2.7 The Anglo-Dutch Wars
2.7a The First Anglo-Dutch War (1660-1665)
Both England and the Netherlands had commercial rivalry in Africa, East Indies and North America. Holland was a formidable rival of England in trade and commerce. According to the Navigation Act passed by the British parliament in 1660, the Dutch could not live in English colonies and goods brought to England in Dutch ships would be taxed heavily. Prince William of Orange, a close relation of Charles II was not allowed to become the ruler of Holland by the Dutch. Finally a war broke out between both the countries. England won the war. After the war there was peace for a very short time between the two nations.
2.7b The Second Anglo-Dutch War (1665-1667)
The same commercial differences continued between the two countries. The Dutch once again invaded England. A few Dutch ships headed by Admiral Ruyler attacked the English port of Chatham. At this hour France invaded Holland. This made the Dutch sign the Breda Treaty (1667) according to which each country was allowed to keep with them their territorial gains.
2.7c Anglo, Franco and Dutch Relations
The Foreign policy of Charles II of England was not impressive. It dealt a huge blow to the prestige and dignity of England. The French King Louis XIV took stock of the political developments in Holland. The balance of power would have altered if Holland had to be influenced by France. This was an eye sore for England as regards its international prestige. Thus England and Holland along with Sweden united against the France. A treaty was concluded between them known as the Triple Alliance (1668 A.D). But in 1670, England once again entered into another treaty (a secret one) with France. This was the Treaty of Dover.
According to this treaty, Charles II promised France that when
a suitable opportunity arose he would make a declaration of his
being a Catholic. Louis XIV in turn promised to give financial and
other assistance to Charles II in case he faced any revolt against
him in England. Charles II also assured help to France against Holland
in case of war. As per the Treaty of Dover, Louis XIV promised to
give a sum of 300,000 Sterling Pounds to Charles II along with 6,000
French soldiers if there was any revolt in England. This treaty
was a secret one, known only to two persons - Charles II and Princess
Henrietta (Charles’s sister and sister-in-law of Louis). Charles
also issued the Declaration of Indulgence (1672 A.D) in favor
of the Catholics. The Commons were against this and they refused
him supplies unless Charles withdrew English support from the Franco-Dutch
war (1672-74). The Commons then passed the Test Act that
compelled government officials to receive Communion according to
the Anglican rites. Charles II however was compelled to renounce
the friendship and alliance with the France in 1674.
2.7d The Third Anglo-Dutch War (1674-1678)
When France invaded Holland, England had to join war as per the treaty of Dover. The English were not happy with this, as they believed that Charles II was behaving according to the wishes of Louis XIV. However, Charles required money for the war, which only the parliament could give. He had to yield. He concluded a treaty in 1674 with the Dutch and England withdrew from the war. When the daughter of James was married to William of Orange, the Dutch Prince, these two countries improved their relations.
Most of the members in the Parliament wanted the Dutch alliance to be respected. When Louis was alerted about this, he concluded another secret treaty in 1678 with Charles. Further he agreed to pay England a large amount of money if no help was sent to Holland. However, France concluded a treaty with Holland in 1678 and put an end to this period of hostility.