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in very good tearms with you, and, thanks be to God, well pacified, and you are againe her sweet Robyn."*
But graver concerns, than gossiping with Raleigh, at this time began to occupy the attention of the Queen and the nation. Philip of Spain had, during three years, been making preparations for the invasion of England, little interrupted in his home possessions, except by Sir Francis Drake, who, the year before the great attempt was made, destroyed the most important part of his preparations assembled in the harbour of Cadiz.
The resources of Philip were far beyond those of any other
power in Europe. He had the largest and best-disciplined army, and the most extensive navy, in the number and size of its ships, and the greatest supply of money to support them, that any other nation could boast of. But the mind of Elizabeth and the talents of her ministers were equal to the crisis. A meeting was called of noblemen and gentlemen, with the most experienced naval and military officers, whose opinions were considered most valuable in deciding on measures to be taken for the protection of the coast, and for preparing a naval armament to meet that of Spain, presumptuously described as the Invincible Armada. Among the persons consulted was Raleigh, and to him was consigned the command of the forces to be * Leicester Correspondence.
stationed at Plymouth, besides those raised in the Stannaries, as Lord Warden. These land forces were deemed by some to be sufficient for repelling invasion; but Raleigh, among others, repudiated the idea : and a passage in his · History of the World, written long after, alludes to this subject, when under discussion :-“ As to the general question,” says he, “ whether England, without help of her fleet, be able to debar an enemy from landing, I hold that it is unable to do so; and therefore I think it most dangerous to make the adventure; for the encouragement of a first victory to an enemy, and the discouragement of being beaten to the invaded, may draw after it a most perilous consequence.
It is said that the Armada, having passed Plymouth, Raleigh, afraid that the principal fight might take place without his presence, left his charge on shore to proper officers, and with a company of nobles and gentlemen, in a small squadron, joined the fleet on the morning of the 23rd of July. A small squadron of three or four ships, sent by Raleigh, are mentioned in the ships contributed from various ports on the coast; but instead of Raleigh taking any part in the fleet, or in any of the engagements, there is no mention of his being there on the 23rd of July, or at any time; for we are told by Camden, who is rarely wrong, that on or about the 26th, a great many of the sons of the nobility
Tytler, from Hist. of the World.
and gentry entered themselves volunteers, and with incredible cheerfulness hired ships at their own charge, and repaired on board to join the Lord Admiral; that in the mean time the justices of peace on the sea coasts, and others, sent men, powder and ball, and provisions, to the fleet. Among these he mentions the Earls of Oxford, Northumberland, Cumberland, Sir Thomas and Sir Robert Cecil, Sir Charles Blount, Sir Walter Raleigh, &c.; but none of the historians of the Armada take any notice of his name as being present.
It is also a mistake to give him any share in the Portugal expedition, under Drake and Norris. Every officer therein employed, naval and military, is mentioned by Colonel Wingfield ; but the name of Raleigh does not appear among them. It is rather remarkable that Drake, in all his voyages, was not once associated with Sir Walter Raleigh.
He was, however, appointed to the command of a squadron destined to act against Panama, combined with a scheme for intercepting the Plate fleet. Two Queen's ships were allotted for this service, and Raleigh, together with his brother adventurers, added thirteen more. On this expedition Raleigh was appointed Admiral, but it turned out for him a most unfortunate undertaking. He had scarcely got out of the Channel when he was overtaken by Sir Martin Frobisher in the Disdain, bringing orders from the Queen for his return, and to give over the command to Sir Martin. By a letter to Sir Robert Cecil before sailing, it would appear he had thoughts of returning, but he adds :-“I mean not to come away, as they say I will for fear of a marriage, and I know not what. If any such thing were, I would have imparted it to yourself before any man living. ... For I protest before God there is none on the face of the earth that I would be fastened unto.”
Here we have the whole explanation of his recal. The report of the marriage, he alludes to, arose out of an intrigue he had carried on with Miss Elizabeth Throgmorton, one of the Queen's maids of honour, a lady of great beauty and accomplishments, to whom, notwithstanding his protest against being fastened to any woman on the face of the earth, he was afterwards married. The story being discovered, the Queen was highly incensed at the imprudence of the young lady, and the impudence of a favourite servant. To punish both, she recalled Sir Walter; and the moment he set his foot ashore, he and his mistress were committed to the Tower. Raleigh, however, knew one weak point in Her Majesty—the love of flattery; and, in a letter to Cecil, he speaks of his broken heart, on hearing that the Queen is gone away far off. “I, that was wont to behold her riding like Alexander, hunting like Diana, walking like Venus; the gentle wind blowing her fair hair about her pure cheeks like
a nymph; sometime sitting in the shade like a goddess; sometime singing like an angel,” &c. &c. Now all this was meant to be seen and read by the angel, the goddess, and the nymph of sixty years of age! But it had the desired effect of his release, which speedily took place, and the marriage followed; and Miss Throgmorton became a most faithful and affectionate wife, and shared all his future misfortunes, his disgrace, and long imprisonment, which ended only in his being most shamefully brought to the scaffold.
The Queen, however, at least affected to be by no means satisfied, and he was excluded from the court. But Sir Walter, strongly as he might feel the misfortune of Her Majesty's displeasure, was a man of such diversified resources and energy of character, as not idly to sit down and mope or despond under his present misfortune. By reading some of the Spanish accounts of the vast riches of gold and silver mines in South America, he projected a voyage to that part of Guiana, through which the great river Orinoco flows. Here was to be discovered the El Dorado, the golden kingdom of the Spaniards. The description which the old Spanish historians had given of the wonderful city of Manoa inflamed his imagination; but it is not credible that such idle stories could have
perverted his judgment, though they might excite his curiosity and inflame his desire of becoming the