A Short History of the Expansion of the British empire

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This booklet is not intended for young students alone. It would be well if a narrative of the rise of our Empire were needed only by them. No civilized country treats its national history with such scant regard as Englishmen. It surprises foreigners to see how phlegmatically we ignore the story of the growth of our great dominion, an unconcern which reacts inevitably upon our schools of all types and grades.
Sclzools and T raini1zg Colleges
4. iLonbon: C. J. CLAY AND SONS,
]i.eip)ig: F. A. BROCKHAUS.
3SombaJ.! an'll (!I:alcutta: MACMILLAN AND CO .• LTD.
[All Rights reserved.]
6. 180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 20 40 60 80 100 120 180
180 160 140 120 100 80 60 40 20 20 40 60 80 100 120 140 160
To face Title-page.
. n
8. First Edition 1899'
Seco11d Edition 1902
HIS History is not a 'Manual,' i.e., a digest of the
T general body of facts relative to Colonial history.
Events have been dwelt upon, or passed over, as they serve,
or do not serve, to illustrate the broad underlying principles
which from time to time governed British Expansion. A
manual of information makes a bad text-book for a student.
For the right kind of text-book should aim at something
beyond storing the mind with facts: viz., at stimulating the
reader to further enquiry, and at guiding him in the classifi­
cation of his material and in framing conclusions about it.
History-teaching is barren if this threefold result has not been
Further, the mental discipline which History affords may
be better derived from the earlier rather than the later epochs;
in our subject, from the period of struggle and experiment
rather than the age of full achievement and fruition. The
story of the American Colonies, though we lost them, is in
this way more instructive than the orderly progress of Australia.
For real insight into motives and forces the _Elizabethan time,
perhaps, has merits which the Victorian age lacks. Hence I
have of set purpose dwelt as fully upon the early history of the
Empire as upon the later.
10. vi Preface.
This book is not intended for young students alone. It
would be well if a narrative of the rise of our Empire were
needed only by them. No civilised country treats its national
history with such scant regard as Englishmen. It surprises
foreigners to see how phlegmatically we ignore the story of the
growth of our great dominion, an unconcern which reacts
inevitably upon our schools of all types and grades. If
Germany, for instance, had such a history as 'ours it would be
the central subject round which all her national education
would revolve.
It is to be understood that the subject-matter of the
present book should be read in conjunction with a good
general history of England. It has been assumed that the
main thread of our history has been fairly grasped; only in
this way could the work have been kept within its present
I have to acknowledge the kindness of Messrs Macmillan
in permitting me to use the map of 'New France and the
American Colonies' from Prof. Parkman's Montcalm and Wo{je,
and of Sir H. H. Johnston in permitting the use of one of
the maps in his Colonization of Africa in the preparation of
my map of C British Africa in 1901.'
Advantage has been taken of the demand for a second
edition to follow the history of the Empire down to the Peace
of Pretoria.
June, 1902.
11. Books recommended for Study. vii
The following Works-all readily accessible-are suggested for
the use of Students desirous of extending their reading upon the
subject of the present volume. More extended bibliographies will
be found in several of the books noted; as in the works of Egerton,
Johnston, and Thwaites.
Lucas: Historical Geography of the British Colonies.
Seeley: Expansion of England.
Egerton: Short History ofBritish Colonial Policy.
Mahan: The Injlue1lce of Sea· Power upon History.
The Colonial Office List: issued yeady.
Corbett: Drake and the Tudor Navy.
Doyle: The El1glish ill Al1lt'rica.
Thwaites: The Colonies 1492-175° (in EpocllS OJ AlI:ericall
Parkman: The Old Regime in Canada.
" Montcalm and Wolfe.
Greswell: History of the Dominion of Canada.
Bourinot: Callada under British Rule 1760-1900.
Lucas: Histotical Geograplzy (as above). Vol. II. gives the best
available account of West Indian history.
Lecky: History oj Ellgland liz the 18th Century, especially chapters
xii, xiv, and xv, dealing with the Revolt of the
American Colonies, 1764-1783'-
Goldwin Smith: The Ulllted States: an OutNne ofPolitical History.
Johnston: The Colonization of Africa. Cambridge, 1899.
Lucas: Historical Geography (as above). Vol. IV. IS the best autho­
rity on South African history.
Bryce: Impressions of South Africa.
12. viii Books recommended for Study'
Jenks: The History ofthe Australasian Colonies. Cambridge, 1896.
Hunter: History of British India (in course of issue).
The Indian Empire: a valuable account of India, its
" history and administration.
Owen: A Selection from the Despatches of the Marquis Wellesley:
with Introduction and Notes.
Elphinstone: The Rise ofthe Britt"sh Power in the East.
Holmes: History of the Illdia1t MutillY.
The Period of Preparation, 1497-1558 9
Beginnings of Expansion: the Elizabethan Age, 1558-1603 17
First Period of Colonisation, 1603-1660
The Supremacy of the Mercantile Interest, 1660-1740
Expansion by Conquest-Canada and India, 1740-1763 • 182
The Loss of the American Colonies, 1764-1783
14. x . Contents.
The Creation of British Sovereignty in India, 1763-1805 ~~9
Canada under British Rule
Australasia, 1788-19°1
British South Africa, 1795-1901
The French War, West and East Africa, the Asiatic Seas,
1793-1 901 ~96
The Consolidation of the British Power in India, 18°5-19°1. an
I. General Map of the British Empire, 1902 To face Title'page
'2. Frobisher's Map, 1578 • p. 55
3. New England, 16'20-1650 p. 100
4' India, eire. 1785' • " p. 179
5. Northern New France and the British Colonies,
175°-176o • To follow p. 186
6. India, 1805 To face p. '245
7. The Canadian Dominion and its Provinces • " p. ~56
8. The States of the Commonwealth of Australia " p. 26 3
9. British Africa, 190 '2 ,,. p. '280
10. British South Africa, 1902 " p. 295
1492 Columbu,s discovers the Western Continent.
1494 Treaty of Tordesillas.
1497 John Cabot discovers Newfoundland.
1498 Vasco da Gama reaches India.
1521 Conquest of Me'xico by Cortez.
1534 Jacques Cartier first explores the St Lawrence.
1553 English adventurers in Muscovy.
1562 First voyage of John Hawkins to the West Indies.
1580 Drake returns from his voyage round the world.
1583 Gilbert takes formal possession of Newfoundland.
1585 Raleigh founds colony of Virginia.
1588 The defeat of the Armada.
1600 Charter of the East India Company.
1606-7 First charter of the Virginia Company.
1612 Factory of East India Company established atSurat.
1620 Settlement of Plymouth by the Pilgrim Fathe~.
1624-5 Barbados settled.
1624 Virginia becomes a royal colony.
1629 Settlement of Massachusetts.
1633 First East India Company Factory in Bengal: Piply.
1634 First Committee of Privy Council for control of Plantations.
1639 East India Company Factory established at Madras.
1640 East India Company Factory established at Hoogly.
1642 First voyage of Tasman to Australia.
1651 Navigation Act.
1651 St Helena occupied by East India Company.
W. E. I
16. 2 Table oj Dates.
1652 Cape occupied by the Dutch.
1655 Jamaica conquered.
1660 Navigation Act.
1661 Bombay ceded by Portugal: first territorial settlement of
Britain in India.
I662 Mouth of the Gambia occupied by the African Company
of London.
1663 Carolina founded.
1664 New Amsterdam (New York) captured.
1667 Treaty of Breda.
1670 Hudson's Bay Charter.
1672 The Council of Trade and Plantations organised.
1683 Revocation of Charter of Massachusetts.
1689 The Revolution Parliament begins to assume authority in
Colonial affairs.
1696 Calcutta founded.
1713 Treaty of Utrecht.
1713 Assiento Treaty.
1739 Outbreak of war between England and Spain.
1741 Dupleix made Governor of Pondicherry.
'744 War with France in America and Carnatic.
1751 British at Madras take the Nawab of the Carnatic under
their protection.
1754 War on Upper Ohio.
1755 Defeat of Braddock.
1757 Pitt in office.
1757 Victory of Plassey: English masters of Bengal.
1759 Capture of Quebec.
1760 Submission of Canada.
1763 . Peace of Paris.
1764 Victory of Buxar over Moghul and Nawab of Oudh.
1765 Stamp Act of Grenville.
1770 Captain Cook proclaims British occupation of Australia.
1772 Warren Hastings Governor of Bengal.
1773 The Indian RegUlating Act.
1774 Quebec Act.
1776 Declaration of Independence.
1781 Surrender of Cornwallis.
1783 Treaty of Versailles.
17. Table of Dates. 3
1784 Pitt's India Bill passed.
17 87 . Sierra :beone ceded to the English by the natives.
1788 Captain Phillip lands at Botany Bay (January). .
1788 He takes formal possession of Eastern half of Australia
under name of New South Wales (February).
179 1 Canada Act.
1795 England first seizes the Cape.
1798 Lord Wellesley Governor-General.
1799 Conquest of Mysore.
1802 Treaty of Bassein.
1803 Mahratta War: Assaye and Laswarri.
1- 804 Founding of Tasmania.
J806 England finally occupies the Cape.
1807 Slave trade in the British Empire ·abolished.
18I2 Tasmania a separate colony.
18 14 Cession of Cape Colony by Treaty of Paris.
1818 Reduction of Mahrattas.
182 4 First Burmese war.
182 9 Swan River settlement founded (Western Australia).
1836 Founding of South Australia.
1836 The Great Trek.
18 37 Canadian Rebellion.
1839 Annexation of New Zealand.
1840 Canada Reunion Act: responsible Government granted.
1840 Treaty of Waitangiwith the Maoris.
1840 Transportation to New South Wales abolished.
'1843 Natal proclaimed a British colony.
1843 Gold Coast organised as Crown Colony.
1849 Punjab annexed.
18 51 Victoria a separate colony.
18 52 Responsible Government established in New Zealand.
18 52 Second Burmese war.
18 52 Independence of Transvaal recognised by Sand River
18 54 Independence of Orange Free State recognised by Bloem­
fontein Convention.
18 54 Present Colonial Office organised.
18 55-6 Responsible Government established in New South Wales,
Victoria, Tasmania and South Australia.
1856 Oudh annexed.
18. 4 Table of Dates.
The Sepoy Mutiny.
The Queen proclaimed Sovereign of India: extinction· of
Moghul dynasty.
British Columbia founded.
Proc1amation of Queensland as a separate colony.
British North America Act, creating the Dominion of
Canada. .
1868 Basutoland placed under British protection.
1869 Opening of Suez Canal.
1872 Responsible Government established in Cape Colony.
1877 Transvaal annexed by Great Britain.
1877 Proc1amation of the Queen as Empress of India.
1881 Battle of Majuba Hill: independence restored to Transvaal.
1882 Battle of Tel el Kebir, resulting in British occupation of
Convention of London regulating the status of the Trans­
188 5 Establishment of Federal Council of Australasia.
188 5 Bechuanaland taken under British protection.
1886 Niger Company's charter granted.
1888 British East Africa Company's charter granted.
1889 British South Africa Company's charter granted.
1890 Responsible Government estabiished in Western Australia.
1893 Responsible Government established in Natal.
18 93 Conquest of Matabeleland.
18 94 Protectorate of Uganda:.
1895 Protectorate of B. E. Africa.
1896 The Jameson Raid.
1897 Famine in India begins.
189 8 Battle of Omdurman and recovery of Soudan.
1 899 Second Boer War.'
1900 Annexation of Boer Republics.
1900 Protectorates of Southern and Northern Nigeria.
190 1 Australian Commonwealth set up.
190 1 Death of Queen Victoria.
19. 5
(Mainly from the Colonial OjJice Lt"st.)
THE British Colonial Empire comprises forty distinct and in­
dependent governments administered under the Colonial Office.
Beside these there are certain territories under the Foreign Office.
--The Indian Empire is an entirely separate administration.
GROUP I. In the subjoined list the names of the eleven colonies
which possess elected Assemblies and Responsible
Governments are printed in thicker type.
GROUP II. The government of twenty-five colonies is administered
by aid of Legislative Councils; of four (Gibraltar, St
Helena, Labuan and Basutoland) by the Governor
alone.· These are all called Crown Cololdes: and are
marked C in the list.
GROUP III. Other possessions under British sovereignty are ad­
ministered by Chartered Companies with more or less
control from the Crown.
GROUP IV. In Protectorates British control is looser and the
native rule but slightly interfered with.
GROUP V. Naval aJzd Milt'tary posts: e.g. Ascension, under the
Admiralty; Aden, under the India Office.
GROUP VI. bldia.
The dates given are usually those of the first effective acquisi­
tion. In the case of many possessions British sovereignty has not
been continuous. Thus, Cape Colony between 1802-1806 reverted
to Holland, and several of the smaller West Indian islands have at
different times passed by fortune of war into French hands.
20. 6 Summary of Chief British Possessions.
Dale of Name Howacqut"red
Gibraltar C. By conquest
Malta C. By conquest
Cyprus C. By treaty Placed under 'Eurnpe'
in Colollial OjJiCI!
I Lut
Date of Name How acquired
1639 India: Madras By purchase The dates are those of
1640 Bengal By grant from Moghul the beginnings ofthe
1661 " Bombay By cession from Por­ three Presidencies
" tugal
1795 Ceylon C. By conquest
184 1 Hong Kong C. By treaties
1846 Labuan C. By treaties
17 85-1819 Straits Settlements C. By treaties
1874 Malay States By treaties A Protectorate
1838 Aden A military post under
the Indian Govern·
1888 Sarawak By treaty Under protection of
British Government
1881 N. Borneo By treaties Under Chartered Co.
1884 British New Guinea C. By proclamation
1898 Wei-hai-Wei By treaty Admiralty post
Date of Name How acqut"red
a cquisition
17 88 New South Wales By proclamation: which
covered the area after­
wards divided into
four colonies
Tasmania Created separate Co'
" lony in 1823
ditto, 1851
Western Australia By settlement
ditto, 18 59
J836 South Australia By settlement
1839-40 New Zealand Bysettlementand treaty
J874 Fiji Islands C. By :5ccupation
1893 Solomon Islands C. By proclamation Protectorate
1900 Tonga
Gilbert Islands C. By lroclamation
By ngloGermantreaty
1901 Cook Now under New Ze a.
" land
21. Summary of Clziej' Britis/z Possessions. 7
Dale of Name How acquired
1624 Barbados C. By settlement
1626 8t Christopher (St By settlement
Kitts) C.
1628 Nevis C. By settlement
1632 Antigua and other Lee­ By settlement
ward Islands C.
1635 Virgin Islands C. By settlement
1646 Bahamas C. By settlement
1655 Jamaica C. By conquest
17 63 Dominica, Grenada, 8t By conquest
Vincent, Tobago and
other Windward Is­
lands C.
1797 Trinidad C. By conquest
179 8 Honduras C. By treaty
1796 British Guiana C. By conquest
1794 St Lucia C. By conquest
1765 Falkland Isles C. By settlement
D(lte of Name HOUJ acquired
Canada By conquest
Nova Scotia By conquest Acadia; previous oc­
New Brunswick cupation or conqul!st
Newfoundland . By proclamation was only temporary
Bermuda Islands C. By settlement
Hudson's Bay Territory By charter including the Western
territories, now part
of the Dominion of
22. 8 Summary of Chief British" Possessions.
Date of Name How acquired
X79S Cape Colony By conquest Continuous possession
dates from x806
x8H Natal By occupation
16S1 St Helena C. By conquest
x81S Ascension By occupation Admiralty post
188S Bechuanaland By proclamation Protectorate
, 1890 Rhodesia By occupation Chartered Co.
189 1 British Central Africa By treaty Protectorate
1888 British East Africa By proclamation Protectorate since x89S
1810 Mauritius and Sey- By conquest
chelles C.
Basutoland C. By treaty
Gambia C. By occupation
Gold Coast C. By occupation
Lagos C. By occupation
Sierra Leone C. By occupation
Northern Nigeria By proclamation
Southern Nigeria By proclamation Protectorate 1900
Somali Protectorate
Egypt Controlled and de·
fended by British
Uganda By treaty and occupa· Protectorate
1900 Tranwaal C By conquest
1900 Orange River C. By conquest
23. 9
1497- 1 55 8.
Two characteristics particularly mark the history of the
English nation: the development of ordered Charac­
liberty and the growth of its external dominion. teristics
Of these two sides of our national progress the History:
former usually fills the larger space in our minds. I. Freedom.
The text-books we read chiefly treat the history of English
institutions as the central thread of the narrative. In foreign
countries it was, for a century, the element in our national life
which most attracted admiration. Yet the same energy and
self-reliance which gave birth to our self-government in borough,
shire, and nation, has had a further result besides a Parlia­
mentary constitution. It has been precisely the 2. Expansion.
same force which has produced the second
characteristic of our history-the extension of the English
State into distant lands. The qualities of race which made
the English a free people made them a colonising people.
Let us note in the first place some of the features of English
expansion. We shall find that it was at the Features of
outset' slowly attempted; a century of scattered English
effort-of failure, in truth-passed before any
definite result was achieved. Spain and Portugal a. Gradual
had built up great empires before England
24. 10 Characteristics. [CH.1.
stirred herself to any purpose. This was partly due to the
fact that English effort was the effort of indi­
al~~t. Individu- viduals, with little help, and often none at all,
from the State: whilst Spain-as France, later­
made the founding of empire the concern of Kings and
Government. It was our English mode, halting and un­
methodical, but yet the enterprise of a people a~customed to
act for itself. Again, the guiding motives have
c. Motives:
been various. At first, Trade­ ,. to gain something
of the wealth which was pouring in upon Spain
and Portugal from west and east. The search for the 'North­
\Vest Passage' was a groping for new markets
and rich produce. Then, 'Religion; to found a
Church in a new land away from the temptations and perse­
cutions of the evil world. Thirdly, Settlement;
the creation of a new piece of England across
the seas, a true colony, a migration to a fresh and permanent
_home, though without the severance of the old tie of citizen­
ship. Another motive was Defence; to protect
trade, religion and settlement, the old home and
the new, from the enemies of both.
In some respects English expansion has been like that
of the City-states of ancient Greece. 'From
d. Like that them, as from England, citizens went out to
'of Greece,
found new communities, and where they went
they carried the Greek name and civilization. Or again, it has
been like that of Rome-the rule of conquerors,
e. and of
lawgivers, governors, imposing order, toleration
and peace. The British India of to-day throws
a flood of light upon the administration of a Roman Province,
Britain, say, or Syria, of the first or second century. Lastly,
f. Its' in­
and the analogy is rather with Greece or Rome
evitable' than with any modern nation, British expansion
has another quality: it is, in a sense, inevitable.
This may be due to race and its innate vigour; to geography;
25. 1497-1558.] Eug/and zmder Henry VII. II
to maritime instinct; to permanent economic causes: it is
probably the result of all these. But it is there; it perhaps
eludes explanation; it certainly needs no defence.
The two great geographical discoveries which mark the
close of the 15th century, those of America in
1492 and of the Cape route to India'in 149 8, Discovery.
England and
constitute the natural starting-point of our
subject. It is an interesting fact to remember that, at the
moment of the engagement of Columbus to the Court of
Madrid, his brother was urging Henry VII of England to
invite him to London to discuss the project of his voyage.
The invitation reached Columbus too late; he was already
pledged to Spain. We have perhaps in this"incident evidence
of the repute of English enterprise and seamanship, perhaps also
a recognition of the ability of Henry himself. It is untrue,
however, to say that but for an accident America might have
been from the outset English instead of Spanish. For England
as a country was weak and poor j it was backward and isolated.
It had no energy to spare for more than half a century to come
for other tasks than those of repairing the waste of civil war,
and of bringing herself abreast of European progress.
England was still industrially dependent upon Flanders
or Italy in several important respects. Her woollen cloths,
the chief product of the country, were finished and dyed in
Florence: the shipping in her ports was Italian -or Flemish:
her bankers were foreigners: her luxuries, like books, and
not a few necessaries, as weapons, were produced abroad.
England had as yet no strong middle class of trained mer­
cantile instinct, of capital and intelligence. In knowledge of
affairs, inventiveness, elasticity, Englishmen were among the
backward peoples of Western Europe. In geographical re­
search and in maritime enterprise the Portuguese and the
Italians were in the front rank j and they were rivalled by the
French and the Spaniards before English seamen learnt to
venture into distant waters.
26. 12 Jo/m and Sebastian Cabot. [CH.1.
The history of the Cabots illustrates the point. John
The Cabots
Cabot, a Genoese by birth and a Venetian by
discover North residence, lived from time to time in Bristol,
where his son Sebastian was probably born about
1477. To them was granted by Henry VII in
1497 the first patent for western discovery, and under it father
and son set sail to explore an Atlantic route to Cathay and
Tartary. They were commissioned" to sail with five ships
under the royal flag and to set up the king's banner as his
officers." The profits of the voyage were to be their own,
subject to a royalty of one-fifth to be paid to the Crown.
Bristol was named as their port of trade. We have no par­
ticulars of their journey. St John's in Newfoundland was
discovered by them on June 24th; some information of the
fisheries was brought back and Cabot received a donation of
£10 from the privy purse. The following year saw a second
voyage of John Cabot. He is supposed to have reached the
American coasts about 67~° lat. and to have coasted as far
south as the mouth of the Delaware in 38°. There was no
record of any exploration of the land or of anything in the
nature of occupation, but the two voyages of John Cabot
were regarded more than a century later as constituting the
English claim to the American mainland by right of discovery.
Nothing proves more conclusively the unfitness of England
at that period for a policy of external growth than the neglect
with which this most important discovery of the North
American mainland was treated. We do not know the fate
of John Cabot; Sebastian is not mentioned for nearly twenty
years; he had returned to the service of Venice. There are
allusions to voyages of other navigators, in ISOI and sub­
sequent years. In 1 SI 7 Sebastian Cabot was apparently in
command of a venture to the coasts of South America, but
no result followed. Henry VIII in his earlier years had like
his father reasons of policy for not appearing as a rival of Spain
in the Indies. In the 15th century the right of the Papacy to
27. 1497-1558.] The Partitz'on of the New World. 13
award legal title to newly discovered lands was disputed by
no Christian power. Portugal had sought, for her African
possessions, the sanction of successive Popes. In I493 Spain
acquired the like security for the recent discoveries of Colum­
bus. Pope Alexander VI in that year issued 1
· h' . The Bu Is of
t h e f:amous B u11s b y WhIC Spam was entItled to Alexander VI,
nold all territories discovered by her situate "one 1493·
hundred leagues west of the Cape Verde Isles and the Azores."
Portugal promptly claimed an understanding with her neighbour
as to their respective spheres. By the Treaty of Tordesillas of
I494 Spain agreed to push back the eastern limit of her rights
to a point 370 leagues west of the Cape Verde Islands, and
this was afterwards determined to mean the meridian of longi­
tude 45.37 W. on our maps. Thus it happened that Brazil, on
its discovery in I500, fell to Portugal, who could claim, in
America, nothing further. She, of course, retained her African
discoveries, and was left to conquer the East undisturbed.
Spain in return appropriated all that lay west of the line of
partItIOn. The two peninsular powers assumed the recog­
nition on the part of all. good churchmen of their right of
possession of such regions of the globe as were at that date
unoccupied by Christian peoples. But the French king,
Francis I, treated the Bulls with indifference, and ignored the
Treaty of I494, to which he was no party, founded upon them.
Henry VII by his patents to Cabot shewed that he did not
regard such an agreement as the last word on the question,
but apart from other reasons for acquiescence he was busy in
marrying his son to a Spanish princess, through whom some
share of the wealth thus claimed might flow towards England.
In Henry VIII we are face to face with a son of the New
Age. He early gained a true conception of the
Henry VIII
position of England in Europe. The rapid suc- and the ex­
cess of Spain and Portugal in their respective ternal growth
of England.
spheres, the dominant influence of the Spanish
House, his own special problems, dynastic and ecclesiastical,
28. 14 H Cllry V JJJ and the New Age. [CH. 1.
compelled him to caution in foreign affairs, and to the con­
centration of his energies upon national defence. The King
proved himself, as will be shewn, one of the true founders
of English expansion as the creator ·of the Tudor navy. He
encouraged ship-building and ship-owning; he was keenly
interested in the fisheries in English and in distant waters;
and in the seamanship of which they were then, as they have
ever been, the best training school. From Southampton and
Bristol ships built and owned in England began to find their
way to the Baltic and the Levant. William Hawkins, a typical
west country trader, sailed to the Canaries, the Guinea coast,
and even to Brazil. Henry and his minister Wolsey are
found in correspondence with students of geography, and with
adventurers such as De Prado, a citizen of London, who
sailed from Plymouth to Labrador and Newfoundland. He
encouraged the voyage of Hore to Cape Breton in 1536,
which, though futile in itself, deeply impressed contemporaries
by the narrative of the perils of the north Atlantic. Still, in
spite of the comparative failure of these early efforts, the taste
for adventure was growing. Newfoundland fishing banks
attracted yearly numbers of fishermen from the west of
England, and journeys to the Barbary and Guinea coasts were
probably more frequent than our scanty records imply.
Before the middle of the century motives of politics and re-
New spirit ligion were no longer an obstacle to discovery;
of enterprise, they, indeed, rather invited Englishmen to dispute
1 8
1540- 55 • the claims of Spain to the New World. The papal
Bulls were no longer resented, they were laughed at. More­
over, the printing-press was now applied to the production
of maps and charts. In Antwerp, Rruges and Dieppe were
published those remarkable early efforts in cartography which
stimulated navigation in English sea-coast towns. What Prince
Henry the Navigator had done a century earlier, and what
Hakluyt was to do nearly a century later, the great map-makers,
Mercator, Ortelius, and their school, did now in the first part of
29. 1497- 1558.] A new spirit of enterprise. 15
the 16th century in creating a thirst for maritime adventure.
The secrecy of ocean routes could no longer be maintained.
In England Thomas Cromwell, following Henry VII, carried
legislation directed to encouraging foreign trade in English
ships j under his master's immediate impulse the English navy
was admitted to be the strongest afloat; a mercantile marine
was in existence and increasing j in building and rigging ships
we were not behind the Flemings and the Italians. A new
aristocracy had arisen, men of practical aims and ready to
join the traders of London and Bristol in enterprises which
promised both profit and adventure. The middle class was
growing in wealth and numbers, whilst the country popUlation
was already tending to drift into the seaport and manufacturing
towns. A new generation had sprung up, ignorant of civil
war, proud of national independence in Church and State, with
higher tastes and wider knowledge, and unwilling to lag behind
the rest of Western Europe in. wealth or repute. Thus, al­
though beyond the patent of the Cabots no definite· step in
the expansion of England is recorded up to the year 1550, we
see the nation preparing rapidly for its future task.
The chief centres of this new spirit of enterprise, as we
should expect, were the southern and western sea-board towns
from London to Bristol: and in the middle years of the
sixteenth century it was directed principally to the Levant,
the Guinea coast and the north-east of Europe, where it was
attempted to open up a route hitherto untried to India and
China, for Southampton was losing its traditional import
trade, via Italy, in eastern productions now handled by
the Portuguese by way of the Cape. Antwerp, Catholic and
Spanish, was now the centre of the distributing trade in eastern
and continental produce. Moreover, the treasure, poured in
increasing volume from Mexico into Cadiz, was fast becoming
a peril to Europe, as Protestantism was destined soon to
discover. Thus public and private motives alike combined
to push English merchant-venturers and their supporters into
30. 16 The North-East Passage. ECHo 1.
activity. In 1549 Sebastian Cabot, the patriarchal figure of
the new generation of seamen, was created Grand Pilot of
England. Under his presidency a company of
Voyage to
Russia, 1553. discovery was formed to explore a North-East
Passage to China. Merchants of London and
men of position were his colleagues, and the famous journey
organised by Cabot in 1553, when Sir Hugh Willoughby
perished, was so far successful that Richard Chancellor, his
comrade, reached Moscow via Archangel, and in a sense dis­
covered Russia to western Europe. N ext year the company
received a royal charter, addressed to the Marquis of Win­
chester and" other merchant adventurers," for "the discovery
of lands unknown and not before frequented.". The Russian
journeys were extended to the Caspian and even to Persia,
and the Muscovy Company, which in Elizabeth's reign con­
tinued to develope the trade thus opened, was a model of
Th e coun t ry
many similar ventures to Africa and the Levant.
ready for ad- The farther east, however, was to remain long
venture , 1558 • untouche d ; an d '111 th e west, Ca b ot's pnor
discovery had only led to an increasing share in the New­
foundland fishing.
At the time of Elizabeth's accession we see that the way of
expansion was but prepared: but certain facts are already
significant. The spirit of adventure is born, and with it some
experience in distant navigation; merchants and gentry have
begun to combine their capital in enterprise with encourage­
ment from the Crown. The State itself, however, attempts
nothing, all is left to the initiative of the individual. Statesmen
recognise rights of occupation in distant seas, but ignore vague
claims, whether supported by Pope or King, not so confirmed:
and there is also that reluctance to quarrel with Spain which
marked English policy till 1588. In short the elements of a
new policy are all ready, and await the opportunity which in
the critical state of English relations abroad cannot be long
AGE, 1558-16°3.
NOT until the reign of Elizabeth did the full force of the
Renaissance make itself felt in England. Rapid The Eliza­
as the progress of the country had been since bethan age
Bosworth FIe, 'ld E ng1and stl'II Iagge d b eh'IIId and
timethe mari-of
France, Spain, and the Low Countries. Hence England.
we were, as a people, late in absorbing those new influences
which, derived in the main from Italy, were rapidly developing
the modern life of western Europe. The classical literary
spirit, the new architecture, the desire for greate~ dignity and
refinement of outward life, the wider interests in nature and in
travel were blended with the master aims which animated
Elizabethan England-the passionate zeal for national inde­
pendence alike in Church and State.
Thus in a very real sense the reign of Elizabeth stands for
a time of" beginnings." It is the starting-point of our modern
history. In particular the love of adventure and enterprise
beyond the seas, the concept of England as a maritime nation,
faintly realized in the first half of the century, becomes in the
second a definite mark of the national temper. Our purpose
is to trace the main stages in the growth of this new force in
English history. And here at the outset one caution is needed.
If there be any epoch in which the external growth of the
English nation may be treated as a "department" of our
history to be traced out and judged apart from the rest, this
first epoch is certainly not one of them. In no reign are the
W. E. 2
32. 18 Tile Policy of tlte Queen. [CH. II.
different threads of English policy so closely interwoven.
However we may isolate, in order to lay stress upon, the
element of expansion in Elizabethan England, such study will
be wholly misleading unless we bear constantly in mind the
religious, the dynastic, the continental, even the personal,
factors which make up the complex whole of the policy of
the reign. The beginnings of the Empire were in part
sought unconsciously, in part were the result of deliberate
action. But in neither case were they brought about inde­
pendently of the main current of affairs.
Within a very short time of Elizabeth's accession the
hard facts with which English policy had to
The policy
of the Queen.
reckon during the next five-and-twenty years
were already manifest. I. The Catholic Church
had addressed itself formally to the task of recovering the
ground lost to it by the Reformation, notably in England.
The Counter-Reformation had begun. The Papal Chair was
filled by men profoundly devoted to the cause of the Church;
the Jesuit O~der had secured the leading voice in its policy.
2. Spain was now identified with the political power of Rome,
whose obedient and ruthless servant she was henceforth, both
.in the Old World and the New. Catholicism in English eyes
wore for a time the cast of Spanish fanaticism and Spanish
cruelty. 3. It was clear that in France in spite of a deep
religious cleavage in the nation the Government and Paris were
already irrevocably Catholic. Spain, backed by the wealth of
the Indies, was about to put forth her whole energy to eradi­
cate heresy in the Low Countries. 4. The succussion was
uncertain; the death of the Queen without an heir would
renew the crisis of 1553. Mary Queen of Scots is identified
with a wide-spread conspiracy to bring back England to the
papal allegiance. 5. This isolation of England and of Elizabeth
in presence of an aggressive Catholicism was made complete
by the Bull of Excommunication launched against the person
of the Queen in February 1570.
33. The Chamul Rovers. 19
Such were the conditions, so ominous of danger both to the
nation and dynasty, amidst which Elizabeth and her counsellors
had to steer their course. Fortunately, 'she was served by men
of ability, insight and self-restraint, equal to her own. Tact,
patience, dissimulation, were, for a time at least, her main
defensive weapons. The Queen fell back upon the fortunate
isolation in which both her country and herself found, them­
selves:' she would have no foreign alliances and no foreign
war. To marry Philip would be only a greater error than to
quarrel with him. She encouraged the Dutch Calvinist in the
conflict against Spain, the Huguenot against Catherine de'
Medici, but nothing would induce her to declare formal war on
their behalf. She thought, perhaps after 1570 wrongly, that
the religious unity of her own kingdom would not yet bear the
strain of a struggle abroad; and' that neither in money, in men,
nor in fleets was this country equal to a conflict with the great
Catholic powers. To efface herself and to give no cause of
offence, to bide the time when self-assertion might be less
perilous, and the confidence of the nation in its own powers
might be fit for a great trial, was the policy of Elizabeth
for nearly thirty years. Caution, as even Burleigh thought,
may have grown into timidity, economy into parsimony, and
the desire to avoid war have actually invited attack. But the
waiting policy did in the result achieve its purpose, and the
long period of hesitancy and of reserve prepared the way for a
brilliant epoch of success.
The Marian persecutions had driven large numbers of
Protestants into seclusion, and others, more The Channel
sturdy and more obnoxious to the authorities, Rovers.
into exile. But in the West of England where reformed
doctrines had taken deep root, not a few of the younger men,
roused by the stories of oppression, or its actual experience,
plunged into a reckless career of sea-roving.. There had always
34. 20 The Chamzel Rovers. ECHo II.
been along the west country coasts a tendency to wrecking,
which attracted the lawless spirits; and so when sons of the
yeomen and of the gentry vented their hatred of Rome and
Spain upon foreign trading vessels passing up and down the
Channel there were plenty of hardy mariners ready to follow.
Huguenots from the French shore joined forces with Devon­
shire ~ea-dogs from Dartmouth or Bideford and plundered im­
partially all shipping that passed up into what were called the
Narrow Seas. It happened that nearly all their prizes were
Spanish or Flemish ships trading between Lisbon and Cadiz,
Antwerp and London. That guaranteed the venturers a re­
venge sweetened by profits, for such merchantmen alone
were allowed to carry the wealth of the East and West
to Northern Europe. It was a fierce life, a state of war with­
out its rights for the victims, or its duties for the cWe cannot doubt that bitter passions, religious hate, greed,
sheer love of violence and bloodshed were only too easily fed
in these buccaneering exploits. But on the other hand they
taught the Spaniards a lesson which they were slow to learn,
that the Englishman was no weak, spiritless prey whom it was
safe to disregard in laying hands upon trade and dominion or
in crushing heresy. Moreover, to the west country mariners
themselves Channel piracy, for it was nothing more, proved a
stern school of seamanship and naval warfare. They learnt
from it the weakness of the Spaniard at sea; his lack of skill
and resource and of real courage, the helplessness of his slow,
heavy galleons against small, smartly-handled English vessels.
Nor did they ever forget the grim attractiveness of the lawless
buccaneering life itself, its excitement and its profit.
As we look back, such unauthorised warfare in English
waters upon peaceful trading vessels sheltered by a friendly
flag strikes us as utterly contrary to ideas of international
right. The responsible ministers of the day, notably the
greatest of them Cecil, probably felt so too. But we must not
forget the outrages which called such passions into being.
35. I558-1603!J The attitude of the Queen .. 21
The conscience of men, even in that age, no longer sanctioned
barbarities such as the burning of Protestants in London or
Oxford, or the torture of Huguenots or of English sailors by
the Inquisition at Cadiz or Mexico. To the plain west country
mind to hunt down all who had part or lot in inflicting such
fiendish cruelties was a simple dictate of justice.
The taste for sea-roving and harrying the Spaniard did
not lapse with the death of Mary and the end The attitude
of the persecution that had in the first instance of Elizabeth
and Cecil to­
called it into play. Elizabeth, as we have seen, wards the Cor­
dare not openly countenance action on the part sairs.
of her subjects which might embroil her with Philip. But she
had no desire to forbid enterprise which was the outcome of
patriotic feeling, and, what was more important still, provided,
without national cost, seamanship and fleets. The Queen's
navy was at this time. falling steadily into decay, as Cecil
admitted, and the Crown refused the means for. building or fqr
manning one. Yet both ships and sailors were likely to be
badly needed. The minister, '''illiam Cecil, protested against
this irregular warfare, partly because of its very irregularity and
partly as likely to embarrass his policy. But the Queen
decided to ignore what she could with difficulty prevent. So
English and Huguenot corsairs swept the Channel and the
Bay of Biscay. Tremaynes, Stukeley~ and Cobhams, scions of
famous west country homes, continued to spend their money in
fitting out craft of twenty or fifty tons with cutlasses and guns
and reckless men only too glad to learn the art of using them.
Fishermen abandoned their favourite grounds off Kinsale or in
the Iceland seas and took to the more profitable trade of
piracy; and throughout the West, from Bideford round to
Exmouth, the sea-dog's life was the envy of every young fellow
of spirit. Elizabeth knew that it was a venturesome game for
her to play; but she knew too that she could, if driven to it,
disown all part in it; and that the men who captained the
vessels, and the crews who manned them, would understand
36. 22 Johll~ Hawkins and the Slave Trade. [CH. II.
and were prepared for all risks that might befall. The truth
was that, though Spain and England might be at peace, Pro­
testantism and Romanism were at deadly war. The peace
was a fiction, perhaps a necessary one, of sovereigns: the state
of war was the grim reality of things as understood on both
sides by their subjects.
Here then was one English school of na.vigation and naval
A school of
warfare ,. a hard school but' in many ways a most
naval seaman- efficient one. We notice the small size of the
ship. craft employed; the skill and intrepidity with
which they were handled in very difficult waters; the reckless
daring with which their captains attacked ships five times their
size. They carried small cannon of no great range but served
with ever-increasing accuracy; yet in spite of the growing
power of artillery their main endeavour at this period was still
to grapple and board the enemy and finish the struggle on
deck. Skill to build, rig and equip the best type of fighting­
ship was swiftly learnt in the busy ship-yards of the sheltered
creeks and tideways of south-west coasts.
But there were venturers of another type. At the time
of Elizabeth's accession William Hawkins of
Hawkins and
the Indies: the Plymouth had handed on his business to his
Slave Trade, two sons, of whom John was the younger.
.. Though related to more than one Devonshire
family whose younger members were busy privateering in the
Channel, John Hawkins held aloof and was engaged in sober
trade which carried him as far south as the Canaries, where he
established friendly relations with the Spanish settlers and
merchants. He had himself no quarrel at this time with the
Inquisition, he avoided politics and it was enough for him that
Elizabeth and Philip were at peace. No doubt he is a type of
many staid respectable merchants of Bristol, London and South­
ampton, who, whilst casting envious looks upon the new Spanish
monopoly, desired nothing more than opportunity of peaceful
trade with the new continents lately revealed to view. John
37. 155 8- 160 3.] His Voyages of 1562 and 15 64 23
Hawkins, now in confidential relations with the Admiralty, was
the first to feel his way into the new field of mercantile venture;
for" by his good and upright dealing being grown in love and
favour with the people (of the Canaries) he gained much know­
ledge from them of the West Indies." Amongst other things
he ~earnt that" negroes were very good merchandise in Hispa­
niola (Hayti) and that store of negroes might easily be had
upon the coast of Guinea." He resolved to try the experiment
of a cargo and found several leading London merchants very will­
ing to become adventurers in the transaction. Three ships were
provided of 120, 100 and 40 tons burden, carry­
. 100 men In
mg . a.11 H e sal·1ed·In 0 ctob er,15
. 62, voyage,Is62.
His first
found a good hunting-ground in Sierra Leone,
where he captured or bought 300 negroes. With this freight he
made direct for San Domingo, thus boldly defying the Spanish
monopoly of the West. Here he found the settlers not back­
ward in trading for his illicit merchandise. But he stood
"always upon his guard," trusting the Spaniard no further than
that by his own strength he was able to master them. Touch­
ing at three ports in the island he returned to England, after
an absence of nearly a year, his cargo all disposed.of in ex:­
change for hides, sugar, ginger and a few pearls. The venture
had proved commercially a great success; there had been ap­
parently no difficulty in trading, no fighting, and, we may add,
no sign of any scruples as to the nature of the traffic. The
ease and profits of the voyage kindled the imagination of the
London traders as its boldness startled the Spanish officials.
In the following year, 1564, a second venture, on a much
larger scale, was sent out, Hawkins commanding
· of 700 tons WIth
a shlp . three sma11er erafit an d a voyage,
His second
complement of 170 men. The month of January
was spent in hunting negroes in the region of Sierra Leone
where Hawkins apparently could hardly have been surprised to
find himself received with suspicion, which quickly became
treachery and hostility. The Atlantic voyage lasting 48 days
38. 24 Hawkins' Second Voyage. [CH. II.
was attended by something of the horrors which formed a
terrible feature of the "middle passage" throughout the history
of the slave trade. Hawkins, touching Dominica on March 9th,
now passed to the mainland west of the Orinoco. But he
encountered a strict, refusal on the part of Spanish officials of
permission to trade. He was regarded as a dangerous intruder,
for the Spaniard with perfectly sound instinct detected peril to
the sanctity of their great Western preserves if English vessels
were allowed to penetrate them with impunity. So the order
had gone forth "that no man should traffick with us, but should
resist us with all the force they could." But Hawkins with his
cargo of slaves sickly and dying and his own crew diminishing
from stress of climate was; though against his will, forced to
use threats. He knew that the settlers were ready to barter,
and he was strong enough to hold his own provided fresh food
and water could be had, and in the end he gained his point.
But he took with him from Spanish seas that which was more
valuable than hides or pearls; for coasting along the mainland
in the direction of Panama, then crossing to Jamaica, San
Domingo and Cuba, he had ample opportunity of spying out
the wealth of this tropical world and its unprotected state. He
found it, though appropriated, largely unoccupied, and he had
learnt that though peaceable trade would not be allowed, some
show of force backed by English determination might produce
speedy and profitable results. But we should note that on this
voyage Hawkins uniformly appeals to the friendship between
his sovereign and the Spanish king; he asks only for the same
freedom to trade that was conceded to English ships in Spain
and Flanders; he never actually proceeds to hostilities; and
succeeds, though less easily than before, in transacting business
"with great profit to the venturers of the said voyage, as also
to the whole realm in bringing home both gold, silver, pearles
and other jewels great store."
The homeward voyage was made by the coast of Florida,
thought to be an island, where he relieved the strugglIng French
39. 1558-1603.] Hz's Tltird Voyage, 1567.
settlement, hard pressed by Indians, but found no Spaniards.
The fertility of the soil made a strong impression and we
already find the suggestion of pastoral settlement Driven
northwards by gales the fleet reached the fishing grounds off
Newfoundland and arrived at Padstow on the 20th September,
I5 65·
The third voyage, of the year I567, was planned on a larger
scale. There were now five ships, two of which
were "Queen's ships" hired out for the occasion, voyage,His third
and another was under command of Francis
Drake, a cousin of John Hawkins, who had already in the
previous year penetrated the Indian seas on his own account.
Hawkins himself invested some equivalent of £I5,000 of our
money in the venture which had as the two previous ones
an exclusively commercial object, notwithstanding the presence
of the two ships lent from the Royal Navy. The usual cargo
of between 400 and 500 negroes was secured, Dominica
safely made, and trade opened. But the Spanish governors on
the mainland had received more stringent orders than before;
the news of the venture had reached Madrid and had caused
much searching of heart. So Hawkins finds that the traffic goes
forward "somewhat hardly, b.ecause the King had straightly
commanded all his governors in those parts by no means to
suffer any trade to be made with us." One town, as in his
previous voyage, he occupied in force until business was com­
pleted. Carthagena he found too strong to admit of attack,
but "in all other places where we traded the Spaniard in­
habitants were glad of us and traded willingly."
Hawkins now made for home. He was driven by hurricanes
into the Gulf of Mexico: entering the Spanish harbour of San
Juan de Ulua he begged leave "as friends to King Philip" to
trade for provisions and to refit for the Atlantic voyage. There
is no reason to doubt that Hawkins meant peace: but un­
luckily a strong Spanish fleet of war appeared off the natural
breakwater which encloses the port. To secure his own safety
40. Negro Slavery. [CH. II.
Hawkins insisted on a written agreement to the effect that his
weak and battered ships should be allowed free egress. He
occupied the breakwater and trained his heaviest guns against
the Spanish frigates lying outside, which now ran serious risks
should the gale be renewed. The agreement was made and
signed. The Spanish commander broke his word; his heavy
frigates bore down on the English vessels lying moored in easy
security. Two only of the five escaped to sea with the loss ot
a large part of their crews. But the fight had been severe and
they were not further pursued. In the end Hawkins reached
England, but he had been obliged to set ashore 100 of his
crew to avoid starvation on the homeward voyage. Of these
the survivors ultimately fell into the hands of the Spaniard;
the Inquisition took cognizance of them, some were executed
and others lingered in prisons in Mexico and in Seville. So
ended the last attempt at trading in the Indies by English
merchant-captains under the guise of friends of King Philip.
The feelings with which we regard these voyages of Haw­
kins, important historically as they are, cannot
The Slave
Trade. but be affected by the immediate object with
which they were undertaken. Hawkins is the
founder of the English traffic in negro slaves. African slavery
had for nearly So years formed part of the Spanish West Indian
system, and, in its origin, the importation of negro labour had
received the active support of such a man as Las Casas, the
earnest advocate of the interests of the Native races of Spanish
America. Negro slavery was advocated partly as a means of
preserving the Indian race by the substitution for their labour
of the strength of a far more vigorous stock; partly as a means
of civilizing the negro himself, who was in his native home the
helpless victim of bloodthirsty tyranny and superstition. The
Spanish Government endeavoured to regulate the trade and to
impose conditions upon the planters in the interest of their
human chattels. The State licensed such traffic; the Catholic
Church approved it; public opinion raised no voice against it.
41. 1558-1603.] The Spanish Colonial System. 27
The Elizabethan Protestant, finding no commandment against
slavery in the Bible, did not stop to consider the abstract ques­
tion of the humanity of the practice, and it is perfect~y evident
from the narratives of his voyages that no twinge of moral
compunction in the matter ever touched the conscience of
John Hawkins.
The voyages of Hawkins brought the Spanish Empire of the
West for the first time within the sphere of Eng- Nature of
lish policy. The chief characteristics of this Spanish Colo­
.. were aIread
dommlon Id
y sett e , th ough'Its WI'dest nial power.
limits were not yet reached. Spanish settlement differed so
materially from colonisation of the English type that it is
instructive to draw attention to its chief features. The "heroic
age" of conquest which followed the discoveries of Columbus
had passed away. With undisputed occupation, the peculiar
defects of the colonial system of Spain soon shewed themselves.
In the first place her possessions were really Dependencies,
rather than true colonies, in that they contained a large native
population of various grades of civilization, governed entirely
in the interests. of the conquering race, which appropriated all
the land and mineral wealth to its own purposes. These
dependencies had been for the most part easily won; they were
here and there extremely rich in precious metals; valuable
products such as tobacco, spices, sugar and ginger were grown
by aid of slave labour. Again, large estates of rich land enabled
the planter to amass in a few years a fortune which was carried
home to be enjoyed in Europe. For there was little desire for
permanent settlement, nor was the material present which could
create a vigorou~ New Spain. The Spaniard of the Indies
quickly degenerated alike in character and physical energy;
the cruelty, lUXUry and vice which Italy had developed in the
Spanish nature marked also the slave-owning settler in the
Western seas. The tyranny of the officials, the persecuting
spirit of the Church, the narrow monopoly of trade, the semi­
42. 28 Ezclusi01Z of foreign traders. [CH. II.
feudal relations of classes, were transferred from European
Spain to the New World. The hand of the State was every­
where; freedom of thought and action, individual enterprise in
trade or discovery, were repressed or discouraged. It is most
significant that the Spanish colonial empire never produced
a Spanish mercantile marine. The production of precious
metals was the monopoly of the government of Madrid, which
kept a close control of the entire traffic between the Indies
and the mother country through the House of Commerce or
"Contractation House" at Seville. The doctrine that a foreign
"plantation" and a colonial empire exist solely for the profit
of the parent state was once for all impressed upon the Latin
peoples of Europe by the example of Spain.
The Indies were administered under four Governments, of
which that of "Tierra Firme" or the South American mainland
('the Spanish Main' of the Elizabethan narratives) and that of
Peruana with its rich silver mines of the Andes were the most
important. To each Governor were sent, as we have seen,
urgent instructions to preserve the Indo-Spanish seas from
European intrusion, and that trade with all foreign ships should
be rigorously forbidden to the settlers. So that it became clearly
understood in England that the Spaniards" account all other
nations for pirates, rovers and thieves that visit any heathen
coast that they have once sailed by or looked on." But
although French privateers had sacked Havannah with e~se in
1553, and Hawkins had, ten years later, shewn what one daring
captain could attempt, no precautions had yet been taken to
defend this astounding monopoly by adequate force.
After the disastrous ending of Hawkins' last voyage it
Three types became manifest that English enterprise in the
ofadventurers: Western seas was about to enter upon a new
i. Hawkins
and commer- phase. It was evident that a peaceful trade with
cial methods. the Spanish settlements was henceforth rigorously
closed to English merchants and captains, and Hawkins, in
43. I 558-I603.] The English and the Illdies. 29
spite of the miserable traffic in which he was engaged, stands
for the attempt to extend the trade between England and
Spain upon ordinary commercial methods. Both Government
officials and City merchants could acknowledge Hawkins and
support him without scruple. But (a) the exclusive colonial
system of Spain, intent only upon securing to herself the
sources of her newly-found treasure, and (b) the activity of the
Inquisition, bent upon debarring heretics from the New World,
definitely closed the West to the free commerce of Europe.
English adventurers, then, were from this time confronted
by three possible alternatives. First, to abandon all attempt
at trading beyond the limits of Europe; second, to extend the
operations of the sea-rovers from the Channel to the Western
seas; third, to discover fresh maritime routes giving access to
regions beyond the sphere of Spanish and Portuguese influence,
where peaceful ventures and settlements might be possible to
The temper of the time placed the first alternative out of
the question. The growing desire for maritime adventure and
trade was too strong to yield to a first repulse. , Nor would the
English merchant consent to be shut out from access to the
great continent which Spain had appropriated to herself. The
right of Spain to the exclusive trade of America was never
admitted by Elizabeth and her ministers, although they shrank
from formally disputing it.
The second alternative appealed directly to the more
adventurous spirits, especially in the west. It ii. Drake
was too risky to attract the responsible traders of ~nd privateer­
London or Bristol; Burleigh for fear of conse- mg.
quences condemned it openly; the Queen was its secret ad­
herent, from a love of bold adventure for its own sake, and a
shrewd conviction of its ultimate advantage to the naval
strength of the country. Drake is· the typical hero of this
irregular warfare, which by degrees merged into the formal con­
flict of which the defeat of the Armada was the crowning exploit. .
44. 30 Francis Drake. [CH. n.
The third course, the sober method of exploration and
iii. Gilbert
and Frobisher:
settlement, is associated with the names of
colonisation Frobisher, Gilbert, and Raleigh.
and explora­
Francis Drake was born in or about the year 1545, of a
Francis family of Devonshire yeomen whose home lay
Drake. near Tavistock. His father had been ruined
and driven from his native county by an outbreak of Catholic
fanaticism in the west, and, as an apprentice of a small
Channel coasting vessel, young Francis Drake entered upon
life through a very hard school. He had been thrown into the
thick of Wyatt's insurrection. The fierce penalties which
followed upon this rising in Kent, and the stories of Spanish
persecutions which met him as he called at Dutch ports, com­
bined to implant an implacable hatred of the Catholic and
of the Spaniard, which makes Drake in his earlier period the
typical figure of the west country sea-rover~ He was a cousin
of John Hawkins, and at the age of 21 he was risking his life
in 'Vest Indian waters, probably in one of Hawkins' ships
(1566-1567). Hawkins, who found young Francis Drake a
thorough seaman, brave, adventurous, loyal, gave him the
command of the "Judith," a barque of 50 tons, in the
adventure which met with the disaster of San Juan de Ulua.
The perfidy of the Spanish admiral and the ruthless cruelties
which were afterwards wreaked upon its victims explain and may
perhaps justify the lifelong rancour with which Drake pursued
the Spanish power upon the seas. From this time (1568) to
the day of his death in 1596 Drake was engaged in unceasing
warfare with Spain.
Elizabeth and her Government were for the first 17 years of
Drake and this period at peace with Philip; but it is
the irregular characteristic of this first period of national
war in the
Spanish expansion, as it was still of the middle of the
Indies. 18th century, that a state of warfare between
two nations in the Indies or in America was quite consistent
45. His Expedition of 1572.
with outward amity in Europe. It is important that we should
clearly realise the doctrine which was tacitly accepted by
European states until a much later period than that of Drake:
viz. that the principles of. international dealings and the comity
of nations did not, unless expressly stipulated for, apply to the
new world of America and the East. Peace between Elizabeth
and Philip, friendly relations between James I. and Holland,
did not preclude open conflict between their subjects in the
Indies. Trade rights existed between England and Spain, but
they did not extend to America. A merchantman depended
upon its own armament for protection and its captain took
little heed of colonial monopolies not backed by force. It
was, in truth, recognised that the arm of the State was too
weak either. to control or to defend its subjects beyond its
own immediate boundaries. Drake's adventure therefore was
irregular in the sense that the voyages of the East India
Company were forty years later, but in neither case were they
, piratical,' nor did they then, as they would now, involve of
necessity a formal rupture of peaceful relations.
Drake seems now to have entered, though not avowedly,
the service of the Queen's Admiralty. The most critical
period (I570) in the national relations with Spain was ap­
proaching, and, at a moment when the independence of the
nation seemed at stake, the Queen could not afford to disown
her most daring or most experienced captains.
In I57I Drake is again in West Indian waters, preparing
for overt war or for private reprisals as circumstances might
subsequently determine. In the spring of the following year,
when the final rupture with Spain seemed inevitable, Drake,
with the secret connivance of the Queen and of the Admiralty,
set sail from Plymouth. His two ships and their crews were
especially equipped and armed for the object in view, which
was to prove how the offensive power of Spain could be cut at
the root by the interception of the Peruvian treasure on its
passage across the Isthmus of Panama.
46. 32 He plans a venture to the Pacific. ECHo II.
Within the limits of this voyage (May I572-August 1573)
The voyage are comprised perhaps the most exciting of all
of 1572 • the exploits of English adventure in Spanish
seas. The treasure convoy was successfully plundered; the
towns of the Spanish main were raided; 200 trading vessels
were attacked and despoiled. Drake had moreover looked upon
the Pacific Ocean. The terror inspired by the French corsairs
thirty years before was renewed. Philip felt himself helpless;
he had no organised navy, and could with difficulty provide an
escort for the yearly voyages of his treasure ships. Drake too
had learnt, as Hawkins before him, that the wealth of Spain
was the easy prize of a bold, well-planned campaign carried out
in the Western seas. He arrived in Plymouth in August 1573
with a most profitable spoil, to find that the relations of
Elizabeth and Philip were now as cordial as eighteen months
before they had been strained.
In accordance with the policy of the Queen Drake's exploit
is now disavowed, but he is carefully kept in sight. He is
mysteriously engaged, still harrying the Spaniard, off the Irish
coast; he joins Essex some time in 1575, and two years later is
organising a new venture to the West. He saw
The project
of the voyage
the Queen herself. Her attitude towards Sp'ain
into the Pacific once more offered opportunities to men of Drake's
seas, 1577. stamp. The Queen spoke of being revenged
on Philip 'for divers injuries that I have received,' declaring
that Drake was the' only man who might do this exploit.' To
which Drake answered, 'that the only way was to annoy him in
the Indies,' and thereupon he sketched the plan of the raid into
the South seas which had been his dream since, five years before,
he had from "a peak in Darien" beheld, first amongst English­
men, the broad Pacific stretching to Cathay. Cecil, as usual,
was to know nothing of the exploit. He had still the same
repugnance to irregular adventures, for which the Government
might at any time be called to account whilst powerless to
control their conduct. England seemed once more on the
47. Its equipment. 33
brink of open war with Spain, when in November 1577
Drake sailed from Plymouth for an unknown destination.
His departure and his destination had been kept a pro­
found secret, but three people at least were in close touch
with his proceedings: they were the Earl of Leicester,
Walsingham (the Secretary of State), and the Queen herself,
for all of these were partners in Drake's enterprise and had
personally contributed to its equipment. No word was
received from him until his ship anchored off Plymouth Bay
on September 26, 1580.
Meantime he had performed an exploit which determined
the entire policy \of Elizabeth's reign, and indirectly therefore
the course of English history since.
Drake's voyage of circumnavigation is, for various reasons,
worthy of being regarded as the most striking and most
characteristic of Elizabethan adventures. A brief study of it
enables us to understand not a few of the typical features of
the daring voyages of exploration, trade and reprisal which fill
so large a space in our subject.
The equipment of the enterprise first deserves notice.
Drake himself sailed in the "Pelican," renamed
the" Golden Hind" , of 100 tons , carrying 18 ment. Its equip­
pieces of cannon carefully chosen for their range
and accuracy. With him sailed a galleasse of 80 tons, a
barque of 30 tons, a store ship of So tons, and the" Benedict,"
a small pinnace of IS tons, all armed with artillery. The
crews, trained to arms, numbered ISO. Drake was accom­
panied in his own ship by some I 5 gentlemen cadets, who
joined him to gain experience and from love of adventure.
Amongst them was one Thomas Doughty, whom Drake was
brought to suspect of incitement to mutiny and of treachery,
and ultimately to try and execute on the high seas. Doughty's
conduct seems' to have implicated some great personage
at home, possibly Burleigh, who may well have desired
to prevent Drake from provoking Spain by an organised
w. F.. 3
48. 34 Drake's objects. [CH. II.
corsair raid and have taken secret means to thwart the ex­
The seriousness of Drake's purpose is further proved by
the provision that was made for the repair and refitting of the
ships in remote seas; by the supply of small arms-and weapons
suitable for boarding an enemy's ship or for landing parties
in force; and by the dignity and state with which Drake, as
the commander of an expedition u~der what was practically
Royal sanction, surrounded himself on board. ,
Drake's object was twofold. In the first place he was
determined to penetrate into that Pacific' Sea
Drake's ob-
which was maintained by the Spaniards.as their
own exclusive waters. The route by the Strait
of Magellan had proved so perilous to navigators that it had
c,ome to be regarded as impracticable. Spain felt herself
absolutely secure in the possession of the coast line from
Mexico to Chile, without the need of guarding it by one single
ship of war. Into this mare clausum (closed waters) Drake
had, since his glimpse of it from Darien, been bent upon
penetrating, for there, as he had learnt, could the sinews of
the Spanish power be most surely cut asunder; and this view
he had urged upon Elizabeth and her ministers. But beyond
this we find him already contemplating the more statesmanlike
view of acquiring in the Queen's name fresh territories in the
regions north of the Spanish settlements, and, if it were pos­
sible, of opening out a return route to Europe by the north
of the continent. Drake is no longer merely the reckless
captain satisfied to plunder and harass his old enemy the
Spaniard of the Inquisition, he is henceforth the clear-sighted
exponent of a new policy of national expansion.
From the Cape de Verde Islands Drake made for the
Brazilian coast, sighting land in the neighbour­
Course ofthe hood of Rio Grande do . SuI. In storms which
beset them along the" coasts to the south of the
River Plate the ships of the squadron were more than once
49. 155 8- 1603.] H is course. 35
scattered, to the great hindrance of the voyage. There, too,
the incident of the treachery of Doughty reached its grim
termination. On August 20th, 1578, they sighted the Straits.
On the 24th, landing upon the largest island in the passaget
Drake solemnly proclaimed it English territory in the name of
the Queen. After a most dangerous navigation open water
was reached on September loth, and Drake had realised his
vow. Then occurred the greatest disaster of the voyage.
One ship foundered in a north-easterly gale, which' seems to
have continued without intermission for nearly three weeks.
The" Elizabeth," Dtake's second vessel, was driven back upon
the Straits, and, not sighting the" Golden Hind," ultimately
sailed home across the Atlantic. Drake was thus left in the
Pacific to carry out his enterprise with one ship alone. He
had meanwhile discovered .by accident that Tierra del Fuego
was an island-not as had hitherto been imagined part of
the great Antarctic mainland: a fact of first importance in
the history of Pacific navigation.
On December 5th, 1578, he was off the little settlement of
Valparaiso, and here, more than a year after his departure
from Plymouth, for the first time came into touch with the
Spanish masters of the coast. In the harbour
The plun­
lay a trading vessel of which Drake made an dering of the
easy prize. In the warehouses of the port he sure Spanish trea­
found stores of gold and silver, and, what were
not less welcome, of fresh provisions. Coasting northwards,
Drake explored each inlet in the hope of rejoining his missing
consort the "Elizabeth," picking up an occasional prize of
silver by the way~
At Callao di Lima Drake had news which sent him north­
ward again at the utmost speed. The great treasure ship of
the Pacific had sailed a fortnight before with the yearly pro­
duce of the Peruvian province. Heavily laden,practically
unarmed, neither built nor rigged for speed, Drake counted
upon overhauling her before she could reach Panama, where
50. Drake a1ld the N.- W. Passage. ECHo II.
her precious freight would be stored pending its transport
across the Isthmus. The prize was secured without resist­
ance and one main object of Drake's voyage accomplished.
The "Golden Hind" was henceforward literally ballasted with
silver, the total amount of the treasure in jewels and precious
metals amounting .to perhaps one million and a half of our
money. In spite of pursuit, Drake, by the aid of a captured
pilot and of charts which he had discovered on one or the
other of his prizes, made the coast of Costa Rica and after­
wards of California.
He found that the Spanish mariners in the Pacific were
Attempt to convinced that, owing to a north-easterly trend
find the North- of the American coast, a passage was available
West Passage
from the from a point somewhat north of San Francisco
Pacific side. into the Atlantic at Daccalaos (or Labrador).
But having information from his p~soners of the route across
the Pacific to the Philippines, Drake was already drawn to
contemplate a return by the Asiatic seas, which by his no­
tions could not be far distant. Meantime, being determined
to explore the secret of a north-easterly return, he continued
his northerly course to some point now impossible to fix,
but probably off the Vancouver coast. The absence of any
easterly trend, and persistent mists, fogs and storms thwarted
his purpose. In a bay to the north of San Francisco Drake
anchored about the middle of June 1579. His purpose was to
attempt the return journey by the Spice Islands and the
Indian Ocean. A month is spent in cleaning the hull of
his one remaining ship, in refitting and provisioning; but
his detention is marked 'by an incident of great significance.
The Indians of North California, innocent as yet of the greed
and cruelty of the Spaniard, welcomed the English crew with
friendliness, and indeed with marks of religious awe. Drake's
invariable humanity towards the native peoples enabled him
to win the confidence of the Indian chiefs. They claimed
the protection of Drake and his sovereign, and in the name
51. 1558-1603.] His return by the Pacific. 37
of Elizabeth he took formal possession of their territory, to
which he gave the name of New Albion, Proclamation
mindful, as he says, "of what honour and sovereignty
of the English
profit it might bring to our country in time over New
to come and to the use of her most excellent fornia),
Albion (Cali­
Majesty, he took the sceptre, crown and dignity 1579·
of the said country into his hand." A monument was set up
to mark the possession. .
On July 26th, 1579, the Pacific voyage was begun. Sixty­
eight days they were out of sight of land. They
first touched the Pelew Islands, and after sighting th~~~~~~:~s
the Philippines, made land at Ternate in the
Spice Islands. They were now within the limits of the Portu­
guese sphere.
Drake at once discusses with the Sultan of the island a
treaty of alliance which should give England a foothold in
Eastern seas. But Drake was anxious to be home again.
A small island off Celebes served him for repairing and
provisioning his ship and for refreshing his men, though
the qangers of navigation in the Java seas nearly proved
disastrous to the ship, its crew, and its freight. However, by
good seamanship and good fortune he was at last enabled
to steer a course into the open sea, and after touching at Java,
where he had news of European ships hovering within in­
convenient distance, he made for the Cape passage by a
southerly route. At the end of September 1580 he was
sighted off Plymouth Sound.
The importance of Drake's voyage of circumnavigation
should be carefully seized. In the first place
it presents to us most of the characteristic ty;rc:~~tge
features of the Elizabethan voyage of adven- Elizabethan
ture; such as the smallness of the craft em-
played; the reliance placed upon first-class seamanship; upon
extreme care in preparation, equipment, rigging and arma­
ment; the proyision made for repair and refit; the presence
52. Sigllificallce of the voyage. [CH. II.
of skilled artisans, cartographers, gunners. We note further
the difficulty of keeping ships together in foul weather; the
delay in making for the rendezvous agreed upon; the risk
of mutiny; danger from hostile natives; trouble due to the
need of watering and provisioning, and from diseases peculiar
to long voyages and tropical climates. In that century every
voyage added something to the stock of geographical know­
ledge, and Drake had penetrated farther south, and, on the
west coast at least, farther north, than any European navi­
gator had succeeded in doing. He had, like almost every
navigator, kept before him the vision of the North-West Pas­
sage; he had attempted to reach the Indies by the west, and
for the first time had succeeded. The voyage is typical, too,
of the irregular warfare with the Spaniard which marks all
maritime adventure of the period. It has ceased to be mere
reprisal; it is systematic, business-like, humane as regards
life and liberty, and, though tinged with peculiar humour,
is marked by strong and sincere religious feeling. Drake's
evangelical fervour is excited by the cruelties of the Inqui­
sition at Lima and the unholy living of its instruments.
But the voyage has a special character of its own: it
The special marks a definite stage in the development of
importance of English policy.
the voyage. First, it was a determined attempt to force
an open rupture with Spain, and Walsingham, not less than
Drake,regarded it in this light from its inception. Burleigh
for the same reason did his best to thwart it. Elizabeth, as
usual, hoped to share its profit without paying its proper price.
Secondly, it was the first successful attempt of many to
undermine the Spanish power by seizing its supplies of trea­
sure. Hitherto the sea-rovers had mainly confined themselves
to plundering the Spanish trader. Drake, now improving upon
his exploit of 1575, attacks the Spanish Government monopoly
itself, for the whole production and transport of precious metals
was the exclusive privilege of the Spanish Crown.
53. 155 8- 1603.] Gilbert and colonisation. 39
Thirdly, Drake had revealed once more the helplessness
of Spain at sea, and English seamen had now acquired that
contempt for the courage and resource of the Spanish sailor
which they never lost.
Fourthly, the achievement which left the sharpest impress
was perhaps the treaty with the Sultan of the Spice Islands.
The staid merchant regarded spices as safer merchandise
than the bullion of prize-ships, and it is undoubtedly true
tha~ Drake's reports of the untold wealth of the Moluccas,
Celebes and Java gave the first impulse to the trade of
London with the East, whilst his agreement with Ternate
formed a us~ful instrument of diplomacy.
Lastly, for the first time in our history, a native people
upon another continent was received formally within the do­
minion of the Queen. Frobisher was about the same time
acquiring uninhabitable tracts in ArctIc seas. Drake felt that
he was establishing a sovereignty which should enable England
to rival Spain on her own grounds. The action of Drake in
New Albion had indeed no result, but it indicates for the first
time the presence of broader aims than those of mere reprisa1,
and must be viewed in conjunction with the deliberate pro­
jects which were taking shape in the minds of Gilbert and his
friends at home.
For in Gilbert, Raleigh, and their friends we find the same
restless temper of the age taking definitely the
d lrection . t h roughcoiomzation.
. 0 f expanSIOn " Sir Hum­
phrey Gilbert.
Sir Humphrey Gilbert, a Devonshire man of .
family and estate, who combined in true Elizabethan fashion a
taste for learning and travel with skill in arms, had devoted
himself especially to the study of geography and navigation;
beginning, as a scholar of his day must, with the Greeks and
Romans, he passed on to the Venetians, the Florentines and
the French. Living as he did in a time of activity, and
anxious to ~urn his enquiries, statesmanlike, to practical ac­
count, his researches issue in definite projects. In I5 65 he
54. Gilbert's "Discourse." [CR. II.
is found promoting a scheme for a North-West Passage to
Cathay, under royal protection. A few years later he sums
up his arguments for, (a) the practicability of the route, and-
His" Dis- (b) its pdlitical and commercial advantage to
course: " the State, in his famous "Discourse to prove a
about 1575· passage by the North-west to Cathaia and the
East Indies." The possibility of such a route Gilbert sets
himself to prove by reasons wholly unscientific, b~t typical of
the age, based upon the "nature of things" and upon un­
tested traditions of travellers. When he comes to speak of
the advantages of such an enterprise we are upon much
more interesting ground. The "Discourse" sets forth the
following positions:
I. The discovery of a route free from the interference
of "any prince living, Christian or heathen,"
pr~~~s~~:~s. will enable England to secure a share of the
infinite wealth of the East.
2. The North-west route from England to the East, being
so much shorter than any open to other countries of Europe,
will enable us not only to compete with Portuguese or Spanish
traders, but further
3. 'Ve should be in a position to trade with regions not
yet reached by Europeans.
4. "Also we might inhabit part of those, countries, and
settle there such needy people of our country which now
trouble the commonwealth, and through want here at home
are forced to commit outrageous offences, whereby they are
daily consumed with the gallows."
5. Such trade and settlement would be aided by the com­
parative nearness of these regions:
6. Which would provide a market for the large produc­
tion of English cloth, making us thus less dependent on the
demand from European countries.
7. English shipping and seamanship will be greatly
benefited, to the advantage of national defence.
55. 155 8- 1603.] A -ims of colonisation.
8. New industries may spring up at home to supply
articles suitable to the needs ot Eastern nations and various
peoples to be found on the voyage thither; thus providing
employment "for vagabonds and such-like idle persons."
We note that the arguments here brought forward are
partly political,-the expansion of the nation and the strength­
ening of the navy; partly economic,-the opening of fresh
markets and the consequent increase of employment; and
that they contemplate not trade only, but the settlement
of English citizens in lands at present unoccupied by Euro­
peans. Now this latter point, to which special attention
must be directed, is further insisted upon by .
other of Gilbert's friends and contemporaries, a~e~~;:.
notably by Peckham (1583) and by Hayes uponColonisa­
(1583), who were both closely associated with
him in his enterprise.
Peckham, who has Newfoundland in his mind, dwells like
Gilbert on the national advantages to be gained by colonisa­
tion: the strengthening of the navy ensured by ample supply
of shipbuilding material, by the acquisition of the great fishery,
and by the seamanship there trained; nor does he overlook the
motive of national pride in empire. But he dwells, as Gilbert
did not, on the immediate inducements to settlers: for the
gentry there are all ~he attractions of country life; for the farmer
unlimited lands, most profitable for grazing and corn-growing;
for the trader furs, skins and timber; for the fisherman the
most famous banks in the known world. The natives will be
converted, civilised, and taught agriculture and the mechanical
arts. Hayes attaches the greatest weight to the religious
motive, "which must be the chief motive of such as shall
make any attempt that way." He urges that the obligation not
less than the privilege lies with England to colonise the
American continent north of Florida, on grounds of prior right
of discovery, of geographical situation, of the fitness of national
character, of economic need arising from the overpius of
56. National and Economic. ECHo II.
population due to long-continued peace; " it seeming
probable that the countries lying north of Florida God hath
reserved to be reduced unto Christian civility by the English
nation." He especially rebukes" the fault and foolish sloth in
many of our nation choosing rather to live indirectly (i.e.
dependent upon others) and very miserably to live and die
within this realm pestered with inhabitants, than to adventure
as becometh men to obtain an habitation in those remote lands
in which Nature very prodigally doth minister unto men's
These discourses, which fall within the years 1575-1584,
reveal to us the motives which were actuating
The motives b .
for Colonisa- a nota Ie group of EnglIshmen. When we
tion as under- examine their arguments in detail we find that
stood in the
reign of Eliza- they represent the chief grounds upon which
beth. colonisation has been encouraged ever since.
We may sum up the reasons alleged for the policy of settlement,
or plantation, as it was then called, under the following heads:
First: National policy. This country by right of discovery
and of geographical situation has a natural claim to the settle­
ment of the temperate regions of the West, which are at present
unoccupied by Europeans. Such possession will secure to
England a counterpoise to the power, of Spain; will tend to
an increase in the number of mariners and of ships, and to
greater skill in seamanship; will further strengthen the nation
by rendering us independent of European supplies of timber,
cordage and all other raw materials of shipbuilding. So deeply
is the conviction implanted that the wealth of England and her
safety must be sought upon the seas. Nor is there wanting a
distinct note of aspiration for an imperial position to rival that
of Spain. .
Secondly: The economic condition of England. A century
of comparative peace had tended to a growth of popUlation
outstripping that of manufacture. Hence settlement will pro­
vide employment for the sons of well-to-do houses, as well as
57. 1558-1603.] Commerdal and Religious. 43
for peasantry and an increasing class of "sturdy" vagrants,
paupers, and even criminals. Already we notice the mistaken
belief which so seriously hampered the efforts at colonisation
for two centuries, namely, that the failures and outcasts of the
mother country were good enough material for the critical
work of founding a new state.
Thirdly: Commercial advantages. All classes of the com­
munity will find plentiful ~occupation in a new home. A
demand will spring up for English goods, notably for woollens,
and the needs of native populations may even create new
trades in the mother country, which will naturally retain the
monopoly of such commerce. Precious metals may be con­
fidently looked for, and the store of gold and silver in the
mother country increased rather than diminished. Articles,
such as hides, spices, silks and sugar now imported from our
rivals may be produced by English subjects settled in English
lands, whilst the produce of the Newfoundland fishery will be
secured to English fishermen.
Fourthly: Religious motive. The" compassion of poor
infidels," who should be brought to Christianity and settled
industry, was in this first age of colonisation a more prominent
motive than it was later. It was not less necessary that the
native should be saved from the errors of Rome,· which would
be his inevitable fate if England were forestalled by Spain.
The discourses of Gilbert and Peckham do not clearly
distinguish between projects of settlement and
voyages 0 f expIoratIOn. T h e two WIll
. go h an d andSettlement
in hand. To discover the North-west Passage tion of new
and to establish a short route by the Behring routes go hand
Strait (Strait of Anian) to the China seas, far in hand.
removed from the sphere of Spanish or Portuguese empire,
was, as we know, the goal of all Elizabethan enterprise. It
long continued to haunt the imagination of the practical East
India merchant, and many years were to elapse before the
leaders of English colonisation finally shook themselves free