Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/255

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page needs to be proofread.

THE SPANISH ARMADA. 249


under God, I have placed my chiefest strength and safeguard in the loyal hearts and good will of my subjects; and, therefore, I am come among you, as you see, at this time, not for my recreation and disport, but being resolved, in the midst and heat of the battle, to live or die among you all, to lay down for my God, for my kingdom, and for my people, my honor and my blood even in the dust. I know I have the body but of a weak and feeble woman, but I have the heart and stomach of a king, and of a King of England too, and think it foul scorn that Parma, or Spain, or any prince of Europe should dare to invade the borders of my realm, to which rather than any dishonor shall grow by me, I myself will take up arms, I myself will be your general, judge, and rewarder of every one of your virtues in the field. I know already, for your forwardness, you have deserved rewards and crowns; and we do assure you, on the word of a prince, they shall be duly paid you. In the mean time, my lieutenant general shall be in my stead, than whom never prince commanded a more noble or worthy subject, not doubting but by your obedience to my general, by your concord in the camp, and your valor in the field, we shall shortly have a famous victory over those enemies of my God, of my kingdom, and of my people."

Some of Elizabeth's advisers recommended that the whole care and resources of the government should be devoted to the equipment of the armies, and that the enemy, when he attempted to land, should be welcomed with a battle on the shore. But the wiser counsels of Raleigh and others prevailed, who urged the importance of fitting out a fleet that should encounter the Spaniards at sea, and, if possible, prevent them from approaching the land at all. In Raleigh's great work on the "History of the World," he takes occasion, when discussing some of the events of the first Punic war, to give, his reasonings on the proper policy of England when menaced with invasion. Without doubt, we have there the substance of the advice which he gave to Elizabeth's council; and the remarks of such a man on such a subject have a general and enduring interest, beyond the immediate crisis which called them forth. Raleigh says:* "Surely I hold that the best way is to keep our enemies from treading upon our ground; wherein if we fail, then must we seek to make him wish that he had stayed at his own home. In such

  • "Historie of the World," p. 799-801.

L 2