King Charles Il Commissions Sir Edmund Andros During Anglo-Dutch War Which Resulted in Dutch Recapture of New Amsterdam
CHARLES II. Document Signed, "Charles R", as King of England, on vellum, one page, 14" x 10", Whitehall. March 30, 1672. Also signed by [Henry Bennet] the Earl of Arlington as Secretary of State. Folds in document, with couple of small holes in folds. Uneven margins. Some soiling. Few short tears in seal affixed at top left.
The document, in full, "CHARLES by the Grace of God king of England Scotland France and Ireland Defender of the Faith To Our Trusty and Wellbeloved Major Edmund Andros Esqr Greeting Wee reposeing especiall Trust and confidence in your Loyalty Courage and good conduct Have thought fitt to constitute and appoint as by these presents wee doe constitute and appoint you to be Major of Our Barbados Regiment of dragoons to consist of twelve Troops and each Troop of eighty men now raised or to be raised for Our Service under the command of Our dear Cousin Prince Rupert; You are carefully to discharge the duty of a Major by exerciseing the said Regiment in armes both officers and Soldiers and keeping them in good order and discipline. And Wee doe Command them to obey you as their Major, and wee doe hereby farther appoint and constitute you to be Captaine of one of the saide Troops: And you are to observe and follow such orders and directions as you shall from time to time receive from your Colonel or other Your Superior Officer according to the rules and disciplines of Warre in pursuance of the Trust Wee repose in you. Given at Our Court at Whitehall the 30th day of March in the 24 yeare of Our Raigne 1672".
The British and the Dutch fought three wars from 1652 -1654, 1665-1667, and 1672-1674, mostly over trade and overseas colonies. The British lost the first under Oliver Cromwell's Commonwealth. In the second, under Charles II's restored monarchy, it suffered one of the most humiliating defeats in British military history, as the Dutch destroyed the British fleet in 1667 in its home port. Although the English navy was rebuilt by the early 1670s, the English people were unenthusiastic about a third Dutch war. However, a treaty bound Charles II to aid King Louis XIV of France in the Franco-Dutch War, thus also creating the third Anglo-Dutch War.
Here, Charles II commissions Edmund Andros as a Major in the Barbados Regiment of Dragoons to be commanded by Prince Rupert of the Rhine, Charles II's first cousin. Andros had served in Barbados, but several companies from that regiment of foot were integrated into the new regiment of dragoons. The Barbados Regiment, resplendent in blue coats, was the first in England to be equipped with bayonets. Normally dragoons were considered to be mounted infantry, but under the Stuarts, they were utilized more as cavalry troops. Despite his regiment's name, Prince Rupert remained in London as supreme naval commander, and the troops went to Yarmouth under Andros' command to protect the English coast against an expected Dutch invasion which did not come.
New Amsterdam was the capital of the Dutch colony of New Netherlands before 1664, when King Charles II sent his brother the Duke of York with an armada to demand capitulation. The colony, governed by the exceedingly strict and unpopular Peter Stuyvesant, surrendered without a fight, and the British promptly renamed it New York. Though the Dutch briefly recaptured the colony in 1673, they ceded it back to the English in 1674 through the Treaty of Westminster that ended the third Anglo-Dutch war. Charles Il then appointed Andros governor of New York.
Charles II (1630-1685) was the King of England, Scotland, and Ireland from 1660 to 1685. (Documents issued by Charles were dated as if his reign had begun in January of 1649, immediately following his father's execution.) After years of exile during the English Civil War, Charles was asked to return to England in 1660. His coronation in 1661 marked the restoration of the monarchy, and the end of republican government in England. Charles' reign was marred by the Great Plague and the Great Fire of London, the Second and Third Anglo-Dutch Wars, and by anti-Catholic hysteria fueled by dislike of the king's Roman Catholic brother James, the Duke of York, who became King upon Charles' death in 1685.
Sir Edmund Andros (1637-1714), born in London into a family who served Charles I, remained a supporter of the Stuarts while they were in exile. He served in British campaigns in Denmark in the 1650s and against the Dutch in the 1660s, and in Barbados from 1667 to 1668. Commissioned a major in 1672, in a regiment of dragoons raised for Prince Rupert, guarding the English coast. In February 1674, Andros received another commission as major and captain of the Barbados Regiment, now reassigned to Ireland. When Charles II gave his brother a charter for New York, the Duke recommended Andros to manage and defend it. Andros served as governor of New York from 1674 to 1683 (though in 1680, political opponents claimed he was withholding revenues, and the Duke of York recalled Andros to England for a time). Andros returned to New York, and then was appointed president of the Dominion of New England from 1686 to 1689, as governor of Virginia from 1692 to 1698, and as governor of Maryland from 1693 to 1694. Fluent in Dutch, French, and Swedish, Andros was a capable, though unpopular administrator. He returned to England in 1698, resuming his earlier post as bailiff of Guernsey. He died in London.
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