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France and the Low Countries, were likewise looking to England
for assistance in attaining the same object for themselves. Not
inappropriately, therefore, does it happen that the first
document here is a letter from Sir Francis Vere at the Hague
to the Earl of Essex, the one man in England who by common
consent must be the leader in any action taken to carry out
the common design. This letter reviews the situation in France
and Flanders, and, while it retails a rumour of a movement
towards the making of peace, urges that an effort should be
made to recover Calais from the Spaniards (p. 2). This was
“ the action” which to Vere's mind would be of greatest honour
and profit to the Crown of England, and of greatest advantage
to the common cause. He did not conceal the fact that this
enterprise (p. 8), being that “most desired by men of sound
understanding ” (p. 9), nevertheless did not command at the
time entire approval either in France or at the Hague. And
his own view, too, was that, if attempted at all, it should be
carried out“ in such sort as may procure a good event," and
that to accomplish it a force of 20,000 men would be necessary
composed in the main of Englishmen. Still he strongly urged
Essex to undertake the task (p. 8). Three months later the ques-
tion of the siege of Calais had assumed a different complexion in the
eyes of the French and Dutch. In the interval many things had
happened, some to be noticed later in another connexion; the King
of France had made“ an offer of Calais ” (p. 171) to the Queen,
and the States General had been urged by him to assist her in
the undertaking, so that by this time Vere was “hearkening
every hour to hear of a final resolution” and had " framed”
himself to do Essex his “ best service.” But the preparations,
he urged anew, must be adequate (p. 172); and he expressed
the hope of seeing “this action undertaken royally, for the right
“ we pretend, the general desire to the securing of it, the
“ inconvenience in rejecting the offer, the danger in receiving a
“ repulse, and for the good the winning of the place bringeth
“ with it.” This was in April. Nearly a month later (p. 205),
however, the decision which he so ardently desired was still
not taken ; and in fact the enterprise was ultimately put aside
for another, that, namely, which aimed at the destruction of
the Spanish fleet in a port on its own coast. A letter of Vere's,
written early in June (p. 236) states the arguments for the one

enterprise and the other. Dutch opinion of greatest authority
he represents as “inclined to the favouring of the action
“ of Calais, but wish also that the fleet in Ferrol were
“ destroyed, which they hold the work of a month or six
“ weeks, and judge this summer long enough to do both.” His
own opinion, nevertheless, still leaned to that which was discussed
first; with regard to the other, he did not, he says (p. 237),
“ make the exploit impossible to be actioned: he only cast doubts
of the event," and he goes on to state his reasons. He acknow-
ledged that the capture of Calais had difficulties of its own,
but they were such as might be overcome, while the results of
success would be beyond comparison better, “ as there is diffe-
“ rence betwixt stopping the rage and destroying of an enemy."
Sir Robert Sydney (p. 243) entirely agreed with Sir Francis
Vere. Havivg heard that the King of France had yielded all
the conditions which the Queen had demanded concerning
Calais, and that the King of Spain had withdrawn all bis ships
from Ferrol to Lisbon under the impression-an impression well
founded in fact—that the preparations now making were for
the destruction of that fleet, Sydney concluded that the
English forces would be directed against Calais, and to reduce
Calais to the obedience of the Crown of England seemed to him
in the highest degree profitable for the state of England, and
honourable for him that should accomplish it, the general affec-
tion of all Englishmen to see that town once more English being
such “as surely the memory of it would never be delayed;"
while the failure to take advantage of the opportunity might
give an opening to Essex's enemies to cast the imputation that
Calais was not secured because he had drawn Her Majesty's
forces another way. These and other considerations failed,
nevertheless, to affect the decision. The project was, as we
know, abandoned for that other scheme which had been
consistently deprecated by Sir Francis Vere.

Of the enterprise finally decided upon the first intimations in The expedition these papers are perhaps to be found in the applications addressed "Samo to Essex for permission to accompany him. That of Sir William Woodhouse is the earliest (p. 80), made in the month of February, but his is followed by those of numerous other aspirants, some of them - tall” soldiers serving at the time in France, like Sir J.

Aldrich (p. 184); others, like Captain Chamberlain (p. 188), in the Low Countries. The first definite references to the voyage are to be found in letters from Sir R. Sydney of May 24th (p. 210), and from Sir Francis Vere of May 25th (p. 212), in which the latter argues against its execution. At this time he did not know the exact point of Essex's objective, and could only infer that it must be either the Groyne or Ferrol. But at home the decision had been taken, and in furtherance of the preparations for it, one Captain Coustable was despatched with letters to Count Maurice and the States General calling upon them for aid. He reached the Hague on the 23rd of May (p. 211), and two days later Vere was able to report that Mr. Gilpin, the English Agent at the Hague, and he had “obtained for answer that Her Majesty's “ demand shall be fulfilled in all.” Sydney was among those who ardently longed to accompany Essex, though his desire was not granted. Vere too cherished the same desire, but he begged (p. 223) that he might be commanded by Her Majesty's letter, and that formal signification of his withdrawal might be made to the States “to whom in some sort he was tied,” in order to save his credit and secure his place. These preliminaries complied with, he promised to be at the rendezvous with the 2,000 men he was to bring with him, then and there “as ready “ to receive your further commandment as any that shall be in “ your army."

By the beginning of the last week in June preparations for the expedition were so far advanced that Essex had gone down to Sandwich to take command (p. 267). He and his “adver:0 party ” were now “ very inward,” as Sydney puts it (p. 210), and he was at this moment expecting a visit from Sir Robert Cecil, the personage thus indicated, and Sir John Stanhope, to see the fleet, and was providing for their entertainment as his guests. But in his eagerness to strike a blow where the Spaniards least expected it, he was anxious to get further westward and nearer to the troops to be embarked. Some of the "inconveniences” with which he had to contend appear from a letter (p. 269) which he despatched from Sandwich. Its bearer was a certain Captain Talkerne, driven to leave the army because his brother had been killed“ by a misfortune heretofure fallen

out” between himself and another gentleman. If the surviving brother were retained,“ hardly would he be contained,” so Essex's solution of the difficulty was to send him away. More serious hindrance to his plans arose from circumstances over which he had no control, nar.ely, wind and tide. On the evening of Saturday, June 25, he set sail with a fair wind from the Downs (p. 275), but when the fleet had doubled the South Foreland there came an unwelcome calm, and they were carried by the slack tide into Dover Road. Meanwhile the Admiral of the Low Countries, whom Essex had been expecting, came up with sixteen sail. It was agreed to stop tides and then ply to the westward, but now gale succeeded calm, and instead of getting westward they were driven back to the Downs. From this uneasy berth he despatches on the midnight of Sunday a note to the Lord Admiral and Cecil, “ bare and lastily written from one over watched “ and over tossed, and yet one that wisheth you both as much “ happiness as you may desire.”

Four days later, shortly after dawn, though the wind was contrary, the fleet, now reinforced by the Dutchmen, taking advantage of the tide, dropped anchor a second time in Dover Road (p. 279), and in the evening set sail again for the southwest, “purposing to tide it up as far as they inay,” the wind still remaining adverse. By July 6 they had got to Portland (p. 291), where the troops were waiting to be embarked. And now a new difficulty arose, namely, shortness of supplies, the only obstacle, so it seemed to Essex and his companions, “likely to “ hinder the good success of their action.” Thereupon the council of war unanimously agreed to despatch Mr. Fulk Greville to the Court “to move Her Majesty that in her dear “ and princely wisdom she would weigh how much both in “ honour and interest she was engaged in this action, how just " and how great a grief it would be to her royal heart that “ those services which yield glory to her blessed name, sa fety to “ hier estate, and profit to her coffers, should be hindered by “ want of means to keep this brave fleet and army together, “ which being in all humbleness by Her Majesty's poor servants “ Jaid before her, they think to have discharged their duties to “ God and to her royal self, and will believe that that resolution “ is best which she is best pleased withal.” Á month's supply

was the extent of their demand, and one may well ask, were ever Queen and country more devotedly and patiently served by brave, self-forgetful men ?

But in their estimate of what was required, they were again mistaken, for they had reckoned without weather such as in the summer season of the year, “was never seen by man" (p. 306), and “great and sore extremities.” What these extremities were and what fortune befell the fleet during the next fortnight may be learnt in greater detail from the series of State Papers, Domestic, of this date: how the fleet set out for the Spanish coast; how it was storm-beaten and separated; how portions with Essex and Ralegh regained English ports, but with the utmost difficulty, after experiences in the course of which they had thought they must “yield themselves up to God," having no way to work that offered any hope, the men wasted with labour and watching; how Lord Thomas Howard with fifty-seven sail of ships (p. 361) had pursued his course “ with “ valour and constancy” for the Spanish coast, but eventually also returned to England; of all this the papers in this volume tell comparatively little. But we learn that “ London was full of “ discomfortable news” (p. 307), and that men there and at the Court gave God fervent thanks when, on July 22nd, tidirgs came of Essex's safe return to Falmouth. And as to the feeling of the Queen herself, “ I protest before God," writes the Lord Admiral to Essex (p. 306), “ I did never see creature receive “ more comfort than Her Majesty did when she saw by Sir W. “ Ralegh’s letter that your person was safe. She shewed the “ dear love she beareth you, for with joy the water came “ plentiful out of her eyes.” The Queen expresses her own sentiments on the occasion (p. 314), both to Essex and to Lord Thomas Howard. A reply from the latter will be found on page 336. Wind and weather had been, indeed, says Howard, their bitter enemies, but no extremities already endured nor perils to come were, he avers,“ prized at aught " in comparison of their desire and zeal to do the Queen service. His sense of the value of the presence and co-operation of Essex appears in a kind of postscript to his letter (p. 337). “We are “ here a naked flock without our shepherd, whom we beseech “ you return to us.” This postscript, in addition to other

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