« EelmineJätka »
port for the reception of a Spanish fleet, this powerful rival would then be likely to prove an unwelcome and dangerous neighbour to England.
The Queen, therefore, lost no time in ordering a squadron to be prepared; the command of which was given to Sir Martin Frobisher. It consisted of four of her ships-of-war, exclusive of some small vessels ; with orders to proceed off Brest, and to communicate with Sir John Norris. The ships were, the Vanguard, Sir Martin admiral ; the Rainbow, Captain Fenner vice-admiral; the Dreadnought, Captain Clifford; the Quittance, Captain Saville.
At this time Norris had succeeded in driving the Spaniards out of several places in their possession along the coast of Bretagne, and was proceeding to the attack of Fort Crozon. Norris, on landing his forces before this fort, was delighted to find Sir Martin Frobisher with his squadron at anchor before the same place. The Admiral immediately landed his troops, with a party of seamen; a joint attack was commenced, and carried on with great vigour: and the defence on the part of the besieged was so bravely contested, and persevered in with such obstinacy, that a great number of our gallant English officers and men lost their lives.
Intelligence of what was going on having reached the Queen, the tender concern, which she so invariably manifested for the lives and safety of her people, prompted her on the present occasion to
write to Norris, entreating him to put some check to the boundless valour of her brave people, and to stay their impetuosity. “The blood of man,” she says, “ought not to be squandered away at all adventures; that the boiling heat of pushing men forward had need be curbed, and not encouraged and egged on into danger and ruin: that if he observed these measures, he would gain the credit of his conduct, and sit free at the same time from the charge of cruelty; and that she herself should, upon better ground, commend his care and regard for her subjects.” The work of destruction had, however, been completed before the receipt of this letter; but another was written at or about the same time to Frobisher, bearing date the 14th of November.*
ELIZABETH R. Trustie and welbeloved, wee greet you well : wee have seen your [letter] to our Threasuror and our Admyrall, and thereby perceive your [love] of our service, and also, by others, your owne good carriage, whereby [you] have wonne yourself reputation ; whereof, for that wee imagine it wil be comfort unto you to understand, wee have thought good to vouchsafe to take knowledge of it by our owne hand writinge. Wee know you are sufficientlie instructed from our Admyrall, besides your owne circumspection, howe to prevent any soddaine mischiefe, by fire or otherwise, upon our fleete under your charge ; and yet doe wee thinke it will worke in you the more impression, to be by ourself againe remembred, who have observed by former experience that the Spaniards, for all their boaste, will trust more to their devices than that they dare in deede with force look upon you.
* This MS. letter being partly burnt, the defective words are supplied between brackets.
For the rest of my directions, we leave them to such letters as you shall receave from our counsaile.
Given under our privie signet, at our mansion of Richmond, the 14th of November, in the 36th yeare of our reign, 1594.
( L. S. ) To our trustie and welbeloved Sir Martine Furbussher, Knight.*
Though the Spanish garrison of Crozon, on account of their obstinate resistance, was ultimately put to the sword, and the fort razed to the ground, this signal vengeance was more than counterpoised by the loss of that brave and skilful officer Sir Martin Frobisher. He was wounded in the hip by a musket-ball, to which he seems to have paid little regard, and the surgeon who dressed the wound, less; for, either through ignorance or carelessness, he merely extracted the ball, leaving the wadding behind, which, very shortly after the return of the squadron to Plymouth, festered, and brought on a fever, that carried him off in a few days.
In a letter, addressed apparently to the Lord High Admiral, the last he ever wrote, and after receiving his death-wound, he relates with great coolness the taking of the fort, and the loss sustained in the siege; and then says,
* Cottonian MS., Otho E 9.
“I was shott in with a bullett, at the batterie along
[burnt] huckle-bone, so as I was driven to have an insi[cion? qu.] made to take out the bullet ; so as I am neither [able?] to goe nor ride; and the mariners are verie unwilling to goe except I goe with them myself. Yet, [if] I find it come to an extremitie, we will [do] what we are able: if we had vittels, it were easily done, but here is none to be had.” *
His body was interred at Plymouth, with funeral honours, as some accounts say; but, by an extract from the Plymouth register, it would appear that his bowels only were interred at Plymouth, and his corpse sent up to London. There is no monument whatever to his memory at the place of his death. In speaking of the last act of his life, “Thus fell,” says Camden, “a man of undaunted courage, and inferior to none of that age in experience and conduct, or the reputation of a brave commander.” Fuller, in his • Worthies of England,' says, “ He was very valiant, but withal harsh and violent (faults which may be dispensed with in one of his profession); and our chronicles loudly resound the signal service, in eighty-eight, for which he was knighted.” †
* Cottonian MS., Caligula.
† Fuller's Worthies.
CAPTAIN JOHN DAVI.S.
1585 To 1593.
FIRST VOYAGE, 1585.
NOTWITHSTANDING the disappointment which Frobisher met with in his three voyages, the merchants of London and of the west country still persuaded themselves “of the likelyhood of the discoverie of the north-west passage,” concerning and in favour of which Sir Humphrey Gilbert had written a long and clever treatise. They said that the former adventurers had been diverted from the main
purpose by objects foreign to the original design, and chiefly by a vain search after gold and silver mines; they therefore resolved to set on foot a new expedition, the sole object of which should be that of discovery. The conducting of the outfit was intrusted to Mr. William Sanderson, merchant of London; and Mr. John Davis, of Sandridge, in Devonshire, recommended by his neighbour, Mr. Adrian Gilbert, was appointed as captain and chief pilot of this new enterprise. Two small barks, one of fifty tons, called the Sunshine, and the other of thirtyfive tons, called the Moonshine, were placed under his orders. In the first were twenty-three men,