« AnteriorContinuar »
courage commerce and navigation ; but as her monopolies tended to extinguish all domestic industry, which is much more valuable than foreign trade, and is the foundation of it; the general train of her conduct was very ill calculated to serve the purpose at which she aimed, much less to promote the riches of her people. The exclusive companies also were an immediate check on foreign trade. Yet, notwithstanding these discouragements, the spirit of the age was strongly bent on naval enterprizes ; and besides the military expeditions against the Spaniards, many attempts were made, and many new branches of foreign commerce were opened by the English. Sir Martin Forbisher undertook three fruitless voyages to discover the north-west passage. Davis, not disheartened by this ill success, made a new attempt, when he discovered the Straits which pass by his name. In 1600 the Queen granted the first patent to the East India Company : the stock of that company was seventy-two thousand pounds; and they fitted out four ships, under the command of James Lancaster, for this new branch of trade. The adventure proved successful, and the ships returning with a rich cargo, encouraged the company to continue that commerce. There were two attempts made in this reign to settle colonies in America ; one by Sir Humphrey Gilbert, in Newfoundland ; another by Sir Walter Raleigh, in Virginia ; but neither of these projects proved successful.-Hume.
OBSERVATIONS. The state of the English manufactures was at this time very low; and foreign wares of almost all kinds had the preference. About 1590, there were in London four persons only rated in the subsidy-books so high as four hundred pounds. This computation is not, indeed, to be deemed an exact estimate of their wealth. In 1567, there were found on enquiry to be four thousand eight hundred and fifty-one strangers, of all nations in London : of whom three thousand eight hundred and thirty-eight were Flemings, and only fifty-eight Scots. The persecutions in France and the Low Countries drove afterwards a greater number of foreigners into England; and the commerce, as well as manufactures of that kingdom, was very much improved by them.-Hume.
Each warrior bold, « delib'rate valour breath'd,”
OBSERVATIONS. The Lizard was the first land made by the Armada, about sun-set (July 19, 1588 ;) and as the Spaniards took it for the Ram-head, near Plymouth, they bore out to sea with an intention of returning next day, and attacking the English navy. They were descried by Fleming, a Scotch pirate, who was roving in those seas, and who immediately set sail, to inform the English admiral of their approach ; another fortunate event, which contributed extremely to the safety of the fleet. Effingham had just time to get out of port, when he saw the Spanish Armada coming full sail to
wards him, disposed in the form of a half moon, and stretching the distance of seven miles from the extremity of one division to that of the other. An eloquent historian of Italy, in imitation of Camden, has asserted, that the Armada, though the ships bore every sail, yet advanced with a slow motion, as if the ocean groaned with supporting, and the winds were tired with impelling so enormous a weight. The truth, however, is, the largest of the Spanish vessels would scarce pass for third rates in the present navy of England; yet were they so ill framed, or so ill governed, that they were quite unwieldy, and could not sail upon a wind, nor tack on occasion, nor be engaged in stormy weather by the seamen. Neither the mechanics of shipbuilding, nor the experience of mariners, had attained so great perfection as could serve for the security and government of such bulky vessels ; and the English, who had already had experience, how unserviceable they commonly were, were not dismayed with their tremendous appearance.
The Armada had now reached Calais, and cast anchor before that place, in expectation, that the Duke of Parma, who had got intelligence of their approach, would put to sea, and join his forces to them. The English admiral practised here a very successful stratagem upon the Spaniards. He took eight of his smaller ships, and filling them with all combustible materials, sent them, one after another, into the midst of the enemy. The Spaniards fancied, that they were fireships of the same contrivance with a famous vessel which had lately done so much execution in the Schelde near Antwerp; and they immediately cut their cables, and took to flight, with the greatest precipitation. The English fell upon them next morning, while in confusion; and besides doing great damage to other ships, they took or destroyed twelve of the enemy. By this time, it was become apparent, that the intention, for which these great preparations were made by the Spaniards, was entirely frustrated. A violent tempest overtook the Armada after they had passed the Orkneys. The ships had already lost their anchors, and were obliged to keep to sea; the mariners, unaccustomed to such hardships, and not able to govern such unwieldy vessels, yielded to the fury of the storm, and allowed their ships to drive on the Western Isles of Scotland, or on the coast of Ireland, where they were miserably wrecked. Not a half of the navy returned to Spain; and the seamen, as well as soldiers, who remained, were so overcome with hardship and fatigue, so dispirited by their discomfiture, that they filled all Spain with accounts of the valour of the English, and of the tempestuous violence of that ocean which surrounds them.-Hume.
MARRIAGE CEREMONIES OF VARIOUS NATIONS.
(Resumed from page 32.)
In some parts of Switzerland no marriage can be solemnized between persons who differ in their religious principles, and both men and women are bound to pay some respect to the parity of years. A woman is enjoined to remain six months in a state of widowhood before she can alter her condition; and a man, though not expressly limited, is advised to wait a reasonable time to obviate scandal, and to shew that he has “ felt the hand of God.”
In Venice the noble ladies are allowed no jewellery except the first year after marriage.
In Portugal, notwithstanding the watchful eye of the Duenna, the lovers contrive to exchange billet-doux in a manner that deserves notice. The little boys who attend the altars are generally the cupids on this occasion: they receive the letters from the lover, make their way through the crowd till they approach the fair one-then throwing themselves on their knees, repeat the Ave Marias Stella, and begin beating their breast ;-after the ejaculations are finished they cross the forehead, and falling on their face and hands, fervently kiss the ground. In the meantime the letters are conveyed under the lady's dra pery, and they bring back others. Sometimes when the lovers are coming out of church, they contrive to dip their hands at the same moment into the holy water font, exchange billets and enjoy the delectable pleasure of pressing each other's fingers. Their marriage seasts are attended with a vast expense. The lower classes often exhaust all their resources on these occasions. The nuptial bed-chamber is adorned in the most costly manner with silks, brocades, and flowers : even the wedding sheets are trimmed with the finest lace. Widows ·