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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. 25-26; 39-44.



=== IX ===

Ex Codice chartaceo Biblioth. Vatic. Alexandrinæ
seu Reginæ56 Succorum,
No. 603. p. 1.

RELATION of the Island and Kingdom of England, by the most illustrious and excellent Marc Antonio Correro, Ambassador from the most serene Republic of Venice.

Incipit “Dovendo per obligo della mia legatione,”

I NOW proceed to the land forces of England. Immense, and almost incalculable, as is the number of effective men capable of acting in its defence, yet, from the disuse of arms, little benefit is to be expected from them on any pressing occasion. In the year 1588, when the armada of his Catholic Majesty appeared in the Channel, the inhabitants were panic struck; consternation and terror universally prevailed. With the view of fortifying their minds, and to introduce some kind of military discipline, the queen dispatched among them, her principal ministers: their endeavours however, did not produce all the effect she expected. Assuming therefore, the character of a commanding officer, her Majesty then mounted her horse, and rode57 into many parts of the country. Hope and confidence attended her progress; by her influence, by threats, and promises, 20,000 men were soon added to the force of the nation, though one half of them was destitute of arms. When the news of defeat arrived, she thanked God for his fatherly protection of her people and herself, owning, that if the Spaniards had made good their landing, the crown of England would have been exposed to the utmost danger. Her Majesty now issued her commands, that arms should be distributed [26] among her subjects, that they should be trained to their use, and regularly exercised. These orders were at first executed, but indifference and relaxation gradually followed, and the people are now once more sunk into their former ease and security. 58



56  The Queen of Sweden, on Christmas-day 1654, in the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, abjurated Lutheranism, and was solemnly received into the bosom of the Catholic church by Alexander the Seventh, [40] who superadded to her former name of Christiana, that of Alexandra — “aggiunse al nome di Christina quello d’ Alessandra.” (Platina Vit. Alessand. 7o. p. 874.) see note 1.

57  In a letter from the Earl of Leicester, to the Earl of Shrewsbury, dated August 15th, 1588, and written from Tilbury Camp, (Lodge’s Illustrations, &c. Vol. II. p. 376,) he thus expresses himself: — “Our gratious Majestie hath byn here with me to see her camp and people, which so enflamy’d the harts of her good subjects, as I think the wekest person among them ys able to mach the proudest Spaniard that dares land in England.”

The admirable speech of Elizabeth, on this occasion, so well adapted to answer the purpose for which it was designed, and so truly characteristic of the great personage by whom it was delivered, will lose none of its merit by being inserted.

“My loving people, we have been persuaded by some, that are careful of our safety, to take heed how we commit ourselves to armed multitudes for fear of treachery; but I assure you I do not desire to live to distrust my faithful and loving people. Let tyrants fear: I have always so behaved myself, that under God, I have placed my chiefest strength, and safeguard in the loyal hearts, and good will of my subjects. And therefore I am come amongst you at this time, not as for my recreation and sport, but being resolved in the midst of the heat of the battle to live or die amongst you all; to lay down for my God, and for my kingdom, and for my people, my honour and my blood even in the dust. I know I have but the body of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart of a king, and of a King of England too; and think foul scorn, that Parma or Spain, or any prince of Europe, should dare to invade the borders of my realm: to which, rather than any dishonour shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms; I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already by your forwardness, that you have deserved rewards and crowns; [41] and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my Lieutenant-general shall be in my stead; than whom never prince commanded more noble and worthy subject; not doubting, by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and by your valour in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people.” — Historians observe, that as she rode through the lines of the camp, and with an animated countenance, exhorted the soldiery to remember their duty to their country and their religion, her spirited behaviour revived such admiration, that attachment to her person became among them a species of enthusiasm, and they asked one another whether it were possible that Englishmen could abandon this glorious cause.

58  This extract must not be considered as calculated to produce any tendency towards despondence, or even the least degree of discouragement, in respect to the issue of the present contest between this country and its inveterate, sanguinary enemy; it should, on the contrary, be viewed as presenting too just a picture of the improvident character of mankind, and as exhibiting at once a striking and animated proof, that the English, however sunk into apathy and indifference, when unconscious or incredulous of danger, no sooner emerge into a clear perception of destruction or even injury threatening their country, and liberties, than the ardent glow of patriotism reanimates them to the exertion of all that heroic valour and fortitude with which they have ever achieved the preservation of their king and constitution, and the disgraceful defeat of their enemy


Page 20, line 27, for Unche, read Urche.


Printed by W. Bulmer and Co.
Cleveland-row, St. James’s.




Shortly will be Published

In one Volume, Quarto, from a MS. of the Eleventh Century, recently discovered

in the Vatican Library;

The British Chronicle of Mark the Hermit, (usually denominated that of Nennius Banchorensis,) with an English Version, a Fac-simile of the Original, Notes and Illustrations.



The End of the Online Text of Extracts, Describing the Ancient Manner of Placing the Kingdom in Military Array; etc., edited and translated by William Gunn.

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