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renegadoes, chiefly Irish and Scottish Papists, enlisted under the enemy's banners.
To oppose this mighty armament, Effingham sailed with a strong squadron to the West, where he was joined by his Vice-Admiral Sir Francis Drake: while Lord Henry Seymour, the second son of the Duke of Somerset, with another squadron cruised along the coasts of Flanders, to prevent the embarkation of the troops under the Duke of Parma.*
About the twelfth of July the Armada, which had been forced back by a storm, set sail a second time for England, and after a week's tempestuous passage appeared off the western shore; where the general consternation was greatly increased by observing the size of the Spanish galleons, which appeared like floating castles, their upper works being three feet thick. The primary design of the Spanish Admiral was, to attempt burning the English vessels in their harbours, as he had no idea that they would venture to put to sea: but being discovered off the Lizard by one Fleming, a Scottish pirate, this man instantly bore away for Plymouth, the rendezvous of the dif ferent squadrons then cruising to watch the enemy's motions, and fortunately arrived in time † to enable the Lord Admiral to prepare what measures he thought proper. His first object was, to get the ships out of harbour without loss of time. With this view, he both worked himself, and personally gave orders to the other officers; which so animated all the
*For the proceedings by land, see the Life of the Earl of Leicester.
† Fleming was afterward pardoned on Effingham's intercession, and received an annual pension for the seasonableness and the speed of his intelligence.
crews, that on the morning of the twentieth of July he got clear off the port with thirty sail of the line. He now descried the Spanish fleet; but he suffered them to pass without appearing to notice them, that with the wind in his favour, he might bear down upon their rear. These huge masses, though with all their sails spread, moved unwieldily along a circumstance highly advantageous to the English Admiral, who with his light vessels, in the event of his being worsted, could securely have effected his retreat. He took care however to inform her Majesty, by a special messenger, of the arrival of the enemy, the superiority of their force, and his own plan of attack; desiring her at the same time to make the proper dispositions by land, in case the Spaniards should disembark any troops, and to order the other squadrons to join him with all possible expedition. Having taken these prudent precautions, he resolved to bring the enemy to action, with a view of diminishing the terror, which the sight of their large galleons had created. He soon fell in with the rear-division, commanded by Don Ricaldo, and the event fully answered his purpose: for perceiving that the Spanish Admiral in the centre, and Don Alphonso de Levya commander of the van, were preparing to surround him, he made his retreat in excellent order; thus convincing both his officers and his men, how easily they could manage their own ships, and either attack or elude those of their adversaries.
The Spaniards, after several unfavourable skirmishes, finding the English fleet more numerous and powerful than it had been represented, suddenly tacked about, and made for Calais. The Lord Admi ral then held a council of war, and after having
conferred the honour of knighthood on Drake, Hawkins, Frobisher, and three other principal officers, proposed to pursue them; a measure which he was farther induced to adopt, from the prospect of being joined by the squadrons stationed, under Lord Henry Seymour and Sir William Winter, off the coast of Flanders. Accordingly, the council concurring in his opinion, he gave chace; and being joined (as he had anticipated) by the other armaments, on the twenty-seventh, in the Straits of Calais, he had now under his command one hundred and forty sail. This force however was still inferior to the Armada, which lay at anchor off Calais, disposed in such order, that Effingham saw there were no hopes of attacking them in different divisions, as he had proposed, unless some stratagem could be devised to throw them previously into disorder. With this view, he converted eight of his worst barks into fireships, which being convoyed by two experienced captains, about midnight steered with sails set for the Spanish fleet. In the confusion occasioned by this unexpected manœuvre, some of the enemy fell foul of each other, after cutting their cables; others got up their anchors, and put to sea to avoid the flames, which had already in several instances caught the rigging: and in this state, as soon as dawn appeared, the English falling upon them took, or destroyed, twelve of their largest ships. The Spaniards, in their dismay, now endeavoured to make their escape through the Straits of Dover; but adverse winds drove them on the coast of Zealand, where their Admiral narrowly
* This was the first introduction of fire-ships in the English navy.
escaped shipwreck. After this, they determined to effect their retreat by sailing round the island north; but here encountered by a second storm, the Commander with twenty-five sail steered for the Bay of Biscay, and left the wretched remains of his 'Invincible Armada' to the mercy of their foes. Upward of thirty of their best ships perished on the Irish coast; others were driven on shore in the Orkneys, and several were taken by Hawkins, Frobisher, and Drake. Of their whole fleet, only fifty-four returned to Spain, and those in an extremely shattered condition. In this fatal expedition likewise, it is computed, they lost 25,000 men, including such numbers of volunteers of distinguished rank, that most of the noble families in Spain went into mourning. The English Admiral, after he had cleared the channel of the enemy, returned triumphant to the Downs. Elizabeth repaired publicly to the Cathedral of St. Paul's, and there by a solemn thanksgiving expressed her gratitude to God for her signal deliverance; and as Effingham's genius, judgement, and valour had greatly contributed to her success, she rewarded him with a pension for life.*
His next important service was against Cadiz, which was taken by the fleet and the land-forces, under the Earl of Essex in August, 1596. Upon this occasion, beside two rich galleons, thirteen men of war and a hundred pieces of brass cannon fell into the hands of the English. The Lord High Admiral refused, at the same time, a ransom of two millions of ducats for the merchant-ships in Port-Real;
Upon this occasion likewise, she ordered a medal to be struck with the inscription, Afflavit Deus, et dissipantur.
his instructions being to "consume, and not to compound," with a view of intercepting the early probability of a second invasion. On his return from this service, Elizabeth, attributing the honour of the achievement chiefly to his exertions, created him Earl of Nottingham. This gave birth to the quarrel between the Admiral and Essex, which ended only with the death of the latter.
In 1599, the nation was alarmed with the project of another Spanish invasion; and Essex being in Ireland, the Queen, to manifest her entire confidence in Nottingham, gave him the command of her fleets and armies with the addition of a new title, as Lieutenant-General of all England, investing him with more ample powers than had ever before been granted to any subject. But this extraordinary commission expired with the occasion, which gave birth to it. However, he became her chief minister soon afterward, and by the death of Essex the sole administrator of the government. To pave the way to this high station, it is strongly suspected that he aggravated every act of rashness committed by his impetuous rival, and widened the quarrel between him and his royal mistress into an irreparable breach.
From the moment that Essex surrendered himself, Elizabeth, who had been terrified by so daring an insurrection in the heart of her capital, was extravagant in her praises of the Lord Admiral, and publicly declared that he was born to be the saviour of his country.' Thus raised to the summit of his ambition, and not very unreasonably fearing a relapse on the part of the Queen in behalf of her old favourite, he too probably intercepted the token sent by that unfortunate nobleman on his last application for mercy.