features, desired to be thought beautiful ; she affected at sixty the romantic feelings, the sighs, loves, tears, and tastes, of a girl of sixteen ; she danced “ high and disposedly” before Secretary Melville ; and simpered and frowned, and permitted the gallant and handsome cavaliers of her court to feed her with flatteries, and to celebrate her celestial graces, when time had blanched her tresses with snow and shrivelled her ordinary countenance into unnumbered wrinkles. But when seated at her council-table these foibles were in an instant abandoned. In no single instance did she permit them to influence the conduct of her government, or to weaken the

grasp of her masculine judgment. Where did she ever select a mere courtier, or an empty and gilded appendage of her processions, to execute a difficult service? How firmly did she cling through her long reign to Burleigh ! How uninterrupted was her favour to the brave Sir Francis Drake,—to the veteran Vere, to Howard, and Gilbert, and Sidney, and Sussex, and, after a partial eclipse, to Raleigh ! When did she ever permit a fool to have a word to say when an important enterprise was in agitation? When did she ever select a weak person for her favourite ? and how completely at this moment did she convince her beloved Essex, that to be her secretary of state something more was required than his favour, when he found that Sir Robert Cecil had been preferred to the man of his choice.

Cecil was the friend of Raleigh ; as much so at least as the marked difference of their characters permitted. Under the eye of his grave and judicious father he had been bred a courtier. His person, indeed, was little calculated to adorn a masque or a festival, for it was deformed; but in this respect he only added another to the many examples of intellect being spurred on by this painful peculiarity to achieve distinction; nor is it perhaps too refined or ingenious to trace to the same source the coldness of his heart, his sarcastic temper, and the caution, dissimulation, and passion for political intrigue, which formed the leading features of his character. Little else.could be expected from the sickly and favourite child of Burleigh, educated in the severe school of Walsingham. His talents for business were high, though not equal to his father's; but his application was as intense, and he had carried the system of private agency and secret information at home and abroad to greater perfection than even the old treasurer himself. His zeal in the service of his royal mistress was neither enthusiastic nor disinterested, but it was constant and sincere ; he knew his own greatness to be involved in the success of his public measures, and appreciated that discernment by which the queen could detect, and the rigour with which she would punish, any disposition to prefer himself or his friends to the good of the state. Such a person was well qualified for the office of secretary, at a time when Elizabeth required the assistance, not only of the bravest hearts, but of the best heads among her subjects. Yet, however able as a statesman, Cecil was proportionably dangerous as a friend,-subtle and insinuating, he esteemed men principally as tools to advance his own interests, and was ready to cast them away, or even to break them to pieces, should they interfere with his policy, or cross the path of his ambition. Such was the person upon whom Essex, still in his palmy state of favour, did not scruple to let loose his resentment, and to whom Raleigh, having already experienced his patronage, attached himself with the earnestness of a man who, cut off from the good graces of his sovereign, caught at any prospect of a restoration. But both were deceived. The noble, open, and fearless earl fell at length into the toils of the little crafty politician whom he had despised; and the other, after he had served Cecil's private purposes, and co-operated in the overthrow of his enemies, was first coldly thrown aside, and then all but destroyed by the hand which he had trusted.

About two months after his return from the Cadiz action, Sir Walter fitted out a ship, called after himself the Wat, for a third voyage to Guiana. The command was intrusted to Captain Leonard Berrie, who sailed from Weymouth in the end of December, and discovered the coast in the beginning of March. The crew came to anchor in a bay at the mouth of the Wiapoucow, 4° north of the line. The falls in the river did not permit their pinnace to proceed far inland ; and, regaining the coast, they visited Aramatto, where the natives supplied them liberally with provisions, and besought them to come and kill the Spaniards. Thence they passed to the Cooshipwinee, which flows through Amano, and reaching Marrac found the people "something pleasant, having drunk much that day,” but withal humane, and anxious to furnish them with every thing required. In their passage up the river, being the first Christians seen in this province, they were received with much reverence, and treated with uniform kindness. They found the country rich, the climate temperate, and the natives of extraordinary stature, and carrying bows with golden handles. The remainder of the voyage was deficient in novelty ; and, after a fruitless attempt to penetrate to the Lake Perima, upon which Manoa was supposed to be situated, Captain Berrie returned to Plymouth on the 28th of June.

[ocr errors]


From Raleigh's Restoration to Favour to the Fall of


Raleigh effects a Reconciliation between Cecil and Essex, and

is himself restored to Favour-Designs of Philip II.--Elizabeth's Preparations against him--The Island-voyage-Raleigh appointed Rear-admiral-He takes Fayal-Disputes with Essex—Their Reconciliation-Inexperience of EssexA large Carrack destroyed by Raleigh-Philip's third Fleet intended for the Invasion of England is dispersed by a Storm -Essex returns to England Elizabeth receives him with Reproaches—Decline of his Favour-Critical Circumstances of the Country-Cecil's Mission to France-Cecil and Lord Burleigh advise a Peace with Spain-Essex violently opposes it-Rivalry of Raleigh and Essex—Their Splendour-State of Ireland-Essex's Quarrel with the Queen-Plot of Cecil - Essex appointed to the Government of Ireland–His Inactivity–His Letters—The Queen's severe Answers—Essex's sudden Return to England–His Reception—Trial and Condemnation-Relative Position of Cecil and Raleigh-Contrast between their Characters-Superior Address of Cecil-His Correspondence with James, King of Scots-Raleigh retires for a short Season to Sherborne-His Employments-Mission to Boulogne-Elizabeth's Passion for tall and handsome Ser. vants-Anecdote illustrative of this-Raleigh’s magnificent Taste in Dress and Equipage-Queen's Progresses-Taste of the Times for solemn Masques and Pageants—Elizabeth's Passion for Hunting-Her Love of Display-Elizabeth's Reception of the Marshal Biron at Basing.

On reaching England Berrie found Raleigh too much engrossed with very different matters to attend to schemes of discovery. His whole mind was occupied by two projects,—the first relating to another great naval expedition against Spain ; the second, an affair perhaps more arduous although of a pacific nature, an attempt to effect a reconciliation between Essex and Cecil ; in which, to the surprise of all, he at length succeeded. He was induced to make an effort to bring these two powerful rivals together, from a conviction that till this were effected his own restoration to the queen’s good graces was impossible. He possessed, indeed, the interest of the secretary ; but for this very reason the favourite opposed him ;-and he, though not so omnipotent as before, was still too strong for them. To make himself acceptable to this great man, who had hitherto treated him with jealousy and distrust, and to bring about a union between two minds which cherished a deep-rooted hostility to each other, was no easy task. But Raleigh brought to it an intimate knowledge of their characters; and the courtiers saw with astonishment not only the progress of the reconciliation, but its consequence in the re-admission of its author to court. On the 4th March 1596-7, Roland Whyte writes to Sir Robert Sidney,

“ Sir Walter Raleigh hath been very often very private with the Earl of Essex, and is the mediator of a peace between him and Sir Robert Cecil, who likewise hath been private with him. He [Sir Walter Raleigh] alleges how much good may grow by it. The queen's continual unquietness will turn to contentments."*

Mr Whyte writes, on the 9th April, 1597,-“ Sir Walter is daily in court; and hope is had he shall be admitted to the execution of his office, as captain of the guard, before his going to sea. His friends you know are of greatest authority and power here; and the Earl of Essex gives it no opposition, his mind being full, and only carried away with the business he hath in his head, of conquering and overcoming the enemy.”+ The final reconciliation is thus described in a letter dated the 2d June, where we find Raleigh completely restored to favour, and once more officiating as captain of the guard

* Sidney Letters, vol. ii. p. 24.

+ Ibid. p. 37.


« VorigeDoorgaan »