Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/516

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Marquis of Dorset for the invasion of Guyenne, in the hope of its-being supported by Spanish troops. It landed in Biscay on June 7; but it was even more unfortunate than Lord Darcy's expedition. No preparation had been made in Spain for its reception, not even by way of supplying the soldiers with victuals, or with carriage for their ordnance. They were exposed to the weather, and-'the diet and wines of Spain disagreed with their English habits of body. Moreover, while hundreds died of diarrhoea, the force was kept idle for months, expecting the Duke of Alva to join it. But Alva was engaged on Ferdinand's work in the conquest of Navarre, in which he succeeded perfectly; and the only effect of the English expedition was to hamper the French in Italy, where they soon completely lost their footing. Dorset's troops at last mutinied, and at a council of war on August 28 resolved to return home without leave,—in fact, against orders. The King was very indignant, but was unable to punish where so many were in fault.

It had been arranged that, while Dorset sought to recover Guyenne, English ships were to keep the Channel as far as Brest, and the Spaniards the sea thence to the Bay of Biscay. Sir Edward Howard was appointed Admiral of the English fleet on April 7, and after cruising about the Channel and chasing French fishing-boats he accompanied Dorset's fleet as far as Brest. He then landed on the Breton coast, burning towns and villages ruthlessly over a circuit of thirty miles, and returned home. But the Spanish fleet did not come to join the English till September, when it was really useless; and French ships were meanwhile got ready both in Normandy and Britanny, and placed under the command of the redoubted Pregent de Bidoux, summoned hastily from the Mediterranean. Thus by August, when another expedition sailed from England for Brest harbour, the French had a pretty fair squadron there, and on the 10th a fierce action took place between the two fleets. The Regent, the largest vessel on the English side, grappled with her chief opponent the Cordeliere (called by the English the Great Carrack of Brest), till by some means both vessels took fire, and were totally consumed with the loss of nearly all their crews. Sir Thomas Knyvet, commander of the Regent, was among the victims. The King at once determined to repair the loss of the Regent by building a still larger ship called the Henry Grace de Dieu, or "The Great Harry," which was launched two years later.

In April, 1513, Sir Edward Howard again sailed to the entrance of Brest harbour, intent on avenging Knyvet's fate. He found drawn up in shallow water a line of French galleys, which rained shot and square bolts upon him from guns and crossbows. Putting himself in a row-barge he faced this tremendous fire and boarded Pregent's galley, while his men cast the anchor on to the galley's deck. But the cable was either let slip or cut by the French; and Sir Edward, left in the hands of the enemy, was thrust overboard and perished. The attack