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Her authority with the King of Denmark, and the tie of their common religion, engaged this monarch, upon her application, to seize a squadron of ships which Philip had bought or hired in the Danish harbours : the Hanse towns, though not at that time on good terms with Elizabeth, were induced, by the same motives, to retard so long the equipment of some vessels in their ports, that they became useless to the purpose of invading England. All the Protestants throughout Europe regarded this enterprise as the critical event which was decide for ever the fate of their religion ; and though unable, by reason of their distance, to join their force to that of Elizabeth, they kept their eyes fixed on her conduct and fortune, and beheld with anxiety, mixed with admiration, the intrepid countenance with which she encountered that dreadful tempest which was every moment advancing towards her.

The queen also was sensible that, next to the general popularity which she enjoyed, and the confidence which her subjects reposed in her prudent government, the firmest support of her throne consisted in the general zeal of the people for the Protestant religion, and the strong prejudices which they had imbibed against popery. She took care, on the present occasion, to revive in the nation this attachment to their own sect, and this abhorrence of the opposite. The English were reminded of their former danger from the tyranny of Spain ; all the barbarities exercised by Mary against the Protestants were ascribed to the counsels of that bigoted and imperious nation : the bloody massacres in the Indies, the unrelenting executions in the Low Countries, the horrid cruelties and iniquities of the Inquisition, were set before men's eyes : a list and description was published, and pictures dispersed, of the several instruments of torture with which, it was pretended, the Spanish Armada was loaded ; and every artifice, as well as reason, was employed to animate the people to a vigorous defence of their religion, their laws, and their liberties.

But while the queen, in this critical emergence, roused the animosity of the nation against popery, she treated the partisans of that sect with moderation, and gave not way to an undistinguishing fury against them. Though she knew that Sixtus Quintus, the present Pope, famous for his rapacity and his tyranny, had fulminated a new bill of excommunication against her, had deposed her, had absolved her subjects from their oaths of allegiance, had published a crusade against England, and had granted plenary indulgences to every one engaged in the present invasion, she would not believe that all her Catholic subjects could be so blinded as to sacrifice to bigotry their duty to their sovereign, and the liberty and independence of their native country. She rejected all violent counsels, by which she was urged to seek pretences for despatching the leaders of that party : she would not even confine any considerable number of them : and the Catholics, sensible of this good usage, generally expressed great zeal for the public service. Some gentlemen of that sect, conscious that they could not justly expect any trust or authority, entered themselves as volunteers in the fleet or army; some equipped ships at their own charge, and gave the command of them to Protestants ; others were active in animating their tenants, and vassals, and neighbours, to the defence of their country: and every rank of men, burying for the present all party distinctions, seemed to prepare themselves, with order as well as vigour, to resist the violence of these invaders.

The more to excite the martial spirit of the nation, the queen appeared on horseback in the camp at Tilbury; and riding through the lines discovered a cheerful and animated countenance, exhorted the soldiers to remember their duty to their country and their religion, and professed her intention, though a woman, to lead them herself into the field against the enemy, and rather to perish in battle than survive the ruin and slavery of her people. By this spirited behaviour she revived the tenderness and admiration of the soldiery :


an attachment to her person became a kind of enthusiasm among them: and they asked one another, whether it were possible that Englishmen could abandon this glorious cause, could display less fortitude than appeared in the female sex, or could ever, by any dangers, be induced to relinquish the defence of their heroic princess.




The Spanish Armada was ready in the beginning of May ; but the moment it was preparing to sail, the Marquis of Santa Croce, the admiral, was seized with a fever, of which he soon after died. The vice-admiral, the Duke of Paliano, by a strange concurrence of accidents, at the very same time suffered the same fate ; and the king appointed for admiral the Duke of Medina Sidonia, a nobleman of great family, but inexperienced in action, and entirely unacquainted with sea affairs. This misfortune, besides the loss of so great an officer as Santa Croce, retarded the sailing of the Armada, and gave the English more time for their preparations to oppose them. At last the Spanish fleet, full of hopes and alacrity, set sail from Lisbon; but next day met with a violent tempest, which scattered the ships, sank some of the smallest, and forced the rest to take shelter in the Groine, where they waited till they could be refitted. When news of this event was carried to England, the queen concluded that the design of an invasion was disappointed for this summer; and being always ready to lay hold on every pretence for saving money, she made Walsingham write to the admiral, directing him to lay up some of the larger ships, and to discharge the seamen ; but Lord Effingham, who was not so sanguine in his hopes, used the freedom to disobey these orders; and he begged leave to retain all the ships in service, though it should be at his own expense. He took advantage of a north wind, and sailed towards the coast of Spain, with an intention of attacking the enemy in their harbours ; but the wind changing to the south, he became apprehensive lest they might have set sail, and by passing him at sea, invade England, now exposed by the absence of the fleet. He returned, therefore, with the utmost expedition to Plymouth, and lay at anchor in that harbour.

Meanwhile all the damages of the Armada were repaired, and the Spaniards with fresh hopes set out again to sea, in prosecution of their enterprise. The fleet consisted of a hundred and thirty vessels, of which near a hundred were galleons, and were of greater size than any ever before used in Europe. It carried on board nineteen thousand two hundred and ninety-five soldiers, eight thousand four hundred and fifty-six mariners, two thousand and eighty-eight galley slaves, and two thousand six hundred and thirty great pieces of brass ordnance. It was victualled for six months; and was attended by twenty lesser ships, called caravals, and ten salves with six oars apiece.

The plan formed by the King of Spain was, that the Armada should sail to the coast opposite to Dunkirk and Newport; and having chased away all English or Flemish vessels which might obstruct the passage (for it was never supposed they could make opposition), should join themselves with the Duke of Parma, should thence make sail to the Thames, and having landed the whole Spanish army, thus complete at one blow the entire conquest of England. In prosecution of this scheme, Philip gave orders to the Duke of Medina, that in passing along the Channel, he should sail as near to the coast of France as he could with safety ; that he should by this policy avoid meeting with the English fleet; and, keeping in view the main enterprise, should neglect all smaller successes which might prove an obstacle, or even

erpose a delay, to the acquisition of a kingdom. After the Armada was under sail, they took a fisherman who informed them that the English admiral had been lately at sea, had heard of the tempest which scattered the Armada, had retired back into Plymouth, and no longer expecting an invasion this season, had laid up his ships, and discharged most of the seamen. From this false intelligence the Duke of Medina conceived the great facility of attacking and destroying the English ships in harbour ; and he was tempted, by the prospect of so decisive an advantage, to break his orders, and make sail directly for Plymouth : a resolution which proved the safety of England. The Lizard was the first land made by the Armada, about sunset; and as the Spaniards took it for the Ram-head near Plymouth, they bore out to sea with an intention of returning next day and attacking the English navy. They were descried by Fleming, a Scottish pirate, who was roving in those seas, and who immediately set sail, to inform the English admiral of their approach : another fortunate event, which contributed extremely to the safety of the fleet. Effingham had just time to get out of port, when he saw the Spanish Armada coming full sail towards him, disposed in the form of a crescent, and stretching the distance of seven miles from the extremity of one division to that of the other.

The writers of that age raise their style by a pompous description of this spectacle ; the most magnificent that had ever appeared upon the ocean, infusing equal terror and admiration into the minds of all beholders. The lofty masts, the swelling sails, and the towering prows of the Spanish galleons, seem impossible to be justly painted, but by assuming the colours of poetry; and an eloquent historian of Italy, in imitation of Camden, has asserted that the Armada, though the ships bore every sail, yet advanced with a slow motion ; as if the ocean groaned with supporting, and the winds were tired with impelling, so enormous a weight. The truth however is, that the largest of the Spanish vessels would scarcely pass for third-rates in the present navy of England ; yet were they so ill framed, or so ill governed, that they were


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