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DRAKE AND FROBISHER.
despoiling the settlements of "the Don," which was the name our forefathers gave to the Spaniards.
Drake and Frobisher were two of the most famous navigators. Frobisher was intent upon finding out a north-west passage to India, and though he did not succeed in that, he was the first man to penetrate into the Polar sea, and to discover many parts both of the land and water in the far north of America. Drake was the first Englishman who sailed round the world, and the one whom of all others the Spaniards most dreaded.
The Spaniards and Portuguese wanted to keep America, and Africa, and India, and the rich islands of the Indian seas, entirely for themselves. And a certain pope had been so obliging as to say that he gave all the East to the Portuguese and all the West to the Spaniards. The Portuguese had planted colonies in Africa and India; the Spaniards in America, the West Indies, and the Indian islands. Their settlements were on both sides of America; and they knew the way to pass round from the east to the west by the Straits of Magellan, but they never attempted it, because the sea there was very stormy and dangerous. So they went to and fro between Spain and Peru, by sailing round the Cape of Good Hope and crossing the Indian and Pacific oceans, and they hoped they should never see the ships of any other nation than their own in the wide waters of the Pacific.
In the year 1572, Drake was in the Caribbean sea. He landed on the isthmus of Darien, and having travelled a good way across the country, and climbed a high tree which stood on a hill, he looked on each
side of him, and saw, eastward, the Atlantic over which he had sailed, and westward, the boundless Pacific. Drake lifted up his hands, and saidAlmighty God, of thy goodness give me life and leave to sail once an English ship on that sea!"
Four years afterwards, he set sail from England in a small ship with a gallant little company of one hundred and fifty-four gentlemen and sailors. He directed his course to the dreaded Strait of Magellan, passed safely through it, then cruised about the coast till he had taken several large Spanish ships laden with treasure from the mines of Peru. Afterwards he went far to the north, and found a country the inhabitants of which were so pleased with their English visitors that they brought them many presents, and amongst them were baskets of tobacco, a plant which no Englishman had ever seen before.
From the main land Drake steered boldly out across the Pacific, till he came to the Indian islands, where the sailors obtained quantities of sago and many other things which were as new and strange to them as was the tobacco.
After this they made no more land till they passed the Cape of Good Hope, and in three months more reached England, after an absence of two years and ten months. Great was the rejoicing when it was told that Drake had been quite round the world. The queen herself went to visit him on board his ship, and knighted him; saying, at the same time, that his own actions did him more honour than title she could give him.
Brave men all over England longed to follow Drake's example; but the Spaniards complained
RALEIGH AND SIDNEY.
loudly, and talked about the pope's gift to them. Elizabeth laughed, and said the pope could not give away that which was not his. And from the days of Drake, Englishmen have sailed east and west, north and south, wherever they pleased. At this time also they endeavoured to plant colonies of their own in America. Sir Walter Raleigh was one of the chief movers in this attempt. He spent a large fortune in endeavouring to found a settlement in Virginia; it did not succeed for many years, but the ships which went to and fro began to bring home a great many valuable American productions, and especially potatoes, which were now seen in England for the first time. Englishmen did not find out the use of this root so quickly as they did that of tobacco, which Raleigh's settlers taught them to smoke; they had learned it themselves of the natives of Virginia.
Raleigh was a brave knight, a very clever author, and an adventurous sailor; he was also a very elegant and accomplished man, and a great favourite with Queen Elizabeth; but she used to say that the brightest jewel of her court was another knight, Sir Philip Sidney. Sidney's memory is a lasting treasure to his native land. He equalled Raleigh in genius and bravery, and far excelled him in goodAt five-and-twenty he was already as much honoured for his wisdom as he was loved for his valour and generosity. We now remember him more for the last of his kind actions than for all the great deeds of his life. He had gone to the Netherlands to help the men who were fighting for their religion and liberty against the King of Spain, and was mortally wounded at the battle of Zutphen. Bleeding to death,
and parched with thirst, he asked for water, and with great difficulty a little was procured and brought to him on the battle-field. But Sidney would not drink, for he had seen a poor wounded soldier looking at the cup with longing eyes: "Give it to that poor man," said he, "his necessity is still greater than mine."
Sir Philip Sidney was only thirty-two when he died; and all England mourned for his loss. One of his friends, the young Earl of Essex, tried to copy his example, and he did show himself to be brave, and clever and generous, but Essex never learnt to rule his own spirit, and his end was far unlike Sidney's.
Essex was Queen Elizabeth's chief favourite. She had always some favourite amongst the courtiers and nobles who attended on her. The first one was Robert Dudley, whom she afterwards made Earl of Leicester. Leicester was very handsome and agreeable, but he was a very bad man, though he concealed his real character so artfully that the queen never found him out. After his death, Essex came into the highest favour.
But the queen did not
take counsel about great matters of state with her favourites in all important affairs she consulted Burleigh and the wise statesmen whom she had associated with him.
THE SPANISH INQUISITION.
REIGN OF ELIZABETH-(continued).
ILL-WILL OF THE FRENCH AND SPANIARDS TO ENGLAND.-ASSISTANCE GIVEN BY ELIZABETH TO THE FOREIGN PROTESTANTS.-MARY, QUEEN OF SCOTS.
DURING most of the time that Elizabeth reigned, Spain was governed by that same King Philip who had been the husband of her sister, and who was at this time the richest and most powerful monarch in the world. He possessed a large portion of Europe, and vast territories in America, where the Spaniards had seized upon Mexico, Chili, Peru, and the finest of the West India islands. Everywhere they ruled the natives with a rod of iron, making them labour like slaves in the mines and plantations. In the West Indies the unhappy people had almost perished from the face of the earth, and the Spaniards brought negroes from Africa to supply their place. This was the beginning of the dreadful slave-trade between Africa and America; and a brave English seaman, Captain John Hawkins, was not ashamed to steal negroes on the coast of Guinea, and sell them to the Spaniards of the West Indies.
Wherever the Spanish government took possession of a country, it set up a horrible tribunal, called the Inquisition, for finding out and punishing heresy ; and not only the natives of the country fell under the power of the Inquisitors, but often English sailors and merchants, trading to the ports of Spain and America, were seized by the officers of the Inquisition, and underwent the extreme cruelties of that