Page images
PDF
EPUB

whole fleet into foure squadrons whereof the first he commanded himself, the second he committed to Drake, the third to Hawkins, and the fourth to Forbisher; and appointed out of every Squadron certaine small vessels to give the charge from divers parts in the dead of the night but being becalmed, his designe failed of the effect.

The 25. day which was S. James his day, the Saint Anne a galleoun of Portugall, which could not course with the rest, was set upon by certaine small English ships to whose rescue came Leva, and Don Diego Telles Enriques, with three Galleasses which the Lord Admirall him selfe, and the Lord Thomas Howard in the golden Lyon, towing their ships with their boats, (so great was the calme) charged in such sort with force of their ordnance, that much ado they had, and not without losse, to free the Galleoun; and from that time no Galleasses would undertake to fight. The Spaniards report, that the English the same day beat the Spanish Admirall in the utter squadron with their great ordnance neere than before, and having slain many men, shot downe her maine maste, but Mexia and Recalde in good time repulsed the English: That then the Spanish Admirall assisted by Recalde and others, set upon the English admirall, and that the English admirall escaped by meanes of the winde turning: That the Spaniards from that time gave over the pursuite, and holding on their course, dispatched again a messenger to Parma, to joyne his fleet with all speed with the King's Armado, and withall to send great shot. These things were unknowne to the English, who write that from one of the Spanish ships they rent the lanterne, and from another the beake head, and did much hurt to the

third That the Non-Pariglia and the Maryrose fought a while with the Spaniards: and that other ships rescued the Triumph which was in danger. Thus in the manner of the fights they which were present thereat, do not report the same things of the same, whilest every one on both sides mentioned what he himselfe observed.

The next day the Lord Admirall knighted the Lord Thomas Howard, the Lord Sheffield, Roger Townsend, John Hawkins, and Martin Forbisher, for their valour. And it was resolved from thenceforth to assaile the enemy no more, till they came to the British fryth or Straits of Calys, where the Lord Henry Seimore, and Sir William Winter awaited their comming. So with a faire Etesian gale (which in our skie bloweth for the most part from the South-west and by South cleare and faire) the Spanish fleet sailed forward, the English fleet following it close at the heeles. But so farre was it from terrifying the sea coast with the name of Invincible or with the terrible spectacle, that the youth of England, with a certaine incredible alacrity (leaving their parents, wives, and children, cousins and friends, out of their entire love to their country) hired ships from all parts at their owne private charges, and joyned with the fleet in great number: and amongst others the Earles of Oxford, Northumberland, Cumberland, Thomas and Robert Cecyl, Henry Brooke, Charles Blunt, Walter Raleigh, William Hatton, Robert Cary, Ambrose Willoughby, Thomas Gerard, Arthur Gorges, and others of great note.

11. THE DESTRUCTION OF THE ARMADA

[CAMDEN'S Elizabeth]

This section tells of the final annihilation of the Spanish fleet.

The 27. day of this moneth toward night, the Spaniards came to an anchor before Calys, being warned by the Pilots, that if they proceeded any farther, it was to be feared lest they should be driven by force of the tyde into the North Ocean. And neere unto them also rode at anchor the Lord Admirall with his ships within Canon shot of them with whom Seimore and Winter joyned their ships. And now were there in the English fleet 140. saile, all able ships to fight, sayle, and winde about which way they would: yet were there not above fifteene, which in a manner sustained and repulsed the whole weight of the fight. The Spaniards forthwith, as they had done many times before, urged the Duke of Parma by messengers dispatched one after another, to send 40 fleyboats, that is, light vessels, without which he could not well fight with the English by reason of the over-greatnesse and slownesse of the Spanish ships, and the singular agility of the English and they most earnestly prayed him to put to sea with his Army, which the Spanish fleet would protect as it were under her wings (for so it was resolved) till it were landed in England. But he being unready could not be present at their call, his flat-bottomed boats for the shallow channels leaked, his provision of victuals was not ready, and his Sailers having beene stayed hitherto against their wills, had withdrawne themselves. There lay watching also at the entrance of the Havens of Dunkirke and Nieuport whence he was to put forth to Sea, the ships of warre of the Hollanders and Zelanders, so

strongly provided of great ordnance and musketiers, that he could not put from shore, unlesse he would wilfully thrust himselfe and his upon present death. And yet he, a skilfull and industrious warriour, seemed to omit nothing, being inflamed with desire of the conquest of England. But Queene Elizabeth's foresight prevented both his diligence and the credulous hope of the Spaniards for by her commandment, the next day after the Spaniards had cast anchor, the Lord Admirall made ready eight of his worst ships, besmeared with wild fire, pitch and rosin, and filled with brimstone and other combustible matter, and sent them downe the wind in the dead of night, under the guiding of Young and Prowse, into the Spanish fleet. Which when the Spaniards espied approaching towards them, the whole sea being light with the flame thereof, supposing that those incendiary ships, besides the danger of the fire, were also provided of deadly engines and murdering inventions, they raised a pitifull cry, weighed anchor, cut their cables, and in a terrible Pannic feare, with great haste and confusion, put to Sea. Amongst which the great Galleasse having broke her rudder: floated up and downe, and the next day, fearfully making towards Calys, runne aground upon the sands, and was fought withall with variable fortune by Amias Preston, Thomas Gerrard, and Harvey, Don Hugo de Moncada the Captaine being slaine, and the souldiers and owers either drowned, or put to the sword, and a great quantity of gold being pillaged. The ship and ordnance fell to the Governor of Calys.

The Spaniards report, that the Duke, when those incendiary ships approached, commanded the whole Fleet to weigh anchor, yet so as having avoided the

danger, every ship should returne to his quarter. And certainly he returned himselfe, giving a signe to the rest to do the like, by discharging a great peece, which notwithstanding was heard but of a few, for that they being scattered all about, were driven for feare, some of them into the wide Ocean, and some upon the shallows of Flanders.

In the meantime Drake and Fenner played hotly with their ordnance upon the Spanish fleet that was gathering together againe over against Graveling; with whom presently after joyned Fenton, Southwell, Beeston, Crosse, Riman, and soone after, the Lord Admirall himselfe, the Lord Thomas Howard, and the Lord Sheffield. The Duke, Leva, Oquenda, Recalde, and the rest, with much ado got cleare of the shallows, and sustained the charge all they could, insomuch as most of their ships were very much torne and shot thorow. The galleoun S. Matthew, under the command of Don Diego Pimentelli, comming to rescue Don Francisco de Toledo in the S. Philip (which was sore battered with many great shot by Seimore and Winter, driven neere Ostend, and againe shot thorow and thorow by the Zelanders and taken by the Flushingers) was likewise taken, and the whole Spanish Fleet most grievously distressed all the day long.

The last day of the moneth betimes in the morning the West-north-west winde blew harde, and the Spanish Fleet labouring to returne to the narrow Straite, was driven toward Zeland. The English gave over the chase, because (as the Spaniards thinke) they saw them almost carried to their ruine: for, the West-north-west winde blowing, they could not but runne aground upon the sands and shallows neere Zeland. But the winde

« PreviousContinue »