In September of 1638 the Senate allocated 90,000 reals to the Provveditore Generale of Candia for the payment of the
militias and the purchase of grain. It also asked for
confirmation of the rumours then rife in the capital concerning an imminent
Turkish attack on the island. On this occasion it decided to send several
citizens from the United Provinces of Holland to the Kingdom in support of the
upcoming defense operations - Frans van Wert, his son Jan, and their student
van Bor. These were men who had experienced the triumph of the wars of
independence against the Spanish in their own country. Dutch engineers were
then prized throughout Europe for their skill and speed in erecting
economically viable landworks used to advance the first line of the defence,
strengthen the walls ,
and delay enemy impact with 'the edge of the moat
and the counterscarp of the ramparts and curtains '
1. From the early
1640s onwards these new foreign innovations would influence the Republic's
defensive strategy in Candia .
One example is the fortification work begun
by van Wert on the rock at Moraiti at the mouth of the Suda .
With their support in the impending Turkish attack, the Senate elected to fortify those
areas which were already defended, and instead ignored those that needed more
long-term and extensive restoration. Thus the rock of Suda was further
fortified, while Chania ,
'with its body completely languid and infirm and
needing the salutary assistance'2 of the Republic, too close to the beaches
where the Turks could most easily attack the heart of the island, was merely
provided with a simple ravelin .
These engineers demonstrated great
dedication to the Republic until the tragic conclusion of September 1647. After
witnessing the death of his son in the defence of Chania, Frans van Wert too
lost his life in the course of an enemy sortie. He was honoured with a solemn
funeral oration read out in the Senate, and his family received a pension.
1 'il bordo della fossa e con la scarpa di baluardi e cortine'
2 'dal corpo tutto languido et infermo et bisognoso della salutifera mano'