Page images
PDF
EPUB

) re

second fight commenced, and was continued the whole morning, “ till both sides being wearied, the English stood out to sea, and the two remaining Spaniards proceeded up the river.”

What happened between the Admiral and the Vice-Admiral when at sea does not appear, but after a very short time they parted company. Both, however, seem to have made, by mutual agreement or otherwise, the best of their way home; and thus ended this ill-fated expedition, got up with much care and at a great expense, and attended with loss of life and fortune to many, with very little honour and no profit either public or private. Considering the total deviation by Captain Fenton from his instructions, the wasting his time on the coasts of Africa and the Brazils, and resolving to proceed by a route which his instructions strictly forbade him to pursue, it is remarkable that no notice should have been taken, on his return, either of his disobedience or of the total failure of the expedition in consequence thereof. It certainly does not appear that he had lost any credit with the public, or that his character in the naval service was at all damaged by his failure. Perhaps the interposition of one or both the Earls may have prevented any inquiry into the matter; perhaps also the Council may have discouraged it, seeing cause to ascribe something to the ambiguity of their instructions.

We find no further mention of the name of Captain Fenton until the year 1588, when he appears as commander of the Mary Rose, of 600 tons, in one list, on the authority of Sir W. Monson; and of the Antelope, 400, in another list, inserted in Stow's Annals. He was probably selected by the Lord High Admiral on account of his skill in seamanship, which must have been well known to Frobisher. That he took a distinguished share in the defeat of the Spanish Armada has been already noticed, and it is mainly on that score that it was considered an act of justice to include his name in the list of worthies recorded in this volume.

How his future life was employed, there is no clue to guide us; but it appears that his residence was at Deptford, where he might perhaps have had some civil situation in the naval establishments, if there were any there at that time, or in the corporation of Trinity. He died there in the spring of the year 1603, in the church of which town is erected a monument to his memory, by Roger Earl of Corke, who married his brother's daughter, and which bears the following inscription :

“ Memoriæ perenni Edwardi Fenton, Regina Elizabethæ olim pro corpore armigeri, Jano O'Neal, ac post eum Comite Desmoniæ, in Hiberniâ turbantibus, fortissimi Taxiarchi, qui post lustratum, improbo ausu, septentrionalis plagæ apochryphum mare et excussas variis peregrinationibus inertis naturæ latebras, anno 1588, in celebri contra Hispanos naumachiâ, meruit navis prætoriæ navarchus. Obiit anno Domini 1603.”

“ To the never-fading memory of Edward Fenton, heretofore esquire of the body to Queen Elizabeth, a gallant cominander during the troubles of Ireland, first against Shane O'Neal, and then against the Earl of Desmond, who, after having explored the hidden passages of the northern seas, and in other hazardous expeditions visited remote and scarce known places, merited the command of a royal ship in that glorious sea-fight against the Spaniards in the year 1588."

the trouh Pueen Elizaharrenton, her

“ He died,” says Fuller, “ in the year of our Lord 1603, some dayes after Queen Elizabeth;" and this quaint but amusing old chronicler thus goes on:

_“ Observe, by the way, how God set up a gene ration of military men, both by sea and land, which began and expired with the reign of Queen Elizabeth, like a suit of clothes made for her, and worn out with her; for Providence designing a peaceable prince to succeed her (in whose time martial men would be rendered useless), so ordered the matter, that they all almost attended their mistress before or after, within some short distance, unto her

grave.”*

On which the learned editor of the “ Biographia Britannica” observes,-“ He who considers that the famous Earl of Nottingham, Lord High Admiral ;

* Fuller's Worthies.

Sir Charles Blount, Earl of Devonshire, Sir George Carew, Earl of Totness, Sir Walter Raleigh, Sir William Monson, Sir Robert Mansel, and many more great officers by sea and land, survived Queen Elizabeth, may possibly doubt whether the Doctor formed a right judgment of the intention of Providence. This is certain, that the reign of that princess stands in no need at all of rhetorical flourishes; plain language, accuracy in facts, and impartiality in relating them, will set the history of it above anything with which even an ingenious fancy can adorn romance."*

ever

an

[ocr errors]

* Biog. Brit.

MR. THOMAS CAVENDISH.

1586 to 1592.

THE prosperous voyage of Sir Francis Drake, the first, and hitherto the only, Englishman that had circumnavigated the globe, and the vast treasure he brought home from that adventurous voyage, encouraged others to try their fortunes to the western coasts of America, the West India Islands, and the Azores; but none had ventured to follow the route of Drake before the year 1586, when Mr. Thomas Cavendish, of Trimley, in the county of Suffolk, a gentleman of good family and property, but greatly reduced by indulging in the follies of fashionable life, and frequenting the court, conceived the daring project of a voyage to the South Sea, as the best, the easiest, and the most certain way of recruiting his reduced finances. As war might now be said to have commenced in the preceding year against Spain, it could no longer be considered piratical or unlawful to make reprisals upon Spanish trade, or to commit depredations along the shores of the Pacific.

To enable him to prosecute this object, he built

« EelmineJätka »