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THE ARMADA SAILS.
honourably for himself, the lord Effingham, though he had relaxed his vigilance, saw how perilous it was to act as if all were safe. He humbly entreated that nothing might be lightly credited in so weighty a matter, and that he might retain these ships, though it should be at his own cost. This was no empty show of disinterested zeal; for if the service of those ships had not been called for, there can be little doubt, that in the rigid parsimony of Elizabeth's government, he would have been called upon the costs. pay Meantime the Armada, having completely refitted, sailed from Coruña on the 12th of July. The duque de Medina Sidonia† had been ordered to keep along the coasts of Bretagne and Normandy; and if he met with the English fleet, to keep on the defensive, and avoid an action; and to repair to the road of Calais, there to wait for the prince of Parma: when their junction should have been effected, he was then to open the sealed instructions, which were directed to both. But as the news of the damage which he had sustained misled the English government, so did the information which he received that the English were off their guard induce him to depart from his orders; " yet this was not done without some difficulty, for the council was divided in opinion; some held it best to observe the king's commands, others not to lose the opportunity of surprising our fleet in harbour, and burning and destroying it. This course was strongly advised by Diego Flores de Valdez, on whom the duke most relied, because of his experience; and with that determination they steered their course for England. The first land with which they fell in was the Lizard: they mistook it for the Ram's-head; and “ night being at hand, they tacked off to sea, making account in the morning to attempt the ships in Plymouth." One Thomas Fleming, a
* A man employed rather for his birth than experience; for so many dukes, marquisses, and earls voluntarily going, would have repined to have been commanded by a man of less quality than themselves."- Monson. + Camden, 410.
Monson. In a discourse of sir Robert Slingsby's it is said, "had it not been for the English privateer Fleming, Valdez his counsel to burn our fleet
lucky pirate, had got sight of them off the Lizard, and
July The next day the Armada was seen,
as they lay in harbour without men, had taken effect. The Spaniards' ignorance in sea affairs, taking the Lizard for the Ramshead, and tacking off that night, lost their opportunity of destroying our fleet in Plymouth sound. And although king Philip's counsel for his fleet to sail along the coast of France was great and good, yet being to be put in practice by gentlemen ignorant in sea affairs, and preferred only for their birth, it lost the effect it might have had, and totally overthrew all their design.”. Charnock, Preface, lxxvi.
"Fire, smoke, and echoing cannons," says Speed," began the parley; and bullets, most freely interchanged between them, were messengers of each other's mind."
THE ARMADA IN THE CHANNEL.
upon what he supposed to be the general's ship, but it proved to be the vice-admiral's, Alonso de Leyva's. Soon after, Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher played stoutly with their ordnance upon the rear of the enemy where Recalde, the admiral, commanded; that officer endeavoured to prevent his ships from flying to the main fleet, till his own ship was rendered nearly unserviceable, and he was then fain, "with much ado," to hasten thither himself. "The duque then gathered together his fleet, which was scattered this way and that way, and hoisting more sail, held on his course with what speed he could. Neither could he do any other, seeing both the wind favoured the English, and their ships would turn about with incredible celerity which way soever they pleased to charge, wind, and tack about again." The Spaniards then felt a cause of weakness in their excess of strength, "their great ships being powerful to defend but not to offend, to stand but not to move, and therefore far unfit for fight in those narrow seas; their enemies nimble, and ready at all sides to annoy them, and as apt to escape harm themselves, by being low built, and easily shot over. Therefore they gathered themselves close in form of a half-moon, and slackened sail, that their whole fleet might keep together. After a smart fight, in which he had injured the enemy much, and suffered little or no hurt himself, lord Effingham gave over the action, because forty of his ships were not yet come up, having scarcely indeed got out of the haven.*
During the night, the St. Catalina, which had suffered greatly, was taken into the midst of the fleet to be repaired; and Oquendo's ship (of 800 tons) was set on fire, (it is said) by a Flemish gunner, whose wife had been abused and himself outraged by the commanding officer of the troops on board. It was part of their general orders, that if any ship took fire, those that were near were to make from her, sending, however, their boats to succour her; this was so well observed that no
*Hakluyt, 595. Speed, 860. Camden, 411.
other ship was injured, and the fire was quenched, though not before the upper works were consumed; but more diligence than humanity was shown in this, for after taking out whatever was of value that could be saved, when they abandoned the hulk they left in it some fifty of their countrymen, "miserably hurt." That night, also, in the confusion which this fire occasioned, Valdez's galleon ran foul of another ship, broke her foremast, and was left behind, and none coming to her assistance, "the sea being tempestuous and the night dark," the lord admiral supposed that the men had been taken out, and without tarrying to take possession of the prize, passed on with the Bear and the Mary Wolf, that he might not lose sight of the enemy in the darkness. He thought that he was following Drake's ship, which ought to have carried the lanthern that night; it proved to be a Spanish light, and in the morning he found himself in the midst of the enemy's fleet, "but when he perceived it, he cleanly conveyed himself out of that great danger." In the eagerness of hope Drake had forgotten or disregarded his orders, and engaged in close pursuit of five great ships, which he supposed to be enemies, but which, when he came up with them, proved to be Easterlings, holding their course by these contending fleets, and protected by them from all danger of pirates. But the whole of the English ships, except the two which followed the admiral into so perilous a situation, lay to during the night, because the lanthern was not to be seen, nor did they recover sight of the admiral till the following evening. Drake himself had the good fortune to fall in with Valdez, who, after some parley, surrendered, seeing that resistance must have been vain. The prize was sent into Plymouth; and Drake's men paid themselves well with the spoil of the ship, wherein were 55,000 ducats in gold, which they shared merrily among them. The hulk of the galleon was also carried into Weymouth, to the great joy of the beholders; though the upper works had been consumed, and most of the
THE SPANISH ARMADA.
The gunpowder in the hold had not taken fire, "to the great admiration of all men.'
On Tuesday the 23d the Spaniards were off Port- July land, and the wind came about into the north, so that they 23. "had a fortunate and fit gale for invading the English.' But the English, "agile and foreseeing all harms, recovered the vantage of the wind." After they had for some time manoeuvred for this object, they prepared on both sides for action, the Spaniards "seeming more incensed to fight than before. And fight they did, confusedly, and with variable fortune; for on the one side the English manfully rescued some London ships that were hemmed in by the Spaniards, and on the other the Spaniards as stoutly rescued their admiral Ricalde when he was in danger."- "On this day was the sorest fight, yet with no memorable loss on either side." A great Venetian ship and some smaller ones were surprised and taken by the English. On their part captain Cock died with honour in the midst of the enemies, in a small ship of his own. Though this was the most furious and bloody skirmish of all, the loss was little, because the English, having given their broadsides, presently stood off, never exposing themselves in close action, but satisfied with levelling their guns with sure aim against those great ships," which were heavy and altogether unwieldy. Neither did the lord admiral think good to adventure grappling with them, as some unadvisedly persuaded him. For the enemy had a strong army in his fleet, but he had none: their ships were of bigger burthen, stronger and higher built, so as their men fighting from those lofty hatches must inevitably destroy those who should charge them from beneath. And he knew that an overthrow would endamage him much more than a victory would advantage him. For if he were vanquished he should very much endanger all England; and if he conquered he should only gain a little honour for beating the enemy." On the other hand the Spaniards were not less wary: they " gathered
* Hakluyt, 597, 598.
Speed, 860. Camden, 412.