From Extracts, Describing the Ancient Manner of Placing the Kingdom in Military Array; The Various Modes of Defence Adopted for its Safety in Periods of Danger; and The Evidence of Foreigners as to the National Character and Personal Bravery of the English. Taken from Original State Papers of the Sixteenth Century Collected on the Continent, and hitherto Inedited. Anonymous [Rev. William Gunn], London: W. Bulmer and Co., 1803: pp. 14; 36.
RELATION of Michael Soriano, Ambassador from the Republic of Venice to his Catholic Majesty, 1562.
Incipit “Ma perchè in questi stati.”
OF all the western states of Europe, England is the most opulent and powerful; for though the ordinary43 revenue of the crown does not exceed 500,000 ducats, yet, by extraordinary means, it draws from the country, on urgent occasions, all that is sufficient for the purposes either of peace or war. The strength of the kingdom is derived from its military and naval force, particularly from the latter, which is far superior to that of all the neighbouring states; and, from the advantages attached to its insular situation, it can act offensively against other nations, while itself escapes unhurt. But unfortunately, the effect of this superiority is greatly counteracted by the variable disposition of the people. The English are universally addicted to novelty and the love of change; willing to make the experiment of every thing to which their inclination leads them, they act, as if it were as easy to execute as to invent. This temper of mind accounts for the many plots and factions formed against the existing government, and which are unknown in other parts of the world.
43 In the year 1570, the annual profits of the kingdom arising from the Queen’s manors, lands, escheats, &c. were £188,197. (Anderson’s Commerce, Vol. II. p. 133.