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The English force was divided into two fleets-one, under Lord Henry Seymour and Sir William Wynter, in the Straits of Dover; the other—the main fleet-under Lord Howard of Effingham, Lord High Admiral, with John Hawkyns and Drake, at Plymouth. On Saturday Howard beat out of the Sound. On the next day, Sunday the 1 July, the first action between the fleets was fought. The result was eminently favourable to the English, who were at that time in a considerable numerical inferiority. The “Nuestra Señora del Rosario, flagship of Don Pedro de Valdes, was so maltreated that she was left behind, and was captured by Drake the next morning. The · San Salvador,' seriously injured by an explosion, was also left, and fell into the hands of our countrymen. On Tuesday, Julys, there was a second action off Portland. On Thursday there was a third, off the Isle of Wight, when the ‘Santa Ana,' flagship of Don Juan Martinez de Recalde, was so much damaged that she had to go out of action and run herself ashore near Havre. The Spaniards had thus already lost three of their most importaut ships. They were, however, approaching the point at which Medina-Sidonia hoped to find Parma ready to join him.
Howard's feet, as it ran up Channel, was reinforced by many small vessels. On Saturday afternoon the Spaniards anchored off Calais. Howard also anchored about a mile to westward and to windward of them, and was joined by Seymour and his squadron. The whole British Aleet, notwithstanding that there had been a numerically stronger enemy between its detached divisions, was now united. On Sunday night Howard sent eight fireships in amongst the Spanish fleet The Spaniards cut their cables and put to sea in confusion, leaving behind them, with a damaged rudder, the • San Leandro,' the largest and most heavily armed of the
galleasses.' In the morning she was driven ashore and captured by the boats of some of the English ships. Thus the Armada was diminished by four important ships, whilst the English had lost not a single ressel and but few men.
Wind and tide carried Medina-Sidonia far to leeward. Howard, with a few ships, remained at anchor near the stranded “San Lorenzo. The rest of the English fleet got under way.
During the time that this galleass [“ San Leandro ”7 was in taking by the Lord High Admiral,' says the ‘Relation’ of proceedings, Sir Francis Drake in the “Revenge,” accompanied with Mr. Thomas Fenner in the “Nonpareil” and the rest of his squadron, set upon the fleet of Spain and gave them a sharp fight. And within short time, Sir John Hawkyns in the “ Victory,” accompanied with Mr. Edward Fenton in the “Mary Rose," Sir George Beeston in the “ Dreadnought," Mr. Richard Hawkyns in the “Swallow," and the rest of the ships appointed to his squadron, bare with the midst of the Spanish army, and there continued an hot assault all that forenoon. Sir George Beeston bebaved himself valiantly. This fight continued hotly, and then caine the Lord Admiral, the Lord Thomas lIoward, the Lord Sheffield, near the place where the “ Victory” had been before, where these noblemen did very valiantly. Astern of these was a great galleon assailed by the Earl of Cumberland and Mr. George Raymond in the “ Bonaventure” most worthily, and being also beaten with the Lord Henry Seymour in the “Rainbow, and Sir William Wynter in the “ Vanguard,” yet she recovered into the fleet. Notwithstanding, that night she departed from the army and was sunk. After this Mr. Edward Fenton in the “ Mary Rose" and a galleon encountered each other, the one standing to the eastward and the other to the westward, so close as they could conveniently one pass by another, wherein the captain and company did very well. Sir Robert South well that day did worthily behave himself, as he had done many times before ; so did Mr. Robert Crosse in the “ Hope,” and most of the rest of the captains and gentlemen. This day did the Lord Henry Seymour and Sir William Wynter so batter two of the greatest armados * that they were constrained to seek the coast of Flanders, and were afterwards, being distressed and spoiled, taken by the Zealanders and carried into Flushing. In this fight it is known there came to their end sundry of the Spanish ships, besides many others unknown to us ' (i. 16, 17). This victory was the crowning mercy of the campaign. Still the English had not lost a ship; whilst, in addition to the four the fate of which has already been told, the Spaniards lost several. “In our last fight with the enemy
before Gravelines,' says the Lord Admiral"we sank three of their ships and made four to go room with the shore so leak as they were not able to live at sea' (August 7, Howard to Walsyngham). “In buffeting with them, though they were three great ships to one of us, yet we have shortened them 16 or 17 ; whereof there is three of them a-fishing in the bottom of the seas' (August 8, Howard to Walsyngham).
The exact nuinber of Spanish ships taken, destroyed, or driven out of action since the campaign began is not known, but Howard's rough estimate of sixteen or seventeen is,
* Apparently vessels which in later times would have been called • ships-of-the-line,' or 'line-of-battle-ships, useful designations now replaced by the particularly silly term · battle-ship,' which has been forced upon the navy by landsmen thoroughly ignorant of naval history.
apparently, not much too high.* The Spanish lcsses in men were severe. An officer in the Armada put them at 600 killed and 800 wounded, figures which, if they include the drowned, do not seem exaggerated. On the other hand, the English losses were insignificant. Medina-Sidonia continued to run to the northward. As every minute carried him further from his objective, the point of junction with Parma, no more complete confession of defeat was possible. The story cannot be better continued than in the words of the · Relation:'
• After this Monday's fight, which was the 29th of Julyf 1588, the Lord Admiral on the 30th of July + appointed the Lord llenry Seymour, Sir William Wynter, and their fleet to return back again to the Narrow Seas, to guard the coasts there, and himself determining to follow the Spanish army with his fleet until they should come so far northward as the Frith in Scotland if they should bend themselves that way, thought good to forbear any more to assault them till he might see wbat they proposed to do, verily thinking that they would put into the Frith, where his lordship had devised stratagems to make an end of them ; but the Spaniards kept a course for the isles of Scorland, and of purpose, to our seeming, to pass home that way by the north of Scotland and west part of Ireland.
When we were come into 55 degrees and 13 minutes to the northward, 30 leagues east of Newcastle, the Lord Admiral determined to fight with them again on the Friday, being the 2nd of August (O. S.), but by some advice and coursel his lordship stayed that determination, partly because we saw their course and meaning was only to get away that way to the northward to save themselves, and partly also that many of our fleet were unprovided with victuals; for our supply, which Her Majesty had most carefully provided and caused to be in readiness, knew not where to seek for us. It was therefore concluded that we should leave the Spanish fleet and direct our course for the Frith in Scotland, as well for the refreshing of our victuals as also for the performing of some other business which the Lord Admiral thought convenient to be done; but the wind coming contrary-viz. westerlythe next day the Lord Admiral altered his course and returned back again for England with his whole army.' The rest of the tale is made up of the ghastly reports from Ireland.
I had intelligence sent me from my brother,' says Sir Richard Bingham, 'that the 700 Spaniards in Ulster were despatched, which I know your Lordship heareth before this time. And this I dare assure
* T. Fenner, however, says : • By all that I can gather, they are weakened of eight of their best sorts of shipping' (August 4, Fenner to Walsyngham). See also ii. 209.
+ In both cases 0, S.
your Lordship now, that in a 15 or 16 ships cast away on the coast of this province, which I can in my own knowledge say to be so many, there hath perished at least a 6,000 or 7,000 men, of which there hath been put to the sword, first and last, by my brother George and in Mayo, Thomond, and Galway, and executed one way and another, about 700 or 800, cr upwards, besides those that be yet alive' (September 21, Sir R. Bingham to Fytz-Wylliam). This merciless severity was perfectly deliberate. Sir Richard, at a later date, speaks of • divers gentlemen of quality and service . . . which being spared from the sword, till order might be had from the Lord Deputy how to proceed against them, I had special direction sent me to see them executed as the rest were' (December 3, Bingham to the Queen).
Slaughter of prisoners in cold blood was a practice not confined to Englishmen. The men who fought against the Armada knew well that if taken by the Spaniards they would not have long to live. The Marquis of Santa-Cruz, first commander-in-chief of the Armada—'aquel rayo de la • guerra, padre de los soldados, venturoso y jamas vencido * capitan, as Captain Duro calls him—had obtained a horrible notoriety by his massacre of the prisoners that fell into his hands after the battle of Terceira. That the atrocious practice was generally regarded as proper and natural is shown by the unconcern with which it is mentioned in the correspondence in this collection. The total loss to the Spanish navy has never been exactly computed. Professor Laughton observes that, according to the official Spanish reports, of the 130 ships which originally composed the Armada, about half got home again after the campaign; but allowance must be made for those which did not go further than Corunna, and those which turned back in the Bay of Biscay.
How was the overwhelming success of the English won ? The answer will be found in these volumes. First of all, notwithstanding all the charges which have been brought against it by writers of the present age, England had a firm, far-seeing, and diligent government. We are so accustomed to regard elaborate peace-time preparations for war as the exclusive discovery of our own time, that we may well be astonished at the completeness of the measures ordered by Elizabeth for the defence of her kingdom, at their fitness, and at the methodical manner in which they were carried out. The resources of the country, especially in war material and naval stores, being so limited as they then were, it is nothing short of astounding that the equipment of our forces should have been so perfect as it was. Let two
instances of judicious provision for future needs be cited. Elizabethan England was unequal to the manufacture of cables for large ships. They were ordered in advance from Russia. The powder-mills and arms-factories of the country were quite incapable of meeting the sudden demand for gunpowder and weapons which arose. The Government sent agents abroad to purchase them.
The condition of Her Majesty's ships was as nearly perfect as that of any ships could be. The credit for their efficiency has very properly been given to Sir John Hawkyns, for few men have deserved so well of their country. But the Queen and the Ministers who supported Hawkyns against the naval architects and shipwrights of the dockyards—who hated to see a seaman supervising the construction of ships-merit no small commendation. The report of Messrs. Pelt and Baker * (i. 38) shows to what lengths these men could go. Their professional skill was bighly regarded by their contemporaries and, truly, was beyond dispute. Their skill as naval architects was as nothing to their powers of mendacity. Appointed to examine the terms of an arrangement with Hawkyns for the maintenance of the ships of war in reserve, Pelt and Baker had the bardihood to accuse the great seaman of the abominable crime of enriching himself at the expense of the efficiency of the fleet. Their reason for making this atrocious charge they were simple enough to disclose. It was the objection of dockyard employés to making an officer a purveyor.' †
Of the triumphant manner in which Hawkyns was cleared of the charge the correspondence before us contains many proofs.
'I have been aboard every ship that goeth out with me,' says Lord Howard,' and in every place where any may creep, and I do thank God that they be in the estate they be in; and there is never a one of
* Pelt was master-builder,' i.e. head naval architect to the Government; Baker wasó master shipwright,' a designation which was replaced a few years ago by chief constructor.'
of Hawkyns's account is interesting. He writes (March 3) to Burghley: 'When the shipwrights saw I took a course to put the navy in such order as there should be no great cause to use any extraordinary reparations upon them, then they saw the multitude of their idle followers should lack their maintenance, and so began to bruit out weakness in the state of the ships; but they knew not where' (i. 87). The dogma that a ship of war exists for the benefit of the dockyard, and not the duckyard for the benefit of the ship, was not so generally accepted in the sixteenth century as it is in the nineteenth.