« EelmineJätka »
under his immediate orders, the three most experienced seamen in the kingdom-Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher-all well known to the Queen, and no doubt strongly recommended by her to the Lord Admiral.
To these naval officers were added, by the Privy Council, some of the most experienced men in the kingdom, civil and military, to arrange the plan of operations both by sea and land, not merely defensive, but to have in readiness such a force of both services as might be able to meet the enemy, and act on the offensive in whatever part of the coast they should attempt to make a landing. Lord Charles first hoisted his flag in the Bear; appointed Drake, in the Revenge, his Vice-Admiral;
nd Hawkins, in the Victory, his Rear-Admiral ; and Frobisher, in the Triumph, also his RearAdmiral. The Bear was afterwards changed for the Ark-Royal. Lord Henry Seymour and Captain William Wynter were occasionally stationed in the Downs, and on the coast about Dunkirk, to watch the proceedings of the Duke of Parma, the Governor of the Spanish provinces in the Netherlands, who was directed to prepare a flotilla, capable of conveying across to the mouth of the Thames not less than 40,000 men, to form a junction with that grand Armada, which was presumptuously styled, the Invincible. His head-quarters were at Dunkirk.
While all these vigorous preparations were going on, such was the treacherous conduct of Philip that he proposed, through the Duke of Parma, that Commissioners should meet in the Netherlands, from each party, to negociate a treaty of peace. The Lord High Admiral soon perceived that it was proposed only as a feint; that there was no sincerity in it; and that, although Her Majesty did not think proper to put a direct negative upon it, but rather appeared to entertain it, the Lord Admiral determined to get his fleet into the best order, to be prepared for whatever might happen.
In this view of the subject Lord Charles was strongly confirmed in the early part of the year 1588. He was satisfied that the treaty, supposed to be carrying on for a peace with Spain, by commissioners from the Duke of Parma and others from Elizabeth, was an idle waste of time, and would end in nothing; that it was worse than this, and only sought to be prolonged to afford to Philip the means of accomplishing what he had set his mind upon, and give him sufficient time to repair the losses, which Drake had inflicted on his fleet and preparations the preceding year at Cadiz. The Duke of Parma was also pushing on his preparations, increasing his flat-bottomed boats, and raising recruits of soldiers to assist in the invasion of England, while pretending to be anxious for a speedy : settlement of a treaty of peace. But the Lord
Admiral was not to be cajoled. In the then state of Scotland, he deemed it not improbable that the combined forces might attempt something in that disturbed country; and he therefore kept a considerable portion of the fleet, under his immediate orders, sometimes in the Medway, sometimes at Margate, or in the Downs.
The first letter of Lord Charles Howard, of those about to be given, is addressed to the Lord High Treasurer of England, and dated from “aboarde the Beare, 22nd December, 1587.” It urges his Lordship to issue orders, that the warrant for the whole year may be paid to Mr. Hawkins, in order that the men may receive two months' wages in advance, and for the purchase of victuals, &c. “ Many greate charges,” he says, “extraordinarie hathe growne this quarter, which I cold hardlie have beleved unless with myn owne eyes and good examination I had seene.”
From this time till the successful termination of the contest he never quitted his ship, but kept up a constant correspondence with the Queen's Secretary, Sir Francis Walsingham. The character of these letters has been described in the Introduction, where it is stated, that they are strictly printed from his own autographs in the State Paper Office. The following list contains those written between the 22nd of December, 1587, and the 17th of July, 1588, a few days before the appearance of the Armada in the Channel :
LIST OF THE LETTERS FROM 1 to 17.
No. 1.-LORD C. HOWARD to LORD BURGHLEY. Dec. 22, 1587.-H.M.S. “ the Beare:” asks for money to pay the people, and for victuals.
No. 2.- LORD C. Howard to Sir F. WALSINGHAM. Jan. 24, 1587-8.-Doubts the truth of the King of Spain's intentions, as he has been told, to dissolve his forces; asks for three or four more ships.
No. 3.–To SIR FRANCIS WALSINGHAM. Jan. 27, 1587-8.-Doubts the sincerity of the Scottish King, and
says he has made, of the French King, the Scottish King, and Spanish King, a Trinitie that he never trusts to be saved by.
No. 4.—To SIR FRANCIS WALSINGHAM. Jan. 26, 1587-8.-Laments he has nothing to do, and thinks his remaining idle will be made a jest of.
No. 5.—To SIR FRANCIS WALSINGHAM. Feb.1, 1587-8.—Tells him he has a good Company, who, if Her Majesty will not spare her purse, will not spare their lives; cautions him as to the enemy, knowing our state well.
No. 6.—To SIR FRANCIS WALSINGHAM. Feb. 11, 1587-8.-Jokes about Lord Sheffield's kinsman and the barber being inclined to Papistrie, but the Lord Sheffield is a good Protestant; ends with matter relating to Walcheren and to Dunkirk.
No. 7.-To SIR FRANCIS WALSINGHAM. Feb. 14, 1587-8.—Congratulates him on the good course taken
by the Scotch King, and trusts Her Majesty will not refuse him the relief he asks for.
No. 8.—To Sir FRANCIS WALSINGHAM. Mar. 9, 1587-8.—Relates his being driven into Flushing,
where he found the “ Elizabeth Bonadventure” on shore, and bestows high praise on Lord Henry Seymour for his conduct on the occasion; his intercourse with the Hollanders. No. 9.-LORD HENRY SEYMOUR to Sir FRANCIS
WALSINGHAM. Mar. 10, 1587-8.–On the same subject of the “ Elizabeth
No. 10.–LORD C. HOWARD to Sir F. WALSINGHAM. Mar. 11, 1587-8.-Speaks of Dunkirk Harbour, and of making
preparations for choking it up, if the peace is not likely to go on, and other matters.
No. 11.–To SIR FRANCIS WALSINGHAM. April 7, 1588.–Laments that Her Majesty is too careless of her.
self at this dangerous time, and blames her for not having 4000 foot and 1000 horse for the safety of her person.
No. 12.–To SIR FRANCIS WALSINGHAM. June 15, 1588.-The Ark Royal at Plymouth.—The Queen
having signified her pleasure that the Lord Admiral should not go so far as the coast of Spain, he states his reasons to show that he was right in so doing, and Her Majesty wrong.
No. 13.—To Sir F. WALSINGHAM. June 19, 1588.—To impress on the Queen's mind that the
treacherous treaty for peace was only to give time to the King of Spain, and that she should take care of herself, and cautions her against the Papists.
No. 14.-To Sir F. WALSINGHAM. June 22, 1588.-For the love of God, he says, let the narrow
seas be well watched, and expresses sorrow that the Queen will not thoroughly awake in this most dangerous time.
No. 15.—LORD C. HOWARD to QUEEN ELIZABETH. June 23, 1588.- A letter to the Queen, expressing his opinion
and advice in strong and urgent terms, entreating her to be thoroughly awake, and to draw her forces round about her.
No. 16.—To the LORDS of the Privy COUNCIL. June 23, 1588.-Announcing his intention to put to sea within
two hours, even if he had but two days' victuals, and prays for money to be sent to the contractor for supplying provisions.
No. 17.–To LORD BURGHLEY. July 17, 1588.–Writes to him for money to meet the extraor
dinary charges incurred by the ships under his immediate command, and those of Sir Francis Drake and Mr. Hawkins, in order to keep the forces together up to the 28th July.