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Anglo-Dutch Wars


In the great Dutch war, in the reign of Charles II., the English fleet and that of Holland fought in the Channel for three days successively; engaging in the day, and lying-to at night. But, just as they were preparing to renew the action, advice came off that an armistice had been concluded, and the hostile parties began to exercise mutual civilities. On board a Dutch man of war, which lay alongside of an English first-rate, was a sailor so remarkably active, as to run to the mast head and stand upright upon the truck, after which he cut several capers, and concluded with standing on his head, to the great astonishment and terror of the spectators. On coming down from his exploit, all his countrymen expressed their joy by huzzahing, and thereby signifying their triumph over the English. One of the British tars, piqued for the honour of his country, ran up to the top like a cat, and essayed, with all his might, to throw up his heels as the Dutchman had done; but, not having the skill, he missed his poise, and came down rather faster than he went up. The rigging, however broke his fall, and he lighted on his feet unhurt. As soon as he had recovered his speech, he ran to the side, and exultingly cried out to the Dutchmen, “There, d—n your eyes, do that if you can.”