« PreviousContinue »
EARL OF NOTTINGHAM,
AND LORD HIGH ADMIRAL OF ENGLAND.*
THIS nobleman was the son of Thomas Howard. created by Queen Mary in 1554 Baron of Effingham in Surry, and raised to the dignity of Lord High Admiral; in which office he was continued by Elizabeth, till age and infirmities rendering him unfit for so active a department, he was made Lord Privy Seal, and died in 1572. Charles, his only son, was born in 1536, and in his youth discovering an inclination for the sea-service, was taken by his father upon some cruising voyages during Mary's reign. In the second year of Elizabeth, he was appointed Embassador Extraordinary to compliment Charles IX. upon his accession to the throne of France. In 1569, he was made General of the Horse under the Earl of Sussex, Warden of the Northern Marches, on occasion of the insurrection raised by the Earls of Westmoreland and Northumberland in favour of the
* AUTHORITIES. Salmon's Chronological Historian; Hume's History of England; Birch's Memoirs, &c. of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth ; and Campbell's Lives of the Admirals.
Queen of Scots. In this service, he signally contributed to the suppression of the rebellion; having obliged Westmoreland to take refuge in Scotland, before the arrival of reinforcements under the Earl of Warwick, which however enabled them to complete their conquest.
In 1570, he was appointed to the command of ten ships of the line, with instructions to receive the Imperial and Spanish fleets, which were to convoy the Emperor's sister (Anne of Austria) to the coast of Spain, and to escort them through the British Channel, Upon this occasion, he gallantly maintained the privileges of the national flag by obliging the two fleets, consisting of one hundred and fifty sail, to pay him the compliment of striking their colours in the English seas : after which, he showed every mark of courtesy to the princess and her attendants. In the following year, he was chosen knight of the shire for the county of Surry; but he did not remain long a commoner, Upon his father's death, he took his seat in the Upper House; and from this time the Queen gradually raised him to the most honourable employments of the state, Soon after his succession to the peerage, he was made Lord Chamberlain, and in 1573 installed a Knight of the Garter. In addition to the smiles of his royal mistress, he enjoyed the affections of the people, by whom he was eminently esteemed for his affability, hospitality, and other social vir, tues. In 1585, upon the death of the Earl of Lincoln, he was constituted Lord High Admiral of England.
This important department at all times requires great abilities, and cool judgement; nor could he have succeeded to it at any time, when the exertion of such talents was more wanted : for Philip II. of Spain was now projecting the subversion of the Protestant religion in Europe; as a preliminary step to which, England was to be invaded and conquered, in resentment for the assistance given by her to the United Provinces upon their revolt from the Spanish government. But the preparations for this important enterprise, though carried on with the utmost secrecy, could not escape the notice of Walsingham, by whom they had been detected as early as the year 1584. Soon after the appointment of Effingham, however, as Lord High Admiral, the designs of the Spanish court were openly avowed; and the election of a Protestant princess to fill the throne of England being deemed by the Papists null and void, the Jesuits encouraged Philip boldly to assert his own claim to it through John of Gaunt, Duke of Lancaster, fourth son of Edward III. The only bar to his title, as Elizabeth had been deposed by the bulls of Pius V. and Gregory XIII., was the nearer consanguinity of the Queen of Scots; and this Mary was easily persuaded to waive in favour of the Spanish monarch, as the only means of restoring Popery in Britain. The whole project being developed in a letter from Philip to Gregory XIII., of which a copy was transmitted to Walsingham by a, Venetian priest,* Effingham sent Sir Francis Drake to Cadiz, to interrupt and retard the preparations, In the mean time, he occupied himself indefatigably in augmenting the royal navy.* Every commercial town in England was required to furnish a specified number of ships, proportioned to their respective abilities: but the general zeal in most places outran the stipulated demand ; the city of London, in particular, fitting out double the number required as it's quota. The principal nobility and gentry, likewise, formed associations in all parts of the kingdom, and produced forty-three ships completely armed, manned, and victualled for sea.
At last the Spanish fleet, proudly called · The Invincible Armada,' set sail from the port of Lisbon June 3, 1588. It consisted of 92 galleons or large ships of the line, 4 galliasses, 30 frigates, 30 transports with cavalry, and 4 galleys. The force on board amounted to 19,290 regular troops, 8,350 marines, and 2,080 galley-slaves, provided with 2,630 pieces of ordnance. The whole was placed under the command of the Duke de Medina Sidonia, as Admiral in chief: Don Juan Martinez de Ricaldo, an experienced naval officer, was Vice-Admiral, and almost every noble family in Spain had one or more relations embarked as volunteers upon the occasion. Still farther to insure success, Philip ordered the Duke of Parma to provide transports to convey from the Netherlands an army of 25,000 men, at that time quartered in the neighbourhood of Gravelines, Dunkirk, and Nieuport. At Dunkirk, likewise, 700
* This, only ten years before, consisted of no more than twenty-four ships, the largest of which was of the burthen of 100 tons, and the smallest under 60. In 1585, it had only received the addition of three ships, and the total number of effective seamen amounted barely to 14,295 !
renegadoes, chiefly Irish and Scottish Papists, enlisted under the enemy's banners.
To oppose this mighty armament, Effingham sailed with a strong squadron to the West, where he was joined by his Vice-Admiral Sir Francis Drake: while Lord Henry Seymour, the second son of the Duke of Somerset, with another squadron cruised along the coasts of Flanders, to prevent the embarkation of the troops under the Duke of Parma.*
About the twelfth of July the Armada, which had been forced back by a storm, set sail a second time for England, and after a week's tempestuous passage appeared off the western shore; where the general consternation was greatly increased by observing the size of the Spanish galleons, which appeared like floating castles, their upper works being three feet thick. The primary design of the Spanish Admiral was, to attempt burning the English vessels in their harbours, as he had no idea that they would venture to put to sea : but being discovered off the Lizard by one Fleming, a Scottish pirate, this man instantly bore away for Plymouth, the rendezvous of the different squadrons then cruising to watch the enemy's motions, and fortunately arrived in time f to enable the Lord Admiral to prepare what measures he. thought proper. His first object was, to get the ships out of harbour without loss of time. With this view, he both worked himself, and personally gave orders to the other officers; which so animated all the
* For the proceedings by land, see the Life of the Earl of Leicester.
+ Fleming was afterward pardoned on Effingham's intercession, and received an annual pension for the seasonableness and the speed of his intelligence.