Page:The house of Cecil.djvu/138

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H4 THE CECILS

although they beg it not, than to disgrace them and make them less." l

Meanwhile preparations for the great expedition went forward, but it soon became evident that success under the conditions prevailing was more than doubtful. Money, food, clothing and stores were all deficient, and the raw recruits who were pressed into the service were ignorant of even the rudiments of drill and discipline, and no attempt was made to train them. The officers were little better than the men, being mostly untried and appointed by favour rather than merit ; and the ships were mainly merchantmen hastily con- verted. The expedition was unpopular from the first, and distrust of Buckingham's intentions was so intense that Parliament refused to grant supplies.

Finally, in August, Buckingham very wisely decided not to command in person, and though he still absurdly styled himself " Generalissimo of the fleet," he appointed Cecil to the supreme command on sea and land, under the title of Admiral and Lieutenant-General, " the greatest command," as was said at the time, " that any subject hath had these hundred years." 2

When it is considered that neither Cecil nor his Vice-Admiral, the Earl of Essex, had any experi-

1 July igth, 1625 (Dalton, II. 108). The same authority records a dispute which took place in 1622 between Cecil and Sir Edward Vere, who was his second in command in the absence of Sir Horace, and resulted in a challenge, the duel only being stopped at the last moment by the intervention of the Prince of Orange (II. 6, note).

s Court and Times of Charles I., I. 53.

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