« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
tivity of the late Spanish Ambassador, Bernardin Mendoza, formerly at the court of London, and now at Paris, and his inveterate hatred of Elizabeth for having got rid of him, prevented any such measure. By means of the press at his disposal, he disseminated every species of falsehood and invective against England; and anticipated the overthrow of that kingdom, by the immense forces of Philip then in preparation, and the weakness of the enemy in her naval and military establishments ; and withal the disaffection of her subjects. There happened however at this time to be resident in London an English Catholic Missionary (or seminary) priest, who took the trouble to write a letter to Mendoza, in order to disabuse him and his partizans of the erroneous opinions they were propagating respecting England; giving him at the same time what he conceived to be the more proper conduct for Spain to pursue in her invasion of England. This priest, in the interest of Spain, suggests that the hopes of a foreign invasion of England depended less on a large army to be transported, than on a strong catholic party in England, ready to join the foreign forces on landing; he advises to act more politically than by the excommunication of the Sovereign, the Pope's usurped power to absolve subjects from their allegiance, and to dispose of kingdoms by violence, blood, slaughter, and conquest; and, above all, to conceal their inten
tions till the time came for striking the blow effectually: "For," says the writer, "when such things are published without reserve, they only induce the Queen to strengthen her kingdom, by calling out the military, and to guard those parts of the coast where a landing is feasible. Besides," he adds,
every nobleman, knight, and gentleman of fortune, immediately took the alarm, and thought it time, for their own and the public safety, by arming their servants and dependents."*
This honest priest is said to have been afterwards executed for treason, committed during the time that the Armada was on its way to England.
Not only Mendoza and his partizans, but all the priests, politicians, and poets of Spain, were sedulously employing their pens in joyful effusions of her glorious success and triumph, of which it would be little short of impiety to entertain a doubt, and which the grand armament in preparation for the invasion of England would certainly achieve. The following lines,—the translation of part of an infamous Ode, on the intended Armada,-show to what a pitch the bitterness of bigotry, of hellish superstition and national hatred, a Spanish Roman Ca
* The long letter of thirty-two pages which this refers to, is to be found in the Harleian Miscellany and Lord Somers' Tracts. It never reached Mendoza, who, if it had, would have disregarded it.
tholic could work himself up. Addressing Eng
land, he says,
"How art thou doom'd to everlasting shame
Who, for the distaff, dares to take
The sword and sceptre in her bastard hand!
"Mi hermano Bartolo
Se va a Ingalaterra,
A matar al Draque
Other effusions were poured forth, thus prematurely, in songs of triumph, mixed with denunciations of vengeance; but all of them full of prophetic confidence in the success of the intended invasion; and in anticipation of the glories that were destined for Spain, by the subjugation of England, the capture of her Queen, and stability of the supremacy of the Pope. Others again were so sanguine of success as to treat their anticipations in a playful or ludicrous manner. Thus a little childish ballad, said to be found in the Life of Lopé de Vega, by the late Lord Holland (which it is not), is amusing enough;* a little girl, speaking to her playfellow,
* Naval Chronicle.
Y a los Luteranos
De la Bandamessa:
Y una Luterana,
A Señora aguela."
Thus closely and ingeniously translated:
To kill the Drake
And the Queen to take,
And the heretics all to destroy:
And he will give me
When he comes back
A Lutheran boy
With a chain round his neck;
And our lady grandmamma shall have,
In short, the same enthusiasm, that prevailed in Spain the preceding year, did not appear in the least to have been diminished by the destructive operations of Drake, or the delusive negociations in the Netherlands. The Spaniards, in fact, were again prepared, in the spring of the present year, to make the attempt; and when the equipment of the Armada was nearly completed, Alphonso Perez de Gusman, Duke of Medina Sidonia, was appointed to the chief command, and John Martinez Recaldé, an experienced seaman, to the second in command under him. The Duke of Paliano and the Marquis of Santa Croce were originally de
signed to fill these offices, but they both died before the preparations were completed; and it was said that the marquis received his death-blow from Drake, at Cascais, the preceding year; at least he fell sick almost immediately after, and never recovered.
When ready to put to sea, the Duke of Medina Sidonia received his instructions; the outline of which was, that in order to avoid falling in with the English fleet, he should keep as near to the coast of France as wind and weather would permit, and proceed as far as the neighbourhood of Calais, where he might expect to meet the Duke of Parma, with a fleet of small vessels and 40,000 men; and, if not arrived, to come to anchor in a place of safety thereabouts, and wait his joining; when the whole were to stand over and enter the Thames, directing their course for London, which it was presumed would be taken by a sudden assault, or fall after a single battle-that is to say, provided they were permitted quietly to proceed so high up the river, which was not very probable. In laying down this plan of operations, they were not aware that Lord Henry Seymour had taken his station, with a fleet of sixty English and Dutch ships, to prevent the Duke of Parma from coming out of harbour.
The Duke of Sidonia, however, on his arrival in the Groyne, to which the fleet had been driven for