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the land. Englishmen had not yet learnt to trust themselves, they had been brought to shame abroad, torn asunder by constant civil war, and it seemed as if the final catastrophe could not long be averted. Yet we see the first reviving glimmer of an ancient spirit which was in fullness of time to give a new bent altogether to the thoughts of our countrymen. We refer to a renewal of interest in the history and traditions of England. Two of the earliest specimens of this tendency are the “Mirroure for Magistrates," and "Gorboduc." The "Mirroure" is an enormous compilation by several hands, dealing with the misfortunes of past heroes, real or fabulous. The idea is taken from Boccaccio, and we find it adopted in English as early as the "Monk's Tale" in Chaucer, though the recital of so many woes proves too much for the patience of his jolly pilgrims. The spirit of the early Elizabethans was better tuned to such dirges, and called for more. The tragedy that runs through the series, or clanks along through an endless monotony of clumsy stanzas, is that of private persons, and there is little scope for patriotism. Sackville's contribution is perhaps the best in point of form, and will do for a sample of the rest. Walking alone, he meets Sorrow, who takes him to Avernus, where the Duke of Buckingham pours forth his tale of woe. Its most significant trait is the horror of civil war, which bitter experience had ingrained in the mind of almost every writer of the period, a horror which becomes a passionate aspiration for national unity.
There are exceptions to the general trend of the book, which may be taken as an augury of brighter things to come. The authors fall back upon the old English legend of Geoffrey of Monmouth, and it is impossible but that some of the patriotism of the original should find a place in the later version. Brutus duly receives his oracle from Diana concerning his future abode.
"Here of thy progeny and stock shall mighty kings descend,
And unto them as subject all the world shall bow and bend."
And in course of time he peoples it with "Britons fierce and good," of whom even Cæsar himself has to admit : "I have no cause of Britain conquest for to boast." Edmund Ironside cries:
O noble England, cause of my renoun,
And the most noticeable passage of all is a warning against civil war, which ends as follows:
"Let not ambition so the Earth deprive
Of worthy wights, give them some better grace
The same note is struck in "Gorboduc,"
We see all the elements of a national spirit forming, a restlessness of intellect striving to find an outlet, a growing sense of unity, everything except the abounding energy which is life. The corpses in the valley of dry bones are indeed clothed with flesh and sinew, but as yet no vital breath is infused. It is to men of action that we must look to dispel the heavy clouds that darken the approaching dawn.
THE TRIUMPH OF THE TUDOR SYSTEM
HILE the Queen kept the peace for nearly twenty-six years, the Rovers of the Sea, Hawkins, Drake, Frobisher and their peers, were building up a tradition of naval power that can never be eclipsed. It was one of the strangest of conflicts. It was essential that Elizabeth should postpone for as long as possible open hostilities with Philip. England needed time to recover from her depression, to gather strength, to foster patriotism. Philip, if he had been wise, would have struck soon, but it was not his way to do things in a hurry. While the Queen was exhausting every shift of diplomacy to postpone the crisis, her subjects were taking matters into their own hands. Copious ink has been spilled about the "piracy " of such men as Drake. There is about as much, and as little reason in such talk, as there is in referring to Washington as a traitor, and Charlotte Corday as a member of the criminal class. The facts of the case are sufficiently obvious. A mere handful of Spaniards, by an unprovoked aggression, backed with every resource of cruelty and treachery, had succeeded in conquering for their King large tracts of the American continent. Thereupon the Spaniards set up a preposterous claim, backed by the mandate of the greatest ruffian that ever wore the tiara, to treat the whole of the Western Hemisphere as a Spanish preserve. Not only the riches but the trade of
these vast regions were to become the monopoly of the bigoted and lazy inhabitants of the Peninsula, and torture and death were the penalties of any one who dared infringe it. Such a claim was as absurd as it was wicked, and deserved to be resisted to the last extremity.
The English were not the first to contest it, for before our rovers had crossed the ocean, French captains were at work harrying the Spanish Main. It was in no spirit of blind adventure that our seamen put forth. It was, and is, a legitimate aim for an industrious nation to seek markets for her wares, and the spirit of commercial enterprise was abroad. The new and little-understood factor of capital had begun to enter into all important operations. The gild system was sinking into obsolescence, and in its place were arising wealthy companies, often possessing special privileges and financed by joint stock. The rudiments of the modern system of credit had begun to make their appearance, and Antwerp, in particular, was the centre of cosmopolitan banking enterprise, until the mutineers of Spain made it sweat gold. To open up new trade routes became a master ambition of the time. It was with this object that the heroic Chancellor made his expedition to the North-East, and Frobisher essayed to open up a North-West Passage. Companies were formed to work and police the trade routes opened by the explorers, and not the least arduous of the tasks of government was that of assigning the limits of their monopoly. Even the Queen condescended to be a partner in Drake's voyage round the world.
John Hawkins, who was the first Englishman seriously to contest the Spanish claim, was more of a trader than a warrior. That he engaged in the slave trade is a fact we must deplore, but in his time the trade was regarded as lawful and Christian by all parties, and no more of a crime than killing Saracens had been to the early crusaders.
His enterprise was regularly financed by subscriptions, and all that he asked was permission honestly to dispose of his wares to the inhabitants of the Spanish colonies, who, for their part, were only too eager to do business. He could further urge in his defence that freedom to trade with Philip's subjects had expressly been conceded by treaty, and never revoked. If in spite of all this the Spaniards were determined to bang the doors of their markets in Hawkins' face, he was naturally resolved to force them open. In revenge, he was made the victim of one of the blackest acts of treachery ever practised. Nor was this all. Some poor English seamen of his force had been compelled to land, and had been captured. On the arrival of the Inquisition three years later, they were dragged from their peaceful employment to torture and the stake. Was it such a great matter that Drake relieved these Spaniards of some of their gold and silver?
In what contrast to the early gloom is the spirit of this Francis Drake, the man who expressed the new movement in action as Shakespeare bodies it forth in thought! His prestige was world-wide. If to us he was a hero, in Spain he was a devil; Valdes surrendered at the very mention of his name. There is the note of the sea in Drake, and his sayings are as inspiring and characteristic as those of Nelson himself. "God grant you have an eye to the Prince of Parma, for if we live, by God's mercy, I hope so to handle the matter with the Duke of Sidonia that he shall ere long wish himself in St. Mary Port among his orange trees!" They have a tradition in Devonshire about Drake, which just expresses the work he accomplished for his country. The water-supply of Plymouth was deficient, so Drake galloped up to the heart of Dartmoor, that most melancholy of all waste places, and straightway Drake's Leat sprang from the soil and danced after him all the way back. And so the fountains of the love of England, which had so long been