History of England, Part II From the Accession of Henry VIII to the Revolution of 1689

Tout, T. F. --Powell, F. York


CHAPTER VII. The Elizabethan Seamen and the Triumph of Elizabeth. 1587-1603.


1. Up to the middle of the sixteenth century, England was distinguished neither for its trade nor its seamanship. Englishmen seemed to foreigners to be an unadventurous. [1]  easy-going, moody, and contemplative people, careless of progress and neglectful of commerce, but loving good living, hard knocks, booty won in war, and, in the intervals of fighting, living lazy and inactive lives on their fields at home. Until the fifteenth century the foreign trade of England had been largely in the hands of foreigners, such as the Venetians and the Germans from the Hanse towns, these latter having a factory in London called the Steelyard. It was a step in advance when Englishmen began to open up foreign markets for themselves, and when the restlessness of the early sixteenth century broke down the traditional system of farming, and left many either to shift for themselves or to starve. Yet few saw any remedy for the woes of England except in bringing back the good old times, and fewer still looked to any new occupations to take away the hands that were no longer wanted on the land. There was a slight development of manufacturing industry when the persecution of Alva drove many of the weavers of and Brabant to take refuge in England and teach their new countrymen a little of their own rare skill. But the first beginnings of the new impulse are to be seen in adventure rather than in trade, and, even when successful adventure opened out new avenues of commerce, in trade rather than in manufactures.



2. The revelation of a new world by Columbus and Vasco da Gama had hardly affected England at all, though conspicuous among those who followed on [2]  the track of Columbus was John Cabot, a Venetian settled in Bristol, who had been sent on two voyages of discovery by the foresight of Henry VII. () Cabot discovered the coasts of Labrador and Nova Scotia, but nothing practical came of his enterprise, and his son, Sebastian, finding [3]  little encouragement, save fair words and promises from . and Wolsey, quitted the country of his birth, and took service with the Emperol . With little help from the state, the undaunted Bristol merchants sent out under . various expeditions of discovery, that first gave England a share, however small, in the Newfoundland fisheries and the trade with West Africa. The stirrings of the new impulse became stronger under ., soon after whose accession, Sebastian Cabot was tempted back to England. The London merchants were suffering from severe depression of trade and the competition of the foreign merchants of the Steelyard. Cabot remedied some of the grievances of the English merchants against the Steelyard, and was made governor of the Company of Merchant Adventurers, the chief English society of traders. In , at Cabot's suggestion, an expedition was sent out with [4]  SirHugh Willoughby as admiral and Richard Chancellor as pilot, with the object of opening . up trade with the strange countries of the north and east, and, if possible, of discovering a North-East passage to China through the Arctic seas. The little squadron was assailed by a great tempest off the Norwegian coast, in which Willoughby, with two of the ships, was separated fiom the rest of his company. The admiral sought to winter in the north of Russia, but, after a long series of misfortunes, the whole of both crews were starved or frozen to death. Chancellor had better luck with the remaining ships, successfully reaching the White Sea, and establishing friendly relations with Russia. Chancellor visited Ivan the Terrible at his capital in Moscow, and opened out a trading connection with Russia, so successfully that a Muscovy or Russia Compfany was started, and in he set forth on a second voyage, during which he perished in shipwreck off the coast of . The Russian trade at once became important. and the friendship of the Czar was highly prized


by . But Chancellor's greatest fame was that he was the first Englishman who made a name as a discoverer, and the true precursor of the Elizabethan mariners.

3. The impulse to seamanship and navigation was the direct result of the great stirring of men's minds that [6]  followed the Reformation. The restless adventurers who took to the sea were of a class which was specially open to the new doctrines, and, though careless of theology and reckless in their lives, they were sound Protestants and great haters of the Pope. Greed of gain was even more powerful with them than religious enthusiasm, and in those days when even the narrow seas of Europe were swarming with robber craft, the line between the peaceful trader and pirate was by no means a hard and fast one. Already in Mary's reign some of the fiercer Protestant refugees took to the sea, and, working from the French coasts, despoiled the ships of Philip and Mary with special zest. Before long, the English adventurer began to look further afield. While England had been asleep, and Portugal had conquered great empires in the New World, though neither country had great love of colonising, and had not even skill in commerce or seafaring. The English mariners found that it was easier to make money by robbing the richly-freighted galleons of than to trade honestly on their own account, or run the risks and dangers of experiments in distant colonisation. The wealth and defencelessness of the Spanish trading-ships made them an easy prey, and religious zeal excused cupidity by reckoning it a merit to despoil Papists. Moreover, the Spaniards kept their American colonies under strict tutelage, and they retained for the mother country an absolute monopoly of trade with them. The dearness and scarcity that flowed from monopoly made the Spanish colonists themselves welcome the heretic free-traders, who cheapened commodities and brought them the stores of which they stood in need. Partly as pirates, partly as smugglers, English mariners were beginning to make a name for themselves, and side by side with these lawless traders went more legitimate commerce and love of adventure.

4. Among the most daring of English seamen in the days of Henry VIII. was William Hawkins of Plymouth, who made three voyages to the Guinea coast and Brazil, and opened up the first trade between England and South America. His second son, Johin Hawkins (-),


followed in his father's footsteps, making, when still a young man, voyages to the Canaries, where he learnt "that negroes were very good merchandise in Hispaniola, and that they might easily be had upon the coast of Guinea." In [7] , he equipped a squadron of three ships, and freighted them with negro slaves obtained in VWest , Africa by violence and purchase. These he sold to excellent advantage to the Spanish planters of Hispaniola, who were at their wits' end for want of suitable labour. So enormous were Hawkins' profits, that in he started on a larger expedition for the same purpose, the Queen lending hin his chief ship, the Jesus. He again obtained his mIiserable cargo of slaves, though this time with more difficulty, but the Spanish officials were forewarned, and strove to prevent the bold smuggler from selling his wares in America. Hawkins answered that they must either fight him or buy his cargo, whereupon the Spaniards allowed him to dispose of the negroes without further trouble. He reached home laden with wealth, and was herceforward a famous nian. In he started on a third voyage, but this time he met with disaster. Attempting to force the inhabitants of San Ju/an de U/,loa (the modern Vera Cruz, the port of Mexico) to buy hlis slaves, he was entrapped in the harbour by a strong Spanish fleet. A desperate encounter was fought in the narrow port, in which Haukins was ultimately overborne by numbers. He lost his profits and most of his ships, and got back to England with the greatest difficulty. Hawkins was a shrewd, keen-sighted trader, aiming simply at filling his purse by fair nleans or foul, malicious, rude, covetous, and false. But he was terribly efficient at his work. By opening out the slave trade, he changed the whole future of tropical America, making possible the planter-aristocracy, enriched by negro labour, which now rapidly succeeded the gold-seekers and adventurers of the early days of Spanish settlement, and pointing the way to a traffic which heaped up unhallowed gains on English merchants for more than two hundred years. No one then thought of the wickedness and cruelty of the trade.

5. The Spanish Government bitterly resented Hawkins' interference with their monopoly of trade, no less than his demonstration of the military weakness of their [8]  colonial power. Many lesser men followed his example; and the Spaniards retaliated by laying violent hands on English seamen and handing them over to be tried and burnt as heretics by the Inquisition. This state of things grew up when Philip and were comparatively friendly. After the attacks on Spanish trade became more constant, as the revolted Dutch joined hands with the English marauders, and even surpassed them by their skill and dexterity in opening up avenues of commerce. As time went on, the greedy commercial spirit was in somewise ennobled by romantic love of adventure, and a sort of crusading enthusiasm. The enthusiasm for


discovery first prompted the voyages of Martin Frobisher (), while Francis Drake () stood foremost among these Puritan crusaders, equally alert for gain, glory, and war against the Papists.

In Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a high-souled and adventurous Devonshire gentleman, wrote a Discourse of a Discoveryfor a New Passage to Cathay, in which he urged that efforts should be made to discover a North- [Vest passage to China by way of [10]  the north coast of America. Ten years later, Leicester's brother, Ambrose Dudley, Earl of Warwick, fitted out two tiny ships, each of twenty-five tons burden, and sent Frobisher, a strong, rude man, already famous as a sailor and privateer, to find out the new way to the East. On his first short voyage Frobisher barely touched the fringe of the undiscovered country, but brought back with him a black ore, which an Italian alchemist declared to contain gold. This at once excited the cupidity of those who supplied the mariners with resources, and Frobisher's two subsequent voyages, in and , were turned from the fruitful work of discovery to an eager quest of the gold-bearing mineral. It was found that the ore produced no gold at all; and the speculators and adventurers, who had furnished Frobisher with funds, turned against him, and neglected him utterly.

6. Francis Drake, a Tavistock man, whose father was a dependent of the rising house of Russell, was a kinsman of [11]  John Hawkins, and accompanied him on his third slave-trading voyage, barely escaping with his little fifty-ton ship, theJudith, from the carnage in Vera Cruz harbour. He afterwards strove to make good his losses in that fatal trip by two voyages on his own account to the West Indies. In he sailed with two small ships on a third journey from Plymouth, "with intent to land at Nombre de Dios" [a port on the isthmus of Darien], "the granary of the West Indies, wherein the golden harvest brought from Peru and Mexico to Panama was hoarded up till it could be conveyed to ." He duly reached his destination, and, after a sharp fight with the Spaniards, took possession of Nombre de Dios, where he seized great stacks of silver bars and took a treasure-barge, heaped up with gold, pearls, and jewels. Drake fainted from a wound he had received in the skirmish, and his followers, fearful of the Spaniards, bore him back to his ships. He afterwards landed again, and ascended a mountain, at the summit of which he climbed a tall tree, and from its top looked down on the Pacific. He fervently prayed " Almighty God to give him life and leave to sail once in an English ship in that sea,"


which had hitherto been navigated by the ships of alone. In he was back at Plymouth, with enough spoil to make him a rich man for life. Four [12]  years later, Drake set forth on the most famous of his voyages, with a little fleet of five vessels, of which the largest, his own ship the Pelican, was of no more than one hundred tons, though sumptuously fitted with " rich furniture, silver vessels, and divers shows of all sorts of curious workmanship." This time he made his way to South America, and bravely sailed through the dangerous Straits of Magellan into the unknown ocean, on which he had prayed to navigate his fleet. He had already encountered many risks, had wrestled with furious storms, and put down a dangerous mutiny. Alone of his little fleet, the Pelican (which on entering the straits he had renamed the Golden Hind) was left. He now worked his way northwards up the western coast of South America, and soon wrought terrible havoc on the Spaniards, who had few means of defence, not dreaming that an enemy would ever appear to contest their power. A Spanish gentleman, who commanded one of the ships that Drake captured, sent a vivid account of the daring Englishman to the Governor of New . "The English general is about thirty-five years of age, of small size, with a reddish beard, and is one of the greatest sailors that exist. His ship sails well. His crew are all in the prime of life, and as well trained for war as old soldiers of Italy. He treats them with affection, and they him with respect. He has with him nine or ten young gentlemen who form his council, but he is not bound by their advice. He has no privacy: all these dine at his table. He has all possible luxuries, even to perfumes. None of these gentlemen either sits down or puts on his hat in his presence without repeated permission." The Golden Hind being now laden with spoil, Drake resolved to sail home across the Pacific and round the Cape of Good Hope. He successfully overcame the many difficulties of this long and unknown voyage, and in September safely got back to England, being the first captain that had sailed round the world, Magellan, his predecessor in this adventure, having died in the attempt, though his ship successfully completed the circumnavigation. Drake's praises were now in every one s mouth. The queen herself dubbed him a knight on the deck of the Golden Hind at Deptford.

7. The Spaniards clamoured for Drake's punishment,


and for restitution of the property that he had taken, but he came back at a time when the crisis with was [14]  approaching. It was the period of the Jesuit mission to the three kingdoms, and even could not but feel that the time had gone for affecting to be on good terms with . She answered Philip with fair words, and continued to encourag rke eas much as she could. If she had small sympathy to spare for the heroic Netherlanders, she had a real regard for the hero who enriched her coffers and opened out new avenues to English adventurers and traders.

During the next few years, the Angevin marriage scheme, the active intervention of in the Netherlands, the proved assistance which Philip gave to the would-be assassins of the queen, and the continued sufferings of English sailors in the dungeons of the Inquisition, all contributed to embitter the relations of the two countries. In Philip annexed Portugal, and found a new offence in the support which gave to Dom Antonio, the representative of the ancient royal house, who sought in vain to assert his claims to the throne. After the expulsion of the Spanish ambassador in r584, war was imminent. Philip proceeded to lay an embargo on all English ships and property found in his dominions. Drake was, in , sent by the queen with a fleet of twenty-five ships to make reprisals, and Frobisher, now restored to credit, was his vice-admiral. Drake plundered the Spanish port of Vigo, and thence sailed to the West Indies, whence he came back in , after having destroyed many Spanish settlements, but with booty hardly commensurate with the greatness of the expedition. Next year, the execution of the Oueen of Scots filled up the measure of the heretic queen's enormities, and Philip prepared for revenge. At last, after nearly twenty years of lawless hostility, England and stood at open war with each other.

In his deliberate way, Philip made ready for a great invasion of England. In April Drake went to Cadiz, where he sailed straight into the port, sank or burnt mole than thirty ships, and ruined the Spanish preparations. This exploit he called "singeing the King of 's [15]  beard." He then turned southwards,and struck upon a new source of plunder by capturing a huge carrack, laden with a rich cargo from the Portuguese East Indies. Philip at once renewed his preparations, and


Drake urged a fresh expedition, rightly believing that by constantly attacking the Spanish harbours, he could free England from all danger of invasion. , fearing lest in the fleet's absence Spanish troops might he suddenly thrown into the country, overruled his proposal, and left Philip undisturbed to fit out his Armada.

8. Thanks to 's hesitation, the Spanish fleet was ready to sail by the summer of . Philip's plan was to send the fleet to , whence it [16]  was to carry Parma, with his well-tried army, for across the straits, and thus effect an invasion of England. It was hoped that the English Catholics would revolt on the landing of a Spanish army, and with that expectation, William Allen, the founder of the Douai seminary, was made a Cardinal, and was intended to play over again the part of Reginald Pole in the hoped-for reconquest of England to the Roman faith. Allen put his name to a violent pamphlet exhorting the English to accept Philip as the executor of the papal sentence. After the beheading of Mary, Philip's hands were free, for he no longer had a lurking fear lest 's death should hand over England to. He laid open claim to the English throne himself, by virtue of his threefold descent from the legitimate stock of John of Gaunt. As a matter of mere genealogy, he was nearer the blood of Edward III. than the Tudors, but the English throne has never gone, like a piece of land, to the nearest heir, least of all to a foreign prince, alien in religion and sentiment. Even the Catholics paid little heed to Allen's exhortations. It was no longer mainly a war of religion, though religious hatred still embittered the struggle on both sides. It wsas a national war between two great nations, which had become for more than a generation rivals from every point of view.

England had no trained army to mnatch Parma s veterans, and there was still a fear of a Catholic rising. Her best hope, therefore, was to fight Philip at sea, where Englishmen had shown that there was no reason to be afraid of . Yet terror magnified the size and numbers of Philip's fleet, though practical sailors knew from experience that the Izvincib/eArmaida, as some braggart Spaniards called it, was nothing very formidable. It was true that the English ships looked much smaller than the Spanish, because while the Spanish ships were piled up high, fore and aft, with deck above deck, the 1,nglish were comparatively low in the water, and had a less unwieldy superstructure at


the ends. Yet as far as tonnage went, the English ships were on the average only a trifle smaller than those of the Spaniards, while the largest ships of both navies were about the same in size. Hawkins (who after his failure at Vera Cruz had married the Treasurer of the Navy's daughter, and had succeeded to his office) had supplied the Royal Navy with an excellent series of new ships, built and rigged with all the practical improvements which his skill and experience had suggested. The result was that the English ships were more seaworthy, easier to navigate, and able to sail quicker and nearer to the wind. The English vessels had more sailors than the enemy, and their guns were more numerous, larger and better served. The smaller English ships, of the type that had composed the fleets of Drake and Hawkins, were out and away more efficient than the smaller Spanish ones. Even the armed merchantmen had done good service as privateers or pirates. The crews were experienced mariners, grown accustomed to the boisterous seas of the north in the fishing grounds off Iceland or Newfoundland. The Spaniards, on the other hand, regarded the fleet as mainly important in making an invasion possible. Their fleet was numerically imposing, but many of their ships were mere transports or victuallers, which could take no part in naval warfare. Moreover, even their men-of-war carried as small a number of sailors as could work the ships, and these mariners had mostly won their sole experience of the sea in the Mediterranean or the Tropics. Every vessel was crowded with soldiers to swell Parma's army of invasion, and the seamen were treated as inferiors and roughly ruled by their soldier passengers. The ships, too, were so hastily fitted out, that they were often unseaworthy, or at least ill-found for a long voyage. The only great Spanish seaman, whose rank was high enough to ensure him the supreme command, was the Marquis of Santa Cruz, who died on the eve of sailing. Philip foolishly gave his office to the high-born and well-meaning young Duke of Mldedina Sidonia, who knew little of the sea, had no experience in war, and was not clever enough to profit by the advice of wiser men. The best and bravest of the Spanish nobility commanded the ships and squadrons, but they were mere soldiers, anxious to get ashore and begin what they thought would be the real struggle. If they had to fight at sea, their great object was to board the enemy and carry on a hand-to-hand struggle on deck. They despised artillery as a cowardly sort of weapon. It was


therefore the policy of the English to avoid close fighting, where the greater numbers of the Spanish soldiers and their discipline and experience in warfare would be sure to tell.

gave the chief command to the Lord High Admiral, Charles Howard, Lord Howard of Effingham, the grandson of the Norfolk who won the battle of Flodden, and cousin of the Norfolk executed in . His father and two of his uncles had already held the [18]  office of Admiral, and he was not unworthy of his post, being dignified, shrewd, cautious, brave, and working admirably with his subordinates. Many of his kinsfolk and other great noblemen fought under him, but his chief helpers were the two best practical sailors in England, Sir Francis Drake, who was Vice-admiral, and John Hawkins, who was Rear-admiral. Martin Frobisher was captain of the Triumph, the largest ship in the fleet. A vast army was rapidly collected on land, over which set her old favourite Leicester, who died a month after the struggle had ended. Though the English had to raise their army and create most appliances for carrying on war on a large scale, even by sea, they were ready before the Spaniards. In the early summer the Admiral posted his ships in the "chops of the Channel," between Scilly and Ushant, and anxiously awaited the arrival of the grand fleet. At last in despair he put back to Plymouth. Meanwhile Lord Henry Seymour, son of the Protector Somerset, with the Squadron of the Narrow Seas, kept a sharp eye on Parma, who had collected a great store of flat-bottomed boats and barges to cross over the straits, as soon as Sidonia's arrival gave even a momentary command of the sea.

9. In May , the Armada sailed out of Lisbon, but rough weather and insufficient equipment forced the fleet to put back to the north Spanish ports, and it was not until 12th July that it finally started. On I9th July it was descried entering the Channel, and a strong south-west gale blew it rapidly up the narrow seas. The English let it pass Plymouth, where many of their own [19]  fleet lay, and then sailed out in pursuit. For the next week an almost continuous battle raged between the two fleets. The English had the " weather gage," that is to say, were on the side of the wind, and while their greater power of sailing enabled them to tack easily and escape, the wind prevented the foremost Spaniards coming to the help of their rearward brethren, on


whom the brunt of the battle fell. The English cleverly avoided coming to close quarters, and poured their heavy fire into the towering hulks of the Spaniards, doing dreadful execution on the close-packed masses of soldiers that swarmed within them. In their vain desire to fall aboard the English, the Spaniards aimed at their masts and rigging, hoping to cripple them, but their gun practice was not good enough and their guns too light to have effect. Day after day, ship after ship of the Spaniards was cut off and captured by the English, or avoided capture by running on the French coast. But the long artillery duel, a novelty in those days, used up the ammunition of both fleets. The English were forced to depend on scanty supplies brought from shore from day to day, but the Spaniards, who had no such resource, were much worse off. In the midst of the struggle the Admiral summoned some of his most valiant captains to his flagship, and dubbed them knights, Hawkins and Frobisher being among the number. From the very beginning of the fighting the Spaniards never had a chance, and after being chased all up the Channel, they cast anchor in Calais roads, fully conscious of their desperate condition. "The enemy pursue me," wrote Sidonia to Parma. "They fire upon me most days from morning to nightfall; but they will not close and grapple. I have given them every opportunity. I have left ships exposed to tempt them to board, but they will not, and there is no remedy, for they are swift and we are slow. We have consumed our ammunition, and our men are worn out."

10. No rest was allowed to the unlucky Spaniards. They lay so near the French shore that they could not be attacked where they were moored. Thereupon the English sent blazing fire-ships upon the [21]  Spaniards at anchor, so that, in terror of utter destruction, they slipped their cables and once more took to the open sea. The English were now reinforced by Seymour, and actually had more ships than the enemy. Abandoning former tactics, Howard prepared to give the final blow to the weakened Spaniards. On 29th July the decisive battle was fought off Gravelines. The English had again the weather gage, and bore down on the Spaniards, whose fleet formed a great half-moon. The battle raged fiercely from nine in the morning till six in the afternoon, and was altogether in favour of the assailants. "Great was the spoil and harm


that was done to them,' wrote one of the English captains. "When I was furthest off, I was not out of the shot of their arquebuses, and most times within speech one of another. Every man did well, and when every one was weary and our cartridges spent, we ceased and followed the enemy, who bore away in very good order."

The struggle was now virtually over. Sidonia still kept his ships well together, despite their damaged condition and the loss of spirit which always follows defeat. Southerly winds now prevailing, he found it best to sail northwards and thence got home round the north of and west of . Hig-h gales still continued, and proved fatal to the leaky and battered ships, whose wrecks strewed the Irish coast. The English soon desisted from pursuit, their provisions and ammunition again failing, and malignant fever having broken out in the fleet. Less than half the Armada got back to . The attack on England had utterly and hopelessly failed.

11. The defeat of the Armada marks the end of the thirty years of constant difficulties by which had hitherto been beset. There was no [22]  longer any question of whether Englishmen could be forced to accept a king or a creed from abroad. The failure of Philip's fleet ensured the independence of England. It ensured the victory of Protestantism. It made easy in the next generation the union with and the conquest of . It secured a large share of the New World to our sailors and adventurers, made England a great naval power, and enabled her to become before long a great trading and colonising state as well. It was the triumph of the restless energy and high-souled patriotism of the new generation, and was immediately followed by the mighty growth of the drama and the unique outburst of genius that made the end of 's reign the most wonderful period in all our history.

In its European aspect the defeat of Philip was the most serious check encountered by the victorious forces of the Counter Reformation, which nevertheless had succeeded in winning Lack to Catholicism most of the doubtful countries of middle Europe. It secured the treedoni of the Seven United Provinces, [23]  and enabled them to win greater gains than even England fi-om the weakness of on the sea,. . Under the rule of the son of Williaml the Silent, Maurice (), the Dutch resisted the attacks of larnma and his successors, and Philip was forced to conciliate the southern Netherlands by making them an


almost independent state under his daughter Isabella and her husband the Archduke Albert of Austria. Nor was the defeat of the Armada less epoch-making in. In the Guises and the Catholic League broke openly from tie wretched Henry III., who revenged himself by procuring the murder of Francis of Guise. Henry III. was forced to take refuge in the Huguenot camp, and next year was himself assassinated by a Catholic fanatic. His death made the Huguenot leader, Henry of Navarre, Henry IV. king of. [25]  The League joined with Philip in striving to prevent Navarre's recognition, and the Civil War blazed more fiercely than ever. French feeling was divided, since the mass of Frenchmen disliked a Protestant king, though they also resented the interference of the Spaniards. Henry IV. was no religious enthusiast, but a clear-headed, shrewd, unscrupulous statesman after 's own heart. In he turned Catholic, and was soon recognised as king by all patriotic Frenchmen. Gradually the war of Protestant and Catholic in developed into a national war between and , just in the same way as the Armada had turned the religious struggle in England into a national war with Philip. Elizal eth and Henry IV. formed a close alliance against their conmon enemy. Thus the general European conflict of Protestant and Catholic settled down into an ordinary war, which the allies fought so successfully that the political balance of Europe, which Philip had so long threatened to overthrow, [26]  was restored on a sound footing. In , wearied out with adversity, Philip made the Treaty of Vervins with, and died in the same year. In the same year Henry IV. showed that he had not forgotten his old Protestant associates, by issuing the Edict of Nantes, which gave the Huguenots wide toleration for their religion and political privileges that were all too liberal for the interests of national unity.

12. England and continued at war until the death of . The animosity of the two nations was so fierce that peace seemed quite out of the question. The English Catholics joined loyally [27]  with the Protestants in fighting the Spaniards, and only a small minority followed firebrands, like Allen and Parsons, in continued hostility to 's government. The papal bull of excommunication was forgotten. The Pope, who himself feared Philip's power, was not wholly dissatisfied at the defeat of the Armada. Yet the stern laws against the Catholics were still added to, and Catholic martyrs were still sacrificed to the English treason laws. These were more and more victims of religious persecution, for there was no longer the least danger of the Catholics attaining supremacy. 's policy had so completely triumphed that they had become an insignificant and unpopular minority. The later stages of the war with were mainly


fought at sea. In Parliament urged that the Spaniards should be attacked in their own country by way of reprisals, and Drake sailed with a strong expedition to [28]  the coast of the Peninsula. The shipping at Corunna was burnt and a large number of troops landed in the hope of capturing Lisbon. A fatal error was made, however, when the English left the sea to fight on land, with scanty numbers and less experience. The attack on Lisbon failed, and so severely did the expedition suffer that not half those who sailed got back to England. The more ambitious enterprises of the later years of 's reign were seldom as successful as the humbler efforts of the early pioneers. The Spaniards were now better prepared and more accustomed to the English way of fighting. In an expedition sent to the Azores under Lord Thomas Howard to lie in wait for the treasure-laden galleons of , was assailed by so strong a Spanish squadron that Howard prudently retired [29]  before them. His vice-admiral, Sir Richard Grenville, who sailed in the Revenge, Drake's flagship in , delayed his departure until the Spanish fleet had cut him off from the rest of the squadron. Though retreat was still open to him by sailing in the contrary direction, he resolved to cut his way through the whole Spanish fleet, which lay stretched to windward. As he sailed under the lee of the great galleons, he was at once becalmed, assailed on every side, and boarded by the enemy. For fifteen hours Grenville and his hundred and fifty fever-stricken men held out against the whole Spanish fleet. At last, when scarcely twenty were left alive, and Grenville had been mortally wounded, the Revenge was captured. Practical men denounced the wilful rashness of the obstinate commander and his disobedience to his superior's orders. But the extraordinary heroism of the resistance, told in lofty prose by Grenville's kinsman, Sir Walter Raleigh, has immortalised the story of the fight of the Revenge as the most brilliant of all the deeds of English seamen.

In Drake, with Hawkins as vice-admiral, was sent on an expedition to the West Indies, but the [30]  Spaniards were prepared for them. They won few successes and captured no treasure, and early in the campaign Hawkins was cut off by fever. In January Drake himself died, and was buried at sea, so that, as a Devonshire rimer sang,

"The waves became his winding-sheet ; the waters were his tomb: But for his fame the ocean-sea was not sufficient room."


Philip II. was now growing old, but he resolved to make a last effort to avenge himself on the English. Following [32]  on Drake's earlier tactics, sent a great expedition to destroy the Spanish fleet in harbour, before it was ready to sail. The Admiral, Lord Howard of Effingham, was placed in command, though jointly with Robert Deverezur, second , the Admiral taking the lead at sea and on shore. After a fierce fight, in which Raleigh took a main part in revenge for his kinsman Sir Richard Grenville, the ships in Cadiz harbour were destroyed and the town itself taken by storm. , young and ardent, was for following up the attack, but Howard insisted on going home, and on his return to England the queen made him Earl of Nottingham. After this rude lesson, gave up all hopes of revenge, and the war languished for the rest of the reign.

13. The spirit of adventure and discovery continued to inspire English mariners. Thomas Cavendish, between [33]  and , followed in the path of Drake, and successfully circumnavigated the globe, spoiling the Spaniards after the fashion of his great predecessors, and sailing home up the Thames with broadcloth and silk over all his canvas, and his tops gilt. Between and John Davis strove to renew the [34]  exploits of Frobisher by opening out the North-West Passage, and, though failing in his impossible enterprise, he added much to men's knowledge of the northern seas.

14. Constant attempts were now made to plant English colonies in the lands revealed by the hardihood of our [35]  seamen. The pioneer of English colonisation was Sir fzumpihrey Gilbert, who as early as sought to establish an English settlement on the dreary coasts of Newfoundland. But the climate was adverse, the colonists were lazy, lawless, and mutinous, and Gilbert was too haughty and wayward to command [36]  their affection or obedience. He was forced to return to England with the only two ships that remained to him. The season was autumn and the voyage was stormy. Rejecting the comparastive safety of his bigg- er ship, the Golden Hind (which was only of forty tons burdenn, Gilbert sailed home in the Squirrel, a mere boat of ten tons, which was overwhelmed by the tempest. The men on the Golden Hind last saw


Gilbert " sitting abaft with a book in his hand, and crying to us, 'We are as near heaven by sea as by land.' But the same night suddenly the frigate's lights went out, and in that moment she was swallowed up." Gilbert's halfbrother, Sir Walter RazZleih, the most versatile and accomplished of all the Elizabethan heroes, stepped [37]  into his place. In Sir Richard Grenville, the hero of the Revenge, who was their cousin, attempted to establish, under Raleigh's direction, a new colony more to the south, in a land which Raleigh named Virginia in honour of the virgin queen. The first expedition was an utter failure, and Drake took the colonists back to England. In and in other expeditions were sent out, but neither of them succeeded. Raleigh was too busy at home to go out himself, and the only permanent result of his efforts was the introduction into England of tobacco and the potato. Undeterred by his Virginian failure, Raleigh now started an entirely different enterprise, and in sailed to South America, hoping to explore the valley of the Orinoco, and the region then called Guiana, in which he believed there existed a wonderful city called El Dorado, where gold abounded beyond the dreams of avarice. His enemies mocked at his enthusiasm, and on his return he wrote his Discovery of Guziana as a justification of his action. For the rest of the queen's reign Raleigh abandoned adventure and discovery for vain endeavours to gain power at court whereby he might rise to authority in the state and carry out his great ideas.

15. The old servants of were now passing away. Leicester died in , and Walsingham in . Burghley alone remained, and sought to [38]  hand on his power to his second son, Robert Cecil, the Secretary of State. As Burghley grew older, he became more cautious, set his face against a policy of adventure, and would willingly have made peace with . After his death in Robert Cecil continued to uphold his views, while the more active party was represented by and Raleigh. Raleigh, [39]  with all his gifts, was headstrong, self-seeking, and unpopular. He quarrelled with , and lost his position at court. , Leicester's step-son, was the favourite of the queen's old age. The great-grand-son of Anne Boleyn's sister, he was one of her nearest living kinsmen. Loving him for his beauty, gallantry and devotion to her, she in entrusted him with the difficult


task of suppressing the Irish rebellion [see page 150]. The wayward young man mismanaged things utterly, and after losing most of his troops, hurried back to court without leave, to justify himself to his mistress. was mortally offended at this breach of orders, and put him in prison. In 600o he was released, but ordered not to go to court. He was like a spoilt child, and now sought to win back by force the favour which his sovereign still withheld from him. In I60o he strove to excite a revolt of the Londoners, hoping with their help to drive Cecil from power and recover his position. The attempt completely failed, and was convicted and executed as a traitor. His tragic fall established Cecil more firmly than ever in the old queen's favour.

16. As the danger from abroad lessened, had increasing trouble with her own subjects. Besides the [41]  fierce conflict waged between Whitgift and the Puritans, now began to have difficulties with her Parliaments. In the early years of her reign, the queen had striven to base her civil government on the support of Parliament. She soon found that the days of . were over, and that neither Lords nor Commons would submissively ratify her commands. Her early Parliaments irritated her by persistently urging her to marry or at least to name a successor. They also gave great offence by criticising her ecclesiastical policy, recommending conciliation towards the Puritans, and urging her to uphold a frankly Protestant policy at home and abroad. Yet at all grave crises they gave her strong and even enthusiastic support, and were ever willing to vote supplies to carry out a forward policy. , therefore, aimed at getting parliamentary assistance on great occasions, but in ordinary times she summoned Parliaments as seldom as she could. There were only thirteen sessions of Parliament during the forty-five years of her reign, and on one occasion nearly five years elapsed between two meetings of Parliament. As seldom ventured to raise money save by parliamentary grant, this policy involved her practising a rigid economy. If the Commons got out of hand, she did not scruple to rebuke them, to silence them, or to send leading members to the Tower. As the reign went on the character of the parliamentary opposition somewhat changed. It complained less of the queen's ecclesiastical policy, and more of her domestic administration, which, like that of all the Tudors, cared little for the forms of law,


and, though generally efficient, was arbitrary and capricious. Signs were gathering that the Tudor despotism was ceasing to be necessary. The character of the House of Commons changed very much for the better. Nearly all the strongest and most daring of the Elizabethan heroes- Drake, Hawkins, Raleigh, Grenville, among the numbers- were Members of Parliament, and it was absurd to suppose that a body containing such men would be content to register the royal oiders, and not aspire to have a share in the work of government. Parliament now became exceedingly jealous of its rights; and every special privilege belonging to members, save perhaps that of freedom of speech, was successfully vindicated before died. However, the rare tact of the queen long deferred the crisis. She had the true Tudor insight into public opinion, and all her haughty speeches did not prevent her constantly employing the most watchful care in adapting her measures to suit the wishes of her subjects. Nevertheless she did not neglect more direct means of influencing the Commons. She did her best to get members returned who would accept her policy. She created over thirty new boroughs, which were called upon to return members, not because of their importance, but because they were under her influence, and could help her to pack the Commons' house. Her chief minister, Sir Robert Cecil, sat in every Parliament, and was perhaps the earliest English statesman of the first rank who devoted himself to the task, afterwards so important, of managing the House of Commons and keeping it in a good temper. was very chary in granting new peerages, and the bishops, who were a third of the House of Lords, combined with the courtiers in giving her a majority, despite the more critical attitude of the older families. Yet, despite all these precautions the last Parliaments of saw the outbreak of a severe contest between Queen and Commons that clearly foreshadowed the troubles of the next century.

17. Among the thrifty queen's favourite ways of rewarding her courtiers was the grant of a Monoj5oly, that is the exclusive permission to sell a certain article, [42]  the result of which was that the holder of the right could raise its price and enrich himself, as he had no fear of competition. The grant in cost nothing, and was often very lucrative to the recipient. A famous example of such a grant was the monopoly of sweet wines, which she had given to in the


days of his favour, but refused to renew after his failure in . These monopolies became so numerous and included so many common articles of necessity that the burden to the nation became a very real one, and in Parliament remonstrated with the queen against the abuse of the practice. The queen answered civilly but evasively, "hoping that her subjects would not take away her prerogative, the choicest flower of her garden, and promising to examine all patents and abide by the touchstone of the law." In I60o another Parliament met and found that patents of monopoly were more freely conferred than ever. When the list of monopolies was read before the Commons a member cried out, "Is not bread among the number? Nay, but it will be, if no remedy is found for these before the next Parliament." Sir Robert Cecil and his cousin, Francis Bacon, vigorously defended monopolies, but the outcry became so high that even a courtier like Raleigh deemed it prudent to publicly renounce his patents. wisely gave way before the storm. She told the Commons that she would revoke all the monopolies that she found weigh heavily upon her people. She graciously thanked the Commons for their action. " Had I not," said she, "received a knowledge from you, I might have fallen into the lap of an error, only for want of true information." In granting her a liberal subsidy, the grateful Commons clearly expressed what they and both felt was the true relation between Crown and Parliament. "We consider," they said, "that your Majesty and we your subjects are but one body politic, and that your Highness is the head and we the members, and that no good or felicity, peril or adversity can come to the one but the other shall partake thereof." With these striking words the last Tudor Parliament came to an end.

18. was now growing an old woman, but she still walked, rode, danced, and hunted with something of [44]  her former vigour. In even her robust constitution began to fail. She refused all medicine, took little food, but declined to go to bed, and sought to conceal her desperate plight. Her ministers were troubled about the future of the monarchy, for she still persisted in her early policy of refusing to designate her successor. By 's will, Edward Seymour, Lord Beauchamp (the grandson of the Protector Somerset), whose mother was Catharine, Lady Jane Grey's sister, was the lawful heir to the throne. But no one


seriously pressed his claims, and the legitimacy of his birth was somewhat doubtful. Cecil had long been anxious for the succession of the King of Scots, whose hereditary right and Protestantism made him the most acceptable candidate, even apart from the advantage of the union of the two kingdoms, which his succession involved. The dying queen was urged to express her will. She gave no sign when her ministers spoke of the King of Scots, but when Seymour's name was mentioned, she cried, with something of her old energy, " I will have no rascal's son in my seat, but one worthy to be a king." On her unconquerable spirit yielded itself to death.


[1] Trade and adventure in Medieval England

[2] Henry VII. and the Cabots,1496-1498.

[3] The dawn of activity.

[4] Expedition of Willoughby and Chancellor, 1553

[5] [1556--1572.]

[6] TheReformation and seafaring adventure.

[7] The three slave trading voyagesof John Hawkins 1564, and,1567-

[8] Development of the adventurousspirit after 1572.

[9] [1566--1580.]

[10] Frobisher's Northern Voyages,1576-1578.

[11] Drake's Voyage to the West Indies, 1572

[12] Drake's VoyageRound the World, 1577-1580

[13] 1580-.1587.]

[14] The breach between England and Spain,1580-1587

[15] Singeing the King of Spain's beard, 1587.

[16] Preparations the Armada.

[17] [1587--1588.]

[18] The English Commanders.

[19] Armada in the Channel,July1588.

[20] (1588--1588.]

[21] The battle offGraveline, 29th July, and the defeat of the Armada.

[22] The results of the English victory.

[23] The freedom ofthe United Provinces

[24] [1588--1596.]

[25] The triumph of Henry IV. in France.

[26] The Treaty of Vervins and the Edict of Nante,1598.

[27] The War between Englandand Spain,1588-1603

[28] Drake's Expedtion in 1589.

[29] The Fight of the Revenge, 1591.

[30] Latest expedition and death of Drake and Hawkins, 1595-6.

[31] [1583--1599.]

[32] The threatened Armada and the Cadiz Expedition of 1596.

[33] Later Elizabethan voyages of Discovery.

[34] Cavendish and Davis.

[35] Attempts at American colonization.

[36] Gilbert and Newfoundland,1583.

[37] Raleigh and Virginia, 1685-1590

[38] The Cabinet and the Court of Elizabeth's old age.

[39] The fall of the Earl of Essex,1601-

[40] [1559--1601.]

[41] Elizabeth andthe Parliaments, 1559-1601.

[42] The Monopolies and the Parliamentary contest1601.

[43] [1597--1603.]

[44] The last years and death ofElizabeth, 1603.