Southern Anthology

Families on the Frontiers of the Old South

Sir Francis Drake

Sir Francis Drake[1]

Male 1540 - 1596  (~ 56 years)

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  • Name Francis Drake 
    Sir Francis Drake
    Sir Francis Drake
    Gheeraerts the Younger
    Title Sir 
    Born ca. 1540  Tavistock, Devon Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Male 
    Died 27 Jan 1596  Portobelo, Colón, Panama Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Buried At sea Find all individuals with events at this location 
    • DRAKE, Sir FRANCIS (1540?-1596), circumnavigator and admiral, was born, according to local tradition, at Crowndale, near Tavistock, in a cottage which was still standing within living memory, and of which a picture is preserved in Lewis's 'Scenery of the Tamar and Tavy' (1823). The exact date of his birth has been much discussed, but the evidence is vague and contradictory. A passage in Stow's Annals (p. 807) implies that he was born in 1545, but the legends on two portraits, apparently genuine, Anno Dom. 1581, Ætatis suæ 42, and Anno Dom. 1594, Ætatis suæ 53 (Barrow, p. 5), seem to fix the date some years earlier. Equal uncertainty exists as to his parentage; but in the absence of more definite testimony we may accept a note added to the grant of arms in 1581, by Cooke, Clarenceux king of arms, that Drake had the right by just descent and prerogative of birth to bear the arms of his name and family-Argent, a wyvern gules-with the difference of a third brother, as I am informed by Bernard Drake of [Ash] chief of that coat-armour, and sundry others of that family, of worship and good credit? (Marshall, Genealogist, 1877, i. 210, quoting from Ashmole MS. 834, f. 37; Archæological Journal, xxx. 384, quoting from a manuscript in the College of Heralds). It appears also that his father's name was Robert (Nichols, Genealogist, viii. 478n.), which would seem to identify him with Robert, third son of the last John Drake of Otterton, and of his wife Agnes Kelloway (Burke, History of the Commoners, i. 580); brother, therefore, of John Drake of Exmouth, whose energy and success as a merchant, and as establishing his right to the estates of Ash, raised the family to a position of opulence and influence (Pole, Description of Devonshire, pp. 123, 154). In this success, however, Robert seems to have had but little share. Accounts, otherwise conflicting, agree in stating that Drake's father was in a comparatively humble way of life, though having some connection with, or dependence on, the rising house of Russell, whose heir, Francis, afterwards second earl of Bedford, was godfather to his eldest son. But of his life or circumstances we know nothing beyond what is told by his grandson (Sir Francis Drake, bart., in the preface to Drake Revived, 1626), who says that, having suffered in the state of persecution, he was ?forced to fly from his house near South Tavistock into Kent, and there to inhabit in the hull of a ship, wherein many of his younger sons were born. He had twelve in all; and as it pleased God to give most of them a being upon the water, so the greater part of them died at sea. Camden, indeed, professing to relate only what he had learnt from Drake himself, says that the father was forced to fly on the passing of the Six Articles Act, in consequence of his having zealously embraced the reformed religion; that he earned his living by reading prayers to the seamen of the fleet in the Medway; and that he was afterwards ordained as vicar of the church at Upnor (Ann. Rer. Angl. ed. Hearne, 1717, ii. 351). But as Camden says elsewhere (Britannia, ed. Gibson, 1772, p. 160) that Drake was born at Plymouth, his claim to personal information is of very doubtful value; and the several points of his story, notwithstanding its general acceptance, are inaccurate or absurd. There never was a church at Upnor; the reading of prayers in the reign of Queen Mary would have been summarily put a stop to; and the whole Drake family not only embraced but, for the most part, largely profited by the change of religion. There is nothing in the younger Drake's statement which implies that the persecution was necessarily religious; and beyond this there is no evidence that we can depend on. Stow, however, has told us (Annals, p. 807) that the father was a sailor, and that his name was Edmond; and Dr. H. H. Drake, combining the two stories, seeks to identify him with the Edmond Drake who in 1560 was presented to the vicarage of Upchurch, and who died there in December 1566. The identification is supported by an entry in a contemporaneous manuscript, where Drake is described as ?son to Sir--Drake, vicar of Upchurch in Kent' (Vaux, p. xvi), but is not altogether conclusive.

      Many years afterwards it was believed in Spain that Drake began his career as a favourite page of King Philip at the English court; that he was employed by the king in a post of trust in the West Indies; and that, being defrauded of his pay by the minister, he vowed to be revenged (The Venetian ambassador at Madrid to the Signory, 9 May 1587; Report upon the Documents in the Archives and Public Libraries of Venice (Rolls Series), p. 16). It is impossible that this can have been true, for to the end of their lives Philip and Drake had no common language (Notes and Queries, 2nd series, iii. 57); and though Drake did vainly urge a money claim against the Spanish government, the circumstances of that claim are very accurately known. There is no reason to doubt the substantial truth of the story told by Camden (Ann. Rer. Angl. ii. 351), that he was at an early age apprenticed to the master of a small vessel, part pilot, part coaster, and that by his diligence and attention he won the heart of the old man, who, dying without heirs, left the bark to him. He seems to have followed this petty trade for a short time, but in 1565-6 was engaged in one or two voyages to Guinea and the Spanish main, with Captain John Lovell, and was learning, in the Rio Hacha, that the Spaniards would certainly resist any infringement of their commercial policy (Stow, p. 807; Drake Revived, p. 2). In 1567 he commanded the Judith of fifty tons in the squadron fitted out by his kinsman John Hawkyns [q. v.], which sailed from Plymouth on 2 Oct., and was destroyed by the Spaniards in the port of San Juan de Lua in the September following; the Minion of a hundred tons and the Judith alone making good their escape, with all the survivors on board, many of whom they were afterwards obliged to put on shore for want of room and provisions. The two ships succeeded in reaching England in the following January, the Judith a few days in advance, having parted from the Minion during the voyage. Drake was immediately sent up to town to `inform Sir William Cecil of all proceedings of the expedition' (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 20 Jan. 1569), and was thus brought to the notice of the great minister.

      Drake appears to have spent the next year in seeking to obtain compensation for his losses ; but l finding that no recompense could be recovered out of Spain by any of his own means or by her majesty's letters, he used such helps as he might by two several voyages into the West Indies (the first with two ships, the one called the Dragon, the other the Swan, in the year 1570 ; the other in the Swan alone in the year 1571) to gain such intelligences as might further him to get some amends for his loss. And having in those two voyages gotten such certain notice of the persons and places aimed at as he thought requisite, he thereupon with good deliberation resolved on a third voyage' (Drake Revived, p. 2). His equipment consisted of two small ships, Pasha and Swan, carrying in all seventy-three men, and also ?three dainty pinnaces made in Plymouth, taken asunder, all in pieces, and stowed aboard to be set up again as occasion served? (ib. p. 3), and with these he sailed out of Plymouth on 24 May 1572, ?with intent to land at Nombre de Dios,? then, as Porto Bello afterwards, ?the granary of the West Indies, wherein the golden harvest brought from Peru and Mexico to Panama was hoarded up till it could be conveyed into Spain.? On 6 July the small expedition sighted the high land of Santa Marta, and a few days later put into a snug little harbour (apparently in the still unsurveyed Gulf of Darien), which Drake in his former voyage had discovered and named Port Pheasant, ?by reason of the great store of those goodly fowls which he and his company did then daily kill and feed on in that place.? Here they set up the pinnaces, and were joined by an English bark with thirty men, commanded by one James Rause, who agreed to make common cause with them. On the 20th they put to sea, and on the 22nd arrived at the Isle of Pines, where they found two Spanish ships from Nombre de Dios lading timber. These ships were manned by Indian slaves, and Drake, after examining them, ?willing to use them well, not hurting himself, set them ashore upon the main, that they might perhaps join themselves to their countrymen the Cimaroons, and gain their liberty if they would; or, if they would not, yet by reason of the length and troublesomeness of the way by land to Nombre de Dios, he might prevent any notice of his coming which they should be able to give ; for he was loth to put the town to too much charge in providing beforehand for his entertainment; and therefore he hastened his going thither with as much speed and secrecy as possibly he could? (ib. p. 8) . So, leaving Rause with thirty men in charge of the ships, the rest, seventy-three in all, went on in the pinnaces, arrived on the 28th at Cativaas, and after a few hours? repose came off Nombre de Dios about three o'clock in the morning of 29 July. They landed without opposition, and marched up into the town. The Spaniards, accustomed to the requirements of a wild life and to the frequent attacks of the imaroons, speedily took the alarm and mustered in the market-place; but after a sharp skirmish, in which Drake was severely wounded in the thigh, they were put to flight. Two or three of them were, however, made prisoners, and compelled to act as guides and conduct the English to the governor's house, where they found an enormous stack of silver bars, the value of which was estimated at near a million sterling. As it was clearly impossible to carry away this silver in their boats, they passed on to the treasure-house, ?a house very strongly built of lime and stone,? in which were stored the gold, pearls, and jewels, ?more,? said Drake to his followers, ?than the pinnaces could carry? and then noticing that his men were somewhat backward, ?muttering of the forces of the town,? he told them that ?he had brought them to the mouth of the Treasure of the World; if they would want it they might henceforth blame nobody but themselves? (Drake Revived, p. 16). With that he ordered the door to be broken open, but as he stepped forward to keep back the crowd ?his strength and sight and speech failed him, and he began to faint for want of blood, which, as then we perceived, had in great quantity issued upon the sand out of a wound received in his leg in the first encounter, whereby, though he felt some pain, yet would he not have it known to any till this, his fainting against his will, bewrayed it; the blood having first filled the very prints which our footsteps made, to the greater dismay of all our company, who thought it not credible that one man should be able to spare so much blood and live' (ib. p. 17). The men were now disheartened, and forcibly carried Drake down to the boats and pushed off to the Bastimentos, where they remained two days and then returned to their ships.

      It is unnecessary here to speak in detail of the further achievements of this remarkable expedition; to tell how, after separating from Rauso, they captured a large ship in the very harbour of Cartagena; how they captured and destroyed many other ships; how they burnt Porto Bello; how the Swan was scuttled, at Drake's bidding, in order to increase his force on shore; how Drake's brother John,who had commanded the Swan, was killed, and how Joseph, another brother, died of a calenture, which carried off in all twenty-eight of their small number. Afterwards, on 3 Feb., leaving the sick and a few sound men behind, Drake landed with only eighteen, and being joined by thirty Cimaroons marched across the isthmus. As they reached the highest point of the dividing ridge, his guides pointed out a tree from whose top, as they told Drake, he might see the North Sea, from which he had come, and the South Sea, towards which he was going. Drake ascended the tree by steps cut in the trunk, and?the first of known Englishmen?saw the sea which, from its relative position at this point, was then and has ever since been known as the South Sea, and, carried away by his enthusiasm, ` besought Almighty God of His goodness to give him life and leave to sail once in an English ship in that sea.' From this tree they passed on to Panama ; missed a rich caravan by the untimely impetuosity of a drunken man; sacked Venta Cruz ; and so, after excessive toil to but little purpose, returned to their ship. Another adventure proved more fortunate, when on 1 April they intercepted three caravans, numbering in the aggregate 190 mules, `each of which carried 300lb. weight of silver, or in all nearly thirty tons. They took away what they could and buried the rest; but before they could return, the Spaniards had discovered where it was hidden and had rescued it. When the adventurers reached the coast and the place where they expected to meet the pinnaces, they found no signs of them. They lashed together some trunks of trees, and on this rude raft Drake and three others put to sea in quest of the missing boats, with which, after some hours of dangerous navigation, they happily fell in. And so, returning to their ships, they took a friendly leave of their faithful allies and sailed homeward-bound. With a fair wind they ran from Cape Florida to the Scilly Isles in twenty-three days, and arrived at Plymouth on Sunday, 9 Aug. 1573, during sermon time, when ` the news of Drake's return did so speedily pass over all the church and surpass their minds with desire and delight to see him, that very few or none remained with the preacher, all hastening to see the evidence of God's love and blessing towards our gracious queen and country' (ib. p. 94). The expedition seems to have been justly accounted one of the most successful that had ever sailed to the Indies; and though, in consequence of Drake's untimely swoon at Nombre de Dios, the Treasure of the World was not emptied into his ships, as he had hoped and intended, it would still appear that the bullion brought home amounted to a very large sum, Drake's share of which rendered him a comparatively rich man.

      It is stated (Notes and Queries, 3rd ser. v. 90) that Drake commanded the squadron which carried Walter Devereux [q. v.], first earl of Essex, and his troops to Ireland in August 1573. As this squadron sailed from Liverpool on 16 Aug. (Devereux, Lives and Letters of the Devereux, Earls of Essex, i. 33), only seven days after Drake's arrival at Plymouth, it is probable that this detail both by sea and land at the winning of divers strong forts,' among which we know only of the reduction of Rathlin (26 July 1575), where, however, the chief command was vested in the army officer. Captain John Norreys, who, rather than Drake, must be held responsible for the wholesale butchery of the garrison (Devereux, i. 113). Essex died in September 1576, and Drake, whose interest in the work appears to have died with him, presently began his preparations for another voyage. He had already attracted the notice of Burghley; through Essex he had become acquainted with Sir Christopher Hatton [q. v.], and had been permitted to recount some of his experiences to the queen herself. It is probable enough that she received him graciously. His adventures, his daring, his success, were so many passports to her favour, and there is no reason to doubt that, in ambiguous and courtly phrases, she encouraged him to further enterprise; but it is in the highest degree unlikely that, before a stranger to her court, she laid aside her dissimulation and gave a formal commission for reprisals to a man whose repute was that of an unscrupulous adventurer. Such a commission could not have been kept secret, and would have been considered by Spain as tantamount to a declaration of war. Still less can we accept the story that, knowing, as she certainly did know, that he was proposing a voyage which must bring him into conflict with the Spaniards, she said to him, `I account that he who striketh thee, Drake, striketh me.' Any such speech, if possible?and it is not Elizabethan in its sound?could only have been uttered at a much later period, and most probably in reference to private rather than to public enemies (cf. Barrow, p. 78 ; Burney, Hist. of Discoveries in the South Sea, i. 304).

      The squadron which Drake now got together consisted of his own ship, the Pelican of 100 tons, the Elizabeth of 80 tons, commanded by Captain John Wynter, and three smaller vessels?the Marigold, Swan, and Christopher. These were well stored and provisioned, and carried, as in the former voyage, some pinnaces in pieces, to be set up when occasion served. ` Neither had he omitted to make provision also for ornament and delight, carrying to this purpose with him expert musicians, rich furniture (all the vessels for his table, yea, many belonging even to the cook room, being of pure silver), and divers shows of all sorts of curious workmanship, whereby the civility and magnificence of his native country might, amongst all nations whithersoever he should come, be the more admired' (Vaux, p. 7). It was 13 Dec. 1577 when they finally sailed from Plymouth. The object of the voyage had been carefully concealed, in order that the Spaniards might not be forewarned. The Mediterranean had been spoken of, and his men seem to have fancied that that was their destination. The Spaniards believed rather that it was the West Indies, with an eye to Nombre de Dios and the Treasure of the World. It was not till they had passed the Cape Verd islands that the men learnt that they were bound to the coast of Brazil, and that their next rendezvous was the River Plate. Shortly after leaving St. Iago they fell in with and detained two Portuguese ships, one of which was released with all the prisoners except the pilot, Nuno de Silva, whom they carried off, and who, apparently nothing loth, rendered them good service on the voyage. The other Portuguese ship they took with them as a victualler, the command of her being given to one Thomas Doughty, whose name appears for the first time in this connection. He had till then no command in the squadron, was not a seafaring man, but had some interest in the adventure, and seems to have accompanied Drake as a volunteer, or, to some extent, a personal friend. Within a few days there were complaints of Doughty's conduct in the prize ; he was accused ot having appropriated objects of value ; and Drake, thinking apparently that the charge arose out of some private pique, sent Doughty for a time to the Pelican, appointing his own brother, Thomas, to the command of the prize, and himself staying with him. In the Pelican Doughty had no better fortune, and, on complaints of his having abused his authority, he was deposed and sent to the Swan, either in a private capacity or as a prisoner at large. The whole account is exceedingly obscure, but there is reason to believe that this deposition rankled in Doughty's mind, and suggested to him to attempt to stir up a mutiny, and either force Drake to return, or depose, maroon, or kill him, and seize on the command of the expedition. All that we know with certainty is that when the squadron, after touching in the Plate, arrived at St. Julian, Doughty was put under arrest, was tried, found guilty, condemned to death, and executed (ib. pp. 65, 235). The story is related by different witnesses, real or pretended, with the widest difference of details; some of them accusing Drake of virtually murdering Doughty, either as jealous of his superior abilities or at the behest of the Earl of Leicester (ib. p. 201 ; Camden, ii. 355). The account of Cooke, the most virulent of these accusers, is written throughout in a tone of venomous spite, and contains so many misstatements and contradictions that it is a matter of surprise Mr. Vaux should have attributed to it so much importance as he has; and for the rest, the mere fact that, though no secret was afterwards made of the case in England, and it was freely talked about (Barrow, p. 251). Drake's conduct was never formally called in question, may be accepted as conclusive evidence that the justice and legality of the sentence were admitted.

      Before leaving Port St. Julian the Swan, the Christopher, and the prize, being no longer seaworthy, were broken up for firewood, and on 20 Aug. the squadron, now reduced to three ships, entered the Straits of Magellan, a point in the voyage which Drake celebrated by changing the name of his own ship, Pelican, to Golden Hind, in reference to the crest of his friend and patron Sir Christopher Hatton. They were now in difficult and utterly unknown navigation, never before attempted by Englishmen; but the passage was safely made in sixteen days, Drake himself from time to time going ahead in a boat to act as pioneer and guide (Vaux, p. 77). As they got clear of the straits, however, a furious storm swept them towards the south. For fifty-two days they vainly struggled against its violence. The Marigold was overwhelmed by the sea and went down with all hands. The Elizabeth lost sight of the Admiral; and ' partly through the negligence of those that had the charge of her, partly through a kind of desire that some in her had to be out of these troubles, and to be at home again' (ib. p. 84), partly also perhaps because, no exact rendezvous having been given, there seemed little prospect of again joining the Admiral, Wynter, on making the entrance to the straits on 8 Oct., resolved to return home. He arrived in England on 2 June 1579. The Golden Hind was meantime driven south as far as 57° S., and in this way may be said to have virtually solved the problem of the continuance of the land, which had been till then supposed to extend southwards to unknown regions. Numerous islands they sighted, the most southern of which Drake named Elizabeth Island. Modern geographers have pretended to identify it with Cape Horn, but of this there is no evidence whatever, and we may doubt whether at that time the Golden Hind was ever so far to the eastward.

      It was 28 Oct. before the violence of the wind moderated, so as to permit them to lay their course for more temperate climes. Their progress, however, was slow, and their charts, which, though not perhaps wilfully falsified, were extremely inaccurate, led them astray far to the westward. It was 25 Nov. before they anchored at Mocha, an island in lat. 38° 21?S., well stocked with cattle, where they hoped to get provisions and water, and to refresh the men with a run on shore ; but the inhabitants, mistaking them for Spaniards, attacked them savagely, killed two and severely wounded the rest of those who had landed, to the number of ten, including Drake himself, who was shot in the face by an arrow, `with no small danger to his life.' The surgeon of the Golden Hind was dead; the Elizabeth had carried off the other;' none was left but a boy whose goodwill was more than any skill he had.' Drake himself had fortunately some simple knowledge of surgery, and under his treatment the wounded men all recovered. He did not, however, attempt to take any revenge on the Indians, chiefly, no doubt, being ' more desirous to preserve one of his own men alive than to destroy a hundred of his enemies,' but also as feeling that the attack was due to a mistake, the natives not having knowledge of any white men except Spaniards. So putting to sea, an Indian fisherman showed them the way to Valparaiso, where from the Spanish storehouses and a ship in the harbour they plentifully provisioned themselves, taking also a ` certain quantity of fine gold and a great cross of gold beset with emeralds on which was nailed a god of the same metal.' Afterwards, keeping in with the coast, everywhere inquiring, but in vain, about the missing ships, plundering when opportunity offered, capturing also several vessels, on board one of which they found a pilot, by name Colchero, and a number of charts, which in seas utterly unknown to the English had an extreme value, they arrived on 15 Feb. 1579 off Callao. Here, as the centre of the civilisation of the South Sea, they had hoped to get some news of their missing consorts. In this, of course, they were unsuccessful, but having ` intelligence of a certain rich ship, loaden with gold and silver for Panama,' which had sailed on 2 Feb., they made haste to follow, first cutting the cakes of all the ships lying at Callao and letting them drift out to sea, so as to prevent them giving an alarm. On 1 March, off Cape Francisco, they fell in with their expected prize, the 'certain rich ship' named the Cacafuego, or in equivalent English Spitfire, captured her without much difficulty, and eased her of her precious cargo to such an extent that, as they dismissed her, her pilot is reported to have grimly said, ` Our name should be no longer Cacafuego but Cacaplata.' The booty consisted of 26 tons of silver, 80lb. of gold, thirteen chests of money, and ` a certain quantity of jewels and precious stones,' valued in all at from 150,000l. to 200,000l. (Burney, i. 338n.) The amount, however, grew enormously in public estimation, and a hundred years later it was currently said and believed that they took out of her ` twelve score tons of plate ; insomuch that they were forced to heave much of it overboard, because their ship could not carry it all ' (Ringrose, Hist. of the Buccaneers, ii. 52).

      After this, on 4 April, they captured a ship from Acapulco, commanded by the owner, Don Francisco de Çarate, who was courteously treated and released after three days. From his letter (16 April 1579) to the viceroy of New Spain, giving a relation of what had happened, we have an interesting account of Drake, as he appeared to a high-born gentleman, who was certainly not prepossessed in his favour. ?The English general,' he wrote, 'is the same who took Nombre de Dios some five years ago. He is a cousin of John Hawkyns, and his name is Francis Drake. He is about thirty-five years old, of small size, with a reddish beard, and is one of the greatest sailors that exist, both from his skill and from his power of commanding. His ship is of near four hundred tons; sails well, and has a hundred men, all in the prime of life and as well trained for war as if they were old soldiers of Italy. Each one is especially careful to keep his arms clean. He treats them with affection, and they him with respect. He has with him nine or ten gentlemen, younger sons of the leading men in England, who form his council; he calls them together on every occasion and hears what they have to say, but he is not bound by their advice, though he may be guided by it. He has no privacy; these of whom I speak all dine at his table, as well as a Portuguese pilot whom he has brought from England, but who never spoke a word while I was on board. The service is of silver, richly gilt, and engraved with his arms; he has too all possible luxuries, even to perfumes, many of which, he told me, were given him by the queen. None of these gentlemen sits down or puts on his hat in his presence without repeated permission. He dines and sups to the music of violins. His ship carries thirty large guns, and a great quantity of all sorts of ammunition, as well as artificers who can execute necessary repairs. He has two draughtsmen who portray the coast in its own colours, a thing which troubled me much to see, because everything is put so naturally that any one following him will have no difficulty' (Peralta, pp. 582-3). It was from this Çarate that Drake obtained the celebrated `falcon of gold, handsomely wrought, with a great emerald set in the breast of it,' the value of which would seem to have been exaggerated. Çarate himself says that Drake, ` taking a fancy to certain trifles of mine, ordered them to be sent to his ship, and gave me for them a hanger and a silver brazier., I promise you he lost nothing in the bargain' (ib. p. 581).

      By this time Drake had made up his mind that to return to England by the way he had come would be difficult and might be dangerous. He was therefore meditating crossing the Pacific, and with a view to doing so endeavoured to persuade Colchero to accompany him. Colchero protested against this: he was married; he was not really a pilot; in fact, he knew nothing about it. Drake at first refused to believe him ; he was rated a pilot on the ship's books, and pilot he should be, married or not married. Afterwards, however, he let him go, apparently at the entreaty of Çarate (ib. pp. 582, 588). At Guatulco he also landed the Portuguese pilot, who wrote thence to the viceroy some account of the voyage, a version of which reached England, and was published by Hakluyt (iii. 742; Vaux, p. 254); but Drake himself in the Golden Hind passed away to the north, carrying with him the booty gathered in his brilliant and unequalled raid on the Spanish territory and shipping. He had probably thought of trying for the much-talked-of passage to the Atlantic through the northern continent; but finding his men unwilling to venture into high latitudes he struck the coast of America in about lat. 43° N., and turning south found ` within the latitude of 38°' a convenient harbour, where he refitted, and where, in friendly intercourse with the natives, he received their homage in the name of Queen Elizabeth. The geographical identification of this little harbour has been much disputed, but apparently on insufficient grounds. Hakluyt's expression `within 38°,' the plan as given by Hondius?a perfect copy of whose map is in the British Museum?the fact that Drake gave the country the name of Albion ` in respect of the white banks and cliffs which lie toward the sea' (Vaux, p. 132), and the account of the pouched rats or gophers, all point definitely to some small creek or bay on the northern side of the Golden Gate. All along the coast, to the extreme north, there is no conspicuous white cliff except Cape Reyes; and the gophers are still a marked peculiarity of the country. The one doubtful point is the account of the climate, which is described, with much detail, as excessively cold and foggy (ib. pp. 113-18). This is now commonly said to be an exaggeration; but to speak of the climate near San Francisco or anywhere on that coast, in July, in these terms is not exaggeration, but `a positive and evidently wilful falsehood' (Greenhow, Hist. of Oregon and California (1845), 75n.). credulously inserted by the original compiler of the ` World Encompassed.'

      On 23 July the Golden Hind sailed from Port Albion, and passing on the 24th through a group of islands, which they named the Islands of St. James?probably the Farellones?`having on them plentiful and great store of seals and birds,' they anchored near one and took on board ` such provision as might competently serve their turn for a while.' Then, as the wind still blew, `as it did at first,' from the north-west, Drake gave up any hopes he might have had as to the fabled passage, and pushed out into the wide Pacific. `And so, without sight of any land for the space of full sixty-eight days together, we continued our course through the main ocean till 30 September following, on which day we fell in ken of certain islands lying about eight degrees to the northward of the line' (Vaux, p. 134). These islands, supposed to be the Pelew Islands (Burney, i. 357), they named, according to their experience of the inhabitants, the `Islands of Thieves,' and on 3 Oct. continued their course. On the 21st they came to off Mindanao, where they watered; and pursuing their journey towards the south and passing by numerous small islands, anchored on 4 Nov. at Ternate, where they remained for three weeks, being hospitably entertained, and furnishing themselves with 'abundance of cloves, as much as they desired, at a very cheap rate.' From Ternate they stood over towards Celebes, and on a small uninhabited island on their way cleared out the ship and had a thorough refit, while the men were camped on shore; `the place affording us not only all necessaries thereunto, but also wonderful refreshing to our wearied bodies by the comfortable relief and excellent provision that here we found; whereby, of sickly, weak, and decayed (as many of us seemed to be before our coming hither), we in short space grew all of us to be strong, lusty, and healthful persons' (Vaux, p. 149). This island they called Crab Island, from `the huge multitude of a certain kind of crayfish, of such a size that one was sufficient to satisfy four hungry men at a dinner, being a very good and restorative meat, the especial means of our increase of health.' The animals described are land-crabs, though their size and habits are somewhat exaggerated. Leaving Crab Island on 12 Dec, on the 16th they sighted Celebes, but found themselves in a deep bay?probably Tolo?from which their only escape lay towards the south; and even then were so entangled among islands and shoals that the utmost care was necessary to avoid them. It was not till 9 Jan. that they fancied they had clear water to the westward and made all sail; but a few hours later, `in the beginning of the first watch,' they stuck fast ' on a desperate shoal,' where for a time they seemed to be in imminent danger of perishing. As they lightened the ship, however, a fortunate gust of wind blew her off, after she had been ashore for twenty hours. Their voyage was still very tedious; what with the intricate navigation, which was quite unknown to them, and the south-westerly wind, it was not till 8 Feb. that they reached Barative (Batjan), where they rested for two days and, pursuing their way, after many delays, sighting islands innumerable, they came to Java, and running along the south coast anchored near its south-west extremity on 10 March. There they cleaned their ship's bottom and provisioned; and being warned of the neighbourhood of great ships, similar to their own, they sailed on the 26th for the Cape of Good Hope, which they passed on 15 June. On 22 July they touched at Sierra Leone, where they obtained some fresh provisions, and, continuing their voyage on the 24th, arrived in England on 26 Sept. 1580, 'very richly fraught with gold, silver, silk, pearls, and precious stones ' (Stow, p. 807), to which must be added cloves and other spices which they had collected in their passage through the Eastern Archipelago.

      Of the months that followed, critical as they were in Drake's life, very little is known. Within a few weeks after his arrival in England, the queen wrote to Edmund Tremayne, at Plymouth, `to assist Drake in sending up certain bullion brought into the realm by him' (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 24 Oct. 1580): in replying to which command, Tremayne mentioned incidentally that the value was reputed to be a million and a half sterling (ib. 8 Nov.), which can only be accepted as approximately correct on the supposition that the gold and precious stones bore a much larger proportion to the silver than is accounted for in the narratives of the voyage. At the same time some inquiry into Drake's conduct was ordered and made; the depositions of the whole ship's company tending to prove that no barbarity could be laid to his charge, though the plundering was freely enough admitted (ib. 8 Nov.; Notes and Queries, 7th ser. iv. 186). There were still, however, many to raise a clamour against Drake, ?terming him the master thief of the unknown world ' (Stow, p. 807); and the queen, in real or pretended doubt of the facts, hesitated as to whether she should acknowledge him as one who had rendered good service to the state, or should clap him in prison as a pirate. It was represented to her, on the one hand, that justifying Drake's action would `hinder commerce, break the league, raise reproach, breed war with the house of Burgundy, and cause embargo of the English ships and goods in Spain.' On the other hand, it was argued that the prize was lawful prize, obtained without offence to any christian prince or state, but only by fair reprisals; and that if war with Spain should ensue `the treasure of itself would fully defray the charge of seven years' wars, prevent and save the common subject from taxes, loans, privy seals, subsidies, and fifteenths, and give them good advantage against a daring adversary ' (ib, p. 807). It will easily be seen that this would be the popular view of the question; it was also the one to which, after full consideration, Elizabeth finally inclined. To the Spanish ambassador, who demanded restitution of the property and the punishment of the offender, she replied that the Spaniards, by ill-treatment of her subjects, and by prohibiting commerce, contrary to the law of nations, had drawn these mischiefs on themselves; that Drake should be forthcoming to answer for his misdeeds, if he should be shown to have committed any; that the treasure he had brought home should also, in that case, be restored, though she had spent a larger sum in suppressing the rebellions which the Spaniards had set on foot both in England and in Ireland; above all, that she denied the pretension of the Spaniards to the whole of America by virtue of the donation of the bishop of Rome; denied his or their right or power to prevent the people of other nations trading or colonising in parts where they had not settled, or `from freely navigating that vast ocean, seeing the use of the sea and air is common to all, and neither nature, nor public use, nor custom, permit any possession thereof ' (Camden, Annales, ii. 360). So, the Golden Hind having meantime been taken round to Deptford, on 4 April 1581 the queen made Drake a visit on board, and there, on the deck of the first English ship that had gone round the world, did she knight the first man of any nation who had commanded through such a voyage. Magellan's was the only previous circumnavigation, and Magellan had not lived to complete it. At the same time the queen conferred on Drake a coat of arms and a crest, the grant of which was finally signed on 21 June. The arms?Sable, a fess wavy between two stars argent?Drake afterwards used quartered with his paternal coat?Argent, a wyvern gules?and are still used, without the quartering, by Drake's representative. The crest?On a globe a ship trained about with hawsers by a hand issuing out of the clouds, with the motto 'Auxilio Divino'?Drake himself did not adopt, preferring the simpler and more purely heraldic crest of his family?An eagle displayed (Archæological Journal, xxx. 375; Notes and Queries, 5th ser. ii. 371). The point is of more than usual importance as proving that Drake openly claimed a direct relationship to the Drakes of Ash, which it was long the custom to deny. The story related by Prince (Worthies of Devon, p. 245) of a quarrel on this score between Sir Francis and Bernard Drake is utterly unworthy of credit. We have the evidence of Clarenceux that Bernard Drake allowed the relationship; the two Drakes seem to have been at all times very good friends; Richard Drake, Bernard's brother, is described as `one that Sir Francis Drake did specially account and regard as his trusty friend' (Notes and Queries 2nd ser. iii. 25); and, above all, the detail that the queen solaced Drake by adding to the crest a wyvern hung up by the heels in the rigging, is contrary to known fact (ib. 5th ser. ii. 371; Arch. Journ. xxx. 375). It was not only Drake that was honoured. The ship which had carried him to fame was held to be a sacred relic. One enthusiast proposed to place her bodily on the stump of the steeple of St. Paul's in lieu of the spire (Holinshed, iii. 1569); and, without going to such wild excesses, she was long preserved at Deptford as a monument of the voyage. After serving far into the next century as a holiday resort, a supper and drinking room (Barrow, p. 171), and having been patched and repatched till her hull contained but little of the timber that had gone round the world, she was at last allowed to fall into complete decay, and was broken up. Some few sound remnants were collected, and of them a chair was made which is still preserved in the Bodleian Library at Oxford (Notes and Queries, 6th ser. vi. 296, 3rd ser. ii. 492; Western Antiquary iii. 136, where there is a picture of the chair).

      Drake had already been spoken of as likely to undertake another expedition `to intercept the Spanish galeons from the West Indies,' and this time with the queen's commission (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 5 March, 3 April 1581), but the year passed away without his being called on for any such service; though he is spoken of as having an interest in the expedition commanded by Edward Fenton [q. v.] and Luke Ward (ib. December 1581). During 1582 he was mayor of Plymouth (Hist. MSS. Comm. 9th Rep. App. pt. i. 277), but his term of office does not seem to have been in any way distinguished. In May a certain Patrick Mason was apprehended, and, being `compelled,' confessed to having acted as agent for Peter de Subiaur, a `merchant stranger,' who had at 'sundry times declared unto him that the king of Spain would be revenged upon her majesty for all the injuries and wrongs that he and his subjects' had sustained ; and who also had shown him letters out of Spain, how the king of Spain had made proclamation' offering twenty thousand ducats for Drake's head ; that he had negotiated about this business with John Doughty, and had been directed to promise him in addition ` that if he should be apprehended in doing of this and committed unto prison, he should not want money to maintain him;' to which Doughty had answered ` that if he could get a fit company unto his content and upon some assurance for the payment of the said sum of money, he would take upon him to perform the same, under colour of his own quarrel' (State Papers, Dom., Elizabeth, vol. cliii. No. 49). About the same time Drake laid an information against Doughty for plotting his murder, and produced evidence of a letter in which Doughty said ` that that day wherein the queen did knight Drake, she did then knight the arrantest knave, the vilest villain, the falsest thief, and the cruellest murderer that ever was born, and that he would justify the same before the whole council' (ib. No. 50). The upshot of all which, as far as it can now be traced, was that Doughty was arrested, and that on 27 Oct. 1583 he wrote to the council begging that, as he had been imprisoned in the Marshalsea for sixteen months, he might be charged and called to answer or else might be set at liberty. It does not appear that either request was complied with, and no further mention of his name is to be found. This John Doughty was the brother of the Thomas Doughty who was executed at Port St. Julian ; he was present at St. Julian at the time, and apparently continued in the Golden Hind (Peralta, p. 584), where he at least concealed, even if he nursed, his ` own quarrel.' His name, however, does not appear among the signatures in favour of Drake's conduct, 8 Nov. 1580 (Notes and Queries, 7th ser. iv. 186). Of these Doughtys we really know nothing except, on the one hand, the very exaggerated eulogy of Thomas given in the name of Francis Fletcher (Vaux, p. 63 n.), and, on the other, a still earlier petition of John to the Earl of Leicester, praying him to intercede with the council for his release from prison, having been six months in the common gaol, ' a very noisome place replenished with misery' (Cal. State Papers, Dom., October 1576, p. 529), an antecedent that seems more in keeping with his later character of hired assassin.

      Drake meantime seems to have virtually exercised the functions of admiral of the narrow seas, and to have directed, though not to have been personally engaged in, the maintenance of the queen's peace and the suppression of piracy (ib. 22 Sept. 1583; 31 July 1584). He was recommended for the office of captain of the isle and castle of St. Nicholas, as being ` one of the brethren of the town, and a gentleman most able and fit for that room' (ib. 13 Nov. 1583; 7 Jan. 1584); but whether he was appointed or not is uncertain. In the parliament of 1584-5 he sat as member for Bossiney, and was one of the committee on the act for supplying Plymouth with water (Transactions of Devonshire Assoc. 1884, p. 516). It was not till the autumn of 1585 that the long contemplated, long postponed expedition against Spain took final form. The king of Spain laid an embargo on all English ships and goods found in his country, and the queen replied by letters of reprisal, and by ordering the equipment of a fleet of twenty-five sail ` to revenge the wrongs offered her, and to resist the king of Spain's preparations ' (Monson's ' Naval Tracts ' in Churchill, Voyages, iii. 147). This fleet, commanded by Drake in the Elizabeth Bonaventure, sailed from Plymouth on 14 Sept. with Martin Frobisher as vice-admiral in the Primrose, Francis Knollys as rear-admiral in the Leicester, and Christopher Carleill in the Tiger as lieutenant-general of the land forces, which numbered upwards of two thousand. Visiting on their way the harbour of Vigo, from which they carried off property to the value of thirty thousand ducats, and of St. Iago, where they burnt the town in revenge for the murder of a boy, they watered at Dominica, spent their Christmas at St. Christopher's, and on New Year's day landed in force on Hispaniola, where the troops, under Carleill, took and ransomed the town of San Domingo. Here a negro boy, carrying a flag of truce, was barbarously killed by a Spanish officer. Drake immediately retaliated by hanging two friars, his prisoners, at the very place where the boy had been killed, at the same time sending a message to the effect that he would hang two more prisoners each day until the offender was delivered up. The next day the ruffian was brought in; ` but it was thought a more honourable revenge to make them there, in our sight, perform the execution themselves, which was done accordingly' (Bigges, Summarie and True Discourse, p. 18).

      From San Domingo the expedition passed on to Cartagena, which was occupied and, after six weeks' dispute, ransomed for 110,000 ducats. Meantime the men were dying fast from sickness. Bigges himself, a captain of the land forces and the chronicler of the voyage, died shortly after leaving Cartagena; his work was continued by Croftes, the lieutenant of Bigges's company, who speaks of their sufferings from sickness, bad weather, and want of water. It was Drake's personal influence, courage, and energy that kept them together. Towards the middle of May they arrived on the coast of Florida, which they harried, and pursued their way to the northward, burning and plundering as they went till, in compliance with their orders, they reached the Virginian colony. This Drake proposed to supply with stores, and to leave also a small vessel, if only as a means of communication. But the colonists were disheartened and begged him to take them back to England. He accordingly did so, and reached Portsmouth 28 July 1586, bringing back not only the colonists, but with them also, it is believed for the first time, tobacco and potatoes. That both these now daily necessaries of life were known in England very shortly after this appears certainly established; but whether Drake or his companions were the actual introducers must remain doubtful. The belief is, however, widely entertained, and is attested in permanent form in the inscription on a monument erected at Offenburg in 1853 to commemorate the event. The booty brought home was valued at 60,000l., small in comparison with Drake's former success, the number of men engaged and the number who had died. Still, in the destruction of .the Spanish settlements and in the heavy blow to the Spanish trade, the advantage, from the point of view of impending war, was very great, and might probably enough have been much greater and absolutely decisive could Elizabeth have made up her mind to a total breach with Spain. Writing several years afterwards, Monson's idea was that `had we kept and defended those places when in our possession, and provided for them to have been relieved and succoured out of England, we had diverted the war from this part of Europe' (Churchill, iii. 147).

      Drake was not long left idle. Though without any declaration of war, the hostile preparations of Spain had become notorious (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 10 Dec. 1585), and it was already felt in England that the wrath of years must shortly fall. Almost immediately on his return Drake had the shipping at Plymouth placed under his orders (ib. 16 Sept. 1586, 26 March 1587). In November 1586 he was sent on a mission to the Netherlands, charged, it would seem, to concert some joint naval expedition (Motley, United Netherlands, ii. 103 n.; State Papers, Holland, No. 36, Wylkes to Walsyngham, 17 Nov. 1586). Notwithstanding Wylkes's hope the negotiation proved fruitless ; and, after cruising in the Channel for some little time in the early spring of 1587, Drake was appointed to the command of a strong squadron, and sailed on 2 April with a commission ` 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 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 ' (Walsyngham to Sir Ed. Stafford, 21 April 1587, in Hopper, p. 29). Scarcely, however, had Drake sailed before the queen repented of her determination, and on 9 April sent off counter-orders for him ` to confine his operations to the capture of ships on the open sea, and to forbear entering any of the ports or havens of Spain, or to do any act of hostility by land.' The preparations in Spain, he was told, were not so great as had been reported, and the king had made overtures for settling the differences between the two kingdoms (ib. 28; Cal. State Papers, Dom., 9 April). These orders did not, however, reach Drake, and, in happy ignorance of the entanglement, he pursued his way down the coast of Portugal, arrived off Cadiz on the 19th, and, finding the Spanish armament there much as had been reported, he went straightway in among the ships, not yet manned or fully equipped; sank or burnt thirty-three of them, many large, and estimated in the aggregate as of ten thousand tons, and brought away four laden with provisions (Drake to Walsyngham, 27 April, Barrow, p. 227). King Philip, he wrote, was making great preparations for the invasion of England; he hoped to intercept their supplies; but England must be prepared, ` most of all by sea.' ` Stop him now and stop him ever' (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 27 April). On 17 May he wrote again that they had had many combats with the Spaniards and had taken forts, ships, barks, carvels, and divers other vessels, more than a hundred, of great value. He had proposed an exchange of prisoners, which the several Spanish governors had refused; so such Spaniards as had fallen into his hands he had sold to the Moors, reserving the money for redeeming English captives. The Marquis of Santa Cruz, wrote Fenner, the captain of Drake's ship, the Elizabeth Bonaventure, was near them with seven galleys, but would not attack them. 'Twelve of her majesty's ships were a match for all the galleys of the king of Spain's dominions ' (ib. 17 May). Such was the spirit engendering in the officers and ships' companies under the command of a bold and successful leader. It was not, however, universal, and the vice-admiral, William Borough [q. v.], a good sailor and admirable pilot, but without the habitude of war, amid which Drake had grown from youth to middle age, was aghast at his commander's reckless and ill-advised proceedings. He accordingly wrote to Drake complaining of the autocratic way in which the fleet had been conducted; that though there had been often assemblies of the captains, no matter of counsel or advice had ever been propounded or debated; but that Drake had either shown briefly his purpose what he would do, or else had entertained them with good cheer; and so, after staying most part of the day, they had departed as wise as they came. ` I have found you always,' he said, ` so wedded to your own opinion and will, that you rather disliked and showed as that it were offensive unto you that any should give you advice in anything.' He proceeded specifically to object to the attack on Sagres then contemplated, and afterwards successfully carried out (in. 30 April; Barrow, p. 242). Drake replied by superseding Borough from his command and placing him under arrest, in which he remained, notwithstanding his earnest protest that he had written the letter 'only in discharge of his duty,' and that he was ready to undertake the service 'with much goodwill ond forwardness'(Barrow,p.247). On 27 May the ship's company of the Lion ran away with the ship and brought her back to England (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 6 June), probably enough at Borough's instigation, as Drake seems to have thought when he charged him with this and other breaches of discipline. Borough's defence was that he had no rule or authority over the men, having been displaced on 2 May, and having so remained. ' All which time,' he wrote, ' I stood ever in doubt of my life, and did expect daily when the admiral would have executed upon me his bloodthirsty desire, as he did upon Doughty' (ib. 29 July, 1 Aug. 1587,21 Feb.1588; Barrow, p. 251 ). It does not appear that Drake really pressed the charge with any bitterness; there is no room for doubt that Borough had been guilty of a very gross breach of discipline in presence of the enemy, yet he was acquitted and served in a more congenial capacity during the summer of 1588(Cal. State Papers, Dom., 28 July, 4 Aug. 1588).

      Relieved of Borough's presence, Drake had stretched to seaward nearly as far as the Azores and captured a homeward-bound Portuguese East Indiaman, with which he returned to England in the last days of June. The vast wealth of this carack, officially estimated at upwards of 100,000l. (ib. 8 Oct. 1587), is said to have given English merchants the first clear idea of the East India trade, and to have virtually led to the foundation of the East India Company some twelve years later. The ship herself, after being unloaded, was sent off Saltash, where she accidentally caught fire and was entirely destroyed. But Drake was by no means willing to rest satisfied with the blow he had inflicted. He was anxious that it should be repeated and in the strongest language urged on the queen and her ministers the advisability of so damaging the king in his own harbours as to put it out of his power to prosecute his designs on England. While still on the coast of Portugal he had written (17 May); `For the revenge of these things (as at Cadis and Sagres), what forces the country is able to make we shall be sure to have brought upon us, as far as they may;' but that if he had with him six more of her majesty's ships he could do much to bring them to terms (Barrow, p. 233). From this opinion he never wavered, and month after month, from Plymouth or from Portsmouth, repeated it with the utmost insistency, trusting ` that the Lord of all strengths will put into her majesty and her people courage and boldness not to fear any invasion in her own country, but to seek God's enemies and her majesty's where they may be found ? for with fifty sail of shipping we shall do more good upon their own coast than a great many more will do here at home, and the sooner we are gone the better we shall be able to impeach them' (30 March 1588, ib. p. 275); and, among many other letters, writing to the queen that ` if a good peace be not forthwith concluded, then these great preparations of the Spaniard may be speedily prevented as much as in your majesty lieth, by sending your forces to encounter them somewhat far off, and more near their own coast, which will be the better cheap for your majesty and people and much the dearer for the enemy' (28 April 1588, ib. p. 279). To similar effect the lord high admiral had written (9 March): 'The delay of Sir Francis Drake going out may breed much peril. It will be of no use to refer to the armistice if the king of Spain should succeed in landing troops in England, Scotland, or Ireland.'

      Judging as we can judge now, there is little reason to doubt that if Drake had been permitted to sail in force for the coast of Portugal during the spring, the critical campaign and the terrible alarm of the summer would have been prevented. But this was not to be. The queen was unwilling to push matters with vigour. It was not till 23 May that Lord Charles Howard, having joined Drake at Plymouth, was able to announce his intention of lying ` between England and the coast of Spain, to watch the coming of the Spanish forces.' This half-measure was not at all what Drake had wanted, and even it was frustrated by the weather. Violent storms compelled them to return to Plymouth on 13 June, having seen nothing of the Spaniards, who, they supposed, might by that time have landed in Scotland or Ireland. It was still his opinion, wrote Howard on the 14th, as well as that of Drake, Hawkyns, and Frobisher, that it would have been best to attack the Spaniards on their own coasts. Several times during the next few weeks they attempted to put to sea, but always to be driven back by a westerly gale. It was afterwards known that the same succession of bad weather had scattered the Spanish fleet, and compelled it to take refuge in Corunna. It was 6 July before it was all collected, and after the necessary repairs it finally put to sea on the 12th. The English fleet, in three divisions, was meantime spread across the entrance of the Channel, Drake being stationed off Ushant (Howard to Walsingham, 6 July); but a fresh southerly breeze blew them back to Plymouth (13 July), and at the same time gave the Spaniards a fair run across the Bay of Biscay. Off Ushant, however, these came into a succession of violent storms (Duro, ii. 219), which prevented their keeping together. It was not till Saturday, 20 July, that they were once more collected off the Lizard. It has been said, and repeated over and over again, that they were tempted to the English coast, contrary to their instructions, by the chance of catching the English fleet at an advantage in the Sound (Lediard, p. 254 ). This is curiously incorrect; for the appointed rendezvous in case of separation was Mount's Bay (Duro, ii. 27), and the king's instructions, which are both definite and minute, contain not one word about hugging the French coast or avoiding the enemy, but, on the contrary, based on the supposition that the main fleet with Howard would be off the North Foreland, having left Drake with a detached squadron to guard the mouth of the Channel, they ordered that Drake, if fallen in with, should be attacked and destroyed (ib.ii. 9). The question of Drake having joined Howard in the Straits was considered and provided for; the other and actual contingency, of Howard having joined Drake off Plymouth, does not seem to have been entertained. But Spanish writers have freely blamed Medina-Sidonia, not for appearing off Plymouth, but for not attacking the English fleet penned up in the Sound, according to the advice of his council (ib. i. 67).

      An old and apparently well-founded tradition relates that when the news of the Armada being off the Lizard was brought to the lord high admiral, he and the other admirals and captains of the fleet were playing bowls on the Hoe; that Howard wished to put to sea at once, but that Drake prevented him, saying, ` There's plenty of time to win this game and to thrash the Spaniards too' (cf. J. Morgan, Phænix Britannicus, p. 345). The popular picture by Seymour Lucas (Royal Academy, 1880), showing a figure on the left pointing to the Armada in the distance, is, however, based on some misconception of the story; for the Lizard is more than fifty miles from the Hoe, and the line of sight is effectually stopped by Penlee Point. During the night the Spanish fleet passed Plymouth, and early the next morning was assailed by the English, who had worked out of the Sound during the night, and were now well to windward of their formidable enemy. Howard, as well as Drake, had been anxious to stave off the crisis which the shuffling policy of the queen had forced on the country; but now, in face of the danger, they met it with a willing resolution. Before the fighting began they had obtained the weather gage and had no difficulty in keeping it. Their ships of force were far fewer than those of the Spaniards; but they were more weatherly, sailed better, were better handled, and carried heavier guns, which were worked by men familiar with the exercise. The Spanish ships, with enormous castles at the bow and stern, sailed, in comparison, like barges. They were crowded witn men, but these men were neither sailors nor artillerymen; their guns were not only small, but were worked by men utterly inexperienced; their strength lay entirely in musketry or in hand-to-hand conflict ; and against a foe whom they could not catch, and who pounded them with great guns from a safe distance, they were practically helpless (Duro, i. 71-7 ; Froude, xii. 394-5). The disproportion of size and number was indeed too great to permit of any speedy settlement of the question; but-as the English followed the enemy up Channel the advantage was telling in their favour. Each day more or less partial engagements took place, and the policy decided on by Medina-Sidonia, of making his way to Calais without stopping to fight?a policy distinctly contrary to his instructions?necessarily threw into the hands of the English all such ships as from any cause dropped astern. Of these the most noteworthy was Nuestra Señora del Rosario, the capitana or flagship of the Andalusian squadron, commanded by Don Pedro de Valdes?a ship of 1,150 tons, 46 guns, and 422 men, which had been disabled by a collision, deserted by the fleet, and which fell into the hands of Drake as he returned from the mistaken chase of some passing merchant ships. On the 27th the Spaniards anchored off Calais, where they hoped to communicate with the Duke of Parma. For this, however, time was not given them; but in panic and confusion they were driven from their anchors by fireships on the night of the 28th, and on the following day, Monday, 29 July, the decisive action was fought off Gravelines. Howard was somewhat behind, having been engaged taking possession of a stranded galleass, and the leading of the fleet at the critical moment fell to Drake (Barrow, p. 305). From morning till nigh sundown the battle raged; but the Spaniards could offer little defence except the passive resistance of their thick sides, which did not avail much at close quarters. Their loss in ships was considerable, that in men still greater; and, taking advantage of a favourable shift of wind, they fled to the north, closely followed by the English under the immediate command of Howard and Drake, who wrote the same evening to Walsyngham: ?God hath given us so good a day in forcing the enemy so far to leeward as I hope in God the Prince of Parma and the Duke of Sidonia shall not shake hands this few days. And whensoever they shall meet, I believe neither of them will greatly rejoice of this day's service? (Cal. State Papers, Dom., 29 July). Barrow (p. 300) expresses an opinion that the date is incorrect, and that the letter refers to the transactions of two days earlier; but this is not substantiated by any evidence, and the proposed change of date to 27 July appears as unwarranted as it is uncalled for. In any case, there is no possibility of error as to the letter dated ?this last day of July,? in which Drake wrote: ?There was never anything pleased me better than the seeing the enemy flying with a southerly wind to the northwards. God grant you have a good eye to the Duke of Parma; for with the grace of God, if we live, I doubt it not but ere it be long so to handle the matter with the Duke of Sidonia as he shall wish himself at St. Mary Port among his orange-trees? (ib. 31 July; Barrow, p. 304). Though sorely in want of powder and provisions, which the shameful parsimony of the queen had denied them, and with their men dying fast of dysentery brought on by drinking the poisonous beer which the queen had forced on them (Cal. State Papers, Dom.?Heneage to Walsyngham, Burghley to Walsyngham, 9 Aug.), they kept up the appearance of pursuit for several days. Not till Friday, 2 Aug., did they turn back, ?leaving the Spanish fleet so far to the northwards that they could neither recover England nor Scotland? (ib.?Drake to the queen, 8 Aug.). And so by the 9th they anchored off Margate, where crowds of their men, dead or dying, were sent ashore (ib.?Howard to Burghley, 10 Aug., Howard to the queen, 22 Aug., Howard to Council, 22 Aug.; Froude, xii. 431).

      It was at this time that a violent quarrel broke out between Drake and Sir Martin Fro [2]
    Person ID I13273  Dickinson
    Last Modified 1 Oct 2014 

    Family Elizabeth Sydenham,   b. ca. 1562, Somerset Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Married Before 9 Feb 1585  [3, 4
    Last Modified 1 Oct 2014 
    Family ID F3968  Group Sheet  |  Family Chart

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - ca. 1540 - Tavistock, Devon Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsDied - 27 Jan 1596 - Portobelo, Colón, Panama Link to Google Earth
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  • Sources 
    1. [S336470] Wikipedia, (Online:, "Francis Drake",

    2. [S336351] Dictionary of National Biography, 63 volumes, Sir Sidney Lee, ed., (New York: McMillan and Company, 1885-1900), Public Domain., vol. 15, 426-442.

    3. [S47] Sir Francis Drake: The Queen's Pirate, Harry Kelsey, (New Haven: Yale University Press, 1998), 298.

    4. [S48] Sir Francis Drake, John Sugden, (London: Random House, 2006), 173-175.