Page:15 decisive battles of the world (New York).djvu/257

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

THE SPANISH ARMADA. 251


let us suppose that all the twelve thousand Kentish soldiers arrive at the Nesse ere the enemy can be ready to disembarque his army, so that he will find it unsafe to land in the face of so many prepared to withstand him, yet must we believe that he will play the best of his own game (having liberty to go which way he list), and under covert of the night, set sail toward the east, where what shall hinder him to take ground either at Margat, the Downes, or elsewhere, before they at the Nesse can be well aware of his departure? Certainly there is nothing more easy than to do it. Yea, the like may be said of Weymouth, Purbeck, Poole, and of all landing-places on the southwest; for there is no man ignorant that ships, without putting themselves out of breath, will easily outrun the souldiers that coast them. Les armees ne volent point en poste; 'Armies neither flye nor run post,' saith a marshal, of France. And I know it to be true, that a fleet of ships may be seen at sunset, and after it at the Lizard, yet by the next morning they may recover Portland, whereas an army of foot shall not be able to march it in six dayes. Again, when those troops lodged on the sea-shores shall be forced to run from place to place in vain, after a fleet of ships, they will at length sit down in the midway, and leave all at adventure. But say it were otherwise, that the invading enemy will offer to land in some such place where there should be an army of ours ready to receive him; yet it can not be doubted but that when the choice of all our trained bands, and the choice of our commanders and captains, shall be drawn together (as they were at Tilbury in the year 1588) to attend the person of the prince, and for the defense of the city of London, they that remain to guard the coast can be of no such force as to encounter an army like unto that wherewith it was intended that the Prince of Parma should have landed in England.

"For end of this digression, I hope that this question shall never come to trial: his majesty's many movable forts will forbid the experience. And although the English will no ___ disdain, than any nation under heaven can do, to be beaten upon their own ground, or elsewhere, by a foreign enemy, yet to entertain those that shall assail us, with their own beef in their bellies, and before they eat of our Kentish capons, I take it to be the wisest way; to do which his majesty, after God, will enjoy his good ships on the sea, and not trust in any intrenchment upon the shore."