23 DECEMBER 1843, Page 13


The Lite, Voyages, and Exploits of Admiral Sir Francis Drake, Knt.; with numerous Letters from him and the Lord High Admiral to the Queen and Great Officers of State; compiled from MSS. to the State Paper Office, British Museum, and the Archives of Madrid, never before published. By John Barrow, Esq....Murray.


The Spirit of the Nation. Part II. Being a Second Series of Political Songs and

National Ballads, by the Writers of •• The Nation" Newspaper Duffy, Dablin. Etc-rum A Christmas Carol. in Prose; being a Ghost Story of Christmas. By Charles Dickens, With Illustrations by John Leech. Chapman and Hall.


Or all heroes who have lived in a time of written history, DRAKE has perhaps received the most attention from literature. CESAR and HANNIBAL have found no modern biographers, and not many ancient ; MARLBOROUGH, in spite of a tempting legacy, had to wait for the ponderous quartos of CoxE ; and many nautical and mili- tary heroes have received no other notice than is to be found in biographical dictionaries : but the life of DRAKE has been written in various shapes, at various times, and by various men, from his con- temporary naval chroniclers and collectors up to authors of no less mark than JOHNSON and SOUTHEY. His exploits have not only been commemorated in written prose ; he is, as SOUTHEY remarked, the only name in modern history "which has acquired in local tradi- tion a sort of mythological celebrity." Neither has his celebrity been limited to prose and tradition ; he was a favourite theme for poets of his own time, both during his life and after his death, and as well in Latin as in English. One CIIARLES FITZ-GEFFRY pub- lished a long poem commemorative of his whole career immediately on his death ; DAVENANT, many years afterwards, wrote an entertain- ment of which DRAKE was the subject, to amuse the Court and LOPE DE VEGA, with the animosity of a Spaniard, composed -a vitu- perative poem, in which he finally conducted his hero to the lower world.

The origin of this wide celebrity is probably to be sought in two circumstances—the inherent greatness and the popular cha- racter of DRAKE. The voyage of COLUMBUS must ever stand alone as the most remarkable monument of scientific enterprise daring unknown dangers; and MAGELLAN, though lie perished before his voyage was completed, yet justly claims the credit of having shown the way to the circumnavigation of the globe, and established the fact of its rotundity. But the dangers he en- countered were such as to deter others from the attempt : and Dassa, besides the obstacles of nature, had the whole Spanish force of America opposed to him. When, laden with booty, he re-, solved upon a homeward voyage along the then totally unknown coast of North America, through Behring's Straits and the Arctic Ocean, he was only deterred by the early and extraordinary cold and the advanced season of the year ; and even his alterna- tive, the voyage across the Pacific, was an untried path. But DRAKE'S career did not close with a voyage which gave him at least the third place in the ranks of navigators and discoverers. His successful command of more than one fleet against the Spaniards, showed a mind capable of expanding with its sphere of action ; his assault upon Cadiz, and his ravages along the Spanish coast, were not only remarkable for the audacious disregard of superior naval force and of land-batteries as well, but he delayed, by the destruction of shipping and stores, the preparation of the Invin- cible Armada; whilst the name of DRAKE is inseparably con- nected with the defeat of that expedition—the most romantic and popular exploit in our annals. But FRANCIS DRAKE was some- thing more than an Admiral. The circumstances of his father, and the struggling poverty of his early career, must have prevented him from receiving any regular education ; yet he supplied these deficiencies by his own exertions, in the midst of an active life. According to the judgment of his contemporaries, he excelled, in practical navigation, the most eminent of his time; he was the first or one of the first who applied astronomy to navigation; and in attention to the health of his crew, he forestalled Coos, so far as the knowledge of the times permitted, for he used to bleed them himself as they approached the Line, and continually attended to their health.

Excepting the exploits against the Spaniards, these qualifications might not have procured so popular a celebrity ; but FRANCIS DRAKE was in his nature a popular man,—frank and impetuous ; free in indifferent things, but close and determined in essentials ; gracious, it would seem, to inferiors, somewhat high towards superiors ; and, as appears from his letters to the Queen and her Ministers, with- out that formal servility which characterized the age in its approach to such lofty station. He was also a speculator, successful to a degree rare in all times, but especially in the Elizabethan age, when commerce was restricted and the means of attaining wealth very limited. After the deductions by the Queen and the Spanish Ambassador with the shares of the officers and crew, the profits of the stay-at-home contributors to the first voyage are said to have been forty-seven to one; that is, a man who furnished 100/. towards the outfit received 4,700/. In addition to all this, the exploits of DRAKE gave rise to a class of half-freebooters, who became in popular estimation the Robin Hoods of the sea; and, however cen- surable in strict estimation, were long regarded by the popular mind, and even by persons of more consideration, as "men of spirit."

To discover any thing essentially new in the career of a man who has been the object of such close attention, was not probable; nor

has Mr. Thassow accomplished it : but he has produced a fuller ac- count of DRAKE than had previously appeared. This is partly done by copious extracts from contemporary narratives ; which, though as often relating to the voyages RS to the life of DRAKE, give a livelier and more particular idea of the men of his age and the nature of his own enterprises. The biographer has also searched our reposi- tories, and not unsuccessfully, for manuscript authorities. The British Museum has furnished him with contemporary narratives, some of them consulted before, as they served for the basis of The World Encompassed, but still yielding minute particulars and various phases of the same thing. The State Paper Office has supplied a variety of letters from DRAKE anti others, respecting the expeditions to Spain and the attack upon the Armada ; which, though telling nothing absolutely new as regards the defeat, con- tain a variety of minute particulars, and exhibit two biographical traits. 1. DRAKE proposed to the Queen, that instead of waiting for the Armada and allowing its junction with the Duke of Palma, they should seek out and meet it upon its own shores. The ex- tensive supplies he required, and other reasons, prevented the exe- cution of this plan ; but its principle was adopted, in seeking for and attacking the Spaniards as soon as they were met in the Chan- nel. 2. Instead of returning by the Western coasts of Ireland, the Spaniards, after their defeat, ought to have sought shelter in Den- mark. The storm, says DRAKE in his despatches, must have driven them beyond Scotland, or into its Northern ports : but neither there nor in the islands could they get the supplies they required : if they went to Norway, there was an equal lack of things necessary ; but at Denmark there were ports and supplies, and they might recruit and refit. He therefore suggested, that the Queen should send an ambassador of rank to Denmark to watch and nego- tiate. Mr. BARROW has moreover explored other repositories, and received assistance from other quarters : indeed, he seems to have left no place unexplored—except Hatfield, which he could not get at. "As Sir Francis Drake was much in communication with the Lord Treasurer Burleigh, and had frequent correspondence with him. I applied, through a friend of the Marquis of Salisbury, to have access to the Borleigh papers at Hatfield House, or to know what was the nature or extent of the documents relating to Drake. The reply was' that it would be a long time before the catalogue was finished, and that his Lordship must decline to let any person have unlimited access to the papers; but as soon as they are completely arranged, his Lordship would let me know how far he could contribute to my object.

"My next application was to the Marquis of Exeter, who was supposed as likely to be in possession of documents connected with Drake or his family. His reply was, that he had sent all his papers to Lord Salisbury. Thus, then, these memorials, whatever they may be, are and have been closed up for two centuries and a half, since the death of this extraordinary man, as it were in a mare clausum ; in or out of which be, when living, never suffered himself to be confined or excluded."

Having formerly gone over the leading incidents in the life of DRAKE we shall not now repeat the particulars of his career ; but we will draw upon Mr. Beitaow's volume for a few of its more striking traits. One of these is the hardships undergone by the adventurers of those days, and as a matter of course ; for it is only incidentally that any account of them appears—as when exposure in open pinnaces for days together is supposed to have brought on sickness. Another is their daring audacity. DRAKE'S attack upon Cadiz with only thirty sail, whilst the Spaniards, in addition to their fortresses, had sixty large vessels and many small in the har- bour, is striking from the largeness of the scale. But a similar spirit animated all the leading adventurers of those times. They only thought of the enemy, not of the odds : yet that enemy was the same people which formed the Spanish infantry, the terror of the Continent, and triumphed over all the hardships and dangers of the conquests of Mexico and Peru. It is perhaps still stranger, that they seem to have attempted no effectual resistance unless their numbers were out of all proportion to the English. The following Homeric description of a sea-fight by an eye-witness is from one of DRAKE'S early voyages to the West Indies, when he served under HAWKINS. The force of the Spaniards was twenty- five ships—twelve in the harbour of St. Juan de Ulloa, and thirteen newly arrived under the Viceroy—besides their means of annoyance on land. That of Ilawarxs was one large ship and a few smaller ones.

"When wee had snored our ships and lauded, wee mounted the ordinance, that wee found there in the ilande, and for our safeties kept watch and warde. The next day after wee discovered the Spanish fleete, whereof Luson a Span- yard, was Generall : with him came a Spaniard called Don Martin denriquez, whom the King of Spain sent to be his 'Viceroy of the Indies. Be sent a pin- nesse with a flag of truce unto our General], to knowe of what countrie those shippes were that rode there in the King of Spaine's port ; who sayd they were the Queene of England's ships, which came in there for victuals for their money; wherefore if your General! will come in here, he shall give me victuals and all other necessaries, and I will goe out on the one side the port and he AO come in on the other side. The Spanyard return& for answere, that he was a viceroy, and bad a thousand men, and therefore he would come in. Our General' sayd, if he be a viceroy, I represent my Qneene's person and I am a viceroy as well as he and if he have a thousand men, my powder and shot will take the better plt:ce."

The Spaniards made a truce ; and, after solemnly swearing to keep it, and giving hostages of "the basest of their company, in costly apparel'," instead of gentlemen, tried to assassinate Haw- isms ; and, presuming upon the success of this scheme, attacked the English.

"The faithlesse Spanysrds, thinking all things to their desire had been finished, suddenly sounded a trumpet, and therewith three hundred Spanyards entred the Minion ; whereat our Generall with a loads and fierce voyce called unto us, saying, God and St. George! upon those traiterous villainea, and rescue the Minion ; J trust in God the day shall be ours' : and with that the mariners and souldiers leapt out of the Jesus of Lubeck into the Minion, and

" Spectator, No. 319; 19th August 1834. beat out the Spaniards ; and with a shot out of her tiered the Spaniards' Vice-Admirall, where the most towevren over-board with powder. pAtei:fArffiralraalnLardw8asweorne fisrelmYphlteallfelnans " We cut our cables, wound off our ships, and presently fought with them : they came upon us on every side, and continued the fight from ten of the clocke until it was night: they killed all our men that were on shore in the iland saving three, which, by swimming, got aboord the Jesus of Lubeck. They sunke the Grenerall's ship called the Angel, and tooke the Swallow. The Spaniards' Admiral' (the flag-ship so called in those days) had above threescore shot through her : many of his men were spoyled ; foure other of their shipa were sunke. There were in that fleete, and that came from the shore to rescue them, fifteene hundred: we slew of them five hundred and fourtie, as we were

credibly informed by a note that came to Mexico. • •

" Oar Generall couragionsly cheered up his souldiers and gunners; and called to Samuel his page for a cup of beere, who brought it him in a silver cup; and bee, drinking to all men, willed the gunners to staud by their ordi- nance lustily like men. He had no sooner set the cup out of his hand but a demy-culverin shot stroke away the cup, and a cooper's plane that Mcrae by the mainemast, and mane out on the other side of the ship : which nothing dis- mayed our General!, for he ceased not to incourage us, saying, ' Feare nothing; for God, who bath preserved me from this shot, will also deliver us from these traitours and villaines.' Then Captaine Bland, meaning to have turned out of the port, had his mainemast stroke overhoord with a chaine-shot that came from the shore : wherefore he ankered, fired his ship, tooke his pinuesse with all his men, and came aboord the Jesus of Lubeck to our General'; who said unto him that he thought he would not have runne away from him : he an- swered, that he was not minded to have runne away from him, but his intent was to have turned up, and to have laid the weathermost ship of the Spanish fleete aboord, and fired his ship, in hope therewith to have set on fire the Spa- nish fleete. He said, if he had done so he had done well. With this, night came on. Our Generall commanded the Minion, for safegard of her masts, to be brought under the Jesus of Lubeck's lee : he willed M. Francis Drake to come in with the Judith, and to lay the Minion aboord, to take in men and other things needefull, and to goe out ; and so he did.

"At night, when the wind came off the shore, wee set sayle, and went out in despite of the Spanyards and their shot."

One of the newest points elaborated by Mr. BARROW, is that connected with the alleged .mutiny of a Captain Beam:mons in the first Spanish expedition. The story is not important as regards the career of DRAKE but it contains some incidental traits of him as a commander, and throws some curious light on the practice of martial law in that age ; which was exercised, so far as we know, without any rule, but pretty much at the discretion of the com- mander, though with the forms of English law. The business seems to have begun by a letter from Bummed's, complaining of DRAKE'S not holding councils of war; as the assemblage of Cap- tains he did call could not be considered such.


"At all and every sucbe assemblye you have either shewid briefly your pur- pose what you wolde doe, as a matter resolved in yourself and of yourselfe, for oughte that I know, unlesse you have called unto you niche as happelye will soothe you in any thine you shall says, & so concluded the matter with his or theire consents before kande, in such sorte as no reason made by any other, not fullye agreeing with your owns resolution, coolde be accepted to take any place, wherein we (I speaks chiefly for myne own part) have servid but as witnesses to the woordes you have delivered ; or cls you have used us well by entertaining us with your good cheare, & so most tymes after our ataye with you most part of the daye, we have departed as wise as we came, without any consultacion or counsel! holden. This manor of assemblies (albeit it =ye please you to terme them either counsel's or courts) arc farce from the .purpose, & not suche as in reason they ought to he. You also neglected giving in- structions to the fleet in tyme and sorte as they ought to have had, and as yt owght to be ; for which I have bin sorye, & wolde gladlye yt bad byn other- wise. But I have founde you alwaies so wedded to your owne opinion & will, that you rather disliked arid slimed as that it were offencive unto you that any shoold gyve you advice in anything (at least 1 speake it for myself); for which cawse I have refrained often to speake that which otherwise I would, and in reason, in dischardge of the duetye I owe to her Majestic and the place I serve in, I ought to have don."

He also advises that DRAKE is exceeding his instructions, for risk- fiat and vainglorious purposes.

"This is the effect of your instructions (as I remember) ; and suchelike in effect I have received, divers which I can shew.

" Nowe that you should conster these woordes to go whether you will, and to attempt and do what you lyst, I thinke the woordes will not beare you owt in it. And therefore, I prays you (for your owne good) advise yourself well in theise matters you purpose to attempt, which may not well be maintained by the woordes of your instructions.

"The chief cawse that moovid me to write you thus muche, is, for that it pleased you yesterdaye, to tell me that you purposed to lande at the Cape, for surprising the Casten of Cape Saker or the Ablye to the eastwards of it, (or both). I heard speeches and debaiting of euche matter intended by you, by divers as they weare standinge in troopes upon the decke, before the steridg of your ship, before you told it me; and I heard the lyke ther amongst them also after you bad told it me. I coold not perceive any of them to lyke there should be any landing upon this coast nere those places, neyther for taking the Castel' or Ablye, nor yet for freshe water, for that tliere is no watring-place nerer then half a myle from the water syde, which is but a poole, to the a hich the ways is badd. I doe not fade by your instructions, any advice to halide; but I remember a speciall caviat and advice geven you to the contrarye by the Lord High Admiral

" Nowe to hind at this place for the attaining of 3 or 4 peen of ordi- nance that maye be in the caste'', and perhaps as manye in the ablye, yf you should atchive your purpose, as yesterdayc it was reasoned and alledged amongst them, What have you of it ? No matter of substance : neither shall any man be bettrid by it, but a satisfying of your minde that you maye saye, Thus I have don upon the King of Spaine's land."

The upshot was, that DRAKE superseded Buanouous, and ap- pointed another captain to the command. But the crew mutinied, alleging want of provision ; and carried the vessel home with Bea- BOUGHS in it, the new captain having left her in a boat. On DRAKE'S return, he preferred various articles against Bummeons; to which the accused gave in written answers, with an Elizabethan power about them—not omitting hits at DRAKE upon old sores. The following extract from one of them is not only curious as show- ing DRAKE'S mode of proceeding in courts-martial, but for its re- semblance to what is held to be a stigma upon the hero, his execu- tion of DOUGHTY; to whom, indeed, Bummed's compares him-

self,—not, however, giving into any of the later tales of baser motives, but merely adducing it as the Admiral's "bludthirstie" way of dealing with those who opposed him.

"Now seeing it was soe and that by the providence of God, this meane was wroughte to save me from that myscheif, what reason bad 1 to strive against Omni for comynge away ? If the shippe had staide by the Admymll, I had assuredly byn put to deathe; for Sir Francis bath often aside, since he came home, that nothinge sue made repentithe him as that he did not cut me of whilete I remayned by him. And what passed againste me, after the Lyon's departure, was partlye declared by his own mouthe out of his own booke which be did reade the 25th July, at Tyhalls. He panneled a jurie, and uppon their verdicte (by his lawe, and himselfe the judge) pronounced sentence of deathe againste me, the master of the shippe, the boatswane and other, and made full accompte that, at his retorne home, the same judgement sholde have ben executed uppon us, but if he had gotten us at sea he woolde have performed it there.

" Sir Francis Drake, in nrginge this matter see vehemently against me, beinge able suffitiently to cleere myself from beinge previe or abettynge to the comynge awaye of the Lyon, doth altogether forget howe he demeaned himself towards his Master and Admyrall, Mr. John Hawkins, at the Porte (of) St. John de Loo, in the Weste Indyes, when, contrary to his sayde Admyrall's comaunde, he came awaye, and lefte his sayde Master in greate extremytie ; whereuppon be was forced to set at slioare in that contrye to seek their ad- venture, 100 of his men ; which matter if it had byn toe followed agaynste him (for that he colde noe wayes exchuse it) might iustly have procured that to himselfe which nowe most unjustly, blolely, and malitiously, by all devises whatsoever, he bath soughte and still seekethe agaynste me."

The plan of the compilation is good, and, with the extracts and the connecting text, readable and pleasant. But the general style is poor ; and the reflections, whether direct or digressive, incline to twaddle.