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ENGLISH SEAMEN
IN

THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY

WORKS BY JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE.
THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND,
the Defeat of the Spanish Armada.

from the Fall of Wolsey to
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ENGLISH SEAMEN
THE SIXTEENTH CENTURY
LECTURES DELIVERED AT OXFORD EASTER TERMS 1S93-4

BY

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LATE
EEGIDS

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CONTENTS
LECTURE
I.

PAGE

THE SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION

.

1

II.

JOHN HAWKINS AND THE AFRICAN SLAVE TRADE
35

......
.

III.

SIR

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP THE SECOND
.

68 102

IV.
V. VI.

drake's voyage ROUND THE WORLD
PARTIES IN THE STATE
. .

.141
WEST
,

THE

GREAT

EXPEDITION

TO

THE

INDIES
VII.
VIII.

ATTACK ON CADIZ
SAILING OF THE

.....
. . . .

.

176

207
238
272

ARMADA

.

IX.

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA.

.

ENGLISH SEAMEN
IK

THE SIXTEENTH CENTUEY
LECTUEE
I

THE SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION

TEAN" PAUL,

the

German

poet, said that

God
land,

had given to France the empire of the
to

England the empire of the

sea,

and

to his

own

country the empire of the

air.

The world has The wings
of

changed since Jean Paul's days.
France have been clipped
has become a solid
;

the
;

German Empire
still
still

thing

but England

holds her watery dominion; Britannia does
rule the waves,

and in

this

proud position she
;

has spread the English race over the globe
B

she

2

ENGLISH SEAMEN
;

[lect.

has created the great American nation peopling

she

is

new Englands

at the Antipodes;
;

she
is

has

made

her Queen Empress of India

and

in fact the very considerable
social

phenomenon
all

in the

and

political

world which

acknowledge

her to be.

And

all this

she has achieved in the

course of three centuries, entirely in consequence
of her predominance as an

ocean power.

Take

away her merchant
that guards them
:

fleets

;

take away the navy

her empire will come to an
fall off, like

end

;

her colonies will
tree
;

leaves from a

withered

and Britain

will

become once
North Sea,

more an
for

insignificant

island in the

the future students in Australian and

New

Zealand universities to discuss the fate of in their
debating
societies.

How

the English navy came to hold so extrais

ordinary a position

worth reflecting
it,

on.

Much
seems

has been written about

but

little,

as

it

to me, which touches the heart of the matter.

We are shown the
and expanding.
sleep of so

power of our country growing
it

But how

grew, why, after a

many hundred

years, the genius of

our

Scandinavian

forefathers

suddenly sprang

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION
into
life

3

again

—of

this

we

are

left

without

explanation.

The beginning
the Spanish

Avas uncluubtedly the defeat of

Armada

in 1588.

Down

to that time

the sea sovereignty belonged to the Spaniards,

and had been
of

fairly

won by them.

The conquest
elevated

Granada had stimulated and

the

Spanish character.

The

subjects

of Ferdinand

and

Isabella, of Charles V.

and

PhiliiD II.,

were

extraordinary men, and accomplished extraordinary
things.

They stretched the

limits of the

known
;

world

;

they conquered Mexico and Peru

they

planted their colonies over the South American
continent
;

they took possession of the great West

Indian islands, and with so firm a grasj) that

Cuba

at least will never lose the
seized
it.

mark

of the

hand which

They

built their cities as
to the Indian Ocean,

if for eternit}^

They spread

and gave their monarch's name

to the Philippines.

All this they accomplished in half a century, and,
as
it

were, they did

it

with a single hand

;

with

the other they were fighting Moors and Turks

and protecting the coast of the Mediterranean
from the corsairs of Tunis and Constantinople.

4

ENGLISH SEAMEN
They had

[lect.

risen on the crest of the wave,

and

with their proud
for

Non

sufficit

orhis

were looking

new

worlds to conquer, at a time

when the

bark of the English water-dogs had scarcely been
heard beyond their own fishing-grounds, and the
largest

merchant vessel sailing from the port of
scarce bigger than a

London was
collier.

modern coasting

And
life

yet within the space of a single
these
insignificant

ordinary

islanders

had

struck the sceptre from the Spaniards' grasp and

placed the ocean crown on the brow of their
sovereign.

oavii

How

did

it

come about

?

What

Cadmus had sown

dragons' teeth in the furrows

of the sea for the race to spring from

who manned
carried the

the ships of Queen Elizabeth,
flag of their

who

own country round

the globe, and

challenged and fought the Spaniards on their

own

coasts

and in their own harbours

?

The English

sea power was the legitimate
It

child of the Reformation.

grew, as I shall

show you,
testantism.

directly out of the

new

despised Pro-

Matthew Parker and Bishop Jewel,

the judicious Hooker himself, excellent

men

as

they were, would have written and preached to

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION

5

small purpose without Sir Francis Drake's cannon
to

play an accompaniment
again, Drake's

to

their

teaching.

And

cannon would not have roared

so loudly

and

so widely without

seamen already
his ships

trained in heart and
level

hand
It

to

work

and

his artillery.

was

to the sujoerior sea-

manship, the superior quality of English ships

and crews, that the Spaniards attributed their
defeat.

Where

did

these

ships

come

from

?

Where and how did
trade
?

these mariners learn their

Historians talk enthusiastically of the

national spirit of a people rising with a united

heart to repel the invader, and so on.
spirit

But national

could not extemporise a fleet or produce
officers

trained

and

sailors

to

match the conobservation I

querors

of Lepanto.

One

slight

must make here

at starting,

and certainly with

no invidious purpose.
it

It has been said confidently,
all

has been repeated, I believe, by

modern

writers, that the

Spanish invasion suspended in
creed,

England the quarrels of
testants

and united Protheir

and Roman Catholics in defeuce of
country.

Queen and
that Lord

They remind us
of Effingham,

especially

Howard

who was

Eliza-

6

ENGLISH SEAMEN
admiral, was
it

[lfxt.

beth's

himself a

Roman

Catholic.

But was
of the

so

?

The Earl

of Arundel, the head

House

of

Howard, was a Roman Catholic,
for the success

and he was in the Tower pra}dng
of

Medina

Sidonia.

Lord Howard of Effingham

was no more a Roman Catholic than

am

not taking away their

—I hope I character— than the
Roman

present Archbishop of Canterbury or the Bishop
of London.

He was

a Catholic, but an English

Catholic, as those reverend prelates are.

Catholic he could not possibly have been, nor any-

one who on that great occasion was found on the
side of Elizabeth.

A

Roman

Catholic

is

one who

acknowledges the
Po]3e

Roman

Bishop's authority.

The

had excommunicated Elizabeth, had pro-

nounced her deposed, had absolved her subjects
from their allegiance, and forbidden them to fight
for her.

No

Englishman who fought on that

great occasion for English liberty was, or could

have been, in communion

witli

Rome.

Loose
fall

statements of this kind, lightly made,

in

with the modern humour.
applauded, repeated, and
histor}^

Tliey are caught up,
j)ass

unquestioned into

It is time to correct

them a

little.

1.]

SEA CRADLE OP THE REFORMATION
I have in

7

my

possession a detailed account of

the temper of parties in England, drawn up in the year 1585, three years before the
came.

Armada
Jesuit.

The

writer
itself

was a distinguished was j)repared

The account

for the use of

the Pope and Philip, with a special view to the
reception which an invading force would meet
with,

and

it

goes into great detail.

The people
says,

of the towns

—London,

Bristol, &c.

—were, he

generally heretics.
tenants,

The

peers, the gentry, their

and peasantry, who formed the immense

majority of the population, were almost universally

Cathohcs.

But

this

writer distinguishes

properly

among

Catholics.

There

were

the

ardent impassioned Catholics, ready to be confessors

and martyrs, ready to rebel at the

first

opportunity,

who had renounced

their allegiance,

who

desired to overthrow Elizabeth and put the
of Scots in

Queen
these,

her place.

The number

of

he

says,

was daily increasing, owing
;

to the

exertions of the seminary priests
boasts,

and

plots,

he

were being continually formed by them to

murder the Queen.
another
sort,

There were Catholics of
at heart,

who were papal

but went

8

ENGLISH SEAMEN
;

[lect.

with the times to save their property

who

looked

forward to a change in the natural order of things,

but would not

stir of

themselves

till

an invading
he
insists,

army

actually appeared.
for

But

all alike,

were eager

a revolution.

Let the Prince of
all

Parma come, and they would
together these

join

him

;

and

two

classes

of

Catholics

made

three-fourths of the nation.
'

The only

party,'

he says (and

this is really

noticeable), 'the only party that

would

fight to

death for the Queen, the only real friends she
had, were the Pwritans
(it is

the

first

mention of

the

name which

I have found), the Puritans of

London, the Puritans of the sea towns.'

These

he admits were dangerous,

desj)erate,

determined

men.

The numbers

of

them, however, were

providentially small.

The date

of this
it

document

is,

as I said, 1585,

and I believe
mistake
is

generally accurate.

The only
Catholics

that

among the Anglican

there were a few to

whom

their country

was as
to

dear as their creed

—a few who were booinnino-

see that under the

Act of Uniformity Catholic

doctrine might

be taught and Catholic ritual

;

I.]

SEA CRADLE OP THE REFORMATION
;

9

practised
religion,

who adhered

to

the old

forms of

but did not believe that obedience to the
of them.

Pope was a necessary part

One

of these

was Lord Howard of Effingham,
placed in his high

whom

the

Queen

command

to secure the waver-

ing fidelity of the peers and country gentlemen.

But the

force,

the

fire,

the

enthusiasm came

(as the Jesuit

saw) from the Puritans, from
convictions
;

men
of

of

the same

as

the

Calvinists

Holland and Rochelle
the
land,

men

who, driven from

took to the ocean as their natural

home, and nursed the Keformation in an ocean
cradle.

How
it

the seagoing
so

population of the

North of Euroj^e took
impression
explain.
is

strong a Protestant

the purjDose of these lectures to

Henry VIII. on coming
England without a
fleet,

to the throne found

and without a

conscious-

sense of the need of one.

A

few merchant hulks

traded with Bordeaux and Cadiz and Lisbon

hoys and

fly -boats drifted

slowly backwards and

forwards between Antwerji and the Tliames.
fishing fleet tolerably a23pointod

A
to

went annually

Iceland for cod.

Local fishermen worked the

lo

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

North Sea and the Channel from Hull
mouth.

to Fal-

The Chester people went
:

to Kinsale for
all

herrings and mackerel

but that was

—the
to

nation had aspired to no more.

Columbus had

offered

the

New World
still

Henry VII. while the discovery was
air.

in the

He had
its

sent his brother to England with

maps and
prove

globes,

and quotations from Plato to
Henry,
it

existence.

like

a

practical

Englishman, treated

as a wild dream.

The dream had come from the gate

of horn.

America was found, and the Spaniard, and not the
English,

came

into first possession of
place,

it.

Still,

America was a large

and John Cabot the

Venetian with his son Sebastian tried Henry
again.
slice.

England might

still

be able to secure a

This time Henry VII. listened.

Two
crossed

small

ships

were

fitted

out at

Bristol,

the

Atlantic, discovered Newfoundland, coasted

down
but
the

to Florida looking for a passage to Cathay,

could not find one.

The

elder

Cabot died

;

younger came home.

The expedition

failed,

and

no interest had been roused.

With the

accession of

Henry VIII. a new

era

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION
senses.

ii

had opened

—a new era in many was coming into use — Erasmus and

Printing

his

compan-

ions were shaking

Europe with the new learning,

Copernican astronomy was changing the level disk
of the earth into a revolving globe, and turning

dizzy the thoughts of mankind.

Imagination was

on the

stretch.

The

reality of things was assum-

ing .proportions vaster than fancy had dreamt,

and unfastening established belief on a thousand
sides.

The young Henry was welcomed by Erasbe the glory of the age that was
brilliant, cultivated,

mus

as likely to

opening.
ambitious.

He

was young,

and

To what
!

might he not aspire under

the

new

conditions

Henry VIII. was
looked

all

that,

but

he was cautious and
full

about

him.

Europe was
to

of wars in which he was likely

be entangled.
furnished.

His father had

left

the treasury
like

Avell

The young King,

a wise

man, turned

his first attention to the

broad ditch,

as he called the British Channel,

which formed

the natural defence of the realm.
of the Atlantic

The opening
sea-

had revolutionised war and

manship.

Long voyages required
first

larger vessels.

Henry was the

prince to see the place which

12

ENGLISH SEAMEN
to hold in wars.

[lect.

gunpowder was going

In his

first

years he re23aired his dockyards, built

new

ships

on improved models, and imj)orted Italians to cast

him new types
man,'
one.
it

of cannon.

'

King Harry loved a

was

said,

and knew a man when he saw

He made

acquaintance with sea captains at

Portsmouth and Southampton.
other he came to
of Plymouth,

In some way or

know one Mr. William Hawkins,

and held him in especial esteem.
Henry's
of

This

Mr. Hawkins, under

patronage,

ventured

down

to

the

coast

Guinea and

brought home gold and ivory; crossed over to
Brazil
;

made

friends with the Brazilian natives

;

even brought back with him the king of those
countries,

who was
like,

curious

to

see

what Engto

land was
Whitehall.

and presented him

Henry

at

Another Plymouth man, Robert Thorne, again
with Hem-y's help, went out to look
west passage which
for

the Northto
find.

Cabot had

failed

Thome's ship was

called the Dorninus

Volmcum,

a pious aspiration which, however, secured no success.

A

London man, a Master Hore,
it is said,

tried next.

Master Hore,

was given to cosmography,


'

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION
scientific
'

13

was a plausible talker at
so
on.

meetings, and
laAvyci's

He

]3crsiiaded

divers

young

(briefless barristers, I

suppose) and other gentle-

men

—altogether a
him.

hundred and twenty of them
vessels at

to join

They procured two

Gravesend.
before sailing.

They took the sacrament together They
apparentlj^ relied on Provifor

dence to take care of them,
other preparation.

they made

little

They reached Newfoundland,

but their stores ran out, and their ships went on
shore.

In the land of
line

fish

they did not know how
fed

to use

and

bait.

They

on roots and

bilberries,

and picked fish-bones out of the ospreys'
last

nests.

At

they began to eat one another

careless of

Master Hore, who told them they would
fire.

go to unquenchable
in.

A

French vessel came

They

seized her with the food she

had on

board and sailed

home

in her, leaving the French

crew to their

fate.

The

j)oor

French happily

found means of following them.
of their treatment,

They complained

and Henry ordered an inquiry;

but finding, the report says, the great distress

Master Here's party had been
with
pity,

in,

was

so

moved

that he

did

not

punish them, but

14

ENGLISH SEAMEN
own purse made

[lect.

out of his

royal recompense to

the French.

Something better than gentlemen volunteers
was needed
if

naval enterprise was to come to

anything in England.
Francis
closer.
I.

The long wars between

and Charles V. brought the problem
land the fighting was between the

On

regular armies.

At

sea privateers were let loose

out of French, Flemish, and Spanish ports.
prising individuals took out letters of

Enter-

marque and

went cruising to take the chance of what they
could catch.

The Channel was the

chief hunting-

ground, as

being the highway between Spain

and the Low Countries.
between privateers and

The

interval

was short
all

pirates.

Vessels of

sorts passed into the business.

The The

Scilly Isles

became a pirate stronghold.
estuaries in

creeks

and

Cork and Kerry furnished hidingcould
lie

places where the rovers

with security
Irish chiefs.

and share their plunder with the

The

disorder

grew wilder when the divorce of

Catherine of Aragon

made Henry

into the public

enemy

of Papal

Europe.

English traders and

fishing-smacks were plundered and sunk.

Their

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION^

15

crews went armed to defend themselves, and from

Thames mouth
came the scene

to Land's

End
new

the Channel be-

of desj)cratc fights.

The type

of

vessel altered to suit the

conditions.

Life

depended on speed of

sailing.

The State Papers

describe squadrons of French or Spaniards flying
about,

dashing

into

Dartmouth, Plymouth, or
out

Falmouth,

cutting

English

coasters,

or

fighting one another.

After

Henry

was

excommunicated,

and

Ireland rebelled, and England itself threatened
disturbance, the

King had

to look to his security.
it.

He made
in the

little

noise about

But the Spanish

ambassador reported him as

silently building ships

Thames and

at Portsmouth.

As

invasion

seemed imminent, he began with sweeping the
seas of the looser vermin.
cruisers

A

few swift well-armed
out
of the
fleet in

pushed

suddenly

Solent,

caught and destroyed a pirate

Mount's

Bay, sent to the bottom some Flemish privateers
in the

Downs, and captured the Flemish admiral

himself.
ing,

Danger

at

home growing more menacfire

and the monks spreading the

which grew

into the Pilgrimage of Grace,

Henry suppressed

6

"

1

ENGTJSII

SEAMEN
You
you

[lect.

the abbeys, sold the lands, and with the proceeds

armed the

coast with fortresses.

'

threaten
Avill

me; he seemed

to say to them, 'that

use

the wealth our fathers gave you to overthroAV

my

Government and bring in the
take your wealth, and I will use

invader.
it

I will

to disappoint

your treachery.'

You may

see the remnants of

Henry's work in the fortresses anywhere along the
coast from

Berwick to the Land's End.
the
Vatican,

Louder thundered

In

1539

Henry's time appeared to have come.

France

and Spain made peace, and the Pope's sentence
was now expected to be executed by Charles or
Francis, or both.

A

crowd of vessels large and

small was collected in the Scheldt, for
jaose

what purEngland
?

save to transport an

army

into

Scotland had joined the Catholic League.
fearlessly appealed to the English jDeople.

Henry
Catholic

peers and priests might
but, explain
to
it

conspire

against him,

how we

will,

the nation was loyal
side.

Henry and came

to

his

The London
river.

merchaats armed their ships in the

From

the seaports everywhere came armed brigantines

and

sloops.

The fishermen

of the

West

left their

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION

17

boats and nets to their wives, and the fishing was

none the worse,
sail

for

the

women handled

oar and

and line and went to the whiting-grounds,

while their husbands had gone to fight for their

King.

Genius kindled into discovery at the
Mr. Fletcher of Rye (be his
like of

call

of the country.

name
which
to

remembered) invented a boat the
was never seen
windward, with
before,
sails

which would
fore

work
aft,

trimmed

and

the

greatest revolution yet

made

in shipbuilding.

A
to

hundred and

fifty sail

collected at
;

Sandwich

match the armament in the Scheldt

and Marillac,

the French ambassador, reported with the energy of

amazement

King and

people.

The Catholic Powers thought

better

of

it.

This was not the England which Reginald Pole

had

told

them was longing
force dispersed.

for their

appearance.

The Scheldt

Henry read Scotland
to take

a needed lesson.

The Scots had thought
and
sit

him

at disadvantage,

on his back when

the Emperor attacked him.

One morning when
and before
c

the people at Leith woke out of their sleep, they

found an English

fleet in

the Roads

;

they had time to look about them, Leith was on

i8
fire

ENGLISH SEAMEN
and Edinburgh was taken.
Charles V.,

[lect.
if

he

had ever seriously thought of invading Henry,
returned to wiser counsels, and

made an

alliance

with him instead.
If the

The Pope turned

to France.

Emperor
help.

forsook him, the

Most Christian
if

King would
could Avin

He

promised Francis that

he

England he might

keej) it for himself.

Francis resolved to try what he could do.

Five years had passed since the gathering
at Sandwich.
It

was now the summer of

1

544.

The

records

say that the French collected at
vessels, fighting

Havre near 300
and
transports.

ships,

galleys,

Doubtless the numbers are far
it

exaggerated, but at any rate

was the largest
England,
to his
Isle

force ever yet got together to invade

capable, if well handled, of bringing

Hemy

knees.

The plan was

to seize

and occupy the
fleet,

of Wight, destroy the

English

then take

Portsmouth and Southampton, and so advance
on London.

Hemy's attention to his navy had not slackened.

He had

built ship

on

ship.

Tlie Great

Harry was

a thousand tons, carried 700 men, and was the

wonder of the

day.

There were a dozen others

:

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORlMATION
The King
called again

19

scarcely less imposing.

on In

the nation, and again the nation answered.

England altogether there were 150,000 men in
arms in
field or garrison.

In the King's

fleet at

Portsmouth there were 12,000 seamen, and the
privateers of the
before.

West crowded up

eagerly as

It

is

strange,

with the notions which

we have allowed

ourselves to form of Henry, to

observe the enthusiasm with
country, as yet undivided
rallied

which the Avhole
doctrinal quarrels,

by

a second time to defend him.
fleet lay

In this Portsmouth

undeveloped the

genius of the future naval greatness of England.

A small
King
the
;
'

fact

connected with

it is

worth recording.
'

The watchword on board
the answer was,
'

was,

God

save the
'

Long

to i-eign over us

earliest

germ

discoverable

of

the English

National Anthem.

The King had come himself
to witness the expected attack.

to

Portsmouth
fleet

The

was
of

commanded by Lord
Northumberland.
It

Lisle, afterwards

Duke

was the middle of July.

The French

crossed from
St.

Havre unfought with,
off

and anchored in

Helens Eoads

Brading

20

ENGLISH SEAMEN
The

[lect.

Harbour.

English, being greatly inferior in
for

numbers, lay waiting

them

inside the Spit.
still

The morning
and
sultry.

after the

French came in was

The English could not move The
for

for

want of wind.
engaged them
advantage.

galleys

crossed

over and

two or three hours with some
rose at

The breeze

noon

;

a few fast
back.

sloops got under

way and

easily drove

them

But the same breeze which enabled the English
to

move brought a

serious calamity with

it.

The

Mary

Rose, one of Lisle's finest vessels,
fire

had been
ports
u]3,

under the
been
left

of the

galleys.

Her

had
she

open, and
filled,

when the wind sprang

heeled over,

and went down, carrying two
her.

hundred men along with

The French saw

her sink, and thought their own guns had done
it.

They hoped

to follow

up

their success.

At

night they sent over boats to take soundings, and
discover the

way

into the harbour.

The

boats

reported that the sandbanks
impossible.
action.

made the approach
clear

The French had no

plan of

They

tried a landing in the island,
failed.

but

the force was too small, and

They weighed
Bill,

anchor and brought

u])

again behind Selsea

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION

21

whore Lisle proposed to run them down in
dark, taking

tlic

advantage of the

tide.

But they

had an enemy to deal with woi'se than Lisle, on
board their own ships, which explained their
tracted movements.
dis-

Hot weather, putrid meat,
ships'

and putrid water had prostrated whole
companies with dysentery.
ineffectual

After a three weeks'

cruise

they had to hasten back to

Havre, break up, and disperse.

The

first

great

armament which was
to the

to

have recovered England

Papacy had effected nothing.
his

Hemy

had
left

once more shown

strength,

and was
seas.

undisputed master of the narrow

So matters stood
reign.

for

what remained of Henry's

As

far as

he had gone, he had quarrelled

with the Pope, and had brought the Church under
the law.

So

far the

country generally had gone

with him, and there had been no violent changes
in the administration of religion.

When Henry

died the Protector abolished the old creed, and
created

a

new and
and

perilous

cleavage between

Protestant

Catholic,

and,

while

England
ever,

needed the protection of a navy more than
allowed the fine fleet which

Henry had

left to fall

22

ENGLISH SEAMEN
The
spirit of

[lf.ct.

into decay.

enterprise

grew with

the Reformation.

Mcrcliant companies opened

trade with Russia and the Levant; adventurous
sea captains went to Guinea for gold.
Sir

Hugh

Willoughby followed the phantom of the Northwest Passage, turning eastward round the North

Cape

to

look for

it,

and perished in the

ice.

English commerce was beginning
of the Protector's experiments
infinitely
;

to groAv in spite

but a new and

dangerous element had been introduced
religion

by the change of

into the

relations of

English sailors with the Catholic Powers, and
especially with Spain.

In their zeal to kee]3 out

heresy,

the

SiDanish

Government

placed

their
Office.

harbours under the control of the Holy

Any
was

vessel in Avhich
confiscated,

an heretical book was found
her crew carried to the
It

and

Inquisition prisons.
time.

had begun in Henry's

The

Inquisitors attempted to treat schism
arrest

as heresy

and

Englishmen in their

j)orts.

But Henry spoke up

stoutly to Charles V.,

and

the Holy Office had been
All was altered now.
It

made

to hold its hand.

was not necessary that

a poor sailor should have been found teaching

;

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION
It

23

licrcsy.

was enough

if

ho had an Enghsli
his idt
;

Bible
stories

and Prayer Book with him in

and

would come into Dartmouth or Plymouth
lad that everybody
Avife

how some
or

knew

Bill or

Jack

Tom, who had

or father or

mother amonofor

them, perhaps

—had

been seized hold of

no

other crime, been flung into a dungeon, tortured,
starved, set to Avork in the galleys, or

burned in

a

fool's coat,

as they called

it,

at

an cmto da fe at

iSeville.

The
tical
:

object of the Inquisition

was partly

poli-

it

was meant

to embarrass trade

and make

the people impatient of changes which produced
so

much

inconvenience.

The

effect

was exactly

the opposite.
created fury.

Such accounts when brought home
There grew
uj)

in

the seagoing-

population an enthusiasm of hatred for that holy
institution,

and a

]3assionate desire for revenge.

The

natural remed}^ would have been Avar
Avas

but the division of nations
division of creeds
;

crossed

by the
allies in

and each nation had

the heart of every other.
Avar Avith Spain,

If England Avent to

Spain could encourage insurrecCatholics.

tion

among the

If Spain or France

24

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

declared war against England, England could help

the Huguenots or the Holland

Calvinists.

All

Governments were

afraid alike of a general

war

of religion which might shake Europe in pieces.

Thus individuals were
pulses.

left

to their natural

im-

The Holy

Office burnt English or
it

French

Protestants wherever

could catch them.

The

Protestants revenged their injuries at their
risk

own

and in their own way, and thus from Edward

VI. 's time to the end of the century privateering

came

to

be the special occupation of adventurous

honourable gentlemen, who could serve God, their
country,

and themselves in fighting
these

Catholics.

Fleets

of

dangerous

vessels

swept

the

Channel, Ij^g in wait at Scilly, or even at the

Azores

—disowned

in public

by their own Govern-

ments

while secretly countenanced,

making war

on their own account on what they called the
enemies of God.
there were

In such a business, of course,
pirates

many mere
who were

engaged who cared

neither

for

God nor man.

But

it

was

the

Protestants

specially impelled into it

by the
Office

cruelties of the

Inquisition.

The Holy
fe.

began the work

mth

the cmtos da

The

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION
robbed, burnt, and

25

privateers

scuttled Catholic

ships in retaliation.

One

tierce

deed produced

another,

till

right

and wrong were obscured in
Vivid pictures

the passion of religious hatred.

of these wild doings survive in the English

and

Spanish State Papers.
favourite haunt.

Ireland was

the rovers'

In the universal anarchy there,
little

a

little

more or a

less

did not

signify.

Notorious pirate captains were to be met in Cork
or

Kinsale, collecting stores, casting cannon, or
their
prizes

selling

— men
to

of

all

sorts,

from
is

fanatical saints to undisguised ruffians.

Here

one incident out of

many

show the heights

to

which temper had
'

risen.

Long

peace,'

says

someone, addressing the
'

Privy Council early in Elizabeth's time,

becomes

by

force of the

Spanish Inquisition more hurtful
It
is

than open war.
policy
pilots,

the

secret,

determined
fleet,

of

Spain to destroy the English

masters

and

sailors,

by means of the

Inquisition.

The

Spanish

King pretends

he

dares not offend the Holy House, while we in

England say we may not proclaim war against
Spain in revenge of a few.

Not long

since the

26

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

Spanish Inquisition executed sixty persons of

St.

Malo, notwitlistandiug entreaty to the King of

Spain to spare them.

Whereupon the Frenchmen

armed
a

their pimiaces, lay for the Spaniards, took

hundred

and

beheaded

them, sending
Avith

the

Spanish ships to the shore
leaving in each ship but one

their

heads,

man

to render the

cause of the revenge.
Inquisitors have never
Malo.'

Since which time Sj)anish

meddled

Avith those of St.

A
it,

colony of

Huguenot refugees had

settled

on the coast of Florida.

The Spaniards heard

of

came from

St.

Domingo, burnt the town, and
child, leaving

hanged every man, Avoman, and

an

inscription explaining that the poor creatures

had

been

killed,

not as Frenchmen, but as heretics.
of

Domenique de Gourges,

Eochelle,

heard of

this fine exploit of fanaticism,

equipped a ship,

and

sailed across.

He
left

caught the Spanish garrison
in occupation

which had been

and swung

them on the same

trees

—with

a second scroll

saying that they were dangling there, not as
Spaniards, but as murderers.

The genius

of

adventure

tempted men of


I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION
Sir

27

highest birth into the rovers' ranks.

Thomas

Seymour,
uncle,
office,

tlie

Protector's brother

and the King's
In his time
(jf

was Lord High Admiral.
complaints were

made by foreign merchants
at
;

of

ships

and

property seized

the

Thames

mouth.

No

redress could be

had

no restitution

made

;

no pirate was even punished, and Sey-

mour's personal followers were seen suspiciously
decorated with Spanish ornaments.
at
last

It appeared

that

Seymour had himself bought the
if

Scilly Isles,

and

he could not have his way at
to set

Court,

it

was said that he meant

up there

as a pirate chief.

The persecution under Mary brought
resjDectable recruits

in

more

than Seymour.

The younger

generation of the western families had grown

with the times.

If they were not theologically

Protestant, they detested tyranny.

They detested

the marriage with Philip,

which threatened the

independence of England.

At home they were

powerless, but the sons of honourable houses

Strangways,

Tremaynes,

Staffords,

Horseys,

Carews, Killegrews, and

Cobhams

—dashed

out

upon the water

to revenge the Smithfield

mas-

; ;

28
sacres.

ENGLISH SEAMEN
They found help where
for.
it

[lect.

could least

have been looked

Henry

II.

of France hated

heresy, but he hated Spain worse.

Sooner than

see England absorbed in the Spanish monarchy,

he forgot his bigotry in his

politics.

He

fur-

nished these young mutineers with ships and

money and
were
for

letters of

marque.
friends.

The Huguenots
With
Rochelle
of

their

natural

an

arsenal,

they held

the

mouth

the

Channel, and harassed the communications be-

tween Cadiz and Antwerp.
ness
:

It

was a wild busisanctified
it

enterprise

and buccaneering
;

by

religion

and hatred of cruelty

but

was a

school like no other for seamanship,
for
all

and a school

the building of vessels which could outsail
others on the sea
;

a school, too, for the train-

ing up of hardy men, in whose blood ran detestation
of the

Inquisition

and the Inquisition's

master.

Every other trade was swallowed up

or coloured

by privateering;
for

the

merchantmen

went armed, ready
the Iceland
fleet

any work that offered

went no more in search of cod

the Channel boatmen forsook nets and lines and

took to livelier occupations

;

Mary was

too busy

;

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION

29

burning heretics to look to the police of the seas
her father's fine ships rotted in harbour;
father's coast-forts

her

were deserted or dismantled

she lost Calais
in forcing

;

she lost the hearts of her people
into orthodoxy
;
;

them

she

left

the seas

to the privateers

and no trade

flourished, save

what the Catholic Powers

called piracy.

When

Elizabeth came to the throne, the whole

merchant navy of England engaged in lawful

commerce amounted

to

no more than 50,000

tons.

You may

see

more now passing every day through
In the service of the Crown

the Gull Stream.

there were but seven revenue cruisers in commission,

the largest 120 tons, with eight merchant

brigs altered for fighting.
still

In harbour there were

a score

of large ships, but they were dis;

mantled and rotting
there was none.

of ai'tiilery

fit

for sea

work

The men were not

to

be had,

and, as Sir William Cecil said, to

fit

out ships

without

men was

to set

armour on stakes on the
of

sea-shore.

The mariners

England were otherdid not please

wise engaged, and in a
Cecil.

way which

had.

He was He saw

the ablest minister that Elizabeth
at

once that on the

navy the

30

ENGLISH SEAMEN
and even the
If
liberty of

[lect.

prosi^erity

England must
to

eventually depend.
Protestant,
it

England were

remain

was not by

articles of religion or

acts of uniformity that she could be saved without

a

fleet at

the back of them.

But he was

old-

fashioned.

He
The

believed in law and order, and he

has

left

a curious paper of reflections on the
ships'

situation.

companies in Henry VIII.'s

days were recruited from the fishing-smacks, but
the Reformation itself had destroj^ed the fishing
trade.

In old times, Cecil

said,

no

flesh

was

eaten on fish days.

The King himself could
to eat beef or

not have license.
fish

Now

mutton on

days was the test of a true believer.

The

English Iceland fishery used to su23ply

Normandy
it

and Brittany as well
passed to the French.
fish

as England.

Now
left

had
to

The Chester men used
they had

the Irish seas.

Now

them

to

the Scots.

The fishermen had taken

to privateer-

ing because the fasts of the Church were neglected.

He saw
that

it

was

so.

He

recorded his
it,

own opinion
and
last,

piracy, as
last.

he called

was

detcstaUe,
it

could not
that
it

He

was to find that

could

was

to

form the special discipline of the

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION

31

generation whose business would be to fight the
Spaniards.

But he struggled hard against the
conclusion.

unwelcome
trade

He
Act.

tried to revive lawful

by a Navigation

He

tried to restore

the fisheries by Act of Parliament.

He

introduced

a Bill recommending godly abstinence as a means
to virtue,

making the eating
a

of

meat on Fridays
and
adding
of

and

Saturdays
as

misdemeanour,

Wednesday

a half fish-day.

The House

Commons

laughed at him as brmging back Popish

mummeries. To please the Protestants he inserted
a clause, that the statute was politicly meant
for

the increase of fishermen and mariners, not for

any superstition in the choice of meats; but

it

was no
'

use.

The Act was

called

in

mockery
fisheries

Cecil's Fast,'

and the recovery of the

had

to wait

till

the natural inclination of

human

stomachs
revive of

for fresh
itself.

whiting and

salt

cod should

Events had to take their course.

Seamen

were duly provided in other ways, and such as
tlie

time required.

Privatcermg suited Elizabeth's

convenience, and suited her disposition.
daring-

She liked

and adventure.

She

liked

men who would

32

ENGLISH SEAMEN
for
it,

[lect.

do her work without being paid
she could disown

men whom
who would
it.

when expedient

;

understand her, and would not resent

She

knew her turn was

to

come when Philip had

leisure to deal with her, if she could not secure

herself meanwhile.

Time was wanted

to restore

the navy.
interval.

The

privateers were a resource in the
called

They might be
peace.

pirates

while

there was formal
signify.

The name did not
armed
force of the

They were

really the

country.

After the war broke out in the Nether-

lands, they

had commissions from the Prince of

Orange.
if

Such commissions would not save them
it

taken by Spain, but

enabled them to

sell

their prizes,

and

for

the rest they trusted to their

speed and their guns.

When

Elizabeth was at

war with France about Havre, she took the most
note 1 of them into the service of the Crown.

Ned

Horsey became Sir Edward and Governor of the
Isle of

Wight

;

Strangways, a

Red Rover

in his

way, who had been the terror of the Spaniards,

was

killed before

Rouen

;

Tremayne
;

fell

at Havre,

mourned over by Elizabeth

and Cliampernowne,

one of the most gallant of the whole of them,

:

I.]

SEA CRADLE OF THE REFORMATION
killed afterwards at Coligny's side at

33

was

Mon-

contour.

But others took

their places

:

the wild hawks

as thick as seagulls flashing over the waves, fair

wind

or foul, laughing at pursuit, brave, reckless,
:

devoted, the crews the strangest medley

English

from the Devonshire and Cornish creeks. Huguenots

from
'

Kochelle

;

Irish

kernes

Avith

long

skenes,

desperate, unruly persons with no kind

of mercy.'

The Holy

Office
:

meanwhile went on in

cold,

savage resolution

the Holy Office which had
it.

begun the business and was the cause of

A

note in Cecil's hand says that in the one

year 1562 twenty-six English subjects had been

burnt at the stake in different parts of Spain.

Ten times
dungeons,

as

many were
which

starving in

Spanish

from

occasionally,

by

happy
which

accident, a cry could
follows.

be heard

like this

In

1 561

an English merchant writes

from the Canaries
'

I

was taken by those of the Inquisition
little

twenty months past, put into a

dark house

two paces long, loaded with

irons,

without sight

'34

ENGLISH SEAMEN
or

[lect.

i.

of sun

moon

all

that

time.

When

I

was

arraigned I was charged that I should say our

mass was as good as theirs
rather give

;

that I said I would

money
it.

to the poor

than buy Bulls of

Rome

with

I was charged with being a subject

to the Queen's grace, who, they said,

was enemy

to the Faith, Antichrist, with other opprobrious

names

;

and I stood

to the defence of the Queen's

Majesty, proving the infamies most untrue.

Then

I was put into Little Ease again, protestiiig very

innocent blood to be demanded against the judge
before Christ.'

The innocent blood

of these poor victims

had

not to wait to be avenged at the Judgment Day.

The account was presented
at the cannon's mouth.

shortly and promptly

LECTURE

II

JOHN HAWKINS AND THE AFEICAN SLAVE TRADE

T BEGIN
to

this lecture

with a petition addressed

Queen

Elizabeth.

Thomas

Seely, a mer-

chant of Bristol, hearing a Spaniard in a Spanish
port utter foul and slanderous charges against the

Queen's character, knocked him down.
a

To knock

man down

for telling lies

about Elizabeth might
it

be a breach of the peace, but
declared heresy.

had not yet been
however, seized

The Holy

Office,

Seely, threw him into a dungeon, and kept him

starving there for three years, at the end of which

he contrived to make his condition known in
England.
protest.

The Queen wrote

herself to Philip to

Philip would not interfere.
irons,

Seely re-

mained in prison and in

and the result was

a petition from his wife, in which the temper

which was rising can be read as in

letters of

fire.

36

ENGLISH SEAMEN
'

[lect.

Dorothy Seely demands that

the friends of her

Majesty's subjects so imprisoned and tormented in Spain

may make
King

out ships at their proper

charges, take such Inquisitors or other Papistical

subjects of the
or land,

of Spain as they can

by sea
tor-

and retain them in prison with such
diet as her Majesty's subjects

ments and

be kept

with in Spain, and on complaint made by the

King

to give such answer as is

now made when

her Majesty sues for subjects imprisoned by the
Inquisition.

Or

that a Commission be granted

to the Archbishop of

Canterbury and the other

bishops word for word for foreign Papists as the
Inquisitors have in Spain for the Protestants.

So

that

all

may know

that her Majesty cannot and

will not longer

endure the spoils and torments of

her subjects, and the Spaniards shall not think
this noble

realm dares not seek revenge of such

importable wrongs.'
Elizabeth
issued

no
for,

such

Commission

as

Dorothy Seely asked

but she did leave her

subjects to seek their revenge in their

own way,

and they sought

it

sometimes too rashly.
1563 eight English mer-

In the summer of

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE

37

chantmen anchored in the roads of
England and France were then
brig
at war.

Gibraltar.

A

French
near.

came
if

in after them,

and brought up

At

sea,

they could take her, she would have
prize.

been a lawful

Spaniards under similar

circumstances had not respected the neutrality
of

English

harbours.

The

Englishmen

were

perhaps in doubt what to do, when the
of the

officers

Holy

Office

came

off to

the French ship.

The
wild.
ship,

sight of the black familiars drove the English

Three of them made a dash at the French
intending to sink
her.

The

Inquisitors
lives.

sprang into their boat, and rowed for their

The

castle

guns opened, and the harbour police
interfere.

put out to

The French

ship, however,

would have been taken, when unluckily Alvarez
de Ba^an, with a Spanish squadron, came round
into the Straits.

Eesistance was impossible.

The

eight English ships were captured and carried off
to Cadiz.

The English

flag

was trailed under

De

Baqan's stern.

The crews, two hundred and forty
were promptly condemned to the

men

in

all,

galleys.

In defence they could but say that the

Frenchman was an enemy, and a moderate punish-

38

ENGLISH SEAMEN
sufSficed for

[lect.

ment would have

a violation of the

harbour rules which the Spaniards themselves so
little

regarded.

But the

Inquisition was inexor-

able,

and the men were treated with such peculiar
after nine

brutality that

months ninety only of
alive.

the two hundred and forty were

Ferocity was answered by ferocity.
this
!

Listen to

The Cobhams

of

Cowling Castle were

Protestants by descent.
in the

Lord Cobham was famous

Lollard martyrology.

Thomas Cobham,

one of the family, had taken to the sea like
of his friends.

many

While cruising

in the

Channel

he caught sight of a Spaniard on the wa}^ from

Antwerp

to Cadiz with forty prisoners
it

on board,

consigned,

might be supposed,

to the Inquisition.

They

were, of course, Inquisition prisoners; for

other offenders would have been dealt with on

the spot.

Cobham chased

her

down

into the

Bay

of Biscay, took her, scuttled her,
captives.

and rescued the

But that was not enough.

The captain

and crew he sewed up in their own mainsail and
flung
dead,
sheet.

them

overboard.

They were washed ashore
extraordmary windingto account for this

wrapped in

their

Cobham was

called

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE

39'

exploit,

but he does not seem to have been actu-

ally punished.

In a very short time he was

out,

and away again at the old work.
plenty with him.
Philip's subjects

There were

After the business at Gibraltar,;

were not safe in English harbours.
a noted privateer, called Pie de

Jacques

le Clerc,

Palo from his wooden leg, chased a Spaniard into

Falmouth, and was allowed to take her under the

guns of Pendennis.

The Governor

of the castle

said that he could not interfere, because

Le

Clerc
It

had a commission from the Prince of Conde.

was proved that in the summer of 1563 there
were 400 English and Huguenot rovers in and
about the Channel, and that they had taken 700
prizes

between them.
suit.

The Queen's own

ships

followed

Captain Cotton in the Fhoenix

captured an Antwerp merchantman in Flushing.

The harbour-master
and
sailed

protested.
his

Cotton laughed,

away with

prize.

The Regent

Margaret wrote in indignation to Elizabeth. Such
insolence, she said,

was not to be endured.

She

would have Captain Cotton chastised as an ex-

ample to
situation

all

others.

Elizabeth measured the
the Regent
;

more

correctly than

she

40

ENGLISH SEAMEN
show Philip that she was not

[lect.

preferred to
of him.

afraid

She preferred

to let her subjects dis-

cover for themselves that the terrible Spaniard
before

whom

the world

trembled was

but

a

colossus stuffed with

clouts.

Until Philip con-

sented to tie the hands of the Holy Office she did

not

mean

to prevent

them from taking the law

into their

own

hands.
if

Now
herself

and then,

occasion required, Elizabeth

would do a

little

privateering on her

own
tell

account.

In the next story that I have to

she appears as a principal, and her great minister,
Cecil, as

an accomplice.

The Duke

of

Alva had

succeeded Margaret as Regent of the Netherlands,

and was drowning heresy in

its

own

blood.
;

The
but

Prince of Orange was making a noble fight
all

went

ill

with him. His troops were defeated, his

brother Louis was killed.

He

was

still

struggling,

helped by Elizabeth's

money.

But the odds
dis-

were

terrible,

and the only hope lay in the

content of Alva's soldiers,
their wages,

who had not been paid
fight without them.

and would not
were not

Philip's finances

flourishing,

but he had

borrowed half a million ducats from a house at

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE
for

41

Genoa

Alva's use.

The money was

to

be

delivered in bullion at Antwerp.
privateers heard that
it

The Channel

was coming and were on
vessel in

the look-out for

it.

The

which

it

was

sent took refuge in Plymouth, but found she had

run into the enemy's

nest.

Nineteen or twenty
lay round
to

Huguenot and English
with
commissions

cruisers

her

from

Conde

take

every

Catholic ship they
friends

met

with.

Elizabeth's special

thought and said freely that so rich a
to fall to

prize ought

no one but her Majesty.

Elizabeth

thought

the same, but for a more
It

honourable reason.

was of the highest con-

sequence that the

money should not reach the
moment.

Duke
so,

of Alva at that

Even

Cecil said
it

and sent the Prince of Orange word that

would be stopped in some way.

But how could

it

decently be done

?

Bishop

Jewel relieved the Queen's mind

(if it

was ever

disturbed) on the moral side of the question.

The

bishop held that

it

would be meritorious in a

high degree to intercept a treasure which was to

be used in the murder of Protestant Christians.

But the how was the problem.

To

let

the

42

ENGLISH SEAMEN
it
felt,

[lect.

privateers take

openly in Pljmouth harbour

would,

it

was

be a scandal.

Sir

Arthur

Champernowne, the Vice-admiral of the West,
saw the
had three
fleet,

difficulty

and offered

his services.

He

vessels of his

own

in Conde's privateer

under his son Henry.
first

As

vice-admiral he

was

in

command

at Plymouth.

He

placed

a guard on board the treasure ship, telling the
captain
it

would be a discredit to the Queen's
if

Government

harm

befell her in

English waters.

He

then wrote to
'

Cecil.
'

If,'

he

said,

it

shall

seem good

to

your

honour that I with others
for

shall give the

attempt

her Majesty's use which cannot be without
it

blood, I will not only take

in hand, but also

receive the
so

blame thereof unto myself, to the end
to

great a commodity should redound

her

Grace, hoping that, after bitter storms of her displeasure,

showed at the

first

to colour the fact, I
sort as

shall find the

calm of her favour in such

I

am most

willing to hazard myself to serve her

Majesty.

Great pity

it

were such a rich booty

should escape her Grace.

But

surely I

am

of that

mind that anything taken from that wicked nation

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE

43

is

both necessary and profitable to our common-

wealth.'

Very shocking on
such a letter
:

Sir Arthur's part to write

so

many good

people will think.

I

hojoe they will consider it equally shocking that

King

Philip should have burned English sailors

at the stake because they

were loyal to the laws
all

of their

own country

;

that he was stirring war

over Europe to please the Pope^ and thrusting the
doctrines of the Council of Trent
of

down the

throats

mankind

at

the sword's point.
;

Spain and

England might be at peace

Romanism and Pro-

testantism were at deadly war, and war suspends

the obligations of ordinary

life.

Crimes the most

horrible were held to be virtues in defence of the

Catholic faith.

The

Catholics could not have the

advantage of such indulgences without the inconveniences.

The Protestant cause throughout

Europe was one, and assailed as the Protestants
were with such envenomed
not afford to
ferocity,

they could

be nicely scrupulous in the means

they used to defend themselves.
Sir Ai'thur

Champernowne was not

called

on

to sacrifice himself in such peculiar fashion,

and a

44

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

better expedient was found to secure Alva's money.

The

bullion

was landed and was brought

to

Lon-

don by road on the plea that the seas were unsafe.
It

was carried

to the Tower,
it

and when

it

was once

inside the walls

was found to remain the property
it

of the Genoese until

was delivered at Antwerp.

The Genoese agent
lend
it

in

London was

as willing to

to Elizabeth as to Philip,

and indeed pre-

ferred the security.

Elizabeth calmly said that

she had herself occasion for money, and would
accept their
offer.
;

Half of

it

was sent

to the

Priace of Orange
navy.

half was spent on the Queen's

Alva was of course violently angry.
every English ship in the

He arrested Low Countries. He
Elizabeth

arrested every Englishman that he could catch,

and sequestered
retaliated in

all

English property.

kind.

The Spanish and Flemish

property taken in England proved to be worth

double what had been secured by Alva.
could not declare war.
tion
for

Philip

The Netherlands

insurrec-

was straining his resources, and with Elizabeth

an open enemy the whole weight of England

would have been thrown on the side of the Prince

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE

45

of Orange.

Elizabeth herself should have declared
say,

war,

people
tricks.

instead

of

condescending

to
not.

such

Perhaps so; but also perhaps

These

insults,

steadily maintained and unresented,

shook the faith of mankind, and especially of her

own

sailors, in

the invincibility of the Spanish

colossus.

I

am now
The

to

turn to another side of the

subject.

stories

which I

have told

you

show the tem|)er of the time, and the atmosphere which

men were

breathing, but

it

will

be instructive to look more
persons,

closely at individual
first

and I

will

take

John Hawkins

(afterwards Sir John), a peculiarly characteristic
figure.

The Hawkinses
middle-class

of

Plymouth were a
family,

solid

Devonshire

who
part

for

two
the

generations had

taken a leading

in

business of the town.

They
to
in,

still

survive in the

county

—Achins

we used
came

call

them

before

school pronunciation

and

so Philip wrote

the

name when the famous John began

to trouble

his dreams.

I have already spoken of old William
father,

Hawkins, John's

whom Henry VHI. was

46

ENGLISH SEAMEN
of,

[lect.

SO fond

and who brought over the Brazilian
left

King.

Old William had now retired and had and
his

his place

work

to his son.

John Hawkins

may have been
sion.

about thirty at Elizabeth's acces-

He had

witnessed the wild times of Edward

VI. and Mary, but, though

many

of his friends

had taken to the privateering
appears to have kept clear of
steadily at trade.

business,
it,

Hawkins

and continued

One

of these friends,

and

his

contemporary, and in fact his near relation, was

Thomas

Stukely, afterwards so notorious

—and

a

word may be said of Stukely's career
to that of

as a contrast

Hawkins.

He was

a younger son of

a leading county family, went to London to seek
his

fortune,

and

became a

hanger-on

of

Sir

Thomas

Sejanour.

Doubtless he was connected
Scilly,

with Seymour's pirating scheme at
took
to

and

pirating as

an occupation

like

other

Western gentlemen.
Queen, he
introduced

When

Elizabeth became
at

himself

Court

and
be

amused her with

his conceit.

a king, nothing less than a
to Florida, found

He meant to He would king.

go

an empire there, and write to

the

Queen

as his dearest sister.

She gave him

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE
He bought
join

47

leave to try.

a vessel of 400 tons, got
besides the crew, and
1563.

100

tall soldiers to

him

sailed

from Plymouth in

Once out of

harbour, he announced that the sea was to be his
Florida.

He went
freely,

back to the pirate business,

robbed

haunted Irish creeks, and set up
hero,

an intimacy with the Ulster

Shan

O'Neil.

Shan and Stukely became bosom
"wrote to Elizabeth to

friends.

Shan

recommend that she should
Stukely and himself to
if

make

over Ireland to

manage, and promised,

she agreed, to

make

it

such an Ireland as had never been seen, which

they probably would.

Elizabeth not consenting,

Stukely turned Papist, transferred his services to
the Pope and Philip, and was preparing a cam-

paign in

Ireland

under the
to

Pope's direction,
join

when he was tempted

Sebastian of

Portugal in the African expedition, and there
got himself
killed.

Stukely was a specimen of the foolish sort of
the young Devonshire
his opposite.

men Hawkins was
;

exactly

He

stuck

to

business,

avoided

politics,

traded with Spanish ports without offend-

ing the Holy Office, and formed intimacies and

;

48

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

connections with the Canary Islands especially,

where

it

was said

'

he grew much in love and

favour with the people.'

At the Canaries he
about the West Indies.

naturally heard

much

He was

adventurous.

His Canaries friends told him that negroes were
great merchandise in the Spanish settlements in

Espanola, and he himself was intimately acquainted

with the Guinea coast, and
a cargo could be obtained.

knew how

easily such

We
have
all

know

to

what the

slave trade grew.

We

learnt to repent of the share
it,

which Eng-

land had in

and

to

abhor everyone whose

hands were stained by contact with so accursed
a business.
All that

may be taken
it

for

granted

but we must look at the matter as

would have

been represented at the Canaries to Hawkins
himself

The Carib

races

whom

the Spaniards found in
before

Cuba and

St.

Domingo had withered
blight.

them

as if struck

by a

Many
;

died under the

lash of the Spanish overseers

many, perhaps the

most, from the mysterious causes which have

made the presence

of civilisation so fatal to the

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE
Indian, the Australian,

49

Red
with

and the Maori.

It is

men

as

it is

with animals.

The

races which

consent to be domesticated prosper and multiply.

Those which cannot
like

live

without freedom pine

caged eagles or disappear like the buffaloes

of the prairies.

Anyway, the natives
islands

perished

out

of

the

of the
startled

Caribbean Sea with a rapidity
the
conquerors.

which

The famous

Bishop Las Casas pitied and tried to save the

remnant that were

left.

The Spanish

settlers

required labourers for the plantations.

On

the

continent of Africa were another race, savage in
their natural state,

which would domesticate

like

sheep

and oxen, and learnt and improved in

the white man's company.

The negro never
;

rose of himself out of barbarism

as his fathers
;

were, so
left

he remained from age to age

when

free, as in

Liberia and in Hayti, he reverts
;

to his original barbarism

while in subjection to

the white
since,

man he showed

then,

and he has shown

high capacities of intellect and character.
is,

Such
that

such was the

fact.

It struck

Las Casas

if

negroes could be introduced into the

West

E

: ;

so

ENGLISH SEAMEN
left

[lect.

Indian islands, the Indians might be

alone

the negroes themselves would have a chance to
rise out of their wretchedness, could

be made into

Christians,

and could be saved

at worst from the

horrid fate which awaited

many

of

them

in their

own

country.
races

The black

varied like other animals
timid,

some were gentle and
as wolves.

some were

ferocious

The strong tyrannised over the weak,

made

slaves of their prisoners, occasionally ate

them, and those they did not eat they sacrificed
at

what they

called their customs

offered

them

up and cut
idols.

their throats at

the altars of their
tradi-

These customs were the most sacred

tions of the negro race.

They were suspended

while the slave trade gave the prisoners a value.

They revived when the

slave trade

was abolished.

When

Lord Wolseley a few years back entered

Ashantee, the altars were coated thick with the
blood of hundreds of miserable beings

who had

been freshly slaughtered

there.

Still later similar

horrid scenes were reported from

Dahomey.

Sir

Richard Burton, who was an old acquaintance
of mine, spent

two months with the King of

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE
dilated to

51

Dahomey, and

me

on the benevolence
I

and enlightenment of that excellent monarch, o
asked why,
if

the King was so benevolent, he did

not alter the customs.
consternation,
'

Burton looked at
the customs
!

me
he

with
said,

'

Alter

'

Would you have the Archbishop
Liturgy
?
'

of Canterbury

alter the

Las Casas and those who

thought as he did are not to be charged with
infamous inhumanity
these
if

they proposed to buy

poor

creatures

from their captors, save
carry

them from Mumbo Jumbo, and

them

to

countries where they would be valuable property,

and be at and
horses.

least as well cared for as the

mules

The experiment was
succeed.

tried

and seemed

to

The negroes who were rescued from

the customs and were carried to the Spanish
islands proved docile

and

useful.

Portuguese and

Spanish factories were established on the coast
of Guinea.

The black

chiefs

were glad to make

money out
sold

of their wretched victims, and readily

them.

The

transport

over

the Atlantic
Strict

became a regular branch of
laws were

business.

made

for

the good treatment of the

52

ENGLISH SEAMEN
on the plantations.

[lect.

slaves

The

trade was carried

on under license from the Government, and an
import duty of thirty ducats per head was charged

on every negro that was landed.
experiment.
foreseen,
it

I

call

it

an

The

full

consequences could not be

and I cannot see that as an experiment
its later

merits the censures which in
it

develop-

ments

eventually
of
it,

came

to deserve.

Las Casas,

who approved
of men.

was one of the most excellent
give no
existed

Our own Bishop Butler could
it

decided opinion against negro slavery as
in his time.

It is absurd to say that ordinary

merchants and ship captains ought to have seen
the infamy of a practice which Las Casas advised

and Butler could not condemn.

The Spanish and
as I said, the
settlers

Portuguese Governments claimed,
control of the
traffic.

The Spanish

in

the

West

Indies objected to a restriction which

raised the price

and shortened the supply.

They

considered that having established themselves in

a

new country they had a

right to a voice in the
It

conditions of their occupancy.

was thus that

the Spaniards in the Canaries represented the

matter to John Hawkins.

They

told

him

that

if

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE
Avith

53

he liked to make the venture

a contraband,

cargo from Guinea, their countrymen would give

him an

enthusiastic welcome.

It is evident

from

the story that neither he nor they expected that
serious offence

would be taken at Madrid.

Haw-

kins at this time was entirely friendly with the
Spaniards.
It

was enough

if

he could be assured

that the colonists would be glad to deal with him.
I

am

not crediting him with the benevolent

purposes of Las Casas. I do not suppose Hawkins

thought

much

of saving black men's souls.

He

saw only an opportunity of extending

his business

among a people with whom he was
connected.

already largely
It

The

traffic

was

established.

had

the sanction of the

Church, and no objection

had been raised to
morality.

it

anywhere on the score of

The only question which could have

presented itself to Hawkins was of the right of the Spanish

Government

to prevent

foreigners

from getting a share of a lucrative trade against
the wishes of
its

subjects.

And

his friends

at

the Canaries certainly did not lead him to expect

any

real opposition.

One

regrets that a famous

Englishman should have been connected with the

54

ENGLISH SEAMEN
;

[lect.

slave trade

but we have no right to heap violent

censures upon

him because he was no more

enlightened than the wisest of his contemporaries.

Thus, encouraged from Santa Cruz, Hawkins

on

his

return to England

formed an African

company out

of the leading citizens of London.
fitted

Three vessels were

out,

Hawkins being
size of

commander and part owner.
is

The

them

remarkable

:

the Solomon, as the largest was
the StoaUoiv,

called,

120 tons;

lOO tons; the

Jonas not above 40 tons.
as inconceivably
small.

This represents them

They

carried

between
to be

them a hundred men, and ample room had
provided besides for the blacks.

There

may have
builder's

been a difference

in the measurement of tonnage.
five

We

ourselves

have

standards

:

measurement, yacht measurement, displacement,
sail area,

and

register measurement.
:

Eegistered

tonnage
1

is far

under the others a yacht registered
list.

20 tons would be called 200 in a shipping
be,

However that
used

the brigantines
all

and sloops
adventurous

by the Elizabethans on

expeditions were mere boats compared with what

we

should use

now on such

occasions.

The reason

2,]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE

55

was obvious.
sailing power.

Success depended on speed and

The

art of building big square-

rigged ships which would work to windward had

not been yet discovered, even by Mr. Fletcher of

Rye.

The

fore-and-aft rig alone
is

would enable a
this could only

vessel to tack, as it

called,

and

be used with

craft of

moderate tonnage.

The expedition

sailed in October 1562.

They

called at the Canaries,

where they were warmly
to

entertained.

They went on

Sierra

Leone,

where they collected 300 negroes.

They avoided

the Government factories, and picked them up as

they could, some by with
local chiefs,

force,

some by negotiation
as ready to sell their

who were

subjects as Sancho Panza intended to be

when

he got his

island.

They

crossed without misad-

venture to St. Domingo, where Hawkins represented that he was on a voyage of discovery;
that he had been driven out of his course and

wanted food and money.
slaves with
sell.

He

said he

had certain

him, which he asked permission to

What he had

heard at the Canaries turned

out to be exactly true.
St.

So

far as

the Governor of

Domingo knew, Spain and England were at

$6

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

peace.

Privateers had not troubled the peace of

the Caribbean Sea, or dangerous heretics menaced

the Catholic faith there.

Inquisitors

might have

been suspicious, but the Inquisition had not yet been established beyond the Atlantic. The Queen
of

England was

his sovereign's sister-in-law,

and

the Governor saw no reason

why he

should con-

strue his general instructions too literally.

The

planters were eager to buy, and he did not wish
to be unpopular.

He

allowed Hawkins to

sell

two out of his three hundred negroes, leaving the
remaining hundred as a deposit should question

be raised about the duty.

Evidently the only

doubt in the Governor's mind was whether the

Madrid authorities would charge foreign importers
on a higher
scale.

The question was new.

No

stranger had as yet attempted to trade there.

Everyone was

satisfied,

except the negroes,

who were not asked
were enormous.
about to
of

their opinion.

The

profits

A

ship

in

the harbour was

sail for Cadiz.

Hawkins invested most
in a cargo of hides, for

what he had made

which, as he understood, there was a
Spain, and he sent

demand

in

them over

in her in charge of

2.]

HA WKINS AND THE SLA VE TRADE

57

one of his partners.

The Governor gave him a

testimonial for good conduct during his stay in

the port, and with this and with his three vessels

he returned leisurely to England, having, as he
imagined, been splendidly successful.

He
the

was

to

be unpleasantly undeceived.

A

few

days after he had arrived at Plymouth, he met

man whom he had

sent to Cadiz with

the

hides forlorn and empty-handed.

The

Inquisition,
it.

he

said,

had seized the cargo and confiscated

An
his

order had been sent to St.

Domingo

to forfeit

the reserved slaves.
life,

He

himself had escaped for
after him.

as the familiars

had been

Nothing shows more
there had been in

clearly hoAv little thought
his

Hawkins that

voyage would

have given offence in Spain than the astonishment
with which he heard the news.

He

protested.
useless,

He

"svrote

to Philip.

Finding entreaties

he swore vengeance; but threats were equally
ineffectual.

Not a

hide, not a farthing could
terrified

he
at

recover.

The Spanish Government,

the intrusion of English adventurers into their

western paradise to endanger the gold
worse to endanger the purity of the

fleets,

or

faith, issued

58

ENGLISH SEAMEN
more peremptory than ever
all foreigners.

[lect.

orders

to close

the

ports there against
ally

Philip person-

warned Sir Thomas Chaloner, the English
if

ambassador, that
mischief

such

visits
it.

were repeated,
Cecil,

would come of

And

who
and

disliked all such

semi-piratical

enterprises,

Chaloner,

who was

half a Spaniard and an old
V., entreated their

companion in arms of Charles
mistress to forbid them.
Elizabeth, however, matters.

had her own views in such

She

liked money.

She

liked encourag-

ing the adventurous disposition of her subjects,

who were
own
risk

fighting the
cost.

State's

battles at

their

and

She saw in

Philip's anger a

confession that the able point
;

West
if

Indies was his vulner-

and that

she wished to frighten

him

into

letting

her alone, and to keep the
sailors,

Inquisition from burning her

there was

the place where Philip would be more sensitive.
Probably, too, she

thought that Hawkins had

done

nothing

for

which

he

could
St.

be justly

blamed.
the

He

had traded at
consent,

Domingo with
was

Governor's

and

confiscation

sharp practice.

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE

59

This was clearly Hawkins's own view of the
matter.

He had

injured no one.

He had

offended

no pious ears by parading

his Protestantism.

He

was not

Philip's subject,

and was not to be exgiven by the

pected to

know the

instructions

Spanish Government in the remote corners of
their dominions.
it

If anyone was to be punished,

was not he but the Governor.

He

held that

he had been robbed, and had a right to indemnify
himself at the King's expense.
out again.

He

would go

He was

certain of a cordial reception

from the planters.

Between him and them there
His quarrel

was the

friendliest understanding.

was with
sell

Philip,

and Philip

only.

He meant

to

a fresh cargo of negroes, and the Madrid
their 30 per cent,

Government should go without
duty.

Elizabeth approved.

Hawkins had opened the

road to the West Indies.

He

had shown how

easy slave smuggling was, and

how

profitable it

was;

how

it

was

also possible for the

English

to establish friendly relations with the Spanish
settlers in the
it

West

Indies,

whether Philip liked
for

or not.

Another company was formed

a

6o

ENGLISH SEAMEN
trial.

[lect.

second

Elizabeth took shares, Lord

Pem-

broke took shares, and other members of the
Council.

The Queen

lent the Jesii^, a large ship

of her own, of 700 tons.

Formal instructions

were given that no -wrong was to be done to the

King

of Spain, but

what wrong might mean was

left to

the discretion of the commander.
all

Where
with

the planters were
traffic

eager to purchase, means of
collision

would be discovered without

the authorities.

This time the expedition was to
scale,

be on a larger

and a hundred

soldiers

were

put on board to provide
furnished,

for contingencies.

Thus

Hawkins

started on his second voyage

in October 1564.

The autumn was

chosen, to

avoid the extreme tropical heats.

He

touched

as before to see his friends at the Canaries.

He

went on

to the

Rio Grande, met with adventures

bad and good, found a chief at war with a neighbouring
tribe,

helped to capture a town and take
at a Portuguese factory.
cattle,

prisoners, made purchases

In

this

way he now secured 400 human
for

perhaps

a better fate than they would have

met with

at

home, and with these he sailed

off in

the old direction.

Near the equator he

fell

in

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE
;

6i

with calms
lose

he was short of water, and feared to

some

of

them; but,
it,
'

as

the record of the
suffer

voyage puts

Almighty God would not

His

elect

to

perish,'

and sent a breeze which In that wettest

carried

him

safe to Dominica.

of islands he found water in plenty,
to consider

and had then
St.

what next he would

do.

Domingo,

he thought, would be no longer safe

for

him

;

so

he struck across to the Spanish Main to a place
called

Burboroata, where he might hope that

nothing would be known about him.

In

this

he

was mistaken.

Philip's

orders

had arrived: no
to

Englishman of any creed or land was
allowed to trade in his

be

West India dominions.
They

The

settlers,

however, intended to trade.

required only a display of force that they might

pretend that they were yielding to compulsion.

Hawkins

told his old story.

He

said that he of England.

was

out on the service of the

Queen
course

He

had been driven

off his

by bad weather.

He was
if

short

of supplies

and had many men

on board, who might do the town some mischief
they were not allowed to land peaceably and
sell

buy and

what they wanted.

The Governor

62

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

affecting to hesitate, he threw 120

men

on shore,

and brought

his

guns to bear on the

castle.

The

Governor gave way under protest.
to

Hawkins was

be permitted to

sell

half his negroes.

He

said

that as he had been treated

so inhospitably

he
of

would not pay the 30 per

cent.

The King
The

Spain should have 7 J, and no more.

settlers

had no

objection.

The

price would be the less,

and with
finished

this deduction his business
off.

was

easily

He

bought no more

hides,

and was

paid in solid

silver.

From Burboroata he went on

to

Rio de

la

Hacha, where the same scene was repeated. whole 400 were disposed
of,

The

this

time with ease

and complete

success.
still

He had

been rapid, and

had the season
his

before him.

Having

finished

business,

he surveyed a large part of the
taking
soundings,

Caribbean
currents,
islands.

Sea,

noting
coasts

the

and making charts of the

and

This done, he turned homewards, follow-

ing the east shore of North America as far as

Newfoundland.

There he gave

his

crew a change

of diet, with fresh cod from the Banks, and after

eleven months' absence he sailed into Padstow,

'

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE
lost

63

having
ture,

but twenty

men

in the whole advencent, to the

and bringing back 60 per

Queen

and the other shareholders.

Nothing succeeds

like

success.

Hawkins's

praises were in everyone's

mouth, and in London
Elizabeth received

he was the hero of the hour.

him

at the palace.

The Spanish ambassador,

De

Silva,

met him

there at dinner.

He

talked freely

of

where he had been and of what he had done,

only keeping back the gentle violence which he

had used.
since there

He

regarded this as a mere

farce,
side.

had been no one hurt on either

He
De

boasted of having given the greatest satisfac-

tion to the Spaniards

who had

dealt with him.

Silva could but bow, report to his master, and

ask instructions

how he was

to proceed.

Philip was frightfully disturbed.

He saw

m

prospect his western subjects allying themselves

with the English

— heresy

creeping in

among

them
ties

;

his gold fleets in danger, all the possibili-

with which Elizabeth had wished to alarm

him.

He

read and re-read

De

Silva's letters,

and

opposite the

name

of Achines he wrote startled

interjections on the

margin

'
:

Ojo

!

Ojo

!

;

64

ENGLISH SEAMEN
The
political horizon

[lect.

was just then favourable
of Scots

to Elizabeth.

The Queen
;

was a prisoner

in

Loch Leven

the Netherlands were in revolt
;

the Huguenots were looking up in France

and

when Hawkins

proposed a third expedition, she
it.

thought that she could safely allow

She gave
another

him the use

of the

Je,s,us

again, with

smaller ship of hers, the Minion.
his

He
fifth,

had two of
the Judith,
Francis

own

still

fit

for

work
his
to

;

and a

was brought
Drake,

in

by

young

cousin,

who was now
stage.

make

his first appearance

on the

I shall

tell

you by-and-by who and
to say

what Drake was.
was a
relation of

Enough

now

that he

Hawkins, the owner of a small

smart sloop or brigantine, and ambitious of a
share in a stirring business.

The Plymouth seamen were
gerous contempt of Philip.

falling into dan-

While the expedition

was

fitting out, a ship of the Bang's

came

into

Catwater with

more prisoners from

Flanders.

She was
it

flying the Castilian flag, contrary to rule,
in-

was

said,

English harbours.

The treatment
had not been
Spanish

of the English ensign at Gibraltar
forgiven,

and

Hawkins ordered the

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE
The captain

65

captain to strike his colours.

re-

fused, and Hawkins instantly fired into him.

In

the confusion the prisoners escaped on board the
Jcuis and were let go.
plaint to

The captain

sent a com-

London, and Cecil
all his

—^who

disapproved

of

Hawkins and
officer to

proceedings

—sent

down

an

inquire into
in

what had happened.
protection,

Hawkins,

confident

Elizabeth's

quietly answered that the Spaniard

had broken

the laws of the port,

and that

it

was necessary to

assert the Queen's authority.
'

Your

mariners,' said

De

Silva to her, rob our
'

subjects on the sea, trade where they are forbidden
to go,

and

fire

upon our ships in your harbours.
insult

Your preachers
pulj^its,

my

master

from

their

and when we remonstrate we are answered

with menaces.
injuries,

We

have borne so

far

with their

attributing them rather to temper and
to

bad manners than

deliberate purpose.

But,

seeing that no redress can be had, and that the

same treatment of us continues, I must consult
Sovereign's pleasure.

my

For the

last time, I require

your Majesty to punish this outrage at Plymouth

and preserve the peace between the two

realms.' F

66

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.
till

No

remonstrance could seem more just

the

other side was heard.

The

other side was that

the Pope and the Catholic Powers were under-

taking to force the Protestants of France and
Flanders back under the Papacy with
sword.
to
fire

and

It was no secret that England's turn was

follow

as

soon as Philip's hands were

free.

Meanwhile

he had
;

been intriguing with

the

Queen

of Scots
;

he had been encouraging Ireland

in rebellion

he had been persecuting English

merchants and seamen, starving them to death in
the Inquisition dungeons, or burning
stake.

them

at the

The

Smithfield infamies were fresh in

Protestant memories, and

who

could

tell

how

soon the horrid work would begin again at home,
if

the Catholic Powers could have their
If the

way

?

King

of Spain

and

his Holiness

at

Rome
teers

would have allowed other nations to think
for themselves, pirates
off

and make laws

and priva-

would have disappeared

the ocean.

The

West Indies would have been
and
Spanish, English,

left

undisturbed,

French,

and

Flemings

would have lived peacefully side by
do now.

side as they

But

spiritual

tyranny

had not yet

'

2.]

HAWKINS AND THE SLAVE TRADE
its lesson,

G-j

learned

and the

'

Beggars of the Sea

were

to

be Philip's schoolmasters in irregular bub

oifectivo fashion.

Elizabeth listened politely to what
said,

De

Silva

promised to examine into his complaints,
to
sail.

and allowed Hawkins

What
lecture.

befell

him you

will

hear in the next

LECTURE
SIR
"TI/TY

III

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP THE SECOND
last

lecture

left

Hawkins preparing
it

to

start

on his third and, as

proved, most

eventful voyage.

I mentioned that he

was joined

by a young

relation, of

whom

I

must say a few

preliminary words,
shire

Francis Drake was a Devon-

man,

like

Hawkins himself and Raleigh and

Davis and Gilbert, and
of those days.

many

other famous

men

He was born at Tavistock somewhere about 1 540. He told Camden that he was He meant merely that he of mean extraction.
Avas

proud of his parents and made no
His father

idle pre-

tensions to noble birth.
of the Earl of Bedford,

was a tenant

and must have stood well
the heir of the

with him,

for Francis Russell,

earldom, was the boy's godfather.

From him
The
Drakes

Drake took

his

Christian name.

LECT.

3-]

SIR

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP
on the Six Articles
father,

II.

69

were early converts to Protestantism.
rising at Tavistock

Trouble
Bill,

they

removed

to

Kent, where the

probably

through Lord Bedford's influence, was appointed
a lay chaplain in Henry VIII.'s fleet at Chatham.
,

In the next reign, when the Protestants were
uj)permost, he was ordained

and became vicar of

TJpnor on the Medwaj^
early to the water,

Young

Francis

took
a

and made acquaintance

Avith

ship-master trading to the Channel ports,

who

took him on board his ship and bred him as a
sailor.

The boy distinguished

himself,

and

his

patron
will.

when he

died

left

Drake

his vessel in his

For several years Drake stuck steadily to

his coasting work,

made money, and made a

solid

reputation.

His ambition grew with his
all

success.

The seagoing English were
and
his

full

of

Hawkins

West Indian exploits.

The Hawkinses and
Hearing that

the Drakes were near relations.

there was to be another expedition, and having

obtained his cousin's consent, Francis Drake sold
his brio-, bouo-ht the JuditJi, a handier
vessel,

and

faster

and with a few stout
to

sailors

from the

river

went down

Plymouth and

joined.

70

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

De
had

Silva

had

sent

word
out,

to

Philip

that

Hawkins was again going
been

and preparations
him.

made

to

receive

Suspecting

nothing,

Hawkins with

his four consorts sailed, as

^before, in

October 1567.

The

start

was ominous.

He was
boats.

caught and badly knocked about by an

equinoctial in the

Bay

of Biscay.

He

lost

his

The

Jes,iis

strained

her

timbers

and

leaked,

and he
even

so little liked the look of things

that

he

thought

of
for

turning back
the season.

and

giving

up the expedition
weather mended.

How-

ever, the

They put themselves
up
their spirits,

to rights at the Canaries, picked

and proceeded.
successfully,

The

slave-catching was

managed
difficulty.

though with some increased

The cargo with equal
the

success was disposed of at

Spanish

settlements.
off in their

At one

j)lace

the

planters

came
la

boats at night to buy.

At Eio de
orders

Hacha, where the most imperative
to forbid his

had been sent

admittance,

Hawkins landed a

force

as

before

and

took

possession of the town, of course with the con-

nivance of the
similarly

settlers.
off,

At Carthagena he was
as

ordered

and

Carthagena

was

jj

S7J^

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIF

II.

ji

strongly fortified he did not venture to meddle

with

it.

But elsewhere he found ample markets

for his wares.

He

sold all his blacks.

By

this
is

and by other dealings he had

collected

what

described as a vast treasure of gold, silver, and
jewels.

The hurricane season was approaching,
his

and he made the best of

way homewards with
by
it.

his spoils, in the fear of being overtaken

Unluckily

for

him, he had

lingered

too long.

He

had passed the west point of Cuba and was

working up the back of the island when a hurricane came
days.

down on him.
ships'

The

gale lasted four

The

bottoms were foul and they
Spars were
Jesus,
lost

could

make no way.
The

and rigging

carried away.

which had not been

seaworthy
lost

all along,

leaked worse than ever and
for

her rudder,
Florida,

Hawkins looked
found

some port
'

in

but

the coast shallow and

dangerous, and was at last obliged to run for San

Juan de
Mexico.

Ulloa, at the

bottom of the Gulf of

San Juan de Ulloa
Vera Cruz.
It

is

a few miles only from

was at that time the chief port
which
all

of Mexico, through

the

traffic

passed

72

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

between the colony and the mother-country, and

was thus a place of some consequence.

It stands

on a small bay facing towards the north.
the

Across

mouth

of this

bay

lies

a narrow ridge of sand

and

shingle, half a mile long,

which acts as a
This

natural breakwater and forms the harbour.
ridge, or island as it

was

called,

was uninhabited,
front

but
wall.

it

had been faced on the inner

by a

The water was deep
lie

alongside,

and

vessels

could thus

in perfect security, secured

by

their

cables to rings let into the masonry.

The

prevailing wind

was from

the

north,

bringing in a heavy surf on the back of the
island.

There was an opening at both ends, but

only one available for vessels of large draught.

In this the channel was narrow, and a battery
at the

end of the breakwater would completely
it.

command

The town stood on the

opposite

side of the bay.

Into a Spanish port thus constructed Hawkins
entered with his battered squadron on September
1

6,

1568.

He

could not have

felt entirely easy.
ill-will

But he probably thought that he had no
to fear

from the inhabitants generally, and that

; :

3.]

Sl/i

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP
not

II.

^i

the Spanish authorities would

be
ill

strong

enough

to

meddle with him.

His

star

had

brought him there at a time when Alvarez de
Bagan, the same
officer

who had

destroyed the

English ships at Gibraltar, was daily expected

from Spain

—sent by
been
it

Philip, as

it

proved, specially

to look for him.

Hawkins, when he appeared
mistaken
for

outside,

had

the

Spanish

admiral, and

was under

this impression that

he had been allowed to enter.
quickly discovered on both sides.

The

error

was

Though

still

ignorant that he was himself

De

Bagan's particular object, yet
officer

De Bagan was
Several Spanish

the last

whom

in his crippled condition he

would have cared to encounter.

merchantmen were

in

the port richly loaded

with these of course he did not meddle, though,
if

reinforced, they

might perhaps meddle with
resource

him.

As

his

best

he despatched

a

courier on the instant to

Mexico

to inform the

Viceroy of his

arrival,

to say that
;

he had an

English squadron with him

that ho had been

driven in by stress of weather and need of repau-s
that the

Queen was an

ally of the

King

of Spain

74

ENGLISH SEAMEN
that, as

[lect.

and

he understood a Spanish

fleet

was

likely soon to arrive,

he begged the Viceroy to

make arrangements
As

to prevent disputes.

yet, as I said in

the last lecture, there was
It

no Inquisition in Mexico.
there three years later, for
of the English.
will

was established

the special benefit

But

so far there

was no

ill-

towards the English

—rather

the

contrary.

Hawkins had hurt no

one,

and the negro trading

had been eminently popular.

The Viceroy might

perhaps have connived at Hawkins's escape, but
again by ill-fortune he was himself under orders
of recall, and his successor was coming out in this
particular fleet with

De

Bagan.

Had he been
it

well disposed

and

free to act

would

still

have been too
17,

late, for

the very
off

next morning, September

De Ba§an was
smallest
of

the harbour mouth with thirteen heavily-armed
galleons

and

frigates.

The

them

carried probably 200

men, and the odds were now

tremendous.

Hawkins's vessels lay ranged along

the inner bank or wall of the island.

He

instantly
at

occupied the island

itself

and mounted guns
in.

the point covering the

way

He

then sent a


3.]

;

SIR

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP
De Bagan
to

II.

75

boat

off to

say that he was an
of the

Enghshman, that he was in possession
port,

and must forbid the entrance of the Spanish
he was assured that there was to be no
It

fleet till

violence.

was a strong measure

to

shut a

Spanish admiral out of a Spanish port in a time
of profound peace.
Still,

the

way

in was difficult,
if

and could
defended.

not

be

easily

forced

resolutely

The northerly wind was

rising; if it
lee

blew into a gale the Spaniards would be on a
shore.

Under desperate

circumstances, desperate
in his subsequent
:

things will be done,

Hawkins

report thus explains his
'

dilemma

I

was in two

difficulties.

Either I must

keep them out of the port, which with God's
grace I could easily have done, in which case

with a northerly wind rising they would have

been wrecked, and I should have been answerable
or I

must

risk their playing false, Avhich
do.'
it

on the

whole I preferred to

The northerly

gale

appears did not

rise,

or

the English commander might have preferred the
first

alternative.

Three days passed in negotiaEnriquez, the

tion.

De BaQan and Don

new

76

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

Viceroy, were naturally anxious to get into shelter

out

of a dangerous position,

and were equally

desirous not to promise any more than was absolutely necessary.

The
the

final

agreement was that

De Ba^an and
opposition.

fleet

should enter without
stay
till

Hawkins might

he

had

repaired his damages, and

buy and

sell

what he
remained

wanted

;

and

further, as long as they

the English were to \q&^ possession of the island.

This

article,

Hawkins

says,
last.

was
It

long resisted,

but was consented to at

was absolutely

necessary, for with the island in their hands, the

Spaniards had only to cut the English cables,

and they would have driven ashore across the
harbour.

The

treaty so

drawn was formally
sides,

signed.

Hostages were given on both

and De Baqan
far apart

came

in.

The two

fleets

were moored as
size

from each other as the
allow.

of the port would

Courtesies were exchanged, and for two

days

all

went

well.

It is likely that the Viceroy
first

and the admiiul did not at
the very

know

that

it

was

man whom

they had been sent out to
lying so close to them.

sink or capture

who was

;

3.]

SIR

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP
it

II.

77

When
him

they did knoAV
pirate,

they

may have

looked on

as a

with whom, as with heretics,

there was no need to keep faith.
rat

Anyway, the

was in the

trap,

and De Bagan did not mean
Jesus lay furthest in; the

to let

him

out.

The

Minion lay beyond her towards the entrance,

moored apjDarently
to

to a ring

on the quay, but

free

move; and the Judith, further out
Nothing
is

again,

moored in the same way.

said of the

two small vessels remaining.

De Bagan made
covered by the town.

his

preparations
in

silently,

He had men

abundance

ready to act where he should

direct.

On

the

third day, the 20th of September, at noon, the

Minions crew had gone

to dinner,

when they saw

a large hulk of 900 tons slowly towing up alongside of them.

Not

liking such a neighbour, they
to slip

had their cable ready
their canvas.

and began

to set

On

a sudden shots and cries were
Parties of English
;

heard from the town.

who

were on land were set upon

many were
the ships.

killed

the rest were seen flinging themselves into the

water and swimming

off to

At the

same instant the guns of the galleons and of the

78

ENGLISH SEAMEN
fire

[lect.

shore batteries opened
consorts,

on the Jemi8 and her

and in the smoke and confusion 300

Spaniards swarmed out of the hulk and sprang on
the Minions decks.
cut
sail,

The Minion's men
them

instantly

them down

or drove

overboard, hoisted

and forced their way out of the harbour,

followed

by the
stir.

Judith.

The

Jesus was left alone,
herself desperatel}^
after-

unable to

She defended

In the many actions which were fought

wards between the English and the Spaniards,
there was never any more gallant or more severe.

De

Baqan's

own

ship was sunk and the vicefire.

admiral's was set on

The Spanish, having

an enormous advantage in numbers, were able
to land a force

on the

island, seize the

English

battery there, cut

down the gunners, and turn

the guns close at hand on the devoted Jesus.
Still

she fought on, defeating every attempt to
till

board,

at length

De Bagan

sent

down

fire-

ships on her,

and then the end came.
his voyage, to

All that

Hawkins had made by
the ship
herself,

money, bullion,
to

had

be

left

their fate.

Hawkins himself with the

survivors of the crew

took to their boats, dashed through the enemy,

3.]

SIR

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP
Minion and the

II.

79

who

vainly tried to take them, and struggled out
Jttditli.

after the
for

It speaks

ill

De Bagan
escaped to

that with so largo a force at his
in such a position, a single Englishtell

command, and

man

the story.

Even when
still

outside Hawkins's situation was
called desperate.

critical

and might well be
fifty

The Judith was but
above a hundred.
with men.

tons; the Minion not

They were now crowded up
little

They had

water on board, and
their store-chests,

there had been no time to
or
fit

refill

themselves for

sea.

Happily the weather
risen,

was moderate.
could

If the

wind had

nothing

have saved

them.

They anchored two

miles oif to put themselves in some sort of order.

The Spanish

fleet

did not venture to

molest

further so desperate a foe.

On

Saturday the 25 th
to turn.

they set

sail,

scarcely

knowing whither

To attempt an ocean voyage

as they were

would

be certain destruction, yet they could not trust
longer to

De

Bagan's cowardice or forbearance.

There was supposed to be a shelter of some kind

somewhere on the east side of the Gulf of Mexico,
where
it

was hoped they might obtain

provisions.

8o

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lkgt.

They reached the place on
nothing.

October' 8, but found

English sailors have never been wanting

in resolution.

They knew that

if

they

all

remained

on board every one of them must

starve.

A

hundred
chance.

volunteered

to

land

and take their

The

rest

on short rations might hope to
sacrifice

make

their

way home. The

was accepted.
shore.

The hundred men were put on
wandered
for

They

a few days in the woods, feeding
berries,

on roots and

and shot at by the Indians.
station,

At length they reached a Spanish

where

they were taken and sent as prisoners to Mexico.

There was, as I
Mexico.
in

said,

no Holy OjSice as yet in

The new
fight at

Viceroy, though he had been
Ulloa,
at

the

San Juan de

was not
first

implacable.

They were

treated

with
of,

humanity; they were

fed, clothed,

taken care

and then

distributed

among
as

the

plantations.

Some were employed
mechanics.
Others,

overseers,

some

as of

who understood any kind

business, were allowed to settle in towns,

make

money, and even marry and establish themselves.
Perhaps Philip heard of
it,

and was

afraid that so

many

heretics

might introduce the plague.

The

3.]

SIR

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP
;

II.

8i

quiet time lasted three years

at the

end of those
if

years the Inquisitors arrived, and then, as

these

poor

men had been

the special object of that

delightful institution, they were

hunted up, thrown
faith, tortured,

into dungeons,

examined on their

some burnt in an aido dafe, some lashed through
the streets of Mexico naked on horseback and

returned to their prisons.

Those who did not die

under this pious treatment were passed over to
the Holy Office at Seville and were condemned
to the galleys.

Here

I leave

them

for the

moment.

We

shall

presently hear of
connection.

them

again in a very singular

The Minion and Judith meanwhile
melancholy way.

pursued

their

They parted

company.
arrived

The

Judith, being the better sailer,

first,

and reached Plymouth in December,

torn and tattered.
ately
to carry the
fate

Drake rode
bad news

off post

immedi-

to

London.

The
course

Minions

was worse.

She made her

through the
if

Bahama Channel,
till

her crew dying as
at last there were
sails.

struck with a pestilence,

hardly
fell

men enough

left to

handle the

They

too far south for England,

and at length had G

82

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

to

put into Vigo, where their probable fate would
Hapj)ily they found other

be a Spanish prison.

English vessels in the roads there.

Fresh hands

were put on board, and fresh provisions.
these supplies

With

Hawkins reached Mount's Bay a
JiLdith, in

month

later

than the

January 1569.
all

Drake had
ringing with

told the story,

and

England was

it.

Englishmen always think their
are in the right.

own countrymen

The Spaniards,

already in evil odour with the seagoing population,

were accused of abominable treachery.

The him

splendid fight which
into a national idol,
financially, his
loss

Hawkins had made

raised

and though he had

suffered

was made up in reputation

and

authority.

Every privateer in the West was

eager to serve under the leadership of the hero of

San Juan de
in

Ulloa.

He

speedily found himself

command

of a large irregular squadron, and

even Cecil recognised his consequence.

His chief

and constant anxiety was
he had
left

for the

comrades

whom
ex-

behind, and he talked of a

new
if

pedition to recover them, or revenge

them

they

had been

killed

;

but

all

things had to wait.

They

probably found means of communicating with

3.]

SIR

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP
may have

II.

83

him, and as long as there was no Inquisition in

Mexico, he

learnt that there

was no

immediate occasion

for action.

Elizabeth put a brave face on her disappoint-

ment.
treason,

She knew that she was surrounded with
but she knew
safest.

also that the boldest course

was the

She had taken Alva's money, and
it.

was

less

than ever inclined to restore

She

had the best of the bargain in the

arrest of the

Spanish and English ships and cargoes.

Alva

would not encourage Philip to declare war with

England

till

the Netherlands were

completely

reduced, and Philip, with his leaden foot {^pU de
]3lomo),

always preferred patience and intrigue.
three powers
irre-

Time and he and the Pope were

which in the end, he thought, would prove
sistible,

and indeed

it

seemed, after Hawkins's
to

return, as if Philip

would turn out

be

right.

The presence
had

of the

Queen

of Scots in

England

set in flame the Catholic nobles.

The wages
of

of Alva's trooj)s had been

wrung somehow out

the wretched Provinces, and his supreme ability

and inexorable resolution were steadily grinding

down the

revolt.

Every port in Holland and

S4

ENGLISH SEAMEN
Avas in Alva's hands.

[lect.

Zealand

Elizabeth's throne

was undermined by the

Ridolfi conspiracy, the

most dangerous which she had ever had to encounter.

The only Protestant

fighting

power

left

on the sea which could be entirely depended on

was in the privateer

fleet, sailing,

most of them,

under a commission from the Prince of Orange.
This
fleet

was the strangest phenomenon in
It

naval history.

was half Dutch, half English,

with a flavour of Huguenot, and was commanded

by a Flemish noble, Count de
quarters were in the

la

Mark.
or

Its head-

Downs

Dover Roads,

where

it

could watch the narrow seas, and seize

every Spanish ship that jDassed which was not
too

strong to be meddled

with.

The

cargoes
If the

taken were openly sold in Dover market.

Spanish ambassador
plaint

is

to be believed in a comto
Cecil,

which

he

addressed

Spanish
to public

gentlemen taken prisoners were

set

up

auction there for the ransom which they would
fetch,

and were disposed
If Alva sent

of for one hundred-pounds

each.

cruisers

from Antwerp to

burn them

out, they retreated

under the guns of

Dover

Castle.

Roving squadrons of them flew

;

3.]

SIR
to

JOHN HAWKINS AND
the Spanish
coasts,

PHILIP

II.

85

doAVii.

pillaged churches,

carried off church plate,

and the captains drank

success to piracy at their banquets out of chalices.

The Spanish merchants

at

last

estimated

the

property destroyed at three million ducats, and

they said that

if their flag

could no longer jjrotect

them, they must decline to make further contracts
for

the supply of the Netherlands army.
It

was

life

or death to Elizabeth.

The

Ridolfi

plot,

an elaborate and far-reaching conspiracy to

give her cro^vn to

Mary Stuart and
all

to

make away
The Pope

with heresy, was

but complete.
;

and Philip had approved
the

Alva was to invade head an insurrection

Duke

of Norfolk

was

to

in the Eastern Counties. in greater danger.

Never had she been

Elizabeth was herself to be

murdered.
particulars

The

intention was known, but the

of the conspiracy

had been kept so

secret that she

had not evidence enough to take

measures to protect herself

The
;

privateers at

Dover were a
least

sort of protection

they would at
difficult
;

make

Alva's

crossing

more

but

the most pressing exigency was the discovery of
the details of the treason.

Nothinsf was to be

86

ENGLISH SEAMEN
;

[i.fxt.

gained by concession
daring.

the onlj salvation was in

At Antwerp

there was a certain Doctor Story,

maintained by Alva there to keep a watch on
English heretics.

Story had been a persecutor

under Mary, and had defended heretic burning in
Elizabeth's
first

Parliament.
left

He had

refused the

oath of allegiance, had

the country, and had
this

taken to treason.

Cecil

wanted evidence, and
it,

man he knew

could give

A pretended informer

brought Story word that there was an Englisli
vessel in the Scheldt

which he would find worth

examining.

Story was tempted on board.

The

hatches were closed over him.

He was

delivered

two days

after at

the

Tower, when his secrets

were squeezed out of him by the rack and he

was then hanged.

Something was

learnt,

but

less still

than Cecil

needed to take measures to protect the Queen,

And now
are
to

once more, and in a

new

character,

we

meet John Hawkins.

Three years had

passed since the
Ulloa.

catastrophe at
learnt
to
his

San Juan de

He had

sorrow that his

j)oor companions had fallen into the hands of the

3.]

SIR

JOHN HAWKINS AND
at
last
;

PHILIP

II.

87

Holy

Office

had

been burnt, lashed,

starved in dungeons or Avorked in chains in the
Seville yards
;

and

his heart, not a very tender

one, bled at the thoughts of them.

The

finest

feature in

the seamen of those days was their

devotion to one another.
that,

Hawkins determined

one way or other, these old comrades of his
Entreaties were useless
;

should be rescued.

force

was impossible.
with cunning.

There might

still

be a chance
even the

He would
had
left

risk anything,

loss of his soul, to

save them.

De

Silva

England.

The Spanish
or Gerald de

ambassador was now
Espes, and to

Don Guerau

him had

fallen the task of

watching

and directing the conspiracy.
the signal, the

Philip was to give

Duke

of Norfolk

and other Catholic

peers were to rise and
Scots,

proclaim the Queen of

Success would depend on the extent of
itself;

the disaffection in England
bassador's business
all

and the am-

was to welcome and encourage
discontent.

symptoms

of

Hawkins knew
it

generally what was going on, and he saw in

an opportunity of approaching Philip on his weak
side.

Having been

so

much

in the Canaries, he

88

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[i,kct.

probably spoke Spanish fluently.

He

called

on

Don Guerau, and

with audacious coolness repre-

sented that he and
satisfied

many

of his friends were dis-

with the Queen's service.
faithless

He

said

he

had found her

and ungrateful, and he

and they would gladly transfer their allegiance
to the

King

of Spain, if the

King

of Spain would

receive them.

For himself, he would undertake
whole privateer
for
fleet

to bring over the

of the

West, and in return he asked

nothing but the

release of a few poor English

seamen who were

in prison at Seville.

Don Guerau was

full

of the belief that the
rebel.

whole nation was ready to

He

eagerly

swallowed the bait which Hawkins threw to him.

He

wrote to Alva, he wrote to Philip's secretary,

Cayas, expatiating on the importance of securing

such an addition to their party.

It

was

true,

he

admitted, that Hawkins had been a pirate, but
piracy was a

common

fault of the English,

and

no wonder when the Spaniards submitted to beingplundered so meekly; the
his services

man who was
English

offering

was

bold, resolute, capable,

and had
he

great

influence

with

the

sailors;

3.]

SIR

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP

11.

S9

strongly advised that such

a recruit should be

encouraged.

Alva would not
at the very

listen.

Philip,

who shuddered

name

of Hawkins,

was incredulous.
at

Don Guerau had

to tell Sir
offer,

John that the King

present declined his

but advised him to go

himself to Madrid, or to send some confidential
friend with assurances

and explanations.
scene, a

Another figure now enters on the
George Fitzwilliam.
or

I do not

know who he

was,

why Hawkins

chose

him

for his purpose.

The

Duke

of Feria was one of Philip's most trusted

ministers.

He had

married an English lady who
to

had been a maid of honour
is

Queen Mary.

It

possible that Fitzwilliam

had some acquaintance

with her or with her family.

At any

rate,

he

went

to the Spanish Court

;

he addressed himself

to the Ferias;

he won their confidence, and by
to

their

means was admitted

an interview with

Philip.

He

represented Hawkins as a faithful
at the progress of
to assist in the

Catholic

who was indignant

heresy in England,

who was eager

overthrow of Elizabeth and the elevation of the

Queen

of Scots, and was able

and willing

to carry

go

.

ENGLISH SEAMEN
him the
great Western privateer
to

[lect.
fleet,

along with

which had become so dreadful
mind.
Philip
listened

the Spanish
It

and was

interested.

was only natural, he thought, that heretics should
be robbers and
pirates.

If they could be recovered

to the Church, their

bad habits would leave them.
serious obstacle

The English navy was the most
to the intended invasion.
Still,
!

Hawkins

!

The

Achines of his nightmares

It

could not be.

He

asked Fitzwilliam

if his

friend

was acquainted
of Norfolk.

with the Queen of Scots or the

Duke

Fitzwilliam was obliged to say that he was not.

The

credentials of

John Hawkins were

his

own

right hand.

He was making
in the

the King a magnifi-

cent offer: nothing less than a squadron of the
finest

ships

world

—not
if

perhaps in the

best condition, he added, with cool British impu-

dence,

owing to the

Queen's parsimony, but
the

easily to

be put in order again

King would

pay the seamen's wages and advance some money
for repairs.

The

release of a few poor prisoners
to ask for such a service.
still

was a small price

The King was
like

wary, watching the bait
seize it
;

an old pike, but hesitating to

but the

3.]

SIR

JOHN HAWKINS AND nilIIP

II.

91

duke and duchess were willing |o be themselves
securities
for

Fitzwilliam's

faith,

and

Philip

promised at

last that if

Hawkins would send him

a letter of recommendation from the Queen of
Scots herself, he would then see what could be
done.

The Ferias were dangerously

enthusiastic.

They talked
of Scots

freely to Fitzwilliam of the

Queen

and her prospects.

They trusted him

with letters and presents to her which would
secure his admittance to her confidence.

Hawkins

had sent him over

for

the single

purpose of

cheating Philip into releasing his comrades from
the Inquisition; and he had been introduced to
secrets of high political

moment

;

like Saul, the

son of Kish, he had gone to seek his father's asses

and

he

had

found

a
his

kingdom.
letters

Fitzwilliam
his

hurried

home with

and

news.
act

Things were now

serious.

Hawkins could

no further on his own responsibility.
sulted Cecil.

He

conit

Cecil consulted the Queen,
practice, as
It
it

and

was agreed that the

was

called,

should be carried further.

might lead

to the

discovery of the whole secret.

Very treacherous, think some good people.


92

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lfxt.

Well, there are .times

when one admires even

treachery
nee lex est
jiistior iiUa

Qiiam necis

artifices arte perire sua.

King

Philip

was confessedly preparing

to

en-

courage an English subject in treason to his
sovereign.

Was

it

so

wrong
?

to

hoist
it

the

engineer with his
of

own petard

Was

wrong

Hamlet

to finger the packet of Rosencrantz
his uncle's des23atch
?

and Guildenstern and rewrite

Let us have done with cant in these matters.

Mary Stuart was

at Sheffield Castle in charge of

Lord Shrewsbury, and Fitzwilliam could not see
her without an order from the Crown.

Shrews-

bury, though loyal to Elizabeth, was notoriously
well inclined to Mary, and therefore could not be

taken into confidence.

In writing to him Cecil

merely said that friends of Fitzwilliam's were in
prison in Spain
;

that

if

the

Queen

of Scots

would intercede
to let

for

them, Philip might be induced
therefore allow Fitz-

them

go.

He might

william to have a private audience with that Queen.

Thus armed, Fitzwilliam went down to

Sheffield.

He was

introduced.

He began

with presenting

3.]

Sn^

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP
letters

II.

93

Mary with the

and remembrances from
It

the Ferias, which at once oj)ened her heart.

was impossible

for

her to suspect a friend of the

duke and duchess.

She was delighted

at receiv-

ing a visitor from the Court of Spain.

She was

prudent enough to avoid dangerous confidences,

but she said she was always pleased when she
could do a service to Englishmen, and with
all

her heart would

intercede for the prisoners.

She

wrote

to

Philip,

she wrote to

the duke and

duchess, and gave the letters to Fitzv/illiam to
deliver.

He

took

them

to

London, called on

Don
and

Gerald, and told

him

of his success.

Don

Gerald also wrote to his master, wrote unguardedly,
also trusted Fitzwilliam

with the despatch.
first

The

various packets were taken
to the Queen.

to Cecil,

and were next shown
then returned
to

They were

Fitzwilliam,

who once more
If the letters

went

off

with them to Madrid.
effect,

produced the expected
served that
divers

Cecil calmly ob-

commodities

would

ensue.

English

sailors

would

be

released

from

the

Inquisition and the galleys.
tions

The enemy's
If the

inten-

would be discovered.

King

of Spain

94

ENGLISH SEAMEN
be induced
to

[lect.

could

do

as

Fitzwilliam

had

suggested, and assist in the repairs of the ships
at Plymouth, credit

would be obtained

for a

sum
own

of

money which
If

could be employed to his

detriment.
invasion,

Alva

attempted

the

projected

Hawkins might take the

ships as if to

escort him,

and then do some notable exploit in

mid-Channel.

You
Cecil,

will observe the

downright directness of

Hawkins, and the other parties in the

matter.

There

is

no wrapping up their intentions

in fine phrases, no parade of justification.

They
very
stern,

went

straight

to

their

|)oint.

It

was

characteristic

of

Englishmen

in

those

dangerous times.

They looked

facts in the face,

and did what

fact required.

All really happened
it
:

exactly as I have described
in letters

the story

is

told

and documents of the authenticity of
is

which there

not the smallest doubt.
Fitzwilliam.

We

will

follow

He

arrived at
Ridolfi

the Spanish Court at the

moment when

had brought from Rome the Pope's blessing on
the conspiracy.

The

final

touches were being
All was

added by the Spanish Council of State.


3.]

SIR
;

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHIIIP
was the credulity of enthusiasm
letter
satisfied

II.

95

hope

all

!

Mary

Stuart's

Philip.

The

prisoners
his

were dismissed, each with
pocket.

ten dollars in

An

agreement was formally drawn and
Escurial
for his

signed in the

in

which Philip gave

Hawkins a pardon

misdemeanours in the

West

Indies, a j)atent for a Spanish peerage,

and

a letter of credit for 40,000/. to put the privateers
in a condition to do service,

and the money was

actually paid

by

Philip's
to

London
full

agent.

Ad-

mitted as he
william learnt

now was
all

confidence, Fitz-

particulars of the great plot.

The

story reads like a chapter from Monte Gristo
it is literally

and yet

true.

It ends with a letter

which

I will read to you,

from Hawkins to Cecil

:

'

My

very good Lord,
to

It

may

please your
is

Honour
returned

be

advertised

that
his

Fitzwilliam

from

Spain, where

message was

acceptably received, both by the

King

himself,

the

Duke

of

Feria,

and others of the Privy

Council.

His despatch and answer were with

great

expedition

and

great

countenance

and

96

ENGLISH SEAMEN
The

[lect.

favour of the King.

Articles are sent to the
also
for

Ambassador with orders
be paid to
proceed with

the

money

to

me by

him, for the enterprise to

all diligence;

The pretence

is

that

my

powers should join with the Duke of Alva's

powers, which he doth secretly provide in Flanders,
as well as with

powers which

will

come with the
to invade

Duke

of

Medina Cell out of Spain, and
and
set

this realm

up the Queen
for the

of Scots.

They

have practised with us
Majesty's ships.

burning of Her

Therefore there should be some
it

good care had of them, but not as
that anything
is

may

appear
sent

discovered.

The King has

a ruby of good price to the
letters also

Queen of Scots, with
to

which in

my

judgment were good

be delivered.

The

letters

be of no importance,
is

but his message by word
say that he hath

to comfort her,

and

now none
It

other care but to

place her in her own.

were good also that
to

Fitzwilliam

may have
now

access

the Queen of

Scots to render thanks for the delivery of the
prisoners

who

are

at liberty.

It will

be a

very good colour for your Lordshij) to confer with

him more

largely.

3-]

S/Ji
'

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP

II.

97

I have sent your Lordship the copy of

my
and

pardon from the King of Spain, in the order and

manner

I

have

it,

with

my

great

titles

honours from the King, from which God deliver
me.
Their practices be very mischievous, and
;

they be never idle

but God, I hope,

will

confound
necks.

them and turn
'

their devices on their

own

Your Lordship's most

faithfully to

my

power,

'John

HaavivINs,'

A

few more words will conclude this curious

episode.

With the

clue obtained

by

Fitzwilliam,

and confessions twisted out of Story and other
unwilling witnesses, the
unravelled before
his head.
it

Ridolfi

conspiracy was

broke into

act,

Norfolk

lost

The

inferior miscreants

were hanged.

The Queen

of Scots

had a narrow escape, and the

Parliament accentuated the Protestant character
of the

Church of England by embodying the
Articles
Ridolfi

Thirty-nine
distrusted

in

a statute.
first

Alva,

who

from the

and

disliked

encouraging rebellion, refused to interest himself
further in Anglo-Catholic plots.
Cecil

Elizabeth and
freely,

could

now breathe more

and read

98

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

Philip a lesson on the danger of plotting against

the lives of sovereigns.

So long

as

England and Spain were nominally

at peace, the presence of

De

la

Mark and

his

privateers in the

Downs was

at least indecent.

A

committee of merchants at Bruges represented
that their losses by
three million ducats.
it

amounted
Elizabeth,

(as I said) to

being now in

comparative safety, affected to listen to remonstrances,

and orders were sent down

to

De

la

Mark

that he must prepare to leave.

It is likely

that both
other,

the

Queen and he understood each
la

and that De

Mark

quite well
do.

knew where

he was to go, and what he was to

Alva now held every

fortress

in

the

Low
The

Countries, whether inland or on the coast.

people were crushed.
stood in the square at

The duke's
Antwerp
as a

great statue

symbol of the

annihilation of the ancient liberties of the Provinces.

By

sea alone the Prince of Orange
;

still

continued the unequal struggle

but

if

he was to

maintain himself as a sea power anywhere, he
required a harbour of his

own

in his

own

country.

Dover and the Thames had served

for

a time as a

3-]

SIR

JOHN HAWKINS AND PHILIP
it

II.

99

base of operations, but

could not

last,

and with-

out a footing in Holland itself eventual success

was impossible.

All

the Protestant world was

interested in his fate, and

De

la

Mark, with his

miscellaneous gathering of Dutch, English, and

Huguenot
exploit.

rovers,

were ready

for

any desperate

The order was
but
in
it

to leave

Dover immediately,

was not construed

strictly.

He

lingered

the

Downs
at the

for

six

weeks.

At

length,

one

morning

end of March 1572, a Spanish

convoy knoAvn to be richly loaded appeared in the
Straits.
it,

De

la

Mark

lifted anchor,

darted out on

seized two of the largest hulks, rifled them,

flung their crews overboard, and chased the rest

up Channel.

A

day or two
off Brille, at

after

he suddenly
of the

showed himself
Meuse.

the mouth

A

boat was sent on shore with a note to

the governor, demanding the instant surrender of
the town to the admiral of the Prince of Orange.

The inhabitants
was
small,
la

rose in enthusiasm

;

the garrison

and the governor was obliged to comply.
possession.
resistance,

De

Mark took

A

few priests and

monks attempted

but were put down

loo

ENGLISH SEAMEN
difficulty,

[lect.

without

and the leaders
idols,

killed.

The

churches were cleared of their

and the mass

replaced by the Calvinistic service.
stores, furnished

Cannon and

from London, were landed, and

Brille

was made impregnable before Alva had

realised

what had happened

to him.

He

is

said
fol-

to have torn his beard for anger.

Flushing

lowed
j^laces

suit.

In a week or two

all

the strongest

on the coast had revolted, and the pirate
laid the foundation of the great

fleet

had

Dutch

Republic, which at England's side was to strike

out of Philip's hand the sceptre of the seas, and
to save the Protestant religion.

We may

think as

we

please of these Beggars

of the Ocean, these Norse corsairs

come

to life

again with the flavour of Genevan theology in

them

;

but for daring,

for ingenuity, for obstinate
it,

determination to be spiritually free or to die for

the like of the Protestant privateers of the six-

teenth century has been rarely met with in this
world.

England rang with joy when the news came
that Brille was taken.
bonfires blazed.

Church

bells pealed,

and

Money poured

across in streams.

3.]

SIR

JOHN HA WHINS AND PHILIP
be their homes once more
Hollanders,

II.

loi

Exiled families went back to their homes

—which
the

were to

—and

Zealanders and

entrenched

among
conflict

their ditches, prepared for

an amphibious

with the greatest power then upon the earth.

LECTURE IV
drake's voyage round the world

T SUPPOSE
the

some persons present have heard
of

name

Lope de Vega, the Spanish poet
Very few
his

of Philip II.'s time.

of

you probably

know more

of

him than

name, and yet he
for us, as

ought to have some interest
one of the

he was

many

enthusiastic

young Spaniards

who

sailed in the

Great Armada.
love
affair.

disappointed in some
earnest Catholic.
is

He had been He was an
and
it

He wanted
say that

distraction,

needless

to

he

found

distraction
his love

enough in the English Channel to put
troubles out of his mind.

His adventures brought

before

him with some

vividness the character of

the nation with which his

own country was then

in the death-grapple, especially the character of

the great English seaman to

whom

the Spaniards

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD

103

universally attributed their defeat.

Lope studied
his
first

the exploits of

Francis

Drake from

appearance to his end, and he celebrated those
exploits, as
it

England herself has never yet thought

worth her while to do, by making him the hero

of

an epic poem.

There are heroes and heroes.
is

Lope de Vega's epic Drake himself
is

called

'

The Dragontea.'

the dragon, the ancient serpent

of the Apocalypse.

We

English have been con-

tented to allow Drake a certain qualified praise.

We
that

admit that he was a bold, dexterous

sailor,

he did his country good service at the

Invasion.
navigator,

We
and

allow that
sailed

he was

a

famous

round the world, which no

one else had clone before him.
always a but
corsair,

But

—there
is

is

— of course

he was a robber and a
for

and the only excuse

him

that he

was no worse than most of

his contemporaries.

To Lope de Vega he was a great

deal worse.

He

was Satan himself, the incarnation of the Genius
of Evil, the arch-enemy of the Church of God.
It
is

worth while to look more particularly

at

the figure of a

man who

appeared to the
I, for

Spaniards in such terrible proportions.

my

104

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

part, believe a

time will come when' we shall see
see

better than

we

now what
to
it,

the Reformation

was, and what

we owe

and these sea-captains

of Elizabeth will then form the subject of a great

English national epic as grand as the

'

Odyssey.'

In

my own

poor

way meanwhile

I shall try in

these lectures to draw you a sketch of Drake and
his doings as they ajipear to

myself

To-day I

can but give you a part of the rich and varied
story,

but

if all

goes well I hope I

may be

able to

continue

it

at a future time.

I have not yet done with Sir

John Hawkins.
the

We

shall

hear of him again.

manager of Elizabeth's

He became dockyards. He it

was

who turned
fleet in

out the ships that fought Philip's

the Channel in such condition that not

a hull leaked, not a spar was sprung, not a rope

parted at an unseasonable moment, and this at

a

minimum

of cost.

He

served himself in the

squadron which he had equipped.
of the

He

was one
that

small group of admirals

who met

Sunday afternoon
and sent the

in the cabin of the ark Raleigh

fire-ships

down to stir Medina Sidonia

out of his anchorage at Calais.

He

was a child

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
and
at sea

105

of the sea,
his

he died, sinking at

last into

mother's arms.

But of
of
his

this

hereafter.

I

.

must

speak

now

still

more

illustrious

kinsman, Francis Drake.
I told you the other day generally

who Drake
to

was and where he came from
sea
as

;

how he went
his

a boy, found
early

favour with
his

master,

became

an owner of

own

ship, sticking
in,

steadily to trade.

You

hear nothing of him
It

connection with the Channel pirates.
till

was not

he was five-and-twenty that he was tempted
into the negro-catching business,

by Hawkins

and

of this one experiment was enough.
tried it again.

He

never

The
indeed

portraits
it is

of

him vary very much,

as

natural that they should, for most of

those which pass for Drake were not

meant

for

Drake

at

all.

It is the fashion in this country,
fashion,

and a very bad
portrait with
it,

when we

find a remarkable

no name

authoritatively attached to
after

to christen it at
it

random

some eminent

man, and there

remains to perplex or mislead.

The

best likeness of

Drake that I know

is

an engraving in Sir William Stirling- Maxwell's

io6

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

collection of sixteenth-century notabilities, repre.

senting him, as a scroll says at the foot of the
plate,

at

the age of forty-three.
full,

The

face

is

round, the forehead broad and

with the short
side.

brown hair curling

crisply

on either

The
clear,

eyebrows are highly arched, the eyes firm,

and open.

I cannot undertake for the colour, but

I should judge they would be dark grey, like an
eagle's.

The nose

is

short

and

thick, the

mouth

and chin hid by a heavy moustache on the upper
lip,

and a close-clipped beard well spread over

chin and cheek.

The

expression

is

good-humoured,

but absolutely
seen.

inflexible,

not a weak line to be

He was
too

of middle height, powerfully built,

perhaps

powerfully for

grace,

unless

the

quilted doublet in which the artist has dressed

him exaggerates
I

his breadth.

have seen another portrait of him, with

pretensions to authenticity, in which he appears

with a slighter figure, eyes dark,

full,

thoughtful,

and

stern, a sailor's cord
it,

about his neck with a

whistle attached to

and a ring into which a
weight of the
a
characteristic

thumb

is

carelessly
it,

thrust, the

arms resting on

as

if

in

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
Evidently this
is

107

attitude.

a

carefully

drawn

likeness of

some remarkable seaman

of the time.

I should like to believe it to be Drake, but I can
feel

no certainty about

it.

We

left

him returned home
XJlloa,

in the Judith

from San Juan de

a ruined man.

He had
gone out

never injured the Spaniards.

He had

with his cousin merely to trade, and he had met
with a hearty reception from the settlers wherever

he had been.
set

A Spanish admiral had treacherously
his

upon him and

kinsman, destroyed half
all

their vessels,

and robbed them of
left

that they

had.

They had
for

a hundred of their comrades
fate

behind them,
worst.

whose

they might fear the
considered

Drake
fair

thenceforth

Spanish

property as

game

till

he had made up his
till

own

losses.

He

waited quietly for four years

he had re-established himself, and then prepared
to try fortune again in a

more daring

form.
risen

The

ill-luck at

San Juan de Ulloa had

from loose tongues.
talk about
it.

There had been too much
parties

Too many

had been connotice

cerned.

The Spanish Government had
Drake determined

and were prepared.

to act for

io8

ENGLISH SEAMEN
have

[lfxt.

himself,
secret.

no partners, and keep his own
found friends
for

He

to

trust

him with The

money without asking
Plymouth
with him.
sailors

explanations.

were eager to take their chance
:

His force was absurdly small

a sloop

or brigantine of a

hundred

tons,

which he called

the Dragon (perhaps, like Loj)e de Vega, playing

on

his

own name), and two
left

small piimaces.
fall

With

these he
of 1572.

Plymouth

in the

of the

summer

He

had ascertained that

Philip's gold

and

silver

from the Peruvian mines was landed

at Panaina, carried across the isthmus on mules'

backs on the line of M. de Lesseps' canal, and
re-shipped at

Nombre de

Dios, at the

mouth

of

the Chagre River.

He
return,

told

no one where he was going.

He was

no more communicative than necessary after his

and the

results, rather

than the particulars,

of his adventure are all

that can be certainly
to

known.

Discretion told
it.

him

keep his counsel,

and he kept

The Drake family published an account
this

of

voyage in the middle of the next century,

but obviously mythical, in parts demonstrably

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
and nowhere
to

109

false,

be depended on.

It can

be

made out, however, that he did go to Nombre de
Dios, that he found his

way

into the town,

and

saw

stores of bullion there

which he would have

liked

to carry off but

could not.

A

romantic
first

story of a fight

in

the to^vn I disbelieve,

because his numbers were so small that to try
force
if

would have been absurd, and next because

there had been really anything like a battle

an alarm would have been raised in the neighbourhood, and
given.
slaves,
it

is

evident that no alarm was

In the woods were parties of runaway

who were
that Drake

called

Cimarons.

It

was

to

these

addressed himself, and they

volunteered to guide him where he could surprise
the treasure convoy on the

way from Panama,
and
rapid.
is

His movements were
teresting incident
is

silent

One

in-

mentioned which

authentic.

The Cimarons took him through the
watershed from which the streams
oceans.

forest to the

'flow to

both

Nothing

could
;

be seen
but

through the

jungle of undergrowth
tall

Drake climbed a
it

tree,

saw from the top of
below
him, and

the

Pacific

glittering

made a vow

that


no
,

ENGLISH SEAMEN
sail

[lect.

one day he would himself
waters.

a ship in those

For the present he had immediate work on
hand.

His guides kept their word.

They

led

him

to the track from

Panama, and he had not

long to wait before the tinkling was heard of the

mule

bells as

they were coming up the pass.
faintest.

There was no suspicion of danger, not the

The mule
fled at
all

train

had but

its

ordinary guard,

who
fell

the

first surprise.

The immense booty

into Drake's hands

gold, jewels, silver bars

and got with much
Gadshill.

ease, as Prince

Hal

said at

The

silver

they buried, as too heavy

for transport.

The

gold, pearls, rubies, emeralds, to their

and diamonds they carried down straight
ship.

The voyage home went prosperously.

The

spoils

were shared among the adventurers, and

they had no reason to complain.

They were wise
in a

enough to hold

their tongues,

and Drake was
for

condition to look about
enterprises.

him and prepare

bigger

Rumours got

abroad, spite of reticence.
flight

Im;

agination was high in

just

then

rash

amateurs thought they could make their fortunes

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
same way, and
tried
it,

iii

in the

to their sorrow.

A

sort

of inflation can

be

traced in

English

sailors'

minds as their work expanded.

Even
in-

Hawkins
fected.

—the
and
all

clear, practical

Hawkins
line.

—was
He

This was not in Drake's
fact.

kept

to prose

He
the
for

studied the globe.

examined

the charts that he could get.
to

He He

became known

Privy Council and the

Queen, and prepared

an enterprise which would
earnest.

make

his

name and frighten Philip in

The
Pacific

ships which the Spaniards used on the
spot.

were usually built on the

But Ma-

gellan was

known

to have

gone by the Horn, and

where a Portuguese could go an Englishman could
go.

Drake proposed

to try.

There was a party in

Elizabeth's Council against these adventures,
in

and

favour of peace with

Spain; but Elizabeth
of pith

herself

was always

for

enterprises

and

moment.

She was

willing to

help,

and others

of her Council

were willing
to

too,

provided their
responsibility
vessels in

names were not
was
to

appear.

The

be Drake's own.

Again the

which he was preparing to tempt fortune seem
preposterously
small.

The

Pelican,

or

Golden

112

ENGLISH SEAMEN
which
but

[lect,

Hinde,
called

belonged to Drake- himself, was

120 tons, at best no larger than a

modern racing yawl, though perhaps no racing
yawl ever
left

White's yard better found for the
to do.

work which she had
heth,

The
to

next, the Eliza-

of London,

was said

be

eighty tons;

a small pinnace of twelve tons, in which

we

should hardly risk a

summer

cruise

round the
fifty

Land's End, with two sloops or frigates of

and thirty

tons,

made the

rest.

The

Elizctbdli

was commanded by Captain Winter, a Queen's
officer,

and perhaps a son of the old admiral.
credit

We may
was about.

Drake with knowing what he
his

He and

comrades were carrying
If they were taken

their lives in their hands.

they would be inevitably hanged.

Their safety

depended on speed of sailing, and specially on the

power of working

fast to

windward, which the
do.

heavy square-rigged ships could not
crews
all

The
Drake
his

told were

160

men and

boys.

had

his

brother John with him.

Among

officers

were the chaplain, Mr. Fletcher, another

minister of some kind

who spoke

Spanish, and

in one of the sloops a mysterious Mr. Doughty.

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
Mr. Doughty was, and

113

Who
is

why he was

sent out,

uncertain.

When

an expedition of consequence

was on hand, the Spanish party in the Cabinet
usually attached to
it

some second

in

command

whose business was

to defeat the object.

When
King

Drake went

to Cadiz in after years to singe

Philip's beard,

he had a colleague sent with him

whom

he had to lock into his cabin before he

could get to his work.

So

far as I

can make out,

Mr. Doughty had a similar commission.
occasion secrecy was impossible.
ally

On

this

It

was gener-

known

that Drake was going to the Pacific
Straits, to act afterwards

through Magellan
his

on

own judgment.

The Spanish ambassador,
in informing
to send

now Don Bernardino de Mendoza,
Philip of

what was intended, advised him

out orders for the instant sinking of every English
ship,

and the execution of every English

sailor,

that appeared on either side the isthmus in

West

Indian waters.
so impossible it

The

orders were despatched, but

seemed that an English pirate

could reach the Pacific, that the attention was
confined to the Caribbean Sea, and not a hint of

alarm

v/as sent across to the other side.

114

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

On November
consort
sailed

15,

1577, the Pelican and her

out of

Plymouth
start.

Sound.

The

elements frowned on their

On

the second
gale.

day they were caught in a winter

The

Pelican sprung her mainmast, and they put back
to refit

and

repair.

But Drake

defied auguries.
all

Before the middle of December
order.

was again in
fair

The weather mended, and with a
fast

wind and smooth water they made a
across the

run
to

Bay

of Biscay

and down the coast

the Cape de Verde Islands.

There taking up the

north-east trades, they struck across the Atlantic,
crossed the line,

and made the South American
33° South.

continent in latitude

They passed

the

mouth

of the Plate River, finding to their

astonishment fresh water at the ship's side in
fifty-four fathoms.

All seemed so far going well,

when one
missing,

morning
he

Mr.

Doughty's sloop was
with
her.

and

along

Drake,

it

seemed, had already reason to distrust Doughty,

and guessed the direction in which he had gone.

The Marigold was

sent in pursuit, and he was

overtaken and brought back.

To prevent a

re-

petition of such a performance, Drake took the

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD

115

sloop's stores out of her,

burnt her, distributed

the crew through the other vessels, and took Mr.

Doughty under

his

own

charge.

On June

20

they reached Port St. Julian,
Patagonia.

on the coast of

They had been long on the way, and

the southern winter had come round, and they

had

to delay further

to

make more

particular

inquiry into Doughty's desertion.

An

ominous
as

and strange spectacle met their eyes
entered the harbour.

they

In that utterly desolate

spot a skeleton was hanging on a gallows, the

bones picked clean by the vultures.
of Magellan's crew
for

It

was one
there

who had been executed
The same

mutiny

fifty

years before.

fate

was

to befall the

unhappy Englishman who had been
same
fault.

guilty of the
discipline it

Without the
for

strictest

was impossible

the enterprise to

succeed,

and Doughty had been guilty of worse

than disobedience.

We

are told briefly that his

conduct was found tending to contention, and
threatening the success of the voyage.

Part he

was said to have confessed;
against

part was proved

him

—one

knows not what.

A

court was

formed out of the crew.

He was

tried, as

near as

ii6

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

circumstances allowed, according to English usage.

He was found guilty, and was He made no complaint, or none is preserved. He asked for the
municated with him.
other,

sentenced to
of

die.

which a record

Sacrament, which

was of course allowed, and Drake himself com-

They then

kissed

each
his

and the unlucky wretch took leave of

comrades, laid his head on the block, and so
ended.

His offence can be only guessed
curiosity

;

but the

suspicious

about his fate which was
it

shown afterwards by Mendoza makes
that

likely

he was in Spanish pay.

The ambassador

cross-questioned Captain Winter very particularly

about him, and we learn one remarkable fact from

Mendoza's letters not mentioned by any English
writer,

that

Drake was himself the executioner,

choosing to bear the entire responsibility.
'

This done,' writes an eye-witness,

'

the general

made

divers speeches to the whole com23any, per-

suading us to unity, obedience, and regard of our
voyage, and for the better confirmation thereof
willed every

man

the Sunday following to prepare

himself to receive the

Communion

as Christian

brothers and friends ought to do, which was done

4.]

DRAKES VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
;

117

in very reverend sort

and

so with

good content-

ment every man went about

his business.'

You must
you

take this last incident into your
it

conception of Drake's character, think of
please.

how

It

was now midwinter, the stormiest season of

the year, and they remained for six weeks in Port
St. Julian.

They burnt the twelve-ton pinnace,
work they had now before

as too small for the

them, and there remained only the Pelican, the
Elizabeth,

and the Marigold. In cold wild weather
last,

they weighed at

and on August 20 made the

opening of Magellan's Straits.
seventy
miles
long,

The passage
and

is

tortuous

dangerous.

They had no
soundings

charts.

The

ships' boats led,

taking

as

they

advanced.
;

Icy mountains

overhung them on either side
below.

heavy snow
at

fell

They brought

up

occasionally
let

an

island to rest the
seals

men, and

them

kill

a few
food.

and

penguins to give them

fresh

Everything they saw was new, wild, and wonderful.

Having

to

feel

their way, they

were three

weeks in getting through.

They had counted on
work

reachinsf the Pacific that the worst of their

Il8

ENGLISH SEAMEN
over,

[lect.

was
into

and that they could run north at once
latitudes.
it,

warmer and calmer

The

peaceful

ocean,

when they entered

proved the stormiest
fierce westerly gale

they had ever sailed on.

A

drove them 600 miles to the south-east outside
the Horn.
Tierra
Pole,
It

had been supposed,
solid

hitherto, that

del

Fuego was

land to the South

and that the

Straits were the only

com-

munication between the Atlantic and the

Pacific.

They now

learnt the true shape

and character of

the Western Continent.

In the latitude of Cape

Horn a westerly

gale blows for ever round the

globe; the waves the highest anywhere known.

The Marigold went down
encounter.

in

the

tremendous

Captain Winter, in the Elizahcth,

made
There

his

way back
lay
for

into

Magellan's

Straits.
fires

he

three

weeks, lighting

nightly to show Drake where

he was, but no
if

Drake appeared.

They had agreed,

separated,

to meet on the coast in the latitude of Valparaiso;

but Winter was chicken-hearted, or
like

else traitorous
'

Doughty, and
will,'

sore,

we

are told,

against the

mariners'

when the
for

three weeks were out,

he sailed away

England, where he reported

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD

119

that all the ships were lost but the Pelican, and

that the Pelican was probably lost too.

Drake had believed better of Winter, and had
not expected to be so deserted.

He

had himself

taken refuge among the islands which form the
Cape, waiting for the spring and milder weather.

He

used the time in making surveys, and observ-

ing the habits of the native Patagonians,

whom
sea

he found a tough

race,

going naked amidst ice

and snow.
smoothed at

The days lengthened, and the
last.

He

then sailed

for Valparaiso,

hoping to meet Winter there, as he had arranged.

At Valparaiso

there was no Winter, but there was

in the port instead a great galleon just

come

in

from Peru.

The

galleon's

crew took him

for a

Spaniard, hoisted

their colours,

and beat

their

drums.

The

Pelican shot alongside.
spirits leapt

The English

sailors in

high

on board.

A

Plymouth

lad

who

could speak Spanish knocked

down the
!

first

man

he met with an Abajo, perro
'
!

'
'

Down,
Drake

you dog, down
never hurt

'

No

life

was taken
it.

;

man

if

he could help

The crew

crossed themselves,
ashore.

jumped

overboard, and

swam

The

prize

was examined.

Four hundred

I20

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

pounds' weight of gold was found in her, besides
other plunder.

The

galleon being disposed

of,

Drake and

his

men
a

pulled ashore to look at the town.
all
fled.

The

people had
chalice,

In the church they found

two

cruets,

and an

altar-cloth,

which

were made over to the chaplain to im]3rove his

Communion

furniture.

A

few pipes of wine and
to

a Greek pilot

who knew the way

Lima com-

pleted the booty.
'

Shocking

piracy,'

you

will

perhaps

say.
all

But
right

what Drake was doing would have been

and good service had war been declared, and the
essence of things does not alter with the form.

In essence there was war, deadly war, between
Philip and
Elizabeth.

Even

later,

when the

Armada
tion.

sailed, there

had been no formal declara-

The
It

reality is the important part of the

matter.

was but stroke

for stroke,

and the

English arm proved the stronger.
Still

hoping to find Winter in advance of him,
to

Drake went on next

Tarapaca, where silver
for

from the Andes mines was shipped

Panama.

At Tarapaca

there was the same unconsciousness

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
The
silver bars lay piled

121

of danger.

on the quay,
sleej)-

the muleteers

who had brought them were
side.

ing peacefully in the sunshine at their

The
bars

muleteers were

left

to their slumbers.

The

were

lifted into

the English boats.

A

train of

mules or llamas came in at the moment with a
second load as rich as the
into
first.

This, too,

went

the Pelican's hold.

The

bullion

taken at

Tarapaca was worth near half a million ducats.
Still

there were no news of Winter.
realise that

Drake

began to

he was now entirely alone,
his

and had only himself and
on.

own crew

to

depend

There was nothing to do but to go through
it,

with

danger adding to the

interest.

Arica was

the next point visited.
silver

Half a hundred blocks of
After Arica came

were picked up at Arica.
all,

Lima, the chief depot of
haul was looked
just too late.
there.
for.

where the grandest
alas
!

At Lima,

they were

Twelve great hulks lay anchored
sails

The

were

unbent, the

men were
chests

ashore.

They contained nothing but some
and a few bales of
silk

of reals

and

linen.

But a

thirteenth, called by the gods Our Lady of the
Conception,
called

by men

Cacafucgo,

a

name

122

ENGLISH SEAMEN
of translation,

[lect.

incapable

had

sailed a few days

before for the isthmus, with the whole produce of

the

Lima mines

for the season.

Her

ballast

was

silver,

her cargo gold and emeralds and rubies.

Drake deliberately cut the cables of the ships
in the roads, that they

might drive ashore and be

unable to

follow him.

The

Pelican spread her

wings, every feather of them, and sped
pursuit.

away

in

He would know
man who

the Cacafuego, so he
of her
sails.

learnt at Lima,

by the peculiar cut
caught
sight

The

first

of

her was

promised a gold chain

for his

reward.
It

A

sail

was seen on the second day.
chase, but
it

was not the
for.

was worth stopping

Eighty

pounds' weight of gold was found, and a great
gold crucifix, set with emeralds said to be as large
as pigeon's eggs.
left

They took the
on and
on.

kernel.

They

the

shell.

Still

We

learn from

the Spanish accounts that the Viceroy of Lima,
as soon as he recovered from his astonishment,

despatched ships in pursuit.

They came up with

the last plundered vessel, heard terrible tales of

the rovers' strength, and went back for a larger
force.

The Pelican meanwhile went along upon

s

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
At
length,

123

her course for 800 miles.

when

in

the latitude of Quito and close under the shore, the Gacafiicgo's peculiar
gold chain was claimed.
sails

were sighted, and the

There she was, freighted

with the

fruit of

Aladdin's garden, going lazily

along a few miles ahead.

Care was needed in
the Pclicaiis

approaching her.
character, she

If she guessed

would run in upon the land and
It

they would lose her.

was afternoon.

The sun

was
wait

still
till

above the horizon, and Drake meant to
night,

when the breeze would be
it

off

the

shore, as in the tropics

always

is.

The
one.

Pelican sailed two feet to the Cacafucgd
filled

Drake

his

empty wine-skins with

water and trailed them astern to stop his way.

The chase supposed
some heavy-loaded

that she

was followed by
com-

trader, and, wishing for
sail

pany on a lonely voyage, she slackened
waited
for

and

him

to

come

up.

At length the sun

went down
from
ships
off the

into the ocean, the rosy light faded

snows of the Andes
invisible

;

and when both

had become

from the shore, the

skins were hauled in, the night wind rose,

and

the water began to ripple under the Pelican's

124

ENGLISH SEAMEN
The
Cacaftiego

[lect.

bows.

was swiftly overtaken, and

when within a
to

cable's length a voice hailed her

put her head into the wind.
understanding

The Spanish
so

commander, not
order, held

strange an

on his course.

A

broadside brought

down

his mainyard,

and a

flight of

arrows rattled

on his deck.

He was

himself wounded.

In a few
the

minutes he was a prisoner, and Our Lady of

Conception and her precious freight were in the
corsair's

power.
;

The wreck was cut away; the
a prize crew was put on board.

ship was cleared

Both

vessels turned their heads to the sea.

At

daybreak no land was

to be seen,

and the examinfull

ation of the prize began.

The

value was

never acknowledged.
one,

The

invoice, if there

was

was destroyed.

The accurate

figures were

known

only to Drake and

Queen

Elizabeth.

A

published schedule acknowledged to twenty tons
of silver bullion, thirteen chests of silver coins,

and a hundredweight of gold, but there were gold
nuggets besides in indefinite quantity, and 'a
great store
'

of pearls, emeralds, and

diamonds.
loss

The Spanish
million

Government proved a

of

a

and a half of ducats, excluding what

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
The

125

belonged to private persons.

total capture

was immeasurably
Drake, we are

greater.
told,

was greatly

satisfied.

He

thought

it

prudent to stay in the neighbourhood

no longer than necessary.
all sail set,

He

went north with

taking his prize along with him.

The

master,

San Juan de Anton, was removed on
to.

board the Pelican to have his wound attended

He
sent

remained as Drake's guest
in a report of

for a

week, and
to

what he observed

the

Spanish Government.

One

at

least of Drake's

party spoke excellent Spanish.

This person took
signs,

San Juan over the
Juan
said, of

ship.

She showed
but was

San

rough

service,

still

in fine

condition,

mth ample
men on

arms, spare rope, mattocks,

carpenters' tools of all descriptions.
eighty-five

There were
of

board

all

told, fifty

them

men-of-war, the rest young fellows, ship-boys and

the

like.
5

Drake himself was treated with great
a sentinel stood always at his cabin
dined alone with music.

reverence
door.

He

No
ploits.

mystery was made of the Felica?is ex-

The chaplain showed

San Juan the
if

crucifix set

with emeralds, and asked him

he

126

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

could seriously believe that to be God.

San Juan
Drake

asked Drake how he meant to go home.

showed him a globe with three courses traced on
it.

There was the way that he had come, there

was the way by China and the Cape of Good
Hope, and there was a third way which he did
not explain. San Juan asked
if

Spain and England

were at war.

Drake

said he

had a commission
for her,

from the Queen.
for

His captures were

not

himself

He added

afterwards that the Viceroy
his kinsman,

of Mexico

had robbed him and
losses.

and

he was making good his

Then, touching the point of the
'

sore,

he

said,

I

know the Viceroy

will

send for thee to inform
Tell

himself of

my

proceedings.

him he

shall

do well to put no more Englishmen to death,

and

to spare those he has in his hands, for if

he

do execute them I

will hang 2,000 Spaniards and

send him their heads.'
After a week's detention San Juan and his

men were

restored to the

empty

Gaeaftiego,

and
in

allowed to go.

On

their

way back they

fell

with the two cruisers sent in pursuit from Lima,
reinforced

by a third from Panama.

They were

4-]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
fully

127

now

armed

;

they went in chase, and accord-

ing to their own account came up with the Pelican.
But, like Lope de Vega, they seemed to have

been

terrified at

Drake as a

sort of devil.

They

confessed that they dared not attack him, and

again went back for more assistance. The Viceroy

abused them as cowards, arrested the

officers,

despatched others again with peremptory orders
to seize Drake,

even

if

he was the

devil,

but by

that

time their questionable visitor had flown.
to their relief

They found nothing, perhaps

A
to

despatch went instantly across the Atlantic

to Philip.

One squadron was

sent off from Cadiz

watch the Straits of Magellan, and another to
It

patrol the Caribbean Sea.

was thought that
at
all,

Drake's third

way was no seaway

that he

meant

to leave the Pelican at Darien, carry his

plunder over the mountains, and build a ship at

Honduras

to take

him home.
off"

His

real idea

was

that he might hit

the passage to the north of

which Frobisher and Davis thought they had
found the eastern entrance.
California, picking

He

stood on towards

up an

occasional straggler in
porcelain, gold,

the China trade, with

silk,

and

128

ENGLISH SEAMEN
Fresli water
it,

[lect.

emeralds.

was a

necessity.

He

put were

in at Guatulco for

and

his proceedings

humorously prompt.

The

alcaldes

at

Guatulco

were in session trying a batch of negroes.

An

English boat's crew appeared in court, tied the
alcaldes

hand and

foot,

and carried them

off to

the Pelican, there to remain as hostages
water-casks were
filled.
fell

till

the

North again he
out a

in with a galleon carrying
to

new Governor

the Philippines.

The

Governor was relieved of his boxes and his jewels,

and then, says one of the party,

'

Our

General,

thinking himself in respect of his private injuries
received from the Spaniards, as also their con-

tempt and indignities

offered to our country

and

Prince, sufficiently satisfied

and revenged, and

supposing her Majesty would rest contented with
this service,

began to consider the best way home.'

The
ship.

first

necessity was a complete overhaul of the

Before the days of copper sheathing weeds
Barnacles formed in

grew thick under water.
clusters,

stopping the speed, and sea-worms bored

through the planking.
lay

Twenty thousand miles

between the Pelican and Plymouth Sound,

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD

129

and Drake was not a man to run
Still

idle chances.
left

holding his north course

till

he had

the

furthest Spanish settlement far to the south, he

put into Canoas Bay in California, laid the Pelican
ashore, set

up

forge

and workshop, and repaired

and re-rigged her with a month's labour from
stem to
stern.

With every rope new

set

up and

new canvas on every

yard, he started again on

April 16, 1579, and continued

up the
though

coast to
it

Oregon.

The

air

grew
felt it

cold

was

summer.

The men

from having been so

long in the tropics, and dropped out of health.

There was

still

no sign of a passage.
it

If passage

there was, Drake perceived that

must be of

enormous length. would be watched

Magellan's Straits, he guessed,
for

him, so he decided on the

route by the Cape of

Good Hope.

In the Philip-

pine ship he had found a chart of the Indian
Archipelago.
skill

With the help

of this

and

his

own

he hoped to find his way.

He went down

again to San Francisco, landed there, found the
soil

teeming with gold, made acquaintance with

an Indian king who hated the Spaniards and
wished to become an English subject.

But Drake
K

I30

ENGLISH SEAMEN
leisure to

[i,kct.

had no

annex new

territories.

AvoidiiiP"

the course from Mexico to the

Philippines, ho

made a direct
up again
at

course to the Moluccas, and brought

the Island of Celebes.

Here the

Pelican was a second time docked and scraped.

The crew had a month's
and vampires of the

rest

among the
forest.

fireflies

tropical

Leaving

Celebes, they entered on the most perilous part
of the whole voyage.

They Avound

their

way

among

coral reefs

and low

islands scarcely visible

above the water-line.
outlet

In their chart the only

marked

into the Indian

Ocean was by the
rightly
felt

Straits

of Malacca.

But Drake guessed

that there must be some nearer opening, and
his

way

looking for
all

it

along the coast of Java.

Spite of

his care,

he was once on the edge
as night

of destruction.

One evening

was closing

in a grating sound was heard under the Pelican's
keel.
fast

In another moment she was hard and
on a reef

The breeze was

light

and the

water smooth, or the world would have heard no

more of Francis Drake.
till

She lay immovable
position

daybreak.
to

At dawn the

was seen
himself

not

be entirely

desperate.

Drake

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
all

131

showed

the qualities of a great commander.

Cannon were thrown over and cargo that was not
needed.

In the afternoon, the wind changing, the
the rocks and was saved.

lififhtened vessel lifted off

The

hull was uninjured, thanks to the Californian

repairs.

All on board had behaved well with the

one exception of Mr. Fletcher, the chaplain.
Fletcher,

Mr.

instead

of working

like

a man, had
execu-

whined about Divine retribution
tion of Doughty.

for the

For the moment Drake passed

it over.

A

few

days after, they passed out through the Straits of

Sunda, where they met the great ocean

swell,

Homer's
that
all

\xkya Kv\xa OaXda-a-rjs,

and they knew then

was

well.
call

There was now time to
account.
It

Mr. Fletcher to
to

was no business of the chaplain
dispirit

discourage and

men

in

a

moment

of

danger, and a court was formed to

sit

upon him.
represents

An

English captain on his
is

own deck

the sovereign, and
State.

head of Church as well as

Mr. Fletcher was brought to the forecastle,
sitting

where Drake,

on a sea-chest with a pair

of pantottjles in his hand,

excommunicated him,

132

ENGLTSn SEAMEN
off

[lect.

pronounced him cut

from the Church of God,

given over to the devil for the chastising of his
flesh,

and

left

him chained by the

leg to a ring-

holt to repent of his cowardice.

In the general good-humour punishment could
not be of long duration.

The next day the poor

chaplain had his absolution, and returned to his

berth and his duty.

The

Pelican

met with no
clear weather

more adventures.
round the Cape of
for

Sweeping in fine

Good Hope, she touched once
finally sailed in

water at Sierra Leone, and

triumph into Plymouth Harbour, where she had

been long given up

for lost,

having traced the

first

furrow round the globe.

Winter had come home

eighteen months before, but could report nothing.

The news

of the doings on the

American coast
Madrid.
It

had reached

England

through

The
was

Spanish ambassador had been

furious.

known
search.

that Spanish squadrons had been sent in

Complications

would

arise

if

Drake

brought his plunder home, and timid politicians

hoped that he was at the bottom of the

sea.

But

here he was, actually arrived with a monarch's

ransom in

his hold.

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD

133

English sympathy with an extraordinary exploit
is

always

irresistible.

Shouts of applause

rang through the country, and Elizabeth, every
bit of her

an Englishwoman, felt with her
for

subjects.
tell his

She sent

Drake to London, made him

story over

and over again, and was never weary of

listening to him.

As

to injury to Spain, Philip

had lighted a
had
cost

fresh insurrection in Ireland,

which

her dearly in lives and money.

For

Philip to

demand compensation

of

England on

the score of justice was a thing to
laugh.

make the gods

So thought the Queen.
not think some

So unfortunately did
of her Council,

members

Lord

Burghley among them.
that

Mendoza was determined
spoils dis-

Drake should be punished and the

gorged, or else that he would force Elizabeth upon

the world as the confessed protectress of piracy.

Burghley thought that, as things stood, some
satisfaction (or the

form of

it)

would have

to

be

made.
Elizabeth hated paying back as heartily as
Falstaff,

nor had she the least intention of throw-

ing to the wolves a gallant

Englishman, with


134

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

whose achievements the world was ringing.
was obliged
to allow the treasure to
official,

She

be registered

by a responsible
to

and an account rendered

Mendoza

;

but

for all that she
spoils.

meant

to keep
too, that

her own share of the

She meant,

Drake and
warded.

his brave

crew should not go unre-

Drake himself should have ten thousand
least.

pounds at

Her
her.

action

was eminently characteristic of
of real justice

On
and

the score
all

there

was

no doubt at
self

how matters who had

stood between her-

Philip,

tried to dethrone

and

kill her.

The

Pelican lay

still

at

Plymouth with the

bullion and jewels untouched.
it

She directed that She trusted
of

should be landed and scheduled.

the business to

Edmund Tremayne,
him not
to

Sydenham,
she could

a neighbouring magistrate, on

whom

depend.

She

told

to be too inquisitive,

and she allowed Drake

go back and arrange

the cargo before the examination was made.

Let

me now

read you a letter from Tremayne himself

to Sir Francis
'

Walsingham

:

To give you some understanding how

I have

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD

135

proceeded with Mr. Drake: I have at no time
entered into the account to
value of the treasure

know more

of the

than he made me acquainted

with
to

;

and

to say truth I persuaded
for so I

him

to impart

me

no more than need,

saw him com-

manded

in her Majesty's behalf that he should

reveal the certainty to no

man
to

living.

I have

only taken notice of so

much

as he lia& revealed,

and the same I have seen
tered,

be weighed, regis-

and packed.
for

And

to observe her Majesty's

commands

the ten thousand pounds,
it

we agreed

he should take

out of the portion that was

landed secretly, and to remove the same out of
the place before

my

son

Henry and

I should

come
left;

to the

weighing and registering of what was
it

and so

was done, and no creature
it

living

by

me made
'I

privy to
it

but himself; and myself

no privier to

than as you

may

perceive by this.

see nothing to charge Mr.

Drake further
and withal

than he
I

is inclined to charge himself, is

must say he

inclined to advance the value to

be delivered to her Majesty, and seeking in general
to

recompense

all

men

that have been in the

case dealers with him.

As

I dare take an oath,

;

136

ENGLISH SEAMEN
will rather

[lect.

he

diminish his
unsatisfied.

own portion than

leave

any of them

And

for his

mariners

and followers I have seen here as eye-witness, and have heard with

my

ears,

such certain signs

of goodwill as I cannot yet see that
will leave his

any of them

company.

The

whole course of his

voyage hath showed him to be of great valour

but

my

hap has been to see some
this discharge of his

particulars,

and namely in
doth assure

company, as

me

that he

is

a

man

of great govern-

ment, and that by the rules of God and his book,
so as proceeding

on such foundation his doings

cannot but prosper.'

The

result of

it all

was that deductions were
equivalent to the property
to

made from the capture

which Drake and Hawkins held themselves

have been treacherously plundered of at San Juan
de
XJlloa,

with perhaps other liberal allowances

for

the cost of recovery.

An

account on part of what
It

remained was then given to Mendbza.

was not

returned to him or to Philip, but was laid up in
the Tower
till

the final settlement of Philip's and

the Queen's claims on each other

—the

cost, for

one thing, of the rebellion in Ireland.

Commis-

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
met and argued and
sat

137

sioners
till

on ineffectually

the

Armada came and the

discussion ended,

and the talk of restitution was
opinion varied about Drake's
varied since.

over.

Meanwhile,
as it has

own doings

Elizabeth listened spellbound to his

adventures, sent for

him

to

London

again,

and

walked with him publicly about the parks and
gardens.

She gave him a second ten thousand

pounds.

The Pelican was

sent round

to

Dept-

ford; a royal

banquet was held on board, Eliza-

beth attended and Drake was knighted.

Mendoza

clamoured

for the treasure in
;

the Tower to be
to give it

given up to him
to the Prince of

Walsingham wished
;

Orange

Leicester and his party
to
fit

in the Counxjil,

who had helped

Di-ake out,

thought

it

ought to be divided among themselves,
lies

and unless Mendoza
with him
ment.
if

they offered to share

it

he would agree to a private arrangesays he answered that he would
to chastise such a bandit as
it

Mendoza

give twice as

much

Drake.

Elizabeth thought

should be kept as

a captured

pawn

in the game,

and

so in fact it

remained after the deductions which we have
seen had been made.

138

ENGLISH SEAMEN
Drake was
lavish of his

[lect.

presents.

He

pre-

sented the Queen with a diamond cross and a
coronet
set

with splendid emeralds.

He

gave
worth

Bromley, the Lord Chancellor, 800
of silver plate,

dollars'

and as much more

to other

members

of the Council.

The Queen wore her coronet on
;

New

Year's

Day

the Chancellor was content to

decorate his sideboard at the cost of the Catholic

King. Burghley and Sussex declined the splendid

temptation

;

they said they could accept no such

precious gifts from a

man whose

fortune had been

made by

plunder.

Burghley lived to see better into
value.

Drake's

Meanwhile, what now are we, looking

back over our history, to say of these things

—the

Channel privateering

;

the seizure of Alva's army

money
Queen

;

the sharp practice of Hawkins with the

of Scots and

King

Philip

;

or this

amazing

performance of Sir Francis Drake in a vessel no
larger than a second-rate yacht of a
lord
?

modern noble

Resolution, daring, professional
torians allow to these

skill, all

his-

men;

but, like Burghley,

they regard what they did as piracy, not

much

4.]

DRAKE'S VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD
than the

139

better, if at all better,

later exploits of

Morgan and Kidd.

So cried the Catholics who
;

wished Elizabeth's ruin

so cried

Lope de Vega

and King

Philip.

In milder language the modern

philosopher repeats the unfavourable verdict, rejoices that

he

lives in

an age when such doings are
faintly for the excesses

impossible,

and apologises

of an imperfect age.

May I remind the philosopher
if

that

we

live in

an age when other things have
he and
for

also happily

become impossible, and that
liable

his friends

were

when they went abroad

their

summer tours

to

be snapped by the familiars

of the Inquisition, whipped, burnt alive, or sent to

the galleys, he would perhaps think more leniently
of

any measures by which that respectable
its

insti-

tution and

masters might be induced to treat
?

philosophers with greater consideration

Again,

remember
cant.

Dr.

Johnson's

warning,

Beware of

In that intensely serious century
occupied with the realities than

men were more

the forms of things.

By

encouraging rebellion in
so

England and Ireland, by burning
of poor English

many

scores
fools'

seamen and merchants in

coats at Seville, the

King

of Spain

had given

140

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

4.

Elizabeth a hundred occasions for declaring war
against him.

Situated as she was, with so

many

disaffected Catholic subjects, she could not hegin

a war on such a quarrel.
resources as she had,
best

She had

to use such

and of these resources the

was a splendid race of men who were not

afraid to do for her at their

own

risk Avhat

com-

missioned

officers

would and might have justly

done had formal war been declared,
defeated the national

men who

enemy with

materials con-

quered from himself, who were devoted enough
to dispense with the personal security

which the
to

sovereign's commission

would have extended

prisoners of war,

and face the certainty of being
Yes; no doubt by

hanged

if

they were taken.

the letter of the law of nations Drake and Hawkins

were corsairs of the same stuff as Ulysses, as the
rovers of Norway.

But the common-sense

of

Europe saw through the form
which lay below
it,

to the substance

and the

instinct

of their
fight-

countrymen gave them a place among the

ing heroes of England, from which I do not think

they will bo deposed by the eventual verdict of
history.

LECTURE V
PARTIES IN THE STATE

f\N December
The Prince
failed,

21, 1585, a

remarkable scene took

place in the English House of Commons.
of Orange, after miany attempts

had

had been successfully disposed of in the

Low

Countries.

A fresh

conspiracy had just been

discovered for a Catholic insurrection in England,

supported by a foreign invasion; the object of

which was to dethrone Elizabeth and to give her

crown to Mary Stuart.

The Duke

of Alva, at the as a

time of the Ridolfi plot,

had pointed out
was

desirable preliminary, if the invasion
ceed, the assassination of the

to suc-

Queen

of England.

The

succession being undecided, he had calculated

that the confusion would paralyse resistance, and

the notorious favour with which
pretensions were regarded

Mary

Stuart's

by a powerful English

142

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lkct.

party would

ensure her an easy victory were

Elizabeth once removed.

But

this

was an

indis-

pensable condition.

It

had become

clear at last

that so long as Elizabeth was alive Philip would

not willingly sanction the landing of a Spanish

army on English

shores.

Thus,

among the more

ardent Catholics, especially the refugees at the

Seminary at Rheims, a crown in heaven was held
out to any spiritual knight- errant

who would

remove the
not a

obstacle.

The

enterprise itself was

difficult one.

Elizabeth was aware of her
fearless.

danger, but she

was personally

She

refused to distrust the Catholics.

Her household

was

full

of them.

She admitted anyone to her
Dr.

presence
Parry, a

who

desired a private interview.
of Parliament, primed

member

by enthe

couragements from the Cardinal of

Como and
life

Vatican, had undertaken to risk his

to

win

the glorious prize.

He

introduced himself into

the palace, properly provided with arms.
professed to
give.

He
Once

have information of importance to
received

The Queen

him

repeatedly.

he was alone with her in the palace garden,

and was on the point of

killing her,

when he was

5.]

PARTIES TN THE STATE

143

awed, as he said, by the likeness to her father.

Parry was discovered and hanged, but Elizabeth
refused to take warning.

When

there were

S(3

many aspirants

for

the honour of removing Jezebel,
it

and Jezebel was

so easy of approach,

was

felt

that one would at last

succeed

;

and the

loyal

part of the nation, led by Lord Burghley, formed

themselves into an association to protect a
so vital to

life

them and apparently

so indifferent to

herself

The

subscribers
all

bound themselves
of persons

to pursue

to the death

manner

who should

attempt or consent to anything to the harm of
her Majesty's person
to
;

never to allow or submit

any pretended successor by

whom

or for

whom

such detestable act should be attempted or com-

mitted

;

but to pursue such persons to death and

act the utmost revenge

upon them.
form was a
visible creation

The bond
of despair.

in its first

It implied a condition of things in
exist.

which order would have ceased to
lawyers,

The
were

who,

it

is

curious

to

observe,

generally in

Mary

Stuart's interest, vehemently

objected; yet

so passionate

was public feeling

;

144

ENGLISH SEAMEN
it

[lect.

that

was signed throughout the kingdom, and

Parliament was called to pass an Act which would
secure
rate,

the same object.
to benefit

Mary

Stuart, at

any

was not

by the crimes either of
It

herself or her admirers.

was provided that

if

the realm was invaded, or a rebellion instigated

by

or for

any one 23retending a

title to

the crown

after the Queen's death, such j)retender should

be

disqualified for ever.

In the event of the Queen's

assassination the

government was to devolve on a

Committee

of Peers

and Privy Councillors, who

were to examine the particulars of the murder

and execute the perpetrators and their accomplices
while, with a significant allusion, all Jesuits

and

seminary priests were required to leave the country
instantly,

under pain of death.
of

The House

Commons was heaving

with

emotion when the Act was sent up to the Peers.

To give expression

to their

burning feelings Sir

Christopher Hatton proposed that before they
separated they should join

him

in a prayer for the
all rose,

Queen's preservation.

The 400 members

and knelt on the

floor of

the House, repeating

Hatton's words after him, sentence by sentence.

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE
Jesuits

145

and seminary

priests

!

Attempts have

been made to justify the conspiracies against

EHzabeth from what

is

called the persecution of

the innocent enthusiasts

who came from Rheims

to preach the Catholic faith to the English people.

Popular writers and speakers dwell on the executions of

Campian and

his

friends

as

worse

than the Smithfield burnings, and amidst general
admiration and approval these martyred saints

have been lately canonised.
said,

Their mission,
it

it is

was purely

religious.

Was

so

?

The

chief

article in the religion

which they came to teach

was the duty of obedience to the Pope, who had

excommunicated the Queen, had absolved her
subjects from their allegiance, and, of the Bull,
loyalty

by a relaxation
to pretend to

had permitted them
till

ad illud tem^us,

a Catholic army of

deliverance should arrive.
legate to Ireland,

A

Pope had sent a
stirring

and was at that moment

up a bloody

insurrection there.

But what

these seminary priests were, and

Avhat their object was, will best appear from

an

account of the condition of England, drawn up
for

the use of the Pope and Philip, by Father L

146

ENGLISH SEAMEN
who was himself
The date
of
it is

[lect.

Parsons,
mission.

at the' head

of the

1585, ahnost simul-

taneous with the scene in Parliament which I

have just been describing.

The English

refugees,

from Cardinal Pole downwards, were the most
active

and passionate preachers of a Catholic

crusade against England.

They
in

failed,

but they
Pole,
all

have

revenged

themselves

history.

Sanders, Allen, and Parsons
that

have coloured

we suppose

ourselves to

know of

Hemy

VIII.

and Elizabeth.

What

I

am

about to read to you

does not differ essentially from what
already heard from these persons
and, being intended
for
;

we have
it is

but

new,
is

practical

guidance,

complete in
archives,

its
is

way.

It

comes from the Spanish

and

not therefore open to suspicion.

Parsons, as you

know, was a Fellow of Balliol

before his conversion; Allen was a Fellow of Oriel,

and Sanders of
of

New

College.
is

An

Oxford Church

England education

an excellent thing, and
the

beautiful characters have been formed in

Catholic universities abroad

;

but as the elements

of dynamite are innocent in themselves, yet

when

fused together produce effects no one would have

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE
of,

147

dreamt

so

Oxford and Rome, when they have

run together, have always generated a somewhat
furious

compound.
'

Parsons describes his statement as a brief note

on the present condition of England,' from which

may be

inferred the ease
'

and opportuneness of
'

the holy enterprise.
fifty-two counties, of

England,' he says,

contains

which forty are well inclined
Heretics in these are few,

to the Catholic faith.

and are hated by
are infected

all

ranks.

The remaining twelve

more

or less, but even in these the

Catholics are in the majority.
into three parts
;

Divide England

two-thirds at least are Catholic

at heart,

though many conceal their convictions
English Catholics are of

in fear of the Queen.

two

sorts

—one

which makes an open profession

regardless of consequences, the other believing at

the bottom, but unwilling to risk

life

or fortune,

and

so submitting

outwardly to the heretic laws,
the
Catholic
confessors
for

but as

eager

as

redemption from slavery.
'

The Queen and her

party,'

he goes on,

'

more

fear these secret Catholics

than those who wear
latter

their colours openly.

The

they can

fine,

148

ENGLISH SEAMEN
make
innocuous.

[lect.

disarm, and

The

others, being

outwardly compliant, cannot be touched, nor can

any precaution be taken against
the day
'

their rising

when

of divine vengeance shall arrive.

The

counties sjDecialiy Catholic are the most

warlike,

and contain harbours and other con-

veniences for the landing of an invading army.

The north towards the Scotch border has been
trained in constant fighting.

The Scotch nobles
will lend their

on the other side are Catholic and
help.
'

So

will all

Wales.
of the midland and southern
is

The inhabitants

provinces,

where the taint

deepest, are indolent

and cowardly, and do not know what war means.

The towns
districts.
lie,

are

more corrupt than the country

But the strength of England does not
cities.

as

on the Continent, in towns and

The

town population are merchants and craftsmen,
rarely or never nobles or magnates.
'

The

nobility,

who have the

real power, reside

with their retinues in castles scattered over the
land.
all

The wealthy yeomen

are strong and honest,
faith,
is

attached to the ancient

and may be
for

counted on when an attempt

made

the

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE
it.

149

restoration of

The knights and gentry
and
will

are

generally

Avell

affected also,

be well to
being

the front.

Many

of their sons are

now

educated in our seminaries.

Some

are in exile,
will

but

all,

whether at home or abroad,
side.

be active

on our
'

Of the

great peers, marquises, earls, viscounts,
us, part

and barons, part are with

against us.

But the

latter sort are

new

creations,

whom

the

Queen has promoted

either for heresy or as her

personal lovers, and therefore universally abhorred.
'

The premier peer

of the old stock is the Earl
late

of Arundel, son

and heir of the

Duke

of

Norfolk,

whom

she has imprisoned because he

tried to escape out of the realm.

This earl,

is

entirely

Catholic, as

well

as

his

brothers and

kinsmen; and they have powerful vassals who
are

eager to revenge the injury of their
of

lord.

The Earl

Northumberland and

his brothers

are Catholics.

They

too have family wrongs to

repay, their father having been this year murdered
in the Tower,

and they have placed themselves

at

my

disposal.

The Earl of Worcester and his heir
all their

hate heresy, and are devoted to us with

I50

ENGLISH SEAMEN
The
Earls
of

[lect.

dependents.

Cumbeiiand

and

Sonthampton and Viscount Montague are
and have a large follomng.
have

faithful,

Besides these

we

many

of the barons

—Dacre, Morley, Vaux,
Lord
reside
Englefield,"

Windsor, Wharton, Lovelace, Stourton, and others
besides.

The Earl

of Westmoreland, with

Paget and Sir Francis

who

abroad, have been incredibly earnest in promoting

our enterprise.
possible

With such we can
fail.

support,

it

is

im-

that

These

lords

and

gentlemen,

when they

see efficient help

coming

to them, will certainly rise,

and

for the following

reasons
'

:

1.

Because some of the principals among them

have given
'2.

me

their promise.

Because, on hearing that Pope Pius intended

to

excommunicate and depose the Queen sixteen

years ago,
failed

many

Catholics did

rise.

They only

because no support was sent them, and the

Pope's sentence had not at that time been actually
published.

Now, when the Pope has spoken and
there
is

help
act.

is certain,

not a doubt

how they

will

'3.

Because the Catholics are now much more

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE

151

numerous, and have received daily instruction in
their religion from our priests.

There

is

now no

orthodox Catholic in the whole realm
that he
is

who supposes

any longer bound in conscience to obey
Books
for the

the Queen.

occasion have been

written and published
that
it is

by

us, in

which we prove

not only lawful for Catholics, but their
duty, to
fight against

positive

the
;

Queen and
and these
that

heresy

when the Pope

bids

them

books are so greedily read

among them

when

the time comes they are certain to take arms.
'4.

The

Catholics in these
feeling in

late years

have

shown
priests

their real

the martyrdoms of

and laymen, and in attempts made by

several of

them

against the person and State of
kill
still

the Queen.

Various Catholics have tried to

her at the risk of their
trying.
'

own

lives,

and are

5.

We

have three hundred priests dispersed
of

among the houses
gentry.

the

nobles and honest
to

Every day we add

their

number;
and

and these

priests will direct the consciences
crisis.

actions of the Catholics at the great
'

6.

They have been

so harried

and

so worried

152

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

that they hate the heretics worse than they hate

the Turks.
'

Should any of them fear the introduction of

a Spanish army as dangerous to their national
liberties,

there

is it

an easy way to

satisfy

their

scruples.

Let
is

be openly declared

that

the

enterprise

undertaken in the name of the Pope,

and there

will

be no more hesitation.

We

have

ourselves prepared a book for their instruction, to

be issued at the right moment.
desires to see it

If his Holiness
it

we

will

have

translated into

Latin for his use.
'

Before

the

enterprise

is

undertaken the

sentence of excommunication and deposition ought
to

be reissued, with special
'

clauses.

It

must be published
;

in all adjoining Catholic

countries

all

Catholic kings and princes must be
inter-

admonished to forbid every description of
course with the pretended
subjects,

Queen and her

heretic or

and

themselves especially to

make

observe no treaties with her, to send no embassies
to her

and admit none

;

to render

no help to her

of any sort or kind.
'

Besides those

who

will

be our friends

for re-

5.]

PARTIES TN THE STATE
sake

153

ligion's

we shall have

others with us

—neutrals
whom
are

or heretics of milder sort, or atheists, Avith

England now abounds, who
interest of the

will join

us in the

Queen

of Scots.

Among them

the Marquis of Winchester, the Earls of Shrewsbury, Derby, Oxford, Eutland, and several other
peers.

The Queen
.

of Scots herself will be

of

infinite assistance to

us in securing these.

She

knows who are her
able so
far,

secret friends.

She has been

and we

trust will always be able, to

communicate with them.
are ready at the right time.
to

She

will see that

they

She has often written

me

to say that she hopes that she will be able

to escape

when the time

comes.

In her

last letter

she urges

me

to

be vehement with his Holiness

in pushing on the enterprise,

and bids him have no

concern for her o^vn safety.

She

believes that she

can care
her
life
'

for herself.

If not, she says she will lose

willingly in a cause so sacred.

The enemies

that

we

shall

have to deal with

are the

more determined

heretics

whom we

call

Puritans,

and certain creatures of the Queen, the
and Huntingdon, and a few
in the

Earls
others.

of Leicester

They will have an advantage

money

154

ENGLISH SEAMEN
arms and

[lect.

in the Treasury, the public

stores,

and

the army and navy, but none of them have ever

seen a camp.

The

leaders have been nuzzled in
Avill all

love-making and Court pleasures, and they
fly at

the

first

shock of war.
in the

They have not a man
field.

who can command

In the whole

realm there are but two fortresses which could
stand a three days' siege.

The people

are ener-

vated by long peace, and, except a few

who have

served with the heretics in Flanders, cannot bear
their

arms.

Of those few some

are dead and

some have deserted

to the Prince of

Parma, a

clear proof of the real disposition to revolt.
is

There

abundance of food and

cattle in the country, all

of which will be at our service

and cannot be
safe

kept from

us.

Everywhere there are
all

and
in-

roomy harbours, almost

undefended.

An

vading force can be landed with ease, and there
will

be no lack of

local pilots.

Fifteen thousand

trained soldiers

will
.

be

sufficient,

aided by the

Catholic English, though, of course, thS larger

the force, particularly

if it

includes cavalry, the
less

quicker

the work will

be done and the

the expense.

Practically there will

be nothing

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE

155

to

overcome save an imwarlike and undisciplined

mob.
•'

Sixteen times England has been invaded.

Twice only the native race have repelled the
attacking force.

They have been defeated on

every other occasion, and with a cause so holy and
just as ours

we need not

fear to

fail.

The

ex-

penses shall be repaid to his Holiness
Catholic

and the

King out

of the property of the heretics
clergy.

and the Protestant

There

will

be ample
give us

in these resources to comiDensate all

who

their hand.

But the work must be done promptly.
be
infinitely dangerous.

Delay
as

will

If

we put

off,

we have done

hitherto, the

Catholics will be

tired out

and reduced in numbers and strength.
priests

The nobles and

now

in exile,

and able

to

be of such service, will break down in poverty.

The Queen

of Scots

may be

executed or die a

natural death, or something
Catholic

may happen

to the

King

or his Holiness.
die,

The Queen

of

England may herself

a heretic Government

may be
will

reconstructed under a heretic successor,

the young Scotch king or some other, and our case

then be desperate

;

whereas

if

we can prevent

156

ENGLISH SEAMEN
and save the Queen of Scots there

[i.ect.

this

will

be

good hope of converting her son and reducing the
whole island to the obedience of the
is

faith.

Now

the moment.

The French Government cannot
of Guise will help us for the

interfere.

The Duke

sake of the faith and for his kinswoman.

The

Turks are
or

quiet.

The Church was never
of Italy
is

stronger

more united. Part
rest is

under the Catholic

King; the

in league with his Holiness.
is all

The

revolt in the

Low Countries
up the
for
is

but crushed.

The
ing.

sea provinces are on the point of surrenderIf they give
contest their harbours

will

be at our service

the invasion.

If not,

the

way

to

conquer them

to conquer England.
it

'I need not urge

how much

imports his

Holiness to undertake this glorious work.

He,
this

supremely wise as he

is,

knows that from
all

Jezebel and her supporters come

the perils

which

disturb

the Christian world.
all
is

He knows
Re-

that heretical depravity and

other miseries
chastised.

can only end when this

woman

verence for his Holiness and love for

my

afflicted

country force

me

to speak.

I submit to his most

holy judgment myself and

my

advice.'

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE
The most ardent Catholic

157

apologist will hardly

maintain, in the face of this document, that the

English Jesuits and seminary priests were the
innocent missionaries of religion which the modern

enemies of Elizabeth's Government describe them.

Father Parsons, the writer of
leader

it,

was himself the

and

director of the Jesuit invasion,

and

cannot be supposed to have misrepresented the

purpose

for

which they had been sent
is

over.

The

point of special interest

the account which he

gives of the state of parties and general feeling in

the English people.
tion to

Was

there that wide disposiso large a

welcome an invading army in
?

majority of the nation
to have
later,

The question

is

supposed

been triumphantly answered three years
it is

when

asserted that the difference of

creed was forgotten, and Catholics and Protestants

fought side by side for the liberties of England. But, in the
first

place, the circumstances

were

changed.

The Queen

of Scots no longer lived,

and the success of the Armada implied a foreign
sovereign.
tried.

But, next, the experiment was not
battle

The

was fought at

sea,

by a

fleet

four-fifths of

which was composed of Protestant

IS8

ENGLISH SEAMEN
manned by

[lect.

adventurers, fitted out and

those zeal-

ous Puritans whose fidelity to the Queen Parsons himself admitted.

Lord Howard may have been
;

an Anglo-Catholic

Roman

Catholic he never

was but he and
;

his brother

were the only loyalists

in the

House

of

Howard.

Arundel and the

rest

of his kindred were all that Parsons claimed for

them.

How

the country levies would have beis still

haved had Parma landed
likely that if the Spanish
success, there

uncertain.

It is
first

army had gained a

might have been some who would
did.

have behaved as Sir William Stanley

It is

observable that Parsons mentions Leicester and

Huntingdon
the

as the only powerful peers
rely,

on

whom
to

Queen could

and

Leicester, otherwise the

unfittest

man

in her

dominions,

she

chose

command

her land army.
of Alva and his master Philip, both
political
priests.

The Duke
of

them

distrusted

Political

priests,

they

said, did

not understand the facts

of things.

Theological
of

enthusiasm made them
wished.

credulous

what
is

they

But

Father
parts

Parsons's estimate

confirmed in

all its

by

the letters of Meudoza, the Spanish ambassador

5-]

PAK77ES IN THE STATE
Mencloza was himself a
soldier,

159

in London.
his first

and

duty was to learn the

real truth.

It

may

be taken as certain that, with the Queen of Scots
still

alive to succeed to the throne, at the

time of

the scene in the House of
I began this

Commons, with which

lecture, the great majority of the

country party disliked the Reformers, and were
looking forward to the accession of a Catholic
sovereign,
revolution.

and as a consequence

to a religious

It explains the difficulty of Elizabeth's position

and the inconsistency of her

jDolitical action.

Burghley,
elder

Walsingham, Mildmay, Knolles, the
were
believing
Protestants,

Bacon,

and

would have had her put herself openly at the
head of a Protestant

European league.

They

believed that right and justice were on their side, that their side was God's cause, as they called
it,

and that God would care

for

it.

Elizabeth had
disliked dog-

no such complete conviction.
matism, Protestant as well
ridiculed

She
as

Catholic.

She

Mr. Cecil and his brothers in Christ.
like

She thought,
faith, for

Erasmus, that the

articles

of

which

men were

so eager to kill one


i6o

ENGLISH SEAMEN
subjects

[lect.

another, were
little

which

thej^

knew very

about,

and that every man might think
to

what he would on such matters without injury
the

commonwealth.
'

To become

'

head of the

name

would involve open war with the Catholic

powers.

War meant war

taxes,

which more than
Eeligion

half her subjects would resent or resist.
as she understood it

was a development of law

the law of moral conduct.

You

could not have

two laws in one country, and you could not have two religions
;

but the outward form mattered
little.

comparatively

The people she ruled over
these
forms.
let

were

divided
fools,

about

They were

mainly

and

if

she

them each have

chapels and churches of their own, molehills would

become mountains, and the congregations would
go from arguing into fighting.

With Parliament
a Liturgy,

to help her, therefore, she established

in which those

who wished

to find the

Mass could
predestin-

hear the Mass, while those
ation and justification
Articles.

who wanted

by

faith could find it in the
roof,

Both could meet under a common
service, if

and use a common
reasonable.

they would only be

If they

would not be reasonable, the

50

PARTIES IN THE STATE

i6i

Catholics might

have their own ritual in their
interfered, with.

own

houseSj

and would not be

This system continued
years of
Elizabeth's
reign.

for

the

first

eleven

No

Catholic,

she

could proudly say, had ever during that time been

molested
for

for his belief

There was a small

fine

non-attendance at church, but even this was

rarely levied,

and by the confession of the Jesuits
policy

the

Queen's

was succeeding

too

well.

Sensible

men began

to see that the differences of

religion were not things to quarrel over.

Faith

was growing languid.

The

elder generation,

who

had lived through the Edward and Mary revolutions,

were

satisfied to

be

left

undisturbed

;

a
;

new
and

generation was growing up,
so the

vv^ith

new
itself

ideas

Church of Rome bestirred

Elizabeth

was excommunicated.

The

cycle

began of intrigue

and conspiracy, assassination
invasions.

plots,

and Jesuit and in

Punishments had to

follow,

spite of herself Elizabeth

was driven into what
Re-

the Catholics could
ligious it

call religious persecution.

was

not, for the

seminary priests were

missionaries

of

treason.

But

religious

it

was

made

to appear.

The English gentleman who

i62

ENGLISH SEAMEN
loyal,

[lect.

wished to remain
faith,

without

forfeiting

his

was taught to see that a sovereign under

the Papal curse had no longer a claim on his
allegiance.

If he disobeyed the

Pope, he had
Christ.

ceased to be a

member

of the

Church of

The Papal party grew in coherence, while, opposed
to

them

as

their

purpose
first

came

in view,

the
to

Protestants,

who

at

had been inclined

Lutheranism, adopted

the

deeper and sterner

creed of Calvin and Geneva.

The memories

of

the Marian cruelties revived again.

They saw
and

tiiemselves threatened with a return to stake
fagot.

They

closed their ranks

and resolved to

die rather than submit again to Antichrist.

They
in

might be

inferior

in numbers.

A

'plebiscite,

England at that moment would have sent Burghley

and Walsingham to the

scaffold.

But the
Judah

Lord could save by few as well

as

by many.

had

but two tribes out of the twelve, but the

words of the

men

of

Judah were

fiercer

than the

words of Israel.

One

great mistake had been

made by

Parsons.

He

could not estimate what he could not under-

stand.

He

admitted that the inhabitants of the

5-]

PARTIES IN THE STATE
mainly heretic

163

towns were

— London,
persons
is

Bristol,

Pljmaouth, and the rest

^but

he despised them as

merchants, craftsmen,
heart to fight in them.

mean

who had no

Nothing

more remark-

able in the history of the sixteenth century than

the effect of Calvinism in levelling distinctions of

rank and in steeling and ennobling the character
of

common men.

In

Scotland,

in

the

Low

Countries, in France, there was the

same pheno-

menon.

In Scotland, the Kirk was the creation

of the preachers

and the people, and peasants and
field

workmen dared to stand in the
knights and barons,
fathers for centuries.

against belted
their

who had trampled on
The
artisans of the

Low

Countries had for twenty years defied the whole

power of Spain.

The Huguenots were not a

fifth

part of the French nation, yet defeat could never

dishearten them.

Again and again they forced
to

Crown and nobles
It

make terms with them.
The
allegiance

was the same in England.

to their feudal leaders dissolved into a higher
obligation to the

King

of kings, whose elect they

believed themselves to be.

Election to

them was

not a theological phantasm, but an enlistment in

1

64

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

the army of God.

A little

flock tliey

might

be,

but they were a dangerous people to deal with,

most of

all

in the towns on the sea.

The

sea was

the element of the Eeformers.

The Popes had

no jurisdiction over the winds and waves. Rochelle

was the

citadel of the

Huguenots.

The English

merchants and marmers had wrongs of their own,
perpetually renewed, which fed the bitterness of
their indignation.

Touch where they would
hand was on

in

Spanish
ships'

ports, the inquisitor's

their

crews,

and the crews, unless they denied
handed over to the stake or the

their faith, were
galleys.

The

Calvinists are accused of intolerance.

I fancy that even in these

humane and enlightened
tolerant if the

days
of

we should not be very
to

King
visitor

Dahomey were

burn every European

to his dominions

who would not worship Mumbo
of Alva was not very merciful

Jumbo.

The Duke

to heretics, but

he tried to bridle the zeal of the
the English
It

Holy

Office

in burning

seamen.
to

Even

Philip himself remonstrated.

was

no

purpose.

The Holy

Office said they
on.

would think
I

about

it,

but concluded to go
if

am

not

the least surprised

the English seamen were

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE
I should be very

165

intolerant,

much

surprised if
protect

they had not been.

The Queen could not

them.
could,

They had

to protect themselves as they
vessels,

and make Spanish

when they

could

catch them, pay for the iniquities of their rulers.

With such a temper
Elizabeth's policy
still

rising

on both

sides,

had but a poor chance.

She

hoped that the better sense of mankind
order.

would keep the doctrinal enthusiasts in

Elizabeth wished her subjects would be content
to live together in unity of spirit, if not in unity of theory, in the

bond of peace, not hatred, in
life,

righteousness of

not in orthodoxy preached

by stake and

gibbet.

She was content

to wait

and to persevere.

She refused

to declare war.

War would
her danger.
peril

tear the world in pieces."

She knew
in constant
if

She knew that she was

of assassination.

She knew that

the

Protestants were crushed in Scotland, in France,

and in the Low Countries, her own turn would
follow.

To

protect insurgents avowedly vfould be

to justify insurrection against herself

But what

she would not do openly she would do secretly.

What

she would not do herself she

let

her subjects

1

66

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

do.

Thousands of English volunteers fought in

Flanders for the States, and in France for the

Huguenots.

When

the English Treasury was

shut to the entreaties of Coligny or William of

Orange the London
strings.

citizens untied their purseill.

Her

friends in Scotland fared

They

were encouraged by promises which were not
observed, because to observe

them might bring
for

on war.
sake.

They committed themselves They
fell

her

one after another
into

— Murray,
Others

Morton, Gowrie

bloody graves.

took their places and struggled on.

The Scotch

Eeformation was saved. Scotland was not allowed
to

open

its

arms to an invading army to

strike

England across the Border.
to

But

this

was held
for

be their

sufficient

recompense.

They cared

their cause as well as for the English Queen,

and

they had their reward.
saved their

If they saved her they

own

country.

She

too did not

lie

on

a bed of

roses.

To prevent open war she was
life

exposing her

own

to the assassin.

At any

moment a
knew

pistol-shot or a

stab with a dagger

might add Elizabeth
it,

to the list of victims.

She
policy,

yet she went on upon her

own

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE

167

and faced in her person her own share of the

risk.

One thing

only she did.

If she would not defend

her fiiends and her subjects as Queen of England, she
left

them

free to

defend themselves.

She

allowed traitors to be hanged

when they were

caught at their work.
to
fit

She allowed the merchants
fleets, to

out their privateer

defend at their

own

cost the shores of England,

and to teach the

Spaniards to fear their vengeance.

But how long was
were loyal citizens to
over

all this

to last

?

How
their

long

feel that
?

they were living

a

loaded

mine

—throughout
and

own

country, throughout the Continent, at
at Madrid, at Brussels

Rome and

at Paris, a legion of

conspirators were driving their shafts under the

English commonwealth.
indifferent to her
life

The Queen might be

own

danger, but on the Queen's

hung the peace

of the whole realm.

A stroke

of a poniard, a touch of a trigger,

and swords

would be flying from their scabbards in every
county
;

England would become,

like France,

one
suc-

wild scene of anarchy and
cessor had been named.

civil

war.

No

The Queen

refused to

hear a successor declared.

Mary

Stuart's

hand

i68

.

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

had been in every plot since she crossed the
Border.
petitioned

Twice
for

the

House

of

Commons had
Elizabeth would

her execution.
life

neither touch her
cro'svn to

nor allow her hopes of the
her.

be taken from

The Bond

of Asso-

ciation

was but a remedy of despair, and the Act

of Parliament would have passed for little in the

tempest which would

immediately
fatal

rise.

The

agony reached a height when the

news came

from the Netherlands that there at
ation had done its work.
after

last assassin-

The Prince
finished,

of Orange,

many,

failures,

had been
at

and a

libel

was found in the Palace

Westminster exhorting

the ladies of the household to provide a Judith

among themselves
Holofemes.

to rid the world of the English

One

part of Elizabeth's subjects, at any rate,
sit

were not disposed to
the eternal nightmare.

down

in patience under
to

From Spain was

come

the army of deliverance for which the Jesuits

were so passionately longing.

To the Spaniards

the Pope was looking for the execution of the
Bull of Deposition.
of his

Father Parsons had

left

out

estimate

the

Protestant adventurers of

;

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE

169

London and Plymouth, who, besides

their creed
to

and their patriotism, had their private wrongs
revenge.

Philip might talk of peace, and perhaps

in weariness

might at times seriously wish
life

for it

but between the Englishmen whose
the ocean

was on

and the Spanish Inquisition, which
so

had burned
possible.

many

of them, there

was no peace

To them, Spain was the natural enemy.
the daring spirits
globe,

Among

who had

sailed with

Drake round the
Spanish gold

who had waylaid

the

ships,

and startled the world with
whose
lives

their exploits, the joy of
f]ght Spaniards

had been

to

wherever they could meet with

them, there was but one wish

for

an honest

open war.
objects

The

great galleons were to

them no

of
to

terror.
'

The Spanish naval power
stuffed with clouts.'

seemed

them a Colossus
all

They were Protestants

of them, but

their

theology was rather practical than speculative.
If Italians

and Spaniards chose
was not any

to

believe in

the Mass,

it

affair of theirs.

Their

quarrel was with the insolent pretence of Catholics to force

their creed on others with sword
spirit

and

cannon.

The

which was working in them

I70

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

was the genius of freedom.
they
felt

On

their

own element

that they could be the spiritual tyrants'

masters.
likely to

But

as things

were going, rebellion was

break out at home; their homesteads

might be burning, their country overrun with the
Prince of Parma's army, the Inquisition at their

own

doors,

and a Catholic sovereign bringing

back the fagots of Smithfield.

The Reformation

at its origin It

was no

intro-

duction of novel heresies.
laity of

was a revolt of the

Europe against the profligacy and avarice

of the clergy.
to

The popes and

cardinals pretended

be the

representatives

of

Heaven.

When

called to account for abuse of their powers, they

had behaved precisely
kings

as

mere corrupt human

and
;

aristocracies

behave.

They had
;

in-

trigued

they had

excommunicated

they had

set nation against nation, sovereigns against their

subjects

;

they had encouraged assassination

;

they

had made themselves infamous by horrid massacres,

and had taught one half of

foolish Christen-

dom

to hate the other.

The

hearts of the poor

English seamen whose comrades had been burnt
at
Seville
to

make a Spanish

holiday, thrilled

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE

171

with a sacred determination to end such scenes.

The purpose

that was in

them broke

into a wild

war-music, as the wind harp swells and screams

under the breath of the storm,

I found in the

Record Office an unsigned letter of
old sea-dog, written in a bold

some inspired

round hand and adcompanies which

dressed to Elizabeth.
in

The

ships'

summer

served in Philip's men-of-war went in

winter in thousands to catch cod on the Banks of

Newfoundland.
said,
'

'

Give

me

five vessels,'

the writer
all,

and I

will

go out and sink them

and the

galleons shall rot in Cadiz

Harbour

for

want

of

hands to
quickly.

sail

them. But decide. Madam, and decide
return.
The, iviiigs

Time flies, and will not
life

of man's

are

plumed with

the feathers of death!

The Queen did not
were not
sent,

decide.

The

five

ships
sailors

and the poor Castilian

caught their cod in peace.
herself

But

in

spite

of

Elizabeth was

driven

forward by the
of the Prince of

tendencies of things.

The death

Orange

left

the States without a Government.
of

The Prince

Parma was

pressing
lost.

them They

hard.
offered

Without a leader they were

themselves to Elizabeth, to be incorporated in the

172

ENGLISH SEAMEN
if

[lect.

English Empire. Tliey said that

sHe refused they

must

either submit to Spain or

become provinces

of France.
or French,
land.

The Netherlands, whether Spanish
would be equally dangerous to Eng-

The Netherlands once brought back under
;

the Pope, England's turn would come next
to accept the proposal

while
des-

meant instant and

perate war, both with France and Spain too

for

France would never allow England again to gain
a foot on the Continent, Elizabeth
to do.

knew not what
not.

She would and she would
;

She did

not accept

she did not refuse.

It

was neither

No

nor Yes. Philip,

who was

as fond of indirect

ways

as herself, proposed to quicken her irresolution.

The

harvest had failed in

Galicia,

and the

population were starving.
corn than

England grew more
under
a
special

she wanted, and,

promise that the crews should not be molested, a
fleet

of corn-traders

had gone with cargoes of

grain to

Coruna, Bilbao, and Santander.

The
was

King

of Spain, on hearing that Elizabeth

treating with the States, issued a sudden order
to seize the vessels, confiscate

the cargoes, and
executed.

imprison the men.

The

order was

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE
ship

173

One English
escape

only was

lucky enough

to

by the

adroitness of her commander.

The

'Primrose, of

London, lay in Bilbao Roads with a

captain and fifteen hands.
ceiving the order,
ship.

The mayor, on

re-

came on board

to look over the
for

He

then went on shore

a sufficient

force to carry out the seizure.

After he was gone

the captain heard of the fate which was intended
for

him.

The mayor returned with two boatloads
up the
ladder, touched

of soldiers, stepped

the

captain on the shoulder, and told

him he was

a prisoner.

The Englishmen snatched pike and
and battleaxe,
killed seven or eight

cutlass, pistol

of the Spanish boarders, threw the rest overboard,

and flung stones on them as they scrambled into
their boats.
sea,

The mayor, who had

fallen into the

caught a rope and was hauled up when the

fight

was

over.

The

cable

was

cut,

the

sails

hoisted,

and in a few minutes the Primrose was
for

under way

England, with the mayor of Bilbao

below the hatches.
If Philip

No

second vessel got away.

had meant to frighten Elizabeth he
it,

could not have taken a worse means of doing
for

he had exasperated that particular part of the

174

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

English population which was least afraid of him.

He had

broken faith besides, and had seized some
sailors

hundreds of merchants and
merely to relieve Spanish
usual,

who had gone
EHzabeth, as
ships

distress.

would not act

herself.

She sent no

from her own navy to demand reparation; but
she

gave

the

adventurers

a free hand.

The
to

London and Plymouth

citizens

determined

read Spain a lesson which should
pression.

make an im-

They had the worst
;

fears for the fate

of the prisoners

but

if

they could not save, they
Sir

could avenge

them.

Francis

Drake,

who

wished

for

nothing better than to be at work

again, volunteered his services,

and a

fleet
sail,

was

collected at Pl3mQouth of twenty-five

every

one of them
finer

fitted out

by private
no

enterprise.

No
The

armament,

certainly
left

better-equipped

armament, ever

the

English shores.

expenses were, of course, enormous.

Of seamen

and

soldiers there

were between two and three

thousand.

Drake's

name was worth an army.

The

cost

was to be recovered out of the ex-

pedition

somehow;
pay
for

the Spaniards were to be
it;

made

to

but

how

or

when was

:

:

5.]

PARTIES IN THE STATE
to

175

left

Drake's

judgment.
in

This

time

there

was

no

second

command
hang upon

sent
his

by
arm.

the

Mends

of Spain to

By
at

universal consent he

had the absolute command.
merely
to

His

instructions

were

inquire

Spanish ports into the meaning of the

arrest.

Beyond that he was

left to

go where he pleased
his

and do what he pleased on

own
it

responsibility.

The Queen

said frankly that if

proved con-

venient she intended to disown him.

Drake had

no objection to being disowned, so he could teach
the Spaniards
to

be more

careful

how they
it

handled Englishmen.

What came

of

will

be

the subject of the next lecture.
said the Protestant traders of

Father Parsons

England had grown
In the ashes of

effeminate and dared not fight.
their own smoking
cities

the Spaniards had to

learn

that

Father
If

Parsons

had

misread

his

countrymen.

Drake had been given

to heroics

he might have

left Virgil's lines

inscribed above

the broken arms of Castile at St.

Domingo
senectus
ludit

En ego victa situ quam veri effeta Axma inter regmn falsa formidine
Eespice ad hsec.

LECTURE VI
THE GREAT EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES

r\UEEN ELIZABETH
ing principles.

and her brother-in-law

of Spain were reluctant champions of oppos-

In themselves they had no wish

to quarrel, but each

was driven forward by

fate

and circumstance
Catholic
for

—Philip

by the genius of the
by the enthusiasts

religion, Elizabeth

freedom and by the advice of statesmen who
for

saw no safety
wished

her except in daring.

Both

for peace,

and refused

to see that peace

was

impossible;

but both were

compelled to
Philip had to

yield to their subjects' eagerness.

threaten England with invasion
to

;

Elizabeth had

show Philip that England had a long arm,
fear.

which Spanish wisdom would do well to was a singular
orthodoxy and
position.

It

Philip

had outraged

dared

the anger of

Rome by

LECT.6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES

177

maintaining an ambassador at Elizabeth's Court
after her excommunication.

He

had laboured

for

a reconciliation with a sincerity which his secret
letters

make

it

impossible to doubt.
for
it,

He

had

condescended even to sue

in spite of

Drake

and

the voyage of

the Pelican;

yet

he had

helped the Pope to set Ireland in a flame.

He

had encouraged Elizabeth's Catholic subjects in
conspiracy after conspiracy.

He

had approved of

attempts to dispose of her as he had disposed of
the Prince of Orange.
Elizabeth had retaliated,
soldiers

though with half a heart, by letting her

volunteer into the service of the revolted Netherlands,

by permitting English privateers

to plunder

the Spanish colonies, seize the gold ships, and

revenge their own wrongs.

Each, perhaps, had

wished to show the other what an open war would
cost

them

both, and each drew back

when war

appeared inevitable.

Events went their way.

Holland and Zeeland,

driven to extremity, had petitioned for incorporation with

England

;

as a counter-stroke

and a

warning, Philip had arrested the English corn
ships and imprisoned the owners

and the crews.

178

ENGLISH SEAMEN
fleet

[lect.

Her own

was nothing.

The

safety of the

English shores depended on the spirit of the
adventurers, and she could not afford to check

the anger with which the news was received.

To

accept the offer of the States was war, and war

she would not have.
at all
;

Herself, she

would not act
let

but in her usual way she might

her

subjects act for themselves, and plead, as Philip

pleaded in excuse for the Inquisition, that she
could not restrain them.
in

And

thus

it

was that

Se23tember

1585, Sir Francis
fleet of

Drake found

himself with a
2,500

twenty-five privateers and

men who had
his

volunteered to serve with
distinct

him under

own command. He had no
The
exjpedition

commission.
as a private

had been
Neither

fitted

out

undertaking.

officers

nor

crews had been engaged for the service of the

Crown.

They

received no wages.

In the eye of

the law they were pirates.
their

They were going on King
of Spain a

own account

to read the

necessary lesson and pay their expenses at the

King

of Spain's cost.
fire.

Young

Protestant England

had taken

The name

of

Drake

set

every

Protestant heart burning, and hundreds of gallant

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES
join.

179

gentlemen had pressed in to
of Burghley

A

grandson

had come, and Edward Winter the

Admiral's son, and Francis Knolles the Queen's
cousin,
Carlile.

and Martin Frobisher, and Christopher
Philip Sidney had wished to
;

make one

also in the glory

but Philip Sidney was needed

elsewhere.

The Queen's consent had been won

from her at a bold interval in her shifting moods.

The hot

fit

might pass away, and Burghley sent
to

Drake a hint

be

off before

her

humour changed.

No word was
of

said.

On

the morning of the 14th
flag

September the signal

was

flying

from

Drake's maintop to up anchor and away.
as

Drake,

he admitted

after,

'

was not the most assured
to
let

of her

Majesty's perseverance

them go

forward.'

Past Ushant he would be beyond reach

of

recall.

With

light

winds and calms

they

drifted across the Bay.

They

fell

in with a few

Frenchmen homeward-bound from the Banks, and
let

them pass uninjured.

A

large Spanish ship

which they met next day, loaded with excellent
fresh salt fish,

was counted lawful

prize.

The

fish

was new and good, and was distributed through
the
fleet.

Standing leisurely on, they cleared

I

So

ENGLISH SEAMEN
and came up with the
of Vigo Harbour.
'

[lect.

Finisterre
at the

Isles of

Bayona,

mouth

They dropped

anchor there, and

it

was a great matter and a

royal sight to see them.'

The Spanish Governor,
sent
off

Don Pedro Bemadero,

with some as-

tonishment to know who and what they were.

Drake answered with a question whether England
and Spain were at war, and
if

not

why

the

English merchants had been arrested.
could but say that he

Don Pedro
for

knew

of

no war, and

the merchants an order had come for their release.

For reply Drake landed part of
islands,

his force

on the
to

and Don Pedro, not knowing what
it

make

of such visitors, found
cartloads
of

best to propitiate
fruit.

them with

wine and

The

weather, which had been hitherto
signs of change.

fine,

showed

The wind

rose,

and the sea

with

it.

The anchorage was

exposed, and Drake

sent Christopher Carlile, with one of his ships

and a few pinnaces, up the harbour
for better
shelter.

to look out

Their appearance created a

panic in the town.

The alarmed inhabitants

took to their boats, carrying off their property

and their Church

plate.

Carlile,

who had a

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES

i8i

Calvinistic objection to idolatry, took the liberty

of detaining part of these treasures.

From one

boat he took a massive silver cross belonging to
the
of

High Church

at

Vigo from another an image
;

Our Lady, which the
and were
said,

sailors

relieved of her
stripped,
Carlile's
fleet

clothes
to

when she was

have treated with some indignity.
being satisfactory, the whole
clay

report

was

brought the next

up the harbour and moored
this

above the town.

The news had by
The Governor

time

spread into the country.

of Galicia

came down with
collect in a hurry.

all

the force which he could

Perhaps he was in time to Perhaps Drake, having other

save Yigo

itself

aims in view, did not care to be detained over a
smaller object.
that

The Governor,

at

any

rate,

saw

the

English were too strong for him to

meddle with.

The

best that he could look for
to

was

to persuade

them

go away on the easiest
for

terms.

Drake and he met in boats

a parley.

Drake wanted water and
was to be allowed

fresh provisions.

Drake

to furnish himself undisturbed.

He had

secured what he most wanted.
of Spain that he

He had
in-

shown the King

was not

i82

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

vulnerable in his
sailed

own home dominion, and he
Madrid was in con-

away unmolested.

sternation.

That the English could dare insult

the

first

prince in Europe on the sacred soil of

the Peninsula itself seemed like a dream.

The

Council of State sat for three days considering
the meaning of
it.

Drake's
It

name was

already

familiar in Spanish ears.

was not conceivable
after

that he had come only to inquire
arrested ships

the

and seamen.
?

But what could the
Did she not know
of

English Queen be about
that
Philip
force
?

she
?

existed

only

by the forbearance
of

Did she know the King Did not
England,
it

Spain's
?

she

and her people quake

Little

was said by some of these

councillors,

was to be swallowed at a mouthful
of half the world.
less confident

by the

King

The

old

Admiral

Santa Cruz was
ing.

about the swallow-

He

observed that England had

many

teeth,

and that instead of boasting of Spanish greatness
it

would be better

to provide against
Till

what she

might do with them.

now

the corsairs had

appeared only in twos and threes.

With such

a fleet behind him Drake might go where he

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES

183

pleased.
again.

He might be going to He might take Madeira
for

the South Seas
if

he

liked, or

the Canary Islands.

Santa Cruz himself thought
the

he would make

West

Indies and Panama,

and advised the sending out there instantly every
available ship that they had.

The gold

fleet

was Drake's
it

real object.
its

He
to

had information that

would be on

way

Spain by the Cape de Yerde Islands, and he had
learnt the time

when
for

it

was

to

be expected. From

Vigo he sailed
Palma, with
there,'
'

the

Canaries, looked in at

intention to have taken our pleasure

but found the landing dangerous and the
not worth the
Islands.
risk.

to"\vn itself

He
fleet
it

ran on to the

Cape de Verde

He had

measured his

time too narrowly.

The gold
missed

had arrived

and had gone.
'

He had

by twelve hours,
'

the reason,' as he said with a sigh,
God.'

best

known
lost,

to

The chance

of prize-money was

but the
still

political

purpose of the expedition could

be completed.

The Cape de Verde

Islands

could not sail away, and a beginning could be

made with Sant

lago.

Sant lago was a thriving,

well-populated town, and

down

in Drake's

book

1

84

ENGLISH SEAMEN
some Plymouth

[lect.

as specially needing notice,

sailors

haing been recently murdered there.
Carlile,

Christopher

always handy and trustworthy, was put

on shore with a thousand

men

to attack the place

on the undefended

side.

The Spanish commander,
fled,

the bishop, and most of the people
Vigo, into

as at

the mountains with their plate and

money.

Carlile entered without opposition,

and

flew St. George's Cross from the castle as a signal
to the fleet,
his force,

Drake came

in,

landed the rest of
It

and took

possession.

happened to be

the

17th of

November

—the

anniversary of the
batteries, dressed

Queen's accession

—and ships and
flags,

out with English

celebrated the occasion

with salvoes of cannon.

Houses and magazines

were then searched and plundered.

Wine was
for

found in large quantities, rich merchandise
the Indian trade, and other valuables.

Of gold

and

silver

nothing

it

had

all

been removed.

Drake waited

for a fortnight,

hoping that the
city.

Spaniards would treat for the ransom of the

When

they made no

sign,

he marched twelve

miles inland to a village where the Governor and

the bishop were said to have taken refuge.

But

6.1

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES

185

the village was found deserted.

The Spaniards
it

had gone

to the mountains,

where

was useless
to bargain

to follow them,

and were too proud

with a pirate
built city,
it
;

chief.

Sant lago was a beautifully

and Drake would perhaps have spared

but a ship-boy who had strayed was found

murdered and barbarously mutilated.

The

order

was given

to burn.

Houses, magazines, churches,

public buildings were turned to ashes, and the

work being

finished
for

Drake went

on, as

Santa

Cruz expected,

the Spanish

West
all

Indies.

The

Spaniards were magnificent in

that they did

and touched.

They

built their cities in their

new

possessions on the most splendid models of the

Old World.
their castles
streets,

St.

Domingo and Carthagena had
cathedrals, palaces, squares,
solid as those at

and

and

grand and

Cadiz and
of the

Seville,

and raised

as enduring

monuments

power and greatness of the Castilian monarchs.

To

these Drake

meant

to

pay a

visit.

Beyond them
his first

was the Isthmus, where he had made
fame and fortune,
-with

Panama
So

behind, the depot

of the Indian treasure.

far all

had gone well

with him.

He had

taken what he wanted out of

i86

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

Vigo; he had destroyed Sant lago and had not
lost

a man.
to

Unfortunately he had
deal with

now a worse

enemy

than Spanish galleons or

Spanish garrisons.
tropics.

He
Of

was in the heat of the
broke out
those

Yellow fever
the
fleet.

and

spread

through

who caught the

infection few recovered, or recovered only to be

the wrecks of themselves.
work.
died.

It

was

swift in its

In a few days more than two hundred had

But the north-east trade blew
fleet

merrily.

The

sped on before

it.

In eighteen days

they were in the roads at Dominica, the island of
brooks and rivers and
fruit.

Limes and lemons

and oranges were not as yet.
leaves

But there were

and roots of the natural growth, known to
the fever, and the

the Caribs as antidotes to
Caribs,

when they

learnt that the English were

the Spaniards' enemies, brought them this precious

remedy and taught them the use of it.
were washed and
refi.lled.

The ships

ventilated,

and the water casks
to

The
it

infection

seemed

have gone as
all

suddenly as

appeared, and again
St.

was

well.

Christmas was kept at

Eatts,

which was
to

then uninhabited.

A

council of

war was held

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES
St.

187

consider what should be done next.
lay nearest to them.
It

Domingo

was the
It

finest of all the

Spanish colonial

cities.

was the

capital of the

West Indian Government, the great West Indian commerce.
the high
Diego.
altar,

centre

of

In the cathedral, before
his

lay

Columbus and

brother

In natural wealth no island in the world

outrivals Esj^inola,

where the

city stood.
far

A vast

population had collected there,

away from

harm, protected, as they supposed, by the majesty
of the mother

country, the

native inhabitants

almost exterminated, themselves undreaming that

any enemy could approach them from the oCean,

and therefore negligent of defence and enjoying
themselves in easy security.

Drake was
a lesson
St. for

to give

them a new experience and

the future.

On

their

way

across from

Kitts

the

adventurers overhauled a small

vessel

bound

to the sapae port as they were.
this

From

the crew of

vessel

they learnt that the
like so

harbour at

St.

Domingo was formed,
West
Indies,

many

others in the

by a long

sandspit,

acting as a natural breakwater.

The entrance

was a narrow

inlet at the extremity of the spit,

1 88

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

and batteries had been mounted there to cover

it.

To land on the outer

side of the

sandbank was

made

impossible by the surf.

There was one

sheltered point
shore,

only where boats could go on

but this was ten miles distant from the

town.

Ten miles was but a morning's march.
went
in

Drake
the

himself

in a

pinnace, surveyed

landing-place,

and

satisfied himself of its safety.

The plan
repeated.

of attack at Sant lago

was

to

be exactly
Carlile

On New

Year's

Eve Christopher

was again landed with half the

force in the fleet.

Drake remained with the

rest,

and prepared to

force the entrance of the harbour if Carlile suc-

ceeded.
city.

Their coming had been seen from the
given,

The alarm had been
children, the

and the women

and

money

in the treasury, the con-

secrated plate,

movable property of all kinds, were

sent off inland as a precaution.

Of regular

troops

there seem to have been none, but in so populous

a city there was no difficulty in collecting a respectable force to defend
it.

The

hidalgos formed a

body of cavalry. The people generally were unused
to arms, but they were Spaniards

and brave men,


6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES
to leave their

189

and did not mean
fight for
it.

homes without a

Carlile lay still for the night.

He

marched

at eight in the

morning on

New

Year's

Day, advanced leisurely, and at noon found himself in fi'ont of

the wall.

So

far

he had met no

resistance,

but a considerable body of horse
their servants
chiefly

gentlemen and

—charged
They

down on him out

of the

bush and out of the town.

He
and

formed into a square to receive them.
gallantly,

came on
shot,

but were received with pike a few attempts gave up and

and

after

retired.

Two

gates were in front of Carlile, with

a road to each leading through a jungle.

At each

gate were cannon, and the jungle was lined with
musketeers.

He

divided his

men and

attacked

both together.

One party he

led in person.

The

cannon opened on him, and an Englishman next
to

him was

killed.

He

dashed on, leaving the

Spaniards no time to reload, carried the gate at
a rush, and cut his

way through the
division

streets to

the great square.

The second

had been
theirs

equally successful, and St.
excejit the castle,

Domingo was

which was still untaken.

Carlile's

numbers were too small

to occupy a large city.


igo

ENGLISH SEAMEN
threw up barricades and
fortified

[lect.

He

himself

in.

the square for the night.
fleet in at

Drake brought the

daybreak, and landed guns,

when the

castle surrendered.

A messenger—a negro boy
which
offer

was sent

to the Governor to learn the terms

he was prepared to
pillage.

to save the city from

The Spanish

officers

were smarting with
lad through

the disgrace.

One

of

them struck the

the body with a lance.

He

ran back bleeding to
feet.

the English lines and died at Drake's
Francis was a dangerous

Sir

man

to provoke.

Such

doings had to be promptly stopped.
of the

In the part

town which he occupied was a monastery
friars in
it.

with a number of

The

religious orders,

he well knew, were the chief instigators of the
policy which

was maddening the world.
friars

He

sent

two of these

with the provost-marshal to

the spot where the boy had been struck, promptly

hanged them, and then despatched another to
tell

the Governor that he would hang two more
till

every day at the same place
punished.

the

officer

was

The Spaniards had long

learnt to call

Drake the Draque, the

serpent, the devil.

They

feared that the devil might be a

man

of his word.

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES
offender

191

The

was surrendered.

It

was not enough.

Drake

insisted that they should do justice on him

themselves.

The Governor found
officer

it

prudent to

comply, and the too hasty

was executed.
of the city.

The next point was the ransom The Spaniards
told off each
still

hesitating,
to

200

men were
and

morning

burn, while the rest
palaces,

searched the private houses, and

magazines.

Government House was the grandest

building in the

New

World.

It

was approached
Great doors

by broad flights of marble

stairs.

opened on a spacious gallery leading into a great
hall,

and above the portico hung the arms of

Spain

—a

globe representing the world, a horse
it,

leaping upon

and in the horse's mouth a
'

scroll
orbis.'

with the

haughty motto,

Non

sufficit

Palace and scutcheon were levelled into dust by

axe and gunpowder, and each day for a month
the destruction went on, Drake's demands steadily

growing and the unhappy Governor vainly pleading
impossibility.

Vandalism, atrocity unheard of among civilised
nations, dishonour to the Protestant cause,

Drake

deserving to swing at his

own yardarm

;

so indig-

192

ENGLISH SEAMEN

,

[lect.

nant Liberalism shrieked, and has not ceased
shrieking.

Let

it

be remembered that

for fifteen

years the

Spaniards had been burning English

seamen whenever they could catch them, plotting
to kill the

Queen and reduce England

itself into

vassaldom to the Pope.
loyal part of
it,

The English

nation, the

were

rej)lying to the wild pre-

tension

by the hands

of their

own

admii-al.
if

If

Philip chose to countenance assassins,
Ofi&ce chose to

the Holy

burn English

sailors as heretics,

those heretics had a right to

make Spain underdangerous, that, as

stand that such a

game was

Santa Cruz had
use them.
It

said,

they had teeth and could

was found in the end that the Governor's

plea of impossibility was more real than was at
first

believed.

The gold and
off.

silver

had been

really carried

All

else

that was valuable

had been burnt

or taken

by the English.

The

destruction of a city so solidly built was tedious

and

difficult.

Nearly half of

it

was blown up.

The

cathedral was spared, perhaps as the resting-

place of Columbus.

Drake had other work before
a month in undisturbed

him.

After staying

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES

193

occupation he agreed to accept 25,000 ducats as
a ransom for what was
It
left

and

sailed away.

was now February.
on,

The hot season was

coming

when the
still

climate would be dangerous.
to

There was
running

much

do and the time was
to be left for another

short.

Panama had

opportunity.

Drake's object was to deal blows
faith

which would shake the
Spanish power.

of

Europe in the
St.
for-

Carthagena stood next to

Domingo among the Spanish West Indian
tresses.

The

situation

was

strong.
off

In

1740

Carthagena was able to beat
great English
fleet.

Vernon and a
in

But Drake's crews were
and he determined

high health and

spiiits,

to see

what he could do with
to

it.

Surprise was no longer

be hoped

for.

The alarm had spread over the
But
in their present

Caribbean Sea.

humour

they were ready to go anywhere and dare anything,

and

to

Carthagena they went.

Drake's

name

carried terror before

it.

Every

non-combatant

— old

men, women and children

had been cleared out before he
rest prepared for a

arrived, but the

smart defence.

The harbour
St;

at

Carthagena was formed, as at

Domingo
o

194

ENGLISH SEAMEN

-

[lect.

and Port Royal, by a sandspit.

The

spit

was and
as

long, narrow, in places not fifty yards wide,

covered
before, it
city.

with prickly bush, and along

this,

was necessary

to

advance to reach the

A
;

trench had been cut across at the neck,
barricade built and armed with heavy

and a
guns

stiff

behind this were several hundred mus-

keteers, while the

bush was

full of

Indians with
also

poisoned arrows.

Pointed stakes

—had

—poisoned

been driven into the ground along the

approaches, on which to step was death.
large galleys, full of men, patrolled

Two

inside the pre-

bank on the harbour edge, and with these
parations the

inhabitants

hoped

to

keep

the

dreadful Drake from reaching them.
before,

Carlile, as

was to do the land

fighting.
spit.

He
The

was

set

on shore three miles down the
slight in those seas,

tide is
out,

but he waited

till it

was

and advanced along the outer shore
mark.

at low-water

He was
Two

thus covered by the bank from

the harbour galleys, and their shots passed over him.

squadrons of horse came out, but could

do nothing to him on the broken ground.

The

English pushed on to the wall, scarcely losing a

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES
They charged,
scaled

195

man.

the parapets, and

drove the Spanish infantry back at point of pike.
Carlile killed their

commander with

his

own hand.

The

rest fled after a short struggle,

and Drake
weeks
of

was master of Carthagena.
he remained.
the
city,

Here

for six

The Spaniards withdrew out

and there were again parleys over the

ransom money. Courtesies were exchanged among
the
officers.

Drake entertained the Governor and

his suite.

The Governor returned the

hospitality
captains.

and received Drake and the English

Drake demanded 100,000
offered 30,000,

ducats.

The Spaniards

and protested that they could pay
lasted longer,

no more.
but
it

The dispute might have

was cut short by the re-appearance of the
fleet, this

yellow fever in the
form.

time in a deadlier

The Spanish
left

offer

was accepted, and CarIt

thagena was
be
off,

to its owners.

was time

to

for

the heat was telling, and the
rapidity.

men
their
if

began to drop with appalling
de Dies and
lee,

Nombre

Panama were near and under

and Drake threw longing eyes on what,

all else

had been

well,

might have proved an easy
their strength,
it

capture.

But on a review of

196

ENGLISH SEAMEN
fit

[lect.

was found that there were but 700

for

duty

who could be spared
of

for

the service, and a council

war decided that a march across the Isthmus

with so small a force was too dangerous to be
ventured.

Enough had been done

for

glory,

enough
Europe.
his

for the political

impression to be

made

in

The King

of Spain

had been dared in
fine

own dominions.

Three

Spanish

cities

had been captured by storm and held to ransom.
In other aspects the success had
expectation.
fallen short of

This

time

they

had

taken

no

Gacafuego with a year's produce of the mines in

her hold.
off,

The

plate

and coin had been carried
easily
fitted

and the

spoils

had been in a form not

turned to value.

The expedition had been
its

out by private persons to pay
result in

own

cost.

The

money was but

60,000/.

Forty thousand

had

to

be set aside

for expenses.

There remained
ships'

but 20,000/. to be shared among the
panies.

com-

Men and
get.

officers

had entered, high and

low, without wages,

on the chance of what they
officers

might

The

and owners gave a
spiiit

significant

demonstration of the splendid

in which they

had gone about

their work.

They

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES
own

197

decided to relinquish their

claims on the

ransom paid
on the

for

Carthagena, and bestow the same
'

common seamen, wishing

it

were so much

again as would be a sufficient reward for their
painful endeavour.'

Thus

all

were well

satisfied,

conscious

all

that

they had done their duty to their Queen and
country.

The

adventurers'

fleet

turned home-

wards at the beginning of April.
could do they

What men
For

had

achieved.

They could not

fight against the pestilence of the tropics.

many

days the yellow fever did

its

deadly work

among them, and

only slowly abated.

They were
Their

delayed by calms and unfavourable winds.

water ran short.

They had

to

land again at
of Cuba,

Cape Antonio, the western point
sink wells to supply themselves.
it

and

Drake

himself,

was observed, worked with spade and bucket,
meanest person in the whole company,
toil

like the

always foremost where

was

to be

endured or

honour won, the wisest in the devising of enterprises,

the calmest in danger, the
difficulties,

first

to set

an
all,

example of energy in

and, above

the firmest in maintaining order and discipline.

igS

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

The

fever slackened as they reached the cooler

latitudes.

They worked

their

way up the Bahama The
to

Channel, going north to avoid the trades.

French

Protestants

had

been

attempting

colonise in Florida.
fortress

The Spaniards had

built a

on the

coast, to observe their settlements

and, as occasion

offered, cut

Huguenot

throats.

As he passed by Drake paid
and wiped
it

this fortress a visit

out.

Farther north again he was

in time to save the

remnant of an English

settle-

ment, rashly planted there by another brilliant
servant of

Queen

Elizabeth.

Of
Raleigh

all
is

the famous Elizabethans Sir Walter the most romantically interesting.
gifts, his

His

splendid and varied

chequered fortunes,
his

and

his cruel end, will

embalm

memory

in

English history.

But Raleigh's great accomplishHis

ments promised more than they performed.

hand was

in everything, but of
less

work

successfully
far

completed he had
his inferiors, to

to

show than others

opportunities.

whom fortune had offered fewer He was engaged in a hundred
self,

schemes at once, and in every one of them there

was always some taint of

some personal

;

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES

199

ambition or private object to be gained.
life is

His

a record of undertakings begun in enthu-

siasm, maintained imperfectly,
end.

and

failures in the

Among

his other adventures

he had sent

a colony to Virginia.

He

had imagined, or had

been led by others to believe, that there was an
Indian Court there brilliant as Montezuma's, an
enlightened nation crying to be admitted within
the charmed circle of Gloriana's subjects.
princes
or

His
air,

and

princesses
;

proved

things

of

mere Indian savages

and of Raleigh there

remains nothing in Virginia save the name of the
city

which

is

called

after

him.

The

starving

survivors of his settlement on the

Roanoke River
returning

were

taken

on

board

by

Drake's

squadron and carried home to England, where
they
all

arrived safely, to the glory of God, as

our pious ancestors said and meant in unconventional sincerity, on the 28th of July, 1586.

The
cost.

expedition, as I have said, barely paid its
officers

In the shape of wages the

received

nothing, and the crews but a few pounds a

man

but there was, perhaps, not one of them who was
not better pleased with the honour which he had

200

ENGLISH SEAMEN
if

[lect.

brought back than
with doubloons.

he had come home loaded

Startled Catholic Europe meanwhile rubbed
its

eyes and began to see that the

'

enterprise of
called,

England/ as the intended invasion was

might not be the easy thing which the seminary
priests

described

it.

The seminary

priests

had

said that so far as
it

England was Protestant

at all
its

was Protestant only by the accident of

Government, that the immense majority of the
people were Catholic at heart and were thirsting
for a return to

the

fold,

that on the

first

appear-

ance of a Spanish army of deliverance the whole
edifice

which Elizabeth had raised would crumble
I suppose it is true that if the
its

to the ground,

world had then been advanced to
point of progress,
if

present

there had been then recogto rule in the numerical

nised a Divine right
majorit}^,

even

without

a

Spanish

army the
their

seminary

priests

would have had

way.

Elizabeth's Parliaments were controlled

by the

municipalities of the towns, and the towns were
Protestant.
suffrage

A

Parliament chosen by universal

and

electoral districts

would have sent

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES
and Walsingham into private
life

201

Cecil

or to the

scaffold, replaced

the Mass in the churches, and
if

reduced the Queen,
throne, into the
Philip.

she had been

left

on the

humble servant

of the

Pope and
but

It

would not perhaps have

lasted,

that, so far as I

can judge, would have been the

immediate

result,

and instead of a Reformation
light

we should have had the
of lightning.
friends

come

in the shape

But
is

I have often asked
if

my

Radical

what

to

be done

out of every hundred
will

enlightened

voters

two-thirds

give

their

votes one way, but are afraid to fight, and the

remaining third

will not only vote

but
?

will 'fight

too if the poll goes against

them

"Which has

then the right to rule
will rule.
rule.

?

I can tell

them which

The brave and
if

resolute minority will

Plato says that
all

one

man was

stronger
all

than

the rest of mankind he would rule
It

the rest of mankind.
there
is

must be

so,

because

no appeal.

The majority must

be

prepared to assert their Divine right with their
right

hands, or

it

will

go the way that other
I will not believe

Divine rights have gone before.

the world to have been so ill-constructed that

202

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

there are rights which cannot be enforced.

It

appears to
nation
lies

me

that the true right to rule in any

with those who are best and bravest^
;

whether their numbers are large or small

and

three centuries ago the best and bravest part of
this English nation

had determined, though they
it,

were but a third of

that Pope and Spaniard

should be no masters of theirs.
for

Imagination goes

much

in such excited times.

To the imagincentury the
she chose
rebel in

ation of Europe in the

sixteenth

power of Spain appeared
to exert
it.

irresistible if

Heretic

Dutchmen might

a remote province, English pirates might take
liberties

with Spanish traders, but the Prince
feel their

of

Parma was making the Dutchmen
last.

master at

The

pirates were but so

many

wasps, with

venom

in their stings, but powerless

to affect the general tendencies of things. to the shrewder eyes of such

Except

men

as Santa Cruz
left

the strength of the English at sea had been

out of count in the calculations of the resources
of Elizabeth's Government.

Suddenly a

fleet of

these same pirates, sent out, unassisted by their
sovereign,

by the private impulse of a few

indi-

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES
had insulted the sacred
soil

203

viduals,

of Spain

herself, sailed into

Vigo, pillaged the churches,

taken anything that they required, and had gone

away unmolested.

They had

attacked, stormed,

burnt, or held to ransom three of Spain's proudest
colonial cities,

and had come home unfought with.
conspirators

The Catholic

had

to recognise that

they had a worse enemy to deal with than Puritan
controversialists or spoilt Court favourites.

The
them

Protestant English mariners stood between

and their prey, and had to be encountered on an
element which did not bow to popes or princes,
before

Mary Stuart was

to

wear Elizabeth's crown

or Cardinal Allen
It

be enthroned at Canterbury.
all

was a revelation to

parties.

Elizabeth

herself had not expected —^perhaps had not wished War was now looked on — signal a
so
success.

as inevitable.

The Spanish admirals represented

that the national honour required revenge for an
injury so open

and

so insolent.

The Pope, who

had been long goading the lethargic Philip into
action, believed

that

now

at last he

would be

compelled to move;

and even Philip himself,

enduring as he was, had been roused to perceive

204

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

that intrigues and conspiracies would serve his

turn no longer.
in earnest, or his

He must

put out his strength

own Spaniards might turn upon
Isabella.

him

as

unworthy of the crown of

Very

reluctantly he allowed the truth to be brought

home

to him.

He

had never liked the thought
If he
to

of invading

England.

conquered
it.

it,

he

would not be allowed

keep

Mary Stuart

would have to be made queen, and Mary Stuart

was part French, and might be wholly French.

The burden

of the

work would be thrown

entirely

on his shoulders, and his own reward was to be
the Church's blessing and the approval of his

own
see.

conscience

—nothing
and

else, so

far as

he could
his

The Pope would recover

his annates,

Peter's pence,

his indulgence market.
it

If the thing was to be done, the Pope,
clear,

was

ought to pay part of the

cost,

and
do
if

this

was

what the Pope did not intend
help
it.

to

he could

The Pope was

flattering himself that

Drake's performance would compel Spain to go
to

war with England whether he
In
this

assisted or did

not.

matter Philip attempted to un-

deceive his Holiness.

He

instructed Olivarez, his

;

6.]

EXPEDITION TO THE WEST INDIES
tell

205

ambassador at Rome, to

the Pope that nothing

had been yet done

to

him by the English which

he could not overlook, and unless the Pope would

come down with a handsome contribution peace
he would make.

The Pope stormed and raged

ho said he doubted whether Phihp was a true son
of the

Church at

all

;

he flung plates and dishes

at the servants' heads at dinner.

He

said that if
it

he gave Philip money Philip would put
pocket and laugh at him.

in his

Not one maravedi

would he give

till

a Spanish army was actually

landed on English shores, and from this resolution

he was not to be moved.

To
invaded

Philip

it

was painfully certain that
the

if

he

and conquered England

English

Catholics would insist that he

must make Mary

Stuart queen.

He

did not like

Mary

Stuart.

He

disapproved of her character.
promises.

He

distrusted her

Spite of Jesuits and seminary priests,
still

he believed that she was
heart,

a Frenchwoman at

and a bad woman
for

besides.

Yet something

he must do

the outraged honour of Castile.

He

concluded, in his slow way, that he would

collect a fleet, the largest

and best-appointed that

2o5

ENGLISH SEAMEN
floated

[lect.

6.

had ever
lead
it

on the

sea.

He

would send or

in person to the

English Channel.

He

would

command
force,

the

situation

with

an over-

whelming

and then would choose some

course which would be more convenient to himself

than to his Holiness at Rome.

On

the whole he

was inclined
forget

to let Elizabeth continue queen,

and

and

forgive if she

would put away her

Walsinghams and her Drakes, and would promise
to

be good

for

the future.

If she

remained

obstinate his great fleet would cover the passage
of the Prince of Parma's army, dictate his

and he would then

own terms

in London.

LECTURE
T RECOLLECT

VII

ATTACK ON CADIZ
being told when a
boy,

on

sending in a bad translation of Horace, that I

ought to remember that Horace was a
intelligence

man

of

and did not write nonsense.
in

The

same caution should be borne
of history.

mind by students
by kings
inter-

They see

certain things done

and statesmen which they believe they can
pret by assuming such persons
to

have been

knaves or

idiots.

Once an explanation given from

the baser side of
it
is

human

nature, they assume that

necessarily the right one,

and they make

their

Horace into a

fool

without a misgiving that

the folly

may

lie

elsewhere.

Remarkable men

and women have usually had some rational motive
for their conduct,

which may be discovered,

if

we

look for

it

with our eyes open.

2o8

ENGLISH SEAMEN
Nobody has
suffered

[lect.

more from bad translators
of

than Elizabeth.

The circumstances

Queen

Elizabeth's birth, the traditions of her father, the
interests of England,

and the sentiments of the

party who had sustained her claim to the succession,
obliged her on coming to the throne to renew the separation from the Papacy.

The Church

of

Eng-

land
basis,

was re-established on
which the
rival

an Anglo-Catholic might interpret

factions

each in their own way.

To

allow more than one

form of public worship would have led in the
heated temper of men's minds to quarrels and
civil wars.

But conscience might be

left

free

under outward conformity, and those
Liturgy did
not
suit

whom
their

the

might

use

own

ritual in their private houses.

Elizabeth and her

wise advisers believed that

if

her subjects could

be kept from fighting and killing one another,

and were not exasperated by outward displays of
difference, they
life

would learn that righteousness of
to

was more important than orthodoxy, and

estimate at their real value the rival dogmas of
theology.
to

Had time
fair trial, it

permitted the experiment

have a

would perhaps have sue-

7-]

ATTACK ON CADIZ
but,

209

ceeded,

unhappily for the Queen and
fire

for

England, the

of controversy was

still

too hot

under the ashes.

Protestants and Catholics had

been taught to look on one another as enemies of
God, and were
still

reluctant to take each other's

hands at the bidding of an Act of Parliament. The

more moderate

of the Catholic laity

saw no

differ-

ence so great between the English service and the

Mass
where

as to

force

them

to desert

the churches
for centuries.

their fathers

had worshipped

They

petitioned the Council of Trent for permis-

sion to use the English Prayer

Book

;

and had the

Council consented, religious dissension would have
dissolved at last into an innocent difference
opinion.

of

But the Council and the Pope had

determined that there should be no compromise
with heresy, and the request was refused, though
it

was backed by

Philip's

ambassador in London.

The

action of the Papacy obliged the

Queen

to

leave the Administration in the hands of Protestants,

on whose loyalty she could

rely.

As the

struggle with the Reformation spread and deep-

ened she was compelled to

assist indirectly

the

Protestant party in France and

Scotland.

But

2IO

ENGLISH SEAMEN
still

[lect.

she

adhered to her own principle

;

she refused

to put herself at the head of a Protestant League.

She took no step without keeping open a
retreat on a contrary policy.

line of

She had Catholics
pensioners of

in

her Privy Council

who were

Spain.

She

filled

her household with Catholics,

and many a time drove Burghley distracted by
listening to

them

at critical

moments.

Her

con-

stant effort was to disarm the antagonism of the

adherents of the old
to her confidence,

belief,

by admitting them
jjart

and showing them that one
to her as another.

of her subjects

was as dear

For ten years she went on struggling.

For

ten years she was proudly able to say that during
all

that time no Catholic

had suffered

for

his

belief either in purse or person.

The advanced
in
despair.

section of the

Catholic

clergy was
of
their

They saw the

consciences

flocks

be-

numbed and
stirred

their faith growing lukewarm.
rebellion of the North.

They
per-

up the

They

suaded Pius V. to force them to a sense of their
duties

by declaring Elizabeth excommunicated.

They

sent their missionaries through the English
to

counties

recover

sheep

that

were straying,

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ

211

and teach the

sin of submission to a sovereign

whom
Pope

the Pope had deposed.

Then had

followed

the Ridolfi plot, deliberately encouraged by the

and

Spain,

which

had

compelled

the

Government

to tighten the reins.

One

conspiracy

had followed another.

Any means were
enemy

held

legitimate to rid the world of an

of God.

The Queen's character was murdered by the foulest
slanders,

and a hundred daggers were sharpened

to

murder her person.
advised the

The King

of Spain had

not

excommunication, because
it,

he

knew

that he would be expected to execute
do.
if

and

he had other things to
act,

When

called on to

he and Alva said that

the English Catholics
for

wanted Spanish help they must do something
themselves.

To do the

priests justice, they
did,

were
they

brave enough.

What

they

and how-

far

had succeeded in making the country

disaffected.

Father Parsons has told you in the paper which
I

read to you in a former lecture.

Elizabeth

refused to take care of herself.

She would show

no

distrust.

She would not dismiss the Catholic

ladies

and gentlemen from the household.
allow

She

would

no

penal

laws

to

be

enforced

212

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

against Catholics as such.
to assassinate

Repeated conspiracies

her were detected and exposed,

but she would take no warning.

She would

have no bodyguard.

The utmost that she would
priests,

do was to allow the Jesuits and seminary
who, by Parsons's

own acknowledgment, were

sowing rebellion, to be banished the realm, and
if

they persisted in

remaining

afterwards,

to

be treated as

traitors.

When

executions

are

treated as martyrdoms, candidates will never be

wanting

for

the crown of glory, and the flame

only burnt the hotter.

Tyburn and the quartering

knife was a horrid business, and Elizabeth sick-

ened over

it.

She hated the severity which she
exercise.

was compelled to

Her name was

defiled

with the grossest calumnies.

She knew that she
For herself she was

might be murdered any day.
proudly indifferent
;

but her death would and
furious civil war.

must be followed by a

She

told the Privy Council one
scene, that she

day

after

some stormy

would come back afterwards and
seeing the
fly.

amuse

herself with
their heads

Queen

of Scots

making

Philip was weary of

it too.

He had enough

to

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ

213

do in ruling his own dominions without quarrelling
for ever

with his sister-in-law.

He

had seen that
if

she had subjects, few or many, who,

he struck,

would strike back again.

English money and

English volunteers were keeping alive the war
in

the

Netherlands.

English

privateers

had

plundered his gold ships, destroyed his commerce,

and burnt

his

West Indian

cities

all this in

the

interests of the Pope,

who gave him
called

fine

words in
to help

plenty, but who,

when

on

for

money

in the English conquest,
dinner-plates.
alive,

only flung about his
of Alva, while he was

The Duke

and the Prince of Parma, who commanded

in the Netherlands in Alva's place, advised peace
if

peace could be had on reasonable terms.

If

Elizabeth would consent to withdraw her help

from the Netherlands, and would allow the English
Catholics the tacit toleration with which her reign

had begun, they were of
of opinion too, that
it

opinion,

and Philip was

would be better to forgive

Drake and

St.

Domingo, abandon Mary Stuart
priests,

and the seminary

and meddle no more

with English internal

politics.

Tired with a condition which was neither war

214

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

nor peace, tired with hanging traitors and the
endless problem of her sister of Scotland, Elizabeth

saw no reason for refusing
her in peace
it

offers

which would leave

for

the rest of her

own

life.

Philip,

was said, would restore the Mass in the churches

in Holland.

She might

stipulate for such liberty

of conscience to the Holland Protestants as she

was herself willing

to allow the English Catholics.
insist

She saw no reason why she should
liberty of public worship

on a

which she had herself
see

forbidden at home.

She did not

why

the

Hollanders should be so precise about hearing
Mass.

She

said she

would rather hear a thousand

Masses herself than have on her conscience the
crimes committed for the Mass or against
it.

She

would not have her realm in perpetual torment
for

Mr. Cecil's brothers in Christ.

This was Elizabeth's

personal

feeling.

It

could not be openly avowed.

The States might

then surrender to Philip in despair, and obtain
better securities for their political liberties than

she was ready to ask for them.
join the Spaniards

They might then

and become her mortal enemies.
of her

But she had a high opinion

own

statecraft.

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ

215

Her

Catholic friends assured her that, once at
all

peace with Philip, she would be safe from
world.

the

At

this

moment accident revealed suddenly

another chasm which was opening unsuspected
at her feet.

Both Philip and she were
peace.

really wishing for

A

treaty of peace between the Catholic
princess

King and an excommunicated

would end

the dream of a Catholic revolution in England.
If the English peers of the

and gentry saw the censures

Church

set aside so lightly

by the most
and
his

orthodox
friends

prince

in

Europe, Parsons

would

preach in vain to
If
off,

them the

obliga-

tion

of

rebellion.

this

deadly negotiation

was to be broken

a blow must be struck,

and struck
to

at once.

There was not a moment

be

lost.

The enchanted

prisoner at Tutbury was the

sleeping and waking

dream of Catholic

chivalry.

The brave knight who would
deliver

slay the dragon,

Mary

Stuart,

and

place

her

on

the
St.

usurper's

throne, would

outdo Orlando or

George, and be sung of for ever as the noblest
hero

who had

ever wielded brand or spear.

Many

;

2i6

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

a young British heart had thrilled with hope that
for

him the

enterprise

was reserved. One of these

was a certain Anthony Babington, a gentleman
of

some fortune

in Derbyshire.

A seminary priest
by the need
fell

named

Ballard, excited, like the rest,

of action,
in

and anxious

to prevent the peace,

with this Babington, and

thought he had
Elizabeth dead

found the

man

for

his

work.

and Mary Stuart
talk of peace.

free,

there would be no more

A

plot

was

easily formed.

Half
to or

a dozen gentlemen,

five of

them belonging

connected with Elizabeth's
to shoot or stab her

own

household, were

and escape in the confusion

Babington was to make a dash on Mary Stuart's
prison-house and carry her off to some safe place
;

while Ballard undertook to raise the Catholic
peers and have her proclaimed queen.

Elizabeth

once removed,

it

was supposed that they would

not

hesitate.

Parma would bring over the
The Protestants

Spanish army from Dunkirk.

would be paralysed.

All would be begun and

ended in a few weeks or even days.
religion

The Catholic

would be re-established and the hated

heresy would be trampled out for ever.

Mary

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ

217

Stuart had been consulted and had enthusiastically agxeed.

This interesting lady had been lately profuse
in her protestations of a desire for reconciliation

with her dearest

sister.

Elizabeth had almost

believed her sincere.

Sick of the endless trouble

with Mary Stuart and her pretensions and schemings, she

had intended that the Scotch queen

should be included in the treaty with Philip,

with an implied recognition of her right to succeed to the English throne after Elizabeth's death.
It

had been necessary, however,

to ascertain in
sincere.

some way whether her protestations were

A

secret

watch had been kept over her

corre-

spondence, and Babington's letters and her

own

answers

had

fallen

into

Walsingham's
cipher, the

hands.

There

it all

was in her own

key

to

which had been betrayed by the carelessness of a
confederate.

The

six

gentlemen who were to

have rewarded Elizabeth's confidence by killing
her were easily recognised.

They were

seized,

with Babington and Ballard, Avhen they imagined
themselves on the eve of their triumph.

Babingall

ton flinched and confessed, and they were


2i8

ENGLISH SEAMEN
Mary Stuart
herself

[lect.

hanged.
passion.

had outworn com-

Twice already on the discovery of her

earlier plots the
for

House
For

of

Commons had

petitioned

her execution.

this last piece of treachery

she was tried at Fotheringay before a commission
of Peers and Privy Councillors.
letters,

She denied her

but her complicity was proved beyond a
Parliament was
called,

doubt.

and a third time

insisted that the long

drama should now be ended
to breathe in peace.

and

loyal

England be allowed

Elizabeth signed the warrant.

France, Spain,

any other power in the world would have long
since

made an end
so

of a competitor so desperate

and

incurable.
pity,

Torn by many
of

feelings

natural

dread

the

world's

opinion

Elizabeth paused before ordering the warrant to

be executed.
her

If nothing

had been
left

at stake but

own

life,

she would have
last,

the lady to weave
If

fresh plots

and at

perhaps, to succeed.

the nation's safety required an end to be

made

with her, she

felt it

hard that the duty should be

thrown on

herself.

Where were

all

those eager

champions who had signed the Association Bond,

who had

talked so loudly

?

Could none of them

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ

219

be found to recollect their oaths and take the law
into their

own hands

?

Her

Council, Burghley, and the rest,
it

knowing
life

her disposition and feeling that

was

or

death to English liberty, took the responsibility

on themselves.
Fotheringay
at

They
their

sent the warrant

down

to

own

risk,

leaving

their

mistress to deny, if she

pleased, that she
;

had

meant

it

to

be executed

and the wild career of
scaffold.

Mary Stuart ended on the

They knew what they were immediately
doing.

They knew that

if

treason had a meanfate

ing
self

Mary Stuart had brought her
They did
not,

upon

herfull

perhaps, realise the
follow, or that

effects that

were to

with Mary

Stuart had vanished the

last serious
;

danger of
or perhaps

a Catholic insurrection in England

they did realise

it,

and

this

was what decided

them

to act.

I cannot dwell on this here.

As long

as there

was a Catholic

j)rincess of

English blood to suc-

ceed to the throne, the allegiance of the Catholics
to Elizabeth

had been

easily shaken.

If she was

spared now, every one of them would look on her

220

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

as their future sovereign.

To overthrow Elizabeth
independence.

might mean the

loss of national

The Queen
by divided

of Scots gone, they were paralysed
counsels,

and love of country proved

stronger than their creed.

What
effect

concerns us specially at present

is

the

on the King of Spain.

The

reluctance of

Philip to undertake the English enterprise (the
'

empresa,' as

it

was generally
it

called)

had arisen

from a fear that when

was accomplished he

would

lose

the fruit of his labours.
if

He

could

never assure himself that

he placed
not

Mary

Stuart on the throne she would
eventually

become
that

French.
to

He now
He had He had

learnt

she

had bequeathed

himself her claims on the

English succession.

once been titular
pretensions of his
III.

King

of England.

own, as in the descent from Edward
Jesuits,

The

the

Catholic

enthusiasts
if

throughout

Europe, assured him that

he would now take

up the cause

in earnest, he

might make England
still difficulties.

a province of Spain.

There were

He

might hope that the English Catholic

laity
it.

would accept him, but he could not be sure of

J.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ

221

He

could not be sure that he would have the
of

support

the Pope.

He

continued,
'

as

the

Conde de Feria

said scornfully of him,

meando
;

en vado,' a phrase which I cannot translate

it

meant hesitating when he ought

to act.

But he
take a

saw, or thought he saw, that he could

now

stronger attitude towards Elizabeth as a claimant
to her throne.

If the treaty of peace

was

to

go

forward, he could raise his terms.
sist

He

could in-

on the restoration of the Catholic religion in

England.

The

States of the

Low

Countries had

made

over five of their strongest towns to Eliza-

beth as the price of her assistance.
insist

He

could

on her restoring them, not to the States,

but to himself.
to such
felt

Could she be brought to consent

an act of perfidy, Parma and he both
then be gone from

that the power would

her, as effectually

as Samson's
harlot,

when

his

locks

were clipped by the
her then,
if it

and they could leave

suited them, on a throne which
pillory

would have become a
scorn to point
at.

for

the finger of

With such a view before him
ever necessary for

it

was more than

Philip to hurry forward the

222

ENGLISH SEAMEN
which
he

[lect.

preparations

had

already

com-

menced.

The more formidable he could make
he would be to frighten

himself, the better able

Elizabeth into submission.

Every dockyard in Spain was

set

to

work,

building galleons and collecting stores.

Santa

Cruz would command.
resolved than ever to

Philip was himself

more

accompany the expedition

in person and dictate from the English Channel

the conditions of the pacification of Europe.

Secrecy

was

no longer attempted

—indeed,
at

was no longer

possibe.

All Latin Christendom

was palpitating with expectation.

At Lisbon,

Cadiz, at Barcelona, at Naples, the shipwrights

were busy night and day.

The

sea was covered

with vessels freighted with arms and provisions
streaming to the mouth of the Tagus.
volunteers
Catholic
into

from

all

nations

flocked

the

Peninsula, to take a share in the mighty move-

ment which was
and bishops,
through

to decide the fate of the world,

priests,

and monks were
Latin
its

set praying

the

whole

Communion
cause.
for

that

Heaven

would protect

own

Meantime the negotiations

peace

con-

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ
and Elizabeth, strange

223

tinued,

to say, persisted

in listening.

She would not

see

what was plain
of the

to all the world besides.

The execution
spirit

Queen

of Scots lay

on her

and threw her

back into the obstinate humour which had made

Walsingham
two months

so often despair of her safety.
after that scene at

For

Fotheringay she

had refused

to see Burghley,

and would consult

no one but Sir James Crofts and her Spanish-

tempered

ladies.

She

knew

that

Spain

now

intended that she should betray the towns in the

Low

Countries, yet she was blind to the infamy
it

which

would bring upon

her.

She

left

her

troops there without their wages to shiver into

mutiny.

She named

commissioners, with

Sir

James

Crofts at their head, to go to Ostend

and

treat with

Parma, and

if

she had not resolved on
least

an act of treachery she at

played with the
if

temptation, and persuaded

herself that

she

chose to make* over the towns to Philip, she would

be only restoring them to their lawful owner.

Burghley and Walsingham, you can see from
their letters, believed

now

that

Elizabeth had

ruined herself at

last.

Happily her moods were

224

ENGLISH SEAMEN
She was

[lect.

variable as the weather.

forced to see

the condition to which she had
affairs in

reduced

her

the

Low

Countries by the appearance of

a number of starving wretches who had deserted

from the garrisons there and had come across to
clamour
If she
for their

pay

at her

own

palace gates.

had no troops in the

field

but a mutinous

and starving rabble, she might get no terms at
all.

It

might be well

to

show Philip that on one
still

element at least she could

be dangerous.

She had

lost

nothing by the bold actions of
privateers.
fit

Drake and the

With

half a heart she
again, take

allowed Drake to

them out

the
flag,

BuonaventtLTa, a ship of her own, to carry his

and go down
was going
on.

to the coast of

Spain and see what

He was

not to do too much.

She

sent a vice-admiral with him, in the Lion, to be

a check on over-audacity.

Drake knew how

to

deal with embarrassing vice-admirals.

His own

adventurers would

sail,

if

he ordered, to the

Mountains of the Moon, and be quite certain that
it

was the right place

to

go

to.

Once under way
his

and on the blue water he would go
course and run his

own

own

risks.

Cadiz Harbour

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ
transports,
sail

225

was thronged with
powder
vessels

provision

ships,

— a hundred

of

them

—-many of
of adven-

a thousand tons and over, loading with stores for the Armada.
turers, the

There were thirty

sail

smartest ships afloat on the ocean,

and

sailed

by the smartest seamen that ever
tiller.

handled rope or
at

Something might be done
it.

Cadiz
leave

if

he did not say too much about
to go,

The

had been given to him

but he

knew by

experience, and Burghley again warned
it

him, that

might, and probably would, be re-

voked

if

he waited too long.

The moment was
but just in

his own,

and he used
sails

it.

He was

time.

Before his

were under the horizon a

courier galloped into

Plymouth with orders that
to enter port or

under no condition was he
of the

haven

King
else

of Spain, or injure Spanish subjects.

What

was
it

he going
be.

out

for?

He had

guessed how
could not

would

Comedy

or earnest he

tell.

If earnest,

some such order would
to

be sent
lose.

after him,

and he had not an instant

He

sailed

on the morning of the
fell

1

2th of April.

Off Ushant he

in with a north-west gale,

and

226

ENGLISH SEAMEN
on, spreading every stitch of canvas

[lect.

he flew

which

his spars
St.

would

bear.

In five days he was at Cape
i8th he had the white

Vincent.

On

the

houses of Cadiz right in front of him, and could
see for himself the
forests

of masts

from the

ships

and transports with which the harbour was

choked.
service
if

Here was a chance
there was courage

for

a

piece of
venture.

for

the

He
if

signalled for his officers

to

come on board

the Buonaventura.

There before their eyes was,
itself,

not the
fit

Armada
the

the materials which

were to

Armada

for the seas.

Did they
?

dare to go in with

him and destroy them

There

were batteries at the harbour mouth, but Drake's
mariners had
faced

Spanish

batteries

at

St,

Domingo and Carthagena and had not found them
very formidable.

Go

in

?

Of course they would.

Where Drake would

lead the corsairs of Plymouth
follow.

were never afraid to

The

vice-admiral
It

pleaded danger to her Majesty's ships.
not the business of an English
lar
fleet to

was

be particu-

about danger.

Straight in they went with a

fair

wind and a

flood tide, ran past the batteries

and under a storm of shot,

to

which they did not

7,]

,

ATTACK ON CADIZ

227

trouble themselves to wait to reply.

The poor

vice-admiral followed reluctantly in the Lio%.
single shot hit the Lion,

A

and he edged away out
to sea again with

of range, anchored,

and drifted
all

the ebb.

But Drake and

the rest dashed on,

sank the guardship

—a

large galleon

—and

sent

flying a fleet of galleys

which ventured too near
again.

them and were never seen

Further resistance there was none
none.

—absolutely

The crews

of the store ships escaped in

their boats to land.

The governor

of Cadiz, the

same Duke of Medina Sidonia who the next year
was to gain a disastrous immortality,
tall

fled

'

like a

gentleman to
'

raise troops

and prevent Drake
of landing.

from landing.

Drake had no intention

At

his

extreme leisure he took possession of the
shipping,

Spanish

searched

every

vessel,

and
de-

carried off everything that

he could

use.

He

tained as prisoners the few

men

that he found on
deliberately
fire,

board, and then, after doing

Ms work
on

and completely, he
cables,

set the hulls to drive

cut the

and

left

them

on the rising tide
of

under the walls of the town
blazing ruin.

—a confused mass

On

the

1

2th of April he had sailed

228

ENGLISH SEAMEN
;

[lect.

from Plymouth

on the 19th he entered Cadiz
ist of

Harbour

;

on the

May he

passed out again

without the
jest that
for him.

loss of

a boat or a man.

He

said in

he had singed the King of Spain's beard In sober prose he had done the King

of Spain an

amount of damage which a million
year's

ducats
replace.

and a

labour would imperfectly
rapidity of the
enterprise

The daring

astonished Spain, and astonished

Europe more

than the storm of the West Indian towns.

The

English had long teeth, as Santa Cruz had told
Philip's council,

and the teeth would need drawing
at Westminster.

before

Mass would be heard again

The Spaniards were a
exploit,

gallant race,

and a dashing

though at their own expense, could be
'

admired by the countrymen of Cervantes.
praised,'

So

we

read,

'was

Drake

for

his

valour

among them,

that they said that if he was not a
like of

Lutheran there would not be the
the world.'

him

in

A Court lady was invited by the
on a lake near Madrid.

King

to join a party

The lady

replied that she dared not trust herself on the

water with his Majesty
should have her.

lest

Sir Francis

Drake

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ
Drake
might well be
first

229

praised.

But Drake
honour

would have been the

to divide the

with the comrades who were his arm and hand.
Great admirals and generals do not win their
battles single-handed like the heroes of romance.

Orders avail only when there are

men

to execute

them.

Not a

captain, not

an

officer

who

served

under Drake, ever flinched or blundered.

Never

was such a school
years' privateering

for

seamen

as

that twenty

war between the servants of
West-country
be
Protestant

the

Pope

and

the

adventurers.

Those too must

remembered

who

built

and rigged the ships in which they
battles.

sailed

and fought their
it

We may depend

upon

that there was no dishonesty in con-

tractors,

no scamping of the work in the yards
fitted out

where the Plymouth rovers were
sea.

for

Their hearts were in

it

;

they were soldiers

of a

common

cause.
sufficed for Cadiz.

Thi-ee
for recall

weeks had

No

order

had yet

arrived.

Drake had other plans
spirits

before him,

and the men were in high

and

ready for anything.

A

fleet of

Spanish men-of-

war was expected round from the Mediterranean.

230

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

He

proposed to stay for a week or two in the
Straits,

neighbourhood of the
falling
too,

in

the hope of
fresh water,

in

with them.

He wanted

and had

to find it somewhere.

Before leaving Cadiz Roads he had to decide

what

to do with his

prisoners.

Many

English

were known to be in the hands of the Holy Office
working in irons as galley
slaves.

He

sent in a

pinnace to propose an exchange, and had to wait

some days
reference

for

an answer.
the

At

length, after a

to

Lisbon,

Spanish

authorities

replied that they
this

had no English

j)risoners.

If

was true those they had must have died
;

of barbarous usage

and after a consultation with

his officers Sir Francis sent in

word that

for

the

future such prisoners as they might take would

be sold to the Moors, and the money applied to
the redemption of English captives in other parts
of the world.

Water was the next

point.

There were springs

at Faro, with a Spanish force stationed there to

guard them.
had.

Force or no

force,

water was to be

The boats were

sent on shore.
filled

The

boats'

crews stormed the forts and

the casks.

The

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ
again
lifted

231

vice-admiral

up

liis

voice.

The
no

Queen had ordered that there was
landing on Spanish
soil.

to

be

At Cadiz the

order had
to land.

been observed.

There had been no need

Here

at Faro there

had been

direct defiance of

her Majesty's command.
his

He became
it

so loud in

clamours that Drake found

necessary to

lock

him up

in his

own

cabin,

and at length to For

send him home with his ship to complain.

himself, as the expected fleet from the Straits did

not appear, and as he had shaken off his trouble-

some second

in

command, he proceeded

leisurely

up the

coast,

intending to look in at Lisbon and

see for himself

how

things were going on there.
fell

All along as

he went he

in with traders

loaded with supplies for the use of the Armada,
All these he destroyed as he advanced, and at

length found himself under the purple

hills

of

Cintra and looking up into the Tagus.

There

lay gathered together the strength of the fighting

naval force of Spain

fifty

great galleons, already

anived, the largest war-ships which then floated

on the ocean.

Santa Cruz, the best

ojfficer

in the

Spanish navy, was himself in the town and in

232

ENGLISH SEAMEN
To venture a
the face of

[lect.

command.
exploit

repetition of the Cadiz

in

such odds seemed
it

too

desperate even for Drake, but
occasions
sees

was one of those

when the genius

of a great
eyes.

commander
calculated,

more than ordinary

He

and, as was proved afterwards, calculated rightly,

that

the

galleons would
at
all,

be half manned, or

not

manned

and crowded with landsmen
Their sides as
lighters.

bringing on board the stores.

they lay would be choked with hulks and

They would be unable
set

to get their anchors up,

their

canvas,

or

stir

from their moorings.
to be,

Daring as Drake was known
expect

no one would

him

to go with so small a force into the

enemy's stronghold, and there would be no preparations to meet him.
tides.

He

could count upon the

The winds

at that season of the year were
also to

fresh

and steady, and could be counted on
;

take him in or out

there was sea room in the

river for such vessels as the adventures' to

manas

oeuvre and to retreat

if

overmatched.

Rash

such an enterprise might seem to an unprofessional
eye,

DraKe

certainly thought of

it,

perhaps had

meant

to try it in

some form

or other

and

so

make

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ

233

an end of the Spanish invasion of England.
could not

He
his

venture without asking

first

for

mistress's permission.

He knew

her nature.

He

knew

that his services at Cadiz would outweigh

his disregard of her orders,

and that

so far

he had

nothing to fear; but he knew also that she was
still

hankermg

after peace,

and that without her

leave

he must do nothing to make peace im-

possible.

There

is

a

letter

from him

to

the

Queen, written when he was lying

off Lisbon,

very characteristic of the time and the man.

Nelson or Lord
of expecting

St.

Vincent did not talk
assistance.

much
they

supernatural
susjDect

If

had we should

them

of using language

conventionally which they would have done better
to leave alone.

Sir Francis Drake, like his other

great contemporaries, believed that he was engaged
in a holy cause,

and was not afraid or ashamed

to

say

so.

His object was to protest against a

recall
said,

in the flow of victory.

The Spaniards, he

were but mortal men.

They were enemies

of

the Truth, upholders of Dagon's image, which

had

fallen
fall

in

other days before the Ark, and
if

would

again

boldly defied.

So long

as he

234

ENGLISH SEAMEN
float,

[lect.

had ships that would
board them
to let
for

and there was food on
he entreated her

the

men

to eat,

him

stay and strike whenever a chance was

offered him.

The continuing

to the

end yielded

the true glory.

When men
victory,

were serving religion
it

and their country, a merciful God,
would give them

was

likely,

and Satan and

his angels

should not prevail.
All in good time.

Another year and Drake
For the

would have the chance he wanted.

moment Satan had
of

prevailed

— Satan in the shape
Her answer
She did
not,

Elizabeth's
It

Catholic

advisers.

came.

was warm and generous.

could not, blame
far,

him

for

what he had done

so

but she desired him to provoke the King of

Spain no further.

The

negotiations

for

peace

had opened, and must not be interfered with.
This prohibition from the Queen prevented,
perhaps, what would have been the most remarkable exploit in English naval history.

As matters
for

stood

it

would have been perfectly possible
have gone into the Tagus, and
if

Drake

to

he

could not have burnt the galleons he could certainly have

come away unhurt.

He had

guessed

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ
condition with
entire
correctness.

235

their

The

ships were there, but the ships' companies were

not on board them.
that
if

Santa Cruz himself admitted
in he could
'

Drake had gone
'

have himself
(for

done nothing
men).

por falta de gente

want of

And Drake

undoubtedly would have gone,
all

and would have done something with which

the world would have rung, but for the positive

command

of his mistress.

He

lingered in the

roads at Cintra, hoping that Santa Cruz would

come out and meet him.

All Spain was clamourPhilip wrote to

ing at Santa Cruz's inaction.
stir

the old admiral to energy.

He must

not

allow himself to be defied by a squadron of insolent rovers.

He must

chase them off the coast
stirring.

or destroy them.

Santa Cruz needed no

Santa Cruz, the hero of a hundred
chafing at his
to
tell

fights,

was

own impotence
if

;

but he was obliged

his

master that
of
his

he wished to have he must provide

service

out

galleons

crews to handle them, and they must rot at
their

anchors

till

he did.
for

He
him

told him, moreto exert himself
longer,

over, that it

was time

in earnest.

If he waited

much

England

236

ENGLISH SEAMEN
for

[lect.

would have grown too strong
with.

him

to

deal

In

strict

obedience Drake ought

now

to

have
far re-

gone home, but the campaign had brought so

more glory than prize-money.
quired some
at Lisbon.

His comrades

consolation for their disappointment

The theory

of these

armaments of

the adventurers was that the cost should be paid

somehow by the enemy, and he could be assured
that if he brought back a prize or two in which

she could claim a share the Queen would not

call

him

to a very strict account.

Homeward-bound
to be

galleons or

merchantmen were

met with

occasionally at the Azores.

On

leaving Lisbon

Drake headed away
lucky star was
still

to

St.

Michael's,

and

his

in the ascendant.

As
a

if

sent on purpose for him, the

^an

FMli'p,
fell

magnificent

caraque
'

from

the

Indies,
it

straight into his hands,
said, 'that

so richly loaded,'

was

every

man

in

the

fleet

counted his
for

fortune made.'

There was no need to wait

more.

It

was but two months since Drake had

sailed from Plymouth.
after a cruise of

He

could

now go home
his

which the history of

own

or

7.]

ATTACK ON CADIZ

237
like.

any other country had never presented the

He

had struck the

King
had

of Spain in

his

own

stronghold.

He

disabled
least.

the

intended
picked

Armada
up a

for

one season at

He had
by

prize

by the way and

as if

accident,

worth half a million, to pay his expenses, so that

he had cost nothing to his mistress, and had
brought back a handsome present
for

her.

I

doubt
to

if

such a naval estimate was ever presented

an English House of Commons.

Above

all

he had taught the self-confident Spaniard to be
afraid of him,

and he carried back

his poor

com-

rades in such a glow of triumph that they would

have fought Satan and
at their head.

all

his angels with

Drake

Our West-country annals
country people streamed
clothes to see the great

still

tell

how

the
best
into

down

in

their

8an Philip towed

Dartmouth Harbour.
no bad cable
for

English Protestantism was

the nation to ride by in those
deserves
to

stormy times, and

be

honourably

remembered
University.

in a School of History at

an English

LECTURE
SAILING OF THE

VIII

ARMADA

T)EACE

or

war between Spain and England,

that was

now the

question, with a prospect

of securing the English succession for himself or

one of his daughters.

With the whole Spanish

nation smarting under the indignity of the burn-

ing of the ships at Cadiz, Philip's warlike ardour

had warmed into something
resolved at any rate,
sister-in-law at
all,

like

fire.

He

had

if

he was to forgive his
on more than
toler-

to insist

ation for the Catholics in England.

He

did not

contemplate as even possible that the English
privateers,

however bold or dexterous, could

resist

such an armament as he was preparing to lead
to the Channel.
well, did not

The Royal Navy, he knew very
all sorts

exceed twenty-five ships of

and

sizes.

The adventurers might be equal

to

LECT, 8.]

SAILING OF THE
actions,

ARMADA

239

sudden daring

but would and must be
as

crushed by such a
at Lisbon.

fleet

was being

fitted out

He

therefore, for himself,

meant

to

demand

that

the Catholic religion should

be

restored to its complete and exclusive superiority,

and certain towns in England were to be made
over to be garrisoned by Spanish troops as securities for

Elizabeth's

good behaviour.

As

often

happens with irresolute men, when they have
once been forced to a decision they are as too
hasty as before they were too slow.
After Drake
of Spain sent

had

retired from Lisbon the

King

orders to the Prince of
arrival of the

Parma not

to wait for the

Armada, but

to cross the

Channel

immediately with the Flanders army, and bring
Elizabeth to her knees.

Parma had more

sense

than his master.

He

represented that he could
fleet

not cross without a

to cover his passage.
float in

His transport barges would only
water,

smooth

and whether the water was smooth or

rough they could be sent to the bottom by half
a dozen English cruisers from the Thames.

Sup-

posing him to have landed, either in Thanet or
other spot, he reminded Philip that he could not

240

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

have at most more than 25,000

men

with him.

The English

militia

were in training. The Jesuits

said they were disaffected, but the Jesuits

might

be making a mistake.

more than one

battle.

He might He would

have to fight have to leave

detachments as he advanced to London, to cover
his communications,

and a reverse would be

fatal.

He

would obey

if his

Majesty persisted, but he

recommended Philip

to continue to
till

amuse the

English with the treaty
ready,

the

Armada was
the

and,

in

evident

consciousness that

enterprise would be harder than Philip imagined,

he even gave

it

as his

own opinion

still

(notwith-

standing Cadiz), that

if

Elizabeth would surrender

the cautionary towns in Flanders to Spain, and

would grant the English Catholics a
of liberty, it

fair

degree

would be

Philip's interest to

make

peace at once without
terms.

stipulating for further
if

He

could

make a new war

he wished

at a future time,

when circumstances might be
and
the

more convenient
subdued.

Netherlands

revolt

To such

conditions as these

it

seemed that

Elizabeth was inclining to consent.

The towns

;

8.]

SAILING OF THE
to her

ARMADA
enemy

241

had been trusted
landers.

keeping by the Netherto the

To give them up

to

make

better conditions for herself would be
so great as to

an infamy
for ever

have disgraced Elizabeth
it.

yet she would not see

She

said the towns

belonged to Philip and she would only be restoring his

own

to him.

Burghley bade

her, if she

wanted peace, send back Drake
and frighten Philip
for his

to the Azores

gold ships.

She was
Instead of

in one of her ungovernable moods.

sending out Drake again she ordered her own
fleet

to

be dismantled and laid up at Chatham,
to apologise to

and she condescended

Parma

for

the burning of the transports at Cadiz as done
against her orders.

This was in December 158/5 only
before the

five

months

Armada

sailed

from Lisbon.

Never

had she brought herself and her country so near
ruin.

The

entire

safety of

England rested at

that

moment on

the adventurers,

and on the

adventurers alone.

Meanwhile, with enormous
tion at Cadiz

effort

the destrucfleet

had been
on,

repaired.

The great
R

was pushed

and in February Santa Cruz

242

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

reported himself almost ready.
Philip,

Santa Cruz and

however, were not in agreement as to

what should be done.
admiral,

Santa Cruz was a fighting

Philip

was not a fighting king.

He
Hot

changed his mind as often as Elizabeth.
fits

varied with cold.

His

last

news from England
be
at

led

him

to

hope that fighting would not
sitting

wanted.
Ostend.

The Commissioners were

On

one side there were the formal

negotiations, in

which the surrender of the towns
as

was not yet treated

an open question.

Had

the States been aware that Elizabeth was even
in thought entertaining
it,

they would have made
left

terms instantly on their own account and
her alone in the
cold.

Besides this, there was a

second negotiation underneath, carried
private
agents,
special

on

by

in

which the surrender was to
These complicated

be

the

condition.

schemings Parma purposely protracted, to keep
Elizabeth in false security.
ately intended to give

She had not

deliberlast

up the towns.

At the

moment

she would have probably refused, unless
it

the States themselves consented to

as part of

a general settlement.

But she was playing with

8.]

SAILING OF THE

ARMADA

243

the idea.
obstinate.

The

States,

she thought, were too
for
if

Peace would be good

them, and
she pleased,

she said she might do

them good

whether they liked

it

or not.

Parma was content
herself with words

that

she should amuse

and neglect her defences by
the end of February Santa

sea and land.

By

Cruz was ready.

A northerly wind
be

blows strong

down the

coast of Portugal in the spring months,
to
off before it set in, before

and he meant

the

end of March at
Santa Cruz
said,
fell

latest.
ill

Unfortunately

for Spain,
ill,

at the last

moment

it

was

with anxiety.

Santa Cruz knew well enough

what Philip would not know

—that the expedition
He had
reason

would be no holiday parade.

enough to be anxious

if

Philip was to

accompany

him and

tie his

hands and embarrass him.

Anyillness.

way, Santa Cruz died after a few days'

The

sailing

had

to

be suspended
on,

till

a

new com-

mander could be decided

and in the choice

which Philip made he gave a curious proof of

what he intended the expedition

to do.

He

did

not really expect or wish for any serious fighting.

He

wanted

to

be sovereign of England again,

;

244

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

with the assent of the English Catholics.
did not mean,
if

He
While

he could help

it,

to irritate the

national pride

by

force

and conquest.

Santa Cruz

lived,

Spanish public opinion would

not allow him to be passed over.

Santa Cruz
to

must command, and Philip had resolved

go

with him, to prevent too violent proceedings.

Santa Cruz dead, he could find someone who

would do what he was

told,

and

his

own presence

would no longer be necessary.

The Duke

of

Medina

Sidonia,

named El

Bueno, or the Good, was a grandee of highest
rank.

He

was enormously

rich,

fond of hunting
for

and shooting, a tolerable

rider,

the rest a

harmless creature getting on to
of his
defects,

forty, conscious

but not aware that so great a
to

prince

had any need

mend them

;

without

vanity, without ambition,

and most happy when

lounging in his orange gardens at San Lucan.

Of

active service

he had seen none.

He

was

Captain-General of Andalusia, and had run away

from Cadiz when Drake came into the harbour
but that was
his
all.

To

his astonishment
it

and

to

dismay he learnt that

was on him that the

; ;

8.]

SAILING OF THE

ARMADA
much

245

choice had fallen to be the Lord
of Spain of

High Admiral
talked
his

and commander of the
England.

so

expedition to

He

protested
;

unfitness.

He

said that he

was no seaman

that
that

he knew nothing of fighting by sea or land
if

;

he ventured out in a boat he was always sick
;

that he had never seen the English Channel
that, as to politics,

and

he neither knew anything nor
In
short,

cared anything about them.

he had not

one qualification which such a post required.
Philip
liked
his

modesty; but in

fact

the

Duke's defects were his recommendations.

He

would obey his instructions, would not
it

fight unless

was necessary, and would

go into no rash

adventures.

All that Philip wanted

him

to

do

was

to find the Prince of

Parma, and act as Parma
seamanship, he would
the navy under him should have
silent,

should bid him.

As

to

have the best

officers in

and

for

a second in

command he
own

Don

Diego de Valdez, a cautious,
sailor,

sullen old

a

man

after Philip's

heart.

Doubting, hesitating, the
Lisbon.

Duke

repaired to

There he was put in better heart by a
said

nun,

who

Our Lady had

sent her to promise

246

ENGLISH SEAMEN
success.

[lect.

him

Every part of the service was new

to him.

He

was a

fussy, anxious little

man

;

set

himself to inquire into everything, to meddle with
things which he could not understand and had
better have left alone.
details
toi

He

ought to have

left

the responsible heads of departn^ents.

He

fancied that in a

week

or

two he could look
ships,

himself into everything.
8,000

There were 130
Spanish
infantry,

seamen,

19,000

with

gentlemen volunteers,
galley slaves
for six

officers,

priests,

surgeons^

at

least

3,000 more

—provisioned
stores,

months. Then there were the ships'
great,

arms small and

powder, spars, cordage,

canvas, and such other million necessities as ships

on service need.

The whole

of this

the poor

Duke
what

took on himself to examine into, and, as he

could not understand what he saw, and
to look at, nothing

knew not
at
all.

was examined into
fact,

Everyone's mind was, in

so

much absorbed

by the

spiritual side of the thing that they could

not attend to vulgar commonplaces.

Don Quixote,

when he

set

out on his expedition, and forgot
of linen,

money and a change

was not in a state

of wilder exaltation than Catholic Europe at the

8.]

SAILING OF THE
Armada.

ARMADA

247

sailing of the

Every noble family in
its

Spain had sent one or other of
for Christ

sons to fight

and Our Lady,

For three years the stream of prayer had been
ascending

from

church,

cathedral,

or

oratory.

The King had emptied

his treasury.

The hidalgo

and the tradesman had offered their contributions.

The crusade

against the Crescent itself had not

kindled a more intense or more sacred enthusiasm.
All pains were taken
spiritually to
its

make

the expedition

worthy of

purpose.

No impure

thing, specially no

impure woman, was to approach
Swearing, quarrelling, gamb-

the yards or ships.
ling,

were prohibited under terrible penalties. The

galleons were
to

named

after the apostles

and

saints

whose charge they were committed, and every
soldier confessed

seaman and

and communicated
at

on going on board.

The shipboys

sunrise

were to sing their Buenos Dias at the

foot of the

mainmast, and their Ave Maria as the sun sank
into

the ocean.

On

the Imperial banner were

embroidered the figures of Christ and His Mother,

and as a motto the haughty

'

Plus Ultra

'

of

Charles V. was replaced with the more pious

248

ENGLISH SEAMEN
'

[lect.

aspiration,

Exsurge, Deus, et vindica

causam

tuam.'

Nothing could be better
necessities
luckily,

if

the more vulgar

had been looked

to equally well.

Un-

Medina Sidonia had taken the inspection
and Medina Sidonia was un-

of these on himself,

able to correct the information which any rascal

chose to give him.

At
himself

length, at the end of April, he reported
satisfied.

The banner was
stores all

blessed in the

cathedral,

men and

on board, and the
to

Invincible

Armada prepared

go upon

its

way.

No wonder

Philip was confident.
1,300 to

A hundred and
700
tons,

thirty galleons, from

30,000

fighting men, besides slaves

and servants, made

up a

force

which the world might well think

invincible.

The guns were the weakest
;

part.

There were twice as many as the English
they were
for

but

the most part nine and six pounders,
fifty

and with but had done

rounds to each.

The Spaniards

their sea fighting hitherto at close range,

grappling and trusting to musketry.

They were

to receive a lesson about this before the

summer

was

over.

But Philip himself meanwhile expected

8.]

SAILING OF THE

ARMADA

249

evidently that he would meet with no opposition.

Of priests he had provided

1

80

;

of surgeons and

surgeons' assistants eighty-five only for the whole
fleet.

In the middle of
orders.

May

he sent down his
to seek a battle.

last

The Duke was not
in with

If

he

fell

Drake he

Avas to

take no notice of

him, but thank God, as Dogberry said to the

watchman, that he was
to go straight to the

rid of a knave.

He was

North Foreland, there anchor

and communicate with Parma.
admirals

The experienced

who had

learnt their trade under Santa

Cruz

—Martinez

de Recalde, Pedro de Valdez,
the securing
then*

Miguel de

Oquendo— strongly urged
or the Isle of

Plymouth
Channel.

Wight on

way up

This had evidently been Santa Cruz's

own

design,

and the only rational one to have
did

followed.

Philip

not

see

it.

He

did not
this

believe

it

would prove necessary; but as to
he
left

and as

to fighting

them, as he knew he

must

do, a certain discretion.

The Duke

then, flying the sacred banner on

the Ban Martin, dropped

down the Tagus on the
fleet.

14th of May, followed by the whole

The

2SO

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

San Martin had been double-timbered with
to

oak,

keep the shot

out.

He

liked his business no
it

better.

In vain he repeated to himself that
cause.

was God's
no harm.

God would

see they

came

to

He was

no sooner in the open sea than

he found no cause, however holy, saved
the consequences of their

men from
They
as

own

blunders.

were

late out,

and met the north trade wind,
foretold.

Santa Cruz had

They

drifted to leeward
to

day by day
St. Vincent.

till

they

had dropped down

Cape

Infinite

pains had been taken with the spiritual state of

everyone on board.

The

carelessness or roguery

of contractors and purveyors had not been thought

of

The water had been taken
It

in three

months

before.

was found

foul

and stinking.

The

salt beef,

the salt pork, and fish were putrid, the
of maggots
cask.

bread

full

and cockroaches.

Cask was

opened after
where.

It to

was the same story everybe
all

They had
fleet

thrown overboard.

In the whole

there was not a sound morsel

of food but biscuit

and dried

fruit.

The men The

went down in hundreds with dysentery.

Duke bewailed

his fate as innocently as

Sancho

8.]

SAILING OF THE

ARMADA
help.

251

Panza.

He

hoped

God would

He had
left

Avished no

harm

to anybody.

He

had

his

home and

his family to please the King,

and he

trusted the
piteously

King would remember it. He wrote not for fresh stores, if the King would
all perish.

have them

The admirals

said

they

could go no further without fresh water.

All was
last
fell

dismay and confusion.

The wind

at

round south, and they made Finisterre.

It then

came on

to blow,

and they were

scattered.

The

Duke with

half the fleet crawled into Corunna,

the crews scarce able to
to desert in shoals;

man

the yards and trying

The missing

ships dropped in one

by

one,

but
still

them were a week passed and a third of
absent.

Another despairing
to his master.

letter

went

off

from

the

Duke

He

said that

he con-

cluded from their misfortunes that
of the
expedition,

God disapproved
had better be
of

and that
Florez

it

abandoned.
opinion.

Diego

was

the

same
said.

The

stores

were worthless, he
heart.

The men were

sick

and out of

Nothing

could be done that season.
It

was not by flinching

at the first sight of

252

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

difficulty that

the Spaniards had become masters

of half the

world.

The

old comrades of Santa

Cruz saw nothing in what had befallen them

beyond

a

common
first

accident

of

sea

life.

To

abandon at the
taken with so

check an enterprise underpretence, they said, would be

much

cowardly and dishonourable.

Ships were not

lost

because they were out of sight.

Fresh meat and

bread could be taken on board from Coruima.

They could

set

up a shore

hospital for the sick.

The

sickness was not dangerous.

There had been
all

no deaths.
again.

A

little

energy and

would be well

Pedro de Valdez despatched a courier to

Philip to entreat
croakings.
telling the

him not

to listen to the

Duke's

Philip

returned

a speedy

answer

Duke

not to be frightened at shadows.
fact, really to

There was nothing, in
at.

be alarmed

Fresh water took away the dysentery.

Fresh

food was brought in from the country.

Galician
deserters.

seamen

filled

the gaps

made by the

The

ships were laid on shore and scraped and

tallowed.

Tents were pitched on an island in

the harbour, with altars and priests, and every-

one confessed again and received the Sacrament.

8.]

SAILING OF THE
wrote the Duke,
all
'

ARMADA

253

'

This,'

is

great riches and a

precious jewel, and
cheerful.'

now

are well content and

The

scattered flock
all
.

had reassembled.

Damages were
had been

repaired,

and the only harm

loss of time.

Once more, on the 23rd
numbers was under

of July, the

Armada

in full

way

for

England and streaming across the Bay

of Biscay with a fair

wind

for

the

mouth

of the

Channel.

Leaving the Duke

for

the moment,

we must
England

now

glance at the preparations
It

made

in

to receive him.

might almost be said that

there were none at

all.

The winter months had

been wild and changeable, but not so wild and
not
so

fluctuating as

the

mind
fleet

of

England's

mistress.
off

In December her

had been paid
of leaving the

at

Chatham.

The danger

country without any regular defence was pressed

on her so vehemently that she consented to allow
part of the ships
to

be recommissioned.

The

Revenge was given to Drake.
the Lord Admiral, were to

He and Howard,
have gone with a

mixed squadron from the Royal Navy and the
adventurers

down

to the Spanish coast.

In every

254

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

loyal subject there

had long been but one opinion,

that a good open war was the only road to an

honourable peace.
trusted,

The open
last.

war,

they

now

was come at

But the hope was

raised only to be disappointed. of

With the news

Santa Cruz's

death

came a report which
the

Elizabeth greedily believed, that

Armada
all.

was dissolving and was not coming at

Sir

James Crofts sang the usual song that Drake and

Howard wanted
She

war, because war was their trade.

recalled her orders.

She

said that she

was

assured of peace in six weeks, and that beyond
that time the services of the fleet would not be
required.

Half the

men engaged were
cruise

to

be

dismissed at once to save their pay.

Drake and
with four

Lord

Henry Seymour might

or five of the Queen's ships

between Plymouth

and the
the

Solent.

Lord Howard was to remain in
rest.

Thames with the

I

know not whether

swearing was interdicted in the English navy as
well as in the Spanish, but I will answer for
it

that

Howard

did not spare his language
'

when
'

this missive reached him.

Never,' he said

since

England was England was such a stratagem

8.]

SAILING OF THE

ARMADA

255

made
hands

to deceive us as this treaty.
left

We
;

have not

to caiTy the ships

back to Chatham.
the Spaniards

We

are like bears tied to a stake
to worry us like dogs,

may come

and we cannot

hurt them.'
It

was well

for

England that she had other

defenders than the wildly

managed navy

of the

Queen.

Historians

tell

us

how

the gentlemen of
vessels to

the coast came out in their the invaders.

own

meet
?

Come

they did, but who were they

Ships that could fight the Spanish galleons were
not

made

in a day or a week.

They were

built

already.

They were manned by

loyal subjects,

the business of whose lives had been to meet the

enemies of their land and faith on the wide ocean

^not

by those who had been watching with

divided hearts for a Catholic revolution.

March went
that the

by,

and sure
not

intelligence

came
Again

Armada was

dissolving.

Drake prayed the Queen

to let

him take the

Mevenge and the Western adventurers

down

to

Lisbon

;

but the commissioners wrote

fiill
'

of hope

from Ostend, and Elizabeth was afraid
of Spain

the

King
with

might take

it

ill.'

She found

fault

;

256

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

Drake's expenses.

She charged him with wasting She had
it

her ammunition in target practice.
doled out to

him

in driblets,
for

and allowed no more

than would serve

a day and a half s service.
victualling houses.
finest

She kept a sharp hand on the
April

went,

and

her

four

ships

— the
and

Triumph, the
the Bear

Victory, the Elizabeth Jonas,
still

—were
it

with

sails

unbent,

'

keeping

Chatham

church.'

She

said they

would not be
refit

wanted and
them.
the

would be waste of money to
to yield at last,

Again she was forced

and

four ships

were got to sea in time, the

workmen

in the yards

making up

for

the delay
fleet

but she had few enough when her whole

was out upon the Channel, and but
privateers there would have been an
ill

for

the

reckoning

when the
now.

trial

came.

The Armada was coming
it.

There was no longer a doubt of
left

Lord

Henry Seymour was

with

five

Queen's ships

and thirty London adventurers to watch Parma

and the Narrow
flag in the

Seas.

Howard, carrying

his

own

Arh

Pialeigh, joined

Drake

at

Plymouth

with seventeen others.
Still

the

numbing hand

of his mistress pursued

;

8.]

SAILING OF THE

ARMADA
to

257

him.

Food supplies had been issued

the

middle of June, and no more was to be allowed.

The weather was desperate
known.

—wildest summer ever
gales

The

south-west
into

brought

the
lay

Atlantic rollers
inside,

the

Sound.

Drake

perhaps behind the island which bears his

name.

Howard rode out the

gales under

Mount

Edgecumbe, the days going by and the provisions
wasting.

The

rations

were cut down to make

the

stores

last

longer.

Owing

to

the

many
They

changes the crews had been hastily raised.

were

ill-clothed, ill-provided

every way, but they
fish to

complained of nothing, caught

mend

their

mess dinners, and prayed only

for the

speedy

coming of the enemy.
failed

Even Howard's heart

him now.

English sailors would do what

could be done by man, but they could not fight

with famine.

'

Awake, Madam,' he wrote
for

to the

Queen, awake,
'

the love of Christ, and see the

villainous treasons

round about

you.'

He

goaded

her into ordering supplies for one more month,

but this was

to

be positively the

last.

The

victuallers inquired if they should

make

further
'

preparations.

She answered peremptorily,

No

'

2S8

ENGLISH SEAMEN
on.

[lect.

and again the weeks ran
seemed, had caught her

The

contractors,

it

spirit, for

the beer which

had been furnished
those
their

for the fleet

turned sour, and

who drank

it

sickened.

The

officers,

on

own

responsibility, ordered

wine and arrow-

root for the sick out of Plymouth, to be called
to a sharp account

when

all

was

over.

Again the

rations

were reduced.
serve

Four weeks' allowance
for
six,

was stretched to

and

still

the

Spaniards did not come.

So England's
crisis

forlorn

hope was treated at the

of her destiny.
scarcely better.

The preparations on land were

The

militia

had been

called

out.

A

hundred

thousand
stations

men had
the

given their names, and the
to

had been arranged where they were
if

assemble

enemy attempted a

landing.

But

there were no reserves, no magazines of arms, no
stores or tents,

no requisites

for

an army save the

men

themselves and what local resources could

furnish.

For a general the Queen had chosen

the Earl of Leicester,
of
fidelity

who might have the merit
but
otherwise

to

herself,

was the

worst fitted that she could have found in her

whole dominions; and the Prince of Parma was

8.]

SAILING OF THE
if

ARMADA
at

259

coming,

he came at

all,

the head of the
troops
in

best-provided

and

best-disciplined
of

Europe.

The hope

England at that moment
sailors at

was in her patient suffering

Plymouth.
for

Each morning they looked out passionately
the Spanish the galleons.
sails.

Time was a worse enemy than
six

The

weeks would be soon gone,

and the Queen's ships must then leave the seas
if

the crews were not to starve.

Drake had

certain

news that the Armada had

sailed.

Where

was

it ?

Once he dashed out
lest it

as far as Ushant,

but turned back,

should pass him in the
;

night and find Plymouth undefended

and smaller

grew the messes and leaner and paler the seamen's
faces.

Still

not a

man murmured
be
sick.

or gave in.

They had no

leisure to

The
were
for

last

week

of July

had now come.

There

half-rations for one
fighting.

week more, and powder
all.

two days'

That was

On

so light

a thread such mighty issues were

now

depending.
started for

On
the

Friday, the 23rd, the

Armada had

second

time, the

numbers undiminished;
and heart and
Sunday,

religious

fervour burning again,
as
ever.

hope

high

Saturday,

and

z6o

ENGLISH SEAMEN
sailed

[lect.

Monday they
soft

on with a smooth sea and

south winds, and on

Monday night the Duke
all his

found himself at the Channel mouth with
flock

about him.

Tuesday morning the wind

shifted to the north, then backed to the west,

and

blew hard.

The

sea got up, broke into the stern
galleons,

galleries of the

and sent the galleys

looking for shelter in French harbours.

The

fleet

hove to

for

a couple of days,

till

the weather

mended.

On

Friday afternoon they sighted the
;

Lizard and formed into fighting order
in the centre, Alonzo de
of his

the

Duke
vessel

Leyva leading in a

own

called the

Rata Goronada, Don Martin
rear.

de Recalde covering the

The

entire line

stretched to about seven miles.

The
of the

sacred banner was run

up to the masthead
all

San Martin.

Each ship saluted with

her guns, and every
or slave

man

officer,

noble, seaman,

—knelt on

the decks at a given signal to
to

commend themselves
shall miss the

Mary and her

Son.

We

meaning of

this high epic story if

we do not

realise that

both sides had the most

profound conviction that they were fighting the
battle of the Almighty.

Two

principles,

freedom

8.]

SAILING OF THE

ARMADA
for the

261

and authority, were contending
of mankind.

guidance
sent off
his

In the evening the
to

Duke

two

fast

liy-boats

Parma

to

announce

arrival

in the Channel, with another reporting
till

progress to Philip, and saying that

he heard

from the Prince he meant to stop at the Isle of

Wight.
advised
is

It

is

commonly

said

that his officers

him

to

go in and take Plymouth.
for this.

There

no evidence
far

The

island

would have

been a

more

useful position for them.

At dark
seen blazing
tops of the

that Friday night the beacons were
all

up the

coast
crej^t

and inland on the
on slowly through

hills.

They

Saturday, with reduced canvas, feeling their

way

—not a
had

sail to

be seen.

At midnight a pinnace

brought in a fishing-boat, from which they learnt
that on the sight of the signal
fires

the English

come out that morning

from

Plymouth.
sails

Presently,

when the moon

rose,

they saw

passing between

them and the

land.

With dayand the

break the whole scene became
curtain lifted on the
first

visible,

act of the drama.

The

Armada was between Kame Head and the Eddystone, or a little to the west of
it.

Plymouth Spund

262

.

ENGLISH SEAMEN
to their
left.

[lect.

was right open

The

breeze,

which

had dropped in the night, was freshening from the
south-west, and right ahead of them, outside the

Mew

Stone, were eleven ships manoeuvring to

recover the wind.

Towards the land were some
and this formed, as

forty others, of various sizes,
far as

they could

see,

the whole English force.

In

numbers the Spaniards were nearly three
In the
size of the ships there

to one.

was no comparison.

With

these advantages the

Duke

decided

to

engage, and a signal was

made

to hold the

wind
ships

and keep the enemy

apart.
;

The eleven

ahead were Howard's squadron

those inside were
surprise
easily to

Drake and the adventurers.
the Spanish
officers

With some

saw Howard reach

windward out of range and join Drake.
whole English
in line behind
fleet

The

then passed out close-hauled
their rear,

them and swept along

using guns more powerful than theirs and pouring
in broadsides from safe distance with deadly effect.

Recalde, with Alonzo de Leyva and Oquendo,

who
but
out-

came

to his help, tried desperately to close

;

they could
sailed

make nothing

of

it.

They were

and out-cannoned.

The English

fired five

S.]

SAILING OF THE

ARMADA

263

shots to one of theirs, and the effect was the

more

destructive because, as with Rodney's action at

Dominica, the galleons were crowded with troops,

and shot and

splinters told terribly

among them.
agreeable.

The experience was new and not

Recalde's division was badly cut up, and a Spaniard

present observes that certain officers showed cowardice
fire.

—a
The

hit at the

Duke, who had kept out of
till

action lasted

four in the afternoon.
fast

The wind was then freshening
rising.

and the sea

Both

fleets

had by

this

time passed the

Sound, and the Duke, seeing that nothing could

be done, signalled to bear away up Channel, the
English following two miles astern.
Recalde's

own

ship had been an especial sufferer.

She was

observed to be leaking badly, to drop behind, and
to

be in danger of capture.

Pedro de Valdez wore

round to help him in the Ga^pitana, of the Andalusian squadron, fouled

the Santa

Catalina in

turning, broke his bowsprit and foretopmast, and

became unmanageable.

The Andalusian Capi-

tana was one of the finest ships in the Spanish
fleet,

and Don Pedro one of the ablest and most

popular commanders.

She

had

500

men on

264

ENGLISH SEAMEN
sum
of money, and,

[lect.

board, a large
treasures,

among

other

a box of jewel-hilted swords, which

Philip was sending over to the English Catholic
peers.

But

it

was growing dark.
flurried,

Sea and sky

looked ugly.
to go

The Duke was

and signalled
Alonzo

on and leave

Don Pedro
was no

to his fate.

de Leyva and Oquendo rushed on board the 8an

Martin to

protest.

It

use.

Diego Florez

said he could not risk the safety of the fleet for a
single
officer.

The deserted Capitana made a

brave defence, but could not save herself, and
fell,

with

the jewelled swords,

50,000 ducats,

and a welcome
hands.

sujDply of powder, into

Drake's

Off the Start there was a fresh disaster.

Every-

one was in ill-humour.

A quarrel
seamen
still

broke out bein

tween the
galleon.

soldiers

and

Oquendo's

He

was himself

absent.

Some

wretch or other flung a torch into the powder

magazine and jumped overboard.

The deck was
it.

blown

off,

and 200

men
not

along with

Two

such accidents following an unsuccessful
did

engagement

tend

to

reconcile

the

Spaniards to the Duke's command.

Pedro de

S.]

SAILING OF THE
was
universally

ARMADA
and

265

Valdez

loved

honoured,

and

his

desertion in

the face of an

enemy

so

inferior in

numbers was regarded as scandalous

poltroonery.

Monday morning
gone, but there was

broke
still

heavily.

The wind was
able swell.

a considerbehind.
nail-

The English were
sj)ent in repairing

hull

down

The day was

damages and

ing lead over the shot-holes.
to the front, to

Recalde was moved

be out of harm's way, and

De
The

Leyva took

his post in the rear.

At

sunset they were outside Portland.
;

English had come up within a league

but

it

was

now dead

calm, and they drifted apart in the tide.
of nothing, but at midnight

The Duke thought

the Spanish officers stirred

him out

of his sleep to
;

urge him to set his great galleasses to work

now

was their chance.
still

The dawn brought a chance
brought an east wind, and the
the weather-gage.

better, for it

Spaniards had

now

Could they

once close and grapple with the English ships,
their superior
victory,

numbers would then assure them a

and Howard, being to leeward and inshore,

would have to pass through the middle of the
Spanish line to recover his advantage.

However,

266
it

.

ENGLISH SEAMEN
stoiy.

[lect.

was the same

The Spaniards could not
one.

use an opportunity

when they had

NewEnglish

modelled
ships

for superiority of sailing, the

had the same advantage over the galleons as

the steam cruisers would have over the old threedeckers.

While the breeze held they went where

they pleased.

The Spaniards were

out-sailed, out-

matched, crushed by guns of longer range than
theirs.

Their

own

shot flew high over the low
its

English hulls, while every ball found

way

through their own towering
y^an

sides.
it.

This time the

Martin was in the thick of
;

Her double

timbers were ripped and torn

the holy standard

was cut in two
shot-holes.

;

the water poured through the
lost their nerve.

The men

In such

ships as

had no gentlemen on board notable signs
flinching.

were observed of

At the end
powder gave
limit

of that day's fighting the English

out.

Two

days' service

had been the

of the

Queen's allowance.

Howard had

pressed for a more liberal supply at the last

moment, and

had

received

the

characteristic

answer that he must state precisely how much he

wanted before more could be

sent.

The

lighting

8.]

SAILING OF THE

ARMADA
official

267

of the beacons
little.

had quickened the

pulse

a/

A small
arrived.

addition had been despatched to

Weymouth
till it

or Poole,

and no more could be done
left to

The Duke, meanwhile, was
plumes and
drift

smooth his
way.

ruffled

on upon his

But by

this

time England

was awake.
fruit,

Fresh privateers, with powder, meat, bread,

anything that they could bring, were pouring out

from the Dorsetshire harbours.

Sir George Carey

had come from the Needles in time to share the
honours of the
last battle,
'

round

shot,' as

he

said,

'flying thick as
land.'

musket

balls

in a skirmish on

The Duke had observed
^an
Mai'tin's

uneasily from the

deck that his pursuers were growing
his

numerous.

He had made up
men

mind

definitely

to go for the Isle of Wight, shelter his fleet in the

Solent, land 10,000

in the island,

and stand

on his defence

till

he heard from Parma.
;

He

must

fight another battle

but, cut

up

as

he had

been, he had as yet lost

but two
fairly

ships,

and those

by

accident.

He

might

hope to force his

way

in with help from above, for

which he had
engagement.

special reason to look in the next

268

ENGLISH SEAMEN
breathless calm.

[lect.

Wednesday was a

The English
lay
St.

were taking in their supplies.
still,

The Armada

repairing damages.
St.

Thursday would be

Dominic's Day.

Dominic belonged

to the
St.

Duke's own family, and was his patron

saint.

Dominic he
kinsman.

felt

sure,

would now stand by his

The morning broke with a

light air.

The

English would be less able to move, and with the
help of the galleasses he might hope to come to
close quarters at last.
to give

Howard seemed

inclined
to

him

his wish.

With just wind enough
led in the

move the Lord Admiral
straight

Arh

Baleigh

down on the Spanish

centre.

The Arh

outsailed

her consorts and found herself alone

with the galleons all round her.
the

At that moment
boardingtojDS

wind

dropped.
at
their

The

Spanish

parties

were

posts.

The

were
irons

manned with musketeers,
all

the

grappling

prepared to fling into the Aries rigging.

In

imagination the English admiral was their own.

But each

day's experience

was to teach them a

new
sides

lesson.

Eleven boats dropped from the

ArKs

and took her in tow.

The breeze

rose again

8,]

SAILING OF THE
she began to

ARMADA
sails
filled,

269

as

move.

Her

and

she slipped away through
the Spaniards as
in helpless
if

the water,

leaving

they were at anchor, staring

amazement.
rest,

The wind brought up

Drake and the
terrible

and then began again the

cannonade from which the Armada had
It

already suffered so frightfully.

seemed that

morning as

if

the English were using guns of

even heavier metal than on either of the preceding
days.

The armament had not been changed.
in their

The growth was
ation.

own

frightened imagin-

The Duke had other

causes for uneasiness.

His own magazines were

also giving out

under
battle

the unexpected demands upon them.

One

was the utmost which he had looked

for.

He
have

had fought
before.

three,

and the end was no nearer than
he

With
his

resolution
into
St,

might

still

made

way

Helen's roads, for the

English were evidently afraid to close with him.

But when
head.
lost all.

St,

Dominic,
his

too, failed

him he

lost his

He

lost

heart,

and losing heart he

In the Solent he would have been comhe could easily have taken

paratively safe, and

the Isle of Wight

;

but his one thought now was

270

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

to find safety
for Calais or

under Parma's gaberdine and make
Dunkirk,

He

supposed Parma to

have already embarked, on hearing of his coming,
with a second armed
fleet,

and in condition

for

immediate

action.

He

sent on another pinnace,

pressing for help, pressing for ammunition, and
fly-boats to protect the galleons
;

and Parma was

himself looking to be supplied from the Armada,

with no second

fleet at all,

only a

flotilla

of river

barges which would need a week's work to be

prepared for the crossing.
Philip had provided a splendid
fleet,

a splendid

army, and the finest sailors in the world except
the English.

He had

failed to realise that the

grandest preparations are useless with a fool to

command.

The poor Duke was

less

to

blame

than his master.

An

ofiice

had been thrust upon

him

for

which he knew that he had not a single

qualification.

His one anxiety was to find Parma,

lay the weight on Parma's shoulders,

and

so

have

done with

it.

On
up
English

Friday he was

left

alone to

make

his

way
The

Channel
still

towards the French
followed,

shore.

but he counted that in

8.]

SAILING OF THE

ARMADA

271

Calais roads he would be in French waters, where

they would not dare to meddle with him.

They

would then, he thought, go home and annoy him
no further.

As he dropped anchor

in the dusk

outside Calais on Saturday evening he saw, to his
disgust, that the

endemoniada gente

—the

infernal

devils

—as he called them, had

brought up at the

same moment with
him.

himself, half a league astern of

His one trust was in the Prince of Parma,

and Parma at any rate was now within touch.

LECTURE IX
DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA

TN

the gallery at Madrid there

is

a picture,

painted by Titian, representing the Genius
of Spain

coming

to the delivery of the afflicted

Bride of Christ.

Titian was dead, but the temper

of the age survived, and in the study of that great

picture you

will

see

the

spirit

in which

the

Spanish nation had set out
England.

for the

conquest of

The scene is the seashore.
Andromeda,
with

The Church
hair,

a

naked

dishevelled

fastened to the trunk of an ancient disbranched
tree.

The

cross lies at her feet, the

cup over-

turned, the serpents of heresy biting at her from

behind with uplifted
leading breeze
fleet,
is

crests.

Coming on

before a

the sea monster, the

Moslem
is

eager for their

prey

;

while in front

Perseus, the

Genius of Spain, banner in hand,

LECT. 9-]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA

273

with the legions of the faithful laying not raiment
before him, but shield and helmet, the apparel of
Avar
for

the

Lady

of Nations to
foes.

clothe herself

with strength and smite her

In the Armada the crusading enthusiasm had
reached
its

j)oint

and

focus.

England was the

stake to Avhich the Virgm, the daughter of Sion,

was bound in
last in

captivity.

Perseus had come at
of

the person of the
all

Duke

Medina

Sidonia,

and with him

that was best and brightest in

the countrymen of Cervantes, to break her bonds

and replace her on her throne.

They had

sailed

into the Channel in pious hope, with the blessed

banner waving over their heads.

To be the executor
is

of the decrees of Providence

a lofty ambition, but

men

in a state of high

emotion overlook the precautions Avhich are not to

be dispensed with even on the sublimest of errands.

Don

Quixote,

when he

set

out to redress the

Avrongs of humanity, forgot that a change of linen

might be necessary, and that he must take money
with him to pay his hotel
sending the
bills.

Philip

II.,

in

Armada

to England,

and confident in

supernatural protection, imagined an unresisted

274

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

triumphal procession.

He

forgot that contractors

might be

rascals, that

water four months in the

casks in a hot climate turned putrid, and that

putrid water would poison his ships' companies,

though his crews were companies of angels.
forgot that the servants of the evil one
for their mistress after
all,

He
fight

might

and that he must send

adequate supplies of powder, and, worst forgetfulness of all, that a great naval expedition required a
leader

who understood his

business.

Perseus, in the
after a

shape of the

Duke

of

Medina Sidonia,

week

of disastrous battles, found himself at the end of
it

in an exposed roadstead,

where he ought never

to

have been, nine-tenths of his provisions thrown

overboard as unfit for food, his ammunition ex-

hausted by the unforeseen demands upon

it,

the

seamen and
officers

soldiers

harassed

and

dispirited,

the whole week without sleep, and the

enemy, who had hunted him from Plymouth to
Calais,

anchored within half a league of him.
misadventures, he had brought

Still, after all his

the

fleet, if

not to the North Foreland, yet within
it,

a few miles of

and

to

outward appearance not
of the galleons

materially injured.

Two

had been

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA
;

275
;

taken

a third, the Santa Ana, had strayed

and

his galleys

had

left
;

him, being found too weak for

the Channel sea

but the great armament had

reached
far as

its

destination substantially uninjured so
see.

English eyes could
killed

Hundreds

of

men

had been

and hundreds more wounded, and

the spirit of the rest had been shaken.
loss of life

But the

could only be conjectured on board the

English

fleet.

The English admiral could only
in touch with

see that the

Duke was now

Parma.

Parma, they knew, had an army at Dunkirk with
him, which was to cross to England.

He had
all

been

collecting

men, barges, and transports

the

winter and spring, and the backward state of

Parma's preparations could not be anticipated,
still less

relied uj)on.

The

Calais anchorage was

unsafe; but at that season of the year, especially
after a

wet summer, the weather usually settled

;

and

to attack the Spaniards in a
for

French port might
It

be dangerous
after the

many

reasons.

was uncertain

day of the Barricades whether the Duke

of Guise or

Henry

of Valois was master of France,
easily

and a violation of the neutrality laws might
.at

that

moment

bring Guise and France into the

276
field

ENGLISH SEAMEN
on the Spaniards'
side.

[lect.

It was,

no doubt,

with some such expectation that the
his

Duke and

advisers

had chosen Calais as the point at
It

which to bring up.
of August.

was now Saturday, the 7th
of the

The Governor

town came

off in

the evening to the Ban Martin.

He

expressed

surprise to see the Spanish fleet in so exposed a
position,

but he was profuse in his

offers of service.

Anything which the Duke required should be provided, especially every facility for

communicating

with Dunkirk and Parma.
him, said

The Duke thanked
to

that he supposed Parma

be already

embarked with

his troops, ready for the passage,

and that
brief.

his

own

stay in the roads would be but
at latest he expected

On Monday morning
leave,

that the attempt to cross would be made.

The

Governor took his

and the Duke, relieved
a peaceful night.

from his anxieties, was

left to

He was
express

disturbed on the Sunday morning by an

from Parma informing him that, so

far

from being embarked, the army could not be
ready for a fortnight.
condition for sea.

The barges were not

in

The trooj^s were in camp.

The

arms and

stores

were on the quays at Dunkirk.


9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA
for the fly-boats
for,

277

As

and ammunition which the
he had none to spare.
to

Duke had asked

He
the

had himself looked
Armada.

be supplied

from

He

promised to use his best expedition,

but the Duke, meanwhile, must see to the safety
of the
fleet.

Unwelcome news
into the position of

to a harassed

landsman thrust

an admiral and eager to be
If

rid of his responsibilities.

by

evil

fortune the

north-wester should come
the- shoals

down
close

u]3on him, with

and sandbanks

under his

lee,

he

would be in a bad way.

Nor was

the view behind

him

calculated for comfort.

There lay the enemy

almost within gunshot, who, though scarcely more

than half his numbers, had hunted him like a pack
of bloodhounds,

and,

worse than

all,

in double

strength

;

for

the

Thames
thii^ty

squadron

— three

Queen's ships and

London adventurers

under Lord H. Seymour and Sir John Hawkins,

had crossed in the night.

There they were be-

tween him and Cape Grisnez, and the reinforce-

ment meant
the

plainly enough that mischief was in

mnd.
After a week so
trying the

Spanish crews

278

ENGLISH SEAMEN

'

[lect.

would have been glad of a Sunday's
could have had
it
;

rest if

they

but the rough handling which

they had gone through had thrown everything
into disorder.

The

sick

and wounded had to
to,

be cared

for,

torn rigging looked

splintered

timbers mended, decks scoured, and guns and

arms cleaned up and put to

rights.
;

And

so it

was
be

that no rest could be allowed

so

much had

to

done, and so busy was everyone, that the usual
rations were not served out

and the Sunday was

kept as a

fast.

In the afternoon the stewards

went ashore

for fresh

meat and

vegetables.

They

came back with
seemed a
little

their boats loaded,
less

and the prospect

gloomy.
officers

Suddenly, as the

Duke and
English

a group of

were watching the

fleet

from the San Martins poop deck, a

small smart pinnace, carrying a

gun in her bow,

shot out from Howard's lines, bore

down on the

San Martin,
or

sailed

round

her, sending in a shot

two as

she

passed,

and went

off

unhurt.

The Spanish

officers

could not help

admiring
sent

such airy impertinence. a ball after
'

Hugo de MonQada
no
damage,

the pinnace, which went through

her

mainsail,

but

did

and

the

;

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA

279

pinnace again disappeared behind the English
ships.

So a Spanish

officer describes

the scene.

The

EngHsh

story says nothing of the pinnace; but

she doubtless came and went as the Spaniard
says,
too,

and

for

sufficient
straits,

purpose.

The

English,

were in
it.

though the Duke did not

dream of

You

will

remember that the

last

supplies which the

Queen had allowed

to the fleet

had been issued in the middle of June.
were to serve
for a

They

month, and the contractors

were forbidden to prepare more.

The Queen had

clung to her hope that her differences with Philip

were to be settled by the Commission at Ostend

and she feared that

if

Drake and Howard were
would venture some
fresh

too well furnished they

rash stroke on the coast of Spain, which might

mar the

negotiations.

Their month's provisions

had been stretched

to serve for six weeks,
full

and
days'

when the Armada appeared but two
rations remained. their

On

these they had fought

way up Channel.

Something had been

brought out by private exertion on the Dorsetshire coast,

and Seymour had, perhaps, brought a

28o
little

ENGLISH SEAMEN
more.

[lect.

But they were

still

in

extremity.

The

contractors

had warned the Government that

they could provide nothing without notice, and
notice

had not

been given.
state,

The adventurers

were in better
private owners.
or

having been equipped by
ships in a day
theii*

But the Queen's

two more must either go home or
be starving.

crews

would

They had been on reduced
Worse than
that,

rations for near

two months.

they were

still

poisoned by the sour beer.
so
often,

The

Queen had changed her mind

now

ordering the fleet to prepare for sea, then recalling her instructions

and paying

off

the men,

that those

whom Howard had

with him had been

enlisted in haste,

had come on board as they were,

and their clothes were hanging in rags on them.

The

fighting and the sight of the fl3^ng Spaniards
too,

were meat and drink, and clothing

and had

made them
fear of

careless of all else.

There was no

mutiny; but there was a limit to the
If the

toughest endurance.

Armada was
still

left

undisturbed a long struggle might be

before

them.

The enemy would recover from

its flurry,

and Parma would come out from Dunkirk.

To

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA
them
directly in

281

attack
to

French waters might lead
while
delay
to

perilous

complications,
fleet

meant

famine.

The Spanish

had

be started
it

from the roads in some way.

Done

must

be,

and done immediately.
Then, on
that

same

Sunday afternoon a
in the Arlx's

memorable council of war was held

main

cabin.

Howard, Drake, Seymour, Hawkins,

Martin Frobisher, and two or three others met to
consult,

knowing that on them

at that

moment
Their

the liberties of England were depending.
resolution

was taken promptly.

There was no

time

for talk.

After nightfall a strong flood tide

would be setting up along shore to the Spanish
anchorage.

They would

try

what could be done

with

fire-ships,

and the excursion of the pinnace,
for bravado,

which was taken

was probably

for

a

survey of the Armada's exact position.

Mean-

time eight useless vessels were coated with pitch

hulls, spars,

and

rigging.

Pitch was poured on

the decks and over the
told off to steer

sides,

and parties were
and

them

to their destination

then

fire

and leave them.
stole on,

The hours

and twilight passed into

282

ENGLISH SEAMEN
The night was without a moon.
his

[lect.

dark.

The

Duke paced
danger.

deck late with uneasy sense of
lights

He

observed
lines,

moving up and

down the English
endemoniada gcntc

and imagining that the

the infernal devils

—might be
A faint

up

to mischief, ordered a sharp look-out.

westerly air was curling the water, and towards

midnight the watchers on board

the galleons

made out dimly

several ships

which seemed to
Their experience
so strange

be drifting down upon them.
since the action off

Plymouth had been
that

and unlooked

for

anything unintelligible

which the English did was alarming.

The jDhantom forms drew
almost

nearer,

and were

among them when they broke

into a blaze
fleets

from water-line to truck, and the two

were
;

seen by the lurid light of the conflagration

the

anchorage, the walls and windows of Calais, and

the sea shining red far as eye could reach, as
if

the ocean itself was

burning.

Among

the

dangers which they might have

to encounter,

English fireworks had been especially dreaded

by the
heretics

Spaniards.

Fire-ships

—a

fit

device of

—had

worked havoc among the Spanish

3

9-]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA
when the bridge was blown
Thej imagined that
were
approaching
similar

28

troops,

up,

at

Antwerp.
machines
capable

infernal

the

Armada.
sent

A
few

commander would
to

have

a

launches
of

grapple the burning hulks, which

course

were

now

deserted,

and tow them
were not

out of

harm's way.

Spanish

sailors

cowards, and would not have flinched from duty

because

it

might be dangerous
lost

;

but the Duke

and Diego Florez
signal

their

heads again.

A

gun from the Ban Martin ordered the
fleet

whole
to sea.

to

slip

their

cables

and stand out

Orders given in panic are doubly unwise, for
they spread the terror in which they originate.

The danger from the

fire-ships

was

chiefly

from

the effect on the imagination, for they appear to

have drifted by and done no real injury.

And

it

speaks well for the seamanship and courage of
the

Spaniards

that

they were

able,

crowded

together as they were, at midnight and in sudden

alarm to set their canvas and clear out without

running into one another.

They buoyed
them

their

cables, expecting to return for

at daylight,

284

ENGLISH SEAMEN
to

[lect.

and with only a single accident,
directly,
difficult

be mentioned
a
really

they

executed

successfully

manoeuvre.
himself.

The Duke was delighted with
fire-ships

The

burnt harmlessly out.

He had

baffled

the inventions of the endemoniada gente.

He

brought up a

league outside

the harbour, and

supposed that the whole Armada had done the
same.

Unluckily

for himself,

he found

it

at day-

light divided into

two bodies.

The San Martin

with forty of the best appointed of the galleons

were riding together at their anchors.

The

rest,

two-thirds of the whole, having no second anchors
ready,

and inexperienced
had been lying

in
to.

Channel tides and

currents,

The west wind was

blowing up.

Without seeing where they were

going they had drifted to leeward, and were two
leagues
off,

towards Gravelines, dangerously near

the shore. the

The Duke was

too ignorant to realise

full peril

of his situation.

He He

signalled to

them
tide

to

return and rejoin him.
it

As the wind and
proposed to
if

stood

was impossible.

follow them.

The
fleet

pilots told

him that

he did

the whole

might be

lost

on the banks.

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA

285

Towards the land the look of things was not

more encouraging.

One
before.

accident only had happened the night

The Caintana

galleass,

with

Don Hugo
board,

de Mongada and eight hundred

men on
The

had fouled her helm in a cable in getting under

way and had become unmanageable.
slaves disobeyed
orders, or else

galley
as

Don Hugo was

incompetent
galleass

as

his

commander-in-chief

The

had gone on the sands, and as the tide
fallen

ebbed had

over"

on her

side,

Howard,

seeing her condition, had followed her in the

Arh with

four or five other of the Queen's ships,
his boats,

and was furiously attacking her with
careless of neutrality laws.

Howard's theory was,

as he said, to pluck the feathers one

by one from

the Spaniard's wing, and here was a feather worth

picking up.

The

galleass

was the most splendid

vessel of her kind afloat,

Don Hugo one

of the

greatest of Spanish grandees.

Howard was making a double
took
the
galleass

mistake.
three

He

at

last,

after

hours'

fighting.
ball.

Don Hugo was
vessel

killed

by a musket

The

was plundered, and Howard's

;

286

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

men

took possession^ meaning to carry her away
tide
off,

when the

rose.

The French
fire

authorities

ordered him

threatening to

upon him

and

after wasting the forenoon,

he was obliged

at last to leave her
this,

where she

lay.

Worse than
and had

he had

lost three precious hours,

lost

along with

them, in the opinion of the

Prince of Parma, the honours of the great day.

Drake and

Hawkins knew better than

to

waste time plucking single feathers.
ships

The

fire-

had been more

effective

than they could
up.

have dared to hope.

The enemy was broken
of half his strength,

The Duke was shorn

and

the Lord had delivered him into their hand.

He
and

had got under way,

still

signalling wildly,

uncertain in which direction to turn.
certainties

His un-

were ended

for

him by seeing Drake

bearing
fleet,

down upon him with the whole English

save those which were loitering about the

galleass.

The English had now the advantage

of

numbers.
already,

The

superiority of their guns he

knew

and their greater speed allowed him no
battle.

hope to escape a
left to

Forty ships alone were

him

to defend the

banner of the crusade

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA
;

287

and the honour of Castile

but those forty were

the largest and the most powerfully armed and

manned

that he had, and on board

them were

Oquendo,
the best
lost

De

Leyva,

Recalde, and Bretandona,

officers in

the Spanish navy next to the

Don
It

Pedro.
for

was now or never

England.

The scene

of the action

which was

to decide the future of

Europe was between Calais and Dunkirk, a few
miles
off

shore,

and within sight of Parma's
for the

camp.

There was no more manoeuvring

weather-gage, no more fighting at long range.

Drake dashed straight upon
stoops

his prey as the falcon

upon

its

quarry.

A

chance had fallen to
;

him which might never return

not for the vain

distinction of carrying prizes into English ports,

not for the ray of honour which would
if

fall

on him

he could carry
it

off the sacred

banner

itself

and

hang

in the

Abbey

at

Westminster, but a
that
it

chance so to handle the

Armada

should

never be seen again in English waters, and deal
such a blow on Philip that the Spanish Empire
should reel with
it.

The English

ships had the

same superiority over the galleons which steamers

288

ENGLISH SEAMEN
vessels.
lie

[lect.

have now over sailing
the speed
the
wind.
;

They had twice
to

they could

two points nearer

Sweeping round

them
upon the

at

cable's

length, crowding

them

in one

other, yet

never once giving them a chance to grapple, they
hurled in their cataracts of round shot.

Short as
it

was the powder supply, there was no sparing
that morning.

The hours went

on,

and

still

the

battle raged, if battle it could be called

where

the blows were
suffering

all

dealt on one

side

and the
or

was

all

on the other.

Never on sea

land did the Spaniards show themselves worthier
of their great

name than on

that day.
It

But from
was said
the

the

first

they could do nothing.

afterwards in Spain that the

Duke showed

white feather, that he charged his pilot to keep

him out
in his

of harm's way, that he shut himself

up

cabin, buried

in

woolpacks, and so on.

The Duke had

faults enough,

but poltroonery was
till

not one of them.

He, who

he entered the

English Channel had never been in action on sea
or land, found himself, as he said, in the midst
of the

most furious engagement recorded in the

history of the world.

As

to being out of harm's

;

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA
his

289

way, the standard at
hottest of the fire

masthead drew the

upon him.

The Ban Martin's

timbers were of oak and a foot thick, but the
shot,

he

said,

went through them enough

to

shatter a rock.
half his

Her deck was a slaughterhouse
killed or

company were

wounded, and

no more would have been heard or seen of the

San Martin

or her

commander had not Oquendo
to

and De Leyva pushed in

the rescue and

enabled him to creep away under their cover.

He

himself saw nothing more of the action after

this.

The smoke, he

said,

was so thick that he

could

make out
round
it

nothing, even from his masthead.

But

all

was but a repetition of the same
shot
flew high, as
hulls,

scene.

The Spanish
the

before,

above

low English

and they were

themselves helpless butts to the English guns.

And
One

it is

noticeable and supremely creditable to
single galleon struck her colours.

them that not a

of them, after a long duel with an English-

man, was on the point of sinking.
officer,

An

English

admiring the courage which the Spaniards
his bowsprit, told

had shown, ran out upon
that they had done
all

them

which became men, and

29Q

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.
lives.

urged them to surrender and save their

For answer they cursed the English as cowards

and chickens because they refused
officer

to close.
last

The

was

shot.

His

fall

brought a

broadside

on them, which finished the work.

They went
Rather

down, and the water closed over them.

death to the soldiers of the Cross than surrender
to a heretic.

The deadly

hail

rained on.

In some ships

blood was seen streaming out of the scupperholes.

Yet there was no yielding;

all

ranks

showed equal heroism.

The

priests

went up and

down

in the midst of the carnage, holding the

crucifix before the eyes of the dying.

At midday

Howard came up
victory which

to claim a second share in a

was no longer doubtful.
fire

Towards
Their

the afternoon the Spanish

slackened.

powder was gone, and they could make no return
to the cannonade which

was

still

overwhelming

them.

They admitted

freely afterwards that if

the attack had been continued but two hours

more they must

all

have struck or gone ashore.
also
;

But the English magazines were empty
last

the

cartridge

was shot

away, and

the battle

9-]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA
it

291

ended from mere inability to keep

ujx

It

had been fought on both sides
determination.

with

peculiar

In the English there was the

accumulated resentment of thirty years of menace
to their country

and their

creed, with -^he

enemy
and

in

tangible

shape at
;

last

to

be caught

grappled with
their cause

in the Spanish, the sense that if

had not brought them the help they
from above, the honour and
faith of

looked

for

Castile should not suffer in their hands.
It

was

over.

The English drew

off,

regretting

that their thrifty mistress had limited their means
of fighting for her, their

and

so obliged

them

to leave

work half done.

When

the cannon ceased

the wind rose, the smoke rolled away, and in the
level light of the sunset

they could see the results

of the action.

A
with

galleon in Recalde's squadron was sinking
all

hands.

The Ban Philip and the San

Mattco were drifting dismasted towards the Dutch
coast,

where they were afterwards wrecked. Those
left

which were

with canvas

still

showing were

crawling slowly after their comrades

who had not

been engaged, the spars and rigging so cut up

292

ENGLISH SEAMEN
sails.
it

[lect.

that they could scarce bear their
of
life

The

loss

could only be conjectured; but

had been

obviously terrible.

The

nor'-wester was blowing

up and was pressing the wounded
shoals,

ships

upon the

from which,

if it held, it

seemed impossible

in their crippled

state

they would be able to

work

off.

In this condition Drake
night, not to rest, but from
if

left

them

for

the

any quarter

to collect,

he could, more food and poAvder.
killed.

The snake
More than
by

had been scotched, but not

half the great fleet were far away, untouched
shot,

perhaps able to fight a second battle

if

they

recovered heart.

To

follow, to drive

them on the

banks

if

the wind held, or into the North Sea,
so that

anywhere

he

left

them no chance
and

of join-

ing hands with

Parma

again,

to use the time

before they had rallied from his blows, that was

the present necessity.

His own poor fellows were

famished and in rags; but neither he nor they

had

leisure to think of themselves.

There was

but one thought in the whole of them, to be again
in chase of the flying foe. as Drake.

Howard was

resolute

All that

was possible was

swiftly done.

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA

293

Seymour and the Thames squadron were
in the Straits

to stay-

and watch Parma.

From

every

attainable source food
for the rest

and powder were

collected

far short in

both ways of what ought
said,
'

to to

have been, but, as Drake

we were resolved
if

put on a brag and go on as
Before

we needed

nothing.'

dawn the admiral and he were

again off on the chase.

The brag was unneeded.

What man
left

could
to the

do had been done, and the rest was
elements.

Never again could Spanish seamen be

brought to face the English guns with Medina
Sidonia to lead them.
head.

They had a

fool at their

The

Invisible Powers in

whom

they had
Their
broken.
his

been taught to trust had deserted them.
confidence

was gone and

their

spirit

Drearily the morning broke on the
consorts the day after the battle.

Duke and

The Armada

had collected in the night.

The

nor'-wester had

freshened to a gale, and they were labouring
heavily along,
shoals.

making

fatal

leeway towards the

It
saint,

was

St.

Lawrence's Day, Philip's patron
lately

whose shoulder-bone he had

added

to

294

ENGLISH SEAMEN
;

[lect.

the treasures of the Escurial

but

St.

Lawrence

was as heedless as

St.

Dominic.
her.

The &an Martin
Those nearer to

had but

six fathoms

under
five,

the land signalled

and right before them

they could see the brown foam of the breakers
curling over the sands, while on their weather-

beam, a mile distant and clinging to them
the shadow of death, were the

like

English ships
like

which had pursued them from Plymouth
the dogs of the Furies.
soldiers

The Spanish

sailors

and

had been without food since the evening
at Calais.

when they anchored

All

Sunday they

had been at work, no

rest allowed

them

to eat.

On

the Sunday night they had been stirred out
sleep

of their

by the

fire-ships.

Monday they

had been

fighting,

and Monday night committing

their dead to the sea.

Now
still

they seemed advanc-

ing directly upon inevitable destruction.

As the
to

wind stood there was

room

for

them

wear

and thus escape the banks, but they would then
have to face the enemy, who seemed only refraining

from attacking

them because while they

continued on their present course the winds and

waves would

finish the

work without help from

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA
Recalde,

295

man.
officers

De

Leyva, Oquendo, and other
the 8an Martin to consult.

were sent

for to

Oquendo came
the
'

last.

'Ah, Senor Oquendo/ said

Duke

as the heroic Biscayan stepped on board,
?
'

que haremos

(what shall we do

?)

'

Let your

Excellency bid load the guns again,' was Oquendo's gallant answer.

It could not be.

De Leyva
The

himself said that the

men would

not fight the

English again.

Florez advised surrender.
It

Duke

wavered.

was said that a boat was

actually lowered to go off to

Howard and make
if

terms, and that
left

Oquendo swore that

the boat

the San Martin on such an errand he would

fling Florez into the sea.

Oquendo's advice would
if

have, perhaps, been the safest

the

Duke

could

have taken
in

it.

There were
little

still

seventy ships

the

Armada

hurt.
said,

The English were
and in no condition

'bragging,' as

Drake

themselves for another serious engagement.
the temper of the entire fleet
course impossible.

But

made

a courageous

There was but one Oquendo.

Discipline was gone.

The

soldiers in their des-

peration had taken the
of the seamen.

command

out of the hands

Officers

and men alike abandoned

296

ENGLISH SEAMEN
human

[lect.

hope, and, with no
left to

prospect of salvation

them, they flung themselves on their knees
to

upon the decks and prayed the Almighty
pity on them.

have
since
first

But two weeks were gone

they had knelt on those same decks on the
sight of the English shore to thank

Him for having
glorious.

brought them so

far

on an enterprise so
!

Two weeks
by cannon
dying

;

and what weeks

Wrecked, torn

shot, ten

thousand of them dead or
loss

for this

was the estimated

by battle

—the survivors could now but pray

to

be delivered

from a miserable death by the elements.

In

cyclones the wind often changes suddenly back

from north-west to west, from west to south.
that moment, as
if

At

in answer to their petition, one

of these sudden shifts of

wind saved them from
gale backed round to

the immediate

peril.

The

S.S.W., and ceased to press

them on the

shoals.

They could
water,

ease their sheets, draw off into open
steer a course

and

up the middle

of the

North Sea.
So only that they went north, Drake was content to leave

them unmolested.

Once away

into

the high latitudes they might go where they

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA

297

would.
of their
fighting.

Neither Howard nor he, in the low state

own magazines,
If the
it.

desired any unnecessary

Armada turned back they must
it

close

with

If

held

its

present course they
it

must

follow

it till

they could be assured
for that

would
the

communicate no more
Prince of Parma.

summer with

Drake thought they would
Baltic or

perhaps make

for the

some port

in

Norway.

They would meet no

hospitable recep-

tion from either

Swedes or Danes, but they would

probably

try.

One

only imminent danger reIf they turned
possible
for

mained
into

to

be provided against.
Forth,
it

the

was

still

the

Spaniards to redeem their defeat, and even yet

shake

Elizabeth's

throne.

Among
for

the

many

plans which had been
of

formed
in

the invasion

England, a

landing

Scotland

had long

been the
Scotland

favourite.

Guise had always preferred

when
leader.

it

was intended that Guise should
Santa Cruz had been in close

be the

correspondence with Guise on this very subject,

and many

officers

in

the

Annada must have
The

been acquainted with Santa Cruz's views.
Scotch Catholic nobles were
still

savage at Mary

298

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

Stuart's execution,
in Leith

and had the Armada anchored

Roads with twenty thousand men, half
its

a million ducats, and a Santa Cruz at
it

head,

might have kindled a blaze at that moment
o'

from John

Groat's

Land

to the Border.
to the

But no such purpose occurred
of

Duke

Medina

Sidonia.

He

probably
parties.

knew nothing

at all

of Scotland
deficiencies

or its

Among

the

many

which he had pleaded
for the

to Philip

as unfitting

him

command, he had

said

that Santa Cruz had acquaintances

among

the

English and Scotch peers.

He had

himself none.
of anything

The small information which he had

did not go beyond his orange gardens and his

tunny

fishing.

His chief merit was that he was
his

conscious
service

of

incapacity;

and,

detesting

a

into

which he had

been fooled

by a

hysterical

nun, his only anxiety was to carry
still

home the
trusted

considerable fleet which had been
further
loss.

to

him without

Beyond

Scotland and the Scotch Isles there was the open
ocean,

and in the open ocean there were no sandThus, with
all sail

banks and no English guns.
set

he went on before the wind.

Drake and

9.]

.

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA
till

299

Howard attended him
past the Forth, and

they had seen him
that there was

knew then
was time

no more to
of their

fear.

It

to see to the

wants
so

own poor

fellows,

who had endured

patiently and fought so magnificently.

On

the

13th of August they saw the last of the Armada,

turned back, and made their way to the Thames.

But the

story has yet to be told of the final
'

fate of the great

enterprise of England
'),

'

(the

'empresa de Inglaterra
prayers, on

the object of so

many

which the hopes of the Catholic world
fixed.

had been so long and passionately

It

had
pre-

been ostentatiously a religious crusade.

The

parations had been attended with peculiar solemnities.

In the eyes of the

faithful it

was

to

be

the

execution of

Divine justice on a wicked
In the eyes of
less

princess
millions

and a wicked people.
whose convictions were
to

decided
to

it

was an appeal

God's

judgment

decide

between the Reformation and the Pope.

There

was

an

appropriateness,

therefore,

if

due

to

accident, that other causes besides the action of

man

should have combined in

its

overthrow.
sailors; a

The Spaniards were

experienced

300

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

voyage round the Orkneys and round Ireland to

Spain might be tedious, but at that season of the
year need not have seemed either dangerous or
difficult.

On

inquiry, however, it
fleet

was found that

the condition of the

was seriously alarming.
Lisbon had
all

The

provisions placed on board at
for

been found unfit
been thrown into

food,

and almost

had

the

sea.

The

fresh

stores
it

taken in at Corunna had been consumed, and

was found that
be nothing

at the present rate there

would
all,

left in

a fortnight.

Worse than

the water-casks refilled there had been carelessly
stowed.

They had been shot through in the

fight-

ing and were empty; while of clothing or other
comforts for the cold regions which they were
entering no thought had been taken.

The mules

and horses were flung overboard, and Scotch
smacks, which had followed the retreating
fleet,

reported that they had sailed for miles through
floating carcases.

The

rations were reduced for each

man

to a

daily half-pound of biscuit, a pint of water,

and

a pint of wine.

Thus, sick

and

hungry, the
officer,

wounded

left to

the care of a medical

who

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA
to ship, the subjects of so

301

went from ship
prayers were

many

left to

encounter the climate of the
all

North Atlantic.
self;

The Duke blamed

but him-

he hanged one poor captain

for neglect of

orders,

and would have hanged another had he
but his authority was gone.

dared

;

They passed
parted,

the Orkneys in a single body.
it

They then

was said in a fog

;

but each commander had to

look out for himself and his men.

In many ships
die.

water must be had somewhere, or they would

The 8an Martin, with

sixty consorts,

went north

to the sixtieth parallel.
pilots
coast.

From

that height the

promised to take them down clear of the

The wind

still

clung to the west, each
last.

day blowing harder than the
braced round to
way.
it

When

they

their

wounded spars gave

Their rigging parted.
they

With the

greatest

difficulty

made

at last sufficient offing,

and

rolled

down somehow out

of sight of land, dipping
seas.

their yards in the

enormous

Of the

rest,

one or two went down among the Western Isles

and became wrecks

there, their crews, or part of

them, making their way
Flanders.

through Scotland to

Others went north to Shetland or the

302

ENGLISH SEAMEN
Between
thirty

[lect.

Faroe Islands.

and

forty

were

tempted in upon the
Irishmen in the
that
fleet,

Irish coasts.

There were
told
for

who must have

them
which

they would find the water there

they were perishing, safe harbours, and a friendly
Catholic people
;

and they found either harbours

which they could not reach or sea-washed sands

and

reefs.

They were

all

wrecked at various

places between Donegal

and the Blaskets.

Some-

thing like eight thousand half-drowned wretches
struggled on shore alive.

Many were
and

gentlemen,

richly dressed, with velvet coats, gold chains,
rings.

and

The common

sailors

soldiers

had been

paid their wages before they started, and each

had a bag of ducats lashed
landed

to his waist

when he
Irish

through

the

surf

The wild

of

the coast,

tempted by the booty, knocked unof

known numbers

them on the head with them naked and
left

their

battle-axes, or stripped

them

to die of the cold.

On one long

sand strip in Sligo

an English

ojfficer

counted eleven hundred bodies,

and he heard that there were as many more a
few miles distant.

The better-educated

of the Ulster chiefs, the

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA

303

O'Rourke and O'Donnell, hurried down to stop
the butchery and spare
Ireland the
friends.

shame of

murdering helpless Catholic

Many

—how
in

many cannot
their castles.

be

said

— found
so it
all

protection
if

But even
pursued

seemed as

some
sailed

inexorable
in that

fate

who

had

doomed

expedition.

Alonzo de Leyva,

with half a hundred young Spanish nobles of high

rank who were under his special charge, made his

way

in a galleass into Killibeg.

He

was himself

disabled in

landing.

O'Donnell
his

received

and
After

took care of him and

companions.
for

remaining in O'Donnell's castle
recovered.
galleass

a month he

The weather appeared

to

mend.

The

was patched up, and De Leyva ventured

an attempt to make his way in her to Scotland.

He had
victims.

passed the worst danger, and
;

Scotland
its

was almost in sight

but fate would have

The

galleass struck a rock off
pieces,

Dunluce

and went to

and Don Alonzo and the
sailed with to find

princely youths

who had
all

him were

washed ashore

dead,

an unmarked

grave in Antrim.

Most

pitiful of all

was the

fate of those

who

304
fell

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

into the hands of the English garrisons in

Galway and Mayo.

Galleons had

found

their

way

into

Galway Bay

—one of them

had reached

Galway
and

itself

—the

crews half dead with famine

offering a cask of wine for a cask of water.
tried to
far

The Galway townsmen were human, and
feed and care for them.
to be revived,

Most were too

gone

and died of exhaustion. Some might

have recovered, but recovered they would be a

danger to the State.

The English

in the

West

of Ireland were but a handful in the midst of a
sullen, half-conquered population.

The ashes

of

the

Desmond

rebellion were

still

smoking, and Dr.

Sanders and his Legatine Commission were fresh
in immediate in the

memory.

The

defeat of the

Armada

Channel could only have been vaguely
All that English officers could have

heard of
accurately

known must have been that an

enor-

mous expedition had been
Philip to restore the Pope
;

sent to England

by

and Spaniards, they

found, were landing in thousands in the midst of

them with arms and money
moment, but

;

distressed for

the

sure, if allowed

time to get their
in

strength again,

to

set

Connaught

a

blaze.

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA
had
no
fortresses

305

They

to

hold

so

many

prisoners,

no means of feeding them, no men to
escort

spare to

them

to

Dublin.

They were
for the

responsible

to the Queen's

Government

safety of the country.

The Spaniards had not
of

come on any errand

mercy
out
to

to her
kill

or hers.

The

stern

order

went

them

all

wherever they might be found, and two thousand
or

more were
!

shot, hanged, or

put to the sword.
is

Dreadful
has
its

Yes, but war itself
necessities.

dreadful

and

own

The

sixty ships

which had followed the ^an

Jlfar^m succeeded at last in getting round

Cape

Clear, but in a condition scarcely less miserable

than that of their companions who had perished
in Ireland.

Half their companies died
thirst,

—died

of

untended wounds, hunger,

and famine
skeletons,

fever.

The

survivors

were

moving

more

shadows and ghosts than living men, with scarce
strength
tiller.

left

them

to

draw a rope or handle a
for

In some ships there was no water

fourteen days.

The weather

in the lower

lati-

tudes lost part of

its violence, or

not one of them

would have seen Spain again.

As

it

was they X

3o6

ENGLISH SEAMEN

[lect.

drifted

on outside Scilly and into the Bay of

Biscay,

and

in the second

week
one.
rest,

in

September
with

they
better

dropped in
success

one

by

Recalde,

than the

made

Corunna.

The Duke, not knowing where he was, found
himself in sight of Corunna
also.

The crew

of the

8an Martin were
her
in.

prostrate,

and could not work
none came,

They

signalled for help, but
to

and they dropped away

leeward to Bilbao.

Oquendo had
and the

fallen off still farther to Santander,

rest of the sixty arrived in the following

days at one or other of the Biscay ports.

On
left

board them, of the thirty thousand who had

those shores but two months before in high hope

and passionate enthusiasm, nine thousand only

came back

alive

if alive

they could be

called.

It is touching to read in a letter from Bilbao of

their joy at

warm Spanish

sun, the sight of the

grapes on the white walls, and the taste of fresh

home bread and water
late to save

again.

But

it

came too

them, and those whose bodies might
died of broken hearts and disap-

have

rallied

pointed dreams.

Santa Cruz's old companions

could not survive the ruin of the Spanish navy.

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA He had
too.

307

Recalde died two days after he landed at Bilbao.

Santander was Oquendo's home.

a wife

and children there, but he refused to see them,
turned his face to the wall, and died

The

common seamen and
help themselves.
the poisoned ships
to take

soldiers

were too weak to
be
left

They had
till

to

on board

hospitals could be prepared

them
all

in.

The

authorities of

Church and

State did

that

men

could do

;

but the case
all

was past

help,

and before September was out
care.

but a few hundred needed no further
Philip, it

must be

said for him, spared nothing

t© relieve the misery.

The widows and orphans The
stroke which

were pensioned by the State.

had

fallen

was received with a dignified sub-

mission to the inscrutable purposes of Heaven.

Diego Florez escaped with a brief punishment at
Burgos.

None

else

were punished

for

faults

which lay chiefly in the King's o^vn presumption
in imagining himself the instrument of Providence.

The Duke thought himself more sinned
against

than

sinning.

He

did not

die,

like
it.

Recalde or Oquendo, seeing no occasion for

He

flung

down

his

command and

retired to his

3o8

ENGLISH SEAMEN
San Lucan
;

[lect.

palace at

and

so far

was Philip from
its

resenting the loss of the

Armada on

com-

mander, that he continued him in his governorship
of Cadiz,

where Essex found him seven years

later,

and where he ran from Essex as he had run from
Drake.

The Spaniards made no attempt
the greatness of their defeat.
that the

to conceal

Unwilling to allow
against them,

Upper Powers had been
it

they set

frankly

down

to the superior fighting

powers of the English.

The English themselves, the Prince
said,
little

of

Parma

were modest in their
of their

victory.

They thought
defeat

own

gallantry.

To them the
fleet

and destruction of the Spanish
tion of the

was a declara-

Almighty in the cause of their country
faith.

and the Protestant

Both

sides

had ap-

pealed to Heaven, and Heaven had spoken.
It

was the turn of the

tide.

The wave

of the

reconquest of the Netherlands ebbed

from that

moment.

Parma took no more towns from the

Hollanders.
of England,
lished

The Catholic

peers and

gentlemen

who had held

aloof from the Estabfor

Church, waiting ad illud tempus

a

9.]

DEFEAT OF THE ARMADA

309

religious revolution, accepted the verdict of Provi-

dence.

They

discovered that in Anglicanism they

could keep the faith of their fathers, yet remain
in

communion with

their

Protestant

fellow-

countrymen, use the same liturgy, and pray in
the same
temples.

For the

first

time since

Elizabeth's father broke the bonds of

Rome

the

English became a united nation, joined in loyal

enthusiasm

for the

Queen, and were

satisfied that

thenceforward no Italian priest should tithe or
toll in

her dominions.
all

But

that,

and

all

that went with

it,

the

passing from Spain to England of the sceptre of

the seas, must be
lecturers
I.

left to

other lectures, or other
years before

who have more

them than

My own

theme has been the poor Protestant

adventurers

who fought through

that perilous

week

in the English

Channel and saved their

country and their country's liberty.

THE END

Richard Clay

if

Sons, limited,

London

Sr

Bungay.

——

,

April, 1895.

Messrs.

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SUPERNATURAL RELIGION:
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Inquiry into the Reality of Divine Revelation.

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Ecclesiastical; Historical. III. Theological; Philosophical.
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Supernatural Re-

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