hunted and executed in the country and exemples are made at each crossroads . No one knows how much time James can remain king , but the odds aren't looking good for him .
The big issue at the moment is the food . With the beginning of winter , everyone begins to starve . Too many stocks have been burned by the armies of each side ; now there is food for the soldiers of James , but not for the common English peasant . The popularity of an England king has never been so low , the cold weather may save James for now , the next spring will be the time of vengeance for a lot of families which are seeing their loved ones dying of privation .

The league needs gold ( November 1690 - March 1691)

Louis Phelypeaux , Count of Maurepas and Pontchartrain

As the end of the year draws near , politics are going on the rise , while the armies stop to fight . For the league of Augsbourg , the situation is catastrophic . What began as a war to stop Louis XIV to reign supreme is increasingly turning into a disaster . Southern England in under James 's control , the French navy is beginning for the fist time its reign over the seas , in the Netherlands and Savoy the French armies are winning victories after victories . Denmark and Sweden have decided to end the war , and the Holy Roman Empire must fight at the same time the Ottomans . It is quite clear for the league that the French advance can't be allowed to continue , a new year of defeat for the forces of the league is certainly going to be the end for them . However , the coffers are turning emptier and emptier of gold as each day pass . For many , the solution appears to be Spain . Despite being at war , with Louis XIV , the Catalognian front has been very calm , as the French king has not the manpower to field an army to invade Spain with his other commitments . The Spanish Navy is intact too , as the French squadron of Toulon is with Admiral Tourville in the Channel . For the allies , Spain offers a wonderful opportunity to open a new battlefield which is going to severely weaken the French armies and to replenish their treasures with the gold and the products of the West Indies . In the mean time , counterattacks in the Spanish Netherlands and in Savoy are planned . With hope , 1691 will be the year which will put Louis XIV's armies on the defensive .

The ambiance at Versailles is rather happier : the two naval victories of Beachy Head and Barfleur have made the King enthusiastic and his pride in his navy is contagious . As the Marquis de Seignelay and Louvois are dying , the competition to replace them is spectacular . In the end , it's Louis Phélypeaux , count of Pontchartrain who is becoming the new naval minister , while the title of prime minister goes to Louvois's son . Unlike the King , Pontchartain has the ambition to use the navy to build an empire overseas . However , he's aware that a lot of nobles at Versailles aren't sharing his opinion . In order to convince them , he unveils in January at the Council of ministers his plans for the coming year : while the majority of the navy will stay in the Channel and the Sea of Ireland , a raid on Carthagena by the Carribean squadron is planned , along with a convoy for New France . Pontchartrain explains also to the King that he has the intention to encourage the corsairs to raid the Spanish and Dutch commerce , a decision widely supported by the other ministers . On the land war , the decision to try two new offensives to capture Namur and Turin is acknowledged . The king does not want to attack Spain because of the succession , in the case of England the court is now rather hostile to the cause of James , especially after the battle of London . In private , the king gives the order to his councilors to open unofficial negociations with each member of the league . A diplomatic victory now could signify the end of the war , and diplomats are opening a new game of promises as the snow falls .

In the East Indies , the war has also begun . Contrary to Europe , the situation is rather bleak for the French . The Dutch Fleet has captured Pondicherry in September and has no rival in this theater . For the moment , the other navies present here have decided to limit themselves to simple raids , in the hope that a new peace treaty will give back the harbours the Dutch took this year . Now they are screaming for reinforcements for their governments , knowing that the news they send will reach Europe in a few months .

Two Kings for one kingdom (March 1691 -May 1691 )

James II

In 1689, William III has encouraged the passage of the Act of Toleration which guaranteed religious toleration to certain Protestant nonconformists . It did not, however, extend toleration as far as William wished, still restricting the religious liberty of Roman Catholics and those of non-Christian faiths . Now with the new campaigning season , this error comes back with a revenge as Catholics are uniting behind James II's banner . Worse , Scotland and Ireland are still in a state of rebellion . If one army is still in Ireland , there is a shortage of troops to deal with the situation in Scotland . William knows the defeat of James must intervene quickly , or he may lose the Bristish Isles . Unfortunately , the Catholics troops are not particularly eager to fight the Protestants in open battle . Imitating the tactics used in the Netherlands , French and English troops have begun to build numerous forts north of London . As William's army soon realise , taking these forts one by one would be a disaster in terms of men and time lost . That's one of the reasons why during the months of March and April nothing significant happens on that front .

In May, the situation changes . The victory of the French who have taken Namur in the Spanish Netherlands gives James the feeling (justified ) that the reconquest of his kingdom has been assigned a rather lack of priority by the Sun king . James has always been too autocratic and he's now going to prove it again . On May 12 , he takes his army to the north , in order to crush William one for all .The order has been given without any warning to the French and sends Marshal Gigault in an apocalyptic anger . For him , James has proven to be a drawback , not an advantage . On May 17 , the two armies are facing each other near the town of Northampton . It's not really a battle . James is not able to do anything without botching it , while William is a very competent commander . The absence of the main French army who could have changed the tide of the battle is also remarked . At the end of the day , James 's army has ceased to exist as an entity . The pursuit lead by Guillaume himself is only stopped by the French forts north of London . The Protestants have won a great victory , which is inciting all the country again to rise against James . At the same time , the king has managed to come back to London , where he is mourning the loss of his army . He drinks too much and loses the few supporters he has ever had . Worse , the French have dropped the pretense that they are subordinated to him and are installing themselves as the true masters of Southern England . Ironically , they are less despised than James 's Catholics .

As the battlefield in England becomes a new stalemate , it is now clear for the two sides that a total victory this year is unlikely , especially for the French cause . But there are not any achievements on the diplomatic front : William is adamant that all the French army must evacuate England if Louis XIV wants to end the war . The conditions are , of course , completely unacceptable for the French king and the war continues without any end in sight .

Second Indian War (1688 -1694)


In North America, there was significant tension between New France and the northern English colonies, which had in 1686 been united in the Dominion of New England . As soon as the war began in Europe , New England and the Iroquois Confederacy fought New France and the Wabanaki Confederacy. The Iroquois dominated the economically important Great Lakes fur trade and had been in conflict with New France since 1680. At the urging of New England, the Iroquois interrupted the trade between New France and the western tribes. In retaliation, New France raided the lands of western New York. As a mesure of revenge, New England supported the Iroquois in attacking New France .There were similar tensions on the border between New England and Acadia, which New France defined as the Kennebec River in southern Maine. English settlers from Massachusetts (whose charter included the Maine area) had expanded their settlements into Acadia. To secure New France's claim to present-day Maine, New France established Catholic missions among the three largest native villages in the region . For their part, the five Indian tribes in the region of Acadia created the Wanakabi Confederacy to form a political and military alliance with New France to stop the New England expansion .

In April 1688, Governor Andros plundered Castine's home and village on Penebscot bay . Later in August, the British raided the French village of Chedabouctou. In response, Castin and the Wanakabi Confederacy engaged in the Northeast Coast Campaign of 1688 along the New England/Acadia border. They began on August 13, 1688 at New Dartmouth , killing a few settlers. A few days later they killed two people at North Yarmouth. At Kennebunk, in the fall of 1688, members of the Confederacy killed two families.
The following spring, in June 1689, several hundred Abenaki and Pennacook Indians raided Dover , new Hampshire killing more than 20 and taking 29 captives, who were sold into captivity in New France. In June, they killed four men at Saco. In response to these raids, a company of 24 men were raised to search for the bodies and pursue the natives. They were forced to return after they lost a quarter of their men in conflicts with the natives.
In August 1689, Jean-Vincent d'Abbadie de Saint-and Father Louis-Pierre Thury led an Abenaki war party that captured and destroyed the fort at Pemaquid . The fall of Pemaquid was a significant set back to the English. It pushed the frontier back to Casco (Falmouth), Maine.
New England retaliated for these raids by sending Mmajor Benjamen Church to raid Acadia. During this war, Church led two New England raiding parties into Acadia . On the first expedition into Acadia, on September 21, 1689, Church and 250 troops defended a group of English settlers trying to establish themselves at Falmouth . The tribes of the Wabanaki Confederacy killed 21 of his men, but Church's defense was successful and the natives retreated. Church then returned to Boston leaving the small group of English settlers unprotected. The following spring over 400 French and native troops, under the leadership of Castin, destroyed Salmons Falls, then returned to Falmouth and massacred all the British settlers in the Battle of Fort Loyal . When Church returned to the village later that summer he buried the dead. The fall of Fort Loyal led to the near depopulation of Maine. Native forces were then able to attack New Hampshire frontier without reprisal.
The New Englanders, led by Sir William Phips , retaliated by attacking Port Royal , the capital of Acadia. The battle began on May 9, 1690. Phips arrived with 736 New England men in seven English ships. Governor de Meneval fought for two days and then capitulated. The garrison was imprisoned in the church, and Governor de Meneval was confined to his house. The New Englanders levelled what was begun of the new fort.The residents of Port Royal were imprisoned in the church and administered an oath of allegiance to the King.
Phips left, but warships from New York arrived in June which resulted in more destruction .The seamen burned and looted the settlement, including the parish Church .The New Englanders left again, and the Governor of Acadia moved the capital to safer territory inland at Fort Nashwaak . Fort Nashwaak remained the capital until after the war, when Port Royal was restored as the capital in 1697.

In Church's second expedition to Acadia, he arrived with 300 men at Casco Bay on 11 September 1690. His mission was to relieve the English Fort Pejpescot , which had been taken by the Wabanaki Confederacy . He went up the Androscoggin Riverto Fort Pejepscot. From there he went 40 miles upriver to Livermore Falls and attacked a native village. Church's men shot three or four native men when they were retreating. Church discovered five English captives in the wigwams. Church butchered six or seven natives and took nine prisoners. A few days later, in retaliation, the members of the Wabanaki Confederacy attacked Church at Cape Elizabeth on Purpooduc Point, killing 7 of his men and wounding 24 others.

At the beginning of the war , the French were determined to hold the St. Lawrence country and to extend their power over the vast basin of the Mississipi . Moreover , Hudson Bay was a focal point of dispute between the Protestant English and Catholic French colonists, both of whom claiming a share of its occupation and trade. Although important to the colonists the North American theatre of the Six -Year War was of secondary importance to European statesmen. Despite numerical superiority, the English colonists suffered repeated defeats as New France effectively organised its French troops, New France militia and Indian allies to attack frontier settlements. Almost all resources sent to the colonies by England were to defend the English West Indies, the crown jewels of the empire. In 1690 after the battle of Barfleur , the efforts of the English crown to support New England became insignificant . There was literally no ressources for the colonies , not when England itself was fighting for its survival . The arrival of the first French convoy in the first months of 1691 ended the possibility of New England's victories in the North American theatre . Without naval supremacy , all the American coast was vulnerable , even if the French squadron was limited to two ships of the line and a few frigates . In 1692 , all Acadia was lost and the raids of the Wanakabi Confederacy increased .
The following spring , Count Frontenac , Governor General of New France left Quebec at the head of 2 000 French soldiers , accompagnied by several hundred Indian warriors . Unprepared and outnumbered , Fort Loyal falled again , but this time it was not a mere raid . Frontenac was able to follow his victory by capturing the towns of Wells and York and burning a large part of the countryside . At the same time , the French navy was able to raid Boston , doing considerable damage .
This ended the major offensives on the North American theatre . After a few months many soldiers and ships were sent to the West Indies . As a result Frontenac chose to deal with the problem of the Iroquois Confederacy and never threatened to march on Boston again . The war once again became a series of raids and counter-raids , even if now New England had the lower hand . Crops burned and villages raided were definitively a common sight , and the end of the war in 1694 was most welcome for the colonists .

The treaty of Ryswick signed in September 1694 ended the war between the two colonial powers, giving all Acadia to the French crown and its allies . Elsewere , the colonial borders were reverted to the status quo ante bellum . The peace did not last long , and within ten years, the colonies were fighting in the next phase of the colonial wars . After their settlement with France in 1697 , the Iroquois remained neutral in the next conflict , never taking part in active hostilities against either side . Tensions remained high between the English and the Abenaki, who again fought with the French in Queen Anne's War .
The Ryswick treaty was unsatisfactory to representatives of the Hudson's Bay Company. Since most of its trading posts in Hudson Bay had been lost to the French before the war began, the rule of status quo ante bellum meant that they remained under French control. The company never recovered its territories at the negotiating table , England's parliament having other priorities in the West Indies . It gave the colonies and the companies a really bad opinion of their government , thinking they were unimportant in the eyes of their King . What they were not informed , was that all the available troops and ships were concentrated to defend England and there was no way William and his councilors were going to send them troops they might need in a few months . Hudson Bay was written off and so was Acadia , which became l'Acadie Française . This decision would come to haunt many English governments in the years to come ...

War is boring ( Year 1691 )


A typical campaign season lasted through May to October , the French practice of storing food and provisions in magazines brought them considerable advantage , often enabling them to take to the field weeks before their foes . Nevertheless, military operations during the Six Years' War did not produce decisive results . The Year 1691 was a prime exemple how many countries could make war without having a battle . Except the siege of Namur and the battle of Northampton , there had been no major military actions in the beginning of the year , a fact which began to seriously annoy various Kings and Princes . The cost of the war was heavy in money , if not in men : France and the league had on each side more than 400 000 men under the banners .

French successes in 1690 and 1691 had checked the Allies on most of the mainland fronts, yet their victories had not broken the league . Marshal Boufflers invested Mons on 15 May with some 46,000 men, while Marshal Montmrency , duke of Luxembourg commanded a similar force of observation. After some of the most intense fighting of all of Louis XIV's wars the town inevitably capitulated on 8 June . Luxembourg proceeded to take Halle at the end of May, while Boufflers bombarded Liège ; but these acts proved to have no political nor strategic consequence .The Dutch had still an army on the field and a navy to defend their coasts , they would not make peace now . The final action of note in the Low Countries came on 21 September when Luxembourg's cavalry surprised and defeated the rear of the Allied forces in a minor action near Charleroi .

In 1691 there was little significant fighting in the Catalan and Rhineland fronts. In contrast, the northern Italian theatre was very active . Villefranche fell to French forces on 20 March, followed by Nice on 1 April, forestalling any chance of an Allied invasion of France along the coast. Meanwhile to the north, in the Duchy of Savoy, the Marquis of La Hoguette took Montmélian (the region's last remaining stronghold) on 11 December , which was a major loss for the Grand Alliance. However, by comparison the French campaign on the Piedmontese plain was far from successful. The approach of a relief force by Eugene of Savoy forced the French forces to remain on the defensive . Even with Louis XIV not concentrating his resources in Alsace and the Low Countries anymore since Louvois 's death , Marshal Catinat was outnumbered and forced onto the defensive . The initiative in northern Italy now passed to the Allies who, as early as August, had 45,000 men in the region . Strangely , it didn't enable them to regain any territories in September and October. Louis XIV offered again peace terms in December, but anticipating military superiority for the following campaign King Amadeus was not prepared to negotiate seriously . The League at the time remained convinced of its potential to crush the French armies . What gave him that opinion was not knowned , especially since Belgrade had fallen again in September to the Ottomans .

The naval war remained calm , there was no major engagements on the seas . The French navy , with the necessity to guard the Channel and the sea of Ireland didn't start another campaign . The only action to note was the capture of a Spanish convoy by Captain Jean Bart . Despite beeing outnumbered one ship to three , the Dunkirk officer managed to defeat the Spanish rear-admiral defending the convoy and capture 42 merchant vessels . For his exploit , Jean Bart was ennobled by Louis XIV and obtained the military title of chef d'escadre ( commodore ) .

In the background Louis XIV's agents were working hard diplomatically to unhinge the coalition but the Emperor, who had secured with the Allies his 'rights' to the Spanish succession should Charles II die during the conflict, did not desire a peace that would not prove personally advantageous . Given the situation at the time , the negociations would have been a disaster for the Empire , as the southern part of England and the majority of the Spanish Netherlands were occupied by the French . The League of Augsbourg would not come apart as long as there was money available and that they believed that their growing strength of their armies would soon match those of France . The problem was at the time , these armies have not shown great promises and after three years of war , there weren't closer to defeat France that they were in 1690 ...

1692 : The culmination of the war

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Marshal Vauban

Over the winter of 1691–92 the French devised a grand plan to gain the ascendancy over their enemies – a design to finish England in one more effort to support James II in his attempts to regain his kingdoms ; and a simultaneous assault on the Spanish Netherlands. The French had hoped in 1691 that Namur's seizure might inspire the Dutch to make peace but had been wrong . Now , they hoped that the capture of Brussels , Halle and Louvain might be enough , but if not, that the capture of the towns would nevertheless be an important pawn at any future negotiations.With 60,000 men (protected by a similar force of observation under Luxembourg), Marshal Vauban launched his attack on 15 May. Halle soon fell but Brussels did not held out until 14 June. The Dutch's hopes to restore the situation in the Spanish Netherlands were not high and without England's help there was not a lot they could do . The Allies enjoyed some initial success on other fronts , but as French reinforcements came up their advance stalled. The Allies now remained on the defensive , even if due to the nature of late 17th century warfare the victory, like Fleurus before it, produced little of consequence .

While French arms had proved successful in the Spanish Netherlands the proposed offensive on England was a failure. Vice-Admiral Chateaurenault managed to raid Cork in May and burn a fairly number of transports but that was one of the few succcesses they had . James II was under the delusion there was still considerable support for his cause once he would have established his superiority on the battlefield, but a series of undecisive victories , a few sieges and conflicting orders ensured a very poor military campaign north of London . There was no major battle , as never William III or Gigault wanted to risk one . But with the French now dominant in the English Channel , the situation was catastrophic for the British cause , who couldn't receive gold , food or reinforcements in large numbers from the continent . The French navy was growing : Pontchartrain managed to launch between 1691 and 1692 twenty new ships of the line , giving Tourville complete superiority over the Dutch Navy in Europe . In the West Indies , Governor Jean Du Casse and Chef D'escadre Bernard Desjean Baron de Pointis leaded an attack on Cartagena with ten ships of the line and five frigates . The attack was a complete success as the renowned Spanish defences were not what they had once been, and Pointis conquered both fortresses which defended Cartagena relatively easily, losing only seventy men. Between May 6th and 24th, the French plundered the city, accumulating loot valued at twenty million livres.
Pointis then set sail directly for France, cheating his buccaneer allies of their promised share of the loot. Outraged, the buccaneers returned and plundered the city once more, this time untempered by the French regular soldiers, in an orgy of rape, extortion and murder.

The French did not escape unscathed, as yellow fever spread through their fleet, too, killing hundreds of sailors. However, Pointis made it back to France and gave Louis XIV his share of two million livres making himself immensely popular , at a time where money was particularly needed by the kingdom . The rest of the loot made Pointis an immensely rich man.

Meanwhile in southern Europe the Duke of Savoy with 29,000 men invaded Dauphiné via the mountain trails shown to them by the Vaudois. The Allies invested Embrun , which capitulated on 18 August, before sacking the deserted town of Gap However, with their commander falling ill with smallpox, and the defeats on the other fronts , the Allies abandoned Dauphiné in mid- August , leaving behind fifty villages and castles burned and pillaged. The attack on Dauphiné had required Noailles to give up troops to bolster Catinat, condemning him to a passive campaign in Catalonia. But on the Rhine the French gained the upper hand. De Lorge devoted much of his effort imposing contributions on German lands, spreading terror far and wide in Swabia and Franconia. In October the French commander relieved the siege of Ebernburg on the east bank of the Rhine before returning to winter quarters .

At the end of the year , the negociations between France , England and the Netherlands started again but saw no breakthrought : Louis XIV wanting to keep Southern England , Lorraine and a great part of the Spanish Netherlands , it was definitely a price too high to pay .Emperor Leopold I wanted a continuation of the war so as to strengthen his own claims to the Spanish succession , as a result he refused any peace that was proposed at the time . Savoy and Piedmont were more sensitive to the issue , but feared the Imperial answer if the Emperor learnt of it . The war would continue ...

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James and his kingdom ( September 1690 - November 1690)

Wasting absolutely no time, James crowns himself in Westminster Abbey King of England, Scotland, and Ireland.
Except he'd already been crowned several years earlier. Since he never recognized his deposition by Parliament, he would never have reason to be crowned again.

And he couldn't crown himself, anyway. He could have himself crowned, which is almost the same thing, but not quite.
Second Indian War (1688 -1694)

The Ryswick treaty was unsatisfactory... It gave the colonies and the companies a really bad opinion of their government , thinking they were unimportant in the eyes of their King. What they were not informed, was that all the available troops and ships were concentrated to defend England and there was no way William and his councilors were going to send them troops they might need in a few months.
Jeez. Surely they know about the French invasion of England and the sack of London. I think that would be an acceptable excuse for not sending aid to the colonies. As to the Companies, their directors and shareholders live in England, and their head offices are in London.

They personally have much bigger worries than the fate of the fur trade.
Except he'd already been crowned several years earlier. Since he never recognized his deposition by Parliament, he would never have reason to be crowned again.

And he couldn't crown himself, anyway. He could have himself crowned, which is almost the same thing, but not quite.
Sorry , I wanted to say he had himself crowned :eek:. As for the fact , he had been crowned several years ago , you're perfectly correct . But at the time , James was convinced his ultimate victory was near and wanted to show off :D . Two years later , he governs only Southern England , certainly not Scotland or Ireland . Things don't seem to go the way he expected ...
Financial Crisis ( Year 1693 )

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By 1693 the French army had reached an official size of over 400,000 men , but Louis XIV was facing an economic crisis. France and northern Italy witnessed severe harvest failures resulting in widespread famine, which, by the end of 1694, had accounted for the deaths of an estimated one million and a half people . The situation wasn't better for the League , which had to fight on his own lands : much of the Spanish Netherlands and England were devastated by years of war . Nevertheless, as a prelude to offering generous peace terms Louis XIV planned to go over to the offensive: Luxembourg would campaign in Flanders, Catinat in northern Italy, and in Germany, where Louis XIV had hoped for a war-winning advantage, Marshal de Lorge would attack Heildeberg . During the year, Gigault and Noailles were to remain on the defensive .

In the event, Heidelberg fell on 20 May before Luxembourg's army took to the field in the Netherlands, but the new Imperial commander on the Rhine the prince Louis of Baden proved to be a tougher opponent than expected and prevented further French gains. Luxembourg had better luck in Flanders, however. After taking Huy on 21 July, the French commander outmanoeuvred the Dutch forces and engaged them off-guard near the villages of Neerwinden . The battle on 23 July was a close and costly draw but French forces, whose cavalry once again showed their superiority, prevailed. Luxembourg and Vauban proceeded to take Charleroi on 10 October, which, together with the earlier prizes of Mons, Namur and Huy, provided the French with a new forward line of defence.

In northern Italy Catinat marched on Rivoli (with reinforcements from the Catalan front), forcing the Duke of Savoy to abandon the siege and bombardment of Pinerolo (25 September–1 October) before withdrawing to protect his rear. The resultant Battle of Marsaglia on 3 October 1693 ended in a resounding French victory. Turin now lay open to attack but further manpower and supply difficulties prevented Catinat from exploiting his gain, and all the French could get out of their victory was renewed breathing-space to restock what was left of Pinerolo.

Elsewhere, Noailles secured the valuable sea port of Rosas in Catalonia on 12 June before withdrawing into Roussillon. When his opponent, Medina-Sidonia, abandoned plans to besiege Bellver , both sides entered winter quarters.

Meanwhile, the French navy achieved victory in its final fleet action of the war.
In the spring of 1693, a large convoy was organized to transport English , Spanish and Dutch merchant ships which were bound from the West Indies for Spain and the Mediterannean ; they had been held back by the threat of attack by the French fleet and the Carthagena raid .
The convoy, consisting of upwards of 180 sail, was to be escorted by a strong squadron of five English , six Spanish and five Dutch ships of the line, with fireships, scouts and other auxiliaries, under the command of Admiral George Rooke , one of the few remaining English admirals . This squadron was bound for the Mediterranean, to take up station there and try to profit from the concentration of the French fleet in the Channel . The French, however, were aware of this convoy , and since the defeat of the English and Dutch fleets had began a guerre de course against the allies' trade and commercial interests .
To this end, Louis XIV had dispatched the French fleet under Tourville, his most able commander, to set an ambush for the convoy before it entered the Straits of Gibraltar . By the end of May, Tourville had assembled a fleet of 50 ships of the line, plus fireships, stores vessels and other auxiliaries, about 80 sails in total; and taken up station near Cadix .
The allies had made no move to check where the French fleet was ,at the time completely certain they still were in the Channel , and received no news of its whereabouts until 22 June . By this time Rooke and the convoy were in action off Cadix , having been sighted by the French on the morning of 21 June .

Rooke could not avoid battle, but held the advantage of being to windward. Ordering the merchant ships to disperse, his squadron took up battle positions. The battle started around 8 pm , when the rear of his squadron was overtaken by the French .
Two Dutch ships , engaged the French, thus sacrificing themselves. They fought valiantly, trying to give the rest of the allied ships time enough to escape. When the two Dutch ships finally surrendered, Tourville was very impressed and congratulated the two captains, asking them if they "were men or devils".
Rooke declared it "one of the best judged things I ever saw in action".
The next day Rooke, with 44 merchant ships in company, was standing east . In pursuit were just four French warships. As they closed, Rooke's flagship, the last first-rank of the English navy , turned to face them. After a short exchange the French ships abandoned the chase and drew off. Rooke and his group were able to reach Cadix without further incident, Over half of the convoy was saved. Some 90 ships were lost, the majority were Dutch and 40 were captured by the French. The two main goals of the convoy: first, to deliver the traders to their destinations in the Mediterranean and second, to establish a naval presence there, were defeated. For the French there was a huge gain, with prizes valued at 29 million livres. Dutch and English financials judged it one of the worst financial disasters since the Great Fire , 27 years previously. Coupled with the loss and burning of London , the English and Dutch governments saw their coffers empty of gold .

In the meantime a diplomatic breakthrough was made in Italy. For two years the Duke of Savoy's Minister of Finance Gropello and Catinat's second-in-command the Count of Tessé , had secretly been negotiating a bi-lateral agreement to end the war in Italy. Central to the discussions were the two French fortresses that flanked the Duke's territory – Pinerolo and Casale . By now Victor Amadeus had come to fear the growth of Imperial military power and political influence in the region (now more than he feared the French) and the threat it posed to Savoyard independence. Knowing, therefore, that the Imperialists were planning to besiege Casale the Duke proposed that the French garrison surrender to him following a token show of force, after which the fortifications would be dismantled and handed back to the Duke of Mantua. Louis XIV was compelled to accept, and after a sham siege and nominal resistance Casale surrendered to Amadeus on 11 October 1693; by mid-September the place had been razed.

The Treaty of Turin started a scramble for peace in December . With the continual disruption of trade and commerce , politicians from England and the Dutch Republic were desirous for an end to the war . France was also facing economic exhaustion, but above all Louis XIV was becoming convinced that Charles II of Spain was in bad health and he knew that the break-up of the coalition would be essential if France was to benefit from the dynastic battle ahead . As a result , the contending parties agreed to meet at Ryswick and come to a negotiated settlement .

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Treaty of Ryswick ( Year 1694 )

As talks continued through 1694, so did the fighting. The main French goal that year in the Spanish Netherlands was Ath . Vauban and Catinat invested the town on 17 May while Marshals Luxembourg covered the siege ; after an assault on 7 June the Count of Roeux surrendered and the garrison marched out one day later. The Rhineland front in 1694 was again quiet: the French commander , De Lorge , was content to remain behind his fortified lines. Although Louis von Baden took Ebernberg on 27 September, news of the peace brought an end to the desultory campaign, and both armies drew back from one another. In Catalonia, however, French forces achieved considerable success when Noailles , commanding some 32,000 troops, began to crush Spain's armies one after another .
Only the signing of the treaty saved Barcelona to beeing besieged .

The peace conference opened in April 1694 in William III's palace at Ryswick . The Swedes were the official médiators , but it was through the private efforts of Boufflers and the Earl of Portland that the major issues were resolved.
By the terms of the treaty , Louis XIV kept the whole of Alsace, including Strasbourg , and kept Lorraine too . The French abandoned all gains on the right bank of the Rhine – Philppsburg, Breisach and their other possessions. To curry favour with Madrid over the Spanish succession question, Louis XIV also evacuated Catalonia despite the Spanish military disasters in 1694 and restored Chimaix , Mons, Coutrai, Charleroi and Ath in the Low Countries to Spain but kept Luxembourg .

The Maritime Powers asked for no territory (and weren't in position to ask for it anyway ) , but the Dutch were given a favourable commercial treaty, of which the most important provision was to relax regulations to favour Dutch trade and return to the French tariff of 1664 . The French regained Pondichéry after paying the Dutch a sum of 16,000 pagodas and agreed to the status quo ante bellum in the East Indies .

William III had no intention of pressing for Leopold I's claims in the Rhineland or for the Spanish succession: it seemed more important for Dutch and British security to obtain Louis XIV's recognition of the 1688 revolution and if possible , to secure the majority of England's territory .
Although Louis XIV continued to protect James II , he now recognised William III as King of Protestant England, and James II's as king of Catholic England ( which at the time was everything south of London ). He also gave way over the Palatinate and Cologne issues. Beyond this, the French gained recognition of their ownership of the western half of the island of Hispaniola , and in Northern America took Acadia , Hudson Bay and Terre-Neuve .
The representatives of the Dutch Republic, England, and Spain signed the treaty on 14 October 1694 . Emperor Leopold I wanted to continue the war to gain a better deal , but because he was still at war with the Turks, and could not face France alone, Leopold I also sought terms and signed on 22 October . The Emperor's finances were in a bad state , and the dissatisfaction aroused by the war and the raising of Hanover to electoral rank had impaired Leopold I's influence in Germany. The Protestant princes had also blamed him for the religious clause in the treaty, which stipulated that the lands the Emperor was gaining would remain Catholic, even those that had been forcibly converted . However, the Emperor had netted an enormous accretion of power: Leopold I's son, had been named King of the Romans in 1690 , and the Emperor's candidate for the Polish throne , August of Saxony, would carry the day over Louis XIV's candidate, the Prince of Conti . Additionally, Prince Eugene of Savoy's reinforcements over the Ottoman Turks would help to win the war in the Balkans , consolidating the Austrian Habsburgs and tipping the European balance of power in favour of Leopold .
The war had not allowed William III to destroy militant Jacobitism . Even if he governed Scotland and Ireland , his control over the two lands was definitely shaky at best . England emerged ruined of the war , with the southern part of the country under James II 's control and its navy completely devastated . William III also had to continue to guard the security of the Dutch Republic, and in 1696 the Dutch garrisoned a series of fortresses in the Spanish Netherlands as a barrier to French attack – future foreign policy would centre around the maintenance and extension of these barrier fortresses . The issue was that there was now the need to build many of these fortresses north of London . The presence of the French on England's soil remained a shame for the Protestant cause and rendered a future war unavoidable .
However, the question of the Spanish inheritance was not discussed at Ryswick, and it remained the most important unsolved question of European politics . Within six years Charles II of Spain would be dead, and Louis XIV and the Alliance would again plunge Europe into a terrible conflict .

1694 after the Treaty of Ryswick
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