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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. 17-18; 37.



=== VII ===

Ex Codice manuscripto chartaceo Bibliothecæ
Vaticanæ Urbinatis,
No. 814. p. 108.

DESCRIPTION47 of the Ports and Fortresses of England, in the Year 1588.

To the most illustrious Tomaso Lospi.

Incipit “La costa dell’ Inghilterra volta all’ ostro, è la più frutifera, e guarnita di porti, e di fortezze.”

AMONG the preparations made by the Queen and her council, for resisting the invasion of England by the Spanish armada, is that of putting the fortresses in a sufficient state of defence. In these, the garrisons have received an additional supply of men, ammunition, and provisions; and that sudden alarms may be spread with greater facility, elevated stands of observation for sentinels are erected along the coast, on those spots which command the most extensive views, at the distance of five miles more or less, from each other. By the side of these are fixed tall poles, having on the top pots of pitch and other combustible materials, which are to be lighted on the first appearance of the hostile armament. From these precautions, and the inhabitants being bound to repair to the spot where the alarm is given, the country is soon in a state of military defence.

Charles Howard is appointed High Admiral, and Drake48 second in command. The Queen has augmented her naval armament, by taking into pay the vessels of the Corsairs of Normandy, Brittany, and the Hugonots of Rochelle. The last are stationed in the islands 18 that rise between Rochelle and England, to watch the motions of the armada, and the others to give it all possible annoyance in its passage, and as far as they are able, to oppose its landing in her Majesty’s kingdom.

The English navy consists of 254 vessels; 20 of these are, properly speaking, the Queen’s; they are large, and well equipped; 180 are hired for the war, from English and foreign merchants; other vessels are employed for observation, of that description called by Cæsar speculatoriæ naves; the rest are small craft.

As the armada is composed of two different armaments, so will be their operations; that of Spain is to make the first attack, and that of the Low Countries to come after. Each of these is more powerful than all the united forces of England; consequently, the subjugation of that country is decided. In respect to the nobility of England, I esteem them too unimportant to excite serious apprehension, nor have I much reliance on the Catholic party, on account of their marked aversion from foreigners. As to the people in general, a peace of thirty years has rendered them so lukewarm and pusillanimous, that they are unable to resist a disciplined army. These are additional arguments in favour of the success of an enterprise, conducted by the wise, valourous, and fortunate duke of Parma, and under the auspices of the most excellent prince Sixtus the Fifth.



47  This and the following paper, were written by the same person. The author, whose name is unknown, was perfectly well acquainted with the topography of the island; as its maritime positions are described with much accuracy.

48  In the original, in which Drake is contemptuously styled the English pirate (il Corsale), it is asserted that the people of Dunkirk had built a very large ship, which they denominated the Hound, for the professed purpose of hunting him down on the high seas. He is there stated to be the son of a fisherman of Sheppey, a circumstance the editor thinks proper to mention, as he never before heard that island assigned as his birth-place. Great uncertainty has attended every research to discover the place of his nativity, and his parents were in all probability of inferior rank. The various and contradictory accounts of his birth are collected and examined by Campbell in his Life, (p. 514.)


Extract VIII.

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