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by a wise precaution, baffled all his attempts, and dash'd the forward hopes of the Spaniard all at once; for, by her Majesty's orders, the Lord Admiral got ready eight of his worst ships the very day after the Spaniards came to anchor; and having bestowed upon them a good plenty of pitch, tar, and rosin, and lined them well with brimstone and other combustible matter, they sent them before the wind, in the dead time of the night, under the conduct of Young and Prowse, into the midst of the Spanish fleet; the approach of which was no sooner discovered by the Spaniards, and the prodigious blaze which the fire made all the sea over, but they, suspecting that these fire-ships were big with other engines of slaughter, besides the destructive element that shewed itself without, began to raise a most hideous clamour of_Cut your cables, and get up your anchors !'-and in a panic fright put to sea with all the confusion and precipitancy imaginable. One of the fleet (a large galliass) having broken her rudder, floated up and down before the wind, and the next day making for Calais in a very piteous plight, she at last struck upon the sands, and after a smart, long, and doubtful engagement, was taken by Amias Preston, Thomas Gerard, and Harvey. The captain of her, Don Hugo de Moncada, being first slain, and the soldiers and rowers either drowned or put to the sword, the English pillaged a great quantity of gold she had on board, and the ship and guns fell to the Governor of Calais."*
After this galliass had drifted on shore Lord Charles addressed the following letter to Mr. Secretary Walsingham :
(No. 18.) LORD CHARLES HOWARD TO HIS VERIE LOVING FRIEND SIR F. WALSYNGHAM.
1588, July 29. SIR,—I have receaved your letter, wherin you desire a proportione of shot and poder to be set downe by me, and sente unto you, which by reason of the uncertaintie of the service, noe man can doe, therfore I praie you to send with all speed as mutche as you can.
And bicause som of our ships are victualed but for a verie shorte time, and my Lord Henry Seymour with his companie, not for one daie, in like to praie you to dispache awaie our victuales with all possible speed, bicause we knowe not whether we shalbe driven to pursue the Spanish fleete.
This morninge we drave a gallias ashore before Callis, whither I sent my longe boate to board her, where divers of my men were slaine, and my Leiftenante sore hurte, in the takinge of her. Eaver since we have chased them in feighte untill this eaveninge late, and distressed them mutche; but there fleete consistethe of mightie ships and greate strengthe, yet we doubte not by Godes good asistance to oppresse them, and soe I bid you hartely farewell. From aboarde her Majesties good ship the Arke, the 29 of Julye, 1588.
Youre very lovinge freind,
be downe. Ther forse is wonderfull gret and strong, and yet we pluke ther fetters (feathers) by lyttell and lyttell. I pray to God that the forses on the land be strong anofe to amach so pusant a forse. Ther is nit on (not one) Flushinge nor Holender at the sees.
Sir,—I have taken the chiefe gallias this daie before Callis, with the losse of divers of my men; but Maister Gorden dothe detaine her, as I heare saye. I cold not send unto hym, bicause I was in feighte, therfore I praie you to write unto him eather to deliver her, or, at least wise, to promise uppon his honoure that he will not yeald her up againe unto the enemye.*
The southerly wind was the next auxiliary in the destruction of the Armada. It drove them into the North Sea, and when it changed to the northwest, and the Spanish admiral was desirous of standing in towards the coast to communicate with the Prince of Parma, the pilots refused to take the ships towards that quarter, on account of the shoals and sands on the Flemish coast: they were also closely pursued by the Lord Admiral, and attacked briskly by the English fleet, which was the fourth and last general engagement.
But both were disposed to relax their efforts from a scarcity of ammunition. Lord Henry Seymour, in a letter to the Queen, describes a fight he had of six hours, within less than musket-shot. As this is the only affair in which Lord Henry was concerned, the following extract may be borrowed from the Life of Drake:'
* MS., State Paper Office.
From Lord Henry Seymour to Her Majesty. “In the meantime, Sir Francis Drake gave the first charge uppon the Spanish Admiral, being accompanied with the Triumph, the Victory, and others.
“Myself with the Vanguard, the Antelop and others, charged upon sayle, being somewhat broken and distressed, three of their great shippes, among which one ship shot one of them through six times, being within less than musket shot. After the long fight which continued almost six owers, and ended between four and five in the afternoon, until Tuesday at seven in the evening, we continued by them; and your Majestie's fleet followed the Spaniards along the Channel, until we came athwart the Brill, where I was commanded by my Lord Admiral, with your Majestie's fleet under my charge, to return back for the defence of your Majestie's coasts, if any thing be attempted by the Duke of Parma ; and therein have obeyed his Lordship, much against my will, expecting your Majestie's further pleasure.”*
Lord Henry was then in command of the Golden Lion, Sir William Wynter in the Vanguard, and Sir Henry Palmer in the Antelope, all good men; yet it so happened that none of these officers appear to have been afterwards employed. After this and'a change of wind to the south-west, and, as the ‘Spanish Narrative' says, a consultation whether to return to the British Channel or pursue their course to the northward and round Ireland to Spain, the latter was decided on; but by the detailed account given in that Narrative,' a succession of very determined attacks on both sides continued for several days with considerable
MS., State Paper Office.
loss to the Spaniards, after which, on the 2nd of August, they got clear of their English pursuers, and continued their course to the northward, while the English, in want of provisions and ammunition, bent their way to the several ports of the Channel, where the fleet, with the exception of those left to guard the narrow sea and to watch Dunkirk, were ordered to prepare for paying off into a state of ordinary. Not so the Spanish fleet; scattered over the wide ocean, as the medal says, “ Afflavit Deus et dissipantur."
The third and last auxiliary of the English was the defection of the Duke of Parma; who probably had not the means, and certainly not the inclination, to come into collision with the English forces; not that he was deficient in talent or courage, for he had shown himself one of the ablest generals of the age. He must have seen, which the King of Spain did not see, that the spirit of the English lion was roused both by sea and land, and that his reputation would suffer by a defeat, which could scarcely have been doubtful. The repeated messages sent to him from the Armada, and his disregard of them, appeared to have much distressed the Duke of Medina Sidonia, and his conduct no doubt furnished him with one excuse to be made to the King for his return re infectâ.
The original force of the Armada, in men (as stated in the Life of Drake'), was as follows: