THE ELIZABETHAN NAVAL WAR WITH SPAIN.
By J. K. LAUGHTON, M.A., Hon. D.Litt., Oxford; Hon. Fellow
of Gonville and Caius College ; Professor of ModernHistory, King's College, London.
Estimates of naval power of Spain and of England in the middle of the sixteenth century. . 294
Hawkins breaks the Spanish maritime monopoly . 295
Hawkins at San Juan . 296
Drake's voyages to the Spanish main . 297
His voyage round the world, 1578-80. Spaniards and Italians at ismerwick 298
Queen Elizabeth refuses to receive Mendoza. Real inferiority of Spanish sea power . 299
Fresh English ventures. Death of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. . 300
Drake's expedition to West Indies, 1584-5 . 301
Philip meditates retaliation . 302
Santa Cruz' proposal . 303
Drake at Cadiz, 1587 . 304
He insults Lisbon and returns to Sagres . 305
Preparations of Spain. Her ships and seamen . 307
Death of Santa Cruz. Appointment of Medina Sidonia . 308
Sailing of the Armada, 1588 . 309
Spanish fleet at Corunna . 310
English fleet at Plymouth . 311
Superiority of the English ships. First meeting of the fleets. . 312
The Armada and the fire-ships off Calais . 313
Battle of Gravelines . 314
Defeat of the Spaniards . 315
Spanish and English losses . 316
Expedition to Portugal, 1589 . 317
Failure at Lisbon . 318
Expedition to the Azores. Loss of the Revenge. Capture of the Madré de Dion 319
Poverty of Spain . 320
Expedition of 1595-6. Death of Hawkins . 321
Death of Drake . 322
Expedition to Cadiz, 1596 . 323
Cadiz taken by storm . 325
The Islands' Voyage. End of the naval war, 1598 . 326
Its results . 327
THE ELIZABETHAN NAVAL WAR WITH SPAIN.
IN the middle of the sixteenth century the power of Spain was everywhere recognised as preeminent. Her diplomatists and statesmen, taught in the school of the Emperor Charles V, maintained its illustrious traditions ; her troops, still trained in the discipline of the great Captain, were acknowledged to be the best in Europe ; while her navy, exercised in the voyages of the Indies, seemed beyond comparison. And as time passed on, this preeminence, to vulgar eyes, became more marked. To her arms was attributed the glory of Lepanto. The annexation of Portugal transferred to her the wealth of the East and the huge carracks which brought it into Western seas. The defeat of the French fleet at Terceira seemed to prove her invincible ; and when it was noised abroad that she was preparing for the invasion of England, the union of the ships of Santa Cruz and the soldiers of Parma promised an easy victory. This was the opinion of many capable statesmen ; and even to those who took a more hopeful view of England's position the danger still appeared most alarming.
There were, however, many, and especially among the seafaring men both of England and Spain, who did not by any means accept the popular estimate. Among English sailors there were plenty who had met the Spaniards in home waters or distant seas, and had learned that the danger disappeared when it was boldly met. Among the Spaniards there were also plenty who knew, by hard experience, that when English ships fought with Spanish, victory had a way of favouring the enemy. The English of Elizabeth's reign had, suddenly, as it seemed, developed a new and aggressive maritime energy. Of nations, as of individuals, the memories are short ; and no one remembered that the English were sprung from a race of rude pirates who had long been the terror of Europe, or that in later centuries they had crushed the navies of France and of Spain, had hailed their King as lord of the sea, and had stamped their coins with an effigy of the armed strength of England resting on her navy, which they styled The Wall and Fence of the Kingdom. The long war with France had given another direction to the restless energy of the people, and the Wars of the Roses had absorbed it.
The seafaring interest had been neglected; commerce had languished; King's ships no longer existed ; and when the Tudors came to the throne, in the naval, as in all other departments of government, reconstruction or reorganisation was necessary. Something was done by Henry VII, more by Henry VIII ; but even so, in the last years of his reign, the navy was wholly inadequate to the needs of the kingdom, and was unable to meet that of France on equal terms. But years of peace produced their effect ; trade revived ; shipping improved ; and seamen learned that a voyage might have a wider aim than the fisheries of Iceland or the spices of Scanderoon.
Already, even under Henry VIII and his immediate successors, English seamen had ventured across the Atlantic-some in their own ships, more in ships of Spain. With the accession of Elizabeth the friendly relations of the two peoples rapidly cooled ; religious hatred and commercial jealousy took the place of the old traditional alliance with the House of Burgundy; and the rigid, even cruel, enforcement of monopoly on the one side was met, on the other, by smuggling and piracy. The voyages of John Hawkins, which have attracted most attention among the maritime expeditions of the age, were not the only instances in which the Spanish monopoly was rudely broken down ; and if the Spaniards gave but short shrift to such of the voyagers as fell into their hands, death was then everywhere recognised as the natural penalty of the crimes of which they were held to be guilty. The difference of opinion was as to the crime rather than as to its punishment. The story of the treacherous attack on Hawkins in the anchorage of San Juan de Lua had, in England, a very powerful effect in exciting popular indignation. It was a one-sided story, based on the statement that the English ships, after peacefully trading with the Spanish islands and the settlements on the mainland of South America, were homeward bound, when, off the west end of Cuba, they were caught in a hurricane, driven far into the Gulf of Mexico, and compelled to shelter themselves in the harbour of San Juan. This would be more easy of belief if we did not know, from Hawkins' own admissions, that he had falsely put forward a similar pretext in other places-notably at San Domingo in 1563, and at Bio de la Hacha in 1565-as a preliminary to forcing the trade on an unwilling governor; that in 1568 his business in the West Indies was so far from being finished, that his ships, on leaving Cartagena, had actually on board merchandise to the value of about dE>12,000, including 57 negroes "optimi generis" valued at £160 each,and that he had made particular enquiries as to the price of negroes at Vera Cruz. It is absurd to suppose that he intended to carry his 57 choice negroes to England, to say nothing of the "pintados'" and other parts of his stock that still remained. There is little room to doubt that he went to San Juan of set purpose, with the same false excuse on his lips, and in his heart the same determination to force the trade.
Hawkins anchored in the harbour-a narrow inlet between the small, low island of San Juan and the mainland-on September 16, 1568 ; and on the next day a Spanish fleet commanded by Don Francisco de Lujan, and bringing out the new Viceroy of Mexico, Don Martin Henriquez, appeared in the offing. Hawkins afterwards declared, truly enough, that with the guns which he had mounted in battery on the island, and with his ships placed to rake the channel, he could have kept the Spaniards out ; but he feared that if a norther should come on and the Spanish fleet suffer shipwreck, his Queen would not hold him guiltless of having caused this great loss to the navy of a Power with which she was in amity. On the other hand, Henriquez and Lujan were equally alive to the dangerous position of their ships if they remained outside ; and thus, after some hurried negotiations, an agreement was easily come to. The Spaniards, recognising the English as friendly visitors, and approving of their continuing to hold the island, were permitted to enter the harbour. But once inside and in safety, neither Henriquez nor Lujan considered himself under any moral obligation to keep faith with men whom they both held to be pirates. Henriquez, in view of possibilities, ordered a large number of soldiers to be sent from Vera Cruz, and these were brought on board secretly during the night. He might have had some scruples about breaking the treaty ; Lujan had none ; and as soon as the Viceroy had left the fleet to go to Mexico he landed a strong party on the island, overpowered the men in the batteries, and turned their guns on the English ships. The Spanish ships, vastly superior in force, and in a close harbour where manœuvring was impossible, overwhelmed the English. One small vessel was sunk ; three were captured, including Hawkins1 own ship, the Jesus, which he had hired from the Queen. He himself, with some hundred of his men, scrambled on board a small ship, the Minion, and escaped from the scene of slaughter, closely followed by his kinsman, Francis Drake, in another pinnace, the Judith. But together with the captured ships, the profits of the voyage, the 57 negroes, and the rest of the unsold merchandise-to the value, it was said, of ,£100,000- remained in the hands of the enemy. This was on September 24. In the night the Minion and Judith parted company, and did not again meet. Drake, in the Judith, made the best of his way to England, which he reached on January 20, 1569 ; Hawkins, finding the Minion dangerously crowded and without sufficient provisions for the voyage or the possibility of getting any, put on shore about a hundred of the men ; but even so, his crew was almost entirely destroyed by famine and sickness before he arrived in England on January 25.
The news of his disaster had outstripped him by several weeks, and had excited great indignation, especially among those who shared the loss of the expected profits. The Jesus belonged to the Queen, and, though the conditions of hiring carefully guarded her proprietary interests, the seizure of her ship could not but be galling. Leicester
But what impressed the people of England more even than the loss of the money and of the ships, was the manner in which the attack had been made. They ignored, or perhaps were ignorant of, the lawless nature of Hawkins' traffic, his persistent smuggling, his occasional piracy ; they conceived the Spanish attack to be robbery and murder, planned in falsehood and carried out with treachery ; and their belief was confirmed and embittered when, some years later, they learned the hard fate of many of the prisoners, who, from the Spanish point of view, had merited death, and were, for the most part, treated with notable clemency in having their lives spared. Hawkins and Drake of course held that they had been robbed, and were entitled to such reprisals as they were able to make; out of which belief sprang the unworthy negotiations into which Hawkins entered with the Spanish ambassador and the King of Spain, and the fiercer determination of Drake to seek revenge and restitution by force of arms. Of two voyages which he made to the Spanish main in the years 1570-1 no particulars are recorded. The inference which Drake himself left to be drawn is that they were merely for scouting or prospecting ; but as he had no funds wherewith to pay the expenses of such voyages, and makes no mention of any wealthy patrons, there is no difficulty in accepting the Spanish allegations that he was again engaged in smuggling, not unmixed with piracy. To the English, unlicensed cruising against the enemy in time of war had been habitual for centuries ; and in time of peace letters of reprisal were often given a very wide interpretation, though, without them, private war was liable to be treated as piracy, especially if the pirate fell into his enemy's hands. Still, it would be an error to consider such a pirate akin to the no-nation scoundrels who infested the West Indies or the Eastern Seas in the years following the pacifications of 1713 and 1815. Drake conceived, and the general-even much of the official-opinion of his countrymen conceived, that he had just cause of war against the Spaniards ; and international
The riches he brought home encouraged others to similar ventures on even a smaller scale, and with less happy result. Little or nothing is known of them beyond the Spaniards' frequent complaints of English corsairs. Some may have perished in storm and tempest ; some may have been killed fighting ; the fate of Oxenham and his men may well have befallen others whose very names are lost in oblivion. And then came the wonderful expedition of Drake into the South Sea in 1578 -wonderful alike in its design and its execution in spite of mutiny, desertion, tempest, and the efforts of the enemy. It has been freely said that in this he had direct verbal authority from the Queen. This is possible, though not probable. Elizabeth was not in the habit of committing herself in any such manner ; but it is not altogether unlikely that she allowed Drake to understand that his adventure would not be displeasing to her. Assuredly his good success was not. When, after an absence of three years, he returned laden with the spoil of Spaniards-with whose country England was, officially, at peace-she received him with open arms. It was, perhaps, fortunate for him that his home-coming in September, 1580, was nearly synchronous with the landing of the so-called papal volunteers in Ireland.
These men, though Italians, were mostly Spanish subjects; their numbers were increased by Spaniards enlisted at Corunna under the King's implied sanction ; and they were carried to Ireland in Spanish ships, commanded by a Spanish officer of repute, Juan Martinez de Recalde. They were put on shore at Smerwick, where they took possession of a dismantled castle called by them the Fort del Ore, and waited to be joined by the Irish insurgents ; but Recalde, finding the support they were likely to receive fall far short of what they had been led to expect, reembarked the greater part of the Castilian volunteers, to the number of 300 or more. He put to sea only just in time to escape the English squadron under the command of Sir William Wynter, who effectually blocked the passage of the Italians by sea and deprived them of all hope of relief, while by land Lord Grey, the Lord Deputy, drove them back to their fort This could not be defended, and they had no store of provisions; they attempted to capitulate, but all terms were refused; they surrendered at discretion-and in the sixteenth century surrender at discretion commonly meant death. As these men could show no authority nor commission for their invasion of Ireland-not even from the Pope, though they pleaded his orders-they were summarily put to the sword, to the number of about 600, some score of the officers being
Mendoza, the Spanish ambassador in London, took the position so carefully prepared for him, maintaining that the Italians were servants of the Pope, and that neither he nor his King had anything to do with the matter ; but Elizabeth was not satisfied ; and when he asked to see her on the subject of Drake's piracies he could get no further answer than that the Queen would not receive him, except in a private capacity, until she had cleared up the Irish business. She knew, in fact, that some of the Spanish prisoners at Fort del Ore had declared that they were enlisted and brought over by Recalde. As Mendoza refused to wait on the Queen in a private capacity, and as she would not see him in a public one, he was reduced to impressing his grievances on her ministers, whom he repeatedly and vehemently warned of the trouble and danger they were preparing for their country. He was an old soldier, who had served with Alva, and was, no doubt, capable, within certain limits, of forming an opinion as to the ability of an English army to resist the Spanish tercios if once landed; but he does not seem to have realised, either at this time or later, that there was an enormous difference between the threat of landing the tercios and actually doing it.
Others there were, however, who not only understood the absolute difficulty of landing on an enemy's coast in the face of opposition, but who could venture to tell the King that the Spanish power at sea was relatively inferior to that of the English. They warned him that the English ships, built after a new design, were fast and weatherly to a degree of which Spanish sailors had no conception ; that their guns were numerous and heavy, and they carried them close to the water ; that their men were seamen and gunners, able to work the ships and fight them, and that there was no need for crowding them with soldiers. It was not to be supposed that they would fight hand to hand, as the Spaniards would wish. They would fight with their great guns, and in so doing would have a very great advantage. No doubt, they said, there were many who would assure him that with the forces at his disposal-great ships, galleasses, and galleys-redress for such injuries as Drake's voyage was in his own hands. In point of fact his ships were very inferior to the English, and galleys were quite useless outside the Mediterranean. The difference in the power of the fleets was so great that it was open to the
English to insult his coasts at their pleasure. The only remedy was at once to build 100 galleasses and a dozen or fifteen ships of the new design. The cost would be but a small price to pay for the command of the sea, which these would give him ; and indeed the cost of the guns could be saved by arming the ships with guns from the forts which the existence of such a fleet would render no longer necessary.
It was a matter of course that proposals so radical should not be approved. If they were ever seriously considered they would be referred to Santa Cruz; and Santa Cruz' predilections must have favoured the galleys, with which his most brilliant services had been performed. He was rather a soldier afloat than a sailor; and when, in the following year, he had to lead a fleet for the reduction of the Azores, although galleys could not be employed, the tactics of his victory were those of galley warfare, and were successful, because Strozzi had no higher understanding of the art of war by sea than Santa Cruz himself. It is this that makes it doubtful whether his death at a very critical period really made such a vast difference to the fortunes of Spain as has been often supposed. Assuredly the scheme for the invasion of England, which, at the King's command, he drew up in 1586, does not seem to mark a true appreciation of the conditions.
The dazzling success of Drake's voyage to the South Sea, and the favour shown him by the Queen, naturally gave rise to other ventures of a similar character. The first of these of any importance was intended for China in 1582, under the command of Edward Fenton ; but it got no farther than the coast of Brazil, where one of the ships was lost. Fenton, whose principal claim to the command lay in his being the brother-in-law of John Hawkins, proved quite incompetent and returned to England with his men in a state of mutiny and his vice-admiral in irons. Another voyage which, by its tragic ending, has always excited great interest, was made by four ships which sailed in June, 1583, under the command of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, with the avowed object of founding a colony in Newfoundland. That part of the adventure failed at once. The intending colonists had pictured to themselves a life of ease under a genial climate ; and, when they found the reality not quite so pleasant, they begged to be sent home. Some were sent off at once in one of the ships ; another ship was wrecked. With the other two, Gilbert stood along the coast to the southward, and-apparently to examine it better -moved into the smallest vessel, a pinnace of 10 tons burden, named the Squirrel, and refused to leave her when he finally announced his intention to return to England. But whether that was really his intention, or whether he hoped to capture a homeward-bound treasure ship, it is impossible to say. The way to England did certainly not lie to the south of the Azores, but there the ships were on September 9, when in a great storm the Squirrel was overwhelmed and "swallowed up" by the sea.
There were, without doubt, other smaller expeditions of a more frankly piratical character, but nothing is known of them beyond the vague and untrustworthy reports of Mendoza, who-feeling deeply the insult conveyed in the Queen's recognition of Drake, in her visiting him at Deptford, and in her knighting him on board the Golden Hind under the standard-did what lay in his power to incense the King in Spain and to stir up intrigue and conspiracy in England, till, in January, 1584, his complicity with Throckmorton's plot led to his being summarily ordered to leave the country. Independently of other grievances on both sides, the exclusive colonial policy of the Spaniards and the depredations of the English privateers must be considered as provocative in a very high degree ; and the expulsion of the Spanish ambassador was rather indicative of the angry feeling than, in itself, a cause of it. Even so, war did not immediately follow. It was not till more than a year afterwards that the Spanish King took the first distinctly hostile step by laying an embargo on all English ships in Spanish ports. Both before this and afterwards Elizabeth was prepared to interchange diplomatic inanities so long as they would prevent a declaration of war ; but her willingness to do this did not hinder her meeting hostile deeds with their like ; and the embargo on English ships was promptly answered by a corresponding embargo on Spanish ships, by an active interference in the war in the Low Countries, and by commissioning Drake to undertake a war of reprisals against the Spanish settlements in the West Indies and elsewhere.
But though fully authorised by the Queen, the expedition was in the main a joint-stock business. The Queen supplied two ships of war; nineteen merchant ships from London and the west country formed the bulk of the fleet ; and there were besides some eight or ten pinnaces and private ships sailing on their own account. With Drake as commander-in-chief were Martin Frobisher as admiral of the London contingent, Christopher Carleill in command of the soldiers, Francis Knollys the younger, a near kinsman of the Queen and brother-in-law of the Earl of Leicester, Edward Wynter, son of Sir William, the surveyor of the navy, Richard, son of John Hawkins, the treasurer of the navy, and many others of less note. In all there were about thirty ships in the fleet which sailed from Plymouth on September 14, 1585. Capturing, plundering, and destroying as they went, they rested for a while in the Vigo river, sacked and burnt Santiago and Porto Praya in the Cape Verde Islands, gutted San Domingo, plundered Cartagena on the Spanish main and held it to ransom, burning all the ships and galleys which they could not take away ; cruised for a month off Cape St Antonio, threatened Havana, the defences of which, however, were judged too strong ; and, passing up the coast of Florida, took, plundered and burnt St Augustine, a town of about 250 houses, not one of which was left standing. They then relieved and took away from Wokokan the
Long before Drake's return news of the raid had reached Philip and had goaded him to retaliation. For many years past, all his accredited advisers had urged on him the necessity of crushing England as a preliminary to the subjugation of the Netherlands ; and though, by reason of his own acquaintance with England, of his more comprehensive knowledge of what Englishmen had done even during his own reign, and of the humble but definite warnings which had reached him, he had a clearer view of the difficulties of the task than any of those about him, he was still unable to realise that, as against such an enterprise as he was contemplating, the advantage lay with the English. For many years- ever since the appropriation by Elizabeth of Alva's money in 1569- there had been distinct proposals for the invasion of England and general rumours of the design. Whenever a few ships were collected in a Spanish port, English agents sent over news that preparations were on foot ; but it does not appear that Philip himself definitely entertained the project till driven to it by Drake's savage raid through the West Indies. It was then that the Marquis of Santa Cruz was called into council, and gave his opinion in favour of the enterprise. Politically, he agreed with the several governors of the Netherlands ; Alva had urged it ; Don John, to whose opinion the victory of Lepanto gave weight, considered that it would be an easy task ; he had been willing to undertake it, to conquer England and marry the Queen of Scots-if Philip would only have permitted him.
And, from the naval point of view, Santa Cruz saw but little more difficulty than Don John. He had formed a very poor opinion of English seamen. He had seen them, he said, at Terceira, where they
But the magnitude of this proposal condemned it. To denude the kingdom of ships and soldiers, and leave it exposed to a sudden raid by a daring and desperate foe was not to be thought of, more especially as the King had been warned that such a raid would very probably be attempted. Moreover, to find the money for so vast a scheme was an absolute impossibility. In the opinion of all Europe, the wealth of Spain, based on the mines of Mexico and Peru and the trade of the East, was boundless ; but in reality, owing to a faulty system, peculation and extravagance, the government and the Crown were miserably poor. Philip indeed hoped that, by judicious management, the Pope might be induced to subsidise the expedition. It was so easy to represent the invasion as undertaken solely in the interests of the Church and the true religion, that it might appear almost a duty for the Head of the Church to support it. To some extent Philip's diplomacy was successful at Rome. The Pope promised to contribute a million crowns ; but he positively refused to make any advance, or to pay any part of the money, till the Spanish troops were landed in England.
But more even than want of money, political considerations made it imprudent as yet to advise the King to undertake an enterprise which would certainly be costly and might be dangerous, merely to establish the Queen of Scots on the throne of England, with the risk of so strengthening the Guises as to render them masters of France and independent of Spain. The execution of Mary Stewart early in February, 1587, resolved this difficulty ; the claims of James of Scotland might be put aside, as they had been by his mother's will, and the conquest of England achieved in the name of the Infanta Isabel, to whom the King transferred his rights, hereditary or acquired.
For the first time the way for carrying out the project of invasion seemed clear, and the preparations were pushed forward. It was hoped that the expedition would be ready to sail by the summer. In any case it could scarcely have been ready ; but on April 2 Drake, in command of a relatively small squadron, sailed from Plymouth with full and adequate instructions "to impeach the joining together of the King of Spain's fleet out of their several ports, to keep victuals from them, to follow them in case they should be come forward towards England or Ireland, and to cut off as many of them as he could and impeach their landing ; as also to set upon such as should either come out of the West or East Indies into Spain, or go out of Spain thither." Before he sailed the Queen had so far wavered in her purpose as to issue contradictory orders, strictly enjoining him to "forbear to enter forcibly into any of the King's ports, or to offer violence to any of his towns or shipping within his harbours, or to do any act of hostility upon the land." These orders, however, Drake never received ; we may presume that care was taken by Walsingham or by Hawkins that he should not receive them ; and it was thus on the original orders that he acted.
Many weeks before, Philip had been warned that the expedition was preparing, either to look out for the fleet from the West Indies or to insult the Spanish ports ; and, more recently, Cadiz had been distinctly named as the point aimed at. But nothing had been done ; no preparations for defence had been made ; and when, on April 19, Drake came off the port, he had no difficulty in beating back the seven galleys which alone attempted to oppose his entrance, and forcing his way into the harbour, which he found, crowded with shipping. The further details have been variously reported. According to Philip the damage done was trifling, though the daring of the attempt was great ; but Drake, who may be supposed to have had a more exact knowledge of what happened, wrote : " We sank a Biscayan of 1200 tons, burnt a ship of 1500 tons, belonging to the Marquis of Santa Cruz, and 31 ships more of from 1000 to 200 tons the piece, carried away with us four laden with provisions, and departed thence at our pleasure, with as much honour as we could wish." Fenner, in nearly exact agreement, wrote •. " There were by supposition 38 barks fired, sunk and brought away, which amounted unto 13,000 tons of shipping " ; and a French account estimated the damage, at the very lowest, at from three to four hundred thousand crowns. It continued : " It is supposed that the English fleet will now take its course for the Canary Islands, Madeira, or Terceira, and that it will there do all the damage it can and cruise for the fleets which are coming from the Indies, upon which Drake most likely has his main design." This, however, was not Drake's view. The cruise for the treasure fleets would be more lucrative; but the business on which he had come was to prevent the gathering of the Spanish ships for the invasion of England. There were several at Cadiz which, by flying up the creeks,
"As long as it shall please God to give us provisions to eat and drink," he wrote to Walsingham, " and that our ships and wind and weather will permit us, you shall surely hear of us near this Cape of St Vincent....If there were here six more of her Majesty's good ships of the second sort, we should be the better able to keep the forces from joining, and haply take or impeach his fleets from all places." Similarly Fenner wrote : " Shipping we take daily which are bound with pipe-boards and hoops for Andalucia, which we burn, whereof they will have so great a want as will be to them a marvellous offence....We hold this Cape so greatly to our benefit and so much to their disadvantage that the attaining thereof is a great blessing. For the rendezvous is at Lisbon, where we understand of some 25 ships and seven galleys. The rest, we lie between home and them, so as the body is without the members; and they cannot come together by reason that they are unfurnished of their provisions in every degree, in that they are not united together." It is an interesting detail that of the great number of coasting vessels that fell into Drake's hands at this place nearly half were laden with hoops and pipe-staves, to the amount of about 1700 tons in weight, equivalent to casks of the content of near 30,000 tons of liquor, all which were burnt. The loss of these seasoned staves and the consequent necessity of using new ones had much to do with the ruin that afterwards fell on the Spanish fleet.
Meanwhile, Philip was furnishing an instance of the folly of attempting
But on these Philip had already determined. The general scheme of the enterprise had been formulated ; ships, men, arms, stores, and victuals were being got together; and, though the destruction which Drake had wrought at Cadiz and the delay enforced by his holding Sagres and cruising off Cape St Vincent had rendered it impossible for the Armada to sail that year, there was every intention that it should sail early in 1588. So the preparations were pushed forward, and the fame
All these errors-serious as they proved to be-were due not to professional ignorance nor to a false economy, but to an inability to comprehend the new conditions under which the Spaniards were going to fight. It may be fairly presumed that the armament of the ships, the supply of ammunition, the proportion of soldiers to sailors, and other like technical details, if not actually ordered by Santa Cruz, were at least approved by him and by the distinguished officers who held command under him-such as Juan Martinez de Recalde, Alonso de Leyva, Miguel de Oquendo, Martin de Bertendona, Diego Flores de Valdes and Pedro de Valdes, all men of experience in naval war as it was understood in Spain. The victuals were supplied by con tractors, and were afterwards found to be exceedingly bad. In all ages and in all countries, victualling contractors have been unable to resist the temptation to supply inferior articles for the use of sailors or soldiers, who will be far away before they find out the fraud, and may very possibly die or be killed before they can com plain. It has everywhere been found that only the strictest super vision can be trusted to keep them straight; and in Spain, in 1588, that supervision was altogether wanting. Something, however, must be allowed for the ignorance of the age and the high pressure under which
The preparations were, however, brought to a standstill by the death, on January 30,1588, of Santa Cruz, which was attributed to vexation at an implied reprimand from the King for alleged want of zeal or energy. That this was a serious blow to the plan of invasion cannot be doubted. Santa Cruz was a man of long experience in war and in command. Malta, Lepanto, and Terceira had given prestige to his name ; and, though he was not ready to accept the revolution in naval war which the English were preparing, he would at least have known how to apply the tactics with which he was familiar. His successor, the Duke of Medina Sidonia, was not familiar with any, and was ignorant alike of the art of commanding men and of ordering a battle. But he was a man of the highest rank and of great wealth ; and in a Spanish fleet it was absolutely necessary that the Commander-in-Chief should be a personage of high rank. The great nobles who commanded the tercios would have considered themselves degraded by being called on to obey a mere gentleman, however high his professional qualifications ; and the men would have rendered a very unwilling obedience to one whom they might have stigmatised as a mere sailor. Even in the individual ships the commanding officer was the officer in command of the soldiers ; the captain of the seamen held a very subordinate position, not unlike that of the master in an English ship. As the mouthpiece of the King, carrying out orders which left little to his discretion, and as arbitrator between the pretensions of the arrogant nobles by whom he was surrounded, it was thought that Medina Sidonia would bê a very suitable man, the more so as his gentle character was not likely to put forward his own opinion against the King's, or to question the King's appointment of the Duke of Parma as ultimate Commander-in-Chief of the invasion-a measure to which Santa Cruz had strongly objected, but which was an essential part of Philip's plan as finally determined on. The fleet was to go straight up the Channel, seize Margate, join hands with Parma, convoy his men across in their boats and land a proportion of soldiers from the ships as an addition to the army. As a further instruction, however, the King wrote to Medina Sidonia : " Even if Drake should have brought a fleet into these seas, to cause a diversion -as our advices from England say is likely-you are not to turn aside or delay the voyage to look for him ; but if he shall follow you, or hang about you, then you may attack him ; and so also if you meet him at the entrance of the English Channel ; for it may be very advantageous to attack the enemy's forces whilst divided and so prevent their uniting." This was dated on March 22, when the English fleet was still gathering.
From motives similar to those which operated in Spain the command-in-chief of the English forces at sea had been given to the Lord Admiral,
When the King of Spain signed the instructions to Medina Sidonia, his information that Drake was at Plymouth and Howard in the Narrow Sea was quite correct, and in fact continued to be so till the Armada sailed from Lisbon on May 20. It then consisted of 130 ships, having an aggregate tonnage of 57,868, and manned by 8050 seamen, 18,973 soldiers, with volunteers, galley slaves, etc., bringing the total up to 30,493. The gross numbers seemed and still seem imposing, though the small number of the seamen points at once to a dangerous weakness. Of the ships, 80 were reported as over 300 tons, but 18 of these were rated as store-ships ; even of the remainder a considerable number were mere transports, carrying but few guns and those of the smallest size, and as fighting ships were useless except against an enemy who would be foolish enough to lay them on board. To give the number of ships which could, in the English sense, be called efficient men-of-war is impossible ; but they cannot have been more than 50, and were probably not nearly so many.
Immediately the Armada put to sea, its troubles began. The weather was boisterous ; and the ships, built and rigged for fine weather passages, with a fair, equable wind, to or from the West Indies, were overmasted and undermanned. The seamen were also of very indifferent quality, being, in great measure, mere fair-weather sailors. The ships made very bad weather, were strained, leaked excessively; some were dismasted, all were reduced to a deplorable condition, which the sea-sick soldiers thought worse than it really was. Their victuals,
Meantime Howard, with the English fleet at Plymouth, had been very anxious to visit the coast of Spain and work such havoc among the enemy's shipping that their design would have to be again postponed, if not altogether abandoned. This seemed particularly easy when it was known that they were congregated in the harbour of Corunna ; and it now appears quite certain that an onslaught there, such as Drake had made at Cadiz the previous year, guided by the experience then gained and supported by a few fire-ships, would have utterly ruined the Spanish navy. But Elizabeth would not allow the attempt to be made. She professed to doubt whether the Armada was really coming ; she affected to consider that the differences between the two nations might be settled by negotiation. Whether she hoped to hoodwink Philip, or whether she imagined that, if not further provoked, he would allow the war to conduct itself in the same semi-private, piratical, and economical way as during the last ten years, it is impossible to say ; or may be she really believed that the danger of missing the Armada was too great ; that if it had already put to sea it might be stretching to the westward while the English were crossing the Bay of Biscay ; and might, without opposition, come into the Channel and off Dunkirk, while Howard or Drake was searching the Spanish coast from Corunna to Cadiz. She turned a deaf ear to the arguments of Howard and his council of war, and peremptorily ordered him not to go beyond Ushant.
Another and very pressing anxiety that filled Howard's mind was the frequently occurring want of victuals. There was no public store ready to hand ; and the sudden call to supply a force numbering some 15,000 men taxed the energies of the victualling agents. By the utmost economy and putting the men on short allowance he managed to get together what might be called a private stock against an emergency ; but whilst in the Narrow Sea, and afterwards, at Plymouth, he never ceased urging on the Queen's ministers the necessity for liberal supplies. It does not appear that there was any undue sparing of expense, though there was, of course, a strict attention to economy ; but it was impossible to provide the larger supplies which Howard demanded. The practice, so far as there was one, was to send at one time victuals for four weeks,
In accordance with the custom very generally followed in an age when the commander-in-chief of a fleet was often regarded as a president and moderator rather than as actual commander, and especially necessary under the conditions existing among the Spaniards, a council of war was held, but was unable to decide anything for want of intelligence. A proposal to look into Plymouth and attack the English fleet came to nothing, because it was not known whether it was there or not. In the afternoon they saw some ships under the land, but the weather was thick, with rain and mist, and they could not make out either their number or quality. It was not till night had fallen that one of the pinnaces picked up an English boat, and the Duke learned from the prisoners that the English fleet had been at Plymouth but had got to sea that afternoon. Their ships had, in fact, warped out into the Sound on the evening of the 19th ; on the 20th they had plied out, to windward, against a fresh south-westerly breeze ; and the Armada, running to the eastward all night, had by daybreak on the 21st given the English the weather-gage for which they had been working. The fleet with Howard at this time consisted of about seventy ships, a large proportion of which were small coasting vessels, useful as cruisers, as scouts, or to carry messages, but of little fighting value. Thirty of them belonged to the Queen ; and of these, thirteen, though on the average smaller than the best of the Spaniards, were more heavily armed. Some seven or eight more were good and efficient ships, of a smaller size, but still heavily armed in comparison with the Spanish ships ; and about a dozen or twenty of the merchantmen were sufficiently large and well armed to be able to take part in an engagement. This estimate shows the number of fighting ships in the two fleets to have not been very unequal ; those on each side being superior to those of the enemy from their own special point of view; though, indeed, if the Spaniards could have dictated the manner of fighting, they would have had upwards of sixty effective ships, and their superiority would have been overwhelming. They themselves thought that it was; and what they believed was the general belief
At the first meeting of the two fleets on the forenoon of July 21 all this was at once apparent. To Drake and many of the others it was no new thing, though it is probable that even they had not realised how vast their advantage was. The fight continued from nine o'clock to about one, when Medina Sidonia, discovering that it was only wasting time, and that he was bound to avoid all delay, made sail before the wind. It was a fatal mistake-one we may be sure that Santa Cruz would not have made. He might not, probably would not, have been able to neutralise the vast superiority of the English ships and the English method of fighting ; but it is not conceivable that a man of his experience would have jumbled the transports, store-ships, and fighting ships in one heterogeneous crowd, or would have sought a pretext of flying before the enemy from a half-finished battle. As it was, the fighting on July 21 gave the keynote to all that followed. The Armada was to hurry on. The flag-ship of Pedro de Valdes, which had suffered severely in the engagement, lost her foremast by a collision with another of her squadron and fell astern. But time could not be wasted in defending the noblest ship in the fleet; she was deserted and fell into the hands of the English. Another, the vice-admiral of Oquendo's squadron, was disabled by an accidental explosion of powder ; she, too, was deserted, was taken by the English and sent to Weymouth. And ever the Armada sailed heavily on with a fresh fair wind, the English following, ready to seize on any stragglers, or to fight if opportunity offered. There was thus a smart action off" St Alban's Head on the 23rd, and another on the 25th off St Catherine's in the Isle of Wight, as a visible result of which a third large ship, Recalde's flag-ship, was so damaged as to be obliged to leave the fleet and make for the French coast, where-in trying to go into the Seine-she ran ashore and became a total wreck. Other ships had suffered much, both in material damage
The Duke then sent a message to Parma, urging him to embark at once ; but the tone of his letter implied that he expected Parma to help and protect the fleet, rather than that the fleet was prepared to ensure a safe passage to Parma. Parma's reply, which came on the 28th, was unsatisfactory. He was not ready to embark and could not be so in less than a fortnight ; but even if he had been ready he could not have started till the Dutch flotilla was out of the way. If Medina Sidonia would clear the sea of Count Justin, Seymour, Howard, and all the rest of them, it would then be time to think of crossing over to England. The report of this answer and all that it implied added to the discouragement which the week's experience had impressed on the Spaniards. They had started jubilant in the expectation of a triumphant advance up the Channel and across the North Sea from the Low Countries. The reality had been one succession of disasters and of battles, in which they had suffered terribly without appearing to have inflicted any loss on their nimble assailants. And the numbers of the enemy were increasing. Many small vessels had joined the English fleet on its course up Channel ; and, as Howard anchored ofF Calais, a gunshot to windward of the Spaniards, Seymour, with his squadron, rejoined,'adding three capital ships to the fighting power. There were thus in the English fleet, of Queen's ships and merchantmen, from forty to forty-five that could be considered effective men-of-war-a fair match, so far as armament went, for the best forty or forty-five Spaniards, but in reality very superior, by reason of their mobility, steadiness, and gunnery; qualities which, though too late, the Spaniards were beginning to appreciate and fear. Their nerves were already unstrung, when, about midnight of the 28th, eight hastily improvised fire-ships came down on them with wind and tide. As they burst into flames, Medina Sidonia made the signal to slip the cables, intending to return in the daylight and take up his old berth. But a panic seized the Spaniards. " The fire-ships of Antwerp ! " they cried, and, cutting their cables, they drifted away to the north. They were, for the time, paralysed with fear. When morning came they were off Gravelines, closely followed by the English fleet, which now attacked in its full force, knowing that this was the crisis of the campaign. The Armada must be driven into the North Sea, past the coast of Flanders, beyond the reach of Parma. Seymour and Wynter, Drake, Hawkins, and Frobisher led the several attacks; Howard, who had waited off Calais to ensure the capture or destruction of the admiral of the galleasses, the most heavily armed ship in the Armada, came up a little later. This galleass had injured her rudder in the confusion of the night, and in the morning was captured after a stubborn and hand-to-hand fight, in which her commander, Hugo de Moncada, was killed. The French, who had not interfered during the fight, now claimed the prize ; and Howard, satisfied with her being
But the superiority of the English was felt from the first, and the want of tactical guiding was as marked in the Spanish fleet as its many other shortcomings. The wind was at S.S.W. and the Armada had streamed off before it. The Duke made no real effort to collect the effective ships, many of which were far to leeward ; and the brunt of the battle fell on some fifteen which clustered round their admiral, and fought valiantly but without avail. Of recorded incidents much might be written ; we have them in Spanish and in English, but all to the same effect : the Spanish ships could not close with the English, and against the English guns the Spanish guns were powerless. Some sentences from Medina SidomVs letter to the King put this in the clearest light. " In the rear, Don Francisco de Toledo (in the San Felipe) abode the coming of the enemy and endeavoured to grapple with them ; whereupon they assailed him, and by shooting of ordnance brought him to great extremity. Don Diego Pimentel (in the San Mated) came to relieve him and both were hardly pressed ; seeing which, Juan Martinez de Recalde came to their assistance, with Don Augustin Mexia, and rescued them from this strait. But notwithstanding this, these ships returned and again assaulted the enemy; as likewise did Don Alonso de Luzon, and the Santa Maria de Begona, in which was Garibay, and the San Juan de SicUia, in which was Don Diego Tellez Enriquez. These came near to boarding the enemy, yet could they not grapple with them ; they fighting with their great ordnance, and our men defending themselves with harquebuss-fire and musketry, the distance being very small."
When-partly from want of ammunition, partly from hopeless incapacity-the largest Spanish ships were reduced to answering great guns with harquebusses, it is not surprising that the Spaniards suffered very much, the English not at all ; or that, after this terrible pounding, the San Felipe and the San Mateo tried to save themselves by running on shore on the coast of Flanders. The officers and most of the crew of the San Felipe escaped to Nieuport, but the ship was taken possession of by the Dutch and carried into Flushing ; so also was the San Mateo, after a stubborn resistance which ended in the officers being taken prisoners and the men thrown overboard. Other ships went down with all hands ; how many was never exactly known ; so many in all were ultimately lost that the details were never fully made out. By nightfall the Spaniards were thoroughly, hopelessly beaten, and fled to the north. A few- Ley va and Oquendo are specially named-would fain have prolonged the fight, and did not scruple to hail the Duke and his advisers in most opprobrious terms ; but they were unable to stop the rout, and were forced to fly with the rest. The English commanders were slow to realise the completeness of their victory. Howard was inclined to think the destruction of the great galleass the most important part of the day's
This want of powder has been frequently adduced as an instance of the Queen's ill-judged economy or cruel parsimony. In reality it was nothing of the sort. The allowance of powder had been great beyond all precedent, but the expenditure had been so also. " Some Spaniards that we have taken," wrote Howard, " that were in the fight at Lepanto, do say that the worst of our four fights that we have had with them did exceed far the fight they had there; and they say that at some of our fights we had twenty times as much great shot there plied as they had there." Lepanto was .fought, by the Spaniards, at any rate, on the medieval tactics which they still favoured, the great guns adding thereto a mere unimportant interlude ; the battles in the Channel and off Gravelines were a new departure, which before had been tried only exceptionally and on a very small scale. We know that, on the average, the English guns were larger than the Spanish ; that there were, relatively, more of them, and that they were said to be fired quite three times as fast ; and yet on the evening of July 29 the Spanish magazines were much more thoroughly depleted than the English. Nor was it of ammunition alone that the Spanish ships were destitute. They were short of victuals and of water; their hulls were torn by the English shot, their rigging cut, their masts badly wounded, their anchors left in Calais roads, and their seamen-too few at the beginning-fearfully reduced by sickness and slaughter.
It was then, and has ever since been, the fashion to say that England was saved from a very great danger by the providential interference of storms ; to the Spaniards, it soothed the national pride ; to the English, it seemed to point them out as the elect of God. In reality it was quite untrue. From the day on which the Spanish ships appeared off the
Lizard till a week after the battle of Gravelines there was no wind beyond what a well-found ship would prefer ; nothing to prevent frequent intercourse by small boats. Subsequently, the weather was bad, and gave effect to the damage wrought by the English guns ; for the Spaniards, with no thought of Denmark or Norway, and still less of returning south, were trying to reach their own coast by passing to the west of Ireland. But they were ignorant of the navigation ; they had neither pilots nor charts ; their ships were not seaworthy, and the weather was wild. As they passed between the Orkney and Shetland Islands they left one ship a wreck on Fair Isle. Some were lost among the Western Hebrides ; some near the Giant's Causeway and on the coast of Donegal ; twelve were driven into Sligo Bay and there totally lost ; others on the outer isles. "And so I can say," wrote Sir Richard Bingham, the Governor of Connaught, " by good estimation, that six or seven thousand men have been cast away on these coasts, save some thousand of them which escaped to land in several places where their ships fell, which since were all put to the sword." Others were wrecked further south. One, driven again into the Channel, was thrown ashore near Salcombe. According to the Spanish estimate, two-in addition to the San Felipe and San Mateo-were sunk in the battle, nineteen were wrecked in Scotland or Ireland, and thirty-five were not accounted for. In all, captured or destroyed, the loss of ships was returned as sixty-three, and the loss of life was in even greater proportion ; for to the men of these ships who were, for the most part, drowned or butchered, must be added the very large number of those who were slain in fight, or died of wounds, sickness, cold, and famine. Few such tremendous and far-reaching catastrophes have been recorded in history.
Nor had the English escaped without severe loss, though not in the battle or the storm. Their ships were uninjured; few of their men- about sixty in all-had been killed or wounded ; but when they returned to Margate, after having followed the Spaniards as far as the Firth of Forth, a violent sickness broke out in the fleet. Such a sickness- probably of the nature of typhus or gaol fever-had already appeared in some of the ships while at Plymouth ; these had been cleared out, fumigated, and had received new crews ; but now, as the excitement of battle was ended, the sickness returned in a more virulent form and became more general. " The infection," wrote Howard on August 22, " is grown very great and in many ships, and now very dangerous ; and those that come in fresh are soonest infected ; they sicken the one day and die the next." Several of the ships seem to have lost fully half their men- dead or sent on shore sick ; others lost a very large proportion ; and on September 4 Hawkins wrote from the Downs : " The companies do fall sick daily...our ships are utterly unfitted and unmeet to follow any enterprise from hence."
If the Queen had been loth to begin the war, she now, at any rate,
February 1,1589, was the date fixed for sailing; but it was the middle of April before the ships were ready, and by that time much of the victuals had been expended; further delay seemed unavoidable, but happily three or four Flemish vessels laden with barley, dried fish, and wine put into Plymouth. Their cargoes were promptly seized for the Queen's,
The loss of men was very great, though the exact number was never known. It was variously stated as 3000, 8000, and 11,000 dead ; another account, which seems trustworthy, is that there were not 2000 effective men in the fleet on its return. In any case it was very terrible, and the Queen's natural anger at the failure was intensified and exaggerated by the total loss of all the money she had invested in the speculation. There were many others who mourned for the loss of their money; many, too, who mourned for the loss of friends or relations ; there was much complaint, much recrimination. Drake and Norreys were put on their defence, and their stories were not always consistent. The
And yet, as engaged in the conduct of a partisan war, no other leader showed any distinguished merit. Privateers in crowds there were, who inflicted a very considerable loss on the Spaniards without any startling advantage to themselves ; and the Earl of Cumberland, in a spirit of reckless gambling, fitted out many ventures on a large scale, but with no proportionate success. Even the Queen had no higher idea of what might be achieved by sea, nor were her ventures much more fortunate ; and a squadron which she sent out in 1590 under Hawkins and Frobisher, brought back nothing to show as a return for the outlay. There seems no doubt that a more proper course would have been to send a strong fleet, the strongest possible fleet, to the Azores, when the capture, or even the stay, of the Jlota-the treasure ships-would have brought Spain to her knees. During the years immediately following on the defeat of the Armada it does not appear that Philip could have offered any serious resistance to such an attack ; but the continued arrival of the treasure from the Indies and three years' respite enabled him to reestablish his navy in imposing numbers; and when at last, in the summer of 1591, a royal squadron, under the command of Lord Thomas Howard, was sent to the Azores to intercept Üießota, he was able to send a comparatively powerful fleet to drive it away or destroy it. Howard, warned in time, weighed from Flores, where he had been lying, and avoided the intended attack; but one ship, the Revenge, by the ignorance, disobedience, or presumption of her commander, Sir Richard Greynvile, was caught, beset, and overpowered. Greynvile's obstinate defence against great odds has rendered the combat celebrated in story and in song; but its true moral is the disastrous effect of disobedience.
In the following year another attempt was made to command the trade-route through the Azores, but it was still more feeble than that of 1591, and the Queen had only a part interest in it ; yet its success in the capture of a Portuguese East Indiaman-the great carrack, the Madré de Dios-and the enormous wealth which this one ship contained ought to have convinced her of the advisability of a wholehearted effort in the same direction. But it did not ; she was throughout unable to see that the operations of the fleet were, and must be, the deciding factor in the war, and she continued to believe in the effect of her diplomacy, which was laughed at, and of her army, which was insignificant. The relief of Brest by the capture of the Spanish fort at Crozon in 1594 had but little influence on the course of the war ; and it was not till the end of the year, when Drake, having succeeded in making his peace with the Queen, was again called to active service, that any measure of importance was contemplated. It was resolved that he
In reality, during all these years, the King's chief anxiety had been the fear that he might be attacked at home ; and the several reports of fleets fitting out which were brought to England were but exaggerated accounts of preparations for the defence of the Spanish ports. More than this : in addition to the ceaseless trouble in the Netherlands, and the wars and intrigues in France, an insurrection in Aragon was the cause of great embarrassment; and meanwhile, the utter impoverishment of the country was rendering any strenuous effort more and more difficult. While England, with a rapidly increasing commerce and a prosperous war, was rising once again to a foremost place in Europe, Spain, suffering from a faulty and ignorant administration still more than from an unsuccessful and harassing struggle, was fast sinking from the proud position she had held under Philip's father. With a diminishing population, a peasantry ground down, agriculture neglected, manufactures and commerce almost extinct, the pinch of poverty was everywhere felt. The revenues of the com-manderies were pledged for the next ten years ; the ordinary revenue and the bullion which might be expected from the Indies were mortgaged for three years in advance. Of ships there were still some ; but seamen, gunners, money, and enthusiasm were all conspicuously wanting.
But neither Elizabeth nor her ministers knew this. They were quite unable to realise that the Spanish power was by this time little more than a hollow pretence, an inflated bladder which the growing strength of the English navy had pricked, and which it needed but persistent effort to flatten out ; they believed, on the contrary, that it ;vas a solid mass which, by its weight and by the force which impelled it, must bear down and crush any direct opposition. They thus accepted with a ready belief,
Had they made their way at once to the West Indies, they would apparently have found the Spaniards quite unprepared, and would certainly have been able to pay the costs of the expedition, with a handsome profit, out of the spoils of Cartagena, Porto Bello, and Panama. As it was they seem to have been short of provisions, and to have thus felt it necessary to make an attempt on Las Palmas-in the Grand Canary -if, indeed, they were not rather impelled by a mere desire for plunder. Necessary or not, it was a serious military mistake. The attempt failed ; and from some prisoners who fell into their hands the Spaniards learnt enough to enable them to suspect the destination of the fleet and to send word to their settlements in the West Indies. A still greater, a fatal evil, was the quarrel between the generals. Drake, at all times bold to the verge of rashness, found himself hampered by his colleague, whose constitutional caution was rendered more obstinate by age. There may have been other reasons, personal or political, of which we know nothing, though some have been suggested. But the want of concord was a fact patent to the whole fleet. On no point of service could the two agree ; and it almost looked as if the death of Hawkins, worn out by age, fever, and vexation, might prove a distinct advantage to the expedition. But the Spaniards, having been forewarned, were, for once in their national history, forearmed ; and, from his now dilatory proceedings, it may be thought that the hand of death was already pressing on Drake. At Porto Rico he was beaten off; and when, after delaying seventeen days at Rio de la Hacha, he appeared before Cartagena, it
Meantime Philip had been straining his resources to the utmost to fit out a fleet for the relief or defence of the West Indies. That it should be late was a matter of course ; if Drake had succeeded in his first attempt, or lived to make and succeed in a second, Panama would have been sacked and the treasure on board the English ships long before the arrival of the Spanish fleet under the command of Don Bernardino de Avellaneda, a man of some experience at sea and more ability than was shown by the majority of Spanish admirals. But his force was not sufficient for the purpose for which it had come-the destruction of the English ; who, on their part, weakened by the loss of great numbers of their men and, most of all, by the death of Drake, were desirous only of getting safely away. Weak as his fleet really was and badly fitted as were his ships, Don Bernardino appears to have been nobly anxious to perform his allotted task ; and waiting for the English off the west end of Cuba, met them near the Isle of Pines on March 1. Sir Thomas Baskerville, the commander of the soldiers, who had succeeded to the command of the English fleet, seems to have manoeuvred it with judgment, so as to let the heavier-armed Queen's ships take the stress of the fighting. It would appear that the advantage was entirely with the English ; but their enfeebled crews were in no condition to push it home, and had to content themselves with being permitted to continue their voyage and return to England.
The expedition had failed ; but so clearly by its own fault and weakness, not by any effort of the enemy, that it is almost curious to note that the inability of Spain to fit out a fleet equal to the defence of its American settlements conveyed no lesson to the English Queen and her ministers. They were unable to see that a nation so impotent was not one that could attempt an invasion in force; and the belief in the probability of such an attempt goaded the Queen to a resolution to forestall it and to strike a blow at the navy of Spain in its own ports. The resolution took effect in the expedition to Cadiz in 1596.
There seems no doubt that the design and the objective of this expedition originated with the Lord Admiral, who, in what was intended as a truly national effort, took his natural place as Commander-in-chief, though, much to his disgust, the Earl of Essex was joined with him, in more immediate command of the army. The expedition was on a scale not unworthy of the occasion. Eleven of the Queen's capital ships with some few smaller, twelve London and eighteen-Dutch ships of war-two of them ships of force-constituted the fighting strength by sea. Seventy transports carried some 7000 soldiers with many volunteers ; and of the names then eminent in war, afloat or ashore, most are to be found in the lists of this array. Besides the two Commanders-in-chief, Lord Thomas Howard was Vice-Admiral and Sir Walter Ralegh Rear-Admiral of the fleet; and with each of these were Vice and Rear-Admirals of the several squadrons, distinguished by flags of different colours-the genesis of the red, white, and blue squadrons so familiar in our naval history of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. The troops are described as better equipped and presenting a better appearance than usual ; it would seem, too, that they were well victualled. They were, in fact, commanded by men of Low Country experience-Vere, the Wingfields, Clifford, Blount, and others-all capable soldiers.
The instructions under which this expedition sailed are so straightforward, and in such contrast with the inferences and tergiversations of others, that they ought to be considered. They explain to the generals that the object of the expedition is " by burning of the King's ships of war in his havens, before they should come forth to the seas, and therewith also destroying his magazines of victuals and his munitions for the arming of his navy," to provide that "neither the rebels in Ireland should be aided and strengthened " nor yet the King " be able, of long time to repair unto, and have any great navy in readiness to offend us." The generals are therefore to make careful enquiry and to direct their first actions " to destroy such ships as they shall understand to be provided to repair to Ireland or to come by the narrow seas to Calais. And if you cannot understand of any such particular purposes...y ou shall direct your course to such ports.. .where the greater number of the King's ships of war are and where his provisions are in store ; and there you shall use all good means possible to spoil and burn all the said ships...or as many of them as conveniently you may ; and also, you shall destroy or get into your possession to our use, as many of the victuals, powder, ordnance, cordage and all other apparellings for war as you can."
This destruction of ships, stores and magazines of naval provisions is the first object, " which we charge you shall be first attempted, before any other service"; but that being accomplished, if the town belonging to the port where those ships and magazines were "hath great riches, and you shall understand that it is not able to defend itself against you, and that the riches thereof are not wholly carried away into the inlands,
So, on June 1, the fleet weighed from Cawsand Bay and proceeded southwards. In Spain there was anxiety amounting to panic ; the equipment of the fleet had been reported, but it was not known where the blow would fall, and nowhere were there efficient preparations for defence. The secret had been curiously well kept ; and both in the fleet and in Spain it was thought that the objective was Lisbon. There the panic was so great that, it was said, any sort of a force might have entered and sacked it. Cadiz was practically defenceless. Fully twenty years before, the necessity of strengthening its fortifications had been urged on the King, but little, if anything, had been done. The walls were crumbling in decay ; the few guns mounted on them were old, worn-out, and more dangerous to their friends than to their foes. Everywhere the country was drained of soldiers to supply the armies in France or the Low Countries ; and the defence was left to untrained, half-armed citizens or local militia. At Seville they were trying to buy some powder for its weight in silver, and were scouring the neighbourhood, hoping to find some muskets. Gibraltar and Cartagena were equally helpless. The King and his ministers had been alternating between fits of nervous anxiety and baseless arrogance-at one moment fearing a repetition of Drake's performance in 1587, at another discussing schemes for the invasion of England ; but, through all, denuding the country for the maintenance of powerful armies abroad. Now, when the case that ought to have been first considered was imminent, there had been no provision, no preparation, and everywhere there was panic.
And thus, when the English fleet arrived off" Cadiz, there was no possibility of offering any serious opposition to it. The English commanders could not bring themselves to believe this. They had for so long been taught the immensity of the Spanish power that they could not conceive that the defence of an important haven and of the wealth of the Indies had been absolutely neglected. Thus there were councils of war and consultations as to how the entrance was to be forced ; but, once resolved on, all difficulty vanished, and our ships made their way in against a resistance which, though stout as the Spaniards and galleys could make it, was in reality little more than nominal. If the very clear letter of instructions had been obeyed, if the victory had been followed up, as common sense showed it ought to be, the whole of the
Spanish fleet-all the galleys, 19 ships of war and 36 great merchantmen laden for the West Indies to the estimated value of twelve millions of ducats-must have been taken. The headstrong and reckless vanity of the Earl of Essex spoiled all. Afloat, he was only second ; ashore he would be first. A young soldier, with but little experience, anxious to flesh his sword, he immediately landed, with about 2000 men, for the assault of the town, which, on its side, drew out what forces there were and made a brave show. It was nothing more ; and as the English advanced the burghers fled, shutting-to the gates in their haste and fear, while several of their body were still outside. These sought safety by climbing over the ruined walls, closely followed by the advance-guard of the English, who opened the gates. The main army pressed in and forced their way to the market-place, where they established themselves. Though desultory firing went on for some hours, there was no concerted defence, and before nightfall the town was entirely in the hands of the English. The next day, the castle capitulated.
If the town and its ransom had been the first or principal objective of the expedition, perfect success was attained, and all was well. The instructions quoted above show that such was not the case ; that the town was altogether a secondary consideration ; and, as it could not possibly escape, it ought to have been left till the primary aim, the possession of the ships, had been secured. But when the Earl of Essex and his men rushed on shore, like a parcel of schoolboys let loose, the Lord Admiral-whether jealous of Essex, as has been said, or, as is more probable, conceiving that he was bound by the Queen's wishes to watch over her favourite and support him-followed to the shore, without leaving any orders as to the pursuit of the ships. These fled up the harbour. The galleys escaped to the open sea through the channel of San Pedro; the great ships and galleons sought shelter in the shallow water towards Puerto Real ; and when it seemed likely that they might still fall into the hands of the English, they were set on fire and totally destroyed. To the English this frustration of their hopes of gain was cruel, but to the Spaniards the loss was absolute, even if-as was afterwards alleged, with very probable exaggeration-much of the merchandise belonged to foreigners, French or even Dutch, trading under Spanish names. Though the good success of the enterprise thus fell far short of what it ought to have been, it was nevertheless decisive ; but the Queen's government was unable to realise the fact, and continued to believe in rumours of intended invasion, which were certainly false, probably set afloat by the Spanish government in hopes of saving their prestige.
It is unnecessary to speak here in any detail of the quarrel between the two generals which resulted from their action at Cadiz. When the excitement was past, Howard must have felt annoyed that he, a man of years and experience, had been led into such a serious blunder-a blunder
This was as a matter of fact the end of the naval war. Philip II died in September, 1598 ; and his successor, notwithstanding the desire to continue the struggle, had neither the ships, nor the money, nor the grim determination which were needed. The English held command of the sea, not indeed with theoretical completeness, but with practical sufficiency. No Spanish fleets even attempted to contest it. It is true that in 1601 a force of 3000 men was landed in Kinsale ; but the ships
No doubt the war might have been fought very differently ; possibly with results more grandly decisive. It is not difficult to picture Elizabeth as recognising the overwhelming influence of sea-power and the superiority of the English navy ; as dealing crushing blows, as beating Spain to a standstill and seizing the sources of her American wealth. Neither is it difficult to picture England, with a small population, no manufactures, and but a nascent commerce, sinking under the burden of a colonial empire which, even two hundred years later, she could not bear. But of such speculations history takes no account ; and we can only chronicle the fact that the result of the Elizabethan war contributed largely to the downfall of Spanish power, and strengthened the confidence which, centuries before, the English had learnt to place in their navy.