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THE VOYAGE ROUND THE WORLD.
Preliminary observations-Secrecy of Drake's destination, the cause of a rival proceeding-Oxenham's disastrous voyage and death-Drake's squadron-Its arrival at St. JulianMysterious occurrence there-Passage through the Strait of Magelhaens-Driven down to Cape Horn-Passage up the North Pacific.
"FIVE years," says Camden, "after his return from a former voyage, to wit, in the year 1572, when Drake had gotten a pretty store of money, by playing the seaman and the pirate, he, to lick himself whole of the damage he had receaved from the Spaniards (which a divine belonging to the fleet had easily persuaded him to be lawful), set sail again for America.'
There can be little doubt that Captain Drake did return from his late voyage with "a pretty store of money," after discharging all demands upon it; and admitting it to be so, it was not likely that a person of his active and vigorous mind would sit down quietly, and lapse into a state of listless indolence, but rather be on the look out for some fresh employment congenial with his enter
prising disposition. He betrayed no haste, however, to embark on a new voyage. Previous to the last, he had made the acquaintance of the Earl of Essex, who was now appointed Governor of the province of Ulster, with the view of quelling the rebels, more particularly in the district of Clandeboy, by means of volunteer adventurers, which he was himself to raise, and for which they were to be rewarded by grants of land.
Drake, thinking he might be of material assistance to his friend, and perhaps with a view to his own interest, "furnished," furnished," says Stow, says Stow," at his own proper expense, three frigates with men and munition, and served voluntary in Ireland under Walter Earl of Essex; where he did excellent service both by sea and land, at the winning of divers strong forts."* We are not, however, to suppose that a frigate in those days had any resemblance or analogy to the frigate of ours. A fregata was a small pinnace moved by sails and oars, of five, ten, or fifteen tons measurement, in use mostly in the Mediterranean. There was no such name as frigate in our navy at that time.
The project, however, failed. We learn from Rapin that, "in 1573 Walter Devereux, Earl of Essex, had leave to go Ireland, to conquer the country of Clandeboy, at his own expense. But his enterprise was not crowned with success, because he was privately hindered by the Earl of Leicester,
* Stow's Annals.
his enemy. An Irish historian, Mc Skimmin, tells us a little more. "In the same year (1573) came the Right Hon. the Earl of Essex into this land, as Captain General and Governor of Ulster, and was, at this time, the chief of a band of military adventurers. He drove the Scots out of Clandeboy, and took the Castle of Lifford from Con. O'Donnell ; but making little progress, and receiving many angry messages from court, at the instigations of Lord Leicester, who was his greatest enemy, he resigned his command, and retired to Dublin, where he died of a broken heart, in September, 1576, at the early age of 36."
This visit, however, of Drake's undoubtedly led to the establishment of his future reputation, by the introduction it procured for him to Sir Christopher Hatton, then Vice-Chamberlain, and by him to the Queen, who, being apprized of his adventurous expedition and success against her bitterest enemy, gave him a most flattering reception, and encouraged him to follow up his brave and successful attacks upon the Indian colonies of Spain; and some of his historians add, that she gave him a commission to make reprisals. This would have been equivalent to a declaration of war, and therefore is not credible; still less so that she should say to him at the first interview, as the old chroniclers mostly have it, and repeated in the "World Encompassed," "I account that he who striketh * Rapin's History of England.
thee, Drake, striketh me." Such an expression might have escaped the royal lips, not always discreetly closed, at a future period, after his return from this circumnavigation voyage, when she condescended to visit the "Golden Hind" at Deptford, and when Drake had been stricken by certain of his own countrymen,-she might have then assuaged the pain that envy had inflicted, by the balm of an expression of such soothing kindness,-but she did enough at once to raise his fortune and reputation; and it had that effect.
When we regard the early period of our foreign voyages, in which the present one was about to be made, the means by which it was made, and the success with which it was crowned, it must ever be, as it has long been, a splendid memorial of one of the most daring and adventurous enterprises, and the most glorious in its result, that the naval exploits of England, many and brilliant as they are, can supply. We mean not to compare it to one of those gallant conflicts with an enemy, where the forces are nearly equal, and victory or disgrace must be the result; this is an exploit of a different character, and admits not of such comparison; but, to undertake a voyage on a sea hitherto unknown and unnavigated; to attack advisedly an enemy's distant territory, with scanty and inadequate means; to perform what had but once been attempted, and had failed; and to return triumphantly home, are exploits worthy of that high distinction and
renown which it procured for him. And with what means were they achieved? with five small ships, the largest of one hundred, the smallest of fifteen tons, and the average of the whole only fiftyfive tons. With these he started on a voyage round the world, which had never been done but once, passed through the Straits of Magelhaens, which had never been passed but once, and "accounted so terrible in those days that the very thought of attempting it was dreadful;" the other half of the world was passed over with his own single ship; and all this, be it recollected, undertaken by a private individual, known but by a single successful adventure, made with two miserable vessels, unassisted by any public patronage, and fitted out, from any thing that appears to the contrary, entirely at his own expense, or upon his own credit with a few friends. Yet on this Yet on this voyage, conducted by himself and his two brothers, both of whom perished on the occasion, he laid the solid foundation of his future fame and fortune.
From the luxurious manner in which it is stated that Drake fitted out his own ship, for the present voyage, it may be concluded that there was no want of funds. His ships were supplied with all manner of necessaries and provisions for the long and hazardous voyage in contemplation; nor were they confined to such as were absolutely necessary. Articles were provided to administer, not merely to his comforts, but also to his pleasures and amuse