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The Reign of Elizabeth. (Continued) page 6


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It was not long before Sir Francis Drake was placed in commission and sent out as the queen's own admiral against Spain. In 1-385 he sailed for the West Indies with a fleet of twenty-one ships, where he took and burnt down the town of St. Jago, ravaged Carthagena and St. Domingo, and committed other mischief. The following year Thomas Cavendish followed in Drake's track with three ships which ho had built out of the wreck of Ms fortune, and reaching the Spanish main, committed many depredations. In 1587 ho secured the freight of gold and silver of a largo Manilla merchantman, and returned home by the new route which Drake had pointed out.

These terrible chastisements of the Spanish colonies had embittered the mind of Philip and his subjects even beyond the warfare of the Netherlands; and he was now steadily preparing that mighty force and that host of vessels by which he vowed to prostrate the power of the heretic queen, and reduce the British Islands to the Spanish yoke and to the yoke of the Papal Church. Elizabeth, having endeavoured in vain to arrange a peace, buckled on the armour of her spirit, and determined to meet the danger with a fearless front. She dispatched Drake with' a fleet of thirty vessels to examine the Spanish harbours where these means of invasion were preparing, and to destroy all that he could come at. No task could have delighted him more. On the 18th of April, 1587, ho entered the roads of Cadiz, and discovering upwards ol eighty vessels, attacked, sunk, and destroyed them all, He then sailed out again, and running along the coast as far as Cape St. Vincent, demolished above a hundred vessels, and, besides other injuries, battered down four forts. This Drake called "singeing the King of Spam's beard." In the Tagus he encountered the grand admiral of Spain, Santa Cruz, but could not bring him to an engagement, owing to the orders which the admiral had received; but he captured, in his very teeth, the St. Philip one of the finest ships of Spain, and laden with the richest merchandise. Santa Cruz took it so much to heart that he was not permitted to engage Drake, that ho is said to have died shortly afterwards of sheer mortification.

When Drake returned from this expedition he was received by the public with acclamations; but Elizabeth was perfectly frightened by the extent of the calamities inflicted, believing that they would only rouse Philip to more inveterate hostility - and in that she was right. She made actually an apology to the Prince of Parma, Philip's general in the Netherlands, for the deeds of Drake, assuring him that she had only sent him out to guard against any attacks on herself. Farnese replied that he could well believe anything of the kind of a man bred as he was in piracy, and professed still to be ready to make peace. But Philip was in no peaceful mood. He was now eagerly employed in forwarding his huge preparations; and the name of the Spanish Armada began to be a familiar sound in England. He prevailed on the Pope to issue a new bull of excommunication against Elizabeth, and to advance him large sums of money for this holy enterprise, which was to restore these rich but recreant islands to the Holy See. He collected his best vessels into the Spanish ports, and went on industriously building others in all the ports of Spain, Portugal, and those portions of the Netherlands now belonging to him. He collected all the vessels that his Sicilian and Neapolitan subjects could furnish, and hired others from Genoa and Venice. In Inlanders he prepared an immense shoal of flat-bottomed boats to carry over an army of 30,000 men to the coasts of England, under the command of the Prince of Parma.

The time appeared to have arrived which was to avenge all the injuries and insults which, during twenty years, the English queen, had heaped upon him. She had, in the first place, refused his hand; she had year after year incited and encouraged his subjects in the Netherlands to rebel against his rule; she had supplied them first secretly, then openly, with money; she had hired mercenary troops against him; and, finally, sent the Earl of Leicester to assume the position of a viceroy for herself. Whilst this state of intolerable interference on land had been growing, she had sent out men to attack and plunder his colonies, intercept his treasure ships, and chase from the high seas the merchant vessels of his nation. All this time she had been with an iron hand crushing the Church which he believed the only true one, and had ended by putting to death a queen who was regarded as the champion of that Church in Britain, We are apt, in thinking of the Spanish Armada and the attempt of Philip to invade this kingdom, to overlook these provocations, which were certainly sufficient to rouse any monarch to such an enterprise.

Whilst carrying matters with so high a hand, Elizabeth's parsimony had prevented her making those preparations for defence which such an enemy dictated. In the month of November of this year the danger had grown so palpable that a great council of war was summoned to take into consideration the grand plan of defence, and the mode of mustering an adequate force both at land and at sea. It was well known that the dockyards of Antwerp, Newport, Gravelines, and Dunkirk had long been all alive with the building of boats, and that the forest of Waes had been felled to supply material. Farnese, reputed one of the ablest generals in Europe, had at his command, besides the forces necessary to garrison the Spanish Netherlands, 30,000 infantry and 1.800 cavalry; whilst the Spanish fleet consisted of 135 men-of-war, prepared to carry over 8,000 seamen and 19,000 soldiers. Both in Spain and in the Netherlands the enthusiasm of volunteers for the service had been wonderful; not only the members of the noblest families had enrolled themselves, but the fame of this expedition, which was to be a second conquest of England, yielding far more riches and glory than that of "William of Normandy, had drawn adventurers from, every corner of Europe.

What had England to oppose to all this force and animating spirit of anticipation? It was discovered that the whole navy of England amounted to only thirty-six sail. As to the army, it did not amount to 20,000 men, and those chiefly raw recruits, the order for the muster of the main body of the forces even having been only issued in June. Courage Elizabeth undoubtedly possessed in an eminent degree; but such was her parsimony, that though the army which was to serve under Leicester was ordered to assemble in June, that which, under Lord Hunsdon, was to follow particularly the movements of the queen, did not receive orders for enrolment till August. What was to be done with such raw recruits against the disciplined and tried troops of Parma and his military experience? It was the same as regarded the sailors to man the fleet. In the autumn of 1586 she ordered a levy of 5,000 seamen; but in January she thought more of the expense than the danger, and insisted on 2,000 of them being disbanded. The rumours of growing danger, however, enabled the Council to dissuade her from this impolitic measure, and even obtained an increase to 7,000.

In the war council held in November of this year, Sir Walter Raleigh earnestly advocated what his quick genius had seen at a glance - that the defence of the country must depend on the navy. The enemy must not be suffered to land. At sea, even then, England was a match for almost any amount of force; and never did she possess admirals who had more of that daring and indomitable character which has for ages distinguished the seamen of this country. Sir Walter Raleigh prevailed: and at once was seen that burst of enthusiasm Which, on all occasions when Great Britain has been menaced with invasion, has flamed from end to end of the nation. Merchantmen offered their vessels, the people fitted them out at their own expense, and very

soon, instead of thirty-six ships of war, there were 191, of various sizes and characters, with not 7,000 but 17,403 sailors on board of them. To the thirty-six Government ships of war were added eighteen volunteer vessels of heavy burden, forty-three hired vessels, and fifty-three coasters. The Triumph was a ship of 1,100 tons; there was another of 1,000, one of 900, two of 800 each, three of 600, five of 500, five of 400, six of 300, six of 250, twenty of 200, besides numbers of smaller size, the total amount of tonnage being 31,985.

But the main strength, after all, was in the character of the men who commanded and animated this fleet, Supreme in command was the Lord-Admiral, Lord Howard of Effingham, a man of undaunted courage, of firm and independent resolution, and very popular with the sailors. Under him served the Earl of Cumberland and the Lords Henry Seymour, Thomas Howard, and Edmund Sheffield, as volunteers; and the want of experience in these aristocrats was amply overbalanced by the staunch men whose fame was world-wide - Drake, who was lieutenant of the fleet, Hawkins, Frobisher, and others of those marine heroes who had made themselves a terror to the remotest shores of the earth.

The neighbouring and Protestant States, who were naturally called on to aid in this struggle, which was not so much for the conquest of England as for the annihilation of the Reformed Church, were Scotland and the Netherlands. But James of Scotland was the worst possible subject to depend on in such an. emergency. No noble or daring passion ever animated his heart. His only philosophy was what he called his kingcraft - that was, how he could make the most of any event, without any reference to its moral value as bearing on the good of the nation or the advance of civilisation, and that at the least cost of money or exertion. He waited to see whether Philip or Elizabeth were the highest bidder, not intending to help either of them. Philip was advised to secure him and to land a Spanish army in Scotland; but Philip knew his man too well. Elizabeth, on the contrary, put forth all her power to move him, but in vain: he continued talking of his claims on account of the death of his mother, huckstering for the greatest possible gain out of it, till he had made his bargain, and even then never offered his services with an air of earnestness till the danger was over and his aid was not needed. In the autumn Lord Hunsdon, who was instructed to pacify him for the death of his mother, reported to the queen, "that if she looked for any amity or kindness at his hands she would find herself deceived." In April Lord Hunsdon was authorised to satisfy him for his mother's death; it was unavailing, and the danger from the Armada growing, Mr. Ashby was sent to him in June, and in July Sir Robert Sidney. It was all unavailing; the aspect of Spain had now become still more terrible, and the price was not largo enough. The English ministers called earnestly on the Scotch ministers in their pay to urge the necessity of his co-operation on James. All was in vain, till the Spanish Armada received a heavy blow on the 30th of July from the tempest at the mouth of the Scheldt, when James hastened to accept Ashby's proposal that in return for joining the queen he should receive an English dukedom with suitable lands, an annuity of 5,000 a-year, and the pay for a guard of 150 men. The Spaniards were then in full flight along his own shores before the triumphant English; and James forbade his subjects to assist the Spaniards, and offered all the resources of his kingdom to Elizabeth, who had no longer occasion for either him or them.

Very different was the conduct of the so-called phlegmatic Dutch. Though Leicester had wasted their wealth in useless campaigns, abused their confidence, abridged their privileges, encumbered their trade, and insulted their honour; though Elizabeth had appeared quite ready to sell them to Spain, and in their distress had called upon them to raise 100,000 to pay for fresh soldiers, or declared she would abandon them; - yet, knowing that it was not Elizabeth or the worthless Leicester they had to support, but the very existence of that faith for which they had fought so long and so bravely, and for their country, which, if England fell, must fall inevitably too, they at once "came roundly in," says Stowe, "with threescore sail, brave ships of war, firm and full of spleen, not so much in England's aid as in just occasion for their own defence, foreseeing the greatness of the danger that must ensue if the Spaniards should chance to win the day and get the mastery over them." They engaged to block up the mouth of the Scheldt with ten ships of war, and sent the others to unite with the English fleet. That fleet was dispersed to watch as much as possible all points of approach, for rumours confounded the people by naming a variety of places on which the descent was to be made. Lord Howard put the division of the fleet immediately under his command in three squadrons on the western coast; Drake was stationed in the direction of Ushant; Hawkins, a regular adventurer, who had not long ago offered his services to Philip and had been rejected, now thirsting for revenge on him, cruised betwixt the Land's End and the Scilly Isles; Lord Henry Seymour scoured the coast of Flanders, blockading the Spanish ports to prevent the passage of Parma's army; and other commanders sailed to and fro in the Channel.

On land there was at first a haunting fear of the Roman Catholics. Their oppression had been of a character which was not thought likely to nourish patriotism; and the very invasion was professedly for their relief and revenge. But the moment that the common country was menaced with danger, they forgot all but the common interest. There was no class which displayed more zeal for the national defence. Yet to the very last moment their loyalty was tried to the utmost. Few could believe that they would not seize this opportunity to retaliate those severities which had been practised upon them; and there were those who even advised an English St. Bartholomew, or at least the putting to death of the leading Roman Catholics. This bloody project Elizabeth rejected; but they were, nevertheless, subjected to the most cruel treatment out of fear. A return was ordered of those suspected of this religion in London, who were found to amount to 17,000. All such as were convicted of recusancy were put in prison. Ail over the country the old domiciliary searches were made, and thousands of every rank and class, men and women, were dragged off to gaol to keep them safe, whilst the Protestant clergy inveighed in awful terms against the designs of the Pope and the terrible intentions of the Papists. All commands, with few exceptions, amongst which were those entrusted to the Lord-Admiral Howard and his family, were placed in the hands of Protestants; yet this did not prevent the Papists offering their services, and gentlemen of family and fortune serving in the ranks, or as common sailors at sea. The peers armed their tenants and servants, and placed them at the disposal of the queen; and gentlemen even fitted out vessels and put Protestants into command of them. The ministers themselves, in the famous "Letter to Mendoza," which they published in almost every language of Europe, confessed that they could see no difference betwixt the Romanists and the Protestants in their enthusiasm for the defence of the country. They mention the Viscount Montague, his son, and grandson, appearing before the queen with 200 horse which they had raised to defend her person, and add that the very prisoners for their religion in Ely signed a memorial to her, declaring that they were ready to fight to the death for her against all her enemies, whether they were Pope, priests, kings, or any power whatever.

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