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to the year 1619, when Villiers Duke of Buckingham was appointed to that high situation. At the time of his resignation he had held the office thirtyfour years. The King on this occasion settled on him a pension of 10001. a year, and remitted a debt of 18,0001. or 20,0001., incurred by the maintenance of a large family, and the keeping up of five or six houses, one of which at Deptford was pulled down not many years ago, when a coat of arms of the noble Earl was discovered in it; but he contributed very largely in providing ships and men entirely at his own expense, both against the Spanish Armada and for the voyage to Cadiz. His liberality and generosity were unbounded, and in particular to all matters connected with the naval service; he was kind and charitable beyond measure to the poor seamen of the fleet. He borrowed 3000 pystolets from the money taken by Drake out of De Valdez' ship; “ For,” says he, “ by Jesus, I had not three pounds lefte in the world;" and he adds, “ I will repay it within ten days after my coming home; but I do assure you my plate has gone before :” and he observes, “If I had not some (money) to have bestowed upon some poor and miserable men, I should have wished myself out of the worlde.”
His generous disposition appears about this time to have reduced his finances to a very low ebb. Nothing could manifest this more strongly than the following expression of his feelings in a letter (No. 13) to Sir F. Walsingham :-“If it please God
to call me to him in this service (the Armada) of her Majesty, which I amost willing to spend my life in, her Majesty, of her goodness, will bestow my boy upon my poor wife, and let my poor wife have the keeping either of Hampton Court or Oatlands, I shall think myself most bound to her Majesty; for I do assure you, Sir, I shall not leave her so well as so good a wife doth deserve."
The few remaining years of this venerable peer were passed in honourable ease and retirement, until the time of his decease, which took place on the 14th December, 1624, in the 88th year of his age, at which advanced period he died, and, as he had lived, beloved and respected, by the nation at large.
The Earl of Nottingham appears, indeed, to have passed through a long and active life, without making a single enemy; and every writer, who has occasion to mention his name, has something to say in his praise; the only failing ascribed to him, if it could be so called, was his want of learning, a defect at this time not uncommon, even among the highest ranks of society. Queen Elizabeth herself was a much better Latin than English scholar: the reason is obvious enough; for the one there were grammars and fixed rules, for the other none. The defect in the language of the Lord Admiral was amply compensated by good sense and good conduct. The Queen oft repeated• Howard was born to serve and save his country.” Camden says “he was a person extremely graceful
in his appearance, of a just and honest disposition, incapable either of doing bad things, or of seeing them done without exposing them. He was a nobleman whose courage no danger could daunt, whose fidelity no temptation could impeach, much less corrupt.” Another tells us that his fidelity was impregnable; and Naunton says, he was a good, honest, and brave man. Under Elizabeth he held three of the greatest offices in the kingdom--Earl Marshal of England, High Steward of the Household, and Lord High Admiral of England; and in addition, a Privy Councillor, and Knight of the Garter. So high did he stand in the Queen's confidence, that in 1600, when a serious alarm took place in the public mind, she appointed the Earl of Nottingham Lord Lieutenant-General of all England, with the sole and supreme command of both fleet and army, which caused him to be sometimes with the fleet in the Downs, and sometimes on shore with the army.*
He was twice married : first to a daughter of Lord Hunsdon, by whom he had William, who died in his father's life-time, and Charles, who succeeded to his estate and honours; he had, besides, three daughters. By his second marriage with the daughter of James Stuart, Earl of Murray, he had also two sons, James, who died young, and Charles, who succeeded his half-brother of the same name to the Earldom of Nottingham.
CAPTAIN THOMAS FENNER.
1588 to 1600.
It is not a little remarkable that this gallant naval officer, who appears to have seen more service and to have been employed in more expeditions than almost any other naval officer during the reign of Queen Elizabeth, should never have had the command of a fleet or squadron conferred on him; and the more extraordinary, as he had the good fortune to serve under almost every great sea officer of her Majesty's navy, and was highly spoken of by all. The Lord High Admiral generally includes him, by name, in his reports to the Queen, as one among those whom the nation highly esteems, Drake, Frobisher, Hawkins. Neither do we meet with his name, except incidentally, as being in command of a ship of war attached to some expedition; and what is most extraordinary of all, neither does the name of Fenner occur in any biographical shape; who, or in what condition of life his parents were; where they resided; what was his education; or, in short, in what line of life he was brought up. Even Fuller cannot afford him a niche in his temple
of worthies. The name and services of such a man are too valuable to be overlooked.
The Fenners, however, would appear to have been a family belonging to, or connected with, naval concerns, as we find from a trading voyage to Guinea and the Azores, about the year 1566, described by Hakluyt, that the admiral was George Fenner, and the vice-admiral Edward Fenner. Lancaster also, in the year 1594, fell in with a George Venner (Fenner), in command of a small squadron, who assisted him in the capture of Fernanbuco; and, moreover, we have no fewer than three brothers, each commanding a ship of war, in the fleet employed against the Spanish Armada—Thomas Fenner, in the Nonpareil; Edward Fenner, in the Swiftsure; and William Fenner, in the Aid. But, before this, Thomas was captain to Sir Francis Drake in the Elizabeth Bonaventure, on the West India voyage in 1585; and again accompanied Drake on his expedition to Cadiz in command of the Dreadnought. Of the result of this voyage we have, from the pen of Drake, a graphic description, chiefly of that portion of it which relates to the destruction of the ships of war and merchantmen, together with the preparations which had for some time been making for carrying into execution the plan of the invasion of England; the overthrow of which Drake laconically called “singeing the King of Spain's beard.” Drake, however, treats but slightly of the capture