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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:
Total . . . 30,621 Besides 2088 galley-slaves.
The Spanish official account, since received, gives a total of 28,687.* If the galley-slaves are not included, the amount would be 30,621.
Nothing being left for the distressed and disheartened Armada but to make the best of its way home, they proceeded along the western coast of Ireland, where their losses in ships and men were excessive. By an account taken apparently with great care, and after much inquiry and research, the result was, that
On the west coast of Ireland , Ships.
were wrecked and destroyed And in the British Channel
* 15 and North Sea
Making a total of
· * This amount of men is taken from a small book in the black-letter, dated 1588, and supposed to be a copy of one ordered by Burleigh to be translated and printed. It contains a most minute account of every ship, galley, galleon, and other vessel ; their armament in guns, weapons, and men; their commanders, inferior officers, volunteer adventurers, ministers of religion and justice, knights, &c. It was first published at Lisbon, with a view probably of making an impression of the formidable Armada. Its title is " A True Discourse of the exclusive of those ships taken and men slain in fight, and those that died of sickness and famine. But Stow makes the loss much greater, and Hakluyt says, “ They lost 81 ships in this expedition, and upwards of 13,500 soldiers.”*
The English loss was very small; a Londoner, of which one Cocke was master, is the only vessel mentioned to have gone down in the midst of the enemy. The Spanish narrator ascribes our escapes from their shot to the smallness and nimbleness of our ships in comparison with their own: and he is partly in the right; but their guns, tier above tier, in the lofty forecastles, fixed point blank, threw their shot into the highest rigging or over the mastheads of our small ships. So sensible were the Spaniards of this defect, that, shortly after the war, they began to alter the mode of building their ships, and in the course of the seventeenth century produced some of the finest ships in Europe.
It is now, and has long been, the custom after a great battle, by sea or land, for the commander-inchief to write a public eulogium of those who have behaved well; but nothing of the kind, beyond general praise, appears to have been issued from Lord Charles Howard, either during the contest
Armie which the King of Spain has caused to be assembled at Lisbon, &c.'-In Mr. Thorpe's Catalogue of many very rare and curious old books.
* Stow. Hakluyt.
or at its close; and if he has recorded the merits of any, such record must be looked for in some private collection. Of Lord Henry Seymour and Sir William Wynter, who remained to watch over the movements of the Duke of Parma, he speaks in terms of praise, but nothing after the termination of the contest; nor, indeed, does it appear in any of the chronicles, whether this second son of the Protector belonged either to the army or navy, or neither: he might have subsequently obtained some employment at court, for Rowland White tells us that the salary of Sir Walter Raleigh, as governor of Jersey, was burthened with 3001. a year to Lord Henry Seymour. Before he paid off the Rainbow he became querulous, was jealous of Drake and Frobisher, and in his letters to Mr. Secretary Walsingham was always talking of going home.
There were two officers in the fleet who had more service than any others, yet never received a separate command nor promotion- Captain Thomas Fenner and Captain Robert Cross. The former was Captain of Drake's ship, the Elizabeth Bonaventure, in 1585; of the Dreadnought, in Drake's expedition to Cadiz; of the Nonpareil, in the Armada; of the Dreadnought, in the Portugal expedition; commanded one of the ten ships in Hawkins and Frobisher's expedition to the coast of Spain ; of the Lion, in Lord Thomas Howard's expedition ;