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1595. Nov. 13.
hath the strang blushe of carnation. Butt I asure my scalf that ther ar not more diamounds in the Est Indies then ar to be founde in Guiana; which yow see also verefied by the relation of the Spanishe letters.
I have another, cutt, of another sort; and if it be no diamound, yet it is exceeding any diamound in bewtye. Butt I am not in hast to lett it go out of my fingers. Butt thes stones beare wittness of better, and ther is enough for all the world if wee have the grace. Butt we must cast so many doubts; and this dolt and that! gull must be satisfied, or elce all is nothing. If the Spanierds had bynn so blockishe and slouthfull, wee had not feared now their poure, who by their gold from thence vex and indanger all the estates of kings.
Wee must not looke to mayntayne warr upon the revenews of Ingland. If wee be once driven to the defencive, farr well myght. Butt as God will so it shalbe-who governs the harts of kings. I rest your asured to be cummanded, poore or riche.
Sherburn, this Wensday morning, an houre after the
most honorable Privey Councell. Endorsed :
13 November, 1595. Sir Walter Ralegh to my Master.
1 This reading is doubtful, the last word of the sentence being partly defaced.
TO THE LORDS OF THE COUNCIL.
From the Original. Cecil Papirs, vol. xxxvi. § 26 (Hatfield). In the
hand of an amanuensis ; subscribed, signed, and addressed in autograph.
My dewtie most humblie remembred. In the letters
which I receaved from your Honors, bearing date the 1595. xvth of this November, yt hath pleased you that mutuall
succour be gyven from the counties of Devon and CornTo the Lords wall to cach other by renforsing of each with 4,000 men, Council. uppon notice gyven from me to the Erle of BATHE for From Sherborne.
the succour of Cornewall, and the like from his Lordship
to me for Devon. It is trewe that before this tyme wee On levies of men and had not anie warrant to send out of the counties under defence of the Coasts our charge any releeffe to the neighbour places invaded. and Corn
For remedy whereof your Lordships have gravely wall,
ordered this course of seconding cach other. Notwithstanding, because I holde myselfe bounde in duetie to speake my knowledge of the estate of Cornwall, wherewith it hath pleased her Majestie to put me in trust, a charge, both for the greatnes and grace, farr beyond any worth or deserte of myne,—I doe presume to put your Honors in minde that, according to my mean judgement, yt were more fitt to supplie Devon out of Somersett, then from Cornewall; hoping that your Honors will receave my reasons for the same as in discharge of my ductie, and not that I dare to offer them in any other sorte; being bound to obay, and not to advice.
Yf there shall any discent be made by the enymye, in either county, by the waie of surprise, and that the enymy doe but burne, or sacke, and departe, then can nether be releeved as aforesaid, bycause there wilbe no tyme gyven to unite the forces of the same shere, where such attempt shalbe offered, much lesse for the drawing in of any numbers from afarr; and for any such enterprize, where there is no purpose to hold and possesse the places gotten, each shire with 4,000 men shalbe able either to repell or resiste the same.
But if the enymy dispose himselfe to fortyfye any parte in Cornewall or to strengthen any neck of lande of advantage, and thereby begyne to dryve us to a defensive warr, then there is noe country adjoyneth to Cornewall but Devon from whence any spedy supplie maie be had to impeach the begining of such a purpose. And if ought be attempted in Devon--of which Plymouth is most to be feared, having, in one indraught, two goodly harboroughes, as Cattwater and Aishewater-then it is also very likely that the enymye will either assure Cornewall, or seeke utterly to wast yt, bycause yt is next his suplies, both from Spayne and Brittaine? ; and hath divers portes and good rodes to receave a fleete.
Furthermore, maye it please your Lordships to consider that Cornewall is stretched owt all in lenght, and hath little bredth; the west parts whereof ar little lesse then 80 myles from Plymouth, and between the one and the other the great river of Tamar, which is not fordable in any place within 12 myles of Plymouth: and for 4,000 men to march over at Newbridge above Calstock —which ys the neerest passage--the journy of one part of the succour wilbe of one 100? myles and more, as they come to the town of Plymouth; considering the coasting 1 Brittany.
2 So in MS. VOL. II.
of the river on both sides. And for other passaige, there are but two ferries,—the one at Stonehouse, the other at Aishe,-and those but smale boats of no recept, and by which nether carriage, horse, victuall, munition, nor ought else fitt to followe an army, can be conveyed but in a very longe time. Besides, if ther be an intent for Plymouth, yt is to be feared that the enymy will bring gallies with them, as well to assure there landing as to comaund the river of Tamar, and then all passages shalbe taken awaie but at Newebridge aforesaid; and yet the same maie be also easelie broken, yf the gallies once possesse the saied river.
And yf the enymy shoulde lande towards the east of Plymouth, as at Salcuombe, Slapton, Dartmouth, or Torbay, which I doe nowe thinke is likely, then sholde also parte of the succours of Cornewall martche above one hundred and 20 myles, or 140 mile, to the place attempted.
Moreover, may it please you to consider that if 4,000 men sholde at any time be drawen out of Cornwall, and the same knowen to the enymy,-as it wilbe at the instant, -I assure your Honors that 300 soldiers, either sent out of Brittaine? (which maie be done in two tydes) or retorned in a gallye or two from Plymouth, wilbe strenght sufficient to indaunger and distroy the whole shire; at least all the western parts, which oughte most to be defended in respecte of the good harboroughes therein. For there is noe parte of Ingland so daungerouslie seated, soe thinnly mande, so littell defensed, and so easelie invaded; having the sea on both sides, which noe other countye of Englande hath, and is withall so narroe, that yf an enymy possesse any of two or three straights, neither can those of the west repaire eastward, nor those of the est westward : for betwyn
1595. Nov. 25.
Mounts Baye and the sea entring within St. Tees it is but 3 miles and a halfe from sea to sea ; without which their lyeth a good parte of the lande to the west in forme of a Peninsula.
Betwen Trewro (which standeth on the first sound of the river of Falmouth) and St. Piran is but fyve miles overland, passable, and the same also easelie garded; which is as much of Cornewall as the enymye should need. For within soe muche as lieth to the west of the two indraughts are the best ports, and are very sufficient to receave the greatest fleet that ever swam, and conteyneth 27 myles of lenght, very gardable; which in my simple juidgement is everie waie more to be sought for by the enymy then Plymouth; at least yf the same weare soe well understode by them, which is not unlikely; for the enymy taking Plymouth, and not possessing Cornewall, there is then a whole country to the west of them, and betwen them and their supplies. But possessing this part they ynjoye as good, yf not a better, porte then Plymouth; and there is then noe lande betwen them and Britaine or Spaine: and if they have any purpose to make warr with us at home, and shalbe able to dryve us to a defensyve, then is thernoe comparyson betwen the one and the other. For which I could yeilde your Honors many reasons, but that I feare I am over tedyouse in these.
The cuntrye eastward ys also but narrowe, there being but 8 miles betwen the river of Padstowe and the Baye of Frewardreth.
Againe, Cornewall hath not anie one company of horse, either lance, lightehorse, petronell, or pistoll. Notwithstandinge, if it shall please your Honors to thinke it fitt, there maie be order given that all those So in MS. 9 This word has been added in Sir Walter's own hand.