Sir Walter Raleigh - Frederick Ober

The Boys of Devonshire


Just sixty, years after the West Indies were discovered by Columbus, an English boy was born, in the county of Devon, whose name was destined to be linked inseparably with that of America. The northern continent of the western hemisphere Columbus never saw, and he only glimpsed the southern; but to both he opened routes which others followed—as Vespucci, Pinzon, Solis, and navigators of lesser note—whose laurels would never have been gathered except for their renowned predecessor.

All who followed after Columbus, however, and extended European knowledge of the western hemisphere, say for several decades, were for the most part Spaniards or Portuguese sailing under the flag of Spain. That nation, indeed, regarded as exclusively hers, not only the West Indies, but the vast Caribbean Sea enclosing them, and continents adjacent, excepting only a portion of South America, which by treaty in 1494, was grudgingly allowed to Portugal. Even the lands discovered by the Cabots in 1497, far to the north of Spain's colonial possessions in America, were denied to England. Spain could not enforce that denial so far as related to Newfoundland and the northeast coast of North America, but upon all the approaches to the tropical Caribbean Sea she kept a close and careful watch.

During more than thirty: years she was successful in retaining this island-dotted sea as a preserve for Spaniards only to exploit, though a tradition has come down to us that a single English vessel, said to have been commanded by Sebastian Cabot, sailed the Spanish Main within that period.

But how could Spain hope to conceal from all the world her doings in the West Indies, when the very stones cried out against the atrocities of her conquistadors and fleets of gold-and-silver-freighted galleons ploughed the main with millions of treasure in their holds? And how could the kings of other countries refrain from stretching forth their hands to seize a portion of that treasure perchance they could capture it on the way to Spain? It had been won by fraud and bought with blood they reasoned, and hence was as much theirs as it was the Spanish sovereign's—always provided, of course, they could find a way to obtain it. The way was found, despite the treaties that existed between the European nations, and if not by the rulers themselves, then by their seafaring subjects, who were called by them "privateers," but by the Spaniards "pirates"

That "two wrongs make a right" hardly any one may claim to-day; but in those times it was held, by those who had the might, that the gold obtained by force was fair plunder for force to get again. So the galleons fared badly after the French and English found their way into the Caribbean, which was between the years 1525 and 1530. Nearly forty years in all the Spaniards had the West Indies to themselves; but after that their paper walls were broken down, and not only were their vessels plundered, but also their settlements.

The real advent of the English into the Caribbean was in 1529, when a ship of that nation touched at Santo Domingo, and the same year a French squadron invaded the waters of that southern sea. Ten years later, after cruising around the island of Cuba, a French, corsair met a Spanish war-ship off the harbor of Havana, and engaged with it in a fierce and bloody but indecisive sea-fight. The king of Spain frantically protested against this persistent invasion of his waters and destruction of his property, but the kings of France and England disclaimed any participation in the piratical acts of their lawless subjects, though they did not compel them to disgorge their plunder.

Thus it went on for years, the Spaniards despoiling the natives and the French and English taking toll of their ill-gotten wealth whenever they could lay hands upon it. The miserable Indians, of course, suffered vastly more than the Spaniards, and when, finally, they were brought to the verge of extermination, they were replaced by negroes brought from Africa. The first slave-stealers for the American market were Portuguese, it is thought, but the most successful trader in human flesh and blood, in the sixteenth century, was an Englishman, Sir John Hawkins. In the year 1563 (it is a matter of historic record) he sailed through the West Indies with a cargo of African slaves, which he disposed of at an immense profit to the Spanish planters. These cultivators of sugar-cane, having been brought almost to poverty's door by the depletion of the Indian natives, were rejoiced to see Sir John sail into their ports with that cargo of blackamoors; but he was not always a welcome visitor thereafter, for, conjoining with his friend and fellow countryman, Sir Francis Drake, he pillaged and burned the very towns and plantations that had purchased his slaves.

These titled pirates, by courtesy called privateers, were the predecessors, by fifteen or twenty years, of another class of voyagers, merchant adventurers, and colonists, to which class, and not to the predatory band containing Drake and Hawkins, belonged the hero of this biography, Walter Raleigh. He was twenty years of age when Sir Francis Drake, whom the Spaniards called the "Dragon," from his terrible prowess, sailed through the Caribbean on a pillaging voyage that left ruin and devastation in his wake. He was scant eleven when Sir John Hawkins; who had collected his cargo of negroes on the coast of Africa, "partly by the sword and partly by other means "—as he naively expressed it—exchanged those unfortunate wretches for the gold of Spanish planters in the West Indies. Like those "Sea Kings "of renown, who had scourged the Spaniards with fire and sword, Raleigh was a native of Devon, and as a youth must have heard the oft-told story of their adventures, perhaps from their own lips, and may have imbibed from them his hatred of the Spaniards for he was all his life an enemy of Spain.

Sir John Hawkins


Walter Raleigh was born at Hayes, in the county of Devon, in the year 1552. His ancestors had lived in Devonshire since the Norman Conquest, the patrimonial estate having been Fardell, from which his father removed previous to his birth. Anciently the family held vast possessions in the county as well as elsewhere, but owing to the prodigality of his ancestors, who were related to several titled families in Devon, Walter Raleigh senior was compelled to dispose of his inheritance and rent a farm. The manor-house in which he who was afterward known as "Sir Walter "first saw the light, and also the very room, may be seen to-day by the visitor to Hayes (we are told by a British biographer), but the house itself is probably greatly changed.

Walter Raleigh, the father of our hero, who was thus obscurely born, is chiefly known to fame, says an old historian, as "the husband of three wives," the third and last of whom was Sir Walter's mother. He had two sons by his first wife, a daughter by his second, and two sons and a daughter by his third. This third wife, who was the widow of Otto Gilbert and the daughter of Sir Philip Champernoun, was already the mother of three sons when married to Walter Raleigh senior. These sons were the afterward celebrated Humphrey, John, and Adrian Gilbert, whose fame at one time was scarcely second to Sir Walter's.

In truth, this favored woman could boast, in her later years, that she was "the mother of five noble knights": Sir Walter and Sir Carew Raleigh; Sir Humphrey, Sir John, and Sir Adrian Gilbert. She was a woman of strong character, "of noble wit, and of good and godly opinions"; but, though adored by her husband and children, it is not known that they left any remembrance of her save their verbal tributes to her many virtues. Only a glimpse is afforded us of Mistress Katherine Champernoun Raleigh, and this reveals her in a prison, whither she had gone to comfort a poor woman convicted of heresy, who was soon after put to death by command of "Bloody Mary".

Katherine Raleigh, like her husband, was of noble lineage, and doubtless Walter was nurtured upon the traditions of his famous ancestors, in common with his half-brothers, the Gilberts. Some of their portraits had been preserved with the wreckage of the family, and among other relics of departed glory was a target, centuries old, which had been suspended in a chapel erected by a valiant forebear, in commemoration of a miraculous escape from the Gauls. This target was an object of adoration to the youthful Walter, as a visible reminder of heroic deeds which he fain would emulate. So little is known of Walter's childhood days, however, that we can form no clear concept of him then; but doubtless he had a happy boyhood; and that he was an object of affectionate solicitude to his elder half-brothers, especially Humphrey and Gilbert, their intimate friendship in maturer days amply testifies.

Where he acquired the rudiments of his education is not known, nor when he laid the foundations of that vast fund of knowledge which he possessed later in life; but his native Devon was the home of sailor-folk, who, returning thither from long voyages to various parts of the world then visited by Britons, brought with them wonderful tales of adventure. From them, no doubt, the alert and receptive Walter gained a fund of information, from which he drew in later years, and received impressions upon his plastic mind which were ineffaceable. Among these, doubtless deeply stamped, were the heroic and horrible deeds of the Spaniards in America. Cortes and Pizarro must have been living realities to him, and the atrocities practised by them upon the inoffensive Americans must have confirmed in him that detestation of Spanish policy which Drake and Hawkins may have first aroused.

The doubt that has existed as to the time and place of Walter Raleigh's attendance at school, or schools, is greater than that attaching to his birthplace—for even this was at one period questioned. It is unfortunate that we have not as conclusive evidence as to his school-days as we have relating to his birthplace, which is found in a letter written by him to a friend in Devonshire, under date of July 26, 1584. It relates to Hayes Barton, as it was called, in the parish of East Budleigh, Devonshire, and is as follows:

"I wrote to Mr. Prideaux to move yow touchinge the purchase of a farme sometime in my father's possession. I will most willingly give whatsoever in your conscience you shall deeme it worth; and if at any time yow shall have occasion to use me, yow shall fynd me a thankf ull f rind to yow and yours.

"I am resolved, if I cannot entreat yow, to build at Colliton. But for the naturall disposition I have to that place, being born in that house, I had rather seate myself there than any where els."

This letter, written when Raleigh was already great and powerful at court, a favorite of Queen Elizabeth, an object of envy, shows the depth of his affection for the scenes of his youth, and as well identifies the place of his birth. The mists about him clear somewhat when, arrived at the age of sixteen, he is sent to Oxford, where he was entered at Oriel College, and is supposed to have resided at least a year. Some of his biographers put his Oxford term at three years; but it is doubtful if he was there more than two years, as at eighteen he is found serving as a soldier in France. Neither is it believed that after leaving Oxford he studied law, as some have stated, for he himself has said that he read "not a word of law or statutes "previous to his long term of imprisonment in the Tower of London.

A mist of doubt, if not a veil of mystery, obscures his soldier life in France as well, but we know that he was there and spent a "good part of his youth in war and martial services." He sailed for France with his mother's nephew, Henry Champernoun, who had raised, and then commanded, a company of "gentleman volunteers," whose services he placed at the disposal of the Huguenots.

He left behind him at the university, it is said, a reputation as a "wit and a scholar," short as was his connection with that famous seat of learning, while in France he made a record as a good soldier. Rather, it may be said, he made no record as a poor one, for the evidence as to his behavior and exploits is of a negative character, and mainly drawn from his own narratives. In the famous History of the World, which he wrote when a prisoner in the Tower, occurs this passage, corroborative of his participation in active warfare:

"I remember it well, that when the Prince of Conde was slain, after the battle of Jarnac, . . . the Protestants did greatly bewail his loss in respect of his religion, person, and birth; yet, comforting themselves, they thought it rather an advancement than a hindrance to their affairs; for so much did his valor outreach the advisedness of Coligni, that whatsoever the Admiral intended to win by attending the advantage, the Prince adventured to lose by being over-confident in his own courage."

Again, after stating that "it is less dishonor to dislodge [retreat] in the dark than to be beaten in the light," he says: "And yet that worthy gentleman, Count Ludowick of Nassau, brother to the late famous Prince of Orange, made the retreat at Moncontour with so great resolution as he saved one half of the Protestant army, then broken and disbanded—of which myself was an eye-witness, and was one of them that had cause to thank him for it."

As to the length of Raleigh's stay in France there is some disagreement, also as to the value of his services to the Huguenot cause; but as the troop of which he was a member remained six years engaged in intermittent warfare, doubtless his term of service extended through that period and he acquitted himself with credit. With the carelessness of a soldier, he ignores entirely the great actions in which he must have participated, and only incidentally allows us a glimpse of himself and the minor affairs in which he took part. Insight is afforded as to the character of these affairs—at least, of some of them by the following paragraph from his history: "I saw, in the third Civil War of France, certain caves in Languedoc which had but one entrance, and that very narrow, cut out in the midway of high rocks, which we knew not how to enter by any ladder or engine; till at last, by certain bundles of straw, let down by an iron chain and a weighty stone in the midst, those that defended the cave were so smothered as they rendered themselves, with their plate, money, and other goods therein hidden." From this it appears that many of his excursions were predatory, and that cruelties were practised which would not be tolerated now. His subsequent career in Ireland, to which reference will be made in the next chapter, shows that he must have passed through scenes that hardened him to the appeals of suffering humanity. But, together with his comrades, he fought "with his neck in a noose," so to speak, certain to be hanged if captured, and expecting no mercy from his opponents. Although he does not directly refer to that consummation of horrors, the Massacre of St. Bartholomew, he is known to have been in France when it took place, in 1572; and if he should be found intolerant toward the sect that instigated and the people who perpetrated it, the reason is not far to seek.

Sir Walter and Sir Humphrey


Walter Raleigh had a true and steadfast friend in his half-brother, Humphrey Gilbert, who was thirteen years his senior. He it was, perhaps, who turned Walter's attention to maritime affairs; though this was scarcely necessary, since Devon was the home of seafarers, as explained already, who were the mainstays of England's navy. This navy was not a very large one at the time the boys were growing up, consisting, well into Queen Elizabeth's reign, of less than twenty war-ships. But the merchant marine was growing apace, and the sturdy sailors who made voyages to every known port of Europe, and sometimes to Africa, were destined to be important factors in the building up of Britain.

Humphrey Gilbert was a second son, and had not inherited as large a fortune as his elder brother, but his education was carefully attended to by his mother. He passed through Eton and Oxford, and, after a short season devoted to studying law, turned to the more congenial pursuit of navigation and the art of war. He became proficient in both sciences, also in cosmography, and as early as 1566 had written a Discourse of Discovery for a New Passage to Cathay, which is said to have incited Martin Frobisher to make his voyage in search of a northwest passage to India and China.

In 1571 he entered Parliament, and in 1572, while Raleigh was still in France, he went as a soldier to the Netherlands, whither Walter followed him about four years later. These two, however, were not there together, as Raleigh did not return to England from France until 1575. Both were in Ireland, engaged in bloody strife with the natives of that persecuted island, but, also, at periods a few years apart. They did not join in a common enterprise until 57 7 or 1578, when Humphrey, having secured a charter from the Queen, set about verifying his theory of a northwestern passage by a voyage to Newfoundland and beyond.

The year previous he had written a treatise for the Queen, informing her how the Spaniards might be fallen upon under pretence of a voyage of discovery. Sir Humphrey, like Sir Walter, was possessed of the idea that Spain was an enemy to be met and overcome in the distant seas which she had discovered' and claimed exclusive rights in. A captain of a ship engaged with Humphrey in this voyage to America sets forth England's opportunities as follows:

"It seemeth probable, by event or precedent attempts made by the Spanyards and the French at sundry times, that the countreys lying north of Florida God hath reserved to be reduced unto Christian civility by the English nation. For, not long after that Christopher Columbus had discovered the islands of the West Indies for Spayne, Iohn and Sebastian Cabot made discovery of the rest, from Florida northwards, in behalf of England. Sir Humfrey Gilbert, knight, was the first of our nation that carried people to erect an habitation and government in those northerly countreys of America. About which, albeit he had consumed much substance (and lost his life at the last, his people also perishing for the most part), yet the mystery whereof we must leave to God."

In 1578, then, Sir Humphrey sailed for America with seven ships and three hundred and fifty men. One of the vessels, the Falcon, was commanded by Raleigh, who had doubtless received information of the Floridas, when he was in France, from Admiral Coligny, whose colony of Huguenots was massacred there in 1565. Disasters in general met the fleet from the first, and Raleigh's ship was separated from the rest on the coast of Africa. Sailing for the West Indies, he met and took a Spanish frigate, after a brisk sea-fight, but was unable to bring her to port, and so returned to England without her. From this adventure toward America Raleigh emerged with the loss of some capital, and yet with his faith unshaken in the eventual success of such enterprises.

England had done hardly anything toward following up the discoveries of the Cabots, though the erudite historian, Hakluyt, attempted to prove her title to America unimpeachable, "owing to the admitted fact that we of England were the first discoverers of the continent, above a year and more before Columbus to wit: in 1496."

The accounts of the Cabot voyages had become mere traditions when Hakluyt gathered them into his great work and that was some time after Sir Humphrey's first voyage—so that it is due to this great navigator, as well as Walter Raleigh, to more than mention their attempt at exploration in the year 1578. "Raleigh and Hakluyt," says Sir Clements Markham, "were virtually the founders of those colonies which eventually formed the United States. Americans revere the name of Walter Raleigh; they should give an equal place to that of Richard Hakluyt." Nor should we forget to include that intrepid navigator Sir Humphrey Gilbert.

The voyage of 1578 ended disastrously; but Raleigh, who was by this time expert in maritime affairs, would fain have embarked again with his half-brother Humphrey, heart and soul, in any enterprise looking toward discovery and colonization in the country only half revealed by the Cabots. But first he was to expend much energy and waste several of the best years of his life in barbarous warfare. France and the Netherlands had been his field of emprise during youth, but his maturer years were to be given over to the pursuit of Queen Elizabeth's rebellious subjects, the "Irishry," as they were contemptuously called by the English. He received a commission as captain, under Lord Grey of Wilton, then Lord Deputy of Ireland, who set him an example in cruelty which he unhappily followed.

This service in Ireland, he wrote the Earl of Leicester, in 1581, he "would disdayne as much as to keep sheape"; yet he entered heartily into it, and seemed to feel no compunctions at the barbarous methods employed in subduing the rebels. In another letter of this time he commends the relatively humane policy of his half-brother, Sir Humphrey Gilbert, who had previously subdued them without resorting to extreme measures, but he evidently did not emulate him. Meeting, on one of his forays, with an Irish peasant bearing a backload of withes, he asked him for what purpose they were gathered.

"To hang English churls with," answered the man, facing him dauntlessly.

"Ha!" exclaimed Raleigh. "Perhaps we may forestall thee," and at once gave orders for the man to be strangled with his own withes, as also some comrades who, like him, were rebels.

In after years, having made acquaintance with sorrow and misfortune, Raleigh would have set at liberty a man capable of such a sturdy answer; but in the first years of his soldiering he was undoubtedly thoughtless and cruel. Other deeds of his give color to this assertion. A party of Spaniards and Italians, which included many released convicts and ruffians, had invaded Ireland, with the intent of succoring their coreligionists, and had built a fort which they called Del Oro. It was at about the time of its completion that Raleigh received an appointment to command at its siege. He distinguished himself by his gallant bearing in the face of danger, fighting valorously with his men in the trenches, stimulating them repeatedly by his brave example; but, alas! he stained his hands with the blood of his opponents after they had surrendered as prisoners of war. Six hundred of the garrison were brutally massacred, and the records of the time have not held Commander Raleigh guiltless of the bloody transaction.

Raleigh's experience in France and the Netherlands, especially in the former country, now stood him in good stead, and by means of sudden forays, ambushes, and skilfully planned attacks, he kept the rebels in a state of constant consternation. His dash and gallantry moved him to the wildest exploits, in one of which he had his horse shot under him, and was saved from death only by the prompt interposition of a soldier, who risked his life to rescue that of his beloved commander. The most romantic and hazardous of his numerous adventures was that in which he succeeded in capturing a powerful Irish chieftain, Lord Roche, and transporting him in custody to Cork, where he then had his headquarters.

This insurgent nobleman held sway at his castle of Bally, about twenty miles from Cork, and as he was a suspected promoter of disaffection, being surrounded by a formidable force of adherents also, it was resolved by the Earl of Ormond, Raleigh's superior at that time, to effect his capture, if such a thing were possible. The ardent Raleigh offered his services, which were accepted, and, taking a small body of faithful soldiers, he set out on a night march into the enemy's country. He had hoped to keep his foray a secret from the Irish, but their spies, with whom the land was swarming, gave information to the Seneschal of Imokelly, one Fitz Edmonds, who gathered together a band of eight hundred men and laid an ambuscade, intending to waylay Raleigh on the road. The wary commander, however, also had spies, who warned him in season, and by a long detour this peril was avoided. When arrived in the vicinage of Bally he was met by a rabble of tenantry and townsmen, nearly five hundred in number, with whom he first held parley, and then, detaching the main body of his soldiers to hold them in check, with a handful of the most intrepid he made a dash for the castle. He was met at the gate with a refusal to his demand for permission to enter, but by stratagem succeeded in getting six of his followers within, and soon after the remainder of his horsemen came clattering into the court, having dispersed the tenantry and forced their way to the castle.

Finding his court-yard full of armed Englishmen, Lord Roche bowed to the inevitable and proffered Raleigh his hospitality, which was promptly accepted. At the bountiful board, around which were seated Raleigh, a few of his retainers, and Lord Roche and his family, the nobleman professed the most devoted loyalty to the Queen; but finally, finding that his uninvited guest was inflexibly resolved upon taking him to Cork, consented to accompany him thither provided he might have time to arrange his affairs and proceed by daylight. But there was no denying the valiant young Englishman, who, though courteous and deferential in his bearing, was determined to set out with his prisoner that very night. He, too, well knew the perils of delay and the impossibility of proceeding through the open country by daylight, swarming, as it was certain to be, with a furious populace armed with rude but effective weapons which they well knew how to wield.

The night was dark, but Raleigh, knowing that ambuscades would be set for him along the only highway, led his men over a narrow and rugged trail among the hills, in following which several were badly injured by falls and one was killed. But he succeeded in reaching Cork, with his prisoner, unscathed, and had the pleasure of presenting him to Lord Ormond as a trophy of his prowess. This gallant though rash exploit gained great fame for Walter Raleigh in Ireland, where a feat of arms so skillfully carried out could not but compel the admiration even of his enemies. The fame of it also reached the English court, for, at the departure of Lord Ormond, he was, together with' two others, given' the government of Munster. He held it till near the end of December, 1581, when, having subjugated the most troublesome of the rebels, he was permitted to return to England.

In February, 1582, we find him as one of the convoy of the Duc d'Alencon to the Netherlands, and two months later a "Queen's Warrant" was issued appointing him a captain in Ireland, "Where," it quaintly reads, "we be given to understand that Captain Appesley is not long since deceased, and the band of footmen, which he had, committed to James Fenton, For that, as We are informed, the said Fenton hath otherwise an entertainment by a certain ward under his charge; but chiefly that Our pleasure is to have Our servant, Walter Rawley, trained some time longer in that Our realme for his better experience in martial affairs, and for the special care that We have to do him good, in respect of his kindred that have served Us, some of them near about Our person; these are to require you that the leading of the said band may be committed to the said Rawley." For reasons best known to the Queen herself, the "said Rawley" was allowed to remain in England for a period longer, and it is doubtful if he returned to Ireland during several years thereafter, "for that he is, for some considerations, by Us excused to stay here."

Queen Elizabeth's Favorite


What were the "considerations" that induced the Queen to retain Raleigh in England, and when did that intimate acquaintance begin which endured between them so many years? These are questions that have never been satisfactorily answered; but it is thought, as respects the friendship that existed between the great Elizabeth and her handsome courtier, that it had its commencement sometime in the year 1582.

The Queen had known of him, and favorably, before his return from Ireland; but did their personal acquaintance begin in the romantic manner narrated by the old historian, when, one day encountering her Majesty, attended by her courtiers, in a marshy spot, he threw his rich velvet coat upon the ground for her to walk over? This act would be characteristic of Raleigh, as we shall later come to know him, for he was by nature an adroit flatterer, and cultivated the arts of a courtier so skilfully that for a long period the Queen was fain to consider him her most devoted admirer.

Another anecdote, and by some considered "equally apocryphal" with that already cited, relates that "among the second causes of Raleigh's growth . . . that variance between him and the Lord Grey in his descent into Ireland was a principal, for it drew them both over to the council table, where he had much the better in the telling of his tale, and so much that the. Queen and the lords took no small mark of the man and his parts. Thus," continues the narrator, who was a personal acquaintance of our hero, "Raleigh had gotten the Queen's ear at a trice, and she began to be taken with his elocution, and loved to hear him give his reasons to her demands, and the truth is she took him for a kind of oracle, which nettled them all."

"Fain would I climb, but yet fear I to fall," Raleigh is said to have scratched with a diamond upon a window-pane of the palace, to which, it is related, the Queen added: "If thy heart fail thee, then climb not at all." His heart did not fail, whether the inscriptions were as apocryphal as the story of the cloak, or were ever traced, indeed. He "climbed" to some advantage, too, and rapidly made his way into the Queen's affections. There was a great disparity of years between these two, as well as of temperament, for Elizabeth had been born in 1533 and Raleigh in 1552. Thus, the half of an ordinary span of life separated them; yet the glamour around the person of the Queen more than compensated, in the eyes of the young soldier, for her lack of physical charms.

Walter Raleigh at that time, says a contemporary, was a model of manly beauty. "He had a good presence in a handsome and well-compacted person; a strong, natural wit and a better judgment; with a bold and plausible tongue, whereby he could set out his parts to the best advantage." He was six feet in height, admirably proportioned, graceful and dignified in his carriage, with features symmetrically moulded. His forehead was broad and capacious, his eyes bright and sparkling, his hair dark and abundant; and as he was always animated and audacious when in the presence of the Queen, he became, as a Flemish Jesuit expressed it, "the darling of this English Cleopatra," who often craved the presence of bright faces about her. His ready wit was grateful, too, for the vain and frivolous Elizabeth could appreciate mental attributes as well as external adornments.

We know, from the portraits that have been preserved of Raleigh, that he carried dress and decoration to the pitch of absurdity, and that his stalwart figure was frequently attired in a manner more befitting a clown or a mountebank than a sensible soldier who had fought valiantly in the wars. One full-length portrait represents him in a pinked vest of white satin, with a gorgeously flowered brown doublet embroidered in pearls, a hat with a black feather decorated with a ruby, a bejeweled dagger on his right hip, a sword-belt, pearl-besprinkled, round his waist, and on his feet buff-colored shoes tied with white ribbons. In another he is clad in his famous armor, which was of such exquisite workmanship that after his execution it was considered worthy of being preserved in the Tower of London. It was of silver, studded with gems, and the sword and belt which Raleigh wore when in armor were decorated with diamonds, pearls, and rubies. Sometimes the shoes he wore (a foreign ambassador at the English court averred) were "so bedecked with jewels that they were computed to be worth more than six hundred pieces of gold."

Elizabeth, however, expected her gaudily clad courtiers to transform themselves in a twinkling into armor-clad men of war, and it was doubtless the combination of the two in Raleigh that attracted her attention.

It was probably Raleigh's own fault that, though he won favor of the Queen, she never entirely gave him her confidence. She was attracted by his fine features and figure, his gaudy costumes, his brilliant personality, and his exceptional talents, but to the inner councils he was rarely admitted. He was, at thirty years of age and beyond, still the flippant courtier, the reckless, dare-devil soldier, and many were the affrays in which he participated with the hangers-on at court. Under a date previous to his rise to royal favor, it is recorded in the "council-book of the court," that "Sir Thomas Perrott and Walter Rawley, gentlemen, being called before their Lordships, for a fray betwixt them, were, by their Lordships' order, committed prisoners to the Fleet."  A week later it is recorded in the same book: "This day, Sir Thomas Perrott, knight, and Walter Rawley, gentleman, being called before their Lordships, and commanded to bring sureties the day following, to enter into bonds with them for keeping of Her Majesty's peace, the one towards the other, and in the mean season to demean themselves quietly, were released of their imprisonment in the Fleet."

This, to his discredit be it stated, was the first entry of Walter Raleigh's name in the "council register"; but this committal to prison was not by any means his last, for he later languished there in peril of his life, and for reasons not so directly traceable to his own folly. The doors of the historic Fleet seemed always ajar for the brawling younglings of Elizabeth's court, and three years after they closed upon Raleigh's companion in the brawl, Sir Thomas Perrott, who had offended the jealous Queen by marrying Lady Dorothy Devereux, sister of' the Earl of Essex. Under similar circumstances—as we shall later see Walter Raleigh himself was sent to prison by Elizabeth, who could brook no rival in the field of love, and punished severely those of her admirers who ventured to marry without her sanction.

At the time of Raleigh's advent at court, the Queen was, or seemed to be, infatuated with the. Earl of Leicester, who was more than suspected of having poisoned his young and beautiful wife, the unfortunate Amy Robsart, not to mention other crimes of which he was accused. His deplorable morals, however, seemed to be no bar to his advancement, though the Queen's affection for him was not so deep that she could not attach a portion of his estate, after his decease, in order to reimburse herself for a debt he owed her at the time of his death.

Though conscious of the insecurity of his position as Queen's favorite, Leicester is said to have introduced Walter Raleigh to Elizabeth. Becoming alarmed at the rapid advances made by the younger man in the estimation of the Queen, he endeavored to offset them by the introduction of a still younger, with the result that this new rival far surpassed either of his old competitors in the race for honors and royal regard. This gentleman was Robert Devereux, the Earl of Essex, whose descent was as rapid as his advancement, and who finally paid the penalty of his temerity and folly by an ignominious death upon the scaffold. The intimacy of Leicester and Raleigh at the outset may be inferred by a letter written by the latter to the former while temporarily in supposed disgrace and absent from the court. "The Queen," he says, "is on very good terms with you, and, thanks be to God, well pacified. You are again her 'Sweet Robin.'"

The royal charmer of these distinguished men is described by one who saw her frequently as "of personage tall, of hair and complexion fair, and therewithal well-favored, but high-nosed; of limbs and feature neat, of a stately and majestic comportment." He added what the world well knows that she favored more her father, the infamous Henry VIII, than her mother, the unfortunate Anne Boleyn. In her passions also, as well as her masculine character and physical nature, Elizabeth resembled her father more than the lovely Anne, whom that cruel father caused to be executed when she herself was but an infant.

A Venetian ambassador, who saw her when not quite twenty-two, testified to this paternal resemblance as being more striking than in her sister, "Bloody Mary." "Her face may rather be called pleasing than beautiful," he says. "She is tall and well made. Her complexion is fine, although somewhat tawny. Her eyes, and still more her hands which she takes care not to hide are of special beauty." She was, with reason, proud of her shapely hands, and a young Frenchman, who paints a word-picture of her at maturity, says: "I heard from my father that at every audience he had with her she pulled off her gloves more than a hundred times, to display her hands, which were, indeed, very beautiful and very white."

Such was the Circe who had enchained Walter Raleigh, who had bound him to her throne with silken fetters which she could sever at will but he could not. Not by her charms had she caught and held him (for they were less than ordinarily possessed by ladies of gentle birth), but by royal prestige and authority. To her he sacrificed his manhood, for her he committed deeds which should have brought the blush of shame to his handsome face, and she rewarded him most generously.

In the years 1582, 1583, and 1584 he received very profitable grants and licenses, such as leave to export broadcloths, the vending of wines, etc., which yielded him a large yearly revenue. The grant for the "farm of wines," as the monopoly of these licenses was called, he underlet to another at seven hundred pounds a year; and this was but one of his privileges, so that he soon grew wealthy, indeed, and set up an establishment as became a gentleman of substance.

It mattered not to Raleigh that these monopolies were oppressive to the people at large, that many victims paid under protest, and many others sought to evade what they justly considered a burdensome and superfluous tax. He exacted every pound that was his due, and, by means of holding his emissaries strictly to account, managed to extract a revenue of more than twelve hundred pounds a year from this privilege granted him by the Queen.

In July, 1585, he was given the important and lucrative office of Lord Warden of the Stanneries, or tin mines, and in September of that year was made lieutenant of the county of Cornwall. A few months later he became vice-admiral of the counties of Cornwall and Devon, with Lord Beauchamp as his deputy in the first county and Sir John Gilbert in the second. Though he farmed out his various licenses of wines and cloths, and governed in the main by deputies, he yet gave strict attention to his duties in their larger sense, mastering every detail, and issuing regulations which, especially as regards the mines of Cornwall, were very beneficial.

By the attainder of Anthony Babington, a convicted conspirator against the crown, who was executed for treason, Raleigh became, in 1586-87, a "landed gentleman in five English counties," for the Queen bestowed upon him all the forfeited properties of the traitor. He thus acquired three manors in Lincolnshire, besides lands and tenements in the same county; the manor of Lee, in Derbyshire; other lands and tenements in various villages, and the fine mansion known as Babington's Hall, together with the broad acres around it. He had boasted hitherto of a small patrimony only, situated in Devonshire; but now, by bounty of the Queen, he became possessed of this vast property, together with "all rents, profits, and revenues coming to Us by the said attainder." And they were for "the proper use and behoof of him, the said Walter Raleigh, his heirs and assigns, forever; without any acknowledgment to be therefore rendered unto Us, our heirs or successors."

This was not the last token of royal favor which Raleigh received, nor the last forfeited estate he was destined to succeed to, through the defection of its rightful owner; but at the end before it came, in truth he was to lose, not alone the favor of royalty, but every acre that had been bestowed upon him through favoritism and every dwelling he had owned.

A Promoter of Discovery


As a text for this chapter of Walter Raleigh's life, we will take the following letter, written by him to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in March, 15 83:

"BROTHER,I have sent you a token from Her Majesty, an ancor [anchor] guided by a lady, as you see; and farther, her Highness willed me to sende you worde that she wished you as great good-hap and safety to your ship, as if her sealf were there in person; desiring you to have care of your sealf, as of that which she tendereth, and therefore, for her sake, you must provide for it accordingly.

"Farther, she commandeth that you leve your picture with me. For the rest, I leve till our meeting, or to the report of this berer [bearer], who would needs be the messenger of this good newse. So I commit you to the will and protection of God, who sends us such life or death, as He shall please, or hath appointed.

"Richmonde, this Friday morning.

"Your treu brother, W. RALEGH."

"To my brother, Sir Humfrey Gilbert, Knight."

The token of the Queen's approbation and regard, which she sent Sir Humphrey Gilbert by the hand of his brother, was a small anchor of beaten gold with a precious pearl in its peak. It was esteemed so highly by its recipient that he ever after wore it on his breast; and it went with him to the watery grave which ended this voyage and his earthly career. This token typified, both the Queen's esteem of the gallant mariner, and the love of his half-brother Walter Raleigh, through whose influence he had obtained his charter for discovery and colonization.

We owe our knowledge of this venture of 1583 to a captain and owner of the Golden Hinde, one of the five vessels which comprised the fleet that set sail from Plymouth harbor. Says the mariner:

"Orders having been determined and promises mutually given to be observed, every man withdrew himselfe unto his charge. The ankers being already weyed, and our shippes under saile, having a soft gale of winde, we began our voyage upon Tuesday, the eleventh day of Iune, in the yere of our Lord, 1583, having in our fleet these shippes, whose names and burthens, with the names of the captains and masters of them, I have also inserted, as followeth:

"1. The Delight, burthen 100 tunnes, was Admirall [or flag-ship], in which went the General [Humphrey Gilbert], William Winter, captaine and part owner, and Richard Clearke, master.

"2. The Barke Ralegh, set forth by M. Walter Ralegh, of the burthen of 200 tunnes, was then Vice Admirall; in which went M. Butler, captaine, and Robert Davis, of Bristol, master.

"3. The Golden Hinde, burthen 40 tunnes, was then Reare Admirall, in which went Edward Hayes, captaine and owner [chronicler of the voyage], and Wm. Cox, of Limehouse, master.

"4. The Swallow, burthen 40 tunnes; in her was captaine Maurice Browne.

"5. The Squirrill, of burthen 10 tunnes, in which went captaine Wm. Andrewes, and one Cade, master.

"We were in number about 260 men: among them we had of every faculty good choice, as shipwrights, masons, carpenters, smithes, and such like, requisite to such an action [the founding of a colony]; also mineral men and refiners. Besides, for solace of our people, and allurement of the salvages, we were provided of musike in good variety; not omitting the least toyes, as morns dancers, hobby horses, and like conceits, to delight the salvages, whom we intended to winne by all faire meanes possible. And to that end we were indifferently furnished of all petty haberdasherie wares, to barter with those people.

"In this manner we set forward, departing (as hath bene said) out the eleventh day of Iime, being Tuesday, the weather and winde faire and good all day; but a great storme of thunder and winde fell the same night. The Thursday following, when we hailed one another in the evening (according to the order given before starting), they signified unto us out of the Vice Admirall, that both the captaine and very many of the men were fallen sicke. And about midnight the Vice Admirall forsooke us, notwithstanding we had the winde East, faire and good. But it was after credibly reported that they were infected with a contagious sicknesse, and arrived greatly distressed at Plymouth. The reason I could never understand, but sure I am no cost was spared by their owner, Master Ralegh, in setting them forth. Therefore I leave it unto God."

Highly indignant at this desertion, and of course unaware of the cause, Admiral Gilbert afterward wrote to Sir George Peckham, in England:

"I departed from Plymouth on the 11th of June, with five sail, and on the 13th the Ark Ralegh  ran from me, in fair and clear weather, having a large wind. I pray you solicit my brother Ralegh to make them an example to all knaves!"

Four ships were then left to him, and soon after one of these was lost, leaving but three in which to pursue the voyage to Newfoundland, which was sighted the last week in July. The narrative continues:

"On the Monday following the General had his tent setup, who, being accompanied by his own followers, summoned the marchants and masters, both English and strangers, to be present at his taking possession of those countreys. Before whom was openly read and interpreted unto the strangers his Commission, by virtue whereof he tooke possession in the harbor of S. John, and 200 leagues everyway invested the Queene's maiestie with the title and dignities thereof, and had delivered unto him (after the custome of England) a rod and a turffe of the same soil, entering possession also for him, his heires, and assignes forever. . . . And afterward were erected, not farre from that place, the Armes of England, ingraven in lead, and infixed upon a pillar of wood."

The Admiral assigned lands to those who had been brought out as colonists, and after a scant exploration of the region's resources, during which the mineralogist discovered what he thought was ore of silver, the ships sailed southward along the coast. Although Gilbert had found the ships of other nations than England, such as French and Portuguese, fishing in the waters of Newfoundland, and making harbor in its bays, he took possession of the country by right of title to it acquired (as already explained), through the voyage of the Cabots in the previous century. After an interval of nearly ninety years, his skeleton of a colony was the first established there. Too easily satisfied with this apology for a settlement, and accepting without question the statement of his "mineral man" that the ore he had found was rich in silver, Sir Humphrey sailed off on the very course taken by his predecessors, the Cabots. He could lay claim to no new discovery, to no novel enterprise, yet he seemed satisfied.

We will not follow him in his farther wanderings, which were devious and seemingly without aim. They show that he was erratic, that his great reputation for seamanship was altogether unfounded, for in this voyage he lost three of his ships, and eventually his life, through the lack of precautions which any ordinary mariner should have taken. We come now to the end of this brave man's life, following the narrative from which we have quoted. Having met with head winds and storms, the Admiral had abandoned his purpose of continuing southward along the coast of America, and in the last week of August shaped his course for England. But two vessels remained of the fleet of five with which he had set forth the previous June—the Golden Hinde  and the Squirrel.

From some caprice, when distant from the coast a hundred leagues or so, he insisted upon transferring himself from the larger vessel to the smaller. His friends entreated him not to do so, but in vain, for this was his answer:

"I will not forsake my little company, going homeward, with whom I have passed so many storms and perils." "And in very truth," says an eye-witness of the events now to be described, "hee was urged to be so over hard because of reports given out that he was afraid of the sea; albeit this was rather rashness than advised resolution: to preferre the wind of a vain report to the weight of his own life. And it was God's ordinance upon him, even so the vehement perswasion and intreatie of his friends could nothing availe to divert him of a wilful resolution of going through in his frigat (the little Squirrel, of only ten tons burthen). It was overcharged upon its decks with artillerie, and too cumbersome for so small a boate, that was to pass through the Ocean sea at that season of the yere, when by course we might expect much storme of foule weather—whereof indeed we had enough.

"Seeing that he would not bend to reason, he had provision out of the Hinde, such as was wanting aboord his frigat. And so we committed him to God's protection, and set him aboard his pinnesse." The two vessels kept on together, speaking each other at intervals until they passed the latitude of the Azore Islands, when they met with very foul weather and terrible seas, "breaking short and high, pyramid wise," which separated them for a space, and put their crews in peril of their lives. "Howsoever it commeth to pass," wrote the honest chronicler of the voyage, "men which all their lives had occupied the sea never saw more outragious seas. We had also upon our main-yard an apparition of fire by night, which seamen doe call 'Castor and Pollux.' But we had only one, which they take an evil sign of more tempest, the same being usual in storms."

Now and again, as the storm-mists parted, those on the Hinde  caught glimpses of the imperilled Squirrel, gallantly battling with the heavy seas, which threatened to overwhelm her entirely.

"Munday, the ninth of September, in the afternoone, the frigat was neere cast away, oppressed by waves, yet at that time recovered. And giving foorth signes of joy, the Generall, sitting abaft with a book in his hand, cried out to us in the Hinde  (so oft as we did approch within hearing): 'We are as neere to Heaven by sea as by land!  Reiterating the same speech, well beseeming a souldier resolute in Iesus Christ, as I can testifie he was.

"The same Munday night, about twelve of the clock, or not long after, the frigat being ahead of us in the Golden Hinde, suddenly her lights went out, whereof, as it were in a moment, we lost sight of them, and withall our watch cryed out: 'The Generall is cast away!'—which was so true, for in that moment the frigat was devoured, and swallowed up of the sea. Yet still we looked out all that night, and ever after, untill we arrived upon the coast of England."

In this manner perished Sir Humphrey Gilbert, gallantly, though stubbornly, insisting upon sharing the perils of the great deep with his devoted men in the smallest craft remaining of the fleet. His expedition had met with disaster from the very first: by the casting away of his flag-ship he had lost all his charts, memoranda relating to the resources of the region, and the precious silver ore, together with the mineralogist, upon whose authority it had been declared genuine and of great value; yet he had continued hopeful to the last.

Sir Humphrey Gilbert


He declared he would fit out and return with another expedition the following year, at the opening of the summer season, and expressed his confidence in securing, through his brother at court, the assistance of the Queen, "Ten thousand pounds she will lend me," he said to his men; "for she cannot do less, who gave to me this golden anchor and the lady, which I wear upon my breast." In this belief he doubtless died, and upon his breast, at the moment he and his little craft were overwhelmed by the sea, was the golden anchor with a pearl in its peak, which had been given to him by his sovereign.

Nothing resulted to the crews, nor to the merchants who had adventured with Gilbert and Raleigh in the enterprise. In the two voyages he had made, Sir Humphrey had wrecked his private fortune and sealed the sacrifice with his life; but his half-brother and co-adventurer was by no means dismayed. Walter Raleigh mourned the loss of a faithful, devoted friend—a loss for which there was no reparation; but he did not abandon the enterprise for which Humphrey had given his life, nor lose sight of the end for which both had so long striven.

He was the more impelled, if possible, to promote discoveries, but especially colonization, in the great country across the ocean, which at that time but a handful of his countrymen had visited. He had resolved, however, to strike farther southward than Humphrey had been, moved thereto, says the old chronicler, by the determination of Humphrey himself. When asked what means he had at his arrival in England "to compass the charges of so great a preparation as he intended to make the next spring, having determined upon two fleeter, one for the South, another for the North, Humphrey had replied: 'Leave that to me. I will ask a pennie of no man. I will bring good tidings unto her Majesty, who will be so gracious as to lend me 10,000 pounds.'

"Willing us therefore to be of good cheere, for he did thank God, he sayd, with all his heart, for that he had Beene, the same being enough for us all; and that we needed not to seeke any further. And these last words he would often repeate, with demonstrations of great fervencie of mind, being himself e very confident, and settled in belief e of inestimable good by his voyage."

Raleigh's Expedition to Roanoke


The confidence felt by Humphrey Gilbert in the eventual outcome of his voyages, if persisted in that it would be to the betterment of England and the extension of her power was fully shared by Walter Raleigh. Intimately associated as he had been with his half-brother in these voyages, now that the gallant Admiral had perished he felt it incumbent upon himself to persist in the furtherance of others to the same effect discovery and colonization.

The hapless Sir Humphrey had, in fact, bequeathed to his kinsman the task of carrying on his great work, and Raleigh had no disposition to shirk that task. He was, indeed, overzealous, the Queen thought, and the Spaniards, she had feared—what actually took place on the first voyage—an encounter with England's rivals on the ocean, and had forbidden him to leave her side—or, in other words, to run the risk of any "dangerous sea-fights," such as he was sure to seek if in command of ship or expedition. So he had languished at court, chagrined beyond measure, but eager and expectant for the issue of the venture in which he had taken part to the extent of fitting out a vessel. The defection of the Ark Ralegh  had added to his chagrin and disappointment; but the return of the only ship that survived, with its tidings of disaster, including the death of the Admiral and the total defeat of all his plans, somewhat reconciled him to his enforced detention.

He did not take warning, however, from the ill success of that expedition and desist from further adventures, but, within six months after the return of the Golden Hinde, had obtained of the Queen a charter, with larger powers than those which had been granted Sir Humphrey, for the "Discovery and Planting of New Lands in America." Gilbert's charter of 1578 expired in 1584, and March 25th of that year Raleigh obtained his own, which, judging from its length, scope, and verbiage, was comprehensive enough to include the exploration and colonization of the entire globe. It read:

"To all people to whom these presents shal come, greeting. Know ye that of our especial grace, certain science, and meere motion, we have given and graunted, and by these presents for us, our heires and successors, doe give and graunt, to our trusty and welbeloved servant Walter Ralegh Esquire, and to his heires and assignes for ever, free liberty and license from time to time, and at all times for ever hereafter, to discover, search, finde out, and view such remote, heathen and barbarous lands, countries and territories, not actually possessed by any Christian prince, nor inhabited by Christian people, as to him, his heires and assignes, and to every or any of them shal seeme good; and the same to have, holde, occupy & enjoy, to him, his heires and assignes for ever; with all prerogatives, commodities, jurisdictios, royalties, privileges, franchises and preeminences, thereto or thereabouts both by sea and land, whatsoever we by our letters patents may graunt, and as we or our noble progenitors have heretofore graunted, to any person or persons, bodies politic or corporate; and the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires and assignes, and all such as from time to time, by licence of us, our heires and successors, shal goe or travaile thither to inhabite or remaine, there to builde and fortifie, at the discretion of the saide Walter Ralegh, his heires & assignes, the statutes or act of Parliament made against fugitives, or against such as shal depart, remaine or continue out of our Realme of England without licence, or any statute, act, law, or any ordinance whatsoever to the contrary in any wise notwithstanding."

The ink on this comprehensive charter (one-tenth of which only has been quoted) was scarcely dry before Raleigh assembled his fleet, consisting of two vessels, commanded by Captains Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlow. It sailed the last week in April, and sighted land on the American coast the first week in July. According to the prevailing custom of navigators at that time sailing for the southern part of North America, the two mariners zigzagged across the Atlantic, first to the Canaries, then to the West Indies, finally feeling their way northward again to the region they had chosen for their destination.

As a complete account exists of this interesting voyage, from the pen of Captain Barlow, we shall avail ourselves of it. It is contained in The First Voyage made to the Coasts of America, with two Barks, wherein were Captains M. Philip Amadas and M. Arthur Barlow, who discovered part of the countrey now called Virginia, Anno 1584. Written by One of the said Captaines and sent to Sir Walter Ralegh, Knight, at whose charge and Direction the said Voyage was set forth.

This letter is addressed to Sir Walter Raleigh; for one of the first rewards of this expedition, furnished and promoted at his own cost, was the honor of knighthood, bestowed by the doting Queen, in recognition of his labors and discovery, in 1584. In the estimation of Elizabeth, she could bestow no greater distinction than this; but, in exchange for this paltry title, did not Raleigh bestow upon her an honor far greater when he named the newly discovered country Virginia?  This is the mariner's narrative:

"The 27th day of Aprill, in the yeere of our redemption, 1584, we departed the West of England, with two barkes well furnished with men and victuals, having received our last and perfect directions by your letters, confirming the former instructions and commandments delivered by yourselfe at our leaving the river of Thames. And I think it a matter both unnecessary, for the manifest discovery of the Countrey, as also for tediousnesse sake, to remember unto you the diurnall [log, or journal] of our course, sayling and returning; onely I have presumed to present unto you this brief a discourse, by which you may judge how profitable this land is likely to succeede, as well to your selfe, by whose direction and charge, and by whose servantes, this our discoverie hath Beene performed, as also to Her Highnesse [Elizabeth], and the Commonwealth, in which we hope your wisdome wilbe satisfied, considering that as much by us hath bene brought to light, as by those smal meanes, and number of men we had, could any way have bene expected or hoped for.

"The tenth of May we arrived at the Canaries, and the tenth of June in this present yere we were fallen in with the islands of the West Indies, keeping a more southeasterly course than was needful, because we doubted that the currents of the Bay of Mexico, disbogging betweene the Cape of Florida and Havana, had bene of greater force than afterwards we found it to bee. [That is, the current of the Gulf Stream was not so strong as the had expected it to be, probably as reported by the Spanish pilots.]

"At which Islands we found the ayre very unwholesome, and our men grew for the most part ill disposed; so that having refreshed our selves with sweet water and fresh victuall, we departed the twelfth day of our arrivall there. These islands, with the rest adjoining, are so well known to your self e and to many others, as I will not trouble you with the remembrance of them.

"The second of Iuly we found shole water, where we smelt so sweet and so strong a smell, as if we had bene in the midst of some delicate garden, abounding with all kindes of odoriferous flowers, by which we were assured that land could not be farre distant; so keeping a good watch, and bearing but slacke sayle, the fourth of the same moneth we arrived upon the coast, which we supposed to be a continent and firme lande, and we sayled along the same a hundred and twentie English miles, before we could finde any entrance or river issuing into the sea.

"The first that appeared unto us we entered, though not without some difficultie, & cast anker about three harqubus [musket] shot within the haven's mouth; and after thanks given to God for our safe arrival thither, we manned the boats and went to view the lande adjoyning, and to take possession of the same, in the right of the Queene's most excellent maj estie, and after delivered the same over to your use, according to her Majestie's grant and letters patent, under her Highnesse's great seal. Which being performed, according to the ceremonies used in such enterprises, we viewed the land about us, being, where we first landed, very sandie and low towards the water's side, but so full of grapes, as the very beating and surge of the sea over-flowed them. Of these we found such plentie, as well there as in all places else, both on the sand and on the greene soile on the hills, in the plaines, on every littel shrubbe, as also climbing towardes the tops of high cedars, that I thinke in all the world the like abundance is not to be found: and myself, having seen those parts of Europe that most abound, find such differences as were incredible to be written."

How many of the first visitors to the new continent were impressed with the beauties of the shores, the exuberant fertility of the soil, and the fragrance of the wild flowers wafted to them by the soft breezes from the main! From the arrival of Columbus in the West Indies to the landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, the journals of the voyagers are overflowing with expressions of pleasure and admiration.

A few more than forty years after Amadas and Barlow made their landfall on the southern coast of North America a band of Puritans skirting the north shore of Massachusetts in the month of June, were equally extravagant in their praises of the "odoriferous land."

"The nearer we came to the shore," wrote Elder Higginson, "the more flowers in abundance, sometymes scattered abroad, sometymes joyned in sheets nine or ten yeards long, which we supposed to be brought from the low meadows by the tyde. . . . As we sayled along the coast we saw every hill and dale, and every island, full of gay woods and tall trees. Now, what with fine woods and green trees by land, and these yellow flowers paynting the sea, it made us all desirous of seeing our new Paradise of New England, whence we perceived such forerunning signals of fertilitie afarre off."

The island was about twenty miles in length and six in breadth, covered, with "goodly woodes full of deer, conies, hares, and fowle in incredible abundance. Having discharged an arquebuse, such a flocke of cranes (the most part white) arose around us, with such a cry, redoubled by many echoes, as if an army of men had showted all together."

This passage recalls a similar one in the book of that arrant plagiarist, Daniel Defoe, when his hero, one Robinson Crusoe, discharges his gun in a thick wood and arouses a like commotion among the wild inhabitants, who (he reflects), never having heard a sound of that sort before, were confused and astounded. Defoe wrote Robinson Crusoe more than a hundred years after the first description of Roanoke was published (one hundred and thirty-five, to be exact), and may have availed himself of this account, as well as of other narratives then existent, for the purpose of embellishing with authentic incident and bestowing verisimilitude upon his fiction.

"The island had many woodes—not such as you find in Bohemia and Muscovy barren and fruitless, but containing the highest and reddest cedars in the world, farre bettering those of the Acores, Indies; also pines, cypress, sassaphras, the tree that beareth the rind of black sinamon of the kind which Master Winter brought from the streights of Magellan, and many others of excellent smell and qualitie."

The woods were wonderful, but no minerals of importance were discovered, either by these first voyagers or by those who came after them. Gold was the lure, without doubt, that led to the fitting out of these expeditions and enticed the prospective colonists to embark on such risky voyages; but never once did the English discover such mines of the precious metals as the Spaniards opened to view in Mexico, Santo Domingo, and Peru. Gold, or the persistent search for it, and the cruelties committed to gain it, eventually wrought the ruin of Spain and its American colonies, while the English, sturdier and hardier than the Latins, from a less fruitful soil extracted wealth of a different sort, and bequeathed to their descendants a permanent inheritance.

The Spaniards ran a more rapid course than their rivals, the English, but it was the sooner ended. Between the" date of the Cabotian discovery of Newfoundland, and that of Roanoke by the ships sent out by Raleigh, Spain's ruthless conquerors had nearly exterminated the aboriginal inhabitants of the West Indies; had subjugated Mexico and Peru, thereby acquiring mines that yielded them millions and millions in treasure, and founded many cities, like Santo Domingo, Santiago de Cuba, Havana, St. Augustine, San Juan de Puerto Rico, Lima, and Panama. Truly, the Britons had lagged in the race, for they had not then a single settlement in the New World; they could not boast a fishing village even; and this notwithstanding Bartholomew Columbus had offered his brother's services to Henry VII. of England years before they were accepted by Ferdinand of Spain!

Had there been a Walter Raleigh living in the reign of "Henry the Penurious," instead of in the reign of Elizabeth the frivolous, England might have gained a century, which she lost through the ineptitude of her ignorant sovereigns and their subjects. She did not follow up the advantage gained for her by the Cabotian discovery, and so it remained for Raleigh to bring to light these things which had been hidden during countless centuries.

Not the least interesting of these were the red men of Roanoke, the manner of whose discovery was as follows:

"We remained by the side of this island two whole dayes before we saw any people of this countrey. The third daye we espied one small boate rowing towardes us, having in it three persons. This boate came to the island side, four harquebuze-shot from our shippes, and there two of the people remaining, the third came along the shore towards us, and, we being then all within boord [on board ship] he walked up and down upon the point of land next unto us. Then the master and the pilot of the Admirall [the flag-ship] Simon Ferdinando, and the Captaine Amadas, and myselfe [Captain Barlow] and others, rowed to the land, whose comming this fellow attended, never making any shewe of feare or doubt. And after he had spoken of many things (not understood by us) we brought him with his own good liking aboord the shippes and gave him a shirt, a hat, & some other things, and made him taste our wine and our meat, which he liked very wel. And after having viewed both our barks, he departed, and went to his own boat again, which he had left in a little cove or creek adjoyning. As soone as hee was two bow-shot into the water he fell to fishing, and in lesse than half e an hour hee had laden his boate as deepe as it could swimme, with which hee came again to the point of the lande, and there he divided the fish into two parts, pointing one part to the ship, and the other to the pinnesse, which, after he had, as much as he might, requited our benefits received, departed out of sight.

"The next day there came to us divers boates, and in one of them the King's brother, accompanied with fortie or fiftie men, very handsome and goodly people, and in their behaviour as mannerly and civill as any of Europe. His name was Granganimeo, and the King is called Wingina, the countrey Wingandacoa, and now, by her Majestie, Virginia. The manner of his coming was in this sort: hee left his boates altogether, as the first man did, a little from the shippes by the shore, and came along to the place over against them, followed with fortie men. When he came to the place, his servants spread a long matte upon the ground, on which he sate down, and at the other end of the matte foure others of his company did the like, while the rest of his men stood round about him, somewhat afarre off. When wee came to the shore to him with our weapons, hee never mooved from his place, nor any of the other foure, nor never mistrusted any harme to be offered from us; but sitting still, he beckoned us to come and sit by him, which we performed; and being set, hee made all signes of joy and welcome, striking on his head and on his breast, and afterwardes on ours, to shew wee were al one, smiling and making shewe the best he could al love and f amiliaritie. After hee had made a long speech unto us, we presented him with divers things, which he received very joyfully and thankefully. None of the company durst speak one word al the time; only the foure, which were at the other ende spake one in the others' eare very softly."

Wingina, the king, was confined to his wigwam, six days' journey distant, by wounds he had received in battle; but his brother was deputed by him to traffic with the strangers, and did so with avidity.

"When we showed him all our packet of merchandise," wrote Barlow, "of all things that he saw, a bright tinne dish most pleased him, which hee presently tooke up and clapt it before his breast, and after making a hole in the brimrne thereof, hung it about his neck, making signes that it would defende him against his enemies' arrowes; for these people maintain a deadly warre with the people and king adjoyning. We exchanged our tinne dish for twentie skinnes, woorth twentie crowns and twentie nobles, and a copper kettle for fiftie skinnes woorth fiftie crowns. They offered us good exchange for our hatchets and axes, and for knives and swordes would have given anything, but we would not part with any.

"After two or three dayes the king's brother came aboord our shippes and dranke wine and eat of our meat and of our bread, and liked exceedingly thereof. And after a few more dayes he brought his wife with him to the shippes, also his daughter and two or three of his children. His wife was very well favored, of meane [medium] stature, and very bashfull. She had on her backe a long cloake of leather, with the furre side next to her body, and before her a piece of the same. About her forehead she had a bande of white corall, and so had her husband, many times. In her eares she had bracelets of pearles hangeing down to her middle, whereof wee delivered to your Worshippe [Raleigh] a little bracelet, and those were of the bignes of good pease.

"The rest of her women of the better sort had pendants of copper hanging in their eares, and some of the king's brother's children and other noble men have five or six in either eares. He himselfe had upon his head a broad plate of golde or copper (for being unpolished wee knew not what sort of mettal it should be), neither would he suffer us to take it off his head; but feeling it, wee could bend it very easily. His apparell was as his wives, onely the women weare their haire long on both sides, and the men but on one. They are of a colour yellowish, and their haire black, for the most parte; and yet wee saw children that had very fine auburne and chesnut-coloured haire . . . .The king's brother had a great liking of our armour, a sworde and divers other things which we had, and offered to lay a great box of pearles in gage for them; but wee refused it for this time, or until we had understoode in what places of the countrey the pearls grew; which now your Worshippe doth very well understand."

While exploring the interior of the island the Englishmen were entertained by the Indians ". . .with all love and kindnesse, and with much bountie, after their manner, as they could possibly devise." Ninety-two years previously Christopher Columbus had landed on the shores of Guanahani, in the Bahamas, and there met the exact prototypes of these amiable people, and his description of those, the first Indians ever encountered by white men, is almost exactly duplicated by that of Captain Barlow. Columbus wrote in his journal, which he kept for the inspection of Ferdinand and Isabella: "I swear to your majesties, there are no better people on earth; for they are gentle, without knowing what evil is, neither killing nor stealing." And Captain Barlow says: "We found the people most gentle, loving, and faithfull, voide of all guile and treason, and such as live after the manner of the golden age."

The fate of the Indians of the West Indies discovered by Columbus was swift extermination, initiated by himself; but the English mainly, in their dealings with these aboriginal peoples, were merciful and humane. Raleigh especially as we shall later see, when following him to South America was just and generous toward them, treating the men with consideration and the women with excessive gallantry. And yet, to the cruel caprices of a single individual of a subsequent company sent out by Raleigh was chiefly due the hostile attitude of the Indians that led to the complete frustration of his colonization schemes.

While the researches of Captains Amadas and Barlow were more thorough than those conducted by Gilbert and the Cabots on the coast of Newfoundland, yet their explorations were not extensive.

"After the Indians had been divers times aboord our shippes," says Captain Barlow, "my selfe, with seven more, went twentie mile into the river that runneth toward the citie of Skicoak, which river they call Occam, and the evening following wee came to an island which they [the Indians] call Roanoak. At the north end thereof was a village of nine houses, built of cedar and fortified round about with palisados, to keep out their enemies, and the entrance into it made like a turnpike very artificially. When wee came toward it the wife of Granganimeo came running out to meete us, very cheerfully and friendly, her husband not then being in the village. Some of her people she commanded to drawe our boate on shore, others she appointed to carry us on their backs to the dry ground, and others to bring our oares into the house, for feare of stealing. When wee were come into the house she caused us to sit downe by a great fire, and after tooke our cloathes, washed them, and dryed them againe, while some of her women washed our stockinges and our feete in warm water. And she her self e tooke great paines to see all these things ordered in the best manner shee could, making great haste to dresse some meat for us to eate."

The continued hospitality of the savages, and their unremitting attentions, bred in the Englishmen, they said, a desire to linger on the coast; but as they had come to spy out the land rather than to colonize, the captains resolved to leave the country before the end of summer. They set sail, accordingly, and taking with them two "lustie savages "named Manteo and Wanchese, made the return voyage more expeditiously than the outward one, arriving in England about the middle of September.

The Pioneer in Virginia


"So sweet the air, so moderate the clime,

None sickly lives, or dies before his time.

Heav'n sure has kept this spot of earth uncurst,

To show how all things were created first."

So glowing were the accounts brought home by Amadas and Barlow, and so great was the favor shown them by the Queen, who allowed the new country to be named, in honor of her, "virgin state," that Raleigh had no difficulty in securing colonists for Virginia. A fleet of seven sail was ready early in the spring of 1585, and, "with one hundred householders, and many things necessary to begin a new State, departed from Plymouth in April." England, hitherto so dilatory in colonization, was now aroused, and people flocked to Plymouth desirous of sharing in the rewards of an enterprise which promised so much, and attracted by Raleigh's offer of "five hundred acres to a man, only for the adventure of his person."

Among those who embarked were Thomas Cavendish, who followed after Sir Francis Drake, at a later date, through the Straits of Magellan to the Pacific, "and became the second Englishman to circumnavigate the globe." The most notable person, perhaps, who sailed on this expedition was Thomas Heriot, the celebrated mathematician and philosopher, who wrote that "able captains were not wanting."

The expedition was commanded by Sir Richard Grenville, Raleigh's kinsman, who afterward met a glorious death at sea, fighting to his last breath for his country's honor. The voyage outward was prosperous, and the fleet, having taken the circuitous route by way of the West Indies, cruised the chain from Dominica to Porto Rico, where some Spanish captures were made, and safely arrived at the island of Wokoken, off what is now the coast of North Carolina, in the month of June. Manteo and Wanchese, the two Indians who had been taken to England by Amadas and Barlow, were sent to Roanoke with messages for the chiefs, and returned with the friendly Granganimeo, who was received in state on board the commander's ship, the Tiger. The Indians were found to be still faithful to their former friends, and there seems to have been no manifestation of hostility whatever. Everything was propitious for the founding of a colony, and after several short explorations had been made, in order to determine the best place for a settlement, one hundred and eight men were set ashore for the purpose. They were under the orders of Captain Ralph Lane, who had been designated as governor of the projected colony, with Captain Philip Amadas as lieutenant-governor.

Thomas Cavendish


Sir Richard Grenville remained, with his ships, until the last of August, when he departed for England; but, short as had been his stay, it was sufficient for sowing seeds of hate and distrust in the bosoms of the natives. He made a single short excursion into the country, and having missed a silver cup at one of his encampments, which had probably been taken by an Indian, in revenge he burned a native village. This was the first untoward act on either side, but the evil results were quickly felt. Those "most loving, gentle, and faithful people, void of all guile and treason," as the former visitors found them, were changed into sullen, suspicious, and finally openly hostile savages, who threw every obstacle they could in the way of the colonists. The material for a successful colony was lacking in the first place, and with the open hostility of the Indians it was impossible to plant it on a firm foundation. Though buildings were erected, fields and gardens sown, and an earnest attempt made to provide against the coming winter, all was to no purpose.

An account has been left us by Governor Lane himself of the transactions at Roanoke after the departure of Grenville, which is apathetic narrative of sufferings sturdily endured and obstacles continually removed, only to be repeatedly encountered.

The hope of finding pearls and gold, and making the discovery of that persistently evasive northwest passage (which had beckoned on the Cabots, Humphrey Gilbert, Frobisher, and Davis), became so strong that Lane finally decided to attempt a journey into the country of that king "whose province lay upon the sea." With a small force of men poorly equipped and victualed, he went by boat up the river Chawanook, an estimated distance of one hundred and sixty miles; but the total failure of their provisions and the increasing hostility of the savages compelled them to return.

Their supply of Indian corn was exhausted, and they were reduced to feeding upon the flesh of two English mastiffs, of which they made a pottage with sassafras leaves, by the time Roanoke was reached. Starving as they were, the gallant explorers were compelled to face the open hostility of the chieftain Wingina, and in their weakness pit their forces against his. He had assembled a force of eighteen hundred men, under pretence of honoring the obsequies of his father, the old chief Ensenore, but with the real object, the English feared, of destroying them entirely. The conflict was of short duration, for the Indians could not withstand the onslaughts of men armed as the English were, and abandoned not only the field but the island. Chief Wingina was killed with others, and thus the colonists were rid of neighbors who had become a menace to their existence; but at the same time they lost the support of agriculturists, whose crops of Indian corn would be their only reliance in event of famine.

Grenville, on his departure, had promised to return by Easter with relief ships filled with supplies; but the time arrived without him, and the starving colonists were already in despair when they were surprised by the spectacle of a fleet of stately ships sailing into the harbor. They comprised the squadron of Sir Francis Drake, who was returning to England from the Spanish Main, the West Indies, and Florida, where he had sacked such noble cities as Cartagena, Santo Domingo, and St. Augustine. He was well supplied with provisions and ammunition, which he furnished the colonists most liberally, as well as with a bark and pinnace for their use along shore.

Having supplied their needs, the gallant Sir Francis was about resuming his interrupted voyage, when a storm broke upon the coast and destroyed the vessels he had left behind, thus reducing the colonists again to dependence upon their small boats. They then demanded of Governor Lane that he implore the Admiral to take them back with him to England, and were so persistent and despairing that Drake finally granted the request. He gave them all passage in his fleet, and after the storm was over they sailed away, leaving Roanoke once more without a white inhabitant. As the Indians, too, had departed, it was then quite desolate, and this was the final outcome of Raleigh's first attempt to plant a colony on the coast of America.

Lane and his companions "sailed on June 19, 1586, and arrived in England on July 27th. They were impoverished, they were despondent, and they had terrible tales to tell all would-be colonists in the American wilds. But, though circumstances had over-borne them, proof was soon forthcoming that they had succumbed too soon. Raleigh had not forgotten them, neither had Grenville proved recreant to his trust, for scarcely had they cleared the coast when a relief ship of a hundred tons' capacity sailed into Roanoke harbor, heavily freighted with supplies. It had been despatched ahead of Grenville's fleet, in anticipation of the wants of the colonists, who, if they had remained, would have revelled in abundance. Neither colonist nor native greeted the gallant Admiral, however, and after a prolonged search Grenville sailed away to the Azores, though he left behind on Roanoke fifteen sturdy volunteers, as a nucleus for a future settlement. He was not aware, perhaps, of the encounter between the colonists and the Indians, nor that the latter were hostile rather than friendly; so these hapless fifteen were left there, with ample supplies for two years, to maintain themselves as best they might. The Indians were not long in finding them out, and when, the next year, another expedition landed at Roanoke, no trace of them could be discovered, for all had perished.

Though four expeditions in which Raleigh was interested including the two voyages of Sir Humphrey Gilbert had come to naught, he was not discouraged. The learned Heriot's account of the country and its resources confirmed him in the belief that it was well worth colonizing, that its future was to be great, and, moreover, that it was incumbent upon Englishmen to plant and develop that vast region lying between Newfoundland and the Floridas. The Spaniards, proceeding as it were along isothermal lines, had found their American habitat in the warm regions such as the West Indies and the tropical portions of Mexico, Central, and South America. They had seemingly abandoned the colder countries to the more hardy Britons; yet how tardily had the latter invaded the region left so invitingly open for exploration and settlement!

Whatever was done, however, Sir Walter Raleigh was the life and soul of it. Under the same charter he had obtained of the Queen for exploration and colonizing, he associated with himself the celebrated navigator Captain John Davis, and others, under the name of "The College of the Fellowship for the Discovery of the Northwest Passage." Davis sailed in 1585, the same year that Grenville and Lane went to Roanoke, and followed up this expedition with two other voyages, in the last of which he discovered the strait which bears his name and penetrated as far as the seventy-third degree of north latitude. On the first voyage, in latitude 60 40" north, he had discovered a great promontory, "the cliffs of which were as orient as gold," which in honor of his patron he had named "Mount Raleigh."

Though not an expeditioner himself, Raleigh at that time was the active promoter of every expedition that sailed, whether to the arctic, temperate, or the torrid zone. Besides promoting and contributing liberally to these enterprises, he also maintained cruisers constantly at sea for privateering against the Spaniards. Notwithstanding all his occupations, however, he never lost sight of any one of them, but kept, as it were, one eye upon the seas of the icy north and the other upon the tropic waters of the south. His active mind could grasp a multitude of objects at once, and while amid the perplexing cares of court, where he was also busily engaged in managing the affairs of an imperious mistress, he yet maintained a firm grasp on his vast enterprises beyond the seas.

Raleigh's agents, Lane and Heriot, were both capable men and enterprising, but the former lacked energy and a capacity for great affairs. Heriot wrote a valuable topographical description of the region visited and its natural history, which is preserved in the Hakluyt Collection, and drawings of all interesting objects were made by an artist sent out specially for the purpose, which were printed at Frankfort, by De Bry, in 1590.

Supported by the authentic information furnished by author and artist, Sir Walter projected another expedition, which was finally assembled and sailed in the spring of 1587. It was commanded by Captain John white, associated with whom as governor of the colony were twelve business men as counsellors, who were authorized to build, on the river Chesapeake, a city to be called Raleigh. Sailing over the customary route via the West Indian islands, they arrived at Hatteras on July 22, 1587, after narrowly escaping shipwreck on Cape Fear. As soon as harbor was made, twenty men, under guidance of a friendly Indian, were sent to Roanoke in search of the fifteen colonists left there by Grenville the year before. They found the huts they had built still standing, but overgrown with weeds and bushes, and no trace of human beings. The bones of one who had died were found in a shallow grave, and from some natives who were discovered prowling about it was learned that all had been massacred by the Indians in revenge for the killing of Wingina.

Considering it his duty, in turn, to obtain satisfaction for this outrage, Governor White sent a party of twenty-five men to the mainland, who, coming suddenly upon a band of natives encamped among the reeds by a riverside, opened fire upon them, killing and wounding several. The survivors ran for the shelter of a nearby wood, crying out that they were not enemies but friends, when it was discovered that they had come from Croatan to gather their harvests of corn. Thus the vengeful deed miscarried, and yet was the means of adding to the rancor felt in Indian breasts toward the English intruders.

This tragedy was but the prelude to another and greater, which involved the fate of the entire colony, causing its destruction. The gallant Governor, who, with his three ships and one hundred and fifty colonists, had sailed so joyously through the fragrant archipelago of the Antilles, stopping at every attractive isle, tasting of every tropic fruit, and cooking the native vegetables in the hot waters of volcanic springs, had but led his followers through a flowery paradise into the valley of death.

Shortly after the arrival at Roanoke, in the month of August, was born Virginia Dare, the first child of English birth and parentage in the New World, it is believed. The same week witnessed the baptism of Maneto, the faithful Indian, who was thus the first of his race to be received into the English Church in that new colony. These two events give to the lost colony of Roanoke a most pathetic interest, and the infant Virginia Dare, named after England's "virgin queen," born in the wilderness, reared

amid savages, perchance, but whose fate was never known, has often been the theme of song, of art, and of romance.

The settlers comprising this third expedition sent out by Raleigh sent their Governor back to England for supplies, and he sailed away never to see them more. Sir Walter equipped and despatched five other expeditions between the years 1587 and 1602, but there was a fatal hiatus during the protracted struggle with Spain for supremacy on the seas, which proved destructive to that hapless colony left on Roanoke. Not even the Queen's favorite could gain the royal sanction for ships to sail to its relief while the dreaded Armada was threatening English coasts, and after it was dispersed, destroyed, a long time elapsed before shipping could be obtained for the transport of supplies to Virginia. When, finally, succor arrived, it was too late, for every soul of that second colony had vanished as though the earth had opened and swallowed them up, or, rather, evil genii had borne them off to the wilderness!

After many discouragements White succeeded in getting possession of three ships, with which he sailed for Virginia, arriving there August 15, 1590. He landed first at Hatteras, whence he observed smoke arising from Roanoke, it is said, and hastened thither with joyful anticipations. He fully expected to find the colonists there, though nearly three years had passed since he left them, but, on landing, no human being was seen, nor after a long and persistent search. Fallen trees and grass were burning, indicating recent human presence, but neither white person nor Indian was discovered.

On a door-post of one of the dwellings the word "Croatan" was inscribed, from which it was inferred that the colonists had gone to that island, and sail was made for it at once. But a violent storm arose, with head winds, and the search was cravenly abandoned, the would-be rescuers returning to England without tidings of the unfortunate colonists. A second time was Roanoke rendered desolate, and mystery again involved the fate of human beings who had been left there to make the wilderness fruitful and blossoming, but who found their graves therein.

Raleigh the Colonizer


Sir Walter had not failed in his obligations to the lost colony; for, during the period in which England's naval forces were engaged in driving away the Spaniards and sweeping them from the seas, he was constantly recurring to that object nearest his heart the rescue of those settlers whom he had induced to leave their native land for the wilds of America. But in vain, as we have seen, were all his efforts, until it was too late to save them. They became dispersed, mingled with the savages, and finally were extinguished as a distinctive people. Their memory alone remains; their wanderings, their ultimate fate, and their places of sepulture are unknown.

The site of the original settlement has been marked by an enduring memorial, a monument of Virginia and North Carolina granite, erected in 1896 by the "Roanoke Colony Memorial Association," which was organized for the purpose of rescuing it from oblivion. The outlines of historic Fort Raleigh have been traced and marked by granite posts. Upon the monument is the following inscription, which gives the history of the attempt at colonization in epitome:

"On this site, in July—August, 1585 (O. S.),
colonists sent out from England by Sir Walter Raleigh,
built a fort, called by them the

"These colonists were the first settlers
of the English race in America.
They returned to England in July, 1586,
with Sir Francis Drake.

"Near this place was born,
on the 18th of August, 1587,
the first child of English parents born in America,
daughter of Ananias and Eleanor White, his wife,
members of another band of colonists
sent out by Sir Walter Raleigh in 1587.

"On Sunday, August 20, 1587,
Virginia Dare was baptized.
Manteo, the friendly chief of the Hatteras Indians,
had been baptized on the Sunday preceding.
These baptisms are the first known celebrations
of the Christian sacrament
in the territory of the thirteen original States."

The date, "1896," is cut on one side of the sub-base, and "1587" on the reverse, and in this manner the memory of those colonists has been perpetuated. The old fort is in the heart of what is at present a tract of woodland, and situated directly on Roanoke Sound. Surrounding it, and including the historic site of the settlement, is a larger tract owned by the association, comprising two hundred and forty acres of rolling land.

"The use of tobacco, "writes the president of the association, "was first introduced into Great Britain by Sir Walter, after the return of the first of his colonists from Roanoke Island. To him and to his colonists the Anglo-American users of tobacco are indebted for the privilege of indulging in their favorite 'weed,' and a great part of the world at large for a vegetable product valuable as an article of commerce. In consideration, therefore, of what they owe to Sir Walter, it was asked that all who used and dealt in tobacco contribute a small sum—the value at least of two or three cigars—according to their means, to be devoted to the erection of memorials, at the place in the United States where tobacco was first discovered, to Sir Walter Raleigh, who made known its use, and to his colonists who perished here."

It was certainly fit and proper that those who had derived enjoyment from the use of tobacco should erect a monument to the individual who, though he did not discover it, greatly promoted the habit which has since become universally diffused throughout the world. This leads to the remark that, while tobacco may have been taken home to England by Lane and Heriot when they were rescued by Sir Francis Drake, the plant had then long been known to Europe, having been introduced there as early as the beginning of the sixteenth century. Christopher Columbus found it in use among the natives of the West Indies in 1492, and it was described by a monk, in a letter written to Peter Martyr from the island of Santo Domingo, in the year 1496.

Map of Roanoke and Vicinity


It was at first only an object of curiosity to the Spaniards, who were slow in becoming acquainted with the beneficent qualities ascribed to it by the natives. The Indians of Haiti and Santo Domingo smoked the dried leaf in rolls, and also in a small pipe made of cane or reed, with a branched stem shaped like the letter Y, the ends of which they inserted in their nostrils. In their language the pipe was known as tabac, from which word has been evolved "tobacco," the name now applied to the plant itself. Some there are who have traced this word to "Tobago," the present as well as aboriginal name of an island off the northeast coast of South America, not far from Trinidad. Raleigh is said to have obtained tobacco from that island in 1593 or 1595, which is much more likely than that he received it from Virginia in 1586; and, again, the plants said to have been taken to England by Lane may have been obtained by Drake himself in the West Indies, from which islands he was returning when he put in at Roanoke.

Tobacco, most assuredly, was found in Mexico by the Spaniards when that country was conquered, for it was used at Montezuma's court, and, moreover, it may have been known to Cortes when he lived in Santo Domingo, from which island it was introduced to Spain about 1525, where it was at first grown as an ornamental plant. Found in Portugal, where it was well known for its medicinal properties, by Jean Nicot, French ambassador at Lisbon, some seeds were sent by him to Catherine de Medici, and in his honor the plant was given the generic name of Nicotiana. But neither Nicot nor Raleigh discovered it, nor did the latter first introduce it into England, for Sir John Hawkins won the doubtful honor of having done this in 1565.

Raleigh encouraged its use, as he encouraged the consumption of the potato, which, also, he has the credit of having introduced into England, though this honor belongs either to Hawkins or Drake, whose long cruises along the coasts of South America brought to notice many things previously unknown to Englishmen. But Raleigh was more inclined to experimentation than either Drake or Hawkins, and while one or both of them may have taken the "weed." or the tuber from South America to England, neither undertook its cultivation. This Raleigh did, establishing a plantation of exotics at Youghal, on his Irish estate, in a garden which is still pointed out as that in which he successfully raised both tobacco and potatoes.

This may seem a trivial subject, per se; but it is not so, taken in connection with the extension of human knowledge which the introduction of a new plant implies, and the benefits wrought thereby. Sir Walter Raleigh possessed the inquiring mind which provoked him to smoke tobacco out of curiosity, and the philanthropic instinct which moved him to plant potatoes and tobacco from a desire to benefit his fellow-men. The man who plants gardens and conducts experiments, with a view to extending the bounds of knowledge and increasing the products of the soil, cannot be classed with the frivolous or vain; yet it is this aspect of his nature, in connection with the introduction of tobacco, that is most often dwelt upon.

We read that Raleigh became so addicted to the tobacco habit that he considered, it impossible to do without it; that he spent large sums in pipes and accessories; that he smoked in the presence of the Queen, who, indeed, was said to enjoy a whiff of fragrant tobacco herself. One of the vapid stories prevalent at the time relates that Elizabeth laid a wager with her favorite that he could not tell her the weight of the smoke escaping from his silver pipe. Affirming that he could, the wily Raleigh weighed first the tobacco, and then the ashes remaining in the pipe, declaring that the difference, of course, was actually the weight of the smoke! The Queen acknowledged herself convinced; but she slyly said, as she ordered the wager to be paid: "I have heard, Walter, of those who turned their gold into smoke, but never before have seen the man who could turn smoke into gold!"

There is also another story to the effect that one day, as Sir Walter was smoking in his study, and engaged in reading at the same time, a servant who was unaware of his master's habit entered the room with a tankard of ale in his hand. Seeing smoke issuing from the great man's mouth, and thinking him on fire, he threw the ale in his face and then ran to alarm the family, crying out that his master was burning up.

So long as tobacco proved a remunerative source of revenue to the crown, Elizabeth countenanced its importation and use on an extensive scale; but her crusty and eccentric successor, King James, was violently opposed to it on any terms. In his celebrated work, the Counterblast to Tobacco, he declares it "loathesome to the eye, hateful to the sight, harmeful to the orgaine, dangerous to the lungs; and in the blacke, stinking fumes thereof, nearest resembling the horrible Stygian smoake of the pit that is bottomless."

It is certain that Sir Walter Raleigh gained nothing in the estimation of the King by his use of tobacco, and because he was addicted to it the cantankerous James denounced it the more; but he only succeeded in curing him of the habit by cutting off his head! For he used it to the very last, and is said to have solaced himself with a smoke just previous to ascending the scaffold. Raleigh, then, was a user of tobacco for more than thirty years, during which time he saw its slaves increase in number from the few who were his first associates, in 1586, to many, many thousands in 1618.

It may be inferred, from what we have seen of Raleigh's "side enterprises," such as the experiments with potatoes and tobacco, the introduction of tropical trees and vegetables, and the assiduous care bestowed upon them, that he expended much more than was shown by his direct contributions to the cause of exploration and colonization. Directly, indeed, he expended more than forty thousand pounds upon the Virginia enterprises alone. Then, after having exhausted his own resources, without having received one penny in gains, he made an assignment of his patent to one Thomas Smith and other merchants, among whom was Governor White, in March, 1589. In addition to making them a free gift of his patent, he donated the sum of one hundred pounds "for the propagation of the Christian religion in Virginia "; but even then his interest in the colonization of that country did not cease.

One of his biographers says: "His Virginian enterprise had failed; but his perseverance in it had sown broadcast the seeds of eventual success. He had set an example, which lived, with a more than common vitality, in the minds of men. Persevering as he had been, his 'Plantation in America,' like many other of his great undertakings, had been, in some degree, injured and impeded by his self-seeking pursuits at court. The same 'calamity' that cut short the temptations which were preying upon the noblest part of his nature opened the way, as it proved, to the new plantations, which were destined to prosper. Nevertheless, Raleigh is the virtual founder of Virginia, and of what has grown thereout.

"He was a pioneer in a multitude of paths, which have converged at length in the greatness of Britain. He had, in conspicuous measure, the failings which commonly accompany his eminent qualities, and, as is the wont of pioneers, he fell on the field. In the history of Britain at large there are not many greater names than his, whatever be its real blots. In the history of British America there is none."

Contemporaneously with his colonizing schemes in America, Sir Walter Raleigh became a colonizer, on an extensive scale, in Ireland. That country at that time was, as an old writer has described it, a land of desolation and sorrow. "The curse of God was so great," he says, "and the land so barren, both of man and beast, that whosoever did travel from one end to the other of all Munster, even from Waterford to Smerwick, about six-score miles, he should not meet man, woman, or child, save in cities and towns, nor yet see any creature save foxes, wolves, or other ravening beasts."

In the year 1586, by royal gift, Raleigh became possessed of more than twelve thousand acres in this afflicted country. This vast estate was a portion of the yet vaster holdings of the Earl of Desmond and his adherents, and lay chiefly in the counties of Cork, Waterford, and Tipperary. It was rich in natural resources, but almost entirely desolate, so the enterprising Raleigh undertook to supply this deficiency by introducing English tenants from his native Devonshire and other counties. There were other grantees, or "gentleman undertakers," as they were termed; but it was soon noted that the estates belonging to Sir Walter were better tilled than theirs, and all on account of his activity and skill, not only in selecting the best tenants, but in exploiting the latent resources of his domains.

He was not then dependent upon unreliable officials, laboring under the disadvantages attendant upon colonizing in a new and savage country, but exercised a direct oversight himself. Within three years he had completed a rough survey of his properties, and in 1588, having been appointed Mayor of Youghal, he began the historic plantation to which reference has been made. In the manor-house at Youghal he planned the many improvements which he undertook to carry out, but what he called his "Irish seat "was the castle of Lismore, which he obtained at a nominal rental from the dean and chapter of Cashel. His stay here was brief, however, as he was recalled to England, soon after establishing himself in the castle, to assist in repelling the Spaniards.

Before he left Ireland he had established an industry which, though it proved a source of great trouble to him, was vastly beneficial to the country at large. This was the making of hogshead and pipe staves from the timber on his estates. The crude material was at hand in unlimited supply, for his properties were thickly wooded, so he set at work one hundred and fifty laborers, at full pay, and at his own charge, for the transforming of the tall trees of Ireland into staves for French and Spanish wine-casks. He then found, after a great quantity of staves had been accumulated, that their export was forbidden by statute, and was compelled to appeal to the Queen for a repeal of this "restraint."

Scant relief was afforded, evidently, for five years later is the following entry in the council-book:

"A petition hath been made unto us by Sir Walter Ralegh and his partners, undertakers in Munster, desiring that in respect of the quantity of timber by them already felled and prepared, and like to rot on the ground and be spoyled, and that by not venting of that commodity, many good and able workmen, to the number of between one and two hundred, ready to serve with weapons upon all occasions of service, must, of necessity, be discharged and drawn thence into England, to the general weakening of that province. It might be lawful for them to bring into England all such pipe-staves, hogsheads, barrel-boards, and timber as they may spare and shall think convenient to transport hither; offering to give security in the ports whereto the same shall be laden, to convey them into some certain place, here within this realm, and from thence to return certificate of their unlading, and not to convey the same into any other place foreign, but into England only. For these considerations, we have been moved to assent to their petition, with conditions, following."

This permission for export, so grudgingly granted, was hampered by so many and hard conditions that the business could not be prosecuted profitably, and, in addition to this, Raleigh suffered from the dishonesty of his partners and superintendents. His troubles in Ireland were many and various, resulting from conflict with the Irish themselves, or opposition to his plans by the Queen's deputies. How he was hampered in his projects for the exploitation of the country's resources appears in a letter written after he had lost the royal favor, in July, 1592. In this letter he complains to Sir Robert Cecil of the manner in which he was dealt with by the deputy of Ireland, Sir William Fitzgerald, "who," he says, "invented a debt of four hundred pounds to the Queen for rent, and sent an order to the sheriff to take away all the cattle my tenants had and sell them, unless the money were paid the same day. All Munster hath scarce so much money in it; and the debt was indeed fifty marks, which was paid; and it was the first and only rent that hath yet been paid by any undertaker."

It seems incredible that such proceedings should be allowed against one who had done his best to bring Ireland out of the rut into which she had sunk, and against immigrants brought out from England itself; "but," he adds, "the sheriff did as he was commanded, and took away five hundred milch kine from those poor people. Some had but two, and some three, to relieve their wives and children; and in a strange country newly set down to build and plant." That the royal policy was insensate and cruel is manifest on the face of it, but that it should bear as hard upon a loyal servant of the Queen as upon a rebellious vassal seems strange. Raleigh repeatedly warned the government that this policy would result in fresh insurrections, but as the warning came from one who was then a prisoner in the Tower, it was not heeded. Oppressed both by the home government and Irish guerillas, the English settlers in Ireland had a grievous experience. The government took their properties and the rebels took their lives. Raleigh would have stood between the two classes, oppressors and oppressed, but he suffered the fate of such an intermediary and went down with the weaker party.

It has been charged that Raleigh was consistently cruel to the Irish, showing them no favors and maltreating them without mercy; but the evidence goes to show that he held no malice against any man because of his nationality. A rebel, however, he could not tolerate, but his extreme views as to the punishment of rebels were shared by all the supporters of the government at the time. A price was set upon the head of every rebel in arms, and assassinations were encouraged rather than deprecated. Raleigh's views on the subject are set forth in a letter he wrote some time in 1598:

"SIR, It can be no disgrace if it were known that the killing of a rebel were practised; for you see that the lives of anointed princes are daily sought, and we have always, in Ireland, given head money for the killing of rebels, who are evermore proclaimed at a price! So was the Earl of Desmond, and so have all rebels, been practised against . . .


That the evil practice was countenanced, at least indirectly, by the Queen seems to receive confirmation in the exploit of one Captain Leigh, who, having killed a noted rebel named Feogh Mad Hugh, cut off his head and sent it as a present to Elizabeth. Whether this ghastly gift reached the Queen or not, its arrival at court must have been made known to her, for we find the council writing to the lord deputy in Ireland:" It would have pleased her Majesty much better that the same should have been kept there [in Ireland], and bestowed away with other like fragments of the heads and carcases of such rebels, than to have been sent over into this realm . . . . Nevertheless, because the meaning was good, the error was the less. The best and most easy amendment thereof is to send the head back again by the same messenger."

No reproof received Captain Leigh, either from the Queen or her council. He was cautioned to cut off no more heads of rebels, but if, perchance, he should cut them off, to refrain from sending the gory trophies to the court.

It was a most shocking, disgraceful business, that service of Raleigh in Ireland, in the first place, and his acquisition of the confiscated estates in the second place. No good ever came of it, and, despite the great schemes of improvement in which he indulged, the philanthropic visions that may have flitted through his brain (though as to this there is no evidence in proof), he was finally moved to sell all his Irish holdings except, as he wrote to a friend at the time, "an old castle and demesne, which are yet in the occupation of the old Duchess of Desmond, for her jointure."

We have traced Sir Walter's career as a colonizer, both in America and in Ireland, and have noted that he was not successful, either in the great country beyond the ocean or the green isle near to England's shores. He did not succeed as a colonizer, though his captains contributed something to the world's acquisitions as explorers; but it was not from lack of endeavor that he failed so much as from the worthlessness of his employs and the inertia of the English government.

A speaking commentary on conditions prevailing at that time may be found in a letter written by a shrewd observer of events a few years after Raleigh's failure to colonize in Virginia. "That action," he says, "it is to be feared, will fall to the ground of itself by the extreme beastly idleness of our nation, which, notwithstanding any cost or diligence used to support them, will rather starve or die than be brought to labor."

Repelling the Armada


Sir Walter Raleigh's share in the great victory of the English fleet over the "invincible Armada," sent by Spain to ravage England and shatter the fabric of Protestantism, was not so large as that of Howard and Drake; but he rendered important service, nevertheless. He was one of the council of war called together by the Queen to draw up a scheme of defence against the oncoming enemy, and which consisted, besides himself, of Lord Grey, Sir John Norris, Sir Richard Grenville, Sir Thomas Leighton, Sir Richard Bingham, Sir Roger Williams, and the former Governor of Virginia, Ralph Lane. He was hastily summoned from Ireland for the purpose of attending the deliberations of this council; and perhaps there was no man more active than he in putting its recommendations into effect.

Plymouth was to be strengthened immediately by defensive works; Portland was to be fortified, also all possible landing-places which might be availed of by the enemy. It was then perceived that, notwithstanding the repeated warnings the English had received, their coast was insecure, their fortifications weak, and their navy lacking in ships and equipment. Having had the Spaniards ever in his mind, as both present and prospective enemies of England, and having had many a brush with them in his privateers, Sir Walter possessed a very good knowledge of their strength and of their weaknesses. The first line of defence, he advised, should be composed of their war-ships, after the defeat of which

provided such a contingency were possible—they could fall back upon the forts and the soldiers. While holding to this belief, he yet lost no time in recruiting for an army of defence, and, with his headquarters at Portland Castle, pushed forward his preparations on a mighty scale. He was indefatigable in raising troops of horse and companies of foot in Cornwall and Devon, besides strengthening the coast defences wherever practicable.

He indirectly contributed to swelling the list of ships in the little navy by selling to the government the vessel he had built to take part in Sir Humphrey Gilbert's expedition of 1583. Ten years before, the Ark Ralegh  had returned to England, after setting out with Gilbert's fleet, under such circumstances as to greatly discredit her commander, who was roundly denounced by the gallant Admiral. She had a destiny, however, and that was to serve as flag-ship of the fleet so hastily assembled for the repulse of the Armada. Over the Ark Ralegh  Lord Howard, of Effingham, hoisted his flag, as the lord high admiral of the fleet, and when it was suggested that the price paid Raleigh for the flag-ship was excessive, he wrote to the Queen's prime-minister: "Tell her Majesty from me, I pray you, that the money was well given for her. I think her the very ship in the world for all conditions; and truly I think there can no great ship make me change and go out of her. We can see no sail, great or small, but, how far soever they be off, we can fetch and speak with them."

Ark Raleigh


This was high praise for the ship that Raleigh had constructed, and certainly he deserved well of the government which benefited by his skill and foresight. But the truth is that he was basely requited, indeed, for, though it was agreed that five thousand pounds should be paid for her, Sir Walter received not a penny, as the sum was deducted from a debt which it was claimed he owed the crown on account of another expedition.

Not alone the Ark Ralegh, but another of his ships, the Roebuck, served with great effect and took an active part in the battle; and it was one of his own scouts that first brought the news of the Armada's approach. We do not know that he was, with Drake and his comrades, engaged in that famous game of bowls on Plymouth Hoe when tidings came of the Armada's near approach, and the great "Dragon of the Seas "(as the Spaniards called him) declared he would not leave until the game was finished. The chances are that he was not at Plymouth when the Spaniards were reported advancing, but at his post in Portland Castle, watching developments that might indicate whether he should remain ashore or put to sea. It was not to the discredit of Raleigh that he did not join the fleet at the outset, for his duties detained him on shore, where he performed yeoman's service in every sense. Soldier that he was, he felt at home with his volunteers, and enjoyed hammering the raw recruits into shape; but he was more sailor than soldier, after all, and he yearned mightily to be out in the Channel and close up with the enemy.

At last he and his friends with him at Portland Castle could no longer endure inaction, could no longer stand still and wait while their comrades were engaged hand-to-hand with the Spaniards. When tidings came that the mighty squadron was well into the Channel, and its purpose, or lack of it, was manifest that is, when it became clear that the coast he was to defend seemed safe from invasion Raleigh made swift preparations for embarking on board a volunteer squadron that was held in readiness. He and his company went aboard their ships, and were among the first of the contingents, says Hakluyt, the historian, which swelled the English fleet to about one hundred sail.

If we should refer to the sailing of this "invincible Armada" to its outfitting in the ports of Spain and Portugal, and the mighty multitude of workmen for months engaged in the preparation of the "greatest fleet that ever sailed"—we might only reiterate what has been repeated a thousand times before. But in order to follow the trend of events that came so swiftly crowding one upon another in those anxious weeks of July and August, 1588, we should at least briefly recapitulate the salient features of the Spanish King's Armada. It was composed of about one hundred and thirty vessels, large and small, sixty-five of seven hundred tons and over, manned by seven thousand sailors, and carrying nineteen thousand troops, with which to invade the country after a landing had been effected. They carried two thousand cannon, and six months' provisions for forty thousand men.

There might have been more ships, with a larger complement of sailors and soldiers, had not Drake, in April of the year before, attacked those that were then assembled in the harbor of Cadiz, and sunk at least a hundred men-of-war and transports filled with supplies. During thirty-six hours, in the port of Cadiz, this most gallant and audacious of the "Sea-Kings of Devon" burned and ravaged and plundered, after which he carried destruction to the fishing fleets along the Spanish coasts upon which the enemy depended for much of their provisions. Having so daringly "singed the King of Spain's whiskers," as he gayly termed this wonderful sea-foray, Drake returned triumphantly to England, carrying with him the stirring tidings, and heartening his countrymen for the inevitable conflict before them.

There was then a great bestirring of forces in England that had hitherto lain dormant and unsuspected—activity in shipyards, which became bustling centres of labor, scarcely second to those of Portugal and Spain; a furbishing up of arms and accoutrements; a culling of vessels from the merchant marine; an assembling of war-ships, impressing of sailors, and drilling of soldiers. As one man, the country united to repel the enemy from its shores when they should be imminently threatened. Drake's attack had caused the sailing of the Armada to be postponed at least a year, during which the nation in whose name he committed his ravages, and whose honor he defended, accumulated supplies, raised an army, and made ample preparations for defence.

It was on July 23rd that Raleigh joined the fleet opposed to the Armada. A squadron of eighty sail only had at first been available, and of these but thirty were ships of the line. But they were manned by more and hardier sailors than the Spaniards had, were swifter, and more responsive to the helms than their bulky opponents, which were veritable sea-castles, impressive to behold, but slow, clumsy, and unmanageable.

Misfortune had attended the Armada almost from its inception. The experienced Admiral who was to command it had died at the time appointed for sailing, and his successor lacked skill as a seaman and force and promptitude as a commander. Drake's attack had destroyed many of the store-ships, upon which reliance had been placed for supplies; a gale in the Bay of Biscay drove the great sea-castles to shelter from the storm, and compelled a radical refitting of the fleet; but at last, still held to be "invincible," the Armada bore down upon the little squadron opposing its advance.

Then ensued the prolonged engagement which, aided by the wind and sea, and supplemented by the cowardice and inefficiency of the Spaniards themselves, ended in the destruction of the Armada. The light and easily handled ships of the Britons had the bulky galleons at their mercy almost from the first attack, for they advanced close up to their towering antagonists, delivered their broadsides, and then got safely away before the Spanish guns could be brought to bear upon them. Spanish markmanship, also, was as inferior to the English as it is to-day, and while many of the helpless galleons were shattered or sunk, their foes escaped almost unscathed. In the week's fight that followed the first encounter the Spaniards became thoroughly demoralized, and after several of their ships had been sunk, boarded, or driven ashore they sought shelter in the port of Calais, whence Lord Howard's fire-ships drove them out in a panic, to eventual destruction by the combined forces of cannon, wind, and wave.

One of the participants in this fight and flight alludes to the tantalizing attacks by the English in their nimble vessels, and the futile repulses of the clumsy galleons combined, as a "mortis dance upon the waves "; but it was a dance of death to most of those within the Spanish ships, for scarce one-third the entire number of vessels composing the fleet ever returned to Spain. Sir Walter, who, after the second day's fight, was among the foremost in pursuit and the last to quit, afterward described the "invincible Armada," and the conclusion of its disastrous career:

"This navy, consisting of a hundred and forty sail, was, by thirty of the Queen's ships of war and a few merchantmen, beaten and shuffled together, even from the Lizard Point, in Cornwall, to Portland, where they shamefully left Don Pedro de Valdez, with his mighty ship; from Portland to Calais, where they lost Hugo de Moncada, with the galleys of which he was captain; and from Calais, driven with squibs from their anchors, were chased out of the sight of England, round about Scotland and Ireland, where great part of them were crushed against the rocks. Those others who landed, being very many in number, were broken, slain, and taken, and so sent from village to village, coupled in halters, to be shipped into England, whence her Majesty, of her princely and invincible disposition, disdaining to put them to death, and scorning either to retain or entertain them, they were all sent back again to their own country, to witness and recount the worthy achievements of their 'Invincible Navy.'

"On the night of Sunday, the 28th of July, 1588, the great Armada was huddled, all demoralized and perplexed, in Calais roads. Only a week before, the proudest fleet that ever rode the seas laughed in derision at the puny vessels that alone stood between it and victory over the heretic Queen and her pirate countrymen, who for years had plundered and insulted with impunity the most powerful sovereign in Europe. Gilded prows and fluttering pennons, great towering hulls which seemed to defy destruction, the fervid approbation of all Latin Christendom, and the assurance of Divine protection, combined to produce in the men of the Armada absolute confidence in an easy conquest. But six days of desultory fighting in the Channel had opened their eyes to facts hitherto undreamed of. Handy ships, that could sail several points closer the wind than their unwieldy galleons, could harass and distress them without coming to close quarters. At first they shouted that the English were afraid of them, but as the sense of their own impotence gradually grew upon them their spirits sank. Brave they were; 'but,' said they, 'of what use is bravery against foes who will not fight with us hand to hand in the only way we wot of?'

". . . But the Armada had represented the labor, the thought, and the sacrifice of years. Every nerve had been strained to render it irresistible. Spain and the Indies had been squeezed to the last doubloon; careful Sixtus V. had been cajoled into partnership in the enterprise, and the Church throughout Christendom had emptied its coffers to crush heresy for once and forever. All along the coast of Ireland, from the Giant's Causeway to Dingle Bay, the wreckage of the splendid galleons was awash, and many of the best and bravest of Spain's hidalgos, dead and mutilated, scattered the frowning shore; or, alive, starved, naked, and plundered, were slowly done to death, with every circumstance of inhumanity, by the Irish kerns or their English conquerors."

(From The Year After the Armada, by M. A. S. Hume. London, 1896.)

There was talk in Spain, of course, of retaliation, of still another armada mightier than that which had left its bones on England's shores, but it finally came to naught. Indeed, had the Queen but allowed the foreseeing Drake to have his untrammelled way, and had left him unhampered by her orders not to harm the property or subjects of his Catholic majesty, there might have been no Armada at all, for he had contemplated destroying the ships in Lisbon harbor as well as those in Cadiz. Had her penurious policy prevailed, in fact, and had not the ships she ordered to harbor been taken out by Lord Howard, in the face of her inhibition, there might have been a different story to tell.

The Fortunes of a Courtier


Although Sir Walter comported himself so gallantly in the continuous action with the Armada as to win the smiles and thanks of his royal mistress, not many months elapsed, if we may believe the gossips of the court, before he was "chased away" by his younger rival for the Queen's affections the handsome Earl of Essex. This is a matter of no moment, for neither Raleigh nor Essex held Elizabeth in regard, and only her vanity prevented the Queen from perceiving the real state of their feelings toward her. She was aged, ugly, capricious, and yet jealous of the attentions her two favorites bestowed upon other women. Had she not been a sovereign and capable of granting royal favors, these gallants would never have hung so constantly about her, like moths about a flame. And this simile is not inapt, since, like the proverbial "moth," they received a scorching for too persistently hovering around the throne. Their wings were singed, and one of them lost his life as an indirect consequence of his folly.

It is only when our hero comes within the pernicious influence of the court, with its intrigues, its hollowness, and mockery of all reason, that he displays the shallow waters of his nature. Abroad, away from empty-pated courtiers and painted beauties, he shows himself at his full stature. There was no dispute between him and his companion heroes of the Armada fight as to which should assume direction and take the lion's share of honors, as there was between him and Essex when the matter of their Queen's favor was involved. Many years after, when composing the chapters of his renowned History of the World, we find Raleigh going out of his way to compliment his old commander, the Lord High Admiral, for refusing to grapple with the Spanish ships and board them. "To clap ships together without consideration," he wrote, "belongs rather o a madman than to a man of war, By such ignorant bravery was Peter Strozzi lost at the Azores, when he fought against the Marquess of Santa Cruz. In like sort had Lord Charles Howard, Admiral of England, been lost in the year 1588, if he had not been better advised than a great many malignant fools were that found fault with his demeanor. The Spaniards had an army aboard them, and he had none. They had more ships than he had, and of higher build and charging; so that, had he entangled himself with those great and powerful vessels, he had greatly endangered this kingdom of England. For twenty men upon the defence are equal to a hundred that board and enter; whereas, then contrariwise, the Spaniards had an hundred for twenty of ours, to defend themselves withal. But our Admiral knew his advantage and held it; which had he not done, he had not been worthy to have held his head."

While playing the fool at court, Sir Walter was acting the man abroad, for his privateers, under the general supervision of their owner, were sweeping the seas of Spanish galleons wherever they could be found. Availing himself of the comparative liberty which he possessed for a brief period after the Armada encounter, he joined an expedition fitted out for the attempted restoration of the exiled Dom Antonio to the throne of Portugal. The fleet was commanded by Sir Francis Drake, but the forces which were carried along for a land invasion by Sir John Norris, and between the rivalship of the two the entire expedition failed of its mission. Dom Antonio was landed on his native soil of Portugal, and Sir John Norris marched upon Lisbon, which came within an ace of falling into his hands; but the Prince did not reach his throne through the intervention of his English allies.

Raleigh sailed in a ship of his own and took several Spanish prizes; but there was "a fly in his ointment" on this occasion, owing to the presence in the fleet of his rival, Essex, who had surreptitiously joined it while at sea. He had, in very truth, run away from their mistress, the Queen, who, when she learned of his absence, was frantic. A swift vessel was despatched after the fleet, with orders to bring back her wandering lover and latest favorite; but Sir Roger Williams, in whose ship, the Swiftsure, Essex was concealed, stood more loyally by him than he did by his irate sovereign, and the messenger went back without him.

If all the English engaged in the march upon Lisbon had been as gallant and as dauntless as the Earl of Essex, perhaps the city might have been taken away from the Spaniards and Dom Antonio, seated upon the Portuguese throne, for he was at the van of the army all the time. He led his soldiers right up to the gates of the city, and attempted to storm it almost alone. When at last a retreat was ordered, Essex fumed and raged. Failing to provoke the Spaniards within the walls to send out a champion to fight him in single combat, he sent a challenge to them all combined. Once again on board the Swiftsure, he found cause for complaint against Raleigh, one of whose prizes was claimed by Sir Roger Williams. It was either upon their return from this unfortunate voyage, or, as some say, immediately after the Armada defeat, that the fiery young Essex challenged his rival to fight a duel, which was prevented by the Queen's Council, who wished to avoid involving their sovereign in a scandal, and thought best to "bury it in silence."

This may have been the occasion upon which Essex boasted that he had succeeded in "chasing Raleigh from court," to which allusion has been made. Sir Walter himself asserted, in a letter respecting the affair, written to his cousin, Sir George Carew: "For my retreat from Court: it was upon good cause, to take order for my prize." This prize was probably the captured vessel in which Sir Roger Williams claimed salvage, and on account of which Essex was involved, by supporting his friend against his rival. The situation was certainly complicated, for we find two aspirants for the Queen's favor sailing abroad in the same fleet—one in a huff because of his banishment, and the other fleeing to escape from her blandishments!

The next view we have of Raleigh reveals him in more congenial company than he found at court or in the fleet that sailed for Portugal; for, shortly after his return to England, he paid a visit to his friend and brother poet, Edmund Spenser, who, like himself, had received a generous gift out of the Irish spoliations. From the Earl of Desmond's forfeited estate he had been given a grant of three thousand acres, and at the time of Raleigh's visit was living in picturesque Kilcolman Castle, in the midst of beautiful scenery, but in comparative solitude.

Neither Raleigh nor Spenser, from the very nature of their Irish acquisitions, were welcome visitants in Ireland, and their ostracism by the natives was almost complete. But both were poets, both craved, at times, just such solitude as lovely Kilcolman afforded, and that they enjoyed it to their hearts' content Spenser failed not to testify in his pastoral, "Colin Clout's Come Home Again." Therein Raleigh is the Shepherd of the Ocean, who entertained his friend with the story of his adventures. Filled as he was, however, with a sense of the Queen's injustice in banishing him from court, his tale, as Spenser renders it,

". . . . was all a lamentable lay,

Of great unkindness and of usage hard,

Of Cynthia, the Lady of the Sea,

Which from her presence faultless him debarred.

And ever and anon, with singults rife,

He cried out to make his undersong:

'Ah, my love's queen, and goddess of my life!

Who shall me pity, when thou dost me wrong?"

Who, indeed, could make reparation but the Queen? And who so likely to reward an impecunious poet as Elizabeth provided the offering he made should prove acceptable? So the two men of verse put their heads together, and the following wondrous lines were evolved:

"When thus our pipes we both had wearied well,

Quoth he, and each an end of singing made,

He 'gan to cast great liking to my lore,

And great disliking to my luckless lot

That banished had myself, like wight forbore,

Into that waste, where I was quite forgot.

The which to leave thenceforth he counselled me,

Unmeet for man in whom was aught regardful,

And wend with him his Cynthia to see,

Whose grace was great, and bounty most rewardful.

Besides her peerless skill in making well,

And all the ornaments of wondrous wit,

Such as all womankind did far excel,

Such as the world admired and praised it!"

Though Spenser did not accompany Raleigh out of Ireland, "his Cynthia [Elizabeth] to see," he went with him to the manor of Youghal, where he was most hospitably entertained. Either there, or at Kilcolman Castle, the two friends discussed the first cantos of The Faery Queen, of which Spenser had already informed Raleigh, in a letter outlining its scope, and sent him at the beginning of this year, 1589. Acting upon Sir Walter's advice, he submitted an installment for publication, the first three books appearing in January, 1590, with a poetical address to the friend who had been instrumental in bringing them out. His direct appeal to "Cynthia," with its fulsome flattery, that might have proved nauseating to any one less vain than Elizabeth, secured him a pension of fifty pounds a year. It was not always regularly paid, for the lord treasurer had views of his own anent the bestowal of this pension, and whenever he grudgingly granted the money was wont to grumble: "And all this for a song!"

The "song" has outlived the lord treasurer, and the times in which it was written, whatever his opinion as to the reward paid for it, as a testimonial to the Queen's most eminent virtues. Neither Raleigh nor Spenser derived from their Irish estates that satisfaction, in abundant leisure, to which they had looked forward on their acquisition. Though the latter rejoiced in the ownership of a castle and broad acres, he was never possessed of wealth, and finally, in 1598, by a recrudescence of the rebellion, was driven from Ireland under circumstances of such barbarity his castle having been set on fire, and one of his children perishing in the flames—that his heart was broken, it is said, and his death followed not long after.

Sir Walter's championship of Spenser, whose genius he may be said to have brought from obscurity, if he did not discover, was an aid to him at court, and by the beginning of 1590 he was again established as prime favorite. The recovery of his ascendency over the Queen may be attributed, rather, to the disgrace of Essex, who had offended his mistress by marrying without as much as saying "By your leave." As one favorite went down, the other went up, and vice versa, but, had there been a third favorite, it is likely that Raleigh would have received the "cold shoulder." As there was not, and as Queen Elizabeth felt the necessity of somebody to administer large doses of flattery continually, Raleigh, whose fount of adulation was perennial and inexhaustible, was re-established as an adjunct to the throne.

He signalized his return to favor by interceding with the Queen for the Puritan, John Udall, who had been imprisoned and was awaiting sentence of death, or at least of banishment, for advocating reforms in the established church. The Queen's Council was determined to silence him, but whether it were best to do so by hanging or by banishment the councillors were not agreed. Sir Walter nobly stepped forward in Udall's defence; but before a decision had been rendered, the poor man died in prison. He was a scholar of attainments, uncommon for his time, and had to his credit the compiling of a Hebrew grammar which was said to have been the first that had appeared in English; yet he died the death of a felon merely because he differed from the Queen in matters of ritual, or the least important part of religious worship. This event made a deep impression on Raleigh, whose views on religion were creditable to his head as well as his heart. He was charged with caring little for religion, and in fact accused of atheism, but, as his last days show, most unjustly.

He was the uncompromising foe, not only of the Spaniards, but of their religion, and once wrote of the Spanish priests: "For matter of religion it would require a particular volume to set down how irreligiously they cover their greedy and ambitious practises with the veil of piety; for, sure am I, there is no kingdom or commonwealth in all Europe, but if reformed, they invade it for 'religion's sake.' If it be, as they term 'catholic,' they pretend title: as if the kings of Castile were the natural heirs of all the world; and so, between both, no kingdom is unsought."

This arraignment of the Spaniards and their religion was issued at the time Sir Walter first appeared to the public as a writer of vigorous prose. It was the occasion of his report on the Truth of the Fight about the Isles of the Azores, published in the latter part of 1591, which was an account of the heroic action and death of his kinsman, Sir Richard Grenville. Sir Richard, it will be recalled, had commanded Raleigh's Roanoke fleet in 1585, and was not considered altogether blameless for the subsequent misfortunes of the colony. Still, he was knighted in 1587, and when, in the summer of 1591, rumors were rife that another armada was being assembled by Spain to act against England, he was sent out to intercept what war-ships he could on the high seas.

He commanded a ship in Admiral Howard's squadron called the Revenge, and, in company with his commander, was overtaken in the Azores by a fleet of fifty Spanish war-ships. There were but six fighting vessels in the English fleet, so the Admiral signalled a retreat and set the example by flight. But many of Grenville's crew were ashore, and before he could get the wind in his sails he was surrounded by a cordon of Spanish galleons, from which there was no escape. Among them was the great San Felipe, a ship of fifteen hundred tons, from the over-topping decks of which a plunging fire was directed upon the doomed Revenge, while from ten to fifteen other ships of large size joined in the battle, which was waged from mid-afternoon till the next morning. Two thousand men were killed on both sides, and several ships were sunk, but still the Revenge  held out until a helpless wreck.

Says Raleigh himself in his account of the fight: "Nothing was to be seen but the naked hull of a ship, and that almost a skeleton, having received eight hundred shot of great artillery some under water; her deck covered with the limbs' and carcases of forty valiant men; the rest all wounded and painted with their own blood; her masts beat overboard; all her tackle cut asunder; her upper works razed, and level with the water, and she herself incapable of receiving any direction or motion, except that given her by the billows."

The gallant Grenville, who was wounded early in the action, desired to blow up his ship and sink with her to the bottom of the bay, but was overruled by the survivors. They were forced to surrender, and Grenville was taken on board a galleon just in time to expire, after venting his valiant spirit in these words: "Here die I, Richard Grenville, with a joyful and a quiet mind, for that I have ended my life as a true soldier ought to do, fighting for his country, his queen, his religion, and honor. Whereby my soul most joyfully departeth out of this body, and shall always leave behind it an everlasting fame of a valiant and true soldier, that hath done his duty as he was bound to do."

Grenville sacrificed his life in the service of his queen; but the penurious Elizabeth perceived only that he had also sacrificed one of her noble war-ships, which was the first actually taken in battle by the Spaniards, who were as rejoiced as the English were depressed. But Raleigh had no regrets, save for the loss of life, even though he himself had fitted out the expedition in which had sailed the Revenge. Commenting upon the fact that, soon after the fight, she and fourteen Spanish war-ships were cast away in a storm and destroyed, he says: "So it pleased them to honor the burial of that renowned ship, the Revenge, not suffering her to perish alone, for the great honor she achieved in her lifetime." Equally elevated is the sentiment he expresses in referring to his cousin's final end: "What became of his body, whether it were buried in the sea or on the land, we know not. The comfort that remaineth to his friends is, that he hath ended his life honorably in respect of the reputation won to his country, and of the fame to his posterity; and that, being dead, he hath not outlived, his own honor."

The Queen's captains were greater than their sovereign, for Drake and Hawkins, Frobisher, Davis, and Raleigh, would have conquered half the Spanish world, and swept the wide waters throughout their length and breadth, had it not been for the vacillating and petticoated occupant of the throne. She had the power, unfortunately, to control, to curb, and throw into prison, if they proved recalcitrant, those noble worthies who worked so unceasingly for the extension of her realm. Elizabeth's whims carried greater weight than the matured opinions of her counsellors, so what could be expected of a nation that had set up such a tyrannical virago as its ruler? Somehow it progressed—though slowly in spite of her; somehow its enemies were overcome, and its colonies were planted, notwithstanding her objections to expenses of the sort that were essential to great undertakings. But it was not the Queen who bore the burdens incidental to these expeditions, so much as her enterprising subjects; and Sir Walter Raleigh generally assumed the major portion, as was emphasized in the outfitting of the next expedition that sailed in 1592. It consisted of fifteen vessels, of which number the Queen contributed only two, while Hawkins and Raleigh equipped and sent three or four. Sir Walter was the author of this scheme for attacking the Spaniards in their own waters, and not only supervised all the preparations, but invested in the expedition more money than his whole estate amounted to, having had recourse for the purpose to the money lenders, who charged him most usurious rates. Yet when a settlement was made, after prizes worth several million pounds had been captured, the Queen claimed vastly more than the government's share, and barely allowed Raleigh the amount of his original contribution, let alone pay for his services.

It was in pursuance of Raleigh's long-cherished plan: to weaken the enemy by plundering his rich settlements and treasure-fleets, such as Panama, Cartagena, and the silver-laden carracks that voyaged between the isthmus and Seville. To this end the expedition was fitted out, of which he had the Queen's promise that he should be admiral. Adverse winds delayed the departure of the squadrons until tidings had reached Spain, and Raleigh, knowing how futile would then be an attack upon people and places forewarned, changed the destination of the fleet from Panama to the Azores and coast of Spain.

The fifteen vessels had waited in the Thames from the middle of March to the first of May, and Sir Walter, compelled to "row up and down with every tide, from Gravesend to London," was, as he expressed it, more grieved than ever he was "at anything of this world for this cross weather." When finally aboard his flag-ship and away, he was still within the possibilities of further detention, though it was not the wind, this time, but a crotchet of the Queen, that took him adversely. He was hardly at sea, in truth, before Sir Martin Frobisher was after him with most peremptory orders to return.

A Prisoner in the Tower


The orders received by Sir Walter were hardly unexpected, for it had been intimated to him two months before that the Queen was loath to have him leave her. Nor did he intend to disobey her command, though he continued with the fleet until well on its way to the destinations he himself was to designate. Then he divided it into two squadrons—one to proceed to the Azores, and the other to the coast of Spain, off which it was directed to hover threateningly, in order to hold in port such war-ships as might otherwise sally out to serve as convoys' to the plate-fleet, then expected from the West Indies. It was this fleet of treasure-freighted ships, consisting of galleons and carracks coming up from Panama and the Spanish Main by way of the West Indies, that Raleigh desired to intercept. For that reason he sent the better part of the English fleet to cruise off the Azores, at which islands the treasure-ships generally touched and received their convoys when on their homeward voyage.

Sir Martin Frobisher


The squadron that went off to hold the Spanish war-ships in check was placed by Raleigh under the command of Sir Martin Frobisher; the other he gave to Sir John Borough, and then, having made every arrangement possible that could conduce to success, he returned to England (though not without misgivings and protests), in obedience to the Queen's command. Whether he knew what was in store for him, or whether he was wholly ignorant of his capricious sovereign's intentions, does not fully appear; but from a letter which he had written to Sir Robert Cecil, on March loth preceding, one might infer that he had at least an inkling of what was disturbing her Majesty:

"I receved your letters this present day concerning the wages of the mariners and others. For myne owne part, I am very willing to enter bonde, as you perswaded me; but, I pray, consider that I have adventured here all, that I am worth, and must do, ere I depart on this voyage. If it fall not out well, I can but lose all, and if nothing be remayning, wherewith shall I pay the wages? Besides, her Majestie tould me her selfe she was contented to pay her parte, and my own Lord Admiral his, and that I should but discharge for myne own shipps.

"And, further, I have promised her Majestie that, if I can perswade the Cumpanies to follow Sir Marten Forbisher, I will without fail return after bringing the shipps into the sea only some fifty or sixty leagues, for which purpose my Lord Admiral hath lent me the Disdayne  . . . But, Sir, for mee then to be bounde for so great a sum, upon the hope of another man's fortune, I will be loth; and besides, if I were able, I see no privy seal for my thirds!

"I mean not to cum away, as they say I will, for fear of a marriage, and I know not what. If any such thing were, I would have imparted it unto your selfe before any man living; and therefore I pray you believe it not, and I beseich you to suppress what you can any such malicious report. For I protest before God, there is none, on the face of the yearth, that I would be fastened unto!

"And so, in haste I take my leve of your Honor."

"Yours ever to be cummanded,


It appears that for weeks previous to the departure of the fleet there were rumors afloat respecting the secret marriage, or entanglement, of Sir Walter Raleigh with a fair lady of Queen Elizabeth's court. As will shortly appear, though the Queen based her order for his return ostensibly upon solicitude for his welfare, desiring that he should not remain away for so long a time as the voyage might last, there was really an unavowed reason for that command.

Queen Elizabeth's wrath had blazed forth when, two years before, Essex, by a secret marriage with Sir Philip Sidney's widow, had incurred her fierce displeasure; but his punishment was mild, indeed, compared with that she meted out to Raleigh. Immediately upon his return from his sea-trip he was committed to the Tower of London as a prisoner, there to remain during the Queen's pleasure—or, rather, her displeasure—for he had offended her deeply. He did not need to be told with what offence he was charged, for no one knew better than he the full measure of his guilt. He had said, in his letter to Sir Robert Cecil, that "there was none on the face of the earth that he would be fastened to," or, in other words, would marry; but, while this may have, been true as to his intent, there was one upon whom, in justice to her and to himself, he should have bestowed his name and title.

Of the ladies in waiting upon the Queen, there was none fairer or better-born than the stately Elizabeth Throgmorton. She was the orphaned daughter of Sir Nicholas Throgmorton, who had died in 1570, after having served his sovereign faithfully in several capacities. As ambassador to France he had displayed a high degree of statesmanship and won the regard of the Queen, who had adopted his daughter as one of her maids of honor. She also bore her name, Elizabeth, and is thought to have stood to the Queen in the relation of god-daughter. Her mental gifts were great, and her beauty was undeniable. She soon attracted the attention of the gallant captain of the Queen's Guard, who was brought into frequent communication with the "ladies of the bedchamber," for whom, however, he professed but scant esteem. He had been heard to say, in truth, that they were like witches, "who could do no good, but might easily do harm." When, therefore, it was discovered that haughty Sir Walter and the beautiful Bess had committed an indiscretion which the Queen could not consistently overlook, even were she unprejudiced, great was the excitement among the ladies of the court. The erring woman was dismissed from the Queen's presence in disgrace, and for his share in the affair Sir Walter Raleigh was sent to the Tower.

Whatever may have been Elizabeth's motives and they certainly were not unbiased—there is little doubt that her former favorite fully deserved his punishment; for, while he had been subject to her caprices, and treated more like a spoiled boy than a man, he yet had shared her confidence, which he shamefully betrayed. In contrasting the two culprits, let it be said, in passing, that the erring but sweet and womanly Bess Throgmorton developed a stronger nature, under the trials to which the twain were subjected, than her copartner, the fawning and cringing Sir Walter. She retired to a privacy which might never have been broken but for their marriage in the Tower shortly after Raleigh's incarceration there; and during their subsequent life together she proved a devoted helpmeet and reliable support. Her demeanor is not described, for she was not such a commanding figure as her husband, at that time, in the world's estimation, but his conduct when in the Tower was not such as would win admiration either from friend or foe. He had so long beguiled the Queen with adulation that he seemed to think she might relent and pardon him were he only able to show himself still her devoted slave pining in prison for a glimpse of her. Thus, one day, when he saw, through the barred windows of his cell, a royal procession of boats and barges on the river, he suddenly "brake out into a great distemper, and swore that his enemies had on purpose brought her Majesty hither to brake his gall in sunder with Tatalus's torments, in order that when she went away he might see his death before his very eyes."

He declared to his keeper that he must get into a boat and follow the Queen, "else his heart would surely break," but the man demurred, seeming to doubt if his heart were so fragile; and in discussing the matter the two came to blows, daggers were drawn, and a friend who interfered got his knuckles slashed for his foolishness. As he tells the tale:

"At the first I was ready to break with laughing, to see the two scramble and brawl like madmen, until I saw the iron walking [the daggers drawn], and then I did my best to appease their fury. . . . Thus I purchased such a rap on the knuckles that I wished both their pates were broken; and so, with much ado, they stayed their brawl to see my bloody fingers. As yet I cannot reconcile them by any persuasions, for Sir Walter swears that he shall hate his keeper [Sir George Carew] for so restraining him from a sight of his mistress."

This account, of course, was carried to the Queen, and it may have somewhat softened her heart toward the recreant swain as doubtless was Sir Walter's intention when he made the scene. We would like to believe that this affray never took place, that this man, so capable of vast emprises, would not condescend to play the fool merely to obtain his freedom; but unfortunately he has left at least one letter, in which are sentiments as mawkish as those he professed to his keeper. In this letter, which was written to Sir Robert Cecil, he pours out his griefs as follows:

". . . My heart was never broken till this day, that I hear the Queen goes away so far off whom I have followed so many years, with so great love and desire, in so many journeys, and am now left behind her, in a dark prison all alone. While she was yet nere at hand, that I might hear of her once in two or three dayes, my sorrows were the less; but now my heart is cast into the depth of all misery. I, that was wont to behold her riding like Alexander, hunting like Diana, walking like Venus, the gentle wind blowing her hair about her pure cheeks, like a nymph; sometime sitting in the shade like a goddess, sometime singing like an angell, sometime playing like Orpheus!

"Behold the sorrow of this world! One amiss hath bereaved me of all. 0 Glory! that only shineth in misfortune, what is becum of thy assurance? All wounds have skares but that of fantasie; all affections their relenting but that of womankind. Who is the judge of friendship but adversity? or when is grace witnessed but in offences? There were no divinity but by reason of compassion; for revenges are brutish and mortall.

"All those times past the loves, the sythes, the sorrows, the desires—can they not way [weigh] down one frail misfortune? Cannot one dropp of gall be hidden in so great heaps of sweetness?

". . . She is gone, in whom I trusted, and of me hath not one thought of mercy, nor any respect of that which was. Do with me now, therefore, what you list. I am more weary of life than they who are desirous I should perish; which, if it had been for her, as it is by her, I had been too happily born!

"Y'rs, not worthy any name of title,

"W. R."

Had the Queen not been apprised of this remarkable effusion, the languishing Sir Walter would have been at all this labor for nothing; but, as it was, she refused to relent. Further than this in hyperbole the prisoner surely could not go, and if this letter would not move his mistress nothing on earth could, he felt assured. He had not, however, touched her heart-strings with his plaints, though her anger was appeased when he filled her coffers with gold and gems from the privateering expedition which he had sent out to Spain and the Azores.

Elizabeth was obdurate, and would neither restore her quondam favorite to liberty nor to favor; and he might perhaps have remained in the Tower during the remainder of her natural life but for the return to England of Sir John Boroughs with one of the largest and richest prizes that was ever brought into a British port. This was a huge carrack called the Madre de Dios  (Mother of God.) She was an immense ship for those days, a veritable floating castle, with seven decks, or stories, and towered above every other vessel on the ocean. The fight in which she was captured, Sir John Boroughs reported, lasted from ten in the morning till midnight, and she was taken by Sir Walter's own ship, the Roebuck.

Such rich treasures as were found in her holds surpassed everything imagined by the most sanguine officials of the realm, and the news spread rapidly all over England. Everybody who could, and especially the rapacious hangers-on at the court, made great haste to visit the captured carrack at Darmouth, in the hope of sharing the spoils; but there was one notable exception the prisoner in the Tower, through whose efforts the expedition was fitted out that had resulted so gloriously. Only a short time before he had written to the Lord High Admiral of England, bitterly complaining of his enforced inaction while great and glorious deeds awaited him:

"I was yesterday advised by a man of mine, coming from the coast of Brittany, that there are twenty Spanish ships-of-war lying between Scilly and Ushant, to take up our new levied men, and to search for prizes that shall be sent home. If any of the ships in the narrow seas were sent for a time, or other course taken, it were most necessary; or else we shall lose all, and be the scorn of nations. But we are so much busied with the affairs of other nations (of whose tangled troubles there will be no end) that we forget our own affairs, our profit, and our honor. . .

"I see there is a determination to disgrace and ruin me, and therefore I beseech your Lordship not to offend her Majesty any more by suing for me. I am now resolved in the matter, and only desire that I may be stayed no one hour from all the extremities that either law or precedent can avouch. . . . For the torment of the mind cannot be greater; and for the body—would that others did respect themselves as much as I value it at little."

The coming of the great carrack did for Sir Walter what neither his letters nor the influence of his friends could do: it brought about his release from durance. When the men who manned that fleet which he had fitted out and sent to certain victory learned of his disgrace and imprisonment, they demanded in no uncertain tones that he be at once released. They were, in truth, on the verge of mutiny, and Sir John Hawkins wrote to Lord Burghley, with the bluffness of an old sea-dog: "Sir Walter Raleigh is the especial man to bring this to some good effect "—to curb the mutinous sailors, and save from absolute spoliation the great carrack's precious treasures. He wrote much more, but to the same effect, with the result that the Queen was made to see that her interests would best be served by setting the prisoner at liberty. He was then released, but conditionally only, as a state prisoner, in custody of a keeper, and in this manner journeyed post-haste to Dartmouth.

Lord Cecil's son Robert had preceded him, like many another, anxious to seize some of those precious pearls and spices before all had been appropriated, and especially before Sir Walter should arrive and put a stop to the sacking of the carrack. He reached Dartmouth in season to sequestrate some gold and gems, including a spoon of crystal set with rubies which, he said, he had reserved for the Queen. The letter in which he announced this fact to his father closed with these significant words: "Her Majesty's captive comes after me; but I have outrid him!"  Two days later he wrote:

"Within one half-hour Sir Walter Raleigh arrived with his keeper, and I assure you, sir, his poor servants, to the number of one hundred and forty goodly men, and all the mariners, came to him with such shouts and joy as I never saw a man more troubled to quiet them in my life. But his heart is broken;  for he is very extreme, pensive longer than he is busied, in which he can toil terribly.

"The meeting between him and Sir John Gilbert [his half-brother] was with tears on Sir John's part. Whensoever he is saluted with congratulations for liberty, he doth answer: 'No, I am still the Queen of England's poor captive!'  I wished him to conceal it, because here it doth diminish his credit which, I do vow to you, before God, is greater among the mariners than I thought for. I do grace him as much as I may, for I find him marvellous greedy to do anything to recover the conceit of his brutish offence. Sir John Gilbert's heart was so great, till his brother was at liberty, as he never came but once to the town, and never was aboard."

It came as a surprise to Cecil, as well as to Raleigh himself, that Sir Walter was found so popular with his men; but the manifest injustice with which he had been treated, and the universal conviction that he was the real hero of the great event, swept him into public esteem on the crest of the wave. There had been, perhaps, no man less popular in all England, owing to his equivocal connection with the sovereign, his holdings of oppressive monopolies, and as a beneficiary of so many confiscated estates. But the short-sighted public forgot his previous errors, and readily forgave his many omissions, when it appeared that he had suffered intensely for his errors, and was still the object of the Queen's condemnation.

When it further appeared that Elizabeth, though she had contributed but meagrely to the equipment of the expedition, now entered claim for the lion's share of the rich spoils, to the exclusion of those, and notably Raleigh, who had adventured almost their entire possessions, there was a radical revulsion in his favor. "The Queen's personal covetousness," says one who would rather praise than depreciate her character, "was at length excited to a degree which sets in strong relief the petty trickeries wherewith, in the preceding Spring, it had endeavored to throw every possible shilling of outlay upon those who were to risk both life and livelihood in an enterprise which, if it was not the legitimate service of the Crown and people of England, was mere piracy."

The total value of the carrack's cargo, after much portable property in gems, gold, silks, ebony, pearls, and tapestries had been pilfered, was appraised by the royal commissioners at a sum amounting to more than three million dollars, in approximate money values of the present day. The Queen, or the government, had contributed not more than one-tenth of the outlay, yet she was assigned more than one-half; while Raleigh, who had all but impoverished himself in the equipment of the fleet, received less than he had advanced, without taking account of his services and the money invested by his friends and copartners.

In a paper left behind him at his death, Raleigh complains: "We that served the Queen and assisted her service have not our own again. I was the cause that all this hath come to her, and that the King of Spain hath spent three hundred thousand pounds the last year. And [yet] I lose, in the past year, in the voyage of my Lord Thomas Howard, 1,600, besides the interest of 11,000, which I have paid ever since this voyage began . . . I carried the ships from hence to Falmouth, and thence to the North Cape of Spain; and they only sat still and did but disburse. Double is quits to them, and less than mine own to me.'

It was at Sir Walter's suggestion, however, that the Queen was paid five times the amount to which she was entitled, and he surely had a reason for it, as appears from a passage in a letter written by him from the Tower, previous to his trip to Dartmouth: "Five-score thousand pounds is more than' ever a man presented her Majesty as yet. If God hath sent it for my ransom, I hope her Majesty, of her abundant goodness, will accept it!" This was the view possibly taken by the Queen, for she certainly accepted the apportionment without a qualm of conscience as to her companion-adventurers; and that it may have been considered as Sir Walter's ransom might be inferred from the fact that he did not return from Dartmouth to the Tower.

Sir Walter and El Dorado


Two years of peace and quietude succeeded to the stress and storm of the period we have just passed in review. Although released from custody, Raleigh was long after out of favor with the Queen, and, banished from her presence, sought solace with the rightful queen of his affections

the Elizabeth whom he had made his wife. These two made their home at Sherborne, in Dorsetshire, an estate that had been presented Sir Walter by the Queen, and which was for years his favorite place of residence. Here he planted trees and laid out gardens, wrote poetry, and—" fell in love with his wife, "whom he discovered to be the very treasure for which he had been looking all his life. Without her, he realized, his life would thereafter be quite incomplete, for she entered into his every plan and scheme, sympathized with him in affliction, and rejoiced in his successes.

Their brief period of rest and domestic enjoyment at Sherborne was perhaps less irksome to her than to the man who had more than once managed the affairs of a kingdom in an advisory capacity—or, at least, had held the hand that was supposed to guide the helm of the nation. Tranquillity was soothing to Sir Walter; but it also palled upon him, after the wounds received in his affrays had healed. He was not content with planting, with beautifying his estate, with the adoration of one who loved him truly and would have made any sacrifice to retain him by her side; but the old restlessness came over him, and he soon began the planning of another voyage.

This time he was disposed to sail into the south and the west, to a far-distant country which hitherto had not tempted him with its treasures. Less than three months after his retirement, or in February, 1593, there are indications of this desire in a letter written by Lady Raleigh to Lord Robert Cecil, in which she betrays her anxiety lest her husband be drawn into some new venture that would take him far away from home and family. After the customary common-places, she says: ". . . I hope, for my sake, you will rather draw Water [Sir Walter] from the East than help him forward toward the sunset, if any respect to me or love to him be not forgotten. But every month hath his flower, and every season his contentment; and you great counsellors are so full of new counsels that you are steady in nothing. We poor souls, that have bought sorrow at a high price, desire and can be pleased with the same misfortunes we hold, fearing that alterations will but multiply our miseries, of which we have already felt sufficient. I know only your persuasions are of effect with him, and held as oracles tied together by love; therefore, I humbly beseech you, rather stay him than further him. By the which you shall bind me for ever."

Two years passed before the voyage which he had in contemplation was realized, but, having yielded that much to his wife's entreaties, Sir Walter felt constrained no longer to delay it. He loved his wife, but he craved the favor of his Queen, which had been so long denied him, and to regain it he conceived an enterprise that was calculated to win her admiration. It was nothing less than a voyage to the mouth of the Orinoco, and an expedition up that river in search of a mysterious kingdom known as El Dorado  (The Golden). Not alone the Queen's favor would he win thereby, he reasoned, but at the same time gratify his desire to despoil their common enemy, the Spaniards; for the mouths of the Orinoco were blockaded by the Spaniards, who held control of Trinidad, lying to the north of them, and who were supposed to have planted settlements on the great river. Nearly one hundred years had elapsed since Columbus discovered Trinidad and the waters adjacent, and though the Spaniards had been tardy in forming settlements, they had long since worked out the pearl fisheries of Cubagua and Margarita, off Paria, and had begun to exploit the gold-mines of the main.

Just when the idea took possession of Sir Walter, or how he became acquainted with the legends upon which he based his hypothesis of a golden kingdom in South America, is not known; but the first was firmly fixed in his mind, and the second was certainly existent in traditions which had been conveyed by Indians to the Spaniards. From the time of their first visits to the north coast of South America, the conquistadors were informed of regions full of gold lying adjacent to that coast or near the rivers running down to it from the interior. Balboa was told that gold was so abundant there that it could be gathered in nets stretched across the streams. Ojeda was lured to his ruin by stories of a golden city in the wilderness of Venezuela, back of the peninsula of Coro and Lake Maracaibo. And the famed "Dorado,"  be it golden city or gold-covered king, of South American aborigines was eagerly sought for during the greater part of the sixteenth century.

It matters not to us of the present era that the golden city of Manoa, with its walls and roofs covered with the precious metal, and the "gilded king," who was powdered with gold-dust and bathed in a wonderful lake, are considered as myths. They seemed real to the Spanish conquerors, and for many, many years they searched for both, sacrificing lives by the hundred and treasure incalculable in their pursuit of the delusion. Not alone Spaniards, but adventurers of another nationality, the German, poured out their blood like water spilled on the ground and broke their hearts in vain endeavor to locate Manoa and its gilded king.

The first intimation of El Dorado  came from an Indian of Bogota, who, sent by his cacique on an embassage to the Inca of Peru, and finding the land in possession of strangers the Spaniards under Pizarro—told them of the tradition prevalent in his country. This was that in a mountain region not far distant from the coast lived a mighty cacique who, on certain festival days, repaired to a lake kept sacred for the purpose, where he performed an ablution. He was stripped of his clothing, then smeared with perfumed balsam, and dusted from head to foot with powdered gold. He was then, according to the Indian legend, the great and glorious "Gilded King," or, as rendered in Spanish, El Dorado. This is the origin of the Spanish word, now adopted into our own language as descriptive of a golden region, or land, rather than an individual.

Having been converted into a golden image for the adoration of his people, the cacique embarked in his canoe, and, after reverential ceremonies had been performed, plunged into the sacred waters, where he left the gold with which he had been covered, in token that the offences of his people had been washed away.

This was the tradition that, descended from the aboriginal Indians to the Spaniards, reached Sir Walter Raleigh in England by some means unknown, fait probably through reports of the various expeditions sent out in search of El Dorado. The gold-roofed city of Manoa, built upon the shore of a great lake surrounded by glistening mountains, and the prince powdered from head to foot with gold, "so that he resembled a golden god, worked by the hands of a skilful artist," were to be found, the Indians said, not far distant from the coast, but beyond the mountains. They could be reached by a journey up the Orinoco, and when once discovered "billets of gold would be found lying about in heaps, as if they were logs of wood stacked up to burn."

The earliest attempt to enter the golden region was in 1530, by a German named Alfinger, who set out from Coro, on the coast of Venezuela, with two hundred Spaniards and twice as many Indians, the latter chained together in pairs and serving as carriers. Nearly all perished in the untrodden forest; but seven years later two other Germans led expeditions into the unknown wilds, and with a like result.

The Germans, soon after, abandoned the attempt upon El Dorado, but the Spaniards still persisted. That wonderful voyage made by Orellana down the Amazon, in 1540, revived the stories relating to the Golden City and king, and set in motion a series of explorations extending over a period of more than forty years. In the year 1560 Don Pedro de Ursua followed in Pizarro's and Orellana's tracks from Peru with an El Dorado  expedition which was fated to be the most sanguinary, as well as the most wonderful, of any that ever set forth on such a quest. After reaching the Orellana as the Amazon was then called Ursua was murdered, at the instigation of the second in command, one Lope de Aguirre, who thereby became the leader. Under him the soldiers and colonists, several hundred in number, proceeded down the great river, capturing inoffensive Indians and putting them to torture, in vain effort to extort from them information of El Dorado.

Finally, after more than seven months' wandering and drifting down various rivers, they emerged from one of the Orinoco's mouths, and thence made their way across the Bay of Paria to the island called Margarita, which they reached in July, 1561.

They had become inured to suffering, and though they had found but little gold, and received no tidings of the golden kingdom they were seeking, they still had faith in the tradition. Their spirits were not broken, nor was their thirst for blood yet quenched; for, learning that the island was rich in pearls (being one from which the Spaniards had taken vast quantities), Aguirre decoyed the governor to the shore, where his canoes were beached, and there massacred him and all his troops. He then plundered the public treasury of the so-termed "king's fifths "of gold and pearls, which had been accumulating for shipment to Spain, sacked all the dwellings in the settlement, and killed or put to inhuman torture many men and women.

Sailing across to Venezuela, Aguirre and his Maranones  (men of the Maranon)—a name since bestowed upon conspirators of their sort—coasted the main, and at last landed at the site of Puerto Cabello. Thence they proceeded inland to Valencia, where at length the people were aroused and began to assemble under arms. The people of Valencia having fled to an island in a lake, the Maranones destroyed their dwellings and gardens, then set out on the long journey to Santa Fe de Bogota, believing that on the way they would probably find the golden-roofed Manoa. But before they reached the frontier they were surrounded by the enraged Venezuelans in overwhelming numbers, and a fierce battle was fought at a place known as Barquisimento.

Aguirre fought with ferocious bravery, but finding the odds against him, and seeing escape impossible (having placed himself beyond the hope of pardon or mercy), he slew his daughter, who had accompanied him, and was shot to death by the Venezuelans.

Thus disastrously ended the last great expedition commanded by Spaniards in search of El Dorado, though a smaller one was made in 1582, thirteen years before the English, under Raleigh, took up the quest. The first of the kind was organized at Coro, in Venezuela, the soil of which, many years later, was drenched with the blood of the last victim to the delusion, at the behest of one who seemed to hold human life to be worth less than gold. It is believed that Sir Walter Raleigh must have seen the narrative of Aguirre's wanderings, and, barring his cruelties, found something to commend in the madman's career. One sentiment these two, the Englishman and the Spaniard, held in common: hatred and suspicion of that arch-fiend, Philip of Spain. The King's character was depicted in the blackest colors by Aguirre in a letter which he left behind at Margarita, for transmission to Spain, addressed to: "King Philip, a Spaniard, son of Charles the Invincible."

Aguirre's characterization of the Spaniards by one who knew them intimately, and in fact was one of them, must have fully confirmed Sir Walter in the opinion he had long since formed respecting the nation with which England was waging intermittent war. Aguirre, "the madman," had the wit and the effrontery to paint the Spaniards in their proper colors. He told the truth—of that Raleigh must have been convinced; and, having shown himself truthful in one instance, why should not his statements respecting El Dorado be true?

The historian Hume has denounced Sir Walter for placing credence in these fabulous stories, but he did not take into consideration that the Spaniards had believed in them to the extent of sending out great expeditions on the strength of them alone.

The last search previous to that conducted by Raleigh was by Antonio de Berreo, then acting governor of Trinidad, who, according to Captain Whiddon, had expended much treasure in that search. Captain Whiddon was sent out by Raleigh, in 1594, to make a preliminary survey of the Orinoco. He made the acquaintance of Berreo in Trinidad, where he was at first hospitably received. But when Berreo learned the nature of his visit that it was for the purpose of ascertaining the correct route up the Orinoco to the country of the Gilded King his attitude changed from friendly to hostile at once. Finding a party of Whiddon's men ashore, where they were hunting in the forest, he promptly placed them in prison, where they were kept so long that the English captain returned home without them. His report was unsatisfactory, for he had learned nothing of the way to Manoa, and he had aroused the suspicions of the Spaniards; nevertheless, Sir Walter concluded to make the voyage and see for himself the wonders of the Golden City.

The Expedition to Guiana


With five ships and their complements of sailors, in addition to "a handful of men, being in all about a hundred gentlemen, soldiers, rowers, boat-keepers, boys, and of all sorts," Sir Walter Raleigh set out on his first known expedition to America He left the port of Plymouth on February 6, 1595, and first sailed for the Canary Isles, where he took a Spanish ship laden with firearms, and also a Flemish vessel with a cargo of wine. Proceeding on his voyage, he arrived at Trinidad, the island which he had so long kept in view as a nest of Spanish intriguers and traitors, without mishap occurring to his fleet, and there made preparations for ascending the Orinoco River.

First, however, he "paid his respects" to Governor Berreo, whom he found intrenched at the newly settled town of St. Joseph. By a skilfully planned attack on the place by night he made the governor prisoner, and after having burned the beginnings of a town, took him on board his flag-ship. There he was treated with every courtesy, and, becoming communicative, related all he knew of the Golden City and the way thither. It was not much, in truth, for, like all the numerous companies who had preceded him, Berreo had discovered nothing of value, although he had heard much. In the year preceding, he said, he had invaded Guiana from New Granada with seven hundred horsemen, and after waging a desultory war with the natives, had secured several images of fine gold different from anything else he had ever seen. These he had sent to Spain by his camp-master, Domingo de Vera, whose accounts of the rich and wonderful region had stimulated the Spanish government to send out an expedition, which was, he believed, even then on the way to Trinidad.

Berreo also showed to Raleigh an official copy of the records of San Juan de Puerto Rico, by which it appeared that one Juan Martinez, having been stranded there in poverty many years before, had made a deposition, when at the point of death, relating to the city of Manoa, which he claimed to have visited. He was, he said, with the renowned Diego de Ordaz when he explored the Orinoco, in 1531, as master of ordnance. When they had penetrated about three hundred miles inland their powder took fire and exploded. As Martinez was in charge, he was held responsible and condemned to death, but the sentence was mitigated to the extent of placing him alone in a canoe and setting him adrift on the waters of the Orinoco. After drifting about for many days he was rescued by some Indians, who took him a long journey overland to Manoa, where the Inca, he deposed, received him graciously and entertained him in his palace. He lived there seven months, but was not allowed to wander outside the city without being blindfolded. In this manner he had been brought there, he said, and led by the hand during a journey from the river of fourteen days. "He avowed at his death that he entered the city at noon, when they uncovered his face; that he travelled all that day, till night, throughout the city, and the next day from sunrise to sunsetting, ere he came to the palace of the Inca."

Here was information which, having come from a man who believed himself about to die, Raleigh received as credible indeed. All the stories he had previously heard were confirmed in the main, excepting that relating to the gilded king, for Martinez affirmed that he had called Manoa "the golden" merely because of "the abundance of golden images, plates, and armor which he beheld there." When he left Manoa for the coast the Inca presented him with as much gold as his guides could carry to the river; but hostile natives beyond the border robbed him of his treasure, except two calabashes filled with gold beads, which he gave to the monks of Porto Rico, at whose monastery he died, to pay for masses for his soul.

The deposition of the master of ordnance had been taken to Spain by De Vera, who, at the very time that Raleigh was listening to its recital by Berreo, was on the ocean with a fleet provided by his sovereign and the city of Seville, as the result of the enthusiasm it had awakened. The fleet consisted of five ships, filled with a host of volunteers, comprising veteran soldiers as well as monks and priests. This force would soon be at his orders, Governor Berreo assured his captor, and, as it greatly exceeded that at Raleigh's disposal, he advised the English to retreat while they might with good grace.

When Sir Walter assured him that Guiana was the objective of his long voyage and journey also, Berreo showed great distress, and did everything in his power to turn him back. In addition, he said, to the probability of the Spanish fleet arriving while he was absent, and cutting off his retreat, were the difficulties of navigation, the Orinoco at that season being particularly dangerous, owing to the swelling of its current by the innumerable streams that ran into it from the mountains.

But Sir Walter was inflexible, for he had dreamed of making this expedition many years; he had at last arrived at the mouths of the Orinoco, and a few hundred miles more of travel might take him to the goal of his ambition. He was not easily turned from his purpose, once having made up his mind, and not all Berreo's warnings could move him an iota. When the latter was finally assured that he was determined to make the effort, Sir Walter says, "he received it with a great melancholy and sadness, and used all the arguments he could to dissuade me, also assuring the gentlemen of my company that it would be labor lost, and that they would suffer many miseries if they proceeded."

Miseries manifold, indeed, they suffered, for Governor Berreo had by no means exaggerated the difficulties and dangers of the water route up the Orinoco; still, if they were twice as many, and the alleged distance twice as great, Raleigh was determined to proceed. He caused an old galleon to be cut down till it drew not more than five feet of water, and in this nondescript craft, "fashioned like a galley," a large barge, a small boat from the Lion's Whelp, and two wherries, he embarked one hundred men and boys, with a month's provisions for the entire crew. His troubles began at the very outset of the voyage, for both wind and current were very strong in crossing Guanipa Bay, and of the several mouths through which the Orinoco emptied its turbulent waters the perplexed navigators knew not which one to choose. Sir Walter had obtained an Indian guide at Gallo, in the Gulf of Paria, where he had left his ships; but he became bewildered among the network of streams, and but for the accidental discovery of a canoe, in which were natives of the region, the party might have been lost.

"If God had not sent us help," declares the pious Raleigh, "we might have wandered a whole year in that labyrinth of rivers ere we had found any way, either out or in; for I know all the earth doth not yield the like confluence of streams and branches, the one crossing the other so many times, and all so fair and large, and so like one to another, as no man can tell which to take."

Giving chase to the canoe in his barge, Sir Walter overtook the little craft and made captive its occupants, one of whom proved to be an expert pilot. "He was a natural of those rivers," says Raleigh, "and but for him I think we had never found the way either to Guiana or back to our shipps."

Raleigh's treatment of the Indians was consistently humane throughout, for he never allowed violence to be offered any, and at Trinidad had released from captivity five caciques whom Berreo had chained together by the neck and was about to put to the torture. According to one historian, in fact, he had already tortured them, for he says: "These unhappy creatures had been subjected to tortures so ingeniously cruel that they seemed rather the practices of a familiar of the 'Holy Inquisition,' than those of a valiant soldier, as Sir Walter tells us that Berreo really was."

If Sir Walter Raleigh had but known of this river's vast extent, of its numerous tributaries, its thirteen hundred miles of length, and the fierce currents that urged perpetual conflict with the sea, even his dauntless spirit might have shrunk from the undertaking to which he was then committed. But he pushed on and on, armed by his ignorance, against whatever he might encounter, and so scantily equipped that after the reputed gold-fields had been found he had no utensils with which to dig up the precious metal or extract it from the rocks. Having found his way through the labyrinthine delta (though by means of such tedious voyaging that he was tempted to hang the native pilot on the charge of leading him astray), he at last emerged into broad, grassy plains, dotted with forest clumps, that looked "as if they had been, by all the art and labor in the world, so made of purpose," and where the deer and other wild animals approached the river-banks to graze, "as if they had been used to the keeper's call."

Sir Walter extracted what of pleasure and of interest he might from the various scenes and events along the way; and that he was accurate and painstaking is shown by the book he published close upon his return to England, and which is entitled: The Discoverie of the large, rich, and beautiful Empire of Guiana; with a relation of the Great and Golden City of Manoa, which the Spaniards called El Dorado, performed in the year 1595, by Sir Walter Raleigh, Knight.

This account of his adventures was denounced by his enemies as a fabrication, and the gold he found, it was declared, was obtained by him in Barbary and taken to Trinidad for the purpose of deceiving his countrymen! This was an untruth, for whatever Raleigh related was, so far as he could observe, an exact transcript from the book of nature and a report of actual occurrences. He had far higher aims than the mere acquisition of gold, for this founder_ of England's colonial empire in America thought to colonize Guiana as he had hoped to colonize Roanoke and Virginia. He was looking for gold as an incidental aid to colonization, and as a gift to the Queen, who thereby might be led to pardon him fully, and promote further schemes which he had conceived.

After four hundred miles or so had been traversed, and double the time consumed in doing it which they had reckoned, the company began to get discouraged. "The current came against us every day," says Sir Walter, "stronger than ever. But we evermore commanded our pilots to promise an end the next day, and used it so long that we were driven to assure them from four reaches of the river to three, and so to two, and so to the next reach; but so long we labored that many days were spent, also our provisions, and no drink at all; and our men and ourselves were so wearied and scorched, and doubtful withal whether we should ever perform it or no; the heat constantly increasing."

They were heartened at last by the capture of an Indian canoe laden with cassava bread, which stayed them awhile, and by the sight of a few pinches of gold-dust which the chief carried in a calabash. This chief, or cacique, agreed to pilot the weary adventurers to the confluence of another great river with the Orinoco, and on the fifteenth day they had the happiness of seeing the mountains of Guiana.

At one place on the way they allayed the cravings of hunger with tortuga huevos  (turtle eggs), which they found by thousands on a sand-bar, and pronounced "very wholesome meat, and restoring." The Indians were Arawacas, or Arawaks, belonging to the great family which furnished the aboriginal inhabitants of the West Indies. Their chief, the "lord of that land," named Toparimaca, supplied the Englishmen with cassava bread, fish, turtle eggs, and palm wine, the beverage proving so agreeable that some of the captains became "reasonable pleasant withal," and were moved to forget their troubles in a carousal.

The cacique was treated by Raleigh to a dissertation upon the manifold virtues of Queen Elizabeth—or, at least, so he reported to his royal patroness, and told that she had commanded her servants to make the expedition for the purpose of delivering the Indians from Spanish oppression. "I dilated at large," he afterward boasted, "upon her Majesty's greatness, her justice, her charity to all oppressed nations, with as many of the rest of her beauties and virtues as either I could express or they conceive." Then he showed the venerable cacique a portrait of the Queen, at sight of which (the artful Sir Walter represented to her Majesty) he was so greatly overcome by her most ravishing charms that he nearly swooned away! And, moreover, though so susceptible to beauty, the cacique was so far advanced in years as to be thought a centenarian who, as he himself poetically expressed it, was "daily called for by death."

This old chieftain could give Sir Walter no positive information of Manoa, but he recalled a tradition of some invaders of the lowlands who had come from the country "where the sun slept," and in the war that followed many of his tribe had perished. They were called Epurimei, he said, and their great cacique, the Inca, wore the crimson burla  which distinguished the "Son of the Sun" from his subjects. He presented Raleigh with "great store "of provisions, and a "beast "called by him cachicamo, or armadillo, which was "barred over with small plates, somewhat like to a rhinoceros, and with a white horn growing in its hinder parts as big as a great hunting-horn, which they, the natives, use to wind [blow] instead of a trumpet."

Sir Walter's account of the armadillo was not quite accurate, but his descriptions generally may be relied on as coming near the truth, though quaintly expressed. After he had arrived home, many there were who could not bring themselves to believe his accounts of the salt-water oysters growing on trees; but they may be seen to-day, in the Gulf of Paria and on the shores of Trinidad, clinging to the roots of the mangroves. Here is his description, and it is in no whit exaggerated: "In the way between were divers little brooks of fresh water, and one of salt, that had store of oisters upon the branches of the trees, which were very salt and well tasted. All their oisters grow upon those boughs and spraies [of the mangroves] and not on the ground."

Only one man lost his life on this expedition, with all its hardships, the exposure of its members to the tropical heat and rains, the insufficient supply of food, and scarcity of potable water. This man was a negro, "a very proper young fellow," says Raleigh in his book, "that, leaping out of the galley to swim in the river, was, all in our sights, taken and devoured with one of those largatos" [alligators]; for "there were thousands of those uglie serpents" in the upper waters of the Orinoco, making its navigation exceedingly dangerous.

The dreary, uninteresting scenery of the lower Orinoco was enlivened by those strange people, the tree-dwelling Indians, whose frail aerial shelters were built aloft to avoid the rising floods.

"In the winter season," wrote Raleigh, "they dwell thus upon the trees, where they have very artificial towns and villages; for between May and September the river Orenoke riseth thirtie feet upright; and for this cause they are forced to live in this manner." The adventurers experienced the tremendous force of the Orinoco current on their downward trip, and its sudden rising apparently without cause or warning. "Our hearts were cold to behold the great rage and increase of Orenoko . . . For the same night in which we ankered in the mouth of the river Capuri, where it falleth into the sea, there rose a mighty storm, and the river's mouth was at least a league broad, so as we ran before night close under the land, with our small boats, and brought the galley as near as we could; but she had also to live as could be, and there wanted little of her sinking, and all those in her."

At last the explorers found their progress barred by the rapids and waterfalls of the river Caroni, and here halted. This was the turning-point of their journey, and yet it appeared to the enraptured Raleigh as if the wonders of the region were just beginning to be revealed.

"When we ran to the tops of the first hills of the plains adjoining to the river," he wrote in his journal, "we beheld that wonderful breach of waters which ran down Caroli [the Caroni]; . . . and there appeared some ten or twelve overfalls in sight, every one as high over the other as a church tower, which fell with that fury that the re-bound of waters made it seem as it had been all covered over with a great shower of rain; and in some places we took it, at the first, for a smoke that had risen over some great town . . . I never saw a more beautiful country, nor more lively prospects: hills so raised here and there over the valleys; the river winding into divers branches; the plains adjoining all fair green grass, without bush or stubble; the ground of hard sand, easy to march on, either for horse or foot; the deer crossing on every path; the birds, towards evening, singing on every tree with a thousand several tunes; cranes and herons of white, crimson, and carnation, perched on the river's side; the air fresh, with a gentle easterly wind; and every stone that we stooped to take up promising either gold or silver by his complexion!"

That the explorers had at last reached an earthly paradise was evident to their senses; that it abounded with gold also seemed evident; but, alas! though there were vast ledges of what the Spaniards termed madre de oro  (mother of gold), the witless investigators had brought no mining tools of any sort whatever! "We had no means but with our daggers and our fingers to tear them out here and there [the specimens of ore which they took back to England]; and the veins lie a fathom or two deep in the rocks." Discovering a very great ledge of the "gold-mother "near one of the rivers, Raleigh continues: "I found a cleft in the same, from whence, with daggers and the head of an axe, we got out some small quantity thereof. Of which kind of white stone, wherein gold is engendered, we saw divers hills and rocks, in every part of Guiana wherein we travelled."

This "ore of gold" was assayed in London by three different assay masters, as well as by the comptroller of the mint, and "held after the rate of a hundred and twenty to two hundred and sixty-nine pounds a ton." The worthy assayers must have possessed a "Midas' touch," the skeptics said, to evoke from those small fragments such a quantity of gold in prospective, for the riches of that region, though vast in the aggregate, have not verified Raleigh's discoveries. His detractors classed his alleged finding of gold with his stories relating to the mysterious "Ewaiponoma," or headless people, whose mouths were said to be in the middle of their breasts and their eyes between their shoulders; and with the Amazons, those warlike women who have ever remained as myths, though mentioned by the first explorers of South America. Sir Walter does not say that he saw them, or implicitly believed all that was told him respecting them, concluding: "For mine own part, I saw them not, but am resolved that so many people did not all combine, or forethink, to make the report . . .Whether it be true or not, the matter is not great."

Raleigh and his party repeated the blunders committed by the Cabots, by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, Grenville, and Lane—in fact, all the English explorers before them: they did not remain long enough to ascertain anything of great value; they did not verify reports received from the natives; they did not seek to establish a colony. The expedition may be said to have been made for naught, since no great result followed all this expense, labor, and privation.

Imagine a man of sane mind seeking El Dorado—a city or country of gold—with no appliances for mining, even for excavating the soil or testing metals! Imagine him arriving within the confines of the golden country as he conjectured and then immediately turning about for home! We cannot but agree with him perfectly when he says, in excuse for not attempting to proceed farther: "Considering that to enter Guiana by small boats, to depart four or five hundred miles from my shipps, and to leave [behind] a [Spanish] garrison interested in the same enterprise, who also daily expected supplies out of Spaine, I should have savoured very much of the Asse!" The whole expedition had that "savour," in truth, and we must confess that the asinine simile was not far-fetched.

The return journey was performed with great rapidity, for the current was swift, though the winds were generally ahead. Reports of the humane treatment Raleigh had accorded the natives preceded him, and he was everywhere met along the river-banks by Indians, who brought him presents of "all such kinds of victual as the places yielded."

"At one town on the bank of a tributary stream," Raleigh says in his book, "we found them all drunk as beggars, and the pots walking from one to another without rest. We that were weary and hot with marching were very glad of the plentie, though of their drink a small quantitie satisfied us, it being very strong and heady. . . . After we had fed we drew ourselves back to our boats, upon the river, and there came to us all the lords of the country, bearing their delicate wine of pings [pineapple], abundance of hens, and other provisions. . . . We understood by these chieftains that their lord, Carapana, was departed from Emeria, which was now in sight, and that he was fled to Cairamo, . . . and we thought it bootless to row 40 far, or to seek any further for this old fox."

In the end he says: "The longer we tarried the worse it was [at the mouth of the river], and therefore I took Captain Gifford, Captain Caulfield, and my cousin Grenville into my barge, and after it cleared up we put ourselves to God's keeping, and thrust out into the sea. . . . And so, being all very sober and melancholy, one faintly cheering another to show courage, it pleased God that the next day, about nine of the clock, we descried the island of Trinedado, and, steering for the nearest part of it, we kept the shore till we came to Curiapan, where we found our shipps at anchor; than which there was never to us a more joyful sight."

Two Famous Victories


Sir Walter returned to England without great honors, either of conquest or discovery, which fact was as displeasing to the Queen as it was mortifying to him. Elizabeth had hoped for rich prizes, the loot of cities, and perchance some captive ships to add to her navy; but nothing save promises and flattery had Raleigh to lay at her feet. She averted her face from this favorite of former times, who had accomplished so little after preparing so greatly. He had not even visited the plantations in Virginia, which were at one time as the apple of his eye, and which, he had proclaimed, it was his intention to take in on the homeward voyage. In very truth, he had not done anything he had promised to do, and on his return was in greater disfavor than ever.

He saw that to win back the lost regard of a sovereign whose weakness was vanity, and whose besetting sin was covetousness, he must connect himself with some enterprise that should minister to both, by extending her fame among nations and filling her treasury with gold. The opportunity came within a year, but meanwhile he was in disgrace. His hopes were dashed, his expectations unrealized; but his high courage supported him, and within a few months of his return he sent back his faithful follower, Captain Keymis, to explore the mines of which they had heard such glowing reports. Five months later Keymis returned with the discouraging information that the Spaniards had erected a fort near the mouth of the river Caroni, where they were in force sufficient to defeat any attempt to reach the mines. He came back empty-handed, but with important additions to Raleigh's rich store of knowledge concerning the country he desired to colonize for England, which was embodied in the book he wrote and issued the next year—his Discoverie of Guiana.

Sir Walter could not truthfully claim that he had "discovered" Guiana, since the Spaniards found the way thither many years before his voyage was made; but he had certainly opened a route to a region until that time closed to English navigation. England and Spain were to wrangle over the question of priority many years after, and what Raleigh did, though it was little, gave the former an excuse for setting forth her claims to territory which, but for him, she never would have even a shadowy title to, But this is a subject aside from that we are considering, and must be ignored. We should take cognizance, however, of Sir Walter's great book, which was the first to be issued on that wonderful country, setting forth his adventures therein, and note that by means of it he re-established himself in general esteem and gained the credence of the public, even if his sovereign still continued obdurate.

By the royal commission under which Raleigh had sailed with his fleet, he had been empowered by the Queen "to do Us service in offending the King of Spain and his subjects in his dominions to your uttermost power." And, furthermore, whatever should result from that expedition, "as well by sea as by land, for the furtherance of this Our service, and enfeebling of Our enemies, the subjects and adherents of the King of Spain, you and all such as serve under you on this voyage shall be clearly acquitted and di& charged." That is, he would not be held responsible for any international complications that might result from his endeavors to force a passage through the King of Spain's dominions, or the waters, such as the Caribbean Sea, which he claimed to control. With the ample powers for conquest, however, granted him by this commission, Raleigh had only captured a small garrison at Trinidad; and with full authority for laying siege to and sacking any city of the West Indies or the Spanish Main, he had returned without having made a serious attempt upon any Spanish settlement whatever.

But another opportunity was given him, as we have said, within a year of his return from Trinidad. It had become plainly apparent, even to the Queen, that King Philip of Spain was meditating another descent upon England's shores, and was gathering his ships together for another and perhaps more powerful armada than that which he had despatched in 1588. Instead of waiting for its advent, such captains as Drake and Hawkins recommended that the tactics of the former when he destroyed the ships of Cadiz be adopted. But both great and gallant sea-lions died before the plan was carried into effect Hawkins off Porto Rico, in November, 1595, and Drake on the same voyage, off Porto Bello, in January, 1596. Elizabeth had other captains, though perhaps none so effective for such an enterprise, and the projected expedition was delayed. When finally afloat, it consisted of nearly one hundred English craft of all kinds, large and small, including "Queen's ships "and transports, and twenty-four Dutch vessels as an auxiliary squadron, the total force on board which was about sixteen thousand soldiers and sailors.

The chief in command of this fleet was the Lord High Admiral Howard, of Effingham; but associated with him was the Earl of Essex, as generalissimo of the forces. The fleet was divided into four squadrons, the first of which was led by the Ark Royal, formerly the famous Ark Ralegh, and commanded by the Lord High Admiral; the Earl of Essex led the second squadron; Lord Thomas Howard, vice-admiral of the combined fleet, led the third; Sir Walter Raleigh, as rear-admiral, led the fourth in the Warspite;  while the Dutch fleet comprised a fifth squadron, which brought up the rear, and was active only in gathering in the spoils of victory.

The Queen had done her best to give every admiral in her navy a position commensurate with his rank, and the result was that with so many commanders there was indescribable confusion. When Cadiz was sighted there were no two commanders who agreed as to the proper mode of attack. The Lord High Admiral refused to attack with his ships until after the soldiers had been landed.; the Earl of Essex attempted to land them, but the sea was so high that his boats were swamped, and fifteen lives were lost. At the same time the fire of the Cadiz batteries was concentrated upon him, and he knew not what to do; but Raleigh, who had been sent ahead to prevent the Spanish ships from escaping, saw the peril of his position and hastened to the rescue. Then, for once in their lives, these discredited favorites of Queen Elizabeth and erstwhile rivals were agreed: they both denounced the Lord High Admiral's scheme as a failure. But who would go to the pompous old Admiral and tell him so?

"I will!" exclaimed Sir Walter. "We should at once assault the ships in the inner harbor. See them there, penned up like sheep in a fold! 'Od zooks! but we could swiftly slaughter them all. I will away; and, meanwhile, await you here until I return."

Suiting the action to the word, he sprang into a skiff and ordered his men to row to the flag-ship. Amid plunging shot from the shore batteries, he made his way among the assembling ships to the Ark Royal, on the deck of which he held a brief but stormy interview with the old Admiral. In the end he secured his assent to an immediate attack, and no sooner was it received than he leaped into the skiff again and dashed back to his ship. On the way he passed near the Due Repulse, on the deck of which was Essex, pacing nervously to and fro.

"Entramos!"  (In we go) shouted Raleigh, hearing which joyful news the Earl cast his plumed hat into the sea, with a cry of delight, and gave orders for re-embarking the troops. Before this was accomplished the afternoon was well spent, and the assault was perforce put off till the morrow; but there were some so rash, including the excitable Essex, that they would have dashed in at once, through the darkness of night.

Though the British were brave enough, sailors and officers, they were like a flock of sheep without a leader. There was no actual head—or, rather, the commanding force was hydra-headed—and naught but confusion resulted from the council of war which was held on board the Ark Royal  that night. As Raleigh had been instrumental in preventing the fatal landing of the soldiers, and in changing the attack to one of direct assault upon the shipping, to him was given the honor of leading. But there were others desirous of that honor, and quite a quarrel developed between Raleigh and Lord Thomas Howard, who insisted upon a prior claim by reason of rank; and, absurd as it may appear, on the morrow there were two commanders thrusting themselves to the front, each in his flag-ship striving for precedency and giving orders to others.

Sir Walter himself says of the affair: "For mine own part, as I was willing to give honor to my Lord Thomas (having both precedency in the army, and being a gentleman whom I much honored), so yet I was resolved to give and not take example for this service, holding mine own reputation dearest, and remembering my great duty to her Majesty. With the first peep of day, therefore, I weighed anchor, and bore down upon the Spanish fleet, taking the start of all ours a good distance."

The Spanish fleet, which consisted of "fifty-nine tall ships," besides seventeen galleys beneath the guns of the forts and many great galleons of war, exceeding in size the largest in the English navy, lay huddled within the inner harbor of Cadiz. If the Spaniards had possessed a single officer of commanding ability, they might have sallied out and successfully attacked the disorganized squadrons that had so rashly sailed in to emulate the great exploit of Drake in that same harbor ten years before. But, as then, they had no men qualified to command in an exigency; as then, their ships were crowded together in a mass, relying for protection, not upon their own armaments, but upon the guns of batteries on shore. The result was the same as in 1587, and as it was more than three hundred years later, at Manila and at Santiago: infinite harm came to the Spaniards, whose ships were crushed by shot, sunk, destroyed by flames, without inflicting corresponding injuries upon their opponents.

Straight at the centre of the imprisoned fleet aimed Raleigh, and he could not soon enough get into close quarters; for he had a score to settle with two of the mightiest antagonists in front of him—the enormous galleons St. Philip  and St. Andrew, as they had been foremost in the Azores fight of five years before, when his cousin Grenville was killed. His artillery fire was deadly, and the galleons received the brunt of it; but he was anxious to board them both, and for this purpose lay up close against them for two hours, sending great shot into their sides and sweeping their decks with the iron hail. Perhaps no better account of the great battle could be given than that written by himself, for, as we know, he was as good with the pen as with the sword. We will begin with the approach of the ships to close quarters, after an artillery duel in which every commander sought to participate:

"Now after we had beaten, as two butts one upon another, almost three hours (assuring your honor that the volleys of cannon and culverin came as thick as if it had been a skirmish of musketeers), and finding myself in danger to be sunk at the place, I went to my Lord General in my skiff, to desire him that he would enforce the promised fly-boats to come up, that I might board; for as I rid, I could not endure so great a battery any long time . . . .

"While I was speaking with the Earl, the Marshal, who thought it some touch to his esteemed valor to ride behind me so many hours, got up ahead of my ship; which my Lord Thomas perceiving headed him again, myself being but a quarter of an hour absent. At my return, finding myself from being the first to be but the third, I presently let slip anchor, and thrust in between my Lord Thomas and the Marshal, and went up further ahead than all of them before, and thrust myself athwart the channel, so as I was sure none would outstart me again for that day!  My Lord General Essex, thinking his ship's sides stronger than the rest, thrust the Dreadnought  aside and came next my ship, the Warspite, on the left hand, ahead of all that rank but my Lord Thomas. The Marshal, while we had no leisure to look behind us, secretly fastened a rope on my ship's side toward him, to draw himself up equally with me; but some of my company advertising me thereof, I caused it to be cut off, and so he fell back into his place; whom I guarded, all but his very prow, from the enemy.

"Now if it please you to remember, that having no hope of my fly-boats to board [small boats to carry his boarders], and that the Earl and my Lord Thomas promised to second me, I laid out a warp by the side of the Philip, to shake hands with her  (for with the wind we could not get aboard), which, when she and the rest perceived, finding also that the Repulse began to do the like, and the Rear Admiral also, they all let slip and came aground, tumbling into the sea heaps of soldiers, so thick as if coals had been poured out of a sack, some drowned and some sticking in the mud.

"The Philip  and the St. Thomas  burnt themselves; the St. Matthew  and the St. Andrew  were recovered by our boats, ere they could get out to fire them. The spectacle was very lamentable on their side, for many drowned themselves, many, half-burnt, leaped into the water; very many hanging by the ropes' ends by the ship's sides, under water even to their lips; many, swimming with grievous wounds, stricken under water and put out of their pains; and withal so huge a fire, and such tearing of ordnance in the great Philip, and the rest, when the fire came to them, as, if any man had desired to see Hell itself, it was there most lively figured. Ourselves spared the lives of all, after the victory; but the Flemings, who did little or nothing in the fight, used merciless slaughter, until they were, by myself, and afterward by my Lord Admiral, beaten off."

The fleet having been destroyed and the batteries silenced, the city was taken by soldiers under the command of Essex, to whose valor and skill Raleigh bore willing testimony in a letter to Cecil. He himself was prevented by a severe wound from participating in the assault, but insisted upon being carried ashore in a litter, and saw much of the fighting. He also shared in the rich spoils, at the sacking of the city, his portion of which was estimated at two thousand pounds sterling. The city was systematically sacked, and the spoils were vast; but the Queen's servants, both of high and low degree, having had forewarning of her cupidity at other times, secreted the bulk of it so successfully that Elizabeth "was indignant, first, that the spoil was not greater; and, secondly, that what there was seemed likely to be, in large measure, absorbed by the claims, or the foresight, of those who had taken it."

A joyous welcome awaited the victors when, late in the summer of that year, their ships sailed back to port. "The news of a victory so brilliant excited great enthusiasm everywhere in England—except at Court. The people were delighted that the King of Spain had suffered such a defeat as never before had befallen him at home. In the streets the victors were met with transports of applause and joy. But at Court they met clouded looks and haggling discussions about the amount of their prize-money. This degrading and petty avarice, and the consequent disregard of the claims of those who had so nobly served her, seems to have grown with Elizabeth's advancing years, and the power it had now attained over her better qualities would almost pass credibility, were not the proofs numerous, cogent, and circumstantial."

Raleigh and Essex were the people's heroes, and such was the revulsion of feeling caused by their bravery that they were everywhere hailed with tumultuous applause. They had been told of Sir Walter's defiance of the galleys and the forts, as, standing on the upper deck of the Warspite, he answered every shot from their guns with a contemptuous blare of his silver trumpet, sweeping onward steadily toward the enemies' galleons, with which he grappled in a battle to the death. They had been told, also, of the hot striving for the front, when every commander, with more zeal than discretion, tried to be the first at the Spaniards, and foremost to receive the deadly fire from the galleons' towering walls. The change in opinion respecting Sir Walter is well expressed in a letter to Lord Burghley from one of Raleigh's former enemies: "In my judgment," he wrote, "did no man better, and his artillery was of most effect. I never knew the gentleman till this time, and am sorry for it, for there are in him excellent things besides his valor; and the observation he hath in this voyage used with my Lord Essex hath made me love him."

Months elapsed, however, before Raleigh was allowed at court in his wonted capacity as Elizabeth's trusted adviser. He passed the winter of 1596–97 in strengthening the coast defences and putting the fleets in order for another voyage; but in May, 1597, as we gather from a gossipy letter of that time, he was daily at court, "and a hope is had that he shall be admitted to the execution of his office as Captain of the Guard before he goes to sea."

This reference to another expedition leads us up to the second appearance of Sir Walter as rear-admiral, and to the second victory which he was to gain for English ships and sailors. With his accustomed foresight, Raleigh had predicted that King Philip, though humiliated, was not crushed, and would certainly essay once again an invasion of England. "How the Spanish King can gather such an army and fleet together in so short a time, considering his late losses, I conceive not," he declares, in his famous Opinion Upon the Spanish Alarum;  yet he urges the government to "prepare for the worst," and sets an example of activity that is infectious. He had the country with him then, and, except for the Queen's parsimony, which constantly hindered his progress, no great obstacles were placed in his way. He was correct in his main conjecture, for the King of Spain, though his finest seaport had been laid in ruins, its forts and castles demolished, and the mightiest of his war-ships destroyed, set himself once again to the assembling of an "invincible armada." Crippled in resources as he was, and fully aware that with the fall of Cadiz the prestige of Spain had begun to decline, King Philip yet managed to collect another formidable fleet by midsummer of 1597.

Information reached Raleigh, through his secret agents, that Philip's new armada had begun to collect, as early as November, 1596, at Ferrol, on the coast of Coruna; but the English knew that no invasion of their shores would be made in the winter season, owing to the fierce gales that swept the seas, and aimed merely to have their fleet ready to meet the Spaniards in the following summer. It put to sea, in fact, about the middle of July, and consisted of seventeen ships of war, besides numerous transports and pinnaces. The Earl of Essex was admiral-in-chief, Lord Thomas Howard vice-admiral, and Sir Walter Raleigh rear-admiral, while the five thousand soldiers on board the ships, though nominally commanded by Lord Marshal Vere, were actually at the orders of the Queen's latest favorite, young Lord Mountjoy. The fleet was strong in ships and men, but weak from the very causes that operated against the former one: a multiplicity of officials, whom the Queen felt compelled to conciliate with important commands.

The valiant though fantastic Essex was supreme commander, however, and allowed no one to dispute his authority. He was instructed to seek and attack the fleet assembled, or assembling, at Ferrol; but a series of gales reduced the efficiency of his squadron so greatly that he was afraid to attempt it, and chose the other alternative of searching for and overhauling the expected treasure-fleet of that year, which was supposed to be large and richly laden. As it usually touched in at some one of the Azores, whence it proceeded under convoy to Spain, Essex appointed a rendezvous at the island of Flores, off which, about the middle of September, he and Raleigh met, and dined together on board the flag-ship, when they decided upon future operations.

Essex set off in advance, leaving Raleigh to follow, after watering his ships; but when the latter arrived at Fayal no other vessels than those of his own squadron were in sight. He waited four days, in great impatience, and then, as it had been the Admiral's intention to make an attack on Fayal, he took it upon himself to do so single-handed, and landed a strong force for the purpose. They were met by a heavy fire, when Sir Walter, who had gone ashore without his armor, himself led a dashing charge upon the intrenchments, and drove the Spaniards to the city, five miles away. A scattering fire was kept up by the enemy all along the route, and Raleigh received several bullets through his clothes, but escaped unscathed, and on the morrow returned to welcome his commander at the roadstead. Then there was a fierce quarrel between the two hot-headed admirals, for Essex considered his prerogatives invaded, and was inclined to punish his subordinate for "breach of order and articles," which carried with it the death penalty. Raleigh finally convinced the irate Earl that this penalty did not apply to a "principal commander," which he undoubtedly was; but, in the words of one who was there, "if my Lord, who by nature was timorous and flexible, had not feared how it would have been taken in England, I think Sir Walter had smarted for it!"

A truce was concluded, however; for this was no time for dissensions, when the seas were alive with prospective prizes, and the squadrons scattered in search of the treasure-fleet, which was daily expected at the islands. Raleigh chased a richly laden East-Indiaman ashore, and had the chagrin to see its valuable cargo of spices go up in smoke, scenting the coast for miles around with fragrant gales. Three valuable prizes were captured, but the plate-fleet slipped into Terceira unharmed, where its vast treasure was taken ashore and buried, protected by the guns of the forts. The three prizes served to placate the Queen; but Essex could not forget that the scanty honors of that voyage were mainly won by his rival, who had not only captured Fayal, but had sailed with the two great galleons he had taken at Cadiz included in his squadron.

A Period of Turmoils


Although Sir Walter had been debarred from Elizabeth's court during several years, he had been, as we have seen, employed by the Queen in various capacities, as soldier, naval officer, and general man-of-all-work, when anything urgent was demanded which no other person could perform. On his return from the "islands voyage," as the expedition to the Azores was termed, he seems to have been once more admitted to the confidence of his sovereign. He no longer shared her affections, however, these having been re-concentrated upon the hapless Essex, whose presumption on this account brought about his downfall and death. So far, in fact, he ventured, on one notable occasion, that the angered Queen dismissed him from her presence with a stinging box on the ear, and in his anger he accused her openly of being more anxious to please "that knave Raleigh" than himself.

Sir Walter was now between forty and fifty years of age, with "a leg lame and deformed" from the wound received at Cadiz, and yet he took as great pride in his personal appearance as ever. His armor was the costliest and most adorned with jewels of any worn at court, and his bearing before the Queen was as gallant as that of Essex himself.

It was his sage counsel that Elizabeth now valued, and not his attractions of face or manner; yet an incident that occurred sometime in the year following his return from the Azores would seem to belie any claim made for him of wisdom or good judgment. Taking advantage, one day, of the Earl's temporary banishment from the Queen's presence, Sir Walter arranged to make a display before her of himself and a gallant company of knights, all splendidly decked out in orange-colored feathers. But Essex had heard of his intention, and in order to divest the affair of the eclat with which his rival had expected to be greeted, he quickly organized another band of orange-feathered gallants far more numerous than Raleigh's, and at their head, in orange-colored armor, entered the tilt-yard and galloped around it, to the great enjoyment of his royal mistress and the total discomfiture of his opponent.

Soon after this so-called "feather triumph" of one feather-brained courtier over another, Essex received the fatal appointment as Governor of Ireland, which realized for him a great ambition but proved his undoing. At one time, having listened to his vaporings about what he would do to the Irish rebels, the veteran Cecil, Elizabeth's long-trusted Secretary of State, held out a psalm-book to Essex, silently pointing to the verse, "Men of blood shall not live out half their days," a prophetic warning that should have been heeded by both the Earl and Sir Walter. Ireland had been "the sepulchre of his father," as some one remarked, and was destined to be "the grave of his own fortunes," yet the rash young Earl persisted in going there as governor. "I have beaten Raleigh and Knollys in the council," he boasted, "and I will beat Tir Owen [the rebel] in the field; for nothing worthy her Majesty's honor has yet been achieved."

Not many months elapsed before there was a sudden panic in England, for it was privately reported to the Queen that, taking advantage of his possession of the "largest army that Ireland had ever seen," the Earl of Essex meditated a descent upon the throne. Nothing could be more absurd; but when he unexpectedly appeared at court sometime later, where he burst into the Queen's private apartments unannounced and without ceremony, he was at once arrested and sent to the Tower.

There is something strange about the behavior of Essex at this time, which might lead to the belief that he had become insane—as perhaps he had, through excess of ambition and jealous brooding over the acts of his rivals Cecil and Raleigh. He was kept in "honorable captivity" for some months, and released in August, on condition that he should hold no public office and should continue a prisoner in his own house at the Queen's pleasure. But his proud and jealous nature could not brook the restraint placed upon him, as he believed, by his deadly enemies, or those whom he considered as such. His popularity with the people had been proved during his long confinement, and, mistakenly relying upon their uncertain support, he cast himself upon their mercy when he led his band of deluded men through London, with the intent, as he said, of appearing before the Queen to plead his cause in person. But he was immediately proclaimed a traitor, and, finding the streets defended by barriers, behind which were constantly increasing forces of the Queen's men, he began a retreat to Essex House, where he remained. There, at ten o'clock of a gloomy night, he was arrested and conveyed to the Tower, whence he was to issue only to meet his final doom.

An endeavor had been made to draw Sir Walter Raleigh within the net that had been spread for the Earl's enemies, and he was shot at several times, by Sir Christopher Blount, on returning from a conference with Sir Fernando Gorges; but he emerged unharmed from the emeute, though compelled to attend various scenes of danger in his capacity of captain of the Queen's Guard. He also directed the siege of Essex House, which its owner had barricaded; he accompanied the prisoner to the Tower, and, as commander of the Queen's Guard, was forced to be present at the ensuing trial and execution. Though Sir Walter attended both trial and the scene of execution in his official capacity, there were not wanting certain mean-spirited persons who accused him of being there in order to gloat over the misfortunes of his defeated rival. He wag also accused of' having betrayed the Earl's intentions to the government, after the interview with Gorges; but as to that, the foolish actions of Essex ware known to all, and needed no "betrayer," for, indeed; he was his own worst enemy.

Whether or not the Earl of Essex was betrayed by Raleigh, the former had assured himself of a posthumous revenge, for during a long correspondence with King James of Scotland, the aspirant for the crown of England upon Queen Elizabeth's demise, he had "instilled into his mind that subtle poison which was never eradicated, and was the first to formulate the monstrous charge on which he was tried and condemned, and for which at last he died." When on his defence, Essex had declared that "Cobham, Cecil, and Raleigh's violence hath driven me to the necessary defence of my life," as exemplified in his attempt to burst into the Queen's presence., "And let them," he said, "freely enjoy their life; for my part, death  is more welcome to me than life."

He proved his sincerity by meeting his fate with composure, and when, after his sentence of death was pronounced, the edge of the axe was turned toward him, he said: "This body might have done the Queen better service, if it had so pleased her; I shall be glad if it may be useful to her in any way." But Elizabeth recalled that he had also said, when the recipient of her favor, that she was "as crooked in disposition as in her carcase," which remark, with others she may have remembered, probably steeled her to sign the death-warrant of one whom she had spoiled by her petting and ruined by her indulgence.

No one doubts that the Queen was deeply affected by the death of her superlative favorite, nor that, as the few years remaining to her passed by, she was more and more remorseful over the deed committed with her sanction. From that time, indeed, she visibly declined, mentally and physically, almost from the hour of his death becoming subject to periods of irritability and depression, from which no efforts on the part of her attendants could divert her. She was rarely cheerful after that, and never with a heart free from the pangs of remorse. Ever before her, by night and by day, she must have seen the headless corpse of him who had been so much to her that none could fill the void caused by his death.

Of Raleigh, it was asserted that if he had used his mediation in behalf of Essex, while the Queen's mind was wavering in an agonized reluctance to signing the death-warrant, he might have saved his former rival from the extreme penalty of his deeds. But he did not; though in consideration of a bribe, said to have amounted to ten thousand pounds, he interceded successfully for Baynham and Littleton, two of the Earl's co-conspirators. His remorse, if indeed he were thus afflicted, found surcease in extraordinary activities, and he made himself so useful, even indispensable, to the Queen that, instead of holding him in any measure accountable for, or implicated in, the projects of Essex which resulted in his death, she gave him her confidence and patronage.

The Earl of Essex was beheaded on February 25, 1601. In the month of September preceding, Elizabeth had conferred upon Sir Walter the governorship of Jersey, and to his island realm he had turned hopefully, in the expectation of finding there much-needed rest and comfort. His noble wife and son accompanied him to the vessel that he took on this first voyage to Jersey, but neither Lady Raleigh nor "little Wat" went with him farther then, though the latter, when grown to be a sturdy young man, was to take a longer voyage with his father—that to Guiana, which was to prove fatal to both.

Rest was denied Sir Walter in the island he was given to govern, as well as elsewhere, for he found much to do—forts to build, trade to establish with the colonies, and many measures to promote for the benefit of his people, which earned for him their lasting gratitude. Then he hastened back to Cornwall, where, as Lord Warden of the Stanneries, he was instrumental in doubling the wages of the miners, the poverty of whom may be inferred from the fact that even then they received but four shillings a week. In a defence of his course in Cornwall, set forth before Parliament, when it was proposed to abolish his monopoly of the mining of tin, Raleigh boasted of this in the following words: "Now I will tell you that before the granting of my patent, whatever the price of tin, the poor workman never had but two shillings a week, finding himself. But since my patent, whosoever will work be tin at what price soever—they have four shillings a week, truly paid." And such was the degradation of those poor miners that they felt very grateful to the rich Sir Walter Raleigh for allowing them to toil in his deep, dark mines at a wage of one dollar a week!

Sir Walter Raleigh's ancestors had filled seats in Parliament, in the House of Commons, for generations, and as a knight of the shire of Devon he had been returned in 1585. His greatest activity there is noticed between the years 1597 and 1602, when he took part in many a debate, notably on the abolishment of monopolies—in which he himself was vitally concerned, with his privileges of wines, of the tin-mines, etc.—and on the proposition to enact laws against religious sects not in accordance with the established church.

The "Brownists, "for example, had been declared recalcitrant and deserving of banishment, but Sir Walter spoke in their favor, as follows:

"In my conceit, the Brownists are worthy to be voted out of a commonwealth. But what danger may grow to ourselves, if this law passes, were fit to be considered. It is to be feared that men not guilty will be included in it. The law is hard that taketh life, or sendeth into banishment, where men's intentions shall be judged by a jury; and they shall be judges what another man meant. But the law that is against a fact is just. Punish the fact  as severely as you will. And again, if two or three thousand Brownists meet at the seaside, at whose charge shall they be transported? Or whither will you send them? I am sorry for it, but I am afraid there are nearly twenty thousand of them in England. When they are gone, who shall maintain their wives and children?"

His wisdom was manifest, also, in many other speeches, as in his remarks on the compulsory sowing of certain crops, to the exclusion of others more to the profit of the agriculturist. "For my part," he said, "I do not like this constraining of men to use their grounds at our wills. Rather let every man use his ground to that which it is most fit for, and therein use his own discretion."

In an argument on free trade in grains, he declared himself against monopolies of all sorts, and for open ports. "I think," he says, "the best course is to set corn at liberty, and leave every man free; which is the desire of every true Englishman." But when it was proposed to place tin on the free list at least so far as his monopoly of working the mines was concerned—he saw at once certain insuperable objections to such a course. Free corn was very desirable, but free tin would bring about an invasion of the miners' rights which could not be tolerated! In point of fact, while Sir Walter could sometimes soar to the heights of statesmanship, in the matter of self-service he was ever the politician!

In the midst of his multifarious occupations, Raleigh still found time for the enjoyment of literature, as a producer, and as a patron of others. He assembled about him a number of men interested in the antiquities of the country, and began, sometime in the last ten years of Elizabeth's reign, that study of history which stood him in such great advantage in his famous book, written while a prisoner in the Tower of London. Nearly all the authors who made the Elizabethan era famous were either his friends or acquaintances, and he has the credit of founding the celebrated Mermaid Club, which contained such great names as Shakespeare, Jonson, Fletcher, Beaumont, Cotton, and other lesser luminaries.

It is a curious fact that within the span of Raleigh's life Shakespeare's was contained, for he was born a few years later than Sir Walter (1564), and died two years previous to his execution. As for "Rare Ben Jonson" (to whose verbal combats with Shakespeare Raleigh must often have listened with amusement and profit), being twenty-one years the junior of Sir Walter, and nine younger than the immortal playwright, little is recorded of his connection with the club. He there formed his opinion of its founder, however, and is said to have remarked, with his usual acumen, that Sir Walter was more vain than forceful.

It must be confessed that Raleigh, through long acquaintance with vice in its most attractive forms, as displayed at court, where it was scarcely masked for sake of respectability, had grown accustomed to its presence and tolerant of its existence. He even excused, or glossed it over in his friends, and by the exercise of a still broader tolerance became self-blinded to their grave defects. To this failing we may attribute his continuance of an intimacy with the notorious Lord Cobham, who, the year that Elizabeth died, dragged him within the shadow of the scaffold.

During all the years that intervened between his return from the Azores and the accession of King James, or from 1597 to 1603, Raleigh kept a strict watch upon England's enemies, the Spaniards. Through his secret agents he obtained such information that he was enabled to inform the government of a projected invasion of Ireland, which was thus defeated before it was accomplished and another grievance added to the account held against him by the King of Spain. He did not confine his efforts to checkmating the schemes of the enemy, but maintained squadrons of privateers in commission for driving Spanish commerce from the seas. In this enterprise Cecil and Cobham were jointly concerned with him, though the Queen may not have been cognizant of all that took place on the ocean at that time. Indeed, her interest in all earthly affairs was waning rapidly, for soon after she had attained her seventieth year, or in the latter part of 1602, Elizabeth virtually withdrew from active participation in affairs of state and business. She more frequently attended divine service, and listened more attentively to the reading of prayers than ever before, spending the interim chiefly in the self-absorption of her thoughts. That these were sad, almost unbearable, and that her state was intolerably lonely, was painfully apparent to her attendants, whose efforts to amuse or distract her were in vain. As for her courtiers; most of them thought solely of themselves, in the last months of their sovereign's existence, and were, almost without exception, in secret communication with the coming king. The Earl of Essex had been one of the first thus to forestall events by trying to prepare for them, and doubtless his correspondence with King James (in which he failed not to warn him of Raleigh's influence as something inimical to his succession) had incensed the Queen. She could never allude to this indiscretion without great irritation, for the question of the succession, presaging as it did her own death as necessary for its accomplishment, was, as she often remarked, "like pinning up her winding-sheet before her face." When, therefore, she became informed that many of her courtiers, though deeply indebted to her for favors, were already building upon her grave—as it were—she sank into gloom and despondency. "Ah, me!" she exclaimed, "they have yoked my neck. I have none in whom I may trust. My estate is turned upside down!"

She no longer had the venerable Cecil to advise her, for he had died in 1598. In his place was his son Robert, who, though her most trusted confidant and counsellor, was at the same time deepest in the intrigue through which King James was to benefit by her death. He had early begun a correspondence which sought, on his part, to elevate himself in the estimation of the King, and depreciate others who might stand in his way—notably Sir Walter Raleigh, as one who by his exceptional talents would be likely to attract royal attention. This, however, was a superfluous labor, it seems, since James had already formed an opinion adverse to Sir Walter, from letters written by Essex and from his own activity against the Spaniards. He viewed him as a reckless soldier whose aspirations might lead him to the throne itself if they were not checked. But Raleigh, though cognizant of the King's aversion, did not, like Cecil and others, seek to conduct a clandestine correspondence with the Scottish court, in an endeavor to gain the King's favor, while his beloved sovereign was still living.

The most reprehensible of the Queen's courtiers in this respect was Cecil, whose sycophantic labors for King James procured for him the sobriquet of "Little Beagle," though "badger" or "hyena" would have been more appropriate, from his proclivity for digging into plots and mysteries, which could only be come at by burrowing underground, or in the graves of ruined reputations. He was also known to his familiar contemporaries as "Robert the Devil," from his sly and insinuating methods, and "his crooked body, upon which he carried a head-piece of much content." He was, nevertheless, trusted by the Queen to the very last, though, it is related, he once came near arousing suspicions that would have insured his prompt discharge from office, dependent upon him as she was for advice. It was on one of her last rides into the country. A messenger met the coach, as it was crossing Blackheath, with a packet from Scotland. She desired him to deliver it to her, but Cecil, who was at her side, first secured it, and, having broken the seals, declared that it contained nothing but old and musty parchments, "which it would trouble her Highness to endure." It should first be purified, he assured her, before being admitted to her inspection; and the broken-spirited Queen assented, thus relieving Cecil from a most embarrassing position, for the packet was from King James, and contained incriminating letters.

"Robert the Devil" took good care that the one he most feared should not have too frequent or confidential interviews with Elizabeth in the closing days of her reign, and was present at the last of which we have an account, about three months before her fatal seizure. She then implored Sir Walter to advise her respecting the treatment of certain Irish rebels whose properties had become forfeit through their disloyal acts, and the former favorite was gratified to observe that she instructed her secretary to act in accordance with his suggestions.

The Great Conspiracy


The tidings of Elizabeth's demise reached Sir Walter Raleigh in the west of England, whither his official duties had called him. At the same time he received an order from Cecil to remain at his post, for the late Queen's secretary feared, with good reason, that he would hasten to join the throng of courtiers already on the way to meet King James as he journeyed southward. Perhaps he would have done well if he had remained where duty found him, for he certainly gained nothing by appearing before the royal boor from Scotland, whose first greeting is said to have been in the form of a clumsy pun: "On my soul, I've heard rawly  of thee!"

This greeting was an affront as well, for it implied that James ignored, even if he had known of Raleigh's great services to the state, his wit, his learning, his high qualities of manhood, which far transcended those of the King himself. This may have been the real secret of the King's antipathy, for he could scarce tolerate one who possessed the substantial erudition, gained from toil and experience, of which his own acquirements were but superficial reflections. The King's aspect, too, was repellent, and it may have been that Sir Walter, long-time courtier though he was, allowed himself a little scorn of this uncouth representative of royalty; for who could conceal his contempt of one whose very presence was the antithesis of royal comportment: who wabbled awkwardly about when he walked, like a sailor newly landed; whose eyes rolled around, but never rested upon, the person he addressed; whose tongue was so thick and whose "burr" was so pronounced that his speech was scarce understandable?

Such was "the wisest fool in Christendom" as he appeared to the most accomplished courtier in England. This was the man whom the Queen had in her mind when perhaps accused by conscience of the crime she had committed in executing his mother—she had exclaimed: "My seat hath been the seat of kings! Trouble me no more. He who comes after me must be a king. I will have none but our cousin of Scotland . . . ."And this  was the king!

King James bore no good will toward Raleigh, as was apparent in their first interview, and that he had already decided to despoil him of his various offices was soon made manifest, for another was appointed captain of the guard, his monopolistic privileges were taken away, and finally he was deposed as governor of Jersey. As a leader of the war-party, also, Sir Walter had incurred the displeasure of the King, who was disposed to peace at any cost, and who "could never see a sword without a shiver down his spine." Now, Sir Walter prided himself upon the very qualifications which the cowardly James held in abhorrence. His valor was as unquestioned as that of the lamented Essex, for whose death, in some manner, the King held Raleigh to be responsible—or at least as contributory toward it. He had written for and now rashly presented to King James a Discourse Touching a War with Spain, upon which he had plumed himself for a lofty flight, when the offended monarch, at one fell blow, brought him head-long to the ground.

"I want no war with Spain," he vehemently asserted. "Moreover, had I not been invited to the throne of England, I could have vindicated my rights by force of arms."

"Would to God, then," exclaimed the nettled Raleigh, "that it had been put to the test!"

"Ha, why do you say that?" inquired the King.

"Because, your Majesty," was the unexpected rejoinder, "you would then have known your friends from your foes!"

This was a discrimination that King James never made, for all foes could be his friends if they were but proficient in flattery. His perceptions were dull, his nature indolent, and he gladly gave into Sir Robert Cecil's hands the weighty affairs of state. Having ousted almost everybody else from the King's presence, Sir Robert, the sycophant, exerted himself to the utmost to fill all the positions they had filled. He was the King's prime-minister, his secretary—his factotum in every sense of the word. It was not long after the coronation of James had taken place that his faithful little "Beagle" brought him fearsome tidings of a most "surprising treason" against his Majesty. A "plot of the priests," he also termed it, since it had begun with the intrigues of a secular priest named William Watson, who joined with him another of his order, Francis Clerke. These two, somehow, secured the connivance of George Brooke, a dissolute brother of Lord Cobham; of Anthony Copley, a reckless adventurer and one-time pensioner of the Pope; and Sir Griffin Markham, a nobleman who owned a magnificent estate including a noble park so vast that it seemed a part of the primeval forest.

This quintet of conspirators met one afternoon in the environs of Sir Griffin's park, and, having taken an oath of secrecy, discussed the details of a most surprising treason, indeed. It was nothing less than the seizing of the King that they contemplated, and the confining of his Majesty in his own Tower of London. How they were to capture him, surrounded as he was by his guards, and how they were to seize the almost impregnable Tower, they could not tell at that time, but this was their scheme. Wild and visionary as it was, there was a grim purpose behind it, and this was to confine him as a hostage until certain reforms should be granted the Catholics, in whose interests they professed to be working. All the original conspirators were Catholics, but before the plot matured they secured the connivance of the young and brilliant Lord Grey of Wilton, a Puritan of the Puritans, who had become offended at the King on account of favors withdrawn from his own faction and disposed upon others whom he considered not so worthy of his Majesty's regard.

And this was the plot to seize the King's person at Greenwich on June 24th, when on his way to Windsor, overcome his guards, and then rely upon the assembling of the people, under the pretext of presenting a monster petition for the numerical strength sufficient to carry out their fell design. But the people, as usual, proved an uncertain and unreliable element to reckon on, and the scheme fell through. There were also dissensions among the plotters, for Watson, the priest, suspected Lord Grey, the Puritan, of an intention of turning the affair to his own profit by a counter-attack, releasing the King from the clutches of the confederates when they should have had him in their power, and then securing from him all the advantages they had hoped to gain for his own people, the Puritans. Thus there was a plot within a plot, or at least the suspicion of one, and rather than be the means of benefiting the Puritans, Watson concluded it were better to betray the scheme and depend upon the King's magnanimity for a pardon. So he conspired against the conspirators, and thus information leaked out, through a Jesuit priest named Blackwell, that put the court on its guard and set the wheels of official machinery in motion that eventually brought some of the plotters to the block.

This was the "Treason of the Main," as it was called, to distinguish it from the "Treason of the Bye," or another plot which had for its object a change in the royal succession. The "Main," or the principal treason, would, if successful, have endangered the lives of the King and his family, for it was the intention, as one of the conspirators is said to have expressed it, of making way with the "old fox and his cubs." He was, however, a wary old "fox," and now that his suspicions and those of his little "Beagle" were aroused, sniffed treason in the very air. He surmised, and probably was aided in the surmise by his "Beagle," that the next attempt would be made upon the "royal succession," and investigations were promptly carried on, with the inevitable result that others than those who have been already named were implicated in the "Treason of the Bye."

There was but one who could be used in setting up a claim to the throne to which King James had been called, and this one was the young and beautiful Lady Arabella. She was the great-granddaughter of Margaret Tudor, daughter of Henry VII., and sister of Henry VIII., the father of Elizabeth. She was the next heir in the succession to both the English and Scottish thrones after James, whose strength lay in his double descent from Margaret Tudor. Arabella Stuart could claim only a single descent from her great-grandmother; but she was of English birth, while James had been born it Scotland, and to the end of his days continued a Scotsman of the Scots.

The lovely Arabella had concerned herself very little about the succession, and it is doubtful even if she cared for the crown which her indiscreet admirers wished to place upon her youthful head. When very young she had been presented at Elizabeth's court, at which event the "Virgin Queen" had playfully remarked to one of her ladies in waiting: "Sometime the little Arabella will be mistress here, even as I am!"

Among those who heard this remark was probably Sir Walter Raleigh, for he was at court and in favor at the time. Perhaps the Queen may have discussed with him the matter of succession, though this, in view of her repugnance to the topic, is unlikely. With whatever favor Elizabeth regarded the child, she was not prevented by sentiment from seizing lands belonging to her in England, while in Scotland the crafty James despoiled her, not only of her paternal domain, but her mother's precious jewels as well. Thus she was rendered almost portionless, in order, perhaps, that she might not seem so attractive to dowry-seeking princes.

Now, Sir Walter Raleigh was probably the last man in England to think of advocating, much more risking life and fortune for, the succession of Lady Arabella to the throne, yet this charge was brought against him by his enemies. He was as surprised as any one could be who had never considered the matter seriously, and declared that he had seen the princess but once, and that was the year before the Armada was defeated, when she was scarcely twelve years of age. He did not like her then, he asserted, with emphasis, and he had given her no thought at any time since, so why should he be accused of this constructive treason to his king?

This accusation was only preliminary to another far more serious: that of conspiring with a foreign enemy in the interests of the Spaniards. The Count of Arenberg, united to the Infanta Isabella ("whose shadowy claim to the succession of Elizabeth was a pretext for the cry of Essex that the throne of England was 'sold to the Spaniards"), had attempted to negotiate a peace, with Lord Cobham as intermediary. As Cecil and the King well knew, Sir Walter Raleigh, the most determined enemy to Spain, would not be likely to advocate any terms with that country gained by peaceful means, and he was the last person who should have been accused, as he was, of accepting a bribe for promoting the treaty in England. The bribe was offered, his enemies declared, and he engaged that there should be no opposition from the English navy. This accusation was even more absurd than the previous one, and, had there been no peril in it, might have been treated by Sir Walter with the contempt it merited; but it carried an implication of treason, the penalty for which, at the King's discretion, was an attainder and death.

One morning in July, 1603, as Sir Walter was walking for exercise on the castle terrace at Windsor, he was tapped on the shoulder by the "Beagle," who informed him that the lords in council desired to speak with him. He went directly to the council chamber, and there was questioned as to his knowledge of the "surprising treason," of the plot to place the Lady Arabella on the throne, and also of his connection with Lord Cobham with reference to the Arenberg negotiations.

He replied that he knew absolutely nothing of any plot to surprise the King's person, nothing whatever respecting the Lady Arabella, and nothing treasonable in the peace negotiations conducted by Arenberg and Cobham. He admitted that overtures had been made to him—hints of several thousand crowns as his share—provided the plan for peace should succeed, but that he had not considered them seriously.

If he had spurned them, as he should have done, his career as a courtier might not have terminated so quickly, and the proceedings might not have been entered upon that placed his life in peril. But he was not the only subject of King James to whom Spanish gold had been freely offered—by some accepted. Even Cecil himself rested many years under the imputation that he was a secret pensioner of Spain. There was no crime implied in having been offered a bribe, nor even in having accepted one, but in being found out! The acceptance of a bribe was leniently regarded, and even looked on as a matter of course, but it might prove a deadly weapon in the hands of one's enemies.

It was not shown, either in the council chamber or during the subsequent trial of Sir Walter for treason, that he had been bribed in this particular instance; but it was assumed that he had, for it was known that his venality was not proof against one—if it were large enough; and it was also necessary for the perfection of that web of "evidence" in which he was to be entangled and dragged to destruction. Raleigh disclaimed any treasonable intention in his intercourse with Cobham, nor, he said, had he observed anything suspicious in his conduct; but as an after-thought it came to him that he had held questionable communication with one Renzi, a reputed agent of Count Arenberg, and this information he unwisely communicated to the council in a letter. He afterward wrote to Cecil that "if Renzi were not secured the matter would not be discovered, for Renzi would fly; yet, if he were then apprehended, it would give matter of suspicion to Lord Cobham." He may have meant nothing more than to shift the responsibility upon the foreigners or upon Cobham; but his act was unworthy a gentleman, and was swiftly requited in kind, as will shortly appear.

The principal in the plot, Lord Cobham, was arrested and taken before the lords in council. He exonerated Sir Walter entirely; but the latter's foes—as the lords proved themselves to be—showed him the portion of that unfortunate letter relating to his intercourse with Renzi. It was a confidential communication to Cecil, whose meanness in disclosing its contents to the "noble lords" was only paralleled by theirs in availing themselves of such a subterfuge. But it did the work well, for upon reading this passage, Cobham burst out, in a fury: "Oh, the traitor! Oh, the villain! Now will I confess the truth!"

What he then disclosed was not the truth, but a fabrication of his own, to the effect that he, by agreement with Arenberg, was to go into Spain, there to receive five hundred thousand crowns, which he was to bring to Raleigh, who, as governor of Jersey, possessed facilities for distributing the money among the rebellious troops they were to incite to rise against the crown. The statement was a mere tissue of lies; but it was what Cecil and his accomplices desired, and notwithstanding the fact that Cobham retracted it wholly in a subsequent assertion, upon it was based the charge of treason that resulted in the immediate committal of Sir Walter Raleigh to the Tower.

To be accused of treason was in effect to be convicted; to be convicted meant the loss of all properties, degradation, death. Raleigh knew what it signified to be imprisoned on such a charge, and he foresaw the end as clearly as if his doom were already pronounced. Realizing that all his former friends were against him, that the King, the courtiers, the people, were desirous of his death, he gave way to despair, and in the solitude of his cell made an attempt upon his life. His mind was distracted, no doubt; but one of his friends alleged afterward: "Sir Walter Raleigh is said to have declared that his design to kill himself arose from no feeling of fear, but was formed in order that his fate might not serve as a triumph to his enemies, whose power to put him to death, despite his innocency, he well knows."

He poured out his soul in a long letter to his wife, among other things saying:

"I have desired God and disputed with my reason, but nature and compassion have the victory. That I can live to think how you are both left a spoil of my enemies, and that my name shall be a dishonor to my child—I cannot. I cannot endure the thought there-of! . . . I am now made an enemy and traitor by the word of an unworthy man. He hath proclaimed me a partaker of his vain imaginations, notwithstanding the whole course of my life hath approved the contrary—as my death shall approve it. . . . Be not dismayed that I die in despair of God's mercies. Strive not to dispute it. But assure thyself that God hath not left me, nor Satan tempted me. Hope and despair live not together. I know it is forbidden to destroy ourselves; but I trust it is forbidden in this sort: that we destroy ourselves despairing of God's mercy. For the mercy of God is immeasurable; the cogitations of men comprehend it not."

But the self-inflicted wound was not fatal—"rather a cut than a stab," as Cecil himself describes it, having gone to him and "found him in some agony: seeming unable to endure his misfortunes, and protesting innocence, with carelessness of life." The wound soon healed, but the scar of it Raleigh carried on his breast to his death. If it were intended to have an effect upon Cecil, it failed utterly, for the "Little Beagle" fetched and carried between the Tower and the court, until at last his quarry was brought to bay at the bar of so-called "justice."

While confined in the Tower, Sir Walter obtained from his fellow-prisoner, Cobham, a retraction in writing of his original statement against him, the pith of which was: "I never had conference with you in any treason, nor was I ever moved by you to the things I heretofore accused you of. And, for anything I know, you are as innocent and as clear from any treasons against the King as is any subject living. God so deal with me, and have mercy on my soul, as this is true!"

The retraction availed not with the "noble lords," with Cecil, or with the King; for on November 17th following, the author of it, together with his brother, George Brooke, and the victim of his malice, Sir Walter Raleigh, were placed on trial. They were charged in the indictment with "conspiring to deprive the King of his crown and dignity; to subvert the government, and alter the true religion established in England, and to levy war against the King." Lord Cobham, the indictment further alleges, "had discourse with the said Sir Walter Raleigh, then Captain of the Isle of Jersey, concerning the means of exciting rebellion against the King, and raising one Arabella Stuart to the Crown of "England; and further, that for such purpose the said Lord Cobham should treat with Charles, Count of Arenberg, to obtain five or six hundred thousand crowns from Philip, King of Spain, to enable the said traitors to effect their treasons . . . and should likewise cross the seas and proceed to Spain to treat with the King of Spain, and persuade him to support the pretended title of Arabella Stuart to the Crown of England."

This was the flimsy indictment, the sequence to a plot which may never have been schemed, and which to-day is wrapped in mystery. The trial that followed was the most notable of the innumerable miscarriages of so-called "British justice" ever recorded. It was conducted in ancient Wolvesey Castle, before a "King's Bench," at the head of which was Sir John Popham, and containing, among others, the very lords of the council who had made the preliminary examinations and formulated the indictment. It was evident from the very first that they had determined to convict at least one of the accused, Sir Walter Raleigh, and to the end that this conviction might be brought about with a semblance of fairness, the jury had been carefully "packed," in advance, with his enemies.

When asked if he wished to challenge any of the jurors, Raleigh unsuspectingly replied: "I know none of them, but think them all honest and Christian gentlemen. I know mine own innocency, and therefore will challenge none." The sequel showed that he had unduly credited them with being gentlemen," for, like his judges, and like the common people, who had mobbed him when on the way from Tower to castle, so that "it was hab or nab whether he should have been brought alive through such multitudes of unruly folk who did exclaim against him," they hated him, because of the well-known hatred of the King as toward Sir Walter Raleigh. They hated him, and, moreover, they knew the part they had to play, which was merely to do the King's bidding and convict the prisoner.

They might have taken their cue from the attorney-general, the brutal and vindictive Coke (had they not been already instructed), for he, though no evidence had been given, nor ever was obtained, to connect Raleigh with the "treasons of the priests," proceeded to accuse him of them all. He quoted the remark attributed to one of the conspirators, respecting the "old fox and his cubs," as though it had been Raleigh's own, and then turned dramatically to him with the question: "To whom, Sir Walter, did you bear malice? To the royal children?" Raleigh in vain protested to the jury that he had not made the remark, neither had anything to do with the priests' treasons, when Coke retorted: "Nay, but I will prove all. Thou art a monster; the most notorious traitor that ever came to the bar! Thou hast an English face, but a Spanish heart!"

And this to one who had persistently fought the Spaniards from his first days of soldiering! This to the hero of Cadiz and the Azores, who had done more for the preservation of England from her Spanish foes than any man then present at that trial!

Sir Walter swallowed the affront, and patiently rejoined: "No, no, Master Attorney, I am no traitor. Whether I live; Or die, I shall stand as true a subject as ever the King hath. You may call me a 'traitor;' at your pleasure, yet it becomes not a man of quality or virtue to do so. But I take comfort in it. It is all that you can do, for I do not hear yet that you charge me with any treason."

"It is very strange," said Raleigh, addressing the jury, "that I, at this time, should be thought to plot with the Lord Cobham, knowing him a man that hath neither love nor following; and myself, at this time, having resigned a place of my best command, in an office I had in Cornwall:

"I was not so bare of sense but I saw that, if ever this state was strong, it was now that we have the kingdom of Scotland united, whence we were wont to fear all our troubles, and Ireland divided, where our forces were wont to be divided. . . . And instead of a lady whom time had surprised [Elizabeth, in her old age], we had now an active King who would be present at his own business. For me, at this time, to make myself a Robin Hood, a Wat Tyler, or a Jack Cade—I was not so mad! I knew the state of Spain well—its king's weakness, his poorness, his humbleness, at this time. I knew that six times we had repulsed his forces: thrice in Ireland, thrice at sea, once upon our own coast, and twice upon his own. Thrice had I served against him myself at sea, wherein for my country's sake I had expended of my own property forty thousand marks! . . . And to show I am not 'Spanish'—as you term me—at this time' I had writ a treatise to the King of the present state of Spain, and reasons against the peace."

In response, Attorney Coke merely made answer with scurrilous epithet, calling the prisoner a "damnable atheist," a "spider of hell," and repeatedly "an Englishman with a Spanish heart." "Methinks," he said, with a sneer, "it would have been better for you to have staid in Guiana  than to be so well acquainted with the state of Spain. As to the six overthrows of the King of Spain, I make answer: 'he hath the more malice,' because repulses breed desire of revenge. As for your writing against the Peace with Spain: you sought but to cloak a Spanish traitor's heart!"

Innuendo and invective constituted the bulk of the accusations against this prisoner on trial for his life. His indignant demand, "Let me answer, it concerns my life!" was denied. His request to meet his accuser face to face was refused; his statement that by the law no man could be convicted of treason on the mere testimony of a single witness was declared to be false, though the edict was then on the statute-books. Still, freedom of speech was not denied the prisoner, nor did his courage forsake him. He made his cogent reasonings felt by all present at the trial, and his dignified bearing, his lofty demeanor, his freedom from all fear (though within the shadow of the scaffold, as he well knew), made ample amends for his craven behavior when in prison. Said Sir Roger Aston, a confidential servant of the King: "Never man spoke so well in times past, nor would do so in times to come." Another gentleman asserted that although he would, before the trial, "have gone a thousand miles to see Sir Walter hanged, I would, ere we parted, have gone a thousand miles to have saved his life

When, after but a quarter-hour's deliberation, the jury returned a verdict of guilty, Raleigh was asked if he had anything to say in stay of judgment, he calmly answered: "My lords, the jury have found me guilty. They must do as they are directed. I can say nothing why judgment should not proceed. You see whereof Cobham hath accused me. You remember his protestations that I was never guilty!

"I desire that the King should know these things. I was accused to be a practiser with Spain. I never knew that my Lord Cobham meant to go thither; but I will ask no mercy at the King's hands if he will affirm it. Secondly, I never knew of the practises with Arabella. Thirdly, I never knew of my Lord Cobham's practises with Arenberg, nor of the 'surprising treason.'"

Then judgment was pronounced. Chief-Justice Popham, in the most brutal manner of which he was capable, sentenced his victim to death. He was to be drawn on a hurdle to the place of his execution, there to be hanged; but to be cut down while yet alive, to have his heart torn out and his head severed from his body, which was to be quartered, and subject to the pleasure of the King.

Twelve Years a Prisoner


Raleigh heard the fearful sentence without a tremor, and after it was delivered calmly addressed the lords, requesting merely, that though he was to suffer the extreme penalty, it might not be through the ignominious death prescribed by the vengeful judge. A disdainful smile played about his lips, and his eyes flashed angrily, as he also demanded that, if Cobham were executed, he should precede him to the scaffold, since, he said, "he can face neither me nor death, without acknowledging his falsehoods."

He was taken to a cell in Winchester Castle, where, according to his enemies, his high courage deserted him to the extent that he wrote to the King begging him to spare his life for future service in his Majesty's behalf. Fully believing his end was nigh, he wrote a farewell letter to his wife which, though he was in error as to his immediate demise, reveals the workings of his sorrow-stricken heart, but gives no evidence of fear:

". . . You shall receive, dear wife, my last words in these my last lines. My love I send you, that you may keep it when I am dead; and my counsel, that you may remember it when I am no more. I would not with my last will present you with sorrows, dear Bess. Let them with me go to the grave, and be buried with me in the dust. And, seeing it is not the will of God that ever I shall see you in this life, bear my destruction gently, and with a heart like yourself."

After minute instructions as to the disposition of his properties, he continued:

"Remember your poor child for his father's sake, that chose and loved you in his happiest times. Get those letters which I writ to the Lords, wherein I sued for my life; but God knoweth that it was for you and yours that I desired it; but it is true that I disdain myself for begging it. And know, dear wife, that your son is the child of a true man, and who, in his own respect, despiseth Death, and all his misshapen, ugly forms.

"I cannot write much. God knows how hardly I stole this time, when all sleep; and it is time to separate my thoughts from this world. Beg my dead body, which living was denied you, and either lay it at Sherborne, if the land continue [in your possession], or in Exeter church, by my father and mother.

"I can write no more. Time and Death  call me away. The everlasting, infinite, powerful, and inscrutable God, that is goodness itself, mercy itself, the true life and light, keep you and yours; have mercy on me, teach me to forgive my persecutors and false accusers; and send us to meet in His glorious kingdom! My true wife, farewell. Bless my poor boy; pray for me. May God hold you both in his arms.

"Written with the dying hand of sometime thy husband; but now, alas, overthrown.

"Yours that was, but now not my own.


True, he was no longer his own; he was completely at the mercy of the King, and the "wise fool" played with his victim as a cat plays with a mouse. Had he sent Sir Walter directly to the block, as the tortured prisoner expected would be his fate, greater mercy would have been shown than was accorded him; but fifteen long and agonizing years were yet to be added to that life which had been declared forfeit to the King. The infamous James only delayed signing Sir Walter's death-warrant because he had yet other tortures in store for him. One of the perjured judges who condemned him declared on his deathbed that the justice of England had never been so degraded and injured as in that condemnation, and it may be added that never had an inscrutable Providence permitted a baser sovereign to wring the heart-strings of a nobler subject!

The hapless instigators of the "surprising treason," Clerke and Watson, were executed, and their remains degraded, on November 29th. Their accomplice, George Brooke, followed them to the scaffold a week later. The headsman held aloft the dissevered head of Brooke, and cried out, "God save the King!" as usual, but there was no response from the crowd. The people were sullen, dissatisfied, and even the dull intelligence of the King could perceive that they considered his worthless life too high a purchase at the cost of so many subjects.

Now the applause of the populace, composed though it was of an uncouth nation's "shin-fed savages," was sweet to the ear of this Scottish immigrant, and he quickly veered about to the side of clemency. He planned a farce to take the place of tragedy, so that when, on December 10th, Grey, Cobham, and Markham were brought to the block, they were severally confronted with a commutation of their sentence; that is, their agonies were prolonged, their deaths postponed, though all perished miserably in the end so miserably, indeed, that they really died a thousand deaths before the sweet relief of final dissolution.

The agonizing scene was prolonged through several hours, and from his grated window in the castle Sir Walter saw it all. He saw Markham first led to the block, where he was permitted to pray, and where, urged by the sheriff, he declared his sentence just. Then he was led away, and in his place stood Grey, with whom a like farce was enacted, after he, too, had prepared himself by prayer to meet his doom. Last of all came Cobham, who prayed so long and loud that the impatient spectators cried out that he must have been informed of the forthcoming reprieve. His seeming indifference, too, with the axe and the executioner beside him, appeared to confirm this impression.

Finally all the actors in this strange tragedy disappeared, and the bewildered Raleigh, gazing distractedly through the bars, too far distant to hear what had been said, wondered what had, in truth, taken place. Perhaps the prisoners were to be executed at some other spot! He could not believe they had been more than reprieved, and every instant he expected his own summons to the block. But he had heard the shouts of the "shin-eaters" as they acclaimed the magnanimity of their sovereign, and may have gained an inkling of the truth. "God save our King!" they had loudly shouted, and James, promptly informed of the fact, fancied himself a very grand and magnanimous sovereign indeed.

Perhaps we are wrong in judging the occurrences of that age by the standards of our own; but was not human life the same then as now—man made in the image of his Maker? The Englishmen of that day were gross, brutal, bestial, if we may believe the historians. Queen Elizabeth saw no impropriety in beating her maids of honor "so that those beauteous girls could often be heard crying and lamenting in a piteous manner."

Did not the unfortunate Lady Jane Grey receive such despiteful treatment, "being pinched and boxed, and ill-treated in other manners which she dare not relate," that she often wished herself dead? So severe were the punishments meted out for trivial offences, the death penalty being often invoked, that life lost its sacredness in the eyes of many.

"Throughout, a stern discipline, and the axe ready for every suspicion of treason great men, bishops, a chancellor, princes, the King's relatives, queens, a protector kneeling in the straw, sprinkled the Tower with their blood. One after the other they marched past, stretched out their necks: the Duke of Buckingham, Queen Anne Boleyn, Catherine Howard, the Earl of Surrey, Admiral Seymour, the Duke of Somerset, Lady Jane Grey and her husband, the Duke of Northumberland, Mary Stuart, the Earl of Essex all on the throne or the steps of the throne, in the highest ranks of honors, beauty, youth, and genius. Of the bright procession nothing is left but senseless trunks, marred by the tender mercies of the executioner."—Froude's History of England

No haste was made to relieve Raleigh's anxiety, and for a long time he awaited events, believing every hour might be his last. At last he was told that the King, in his clemency, had consented to render him his life for a season, and then he was committed to the Tower, there to pass the ensuing years, to the number of twelve, within its frowning walls.

A king who assumed the prerogatives of the Almighty, and who granted his subjects length of days, or cut them short, at his pleasure, could not but have inculcated in them a slavish humility, such as is disgustingly manifest in Raleigh whenever he suffered a reaction. In his dual personality existed a man and a puppet the former created by God, the latter bred in the vitiating atmosphere of courts. Against the God-given man no power on earth could prevail, for he feared not death, nor cared greatly for life. But the devitalized puppet was ever ready to bow the knee before base-born kings and queens, whom he had erroneously been taught to revere, as partaking more of the divine than the human. Hence we find him writing slaveringly to the monarch who had put his life in peril for no crime whatever, as though in the hands of the mongrel James were the keys of heaven and of earth.

This is the extent of Raleigh's self-degradation while a prisoner in the Tower, waiting, during a dozen years, permission to make his exit therefrom and perform his duties to the world. All that time the paltering James existed without the walls, king by the "grace of God" and the imbecility of a semi-civilized people, Sir Walter existed within, and, being thrown upon himself for entertainment, drew upon forces which hitherto he had not dreamed of possessing. It was not in his nature to remain at ease and quiescent, for the ferment of his mind was sufficient to keep his body in motion, and, deprived of friends sensate, he made friends of things inanimate.

Books were allowed him, and in a little garden adjacent to the "Bloody Tower" in which he was confined he was permitted to build a laboratory. As the most vindictive of his keepers reported to the King, "he hath converted a hen-house into a still-house, where he doth spend his time all the day in his distillations." This was several years after he had been committed, and that he passed his time there to some good account is shown by his decoction from spices and cordials, the fame of which induced the Queen to send for it in Prince Henry's last illness. The gallant Prince Henry was as unlike his father as one might wish him to be, and yet did not resemble his frivolous mother, possessing virtues to which they were strangers. Perhaps that is why he died in youth, before he became corrupted by the contaminating presence of his father; but however this may be, he manifested a strong regard for Sir Walter Raleigh, with whom he formed an acquaintance that lasted till his death in 1612.

The young Prince often asked his father why he kept such a brilliant bird in a cage, and importuned him for his release; but the King did not consent to humor him until he was stretched upon his death-bed. It was only a promise that he gave him then, and a promise unfulfilled at that, for Raleigh owed his eventual release from prison to bribes he paid some influential members of the King's court, and not directly to the intercession of the Prince or his mother. To humor his young friend, however, Raleigh began writing his adventures, which interested the boy so greatly that he undertook and carried through a work which he called Observations on the Royal Navy and Sea Service, and dedicated to his friendly patron.

Prince Henry could not imagine this courtly and dignified cavalier, whose inbred delicacy of sentiment was in such striking contrast to his father's boorishness, capable of plotting that parent's destruction. He no more believed it than King James himself believed it; but the King had wronged Sir Walter too deeply to allow him unrestricted liberty. He did not deny his son and heir to the throne access to Sir Walter's quarters, and among his cheering consolations were the visits of the Prince. The most cheering, doubtless, was the presence in the Tower of Lady Raleigh, who was allowed to share his imprisonment part of the time, but who was subjected now and then to humiliating treatment at the hands of a brutish keeper, Sir William Waad. "Little Wat," their only child, was also a frequent inmate of the "Bloody Tower," which abode of gloom he enlivened with his pranks and laughter. He was ever a lively boy, early developing into a youth of reckless manners, somewhat after the pattern, perhaps, afforded him by his father. It is related that when just out of college he fought a duel with a foreigner who had offended him, and was obliged to fly the country in consequence, for a while remaining abroad. At a dinner one day, after the release of Sir Walter from the Tower, he became so hilarious, and told such an unseemly tale, that his outraged father buffeted him across the face. Filial respect forbade him to return the blow, but he quickly turned to the man sitting beside him and struck him a similar one to that he had received, with the audacious remark: "Box about [the table]; it will get to father anon!"

A second son, Carew, who was born in the Tower, survived both his brother and father, and became the heir to Raleigh's ruined fortunes. Having been divested of all his honors and means of livelihood, Sir Walter's fortunes were at a very low ebb before he left the Tower; and, in fact, he had not been long an inmate there before the process of despoliation began that soon deprived his wife and sons of what little he had given them. His Irish estates he had disposed of to one Boyle, afterward the Earl of Cork, in 1602. He had been compelled to vacate his palace in London, Durham House, that it might eventually fall into the hands of Cecil, the "Beagle," who "nosed out" good things for himself until the ending of his crooked existence in May, 1612,

But the most prized of Raleigh's possessions was the beautiful demesne of Sherborne, where he had built and planted, recreated and relaxed himself, amid the cares of Elizabeth's reign. Here he had planned to enjoy the last days of his life, and then pass the estate on to his heirs in perpetuity. He had provided, he thought, for the transfer of this estate to his son, in the guardianship of his wife; but when it was learned that King James desired Sherborne for his Scotch favorite, Car, Earl of Somerset, a flaw in the title was conveniently found by the obsequious Coke, who had hounded Raleigh to the scaffold's steps, and now deprived his wife and child of their sole means of support.

Sir Walter held Sherborne on a ninety-nine-year lease, which he transferred to his son in 1602, when he "set his house in order" on account of a prospective duel with Sir Amyas Preston. The duel was not fought, but a flaw was discovered in the transfer, as already intimated, and only through the intercession of Cecil was Lady Raleigh enabled to realize anything whatever from the estate. She was promised eight thousand pounds, a portion of which only was paid to be invested and lost in the fatal expedition to Guiana. When, yielding to the entreaties of Prince Henry, the King repurchased Sherborne from Car, to whom it had been conveyed, he gave him the sum of twenty thousand pounds. This was not in excess of its value, for when in Raleigh's possession it had yielded him an income of five thousand pounds a year. Lady Raleigh in vain entreated the King, on bended knees, flinging pride to the winds, to allow her to retain Sherborne as a place of abode. He stubbornly and invariably replied: "I maun ha' the land; I maun ha' it for Car," and in the interest of the favorite it was practically confiscated.

Thus passed out of Raleigh's possession the last of the large estates which he had received from Elizabeth. Shortly after, all his goods and chattels were, by the King's grant, placed in the hands of trustees for the benefit of his creditors, and he was actually impoverished. He had lost all but his title, and that, as the world well knew, was but an empty honor. As the years went on all men forgot his existence, except when they were occasionally reminded of him as formerly one of England's heroes; so he came to have a part in his country's traditions while yet alive. He became a memory only, save that now and then those who walked past the Tower saw him at exercise in the garden. But he was determined that his name should not perish, even though what he had done already had not secured for him recognition as one of England's worthies.

Taken from the field of active endeavor, in which like a man full grown he had well performed his part, Raleigh found, in the enforced leisure afforded by his imprisonment, the opportunity for his greatest literary labor. After several years of fruitless appeals and negotiations for freedom, he finally became settled in the conviction that his residence in the Tower was to be for life, be it long or short, and resigned himself to his fate. Then he called for pen and ink and paper, and set himself to the task of producing his long-contemplated History of the World. This work was his in every sense of the word, but in its production he had the sympathetic co-operation of England's greatest minds. "Rare Ben" Jonson wrote the title-verses, though he did not at first avow them; Heriot, Raleigh's friend, the philosopher, who wrote such an excellent account of the Roanoke colony, was his authority on chronology and geography; in fact, the historian of the Tower reached out all over London for collaborators in this great work, which was to make for him a posthumous reputation, though it was, at first, financially a failure.

The first edition of Raleigh's History  appeared in 1614, though its title had been registered three years earlier, and it was such a success as a literary product that another was published in 1617. Perhaps its sales were stimulated by the action of the King, who, morbidly jealous of Raleigh as a rival litterateur, ordered the first impression called in. This order was issued in January, 1615, the only excuse given for it being, in the words of James, that it was "too saucy in censuring the acts of princes." It was not a complete history of the world, for it was never finished, the reason appearing in the following anecdote: A short time before his death, the story runs, Sir Walter sent for his publisher and asked him how the work had sold. "So slowly," was the answer, "that it hath undone me."

With a sigh Sir Walter took from his desk the remaining portion of his History, in manuscript, and sadly said: "Ah friend, hath the first part undone thee? The second portion, then, shall undo ye no more. This ungrateful world is unworthy of it." So saying, he stepped to the hearth, where an open fire was burning, and casting the manuscript upon the coals, watched it until entirely consumed.

The History, as we know, was not Raleigh's sole literary achievement, though perhaps his greatest; for, besides his "output" from the Tower, already mentioned, he had written creditable verses, even a poem of such beauty as to be ascribed to Spenser. Besides his Discovery of Guiana, the Fight in the Azores, and the History, all of which were published in his lifetime, he left several works which appeared after his death, such as a Treatise on the West Indies, The Arts of Empire, and Maxims of the State, showing not only extreme versatility, but acute understanding. Though unappreciated by his contemporaries, and painfully aware of it, he yet "toiled terribly," as was said of him in Elizabeth's time, at the producing of immortal works for posterity to peruse.

Sir Walter seems to have given over thoughts of freedom, and, wrapped up as he was in his absorbing labors, he may not have been desirous of immediate liberty. Still, there were intercessions for him at the court where, after Prince Henry had departed, the Queen mother took an interest in his cause. He had the sad satisfaction of knowing that the world yet gave him an occasional thought, the still sadder knowledge that few of his friends remained alive to greet him, few of his enemies to revile him, should he secure release from his long imprisonment.

Cecil had left the world in which he strove for highest honors; the vain but harmless Arabella died a prisoner in the Tower, whence the jewels of which she was so fond were abstracted by the King's order ere her body was cold. Just six months before she was liberated from the Tower by death came Sir Walter Raleigh's liberation, through the King's order, issued on January 30, 1615. He was permitted to leave the Tower in charge of a keeper; but on March 17th, following, he was allowed by the royal council to go abroad, under supervision, and make preparations for a voyage to which he had looked forward during all his years of imprisonment.

The Fateful Voyage


Raleigh was free at last, after twelve full years behind stone walls; but his freedom had been purchased, and was not the spontaneous act of his Majesty King James. Two relatives of Villiers Duke of Buckingham, had been bribed for fifteen hundred pounds, and for this sum secured that which Raleigh had pleaded in vain for many years. The new favorite, Buckingham, was disposed to be friendly, and the successor to Cecil, Sir Ralph Winwood, was an ardent admirer of Sir Walter, so that for the voyage he had in contemplation there seemed to be nothing ahead but smooth seas and "plain sailing."

Whatever were Raleigh's thoughts as, a bowed and broken man of more than sixty, he emerged from his prison and looked about him, his spirits were still youthful, his ardor for exploration and discovery unquenched. During all that long term within the walls he had kept ever in mind the golden vision of Guiana not as the land appeared to him in reality, but as the yet undiscovered El Dorado of the Indian myths. He had failed to find the mines, owing to the interposition of the Spaniards, but he never seems to have reasoned upon the fact that if there were a rich mine they would certainly have discovered and appropriated it long before. Spain was then at peace with England, and the English King would cravenly submit to any terms of accommodation with the erstwhile and deadly enemy of his kingdom rather than jeopardize the scheme he then entertained of royal intermarriage.

But Sir Walter Raleigh had too long nurtured his own scheme of colonization in Virginia and Guiana to abandon it easily, and the first activities of his liberty were devoted to its furtherance. Acting, as he thought, with the King's full acquiescence, he proceeded to lay the keel of a ship, which, with perhaps prevision of his fateful voyage, he named the Destiny.

James I


His Majesty was privy to his plans, and Sir Ralph Winwood was eager to promote them, but upon Raleigh fell the greater portion of the expense. Ten thousand pounds in all he succeeded in raising by raking and scraping together every available asset, and various adventurers, lured by his description of El Dorado in the Discovery of Guiana, contributed three times that amount, or forty thousand pounds in total, which would amount to much more than two hundred thousand dollars in money of the present day. King James contributed nothing substantial, but his intentions toward Sir Walter are shown in a warning note issued by his privy council, as follows:

"His Majesty, out of his gracious inclinations towards you, being pleased to release you out of your imprisonment in the Tower, to go abroad with a keeper, to make your provisions for your intended voyage, we think it good to admonish you . . . that you should not presume to resort either to his Majesty's Court, the Queen's, or Prince's; nor go into any public assemblies whatsoever, without especial license obtained from his Majesty for your warrant. But only that you use the benefit of his Majesty's grace to follow the business which you are to undertake, and for which, upon your humble request, his Majesty hath been graciously pleased to grant you that freedom."

Thus Raleigh was reminded that he was no longer a free agent, that he was released for a single purpose only, which was to perform that long-projected voyage to Guiana. The King was not only aware of his intention, but more greatly promoted it than any other living being, by granting him his liberty, without which, of course, the voyage could not have been performed. Why, then, did the King, after the voyage was accomplished, turn upon Raleigh and deliver him into the hands of his enemies? For the real secret it would be necessary to look into the King's despicable heart, to inquire searchingly of his evasive, shuffling nature the reason for his acting the part of a knave and an assassin; for knave he was, in urging Raleigh forward in an enterprise that he knew foredoomed to failure; assassin he was, because he encouraged him in a course which he also knew would bring him to the block!

Now, Sir Walter Raleigh knew James for a fool, but he had not mistrusted that he was also a knave; hence he was enmeshed in a net contrived by the malice of his enemies, from which there was no escape save by flight to some other country than that in which he was born. Once afloat, with ships of his own in command, he might do this, perhaps he thought, so he went on with his preparations for the voyage. These preparations took much time, and it was not until nearly two years after his release that he found himself finally in absolute freedom, once more sailing the seas from which he had so long a time been debarred. Once more, as admiral, he strode the quarter-deck; once more, in anticipation of a free and adventurous life before him, he looked forward to a renewal of his youth. He had said farewell to Lady Raleigh, leaving with her Carew, their youngest son, but had taken with him their eldest, gallant and dashing young Walter, who was in nominal command of the Destiny  as their flag-ship.

While no secret had been made of his intentions, which were to find the gold-mines of El Dorado, and establish, if possible, a colony in the wilds of Guiana, Raleigh was not aware of the extent to which the Spaniards, who claimed control of that territory, ha3 been advised of his plans by the perfidious King. From the very first, James had furnished the Spanish ambassador, Gondomar, with the minutest details of the scheme, all of which had been forwarded to Spain, so that Raleigh's well-laid plans were already frustrated before he sailed. A Spanish expedition had been sent to Trinidad long in advance of Raleigh's arrival there, and when he arrived, after a toilsome and disastrous voyage, it was only to find his intentions anticipated by the Spaniards. His eleven ships were of no great avail, because he could not attack the Spaniards; his war-like equipment and his soldiers were useless, save for defence against an enemy with whom his sovereign was at peace; though he might be provoked to extremities, he could merely stand on the defensive. The advantages were every way with the Spaniards, as King James and Gondomar had intended them to be; for if Raleigh sought to advance through Spanish territory, or if he retreated without having accomplished anything, he must do so in the face of certain death. Though he had welcomed the prospect of a voyage, even with the hard conditions named by the King, because it would afford him freedom for a time, he now realized that he had been sent forth "with a halter round his neck."

He left England in August, 1617, and after touching at Lancerota, in the Canaries, where he had a tiff with the Spaniards but committed no depredations, he stretched across the Atlantic to the northeast coast of South America. Anchoring off one of the numerous mouths of the great Orinoco—as on his former visit, twenty-two years before—he organized a flotilla of small boats to ascend the river. He had lost forty-five men by sickness on the voyage; he was himself suffering from a fever, which had been upon him for three weeks; but, with all the energy of former days, he labored to get off the flotilla, which contained four hundred men, most of them worthless "scum of the earth," but under excellent leadership. The command of the land forces was bestowed upon his cousin, George Raleigh, under whom, nominally as captain, served young Walter, who was in the best of spirits and anxious to be off. The command of the whole was given to Captain Lawrence Kemys, who was his lieutenant in the expedition of 1595, a devoted retainer as well as efficient officer. Furnished with a month's provisions, amply armed, and imbued with their commander's enthusiasm, the explorers set off up the unknown affluent of the Orinoco.

Sir Walter could not go himself, but he furnished Kemys with the most explicit instructions to run no great risks, and to avoid provoking an encounter with the Spaniards.

"If you find," he said to him, and also repeated in written orders, "that the Mine be not so rich as may warrant the holding of it, then you may bring but a basket of the ore, in order to satisfy his Majesty that my design was not imaginary but true, though not answering perhaps to his expectations. Of the quantity, I never gave assurance, nor could . . . . On the other hand, if you should find that any great number of soldiers have been sent into the Orinoco—as the cacique of Caliana assured us there had—and that the passage be reinforced so that without manifest peril of my son, of yourself, and the other captains, you cannot pass to the Mine, then be well advised [that is, use great caution] how you land. For I know, with a few gentlemen excepted, what a scum of men you have. And I would not for all the world receive a blow from the Spaniards to the dishonor of our nation!  I myself, for weakness, cannot go with you, for the galleons of Spain are daily expected. . . . Let me hear from you as soon as you can. You shall find me at Puncto Gallo [southwestern point of Trinidad]; and if you find not my ships there you shall find their ashes. For I will fire upon the galleons if it come to extremity, but run will I never!"

The flotilla departed up the river, and Raleigh set sail for the Bay of Paria, where, evading an encounter with the Governor of Trinidad, he anchored his fleet in a spacious harbor near the point called Terra de Brea. It was not far from the celebrated "Pitch Lake" of Trinidad, which he had visited on the former voyage, and from which he extracted material for "pitching "the seams of his vessels, he said, as good as any that ever came out of Norway. The heat in this roadstead was extreme; but the Bay of Paria is vast and breezy, and soon the sick men recovered their health, and the well ones, under the leadership of Sir Walter, passed their time pleasantly exploring by sea and on shore.

Meanwhile, the men of the flotilla were forcing their way up the Orinoco, slowly but persistently, against the terrible current, and through swamps that reduced their spirits to the lowest ebb, so vast and dreary were they. Twenty-three days it took them to reach the region in which the mine was supposed to be situated, near the confluence of the Caroni with the Orinoco. Their month's supply of provisions was nearly exhausted, and they were almost famished, as well as worn out with rowing for weeks beneath the blaze of a tropical sun. In this forlorn condition they made a landing just below the mouth of the Caroni, with the intention of marching thence through the forest to the mine, which, though since thought to have been mythical, was supposed to be situated quite near. Kemys knew that the Spaniards had made a settlement near the confluence of the rivers, which they named St. Thomas; but he did not know that they had also raised a fort lower down, which was then occupied by soldiers from Trinidad. Thanks to information furnished by King James to Gondomar, and by him transmitted to the Governor of Trinidad, the Spaniards were enabled to plant an ambush at or near the very spot selected by Kemys as a starting-point for the expedition in search of the mine.

A camp was made, supper was prepared and eaten, and at nightfall the weary men were about to sleep when suddenly a fire of musketry was opened on them from the dense thickets on the river-bank. Taken so by surprise, the undisciplined soldiers were thrown into confusion; but the gallant Kemys rallied them before they had gained the boats, and the more courageous followed him in a desperate charge. The energy were dislodged and driven back upon the town, which was found unexpectedly near—a mere collection of palm-thatched huts in a straggling line between the river and the forest.

Several Englishmen had been killed and wounded in the fire from ambush, which so exasperated the survivors that, despite Sir Walter's instructions to the contrary, Kemys could not prevent them from attacking the Spaniards in their town, which was carried by the musketeers and pikemen. The Spaniards were driven to take shelter in the forest, but they had not given up the fight without inflicting severe losses upon the English. Foremost in the charge was young Walter Raleigh, gallantly leading his pikemen against the defensive outworks of the town when a musket-ball from the enemy brought him to the ground. His wound bled profusely, but, quickly springing to his feet, he waved his sword and shouted to his men to press forward. A burly Spaniard blocked his way, who, when he aimed a stroke at him with his sword, defended himself so well with a clubbed musket that a second time young Raleigh fell to the ground, but now with a wound that ended his life. As his men gathered about him, he faintly breathed: "Go on, my hearts, go an! Here is the mine we seek. They that look for any other are fools! May God have mercy upon me!" These were his last words, for then he died. After the town was taken, at sunset of the day in which the Spaniards were defeated, he was buried in the church of St. Thomas, near the high altar, with Captain Cosmer, a comrade, by his side, who had also fallen in that fight.

Captain Kemys had won a doubtful victory at an irreparable loss, the effects of which were to be felt for centuries. He had no heart to continue the exploration, and the Spaniards, by inciting the Indians to attack and repeatedly attempting to burn St. Thomas to the ground, did all they could to discourage him. Still, Kemys made one desperate attempt to reach the mine, and sent an expedition farther up the Orinoco, under George Raleigh, who was greatly impressed with the country's advantages for colonization. If but his uncle had seconded his attempts, an English colony might have been started then and there; but the news from the seat of war turned Sir Walter's heart to water, and no effort was made.

When within a few hours of the mine, it is thought, after enduring losses by disease and nightly assaults by both Spaniards and Indians, the dispirited commander gave up, and turned his back upon El Dorado forever. Made reckless of consequences by his fearful losses, before Kemys finally evacuated St. Thomas he sacked the town and plundered the church—which acts, in the eyes of the Spaniards, constituted the culmination of his crimes. All the plunder together did not amount to more than forty thousand reales, and none of it was ore of gold, save a few ingots, thus showing conclusively that the mine, if it existed, could not have been worked by the Spaniards. Neither was there any bag of ore directly from the mine, nor even a single nugget, to prove to King James the integrity of Raleigh's intentions. All this negative evidence, taken together with the bloodshed and plundering, would surely turn the King against him if he were not already his inveterate enemy. The "writing on the wall" was plain enough to poor Captain Kemys when he dejectedly began his return journey down the Orinoco, and also to his commander when the letter arrived announcing the death of his son and encounters with the Spaniards.

While all these disasters were occurring to his soldiers in the wilderness, Sir Walter and his men remained off the coast of Trinidad, in the Gulf of Paria, recuperating from the fatigues of the voyage, and as soon as he himself had sufficiently recovered his strength he began an investigation of the wonders on shore. The tropical forests, the lake of asphalt, the coral-reefed bocas  all were objects of his attention. In this pursuit he found solace, and a delightful occupation for his mind, until rudely aroused by the terrible tidings from St. Thomas. Then he withdrew in despair into his cabin, and there, alone with his griefs, he awaited the return of the unlucky expedition.

On March 2nd, after an absence of nearly two months, the remains of the flotilla returned to the fleet. To the few who had seen him after he had learned of young Walter's death, Raleigh appeared calm, but sadly distraught; but when the unhappy Kemys arrived, it seemed he could no longer hold himself in restraint. Two broken-hearted men retired into the cabin of the Destiny, one of them, the unfortunate Kemys, to an interview which he had long foreseen and dreaded more than death. He faced his commander resolutely, however, though it was already a lost cause that he pleaded. He was overcome by grief and remorse, for he felt he knew the justice of Sir Walter's charges that by fatal neglect he had caused the death of his son; that through lack of energy he had failed to find the mine; that by disobedience of orders he had come into conflict with the enemy; and, finally, that by returning without any token whatever of El Dorado, for the satisfaction of the King, he had imperilled all their lives.

Sir Walter's grief had doubtless driven him to the verge of madness. "Oh, Oh, I would rather leave my body in that church of St. Thomas, by the side of my poor son," he declared, "than to return without him! Nor have you brought out from the mine so much ore as might have satisfied the King! I am undone! What shall become of me I know not! I am unpardoned in England, and my poor estate consumed, and whether any prince will give me bread or no, I know not. But what care I, now that my dear son is dead?"

Kemys was stupefied with sorrows over which he had long brooded, and could make no reply. Without a word, he placed before Sir Walter some papers which he had found in the governor's house at St. Thomas. They contained the correspondence between Gondomar and the Governor of Guiana, showing conclusively that the Englishmen were foredoomed before they sailed. Raleigh glanced over them listlessly, but suddenly started as though he had received an electric shock, for there he saw himself proclaimed a traitor to his King by the very acts which Kemys had committed. The trap had been contrived in London, with the connivance of King James; it was baited by the Spaniards on the Orinoco, and he had marched straight into it!

He looked up and met his captain's questioning glance. "It is not thy fault altogether, friend," he said, grasping his faithful retainer by the hand. "It is mine as well, and we must return to face these charges."

They knew their fate: they knew that their death-warrants were as good as signed already; but at least one of that unhappy pair was resolved to forestall the vengeance of King James and Gondomar. What followed is not exactly known, but as Kemys emerged from the cabin he was heard to say: "Is that, sir, your final determination?" Upon Raleigh's reply, in a harsh voice, "It is," he rejoined, "Then, sir, I know what course to take,"  and retired to his own cabin.

Hearing the report of a firearm issue from it shortly after, Raleigh sent a page to inquire the cause. The boy was told by Kemys, who was lying in his bunk, that he had discharged his pistol by accident, and withdrew; but soon after another boy entered the cabin in the course of his duties, and found his master stretched dead upon the floor, with a pistol wound in his body and a dagger thrust through his heart. These wounds had been self-inflicted by the unhappy Kemys, who was the third of Sir Walter's devoted followers to precede him to the grave on that ill-fated expedition. With him died the secret of the mine—if one there were; and after his death Raleigh no longer had an incentive to search for El Dorado. The golden country and the Gilded King faded into the mists from which they had arisen—the mists of Indian tradition and no one yet has rediscovered them.

The homeward track was soon after taken, and the discomfited Raleigh, with a mutinous crew tempting him to piracy, and compelled to promise an attack upon the Spanish treasure-fleet to insure their service, slowly made his way across the Atlantic. All his hopes and ambitions were buried with his son in that lonely grave at St. Thomas, by whose side he longed to lay his weary body for its final rest; but his wife and younger son still lived in England, so for its shores he shaped his course, though well aware that his enemies merely waited there to slay him.

At the King's Mercy


Why did Sir Walter Raleigh return directly to England after the disastrous ending of the flotilla expedition? If it were merely spoils that he was after, and vengeance upon the Spaniards that he was seeking, why did he not ravage the settlements in the West Indies and along the coast of terra firma? He might have had them at his mercy, for he had a fleet well equipped for privateering, which had done nothing while the flotilla was up the Orinoco, and which did nothing after its return, though the crews were seething with dissatisfaction at their admiral's inaction. He had said to Bacon, if tradition is true, that in default of ore from the mine, he would bring back treasure from the plate-fleet, that made the annual voyage from Panama to Spain. When Bacon suggested that such an act would be piracy, he rejoined: "Piracy? Who ever heard of men being pirates for millions?" He had correctly gauged the sentiment of the times and of the court, but he was later declared a pirate, in spite of the prevailing opinion that one could not commit an act of piracy against Spain on any sea south of the equator.

Raleigh might have evaded his doom for a while—perhaps have escaped the penalty of his crime altogether—if he had but taken advantage of his position as commander of a fleet containing a crew well disposed for privateering, or if he had yielded to his own inclination and hastened over to France, where he would have been well received and safe from his foes; or, still again, had he betaken himself to his American settlement at Roanoke, which he had long desired to see, which he had kept in mind for more than thirty years, and which—or, rather, the immediate successor of which was a flourishing colony of Virginia. Yet again, had not the Indians of Guiana begged him to remain and reign over them as their king, promising him true allegiance, and a retreat from his enemies, in the vast Guianian forests, where he would be safe from harm so long as he lived? Though he invented the tales told, as he alleged, by the Indians of Guiana in Elizabeth's time, it is true that he was considered by them as their friend, that they held him in remembrance long after he had died, and sent messengers to seek for him even while he was a prisoner in the Tower. Nearly two hundred years after he had visited the Indians of Guiana, Alexander von Humboldt found traditions respecting him still extant among their descendants, and, according to another, a banner he had left with them was still sacredly preserved as late as the middle of the last century. Raleigh had the faculty of winning men to him whenever he deigned to make the effort, and to hold them for years, as witness Kemys and Whidden, Piggot and King, devoted and long-serving followers who were ready to lay down their lives in his behalf. So there is no doubt at all that Sir Walter Raleigh could have found a following whichsoever way he might turn; but he thought only of wife and son awaiting him in England, and, despite the decree of outlawry against him there, he chose to take the highway leading to the headsman's block.

Raleigh's fleet arrived off the coast of England the second week in June, 1618, and on the 21st of that month the ill-fated Destiny  entered Plymouth harbor. Lady Raleigh met her husband almost as soon as he had set foot on shore, and from his own lips heard the story of hardship, disaster, and fatalities. They scarcely had time to mourn together when Raleigh was arrested by the Vice-Admiral of Devon, "Sir Judas" Stukely, who had received his orders from the King. He was Sir Walter's kinsman, but he performed his revolting duty with alacrity, and showed no mercy to the help-less pair, so soon parted after such a long separation.

The arrest of Raleigh was the sequel to a dramatic scene that took place in the month of May preceding at the court of King James. Spain's vindictive ambassador, Gondomar, had received the tidings from St. Thomas, on the Orinoco. He hastened with the news to the court, and bursting excitedly into King James's presence, shouted: "Pirata! pirata! pirata!   Your man Raleigh is a pirate, for he has murdered the subjects of my king, and has plundered them of their possessions! Now I demand the penalty, O King!"

"The penalty shall be paid," answered James; and this reply was the prelude to the last scene of all in Sir Walter Raleigh's life—that which ended with his execution. For the King's proclamation swiftly followed, declaring that this recreant subject, Raleigh, had "made an horrible invasion of the town of St. Thome, and committed a malicious breaking of the Peace, which hath been so happily established, and so long inviolately continued."

Aside from his inclination for peace, King James had an interest in keeping the favor of Spain, at that moment, on account of the marriage engagement then being negotiated between his son and the Spanish infanta. It would not do, of course, to allow a subject of the King to break the peace with Spain while his Majesty was seeking an alliance with its royal family. A victim was demanded; Sir Walter became that victim, and was sacrificed in expiation of his offence. He might have escaped, even after his arrival at Plymouth; for news of the King's proclamation had reached him at sea, and a French vessel was awaiting him in the harbor—provided, probably, by his far-seeing and self-sacrificing wife. For a while he was inclined to take the only road that then offered for liberty; but he reasoned with himself that to do so would be an acknowledgment of guilt, and chose to stay. On the way to London, while in charge of Stukely, he passed by beautiful Sherborne, where he had spent the happiest and busiest days of his life. "All this was mine," he could not refrain from saying, in the bitterness of his spirit, "and it was taken from me unjustly." This was true, but still it was remembered to his injury when the malicious King heard of it.

Another charge against him was that he secured delay, while on the road to London, by making himself sick with a drug; but by means of it he was enabled to write his masterly Apology for the Voyage to Guiana, which has long outlived his enemies and is to-day his vindication to posterity. He was outrageously abused for using this subterfuge to gain time, but the object certainly justified the means. Time was most precious to him then, for, as he himself said, in asking for opportunity to arrange his earthly affairs: "As soon as ever I come to London they will have me to the Tower and cut off my head!"

He had a sure prevision of his fate, and if, as was further charged against him, he at the last attempted to escape to France, was he not justified in such an effort? Raleigh's sad fate was attracting the attention not only of Spain's royal ruler, but also that of France, who would gladly have offered the persecuted man an asylum in his kingdom. The French ambassador somehow communicated this fact to him, and boats were provided on the Thames. But Stukely became privy to the matter, and when at last Sir Walter, one dark night, set out for the French ship, he was followed by another boat containing an armed guard, arrested, and returned to land. For frustrating this attempt, which he had convinced Sir Walter he was desirous of promoting, Stukely received a th9itsand pounds, and it was on this occasion that lie earned the title which was afterward bestowed upon him of "Sir Judas," since he sold his master for a sum of silver.

The captive's only remark when he discovered Stukely's perfidy was, "Sir Lewis, these actions will not turn out to your credit"—a dignified protest which the miserable wretch must often have recalled when he became, soon after, an outcast from society. There may seem to have been no need of all this by-play, this protracted torture of a victim already so securely clutched that there was never a chance for his escape; but it was in conformity with the King's policy, in order to induce Sir Walter to convict himself of his guilt by these vain endeavors.

King James was resolved upon an execution, but he desired that it should be carried out "decently and in order," so that his popularity might not suffer. Executed Sir Walter should be—there was no doubt of that; but should he be delivered over to the King of Spain for him to exact reparation, after the methods of the Inquisition, or would it be better to have him "lawfully tried" in his own country? The Spanish King declared himself satisfied, so he was put to death for his crimes, and James appealed to Sir Francis Bacon, the recently created Lord Chancellor, for advice how to commit the murder judicially. This learned but truckling sycophant advised the King that inasmuch as Sir Walter Raleigh was already attainted of high treason, he could not "judicially be drawn in question for any crime since committed. But," proceeds the wary assassin, "the King may issue his royal warrant for an execution upon the conviction of 1603, and at the same time publish a narrative of his late crimes and offences in print!"

In other words, the King was advised to murder Sir Walter on the strength of his conviction for treason fifteen years before; but the public should be given to understand, and the King of Spain made to believe, that he was executed on account of crimes committed in 1618. Under the semblance of a legal proceeding, said Bacon, he might be called before the King's council of state, and be told that this form of procedure was taken "because he was civilly dead already." Being "civilly dead," of course, he could not plead nor cause any trouble to the King or his eminent judges by a protracted trial that might excite public attention.

The prisoner did plead, however, when finally brought before the King's council, in accordance with Bacon's advice, that he had received a pardon by the issuance of the royal commission, and he cited the opinion of the Lord Chancellor himself in the matter. Fearing the very consequences of which he was then a victim, just before sailing on that fatal voyage Raleigh had inquired of Bacon if his safety would not be better assured by a pardon under the Great Seal rather than inferred on the strength of the commission. Bacon had replied: "You have a pardon  already by the terms of your commission." Sir Walter hinted that more money would be forthcoming, if necessary for the purpose; but the illustrious lawyer, who was then friendly to him, answered: "As money is the knee-timber of your voyage, spare your purse in this particular; for, upon my life, you have a sufficient pardon for all that is past already, the King having, under his Great Seal, made you admiral of your fleet, and given you power of martial law over your officers and soldiers. Your commission is as good a pardon for all former offences as the law of England can afford you!"

Could subserviency to royalty go further than this, or come nearer to criminality, when Bacon, in the year 1618, reversed his decision of 1603 in order that his master, the King, might take the life of an offending subject? He was not alone in his base perversion of custom and law, for the chief-justice, one Montagu, vied with him in his haste to lay Sir Walter's head at the feet of the King. Asked by him if he had anything to say before sentence was pronounced, Raleigh replied: "The judgment I received to die, so long since, cannot now, I hope, be strained; for since it was his Majesty's pleasure to grant me a commission to proceed on a voyage beyond the seas, wherein I had martial power on the life and death of others, so, under favor, I presume I stand discharged of that judgment. . . Under that commission I undertook a voyage to do honor to my sovereign, and to enrich his kingdom with gold, of the ore whereof this hand hath found and taken in Guiana. But the enterprise, notwithstanding my endeavors, had no other issue than what was fatal to me the loss of my son and the wasting of my whole estate."

The brutal judge here interrupted him: "The matter of Guiana is foreign to the purpose. The commission does not infer a pardon, because treason is a crime which must be pardoned by express words, not by implication."

"Then," said Raleigh, perceiving that his sentence was already predetermined, his doom pronounced, "I can only put myself upon the mercy of the King. His Majesty, as well as others who are here present, have been of opinion that in my former trial I received but hard measure. Had the King not been exasperated anew against me, certain am I that I might have lived a thousand years  before he would have taken advantage of that conviction."

He might well have added, what he once said at a former time: "If I had not loved and honored the King truly, and trusted in his goodness somewhat too much, I had not suffered death." But he was doomed already, and the sentence pronounced by the judge was merely perfunctory. It was that he should be beheaded on the following morning, and the judge intimated that he ought to feel thankful that he was not to be hanged, as his former sentence provided, and his corpse subjected to the indignity of being quartered and set up on a pole.

Sir Walter heard his sentence with calmness, as he had heard that of fifteen years before; but he suffered no relapse of obsequiousness, as then, except that, as an Englishman, born into a world of fawning servility, he could utter no word of reproach to the King. "I desire thus much favor," he said, addressing the lords with dignity: "that I may not be cut off suddenly, but have some time granted me before my execution, to settle my affairs and my mind more than they yet are. I have somewhat to do in discharge of my conscience, and I have somewhat to satisfy his Majesty in. I would beseech the favor of pen, ink, and paper. And I also beseech your lordships that when I come to die I may have leave to speak freely at my farewell. . . . And I beseech you all to pray for me."

The prisoner's reasonable request for time in which to prepare himself for the last long journey was refused. The King's warrant had been already drawn up and dated that very day; execution was to follow as soon after as the scaffold could be erected in Old Palace Yard. The craven monarch was far away, on a "progress "through the country, beyond the reach of prayers or petitions. He desired the execution to take place before his return before the public should become aware of the intended crime, and arouse to prevent it, or protest. It mattered not much to Raleigh, as he said, truly but despairingly, for he was old, sickly, in disgrace, certain of death, and life was already wearisome. Still, he was by no means cast down, nor did his natural spirits forsake him while the blood ran in his veins. On the morning of the trial, when summoned in haste from the Tower, a servant begged his attention to the condition of his hair, which had not been combed before he started. "Let them comb it that are to have it," he said to the man, with a smile; and then added: "Dost know, Peter, of any plaister that will set a man's head on again when it is off?"

Taken to the Gate House at Westminster, after sentence had been given, Raleigh there received such of his friends as had news of the terrible event to take place within a few hours' time. To one of them he said: "You will come to-morrow morning, of course. I do not know what you may do for a place, but for my part, I am sure of one!  You must make what shift you can."

To another, who had reproved him "for carrying it with too much bravery," he replied: "It is my last mirth in this world. Do not grudge it to me. When I come to the sad parting, you will see me grave enough." And he was, as his confessor, the Dean of Westminster, testified: "When I began to encourage him against the fear of death, he seemed to make so light of it that I wondered at him. . . . He was the most fearless of death that ever was known, and the most resolute and confident, yet with reverence and conscience."

But the dean could get no confession from him of guilt in any sort, such as the King desired him to, for Raleigh said to him, when charged with breaking the peace with Spain: "How could I break peace with a king who within these four years took divers of my own men, bound them back to back, and drowned them? As for burning the town, it stands upon the King of England's own ground. I did him no wrong in that."

"Your assertion of innocency," said the King's confessor, sanctimoniously—"is it not an oblique taxing of the justice of the realm?"

"Nay, nay," replied Raleigh, quickly. "I may confess that by course of law I must justly die, but you must give me leave to stand upon my innocency in the fact." Thus the King's minions pursued the victim of royal malignity to the verge of the scaffold, hounding him till he passed beyond their reach; yet did he treat them all with courtesy, and of the King no man ever heard him speak even reproachfully, though that poor fool was of the sort to be held in derision by all men, instead of being served with awe and reverence.

Scarcely was Sir Walter allowed time to see his wife alone, so importunate were the lay and religious servants of James to have the last word with him; but in the night that succeeded his sentence she came to the Gate House, and was admitted to a last interview. Throwing herself into his arms, she told him, in a voice choked by sobs, that she had only just learned that he was to be taken from her in the morning. True, she had been assured by the stony-hearted James that she should have the privilege of burying his body after death, but she had not suspected that it would occur so soon.

Straining her to his heart, Raleigh impressed a kiss upon her brow, and said, while his eyes shone with tenderness: "It is well, dear Bess, that thou mayest dispose of that dead which thou hadst not always the disposal of when alive." They continued in conversation till midnight, reviewing hurriedly their happy years of married life, mourning their dead, and planning the future for their only son. Soon after the midnight hour had struck, Sir Walter conducted Lady Raleigh to the door, and there took leave of her for the last time, imploring her to depart, to be brave, and to pray for the safety of his soul. Their reunion would come, he assured her, and no king's edict could part them for eternity.

He passed the remainder of the time till morning in drawing up his last testament, in writing directions for the correction of an injustice to a former friend, and in formulating an answer to the charges made against him. When morning dawned he welcomed with a smile the Dean of Westminster, from whom he received the last sacrament, remarking that he had no fear of death, for it was but an imagination, and the manner of his death, though to others it might seem grievous, yet he had rather die so than of a burning fever. He then breakfasted and smoked a pipe of tobacco, after which a cup of sack was brought him. This he drank with seeming pleasure, and on being asked if it suited him, replied: "I will answer as the fellow did who drank of St. Giles's bowl, as he went to Tyburn, 'It is a good drink, if a man might tarry by it.'

On his way to the scaffold he saw an aged and bald-headed man standing uncovered in the cold morning air, and taking off a cap which he wore he tossed it to him with the words, "Here, my friend, you need this more than I do," then passed on, smiling and erect. His carefully arranged dress and his dignity of bearing recalled to those who knew him the Sir Walter Raleigh of Elizabeth's time; but his wan and wrinkled face, his ague-stricken frame and venerable aspect dispelled this illusion.

He mounted the scaffold bravely; and when the executioner approached and asked his forgiveness for the deed he was about to commit, he placed both hands upon his shoulders and said he had naught against him, for he was but doing his duty. Then he demanded to see the axe; and when the man hesitated, he said: "I prithee let me see it. Dost think I'm afraid of it?" Passing his thumb along its edge, he returned it, saying: "This is a sharp medicine, but it is a cure for all diseases!"

Before submitting himself to the executioner he made a long harangue, in which he reiterated his declaration of innocence, and also made a statement clearing him of the charge that he was accessory to the death of Essex. "It was said that I was a persecutor of him, and that I stood in a window over against him when he suffered and puffed out tobacco in disdain of him. But I take God to witness that I did shed tears for him when he died. And, as I hope to look in the face of God hereafter, my Lord Essex did not see my face when he suffered, and my soul hath many times been grieved that I was not near unto him when he died, because I understood that he asked for me, to be reconciled to me. . . . I knew that he was a noble gentleman, and that it would be worse with me when he was gone, for those that did set me up against him did afterward set themselves up against me."

Begging the sheriff for a few moments more of grace, he said in explanation, and with a sad smile: "I have a long journey to take, you know, and must bid all this company farewell." His friends now crowded about to shake his hand, and when all had gone he said: "Now I entreat that you will all join with me in prayer to that great God of heaven whom I have grievously offended; that He will, of his almighty goodness, extend to me forgiveness, being a man full of vanity, and one who hath lived a sinful life, in such callings as have been most inducive to it; for I have been a soldier, a sailor, and a courtier all of them courses of wickedness and vice. But I trust He will not only cast away my sin, but will receive me into ever-lasting life."

Kneeling at the block, he said to the headsman: "When I stretch forth my hands, despatch me." The dean suggested that he should turn his face to the east, when he replied: "What matters it which way the head lie, so the heart be right?" He then gave the signal to the executioner, and a delay ensuing, he again stretched out his hands, saying: "What dost thou fear? Strike, man! strike!" Two cruel blows severed the head from the body. When it was held aloft by the headsman a shudder of horror ran through the throng about the scaffold, and one man shouted: "We have not such another head to cut off!"

The gory trophy of a king's crime was placed in a red leather bag and given to Lady Raleigh, who caused it to be embalmed, and kept it by her through nearly thirty years of widowhood. Bequeathed to her only surviving son, Carew Raleigh, it was taken with him to the grave when he was buried by his father's side at Westminster.