Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/254

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248 DEFEAT OF


so bless these their loyal hearts home toward us, their loving sovereign, and their natural country, that all the attempts of any enemy whatsoever shall be made void and frustrate, to their confusion, your comfort, and to God's high glory."*

Letters of a similar kind were also sent by the council to each of the nobility, and to the great cities. The primate called on the clergy for their contributions; and by every class of the community the appeal was responded to with liberal zeal, that offered more even than the queen required. The boasting threats of the Spaniards had roused the spirit of the nation, and the whole people "were thoroughly irritated to stir up their whole forces for their defense against such prognosticated conquests; so that, in a very short time, all her whole realm, and every corner, were furnished with armed men, on horseback and on foot; and those continually trained, exercised, and put into bands, in warlike manner, as in no age ever was before in this realm. There was no sparing of money to provide horse, armor, weapons, powder, and all necessaries; no, nor want of provision of pioneers, carriages, and victuals, in every county of the realm, without exception, to attend upon the armies. And to this general furniture every man voluntarily offered, very many their services personally without wages, others money for armor and weapons, and to wage soldiers: a matter strange, and never the like heard of in this realm or elsewhere. And this general reason moved all men to large contributions, that when a conquest was to be withstood wherein all should be lost, it was no time to spare a portion."†

Our lion-hearted queen showed herself worthy of such a people. A camp was formed at Tilbury; and there Elizabeth rode through the ranks, encouraging her captains and her soldiers by her presence and her words. One of the speeches which she addressed to them during this crisis has been preserved; and, though often quoted, it must not be omitted here.

"My loving people," she said, "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,

  • Strype, cited in Southey's "Naval History."

† Copy of contemporary letter in the Harleian Collection, quoted by Southey.