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The feud hereupon increased to that degree that Sir Bernard, being a person of a high spirit, gave Sir Francis a box on the ear; and that within the verge of the court. For which offence he incurred her Majesty's displeasure; and most probably it proved the occasion of the Queen's bestowing upon Sir Fras. Drake a new coat of everlasting honour to himself and posterity for ever; which hath relation to that glorious action of his, the circumnavigating the world, which is thus emblazoned by Guillim:
"Diamond, a fess wavy, between the two polestars, artic and antartic, pearl; as before.
"And what is more, his crest is a ship on a globe under ruff, held by a cable rope with a hand out of the clouds; in the rigging whereof is hung up by the heels a wivern gules, Sir Bernard's arms; but in no great honour, we may think, to that knight, though so designed to Sir Francis. Unto all which Sir Bernard boldly replied: That though her Majesty could give him a nobler, yet she could not give an antienter coat than his.'"*
"This relation, I had," says Prince, “from Sir John Drake, of Trill, knight and baronet, my honourable godfather."
This falsehood is scarcely worth a contradiction. To suppose that Drake would tamely submit to such an insult, without at once felling the offender
*Prince's Worthies of Devon.
to the ground, or that Elizabeth would soothe the wounded feelings of her newly created recreant knight by giving him a sugar-plum, would be to insult the memory of both. The arms were given immediately after the knighthood in 1581; over the globe is the motto auxilio divino, and underneath is sie parvis magna. The simple fact is, that Sir Francis asked his relation for the family arms, of which he was himself ignorant, and Sir Bernard testifies to the family relationship, and recognizes his right to the family bearings, for Sir Francis required these for the information of the gentlemen of the Heralds' College. This is the whole story.
Some time after Drake's return from his circumnavigation voyage, he received a letter from Mr. Davis, the Arctic Voyager, of whom Strype says, "I have one note more to make of one Davys, a mariner, sometime belonging to Sir Francis Drake, who being employed to find out a northwest passage into those seas in that part of the world, came back this year (in 1585), and upon his return, in a letter, acquainted the said Drake with some account of those seas, and how navigable they were. The letter shewing the first discovery of that passage, and wrote to so eminent a seaman, may deserve to be preserved, and is, as I take it from the original, to this tenor:"
"Right honourable, most dutifully craving pardon for
this my rash boldness, I am hereby, according to my duty, to signify unto your honor that the north-west passage is a matter nothing doubtful; but at any time almost to be passed by a sea navigable, void of ice; the ice tolerable, the waters very deep. I have also found an isle of very great quantity, not in any globe or maps discovered, yielding a sufficient trade of furs and leather. Although this passage hath been supposed very improbable, yet, through God's mercy, I am in experience an eye witness to the contrary; yea, in the most desperate climates, which, by God's help, I will very shortly more at large reveal unto your honor, so soon as I can possibly take order for my mariners and shipping. Thus depending upon your honor's good favour, I most humbly commit you to God. This 3rd October.
"Your honor's for ever
(Signed) "JOHN DAVIS."
Hence those straits in that passage were called Davis's Straits to this day.*
It would appear from this that Davis had been with Drake perhaps on the circumnavigation voyage, when the latter contemplated a passage from the Pacific to the Atlantic, and which was at the time and since so vigorously attempted in a contrary direction, by Frobisher, Davis, Baffin, Gilbert, and many others of "heroike courage, marine worthies, beyond all names of worthinesse," as Purchas describes.
Drake was always kind to his followers, and
always ready to attend to their little concerns. The two following letters, among many others, afford examples of this.
"Mr. Doctor Cæsar, this power man and dyvers others have indured to ther great charge myche wronge at this Powell's hands, as by good proffe they will make you know. You shall shew this bearer no favour but I will hold it donne to myself, and will be willyng in any thing to aqwyett it. From Charterhowse in som hast, this 12th February 1584.
"Your very lovinge friend,
"To the Worshippful my very "lovinge friend Mr. Doctor Cæsar, "Judge of the Admiraltie."
"Good Mr. Doctor Cæsar,
"This bearer, Roger Roffe, is like to have some cawse in question before you: it is supposed that he hath wronge, therefore I presume the rather to intreat your favour towards him, prayinge that for my sake you will shew yt in his behalf, being willinge, in that he will becom one of my companie to steed him in any honest cawse. And so with my right hertie commendations do bid you farewell. From your father's howse in Chepside, this 24 June, 1585.
"Your assured friend,
"To the Worshipful my very "lovinge friend, Mr. Doctor Cæsar, "Judge of the Admiraultie.
* Lansdowne MSS. British Museum.
He now remained on shore for the next four or five years, but not without active employment. In 1582 he was mayor of Plymouth; but the records of that place contain but two entries of any transactions beyond the ordinary routine during his mayoralty; one, that he caused the compass to be put upon the Hoe; the other, that the order for wearing scarlet gowns was put in execution.