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The first Edition of the 'Life of Sir Francis Drake' being out of print, the work has been carefully revised; and also considerably abridged, in order that it might appear as one of the Numbers of the 'Colonial and Home Library.'


THE reasons which have induced me to submit the following pages to the public may be briefly stated.

The Life of Drake, written by Dr. Johnson, is interesting in no common degree; and in it are happily blended a vivid narrative of adventure with lofty and valuable moral precepts: but it is altogether incomplete; the great moralist having terminated his narrative somewhat abruptly at the conclusion of the Circumnavigation Voyage; and leaving untold all the important events of Drake's subsequent life.

Dr. Southey's memoir, given in the third volume of his 'Lives of the British Admirals,' is much more complete; and evinces great research but it forms part of a voluminous work; from the very nature of which many subjects, not immediately connected with Drake, are blended with the details of his life.

It appeared to me, therefore, that a Life of the celebrated circumnavigator, more extended than that of Dr. Johnson and unencumbered with other biographies, might be acceptable to the public: the more especially as there was reason to believe that much valuable matter, illustrative of his career, remained unexplored in the public depositories of the kingdom, and in private collections. I accordingly applied my best diligence to the task: and I do not think that I overrate the result of my labour when I state, that many of the original documents never before published which are given in the following pages will be found in no common degree interesting and important.

By the kindness of Sir James Graham, I received ready permission to investigate the documents in the State Paper Office; where I felt assured that much important matter would be found. From this source, as well as from the numerous collections of manuscripts in the British Museum, I obtained copies of many autograph letters, not only of Sir Francis Drake, but also of the Lord High Admiral, the Earl of Effingham; several of them relating to the Spanish Armada, miscalled the Invincible;' together with many other documents connected with the public

transactions of Sir Francis Drake.

In going through these collections I received great assistance from Sir Henry Ellis, Mr. Lechmere, and Mr. Lemon; for which my best thanks are due to them: as they are also to Mr. Thorpe ; who most obligingly took the trouble to collate my copies with the almost illegible manuscripts.

I next applied to Sir Francis Palgrave, with reference to the records in the Tower; but was informed by him that there is nothing among the Admiralty Papers so early as the reign of Elizabeth. Sir Francis Palgrave thinks it probable that in the Rolls-House there may be Accounts connected with the subject; but says that the search would be laborious, as there are no indices.

The answer which I received from the Bodleian Library was, that "the collection contained nothing new to interest a biographer of Sir Francis Drake."

In the Ashmolean Museum there are only a few notices; these have already appeared in print.


At Magdalen College, Cambridge, there are numerous and voluminous documents collected or composed by Mr. Pepys, chiefly relating to naval matters; but little or nothing concerning Drake.

To Mr. Bolton Corney, a gentleman of great literary acquirements and research, I am highly indebted for the loan of several valuable and rare tracts, besides detached notes of information on points connected with my subject; and I am the more anxious

thus publicly to offer him my thanks, in consequence of the ready and willing manner in which they were communicated.

There is still, however, a great deficiency of materials regarding the private and domestic life of Drake; and as the family may be considered extinct, or at least only continued in the female line, there is but little hope that any such will be forthcoming.

I did not omit to apply in every quarter where there was the slightest chance of obtaining any information; and especially to Sir Thomas Trayton Fuller Eliott Drake, Bart., the nephew of the late Lord Heathfield, to whose property he has succeeded; and who has also, under a Royal patent, taken the names of Eliott and Drake, after that of Fuller, as well as the arms of Drake. His reply was that he had nothing whatever, except some relics that were given to Drake by Queen Elizabeth, an account of which had already been published; but at the same time, in the most obliging manner, expressed his willingness to place the whole of these in my hands.

As Sir Francis Drake was much in communication with the Lord Treasurer Burleigh, and had frequent correspondence with him, I applied, through a friend, to the Marquis of Salisbury; requesting to be permitted to have access to the Burleigh Papers, at Hatfield House; or at least to be informed what was the nature and extent of the documents they contained relating to Drake. The reply was, that it would be a long time before the catalogue was finished; and that his Lordship must decline to let any person have unlimited access to the papers: but that as soon as they were completely arranged, I should be informed how far he could contribute to my object.

I applied also to the Marquis of Exeter, as it appeared probable that he might be in possession of papers connected with Drake or his family. His Lordship's reply was, that he had sent all his papers to Lord Salisbury. Thus, then, these memorials, whatever they may be, remain, after the lapse of two centuries and a half, still inaccessible.

In transcribing the autograph letters of the Lord High Admiral

and of Sir Francis Drake, I have rigidly adhered to the originals; even to the spelling, although the same words are frequently written differently, at different times, and even in the same letter.

Subjoined is a list of the principal authors, many of them the contemporaries of Drake, upon whose authority I have framed my account of his life.* In very many instances I have tran-scribed their original words. It would have been easy for me to have remodelled these passages, and to have given their substance in a modern garb; and the narrative would have had a less disjointed appearance had I done so. But I felt that any change in their phraseology-any departure from their quaint and forcible mode of expression-must detract, not only from the interest of the details which they give, but in some degree also from the validity of their statements. This conviction outweighed with me all minor considerations.

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