Fresh troops were ordered to Ireland, and all officers on furlough in England were commanded to return forthwith. Sidney had become so alarmed by the report of a French invasion in the winter of 1692-93, and he had invited Roman Catholics to enlist. Details of the movements of the French navy kept alive strong apprehensions of an invasion of Ireland in 1693.
On the 4th of November 1693 the Lords Justices, among other things, asked Lord Nottingham to appoint such a number of ships as should be necessary to guard the coast of Ireland, and begged that the fortifications and garrisons, especially Kinsale, should be with all convenient expedition placed in a position of effective defence.
The remarks contained in Bishop M.’s (i.e. Moreton’s) memorandum on Connaught, Munster, and Leinster shed much light on this topic. Connaught, he thinks, contains more Roman Catholics in it than any of the other provinces, and they are richer, and generally well disposed to English interests. Munster (south-west Ireland) deserves careful watching because of its contiguity to France, and because many of the fishermen maintain communications with that country.
When the French privateers surprised English ships – and they frequently did so – they not only ruined the exporters, but they also supplied the enemy, then in want and necessity. In 1693 thirty-two ships had sailed to the West Indies, and twenty-eight of these had been captured by the French.’
King William III was in Holland in 1693 and at that point in the war there was a balance of power between France and the Alliance, which heightened the need for good intelligence on fleet movements. Intelligence reports were supplied to William privately by Nottingham. Since 1691 the main allied espionage network in France had been run secretly from Rotterdam by a well-known public figure, the French protestant controversionalist, Pierre Jurieu. The latter recruited and paid a network of agents in France, and these expenses were reimbursed by the English Government. (From: ‘Friends and Rivals in the East’ – A. Hamilton, A.H.de Groot, M.H. Van Den Booggert (2000)).