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and willing to provide due reformation; but would not permit the Parliament to intermeddle in these matters". The Commons, alarmed at this intelligence, appointed another committee to attend the queen, and endeavoured to satisfy her of their humble and dutiful intentions. Elizabeth gave a gracious reception to the committee: she expressed her great inestimable loving care towards her loving subjects; which, she said, was greater than of her own self, or even than any of them could have of themselves. She told them, that she had already given orders for an inquiry into the abuses attending purveyance, but the dangers of the Spanish invasion had retarded the progress of the design; that she had as much skill, will, and power to rule her household as any subjects whatsoever to govern theirs, and needed as little the assistance of her neighbours; that the exchequer was her chamber, consequently more near to her than even her household, and therefore the less proper for them to intermeddle with; and that she would of herself, with advice of her council and the judges, redress every grievance in these matters, but would not permit the Commons, by laws moved without her privity, to bereave her of the honour attending these regulations. The issue of this matter was the same that attended all contests between Elizabeth and her Parliaments'. She seems even to have been more imperious in this particular than her predecessors, at least her more remote ones; for they often permitted the abuses of purveyance to be redressed by law". Edward III., a very arbitrary prince, allowed ten several statutes to be enacted for that purpose.
In so great awe did the Commons stand of every courtier, as well as of the crown, that they durst use no freedom of speech which they thought would give the least offence to any of them. Sir Edward Hobby showed in the House his extreme grief, that by some great personage, not a member of the House, he had been sharply rebuked for speeches delivered in Parliament: he craved the favour of the House, and desired that some of the members might inform that great personage of his true
meaning and intention in these speeches'. The Commons, to obviate these inconveniences, passed a vote that no one should reveal the secrets of the House*.
i D'Ewes, p. 432, 433.
k An act was passed this session, enforcing the former statute, which imposed twenty pounds a month on every one absent from public worship: but the penalty was restricted to two-thirds of the income of the recusant. 29 Eliz. cap. 6.
The discomfiture of the Armada had begotten in the nation a kind of enthusiastic passion for enterprises against Spain; and nothing seemed now impossible to be achieved by the valour and fortune of the English. Don Antonio, prior of Crato, a natural son of the royal family of Portugal, trusting to the aversion of his countrymen against the Castilians, had advanced a claim to the crown; and flying first to France, thence to England, had been encouraged both by Henry and Elizabeth in his pretensions. A design was formed by the people, Expedition not the court of England, to conquer the kingdom for against Portugal. Don Antonio: Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Norris were the leaders in this romantic enterprise: near twenty thousand volunteers' enlisted themselves in the service; and ships were hired, as well as arms provided, at the charge of the adventurers. The queen's frugality kept her from contributing more than sixty thousand pounds to the expense; and she only allowed six of her ships of war to attend the expedition". There was more spirit and bravery, than foresight or prudence, in the conduct of this enterprise. The small stock of the adventurers did not enable them to buy either provisions or ammunition sufficient for such an undertaking: they even wanted vessels to stow the numerous volunteers who crowded to them: and they were obliged to seize by force some ships of the Hanse towns, which they met with at sea; an expedient which set them somewhat more at ease in point of room for their men, but remedied not the deficiency of their provisions". Had they sailed directly to Portugal, it is believed that the good-will of the people, joined to the defenceless state of the country, might have ensured them of success:
Birch's Memoirs of Queen Elizabeth, vol. i. p. 61. Monson, p. 267, says, that there were only fourteen thousand soldiers and four thousand seamen in the whole of this expedition: but the account contained in Dr. Birch is given by one of the most considerable of the adventurers.
i Monson, p. 267.
n Ibid, p. 159.
CHAP. but hearing that great preparations were making at the Groine for the invasion of England, they were induced to go thither, and destroy this new armament of Spain. They broke into the harbour, burned some ships of war, particularly one commanded by Recalde, vice-admiral of Spain; they defeated an army of four or five thousand men, which was assembled to oppose them; they assaulted the Groine, and took the lower town, which they pillaged; and they would have taken the higher, though well fortified, had they not found their ammunition and provisions beginning to fail them. The young Earl of Essex, a nobleman of promising hopes, who, fired with the thirst of military honour, had secretly, unknown to the queen, stolen from England, here joined the adventurers; and it was then agreed by common consent to make sail for Portugal, the main object of their enterprise.
The English landed at Paniche, a sea-port town, twelve leagues from Lisbon; and Norris led the army to that capital, while Drake undertook to sail up the river and attack the city with united forces. By this time the court of Spain had gotten leisure to prepare against the invasion. Forces were thrown into Lisbon: the Portuguese were disarmed: all suspected persons were taken into custody: and thus, though the inhabitants bore great affection to Don Antonio, none of them durst declare in favour of the invaders. The English army, however, made themselves masters of the suburbs, which abounded with riches of all kinds; but as they desired to conciliate the affections of the Portuguese, and were more intent on honour than profit, they observed a strict discipline, and abstained from all plunder. Meanwhile they found their ammunition and provisions much exhausted; they had not a single cannon to make a breach in the walls; the admiral had not been able to pass some fortresses which guarded the river; there was no appearance of an insurrection in their favour; sickness, from fatigue, hunger, and intemperance in wine and fruits had seized the army; so that it was found necessary to make all possible haste to re-embark. They were not pursued by the enemy; and, finding at the mouth of the river sixty ships laden with naval stores, they seized them as
lawful prize, though they belonged to the Hanse towns, a neutral power. They sailed thence to Vigo, which they took and burned; and, having ravaged the country around, they set sail and arrived in England. Above half of these gallant adventurers perished by sickness, famine, fatigue, and the sword°; and England reaped more honour than profit from this extraordinary enterprise. It is computed that eleven hundred gentlemen embarked on board the fleet, and that only three hundred and fifty survived those multiplied disasters P.
When these ships were on their voyage homewards, they met with the Earl of Cumberland, who was outward bound, with a fleet of seven sail, all equipped at his own charge, except one ship of war which the queen had lent him. That nobleman supplied Sir Francis Drake with some provisions; a generosity which saved the lives of many of Drake's men, but for which the others afterwards suffered severely. Cumberland sailed towards the Terceras, and took several prizes from the enemy; but the richest, valued at a hundred thousand pounds, perished in her return, with all her cargo, near St. Michael's Mount, in Cornwall. Many of these adventurers were killed in a rash attempt at the Terceras; a great mortality seized the rest; and it was with difficulty that the few hands. which remained were able to steer the ships back into harbour.
o Birch's Memoirs, vol. i. p. 61.
a Monson, p. 161.
Though the signal advantages gained over the Spa- Affairs of niards, and the spirit thence infused into the English, gave Elizabeth great security during the rest of her reign, she could not forbear keeping an anxious eye on Scotland, whose situation rendered its revolutions always of importance to her. It might have been expected, that this high-spirited princess, who knew so well to brave danger, would not have retained that malignant jealousy towards her heir, with which, during the life-time of Mary, she had been so much agitated. James had indeed succeeded to all the claims of his mother; but he had not succeeded to the favour of the Catholics, which could alone render these claims dangerous'. And as the queen was now well advanced in years, and enjoyed an uncon
P Ibid. vol. i. p. 61.
r Winwood, vol. i. p. 41.
CHAP. trolled authority over her subjects, it was not likely that the King of Scots, who was of an indolent unambitious temper, would ever give her any disturbance in her possession of the throne. Yet all these circumstances could not remove her timorous suspicions; and so far from satisfying the nation by a settlement of the succession, or a declaration of James's title, she was as anxious to prevent every incident which might anywise raise his credit, or procure him the regard of the English, as if he had been her immediate rival and competitor. Most of his ministers. and favourites were her pensioners; and as she was desirous to hinder him from marrying and having children, she obliged them to throw obstacles in the way of every alliance, even the most reasonable, which could be offered him; and during some years she succeeded in this malignant policy. He had fixed on the elder daughter of the King of Denmark, who, being a remote prince and not powerful, could give her no umbrage; yet did she so artfully cross this negotiation, that the Danish monarch, impatient of delay, married his daughter to the Duke of Brunswick. James then renewed his suit to the younger princess; and still found obstacles from the intrigues of Elizabeth, who, merely with a view of interposing delay, proposed to him the sister of the King of Navarre, a princess much older than himself, and entirely destitute of fortune. The young king, besides the desire of securing himself, by the prospect of issue, from those traitorous attempts too frequent among his subjects, had been so watched by the rigid austerity of the ecclesiastics, that he had another inducement to marry, which is not so usual with monarchs. His impatience therefore broke through all the politics of Elizabeth: the articles of marriage were settled: the ceremony was performed by proxy, and the princess embarked for Scotland, but was driven by a storm into a port of Norway. This tempest, and some others which happened near the same time, were universally believed in Scotland and Denmark to have proceeded from a combination of the Scottish and Danish witches; and the dying confession of the criminals was supposed to put the accusation beyond all controversy. James, however, though a great believer in
s Melvil, p. 166. 177.
t Ibid. p. 180.