Page:History of England (Macaulay) Vol 4.djvu/49

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poor fisherman, whether he was a real or an imaginary person, spoke the sense of the nation. The beacon on the ridge overlooking Teignmouth was kindled; the High Tor and Causland made answer; and soon all the hill tops of the West were on fire. Messengers were riding hard all night from Deputy Lieutenant to Deputy Lieutenant. Early the next morning, without chief, without summons, five hundred gentlemen and yeomen, armed and mounted, had assembled on the summit of Haldon Hill. In twenty-four hours all Devonshire was up. Every road in the county from sea to sea was covered by multitudes of fighting men, all with their faces set towards Torbay. The lords of a hundred manors, proud of their long pedigrees and old coats of arms, took the field at the head of their tenantry, Drakes, Prideauxes and Rolles, Fowell of Fowelscombe and Fulford of Fulford, Sir Bourchier Wray of Tawstock Park and Sir William Courtenay of Powderham Castle. Letters written by several of the Deputy Lieutenants who were most active during this anxious week are still preserved. All these letters agree in extolling the courage and enthusiasm of the people. But all agree also in expressing the most painful solicitude as to the result of an encounter between a raw militia and veterans who had served under Turenne and Luxemburg; and all call for the help of regular troops, in language very unlike that which, when the pressure of danger was not felt, country gentlemen were then in the habit of using about standing armies.

Tourville, finding that the whole population was united as one man against him, contented himself with sending his galleys to ravage Teignmouth, now a gay watering place consisting of twelve hundred houses, then an obscure village of about forty cottages. The inhabitants had fled. Their dwellings were burned; the venerable parish church was sacked, the pulpit and the communion table demolished, the Bibles and Prayer Books torn and scattered about the roads; the cattle and pigs were slaughtered; and a few small vessels which were employed in fishing or in the coasting trade, were destroyed. By this time sixteen or seventeen thousand Devonshire men had encamped close