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which they were filled, while his ships had noneand above all, the sacrifice of life, which such an act would render inevitable, and the damage the ships would sustain—these or any of them would defeat the object for which his fleet had been specially prepared.
There was in fact the greatest probability that the severest trial was yet to come, and for five days, and in three actions, the English had sustained little or no loss, while the Spanish Armada was flying before them. It was not yet their object therefore to put forth all their strength. They had besides to look forward to a junction of the Armada with the Duke of Parma’s flotilla, with thirty to forty thousand troops on board, intended, under protection of the fleet, to proceed up the Thames, and to sack London. This was their main object, and had they not been diverted from their original intention of proceeding along the coast of France to the neighbourhood of Dunkirk, instead of appearing before Plymouth, led by false information, they might have attempted, at least, to carry their project into execution, while our fleet was quietly at their moorings in Plymouth harbour; for Lord Henry Seymour, with his flotilla, must inevitably have been overwhelmed.
The Spanish fleet, being now unmolested by the English, came to anchor off Calais. The Lord Admiral followed, and coolly anchored his fleet within cannon shot of the enemy, and both remained passive for two days, when after due preparation a squadron of eight fire-ships were sent off with a fair wind, directing them towards the body of the Spanish fleet, which caused so much confusion and dispersion, as to end in their flight and in giving up the contest. It was supposed, and generally believed, that the Queen suggested the employment of fire-ships, and a medal with a dispersed fleet and fire-ships pursuing it, and bearing the motto “ Dux foemina fecit”_" The general who caused it was a woman ”—perhaps will be thought some confirmation of it. Hawkins and Drake, however, could not have forgotten the day when, at San Juan d'Ulloa, they cut their cables and ran out of that port, to escape the two fire-ships sent against them by the Spaniards. Sir Richard Hawkins says that, on the present occasion, two of his ships were fitted as part of the fire-ships.
To the destruction of this boasted Armada, by which perhaps the salvation of the kingdom was secured, three causes may be said to have contributed—the dispersion of the Spanish fleet by our fire-ships—the strong south-west wind then prevailing—and the defection of the Prince of Parma. With regard to the first and most important, which indeed was the prelude to the rest and to the catastrophe which succeeded, Camden has supplied an interesting description. “ But Queen Elizabeth, 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,
251 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,
(Signed) C. HOWARD. Sir, I wyll not wryght unto heer Majestie befor mor
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.