Page:Cambridge Modern History Volume 1.djvu/89

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


1554, Philip of Spain arrived in England, and in the next week was married to Mary at Winchester. He brought with him immense quantities of gold and silver borne on the backs of a hundred horses. Eden's regretful comment was now misplaced, for the contents of "that Rich Treasury called Perularia" were actually on their way to the Tower of London! On October 2 there arrived at the Tower £50,000 in silver, destined to form the nucleus of Philip's "English Treasury," in which Eden had obtained a clerkship. He watched the entry of the newlymarried sovereigns into the metropolis; and his former vision, in a modified shape, now floated before him as a consequence of the match. An ancient commercial alliance was now fortified by a dynastic one; Spain and England must surely henceforth deal with the New World as partners. Eden now resolved to translate the first portion of the "Decades" of Peter Martyr, which contained a lively and popular account, in a series of Latin letters, written in the fashion of the day, of American history from the Discovery to the Conquest of Mexico. Other matter of a similar description filled up his volume; and in the preface he eloquently urges English sailors and merchants to quit the well-worn tracks of traditional commerce, and adventure boldly to the coasts of Florida and Newfoundland.

Although such ideas were doubtless widely entertained, the short reign of Mary afforded no scope for realising them; and the new Anglo-Spanish connexion left in the New World but a single and fleeting trace. A South-American official, when planning a town in a remote valley of the Argentine Andes, named it Londres, or London, in honour of the union of Philip and Mary. This was the first place in America named after an English city. Its existence was of short duration; the Indians expelled the colonists, who were fain to choose another site. The only noteworthy fact during this reign bearing upon the present subject was, that a remarkable maritime project was disastrously proved to be impracticable. Its aim was the discovery of a North-eastern passage to the Far East, answering to the South-eastern passage that was now commonly made by the Portuguese round the Cape of Good Hope. Shortly before Edward's death Sir Hugh Willoughby sailed for this purpose with three vessels. Winter came suddenly on; Willoughby laid up his ships in a harbour of Russian Lapland, where he and the crews of two of his vessels were frozen to death; while Chancellor, the captain of the third, with difficulty reached the White Sea, landed at Archangel, and returned by Moscow. This disaster stopped further search for the passage; seamen and traders henceforth turned in the opposite direction, and speculated on the discovery of a North-west passage. Elizabeth had been on the throne eighteen years, when Frobisher, a Yorkshireman who had constituted himself the pioneer of this project, obtained the means of bringing it to the test, and commenced a fruitless search, which lasted two centuries and