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TO A PERSON UNNAMED.
As printed in 1699, by Philip RALEGH, Grandson of Sir WALTER, from a
copy, or draft, found among Sir WALTER RALEGH's Papers.
You shall receive many Relations, but none more true than this. May it please your Honour, therefore, to know, that on Sunday, being the 20th of June, the English fleet came to anchor in the bay of St. Sebastians, short of Cales half a league. My Lord Admiral,' being careful of her Majesty's ships, had resolved with the Earl of Essex that the town should be first attempted; to the end that both the Spanish gallions and galley's together with the forts of Cales, might not all at once beat upon our navy? My self was not present at the
i Charles Howard, Lord Howard of Effingham, and afterwards Earl of Nottingham.
• It was probably from the sight of the preparations for this conference between Essex and Howard—one of the Queen's ships hoisting a flag at her poop and firing a gun; after which many boats were seen, by the watchful eyes of the Spaniards, to come off to her—that the President Pedro Gutierrez Florez wrote to Philip II., on this same 20th of June (zoth of the Spanish documents), that the enemy, “at sight of the galleys and ships—more than 40 in number—which were in the bay, seemed afraid to enter, or at least summoned a council to consider what should be done, " &c. (Gutierrez Florez to the King. Cadiz, postrero de Junio, 1596. Archives of Simancas : Secretaria de Estado, Bundle 177. Printed in Navarrete's Coleccion de Documentos ineditos, Tonio xxxvi. pp. 208, 209.) The President at Cadiz adds that the sails had been counted, and that there appeared to be twelve ships of war of upwards of 600 tons, and 100 other ships of from 300 tons upwards, "forming the most beautiful fleet that was ever seen (la mas hermosa armada que se ha visto);” that they formed four squadrons – having eight flag-ships--and that thence the Spaniards inferred that the fleet was composed of French ships, as well as of English and Flemish. - Ibid. (Navarrete, Pidal, and others, as before, p. 209.) The
resolution; for I was sent the day before towards the Main, to stop such as might pass out from St. Lucar, or Cales, along the coast. When I was arrived back again (which was two hours after the rest), I found the Earl of Essex disembarking his soldiers ; and he had put many companies into boats, purposing to make his descent on the west side of Cales; but such was the greatness of the billow, by reason of a forcible southerly wind, as the boats were ready to sink at the stern of the Earl; and indeed divers did so, and in them some of the armed men; but because it was formerly resolved (and that to cast doubts would have been esteemed an effect of fear), the Earl purposed to go on, until such time as I came aboard him, and in the presence of all the collonels protested against the resolution; giving him reasons, and making apparent demonstrations that he thereby ran the way of our general ruin, to the utter overthrow of the whole armies, their own lives, and her Majesty's future safety. The Earl excused himself, and laid it to the Lord Admiral, who (he said) 'would not consent to enter with the fleet till the town were first possessed.' All the commanders and gentlemen present besought me to disswade the attempt; for they all perceived the danger, and were resolved that the most part could not but perish in the sea, ere they came to set foot on ground; and if any arrived on shoar, yet were they sure to have their boats cast on their heads; and that twenty men in so desperate a descent would have defeated them all. The Earl, hereupon, prayed me to perswade my Lord
Duke of Medina Sidonia wrote to the King, on the following day, that the enemy's ships-to the number of eighty-were first seen off Lagos, on the 25th (15th of English style], but that the news did not reach him until the 29th.--Archives : Secretaria de Guerra, Bund. 475. (Navarrete, &c. p. 220.)
Admiral, who, finding a certain destruction by the former resolution, was content to enter the port.
When I brought news of this agreement to the Earl, calling out of my boat upon him, Entramus,' he cast his hat into the sea for joy, and prepared to weigh anchor.
The day was now far spent, and it required much time to return the boats of soldiers to their own ships; so as we could not that night attempt the fleet, although many (seeming desperately valiant) thought it a fault of mine to put it off till the morning; albeit we had neither agreed in what manner to fight, nor appointed who should lead, and who should second; whether by boarding or otherwise; neither could our fleet possibly recover all their men in, before sun-set. But both the Generals being pleased to hear me, and many times to be advised by so mean an understanding, came again to an anchor in the very mouth of the Harbour ; so that night, about ten of the clock, I wrote a letter to the Lord Admiral, declaring therein my opinion how the fight should be ordered : persuading him to appoint to each of the great gallions of Spain two great fly-boats to board them, after such time as the Queen's ships had battered them; for I knew that both the St. Philip and the rest would burn, and not yeild ; and then to lose so many of the Queen's for company, I thought it too dear a purchase, and it would be termed but a lamentable victory.
This being agreed on, and both the Generals perswaded to lead the body of the fleet, the charge for the performance thereof (was ?] (upon my humble suit) granted and assigned unto me. The ships appointed to second me were these: the Mary Rose, commanded by Sir GEORGE CAREw; the Lion, by Sir ROBERT SOUTHWELL; the Rainbow, by the Marshal, Sir FRANCIS So printed in the edit. of 1697-1700. • Omitted in original edition
VEARE; the Swiftsure, by Captain CROSSE; the Dreadnaught, by Sir CONYERS and ALEXANDER CLIFFORD; the Nonpareill, by Mr. DUDLEY;l the twelve ships of London; with certain fly-boats.
The Lord THOMAS HOWARD, because the MeereHonour,” which he commanded, was one of the greatest ships,—was also left behind with the Generals; but being impatient thereof, pressed the Generals to have the service committed unto him, and left the Meer-Honour to Mr. DUDLEY, putting himself into the Nonpareill. For mine own part, as I was willing to give honour to my Lord THOMAS, having both precedency in the army, and being a nobleman whom I much honoured, 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 bare with the Spanish fleet, taking the start of all ours a good distance.
Now, Sir, may it please you to understand, that there were ranged under the wall of Cales, on which the sea beateth, seventeen galleys, which lay with their prowes to flank our entrance, as we passed towards the gallions. There was also a fort called the Philip, which beat and commanded the harbour. There were also ordnance, which lay all alongst the curtain upon the wall towards the sea. There were also divers other pieces of culverin, which also scowred the channel. Notwithstanding, as soon as the St. Philip perceived one of the Admirals under sail approaching, she also set sail, and with her the St. Matthew, the St. Thomas, the St. Andrew, the two great gallions of Lisbon, three frigots of war, accustomed to transport the treasure; two argosies, very
1 Asterwards Sir Robert Dudley and titular Duke of Northumberland. 2 Ver- Honour, a famous ship of the Queen's Navy.
strong in artillery; the Admiral, Vice-Admiral, and Rear-Admiral of Nueva Espagna ; with forty other great ships, bound for Mexico, and other places. Of all which, the St. Philip, the St. Matthew, the St. Andrew, and the St. Thomas, being four of the Royal Ships of Spain, came again to anchor under the fort of Puntall, in a streight of the harbour which leadeth towards Puerto Reall. On the right hand of them they placed the three frigots; on the back the two gallions of Lisbon, and the argosies; and the seventeen galleys, by three and three, to interlace them, as occasion should be offered. The Admiral, Vice-Admiral, and the RearAdmiral of Nueva Espagna, with the body of the fleet, were placed behind them towards Puerto Reall; hoping with this great strength to defend the entrance; the place being no broader from point to point than that these did in effect stretch over as a bridge, and had besides the fort of Puntall to their guard. But the seventeen galleys did not at the first depart with the rest, but stayed by the town, with all their prowes bent against us as we enterd; with which, together with the artillery of the town and forts, they hoped to have stumbled the leading ship, and doubted not thereby but to have discouraged the rest.
Having, as aforesaid, taken the leading, I was first saluted by the Fort called Philip, afterwards by the ordnance on the curtain, and lastly by all the galleys, in good order. To show scorn to all which, I only answered first the fort, and afterward the galleys, to each piece a blurr with a trumpet; disdaining to shoot one piece at any one or all of those esteemed dreadful monsters The ships that followed beat upon the galleys so thick that they soon betook them to their oars, and got up to joyn with the gallions in the streight, as aforesaid; and