Page images

if out with a war, and never lake up peace at credit and upon interest. It is so memorable, as it is yet as fresh as if it were done yesterday, how that triumvirate of kings, Henry the eighth of England, Francis the first of France, and Charles the fifth emperor and king of Spain, were in their times so provident, as scarce a palm of ground could be gotten by either of the three, but that the other two would be sure to do their best, to set the balance of Europe upright again. And the like diligence was used in the age before by that league, wherewith Guicciardine beginneth his story, and maketh it, as it were, the calendar of the good days of Italy, which was contracted between Ferdinando king of Naples, Lorenzo of Medici potentate of Florence, and Lodovico Sforza duke of Milan, designed chiefly against the growing power of the Venetians; but yet so, as the confederates had a perpetual eye one upon another, that none of them should overtop. To conclude therefore ; howsoever some schoolmen, otherwise reverend men, yet fitter to guide penknives than swords, seem precisely to stand upon it, that every offensive war must be ultio, a revenge, that presupposeth a precedent assault or injury; yet neither do they descend to this point, which we now handle, of a just fear; neither are they of authority to judge this question against all the precedents of time. For certainly, as long as men are men, the sons, as the poets allude, of Prometheus, and not of Epimetheus, and as long as reason is reason, a just fear will be a just cause of a preventive war; but especially if it be part of the case, that there be a nation that is manifestly detected to aspire to monarchy and new acquests; then other states, assuredly, cannot be justly accused for not staying for the first blow; or for not accepting Polyphemus's courtesy, to be the last that shall be eaten up.

Nay, I observe farther, that in that passage of Plato which I cited before, and even in the tenet of that person that beareth the resolving part, and not the objecting part, a just fear is justified for a cause of an invasive war, though the same fear proceed not from the fault of the foreign state to be assailed: for it is there insinuated, that if a state, out of the distemper of their own body, do fear sedition and intestine troubles to break out amongst themselves, they may discharge their own ill humours upon a foreign war for a cure. And this kind of cure was tendered by Jasper Coligni, admiral of France, to Charles the ninth the French king, when by a vive and forcible persuasion he moved him to a war upon Flanders, for the better extinguishment of the civil wars of France; but neither was that counsel prosperous; neither will I maintain that position: for I will never set politics against ethics; especially for (hat true ethics are but as a handmaid to divinity and religion. Surely St Thomas, who had the largest heart of the school divines, bendeth chiefly his style against the depraved passions which reign in making wars, speaking out of St. Augustine: "Nocendi cupiditas, nlciscendi crudelitas, implacatus et implacabilis animus, feritas rebellandi, libido dominandi, et si quae

sunt similia, hasc sunt quaa in bellis jure culpantur." And the same St. Thomas, in his own text, defining of the just causes of a war, doth leave it upon very general terms: "Requiritur ad bellum causa justa, ut scilicet illi, qui impugnantur, propter aliquam culpam impugnationem mereantur:" for impugnatio culpa? is a far more general word, than ultio injuria-. And thus much for the first proposition, of the second ground of a war with Spain: namely, that a just fear is a just cause of a war; and that a preventive war is a true defensive.

The second or minor proposition was this; that this kingdom hath cause of just fear of overthrow from Spain. Wherein it is true, that fears are ever seen in dimmer lights than facts. And on the other side, fears use, many times, to be represented in such an imaginary fashion, as they rather dazzle men's eyes than open them: and therefore I will speak in that manner which the subject requires; that is, probably, and moderately, and briefly. Neither will I deduce these fears to present occurrences; but point only at general grounds, leaving the rest to more secret counsels.

Is it nothing, that the crown of Spain hath enlarged the bounds thereof within this last sixscore years, much more than the Ottoman's? I speak not of matches or unions, but of arms, occupations, invasions. Granada, Naples, Milan, Portugal, the East and West Indies; all these are actual additions to that crown. They had a mind to French Britain, the lower part of Picardy, and Piedmont; but they have let fall their bit. They have, to this day, such a hovering possession of the Valtoline, as an hobby hath over a lark; and the Palatinate is in their talons: so that nothing is more manifest, than that this nation of Spain runs a race still of empire, when all other states of Christendom stand in effect at a stay. Look then a little farther into the titles whereby they have acquired, and do now hold these new portions of their crown; and you will find them of so many varieties, and such natures, to speak with due respect, as may appear to be easily minted, and such as can hardly at any time be wanting. And therefore, so many new conquests and purchases, so many strokes of the alarm bell of fear and awaking to other nations; and the facility of the titles, which hand-over-head have served their turn, doth ring the peal so much the sharper and louder.

Shall we descend from their general disposition to enlarge their dominions, to their particular disposition and eye of appetite which they have had towards us: they have now twice sought to impatronise themselves of this kingdom of England; once by marriage with queen Mary; and the second time by conquest in 88, when their forces by sea and land were not inferior to those they have now. And at that time in 88, the council and design of Spain was by many advertisements revealed and laid open to be, that they found the war upon the Low Countries so churlish and longsome, as they grew then to a resolution, that as long as England stood in state to succour those countries, they should but consume themselves in nn endless war; and therefore there was no other way but to assail and depress England, which was as a back of steel to the Flemings. And who can warrant, I pray, that the same counsel and design will not return again? So as we are in a strange dilemma of danger: for if we suffer the Flemings to be ruined, they are our outwork, and we shall remain naked and dismantled: if we succour them strongly, as is fit, and set them upon their feet, and do not withal weaken Spain, we hazard to change the scene of the war, and to turn it upon Ireland or England: like unto rheums and defluxions, which if you apply a strong repercussive to the place affected, and do not take away the cause of the disease, will shift and fall straightways to another joint or place. They have also twice invaded Ireland; once under the pope's banner, when they were defeated by the lord Grey: and after in their own name, when they were defeated by the lord Mount joy. So as let this suffice for a taste of their disposition towards us. But it will be said, this is an almanack for the old year; since 88 all hath been well; Spain hath not assailed this kingdom, howsoever by two several invasions from us mightily provoked. It is true; but then consider, that immediately after 88, they were embroiled for a great time in the protection of the league of France, whereby they had their hands full; after being brought extreme low by their vast and continual embracements, they were enforced to be quiet that they might take breath, and do reparations upon their former wastes. But now of late, things seem to come apace to their former estate; nay with far greater disadvantage to us; for now that they have almost continued, and, as it were, arched their dominions from Milan, by the Valtoline and Palatinate, to the Low Countries, we see how they thirst and pant after the utter ruin of those states; having in contempt almost the German nation, and doubting little opposition except it come from England: whereby either we must suffer the Dutch to be ruined, to our own manifest prejudice; or put it upon the hazard I spake of before, that Spain will cast at the fairest. Neither is the point of internal danger, which groweth upon us, to be forgotten; this, that the party of the papists in England are become more knotted, both in dependence towards Spain and amongst themselves, than they have been. Wherein again comes to be remembered the case of 88: for then also it appeared by divers secret letters, that the design of Spain was, for some years before the invasion attempted, to prepare a party in this kingdom to adhere to the foreigner at his coming. And they bragged, that they doubted not to abuse and lay asleep the queen and council of England, as to have any fear of the party of papists here; for that they knew, they said, the state would but cast the eye and look about to see whether there were any eminent head of that party, under whom it might unite itself; and finding none worth the thinking on, the state would rest secure and take no apprehension: whereas they meant, they said, to take a course to deal with the people, and particulars, by reconcilements, and confessions, and secret promises, and cared not for any head of party. And this was the true reason, why after that the

seminaries began to blossom, and to make missions into England, which w as about the three and twentieth year of queen Elizabeth, at what time also was the first suspicion of the Spanish invasion, then, and not before, grew the sharp and severe laws to be made against the papists. And therefore the papists may do well to change their thanks; and whereas they thank Spain for their favours, to thank them for their perils and miseries if they should fall upon them: for that nothing ever made their case so ill as the doubt of the greatness of Spain, which adding reason of state to matter of conscience and religion, did whet the laws against them. And this case also seemeth, in some sort, to return again at this time; except the clemency of his Majesty, and the state, do superabound; as, for my part, I do wish it should; and that the proceedings towards them may rather tend to security, and providence, and point of state, than to persecution for religion. But to conclude; these things briefly touched, may serve as in a subject conjectural and future, for to represent how just cause of fear this kingdom may have towards Spain: omitting, as I said before, all present and more secret occurrences.

The third ground of a war with Spain, I have set down to be, a just fear of the subversion of our church and religion: which needeth little speech. For if this war be a defensive, as I have proved it to be, no man will doubt, that a defensive war against a foreigner for religion is lawful. Of an offensive war there is more dispute. And yet in that instance of the war for the Holy Land and sepulchre, I do wonder sometimes, that the schoolmen want words to defend that, which S. Bernard wanted words to commend. But I, that in this little extract of a treatise do omit things necessary, am not to handle things unnecessary. No man, 1 say, will doubt, but if the pope, or king of Spain, would demand of us to forsake our religion upon pain of a war, it were as unjust a demand, as the Persians made to the Grecians of land and water; or the Ammonites to the Israelites of their right eyes. And we see all the heathen did style their defensive wars "pro aris et focis;" placing their altars before their hearths. So that it is in vain of this to speak farther. Only this is true; that the fear of the subversion of our religion from Spain is the more just, for that all other catholic princes and states content and contain themselves to maintain their religion within their own dominions, and meddle not with the subjects of other states; whereas the practice of Spain hath been, both in Charles the fifth's time, and in the time of the league in France, by war; and now with us, by conditions of treaty, to intermeddle with foreign states, and to declare themselves protectors general of the party of catholics, through the world. As if the crown of Spain had a little of this, that they would plant the pope's laws by arms, as the Ottomans do the law of Mahomet. Thus much concerning the first main point of justifying the quarrel, if the king shall enter into a war; for this that I have said, and all that followeth to be said, is but to show what he may do.

The second main part of that I have propounded to speak of, is the balance of forces between Spain and us. And this also tendeth to no more, but what the king may do. For what he may do is of two kinds: what he may do as just; and what he may do as possible. Of the one I have already spoken; of the other I am now to speak. I said, Spain was no such giant; and yet if he were a giant, it will be but as it was between David and Goliath, for "God is on our side." But to leave all arguments that are supernatural, and to speak in a human and politic sense, I am led to think that Spain is no over-match for England, by that which leadeth all men; that is, experience and reason. And with experience I will begin, for there all reason beginneth.

la it fortune, shall we think, that, in all actions of war or arms, great and small, which have happened these many years, ever since Spain and England have had any thing to debate one with the other, the English upon all encounters have perpetually come off with honour, and the better? It is not fortune sure; she is not so constant. There is somewhat in the nation and natural courage of the people, or some such thing. I will make a brief list of the particulars themselves in an historical truth, no ways strouted, nor made greater by language. This were a fit speech, you will say, for a general, in the head of an army, when they were going to battle: yes; and it is no less fit speech to be spoken in the head of a council, upon a deliberation of entrance into a war. Neither speak I this to disparage the Spanish nation, whom I take to be of the best soldiers in Europe; but that sorteth to our honour, if we still have had the better hand.

In the year 1578, was that famous Lammas (lay, which buried the reputation of Don John of Austria, himself not surviving long after. Don John being superior in forces, assisted by the prince of Parma, Mondragon, Mansell, and other the best commanders of Spain, confident of victory, charged the army of the States near Rimenant, bravely and furiously at the first; but after a fight maintained by the space of a whole day, was repulsed, and forced to a retreat, with great slaughter of his men; and the course of his farther enterprises was wholly arrested; and this chiefly by the prowess and virtue of the English and Scottish troops, under the conduct of Sir John Norris and Sir Robert Stuart, colonels: which troops came to the army but the day before, harassed with a long and wearisome march; and, as it is left for a memorable circumstance in all stories, the soldiers being more sensible of a little heat of the sun, than of any cold fear of death, cast away their armour and garments from them, and fought in their shirts: and, as it was generally conceived, had it not been that the count of Bossu was slack in charging the Spaniards upon their retreat, this fight had sorted to an absolute defeat. But it was enough to chastise Don John for his insidious treaty of peace, wherewith he had abused the States at his first coming. And the fortune of the day, besides the testimony of all stories, may be the better ascribed to the service of the English and Scottish, by comparison of this charge near Rimenant, where the English and Scottish in great numbers

came in action, with the like charge given by Don John half a year before at Gemblours, where the success was contrary: there being at that time in the army but a handful of English and Scottish, and they put in disarray by the horsemen of their own fellows.

The first dart of war which was throw-n from Spain or Rome upon the realm of Ireland, was in the year 1580 ; for the design of Stukely blew over into Afric; and the attempt of Saunders and FitzMaurice had a spice of madness. In that year Ireland was invaded by Spanish and Italian forces, under the pope's banner, and the conduct of San Josepho, to the number of 700 or better, which landed at Smerwick in Kerry. A poor number it was to conquer Ireland to the pope's use; for their design was no less: but withal they brought arms for 5000 men above their own company, intending to arm so many of the rebels of Ireland. And their purpose was, to fortify in some strong place of the wild and desolate country, and there to nestle till greater succours came; they being hastened unto their enterprise upon a special reason of state, not proper to the enterprise itself; which was by the invasion of Ireland, and the noise thereof, to trouble the council of England, and to make a diversion of certain aids, that then were preparing from hence for the Low Countries. They chose a place where they erected a fort, which they called the " Fort del Or;" and from thence they bolted like beasts of the forest, sometimes into the woods and fastnesses, and sometimes back again to their den. Soon after siege was laid to the fort by the lord Gray, then deputy, with a smaller number than those were within the fort; venturously indeed; but haste was made to attack them before the rebels came in to them. After the siege of four days only, and two or three sallies, with loss on their part, they that should have made good the fort for some months, till new succours came from Spain, or at least from the rebels of Ireland, yielded up themselves without conditions at the end of those four days. And for that they were not in the English army enough to keep every man a prisoner, and for that also the deputy expected instantly to be assailed by the rebels; and again, there were no barks to throw them into, and send them away by sea; they were all put to the sword; with which queen Elizabeth was afterwards much displeased.

In the year 158'2, was that memorable retreat of Gaunt; than the which there hath not been an exploit of war more celebrated. For in the true judgment of men of war, honourable retreats are no ways inferior to brave charges; as having less of fortune, more of discipline, and as much of valour. There were to the number of three hundred horse, and as many thousand foot English, commanded by Sir John Norris, charged by the prince of Parma, coming upon them with seven thousand horse; besides that the whole army of Spaniards was ready to march on. Nevertheless Sir John Norris maintained a retreat without disarray, by the space of some miles, part of the way champaign, under the city of Gaunt, with less loss of men than the enemy: the duke of Anjou, and the prince of Orange, beholding this noble action from the walls of Gaunt, as in a theatre, with great admiration.

In the year 1585, followed the prosperous expedition of Drake and Carlile into the West Indies, in the which I set aside the taking of St. Jago and St. Domingo in Hispaniola, as surprises rather than encounters. But that of Carthagena, where the Spaniards had warning of our coming, and had put themselves in their full strength, was one of the hottest services and most dangerous assaults that hath been known. For the access to the town was only by a neck of land, between the sea on the one part, and the harbour water or inner sea on the other; fortified clean over with a strong rampier and barricndo; so as upon the ascent of our men, they had both great ordnance and small shot, that thundered and showered upon them from the rampier in front, and from the galleys that lay at sea in flank. And yet they forced the passage, and won the town, bejng likewise very well manned. As for the expedition of Sir Francis Drake, in the year 1587, for the destroying of the Spanish shipping and provision upon their own coast; as I cannot say that there intervened in that enterprise anysharp fight or encounter; so, nevertheless, it did strangely discover, either that Spain is very weak at home, or very slow to move; when they suffered a small fleet of English to make an hostile invasion or incursion upon their havens and roads, from Cadiz to Capa Sacra, and thence toCascais ; and to fire, sink, and carry away at the least, ten thousand ton of their great shipping, besides fifty or sixly of their smaller vessels; and that in the sight, and under the favour of their forts; and almost under the eye of their great admiral, the best commander of Spain by sea, the marquis de Santa Cruz, without ever being disputed with by any fight of importance. I remember Drake in the vaunting style of a soldier, would call this enterprise, the singeing of the king of Spain's beard.

The enterprise of 88, deserveth to be stood upon a little more fully, being a miracle of time. There armed from Spain, in the year 1588, the greatest navy that ever swam upon the sea; for though there have been far greater fleets for number, yet for the bulk and building of the ships, with the furniture of great ordnance and provisions, never the like. The design was to make not an invasion only, but an utter conquest of this kingdom. The number of vessels were one hundred and thirty, whereof galliasses and galleons seventy-two, goodly ships, like floating towers or castles, manned with thirty thousand soldiers and mariners. This navy was the preparation of five whole years, at the least: it bare itself also upon divine assistance; for it received special blessing from pope Sixtus, and was assigned as an apostolical mission for the reducement of this kingdom to the obedience of the see of Rome. And, in farther token of this holy warfare, there were amongst the rest of these ships, twelve, called by the names of the twelve apostles. But it was truly conceived, that this kingdom of England could never be overwhelmed, except the land waters came in to

the sea" tides. Therefore was there also in readiness in Flanders, a mighty strong army of land forces, to the number of fifty thousand veteran soldiers, under the conduct of the duke of Parma, the best commander, next the French king Henry the fourth, of his time. These were designed to join with the forces at sea; there being prepared a number of flatbottomed boats to transport the land forces, under the wing and protection of the great navy. For they made no accortit, but that the navy should be absolute master of the seas. Against these forces, there were prepared on our part, to the number of near one hundred ships; not so great of bulk indeed, but of a more nimble motion, and more serviceable; besides a less fleet of thirty ships, for the custody of the narrow seas. There were also in readiness at land two armies, besides other forces, to the number of ten thousand, dispersed amongst the coast towns in the southern parts. The two armies were appointed; one of them consisting of twenty-five thousand horse and foot, for the repulsing of the enemy at their landing; and the other of twentyfive thousand for safeguard and attendance about the court and the queen's person. There were also other dormant musters of soldiers throughout all parts of the realm, that were put in readiness, but not drawn together. The two armies were assigned to the leading of two generals, noble persons, but both of them rather courtiers, and assured to the state, than martial men; yet lined and assisted with subordinate commanders of great experience and valour. The fortune of the war made this enterprise at first a play at base. The Spanish navy set forth out of the Groyne in May, and was dispersed and driven back by weather. Our navy set forth somewhat later out of Plymouth, and bare up towards the coast of Spain to have fought with the Spanish navy; and partly by reason of contrary winds, partly upon advertisement that the Spaniards were gone back, and upon some doubt also that they might pass by towards the coast of England, whilst we were seeking them afar off, returned likewise into Plymouth about the middle of July. At that time came more confident advertisement, though false not only to the lord admiral, but to the court, that the Spaniards could not possibly come forward that year; whereupon our navy was upon the point of disbanding, and many of our men gone ashore: at which very time the Invincible Armada, for so it was called in a Spanish ostentation, throughout Europe, was discovered upon the western coast. It was a kind of surprise; for that, as was said, many of our men were gone to land, and our ships ready to depart. Nevertheless the admiral, with such ships only as could suddenly be put in readiness, made forth towards them; insomuch as of one hundred ships, there came scarce thirty to work. Howbeit, with them, anil such as came daily in, we set upon them, and gave them the chase. But the Spaniards, for want of courage, which they called commission, declined the fight, casting themselves continually into roundels, their strongest ships walling* in the rest, and in that manner they made a flying march towards Calais. Our men by the space of five or six days followed them close, fought with them continually, made great slaughter of their men, took two of their great ships, and gave divers others of their ships their death's wounds, whereof soon after they sank and perished; and, in a word, distressed them almost in the nature of a defeat; we ourselves in the mean time receiving little or no hurt. Near Calais the Spaniards anchored, expecting their landforces, which came not. It was afterwards alleged, that the duke of Parma did artificially delay his coming; but this was but an invention and pretension given out by the Spaniards; partly upon a Spanish envy against that duke, being an Italian, and his son a competitor to Portugal; but chiefly to save the monstrous scorn and disreputation, which they and their nation received by the success of that enterprise. Therefore their colours and excuses, forsooth, were, that their general by sea had a limited commission, not to fight until the land forces were come in to them: and that the duke of Parma had particular reaches and ends of his own underhand, to cross the design. But it was both a strange commission, and a strange obedience to a commission; for men in the midst of their own blood, and being so furiously assailed, to hold their hands, contrary to the laws of nature and necessity. And as for the duke of Parma, he was reasonably well tempted to be true to that enterprise, by no less promise than to be made a feudatory, or beneficiary king of England, under the seignory, in chief of the pope, and the protection of the king of Spain. Besides, it appeared that the duke of Parma held his place long after in the favour and trust of the king of Spain, by the great employments and services that he performed in France: and again, it is manifest, that the duke did his best to come down, and to put to sea. The truth was, that the Spanish navy, upon those proofs of fight which they had with the English, finding how much hurt they received, and how little hurt they did, by reason of the activity and low building of our ships, and skill of our seamen; and being also commanded by a general of small courage and experience, and having lost at the first two of their bravest commanders at sea, Pedro de Valdez, and Michael de Oquenda; durst not put it to a battle at sea, but set up their rest wholly upon the land enterprise. On the other side, the transporting of the land forces failed in the very foundation: for whereas the council of Spain made full account, that their navy should be master of the sea, and therefore able to guard and protect the vessels of transportation; when it fell out to the contrary that the great navy was distressed, and had enough to do to save itself; and again, that the Hollanders impounded their land forces with a brave fleet of thirty sail, excellently well appointed; things, I say, being in this state, it came to pass that the duke of Parma must have flown if he would have come into England, for he could get neither bark nor mariner to put to sea: yet certain it is, that the duke looked still for the coming back of the Armada, even at that time when they were wandering, and making their perambulation upon the northern seas. But to re

turn to the Armada, which we left anchored at Calais: from thence, as Sir Walter Kaleigh was wont prettily to say, they were suddenly driven away with squibs; for it was no more but a stratagem of fire boats, manless, and sent upon them by the favour of the wind in the night time, that did put them in such terror, as they cut their cables, and left their anchors in the sea. After they hovered some two or three days about Graveling, and there again were beaten in a great fight; at what time our second fleet, which kept the narrow seas, was come in and joined to our main fleet. Thereupon the Spaniards entering into farther terror, and finding also divers of their ships every day to sink, lost all courage, and instead of coming up into the Thames' mouth for London, as their design was, fled on towards the north to seek their fortunes; being still chased by the English navy at the heels, until we were fain to give them over for want of powder. The breath of Scotland the Spaniards could not endure; neither durst they as invaders land in Ireland; but only ennobled some of the coasts thereof with shipwrecks. And so going northwards aloof, as long as they had any doubt of being pursued, at last, when they were out of reach, they turned, and crossed the ocean to Spain, having lost fourscore of their ships and the greater part of their men. And this was the end of that sea-giant, the Invincible Armada: which having not so much as fired a cottage of ours at land, nor taken a cock-boat of ours at sea, wandered through the wilderness of the northern seas; and according to the curse in the Scripture, " came out against us one way, and fled before us seven ways." Serving only to make good the judgment of an astrologer long before given, "octogesimus octavus mirabilis annus:" or rather, to make good, even to the astonishment of all posterity, the wonderful judgments of God, poured down commonly upon vast and proud aspirings.

In the year that followed, of 1589, we gave the Spaniards no breath, but turned challengers, and invaded the main of Spain. In which enterprise, although we failed in our end, which was to settle Don Antonio in the kingdom of Portugal, yet a man shall hardly meet with an action that doth better reveal the great secret of the power of Spain; which power well sought into, will be found rather to consist in a veteran army, such as upon several occasions and pretensions they have ever had on foot, in one part or other of Christendom, now by the space of almost sixscorc years, than in the strength of their dominions and provinces. For what can be more strange, or more to the disvaluation of the power of the Spaniard upon the continent, than that with an army of eleven thousand English land soldiers, and a fleet of twenty-six ships of war, besides some weak vessels for transportation, we should, within the hour-glass of two months, have won one town of importance by scalado, battered and assaulted another, overthrown great forces in the field, and that upon the disadvantage of a bridge strongly barricadoed, landed the army in three several places of his kingdom, marched seven days in the heart of his countries, lodged three nights in the suburbs of

« PreviousContinue »