Abbildungen der Seite

rived. Though the colonists were not to be found, Sir Richard left fifteen men, with provisions and utensils. It was by the return of the colonists in Drake's ships, that tobacco was first brought into England. Raleigh not only introduced it from his colony, but endeavoured to recomiend it to the public, by using it himself. The well-kuown story of his being found in his study with his pipe by a servant, who taking him to be on fire, threw a jug of ale into his face, would seem to entitle him to the virgin honours of smoking. From him, according to some accounts, smoking passed to the court; and it is said that not only the nobles, but the ladies of the court, were not insensible to the comforts of a pipe. It does not appear that the Queen ever used tobacco in this shape; but she was too much of a thinker to have neglected the aid of a pinch of snuff in quickening the action of the intellect. If, however, she did not enjoy tobacco, she liked to talk of it, and was once assured by Raleigh, he had so well experienced the nature of it, that he could tell her the weight of the smoke. Her Majesty laid him a wager; he procured then a parcel to be smoked, and weighed the ashes; and her Majesty was forced to admit that what was wanting of the prime weight of the tobacco, must have evaporated in smoke. Upon which the Queen said to him, 'that she had heard of many • labourers in the fire who had turned their gold into smoke, but

Raleigh was the first who had turned smoke into gold.' Though in the subsequent reign, this plant was the means of enriching the mother colony, and encreasing largely the commerce and navigation of Great-Britain, it was so offensive to the delicate nerves of King James, that he not only wrote against it in a pamphlet, entitled the “Counterblast of Tobacco," but what the planters regarded much more, subjected it to a heavy duty. The resort to narcotics as promotive of indolence of mind and body, has always prevailed more or less among civilized and savage nations. The latter, after the violent exercise of the chase, naturally seek for repose in sleep, or what is more agreeable, a gentle stupor. Civilization, while it enlarges the pleasures, increases the pains of the mind; by sharpeving the activity of this medium of good and ill, it often renders the instrument too acute for its own health or preservation, and drives the wretched to seek for relief in a forgetfulness of themselves. Opiates either diminish the force of ideas, or break their ordinary current and transport the imagination into new and more delightful regions. While the human constitution continues as it is, it will, perhaps, be found that tobacco is the least noxious of those "oblivious antidotes," for which human wretchedness will ever create the demand. The English settlers found tobacco


in use among the savages, who paid it a religious reverence, as the most grateful fume with which they could propitiate their gods. They also highly valued its medicinal virtues in disorders of the head and stomach; in removing obstructions and opening

the pores.

In 1587, Raleigh fitted out a fourth expedition to Virginia, of one hundred and fifty men, under Mr. John White and twelve assistants. They sought in vain for the fifteen men left by Sir Richard Greenville; but learned from the friendly natives that they had been murdered by a hostile party of savages. The Governor having returned for supplies, Raleigh attempted a fifth voyage, and had actually prepared a fleet, to sail under the command of Sir Richard Greenville, when that gallant officer was detained by the Queen to meet the Spanish invasion. This was Raleigh's last attempt. He had now expended forty thousand pounds, nor had his colony yet taken root. The failure was partly owing to an unfortunate selection of a site for a settlement; the colonists had not as yet attained a good harbour; and the difficulty of ships communicating with the shore, and the dangers to which they were exposed upon an open coast, had been serious impediments to settlers. Raleigh had sagaciously directed that the colonists should proceed to Chesapeak Bay, and there, upon some river, build a town; and be even granted a charter “to the governor and assistants of the city of Raleigh in Virginia ;" but his instructions had been neglected. The colonists do not appear to have had the industrious habits which are indispensable to the forming of prosperous settlements: they relied too much upon supplies from England and from the Indians, and did not apply themselves to clear the country and to cultivate it, in the spirited manner in which the Western settlers now invade the wilderness, and convert forests into farms and villages, towns and states.

It was hoped by one of Raleigh's friends, 'that her Majesty, who had christened the colony, and given it the name of Vir'ginia, would deal after the manner of honourable godmothers,

who, seeing their gossips not fully able to bring up their children be themselves, are wont to contribute to their honest education, 'the rather if they find any towardliness or reasonable hopes of

goodness in them. But the Spaniards now found the Queen rather too much occupation at home; and Raleigh was compelled at length to abandon his project; he, therefore, in 1587, assigned his patent to Thomas Smith and other merchants in London. Though the colonists were soon dispersed, the English continued to trade with the natives, and thus kept up an intercourse with the new world, until a permanent settlement was made by the Vir

[ocr errors]

gina Company in the beginning of the next century. But to Raleigh, is due the honour of first projecting and of keeping up by his persevering efforts and expensive expeditions, the idea of permanent British settlements in America. His name is thus associated with the origin of the Independent States of North America, and must be reverenced by all who, from liberal curiosity or pious affection, study the early history of their country.

Nearly coeval with the patent of discovery, and probably to supply him with the means of meeting the expense, the Queen granted him a monopoly for the vending of wines, which involved him in a controversy with the University of Cambridge, throughout which, he displayed a moderation which evinced his reverence for letters and for that seat of science. With Sir Andrew Gilbert, his brother, he was united in planning a voyage for the discovery for the North-West Passage, and in bearing the expense of it, which scheme, through the skill and courage of Captain John Davis, after three voyages, was crowned with the discovery of Davis' Straights.

Sir Walter Raleigh continued to increase in favour with the Queen, and was appointed by her to various places. After being made Senechal of Cornwall and Exeter, and Lord Warden of the Stannaries; he was advanced to the post of Captain of the Queen's Guard, and Lieutenant General of Cornwall, and was nominated one of the Council of War to prepare for the Spanish Armada. Though every arrangement was made to meet the enemy on shore, Raleigh was of opinion that he should be encountered at sea. He thought, it seems, as he afterwards said in bis history, in his advice to King James~' although the English will no less disdain than any nation under Heaven can do, to be beaten upon their own ground, or elsewhere by a foreign enemy, yet to entertain those that shall assail us with • their own beef in their bellies, and before they eat of our Ken

tish capons, I take it to be the wisest way. To do which, his * Majesty, after God, will employ his good ships on the sea, and not trust to any intrenchment on shore.'*

Raleigh had a command on shore, but was so impatient for action, that he put off with a gallant company of volunteers in several private ships, and joined the English fleet off Portland on the third day after they had followed the Spanish Armada; and was engaged from morning to evening in one of the · bloodiest fights. Elated with their success, some of the officers advised that they should grapple with the Spaniards, and ter

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

* History of the World, b. v. vi. c. i. 99,

[ocr errors]

minate the contest at once; but, Raleigh, estimating the advantage which the enemy would have in the close encounter from the size of their ships, and the superiority of their soldiery, recommended that the English should continue to annoy them with cannon, hang upon their skirts, and wait upon fortube. This counsel prevailing, the pursuit was kept up with an occasional fight, until the Spaniards arrived in the Straights, between Dover and Calais. And now the English gentry flocked to join the Aleet in volunteer ships as unto a set field where 'immortal fame and glory was to be attained, and faithful service performed to their prince and country.'

Off Calais, the English at midnight let loose their fireships, which struck such terror into the enemy, that they cut their cables; and thus, some ships run foul of each other, others got ashore, many were burnt, more taken, and the whole fleet dispersed. After this, the Spaniards may almost be said to have abandoned the enterprize, though their misfortunes did not terminate here, for those that escaped the fight met with such storms in the Northern seas, as completed the disasters and defeat of this vain-glorious attempt upon the religion and liberties of England.

It has been said, that there was not a worthy or famous family in Spain, that lost not a son, a brother, or a kinsman, • in this expedition ; while among the English, only one Captain

was killed, Cock by name, whose christian name, Fuller · mightily laments the loss of.' Raleigh drew up a circumstantial and lively account of the Spanish defeat, to which he often alludes in bis history. Besides the Queen's favour he obtained from her an augmentation of his wine patent. It was a tonnage and poundage upon wines; a project it seems of Raleigh's, of whom it has been observed, that though he gained much at court, yet he took it not out of the exchequer, or merely out of the Queen's purse, but by his wit, and the help of the preroégative; for the Queen was never profuse in delivering out her treasures; but paid many

and most of her servants part in money, and the rest in grace.' In fact, Sir Walter was a monopolist, and thus improved his fortune; this may account for his unpopularity, for the people, however, they might admire bis parts, were not pleased with the wit by which he found his way into their pockets. When his interest was not concerned, no one had juster views of the freedom of industry; for in Parliament, he opposed the act for sowing hemp, upon the ground,

that he did not like this constraining of men, to manure or use *their ground at our wills; but rather let every man (said he) use his ground to that which it is most fit for, and therein use

[merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

his own discretion; for halsers, cables, cordage, and the like,
* we have plentifully enough from foreign nations. On his
way from Portugal, after having served under Drake aud Nor-
ris, in the action at the Gronire and burning of Vigo, and obtain-
ed a golden chain from the Queen, he visited Ireland, where he
had a seignory of 1200 acres, the fruits of the Munster rebel-
lion; and renewed bis friendship with Spenser, the poet, who
resided near his own Mulla on a forfeited estate, the gift of the
Queen. His friendship with the poet, was forined, when they
were both in the service of Earl Grey, in the Irish wars; the
latter being the deputy's secretary. This friendship ripened into
patronage, as Sir Walter's fortunes improved; and after the
death of Sir Philip Sidney, Sir Walter succeeded to his place
in the affections of Spencer and the care of his fortune. Dur-
ing the visit, they complimented each other in verse; and
Spencer preserved, in a pastoral, a record of their mutual dit-
ties. Raleigh's song was

“ All a lamentable lay
Of great unkindness and of usage hard,

Of Cynthia the lady of the sea."
Whence it is inferred, that he was under the Queen's displea-

He, however, carried the poet from Ireland with him to court, and made his peace with the incence of The Fairy Queen; which he not only persuaded Spepser to publish, but usbered forth, with commendatory verses in a congenial strain of allegory and flattery. He had himself written a poem in praise of the Queen, called Cynthia, which he suppressed, preferring that his little bark” should “pursue the triumph" and partake of the gale “ of The Fairy Queen.” This must have been, however, from sheer modesty. For Spencer addresses him as the “ Summer Nightingale;" fears “ to unseason bis tuneful ear with his rustic madrigal;" admits that he only is fit this argument to write, and humbly submits.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

“Yet 'till that thou thy poem wil't make known,

Let thy fair Cynthia's praises be thus rudely showu." A critic of that day, after illustrating the rules of English poesy by examples drawn from Sir Walter's poems, adds, for ditty and amorous ode I find Sir Walter Raleigh's vein

most lofty, insolent and passionate;' and does not hesitate to rank him with those courtly poets," who have writ excellently . well, Edward, Earl of Oxford, Thomas, Lord Buckhurst, and Henry, Lord Paget.'

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
« ZurückWeiter »