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Title: Stories of Elizabethan heroes

Stirring records of the intrepid bravery and boundless resource of the men of Queen Elizabeth's reign

Author: Edward Gilliat

Release date: May 1, 2024 [eBook #73507]

Language: English

Original publication: London: Seeley, Service & Co. Limited, 1914

Credits: Al Haines


Cover art












Fully Illustrated. Extra crown 8vo, 2s. 6d. each


By H. W. G. HYRST, Author of "Adventures in the
Arctic Regions," &c.


By Rev. EDWARD GILLIAT, M.A., sometime Master at
Harrow School, Author of "In Lincoln Green,"
"Heroes of the Indian Mutiny," &c., &c.




The Elizabethan World


Sir John Hawkins, Seaman and Administrator


George Clifford, Earl of Cumberland, the Champion of the Tilt-yard


Sir Martin Frobisher, the Explorer of the Northern Seas


Sir Humphrey Gilbert, the Founder of Newfoundland


Lord Howard of Effingham, the Trusted of the Queen


Sir Richard Grenville, the Hero of Flores


John Davis, the Hero of the Arctic and Pacific


Francis Drake, the Scourge of Spain


Sir Francis Drake, the Queen's Greatest Seaman


Sir Richard Hawkins, Seaman and Geographer


"Sir Francis" ... Coloured Frontispiece [missing from source book]

Attempt on Sir John Hawkins' Life


Capture of an Eskimo

England's First Colony

The Blowing-up of the "San Felipe"

Sir Richard Grenville and the "Revenge"

Drake captures Nombre de Dios

Angling for Albatross


The contents of this volume have been taken from Mr. Gilliat's larger book entitled "Heroes of the Elizabethan Age," published at five shillings.




Before we touch upon the lives of some of the heroes of the Maiden Queen, it were well to consider briefly what life was like in those days, and how it differed from our own.

When on a November day in 1558 Sir Nicholas Throckmorton spurred his steaming horse to Hatfield, in haste to inform the Princess Elizabeth that Queen Mary was dead, he was bidden to ride back to the Palace of St. James's and request one of the ladies of the bedchamber to give him, if the Queen were really dead, the black enamelled ring which her Majesty wore night and day. So cautious had the constant fear of death made Anne Boleyn's daughter.

Meanwhile a deputation from the Council had arrived at Hatfield to offer to the new Queen their dutiful homage.

Elizabeth sank upon her knees and exclaimed: "A Domino factum est istud, et est mirabile in oculis nostris" ("This is the Lord's doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes")—a text which the Queen caused to be engraved on her gold coins, in memory of that day of release from anxiety. For the poor young Princess had lived for years in a state of alarm; she had been imprisoned in the Tower, the victim of plots for and against her; she had been kept under severe control at Woodstock under Sir Henry Bedingfeld, where she once saw a milkmaid singing merrily as she milked the cows in the Park, and exclaimed, "That milkmaid's lot is better than mine, and her life far merrier."

And now on a sudden her terrors were turned into a great joy; and what the Princess felt all England was soon experiencing, as soon as men realised that the tyranny of Rome and of Spain was shattered and gone.

Elizabeth was now at the close of her twenty-fifth year, of striking beauty and commanding presence, tall and comely, with a wealth of hair, yellow tinged with red; she inherited from her mother an air of coquetry, and her affable manners soon endeared her to her people. The English were tired of Smithfield fires and foreign priests and princes; a new era seemed to be dawning upon them at last—an era of freedom for soul and body; and imagination ran riot with hope to forecast a new and happier world. The homage of an admiring nation was stirred by her young beauty; and wild ambition, not content with the quiet fields of England, turned adventurously to the New World beyond the Atlantic, where men dreamed of real cities paved with gold. It is true that the Pope had given all the great West to his faithful daughter, Spain; but Englishmen thought they had as much right to colonise America as any son of Spain, and they soon obtained their Queen's leave to land and explore. But the first merchants who ventured west found that Spanish policy forbade "Christians to trade with heretics." Nay, if they were taken prisoners by the Spaniards they suffered the punishment of the rack and the stake; and if they escaped, they came home with tales of cruelty that set all England ablaze to take revenge. "Abroad, the sky is dark and wild," writes Kingsley, "and yet full of fantastic splendour. Spain stands strong and awful, a rising world-tyranny, with its dark-souled Cortezes and Pizarros, Alvas, Don Johns and Parmas, men whose path is like the lava stream: who go forth slaying and to slay in the names of their Gods.... Close to our own shores the Netherlands are struggling vainly for their liberties: abroad, the Western Islands, and the whole trade of Africa and India, will in a few years be hers ... and already Englishmen who go out to trade in Guinea, in the Azores and New Spain, are answered by shot and steel."

We know a good deal of the life in Elizabethan England from an account written by Harrison, Household Chaplain to Lord Cobham. He was an admirer of still older days, as we see from his complaint about improved houses: "See the change, for when our houses were builded of willow, then had we oaken men; but now that our houses are come to be made of oak, our men are not only become willow, but a great manie, through Persian delicacie crept in among us, altogether of straw, which is a sore alteration.... Now have we manie chimnies; and yet our tenderlings complain of rheumes, catarhs and poses. Then had we none but reredosses, and our heads did never ache. For as the smoke in those daies was supposed to be a sufficient hardning for the timber of the house, so it was reputed a far better medicine to keep the goodman and his family from the quake or pose."

Harrison notes how rich men were beginning to use stoves for sweating baths, how glass was beginning to be used instead of lattice, which was made out of wicker or rifts of oak chequer-wise, how panels of horn for windows had been going out for beryl or fine crystal, as at Sudeley Castle. Then for furniture, it was not rare to see abundance of arras in noblemen's houses, with such store of silver vessels as might fill sundry cupboards. There were three things that old men remembered to have been marvellously changed; one was the multitude of chimneys lately erected, whereas only the great religious houses and manor places of the lords had formerly possessed them, but each one made his fire against a reredosse in the hall, where he dined and dressed his meat in the smoke and smother; the second thing was the improved bedding. Formerly folks slept on straw pallets covered only with a sheet, and a good round log under their heads for a bolster. "As for servants, if they had anie sheet above them, it was well, for seldom had they any under them to keep them from the pricking straws that ran oft through the canvas and rased their hardened hides."

The third thing was the exchange from wooden cups and platters into pewter or tin. Now the farmers had featherbeds and carpets of tapestry instead of straw, sometimes even silver salt-cellars and a dozen spoons of pewter.

Harrison bewails the decay of archery, and says that all the young fellows above eighteen wear a dagger. Noblemen wear a sword too, while desperate cutters carry two rapiers, "wherewith in every drunken fray they are known to work much mischief"; and as the trampers carry long staves, the honest traveller is obliged to carry horse-pistols; for the tapsters and ostlers are in league with the highway robbers who rob chiefly at Christmas time, "till they be trussed up in a Tyburn tippet."

There was a proverb, "Young serving-men, old beggars," because servants were spoilt for any other service or craft; so that the country swarmed with idle serving-men, who often became highwaymen.

A German traveller writes of England thus: "The women there are charming, and by nature so mighty pretty as I have scarcely ever beheld, for they do not falsify, paint or bedaub themselves as they do in Italy or other places, but they are some deal awkward in their style of dress; for they dress in splendid stuffs, and many a one wears three cloth gowns, one over the other. Then, when a stranger goeth to a citizen's house on business, or is invited as a guest, he is received by the master of the house and the ladies and by them welcomed: he has even a right to take them by the arm and to kiss them, which is the custom of the country; and if any one doth not do this, it is regarded and imputed as ignorance and ill-breeding on his part."

Erasmus, writing in 1500, after a visit to Sir Thomas More, exclaims merrily: "There is a custom which it would be impossible to praise too much. Wherever you go, every one welcomes you with a kiss, and the same on bidding you farewell. You call again, when there is more kissing.... You meet an acquaintance anywhere, you are kissed till you are tired. In short, turn where you will, there are kisses, kisses everywhere."

It was the same before and after a dance: you bowed, or curtseyed, and kissed your partner in all formal ceremony. So Shakespeare—

"Come unto these yellow sands,
    And then take hands:
Curtseyed when you have, and kissed,
    The wild waves whist" (hushed).

Another foreigner describes the English as serious, like the Germans, liking to be followed by hosts of servants who wear their masters' arms in silver, fastened to their left arms: they excel in music and dancing, and their favourite sport is hawking: they are more polite than the French in eating, devour less bread but more meat, which they roast in perfection. They put a great deal of sugar in their drink, a habit which may account for their teeth turning black in age. Harrison tells us that the nobles had "for cooks musicall-headed Frenchmen, who concocted sundrie delicacies: every dish being first taken to the greatest personage at the table."

We are told that Sir Walter Raleigh was once staying with a noble lady, whom he heard in the morning scolding her servant and crying, "Have the pigs been fed? have the pigs been fed?"

At eleven o'clock Master Walter came down to dinner, and could not resist a sly remark to his hostess, "Have the pigs been fed?" The lady drew herself up haughtily and rejoined, "You should know best, Sir Walter, whether you have had your breakfast or no." So the laugh was turned on the wit for once: for indeed it had become unusual for people to require any breakfast before eleven o'clock in Queen Elizabeth's time. Formerly they had four meals a day, consisting of breakfast, dinner, nuntion or beverage, and supper. "Now these odd repasts," says Harrison, "thanked be God! are very well left, and each one (except here and there some young hungrie stomach that cannot fast till dinner-time) contenteth himself with dinner and supper only." It was the custom at table amongst yeomen and merchants for the guest to call for such drink as he desired, when a servant would bring him a cup from the cupboard; but when he had tasted of it, he delivered it again to the servant, who made it clean and restored it to the cupboard. "By this device much idle tippling is cut off, for if the full pots should continually stand neare the trencher, divers would be alwaies dealing with them." Yet in the houses of the nobles it was not so, but silver goblets or glasses of Venice graced the tables.

They were content with four or six dishes, finishing with jellies and march-paine "wrought with no small curiosity"; potatoes, too, began to be brought from Spain and the Indies. The best beer was usually kept for two years and brewed in March; of light wines there were fifty-six kinds, mostly foreign, from Italy, Greece, and Spain, clarets from France, and Malmsey wine.

"I might here talk somewhat of the great silence that is used at the tables of the honourable and wiser sort, likewise of the moderate eating and drinking that is daily seen, and finally of the regard that each one hath to keep himself from the note of surfeiting and drunkennesse."

They were a proud, self-respecting people in those spacious times, and even the poorer sort, when they could get a time to be merry, thought it no small disgrace if they happened to be "cup-shotten."

In regard to their dress the English at that time seem to have been somewhat extravagant, copying first the Spanish guise, then the French, anon the Italian or German—nay, even Turkish and Moorish fashions gained favour; "so that except it were a dog in a doublet, you shall not see any so disguised as are my countrymen of England."

Our good friend Harrison waxes quite sarcastic as he describes, "What chafing, what fretting, what reproachful language doth the poor workman bear away! ... Then must we put it on, then must the long seams of our hose be set by a plumb-line: then we puff, then we blow, and finally sweat till we drop, that our clothes may stand well upon us."

It became the fashion for ladies to dye their hair yellow out of compliment to the Queen, who however in her later years used wigs, and was reputed to have a choice of eighty attires of false hair.

In 1579 the Queen gave her command to the Privy Council to prevent excesses of apparel, and it was ordered that "No one shall use or wear such excessive long cloaks; being in common sight monstrous." Neither were they to wear such high ruffs of cambric about their necks as were growing common, both with men and women. Quilted doublets, curiously slashed, and lined with figured lace, Venetian hose and stockings of the finest black yarn, with shoes of white leather, betokened the courtier, the clank of whose gilded spurs announced his coming.

In regard to weapons, the long-bow had gone out of use, but they shot with the caliver, a clumsy musket with a short butt, and handled the pike with dexterity. Corslets and shirts of mail still remained; every village could furnish forth three or four soldiers, as one archer, one gunner, one pikeman, and a bill-man. As to artillery, the falconet weighed five hundred pounds, with a diameter of two inches at the mouth; the culverin weighed four thousand pounds, having a diameter of five inches and a half; the cannon weighed seven thousand, and the basilisk nine thousand pounds.

In 1582 Queen Elizabeth had twenty-five great ships of war, the largest being of 1000 tons burden, besides three galleys: there were 135 ships that exceeded 500 tons, which could fight at a pinch, for many private owners possessed ships of their own.

A man-of-war in those days was well worth two thousand pounds, and "it is incredible to say how greatly her Grace was delighted with her fleet." After all, it is the men that count most, and the men of that day were as full of good courage as the best of us.

On the Continent they had a saying that "England is a paradise for women, a prison for servants, and a purgatory for horses"; for the females had more liberty in England than on the Continent, and were almost like masters; while the servants could not escape from England without a passport, and the poor horses were worked all too hard.

For instance, when the Queen broke up her Court to go on progress, there commonly followed her more than three hundred carts laden with bag and baggage. For you must know that in Tudor England, besides coaches, they used no waggons for their goods, but had only two-wheeled carts, which were so large that they could carry quite as much as waggons, and as many as five or six horses were needed to draw them.

In those days they knew full well what deep ruts could do in the way of lowering speed, and the jaded horses must sometimes have thought that they were pulling a plough, and not a coach.

Fynes Moryson, a traveller, gives a pleasant account of his journeyings: "The world affords not such Innes as England hath, either for good and cheap entertainment after the guests' own pleasure, or for humble attendance upon passengers. For as soon as a traveller comes to an Inne, the servants run to him, and one takes his horse and walks him till he be cold, then rubs him and gives him meat. Another servant gives the traveller his private chamber and kindles his fire: the third pulls off his boots and makes them cleane. Then the Host or Hostess visits him; and if he will eat with the Host, or at a common table with others, his meal will cost him six pence, or in some places but four pence: but if he will eat in his chamber, the which course is more honourable, he commands what meat he will, according to his appetite, and when he sits at table the Host or Hostess will visit him, taking it for courtesie to be bid sit downe: while he eats he shall have musicke offered him: if he be solitary the musicians will give him the good day with musicke in the morning. It is the custom to set up part of supper for his breakfast. Ere he goeth he shall have a reckoning in writing, which the Host will abate, if it seem unreasonable. At parting, if he give some few pence to the chamberlain and ostler they wish him a happy journey."

We may add that folk did not use night-gowns, as we see from George Cavendishes "Life of Wolsey": "My master went to his naked bed." But a night-gown in those days meant a dressing-gown. Hentzner gives us a description of the life at Court, from which we will take a few passages. He was at Greenwich Palace, being admitted to the presence-chamber, which was hung with rich tapestry and strewn with hay, or rushes. After noticing the small hands and tapering fingers of the Queen, her stately air and pleasing speech, he says: "As she went along in all this state and magnificence, she spoke very graciously, first to one foreign Minister, then to another: for, besides being well skilled in Greek, Latin, and French, she is mistress of Spanish, Scotch, and Dutch. Whoever speaks to her, it is kneeling: now and then she will pull off her glove and give her hand to kiss, sparkling, with rings and jewels. The Ladies of the Court that followed her, very handsome and well-shaped, were dressed in white, while she was guarded on either side by her gentlemen Pensioners, fifty in number, with gilt battle-axes."

What a marvellous lady was this Queen, so taught by suffering to dissemble and deceive, so trained by her tutors, Ascham and others, that she could make a speech in Latin to the Doctors of Cambridge and Oxford, or converse with a Dutchman, nay, even with a Scot in his own tongue.

We rather suspect that Hentzner may have been mistaken about the Scot; for surely she could not speak with a Highlander in Gaelic, and to understand a Lowland Scot could not have taxed her royal powers much.

England was a strange mixture of richness and poverty, of learning and superstition, of refined luxury and brutal amusements at that age. Hentzner describes how in a theatre built of wood he one day sat to listen to excellent music and noble poetry of tragedy or comedy, the next time he witnessed the cruel baiting of bulls and bears by English bull-dogs. "To this entertainment there often follows that of whipping a blinded bear, which is performed by five or six men standing around in a circle with whips, which they exercise upon him without any mercy, as he cannot escape from them because of his chain: he defends himself with all his force and skill, throwing down all who come within his reach, and tearing the whips out of their hands and breaking them. At these spectacles" (he writes in 1598) "the English are constantly smoking tobacco, and in this manner: they have pipes on purpose made of clay, into the farther end of which they put the herb, so dry that it may be rubbed into powder; putting fire to it they draw the smoke into their mouths, which they puff out again through their nostrils, like to funnels."

The writer has one of these Elizabethan pipes: it is made with an exceedingly small bowl, showing how precious was the weed which Raleigh had recently introduced. The pipes have been found by workmen employed on the banks of the Thames in Southwark.

We must remember, in criticising the conduct of Elizabethan heroes, that they lived in a cruel age; that torture was still employed by the law, even to delicate ladies; that much of their sport was brutal, and much of their merriment gross and indelicate. There is, and there has been, a decided progress in the manners of Europeans; so that it is with a moral effort that we try to see things with their eyes and judge them with discrimination. For instance, many of their great seamen may in one aspect be regarded as pirates; for the great Queen sometimes did not sanction their raids over western waters until they had brought her some priceless spoil. The pirate was then knighted and commended for his valiant deeds of patriotism. Even along the coasts of England local jealousy set the galleys of the Cinque Ports in the south at making reprisals upon the traders of Yarmouth. When these depredations were made upon foreigners there were few who denounced them; for it became a kind of sport, an adventure well worth the attention of any squire's son, to snatch some rich prize from the wide ocean and distribute largesse on safely coming to port.

These men were the Robin Hoods of the sea, and when from selfish plunderings they rose to be champions of religious freedom as well, their career seemed in most men's minds to be worthy of all admiration. But in order to understand fully the motives which induced the more noble spirits to go forth and do battle with Spain on private grounds, and at their own expense, we ought to have sat at the Mermaid, or other taverns, and heard the mariners' tales as they told them fresh from the salt sea. We should have listened to stories of cruel wrongs inflicted on the brave Indians of South America, which would have stirred any dormant spirit of chivalry within us, and made us long to champion the weak.

We should have heard the story of the Indian chief who was taken prisoner by the Spaniards, and suffered the penalty of losing his hands because he had fought so strenuously for his mother-land. This Indian returned to his people, and devoted the rest of his life to encouraging and heartening his countrymen to the great work of fighting for life and liberty, showing his maimed arms, and calling to mind how many others had had half a foot hacked off by the Spaniards that they might not sit on horseback. Then, when a battle was being fought, we should have been told how this chief loaded his two stumps with bundles of arrows and supplied the fighters with fresh store, as they lacked them. Surely men so brave as this man challenged admiration and deserved succour.

The young Queen of England had suffered herself, and these stories must have stirred her heart to say with the Dido of Virgil—

"Haud ignara mali, miseris succurrere disco."

Raleigh and Drake, Hawkins and Frobisher, Shakespeare and Spenser may have sat by a coal-fire and heard or told such stories; for Raleigh writes: "Who will not be persuaded that now at length the great Judge of the world hath heard the sighs, groans, and lamentations, hath seen the tears and blood of so many millions of innocent men, women, and children, afflicted, robbed, reviled, branded with hot irons, roasted, dismembered, mangled, stabbed, whipped, racked, scalded with hot oil, put to the strapado, ripped alive, beheaded in sport, drowned, dashed against the rocks, famished, devoured by mastiffs, burned, and by infinite cruelties consumed,—and purposeth to scourge and plague that cursed nation, and to take the yoke of servitude from that distressed people, as free by nature as any Christian."

It was not the massacres under Cortez and Pizarro, earlier in this century, which roused the deepest indignation; it was the tales of inhuman cruelty perpetrated by Spanish colonists in time of peace, and of the noble conduct of the conquered Indians under the degrading conditions of their slavery, which most moved pity and wrath and feelings of revenge.

Men told the story of the Cacique who was forced to labour in the mines with his former subjects, how he called the miners together—ninety-five in all—and with a dignity befitting a prince made them the following speech:—

"My worthy companions and friends, why desire we to live any longer under so cruel a servitude? Let us now go unto the perpetual seat of our ancestors, for we shall there have rest from these intolerable cares and grievances which we endure under the subjection of the unthankful. Go ye before, I will presently follow." So speaking, the Indian chief held out handfuls of those leaves which take away life, prepared for the purpose; so they disdainfully sought in death relief from the cruel bondage of their Spanish masters.

Again, an officer named Orlando had taken to wife the daughter of a Cuban Cacique; but, because he was jealous, he caused her to be fastened to two wooden spits, set her before the fire to roast, and ordered the kitchen servants to keep her turning. The poor girl, either through panic, fear, or the torment of heat, swooned away and died. Now the Cacique her father, on hearing this, took thirty of his men, went to the officer's house and slew the woman whom he had married after torturing his former wife, slew her women and all her servants; then he shut the doors of the house and burnt himself and all his companions. Tales such as these might well sting a generous and kindly people into doing harsh actions. Froude says in his "Forgotten Worthies": "On the whole, the conduct and character of the English sailors present us all through that age with such a picture of gallantry and high heroic energy as has never been over-matched." So, when we feel inclined to pass judgment upon our "heroes" for their misdeeds, we must remember the spirit of the time, and the wrongs of the weaker, and the promptings of generosity and religion.



This famous sea-captain was the grandson of John Hawkins of Tavistock, who was a merchant in the service of Henry VIII. John was born at Plymouth in the year 1520, and drank in the love of the salt seas from his earliest years. His father, William Hawkins, was known to be one of the most experienced sea-captains in the west of England: he had fitted out a "tall and goodly ship," the Paul of Plymouth, and made in her three voyages to Brazil and to Guinea. He treated the savage people so well that they became very friendly, and in 1531 he brought one of their chiefs to England, leaving a Plymouth man behind as hostage. This chief was presented to King Henry and became the lion of society. On his way home to Brazil he died of sea-sickness; but Hakluyt tells us that the savages, being fully persuaded of the honest dealing of William Hawkins with their king, believed his report and restored the hostage, without harm to any of his company.

William Hawkins married Joan Trelawny and had two sons, John and William, both of whom made their way as seamen and merchants.

John made some voyages to the Canary Islands when quite a youth, and with his quick eye for gain soon learnt that negroes might be cheaply gotten in Guinea and profitably sold in Hispaniola. John Hawkins was not the first to make and sell slaves, but he was the first Englishman to take part in this cruel and inhuman barter. The Spaniards and Portuguese had used slaves, both Moors and negroes, and Hawkins no doubt had seen plenty of cases of slave-holding along the west coast of Africa, where savage warfare was carried on between native tribes, and such of the conquered as were not eaten were retained as slaves. He may have thought therefore that he was only carrying them to a less barbarous captivity; and we should remember that slavery was defended even by some religious people until quite recent times: but we must deplore the fact that this daring sea-dog, who certainly was not without religious feelings, found in this traffic a source of gain.

No doubt John, on his return to England, discussed the matter openly with men of influence, for in October 1562, being now more than forty years old, he led an expedition of a hundred men in three ships, the Solomon of 120 tons, the Swallow of 100 tons, and the Jones of 40 tons burden, and sailed direct for the coast of Sierra Leone, in West Africa, just north of Guinea. Hakluyt draws a veil over the exact methods by which John Hawkins got possessed of 300 fine negroes, besides other merchandise; but he probably took sides in some local quarrel and carried off his share of the prisoners. These poor wretches were carried across the Atlantic in the stuffy holds of small ships, and landed at San Domingo, one of the largest of the Spanish islands in the West Indies.

John made due apologies for entering the Spanish port: they could see he was really in want of food and water. The Spaniards too were polite, and as they peeped into his hold they saw the very thing they wanted—negroes. A bargain was quickly made, and John Hawkins took off in return for his captives quite a goodly store of pearls, hides, sugar, and other innocent materials.

Hawkins himself arrived safely in England with his three ships, but his partner, Thomas Hampton, who took what was left over in two Spanish ships to Cadiz, did not fare so well. For when it became known at Cadiz that English merchants had been trading with Spain's colonies, Philip II. confiscated the cargo, and Hampton narrowly escaped the prisons of the Inquisition. Queen Elizabeth was warned by her ambassador at Madrid that further voyages of this nature might lead to war.

For it seems that Philip had been an admirer of the Maiden Queen, and had been rebuffed as a suitor; whereby his love had changed to hate, and he lost no opportunity of showing his resentment.

But Queen Bess had her father's spirit in her, and answered the Spanish threat by permitting one of her largest ships, the Jesus of Lübeck, to be chartered for a new voyage. The Earls of Leicester and Pembroke joined in raising money for the expedition—this time it was a Court affair; there sailed a hundred and seventy men in five vessels, and they were to meet another Queen's ship, the Minion, before they got out of the Channel.

Again Hawkins raided the West African coast, "going every day on shore to take the inhabitants, with burning and spoiling of their towns."

It is strange how men engaged in such ruthless work could yet believe that they were specially preserved by Providence. For on New Year's Day 1565 they were well-nigh surprised by natives as they were seeking water. But a pious seaman wrote thus in his journal: "God, who worketh all things for the best, would not have it so, and by Him we escaped without danger—His name be praised for it!" Then they set sail for the West Indies with a goodly cargo of miserable slaves; but for eighteen days they were becalmed—"as idle as a painted ship, upon a painted ocean." "And this happened to us very ill, being but reasonably watered for so great a company of negroes and ourselves. This pinched us all: and, that which was worst, put us in such fear that many never thought to have reached the Indies without great dearth of negroes and of themselves; but the Almighty God, which never suffereth His elect to perish, sent us the ordinary breeze."

Let us hope that they felt some pity for the poor negroes too, who must have suffered agonies of thirst on that hideous journey.

But King Philip had ordered his Christian subjects to have no dealings with heretics; and for some time they could sell no negroes in Dominica.

But some heathen Indians presented cakes of maize, hens, and potatoes, which the English crews bought for beads, pewter whistles, knives, and other trifles. "These potatoes be the most delicate roots that may be eaten, and do far exceed our parsnips and carrots."

We need to remind ourselves occasionally of some of the luxuries which our ancestors never knew till these old seadogs brought them home—tobacco and potatoes! and later on, tea and coffee! It is difficult to imagine what the want of such things would mean to us now.

But not all the Indians were so kind as these they first met; for on the American mainland they fell in with a tribe whom the devilries of Spain had turned to "ferocious bloodsuckers," and whom they only narrowly avoided. Hawkins, according to his instructions from the Queen's Council, kept away from the larger dependencies and islands, and tried to sell his cargo in out-of-the-way places which Philip's orders might not have reached. At Barbarotta he was refused permission to trade. But Hawkins sent in a message: "I have with me one of Queen Elizabeth's own ships. I need refreshment and without it I cannot depart; if you do not allow me to have my way, I shall have to displease you."

Thereat he ran out a few of his guns to mark the form which his displeasure might assume: the Spaniards improved in politeness. At Curacoa they feasted on roast lamb to their heart's content: near Darien they again had to use threats of violence in order to get licence to trade; but the price offered by the Spaniards for the negroes so disgusted the equitable mind of John Hawkins that he wrote the Governor a letter saying that they dealt too rigorously with him, to go about to cut his throat in the price of his commodities ... but seeing they had sent him this to his supper, he would in the morning bring them as good a breakfast.

When that breakfast was served—and served hot—it proved to be garnished with a handsome volley of ordnance, with ships' boats landing at full speed a hundred armed Englishmen: the Spaniards fled.

"After that we made our traffic full quietly, and sold all our negroes." Hawkins then sailed for Hispaniola, but being misled by his pilot he found himself at Jamaica and then at Cuba, and so along the coast of Florida, meeting many Indians whenever they landed who were of so fierce a character that of five hundred Spaniards who had recently set foot in the country only a very few returned; and a certain friar who essayed to preach to them "was by them taken and his skin cruelly pulled over his ears and his flesh eaten." "These Indians as they fight will clasp a tree in their arms and yet shoot their arrows: this is their way of taking cover."

In coasting along Florida they found a Huguenot colony that had been founded there at the advice of Admiral Coligny. They had been reduced by fighting the Indians from two hundred to forty, and were glad to accept a passage home in the Tiger. On the 28th of July the English ships started for home, but, owing to contrary winds, their provisions fell so short they "were in despair of ever coming home, had not God of His goodness better provided for us than our deserving." On the 20th September they landed at Padstow in Cornwall, having lost twenty persons in all the voyage, and with great profit in gold, silver, pearls, "and other jewels great store." The Queen was delighted with the bold way in which Hawkins had traded in defiance of the Spanish king, and by patent she conferred on him a crest and coat of arms.

The Spanish ambassador at once wrote off to his master, saying he had met Hawkins in the Queen's palace, who gave him a full account of his trading with full permission of the governors of towns (he did not say by what means he had obtained such licence); "The vast profit made by the voyage has excited other merchants to undertake similar expeditions. Hawkins himself is going out again next May, and the thing needs immediate attention." The result of this letter was that Hawkins was strictly forbidden by Sir William Cecil from "repairing armed, for the purpose of traffic, to places privileged by the King of Spain." So the ships went, but Hawkins stayed at home; his ships returned next summer laden with gold and silver. The crews did not publish any account of how they had obtained their cargoes, and as the Queen had recently been assisting the Netherlands in their struggle for liberty against Spain, she made no indiscreet inquiries, and proceeded to lend the Jesus of Lübeck and the Minion for another expedition. One of the volunteers was young Francis Drake, now twenty-two years of age, whom Hawkins made captain of one of his six vessels.

As they left Plymouth they fell in with a Spanish galley en route for Cadiz with a cargo of prisoners from the Netherlands. Hawkins fired upon the Spanish flag, and in the confusion many of the captives escaped to the Jesus, whence they were sent back to Holland.

The Spanish ambassador wrote strongly to the Queen, and the Queen wrote strongly to Hawkins; but Hawkins had sailed away and was encountering storms off Cape Finisterre, so that he had a mind to return for repairs. But the weather moderating he went on to the Canaries and Cape Verde. Here he landed 150 men in search of negroes, but eight of his men died of lockjaw from being shot by poisoned arrows. "I myself," writes Hawkins, "had one of the greatest wounds, yet, thanks be to God, escaped."

In Sierra Leone they joined a negro king in his war against his enemies, attacked a strongly paled fort, and put the natives to flight. "We took 250 persons, men, women, and children, and our friend the king took 600 prisoners," which by agreement were to go to the English, but the wily negro decamped with them in the night, and Hawkins had to be content with his own few. They were at sea from February 3rd until March 27th, when they sighted Dominica, but found it difficult to trade, until after a show of force the Spaniards gave in and eagerly bought the slaves. At Vera Cruz the inhabitants mistook our ships for the Spanish fleet. There is a rocky island at the mouth of the harbour which Hawkins seized. The next morning the Spanish fleet arrived in reality, but Hawkins would not admit them until they had promised him security for his ships. Now there was no good anchorage outside, and if the north wind blew "there had been present shipwreck of all the fleet, in value of our money some £1,800,000." So he let them in under conditions, for even Hawkins thought that he ought not to risk incurring his Queen's indignation. On Thursday Hawkins had entered the port, on Friday he saw the Spanish fleet, and on Monday at night the Spaniards entered the port with salutes, after swearing by King and Crown that Hawkins might barter and go in peace.

For two days both sides laboured, placing the English ships apart from the Spanish, with mutual amity and kindness. But Hawkins began to notice suspicious changes in guns and men, and sent to the Viceroy to ask what it meant. The answer was a trumpet-blast and a sudden attack. Meanwhile a Spaniard sitting at table with Hawkins had a dagger in his sleeve, but was disarmed before he could use it. The Spaniards landed on the island and slew all our men without mercy. The Jesus of Lübeck had five shots through her mainmast, the Angel and Swallow were sunk, and the Jesus was so battered that she served only to lie beside the Minion, and take all the battery from the land guns.


As the Spanish and English fleets were anchored at Vera Cruz apparent amity and goodwill existed between the two, but as Hawkins was sitting at dinner one day a Spaniard sitting at table with him was discovered with a dagger up his sleeve, but fortunately was disarmed before he could use it.

Hawkins cheered his soldiers and gunners, called his page to serve him a cup of beer, whereat he stood up and drank to their good luck. He had no sooner set down the silver cup than a demi-culverin shot struck it away. "Fear nothing," shouted Hawkins, "for God, who hath preserved me from this shot, will also deliver us from these traitors and villains."

Francis Drake was bidden to come in with the Judith, a barque of 50 tons, and take in men from the sinking ships: at night the English in the Minion and Judith sailed out and anchored under the island. The English taken by the Spaniards received no mercy. "They took our men and hung them up by the arms upon high posts until the blood burst out of their fingers' ends."

The Judith under Drake sailed for England and reached Plymouth in January 1569; the Minion, with 200 men, suffered hunger and had to eat rats and mice and dogs. One hundred men elected to be landed and left behind to the mercies of Indians and Spaniards. "When we were landed," said a survivor, "Master Hawkins came unto us, where friendly embracing every one of us, he was greatly grieved that he was forced to leave us behind him. He counselled us to serve God and to love one another; and thus courteously he gave us a sorrowful farewell and promised, if God sent him safe home, he would do what he could that so many of us as lived should by some means be brought into England—and so he did." Thus writes Job Hartop. So we see that John Hawkins, the slave-dealer, sincerely tried after his fashion to serve God as well as his Queen. His men loved him and spoke well of him when he failed; a good test of a man's worth when men will speak well of you though all your plans be broken and your credit gone. But alas! for the poor hundred men left ashore on the Mexican coast! They wandered for fourteen days through marshes and brambles, some poisoned by bad water, others shot by Indians or plagued by mosquitoes, until they came to the Spanish town of Panluco, where the Governor thrust them into a little hog-stye and fed them on pigs' food. After three days of this they were manacled two and two and driven over ninety leagues of road to the city of Mexico. One of their officers used them very spitefully and would strike his javelin into neck or shoulders, if from faintness any lagged behind, crying, "March on, English dogs, Lutherans, enemies to God." After four months in gaol they were sent out as servants to the Spanish colonists. For six years they fared passing well, but in 1575 the Inquisition was introduced into Mexico, and then their "sorrows began afresh." On the eve of Good Friday all were dressed for an auto-da-fé and paraded through the streets. Some were then burnt, others sent to the galleys, the more favoured ones got three hundred lashes apiece. One who had escaped had spent twenty-three years in various galleys, prisons, and farms.

Meanwhile Hawkins was taking his other hundred men back to England, meeting violent storms, but "God again had mercy on them." Then food became scarce and many died of starvation: the rest were so weak they could hardly manage the sails. At last they sighted the coast of Spain and put in at Vigo for supplies; here more died from eating excess of fresh meat after their famine. At length, with the help of twelve English sailors they reached Mount's Bay in Cornwall, in January 1569.

Here was a miserable ending of an ambitious expedition: no profits, no gold, no silver for the rich merchants and courtiers who had subscribed for the fitting out of the ships; no jewels for the lady who graced the throne. Sadly John Hawkins wrote to Sir William Cecil: "All our business hath had infelicity, misfortune, and an unhappy end: if I should write of all our calamities, I am sure a volume as great as the Bible will scarcely suffice."

Thus our hero, ruined but not broken, bided his time for revenge. As the years wore on England and Spain grew more embittered. Private warfare had existed for some time, and Philip had wished to declare open war in 1568; but the Duke of Alva cautioned him against making more enemies, while they still found it hard to subdue the Low Countries. So, for a while, the King contented himself with underhand efforts to stir up rebellion in Ireland and England.

In the year 1578 John Hawkins was summoned by the Queen from Devon and appointed Comptroller of the Navy. His business was to see to the building of new ships, the repairing of old ones, and the victualling and manning of all about to take the sea. Hawkins is said to have invented "false netting" for ships to fight in, chain-pumps and other devices. Acting with Drake he founded the "Chest" at Chatham, a fund made up by voluntary subscriptions from seamen on behalf of their poorer brethren. In fact he entered upon his work with the same zeal which he had shown in the West Indies. Lucky was it for him that he had a mistress like Elizabeth; for under the craven James he would certainly have been handed over to the Inquisition, or put to death by Spanish order, like Raleigh. In 1572 Hawkins and George Winter were commissioned to do their utmost to clear the British seas of pirates and freebooters, for of late the coasts of Norfolk and the East had been much troubled by sea-robbers. But through all his multifarious duties the old sea-rover was ever most bent on paying off old scores against King Philip. So many of his friends, beside himself, had lost their all or endured sharp punishment in Spanish dungeons, that he grimly chuckled when he heard of Drake having "singed King Philip's beard"; and when the news came that the invasion of England was only put off, and Pope Sixtus V. had spurred his Spanish Majesty to quick action by the oft-quoted taunt, "The Queen of England's distaff is worth more than Philip's sword," then John Hawkins rubbed his hands gleefully, and lost no time in getting all the Queen's ships taut and in order, well victualled and well manned. But Hawkins did not mince matters when he saw anything amiss; any hesitation or signs of parsimony met with his blunt disapproval. He writes in February 1588 to urge that peace could only be won by resolute fighting: "We might have peace, but not with God. Rather than serve Baal, let us die a thousand deaths. Let us have open war with these Jesuits, and every man will contribute, fight, devise or do, for the liberty of our country."

Hawkins also wrote to ask for the use of six large and six small ships for four months, with 1800 mariners and soldiers, which he would employ in another raid upon the Spanish coast, so as to hinder Philip's grand Armada. "I promise I will distress anything that goeth through the seas: and in addition to the injury done to Spain, I shall acquire booty enough to pay four times over the cost of the expedition."

But Burghley, like his mistress, kept a tight hand over slender resources, and he rejected Hawkins' offer. Macaulay says that even Burghley's jests were only neatly expressed reasons for keeping money carefully. Lord Howard bitterly complained to Walsingham that "her Majesty was keeping her ships to protect Chatham Church withal, when they should be serving their turn abroad"; and again, when Drake was being prevented from getting his Plymouth squadron in order for sea-service, he writes: "I pray God her Majesty do not repent her slack dealing.... I fear ere long her Majesty will be sorry she hath believed some so much as she hath done." Lord Burghley's task was to defeat the Armada with an almost empty exchequer. We find calculations of his as to whether it will not be cheaper to feed the sailors of the fleet on fish three days a week and bacon once, instead of the usual ration of four pennyworth of beef each day. And naturally these attempts to cut down expenses were misconstrued into parsimony. But with all her rigid economy, Elizabeth could show a brave front when the crisis came; as in the camp at Tilbury, when she addressed the little army that was expecting every hour to be called to meet the fierce onset of the invaders: "I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and goodwill of my subjects; and therefore am I come amongst you, as ye see, at this time, resolved in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman; but I have the heart of a king, and of a King of England too, and think it foul scorn that Parma, or Spain, or any Prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm; to which, rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your General, Judge, and Rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field."

The Great Armada had left the Tagus on the 20th of May 1588. It consisted of one hundred and thirty-two ships under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia. Besides 8766 sailors, there were on board 2088 galley slaves, 21,855 officers and soldiers ready for action as soon as they should land; 300 monks and friars were pacing the decks, sent to take spiritual charge in partibus infidelium.

Against this force Queen Elizabeth had only thirty-four of her own ships, but all the seaports from Bristol to Hull sent small armed vessels, while noblemen and merchants contributed to swell the total, which came to nearly two hundred in all.

John Hawkins was there as Rear-Admiral under Howard, making with Drake and Frobisher his headquarters at Plymouth. "For the love of God," he writes to Walsingham, on the 19th of June, "let her Majesty care not now for charges," and in the same vein he wrote also to the Queen.

As he kept watch the Spanish fleet came slowly on, intending to surprise Plymouth; but Hawkins and his vessels were already awaiting the foe outside, so they anchored for the night off Looe. The next day was Sunday, the 21st of July, and Medina Sidonia seems to have made up his mind to go on to the Isle of Wight. All that day the little English ships were barking round the unwieldy galleys of Spain. "We had some small fight with them that Sunday afternoon," said Hawkins. By three o'clock the Spanish fleet was in a pretty confusion, hasting to get away from their tormentors. On Monday and Tuesday the fight continued, the details of which may be reserved for a later chapter; but every day more reinforcements came to Howard, as courtiers and merchants hurried down from London to serve in pinnace or frigate. By Wednesday morning the English ships had spent nearly all their ammunition, and were begging for powder and shot at every village they passed. On Friday Lord Howard knighted Frobisher and Hawkins for their valiant conduct; he then allowed the Armada to sail along the Sussex coast and cross the Straits of Dover towards Calais. There through Saturday and Sunday vast crowds of Flemings and Frenchmen gathered to gaze at the two great fleets, which were waiting, the Spaniards for the Prince of Parma to join them from Dunkirk, the English to carry out a little device which Sir William Winter had suggested.

Six of the oldest vessels were filled with combustibles and guns loaded to the mouth with old iron, and at midnight were conducted in the pitchy darkness of a rising storm within bow-shot of the Armada.

A train was fired, and the fierce south-west wind bore the fire-ships into the crescent of the Spaniards. The blaze, the explosions, the cannon-shot, struck a panic into the Armada. "The fire of Antwerp!" they cried. "Cut cable, up anchor!" In a few minutes they were all colliding together in their hurry to get away from the flames, and all that night they sped away past Dunkirk and Parma even to the mouth of the Scheldt.

"God hath given us so good a day in forcing the enemy so far to leeward," wrote Drake, "as I hope in God, the Prince of Parma and the Duke of Sidonia will not shake hands these few days.... I assure your honour, this day's service hath much appalled the enemy."

Then on the Monday Hawkins in the Victory, Drake in the Revenge, and Frobisher in the Triumph, led the English to the attack upon a fleet disorganised and cowed, fearing alike the sands, the storm, and the foe. Every ship in the Spanish fleet had received damage, some had been taken and others sunk, while a score or so went on shore and were lost.


The Spanish fleet lay safely moored in Calais Harbour, huge impregnable castles of timber, but Howard's fire-ships caused them to scurry away before the wind like frightened fowls.

"We pluck their feathers by little and little," wrote Lord Howard, and if Burghley had only given them powder enough, the victory would have been complete. The English had no more ammunition left, but still, as the Spaniards forged ahead to the north, they grimly followed: "We set on a brag countenance and gave them chase."

It was not until Friday the 2nd of August that Howard abandoned the pursuit. He made for the Firth of Forth, took in victuals, powder, and shot, and sailed southwards to be ready for Parma, should he cross from Dunkirk. As they sailed, a storm burst upon them, scattering them so that they did not assemble again in Margate Roads until the 9th of August. A note from Lord Burghley suggests that as the danger is over, the ships shall be at once discharged; but there was no money to pay the men who had saved England in her hour of danger. Towards the end of August, Sir John wrote urgently to Burghley for money to pay the seamen—£19,000 were already due to them before the fight off Gravelines—and Lord Howard added a postscript: "Hawkins cannot make a better return. God knows how the lieutenants and corporals will be paid." Howard and Hawkins could not pay them off. The men were kept hanging on, ill-fed, ill-clad, housed like hogs and dying as by a pestilence. "'Tis a most pitiful sight to see how the men here at Margate, having no place where they can be received, die in the streets. The best lodging I can get is barns and such outhouses, and the relief is small that I can provide for them here. It would grieve any man's heart to see men that have served so valiantly die so miserably." So Howard writes to Burghley.

Burghley, at his wits' end, writes to Hawkins a melancholy letter: "Why do you ask for money when you know the exchequer is so empty?"

Howard tells the Queen how the men sicken one day and die the next; and as woman she pitied them, but could not find means to help her sailors. "Alas! these things must be—after a famous victory!" Her minister may have suggested some such reflection.

Meanwhile the great Armada, left to the judgment of God, was leaving its wrecks on the coasts of Norway, Scotland, and Ireland. It was not until October that fifty-three ships out of one hundred and thirty-two came back wearily to a Spanish port.

Sir Francis Drake tells us that many Spanish seamen landed in Scotland and Ireland, of whom a few remained to live amongst the peasantry, but the most part were coupled in halters and sent from village to village till they were shipped to England. "But her Majesty, disdaining to put them to death, and scorning either to retain or entertain them, they were all sent back again to their own country to bear witness to the worthy achievement of their Invincible Navy."

Sir John Hawkins in 1589 proposed to Lord Burghley a scheme for capturing Cadiz and sinking all the Spanish galleys he could find there. "It is not honourable for her Majesty to seem to be in any fear of the King of Spain." But Burghley did not approve of any more expenditure of money, and the scheme was dropped.

But every year English merchantmen were held up by Spanish galleys and had to fight for their existence: so in 1590 we hear of Sir John proposing another attack on Spain; and when this too was rejected, he wrote to Burghley, saying that he was now out of hope that he should be allowed to perform "any royal thing." So out of heart was he now that he begged he might be relieved of his duties as Treasurer of the Navy. "No man living hath so careful, so miserable, so unfortunate, and so dangerous a life." This request too was declined. But in May 1590 Sir John was sent, with Sir Martin Frobisher as Vice-Admiral, in command of fourteen ships to try and intercept a fleet of Portuguese carracks coming from India. They ransacked nearly every port on the Spanish coast for five months, so that all valuables were hastily removed inland, and all the Spanish galleys were hidden behind rocky promontories. But Philip had ordered the trading fleets to be kept back, and therefore no prizes were captured, and the adventurers returned empty-handed.

Queen Elizabeth was mightily incensed, though it was through no fault of the admirals that the expedition had been a financial failure.

Hawkins wrote the Queen a lengthy epistle explaining why they had failed, and he finished with a Biblical allusion: "Paul might plant, and Apollos might water, but it was God only who gave the increase." The Queen, stamping her foot, exclaimed hotly, "This fool went out a soldier, and is come home a divine!"

So the poor seaman returned to his hated desk as Treasurer, though he wrote to Burghley that he was fain to serve her Majesty in any other calling. "This endless and unsavoury occupation in calling for money is always unpleasant." He was now over seventy years of age, and his son Richard had for some years been distinguishing himself on the sea. But when that son had to surrender to the Spaniards and was sent to a Spanish prison, the old sea-dog thirsted to go abroad again and rescue his son, or at least take a great revenge.

His old friend Sir Francis Drake was to go with him, for the Queen had assented; but rumours of a fresh Armada kept them in England, for "all men," says Camden, "buckled themselves to war," and mothers only bewailed that their sons had been killed in France instead of being alive and well to defend hearth and home in England. But all the Spaniards did was to cross from Brittany with four galleys and land at Penzance. This town they sacked and burnt, but as the inhabitants had fled inland, no lives were lost. This was the last hostile landing made by the Spaniards on England's shore.

Next year, in August 1595, Drake and Hawkins left Plymouth with twenty-seven ships and 2500 men, Drake sailing in the Defiance as Admiral, Hawkins in the Garland as Vice-Admiral; Sir Thomas Baskerville was the Commander by land. The plan was to sail to Nombre de Dios and march across the isthmus to Panama, there to seize what treasure they could. But just before they sailed letters came from the Queen informing them that they were too late to intercept the West Indian fleet; it had already arrived in Spain; but one treasure-ship had lost a mast and put back to Puerto Rico; they were to seek for this and take it. So they sailed on the 28th of August, and in four weeks reached the Grand Canary. Drake and Baskerville wished to land, victual the fleet, and take the island; Hawkins, still smarting under Elizabeth's lash, was for strictly obeying the Queen's instructions. However, Baskerville promised he would take the place in four days, and Hawkins consented to wait. But finding that a strong mole had been built, and that the landing-place was defended by guns, and as a nasty sea was rising, they just landed to get water on the western side of the island and made for Dominica.

After making some traffic in tobacco they went on to Guadaloupe, where they cleaned their ships and let the men land. The next day, seeing some Spanish ships passing towards Puerto Rico, Drake concluded that the treasure-ship was still there, and that this force had been sent to convoy it. Captain Wignol in the Francis, having straggled behind out of Hawkins' fleet, fell in with these Spanish ships under Don Pedro Tello, and was captured. Tello put his men to torture, and drew from them the object and proposed course of the English ships. When Hawkins heard of this from a small vessel that had escaped the Spaniards, he suddenly fell sick: age, the troubles of the voyage, this last disappointment—all were too much for him; he struggled bravely against his malady, but every day he grew weaker. They started in three days from Guadaloupe and reached the Virgin Islands, where they took plenty of fish. Drake and Hawkins had some dispute here, some difference of opinion, and this was the last straw to weigh down the balance of death. For on the morning of the 12th of November the fleet passed through the Strait; and at night, when it was off the eastern end of Puerto Rico, Hawkins breathed his last.

Drake sailed in imprudently under the forts; one shot wounded his mizzen-mast, another entered the steerage, where he was at supper, and struck the stool from under him, killing two of his officers, but not hurting him. The treasure had been removed from the galleon, and the empty galleon had been sunk in the mouth of the channel. After a fierce fight Drake had to give up the attempt to get the treasure and sail away.

He only survived his old friend by eleven weeks. Thus England lost two of her grandest seamen in this expedition. Hawkins was seventy-five years old—too old to be exposed to the burning sun and all the anxieties of warfare. Then came bitter disappointment, and the feeling that he had done nothing to rescue his son, and little to avenge his wrongs. For six weeks Sir John Hawkins strove to make head against this "sea of troubles," but his work had been done, his body was worn out, and he could endure no more. In his adventurous life he had done many questionable things; but we ought not to judge him by the moral standard of another age; in his day, the rights of the slave had not yet been thought of. Hawkins had tried to do his duty to God and man, as he conceived that duty, and to his unflagging labours and zeal as Treasurer of the Navy, the success of England against the Armada was largely due.



When a nobleman neglects his private duties to his home estates and spends his fortune in fitting out ships to seek gold and jewels, and to damage the trade of a country he hates, different estimates will be formed of the honesty and nobility of the motives by which he is prompted.

We shall see in the sketch of George Clifford's life how various motives, good and indifferent, urged him to play the sea-king.

He was born in his father's castle at Brougham, Westmorland, in August 1558, being fourteenth baron Clifford of Westmorland. His family history had been distinguished, for the Fair Rosamond of Henry II. was a Clifford, and in the wars of York and Lancaster the Cliffords took a prominent part on the Lancastrian side. When George was still a boy his father brought about his betrothment to the Lady Margaret Russell, daughter of the second Earl of Bedford. He was being educated at Battle Abbey when his father died, and later he went to Peterhouse, Cambridge, to complete his studies under Whitgift, afterwards Archbishop of Canterbury, who was then Master of Trinity. He also proceeded to Oxford for a time, as was not unusual in those days.

Before he was nineteen he was married to his betrothed in St. Mary Overy's Church, Southwark: the young lady was scarce seventeen years old. Clifford was a young man of expensive tastes. Amongst his other qualifications for Court life he excelled all the nobles of his time in tilting, and soon won the recognition of the Queen by his prowess in the Westminster tilt-yard. So he was made a Knight of the Garter, and in the twenty-eighth year of his age was appointed one of the forty Peers by whom Mary Queen of Scots was tried at Fotheringay Castle, in Nottinghamshire.

Was it policy, or love of adventure, or just desire for gain? The Earl soon began to form schemes for sending ships to plunder the Spaniards; he fitted out at his own cost the Red Dragon of 260 tons, and the barque Clifford of 130. Raleigh sent a pinnace to join them, and they sailed in 1586 under the command of Robert Withrington. They took a few merchantmen on their way to Sierra Leone; the principle on which they acted was a mixture of courtesy and bullying. Hakluyt says: "Our Admiral hailed their Admiral with courteous words, willing him to strike his sails and come aboard, but he refused; whereupon our Admiral lent him a piece of ordnance" (it sounds so kind and friendly) "which they repaid double, so that we grew to some little quarrel." The result was that the English boarded the hulks and helped themselves. For they found the hulks were laden in Lisbon with Spanish goods, and so thought them fair game. When they reached Guinea they went ashore, and in their search for water and wood came suddenly upon a town of negroes, who struck up the drum, raised a yell, and shot off arrows as thick as hail.

The English returned the fire, having about thirty calivers, and retired to their boats, "having reasonable store of fish"; "and amongst the rest we hauled up a great foul monster, whose head and back were so hard that no sword could enter it; but being thrust in under the belly in divers places, much wounded, he bent a sword in his mouth as a man would do a girdle of leather about his hand: he was in length about nine feet, and had nothing in his belly but a certain quantity of small stones." Later on they found another town of about two hundred houses and "walled about with mighty great trees and stakes, so thick that a rat could hardly get in or out." They got in, for the negroes had fled, and found the town finely and cleanly kept, "that it was an admiration to us all, for that neither in the houses nor streets was so much dust to be found as would fill an egg-shell." The English found little to take except some mats and earthen pots; was it for this that they, on their departure, set the town on fire? "It was burnt in a quarter of an hour, the houses being covered with reeds and straw."

Thence they sailed across to America, having no little trouble with a disease which they had caught ashore. They came to Buenos Ayres, where was great store of corn, cattle, and wine; but no gold or silver was to be had. Here they fell into some contention as to their further course, but as food was growing scarce they sailed northwards, till they came to Bahia, where they met a hot welcome of balls and bullets, but took some prizes. Then came a storm, and some of their prizes got loose and were lost. "Anon the people of the country came down amaine upon us and beset us round, and shot at us with their bows and arrows."

Of another fight which occurred shortly after, when the barque Clifford was boarded by the enemy, the merchant Sarracoll says: "Giving a mighty shout they came all aboard together, crying, 'Entrad! Entrad!' but our men received them so hotly, with small shot and pikes, that they killed them like dogs. And thus they continued aboard almost a quarter of an hour, thinking to have devoured our men, pinnace and all ... but God, who is the giver of all victories, so blessed our small company that the enemy having received a mighty foil was glad to rid himself from their hands: whereas at their entrance we esteemed them to be no less than betwixt two and three hundred men in the galley, we could scarce perceive twenty men at their departure stand on their legs; but the greater part of them was slain, their oars broken and the galley hanging upon one side, as a sow that hath lost her left ear, with the number of dead and dying that lay one upon another." While this terrible havoc was a doing, others of the crew had gone ashore and fetched sixteen young bullocks, "which was to our great comforts and refreshing."

After committing what havoc they could along the coast, with little profit to themselves, the commander resolved to go home; which resolution was "taken heavily of all the company—for very grief to see my Lord's hopes thus deceived, and his great expenses cast away."

The Earl took part in the Armada fight on board the Bonadventure, and the Queen, to mark her approbation, gave him a commission to go the same year as General to the Court of Spain, lending him the Golden Lion; this ship he victualled and furnished at his own expense. After taking one merchant ship and weathering a storm, he was obliged to turn.

But the Queen was his good friend and lent him the Victory, and with three smaller ships and 400 men he sailed from Plymouth in 1589. We do not hear what his Countess thought of so much wandering into danger, but duty, or profit, called her lord to the high seas. He made a few prizes, French and German, for he was not too scrupulous about nationalities, and made for the Azores, where he cut out four ships. At Flores he manned his boats and obtained food and water from Don Antonio, a pretender to the throne of Portugal. As they were rowing back to their ship, "the boat was pursued two miles by a monstrous fish, whose fins many times appeared above water four or five yards asunder, and his jaws gaping a yard and a half wide, not without great danger of overturning the pinnace and devouring some of the company"; they rowed at last away from the monster. They were now joined by a ship of Raleigh's and two others.

Meanwhile the richly laden vessels of Spain were on their way home, with orders to rendezvous at St. Helena. Some of the Earl's cruisers sighted them, but did not dare attack the huge carracks, though Linschoten tells us—and he was aboard one of them—that if the English had attacked they must easily have been taken; for scurvy, caused by bad food, was making ravages on the crews. "Every day men who had been some days dead were discovered in the places whither they had crept that they might lie down and die in peace." But all the English cruisers did was to insult them with reproaches and annoy them with musketry, and such small cannon-shot as vessels of thirty tons could carry. As Admiral Colomb used to say, "A captain of a man-of-war in those days could carry a cannon-ball in his coat-tail pocket," so small and light were they.

When the Earl was told that the West Indian fleet had sailed past, he returned to Fayal and took possession of the town, consisting then of some five hundred well-built houses; the inhabitants had abandoned it at his approach. He set a guard to preserve the churches and monasteries and stayed there four days, till a ransom of 2000 ducats, mostly in church-plate, was brought to him, with sixty butts of wine.

While taking two Brazilian ships at St. Mary's laden with sugar, the bar detained his vessel in a position exposed to the enemy; eighty of his men were killed, the Earl was wounded slightly in the side; "his head also was broken with stones, so that the blood covered his face, and both his face and legs were burnt with fire-balls."

On their way home they fell in with a Portuguese ship laden with sugar, hides, and silver. Full of joy at their good speed they resolved upon going home. Captain Lister was sent in the prize to Portsmouth. He was wrecked at Helcliff, in Cornwall; all in her was lost, and only five lives saved. The Earl was delayed so long by bad weather that drink began to fail, and they had to collect what they could in sheets during a storm of rain. Many licked the moist boards and masts with their tongues, like dogs. In every corner of the ship were heard the lamentable cries of the sick and hurt, ten or twelve men died every night. Yet, we are told, the Earl ever encouraged his men by his presence of mind and his example; then they spoke a vessel which helped them with a little beer, and at last they put into Ventre-haven on the west coast of Ireland.

On arriving in London, as if the Earl had not suffered enough already, news was brought him that his eldest son was dead. But shortly after came another messenger announcing the birth of a daughter; this was the Lady Anne Clifford, who became, first, Countess of Dorset, and then of Pembroke. In this voyage thirteen prizes had been taken, and the profit doubled the outlay on his adventure in spite of the loss of his richest prize. It is difficult to realise the exceeding bitter feeling that existed between Spain and England at that time—a bitterness sharpened by religious differences, and kept in memory by private revenge.

For instance, Hakluyt tells us of a small English ship of about forty tons which was captured on the seas. Her crew were put by the Spaniards under hatches and coupled in bolts together; these men, after they had been prisoners three or four days, were murdered by a Spanish ensign-bearer, who had had a brother killed in the Armada fight, and who wished to revenge his death. This man took a poniard in his hand and went down under the hatches, where he found eight Englishmen sitting in chains, and with the same poniard he stabbed six of them to the heart; the remaining two clasped each other about the middle and threw themselves into the sea and there were drowned.

It is only fair to say that this act was much disliked by the other Spaniards, who carried the ensign-bearer a prisoner to Lisbon. The King of Spain willed he should be sent to England, that the Queen might treat him as she thought good; however, his friends interceded that he might be beheaded instead. On a Good Friday, as the Cardinal was going to Mass, captains and commanders stopped his Eminence and entreated for the man's pardon, and in the end they got his pardon, and his life was saved.

In 1592 the Earl of Cumberland hired the Tiger of 600 tons, and with his own ship the Samson, the Golden Noble, and two small vessels, he set forth. Contrary winds kept him east of Plymouth so long that it became too late to intercept the outward-bound carracks, so the Earl transferred his command to Captain Norton and returned to London. After some hard fighting the ships returned with a richly laden carrack. The narrator of the voyage moralises upon the happy finding thus: "I cannot but enter into the acknowledgment of God's great favour towards our nation, who, by putting this purchase into our hands, hath manifestly discovered those secret trades and Indian riches which hitherto lay strangely hidden from us ... whereby it should seem that the will of God for our good is to have us communicate with them in those East Indian treasures, and by the erection of a lawful traffic to better our means to advance true religion and His holy service." The pious sailor then goes on to enumerate the goods that were stored in the holds of the Spanish carrack—from jewels and silks of China to spices and carpets of Turkey—in all estimated to be worth £150,000. This was of course to be divided amongst the adventurers.

But exaggerated expectations ended in general discontent, for the Queen had one small ship at the capture of the carrack, and because the Earl was not commanding in person his share was adjudged to depend on her Majesty's mercy and bounty. The royal lioness "dealt but indifferently with him." She took her share, and the other jackals helped themselves as largely as they dared; so that the Earl was fain to accept of £36,000 for him and his, as a pure gift. The carrack was unloaded at Dartmouth, and being so huge and unwieldy she was never removed from the river, "but there laid up her bones."

The spirit of adventure in the Earl was not quenched by this disappointment, for in the latter end of 1593 he got ready two ships royal and seven others, which set sail next spring. Off the isle of Flores he met the Portuguese fleet and had to stand off to avoid them, as they were too numerous to attack. He was taken ill and would have died, had not Monson gone ashore on Corvo and stolen a milch cow, which they brought aboard. Twelve hulks yielded him some treasure, and he left for home after a gainful voyage.

Three of his ships he had sent to the West Indies, and they made for the pearl fisheries at Margarita. A Spaniard treacherously showed them where the pearls were stored in a ranckeria; they surprised it by night with twenty-eight men and carried off £2000 worth of pearls. Coasting along, two of them fell in with seven ships, moored alongside head and stern, and fought all day, hammer-and-tongs. The Spaniards got into their boats next day and made for the land, carrying the rudders with them; the English helped themselves and fired the ships. They then brought the chief ship of 250 tons safely to Plymouth.

Next year the Earl set forth on his eighth voyage, and in June came in sight of a big Indian ship whose name was Las Cinque Llagas ("the Five Wounds"), and she carried 1400 persons, of whom 270 were slaves.

The Earl's Mayflower was the first to get up to her, and was hotly fired into; for the Portuguese had sworn to defend their ship to the last, and fought with desperation. Don Rodrigo de Cordoba, having both his legs shattered, cried out, "Sirs, I have got this in the discharge of my duty. Be of good heart. Let no one forsake his post; let us perish rather than be taken."

Twice did the English board, and twice were they driven out with great loss. Downton the rear-admiral was crippled for life, and Cave, who commanded the Earl's ship, was mortally wounded by a shot through both legs. To make the hideous scene worse, fire was thrown about and the Cinque Llagas caught and began to burn.

A Franciscan friar, Antonio, was seen standing with a crucifix in his hand, encouraging the crew to commit themselves to the waves and God's mercy, rather than die in the flames, and a vast number plunged into the sea. It is said that the English boats made no attempt to save these unfortunates, but the English themselves were on fire and were probably busy putting their own ships in order. But the rear-admiral's boat picked up Nuno Velho and some others; Nuno had been Governor of Mozambique and had been only recently shipwrecked and rescued by the Cinque Llagas. There were also on board two Portuguese ladies of high birth, Doña Isabel Pereira and her beautiful daughter, Doña Luiza de Mello. They had been wrecked in the Santo Alberto, and had since travelled through Kaffraria on foot nearly a thousand miles. The young lady was travelling home to take possession of her entailed property at Evora. In the confusion and panic they could get no attention, and fear of something worse than death urged them to fasten themselves together with a Franciscan cord and leap into the sea. Their bodies, so bound together, were at length cast up on the shore of the island of Fayal.

Nuno Velho and Braz Correa, captain of the Nazareth, were taken as prisoners to England, where the Earl treated them hospitably for a whole year. It was perhaps not wholly from kindly and unselfish motives, for in the end Nuno Velho paid three thousand cruzados for the ransom of both.

As for the Cinque Llagas, she burned all day and all night, but "the next morning her powder, being sixty barrels, blew her abroad, so that most of the ship did swim in parts above the water."

Towards the end of June they fell in with another great ship, which they at first took for S. Philip, the admiral of Spain, and were mighty cautious how they approached her guns. But seeing she was a carrack they bestowed on her some shot and summoned her to yield, unless she would undergo the same fate as the Five Wounds. But the Portuguese captain was a brave man and replied: "I acknowledge Don Philip, King of Spain, not the Queen of England. If the Earl of Cumberland has been at the burning of the Cinque Llagas, so have I, D. Luis Continho, been at the defeat and capture of Sir Richard Grenville in the Revenge. Do what you dare, Earl, for your Queen, and I, Luis, will do what I can for my King. My ship is homeward bound from India, laden with riches, and with many jewels on board. Come and take her if ye can."

The fight was renewed, but the English, having already many officers killed and wounded, and by reason of the "murmuring of some disordered and cowardly companions," sailed away for England, having done much harm to the enemy and little good to themselves.

So the Earl returned to England, and at once set about building a ship big enough to lie alongside any of the Spanish vessels; she was 900 tons, the largest ship ever yet built by a British subject. The Queen was so pleased by the Earl's spirit that she, at the launching of the big ship, gave it the name of the Scourge of Malice.

Her first voyage in 1595 was not a success, for as they reached Plymouth a command was received from her Majesty that the Earl should return. So he sent Captain Langton on, who took three Dutch ships that were carrying ammunition and provisions for the King of Spain, and returned to England.

The ninth expedition in 1596, led by the Earl in his new ship, with the Dreadnought of the Royal Navy, was also a failure; for a violent storm split the Earl's mainmast and he had to return home.

In 1597 the Earl obtained letters-patent authorising him to levy sea and land forces, and he began to prepare the largest expedition which had ever been undertaken by a private individual without royal help; it consisted of eighteen sail, and the Earl took the command in person.

His design was, first, to impoverish the King of Spain; secondly, to catch the outward-bound fleet as it sailed from the Tagus. If this failed, then thirdly, to seize some town or island that would yield him riches.

They set out on the 6th of March, but in a few hours the masts of the Scourge of Malice began to show weakness, and she had to put in near Lisbon and be repaired. They worked night and day, fearing to be discovered, while the other vessels kept out at sea. On rejoining his fleet he heard that a ship from England with Spaniards on board had sailed into the Tagus and warned the Indian fleet. The carracks remained therefore under cover of the fort's guns, and the Earl sailed for the Canaries, where he landed on Lancerota, "borrowed some necessaries," as the looting was described, and found his men had got drunk and were mutinous. So the Earl preached them a sermon and threatened to hang the sinners on the next offence. Hence they sailed across the Atlantic to Dominica, where the inhabitants welcomed them, as they too hated the Spaniards; here they found a hot spring at the north-west end of the island. "The bath is as hot as the King's bath in the city of Bath." Here their sick men disported themselves and found "good refreshing." They were enchanted with the beauty of the valleys and trees and rivers and gathered new strength. Then they went on to Puerto Rico, the key of all the Indies, and the Earl assured his men that the island was rich, and they must take the town. "The Indian soldiers," he said, "live too pleasantly to venture their lives. They will make a great show, and perhaps endure one brunt, but if they do any more, tear me to pieces!"

So they landed on a beach four leagues from the town and marched on the hot sand, now and again paddling in the cool waves like merry children. A negro was compelled to lead them, and they had to clamber over rough rocks till they came to an entrance of an arm of the sea and saw that the town was set upon a little island. Then were they at their wits' ends how to cross over, but as they had seen some horsemen, the Earl thought there must be a passage. By dint of bullying the negro they made him show a path "through the most wickedest wood that ever I was in in all my life." By sunset they came to a long and narrow causeway leading to a drawbridge which linked the little island with the greater one. But the bridge was up, and they asked the negro if it were possible to ford the passage: "Yes, at ebb-tide, massa," he replied. So they lay down and slept, being very tired. Two hours before day the alarm was quietly given, "for we needed not but to shake our ears." As they advanced along the rugged causeway the Earl's shield-bearer stumbled and fell against his master, knocking him into the sea, where, being by reason of his heavy armour unable to rise, he was in great danger of drowning. He swallowed so much salt-water that he was extremely sick, and had to lie down whilst the assault was going on. But the Spaniards resisted stoutly, the tide too came up, and the English had to retire with a loss of fifty men.

A second attempt with a vessel was more successful and the Spaniards were driven from their fort. When the Earl's men entered the town they found only women and old men. The men had retired to another fort and refused to yield; so two batteries were brought up and "began to speak very loud."

During the siege the Earl had to punish a good soldier of his "for over-violent spoiling a gentlewoman of her jewels." The man was hanged in the market-place in the presence of many Spaniards. A sailor too, who had defaced a church, was condemned to die. Twice he was taken to the gallows, and twice he was removed in obedience to the clamours for his pardon. In a few days the Spaniards demanded a parley and surrendered, carrying their arms.

But the climate of the island began to tell on the health of the English. Books had their glued backs melted by the heat, candied fruits lost their crust, and English comfits grew liquid. In July more than 200 died, and twice as many were sick of a flux and hot ague, with the limbs cold and weak. So the Earl made haste to store the hides, ginger, and sugar, also the town's guns and ammunition. He put on board, too, specimens of the sensitive plant, of which the chaplain said: "It hath a property confounding my understanding, for if you lay a finger upon the leaves of it, the leaves will contract and wither and disdainfully withdraw themselves, as if they would slip themselves rather than be touched."

The Earl soon sailed for the Azores, hoping to catch the Mexican fleet; but he found that the homeward-bound carracks had already passed and the Mexican fleet was not expected, so in disappointment they sailed home. Seven hundred out of the thousand men who had landed at Puerto Rico had died, and the Spaniards had, knowing this, refused to ransom the city. So this grand expedition became a very serious loss to the Earl, but it was the cause of a greater loss to Spain, by preventing the carracks from going to or returning from the Indies. This was the Earl of Cumberland's last venture. Fuller eulogises him as "a person wholly composed of true honour and valour." But when we reflect that prodigal expenditure at Court, display at the tilting-field, and losses in horse-racing were amongst the incentives to these rash exploits, we must place him a little lower than old Fuller does. However, the Earl compares to advantage with our modern spendthrifts, most of whom will make no effort to retrieve their ruined fortunes, and expect their kind relations to support them in idleness. The Earl of Cumberland played a man's part, and was not above serving his country as well as his personal interests. There was something heroic about him even in his actions at Court.

For they say that on one of these occasions the Queen dropped her glove, either by accident, or from some coquettish fancy natural to her. The Earl picked it up, and on his knee presented the glove to her. "My Lord, an it please thee, keep it in my memory," she murmured. The courtier put the glove into his bosom and bowed low. Another would have hidden it in a cabinet, labelled and dated, but the Earl sent the glove to his jeweller, and had it emblazoned with diamonds. It was then set in front of his hat and worn at all public assemblies when he was likely to appear before the Queen.

In his youth the Earl had fallen in love with the daughter of Sir William Hollis, a lovely and beautiful girl. But her father rejected the proposal of the Earl, much to his discontent—"My daughter shall marry a good gentleman with whom I can enjoy society and friendship, and I will not have a son-in-law before whom I must stand cap in hand." He next paid his addresses to Lady Margaret Russell, daughter of Francis, Earl of Bedford, and was accepted. She bore him two sons, both of whom died in infancy, and a daughter, to whom he left £15,000—a young lady who inherited the common sense of her mother and the high spirit of both parents.

This charming girl, Lady Anne, married first Sackville, Earl of Dorset, and afterwards Philip Herbert, Earl of Pembroke and Montgomery. She seems to have been one of the last in England to support the old baronial dignity of feudal times. She had the honour of erecting a monument to the poet Spenser, founded two hospitals, and repaired or built seven churches and six castles—no bad record for one lady of noble blood.

It is said that one of her friends advised her to be more sparing in building churches and castles now the Lord Protector Cromwell was in power; for he might take it in hand to demolish them.

"Let him destroy them if he will," she replied proudly; "he shall surely find, as often as he does so, I will rebuild them while he leaves me a shilling in my pocket."



It has been conjectured that Martin Frobisher was the son of Francis Frobisher, who in the year 1535 was Mayor of Doncaster, and lived at Finningley, some seven miles south-east of Doncaster. One historian claims Frobisher as a Devon man, but Fuller in his "Worthies" writes: "Why should Devonshire, which hath a flock of worthies of her own, take a lamb from another county?" Another tells us that Frobisher was born at Normanton in Yorkshire, and was about as old as Humphrey Gilbert.

Lock, an adventurer and merchant of London, says in his Memoir that Martin "was born of honest parentage, a gentleman of a good house and antiquity, who in his youth, for lack of schools thereabout, sent him to London, where he was put to Sir John York, knight, being his kinsman; he, perceiving Martin to be of great spirit and bold courage and natural hardness of body, sent him in a ship to the Gold Country of Guinea, in company of other ships sent out by divers merchants of London." This was in the autumn of 1554: it was one of the first expeditions sent out from England to explore the western coast of Africa, and was commanded by John Lock. They landed on the Gold Coast and began a prosperous trade in gold and elephants' teeth, returning to London in 1555. For eleven years after this little is known of Frobisher's doings, except that he made more voyages to West Africa and to the Levant in the Mediterranean.

In 1566 he had risen to the rank of captain, and was apparently noted for his daring voyages, as in May of that year he was examined by order of the Queen's Council on suspicion of having fitted out a ship for piracy.

In 1572, when he was lodging at Lambeth after one of his voyages, one Ralph Whalley called upon him at his lodging and introduced himself as a follower of the Earl of Desmond, an Anglo-Irish nobleman, at that time imprisoned in the Tower for treason. He was the head of the great house of the southern Fitzgeralds, who were all-powerful in Munster, but Sir Henry Sidney, by Queen Elizabeth's orders, had sent him on arrest to England. He surrendered his property into the Queen's hands, but was committed for security to the Tower.

Whalley explained all this to Frobisher, and suggested how profitable it would be to help this deserving gentleman to escape out of England. Why should he be kept in the Tower? he had done no ill to any one. Frobisher was appealed to as a daring sailor, well known by repute in all the ale-houses where the sign of the bush was hung out, and as generous as he was brave.

Well, the idea was that the Earl, having got free out of the Tower, should be carried in an oyster-boat as far as Gravesend, and there should embark on board a ship to be provided by Frobisher.

The reward which Whalley held out, to counterbalance the risk incurred in helping a prisoner to escape, was a share in the vessel of the value of £500, and a free gift from Earl Desmond of his island of Valentia, on the coast of Derry. We do not know whether Frobisher entertained the idea of helping Desmond; probably he thought it too risky, for the attempt was not made. Possibly on thinking it over Frobisher believed it to be his duty to inform the Government, for he signed a declaration four months later in which he describes the Lambeth incident. Desmond did get away later on and broke out in rebellion in Ireland, only to be killed at last in an Irish cabin. Frobisher had latterly been employed by the Government in sailing along the Irish coast to intimidate rebels and prevent the landing of foreign sympathisers. This he continued to do for three or four years after the Lambeth incident, and so he came under the notice of Burghley and the Queen, and won the friendship of Sir Henry Sidney and Sidney's favourite, Sir Humphrey Gilbert. Now Sir Humphrey was the chief promoter of attempts to find a north-west passage to the Indies; he and Frobisher must have had many a long talk together over the Arctic map; and at last the Queen heard of the idea and granted a licence in 1575 to Master Martin Frobisher, and divers gentlemen associated with him, for finding a north-west passage to Cathay.

The chief argument in Frobisher's mind which proved the existence of such a passage was that Nature did all things in harmony. Now, as she had made a fair communication between the Southern Atlantic and the Pacific, so she would be found to have established the same water-way between the Northern Atlantic and the Pacific. It was of the same order of reasoning as the old theory that "Nature abhors a vacuum."

However, it seemed so very reasonable that many moneyed men in the city of London were willing and anxious to spend money on the search. Lock subscribed £100, Sir Thomas Gresham £100, Lord Burghley £50, the Earls of Sussex, Leicester, Warwick £50 each, and others smaller sums, until a fund of £875 was secured; in modern currency this was equivalent to some £6000, but was not sufficient for carrying out the project.

Frobisher went about London, Lock tells us, a sad man and thoughtful; Lock lent him books and maps, and got him friends and subscriptions, but still the fund remained insufficient. "I made my house his home, my purse his purse, and my credit his credit, when he was utterly destitute both of money and credit and of friends."

The ships were, however, being furnished in the docks, and after all the many conferences in Fleet Street and Mark Lane, and even at Greenwich Court, still the money came slowly in. At last, by May 1576, two strongly built barques, the Gabriel and the Michael, each of 25 tons burden, together with a small pinnace of 10 tons, lay ready in the Thames, hard by old London Bridge. Frobisher received his commission as admiral, Hall and Griffin were masters, and Chancellor purser of the voyage. They numbered about forty officers and men, and started on the 7th of June.

As they sailed off Deptford the pinnace was run down by a vessel coming up stream; her bowsprit and foremast were broken, and twenty-four hours were spent in doing repairs.

At midday on Friday the vessels sailed past Greenwich, firing guns as a salute in honour of the Court. The Queen sat at a window watching them, and waved her hand in token of farewell.

Anon she sent a messenger in a rowing-boat to tell her brave seamen that she liked well their doings and thanked them for it, and also willed that Master Frobisher should come the next day to the Court to take his leave of her. This he did with a beating heart; for was not his ambition of fifteen years being now satisfied!

They sailed round the western coast of England and Scotland, and halted in the Shetlands to calk the Gabriel, for she was leaking, and to take in water. Sailing west from the Faroe Islands they caught sight of "some high and ragged land rising like pinnacles of steeples"—perhaps the south of Greenland. They could not land for "the great store of ice that lay along the coast, and the great mists that troubled them not a little."

As they sailed north and west a great storm arose and swept away the pinnace, so that they saw her no more. Next day they lost the Michael, but her crew, after waiting about on the ice-bound coast of Labrador, concluded that Frobisher and the rest in the Gabriel were drowned, and so they returned home and came to Bristol on the 1st of September.

And now Frobisher in the Gabriel, with eighteen mariners and gentlemen, pushed boldly on, undaunted by the strange perils that surrounded them, and they reached the group of islands lying westward of what is now called Davis's Straits. Neither could they land for the ice, snow, and fog, but at last found a resting-place on an island which Frobisher called "Hall's Island," for that Hall, master of the Gabriel, there first landed. Thence he sailed into a bay and called it "Frobisher's Straits," thinking it would lead them to India.

Once, on landing, they saw some things floating in the sea afar off, which they thought to be porpoises, but on coming nearer they found they were men in small leathern boats. These brought salmon for barter, laying it down on the rocks and signing to the English to do the same with their goods. If not satisfied the natives took up their fish and went away.

They were disposed to be friendly, and liked to climb the rigging of our ships, and "tried many masteries upon the ropes after our mariners' fashion."

Others reported less favourably of them, saying that their manner of life and food was "very beastly." "They be like to Tartars, with long black hair, broad faces and flat noses, tawny in colour, wearing sealskins ... the women are marked in the face with blue streaks down the cheeks and round about the eyes."

On the 20th of August one of the Eskimos was brought on board the Gabriel, to whom Frobisher gave a bell and a knife, sending him ashore in the ship's boat with five of the crew to manage it. They were ordered not to go out of sight, but curiosity led them to land, and they never returned.

Five days were spent in coasting along the shore, in blowing of trumpets and firing guns to attract his men's attention, but all in vain; they were believed to have been murdered. Now Frobisher had only thirteen men left and no ship's boat; he felt he could do no more that year.


Frobisher had lost several men through the treachery of the natives, and determined to make an example of one of them. He enticed one by holding out a bell and other trinkets, and as soon as he came within reach he dropped the bell, seized the man by the arm, and hauled him bodily on board.

But before he left the land "he wrought a pretty policy; for, knowing how they greatly delighted in our toys, and especially in bells, he rang a pretty, low bell, making signs that he would give him the same that would fetch it." At first they feared to come, but at last one of them came near the ship's side to receive the bell. But as he stretched out his hand to take the bell, Frobisher let the bell fall and caught the man fast, plucking him with main force, boat and all, out of the sea on to the Gabriel's deck.

This was not the only time that Martin Frobisher thus proved his strength. But the Eskimo, when he found he was caught, bit his tongue in twain within his mouth, for very anger and vexation.

On the voyage home, as they passed Iceland, one of the crew was blown overboard by a violent gust of wind, but he chanced to lay hold of the foresail sheet and hung on till Frobisher, leaning down, picked him up and hauled him dripping aboard again.

On the 2nd of October the Gabriel entered the river at Harwich, having been rather less than four months absent from England, after exploring much northern territory, but without finding the desired passage to Cathay.

"Why! we thought you were all lost! The Michael came home and they said you were nowhere to be found!" was the first greeting they received.

But in London they were joyfully welcomed on October 9th, bringing with them the strange infidel and his boat, whose like was never seen, read, nor heard of before, and whose language was neither known nor understood of any.

But the poor stranger, who could resist the inclemency of an Arctic winter, could not withstand our damp autumn gales; he caught a cold at sea, and lingered only a few weeks, after being the brief wonder of the town. But a more extraordinary discovery, and one which afterwards spoiled all Frobisher's attempts at scientific research, was this.

Philip Sidney, writing in 1577, says to his tutor: "I wrote to you about a certain Frobisher, who, in rivalry of Magellan, has explored the sea which, as he thinks, washes the north part of America. It is a marvellous history. He touched at a certain island in order to rest his crew; there by chance a young man picked up a piece of earth which he saw glittering on the ground and showed it to Frobisher; but he, being busy with other matters, and not believing that precious metals were produced so far north, considered it of no value. But the young man kept the earth by him till his return to London. And there, when one of his friends saw it shining in an extraordinary manner, he tested it and found it was the purest gold."

Another account says that this "earth" was a black stone, much like to sea-coal in colour; "and it fortuned a gentlewoman, one of the adventurers' wives, to have a piece thereof, which by chance she threw and burnt in the fire so long that at length, being taken forth and quenched in a little vinegar, it glittered with a bright glistening of gold." So the stuff was taken with some show of excitement to certain gold-refiners in the City to make an assay-thereof; and their verdict was that it held gold and that in very rich measure.

Immediately this news got bruited about, there was no small stir among the merchants and courtiers—all, seamen and men of learning alike, clamoured for another expedition; for they argued that it was of small importance to find a passage to Cathay, if treasures equally valuable lay so near at hand.

Queen Elizabeth and Burghley were both ready to throw economy to the winds, if good gold could be gotten by "Master Frobisher."

So a charter was granted to the "Company of Cathay," and Frobisher was to have 1 per cent. of all he found, together with a fixed yearly stipend. He was to take his own ships Gabriel and Michael, each of 25 tons burden, and a Queen's ship, the Aid, of 200 tons, and furnished with sixty-five sailors and twenty-five soldiers.

Among the crews were ten convicts—highway robbers—taken out of prison and lent to Frobisher as "likely men of their hands."

Frobisher had no relish for such gentry, as being men who might lead mutinies and do lawless deeds; he therefore dropped them on the English coast and carefully forgot to take them with him.

When Frobisher opened his "instructions" he found to his disgust that the finding of a North-West Passage was a very subordinate part of his duty. He was to go to Hall's Island, leave his large ship in safe harbour, and search for gold with the two smaller vessels. He was to plant a colony and capture eight or ten people of the country, "whom we mind shall not return again thither, and therefore you shall have great care how you do take them, for avoiding of offence towards them and the country."

On taking leave, Frobisher had the honour of kissing her Majesty's hand as he knelt before her, who dismissed him "with gracious countenance and comfortable words." At Gravesend they went to church and received the Sacrament—"prepared as good Christians towards God and resolute men for all fortunes."

At Harwich they tarried three days to take in provisions and weed out the convicts. The next place they stopped at was Orkney, where they found the people so strange that they fled from their pebble-built cottages with shrieks at their approach. "The goodman, wife, children, and others of the family eat and sleep on the one side of the house, and the cattle on the other—very beastly and rudely in respect of civility."

As they sailed north great fir-trees came floating by, torn by the roots out of the rocky soil by the great storms, also some icebergs came in their way. When they reached Greenland they could find no place to land; for three days Frobisher wandered up and down in a rowing-boat, but saw only a ragged coast-line of high mountains and snow-clad rocks, looking like lumps of ice in the misty sea. At Hall's Island all the ships met after being separated by a storm.

Then for five weeks Frobisher searched the land for gold ore, and found little. They met some natives near Frobisher's Straits and very pleasantly spent a great part of one day in exchanging merchandise, the Eskimos making all possible signs of friendship. But Frobisher, in obedience to the Queen's orders, tried to coax two of the natives into his boat, and at once the new-found friends were turned into enemies; for they ran for their bows and wounded several of our men. Soon after they were menaced by a host of icebergs, a thousand or more, and the whole night long was spent in evading these dangerous visitors. "Some scraped us, and some escaped us. In the end we were saved, God being our best steersman."

In the morning Frobisher called his men to thank God heartily for His protection of them in the time of danger. The storm cleared Frobisher's Straits of pack-ice, and sailing up they found a big fish embayed with ice, about twelve feet long, having a horn of two yards long growing out of its snout. This horn, "wreathed and straight, like in fashion to a taper made of wax," they took home and presented to the Queen at Windsor.

In their explorations they thought they saw much gold ore, and entered some houses built two fathoms under ground, round like ovens, and strengthened above ground by bones of whales, for lack of timber. The men were of the colour of a ripe olive, very active and nimble, clad in sealskins and hides of bear, deer, and fox. They loved music, could keep time to any tune that was sung to them, and could soon sing aptly any tune they heard. They were excellent marksmen, and when they shot at a fish they used to tie a bladder to the arrow, which, by buoying the dart, at length wearied out and killed the fish. All they had to burn was heath and moss, and they kindled a fire by fretting one stick against another.

"The women carry their sucking children at their backs and do feed them with raw flesh, which first they do a little chew in their own mouths." They believed in magic and said prayers to stones in order to cure a headache, and would lie on the ground face downwards, and by groans do obeisance to the foul fiend.

Once the English had a desperate fight with natives, who would never give in, but if mortally wounded, despairing of mercy, would leap headlong off the rocks into the sea, lest they should be eaten. In this fight in York Sound two women were caught; one being old was taken by the sailors for a witch, so they plucked off her buskins to see if she were cloven-footed! She was not; and the poor thing, for her ugly hue and deformity, was let go. The other was young and encumbered with a young child. As she was hiding behind some rocks, she was taken for a man and shot through the hair of her head; her child's arm too was pierced by an arrow. When brought to the surgeon she cried out, and the surgeon with kind intent applied salves to the baby's arm. But the mother plucked the salves away, and by constant licking of her tongue healed the wound.

By the middle of August Frobisher had loaded his ships with some two hundred tons of mineral, and as cold weather was coming he decided to return. So lighting a bonfire in the Countess of Warwick's Island, and all marching round it with blare of trumpets and echo of guns, they said good-bye to the "Meta Incognita" for this year, 1577.

The Aid arrived at Milford Haven on September 23rd and proceeded to Bristol, when they learnt that the Gabriel had already arrived, and that the Michael had sailed safely to Yarmouth.

Frobisher was invited to Windsor and there heartily thanked by the Queen. "Two hundred tons of gold ore you have brought, Master Frobisher? and pray, where shall this treasure be stored? That asks some considering."

Poor Frobisher! not a question asked about his geographical discoveries, or the North-West Passage; but two hundred tons of gold ore were enough to make all England merry—let us not blame the Queen. Most of it was deposited in Bristol Castle, the rest conveyed to the Tower of London; and the Queen sent a special messenger to remind the Warden that four locks were to be placed upon the door of the treasury, and that one key should be handed over to Martin Frobisher, one to Michael Lock, one to the Warden of the Tower, and one to the Master of the Mint. Ah! if only all these tons had contained gold, how happy would Master Frobisher have made his Queen and her subjects! But as yet all were agog with the wonderful news and with hopes of still more treasure to be gotten another year.

At once small parcels were doled out to the best gold-refiners in London, and at Bristol, where Sir William Winter controlled the ore. The refiners heated their furnaces—and themselves week after week. It was passing strange! they could not induce the gold to show itself.

On the 30th of November Michael Lock, Frobisher's great friend and financier, informed Secretary Walsingham that some unbelief in the quality of the mineral was growing up; and Winter at Bristol confessed that they had not been able to get a furnace hot enough "to bring the work to the desired perfection." The general verdict was that "the ore was poor in respect of that brought last year, and of that which we know may be brought the next year."

So the merchant adventurers, the Cathay Company, the Queen's Court, and all the little subscribers in county towns tried to comfort themselves. And to prove that the gold was there—must be there—a much larger expedition was preparing for 1578, Frobisher's third voyage!

Fifteen ships were being fitted out to bring home two thousand tons of good rock. One wonders where it all lies now!

Six months were occupied in the work; for they were to leave a colony of a hundred men in "Meta Incognita"; and for these they were to take out a strong fort of timber to defend the colonists against cold and enemies. Besides these Frobisher was to select one hundred and thirty able seamen, a hundred and sixty pioneers, sixty soldiers, besides gunners, carpenters, surgeons, and two or three ministers to conduct divine service according to the rites of the Church of England. Captain E. Fenton was to be vice-admiral and captain of the colony, and he, with Captains Yorke, Philpott, Best, and Carew, were to be Frobisher's chief advisers.

The ships assembled at Harwich on the 27th of May; on the 28th Frobisher and his fourteen captains repaired to the Court at Greenwich, and there they had a splendid "send-off." Her Highness bestowed on the General a fair chain of gold, and the other captains had the honour of kissing her hand. We may gather something to elucidate Frobisher's character from the code of instructions which he drew up to be observed by his fleet:—

"Art. 1. Imprimis. To banishe swearing, dice, cards' playing and all filthie talk, and to serve God twice a day with the ordinary service, usual in the Church of England.

"Art. 8. If any man in the fleete come upon other in the nyghte and haile his fellow, knowing him not, he shall give him this watch-worde, 'Before the world was God'; the other shall make answer, 'After God came Christ, His sonne'—Martyn Furbusher."

It was no uncommon thing in those days for an educated man to be rather vague about the spelling of words, and even his own name might have variations. Frobisher, with all his passionate temper, tried to serve God according to his lights; he was resolute that his men should do so too.

They sailed from Harwich on the 31st of May, and on the 6th of June fell in with some Bristol traders who had been assailed by French pirates, and were so wounded and hungry that they were like to perish in the sea, their food for many days having been olives and stinking water.

Frobisher sent his surgeons to dress their wounds, gave them store of food, and steering north-west reached the south of Greenland.

He this time found a good harbour, native boats, and tents. The people ran away, and Frobisher only took two white dogs, leaving some knives for payment.

Soon after, the Solomon struck a great whale with her full stern so violently that the ship stood still. "The whale thereat made a great and ugly noise and cast up his body and tail, and so went under water; within two days there was found a great whale dead, swimming above water." The creature had probably been asleep on the surface.

On the 2nd of July they had reached Frobisher's Straits, which to their discontent they found choked up with ice, and the ships were in great danger for some days. The Denis, of 100 tons, was struck by an iceberg and lost. She carried the movable fort; her crew only were saved.

Then followed a great storm, and they had much ado to defend the sides of their ships from "the outrageous sway and strokes" of the fleeting ice. For planks of timber of more than three inches thick were shivered and cut asunder by the surging of the sea and ice-floes, and the noise of the tides and currents reminded them of the waterfall under London Bridge. When the storm abated, under the lee of a huge iceberg Frobisher mustered his ships and caused the crews to offer up special thanksgivings for their great deliverance. After the storm came fogs, and they lost their bearings. Frobisher said the coast was in Frobisher Straits; Hall averred it was not, and they quarrelled like schoolboys; for "Frobisher fell into a great rage and sware that it was so, or else take his life."

However, Frobisher was afterwards proved to be in the wrong; he had discovered the great inlet, called subsequently "Hudson's Strait." This he followed up for three hundred miles, trying to persuade his comrades that they were in the right course. He himself began to see he had been misled, but a strong desire and hope came upon him—he would now find the passage to Cathay! But his crew cared little for such poor ambition; they talked against their leader behind his back, and soon openly demanded to be taken home. So they turned once more to the region of fog, and after imminent risks, the mariners being scared in the darkness and crying continually, "Lord, now help or never!" they cleared the corner of "Meta Incognita" on the 23rd of July. Then the mutineers murmured again because Frobisher wished to wait for the rest of the fleet; but Frobisher mastered them and brought his ships to the Countess of Warwick's Sound. There he was welcomed by the crews of the Judith and the Michael, and two days afterwards Hall appeared with the remaining vessels.

Special services of thanksgiving were offered and the mutinous men were forgiven, though they continued to be sulky and obeyed under protest. No colony could be left, because the timber for the fort was lost. When they reached Bear's Sound the flame of discontent blazed up so fiercely that it was even proposed to put their admiral ashore and leave him to perish in the snow. However, this was voted against by the majority, who perhaps were wondering what the Queen might say. For it was well known that she had a high opinion of her "trusty and well-beloved" Master Frobisher.

They embarked for home after they had filled their bunkers, and had hardly entered the open sea with their cargoes of mineral than a violent storm dispersed them; the Aid was nearly wrecked, and lost her pinnace. So with contrary winds and heavy storms they battled their way south, and reached port somewhere in England by October.

As before, their coming was welcomed with hearty delight, and once more the hopes of speculators stirred the enthusiasm of the nation.

One old chronicler writes: "Such great quantity of gold appeared that some letted not to give out for certaintie that Solomon had his gold from thence, wherewith he builded his temple."

The Queen had advanced £4000 herself, to show her belief in Frobisher and in the gold ore, and all were now waiting for the refiners' verdict. It came very rapidly—no gold to be got out of all these tons of rock! Enthusiasm and shouting gave way to abuse and slander, not only in the Court and City, but the mutinous part openly accused Frobisher of having misled them: "his vainglorious mind would not suffer any discovery to be made without his own presence."

Even Lock, Frobisher's good friend in time of prosperity, now led the opposition to him, and refused to pay the salary that was due to him.

There was an added bitterness in this which the world did not know of; for Frobisher had been obliged to leave his wife and children poorly provided for. A letter from Dame Isabel Frobisher, "the most miserable poor woman in the world," to Sir Francis Walsingham, describes to us a pitiful state of affairs. She complains that whereas her former husband had left her with ample means for herself and children, her present husband—whom God forgive!—had spent all she had, and "put them to the wide world to shift." In fact, they were starving in a poor room at Hampstead, and when Frobisher came home he doubtless comforted her, saying his salary was overdue, and all would soon be well. Then Frobisher goes into the City and is told he cannot have his salary! He is furious, for his temper was ever stormy, and calls Lock "a bankrupt knave." Lock writes to Walsingham and complains that Frobisher has raged against him like a mad beast. Others, who have met Frobisher and railed against him for bringing home worthless mineral, meet with similar ill-treatment. No wonder! for the man is well-nigh beside himself to find his pains and sufferings for England's sake miscalled neglect, to know that a pamphlet has been written against him as an arrogant, obstinate, and prodigal knave, "full of lying talk, impudent of tongue, and perchance the most unprofitable of all who have served the Company."

We need not wonder if Frobisher, having been spoilt by praise and flattery after his two former voyages, now lost his temper and swore that he would hip his masters "the Adventurers" for their ungenerous treatment. It was the search for this non-existent gold which cramped him and deprived his voyages of half their usefulness: the blame rested elsewhere.

Lock was thrown into the Fleet Prison for buying a ship for £200 and not being able to pay for it. No doubt other speculators were equally near ruin.

It is pleasant to know that the Queen never lost her belief in her trusty servant, though she, like others, must have chafed at the loss of her subscription.

"No more expeditions, an it please you," said the City merchants; but the wealthy courtiers, Leicester and Shrewsbury, Oxford, Pembroke, and Warwick, proposed to try one more voyage, and Drake offered to fit out a ship of 180 tons. Frobisher went home to his wife in high glee: "It will all come right, pretty mistress; there is to be another voyage, and I, Martin Frobisher, the Admiral." Yet when the instructions came, the poor earnest discoverer was taken aback; for in the paper he read, "We will that this voyage shall be only for trade, and not for discovery of the passage to Cathay."

His heart sank within him—another search for gold! No! he would have none of it. He had the scientific spirit of Agassiz, who, when offered by New York any terms he liked, if he would come and lecture, replied by telegram: "Gentlemen, I have no time for making money."

So Frobisher bluntly refused to lead such an expedition, and Edward Fenton went in his place,—and it was to look for carracks in the South Seas!

How Frobisher and his lamenting wife lived for the next few years we do not know; but in 1580 he was appointed Clerk of her Majesty's ships, and once he went as captain on a Queen's ship, the Foresight, to prevent the Spaniards giving help to the Irish rebels in Munster.

In 1585 a fleet was fitted out to annoy the King of Spain in the West Indies, in return for his seizing all the English ships and seamen found in his ports.

Sir Francis Drake was admiral in the Elizabeth Bonadventure, Frobisher was vice-admiral in the Primrose; there were twenty-five vessels and 2300 men, and they were authorised by the Crown to make war upon King Philip of Spain. It was looked upon as a religious war in defence of freedom of conscience. Walsingham wrote to Leicester: "Upon Drake's voyage, in very truth, dependeth the life and death of the (Protestant) cause, according to men's judgment."

The fleet left Plymouth on the 14th of September 1585, and after receiving the submission of Vigo and doing some damage and liberating some English prisoners, they went to Palma, in the Canaries. Here, owing to "the naughtiness of the landing-place, well furnished with great ordnance," Drake and Frobisher were driven off with some loss. At Cape de Verde one of his men was murdered by a Spaniard, and the penalty exacted was the burning of Santiago, the hospital excepted.

Here a severe sickness broke out, extreme hot burning and continual agues, which led to "decay of their wits" and strength for a long time after; thereby they lost more than two hundred men. Thence they sailed to Dominica, St. Kitts, and Hispaniola. At San Domingo 1200 men were landed under Master Carlisle. It was New Year's Day, 1586, when a hundred and fifty Spanish horse came out to crush the invaders, but had to retire within the walls. There were two gates facing the sea; by these Carlisle entered, dividing his force and vowing that, if God would help them, they would meet in the market-place. This they succeeded in doing, and next day Drake and Frobisher brought their vessels into the harbour, and landed most of the men to share in the spoil.

San Domingo was held for a month and ransacked, but little gold or silver was found, only wine, oil, olives, cloth, silk, and good store of brave apparel, some of which they saved, doubtless for their wives at home.

The Spanish Governor and the troops had fled to a fort three miles from the town, and Drake sent a negro boy with a flag of truce to treat with them for their ransom. The poor lad was met half-way, and so beaten that he could scarcely crawl back to die at the admiral's feet.

Drake was not the man to leave such an outrage unavenged; he ordered the Provost-Marshal to carry two friars to the same spot and hang them there. He also sent a messenger to inform the Governor that two prisoners would be hanged every day until the murderer was given up.

The murderer was given up and hanged, and then the town was fired.

Similar proceedings were taken at Cartagena, though here the Spaniards fought more stoutly, and Indian archers "with arrows most villainously empoisoned" caused the death of many. Many English, too, "were mischiefed to death by small sticks, sharply pointed, that were fixed in the ground, with the points poisoned." As the attack was made in the dark, many were wounded and died. Cartagena was held for six weeks, and many courtesies passed between the Spaniards and the English. A ransom of £28,000 was paid, and Drake restored the town to its inhabitants.

They left Cartagena on the 31st of March, after blowing up the fort, and sailed along the coast of Florida, sacking and burning the Spanish settlements of San Juan de Pinos and St. Augustine; then they came to the island of Roanoke, where they found Raleigh's colonists on the verge of starvation, offered them help and a passage home. These colonists had behaved cruelly to the Indians and had suffered for it. They brought home a strange herb, which is thus described: "There is a herb," says Hariot, one of the colonists, "which is called by the natives uppowoc: the Spaniards call it tobacco. The leaves thereof being dried and brought into powder, they are to take the fume thereof, by sucking it through pipes made of clay, into their stomach and head, whence it purgeth superfluous phlegm and other gross humours, or openeth all the pores and passages of the body."

A month's sailing brought them to Portsmouth, but it was not considered a successful cruise, for they had lost seven hundred and fifty men, chiefly from disease, brought home two hundred pieces of brass cannon, and sixty thousand pounds, of which one-third was given to the soldiers and sailors as prize-money. But the chief gain was in the effect on Philip, who forbade the sailing of his Indian fleet until Drake and Frobisher returned.

These found on landing that nearly every gentleman in England was fitting out a ship for privateering against Spain; that Hawkins and Winter were busy overhauling the Queen's navy, and that England was expecting an invasion. No doubt Frobisher was soon kept busy too, and we will hope that the wife and children at Hampstead had less cause to complain of their poverty when they got their share of the prize-money. And how glad they all were when Frobisher rode home one evening and cried: "News! good wife. What think ye, lads and lasses? The great Armada is on her way at last."

"Alack! and wail-away! is that news for your poor family, Master Frobisher?"

"Ha! ha! it is the time when honest men come to the front, wife. In a word, you shall have no stint of rations henceforth; for I, Martin Frobisher, am to-day appointed Vice-Admiral, in command of a squadron in the Queen's fleet, and go down to Plymouth to-morrow. The Lord High Admiral, Lord Howard, hath writ right excellently of me to her Majesty to this effect nearly: 'Sir Francis Drake, Mr. Hawkins, Mr. Frobisher, and Mr. Thomas Fenner are those whom the world doth judge to be men of the greatest experience that this realm hath.' So, God help us all and defend the right!"

Thus Frobisher, the vice-admiral, rode a-horseback down to Plymouth, and probably played many a game of bowls on the Hoe, while the captains waited for the signal. History tells how, when the call came, Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher waited upon the Spanish rear squadron on that famous Sunday of the 21st of July, cutting in and out amongst the unwieldy galleons, and cheering one another on amid fire, smoke, and bellowing cannon. For six hours the English hornets pursued the Spanish monsters, and by three o'clock the Spanish fleet was disordered and confused, and the English seamen sat down to supper and prayers and letter-writing.

Anon they returned to the pursuit, and as luck would have it, the flagship of the Andalusian squadron under Don Pedro de Valdez came athwart the Triumph and Martin Frobisher. She had lost her foremast and was crippled for speed; so the Duke of Medina Sidonia left her in the lurch. "Left me comfortless in the sight of the whole fleet," wrote Pedro to King Philip. However, Frobisher signalled to Hawkins, and together they came buzzing round the lofty Spaniard with shot of guns. All through the night the flagship defended herself bravely; in the morning who should come through the mist but Drake in the Revenge.

Drake was a busy man just now and could not afford to waste powder, so he sent a pinnace to command them to yield. Don Pedro replied that he was four hundred and fifty strong; he spoke much of his honour and proposed conditions. Drake in return said, "I really have no leisure to parley. If thou wilt yield, do it presently and at once; if not, then I shall well prove that Drake is no dastard." How that terrible name struck a panic into the Spaniards! It was Drake! Don Pedro made haste to come on board the Revenge with forty men, and bowed with Spanish courtesy, paid Drake many compliments, and yielded up his sword. That day Don Pedro dined at Drake's table; his men were sent to Plymouth till their ransoms were paid. Drake's crew took 15,000 ducats in gold out of the spoil and shared it merrily among themselves.

But Frobisher and Hawkins had meant to take this galleon and share in all this prize-money and ransom-money. They had no time now to grumble or quarrel, as the fight was not yet over; but long after, on the 10th of August, when the crews were again on shore, Frobisher said angrily of Drake: "He thinketh to cozen us of our shares of the 15,000 ducats; but we will have our share, or I will make him spend the best blood in his belly, for he hath done enough of those cozening cheats already."

Don Pedro having defended his ship all night against Frobisher and Hawkins had then surrendered to the mere terror of Drake's name. A better-tempered man than Frobisher might have felt aggrieved at the ill-luck.

By Wednesday most of the fighting was over, and Lord Howard divided his fleet, now increased from sixty sail to a hundred in one week, into five squadrons, of which Frobisher was to command the fourth squadron and guard the narrow sea. On Thursday, 25th July, Frobisher had a hard fight against the Santa Anna and a Portuguese galleon. At last Lord Howard came to his rescue, and was so full of admiration for the prowess shown that the next day he knighted Frobisher and Hawkins.

By Monday the 29th of July, we find Frobisher in the Triumph, with Drake and Hawkins closely pursuing the Spaniards over the Flemish shoals; there they dashed in upon the crescent formation and drove some ashore to be wrecked, and others to the angry seas outside. The galleons of Spain were so tall that the English could not conveniently assault them; so "using their prerogative of nimble steerage, they came oftentimes very near upon the Spaniards, and charged them so sore that now and then they were but a pike's length asunder. And so, continually giving them one broadside after another, they discharged all their shot, both great and small upon them, spending a whole day in that violent kind of conflict."

Later, when the great Armada sped north under a rising gale, Frobisher and his squadron remained in the Channel to guard the shore against Parma.

In May 1590, he was sent as vice-admiral under Sir John Hawkins to cruise along the Spanish coasts and intercept the carracks from India. But Philip was keeping all his trading vessels in port; so they returned to England in October with so few prizes that the Queen expressed great displeasure. The next thing we hear of Frobisher is his being sent in a swift pinnace by the Queen to recall Walter Raleigh as he was starting for the Isthmus of Darien. Frobisher took Raleigh's place and commanded one squadron; his orders being to cruise about the coasts of Spain and "to amaze the Spanish fleet."

Fortunately a big Biscayan ship with a valuable cargo came in sight, was captured and sent home, to the Queen's well liking; but after that Frobisher had no more good fortune.

In 1594 Henry of Navarre wrote to Queen Elizabeth for help in dislodging a force of 3000 Spaniards from the Brittany coast. Raleigh pressed the subject at Court until Frobisher was sent with ten ships to try and save Brest from falling into Philip's hands. Frobisher landed his troops and joined Sir John Norris, who was about to attack Fort Crozon, near Brest. The Spaniards made a stout resistance and many English fell. The Queen, hearing this news, wrote to Norris advising more caution: "The blood of man ought not to be squandered away at all adventures." She wrote, too, in November to Frobisher:—

"Trustie and well-beloved, wee greet you well ... we perceive your love of our service and your owne good carriage, whereby you have won yourself reputation.... We know you are sufficientlie instructed howe to prevent any soddaine mischief, by fire or otherwise, upon our fleet under your charge...."

So we see the Queen caring for her men and her ships, and frankly commending her trusty admiral for his foresight—but letting him see that she was ever watchful over his doings.

The Crozon fort was taken and razed to the ground, but the brave Frobisher was wounded in the hip by a musket-ball. It would have been a trifle in our days of scientific dressing, but the surgeon, when he extracted the ball, left the wadding behind; the wound festered, fever and death ensued. Here is Frobisher's last letter to the Lord High Admiral as he lay wounded:—

"I was shott in with a bullett at the batterie, so as I was driven to have an incision made to take out the bullett; so as I am neither able to goe nor ride. And the mariners are verie unwilling to goe except I goe with them myself. Yet, if I find it come to an extremitie, we will do what we are able: if we had our vittels, it were easily done."

That was just like Frobisher! though he lies on his death-bed, he is ready to go with his men to front the foe, "if it come to an extremitie."



Humphrey Gilbert was the second son of Sir Otho Gilbert of the manor-house of Greenaway in South Devon; his mother was Catherine, daughter of Sir Philip Champernown, of pure Norman descent, having the blood of the Courtneys in her veins.

The three brothers, John, Humphrey, and Adrian, living at Greenaway close to the Dart, about two miles above Dartmouth, no doubt often played at being sailors in the beautiful reach of water that runs so deep beneath the windows, that the largest vessels may ride safely within a stone's throw. They were brave boys, full of promise even in their boyhood, and all three destined to win the honour of knighthood for daring deeds.

Humphrey, born about the year 1539, was no mere fighting seaman, but a thoughtful, earnest discoverer of such scientific truths as were within the intellectual grasp of the sixteenth century.

He was educated at Eton and Oxford, but his heart was ever in seamanship. He talked so learnedly about his profession that news of his prowess came to the ears of Walsingham, who rehearsed them to the Queen. Hence it came that Humphrey Gilbert was examined before her Majesty and the Privy Council: a record of this examination was drawn up by Humphrey and still exists. He was "for amending the great errors of naval sea-cards, whose common fault is to make the degree of longitude in every latitude of one common bigness"; he had already begun to invent instruments for taking observations and for studying the shape of the earth. But his great idea was to form colonies in the New World and find an outlet for trade and a population growing too thick upon English soil. His manner and intelligence left a great impression upon the Virgin Queen, for he reminded her more of her favourite Greek philosophers than of a blunt English squire.

Sir Otho must have died when Humphrey was about twelve years old, and his mother then married Mr. Raleigh of Hayes; he was a country gentleman of slender means, living in a modest grange in a village between Sidmouth and Exmouth. Whether her three boys accompanied her we do not know; but when Walter Raleigh was a boy, he used to visit his half-brothers at Compton Castle, amid the apple orchards of Torbay, or at the Greenaway manor-house. We can imagine how that imaginative child would sit by the river and listen to the stories of his half-brothers, drinking in a love of adventure, a hatred of religious persecution, and a belief in God's providence. For the river was full of quaint vessels from every port, and the sailors were full of moving stories of the prisons of the Inquisition, or the sufferings of the Netherlanders; and the Gilberts had been brought up by their mother to see the hand of God in all the great events of life.

As one of Frobisher's men said, when describing the great tussle with the ice-floes, "The ice was strong, but God was stronger."

We may be sure that one of the most critical moments in Walter Raleigh's education was the time when he stayed with the Gilberts, and listened to ideas of empire and duty which only a few in any age have been inspired to feel and know and carry into practice.

Humphrey shows in his writings that he had read deeply; Homer and Aristotle and Plato are quoted in his Discourse to prove a north-west passage to Cathay. Philosophers of Florence, Grantor the Grecian, and Strabo, Proclus, and Philo in his book de Mundo, and the German Simon Gryneus, and a host of modern geographers are called to bear witness to his theory that America was an island. Then he had read all the accounts brought home by great seamen, and skilfully wrought them together to prove his theory. But of course his facts were very unreliable and mixed with strange errors, but that was not his fault. If he believed that there was unbroken land to the South Pole, except for the narrow opening of the Straits of Magellan, the error was not his.

At the end of his memorial to the Queen, he writes: "Never therefore mislike with me for the taking in hand of any laudable and honest enterprise; for if through pleasure or idleness we purchase shame, the pleasure vanisheth, but the shame remaineth for ever. Give me leave therefore, without offence, always to live and die in this mind: that he is not worthy to live at all that, for fear or danger of death, shunneth his country's service and his own honour, seeing that death is inevitable and the fame of virtue immortal."

We can imagine the great Queen looking admiringly at this tall knight of Devon, so fair and yet so strong, so practical and inventive, and yet so compact of fancy and imagination; a man after her own heart, brave and loyal, and one who feared God alone.

Humphrey was only twenty-five years old when he petitioned the Queen in association with Anthony Jenkinson for licence to find out a north-eastern passage to Cathay, a country which surpassed in wealth all the parts of the Indies visited by the Spaniards. Gilbert promised to fit out such an expedition at his own expense, all the profits to go to those who embarked upon it, except the fifths, which belonged to the Crown. However, Elizabeth did not yet listen favourably to this project; she sent Jenkinson back to Russia as her Ambassador, and found service for Gilbert under the Earl of Warwick at Havre in 1563. Here he received a wound and had to come home for a space of three years; then he was ordered to Ireland in July 1566, to be employed under the Lord Deputy, Sir Henry Sidney. Humphrey was appointed captain in the army which under Sidney was resisting the forces of the Irish rebel chief, Shan O'Neill, and saw a good deal of desperate fighting.

In November 1566, Sir Henry Sidney sent Gilbert with despatches to England, and the daring youth presented another petition to the Queen, asking for two of the Queen's ships, provided he supplied two others, and requesting the life government for himself of any countries he might conquer, and a tenth part of all their land. In this petition he proposed to reach the Indies by the north-west, and to this change of plan he remained constant. But the Company of Merchant Adventurers protested against this as an infringement of their own charter, and it was abandoned.

But the Queen never lost sight of her able young officer. In March 1567 Gilbert was back in Ireland, and in June the Queen wrote to Sidney bidding him see how far the Irish rebels could be restrained by establishing a colony of honest men in Ulster. She recommended him to use the services of Humphrey Gilbert, as the colonists would come chiefly from the west of England; these Gilbert was to select, to conduct them to Lough Foyle and there to be their President. But this plan was never carried out, and Gilbert went back to his soldiering. For the next two years, as leader of a band of horse, he helped Sidney to put down rebellion.

When in 1568 he was sent back to England and fell dangerously ill, the Queen inquired carefully into his condition, and wrote to Sir Henry Sidney to say that Gilbert was to have his full pay during his absence, and some better place was to be found him on his return to Ireland. So, with a Queen to back him up, Gilbert was made a colonel, and defeated M'Carthy More in September. This victory won for him the honourable duty of keeping the peace in the province of Munster, where he showed more vigour and stern discipline than sympathy.

In December we find him writing to the Lord Deputy, saying he was determined to have neither parley nor peace with any rebel; for he was convinced that no conquered nation could be ruled with gentleness.

Henry Sidney was not averse to the strong hand, and wrote to the Queen, praising Gilbert's "discretion, judgment, and lusty courage," and on January 1, 1570, he knighted Gilbert at Drogheda.

In 1571 Sir Humphrey Gilbert married Anne, daughter of Sir Anthony Ager of Kent, not unmindful perhaps of the old proverb:—

"A Knight of Gales, and a Gentleman of Wales, and a Laird
        of the North Countree,
A Squire of Kent with his yearly rent will weigh them down
        —all three."

He was then returned as M.P. for Plymouth.

But Elizabeth, who had been helping the Netherlands against Philip in secret, underhand ways, began in 1572 to be impressed by the Catholic League, and to fear that England, like all other Protestant countries, must look to encounter the whole forces of the Pope. She remembered the words of Walsingham, "Unless God had raised up the Prince of Orange to entertain Spain, Madam, we should have had the fire long since at our own door."

So Gilbert went to Flanders in 1572 with 1400 Englishmen to fight against Philip's stern deputy, the Duke of Alva. He took part in the siege of Sluys, and wrote to ask the Queen for more men to be sent. He then helped in the assault on Tergoes. But his rash, hot-headed style of fighting, acquired perhaps in Ireland, offended the slow and cautious Dutchmen whom he was assisting, and Gilbert returned to England, convinced that the Dutch lacked animal courage.

Then for two years Sir Humphrey lived quietly at Limehouse, busy with chemical researches; but as his partners wished to try the so-called science of alchemy and to transmute iron into copper, he begged leave to withdraw, mistrusting their modicum of science.

Gilbert had time to meditate now on his relentless treatment of Irish rebels. A brave and chivalrous gentleman, for those times, a scientific explorer and a man of deep piety, he could now compare his conduct in Ireland with Alva's in the Netherlands, and wonder if Sidney's high praise had been deserved.

"For the Colonel," Sidney wrote to Cecil in 1570, "I cannot say enough. The highways are now made free where no man might travel unspoiled. The gates of cities and towns are now left open, where before they were continually shut or guarded with armed men.... And yet this is not the most, nor the best that he hath done; for the estimation that he hath won to the name of Englishman there, before almost not known, exceedeth all the rest; for he hath in battle broken so many of them, wherein he showed how far our soldiers in valour surpassed those rebels, and he in his own person any man he had. The name of an Englishman is more terrible now to them than the sight of a hundred was before. For all this, I had nothing to present him with but the honour of knighthood, which I gave him; for the rest, I recommend him to your friendly report."

That was the better side of the question—order kept and duty done. But Sir Humphrey in his two years of quiet thinking and writing must have often recalled with compunction scenes in Ireland which he could not approve of, and perhaps was dimly conscious of at the time.

For the English troops, spread abroad over a lonesome countryside and held in check only by some ruthless sergeant-major, would often, when opposed to desperate men, meet outrage with outrage, and cruelty with cruelty.

Sidney himself loathed his vile task, and often implored to be called away from "such an accursed country."

We may be sure, then, that a man so gentle and humane as Sir Humphrey Gilbert must have felt that the government of Ireland was no pleasant task. It was also very expensive, for the cost of it to England above the revenue levied in Ireland itself from the date of Elizabeth's accession was now £90,000.

No one seems to have thought that lenity might win a greater success than stern discipline. Rokeby writes to Cecil: "It is not the image nor the name of a President and Council that will frame them to obedience; it must be fire and sword, the rod of God's vengeance. Valiant and courageous soldiers must make a way for law and justice; or else, farewell to Ireland."

In the winter of 1574 Gilbert received a visit at Limehouse from George Gascoigne, the poet. "Well, Sir Humphrey, how do you spend your time in this loitering vacation from martial stratagems?" asked the poet.

"Come into my writing-room, George, and you shall see sundry profitable exercises which I have perfected with my pen—and that of my half-brother, Walter Raleigh." Thereupon Gilbert put into his friend's hands the celebrated Discourse on the North-west Passage.

As Gascoigne read the concluding words: "If your Majesty like to do it all, then would I wish your Highness to consider that delay doth oftentimes prevent the performance of good things, for the wings of man's life are plumed with the feathers of death," he turned and said with a laugh, "It is easy for a rhymester to see that Walter, the poet, writ those words. But suffer me to take it home: such good stuff asketh some study."

The manuscript of the Discourse was handed about in influential quarters, and that very winter the Queen reminded the Governor and Directors of the Muscovy Company that twenty years had passed since they last sent out an expedition to search for Cathay. It was Martin Frobisher who bore the Queen's letter to the Governor; and when the Company declined to find a North-west Passage, the Queen granted a licence to Frobisher and others to search for the same. But the initial impulse had been given by Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Walter Raleigh.

Various schemes these restless adventurers proposed to the Queen, but it was not until June 1578 that a charter was granted to Gilbert for discovering and possessing any distant and barbarous lands which he could find, provided they were not already claimed by any Christian prince or people. He was authorised to plant a colony and to be absolute governor both of the Englishmen and of the natives dwelling in it; and he was to rule, "as near as conveniently might be," in harmony with the laws and policy of England.

How swiftly Gilbert set about preparing his expedition! Fortunately long arrears of pay had lately been issued to him for his services in Ireland. All this he lavished on his ships and their provision, leaving his little wife but a slender margin to live upon. But his faith was so strong in his theories that he dared to risk almost all he had.

Friends came round him, eager to help and—not least—to share the profits of the expedition; among these were Walter and George Raleigh, George and William Carew, Denny, his cousin, Nowell and Morgan. But best of all, the Queen wished him all good success; for she had sent two of her own kinsmen, Henry and Francis, sons of Sir Francis Knollys, to join him on the expedition.

By the end of summer, 1578, Gilbert's fleet of eleven sail, manned by five hundred young gentlemen and sailors, seemed ready for sea as it lay at anchor between the wooded cliffs that girdle the Dart.

But a strange discord was already making Gilbert's life bitter to him; there were too many masters in that little fleet, and petty bickerings spoilt the voice of authority and command.

Naturally, the common seamen took their cue from their betters. They were for the most part reckless men who had broken out of prison; blasphemers and ruffians who had been tempted to volunteer from sheer love of piracy.

Some of these men went brawling and rioting through Plymouth, insulting the night-watch, and even adding murder to pillage.

The townsfolk complained, and the Earl of Bedford, at that time Lord-Lieutenant of Devon, demanded that the guilty should be delivered up. Sir Humphrey would have seconded the Earl's efforts to keep order, but Henry Knollys, to whose ship most of the rioters belonged, set the law at defiance, laughed at the disorders, and thus encouraged his crew to commit further excesses.

Knollys, relying on his kinship to the Queen, even ventured to be rude and insolent towards his leader, and boasted to Sir Humphrey that he was worth twenty knights. Once, when Gilbert had invited him to dinner, Knollys declined the invitation, insolently remarking that he had money to pay for his own dinner, and that the admiral might keep his trenchers for such beggars as stood in need of his hospitality.

Every day these bickerings and insults passed between the captains and threatened to end in bloodshed. Henry Knollys, being left second in command while Sir Humphrey was absent on business, took the opportunity to pay off a grudge he had against Captain Miles Morgan.

Fortunately Gilbert returned just in time to stay the proceedings. As he rowed to the ship he asked the meaning of the flag being at half-mast. "They be agoing to string up Cap'en Morgan at the yardarm, Admiral."

One may imagine how anger and shame and disappointment troubled the mind of the thoughtful explorer, as he hastened to save his captain from the savage vengeance of Henry Knollys.

Then, to secure himself against an appeal to the Queen's Council, Gilbert submitted the matter to the Mayor of Plymouth, who, after hearing evidence on both sides, gave judgment in favour of the admiral.

But this did not put a stop to the quarrels of the captains, and Henry Knollys, his brother Francis, Captain Denny, Gilbert's cousin, and others of the company broke away from the admiral with four ships, and set sail on their own account. It is pleasant to know that the Queen stood by her faithful Gilbert, and would listen to no complaints from the Knollys.

It was not until the 19th of November that Sir Humphrey, with Walter Raleigh, was able to sail from Plymouth with seven ships and three hundred and fifty men. But whither they went has been left in obscurity.

It seems that Gilbert wished to plant a colony on the North American coast, a little south of Newfoundland, but the majority of his officers were for making an attack upon the Spanish possessions further south. In attempting this they fell in with a strong Spanish fleet in the spring of 1579, and were defeated with the loss of one of their best ships and of the brave Captain Miles Morgan, and of many others among the adventurers.

So Raleigh and Gilbert gave up the voyage and returned to Plymouth in May. They came to London, poor in funds and somewhat dashed in spirit; but the unlooked-for sympathy of admiring courtiers and merchants cheered them not a little.

"Walter, we will not give it up yet! Let us work hard for a better ending."

The Queen was much concerned for Gilbert's failure, and sent him with Walter Raleigh in two ships to the Irish coast to prevent James Fitz-Maurice from raising an insurrection along the south coast. After some active service against Spanish vessels, Gilbert was sent back to England, while Raleigh remained to serve under Lord Grey of Wilton. Gilbert, returning to his wife in poverty and disappointment, was not unlike Martin Frobisher; they both suffered in promoting the expansion of the Queen's Empire, and both found their wives in abject destitution.

In July 1581 Sir Humphrey writes to Walsingham from his house in Sheppey a piteous letter, begging that he may be paid a small sum of money owed him for his services in Ireland, whereby he had lost so much that he was reduced to extreme want. "It is a miserable thing that after twenty-seven years' service I should now be subjected to daily arrests for debt, to executions and outlawries, and should have to sell even my wife's clothes from off her back."

Still Sir Humphrey did not despond, but talked much of his new colony which he was to found in Baccalaos, or Newfoundland.

The elder Cabot had discovered the island, and Spaniards and French had made trading voyages to it in search of codfish. The Bristol merchants still preferred commerce with Iceland, though Anthony Parkhurst of Bristol reported in 1578 that the English fishing fleet had increased from thirty to fifty sail, and he urged that more should try that trade.

But the moneyed gentlemen of the Court and City thought little of cod-fish, and yearned for the wealth of the Aztecs in Mexico, where lumps of gold as large as a man's fist could be picked up, and pearls were measured by the peck. With some retailers of such marvellous stories Gilbert had conference, and, with help from many speculative friends, he was able to make a second start in the summer of 1583.

His brother, Walter Raleigh, and his old friends Sir George Peckham and Carlile, helped to fit out the expedition. Raleigh, having made money in Ireland and at Court, fitted out the Raleigh, a barque of 200 tons. There were also the Delight, of 120 tons, the Golden Hind and the Swallow, each of 40 tons, and the tiny Squirrel, of 10 tons. In these vessels were some two hundred and sixty persons. "For solace of the people and amusement of the savages we were provided with music in great variety, not omitting toys, as morris-dancers, hobby-horses, and many like conceits, for to delight the savage people, whom we intended to win by all fair means possible."

The Queen, ever willing to lend approval to her sea-captains, not without a sense of favours to come from the Indies, had sent Gilbert, by Raleigh, a token, an anchor in gold guided by a lady; "And further she willed me to send you word that she wished you as good hap as if she herself were there in person, desiring you to have care of yourself as of that which she tendereth ... further, she commandeth that you leave your picture with me."

This time Gilbert had his own way and steered straight for Newfoundland, leaving Plymouth harbour on the 11th of June 1583. The wind was fair all day, but a great storm of thunder and wind fell in the night.

On the third day signal was made from Raleigh's barque that Captain Butler and many of his crew were fallen sick—a contagious sickness had broken out which constrained them to forsake the fleet and return to Plymouth.

"The reason I never could understand," says the chronicler, Edward Hayes, captain and owner of the Golden Hind. "Sure I am, no cost was spared by their owner, Master Raleigh, in setting them forth, therefore I leave it unto God."

After this they passed through a series of fogs and storms, and were separated; they saw many mountains of ice drifting southwards. About fifty leagues this side of Newfoundland they passed the Bank, having twenty-five fathoms water below them. There they saw many Portuguese and French fishing over the Bank; they knew without sounding how far the Bank extended, by the incredible multitude of sea-fowl hovering over the same. When the Golden Hind at last reached the Bay of Conception they found the Swallow again, and all her men much altered in apparel. At their first meeting the crew of the Swallow "for joy and congratulation spared not to cast up into the air and overboard their caps and hats in good plenty." These men, it turned out, being pirates for the most part, had stopped a home-bound barque, just to borrow a little victual and raiment. "Deal favourably with them, my lads," quoth the captain of the Swallow.

Off went the cock-boat with a merry crew and boarded the English fishing-smack; from which they rifled and took store of tackle, sails, cables, victuals, and raiment. While, if any tried to hide his valuables, they wound a cord about his head full merrily, pulling it taut till the blood gushed out. "But God's justice did follow the same company," for as they took their cock-boat to go aboard the Swallow, it was overwhelmed in the sea, and certain of the men were drowned. The rest were saved even by those whom they had before spoiled; but God's vengeance was, we are told, only delayed. They then held on southwards until they came to St. John's harbour, where they found the Squirrel at anchor outside; for the captains of the merchant ships had refused to let her enter the harbour.

So, while making ready to fight and force an entrance, Gilbert despatched a boat to let them know that he came with no ill intent, but had a commission from her Majesty for the present voyage.

Permission was at once granted, and the four ships were sailing in, when the Delight ran upon a rock fast by the shore. "But we found such readiness in the English merchants to help us in that danger, that without delay there were brought a number of boats which towed off the ship and cleared her of danger."

When they had let fall their anchors, the captains and masters of the merchantmen came on board; the admiral showed his commission, to take possession on behalf of the Crown of England, and they all welcomed him with salutes of guns and offer of provisions. Also invitations were issued to continual feasts and merry entertainments. "We were presented with wines, marmalades, most fine rusk, or biscuit, sweet oils and sundry delicacies. Also we wanted not of fresh salmons, trouts, lobsters, and other fresh fish brought daily unto us."

After their hard fare and tedious sea-passage such abundance came to them as a delightful surprise.

The next day being Sunday, the 4th of August 1583, Sir Humphrey and his officers went on shore and were shown "the garden." "But nothing appeared more than Nature herself without art, who confusedly hath brought forth roses abundantly, wild but odoriferous, and to sense very comfortable. Also the like plenty of raspberries, which do grow in every place."

Gilbert was so pleased with what he saw that he resolved to make St. John's the chief place in the new colony.

On Monday there was a mass meeting called before the admiral's tent, and the charter was explained to all; then in the Queen's name Gilbert took possession of Newfoundland, England's first and oldest colony, and had delivered unto him a rod and a turf of the soil, as the custom of England was.

Three laws to begin with Sir Humphrey proposed, and all agreed thereto:—

"1. All the religion in public exercise shall be according to the Church of England.

"2. If any one attempt anything prejudicial to the Queen's authority, he shall be tried and executed as in case of high treason.

"3. If any shall utter words sounding to the dishonour of her Majesty, he shall lose his ears, and have his goods and ship confiscate."

Then amid general shouts of joy the Arms of England, engraven in lead and fixed upon a pillar of wood, were set up not far from the admiral's tent.

For a short time Sir Humphrey spent a very happy life in Newfoundland, for he had won for himself and his descendants almost regal power; and he was no selfish adventurer, but one who from a good heart and fear of God wished to advance the welfare of his Queen and country, while he benefited the merchants and natives.


Sir Humphrey Gilbert landed at St. John's, and there took formal possession of Newfoundland for the Crown, by receiving a rod and a turf of the soil, as the custom of England was.

He appointed men to repair and trim the ships, others to gather supplies and provisions, others to search the country round for account of what was most noteworthy. By his orders two maps were drawn of the coast, which were however lost at sea. The explorers came back full of enthusiasm for the new colony, having found no natives in the south part, but in the north many harmless savages.

Fish, trout, salmon, and cod were reported to be in incredible quantities; whales and turbot, lobsters and herrings and oysters abounded. They saw fir-trees, pine, and cypress, all yielding gum and turpentine; they were told that the grass would fatten sheep in three weeks, and were shown peas gathered in early August.

They found also large partridges, grey and white, and rough-footed like doves, red-deer, bears, and ounces, wolves and foxes and otters, rich in fur beyond price.

The General had brought to him a sable alive, which he sent to his brother, Sir John Gilbert, knight of Devonshire; but it was never delivered.

The narrator in Hakluyt bursts into a pæan of delight at the lavish gifts of a munificent God: "Though man hath not used a fifth part of the same, choosing to live very miserably within this realm pestered with inhabitants, rather than to adventure as becometh men."

Especially in the matter of minerals had Gilbert ordered his refiner, Daniel, to make diligent inquiry, who one day brought the admiral some ore and said, "If silver be the thing which may satisfy thee, seek no further."

Gilbert commanded him not to let others know of his discovery; he sent it on board for further assay when they should be on the high sea.

Some people have found fault with Sir Humphrey for not having exercised more forethought for housing his colonists in the winter; but the fault and the failure of the first settlement lay in the men he had been given to take out with him. For indeed many of them were lawless robbers, men who hated honest work—gaol-birds let out to avoid the expense of keeping them at home.

The bad men amongst them corrupted the weaker, and in a fortnight Gilbert had such a ruffianly crew that his heart must have sunk within him.

Some were for stealing away vessels by night and taking to piracy. One band of marauders carried away out of the harbour a ship laden with fish, after they had set the poor crew ashore. Others—and many of them—stole away into the woods, hiding themselves, and living as wild men; others lay about in drunken exhaustion. Some were sick of fluxes, and many died; and not a few craved licence to depart home.

So less than three weeks after the glad blowing of horns and booming of guns, the little colony had grown so weak and dispirited that Gilbert resolved to leave the Swallow behind, to carry home the sick as soon as they could travel, while he himself in the Squirrel, with the Delight and the Golden Hind, set out to explore the coast to the south. He preferred the little Squirrel, because she was so light and could search into every harbour and creek; for he intended to return next year and plant yet another colony, if it pleased God, of a better sort of men.

Under Cape Race, at the south-west of the island, they were becalmed several days, and laid out hook and line to fish: in less than two hours they took cod so large and so abundant that for many days after they fed on no other food. On reaching Cape Breton Isle, Gilbert intended to land; but the crew of the Delight turned mutinous, and sailed out to the open sea.

The Golden Hind and the Squirrel gave chase, but the Delight sped on faster, and her crew kept up their spirits with noisy music of drums and cornets.

Towards the evening of August the 27th, the crew of the Golden Hind caught "a very mighty porpoise with a harping iron"; they had seen many—a sure sign of a coming storm. Some declared that they heard that night strange voices which scared them from the helm. Men who would meet a known danger face to face were apt to run away from what seemed weird and ghostly. Next day the Delight, keeping ill watch, struck against a rock, and in an hour or two had her stern beaten in pieces. The others dared not venture so near shore to help them, but they could see the crew taking to their boats and to rafts in the raging sea.

Thus Gilbert lost his largest ship, freighted with great care, and with all his papers, and with her he lost nearly a hundred men; amongst whom were the learned Budæus of Hungary, who was to have celebrated their exploits in the Latin tongue, Daniel, the Saxon refiner, and Captain Maurice Brown, "a vertuous, honest, and discrete gentleman," who refused to leave his ship. One pinnace, overfull of passengers, had a narrow escape. There was on board a brave soldier, named Edward Headly, who said, "My friends, 'twere better that some of us perish rather than all. I make this motion, that we cast lots who shall be thrown overboard, thereby to lighten the boat. I offer myself with the first, content to take this adventure gladly, so some be saved."

But the master, Richard Clark, answered him thus:

"No, no! I refuse the sacrifice, and I advise you all to abide God's pleasure, who is able to save all, as well as a few."

The little boat was carried for six days before the wind, and then they arrived famished and weak on the Newfoundland coast, saving that Headly, who had been ill, could not hold out, but died of hunger by the way. Those that were saved were taken to France by certain fishermen.

The weather continued thick and blustering, and the cold grew more intense; they began to lose hope, and doubted they were engulfed in the Bay of St. Lawrence, where the coast was unknown and full of dangers. Above all, provisions waxed scant and their clothes were thin and old. The men of the Golden Hind and of the Squirrel exchanged signs, pointing to their mouths and ragged clothing, till Gilbert was moved to compassion for the poor men, and called the captain and master of the Hind on board the Squirrel and said:

"Be content, we have seen enough, and take no care of expense past. I will set you forth royally next spring, if God send us safe home. Therefore, I pray you, let us no longer strive here, where we fight against the elements." So with much sorrow they consented to give up the voyage, being comforted by the General's promise to return speedily next spring.

It was Saturday, the 31st of August, when they changed their course, and at the very instant when they were turning there passed along towards the land which they were forsaking "a marvellous creature, like a lion in shape, hair, and colour, not swimming after the manner of a beast, but rather sliding upon the surface, with all his body exposed except the legs. Thus he passed along, turning his head to and fro, yawning and gaping wide, with ugly demonstration of long teeth and glaring eyes: and, to bid us farewell, he sent forth a horrible voice, roaring as doth a lion; which spectacle we all beheld so far as we were able to discern the same, as men prone to wonder at every strange thing, as this doubtless was, to see a lion in the ocean sea, or fish in shape of a lion. The General took it for a Bonum Omen, rejoicing that he was to warre against such an enemie, if it were the devil."

On Monday Sir Humphrey went aboard the Golden Hind to have the surgeon dress his foot, which he had hurt by treading on a nail.

He was merry enough, and they comforted one another with hope of hard toil being all past, and of the good hap that was coming.

They agreed all to carry lights always by night that they might the better keep together. But when they begged Sir Humphrey to stay aboard the larger vessel, he laughed and shook his head and rowed back to the Squirrel. Immediately after followed a sharp storm which they weathered with some difficulty; then, the weather being fair again, the General (as they called him) came aboard the Hind again, and made merry with the captain, master, and company, continuing there from morning until night.

This was their last meeting, and sundry discourses were made touching affairs past and to come: but Sir Humphrey lamented sore the loss of his great ship, and of the men, and most of all of his books and notes; for which he seemed out of measure grieved: so that the chronicler deemed he must be sorrowing over the loss of his silver ore.

But Sir Humphrey's great soul was above such trash. He had seen enough in Newfoundland to know that its possession by England would be a jewel in the Queen's crown beyond all price. This was his second failure, not from any fault of his, but he doubtless feared that God was wroth with him for some fault of temper. For faults of temper he had, and confessed the same, saying: "Do ye mind when I sent my boy aboard the Delight to fetch some charts and papers before she had gone on the rocks?"

"Aye, aye, General; 'twas when we were becalmed off Newfoundland, near unto Cape Race."

"I be wondrous sorry now that I beat the lad so grievously in my great rage; but he had forgotten to bring the chief thing I wanted."

They kept silence, as he sighed and looked away through the rigging. Anon they would talk of next year's voyage, please God! and Sir Humphrey reserved unto himself the north for discovery, affirming that this voyage had won his heart from the south, and that he was now become a northern man altogether.

"But what means have you, General, to compass the charges of so great a preparation for next spring—with two fleets, a southern and a northern?"

"Oh! leave that to me, friends; I will ask a penny of no man. I will bring good tidings unto her Majesty, who will be so gracious to lend me a thousand pounds. Nay, lads, be of good cheer; for I thank God with all my heart for that I have seen in Newfoundland: enough there for us all, and no need to seek any further."

Such comfortable words Sir Humphrey kept oftentimes repeating, with demonstration of great confidence and fervency, and belief in the inestimable good which this voyage should procure for England. But his hearers looked on and listened, with considerable doubt and mistrust.

"I will hasten to the end of this tragedy," writes Mr. Hayes; "as it was God's ordinance upon him, even so the vehement persuasion and entreaty of his friends could nothing avail to divert him from a wilful resolution to go through in his ten-ton frigate, which was overcharged upon her decks, with nettings and small artillery, too cumbersome for so small a boat that was to pass through the ocean at that season of the year."

All the answer which his well-wishers got was a cheery refusal to stay: "I will not forsake my little company going homeward, with whom I have passed so many storms and perils." It is worth noting, too, that a squirrel was in the crest of the Gilberts. So, seeing he would not bend to any reason, they carried some better provision for him aboard the Squirrel and committed him to God's protection.

By this time they had brought the Azores south of them, and were still keeping to the north until they had got to the latitude of South England. Here they met with very foul weather and terrible seas, "breaking short and high, pyramid-wise"; so that men said they never saw more outrageous seas. Also upon the mainyard sat a little fire by night which seamen call Castor and Pollux, a sure sign of more tempest to follow.

Monday, the 9th of September, a great wave passed over the little Squirrel, yet she shook herself like a bird and recovered; and then they saw Sir Humphrey Gilbert sitting abaft with a book in his hand. And as oft as the Golden Hind approached within hearing, the crew heard him cry out to them from his frigate, "Courage, my friends; we are as near to heaven by sea as by land."

This speech he repeated more than once, "well beseeming a soldier, resolute in Jesus Christ, as I can testify he was."

The same Monday night, about midnight or not long after, when the little Squirrel was ahead of the Golden Hind, suddenly her lights were seen to go out; the watch cried, "The General is cast away"; and this proved too true.

The Golden Hind battled on, signalling to every small vessel they saw in the distance, in case she should be their consort, but all in vain. They arrived at Falmouth the 22nd day of September, then on to Dartmouth to certify Sir John Gilbert of his brother's death, who courteously offered hospitality to the captain and his company.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert has been described as one of the worthiest of the Elizabethan heroes. He had all Raleigh's high sense of honour, and a more genial manner. He gave England her first colony, and ruined himself in doing it. Mr. Hayes, who sailed with him, says, "The crosses, turmoils, and afflictions, both in the preparation and execution of this voyage, did correct the intemperate humours in this gentleman, which made less delightful his other manifold virtues."

No doubt, the fact that his aunt, Kate Ashley, had been Elizabeth's old and valued governess first commended him to the Queen, but her continued favour was due to Humphrey Gilbert's sterling worth and loyal service. Prince, in his "Worthies of Devon," describes him as "an excellent hydrographer and no less skilful mathematician, of an high and daring spirit, though not equally favoured of fortune. His person recommended him to esteem and veneration at first sight; his stature was beyond the ordinary size, his complexion sanguine, and his constitution very robust."

The motto on his arms, Mutare vel timere sperno, if not good Latin, yet breathed the spirit of chivalry. Sir Humphrey did "scorn to waver or to fear," and he has earned an Empire's gratitude.



Charles, eldest son of Lord William Howard, was born in 1536, his mother being Margaret, daughter of Sir Thomas Gamage of Glamorganshire. His father, brother of the Duke of Norfolk and uncle of Queen Catherine Howard, was, on that lady's execution, condemned to life imprisonment for having concealed her faults; but the sentence was soon remitted, and in Mary's reign he was appointed High Admiral of England. It was under such a father that Charles was trained both on land and sea service. He was about twenty-two years of age at the accession of Elizabeth, and his "most proper person," or handsome appearance, at once won the Queen's favour; for she liked a jewel set in a goodly case.

So Charles was sent to France on an embassy of condolence after the death of Henry II., and to congratulate the young king. Soon he was elected one of the knights for his native county of Surrey in the Parliament of 1562. We next hear of him as being a General of Horse under the Earl of Warwick, in the army sent against the rebel Earls of Northumberland and Westmorland in 1569.

In 1570, when Lord Lincoln was Lord Admiral, Howard was ordered to command a squadron of ships-of-war sent by Queen Elizabeth to escort Anne of Austria, sister of the Emperor Maximilian, from Zealand into Spain, whither she was going for the purpose of being married to Philip II. Howard of course knew that Philip had no love now for the Queen of England; so, when the great Spanish galleons came into British waters he first made them salute the Queen's flag, and then gave them all honourable escort, to show his Queen's respect for the house of Austria. It was a deed which gave promise of great exploits hereafter. Richard Hakluyt thus describes it in a letter to Lord Charles Howard:—

"When the Emperor's sister, the spouse of Spain, with a fleet of one hundred and thirty sail, stoutly and proudly passed the narrow seas, your Lordship, accompanied by ten ships only of her Majesty's Royal Navy, environed their fleet in most strange and warlike sort, enforced them to stoop gallant and to vail their bonnets for the Queen of England, and made them perfectly to understand that old speech of the Prince of Poets, Virgil,

'Non illi imperium pelagi sævumque tridentem,
        Sed tibi sorte datum."

('It was not to him that fate had given the Empire of the deep and the fell trident, but to thee.')

"Yet after they had acknowledged their duty, your Lordship, on her Majesty's behalf, conducted her safely through our English Channel, and performed all good offices of honour and humanity to that foreign Princess."

No doubt this proud demand for homage to the flag of England went far to secure for Lord Charles the post of Lord High Admiral in 1585. For relations between Spain and England were growing ever more strained, and war conducted at first by private adventurers was bound to issue in a national contest. The Queen began to prepare for this by purchasing arms and powder abroad. She had many pieces of great ordnance of brass and iron cast, and luckily a rich vein of stone was found in Cumberland, near Keswick, which helped much in the works for making brass. How patriotic our forefathers were can be seen by the cheerful way in which both nobles and peasants helped in providing weapons.

In every nobleman's house complete armouries were provided, private individuals built ships-of-war, and poor men flocked to the ports to offer their services. When Spain insolently warned off all the English from trading with America, when she instigated revolt in Ireland, and hired assassins to murder Elizabeth, patriotism was awakened from a long sleep. The near approach of danger had evoked the nation's dormant spirit and indomitable courage.

When the Prince of Orange had been assassinated and the Prince of Parma had taken Antwerp, Elizabeth hesitated no longer to conclude a treaty with the Netherlands against their Spanish oppressors, and issued a long statement of the reasons for so doing. Other Christian princes admired such manly fortitude in a woman. The King of Sweden said she had taken the crown from her head and adventured it upon the chance of war.

There was no need in those days to compel the men to bear arms and defend their country. Englishmen were not then devoted to sports and games, but hastened from north to south to offer their maligned Queen bands of horse and foot. Amongst the first was Lord Montague, a Roman Catholic peer, with two hundred horsemen led by his own sons, and with them a young child, very comely, seated on his pony, the eldest son to his lordship's heir; so there were grandfather, father, and son at one time on horseback before the Queen, ready to do her service.

There were many Roman Catholics who remained loyal, and not least among them was Lord Charles Howard, who had been for many months looking after the welfare of the fleet, seeing all was in good order, and now and then issuing out to check or pursue pirates.

"The Queen," we are told by Fuller, "had a great persuasion of his fortunate conduct, and knew him to be of a moderate and noble courage, skilful in sea matters, wary and provident, valiant and courageous, industrious and active, and of great authority and esteem among sailors."

Another admirer of Lord Howard's admits that he was no deep seaman like Sir Humphrey Gilbert; but he had sense enough to know those who had more skill than himself, and to follow their instructions; he was not one to go his own wilful way, but ruled himself by the experienced in sea matters—thus the Queen had a navy of oak and an admiral of osier. With the help of Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher, the new Lord High Admiral, Charles Howard, formed his plans of defence. Sir Philip Sidney, too, was deep in their counsels, planning expeditions, subscribing money, and persuading rich friends to volunteer or fit out ships.

Early in January 1588 Philip, to gain time for his preparations, had proposed through the Duke of Parma, his Governor in the Netherlands, that commissioners should meet to negotiate a treaty of peace. Both Elizabeth and Burghley were in favour of this, not seeing that it was but a blind to cover their exertions to repair the damage done by Drake at Cadiz the year before.

Howard wrote at once to Walsingham: "There never was such a stratagem and mask to deceive her Majesty as this treaty of peace. I pray God that we do not curse for this a long grey beard with a white head witless (Burghley's), that will make all the world think us heartless.... Therefore, good Mr. Secretary, let every one of ye persuade her Majesty that she lose no time in taking care enough of herself."

Lord Charles does not forget his wife as danger begins to face him: "I request that, if it please God to call me to Him in this service of her Majestie, which I am most willing to spend my life in, that her Majestie of her goodness will bestow my boy upon my poor wife" (he was probably a page at Court), "and if it please her Majestie to let my poor wife have the keeping either of Hampton Court, or Oatlands, I shall think myself most bound to her Majestie; for" (in his own spelling) "I dow assur you, Sir, I shall not leve heer so well as so good a wyfe dowthe desarve."

It is strange to mark from the letters written a few weeks before the Armada set sail how very parsimonious both the Queen and Burghley seemed to the admiral to be in providing for the expenses of fitting out the fleet. Drake had been prevented from getting his fleet in order for sea-service at Plymouth. "The fault is not in him," wrote Howard, "but I pray God her Majestie do not repent her slack dealing." Four ships, which Howard had asked for, the Queen was loth to use, and especially the Elizabeth Jonas, a stout vessel of 900 tons burthen, which carried more guns and not fewer seamen than any of the other ships. "Lord! when should she serve if not at such a time as this?" wrote Howard to Walsingham on the 7th of April; "either she is fit now to serve, or fit for the fire. I hope never in my time to see so great a cause for her to be used. The King of Spain doth not keep any ship at home, either of his own or any other that he can get for money. I am sorry that her Majestie is so careless of this most dangerous time. I fear me much, and with grief I think it, that she relieth on a hope that will deceive her and greatly endanger her, and then it will not be her money nor her jewels that will help. Well, well! I must pray heartily for peace, for I see the support of an honourable war will never appear. Sparing and war have no affinity together."

Lord Howard had been painfully riding from port to port all along the south coast of England, to scan the outfit and crews of all the ships. He had written letter after letter for more ships, better victuals, more guns. He had dared to say to the Queen what few others could say, and had awakened her at last from her false hopes of peace. On the 21st of May, after leaving with Lord Henry Seymour a fleet strong enough to protect the narrow seas from any invasion that the Prince of Parma might attempt, Lord Howard left Dover with most of the Queen's ships and a great number of private vessels, some fifty sail, that were furnished by London and the east coast. On the 23rd of May he entered Plymouth Road and was met by Sir Francis Drake and a fleet of sixty vessels, Queen's ships and stout barques and pinnaces fitted out by the town and nobles of the west coast. Here he was detained a week by contrary winds. On the 28th he wrote to Burghley, saying that his fleet of a hundred sail had only victuals for eighteen days: "With the gallantest company of captains, soldiers, and sailors ever seen in England, it were a pity they should lack meat." However, he did go out to meet the Armada, which they thought was on its way, but a violent gale from the south scattered his ships, which "danced as lustily as the gallantest dancers in the Court."

On Howard's return to Plymouth on the 13th of June, he found a letter from Walsingham, reproving him in the Queen's name for having gone so far away, and for leaving England almost unprotected.

He was obliged to defend himself and his advisers, Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher, and Fenner, against the lady's private view of sea-tactics. "I hope her Majestie will not think we went so rashly to work, or without a choice care and respect of the safety of this realm." And then at grave length he painfully explained that he was more likely to miss the enemy near home than off the coast of Spain, as they must needs pass Cape Finisterre on their way from Lisbon, but after that they might go eastwards towards the Netherlands, or coast the west of Ireland, or seize the Isle of Wight—and thus humbly he vails his bonnet to the imperious Mistress of the Sea: "But I muste and will obeye, and am glad there be suche in London as are hable to judge what is fitter for us to doe than we here."

Let us hope that the Queen and Burghley were able to note the bitter sarcasm; for we can imagine how Drake and Hawkins and Frobisher discussed the matter, not without "old swearing."

It was at the end of May that the Invincible Armada sailed from the Tagus for Corunna, there to take on board the land forces and stores. Cardinal Albert of Austria gave it his solemn blessing before it departed, and the Spaniards were full of confidence and enthusiasm.

Its total tonnage was about 60,000, its fighting force 50,000; while the English tonnage was 30,000, and the mariners and fighting men some 16,000.

Howard sailed in the Ark Royal, Sir Francis Drake in the Revenge as vice-admiral, Sir John Hawkins in the Victory as rear-admiral, while Lord Henry Seymour in the Rainbow, with four Queen's ships and some Dutch vessels, watched the narrow seas.

The English admirals were united by good feeling and patriotism; no jealousy disturbed their counsels. Drake, in a letter to Burghley, writes: "I find my Lord Admiral so well affected for all honourable service in this action as it doth assure all his followers of good success and hope of victory."

The storm which had driven back the English fleet from the Spanish coast dispersed or dismasted many of the enemy. One sunk and three were captured by their own galley-slaves under a Welshman, David Gwynne; he had been a galley-slave eleven years, and encouraged the rest to rise and strike for liberty. After killing the Spaniards on board, he took the three galleys to a French port. The Armada had to put back to Corunna to refit, and spent a month or more in harbour.

Then the news was carried to Court that the Spanish fleet was so broken they would not attempt any invasion this year. Some of our ships were ordered to the Irish coast, the men at Plymouth were allowed ashore, some were even discharged, while the officers amused themselves with revels, dancing, bowls, and making merry.

The Queen and Burghley were again keeping a tight hand on the slender finances, and Walsingham had to write to Lord Howard, bidding him send back to London four of the tallest ships-royal. This made the Lord High Admiral write a strong letter to the Queen on June 23rd, in which he breaks out boldly, "For the love of Jesus Christ, madame, awake thoroughly, and see the villainous traitors around you and against your Majestie and your realm: draw your forces round about you like a mighty Prince, to defend you. Truly, madame, if you do so, there is no cause to fear; if you do not, there will be danger."

The safety of England was surely in great part due to this nobleman's brave conduct in standing up against the rigid measures of Lord Burghley. He even offered to pay the cost of the four ships which he retained, if they were not wanted in battle.

Meanwhile conflicting reports kept coming into Plymouth respecting the Spanish fleet; sometimes it was said they were at sea, at other times they were reported to be still in harbour. Lord Howard's scouts were of course on the watch for their first appearance.

On the 17th of July the Lord Admiral had to write to the Lord High Treasurer for a supply of money: "Our Companies grow into great neede. I have sent herein enclosed an estimate thereof, praying your Lordship that there may be some care had, that we may be furnished with moneye, withoute the which we are not hable to contynewe our forces togeather."

On the 19th of July the Spanish fleet steered across the Channel from France to the Lizard; but they mistook it for the Ram's-head, just west of Plymouth Sound, and night being at hand they tacked off to sea, intending in the morning to attempt to surprise the ships in Plymouth. For they had heard that the crews were off their vessels, all making merry in the town. Had they sailed in that night they might have done much damage, and anticipated the Japanese surprise at Port Arthur.

But a Cornish pirate, named Thomas Fleming, had caught sight of the Armada off the Lizard, and made all sail to Plymouth with the fateful news—

"At sunrise she escaped their van, by God's especial grace;
And the tall Pinta, till the noon, had held her close in chase."

It was deemed so important that he got as a reward a free pardon and a pension for life. There is a tradition that Howard, Drake, and Frobisher, with other officers, were playing a match at bowls on the Hoe when a seaman came running up with Fleming's news.

"We must go on board at once," was the thought of all.

"No, no," laughed Drake, with a wave of the hand; then shouted in his cheery manner, "Come, let us play out our match. There will be plenty of time to win the game and beat the Spaniards too."

It sounds at first like a bit of bravado, but no doubt Sir Francis had a fine knowledge of the effect of brave words upon sailors; that story was told at once from ship to ship, and the rogues laughed, and swore that Drake was the man to singe the Spaniard's beard, as he had done before at Cadiz. King Philip might well set a big price on Drake's head, for his men feared Drake worse than the devil.

Whistles were blown, orders shouted, ropes riven. The wind was blowing pretty stiffly into the harbour and the ships were warped out with difficulty; boat-loads of men came splashing up to their ships' side, fresh from the bear-pit and the tavern. They were soon busy, hauling and sweating and laughing merrily at the thought of the fun which was coming, for which they had waited so long on shore. All hands worked with a will—"With singular diligence and industry and with admirable alacrity of the seamen, whom the Lord Admiral encouraged at their halser-work, towing at a cable with his own hands.... I dare boldly say," says Fuller, "that he drew more, though not by his person, by his presence and example, than any ten in the place."

Lord Howard hauled himself out that night in the teeth of the wind with only six ships. Early next morning, July 20th, some four-and-twenty came out, and with these he stood out to meet the enemy, resolved to check their progress at all hazards.

Soon after daybreak sixty-seven vessels entered Plymouth Road; by nine o'clock they were in the open channel, waiting for the enemy.

Howard had to wait all day; for the Spanish fleet did not come in sight till three o'clock in the afternoon.

One gentleman in the English fleet, named Dodington, occupied part of his time in writing a hasty despatch to the Privy Council:—

"Right Ho. Heare is a ffleete at this instant cominge in upon us, semid at north-west, by all likelywode it should be the enymy: hast makes me—I can write no more. I beseech your L. to pardon me, and so I referr all to your Ho. most depyst considerationes.

    "Your Ho. most humble to comand
                "ED. DODINGTON.

"ffrom the ffleete at Plymouth."

The covering address of this letter is curious; the little gallows expresses haste.


  |                                                            |
  |               FOR HER MAties SPETIALL SERVISE              |
  |  ---------                                                 |
  |   |  |  |     To THE RIGHT HONORABLE THE LORDS OF          |
  |   |  o  |     HER MAts MOST HO. PREVY CUNSELL,             |
  |   |     |     _hast post hast, for lyfe hast! for lyfe!_   |
  |                                                            |

When it was about three o'clock in the afternoon of the 20th, the English saw approaching them a huge fleet—ships with lofty turrets like castles, like a half-moon in front, the wings of which were spread out about the length of seven miles. They were coming on very slowly, though with full sails, for their blunt bows churned up the resisting wave.

Lord Howard did not attempt to stay them, as the wind was against him, but he let them ride lazily by in all their pomp and show.

The Spaniards, seeing that the English were ready for them, and were not to be caught napping, turned west again and anchored in the bay of Looe, a few miles from Plymouth Sound.

Next morning, Sunday, the 21st of July, the Spaniards weighed anchor early, with the idea of sailing east and seizing a harbour in the Isle of Wight, and then of going on to the Hague to take on board the Prince of Parma and his men.

Lord Howard let the Armada pass Plymouth, keeping his sixty ships in the haven. When about nine o'clock on this Sunday morning the Armada had all passed eastward, Howard weighed anchor and hoisted sail. "We durst not adventure to put in amongst them, their fleet being so strong," he wrote in his first report.

But he sent after them his swift pinnace, the Disdain, which fired the first shot; then came fire, smoke, and echoing cannon, for Howard in the Ark Royal followed the Disdain, thundering furiously upon a big galley which he thought was the admiral's flagship, but which proved to be the Spanish vice-admiral's, Alphonso de Leyva. Meanwhile Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher were playing fiercely upon the rear division under Juan de Recaldé.

We can imagine how anxiously Howard and Drake watched the effect of this first attack, and how they noted that the high galleons and galleasses were sending their shot plunging into the whitened sea right over the low hulls of barque and pinnace, while the English shot told again and again.

The wind was favouring the English, whose ships darted about from side to side with incredible rapidity round the slowly moving, stately Spaniards.

"Their great ships," says Hakluyt, "were powerful to defend, but not to offend; to stand, but not to move; and therefore far unfit to fight in narrow seas. Their enemies were nimble and ready at all sides to annoy them, and as apt to escape harm themselves by being low built and easily shot over."

So the Spaniards gathered their ships together in close order in form of a half-moon, keeping the smaller vessels in the centre.

This unequal fight lasted six hours. As Hawkins said, "We had some small fight with them that Sunday afternoon."

By three o'clock the great and "invincible Armada" was in utter confusion, and Nature now said to the English, "It is supper-time, my lads."

So they rested a while—some eating and drinking, some devoutly saying their prayers with thankful soul, and a few writing hasty letters. Even the Lord High Admiral could not find time to write at length to Walsingham. "I will not trouble you with any long letter; we are at present otherwise occupied than with writing. Sir, the captains in her Majesty's ships have behaved themselves most bravely and like men hitherto, and I doubt not will continue to their great commendation. There shall nothing be either neglected or unhazarded that may work the Spaniards' overthrow. And so, commending our good success to your godly prayers, I bid you hearty farewell." Then Howard adds in a postscript in his direct manner: "Sir, for the love of God and our country, let us have with some speed, some great shot sent us of all bigness; for this service will continue long,—and some powder in it."

Meanwhile the Duke of Medina Sidonia was very sharp with his gunners, whom he ordered on his flagship for a lecture on gunnery. "Fools! what was the good of firing so high, and hitting only the sea!" Perhaps the gunners had not the means of depressing the muzzles of their guns. Anyhow, one master-gunner went back to his ship very sulky indeed. He was a Dutchman, and it was said his wife had been insulted by a Spanish officer. He resolved to take his revenge out in powder. He laid a train of powder to the ship's magazine, fired it and jumped overboard; two hundred men were blown into the air. Spanish boats were sent to get the money and valuables out of her, and order was given to sink her. But somehow she got adrift, and was boarded by Lord Thomas Howard and Captain Hawkins, who found in her about fifty groaning men, horribly burnt. The stench was so disgusting that they had to quit her at once, and the Admiral ordered a small barque to tow her into Weymouth. The "scorched Spaniards" were gazed upon by the wondering townsfolk, and a quantity of gunpowder, which by luck had not exploded, was rescued and came in very useful to Howard in the days following.

How Don Pedro de Valdez by collision lost his mainmast, got left behind and was captured, has been told in the chapter on Martin Frobisher.

But the same night Lord Howard had a narrow escape of being taken; for in the dark he followed a lantern which he supposed was carried by Drake's ship. But Drake, in his eager pursuit, had forgotten the order to hang out a lantern, and fortunately only two vessels, the Bear and the Mary Rose, followed Howard, the others lay to, as they could see no light. In the morning Howard found he was in the midst of the Armada, but very coolly dropped astern and quietly joined his own fleet.

On Tuesday, the 23rd of July, at five o'clock A.M., the fleets were a little past Portland, when the wind changed from north-west to north-east; this caused some confusion, and some volunteer ships were surrounded by Don Alphonso de Leyva's squadron. A fierce and long fight ensued, which lasted all day. "This was the most furious and bloody skirmish of all," wrote the Dutch chronicler, "in which the Lord Admiral of England continued fighting amidst his enemy's fleet."

All Tuesday, too, fresh ships came up to reinforce the English; on Saturday Howard's force numbered sixty sail, by Tuesday afternoon they had been increased to a hundred.

After the long fight on Tuesday there was a lack of gunpowder and balls, and the Spaniards on Wednesday only fired fitfully at intervals.

Wednesday afternoon was utilised for a council of war. The English fleet was redistributed into five squadrons, and from each squadron were selected small, fast vessels to make sudden night-attacks. Lord Howard's cautious circumspection and cool courage had won the respect of the greater seamen, like Drake and Frobisher; his way of asking advice and taking it when given proved how sensible he was. At this council several of his younger officers, with more heat than discretion, earnestly entreated him to let them lay aboard the enemy. Howard refused their request, not with a hasty and peremptory "No," but with calm statement of his reasons. He pointed out the enormous size of the Spanish ships compared with his own, their lofty turrets fore and aft, from which they could hurl missiles, even fragments of rock, and might annihilate those who fought beneath them; he reminded his officers of the large numbers of regular troops with which they were filled, and said they must save themselves for the crisis, when the Duke of Parma's flotilla should join the Armada.

Both fleets were becalmed most of Wednesday, but the Spaniards kept very good order, and the larger galleons protected the smaller.

On Thursday, the 25th of July, there was sharp fighting off the Isle of Wight. The Santa Anna and a Portuguese galleon were singled out by Frobisher for attack. Don Alphonso with a large force hurried up to relieve them, and it would have gone hard with Frobisher had not Lord Charles Howard in his Ark Royal and Lord Thomas Howard in the Golden Lion come to the rescue. They cut up the rigging of the Spanish flagship with chain-shot, and then got out of reach before they could suffer much damage. "These two ships, the Ark and the Golden Lion, declared this day to each fleet that they had most diligent and faithful gunners. The galleasses, in whose puissance the greatest hope of the Spanish fleet was founded, were never seen to fight any more—such was their entertainment that day."

On Friday Lord Howard knighted Frobisher, Hawkins, and some others for their valiant conduct on the previous day.

The two fleets moved slowly and quietly along the Sussex shore as far as Dungeness; thence they turned and steered across towards Calais.

Those who looked on from the shore might well imagine that the great ships of the Armada were undefeated, for it was mostly in their masts and rigging that they had suffered harm. On Sunday evening the Spaniards anchored off Calais, and the Lord Admiral followed and coolly dropped anchor within cannon-shot of his enemy.

A few miles off Calais Howard had been overtaken by Seymour's force of some twenty ships, with Sir William Winter second in command; so that his entire force was now about a hundred and forty ships, many of them quite small craft. Many of the men on board were mere landsmen, and knew not which way to turn, or how to set a sail. "If you had seen the simple service done by the merchants' and coast ships," wrote Winter to Walsingham, "you would have said we had been little holpen by them, otherwise than that they did make a show."

Sunday, the 28th of July, was a sunny day, and the French shore was full of holiday folk who had come in market carts from town and village to see the grand spectacle of the great Spanish floating castles.

Though they were not noisily fighting there was much business being done—messengers were hurrying to the shore for despatches, and hurrying back to the galleons with news that the Prince of Parma was making all possible preparations for debarkation at Dunkirk, but could not be ready for a dozen hours or so. Parma was a great general, but he could not work miracles on sea. His flat-bottomed boats were leaky; his provisions were not on board; his men did not like the look of the sea; the sailors were there on compulsion, and kept deserting in crowds; the Dutch fleet was waiting for him, and if he sailed, it would be to expose his army to certain destruction.

But the Armada had reached Calais unbroken and apparently invincible; for the Spanish ships sat on the water like huge castles, their bulks being so planked with great beams that balls and bullets might strike and stick, but never pass through; so that the English cannon could do little damage, except only in playing on their masts and tackle—besides, their enormous height made any attempt to board them impossible.

Those English officers who thought on these things might well wonder how the Spaniards were ever to be beaten off from the Thames and London. Howard must have been consulting and wondering how the great battle was to be won. Some say that the Queen herself suggested fire-ships, others say that the device was Winter's, who had it from Gianibelli, an Italian who had practised it with great success in defending Antwerp from Parma three years before. As has been told before, six of the oldest vessels were filled with combustibles and smeared with pitch, and convoyed to the Armada at midnight.

It was a rough sea after a three days' calm, the rain fell in torrents, and the wind blew from the south-west, so that when the flaring hulks came careering with deadly detonations amongst the wooden walls of Spain, no wonder if a panic seized them, and they scurried before the wind to the mouth of the Scheldt—all but the Neapolitan galleass, the Capitana, which lost her rudder, bumped on the Calais sands and was taken. For Howard had sent his long-boat and a pinnace to seize her.

"We had a pretty skirmish for half-an-hour"—a hundred English armed with muskets and swords against seven hundred Spaniards and forty guns. "They seemed safe in their ship, while we in our open pinnaces and far under them had nothing to shroud and cover us."

The captain, Don Hugo de Moncada, smiled a sarcastic smile when asked to surrender. In a few minutes a bullet had struck him in the forehead, and he fell dead upon the deck.

On this the crew threw themselves into the sea, and the English enjoyed an hour and a half of plunder; fifty thousand ducats (£10,000) rewarded them well, but the ship was claimed by the Governor of Calais.

While the Lord Admiral stayed to watch the capture of the Capitana—not quite an admiral's duty, one would suppose—a very great fight was going on off Gravelines, where the Flemish shoals and the stormy sea together helped the English pursuers. Many great galleons were wrecked or taken, while no English ship was seriously damaged.

Lord Howard hurried up in time to see the end of the fight, and wrote, "Their force is wonderful great and strong, but we pluck their feathers by little and little." Burghley's want of resources spared the enemy a final defeat, for ammunition was exhausted, and the Spaniards limped lamely away. "Tho' our powder and shot was well near all spent," wrote Howard, "we set on a brag countenance and gave them chase."

They followed northwards up to Friday, the 2nd of August, when, being midway between the Firth of Forth and the Skager-Rak, Howard signalled to stop. For they had to refresh the ships with victuals, as well as powder and shot; so some light pinnaces only were sent to dog the Armada to the Isles of Scotland. On their way south again the English were scattered by the storm, which was driving the Spaniards on the rocks; but they assembled in Margate Road on the 9th of August.

A medal was struck to commemorate the defeat of the Armada. On it were depicted fire-ships pursuing a fleet, with the motto, "Dux femina fecit" ("The leader who did this was a woman").

We may have our doubts on this point; certainly the fire-ships did much damage, but it was the winds of heaven that finished the fight. "Afflavit Deus, et dissipantur" was more true to the facts—"God has blown on them and they are scattered," a more humble record of the victory.

The Queen was so excited by the wonderful escape from invasion that she wished to send off at once an expedition to the Azores, in order to catch the trading ships on their way back from the Indies, and so replenish the exhausted treasury.

Lord Howard consulted with Drake and Frobisher, but all held the daring scheme to be impracticable. The crews had not yet received their money due from before the Armada fight; many seamen and soldiers were in rags and half famished, in spite of all that indignant admirals had written. "Upon your letter," Howard writes to Walsingham on the 27th of August, "I presently sent for Sir Francis Drake and showed him the desire that her Majesty had for intercepting of the King's treasure from the Indies. So we considered it, and neither of us find any ships here in the fleet anyways able to go such a voyage before they have been aground, which cannot be done in any place but at Chatham, and it will be fourteen days before they can be grounded." Then with a touch of scorn for the ignorance that prompted such a desperate scheme for vessels just come from a long sea-fight, he adds, "Belike it is thought that the West Indian islands be but hereby! it is not thought how the year is spent. I thought it good, therefore, to send with all speed Sir Francis Drake, although he be not very well, to inform you rightly of all. He is a man of judgment and acquainted with it, and will tell you what must be done for such a journey."

If Sir Francis Walsingham had turned up a file of old letters, he must have found a recent letter from the Lord High Admiral, written only four days before this, in which Howard writes with reference to the Armada returning from the north to renew the fight:—

"Sir, God knowethe what we shall dow if we have no men: many of our shypse ar so wekly maned that they have not maryners to way ther ankers. Well, we must dow what we chane (can). I hope in God that he will make us stronge anufe for them, for all men are of good corage heer."

After re-reading this, Walsingham must surely have doubted his own judgment. We may notice that the spelling of those times varied with the mood of the writer, and it also gives us an insight into the manner of pronouncing words. When all men spell on the same dead level, there is nothing to be learnt from it. Drake must have spoken "a bit of his own mind" at Court, for we hear no more of any expedition to the Azores, but of an expedition under Drake to Spain. However, it was not until 1596 that the Lord Admiral again hoisted his flag; it was the year in which the British Navy lost by death three of its most eminent seamen—Drake, Frobisher, and Hawkins.

Philip had been steadily gaining ground in Brittany and began to think of another attempt at invasion. In February 1594 he wrote to his Viceroy in the Netherlands, instructing him to destroy Elizabeth's shipping at home. "Two or three thousand soldiers might be landed at Rochester, who might burn or sink all the unarmed vessels they could find there, and then sail off again before the people of the country could collect in sufficient numbers to do them any damage." Later in the year 1594 a raid of Spaniards from Brittany upon Penzance burnt and plundered that town; in 1596 a second raid was made upon the same district. On the 10th of April Spain seized Calais, and stirred the brave Virgin Queen to wrath.

By the 3rd of June a fleet of nearly one hundred and fifty vessels was ready to sail from Plymouth, of which seventeen were Queen's ships and eighteen Netherlanders.

Lord Admiral Howard had the chief command at sea; the young Earl of Essex was given the command of the land forces. Lord Thomas Howard, a cousin of Lord Charles, and Sir Walter Raleigh had each a squadron. The entire force was 17,000 strong, the largest force sent from England since the days of the Crusades. As military rank in those days was settled according to rank in the peerage and not by standing in the army or navy, this young Earl had precedence in the commission, because the Lord Admiral was only a baron. On the 18th of June they learnt from an Irish vessel, that had just left Cadiz, that the port was full of men-of-war and galleons richly laden.

On the 20th they anchored quietly in the harbour to the amazement of all, and now the Earl of Essex set up a claim to the honour of leading in. But Lord Howard of Effingham stoutly resisted it, for he knew what a rash and impetuous firebrand the Earl was. "No, my lord, it belongs to me as a seaman to arrange all this; besides, I must acquaint you privately that I have been strictly charged by her Majesty to prevent you from exposing yourself to unnecessary danger."

The whole council backed up the Lord High Admiral, and the Earl sulked in a boyish manner: he was to be taken care of like a child!

On the 21st of June they fought from 5 A.M. until 1 P.M.; several vessels were taken and spoiled. The San Felipe, the glory of Spain for her size, was blown up to save her from falling into English hands. But the gunpowder exploded before her soldiers and sailors had had time to leave.

Raleigh wrote an account of it: "Tumbling into the sea came heaps of soldiers, as thick as if coals had been poured out of a sack—some drowned, some sticking in the mud ... many, half-burnt, leaped into the water; others hung by ropes' ends to the ship's side, under water even to the lips ... and withal so huge a fire and such tearing of the ordnance in the great Felipe, as, if any man had a desire to see hell itself, it was there most vividly figured."


During the attack on Cadiz the San Felipe, the glory of Spain, was set on fire to prevent its falling into the hands of the English, but a premature explosion of the powder magazine wrought terrible havoc amongst the Spanish soldiers, hundreds being mutilated, burnt, or drowned.

The Earl of Essex with a body of 800 men landed about a league from Cadiz, and he and Lord Howard met in the market-place.

The city had surrendered, and promised 600,000 ducats as ransom for the inhabitants. Lord Howard wrote with pride to the Queen's Council: "No aged or cold blood touched, no woman defiled; but all the ladies, nuns, and children, with great care embarked and sent to St. Mary's Port with all their apparel and rich things about them."

Even Philip II. was forced to admit that the world had never seen more chivalrous humanity among victors, and Queen Elizabeth in her letter of thanks to Howard and Essex, wrote: "You have made me famous, dreadful, and renowned; not more for your victory than for your courage; nor more for either than for such plentiful liquor of mercy, which may well match the better of the two."

On the 23rd of October in the following year, 1597, the Lord High Admiral was created Earl of Nottingham for saving his country twice from invasion.

In 1599 he was made Lieutenant-General of all England; in 1601 he was instrumental in crushing the insurrection of Essex. He attended the death-bed of his Queen, being the first cousin of Queen Anne Boleyn; Howard had also married a Carey, the grand-daughter of the Queen's aunt, Mary Boleyn, sister of Queen Anne. He was at this time in great affliction for the death of this lady, and had retired from the Court to grieve in solitude; for the Queen, like her father, hated the sight of mourning. But now she had sent for her faithful Lord Admiral, and he came and knelt by her cushions and fed her with broth with a spoon, and begged her to go to bed, yet she still refused. At last she bade all go away but Howard; then in piteous accents she murmured, "My lord, I am tied by a chain of iron about my neck;" but he knew not if she spoke this in frenzy. We will end this account of the Lord High Admiral by a gayer scene.

It was the year 1608; James I. and Queen Anne of Denmark were spending November at Winchester Palace. They played games from twilight till supper-time; they danced, and the Queen noticed that the old admiral, now over sixty-seven, seemed mighty fond of Lady Margaret Stuart, daughter of the Earl of Murray, a blooming girl of nineteen. Anne told the King, and his Majesty at once made himself very busy in merrily promoting the marriage of the old veteran with his pretty cousin. They were soon married, and, before he died, the Earl of Nottingham had the pleasure of seeing two more children, one of whom succeeded his half-brother in the earldom. His remaining years were spent at Haling House in Surrey, in honourable ease and retirement; he died in his eighty-eighth year, loved and respected by all who knew him. "He was a nobleman," says Camden, "whose courage no danger could daunt, whose fidelity no temptation could corrupt."



Richard, the son of Sir Roger Grenville, was born about the year 1540, in the west of England, of a family descended from Rollo of Normandy. In his youth he showed the same restless, daring disposition which characterised him all through life. For he was barely twenty-six when he obtained the Queen's permission to serve in Hungary against the Turks, and it is reported that he was on board the Christian fleet in the famous battle of Lepanto, 1566, won by Don John of Austria, and the crowning mercy that saved Europe from Mohammedan rule; so that the Pope, on hearing the news of the victory, exclaimed, "There was a man sent from God, and his name was John."

On his return, being a cousin of Sir Humphrey Gilbert and Sir Walter Raleigh, the Queen took notice of him and sent him to Ireland, to serve under Sir Henry Sidney, who was so well satisfied with his energy and courage that he recommended the Queen to appoint him Sheriff of the city of Cork.

In 1571 Richard Grenville was elected one of the members for the county of Cornwall, and was knighted on becoming High Sheriff of that county.

His acquaintance with Gilbert in Ireland had set his ambition on discovering new lands in Cathay or America; so when in 1584 Raleigh obtained a patent to discover and occupy heathen lands not actually possessed by any Christian prince, Sir Richard Grenville volunteered for the voyage, and was made commander of the squadron that was to plant a first colony in Virginia—an idea of Raleigh's.

A Hollander, John Huighen van Linschoten, gives a full account of Sir Richard's character, as far as he knew it from personal experience.

This Sir Richard Grenville, he says, was a great and a rich gentleman in England and had great yearly revenues of his own inheritance; but he was a man very unquiet in his mind and greatly affected to war; inasmuch as of his own motion he offered his services to the Queen. He had performed many valiant acts, and was greatly feared in these islands and known of every man, but of nature very severe, so that his own people hated him for his fierceness and spake very hardly of him. "He was of so hard a complexion that, as he continued among the Spanish captains while they were at dinner or supper with him, he would carouse three or four glasses of wine, and in a braverie would take the glasses between his teeth and crush them in pieces and swallow them down, so that often-times the blood ran out of his mouth without any harme at all unto him."

Raleigh would have liked to go on the Virginia voyage himself, but had to be content with sending Grenville as Admiral of the Fleet, and Ralph Lane to be Governor of the proposed colony.

The latter was a Northamptonshire man, second cousin to Queen Katherine Parr, about ten years older than Grenville, and one of Leicester's band of equerries to the Queen.

They sailed in April, 1585, from Plymouth with seven vessels, the largest being of 140 tons burthen. Thomas Cavendish was one of their number. Sailing by way of the Canaries to the West Indian Islands, they anchored in Mosquito Bay, in the island of Puerto Rico, within falcon-shot of the shore.

Sir Richard landed and gave orders for a fort to be built in an angle between the river and the sea, backed by woods. There he remained some days, felling the timber and building a pinnace, the Spaniards looking on from afar.

After some days a party of twenty horsemen showed themselves on the opposite bank of the river, carrying a flag of truce; two from either side met on the sands and discussed politely and courteously. When the Spaniards expressed some surprise at the English having built a fort in Spanish territory, they were told that it was only to procure water and food, which if they could not get by fair means, it was their resolution to win by the sword.

Upon this discreet answer the Spaniards made "large promises of all courtesy."

On the morrow, the pinnace being finished, Sir Richard marched some four miles up country, awaiting the Spaniards' performance of their promise to bring victuals. As they did not come up in time—what Spaniard ever does?—Sir Richard swore a little, called them perjured caitiffs, and fired the woods and his fort. Setting sail, he took next evening a Spanish frigate, which the Spaniards forsook at the sight of his squadron. The next night he captured another "with good and rich freight, and divers persons of account in her," whom he ransomed for good round sums.

One of these prizes was sent to Roxo Bay, where Ralph Lane built a fort, while the others busied themselves in stealing a shipload of salt from the Spaniards. After this they sailed for Hispaniola and anchored at Isabella.

The Spanish Governor came to the seaside to meet Grenville, each being very polite and very suspicious of the other; but polite demeanour prevailed. The English provided two banqueting houses, covered with green boughs—one for the gentlemen, the other for the servants; a sumptuous feast was brought in, served all on plate, while the drums and trumpets played lively music, wherewith the Spaniards were vastly delighted.

In return, the Spaniards sent for a great herd of white bulls from the mountains, and lent to each gentleman and captain a horse ready saddled, and then singled three of the strongest of the herd to be hunted.

The pastime grew very pleasant and merry, as there were many onlookers who applauded when one turned a bull in his course. Within the three hours that they were riding up and down they killed two beasts from the saddle; the third having taken to the sea was there shot with a musket.

Sir Thomas More, had Henry the Eighth spared his valuable life, would not have approved such sport; but he was alone in thinking on mercy to animals.

After the sport many rare gifts were exchanged; but Sir Richard said, when he regained his ship, "I always mistrust Spanish politeness. Had we not been so strong we might have met with no better treatment than Hawkins received at St. Juan de Ulloa."

On the 7th of June they sailed away and reached Virginia at the end of the month. But Sir Richard was not thinking so much of colonising as of exploring. He spent seven weeks in coasting about the islands of North Carolina; he made an eight days' expedition inland, receiving kindness from the simple natives, and not always behaving to them very considerately. For instance, we read in the report of one of his company: "One of our boats was sent to demand a silver cup which one of the savages had stolen from us, and, not receiving it according to his promise, we burnt and spoilt their corn and town, all the people being fled."

It is clear that Grenville did not know how to deal with Red Indians. But he also quarrelled with Lane and Thomas Cavendish, and they were glad when he left them on the 28th of August for England, promising to come again soon. On the 8th of September Lane vented some of his bitterness towards Grenville by writing to Walsingham thus: "Sir Richard Grenville, our General, hath demeaned himself, from the first day of his entry into government until the day of his departure, far otherwise than my hope of him, though very agreeable to the expectations and predictions of sundry wise and godly persons of his own country that knew him better than myself." He then goes on to relate how Sir Richard nearly brought him to trial for his life, only for Lane having ventured to give advice in a public council. He goes on bitterly enough: "I have had so much experience of his government as I am humbly to desire your honour and the rest of my honourablest friends to give me their favours to be freed from that place where Sir Richard Grenville is to carry any authority in chief. The Lord hath miraculously blessed this action that, in the time of his being amongst us, even through his intolerable pride and insatiable ambition, it hath not at three several times taken a final overthrow."

We cannot help noticing how difficult a matter it was for some of the Elizabethan heroes to express their thoughts in direct and pithy language. But it is evident that Lane hated Grenville—what Grenville thought of Lane we can only guess; but Lane's way of managing his colony hardly reveals an ability great enough to warrant his attack upon his superior. He wrote another letter in which he praised all he saw and smelt in Virginia: "We have not yet found, in all our search, one stinking weed growing in this land: a matter, in all our opinions here, very strange. The climate is so wholesome, yet somewhat tending to heat, as that we have not had one sick since we entered into the country; but sundry that came sick are recovered of long diseases, especially of rheums."

Lane fixed upon the fertile island of Roanoke, or Plymouth, as the residence of his hundred colonists, built a fort and made entrenchments, but sowed no seed and made no prudent preparations for the future; he seemed to be content to live on what the Indians brought them. But he spent most of his time in exploring and looking for valuables. In a four-oared barge holding fifteen men he tracked the coast northwards as far as Chesapeake Bay, which he preferred to Roanoke. "For pleasantness of seat, for temperature of climate, for fertility of soil, and for the commodity of the sea, besides multitudes of bears—being an excellent good victual—with great woods of sassafras and walnut trees, it is not to be excelled by any other whatsoever."

Lane, in conversation with an Indian chief, heard of a native king who possessed beautiful pearls, white and round and large; this made him eager to leave his colony and explore: this greed was soon to be the cause of his failure. Shortly after, Lane was told that at the head of the Roanoke River was a tribe of Indians who had stores of copper and gold; this determined him to seek it out at once. He rowed for three days up the river, finding that the natives fled at his approach, taking with them all their corn, so that his food began to fail. They had in the boat two mastiffs, and they resolved to go on a little farther, and if need were, they could kill the mastiffs and live upon their "pottage," flavoured with sassafras leaves. So they went up the river farther, and at last heard some savages call "Manteo," an Indian servant they had. "Whereof we all being very glad, hoping of some friendly conference, and making him answer them, they presently began a song, as we thought in token of welcome." Alas! it only meant war, and at once a volley of arrows came sticking into one of the boats. The English landed, and the Indians fled into the woods. No supper! no food! they were now come to the dogs' pottage. So they resolved to row down again, and having the stream with them accomplished in one day what it had taken four days to do up-stream.

But on rejoining his colony Lane found that the Indians, once so friendly, had become subtle enemies. The colonists, many of whom were rough, bad characters, had treated the Indians as slaves, and the slaves had resisted, to their loss and damage. Lane had left trusty guards to take charge of "the wild men of his own nation"; but the guards joined the rest in cruel handling of the natives. The result was that the news spread from tribe to tribe that these white men were devils, not born of women, who had come to waste their corn and slay their people.

When Lane went away, the Indians thought he was dead; now he had come back, they believed he had risen from the grave. It was hardly worth while, they thought, trying to kill people who could rise again and fight! their best plan was to retreat far into the woods. This would have been fatal to the colony, for the Indians alone knew how to make weirs for fish, and they had all the seed-corn.

We can see how Shakespeare must have heard tales of the Indians, or read Sir Walter's "Virginia."

                                        "When thou camst here first,
Thou strok'dst me, and made much of me, would'st teach me how
To name the bigger light, and how the less,
That burn by day and night; and then I loved thee,
And show'd thee all the qualities o' th' isle,
The fresh springs, brine pits, barren place and fertile;—
Cursed be I that did so!"

At length, in May 1586, the Indians could brook no more such wrongs; they stole into Port Ferdinando, broke up the fish-weirs and wooden huts, and crossed over to the mainland. In June a battle ensued—guns against bows and arrows—the Indians were out-matched and fled. Their king, being shot through with a pistol, lay on the ground for dead; but suddenly started up and ran away as though he had not been touched. But he was shot again, fell and was killed. "I met my man," says Lane, "returning out of the woods with Pemisapan's head in his hand."

The colony was now in despair—a few oysters were found or they would have been starved. One prophet amongst them vowed that "the hand of God had come upon them for the cruelty and outrages committed by some of them on the natives." Then came Drake with three-and-twenty ships out of the misty deep, and at once Ralph Lane saw "the very hand of God stretched out to save them."

On the 19th of June they embarked on Drake's ship and returned to Portsmouth. But they carried with them that wonderful herb uppowoc, or tobacco, which all Europe has now learnt to suck after the manner of the Red Indians, which Edmund Spenser in his "Faerie Queen," writ a few years after, called "divine." Of course Lane blamed Sir Richard Grenville for his failure, since Grenville had promised to return in the spring with fresh colonists and supplies; but he did not arrive until a fortnight after Lane's departure with Drake.

We have given this short sketch of the doings of the colony in Virginia, partly that the reader may judge where the fault lay. It was not Sir Richard's, and it was not wholly Lane's; it was the ill choice of unworthy colonists that really wrecked the scheme; it was their gross ill-treatment of the natives that ruined the settlement. But if Lane had stayed with his own men, instead of hunting for pearls and copper, he might have kept them in better order. But as it happened, the real savages were some few of those English settlers, the off-scouring of England's gaols, and the ill-conduct of the few made the Indians suspicious of all.

Grenville, when he left Virginia for Plymouth, took the opportunity of having a little fight with a richly laden Spaniard of 300 tons burthen, and arrived home rich. He had been unable to fulfil his promise to return in the spring, because Raleigh had a difficulty in raising money for the three ships and their outfit. When Grenville did reach Roanoke, he found all deserted and left in confusion, as if the colonists had been hunted away by a mighty army.

After scouring the country round and making inquiries of the Indians, Grenville left fifteen men on the island with provisions for two years, and set sail for England; but he did not omit to fill his coffers by an attack upon Spanish towns in the Azores, where he seized considerable store of booty.

Perhaps he was not only working for himself, but was thinking of his cousin Walter, who had already spent some forty thousand pounds on these two Virginian expeditions. These prizes did much to recoup him for his great expenses.

For the next five years we have little news of Sir Richard's doings, except that he swept the sea of pirates other than his own countrymen. But in 1591 he was sent out as vice-admiral with seven Queen's ships under Lord Thomas Howard, to intercept the Spanish fleet from the West Indies, which had wintered in Havannah the preceding year by royal order, lest it should fall into the hands of Hawkins and Frobisher. For Philip chose rather to hazard the perishing of ships, men, and goods than that they should become the prize of the English. He was also preparing a large naval force to protect and convoy his treasure; but as it happened the Earl of Cumberland was then off the coast of Spain, and learning their designs sent word to Lord Thomas.

The latter had left Plymouth early in March and made for the Azores; there they waited five months for the West Indian treasure-ships in vain. For Philip had heard of the expedition of Howard and Grenville, and had ordered the further detention of his ships at Havannah, until his fleet could go from Spain to defeat the English, and convoy the treasure safely home.

This was to be the greatest fleet sent out of Spanish ports since the Armada; it comprised over fifty sail, Portuguese, Biscayan, and Andalusian galleys, ten Dutch boats seized near Lisbon, and other smaller craft.

Lord Thomas Howard had six of her Majesty's ships, six victuallers of London, the barque Raleigh, and two or three pinnaces. They were riding at anchor near Flores, one of the westerly islands of the Azores, on an afternoon on the last day of August, when a ship hove in sight, speeding along under full sail.

Captain Middleton reported himself, and announced that he had kept company with a large Spanish fleet three days before; he had crowded on all sail and hastened to bring the news.

As he spoke a cry was raised, "Sail-ho!" and there on the horizon they saw an unwelcome sight—a large force of Spanish war vessels.

It was unwelcome, not only because of their own small numbers, but also because many of the ships' companies were on shore in the island; some providing ballast for their ships, others filling in water and securing provisions. "By reason whereof," says Sir Walter Raleigh, "our ships being all pestered and romaging everything out of order, very light for want of ballast, and that which was most to our disadvantage, the one halfe part of the men of every shippe being sicke and utterly unserviceable; for in the Revenge there were ninety diseased: in the Bonaventure not so many in health as could handle her main-saile. The rest, for the most part, were in little better state."

The island had shrouded the approach of the Spaniards since they were first seen, and now the enemy hove in sight again full near, and our ships had scarce time to weigh their anchors, but some of them were driven to slip their cables and set sail.

Sir Richard was the last that weighed anchor, for he had waited to recover his men that were upon the island, who otherwise would have been lost—"Choosing," says Sir Richard Hawkins, "rather to sacrifice his life, and to pass all danger whatsoever, than to fail in his obligation, by gathering together those who were ashore; though with the hazard of his ship and company."

Raleigh and Hawkins agree in giving this high motive.

Sir William Monson says: "When the Lord Thomas warily, and like a discreet general, weighed anchor and made signs to the rest of his fleet to do the like, with a purpose to get the wind of them, Sir Richard Grenville, being a stubborn man, and imagining this fleet to come from the Indies, and not to be the Armada of which they had been informed, would by no means be persuaded by his master, or company, to cut his cable and follow his admiral; nay, so headlong and rash he was, that he offered violence to those that advised him so to do. But the old saying, that a wilful man is the cause of his own woe, could not be more truly verified than in him; for when the Armada approached, and he beheld the greatness of the ships, he began to see and repent of his folly, and when it was too late, would have freed himself of them, but in vain."

Severe criticism like this, imputing low motives, is in most cases overdone. How does Monson know that Grenville mistook the fleet for treasure-ships? it is a mere surmise, for which there is no evidence. Again, where does Sir Richard seem to repent of his folly? We have Sir Walter Raleigh's statement to the contrary; he says:—

"The Lord Thomas with the rest very hardly recovered the wind, which Sir Richard not being able to do, was persuaded by the master and others to cut his main-sail, and cast about, and to trust to the sailing of his ship; for the squadron of Seville were on his weather-bow. But Sir Richard utterly refused to turn from the enemie, alledging that he would rather choose to die, than to dishonour himself, his country and her Majesty's ship: persuading his company that he would pass through the two squadrons in spite of them, and enforce those of Seville to give way."

Here we have the true motives in the mind of this proud seaman. First, he would not, for any fear of Spain, leave his men behind to be tortured by the Inquisition. Secondly, his pride in his country and his Queen forbade him to fly, however numerous the foe.

No doubt he was a stubborn man—he meant to do what he thought right, and also what he thought within his power to accomplish. He did not foresee the accident which rendered his ship helpless, for boldly he sailed right into the crowd of Spanish galleys; the foremost of them "sprang their luff" and fell under his lee. As he sailed in and out, exchanging broadsides and avoiding collisions, "the great San Felipe, being in the wind of him and coming towards him, becalmed his sails in such sort that the ship could neither make way nor feel the helm; so huge and high-carged was the Spanish ship, being of 1500 tons."

This it was that prevented him from forcing his way through the Armada. Raleigh says, no doubt the other course—sailing away from the foe—had been the better: "Notwithstanding, out of the greatness of his mind, he could not be persuaded." So the San Felipe and some others closed upon the unmoving Revenge; she could not stir upon the water, being becalmed. Amongst others that lay close to board her was the admiral of the Biscayans, a very large and strong ship; she carried three tier of guns on a side, and eleven pieces in every tier. She shot eight forth right out of her chase, besides those of her stern ports.

While the Revenge was entangled with this ship, four other vessels tried to board her, two on her larboard, and two on her starboard side.

The fight began at three in the afternoon and it did not end till dawn next morning, Grenville and his men fighting as Englishmen have seldom fought before or since. The great San Felipe received the lower tier of the Revenge, discharged with cross-bar shot into her bowels. She soon shifted herself from the Revenge with all diligence, "utterly misliking her first entertainment."

The Spanish ships were filled with soldiers, from two hundred in the smaller to eight hundred in the largest; in the Revenge there were only mariners, a few servants of the officers, and some gentlemen volunteers.

Ever and again attempts were made to board the Revenge, but always the Spaniards were beaten back in their own ships with yell and blow.

At first the George Noble of London stayed close by under the lee of the Revenge, having some shot through her. Her captain asked Sir Richard what orders he had for him, being but one of the victuallers and of small force: "Go, save thyself and thy crew, friend; leave me, I pray thee, to my fortune."

As the fight went on hour after hour, ever one ship coming on and going away hurt, while two others were ready to take its place, many of the crew of the Revenge were slain or hurt, and towards nightfall one of the great galleons of the Armada and the admiral of the hulks were both sunk, while the decks of other vessels were crowded with groaning wounded.

Sir Richard, though sore wounded himself, never forsook the upper deck. His eyes were everywhere, directing and encouraging and bidding his men think of the gracious Queen and their homes in fair England: "We are fighting for honour, lads, and our country and this good ship!"

An hour before midnight, Raleigh tells us, Sir Richard was shot in the body with a musket as he was dressing; anon he was shot also in the head shortly after, and withal his chirurgeon was wounded to death, as he stooped over him.

From three of the clock in the previous afternoon, fifteen several great galleons had assailed her, as well as many small barques. So ill did they like their treatment that ere the morning dawned they began to desire some terms of surrender to be offered. The men in the Revenge, too, as the day waxed and the light grew stronger, began to mark how their wounded increased and their fighting men grew scanty. They glanced out over the bulwarks and saw none but enemies baying them round, save one small ship, the Pilgrim, commanded by Jacob Whiddon, who hovered round all night to see what success should fall out; but in the dawning, being seen of the Spaniards, the Pilgrim was hunted away like a hare from a field of wheat amongst many ravenous hounds, all giving tongue and sending their fiery breath towards her; but she was a fast sailer, and by God's blessing escaped their clutches.


Off Flores there took place the pluckiest fight ever recorded in Naval history. The little English ship, manned by only a hundred able men, was beset by a powerful Armada containing many thousands of soldiers; the fight lasted from 3 p.m. until the following morning, and not until all the powder was gone, every spar shot away, and most of the crew, including Sir Richard, disabled, did she surrender.

In the beginning of the fight the little Revenge had only one hundred men free from sickness and able to fight, four-score and ten sick men lay in the hold upon the ballast. These hundred men had had to sustain the volleys, boarding, and hand-to-hand encounters for sixteen hours on end, whereas the Spaniards were well supplied with fresh men brought from every squadron; arms and powder they had at will, and the comfort of knowing they had strong friends near. The English saw no hope before them—only honourable death, if so be; their ship's masts were all beaten overboard, all her tackle cut asunder, her upper works altogether razed, so that she was well-nigh brought even with the water, and could not stir except as she was moved by tide and wave. All her powder was now spent to the last barrel, all her pikes broken, forty of her best men slain, and most of the rest sorely hurt. For they had borne eight hundred charges of heavy artillery and rounds of small shot without number, and at last began to stare at one another as men desperate who have lost their last chance of life.

The Armada were now floating all round the Revenge, not too near, for they suspected danger from her still.

Then Sir Richard sent for the master-gunner, whom he knew to be a most resolute man, and bade him split and sink the ship.

"And Sir Richard cried in his English pride,
    'We have fought such a fight for a day and a night
        As may never be fought again!
        We have won great glory, my men,
        And a day less or more, at sea or ashore,—
            We die—does it matter when?
Sink me the ship, Master Gunner, sink her, split her in twain!
Fall into the hands of God, not into the hands of Spain!"

So Sir Richard sought to persuade the company, or as many as he could induce, to yield themselves unto God, and to the mercy of none else. The master-gunner readily consented, and so did divers others; but the captain and the master were of another opinion, and besought Sir Richard to have care of them, for many of them might live yet to serve their prince and country. They reminded him that the ship had six foot of water in her hold, three shot under water, which were so weakly stopped that with the first working of the sea she must needs sink; and she was, besides, so crushed and bruised that she could never be removed out of the place.

As the matter was thus in dispute, and as Sir Richard, where he lay, still refused to hearken to any reason, the master was convoyed aboard the General Don Alphonso Baçan, who promised that all their lives should be saved, the crew should be sent to England, and the better sort should pay such reasonable ransom as their estate would bear, and in the meantime might be free from galley or prison. The Don agreed to this so much the rather as he desired to get possession of Sir Richard, whom for his notable valour he greatly honoured and admired.

On this message being delivered, the crew naturally wished to accept the terms and drew back from the master-gunner, who, in a frenzy of grief for his admiral's dishonour, as he thought, drew his sword and would have slain himself on the spot, had not his friends withheld him from it by force and locked him into his cabin.

Then Don Alphonso asked Sir Richard to come out of the Revenge, the ship being marvellous unsavoury, filled with blood and dead bodies and wounded men, like any slaughter-house. To which Sir Richard replied that the Spaniard might do with his body what he list, for he esteemed it not. As they bore him out of the ship, he swooned; when he recovered, he was on the Spaniard's deck, and looking about him said, "I desire you, gentlemen, to pray for me."

The Spanish admiral used Sir Richard with all humanity and tended him well, highly commending his valour and worthiness; but the English hero died on the third day and was buried at sea with all honour.

As he lay surrounded by Spanish hidalgos, who were trying to comfort him in his agony, the dying man half raised himself and said:

"Here die I, Richard Grenville, with a joyful and quiet mind, for that I have ended my life as a good soldier ought to do, who has fought for his country and his Queen, for honour and religion. Wherefore my soul joyfully departeth out of this body, leaving behind it an everlasting fame, as a true soldier who hath done his duty as he was bound to do. But the other of my company have done as traitors and dogs, for which they shall be reproached all their lives."

Lord Thomas Howard did not deserve this condemnation, for he wished to attempt a rescue, but his men refused to follow.

A few days after the fight a great storm from the north-west scattered the fleet, and fourteen Spanish ships went down, together with the Revenge, off St. Michael's Isle. It seemed to the English that Heaven was on the side of the Revenge, for 10,000 Spaniards perished in that storm.

Sir Richard Hawkins, correcting Raleigh's account, wrote that there were on board the Revenge "above 260 men, as by the pay-book appeareth—all which may worthily be written in our chronicles in letters of gold, in memory for all posterities, some to beware, others to imitate, the true valour of our nation in these ages."



John Davis was born near the Gilberts' home about 1550, on the left bank of the Dart, not far from Dartmouth. His father was a yeoman owning a small farm in Sandridge, being part of the parish of Stoke Gabriel. The little inlet or harbour is called Stoke Creek, at the head of which stands the old church; in this are kept the records of the marriage of John Davis. The lordly manor-house of the Pomeroys seemed to look down from its height upon winding river and grove of oaks—the playing-ground of so many heroes—the three Gilberts, Davis, and Walter Raleigh. The boys had only to run down over two pastures and they were at the Cove, overhung with drooping boughs and trailing with dog-roses and honeysuckle. The village of Dittisham, with its plum and apple orchards, its drying nets and rocking-boats, meets the gaze as you look across the lake-like reach of the river....

Greenaway Court, the Gilberts' home, stood up among the woods to the south, and no doubt Adrian Gilbert and the Carew boys and Raleigh must often have raced in their skiffs, or listened to seamen's stories of the doings of John Hawkins in the West Indies. There was another house not far from Dittisham, where Davis as a boy may well have visited, the home of Sir John Fulford, who had two sons of the same age as the younger Gilberts, and four daughters, of whom Faith in after years became the wife of John Davis. John was of course not socially the equal of the others, but his exploits and fame levelled all distinctions as he grew older; and when he was a boy, no doubt he was a brave, modest fellow, good enough to play with his superiors.

Whether John Davis went to the new grammar-school at Totnes we do not know, but it is clear that he was sent to sea at an early age, and studied deeply the science of his profession; for by the time he was twenty-eight he was known to merchants as a captain of great skill and experience.

John returned home in 1579, passing six years at Sandridge, and no doubt enjoying many a sail up the river with Miss Faith Fulford and her sisters.

We can see by the Parish Register that John married Faith on September 29, 1582; they had a pleasant neighbour in Adrian Gilbert, who had married the widow of Andrew Fulford, and was living in the Pomeroy manor-house. Adrian was now a doctor of medicine and an able mathematician, deeply interested in geographical discovery and the science of minerals.

There was a learned geographer, Dr. Dee, living at Mortlake, to whom Adrian one day introduced John Davis; after that they often met and discussed the North-west Passage and other problems of the day. One day in 1585 Secretary Walsingham called in and heard their arguments: a route to the Indies which should be clear of all claims on the part of the Spanish and Portuguese interested the minister.

Having won Walsingham's interest, the two Devon scientists next tried to persuade the merchants of London to join them; then they rode all the way to Exeter and Dartmouth to induce wealthy merchants there to subscribe. Raleigh was at this time high in Court favour; he had been knighted the year before, and was growing rich upon the Queen's gifts. He induced her Majesty to grant a charter to himself, Adrian Gilbert, and John Davis, "for the search and discovery of the North-west Passage to China." Raleigh was at this time very busy with his Virginia colony, but he found time to help his old school-friends.

The expedition, preparing in 1585, consisted of two small ships, the Sunshine of London of 50 tons, and the Moonshine of Dartmouth of 35 tons. Davis commanded the Sunshine, with a crew of eleven seamen, four musicians, a carpenter and a boy, and four officers; they sailed out of Dartmouth harbour on the 7th of June 1585. Davis was now in his thirty-sixth year, and one of the best seamen of his day. Though only the son of a yeoman farmer, he had made many valuable friends, such as Dr. Dee, the Gilberts, Raleigh, Walsingham, the Earl of Warwick, and Mr. Sanderson, a rich city merchant; the Earl of Cumberland and Lord Lumley had sought his acquaintance. What is more, Davis was beloved by the men under his command, for he was ever thoughtful of their welfare both before he sailed and after he returned home; for his kindness proceeded from the heart.

In these scientific days of Arctic discovery we have learnt what sort of food and clothing is best for our explorers; in those days all was in the experimental stage. Their provisions consisted of cod and salt-meat, bread and grease, butter and cheese and beer.

As they were obliged to anchor for twelve days off the Scilly Isles, Davis took the opportunity of making a survey of all the islands, the rocks and havens. When they got out into the Atlantic they had some sport trying to harpoon porpoises, the flesh of which they thought as good as mutton. Whales too were seen in much larger numbers than are found now; for like many other interesting and valuable species, whales have been recklessly destroyed through the greed of man.

On the 19th of July, in a dense mist, they heard "a mighty great roaring"; Captain Davis had a boat lowered and rowed to find out the cause thereof. He found that the ships were close to some pack-ice, the large fragments of which were grinding together. Next day was clear, and they saw the snow-clad mountains of Greenland, but could not land for the ice; here they saw many seals and white birds. They rounded the southern point of Greenland, and were in the channel that lies between Greenland and Labrador. Finding a fiord some miles up the coast he named it Gilbert Sound, after his friend and his first-born child. It was near this spot that they heard the Eskimos shouting, so Davis took a boat and four musicians, as it was known the natives loved music. In a short time perfect confidence was established and they began to barter, kayaks or boats and native clothing being in some demand. Later they managed to kill a Polar bear, which came in useful, as the men were clamouring for better food.

They next sailed west, and explored Cumberland Gulf. On landing they heard dogs barking, and when they came up very gently, "we thought they came to prey upon us and therefore we shot two; but about the neck of one of them we found a leathern collar, whereupon we thought them to be tame dogs." After this a strong north-west wind blew, and as it was near the end of August they resolved to return to England, and arrived at Dartmouth on the 30th of September.

Adrian Gilbert gave his friend Davis a warm welcome home, and of course wife and child made home more homelike. But not many days after his arrival the explorer wrote to Walsingham, "The North-west Passage is a matter nothing doubtful, but at any tyme almost to be passed, the sea navigable, voyd of yse, the ayre tolerable, and the waters very depe."

We notice that the spelling of all words of Latin origin is good; it is the English word that varies most from our spelling. Anyway, he is far superior in education to the Earl of Cumberland.

Davis also pointed out in his letter how good an opening there was in the lands he had discovered for trade in oil and furs.

A hasty visit to London resulted in many merchants subscribing for a second voyage, and the Mermaid, the Sunshine, Moonshine, and North Star, a small pinnace, were chartered for it. They sailed from Dartmouth on the 7th of May 1586, and coasted along the south shore of Ireland; then Captain Pope in the Sunshine, with the North Star as a tender, was despatched to search for a passage northward between Greenland and Iceland, while Davis went as far as the southern end of Greenland, But the pack-ice made it impossible to land, so naming the cape "Farewell" he again entered Davis Straits. On reaching Gilbert Sound he met so violent a gale that he was obliged to take shelter among the islands which fringe the shore.

Davis writes: "We sent our boats to search for shoal water, where we might anchor, and as the boat went sounding and searching, the natives having espied them, came in their canoes towards them with shouts and cries; but after they had espied in the boat some of our company that were the year before here with us, they presently rowed to the boat, took hold on the oar, and hung about the boat with such comfortable joy as would require a long discourse to be uttered."

Davis, seeing their confidence, went ashore and distributed twenty knives: "They offered skins to me for reward, but I made signs that they were not sold, but given them of courtesie." The next day, as the crew were setting up a new pinnace, more than a hundred canoes came round, bringing seal-skins and other furs for barter.

Davis and a party went inland, finding a plateau of grass and moss, and many ravens and small birds. In July, after more exploring, in which the natives kept him company, Davis organised athletic games, leaping and wrestling—"In this we found them strong and nimble, for they cast some of our men that were good wrestlers."

The people were of good stature, with small hands and feet, broad faces, small deep-set eyes, wide mouths, and beardless; they wore images and believed in enchantments. But other failings soon appeared, for they were "marvellous thievish," began to cut the cables, cut away the Moonshine's boat from her stern, stole oars, a caliver, a boar-spear and swords. Davis was for forbearance, but his men were angry, and complained heavily, "said that my lenitie and friendly using of them gave them stomacke to mischiefe." Still Davis went on giving presents, but at sundown the Eskimos began throwing stones into the Moonshine, which caused a pursuit and some shots. At last they captured one of the thieves, and another followed with lamentation as far as the ship. "At length the fellow aboard us spake four or five words unto the other and clapped his two hands upon his face, whereupon the other doing the like, departed as we supposed with heavy cheer. We judged the covering of the face with his hands and bowing of his body down, signified his death." But it was not quite so bad as that, for they gave the captive a new suit of frieze, of which he was very joyful; he became sociable, trimmed up his darts and fishing tools, and would set his hand to a rope's end upon occasion.

They soon came upon a mountain of ice and could not get on; the men grew sick and feeble and begged Davis to return, so he sailed south-east and found land free from snow. When they came to lat. 67°, they found numbers of gulls and mews, and caught a hundred cod in half-an-hour. Landing, they found a black bear, pheasants, partridges, wild ducks, and geese, and killed some with bow and arrow.

On the 6th of September Davis sent some young sailors ashore to fetch fish, but they were suddenly assailed in a wood, two being slain by arrows. Immediately after, a tremendous storm almost drove them on the rocks among these "cannibals." "But when hope was past, the mighty mercy of God gave us succour and sent us a fair lee, so as we recovered our anchor again and now moored our ship, where we saw that God manifestly delivered us; for the strains of one of our cables were broken, and we only rode by an old junk."

They reached home in October, bringing five hundred sealskins and other furs. The Sunshine and North Star made the east coast of Greenland by July 7th, but found pack-ice, so they sailed round and north to Gilbert Sound, where the crews played football with the Eskimos. The North Star was lost in a gale, and the Sunshine came home alone on the 6th of October.

So they had explored a vast extent of unknown coast, and entered many fiords. They had not found the Northwest Passage, but had found Hudson Strait, and concluded correctly that the "north parts of America are all islands."

Had they taken plenty of salt and fishing-tackle they might have brought home a large cargo of fish, but they brought home the knowledge that a great trade was possible in the far North. Though Davis, on going west to his own county, tried to persuade the merchants that another voyage might be more successful, he did not succeed in rousing their sympathies so far as to give more subscriptions.

But on going home he found another little son, Arthur, and with his wife and old friend, Adrian Gilbert, enjoyed a pleasant autumn.

In the winter the restless adventurer rode up to London with Gilbert, and they visited the merchant-prince, William Sanderson, who gained for Davis enough help to fit out a third voyage to the Arctic. In our days rich men have so much scientific spirit that they—some of them—will consent to subscribe for Arctic and Antarctic voyages for purely scientific purposes. In the great Queen's days they looked for some return in hard cash, or furs, or stones and metal of value. But Davis's old shipmates loved him and were eager to volunteer again, and some were natives of the villages round Stoke Gabriel.

On the 19th of May 1587, the Sunshine, Elizabeth, and Ellen started from Dartmouth, the former to fish and make profit. But when they reached Gilbert Sound Davis resolved to send the two other ships to the fishery, while he in the Ellen, a pinnace of 20 tons, went north. In estimating the exploits of these men, we must remember how ill they were fitted out compared with modern explorers. At the very first the pilot of the Ellen came to report a leak, and it was debated whether they should risk their lives in exploring.

But when Davis addressed his little crew and said, "My boys, it will be far better that we should end our lives with credit than return in disgrace," they one and all agreed to go on with their captain.

They went along the west coast of Greenland, calling it the London Coast, and by the 30th of June had reached lat. 72'12°, the most northerly point Davis ever reached. Here an island with a cliff 850 feet high was named "Sanderson his hope"; along the narrow, dark ledges of this giant rock nestled myriads of white guillemots, screaming and circling as busily they fed their young.

The sea was clear of ice, save that the Dreadnoughts of the North, towering icebergs, reflected the sunshine in strange fantastic ways, and floated proudly down to warmer waters. Beyond them lay "a great sea, free, large, very salt and blue, and of an unsearchable depth."

But on the 2nd of July they met "the Middle Pack," a hundred miles long or more, and eight feet thick. The Ellen tried to find a passage through in vain, so they drifted west till they sighted the western coast of Davis Strait. Davis took many observations which were useful to succeeding explorers; he says in his log: "We fell into a mighty race, where an island of ice was carried by the force of the current as fast as our bark could sail. We saw the sea falling down into the gulf with a mighty overfall, roaring, with divers circular motions like whirlpools."

They were to meet the fishing-vessels off the Labrador coast; but these had gone home without waiting for Davis; and as they were being sought, the Ellen ran upon a rock and sprung a leak. This was mended with difficulty in a gale; then, with little fuel and less water, Davis headed for home. "Being forsaken and left in this distress," he says, "referring myself to the merciful providence of God, I shaped my course for England, and unhoped for of any, God alone relieving me, I arrived at Dartmouth."

The log of his third voyage is the only one that has been left, but we have no means of knowing if the fishing was successful.

When Davis came home all England was talking of a Spanish invasion, and the Queen had no time to think of him and his discoveries. On reaching home he found a third little son awaiting him, named John, after his father.

Though London and Greenwich and Exeter neglected Davis for a time, yet he had done good work in discovering, or mapping afresh many coasts and seas; he examined rocks and fiords, made notes on the vegetation and fauna and on the habits and thoughts of the Eskimo tribes; he also explored the coast of Labrador and called attention to the lucrative trade in whales, seal, and fish which might be established.

When the Armada came, John Davis was appointed to the command of a vessel of 20 tons, the Black Dog, to act as a tender to the Lord Admiral, with a crew of ten men and an armament of three guns. Here Davis was of use to the flagship as a pilot, for no one had taken more intelligent interest in surveying the coast and marking shoals than he. We need not go again through the events of the long fight, but it was in the fight off the Isle of Wight that Davis saw the fiercest action, when Admiral Oquendo in his flagship, of 900 tons, rammed the stern of the English flagship, the Ark Royal, and unshipped her rudder.

After ten days of severe work Davis returned to Plymouth, and was at home when his fourth child was born, named Philip! Another memorial of the Armada times was a work on navigation, written by Davis and dedicated to Lord Howard of Effingham.

The next employment Davis found was to join the Earl of Cumberland's squadron in the Drake off the Azores, where he probably met Edward Wright, an eminent mathematician and cosmographer, who had gone to sea to observe the practical working of problems in nautical astronomy. Davis himself had invented an instrument for observing the stars, so these two had much to discuss in common.

It was on this voyage that the English crews suffered so much from want of water, which was very scarce on the islands. The natives on Graciosa, on being asked for water, replied that they would rather give two tons of wine than one of water. They came home with thirteen prizes, and the money Davis received as his share enabled him to go on an expedition more to his taste; for he loved peaceful knowledge better than fighting. His scheme was to go through Magellan's Straits, to navigate the South Sea, and discover the North-west Passage from the western side.

Magellan, a Portuguese navigator, had only discovered the strait called by his name seventy years before; it was in 1520 that Magellan first sailed in and found very deep water. As he passed along, winding to and fro, he saw so many fires at night lighting up the woods and rocks on the southern side of the strait, that he named the land "Tierra del Fuego." A snowy peak far to the south he named "Campana de Roldan," "Roldan's bell"; they were short of provisions, and the crew murmured and wished to return, but Magellan, a stern disciplinarian and feared by his men, swore they should eat the chafing-mats on the rigging rather than return. After thirty-seven days of sailing through winding reaches that seemed to lead nowhere, and that stretched a hundred leagues and more, they came out into the South Pacific; then boldly striking across the ocean to the islands of the far East, Magellan met his fate at the hands of ruthless savages.

In 1522 Sebastian del Cano, a Basque born on the shores of the Bay of Biscay, returned to Seville after having been the first to sail round the world. In 1525 he sailed again from Corunna and passed through the Straits of Magellan, but died at sea shortly after.

The Spanish Governor of Chili, de Mendoza, fitted out two vessels in 1557 and sent Ladrilleros to explore the straits; this he did under most appalling hardships; most of his crew died of hunger and cold, and he brought his ship back to Chili with only two survivors to help him. There were Spanish heroes in those days as now. Then came Drake, sailing from Plymouth in November 1577 in the Golden Hind, and finding Magellan's account of the straits true as to the good harbours, many islands, and plenty of fresh water, but meeting many violent gales and storms. He was only sixteen days in the straits, and then sailed far up the western coast of America up to the 48th degree, where the hills were covered with snow in June—he was the second to sail round the globe. From Drake's voyage it was, perhaps, that Davis believed in the possibility of going northwards till he found an opening on the north-west coast.

In 1586 Cavendish started with three vessels and passed through the Straits of Magellan and completed the third navigation of the globe.

Chudleigh, another Devon man, was fired by these exploits to do likewise, and sailed in 1589 with three ships through the Magellan Straits, where he died. Prince says: "He did not live long enough to accomplish his generous designs, dying young; although he lived long enough to exhaust a vast estate."

All these voyages Davis must have carefully studied with his friends, Sir Walter Raleigh and Adrian Gilbert; the latter of whom joined with him in the ownership of a ship, the Dainty, and the former helped by ideas, plans, and subscriptions.

John Davis did not go on this quest to get riches, but solely to get knowledge; many men thought him a fool, and jeered when he came back disappointed, but the best men knew his high ambition to be the worthiest. Perhaps his wife grudged the large stake which he was risking in this adventure; she and her boys seemed to come only second in his thoughts.

Cavendish went as general on board the Leicester, and owned the Desire, the ship in which he had sailed round the world; but Cavendish cared mostly for rich prizes.

John Jones, an old and beloved shipmate, accompanied Davis in the Desire, 120 tons, and proved a friend in need. The Dainty was commanded by Captain Cotton, a friend of the Devon group.

The few weeks that Davis spent at home in the summer of 1591 were his last happy days at Sandridge; but he cheered up his wife with thoughts of great discoveries and fame and royal favour.

In February a severe storm separated the fleet off the river Plate and Buenos Ayres, and as Cavendish had not appointed any spot for meeting, they were some time before they discovered one another in Port Desire. When they did meet, Davis found the Roebuck seriously damaged, and heard that the Dainty, his own ship, had deserted and gone home. This was the first bitter disappointment, for it was in the Dainty that Davis had intended to go on with his explorations northward.

There were some who suggested that Cavendish wished to knock on the head Davis's nonsense about Arctic exploring, and they asserted that Cavendish had told the crew of the Dainty that he wanted them to go into the river Plate, but that afterwards they might return home with all his heart.

Cavendish abandoned his ship, the Leicester, because he complained that "he was matched with the most abject-minded and mutinous company that ever was carried out of England by man living, for they never ceased to mutiny against him." So he remained on board the Desire as the guest of Captain Davis.

Port Desire, a good many miles north of the Straits of Magellan, was a very dreary spot to rest in; steep white cliffs stained by running water stretched for two miles across the bay; the soil inland was poor, and water was scarce. The only thing the sailors could find was a sweet-smelling herb which protected them from scurvy. Nine miles to the south was Penguin Island, the home of many seals.

On the 20th of March they started again, and reached the straits on the 8th of April. At first the view is desolate and bare, but as you pass the two narrows and enter the long reach, which runs north and south for a hundred miles, the hills become thickly wooded with winter's bark and an evergreen beech, most of them draped in moss and set deep in arbutus and berberis. High mountains capped with snow stand up to the south, while humming-birds skimmed the trailing fuchsias.

As they reached the dark frowning rock called Cape Froward, a wintry gale met them, snowstorms burst upon them, and their only food was mussels and limpets; they had to anchor for shelter in a little bay for more than a month.

Anthony Knivet, one of the crew of the Leicester, thus described the intense cold: "When I came on board with wet feet and began pulling off my stockings, the toes came off with them: 'tis true! and a shipmate of mine, Harris by name, lost his nose entirely; for, as he was going to blow it with his fingers, he cast it incontinently into the fire."

Cavendish now wanted to go back, but Davis assured him the snowstorms would end, and all would be well, if only they would persevere. "Then we will go back to the Brazilian coast," said Cavendish, "and obtain supplies."

So they sailed back through the straits, Cavendish having returned to his own ship. At Cape Famine Cavendish landed all the sick from the Leicester, and left them to starve from damp, cold, and hunger.

For the second time Cavendish disappeared in the night without making any signal; this time he landed his sick on a hot beach under a tropical sun, and there abandoned them.

Cavendish sailed for England, but died on the way.

In his will he accused Davis of deserting him; but the facts seem to put the blame for desertion on his own shoulders; or it is possible that each of these men was waiting for the other, each believing that the other had deserted him. And our verdict on Cavendish should be modified by the state of his health, which was evidently broken by anxiety and fear of mutiny, as well as by the terrible sufferings caused by rough seasons.

In a letter to his executor, which Cavendish wrote before his death, he says: "Consider whether a heart made of flesh be able to endure so many misfortunes, all falling upon me without intermission. I thank my God that, in ending of me, He hath pleased to rid me of all further trouble and mishaps."

Davis waited for nine weeks in Port Desire for Cavendish; his own plight was sorry, for his sails were worn-out, his cables chafed and untrustworthy, and he had lost a boat and oars. However, he resolved to send the pinnace in search of Cavendish, but two men on board the Desire, named Charles Parker and Edward Smith, persuaded the crew that Davis intended to maroon them; they even formed a plot to murder their captain. This plot was revealed by the boatswain, and Davis, instead of hanging the two men, as most captains would have done, called his crew together, took them into his confidence, and explained his purpose; he forgave the mutineers, and gave up the idea of sending the pinnace away.

Then he employed his men on shore very busily in making nails and bolts, rigging and sails; some he sent to collect limpets from the rocks, while others salted down hogsheads of seal-flesh at Penguin Island, with salt collected from sea-water left in shallow pans and evaporated in the sun.

On the 6th of August they sailed for the straits again, but a storm drove him away among certain islands never before discovered. These must have been the Falkland Islands, barren hills and rocky shores covered with seaweed and wild birds.

On the 18th they again passed the Cape of Virgins at the entrance to the straits, and sailed easily through till they came to the "sea reach." Here they stayed fourteen days, suffering from the cold and want of food; for the seal-flesh had become uneatable. Then they sailed into the Pacific on the 13th of September, but were driven back by a furious storm and lost one of their cables, so that Davis now had only one anchor left. It was so deep close to shore that sometimes he could moor his ship to the trees. When for the third time he was about to enter the Pacific, some of his men showed signs of mutiny, so Davis wrote out a speech and requested the master to repeat it to the crew. In this speech these words occur: "Because I see in reason that the limits of our time are now drawing to an end, I do in Christian charity exhort you, first, to forgive me in whatsoever I have been grievous to you; secondly, that you will rather pray for our General (Cavendish) than use hard speeches of him ... lastly, let us forgive one another, and be reconciled as children in love and charity. So shall we, in leaving this life, live with our glorious Redeemer, or, abiding in this life, find favour with God." The men were pacified for a time, and agreed to continue the voyage; but, as before, a gale sprang up and seas broke over the Desire and the black pinnace, till the latter got under the lee of the larger ship.

"Captain Davis, sir, we have taken many grievous seas aboard; I can't hardly tell what shift to make next," shouted the captain of the pinnace.

Davis shouted back, "Trust in God—keep under our lee, friend."

Next day the black pinnace suddenly broached to and went down with all hands.

"The 10th of October," writes Janes in his diary, "being very near the shore, the weather dark, the storm furious, and most of our men having given over to travail, we yielded ourselves to death without further hope of succour. Our captain sitting in the gallery, very pensive, I came and brought him some rosa solis (hot grog) to comfort him; for he was so cold, he was scarce able to move a joint. After he had drunk and was comforted in heart, he began, for the ease of his conscience, to make a large repetition of his fore-passed time, and with many grievous sighs he ended in these words: 'Oh most gracious God, with whose power the mightiest things among men are matters of no moment, I most humbly beseech Thee that the intolerable burden of my sins may, through the blood of Jesus Christ, be taken from me: end our days with speed, or show us some merciful sign of Thy love and our preservation.'" Hardly had the captain's prayer been uttered, than the sun shone out from a rift in the clouds, as if a very token of help. Davis jumped up, took a meridian altitude, and shaped a course for the straits. Every man felt relieved and even cheery at the sudden change in the weather. Next day they sighted the tall headland at the west end of the straits.

"I doubt, captain, whether we can weather Cape Pillar after all," said the master.

"There is no remedy, man," replied Davis; "either we must double it, or before noon we must die; therefore loose your sails and let us put it to God's mercy."

So the Desire was close-hauled and steered for the entrance; but when she was half a mile from the point, the vessel was so near the shore that the backwash, or counter-surf, jumped up against the ship's side. The wind and sea were raging beyond measure, and the black rock frowned above them.

As a last resource, seeing that the ship was rapidly drifting to leeward, on to the jagged teeth of the rocks, the master eased off the mainsheet; the Desire gathered way, leapt forward as she felt the wind coming aft (some flaw had struck back off the cliff), and in a few strokes of the pulse she had weathered the Cape.

Now they turned down the strait, and had the wind behind them; without a rag of sail they sped before the storm, and in six hours had been driven twenty-five leagues as if by magic. Then the ship being brought to inside a wooded cove, and moored securely to some trees, the exhausted crew flung themselves down and enjoyed a long, deep sleep.

How had Davis managed to pilot his ship in these unknown waters? Why, he tells us he had made a map in his mind's eye when he had passed through before in fair weather; and his men trusted him home, and swore Captain Davis could pilot his ship "even in the hell-dark night." When they arrived at Penguin Island, nine miles south of Port Desire, they sent boats ashore; the men found the penguins so closely packed on the little island that they could not move without treading on them.

It so happened that the two mutineers, Parker and Smith, were ordered to stay on Penguin Island and collect birds, but they refused to obey; for they believed that their captain was going to maroon them there out of revenge for their ill conduct. Davis called the crew together and made them a speech, thus addressing the ringleaders: "Parker and Smith, I understand that you are doubtful of your security, through the perverseness of your own guilty consciences. It is an extreme grief to me that you should judge me bloodthirsty, in whom you have seen nothing but kind conversation.... All the company knoweth that in this place you practised to the utmost of your powers to murder me and the master, without cause, as God knoweth; which evil we did remit you.... Now be void of these suspicions; for I call God to witness that revenge is no part of my thought."

Very few captains would have shown such leniency and patience as Davis did; and when a few days after Parker and Smith fell victims to an attack of savages, all the crew looked upon it as a judgment from heaven.

The fresh food of penguins and young seals, together with the herb which the sailors called "scurvy-grass," soon effected an improvement in health.

On the 22nd of December the Desire sailed for home, carrying, as they believed, provisions for six months. It was in a melancholy and desponding spirit that Davis looked forward to returning. There would be no enthusiastic welcome for a seaman who came with no prizes and no discovery of gold. Who cared for his log-book and surveys of strait and island? only the initiated few, the scientific sailors. He was coming home a ruined man, having lost more than a thousand pounds in this venture. But as yet he did not know one half of his misfortunes and disgrace.

His great faith in the goodness of God was to be still more sorely tried.

In January they landed at Placentia, an island off the Brazilian coast, and worked hard for many days, making new casks for water and gathering roots and herbs.

On the night of February 5th Davis and several of the crew dreamed of murder; they were all talking of it excitedly on deck when their captain said, "Boys, when you land this morning, see ye go armed."

About noon, as the working party were resting in the shade, or bathing in the quiet pools, there was a sudden whoop—an Indian yell—and a body of Portuguese and Indians rushed upon them and killed all but two, who escaped to the ship.

Davis rowed to the spot with an armed crew, but found only the dead bodies of his men, and saw in the distance two pinnaces making for Rio de Janeiro.

Now there were only twenty-seven men left out of seventy-six who started from England; but more trouble was yet in store for the survivors.

As they sailed over the hot ocean the penguin-flesh, which had been badly cured with insufficient salt, made them ill; loathsome worms an inch long were found in the meat. "This worm," says Janes, "did so mightily increase and devour our victuals that there was no hope how we should avoid famine. There was nothing the worms did not devour—iron only excepted—our clothes, hats, boots, shirts, and stockings; as for the ship, they did eat the timbers, so that we greatly feared they would undo us by eating through the ship's side. The more we laboured to kill them, the more they increased upon us, so that at last we could not sleep for them, for they would eat our flesh like mosquitoes."

Then the scurvy broke out again, bodies began to swell and minds to give way. Davis went from one to another, bidding them bear God's chastisement in patience; but it must have wounded his kind heart to see how many of the crew suffered and died. At last there were only sixteen left alive, and of these eleven were unable to move, but lay moaning on the deck.

Captain Cotton and Mr. Janes, Davis, and a boy and one sailor—these alone had health to work the ship, and took turns at the helm; as for the sails, they were mostly blown away, and needed little managing.

It must have been a weary time, and they wondered if they would ever see land before their food and water gave out.

But they sighted Ireland at last, and ran the old ship on shore near Berehaven on the 11th of June 1593. From Berehaven Captain Davis sailed in a fishing-boat to Padstow in Cornwall—thinking, no doubt, of wife and children, and the silver Dart, and the comforts of a happy home, ruined man though he was.

As he drew near the familiar groves and fields, was it fancy? or did his neighbours shrink from his approach? Could they have heard the news of his ill success, and were they ashamed of him already?

"Ah! there is Adrian, old friend and true! he will welcome me home!"

"John—John Davis! how thou art changed, lad! Hast heard the heavy news?"

"No—surely my dear wife be not taken by the pestilence?"

"Better an she were, John. A scoundrel named Milburne has been here while you were on the seas, and has run away with her—robbed you of your beloved Faith."

The shock was so great, the explorer could not speak for some minutes. Then, in a faltering voice: "The children, Adrian? be they in the old home?"

"Yea, lad, under the care of a good soul. God help you, John!"

The two friends grasped hands, and Davis said low to himself:

"Robbed me of my Faith! Dear Lord in heaven, I have yet faith—faith in Thee; and that shall be my last anchor, blow what gales there may in a naughty night!"

So the brave, God-fearing seaman tried to take comfort in his heavy hour, tried to laugh and be merry with his boys, and tried to make excuses for the woman who had deserted him for a handsome coiner of false money.

But the neighbours shook their heads as they saw him pace along the river in the gloaming, with downcast eyes and slow stride. "I doubt Master John will never command another ship!"—that was the general opinion.

Captain Davis was recovering health and good spirits at Sandridge when, one afternoon in March 1594, the postman came, blowing his horn, and delivered him a letter from his good friend, Sir Walter Raleigh, from Sherborne Castle. A letter in those days asked some careful reading, handwriting was so varied and spelling so abnormal. So John sat in an arbour from which he could look over the shining reaches of the Dart, and straightened out the paper.

What was this strange news? "A warrant is out against thee, John, for some illegal practices which a man named Milburne has accused thee of. I would thou shouldst hasten up to London, calling here on thy way."

Illegal practices! John Davis knew nought of any such; but he packed his travelling satchel, and ordered his man to bring round the bay gelding.

In vain! he had hardly ridden a hundred yards when a pursuivant intercepted him and carried him in custody to Dartmouth.

The charge was investigated by the best gentlemen in Devon: it did not take long to prove the accusation false. The chairman shook hands with Captain Davis, and made a complimentary speech: "He was sure they all recognised the diligence, fidelity, and intelligence of their distinguished neighbour in the Queen's service. They had heard from others of his loyalty to his leader in the late voyage, of his great kindness to his men, and of a moral courage shown in the last few months under circumstances which might have overwhelmed a weaker man. This it was to be a hero indeed, and the men of Devon were passing proud of so excellent a friend and neighbour."

We can imagine how the tortured seaman went home with gratitude in his heart, first to God, and then to his kind acquaintance. Once more he could meet Judith Havard, the lady who was in charge of his children, without a sense of shame. And if he had lost all the money he had saved up, yet he still had the little home and farm at Sandridge, and leisure to read and write.

Yes, he would write a treatise on the art of navigation! So two years sped swiftly and happily by, while he wrote "The Seaman's Secrets," dedicated to Lord Howard of Effingham. His charts were valued by British pilots for many years. He possessed deep scientific knowledge, with unrivalled experience as a seaman, and in these quiet hours of study he was saving many a life in the future.

But he had not yet given up the dream of his youth, the discovery of the North-west Passage, and he addressed an appeal to the Privy Council on the subject. In this he reminds the lords of the achievements of his countrymen. "John Hawkins was the first to attempt a voyage to the West Indies, for before he made the attempt it was a matter doubtful, and reported the extremest limit of danger, to sail upon those coasts; ... such is the slowness of our nation, for the most part of us rather joy at home like epicures, to sit and carp at other men's hazard, ourselves not daring to give any attempt."

The writer hoped that his eloquent appeal might stir the blood of courtiers; but no reply came, and he bowed his head to another disappointment.

However, his three sons were growing up, and money must be found somehow; for his wife was dead, and all depended on him alone. So in 1595 John Davis went again to sea, captain of a ship trading to Rochelle; and then he served under Essex before Cadiz, and in a voyage to the Azores.

In the winter of 1598 Davis offered himself as pilot to the Dutch expedition to the East Indies, and was gladly accepted. At Table Bay in South Africa he noted the Kaffirs as a strong and active race—"In speaking they cluck with the tongue like a brood-hen." Wherever he went, he made notes of the exports and imports of each port, as well as writing on the tides, shoals, and rocks. On his return to England the new East India Company was fitting out its first fleet under James Lancaster, and Davis was asked to go as chief pilot. He was to receive £500 if the voyage yielded two for one, £1000 if three for one, and £2000 if five for one. His experience with the Dutch enabled him to give valuable advice in selecting the cargo for Eastern markets.

On the 2nd of April 1601 the fleet sailed from Tor Bay—this was one of the most momentous events in British history, the birth of an Indian Empire.

The crews suffered terribly from scurvy before they reached the Cape: the Red Dragon alone, on which Davis was embarked, escaped this disease, as Captain Lancaster, at Davis's suggestion, had given three spoonfuls of lime-juice to each man every morning. A five months' voyage without green food was always fatal to many, and in this case had carried off 105 men before the fleet came into Table Bay.

Seven weeks in tents made the sick all sound again. Davis advised Captain Lancaster how to avoid giving offence to the Kaffirs, and a brisk trade took place without any quarrels. It was the same at Madagascar; and when they reached the Coral Islands, and the intricate navigation made sailing dangerous, the services of the chief pilot were invaluable. For Davis was always now ahead in the pinnace, sounding and directing the ships, and so they all got safely through without mishap.

At Acken the king received Lancaster, and gave leave for the building of a factory and for permanent trading. Pepper and spices were taken on board, and after some adventures they brought home a cargo which more than satisfied the Company, and Lancaster was knighted for a success which was greatly due to the experience, energy, and care of the chief pilot.

There are some men who do great work quietly and without fuss, who, either from accident, or want of push, fail to receive public recognition.

However, Davis probably did not care for Court life and ambition; he preferred to be with his boys, sailing down to Dartmouth, or up to Totnes. His friend Adrian Gilbert was dead now, and Sir Walter Raleigh was beginning to fall under a cloud, seeing that James of Scotland had succeeded to Elizabeth.

For a year and three months Davis remained at home, then the sea began to call him again; but before he went he prepared a second edition of his "Seaman's Secrets," and he gave his troth to Judith Havard.

"When I come home from my next voyage, God helping, we will wed."

It was a wistful look that Judith gave her lover as he went forth to join Sir Edward Michelborne at Cowes for a third voyage to the East Indies. Davis had made his will, giving Judith, "my espoused love," a fourth part of his worldly goods. They never saw him again, for in December 1603 Sir Edward rescued some Japanese pirates off the Malay peninsula, who formed a plot to kill the English and seize their ships.

Davis had been directed by Michelborne to disarm the Japanese, but deceived by their apparent gentleness and humility, he neglected to do so; they repaid his generosity by giving him seven mortal wounds, and were with difficulty subdued after four hours' desperate fighting.

It was an unworthy end to the most scientific and the most God-fearing of all Elizabethan heroes! Davis had been devoted to his profession, and no love of gain entered into his thoughts. His charts of the English Channel, the Scilly Isles, the Arctic coasts, and the Straits of Magellan were of great use and value for many years. As he wrote, "it was not in respect of his pains, but of his love," that he wished to be judged. He cared tenderly for those under his charge, and he was beloved by his men. He laboured more to save men's lives than to destroy them: such a virtue did not in those times seem to merit any official distinction, but we hope we are wiser now.

Davis, of course, had his weakness. He could face storm and frozen seas, perils of the ocean and the forest; but he was too kind and easy, too good-natured and forgiving when he had to deal with rogues and ruffians.

He was too long away from home and wife and children, and so he lost his wife's faith and devotion. But this disappointment and sorrow he met in a manly way, and forced himself to forget his troubles in his literary work for the welfare of others.

His friend and biographer, John Janes, had served under Davis in two Arctic expeditions and in the Magellan Straits voyage, and ever found him a true and loyal captain as well as a learned and genial companion.

Davis did not obtain the glory won by Drake, or the fame won by Humphrey Gilbert, or the honours heaped upon Sir Walter Raleigh; but the light that shines upon good deeds bravely done will assuredly grow clearer and brighter over the life of John Davis, as time sifts the trivial from the eternal good.



Francis Drake had a kinsman at Plymouth who had been the first Englishman to sail to the Brazils—William Hawkins, father of John, a rich merchant and shipowner. Drake's father, Edmund, had been a sailor in his youth, and was settled near Tavistock when Francis was a child; he was a strong "Reformation man," and his preaching had made him enemies, so that he had to fly and take shelter in an old ship at Chatham, where his friends obtained for him the post of Reader of Prayers to the Royal Navy. Thus little Francis drank in at a very early age the sights and sounds of the sea, while his mind was nursed on denunciations of Rome and hatred of religious tyranny. A man with twelve children must plant them out early, and Francis was apprenticed as a boy to the skipper of a small craft that traded to Holland. As a boy he thus was brought into contact with Flemings flying from persecution, and the horrors of the Inquisition were his daily subject of talk. The rough usage of those days built him up into a sturdy, thick-set, rollicking youngster; he must have shown a rare spirit even then, for his master liked him so well that at his death he left Francis the vessel on which he served.

In 1564 Spain closed her ports to the English, so Drake sold his ship and entered the service of his kinsmen, John and William Hawkins.

John had just returned from his first slaving voyage, and was being lionised in London on account of the enormous profits of his expedition.

Francis Drake sailed to Biscay under William, and at St. Sebastian met some Plymouth sailors who had just emerged half-dead from the dungeons of the Inquisition. Thus little by little the "Scourge of the Spanish Main" was being moulded by sights and sounds of cruelty to fight against Philip.

Then he sailed under Fenner to the West Indies and saw some sharp conflicts, was treacherously attacked, and came home empty-handed.

Again, in 1567, he sailed as pilot under John Hawkins to Guinea, took a prize, The Grace of God, and was made its captain.

It is very strange how history repeats itself, for Las Casas, the apostle to the Indians, was even then urging the employment of negroes to take the place of the Indians in South America, who died too quickly in their forced service: just as the Chinese were recently brought over to the Rand to save the lives of the Kaffirs. So John Hawkins had good authority for his kidnapping of African slaves, and may have thought he was doing good, not evil.

How the voyage prospered has been told in an earlier chapter.

But it sent home Hawkins and Drake in a temper that boded ill for Philip, if ever opportunity should make a great revenge a possibility.

Drake no sooner arrived at Plymouth than he was bidden by William Hawkins to ride post-haste to London to inform the Council of his ill-treatment. It was another argument in favour of war with Spain.

Drake took service in the Queen's Navy, and sailed under Sir William Winter to Rochelle, to convoy English merchantmen to the Baltic.

That summer he came home on leave and married Mary Newman, who was living at St. Bordeaux, close to Plymouth.

But his domestic happiness was soon broken off by his being ordered to sail with the Dragon and the Swan to the Spanish Indies. He was only to use his senses and find out where Spain was most vulnerable.

In the following year Drake sailed again with the Swan only; he made a few prizes, and treated his captives so humanely and generously that his name was at first not a word of terror, but associated with kindness.

However, he had come home with such a poor opinion of Spanish prowess that he conceived the idea of sailing to the Gulf of Darien and seizing the treasure-house and all its spoils.

On May 24, 1572, Drake sailed out of Plymouth Sound on board the Pasha, of 70 tons, with his brother John in command of the Swan, of 25 tons. His brother Joseph was there too, and John Oxenham and other volunteers; the crews numbered but seventy-three in all, and the project was to seize the port of Nombre de Dios, and carry off the gold and silver bars.

On July 12th he arrived at a tiny land-locked bay, where he had formerly been, and had concealed his stores—Port Pheasant, as he had styled it.

On landing they found a warning inscribed on a plate of lead and fastened to a huge tree: "Captain Drake, if you fortune to come into the port, make haste away, for the Spaniards have betrayed this place and taken away all that you left.—Your loving friend, JOHN GARRETT."

But Drake had intended to set up three pinnaces here, which he had brought over in pieces; so he cleared and entrenched a spot in the wood and set to work with his carpenters. As they laboured and hammered and sang, suddenly a little squadron sailed in, a ship, a caravel, and a shallop.

They were getting ready to defend themselves, when a hearty English "hail" rang out, "Who are you?" "Captain James Ranse, with Sir Edward Horsey's fleet."

"What! old Ned Horsey, the pirate! Come along and have a drink, sir!"

The frank, blue-eyed Drake laughed heartily and clapped on the back some of the newcomers, who had served under him the year before.


Drake and his men rushed up the main street, some with firearms, others with bows and arrows, and carrying flaming pikes.

The upshot was that these thirty-eight men agreed to join Drake in his mad project; for there was a magnetic power in this born leader of men, as in all great leaders; they could not help believing in him and loving him for his very rashness and devilry—Drake, the Robin Hood of the ocean.

When the pinnaces were put together they stole along the coast, seized and questioned some negroes whom they found, and heard that all the country from Panama to Nombre de Dios was held by a savage, black people, a mixed race of African escaped slaves intermarried with Indian women, and forming a tribe of splendid giants, formidable to their late masters, the Spaniards, and terribly cruel. But, owing to their recent outrages, the people of Nombre de Dios had sent to Panama for help, and Drake's surprise did not look feasible.

However, with seventy-three men armed, some of them with bows and arrows and gear for holding blazing tow, Drake crept along near the shore in the dark.

As they landed under the shore battery they heard the city waking to a panic, for they dreaded an attack of the half-breeds: first came a confused murmur, then women's shrieks, then shouts of command and the tuck of drums. Drake and his men rushed up the main street, meeting at the Plaza a splutter of gun-shots and then a long roar of musketry. In the midst of the fray John Drake and Oxenham broke in upon the Spaniards' flank, who turned and fled, pursued by flaming pikes and arrows. On entering the governor's house Drake saw a great pile of silver bars shining from floor to ceiling—a pile seventy feet in length.

"Not one bar to be touched, lads," shouted Drake, "till the fighting be done."

As they hurried back to the streets a tropical storm burst on them, and they had to take cover in a long shed. As they tried to repair the damage done to matchlock and bowstring, Drake marked the signs of fatigue and fear, and shouted: "Lads, I have brought you to the mouth of the treasure-house of the world. Blame nobody but yourselves if ye go away empty."

As Drake stepped forward to lead the way to the treasury door, he suddenly rolled over speechless in the sand. As they stooped to lift him, they noted a pool of blood, and a wound in his leg which he had hidden for some time. They carried him to the pinnace and rowed back to the ships, the sun just rising to see Drake's great failure, which had so nearly succeeded.

Next day a Spanish general rode round to the bay where Drake's ships lay, and asked if this was indeed the chivalrous "El Draque" who never drowned his prisoners?

"Yes," laughed Drake, "but go tell your governor that before I depart, if God lend me life and leave, I mean to reap some of your harvest which you get out of the earth, and send into Spain to trouble all the world."

In ten days' time Drake swooped down upon Cartagena, cut out a rich ship, and carried it in triumph out to sea; then the Spaniards lost sight of him and his. But Drake was only hiding in a pretty little bay, resting his men and feeding them with game and fish and fruit. A negro friend, Diego, put him in communication with the Maroons, as the mixed race was called, and they showed him how to seize the treasure as it was borne on mules across the isthmus. They had to wait till the dry season, so Drake kept his men cheery and well by games and daring cutting out of vessels; yet withal he displayed much caution and far-sighted skill in all he did, so that there were no laments, no thought of mutiny or discontent.

In December his brother John was killed while attacking a Spanish frigate full of musketeers: it caused Drake and many others great sorrow, for he had been a brave and trusty comrade.

In January 1573 a fever came and struck down half the company: Joseph Drake expired in his brother's arms, and soon after the Maroon scouts ran up to tell the English that the Spanish fleet had come for the treasure.

Only eighteen men were fit to go upon Drake's new adventure, and these with thirty Maroons plunged into the forest track. The Maroons were splendid scouts and hunters, and insisted on carrying all the burdens. On the fourth day they had reached the summit of the range, where stood up a giant of the forest; into this Drake climbed and saw before him the golden Pacific, behind him rolled the silver Atlantic. With strange feelings of wonder, piety, and ambition the great sea-rover gazed upon the unknown waters of the west, and prayed the Almighty to give him life and leave to sail once in an English ship in that sea.

Then he climbed down and told the men of his prayer; thereat John Oxenham vowed a great vow, "Unless the captain doth beat me from his company, I will follow him, by God's grace so I will!"

He knew not how his prayer was to be in part heard, but instead of coming home with hands full of gold, he was to be taken and executed at Lima.

Meanwhile Drake's party went on, and lay in ambush a league outside the gates of Panama. A spy brought word that two large mule-trains laden with silver were in the market-place, making ready to start; while with them was to ride the treasurer of Lima, with eight mule-loads of gold and one of jewels.

They pulled their shirts over their clothes as for a night-attack, and lay in two companies some fifty yards apart.

What a momentous hour that was, as they waited for the tinkle of the mule-bells in the long grass! they had been bidden to lie quiet if any traveller came riding towards Panama. One such did come, and one fool, half-drunk, fired at him, sending him at a gallop to tell his friends that El Draque had sprung up again.

The astute treasurer bided in the city and sent on the silver only.

So when the tinkle grew loud and Drake stood up and blew his whistle, and the men sprang upon the mules and ripped open the bags—only silver was found. Soon they heard the tramp of armed men coming from Panama; there was no time to lose, they must abandon the loot and escape—that miserable drunkard had spoilt all. They made for Venta Cruz, and charged like madmen into the little town.

There was a hospital there, full of sick ladies and young mothers; these poor creatures believed they would all be burnt to death, and screamed aloud for mercy.

"Have I not ordered that no woman shall be touched?" said Drake.

"Yea, sir, but they will not believe it is true."

Then the dreaded rover, El Draque himself, entered the great ward of the hospital, and spoke words of comfort to the ladies; and when they saw the kind and merry light in his frank blue eyes, they were quite content.

Drake and his men were away before the soldiers came from Panama. Whither he went they knew not; but in the next fortnight two or three Spanish frigates reported having been boarded by a polite pirate, who insisted on relieving them of most of their gold. A panic set in, and the gold ships were afraid to stir.

On the last night of March, as the mule-trains, laden with silver and gold, were drawing near to Nombre de Dios, there was a sudden yell from the Maroons, "Yo Peho!" and a crashing of firearms. The mules knelt down, and Drake's men rifled the packs, and were away before the alarm could be given.

One day before this, a Huguenot privateer came across an English ship and begged for help. "Come on board and tell your story," signalled the English captain.

The Frenchman came and told a tale which startled all who understood. It was just the latest news from Paris—nothing else but the St. Bartholomew massacre!

"Just God!" cried Francis Drake, "may I do something to crush this tyranny!"

There and then the Huguenot and the sea-rover made a compact to work together. The Frenchmen were with Drake when he made his attack on the mule-train, and helped to carry the silver bars to the river-mouth, where the pinnaces were to meet them. Drenched by a rain-storm they looked for the pinnaces; but, instead, saw seven Spanish vessels rowing towards Nombre de Dios. What was the good of their staggering under a weight of treasure if they had no means of carrying it home! They sat down and looked at one another in blank despair.

But Francis Drake alone was laughing—positively laughing—though his fate was apparently sealed; torture and a hideous prison, and a shameful death.

The Frenchmen gazed upon him with open-mouthed wonder. Who was this short, well-set seaman, with broad chest and long brown hair, with full beard tapering, brown to russet, with full blue eyes and fair complexion, that he should exercise so strange an influence over his men?

For already, when Drake came to them, and in a few cheery words heartened them, they smiled the smile of hope, and were ready to do his bidding.

"Now, boys, cheer up! See ye not how God hath sent a heavy storm to help us? What are those things drifting down with the current? are they not big trees sent to help us home, boys? Come, let us make a raft; we will reach our ships long before the lazy Spaniards have made up their minds how to catch us. This is no time to fear, but rather to haste, and prevent that which is feared. The raft, boys, the raft! quick! to stay the tree-trunks."

In a very short time they had caught and harnessed the drifting trunks—one Englishman and two Frenchmen joined Drake upon the raft. They had a biscuit-bag for a sail and a slender tree for a rudder, and as they pushed off into the stream, Drake waved his hat and shouted cheerily:

"If it please God that I shall ever set foot aboard my frigate in safety, I will by one means or another get you all aboard, in despite of all the Spaniards in the Indies."

As they reached the bar, every wave came surging up to their arm-pits as they sat and held on like grim death. Then when they lost the current and tried to row with extemporised oars, the hot sun and the salt sea parched them, and the toil for six long hours wearied them, till hope sank very low.

Then all of a sudden Drake stopped rowing and shaded his eyes with his hand: "See, lads! there be our pinnaces bearing straight for us—all fear is over now; we are saved by the mercy of God."

But the pinnaces had not seen the raft, and soon disappeared behind a headland, making for their night's quarters.

There was a great surf raging along the shore, but Drake steered the raft straight through it; so, soused and bruised and tumbled, they came merrily ashore.

The crews stood up to receive four shipwrecked, ragged strangers—heathen perhaps! But when one of them hailed them in the tones they knew so well, they were horrified! Their great captain reduced to this scant following!

Then came explanations, and when they pleaded the storm which had swept the pinnaces away, Drake forgave them, and pulling a quoit of gold from his bosom he said, "Give thanks to God, our voyage is made!"

So it was; for they soon picked up the others and all the booty, and Drake made sail for home, running in close at Cartagena with the flag of St. George waving a mad defiance at his mast-head, and all his silken pennants and floating ensigns bidding the Spaniards a farewell in pure devilry of mocking fun.

But before they left the coast they had to set ashore their Maroon friends. Pedro, their chief, had taken a fancy to Drake's sword, and Drake gave it to him gladly; then Pedro desired him to accept four wedges of gold, which he did with all courtesy, and the allies parted in great good-humour.

The voyage home was so prosperous that in twenty-three days they sailed from Cape Florida to the Scilly Isles. It was Sunday, August 9, 1573, when they sailed into Plymouth harbour, making the echoes speak to the thunder of their salute. Folk were in church at the time, and to the dismay of the preacher the congregation jumped up and ran out to see what was toward, so that "there remained few or no people with the preacher."

"'Tis Master Francis Drake come home at last!" All Plymouth went down to the water's edge to greet their special hero—Drake of Devon!

But Francis Drake had not arrived at a happy moment for himself. Alva had been offering good terms, and the Queen was surrounded just then by friends of Spain. Drake's position was one of danger; he might possibly be given up to Philip as a mere pirate who had not the Queen's sanction. So he took his ship round to Queenstown and hid in "Drake's Pool."

Time went on, and still politics made his life dangerous; so Drake with a letter of introduction from Hawkins joined Essex in Ireland. It was a very cruel and heartless war, even against women and children; and from what we have seen of Drake's chivalry to women, it must have been most loathsome to his great soul. However, when he returned to London things had changed; this time the Queen was very angry with Philip, and she sent Walsingham to seek out Drake. The Queen was very gracious, and said she wanted Drake to help her against the King of Spain. How his heart must have leapt up with a new hope; but the wind of policy veered again, and nothing came of the interview at first. Still, it was something to have been introduced to the Queen by Sir Christopher Hatton; and when that lady gave Drake a sword and said, "We do account that he which striketh at thee, Drake, striketh at us," he must have felt a proud man.

A man so frank and open as Francis Drake was, must have found it difficult to follow the shifts and turns of policy. The Queen would not openly give her sanction to a new expedition, but she secretly aided the enterprise; and Sir John Hawkins and many others subscribed.

Drake was to sail in the Pelican, 100 tons; Captain Winter in the Elizabeth, of 80. There were also the Marygold, the Loan, and the Christopher, a pinnace, of 35 tons. The crews, officers and gentlemen, amounted to some two hundred.

They sailed from Plymouth on the 15th of November 1577, but a terrible storm off Falmouth obliged them to put back. They started afresh on the 13th of December, and were to meet at Mogadore, on the coast of Barbary. It seems that Burghley did not approve of Drake's bold venture, and had sent Thomas Doughtie, with secret orders to do what he could to limit the risks and scope of the expedition. Doughtie was a personal friend of Drake, and it was some time before Sir Francis found out what Doughtie was doing—such as tampering with the men and trying to lessen Drake's influence. When they were near the equator, Drake, being very careful of his men's health, let every man's blood with his own hands.

In February they made the coast of Brazil, without losing touch of one another. Here they landed and saw "great store of large and mighty deer." They also found places for drying the flesh of the nandu, or American ostrich, whose thighs were as large as "reasonable legs of mutton." Further south they stored seal-flesh, having slain over two hundred in the space of an hour! The natives whom they saw were naked, saving only that they wore the skin of some beast about their waist. They carried bows an ell long, and two arrows, and were painted white on one side and black on the other.

They were a tall, merry race; delighted in the sound of the trumpet, and danced with the sailors. One of them, seeing the men take their morning draught, took a glass of strong Canary wine and tossed it off; but it immediately went to his head, and he fell on his back. However, the savage took such a liking to the draught that he used to come down from the hills every morning, bellowing "Wine! wine!"

A few days later there was a scuffle at Port Julian with the natives, and Robert Winter was killed. But a greater tragedy was impending.

Sixty years before, Magellan had crushed a mutiny on this spot, and the old fir-posts that formed the gallows still stood out on the windy headland.

For some months now Drake had been harassed by mutinous conduct, and all the evidence pointed to his old friend Doughtie being at the bottom of it. One day Drake, in a sudden burst of wrath, had ordered Doughtie to be chained to the mast. Yet, as the ships rode south into the cold winds, the crews murmured more savagely. Doughtie and his friends were demoralising Captain John Winter's ship. Something must be done, and done quickly, if the expedition was not to fail.

On the last day of June the crews were ordered ashore. There, hard by Magellan's gallows, an English jury or court-martial, with Winter as president, was set to try Doughtie for treason and mutiny. The court, after much wrangling, found the prisoner "Not guilty." But Doughtie in the midst of the trial had boasted that he had betrayed the Queen's secret to Burghley. Thereat Drake took his men down to the shore and told them all how the Queen's consent had been privately given, and how Doughtie had done his best to overthrow their enterprise.

"They that think this man worthy of death," he shouted, "let them with me hold up their hands." As he spoke almost every man's hand went up.

"Thomas Doughtie, seeing no remedy but patience for himself, desired before his death to receive the communion, which he did at the hands of Master Fletcher, our minister, and our general himself accompanied him in that holy action." Then in quiet sort, after taking leave of all the company, Doughtie laid his head on the block and ended his life. Then Drake addressed his men. He forgave John Doughtie, but said all discords must cease, and the gentleman must haul and draw with the mariner. From that moment discipline was established, and there were no more quarrels.

The Pelican, the Elizabeth, and the Marygold, the only ships that remained, now set sail, and on August 20, 1578, hove to before the Straits of Magellan. It was here that Drake changed the name of his ship to the Golden Hind, perhaps in compliment to his friend Sir Christopher Hatton, who bore it in his arms.

So rapid was the passage through the Straits that in a fortnight they had reached the Pacific. Drake's intention was to steer north and get out of the nipping cold, but a gale from the north-east came on and lasted three weeks, when the Marygold went down, and Winter, after waiting a month for Drake within the Straits, went home. Drake in the Golden Hind was swept south of Cape Horn, "where the Atlantic Ocean and the South Sea meet in a large and free scope."

Drake went ashore, and leaning over a promontory, amused himself by thinking that he had been further south than any man living.

After anchoring for some time in southern islands, Drake sailed north, and finding an Indian pilot, steered for Valparaiso.

In the harbour lay a Spanish ship waiting for a wind to carry them to Panama with their cargo of gold and wine of Chili. When the lazy crew saw a sail appearing, they made ready to welcome the newcomers with a pipe of wine, and beat a drum as a merry salute.

No foreign ship had ever been seen on those western coasts; they had no thought of danger, when a boat drew alongside, and Thomas Moon clambered up and shouted, "Abaxo perro!" ("Down! you dog!"), and began to lay about him lustily.

The eight Spaniards and three negroes on board were soon safely secured under hatches; then they rifled the little town, and took the prize out to sea for more leisurely search: 1770 jars of Chili wine and 60,000 pieces of gold and some pearls rewarded their efforts. Drake now wished to sack Lima and find Winter. Meanwhile he tarried in a hidden bay for a month, and refreshed his men in a delightful climate.

Then they proceeded slowly along the coast. One day while looking for water they came upon a Spaniard lying asleep with thirteen bars of silver by his side. "Excuse us, sir, but we could not really allow you to burden yourself with all this." Several merry raids of this sort kept the men jolly and in good temper. Leisurely though the Golden Hind was sailing northwards, no news had come to Lima of the English rover being on the sea.

A Portuguese piloted Drake into the harbour of Callao after nightfall, "sailing in between all the ships that lay there, seventeen in number." These they rifled, and heard that a ship, the Cacafuego, laden with silver, had just sailed. As they were getting ready to follow, a ship from Panama entered the harbour and anchored close by the Golden Hind. A custom-house boat put off and hailed them, and a Spaniard was in the act of mounting the steps when he saw a big gun mouthing at him. He was over the side in a moment and in his boat crying the alarm! The Panama vessel cut her cable and put to sea, but the Golden Hind followed in pursuit and soon caught her.

In the next few days, as they were following the Cacafuego, they made a few prizes, which pleased the men vastly; and after crossing the line on 24th February, saw the Cacafuego about four leagues ahead of them.

The Spanish captain slowed down for a chat, as he supposed; but when Drake hailed them to strike, they refused. "So with a great piece he shot her mast overboard, and having wounded the master with an arrow, the ship yielded."

Four days they lay beside her transferring the cargo—gold, silver, and precious stones—so that the Golden Hind was now ballasted with silver.

The whole value was estimated at 360,000 pieces of gold. Drake gave the captain a letter of safe conduct in case he should meet his other ships.

"Master Wynter, if it pleaseth God that you should chance to meet with this ship of Señor Juan de Anton, I pray you use him well, according to my word and promise given unto them; and if you want anything that is in this ship, I pray you pay them double the value of it, which I will satisfy again; command your men not to do her any hurt.... I desire you, for the passion of Christ, if you fall into any danger, that you will not despair of God's mercy, for He will defend you and preserve you from all danger, and bring us to our desired haven: to whom be all honour, glory, and praise, for ever and ever. Amen.—Your sorrowful captain, whose heart is heavy for you, FRANCIS DRAKE."

We are told that Robin Hood liked to attend mass every morning, but even he does not astonish us by his piety so much as this "great dragon" of the seas. No doubt it was all genuine, and he believed he was only doing his duty when he robbed King Philip's ships, and thereby weakened his power for persecuting those who did not agree with him in his religious views.

"They that take the sword shall perish with the sword."

Francis Drake felt himself commissioned by a greater than Queen Elizabeth. "I am the man I have promised to be, beseeching God, the Saviour of all the world, to have us in His keeping "—so he writes in his letter to Winter.

The question now before them was how to get home. The whole west coast of America was now alarmed, and the Spaniards would stop him if he tried to return by the Straits as he came. So Drake called the ship's company together and took them into counsel. He desired to sail north and find a way home by the North-west Passage; for he, too, was possessed by that chimerical idea.

"All of us," writes one of his company, "willingly hearkened and consented to our general's advice; which was, first, to seek out some convenient place to trim our ship, and store ourselves with wood and water and such provisions as we could get; thenceforward to hasten on our intended journey for the discovery of the said passage, through which we might with joy return to our longed homes."

On 16th March they made the coast of Nicaragua and effected some captures. Swooping down upon the little port of Guatuleo, they found the judges sitting in court, and as a merry change for them, the whole court, judges and counsel and prisoners, were carried off to the Golden Hind, where, amid hearty laughter, the chief judge was bidden to write an order for all the inhabitants to leave the town for twenty-four hours. Then Drake and his men went ashore and replenished their cupboards from the Spanish storehouses. The next capture was a vessel containing two Chinese pilots, who had all the secret charts for sailing across the Pacific.

We may well believe that Drake, as he pored over these in his little cabin, may have thought to himself, "Why should not we go home that way, and thus have sailed round the globe?"

On 3rd June they had reached latitude 42° N., and were feeling the cold extremely. A storm was blowing as they reached Vancouver Island, and here they turned back, and after turning south ten degrees put into a fair and good bay, where the white cliffs reminded them of home, probably near San Francisco.

The natives came round in their canoes, and one threw a small rush basket full of tabah, or tobacco, into the ship's boat.

Tents were put up on the shore and fortified by stones, but the red folk who assembled seemed to be worshipping the strangers as gods. Presents were exchanged, but their women "tormented themselves lamentably, tearing chest and bosom with their nails, and dashing themselves on the ground till they were covered with blood." Drake at once ordered all his crew to prayers. The natives seemed to half-understand the ceremony, and chanted a solemn "Oh!" at every pause.

Next day the great chief came with his retinue in feathered cloaks and painted faces. The red men sang and the women danced, until the chief advanced and put his coronet on Drake's head. These people lived in circular dens hollowed in the ground; they slept upon rushes round a central fire. The men were nearly naked; the women wore a garment of bulrushes round the waist and a deer-skin over the shoulders.

When at the end of July the Golden Hind weighed anchor, loud lamentations went up and fires were lit on the hilltops as a last sacrifice to the divine strangers. For sixty-eight days they sailed west and saw no land; then they came to islands where the natives pilfered; then they made the Philippines, and in November the Moluccas. Drake anchored at a small island near Celebes, east of Borneo, and spent four weeks in cleaning and repairing his ship. Here they saw bats as big as hens, and land-crabs, "very good and restoring meat," which had a habit of climbing up into trees when pursued.

As they sailed west they got entangled among islands and shoals, and on the 9th of January 1579 they sailed full tilt upon a rocky shoal and stuck fast.

Boats were got out to find a place for an anchor upon which they might haul, but at the distance of a boat's length they found deep water and no bottom. The ship remained on the shoal all that night. First they tried every shift they could think of, but the treasure-laden vessel refused to budge. Then Drake, seeing all was hopeless, and that not only the treasure, but all their lives, were likely to be lost, summoned the men to prayers. In solemn preparation for death they took the Sacrament together.

Then, when the ship seemed fast beyond their strength to move her, Drake, with the same instinct that prompted Cromwell after him to say, "Trust in God, but keep your powder dry," gave orders to throw overboard eight guns.

They went splash into the six feet of water by the side, and the ship took no notice at all; so Drake, with a sigh, cried, "Throw out three tons of cloves—sugar—spices—anything;" till the sea was like a caudle all around. And the Golden Hind still rested quietly on the shelving rock, with only six feet of water on one side, whereas it needed thirteen to float her. The wind blew freshly and kept her upright as the tide went down. The crew began to look curiously at one another, and to wonder what would happen when all their food was consumed.

At the lowest of the tide the wind suddenly fell, and the ship losing this support, fell over sideways towards the deep water.

So they were to be drowned after all, for she must fill now.

No; there was a harsh scraping sound heard. Could it be possible? Yes; her keel was slipping down the slope very gently and mercifully.

What a shout these sea-worn mariners raised; how they thanked God for this salvation; for the relief had come at low tide, when all their efforts seemed to be useless. Surely it was a miracle—an answer to their captain's prayers. On reaching Java, Drake was informed that there were large ships not far off—Portuguese settlements were rather too near to be safe; so he steered for the Cape of Good Hope, which his men thought "a most stately thing, and the fairest cape they had seen in the whole circumference of the earth."

As the Golden Hind sailed along by Sierra Leone and towards Europe, the great sea rover must have felt that the prayer he had breathed within the mammoth tree on Darien six years before was at last fulfilled.

He had sailed the South Sea and crossed the Pacific and made the compass of the round world in the Golden Hind within three years.

As they reckoned, when nearing Plymouth Sound, it was Monday, September 25, 1580, but within an hour they learnt that they had arrived on Sunday.

No one expected them; no one at first realised what vessel it was that came silently to anchorage, heavy and slow from the barnacles and weeds; for the news had come home that Drake had been hanged by the Spaniards. But only in August last, Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador, had come to Burghley with a wild tale sent him by the Viceroy of Mexico, that El Draque had been ravaging the Pacific, and playing the pirate amongst King Philip's ships. The Queen pretended she knew nothing about it, and pacified the ambassador by seeming to agree with him that Drake was a very naughty man indeed. So, when the Golden Hind dropped her anchor, a few friends took boat and told her captain how things were going at Court.

Drake's blue eyes at first looked steely. Had he sailed round the world and brought all this treasure home to be given over to Spain?

But a moment's thought brought a merry twinkle into those eyes, and he gave a sharp order: "Up with the anchor, there! Warp her out behind St. Nicholas Island!"

If he must be treated as a pirate, then they must catch him if they can. "You will take my excuses to the Mayor, and tell him how gladly I would land; but you have the plague, I hear, at Plymouth; our constitutions are hardly strong enough to bear an attack of plague."

Meanwhile a messenger was sent by Drake post-haste to London, with gifts for the Queen and Burghley; then a visit from Drake's wife and some friends made the time pass pleasantly enough. Yet it was somewhat galling to the brave adventurer to have to wait a week for tidings as to whether he was to lose his head for piracy, or win a Queen's admiration for performing a great feat of seamanship. At last a summons to Court was brought to Plymouth. Drake, of course, obeyed the Queen's command, but he did not venture to London alone. Many friends rode with him, and no doubt they enjoyed themselves, as sailors will, on their long journey, especially when they came to Sherborne Castle and Sir Walter Raleigh. A long train of pack-horses followed, laden with delicate attentions for royal ladies. Just as he was drawing near London, the news came that Philip had seized Portugal and was posing as the master of the world. Still more startling news came that a Spanish force had landed in Ireland. The Council were half disposed to make peace on any terms, when Drake came stalking in amongst the half-hearted courtiers.

The Queen saw him, heard the strange story of his madcap adventures, caught the audacious spirit of her bravest seaman, and stood firm against the timid proposers of peace. Besides, she was simply charmed by the lovely presents he offered her, and sent Drake back to Plymouth with a private letter under her sign-manual, ordering him to take ten thousand pounds worth of bullion for himself. The rest was sent up to the Tower, after the crew had received their share. Then Drake brought the Golden Hind round and up the Thames for all the town to gape and wonder at, while the crew swaggered about the streets of Deptford like little princes; and so the news of the great treasure flew from city to hamlet, and from hill to vale, increasing with the miles it posted.

The Queen ordered that Drake's ship should be drawn up in a little creek near Deptford, and there should be kept as a memorial for ever.

Then, the more to honour her champion, she went on board and partook of a grand banquet under an awning on the main deck. "Francis Drake, kneel down." The sword was lightly placed on his shoulder, and he rose "Sir Francis."

The Golden Hind remained at Deptford, as a show vessel that had been round the world, until it dropped to pieces. From one of its planks a chair was made and presented to the University of Oxford.

Thus the politics of England were influenced by a seaman—a hero who knew not fear, and who dared to say what he thought, even though it was to his Queen.



When people saw the Queen pacing up and down the paths with Sir Francis Drake in Greenwich Gardens, and heard her laugh heartily as she stopped with her hand to her side, they knew he was entertaining her with stories of his mad adventures in the Pacific, bracing her to resist Mendoza and King Philip, and putting tough spokes in many of the wheels of his Holiness the Pope.

Twice had Mendoza asked for an audience, but no, Elizabeth had no wish to talk about returning all those pretty jewels and the muckle treasure, now safely stored in the strong-rooms at the Tower.

The little stout seaman, with the crisp brown hair and high, broad forehead, the small ears, and grey-blue eyes lit with merriment, and sometimes with fiery wrath, seemed to have won for a time his Queen's full confidence.

The palace servants stared with awe at the bronzed and bearded face, and the loose seaman's shirt belted at the waist and the scarlet cap braided with gold. For they recognised in the wearer a king of men—one who could make a nation of traders into great conquerors, and who might, if only he were allowed, convert a small island into a worldwide empire.

Drake was teaching the Queen and her ministers the uses of a strong navy. Elizabeth had always been proud of her royal ships, but she was apt to treat them like her best china, and liked to see them securely placed on some high shelf, where they would not be broken. She had often written to her captains and admirals to be prudent and take no risks—"Don't go too near any batteries—don't let my ships catch fire—do be careful."

Now Drake was instructing her in the art and policy of taking risks. And the Queen, as she looked down upon her jewelled dress, found merry Sir Francis a very incarnate fiend to tempt her out of her devious ways of caution and political jugglery—for a time, at least.

Now Terceira, one of the Azores, refused to recognise the Spanish conquest, and Don Antonio, who had been hunted from the throne of Portugal, was now in Paris and imploring help against Philip.

"Here, madam," we may fancy Drake saying, "is a splendid opening for your honest seamen. Terceira lies on the direct road of the fleets coming home both from the East and West Indies. Permit your humble servant to seize this island as a base, and we will destroy the trade of Spain, and thereby secure this island-realm from Spanish invasion."

Walsingham was on Drake's side. Hawkins and Drake were preparing the fleet, courtiers and merchants were subscribing, and brave young noblemen were offering to serve on board. Fenton and Yorke, Frobisher's trusty lieutenants, had command of ships; Bingham, Carleill, and many others were getting ready; Don Antonio had come over secretly; and all had been arranged.

But the admirals waited in vain for the order to sail. Was the Queen losing heart, fearing the perilous risk? trying to make terms with King Philip instead of fighting him?

Drake began to swear very loud, especially when he received a scolding letter from the Queen, because he had spent two thousand pounds more than the estimate. Officers, having nothing to do, began to be quarrelsome; many resigned their commissions; and at last the expedition was broken up.

The Queen was waiting until she could get France on her side. She thought Drake's idea too risky, so she let him be chosen Mayor of Plymouth, just to keep him busy with plans for defence.

Drake had a great sorrow this year, as well as a bitter disappointment, for his wife fell ill and died. To add to his anxieties, King Philip had offered forty thousand pounds reward to any who would kidnap and stab the British corsair. John Doughtie, the brother of that Thomas whom Drake had tried by court-martial for treason, was approached; and out of revenge, though Drake had once forgiven him his share in the treason, John embraced the opportunity to get rich and rid himself of an enemy.

Unfortunately for him John Doughtie could not help boasting of what he was going to do. His arrest was obtained from the Council, and he spent the remainder of his life in some discomfort and squalor in one of her Majesty's prisons.

So the months went by, and Drake became member for Bossiney or Tintagel, and made some fiery speeches at Westminster, where they began to believe that an invasion was really possible—nay, if Drake thought so, even probable.

In February 1585 he married Elizabeth Sydenham, a Somersetshire heiress; but news came at the end of May that Philip had invited a fleet of English corn-ships to relieve a famine in Spain, and then had seized the ships.

This was too bad. This was to imitate Drake a little too closely.

Everybody, from the Queen to the newest cabin-boy, felt that such an outrage must be severely dealt with.

By the end of July Sir Francis received letters of marque to release the corn-ships, and hoisted his flag in the Elizabeth Bonaventure, with Frobisher for his vice-admiral and Carleill as lieutenant-general with ten companies of soldiers under his command. The squadron consisted of two battleships and eighteen cruisers, with pinnaces and store-ships. There were two thousand three hundred soldiers and sailors, and it was no easy matter to get stores for so many. Before Drake could get away Sir Philip Sidney came down to Plymouth with the intention of joining the expedition.

Drake remembered too well how unpleasant the presence of courtiers had been on a former voyage, and he secretly sent off a messenger to Court, asking if Sir Philip had the Queen's permission to join.

The Queen replied by ordering her naughty courtier back to Greenwich, and Drake sailed for Finisterre, though still short of supplies.

Resolved to get water and provisions before he started on his long voyage, he ran into Vigo Bay and anchored under the lee of the Bayona Islands.

His officers were dismayed at their leader's effrontery. Does he wish to let all Spain know what he is about to do?

But Drake knew that this very insolence would paralyse the hearts of the foe. He ordered out the pinnaces and so frightened the governor that he offered the English water and victuals; wine, fruit, and sweetmeats were also sent, as if the Spaniards had been entertaining their best friends.

A three days' storm compelled the ships to go up above Vigo, and there many caravels laden with goods were taken by Carleill.

On 8th October Drake sailed for the Canaries, while the Spanish Court was buzzing with rumours, and the Marquis of Santa Cruz advised his master that a fleet should sail out in pursuit of the English, before they sacked Madeira, the Canaries, and the Cape de Verde Islands, or crossed the Atlantic and did worse.

However, the Spaniards, as is their custom, took a long time to get ready, and Drake passed by the Canaries and pounced upon Santiago, the chief town of the Cape de Verde Islands, where William Hawkins had been treacherously attacked some years before. They seized the town easily and stayed there a fortnight, the inhabitants having fled inland, and much they enjoyed the pleasant gardens and orchards. All might have gone well, and no great damage done, had not some Spaniards seized and killed an English boy and shamefully treated his body; for they found him lying dead, with his head severed and his heart and bowels scattered about in savage manner.

This so enraged the men that they set fire to all the houses except the hospital, and left in various places a paper declaring the reason why they had so acted.

The English had not been many days at sea when a disease broke out, and in a few days over two hundred men had died. A hot burning, and continual agues seized the sick, followed by decay of their wits and strength for a long time.

In some there appeared small spots as of the plague; but in eighteen days they came to the island of Dominica, inhabited by savage people whose naked skins were painted tawny red; strong, well-made fellows, who very kindly helped to carry fresh water from the river to the boats. They brought also, and exchanged for glass and beads, a great store of tobacco and cassava bread, very white and savoury.

Thence the English went on to St. Christopher's, a desert island, where they spent Christmas, refreshed the sick, and cleansed their ships.

Then they sailed for Hispaniola and the city of St. Domingo, the largest Spanish city in the New World, founded by Columbus in 1496.

Drake learned from a frigate that it was a barred harbour commanded by a strong castle, but that there was a landing-place two miles to the westward of it.

About 150 horsemen opposed them, but the English ran in so fast that the Spaniards had only time to fire one volley and flee. There was no gold or silver, only copper money, but good store of fine clothes, wine and oil. The native Indians had all been killed by the cruelty of the Spaniards, and the work in the mines was stopped.

Drake ordered the troops to entrench themselves in the Plaza, or Square, and to occupy the chief batteries; so he held the city for a month.

Two hundred and forty guns were taken and put on board the English ships, and a ransom equal to fifty thousand pounds of our money was exacted. A great fleet of Spanish ships was burnt, and hundreds of galley-slaves were set free, to their surprise and delight.

Thence Drake sailed for Cartagena on the mainland, the harbour of which he knew as well as any local pilot. The fleet entered about three in the afternoon without meeting any resistance. In the evening Carleill landed about three miles west of the town; the idea being that the land forces should advance at midnight along the shore, while the fleet drew the attention of the Spaniards by a false attack upon a fort in the inner haven.

Some hundred horsemen met the troops, but hastened back to give the alarm. Then the soldiers under Carleill came to the neck of the peninsula on which the town was built. On one side was the sea, on the other a lake communicating with the harbour. The narrow roadway was fortified across with a stone wall and ditch, and the usual passage was filled up with barrels full of earth, behind which were placed six great guns, while two great galleys had been moored with their prows to the shore, carrying eleven guns, to flank the approach, and containing three hundred harquebusiers. The barricade of barrels was defended by some three hundred musketeers and pikemen.

The Spaniards fired in the dark down the causeway, but the English were marching close to the water's edge on lower ground and got no hurt. Then they clambered up the sides of the neck and assaulted the barricade. "Down went the butts of earth, and pell-mell come our swords and pikes together, after our shot had given their first volley, even at the enemy's nose."

The English pikes were longer than those of the Spaniards, so the latter soon gave way, and were followed with a rush into the town, where other barricades erected at every street's end had to be carried with yell and blow.

The Spaniards had stationed Indian archers in corners of advantage, "with arrows most villainously empoisoned." Some also were wounded in the fort by small stakes having the point poisoned. But when the city was taken divers courtesies passed between the two nations, and they met at feasts, so that the Governor and Bishop came to visit Sir Francis on his ship, finding him very merry and polite.

Cartagena yielded rich loot for the men, and for the merchants and courtiers who had taken shares a ransom of 110,000 ducats came in as a comfortable bonus.

By the end of April they were off Cuba and in want of water. After search they found some rain-water newly fallen. Here, we are told, Sir Francis set a good example to the men by working himself in his shirt sleeves. We can see how conduct like this endeared him to his men; for they said, "If the general can work with us in his shirt, we may well do our best."

"Throughout the expedition," says Gates, "he had everywhere shown so vigilant care and foresight in the good ordering of his fleet, together with such wonderful travail of body, that doubtless had he been the meanest person, as he was the chiefest, he had deserved the first place of honour."

On reaching Florida they took Fort St. Augustine and a treasure-chest; then they sailed north and sought Raleigh's colony in Virginia, whom they brought home. "And thus, God be thanked, both they and wee in good safetie arrived at Portsmouth the 2nd of July 1586, to the great glory of God, and to no small honour to our Prince, our Countrey, and our selves."

Some seven hundred and fifty men were lost on the voyage, most of them from the calenture or hot ague. Two hundred and forty guns of brass and iron were taken and brought home.

Sir Francis wrote at once to Burghley reporting his return. He apologised for having missed the Plate fleet by only twelve hours' sail—"The reason best known to God;" but affirmed he and his fleet were ready to sail again whithersoever the Queen might direct.

But the Faerie Queen was much harassed just now and affrighted; for the Babington plot to assassinate her had just been revealed, and it was known that Philip was making ready to spring upon England from Portugal and the Netherlands. Mary Stuart was in prison, and France for her sake was threatening war. So the Queen pretended to disavow the doings of Sir Francis and his men. No peerage or pension for him now, lest Philip should sail and invade her territory.

Drake understood the moods of his intriguing mistress, shrugged his strong shoulders and played a match at bowls on the Hoe.

But, if England was backward in applauding the hero, his name and exploits were being celebrated wherever the tyranny of Rome was feared or hated.

The Reformation had been losing ground latterly, the Netherlands still held out, but their strength of endurance was nearly spent.

Then came the startling news that the English Drake had again flouted and crushed the maritime power of Spain. Not only had he weakened her for actual warfare, but her prestige was shaken by his exploits, and the banks of Seville and Venice were on the verge of ruin. Philip found himself unable to raise a loan of half a million ducats.

The sinews of war were cracked by this sea-rover, who was raising the hopes of Protestant Europe once more, and winning the clamorous applause of the west country openly, and of Burghley in private.

"This Drake is a fearful man to the King of Spain!" he could not help confessing, though he wondered if England would not be obliged to give him up to the wrath of Philip. War was so expensive, to be sure! Then, to the delight of Elizabeth and the consternation of all true Catholics, Philip wrote and accepted the Queen's timorous excuses.

The King of Spain was not quite ready for war. Drake's condign punishment must be deferred for a season; there was a time for all things. Meanwhile Drake with Sir William Winter had been employed in getting ships ready and watching the narrow seas.

As autumn waned and no Armada came, the Queen summoned the bold sea-rover to Court, and once more she listened to his brave words, feeling almost convinced that boldness in action was safer than a crooked diplomacy.

Anyhow she sent Sir Francis over on a secret mission to the Low Countries, where he was everywhere received almost with royal honours, and had conferences with leaders in all the great Dutch cities.

But in November Leicester returned to England, a confession of failure, and in January the fort of Zutphen was betrayed to the Spaniards.

Again the scene shifted and the characters changed; for when Drake returned to England, Walsingham gave him the cheering news that the Queen's eyes were at last opened. He had shown her a paper taken from the Pope's closet which proved that all Philip's preparations in port and harbour and storehouse were intended solely for her destruction and the religious education of her heretic realm. Then she flashed out in patriotic spirit and threw economy to the winds.

Sir Francis Drake was made her Majesty's Admiral-at-the-Seas, and William Burrows, Comptroller of the Navy, esteemed to be the most scientific sea officer in England, was selected as his Vice-Admiral.

The people cheered and sang and made ready to fight for hearth and home. One favourite stanza was that which had been nailed to the sign of the Queen's Head Tavern at Deptford—

"O Nature! to old England still
    Continue these mistakes;
Still give us for our King such Queens,
    And for our Dux such Drakes."

Drake's commission was to prevent the joining together of the King of Spain's ships out of their several ports, to keep victuals from them and to follow any ships that should sail towards England or Ireland.

On the 2nd of April Sir Francis Drake wrote to Walsingham to say all was ready for starting. "I thank God I find no man but as all members of one body, to stand for our gracious Queen and Country against Anti-Christ and his members."

We always see that with Drake the motive for war was a religious motive; it was to secure religious freedom of thought and put down the Inquisition.

He ends thus: "The wind commands me away; our ship is under sail. God grant we may so live in His fear, as the enemy may have cause to say that God doth fight for her Majesty as well abroad as at home ... let me beseech your Honour to pray unto God for us, that He will direct us the right way."

Besides the Elizabeth Bonaventure, which Drake commanded, Captain William Burrows as Vice-Admiral was in the Golden Lion, Fenner in the Dreadnought, Bellingham in the Rainbow—these all Queen's ships.

The Merchant Royal was sent by the London citizens; the rest were given by voluntary subscribers and private persons. There were twenty-three sail in all, and the soldiers and sailors numbered 2648.

But while Drake was busy at Plymouth making ready for the voyage, paid emissaries of Philip and those who hated Walsingham and the Reformation were busy with the Queen, frightening her with threats of foreign interference; so that she absolutely turned round again and issued an order that all warlike operations were to be confined to the high seas. Philip's ships being all snug in port, Drake's fleet would have nothing to do, and no captures to win, if he merely sailed up and down the coast.

Swiftly rode the Queen's messenger, spurring from Surrey to Hampshire, from Dorset to Devon, with many a change and relay of smoking steeds.

The messenger knew well the purport of the fateful order: "You shall forbear to enter forcibly into any of the said King's ports or havens, or to offer violence to any of his towns or shipping within harbour, or to do any act of hostility upon the land." The messenger and his armed escort had been ordered to gallop in all haste, and they entered Plymouth and dismounted before the Admiral of the Port. "In the Queen's name! a despatch for Sir Francis Drake."

"For Drake? When, sir, did you leave London?"

"On April the 9th, last Sunday, your honour."

"Why! see! the roadstead is empty! The fleet sailed last Sunday week!"

We can with difficulty realise how slowly news was carried in what we call "the good old days," though horse-flesh was good, and little time was spent on meals and beds. The Queen was too late by a week, and Drake was gone!

He had started on Sunday, 2nd April, and on Monday afternoon had attached to his fleet two private vessels from the Isle of Wight and a few other stray ships.

Three days of quick sailing brought him off Cape Finisterre, for he lost no time, not wishing those traitors at home to stop him on the way.

But a great storm arose and scattered his ships for a whole week or more. When they met again on the 16th he heard that the Dreadnought had been nearly wrecked and that a pinnace had been lost.

But Drake had learnt from prisoners taken at sea that Cadiz harbour was full of transports and store-ships, and he smiled a grim smile.

Signal was made—"Officers assemble for council of war."

Drake sat at the head of the table and Burrows sat opposite him.

It was usual for Sir Francis to ask very courteously for the advice of his officers, and then—to take his own way!

On this occasion he made a slight change in his method. He forgot to ask Burrows or the others for their advice, and bluntly spake out: "Gentlemen, I am going to attack the shipping in Cadiz harbour."

The vice-admiral was shocked, and for a moment paralysed, by the outrage upon his reputation as a scientific tactician.

"Good God! did Sir Francis know what it meant to run into that harbour close to the guns of the town batteries, with rocks and shoals everywhere, and no entrance possible except by the help of the port pilots! Then there were the galleys to reckon with, the most formidable war-ships in confined waters! Surely the matter required a fuller consideration."

Drake laughed aloud, and waving his hand to dismiss them to their ships, said—

"I think my officers believe in me—and we enter Cadiz harbour this very Wednesday at set of sun."

One of Drake's comrades, perhaps Fenner, describing the English attack, wrote thus: "So soon as we were descried, two of their galleys made towards us, and judging what we were, made haste into shore again, not offering to shoot one shot at us. Yet before they could return, our admiral, with others of our fleet, shot them through and slew ten of their men. Presently there came forth from the town ten other galleys and fought with us; but we applied them so well with our great ordnance that two of them were fain to be hauled up that night."

The sudden appearance of El Draque struck such consternation in the harbour and city that ships cut their cables and sought shelter through the Puntal passage leading to the inner harbour. To meet the galleys, which could only fire straight ahead, Drake steered with the Queen's four battleships athwart their course and poured in heavy broadsides before the galleys had got within effective range. Two new lessons the Spaniards were learning: first, how to make galleys harmless, for they could not turn quick enough to bring their front fire into action; secondly, how to fire effectively, for never before had such gunnery been seen, and it was the result of Drake's long and careful practice. The galleys were raked from side to side and broke away to the cover of the batteries, many in a sinking condition.

The city expected to be assaulted; the women and children were hurried for safety into the fortress, twenty-seven poor creatures being crushed to death in the confusion. But the English did not land; their business was to damage King Philip's navy as much as possible; so they sailed on beyond the batteries and began plundering, burning, and scuttling amongst the many ships that remained. Drake's letter to Walsingham calmly describes how "we found sundry great ships, some laden, some half laden, and some ready to be laden with the King's provisions for England. I assure your Honour the like preparation was never heard of, nor known, as the King of Spain hath made, and daily maketh, to invade England. His provisions of bread and wines are so great as will suffice forty thousand men a whole year, which if they be not impeached before they join, will be very perilous."

As the darkness came down the crowds of soldiers and sailors that thronged the quay and seaside streets saw the red fire spring up from many a proud galleon, and in special the splendid warship of the Marquis de Santa Cruz, valued the day before at 18,000 ducats. A big Genoese argosy of 1000 tons, freighted with rich stuffs and thirty-six pieces of brass cannon, was sunk and the treasure wasted.

Then, tired out, the crews sank down and slept on the decks till morning. With the dawn poured in thousands of reinforcements, making an attack on the town impracticable; but the spoiling, sinking, and burning went on merrily, the galleys made feints and the big guns boomed, "but they did us little hurt, saving that the master-gunner of the Golden Lion had his leg broke with a shot from the town." Yet there were two hundred culverin shooting at the English fleet for twenty-four hours!

The total amount of damage done by Drake seems to come to forty or fifty ships destroyed, while the value of stores consumed was not short of £150,000. Amongst these were 4000 pipes of wine and 30,000 cwt. of wheat. In addition to this Drake had revictualled his ships with wine, oil, biscuit, and dried fruits, a very acceptable present for hungry men.

So the great Armada would not sail for England yet awhile! The Queen and her ministers and people, great and small, might sleep securely; for the only man in all England who could inspire his men to fight as heroes, the greatest sea captain, perhaps, that England has ever possessed, had disobeyed orders and angered his vice-admiral in order to save his country. One cannot but think that Nelson must have studied with some care the life of Francis Drake: rules are made for mediocrities by mediocrities: the genius must be allowed to have his own way.

By noon on Thursday all was finished, and Drake kept looking aloft; for the wind was contrary and he could not budge from the harbour. He could see the interminable line of troops marching along the isthmus into Cadiz; he could hear the buzz of voices and the song of the soldiers. Now was the time for the galleys, and they rowed out fiercely; but the thunder of Drake's broadsides swept them back time after time. At midnight a land wind sprang up and Drake forced his way out of the harbour and into the roadstead outside. By two o'clock every ship had cleared the batteries and was safe outside, without losing a single man!

"When we were a little out we fell becalmed, and ten galleys followed us and fought with us all Friday forenoon. But, whether for lack of powder and shot, or by reason of the heat of the day, I know not, or some of them shot through, they lay aloof for three hours and never after durst come within our shot."

Drake employed some of his leisure time in sending to the captain of the galleys to ask if there were any English in the galleys as slaves, and he would exchange some Spaniards for them. A box of sweetmeats came in reply, and a request that he would stay until the next day for inquiries to be made.

"Damnably civil—and treacherous," thought Drake, "I will not assent to their devilish practice. We to wait for a big fleet to come, I suppose, and they to eat us up! No! no!"

So, finding a wind for his purpose, he put out to sea before night.

For ten days he hung about near Cape St. Vincent. In the budget of letters sent home at this period occur the words of an officer: "We all remain in great love with our general, and in unity throughout the fleet."

But this unfortunately was not quite correct; for hardly a week after the Cadiz affair William Burrows, Vice-Admiral of the Fleet, wrote to Drake thus: "I have found you always so wedded to your own opinion and will that you rather disliked, and showed as though it were offensive to you that any should give you advice in anything—at least, I speak it of myself." He went on to say that he had often refrained from giving advice, which would have accorded more with the instructions issued by the Queen; for he would have merely watched the Spanish coast, and not have entered any harbour, as had been done at Cadiz.

Drake replied by placing the vice-admiral under arrest for two days. The culprit was astounded, but wrote a letter of apology, promising obedience in the future. It is probable that Drake may have fancied that he had a second Doughtie to deal with, a paid traitor sent to oppose him. In Cadiz harbour he had noticed that Burrows seemed all too careful of his ship, and this letter made his suspicions seem too well founded.

But Burrows was really only a timid, conservative sea officer, honest and dull, a talker and arguer, who could not see when his superior had performed an extraordinary feat of daring.

An attack upon the town of Lagos failed at the end of April, and the vice-admiral no doubt shook his head sagely and muttered, "I told you so!"

The next day Drake attacked Sagres, half-way between Lagos and Cape St. Vincent. The English military officers declared that a hundred determined men could hold it against all Drake's force; the vice-admiral pronounced the scheme impracticable. That settled it. Drake at once said, "The castle commands the watering-place: I mean to have it."

After the musketeers had exhausted their ammunition, Drake summoned the garrison to surrender. The Spanish captain laughed scornfully, "Come up and take it."

Drake set his teeth and sent for faggots. The men believed in him and were doing their best.

"Pile them up against the outer gate, my men."

Again and again the attempt to fire the gate failed, for the defenders issued out and knocked down the pile. This went on for two hours.

What was the vice-admiral doing? Was he smiling in his superior manner? We know what the admiral was doing, and all his men knew.

There he was in his shirt sleeves—regardless of his dignity—his arms laden with faggots, his face black with soot and streaming with sweat, laughing, encouraging his mates. "Now it burns!" "A cheer—what is it, lads?"

"The white flag of truce is hoisted, Sir Francis, instead of the Spanish."

The commandant had sunk under his wounds, the garrison had surrendered. On hearing this—miraculous they thought it—the castle and fort of St. Vincent also capitulated, and the English fleet could water at ease.

Drake had laughingly promised he would "singe King Philip's beard," and now he wrote to Walsingham: "We have taken forty ships, barks and caravels and divers other vessels more than a hundred ... the hoops and pipe-staves were above 16,000 tons in weight, all which I commanded to be consumed by fire—no small waste unto the King's provisions."

In order to goad the Marquis of Santa Cruz into coming out to fight, Drake lay off Cascaes in sight of Lisbon for three days, sending messages to taunt him: "Sir Francis Drake will be happy to convey the Spanish admiral to England, if at any time the Marquis should think of sailing in that direction."

But Philip had given strict orders, "While Drake is on the coast, not a man is to be moved." A fine compliment for a king to pay a hard-working seaman! And how the English crews must have laughed and rubbed their hands in glee as the merry taunt went round to the forecastle; for it was intended to hearten them quite as much as to irritate Santa Cruz.

And Drake had heard that a rich East India caravel was on its way home to Spain, and he told his men he should go to the Azores and pick it up. That would fill their pockets and delight the speculators in England.

They were all delighted to go with their gallant admiral, but they had not been two days at sea when a great storm scattered his fleet. In three days only three battleships and half-a-dozen pinnaces could be seen; and the Golden Lion, Burrows' flag-ship, was missing. Drake wrote home to Burghley on the 21st of May: "Burrows hath not carried himself in this action so well as I wish he had done, for his own sake; and his persisting hath committed a double offence, not only against me, but it toucheth further." Captain Marchant had been put in charge of the Lion, but when they reached St. Michael's on the 8th of June, Drake heard that the crew of Burrows' ship had mutinied and gone home.

Then Drake in his anger, believing that Burrows was a traitor, called a court-martial, the first we are told that was ever held in our navy, and Burrows was found guilty of desertion and condemned, in his absence, to death.

As Drake was spending his generous wrath on all traitors the next morning, a sudden hail from aloft, and a cry of "Sail ahoy!" made him forget his troubles; for it looked like the caravel he was waiting for.

All sails were hoisted, and a pretty strong breeze carried the Elizabeth Bonaventure towards the stranger, who had out a Portugal flag and red cross.

Drake showed no flag until he was within shot of her, when he hung out flags, streamers, and pendants. Then he hailed her with cannon-shot most brusquely, shot her through divers times, and received some answer in like sort.

Drake's fly-boat and a pinnace lay athwart her hawse and peppered her with musket shot. At them she threw shot and fireworks, doing little hurt, for they flew over them into the sea. Then, seeing the English were making ready to board, six of her men being slain and many sore wounded, they yielded.

It was the King of Spain's own ship from the East Indies, the San Felipe, richly laden and carrying four hundred negroes whom they had taken to make slaves in Spain and Portugal. Drake put these into his fly-boat and said they were free to sail whither they listed. He himself and his little fleet, guarding their prize very jealously, made all sail for England, reaching Plymouth on the 26th of June.

Drake knew something of the ways of women. He knew, when he brought the San Felipe into Plymouth harbour, that his Queen would forgive his little delinquencies in the matter of the singeing of Philip's beard.

It was the largest and richest prize ever seen in England. The spices, silks and taffetas, calicoes and carpets in the hold were valued at £108,000, a sum sufficient to defray all the costs of the expedition, with surplus profit for all adventurers.

Drake's return was welcomed with a national rejoicing; for the injury to the prestige of Spain was more valuable even than the prize. Further, it gave all Protestant Europe a braver spirit and a stronger heart to resist the tyranny of Rome and Spain. It was also a revelation to English merchants, and was one of the causes which set on foot the great East India Company and the empire that was to follow. Last, but not least, it implanted in the superstitious minds of the South a great dread of El Draque, as the magician of the deep, who had sold his soul to Satan, and could see all the fleets of his foe in a magic mirror in his cabin, or raise a storm at his evil pleasure.

As soon as he could, Drake hurried up to London to have an audience with the Queen, but he found all in woe and trouble owing to the execution of Queen Mary Stuart and the remorse of Elizabeth.

Drake, instead of being welcomed with smiles, was severely reprimanded for grossly exceeding his instructions, and Burghley was ordered to write despatches to assure Parma and Philip that Drake would be held in deep disgrace.

How the frank, brave seaman must have shrugged his shoulders and whistled, in disdain of all the diplomacy of courtiers!

However, he made a new friend in the young Earl of Essex, who was beginning to be in great favour with the Queen, and who aided Drake in his fresh projects to crush Spain, namely, by helping Don Antonio to his throne. But England was itself threatened from three quarters and could hardly venture to send troops away, for the Armada was collecting in Spain, Parma with thirty thousand trained soldiers was waiting in Flanders, and the Scots were restless across the border. However, in 1588 Philip found himself rich enough with the arrival of new convoys to attempt the invasion of England.

Lord Howard of Effingham was made Lord High Admiral, with Hawkins and Frobisher as flag officers. Drake, as Lieutenant to the Lord High Admiral, became President of the Naval Council of War, and hoisted his flag in the Revenge, having several vessels belonging to his own and his wife's relations attached to the thirty sail that formed his division. But the impatient hero had to wait for months doing nothing, while his ships grew foul, and his crews diminished. It was not until May that the Court was convinced that the Armada was really coming.

We need not follow the fortunes of Drake through the Armada fight, for that has been done in previous chapters. It is enough to say that Lord Howard in many ways sought his advice, and that the crowning victory of Gravelines was due to Drake. After the Armada had gone, he and Hawkins founded the "Chatham Chest" for disabled seamen, and Drake had the honour of furnishing Plymouth with water. But it was war that Drake ever yearned for, and in 1589 he and Sir John Norris led an expedition to Portugal, and the troops were landed in a bay near Corunna. They took the town, but the troops drank too freely of the wine, and were disorderly and cruel. The palm of courage should be given to a lady, Maria Pita, the wife of an official, who took sword and buckler and defended a convent so successfully that she was rewarded by her country with the full pay of an ensign for life. Many citizens were put to death and much damage was done by fire, but the English lost many men through sickness, and storms scattered the fleet.

Out of 12,500 men only 6000 returned, and the expedition was a failure, for Antonio's party did not co-operate as they had promised. Drake and Norris had taken and burnt two Spanish ports, had defeated the King's army, had insulted the gates of Lisbon, and had captured nearly a hundred sail; but for all that they were both brought before a court-martial at home, and suffered loss of prestige.

As the months wore on rumours came of a second Armada assembling at Ferrol, and Plymouth grew so panic-stricken that the inhabitants began to desert their homes. Drake, his wife and household, calmly took up their residence in the town by the Dowgate, and the plague of fear was stayed. So his prestige was not quite destroyed. But for many long months Drake remained in disgrace at Court; those who knew him in the west country upheld him as England's greatest admiral; but Drake was ambitious, and when Hawkins and Frobisher were sent out and he was overlooked, he could not but feel aggrieved in the stately house, Buckland Abbey, which Sir Richard Grenville had sold him when he took the Revenge out on her last voyage. At last, in the summer of 1594, the Queen consented to provide two-thirds of the capital for an expedition under Drake and Hawkins.

When the news arrived at Lisbon, Philip's recruits deserted by hundreds, and Lisbon was well-nigh left desolate. Sir Thomas Baskerville, hero of many a hard fight in the Netherlands, commanded the troops.

When they were ready to start, the Queen sent down orders to stay them, and two months were wasted and food consumed in idleness. In August, Penzance was burnt by a rapid raid from Spain. Then an order came: "Cruise off the Spanish coast, then capture the Plate fleet, and be home in six months."

The admirals protested, and the Queen was furious at their obstinacy and "disloyalty." They did not leave Plymouth until the 28th of August 1595, and found the Grand Canary too strong to capture. They went on to the West Indies, and at Guadaloupe cleaned the ships, set up the pinnaces, and landed the men for health's sake.

Poor old Sir John Hawkins, in his weariness and disappointment, had had more than one quarrel with his old friend Sir Francis, and now sickness grew upon him, and as Drake led the fleet off Puerto Rico, Hawkins breathed his last. That evening, as Drake sat at supper on board the Defiance, a round shot came crashing into the cabin, striking the stool from under the admiral as he sat, and killing Sir Nicholas Clifford and Drake's bosom friend Master Brown.

Next day Drake tried to force his way into the harbour, but the Spaniards had sunk a great galleon in the fairway, and Drake gave up the attempt.

He sailed for La Hacha, burnt it, but spared the church and the house of a lady who had begged his mercy. On Christmas Day he sailed for Nombre de Dios. The town had been abandoned at his approach, and nothing of value was left. Drake remained in the harbour with his fleet while Baskerville with 750 men started for Panama; but he found the road protected by forts, and after losing many men, returned hungry and dispirited.

On the 5th of January 1596 the fleet sailed for Escudo, west of Nombre de Dios, and ten leagues from the mainland, where there was good anchorage on sand, and the island was well supplied with wood and water.

But the island, for all its loveliness and wealth of flower and foliage, proved very sickly and the climate rainy. Three of the captains died here and the chief surgeon, and Drake began to keep his cabin, being very ill with dysentery.

Disappointment and sorrow for the loss of friends had made him sombre, and the cheery smile had faded, though he still tried to cheer up his officers. "God hath many things in store for us; and I know many means to do her Majesty good service and to make us rich: for we must have gold before we see England." That haunting sense of the ill welcome they would receive if they brought no gold or jewels must have embittered his last moments.

He gave the order to weigh anchor, and the ships sped before a storm to Puerto Bello; but the gallant admiral was lying in his cabin sick unto death. On the 25th of January, in the early dawn, he rose from his bed in delirium, called aloud for his arms, raved about Spain and the Inquisition and traitors who had poisoned him. Kind hands led him back to bed, and there he died within an hour. On the morrow his body, enclosed in a leaden coffin, was taken out to sea, and there in sight of his first great victory he sank amid the thunder of cannon from all the ships around, while the prayers of the English Church burial service were solemnly recited.

In his will Drake left all his lands to the son of his brother, Thomas. His widow, Elizabeth, daughter and heiress of Sir George Sydenham of Devon, afterwards married William Courtenay of Powderham Castle. He had no children, and nine of his eleven brothers also died childless. He had been twice returned to Parliament for Bossiney or Tintagel, and for Plymouth.

"So Francis Drake be dead!" we may fancy a Devon friend bewailing, when the fleet returned without their admiral; "ah, we may never see his like again! He had his faults, 'tis true; his temper was passing quick, but he was a true friend, a pure bull-dog; tenacious both ways, in hate and in love. Eloquent and fond of proving it to his crew; ambitious and somedeal vain, and so open to flattery; as he grew older, he believed more stoutly in his own opinions, and would hurt a fool's feelings by telling him home truths. But for genius in ocean warfare, I doubt if England has known half his worth—those ninnies at Court did not; but we men of Devon loved him only just this side of idolatry. God keep his soul!"



Richard Hawkins was born in 1562, the son of Sir John, who bred his son from an early age to the service of the sea, while his education in geography, history, and mathematics was carefully and thoroughly carried out. He went to the West Indies with his uncle William in 1582, and was with Drake in 1585. He served against the Armada as captain of the Swallow, and afterwards was bitten by the prevailing ambition to search the far-off shores of a new world.

So, with his father's counsel and help, he planned a voyage to Japan, the Philippines and Moluccas, China and the East Indies by the way of the Straits of Magellan and the Pacific. At their own expense father and son had a ship built on the Thames of about 400 tons. "She was pleasing to the eye," Richard says in his "Observations"; "profitable for storage, good of sail and well-conditioned."

But Lady Hawkins craved the naming of the ship, and called it the Repentance, for she said, "Repentance was the safest ship we could sail in to purchase the haven of Heaven." Richard much misliked the name, as though it were of ill omen, and he says, "Well I know she was no prophetess, though a religious and most virtuous lady: yet too prophetical it fell out by God's secret judgments." So he sold his share to his father and was going to give up the enterprise.

But it so fell out that when the Repentance was finished, and was riding at anchor near Deptford, the Queen in her barge was passing by on her way to Greenwich Palace, and having ever an eye for a good ship, asked, "What ship is yon, and to whom does she belong?"

On hearing it was Sir John and Richard Hawkins' new vessel, she bade her bargeman row round about her, viewed her critically from port to stem, and disliked nothing in her but the name. Then with a laugh the Queen cried, "Sir John shall have me for her godmother; I will christen the ship anew, and henceforth she shall be called the Dainty." So as the Dainty she sailed forth and made many prosperous voyages in the Queen's service, though with oft-repeated mishaps to herself.

At last, Sir John resolved to sell her, because she brought so much cost, trouble, and care to him. Then Richard, whose forebodings concerning her had been removed when the Queen named her anew, and who had ever admired her and desired she should continue in the family, repurchased the vessel from his father. By-and-by, having bought stores for his journey and collected a crew, he was preparing to sail in her from Blackwall to Plymouth, there to join two other ships of his own, one of 100 tons, the other a pinnace of 60. As he expected a visit of honour from the Lord High Admiral, Sir Robert Cecil and Sir Walter Raleigh, she was detained some days in the Thames. But bad weather prevented this visit, and so Sir Richard bade the captain and pilot take her down to Gravesend, while he took a last farewell of his father.

He then followed down the river in his barge, and coming to Barking he saw the Dainty at anchor in the middle of the channel, and was told that they had been in no small peril of losing both ship and goods. For as they sailed down with an E.N.E. wind, it suddenly veered to the south, and forced them in doubling a point to tack and luff up. Just then the south wind freshened, and the ship heeled over. Being very deeply laden, and her ports being left open, the water began to rush in. But the crew gave little thought to this, thinking themselves safe in the river, till the weight of the water began to press down one side. Then, when the danger was perceived, and the sheets were flown, she could hardly be brought upright. So, when Sir Richard came aboard, he found a pretty mess below, and preached a fine warning sermon to his officers on taking things too easily even in a river!

When he turned to the men he found them collecting in knots and whispering together.

"Well, lads, what is it now?"

"An' it please yer honour, we of the forecastle may not go no furder in this ship, save she be lightened of her cargo," said the spokesman.

"Lightened! why, she be all right; there would ha' been no danger but for your negligence! Why weren't the lower ports shut and calked?"

"Howbeit, master, we be all afraid to go in her as she be!"

"Very well; an' ye be afeard, I will heave out some tons into a hoy, lads." Then to his officers he said, "Look ye! mariners be like a stiff-necked horse who taketh the bridle between his teeth."

Thus, to content them, he engaged a hoy, into which he loaded eight tons; but untoward weather pursued them all the way to Plymouth.

It took him a month to prepare for his voyage and gather his company together; and when the crews were all hired, his friends were employed two days, with the help of the justices of the town, in searching all lodgings, taverns, and ale-houses before his people could be got aboard; for some would ever be taking their leave and never depart; some drank themselves so drunk, that, except they were carried aboard, they could not walk one step; others feigned themselves to be grievously sick; others to be indebted to their host, and could not leave until they were ransomed; and others, to benefit themselves by the earnest-money paid them in advance, absented themselves from a wicked desire to make an unfair living by deceiving one master after another. There were some, too, who had pawned a chest, or a sword, or two shirts, or a card and instruments for sea. Thus Sir Richard in his "Observations" rehearses the grievances of a sea captain, and he adds: "In what sort they dealt with me is notorious, and was such that if I had not been provident to have had a third part more of men than I had need of, I had been forced to go to sea unmanned, or to give over my voyage. And many of my company at sea vaunted how they had cosened and cheated the Earl of Cumberland, Master Cavendish, and others, some of five pounds, some of ten or more; and truly I think my voyage prospered the worse for their lewd company."

Hawkins was against the custom of making imprests to the sailors, as the money paid in advance was called. "All who go to sea nowadays are provided of food and house-room and all things necessary, and in long voyages of apparel also; that nothing is to be spent during the voyage."

Imprests to married men, made in the form of a monthly allowance to their wives, he thought useful.

When he had drawn his three ships out into the Sound a storm broke from the west, in which the Dainty was hardly saved by cutting away her mainmast, and the pinnace was sunk. A kind friend pushed off from the shore to warn him against proceeding further after such a mischance.

"Be warned, my good Richard, for 'tis a presage of ill success this bad beginning; and remember, though the Queen named your ship the Dainty, yet she was first baptized Repentance; therefore, I would forewarn you heartily."

"I thank you, sir; yet the hazard of my credit and the danger of disreputation, if I took in hand that which I should not prosecute by all means possible, are more powerful with me than your grave and sage counsel. The pinnace has been raised; I see the wind is now fair, sir; can I prevail upon you to make one of our company? If not, my barge——"

"Oh! not on any account, friend Richard, not on any account, I protest!"

The troublesome adviser was off quicker than he had come; and if it had been Sir Francis Drake instead of Richard Hawkins, he would have winced under the hearty laugh of that boisterous rover.

But Richard had a quieter way of gentle sarcasm, though both could be very freezingly polite if the occasion called for it. Sir Francis, indeed, was thought by Spanish Dons to be the most courteous of English seamen.

In ten days' time, with the help of his wife's father, Hawkins was able to put all in as good state as before the storm. "Once again," he says, "in God's name, I brought my ships out into the Sound and began to take leave of my friends, and of my dearest friend, my second self, my wife, whose unfeigned tears had wrought me into irresolution, and sent some other in my room, had I not considered that he that is in the dance must needs dance on, though he do but hop, except he will be a laughing-stock to all."

On the afternoon of the 12th of June 1593, he says: "I looft near the shore to give my farewell to all the inhabitants of the town, whereof the most part were gathered together upon the Howe, to show their grateful correspondency to the love and zeal which I, my father and predecessors have ever borne to that place, as to our natural and mother-town. And first with my noise of trumpets, after with my waytes, and then with my other music, I made the best signification I could of a kind farewell. This they answered with the waytes of the town, and the ordnance on the shore, and with shouting of voices, which with the fair evening and silence of the night, were heard a great distance off."

We can see that Richard Hawkins had a greater gift of imagination and of love of nature than his father John; in fact his "Observations" on his voyage to the South Seas are well worth reading even in these days of common travel. When the three ships were near the equator, his men began to fall sick of the scurvy, as was usual; for they had no means in those days of counteracting the flesh food by stores of canned fruit and vegetables. "I wish," he writes, "some learned man would write of this disease, for it is the plague of the sea and the spoil of mariners; ... in twenty years, since I have used the sea, I dare take upon me to give account of 10,000 men consumed by the scurvy."

He had found by practical experience that sour oranges and lemons were most profitable; the "oil of vitry," too, was beneficial, if one took two drops of it mingled in a draught of water with a little sugar. Then he spoils his scientific accuracy by a general statement which is on a par with the theory that nature abhors a vacuum. "But the principal of all is the air of the land, for the sea is natural for fishes, and the land for men."

As the winds were contrary and the voyage was prolonged, the scurvy grew so "fervent" that every day there died more or less; then the men lost heart and begged he would carry them homeward. But Hawkins assured them that the speediest refreshing they could look for was the coast of Brazil.

"If I were to put all my sick into one ship and send them home, it would be only to make that vessel their grave. Resolve, my lads, to continue on our course till God shall please to look upon us with His fatherly eyes of mercy."

A few days after this the Dainty took fire, and it cost the crew some hours of hard work to put it out. When all was over, Hawkins called the crew together, and said: "We have had a sharp trial, and God hath given us the victory: I am sure ye shall all desire to return thanks to the Almighty for this deliverance; for some of you may hitherto have disregarded religious feelings, but ye have not despised them in your very hearts. Let us kneel and thank the good God!"

After this solemn act of thanksgiving, Hawkins said: "Now, boys, in order to show that we are verily thankful, let me with your general consent take order to banish swearing out of the three ships." And they all agreed to do so.

But to make this matter more easy to accomplish he invented a plan which is still, I believe, used in some young ladies' schools; though not perhaps for the purpose of expelling rude swearing and seamen's oaths.

In every ship he ordained there should be kept a ferula, or small stick, which was to be given to the first who was taken with an oath. This man could be rid of it only by taking another in the same offence, when he was to give him a palmada, or stroke on the palm, transferring to him the instrument of punishment. Whoever had it in his possession at the time of evening or morning prayer was to receive three palmadas from the captain or master, and still bear it, till he could find another victim of the oath. In a few days both swearing and ferulas were out of use in all three ships. "For in vices custom is the principal sustenance; and for their reformation it is little available to give good counsel, or make good laws, except they be executed."

When at last there were left not more than four-and-twenty sound men in the three ships, Hawkins steered for the nearest shore. Anchoring two leagues off the port of Santos, in Brazil, he sent his captain and sixteen armed men with a flag of truce, "a piece of crimson velvet and a bolt of fine holland," with divers other things, as a present to the Governor, and a letter written in Latin saying that, being bound to the East Indies for traffic, contrary winds had forced him upon that coast, and begging to be allowed to exchange some goods. The officer commanding the garrison at the harbour-mouth received them courteously, and detained them while the letter was sent to the Governor some twelve miles up country. As the boat did not return to the Dainty next day, Hawkins manned a pinnace and made a show of strength "where was weakness and infirmity."

He anchored right opposite the village and waited for a reply.

Soon he saw a flag of truce and sent a boat for the Governor's letter.

The Portuguese Governor was courteous, but firm. He said that in consequence of the war between England and Spain he had received orders not to suffer any English to trade within his jurisdiction, nor even to land. He craved pardon, therefore, and desired Hawkins to quit the port within three days, or he must treat them as enemies.

Meanwhile, to the great joy of the sick sailors, the boat first sent from the Dainty had returned, bringing about three hundred oranges and lemons which they had bought from the women of the country. The very sight of the fruit seemed to have given them more heart, though when all was divided, it came to only three or four to each sick man.

Hawkins, however, could not get out of the harbour with the pinnace, because the wind sufficed him not for thirty-six hours.

"In which time," he says, "I lived in a great perplexity, for that I knew our own weakness and what they might do unto us if they knew the facts. Any man that putteth himself into an enemy's port hath need of the eyes of Argus, and the wind in a bag, especially when the enemy is strong and the tides of force; for with either ebb or flow those who are on the shore may thrust upon him inconveniences, inventions of fire, or with swimming and other devices may cut his cables—a common practice in all hot countries. The like may be effected with rafts, canoes, boats or pinnaces, to annoy and assault him; and if this had been practised against us, our ships must of force have yielded, for they had none in them but sick men; but many times opinion and fear preserveth the ships, and not the people in them."

At length a breeze sprang up and Hawkins was able to sail out of port and join his ships, sounding as he went, and was received with great joy.

So they all set sail, and shortly after were nearly cast ashore; for after a night's watch on deck in a fresh gale of wind, when the next night drew on, Hawkins and the master of the Dainty, feeling need of a good night's rest, set the watch and went to their hammocks, the care of the steerage being entrusted to the mate. But he, too, was drowsy, and dozed off, letting the ship fall away towards the shore. In an hour or little more the master, being sound asleep, suddenly awoke in a hot fright and sat up trembling—he knew not why. So he awoke the boy who slept in the cabin with him.

"Boy, how goeth the watch?"

"Why, master, 'tis but an hour or so since you laid yourself down to rest."

"Humph! my heart be so unquiet, I cannot by any means get to sleep."

Anon the master rose with a grunt, put on his night-gown (as a dressing-gown was then called), and went up upon the deck.

He had not been there many minutes when, shading his eyes with his hands, for the starlight puzzled him, he shouted, "Land on the port bow!"

"I see no land, master," said the look-out, yawning sleepily.

"Then, what is yon—sandy and low! And hark! thou canst hear the surf abreaking! Helm! hard a-starboard!" the master shouted, "and quick! the sounding-line!"

The ship tacked and edged off just in time, for the seaman found scant three fathoms water; and Hawkins ends his relation by these words: "Hereby we saw evidently the miraculous mercy of our God, that if He had not watched over us, as He doth continually over His, doubtless we had perished without remedy: to whom be all glory and praise everlastingly, world without end."

No doubt this deliverance heartened the ailing crew, for they knew their commander to be a God-fearing man, and now they had tasted, they believed, of the good results of sailing with one of God's favoured children.

The next evil which met them was the want of water; for the sick of the scurvy were attacked by an unquenchable thirst. Then Sir Richard's scientific knowledge served him in good stead. For he tells us: "With an invention I had in my ship I easily drew out of the water of the sea sufficient quantity of fresh water to sustain my people with little expense of fuel; for with four billets I stilled a hogshead of water, and therewith dressed the meat for the sick and whole; the water so distilled is found to be wholesome and nourishing."

Thus a so-called modern discovery turns out to be more than three hundred years old, and in those days the means of distilling were hard to come by. On arrival at St. Anne's Islets they set up tents for the sick, and here found many young gannets in their nests and plenty of stuff for salads, so that many quickly recovered. But by this time Hawkins had lost half his people by sickness, and therefore he burnt one of his ships.

A month later he sailed away with a good bill of health, saving for six who were not yet well. A few days later they gave chase to a Portuguese ship and overhauled her. An old gentleman was on board who was going out to be Governor of Angola, with his wife and daughter and fifty soldiers.

The poor old Don moved Hawkins' compassion by his sad story, for all his fortune lay in that vessel; so, after taking out of their prize some meal and chests of sugar, they disarmed them and let them go.

Hawkins' men were delighted with the unlooked-for supply, the Portuguese Governor and his people were astonished at the generosity of the English captain, and they were all happy and praising God for His bounty and grace.

But when the Dainty and her consort were off La Plata, a storm came on from the south which lasted forty-eight hours. By sundown Hawkins saw with amazement that Tharlton, the master of the pinnace, was bearing off before the wind, without making any sign of distress. The Dainty followed, and as darkness fell carried a light, but no answering light was put up by the pinnace.

Thus Tharlton kept his course for England, and shamelessly deserted his commander.


When Hawkins' ship, the Dainty, was in the South Seas making her way to the Straits of Magellan, the crew saw certain big fowl as large as swans, and secured several by baiting fishing-lines with pilchard. They were not, however, captured without great difficulty, for they buffeted the men with their powerful wings until they were black and blue.

"I was worthy to be deceived," wrote Hawkins, "in that I trusted my ship in the hands of a hypocrite, and a man which had left his general before on the like occasion, and in the self-same place." For Tharlton had deserted Cavendish in the night-time and sailed home; and Hawkins laments that such offenders were seldom brought to trial, because their superiors were often not able to wade through with the burden of the suit, which in Spain is prosecuted by the King's attorney. They had noticed during the gale certain great fowls as big as swans, and throwing out a fishing-line baited with pilchard caught enough to feed the crew for that day. These must have been the albatross, for Hawkins relates how when they had hooked one of these creatures and pulled him to the stern of the ship, two mariners went down by the ladders of the poop and seized on his neck and wings; but such were the blows he gave them with his pinions, that both left their hold of him, being beaten black and blue.

The Dainty was now all alone, and on the 19th of February 1594 entered the Straits of Magellan. At the Penguin Islands they stored the ship with these birds, salted like beef in casks. The hunting of them proved a great source of amusement to the crew; as each, armed with a cudgel, advanced and drove the silly things into a ring. Whenever one chanced to break out, divers of the men would run and try to head it round; but the ground was so undermined with their burrows that ofttimes it failed unawares, and as they ran you could see first one man and then another fall and sink up to his armpits in the earth; while another, leaping to avoid one hole, would disappear into another amidst the uproarious laughter of the rest. Indeed, so funny an appearance did they make, that many could run no more, but stopped to hold their sides for laughter. And Sir Richard concludes thus: "After the first slaughter, on seeing us on the shore, the penguins shunned us and tried to recover the sea; yea, many times, seeing themselves persecuted, they would tumble down from such high rocks as it seemed impossible to escape with life. Yet as soon as they came to the beach, presently we should see them run into the sea, as though they had no hurt; but in getting them once within the ring close together few escaped—and ordinarily there was no drove which yielded us not a thousand or more."

In another part of the island was a colony of ducks, which had made their nests of earth and water fetched in their beaks. These were so closely set that "the greatest mathematician could not devise to place one more than there was, leaving only one pathway for a fowl to pass betwixt ... and all the nests and passages were so smooth and clean, as if they had been newly swept and washed."

Before Hawkins left the western end of the Straits, finding the boards beginning to open from the great heat of the line, he calked the ship within board and without above the decks, from post to stern: the manner of sheathing the hull which his father, Sir John, had invented, preserved the keel from the attack of worms. One accident caused some anxiety, when the Dainty struck on a rock amidships and hung there, having deep water both ahead and astern. Not till the flood came could they warp her off, somewhat strained and damaged.

Of five anchors brought from England, Hawkins had now lost two, and two others were disabled, and as bitter weather came on, with sleet and snow, the men craved to return to Brazil and winter there; but Hawkins, having Fenton's fortune in mind and that of Cavendish, resolved to go on and rather lose his life than listen to their counsel.

But he amused his men ashore with sports and games, one day with the west country sport of hurling, in which the bachelors played against the married; another day with wrestling or shooting, or stalking ursine seals as they lay sleeping on the shore in the sun; for their skins were useful as clothes, their moustaches as toothpicks, and their fat as oil. But these seals, like the baboons of South Africa, had the habit of posting sentinels, who wakened the herd with cries of alarm; and when the sailors ran to get between the seals and the sea, thinking to head them off, the plucky creatures made straight for them, and not a man that withstood them escaped being overthrown. Then, after the seals had gained the water, "they did, as it were, scorn us, defy us, and dance before us."

On the 28th of March the Dainty entered the South Pacific, though the men murmured and grumbled and prophesied dire consequences.

On Easter Eve they anchored under the island of Mocha, where Drake had suffered from the treachery of the Indians; so, great precautions were taken while exchanging goods with them. The Indians, however, had to be chastised for stealing, and would not sell any hens or llamas of their own breeding.

Hawkins wished not to discover himself upon the coast till he should have passed Lima; but his men, greedy of spoil, urged him to enter the port of Valparaiso, where they took four vessels in which were only stores of no value, which the owners were allowed to ransom for a small price. Afterwards a fifth ship came in and was taken. In this they found some gold, which put the crew in a good humour. New anchors also were procured, and "a shift of cotton sails, far better in that sea where they have little rain and few storms, than any of our double sails; yet with the wet they grow so stiff that they cannot be handled."

Hawkins generously restored all apparel and goods belonging to the captain who had negotiated the ransom, and his generosity was rewarded later on.

He remained eight days in port, during which time he and the master of the Dainty, Hugh Cornish, took little rest, for they had only seventy-five men to guard five ships, and the Governor of Chili was lying in ambush near the shore with three hundred horse and foot. But, worse than the enemy, Hawkins feared the wine for his sailors, which overthrew many of his men—"a foul fault too common among seamen, and deserving rigorous punishment"; and he declares that if he had thousands of men, he would not carry with him a man known to put his felicity in that vice.

As they neared the coast of Peru his men demanded their third of the gold that had been taken. To this Hawkins replied—

"It will not be easy, men, to divide the bars fairly, and if divided they may easily be stolen. Many of you, besides, will play away your portions and return home as beggarly as ye came out."

The men consented to have the gold and silver deposited in chests with three keys to each, of which the general was to have one, the master another, and the third was to be given to a man nominated by themselves.

The suspicions of the men were founded on their experience with bad commanders who often defrauded the men, kept back their pay upon pretended cavils, or forced them to sell their shares at low prices—"usage which is accursed by the just God who forbiddeth wages to be withheld."

The commander's humanity in sparing enemy's ships, instead of burning them, as Drake had done, led to his overthrow; for the news of his coming was sent by sea and land to the Viceroy of Peru, who at once rose from his sick-bed and gave orders to man three ships in order to chase "the English pirate." In eight days three galleons were ready for sea, mounted with twenty brass guns; but as Hawkins was reported off Arica with three ships, two of them being prizes, the guards on shore were strengthened and the squadron of pursuit was reinforced by three more vessels.

When, in the middle of May, they found Hawkins, he had only a pinnace with the Dainty, having burnt the other prize. As the sun rose, the wind freshened from the west and caused a chopping sea, by which the admiral of the Spaniards snapt his mainmast asunder, while the vice-admiral split his mainsail, and the rear-admiral cracked his mainyard asunder, being ahead of the Dainty. These accidents were lucky for Hawkins, as the Spanish ships had been gaining before and getting to windward. Thus he managed to sail right between the admiral and the vice-admiral, and in a few hours was clear of all his enemies, who shortly put back to Callao.

They arrived in port after the storm in a sorry state, but the people of Callao and Lima, whose expectation of seeing the English brought back prisoners was high, burst out into a frenzy of scornful anger at their unfortunate countrymen; the women especially reviled them for cowards when they landed, and some of the lower class stuck daggers and pistols in their bosoms and strutted about, taunting the "poltroons," and demanding to be allowed to embark themselves against the English pirate.

This treatment so hurt the sailors and soldiers that they vowed they would follow Hawkins even to England rather than return again dishonoured.

So hasty preparations were made, and many boats were staved in on the stony beach in their hurry to pass to and fro and refit the galleons; for the Viceroy himself went into the water to set an example to his men.

Meanwhile Hawkins had held on his course and captured a ship fifty leagues north of Lima; this he burnt, after taking out what provisions he needed, put the crew ashore, except a pilot and a Greek, who begged to be taken on board because they had broken the law.

After this they gave chase to a tall ship which outsailed them. Two other vessels got away in the same fashion, which made the English sailors swear at the Dainty for being a slow sailer, "a very bad quality for such a ship."

On the 10th of June Hawkins put into the bay of Atacames, about 260 leagues from Lima, and supposing the ship free from any more pursuit, he stopped to take in wood and water and to repair the pinnace.

Eight days elapsed and they were about to sail, when a ship was seen in the offing. Instantly the love of plunder broke out, and Hawkins had to allow the pinnace to give chase, appointing Cape San Francisco as the place of rendezvous. However, two days went by and no pinnace came, so Hawkins returned to the bay and met her turning in without a mainmast. Two days more were lost in repairing the damage, and when the Dainty and her pinnace at last began to weigh anchor, a man from the masthead said he could descry two large ships and a small barque steering in towards them.

"The fleet bound for Panama, laden with treasure! Cut sail and meet them." So shouted the sailors, and ran about in an excited manner.

"No, no," replied Hawkins; "no shipping will stir on this coast as long as we are known to be here. Besides, my men, if they be merchantmen, let us wait here for them—they are standing in directly towards us; here we have the weather-gage of them. But if they are sent to fight us, we can prepare our ship for the attack better by remaining where we are."

It was done as John Davis would have done it, by gentle appeal to the reason of the men: very different would have been the treatment of Drake, whose men feared him too much to argue with him.

On the Dainty the crew were almost insolent in their waywardness; breaking out into reproaches at their commander's want of spirit, some vaunting and bragging what they would do, or wishing they had never left their own country, if they were to refuse such a fight as this.

"To mend the matter," says Hawkins, "the gunner assured me that with the first tire of shot he would lay one of them in the suds, and the pinnace should take the other to task. One promised that he would cut down their mainyard, another that he would take their flag. To some I turned the deaf ear; with others I dissembled, soothing and animating them to do that which they promised.... In all these divisions and opinions, our master, Hugh Cornish (who was a most sufficient man for government and valour, and well saw the errors of the multitude), used his office as became him, and so did all those of the best understanding."

Yet, in spite of this, Hawkins let the captain go with the pinnace to discover what they were, but on no account to engage with the ships. So the pinnace went, and the mad sailors leaned over the bulwarks, and gaped foolishly when they saw her suddenly go about; but the Spaniards began to chase her, "gunning at her all the way."

The Dainty then stood out of the bay to meet them that there might be sea-room to fight, but the wind fell, and the Dainty was forced to leeward; then the Spanish admiral came down upon her, as she hailed the foe, first with noise of trumpets, then with waytes, and after with artillery.

The Spaniards were much stronger both in guns and men, but this might have been of no avail against English seamanship, had not the chief gunner shamefully neglected his duty.

For "they came shoving aboard of us upon our lee-quarter, contrary to our expectation and the custom of men-of-war; and doubtless, had our gunner been the man he was reputed to be, she had received great hurt by that manner of boarding; but, contrary to all expectation, our stern pieces were unprimed, and so were all those which were to leeward. Hereby all men are to take warning by me, not to trust any man in such extremities when he himself may see it done: this was my oversight, this my overthrow."

Poor Richard! very dearly did he suffer for this want of attention to details. We are reminded of the great Nelson, who, when he was being carried to the cock-pit, mortally wounded, noticed that one of the tiller ropes was frayed, and ordered a new one to be put in at once.

Hawkins trusted too much to his gunner; while he with the rest of his officers was busy clearing the decks, lacing the nettings, fastening the bulwarks, arming the tops, tallowing the pikes, slinging the yards, placing and ordering the men,—half his guns were useless from sheer neglect!

"Plenty of cartridges ready, master-gunner?"

"Aye, aye, sir; there be over 500 in readiness."

Yet within an hour the cartridges fell short, and three men had to be employed in making and filling more.

"Master-gunner, I gave you out 500 ells of canvas and cloth to make cartridges, but we can't find a single yard of it."

"Got stowed away somewhere, I suspect, sir; we must make shift to charge and discharge with the ladle—rayther a dangerous job in a hot fight."

"There were brass balls of artificial fire—not one of them will go off."

"Why, no, sir; I guess the salt-water has spoiled them all."

The commander's heart misgave him: was the man false, or incapable? At length he and the master of the ship were forced to play the gunner. They found that few of the pieces were clear when they came to use them, and others had the shot first put in, and after the powder! No wonder that many believed the master-gunner to be a vile traitor.

When the action began Hawkins had only seventy-five men in all, and the Spaniards had 1300, many of them "the choice of Peru."

Twice in the course of the day the enemy were beaten off, and in the evening two Spanish ships were laid upon the Dainty at once; but the English, what with their muskets, what with their fireworks, cleared their decks very soon. If Hawkins had had more sound men, he says, he could have boarded their vice-admiral and taken it. However, the Spaniards had had enough of close quarters, and now set to and, placing themselves within a musket-shot of the Dainty, played upon her with their artillery without intermission. "In all these boardings and skirmishings," says Hawkins, "divers of our men were slaine, and many hurt, and myself amongst them received six wounds—one of them in the neck, very perilous; another through the arm, perishing the bone, the rest not so dangerous. The master of our ship had one of his eyes, his nose, and half his face shott away. Master Henry Courton was slaine. On these two I principally relied for the prosecution of our voyage, if God, by sickness or otherwise, should take me away."

At times the Spaniards parleyed and invited Hawkins to surrender, promising the usages of good war. Once the captain of the Dainty came to stir his leader to accept the terms offered, saying that scarcely any men were left to traverse the guns or oppose any defence, if the enemy should board again. Poor Hawkins was suffering agony, and believed himself to be at the point to die, but he roused himself and begged them not to trust to promises from a Spaniard, for they would assuredly be put to death as pirates or delivered to the cruel mercies of the Inquisition.

The captain and his company agreed to fight on and sell their lives dearly, so with tears and embracings—for they loved their General—they took their leave; so the action was continued through the night, and an hour before daybreak the enemy edged off in order to remedy some defects, for the English shot made larger holes than the Spanish, and a few more men would have turned the scale and given the victory to the Dainty.

This breathing time the English employed in repairing sails and tackling, stopping leaks, mending pumps, and splicing yards; for they had many shot under water, and the pumps were battered to pieces.

When the action was renewed the vice-admiral came upon their quarter, and a shot from one of the Dainty's stern-pieces carried away his mainmast close to the deck. Hawkins lay below, and knew nothing of what had occurred; then was the time to press the Spaniard home, but the Dainty was steered away, and the Spaniards had time to repair their damage.

They soon overtook the Dainty, and the fight went on through the second night, and they ceased firing again before the dawn; but there had been no interval for rest or refreshment, except to snatch a little bread and wine as they could. Indeed, some of the English crew had drunk heavily before the fight began; some ignorant seamen even mixed powder with their wine, thinking it would give them strength and courage. The result of their drinking was, of course, order, and foolish hardihood without reason, or vainglorious exposure to danger. And though Hawkins had prepared light armour for all, not a man would use it; yet it would have saved many from such wounds as splintered wood creates if they would have imitated their foe and worn armour.

By the afternoon of the third day the enemy had the weather-gage of them, and their guns were telling with terrible effect.

The Dainty had now fourteen gaping wounds under water, eight foot of water in her hold, her sails torn to tatters, her masts bowing and bent, and her pumps useless—hardly a man was now unwounded.

Again the master with others approached their commander:

"Sir, the Spaniards still offer good war, life and liberty and an embarkation to England. If we wait any longer, sir, the ship will sink; unless a miracle be wrought in our behalf by God's almighty power, we may expect no deliverance or life."

Hawkins was too ill to resist further; he murmured sadly:

"Haul down the ensign, then, and hoist a flag of truce."

So they bade the rest cease firing, and a Spanish prisoner was sent from the hold to tell Beltran de Castro that if he would give his word of honour the ship should be surrendered.

Seeing the flag of truce, the Spaniard shouted:

"Hoist out your boat, Englishman."

"We cannot do so; it be all shot to pieces."

"So is ours. Amain your sails, then; strike sail, can't you?"

"No, we can't; there be not enough men left to handle them."

Meanwhile the vice-admiral, not seeing the flag of truce, had come upon the Dainty's quarter, and firing two of his chase-pieces, wounded the captain sorely in the thigh and maimed one of the master's mates.

Then the Spanish admiral came alongside, and the prisoner jumped into the warship, and was received with all courtesy.

Don Beltran affirmed that he received the commander and his people à buena guerra, to the laws of fair war and quarter. He swore by his habit of Alcantara, and the green cross of the order which he wore upon his breast, that he would give them their lives with good treatment, and send them as speedily as he could to their own country.

"The Spanish admiral wants a pledge? Here is my glove; take it to him."

Don Beltran also sent one of his captains to help to bring the English commander aboard the "admiral," which he did with great humanity and courtesy.

"The General received me," says Hawkins, "with courtesy and compassion, even with tears in his eyes and words of kind consolation, and commanded me to be accommodated in his own cabin, where he sought to cure and comfort me the best he could: the like he did with all our hurt men."

There were only forty Englishmen left, all wounded; but all recovered, in spite of the fact that no instruments, doctors, or salves were to be had. We remember that in the other case where an English ship had to surrender to the Spaniards, the Revenge disdained to swim in dishonour, and sank sullenly in a terrible storm.

The Dainty lived to fight for Spain under the name of La Visitation, being so named because she was captured on the day of that festival.

As soon as Hawkins was removed the Spaniards began to ransack their prize; but the water increased so fast in the hold that she nearly sank, and it needed a strong body of workers to save her.

She was finally navigated to the port of Panama, and anchored there some two leagues from the town, about three weeks after the fight.

When the good folk on shore saw the prize and heard the glad news, they lit bonfires on the hills and candles in every window; the churches and halls were illuminated, as on a holy day. As the city faced the sea, it appeared to those in the ships as though the whole place was in flames.

Don Beltran reassured Hawkins that his officers and men should be well treated, and gave him his word that if the King left him to his disposal, his ransom should be only a couple of greyhounds for himself and a couple for his brother. It sounded almost too good to be true.

Then the Englishman had the mortification of seeing his dear Dainty being rebaptized with all solemnity in the harbour, where she was shored up. Perhaps a sardonic smile curled his lip when, in the very midst of the ceremony, the props on one side gave way with a loud crash, and the reluctant ship heeled over, "entreating many of them that were in her very badly."

Here ends Sir Richard's account of his unfortunate voyage in his "Observations"; he had intended to write a second part, but deferred it too long.

Don Beltran was not allowed by his King to observe the terms he had offered; the crew were sent to serve in the galleys at Cartagena, Hawkins and twenty others Don Beltran took with him to Lima.

Our hero had shown courage and generosity and kindness to natives and prisoners, but as a complete seaman his own words show him to have been deficient. He trusted his subordinates too much, and he kept rather loose discipline; but he was a man of the highest honour, and won the respect of the best Spaniards.

At Lima the Inquisition claimed the prisoners, but the Viceroy refused to give them up until he had heard from King Philip.

In 1597 Hawkins was sent to Spain and imprisoned at Seville; in September 1598 he escaped, but was retaken and thrust into a dungeon.

In 1599 he was taken to Madrid, although Don Beltran had indignantly protested against the violation of his solemn promise.

In 1602 he was released and sent home, as by this time Count Miranda, President of the Council, had come to the conclusion that formal pledges given by the King's officers must be kept, or else no other English would surrender.

In July 1603 Hawkins was knighted, became M.P. for Plymouth and Vice-Admiral of Devon, and had to scour the sea for pirates.

In 1620 he sailed under Sir Robert Mansell to put down Algerine corsairs in the Mediterranean, and returned home, after a failure, sick and weak in body. In 1622 he was carried off by a fit while attending the Privy Council on business bearing on his late command.

By his wife Judith he left two sons and four daughters.

His book, "Observations in his Voyage into the South Sea, A.D. 1593," was not written until nearly thirty years after the events, and consequently bears traces of inaccuracy in details and dates; but it surpasses all other books of travel of those times in describing the details of nautical life, in scientific interest concerning the fauna and flora of the countries he visited, and in transparent candour and freedom from prejudice. He was no boastful discoverer, but a God-fearing, conscientious servant of the Queen, who, like so many others, tried to do his duty, and sometimes failed to reach the highest success.

But for all that, he was not the least among England's heroes; he was a worthy son of Sir John, and a man whom Devon may claim as one of her noblest and most generous sons.

Edinburgh & London