H. D. (Henry Duff) Traill.

Social England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) online

. (page 58 of 68)
Online LibraryH. D. (Henry Duff) TraillSocial England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) → online text (page 58 of 68)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

he li did contemn their sorcery," which, at any rate, would clear their minds.
The worst thing- about them was their way of ' practising- their devilish
nature " with slings and stones.



on the 6th of September "it pleased God further to increase
our sorrows with a mighty storm." It was only His " as
mighty mercy " that " gave succour," said the English captain,
and with tempests blowing right in his teeth, he had nothing
left but to shape his course for England (September llth).

" I have now brought the passage," he reported at home
with a proud and pathetic hoping against hope, " to that cer-
tainty as that I am sure it must be in one of four places, or
not at all." 1

Davis's third and last attempt was in 1587. On the 19th of
May he sailed from Dartmouth with " two boats and a clincher,"
which proved at sea like a "cart drawn with oxen." Sighting
land, of the " Desolation " type, at five in the morning of June
14th, the English soon fell in with the natives, who were not
long in getting to their old tricks, stripping the iron off the
pinnace, hurling stones, and afterwards trying to barter, offer-
ing " birds for bracelets," and showing pieces of " unicorn's
horn" (narwhal?). On the 30th of June, Davis was off the
"land called London coast," in 72, with the sea all open to
the West and North. Naming the furthest point of this Hope
Sanderson," the admiral pressed on till he fell in with a " mighty
bank of ice to the westward" (on the 2nd of July), and found
the wind would not let him " double out to the North."

On the 19th he " had sight " of his old friend Mount
Raleigh, and by the same evening was "athwart of the straits
discovered the first year " ; but with stormy weather and
" frisking gales " at the North- West preventing any further
progress, he was at last forced to turn back (on August 15th),
naming the fresh-discovered places after his friends. 3 He
noticed " forcible currents westward" in (il, and still believed as
implicitly as ever that only accident prevented his full success 4

1 On the outwardcourse (second voyage) Davis had divided his fleet, send-
ing two ships to seek the passage between Greenland and Iceland up to the
latitude of 80 if possible. These vessels performed the first part of their task,
and then fell to desperate fighting with the Esquimaux.

2 After one of the chief merchant patrons of these ventures.

3 Earl of Cumberland's Isles, Lumley's Inlet, Warwick's Foreland. Chidlie's
Cape. Darcie's Island.

4 Thus he found hope in Lumley's Inlet, etc.. in the "great ruts of the
water, whirling and overfalling. as it were the fall of some great water through
a bridge " proving, he thought, an open sea beyond.



"having been in 73, and finding the sea all open, and 40
leagues between land and land."

3. By the side of an Arctic failure we have also to re- settle-

, , . , ... , ments in

member two others in tropical or semi-tropical quarters ol Virginia.

the world. The Virginia Colony and the " trial of Guiana "
did not come to any permanent success under Elizabeth. And
yet those ventures did as much for England at this time as
any single enterprise. For then, as at other times in ex-
ploration, as elsewhere it was largely by means of the failures


Contemporary drawing by John White.)

that the great successes were won, that the men of England
were trained to hold their own in every country and on every


We have seen (p. 684) how in 1585 a settlement had been
made in Virginia, and Ralph Lane and Hariot left in charge.
Here they soon made one of the most fruitful of English dis-
coveries that in this continent, of unknown greatness, there
was a natural wealth such that " no realm in Christendom were
comparable to it," and that "what commodities soever Spain
France, Italy, or the East parts do yield to us, these parts do



abound with them all." The settlement was at first in Roannke
Island : lnt a site of such goodness was found on the main-
land, that Lane ' thought of moving there. Unhappily, the
savages began to plot against the colonists, who thus soon

- '

- ' -



(Contemporary drawing Inj Jolni Wltiti'.)

came " to their dogs' porridge, that they had bespoken for
themselves if that betel them which did." Lane had to out-

1 Lane and Harlot were the t\vo keenest observers of the colony. Harlot
combined something of the missionary, the botanist, and the fanner, with
the foresight and breadth of a statesman's view.

.A Red Indian in winter

Indian in festive attire.

Indian religious man. Wife of an Herowau of Poineioc


(Contemporary drawings by John White.)


match the savages at their own treacherous weapons " our
watchword was Christ our Victory" and the relief was uni-
versal when (June 1st, 158(5) twenty-three ships under Francis
Drake were sighted off the coast. He was on his way back
from the West Indies, and came to supply the colony's neces-
sities. But a storm prevented his revictualling ship from
entering the harbour ; and the colonists, who had at first only
thought of sending home the weak and unfit, became eager to
escape in a body. Drake agreed to take them hciiie, but in
embarking " most of all they had, with their cards, books, and
writings," was cast overboard. And so ended the first English
Colony in Virginia. 1

But immediately after their ' ; departing out of this
paradise of the world," a third expedition, equipped by
Raleigh, arrived there, spent some time in vainly searching
for Lane's settlers, and returned ; and a fortnight later
Grenville himself, as Governor of Virginia, brought the
long-promised succour. Finding the colony gone, yet un-
willing to lose the possession of the country, he left behind
fifteen men in Roanoke, with provisions for two years, " to
retain it."

The next step was also due to Raleigh. In 1587 he sent
over John White and one hundred and fifty men, giving them
a charter of incorporation as founders of the City of Raleigh
in Virginia. Starting on the 8th of May, they were off the
American coast on the 22nd of July ; and White landed at
Roanoke, only to find Lane's old fort razed, the houses over-
grown with melons, on which deer were feeding. Hostilities
soon began with the savages, who murdered an Englishman
they found straying, and beat his head in pieces with their
wooden swords; but on the 18th of August a child (Virginia
Dare) was born in the settlement, who was named " Virginia,
as being the first Christian born there." Soon after this White,
the Goverhor, after " extreme entreating," consented to return
home for fresh supplies some ninety men, seventeen women.
and eleven children " remaining to inhabit."

1 The failure of the colony is imputed by Hariot to the " nice brinsin<j-
up '' of some colonists. [The part of " Virginia " in which these early settle-
ments were made was included in Carolina by Charles II.'s grants of 11)63
and 1GG5.]


The last of these Virginian expeditions under Elizabeth is
that of 1590. Starting on the 20th March of that year, on his
fifth American voyage, White landed in Roanoke on the 16th
August, near where the colony had been left in 1587. But
finding nothing " no man nor sign " he searched high and
low till he came upon the message, carved on tree trunks, that
the settlers had moved away. White wished to stay and help
the fugitives, if he could ; but the rest of the company, terrified
by the weather and the dangers of the coast, forced him to
make for England.

The remarkable voyage of Bartholomew Gosnold in 1602,
which resulted in the discovery of Cape Cod and Buzzard's
Bay (Gosnold's Hope), and the erection of a fort and store-
house on Cuttyhunk, was the venture of a man of genius, who
revived the old direct route of the Cabots to the nearest
shores of North America, and who unsuccessfully tried to
found our first New England colony. It was not of a piece
with the Virginia enterprises it was, and was meant to be, an
improvement upon them.

4. The " discovery of Guiana " was the last, the most The


mistaken, and the most fruitless of the great enterprises of for E i
Elizabethan explorers and colonisers. Raleigh, like many Dorado,
others, had been deeply bitten with the delusive hope of find-
ing that richer Peru called Guiana, El Dorado, or the empire
of Manoa, which adventurers of the time declared they had
discovered, and which one tradition traced back to the in-
vasion of the Pizarros, and a migration of the Inca's subjects
from the Pacific towards the Atlantic coasts of South America.
Captain Whiddon had been sent out in 1594 to reconnoitre
the approach to Guiana; and on Thursday, the 7th of Feb-
ruary, 1595, Raleigh himself started with the main force,
supposed " to be bound only for the relief " of the English in
Virginia. Arrived off Trinidad, he first explored the entrances
to the great waterways which he hoped would lead him into
the heart of Manoa ; but the pilots proved incompetent, " if
God had not sent us another help, we might have wandered a
whole year in that labyrinth of rivers," and after pushing
400 miles into the country, describing all he saw in a " Chart
of Discovery," and marvelling at the tropical beauty of the
riverside the grass, the trees, the birds, the deer, all so splendid



that it was a "good passing of the time" <>nly to see them
Raleigh's ''heart grew cold to behold the great rage and increase
<>!' the Orinoco," and he gave over the enterprise tor the time,
but without losing his hope. Like the adventurers in the
North-West, failure only seemed to make his certainty of
ultimate success more sure. He was convinced thst the " sun
covered not more riches in any part of the earth." He had
yet to learn that his pleasant prospects were not bound to be
anywhere out of fairyland because ' : every child affirms the
same." El Dorado remained inaccessible in spite of the re-
peated attempts of Raleigh and Keymis in 1596-97 ; because,
like the ideal city of philosophers, it was not to be found
anywhere on earth.

Minor These four illustrations of English exploring and colonising

Explora- . , . &

tion. energy at the end or the sixteenth century must end tins

short account of Elizabethan enterprise : of the voyages ' to
Cape Breton and the St. Lawrence, to Brazil and the " River
of Plate," to the West Indies, to Newfoundland, the Cape
Verde Islands, and other outlying parts of the ocean that
English seamen had now made their home ; of the various
attempts to reach the South Sea, or Pacific, which got no

1 Cf. (1) Of voyages to the St. Lawrence, etc. : John James to Burleigh,
Sept. 14th, 1591, on the discovery of Ramea (the Magdalen Islands),
from St. Malo ; the voyages of M. Hill, of Redrife, to Cape Breton with the
Marigold in 1593 ; of George Drake, of Apsham. to Ramea in 1593 : of Rice
Jones in the Grace, of Bristol, to the St. Lawrence in 1594 ; of Charles Leigh
to Cape Breton and Ramea in 1597. (2) Of voyages to South America : James
Lancaster's journey to Brazil in 1594 : Thomas Cavendish's last voyage, in
1591-93, to Magellan's Straits ; the Earl of Cumberland's expedition in 1586,
" intended for the South Sea, but performed but little further than the River
of Plate " ; and the same earl's attempt in 1594, which stopped short at the
Azores. (3) Of voyages to the West Indies : those of Sir Robert Duddeley
in 1594-95 ; of Sir Amyas Preston in 1595 ; of Sir Anthony Sherley in 1596-97 ;
and the last one of the great sea kings, Drake and Hawkins, in 1595. (4) Of
other voyages : Those of Richard Rainolds and Thomas Daniel in 1591 ; of
Sir John Burrough in 1592; and of the ToUe in 1593. which all stopped at
or came to grief upon the west coast of Africa. Among these enterprises,
Preston's "entered Jamaica" in 1595; Lancaster's, in 1594, was of purely
military interest, but shows the aggressive Protestantism of English sailors
in the bitterest manner; Duddeley's. in 1594, is remarkable for its ships'
names the Bear, the Frisking, and the Earwig, like the 777/y Xot I. of Cum-
berland's fleet, in 1594 ; and the wreck of the Tobie near Cape Sprat in 1593.
with the dying men singing their metrical psalms (" Help, Lord, for good
and godly men "), reads like a chapter of Cromwellian Puritanism.



further than Magellan's Straits, or some point on the coast of
South America; of disastrous failures, such ns those of the
Earl of Cumberland and of Cavendish on his last voyage, it
may be enough to say that they are simply passed by as being
less representative of the main lines of national expansion at
this time. Though interesting in themselves, they only add
detail, for the most part, to the various sides of a movement
which has already been sketched in outline ; they are subor-
dinate examples of the development of the spirit which is
still better shown in those leading and typical achievements
of a great epoch which we have tried to follow : and they
can all be read at length in Hakluyt, " the prose epic of the
modern English nation, our unrivalled treasure of material for
the history of geography, discovery, and colonisation, our best
collection of the exploits of the heroes in whom the new era
was revealed." :

THE period here dealt with is signalised in science by the THOMAS


publication of Gilbert's famous treatise on the Magnet (ItiOO). TAKER .
William Gilbert, of Colchester (1540-1603), was physician to jjatuna
Queen Elizabeth, and, even apart from his magnetic researches, Gilbert.'
was remarkable for his general scientific spirit. He was, for
example, one of those who accepted the Copernican astronomy.
Here he showed more insight than his younger contemporary,
Bacon (1561-1626) who, indeed, was not usually fortunate in
his judgments on the ideas that were to become important in
special science. Bacon, though he recognises the value of
Gilbert's work, in one place speaks rather slightingly of his
theories classing him with those who would make a philosophy
of Nature out ot some particular group of natural facts. Thus
Gilbert, according to Bacon, would interpret everything as a
sort of magnetism. 2 Galileo was able to appreciate his merits
as a thinker more accurately. Gilbert's general observations,

1 The spirit of the new enterprise was never better expressed than by
Duddeley's confession : " Having ever since I could conceive of anything been
delighted with the discoveries of navigation, I fostered in myself that dis-
position till I was of more years and better ability to undertake such a

2 Rousseau has a similar remark on an acquaintance who seems to have had
geological ideas. His notion, Rousseau says, was that the whole earth was a
sort of '' coquillage."




as to the mode in which truth of Nature is to be discovered,
are very much in the spirit of Bacon's own.

His principal treatise " On the Magnet and Magnetic
Bodies and the Great Magnet the Earth " is admitted by
modern authorities to contain descriptions of all the funda-
mental phenomena of the science : so that it is classical to
this day. He had collected and verified the observations of


(After a fiortrait l>y Har<lii>,t.)

the ancients and those that had come to light since the intro-
duction of the compass, and had added others. He also
theorised scientifically on his observations. As the title of the
book indicates, he saw that the earth itself ma}- be regarded
as a magnet; explaining, from its magnetic character, the
phenomena of the needle. The starting-point for a theory of
the kind had been given by the discovery of the polarity of the




magnet. This was a modern discovery the phenomenon of
magnetic polarity having been unknown to the ancients ; for
although Lucretius had observed that the loadstone occasionally
repels as well as attracts, he does not seem to have been aware
of the constant conjunction of repulsion and attraction in which
polarity consists. Gilbert, by his systematic study of magnetic
phenomena, at once experimental and theoretical, definitely
constituted a new science. In the theory of the science, the
doctrine that the earth is a " great magnet " is still fundamental.




bislupfrDi-ODii ore

3 ttrtapnt man, toijo Vuae iiamco
.L_A.- % . __-!...- - ~i ~\-^t

Ananias trulpr:

to;sugbiU);tt)oiu- ao unr.

Ijis topfc frameo, tinto

g= i^-f^p?4;^t-;f~

I -= |:-|^j:-_|-, rr|

a rcrtaptirmantotjoUwsnamfD


a na nt as trnlne:iic>(th*fl>

thru apctf of lanar,JRrptbarkr
par of rfte p;prt:

pbira txatopfcfraincD^nto

e. ?hoftllpng
35.tt. tfttst


THE advance in Music, which we have recorded, during the w. s.
earlier years of the Tudor period, continued, without inter- Music 8
ruption, until medieval counterpoint was superseded by the
dawn of modern Art.

In the Sixth English School, contemporary with the " golden
age " of Italian art, contrapuntal music reached the highest
level it was destined to attain north of the Channel.

Its founder was Dr. Christopher Tye (d. 1563), and its
brightest ornaments were Thomas Tallys, William Byrd, Robert
Whyte, John Ball, Richard Farrant, Orlando Gibbons, and the



great madrigalists, Thomas Morley, John Douland, Thomas
\Yeelkes, John Wilbye, John Bcnot, John Ward, Michael Este,
John Hilton, Thomas Fordo, William Cobbold. Thomas Bateson,
( icoi-^r Kirbye, and a host of others, scarcely less famous, who.^e
works seem as fresh to-day as they must have seemed to their
hearers at the time they were written, and will certainly be
remembered in years to come when many later productions
are deservedly forgotten.

Tye> Dr. Tyo's compositions are characterised by a sober dignity

well worthy of the period at which he wrote. He is best known,
perhaps, by the beautiful music adopted to his quaint master-
piece, entitled, "The Actes of the Apoxths, translated in In
Englyshe Metre, ivith notes to eche Chapter, to xynye, and <il*<>
to play upon the Lute " (London, 1553). The " Englyshe Metre"
is, indeed, little better than doggerel ; but the " notes " are
beautiful enough to deserve an adaptation to poetry of the
highest order.

Tali Thomas Tallys (d. 1585), best known by his matchless

Rcxponxe* and Litany, united the most profound learning to a
taste so cultivated and refined that his compositions exceed
in sweetness those of any of his colleagues, scarcely excepting
even Richard Farrant or Orlando (ribbons, who, at least, arc
the only two who can be compared with him for graceful con-
ception and delicacy of treatment. His anthems and hymns
are equally perfect in technical form and beauty of expression,
while his stupendous motet Spem in aliiun non habui for
eight five-part choirs, in which he employs the immense borlv
of forty independent voices with an amount of ingenuity truly
marvellous, is a monument of artistic power and learning.

Byrd. William Byrd (d. 1623), Thomas Tallys's illustrious pupil.

rivalled his master in contrapuntal skill, though not in graceful
expression. His compositions are very numerous, and many
ot his anthems rank among the finest now sung in our
cathedrals; but he is best known by his canon, Non nnhix,
Domine, an ingenious little masterpiece, capable of at least
seven distinct solutions, and so wonderfully effective that it is
still sung at all our great public banquets as a " grace after

Farrant. The few works by Richard Farrant (d. 1 585) that have been

preserved are so full of expressive beauty that they more than




make us mourn over the spirit of destruction which, during
the course of the Great Rebellion, reduced our ecclesiastical
libraries to ruin. Of the compositions of Orlando Gibbous
(d. 1025), a greater number have been preserved. He was the
Gibbons. l ast great Master of the School, if we except the famous
madngalists, a few of whom survived him; and with him the
truest school of contrapuntal art died out in England, to be
succeeded by the more modern style, which in the first half
of the seventeenth century was rapidly gaining ground through-
out the length and breadth of Europe.

GEORGE IN giving a rapid survey of Elizabethan literature proper
BURY. which, it cannot be too often repeated, means the literature
.Eliza- O f tj ie ] as t, twenty years of the Queen's reign circumscription
'Literature, of space, if the writer keeps his eye and the reader is willing
to have his eye kept on the object, is in some respects a gain.
There is nothing quite like the period in English or in any
other literary history ; and the fuller the treatment of it is, the
more likely are the chief points of real value and interest to be
obscured rather than brought out, unless there is room for an
exceedingly copious handling of particulars. At the end of
the eight decade of the sixteenth century even if we include
the remarkable work of which account has been given in the
last chapter, and of which most appeared within some twenty
or thirty months before and after the close of 1580 it would
have been permissible for a by no means hasty critic to say that,
for the best part of two centuries England had been without a
great literature, and that it was very doubtful when she would
have one. Now, of course, we see what Tottel's " Miscellany,'
what the contributions of Sackville to the " Mirror for Magis-
trates," what the younger work of Spenser, and Sidney, and
Watson, and Lyly, what even the respectable attempts of the
other persons mentioned, meant. But flower no more necessarily
means fruit in this variety of vegetation than it does else-
where perhaps, indeed, it is an even less certain index.

So, at the end of our present period, while there certainly
was none, it would be rather unreasonable to expect that there
should have been any critic able to point out that for half
a century to come the beauties of English literature would



take no new colour, would simply be a continuation of what
the past twenty years had made known. Yet this was so ; and
to the present day we call, and probably as long as there are
persons Avho take an exact view of the truths as distinguished
from the appearances of literature, shall call by the name of
" Elizabethan " Literature the work of men, some of whom
died seventy years and more after the Queen had gone where
Essex and where Mary Stuart had gone before her.

Before attempting to indicate in a few broad lines the general
characteristics of this central period of our Letters this brief
time in which they gathered up all their early and pristine
force, and developed the germs of all their later and sometimes
a little overmature variety it is imperative to sketch the chief
actual figures and products of the time.

One thing, in pursuance of what has already been said, is Periods
specially to be remarked. As we pointed out, that until the est^r
remarkable outburst of " vital signs " about 1580, the first half duct-ion,
of Elizabeth's reign was not extraordinarily prolific in positively
good literature, so we shall find that even in the last half the
later years are far more prolific than the earlier. From the
eighties of the century we have indeed most of the remarkable
work of what is generally called the University group of play-
wrights, the greatest of whom is Marlowe ; we have the singular,
and from the literary point of view hitherto rather undervalued,
"Martin Marprelate " controversy (p. 612); and we have from
the same hands as the plays certainly, and probably if not
certainly from the same hands also as the pamphlets, a great
body of miscellaneous literature novels, social sketches, and
what not which, though for the most part hastily and form-
lessly written, is full of interest and promise, and may indeed
be said to contain the germs of most of the matter including
even literary criticism which tills the modern periodical. But,
on the other hand, with the exception of some of Marlowe's
work, it can hardly be said that a single one of the great

Online LibraryH. D. (Henry Duff) TraillSocial England; a record of the progress of the people in religion, laws, learning, arts, industry, commerce, science, literature and manners, from the earliest times to the present day (Volume 3) → online text (page 58 of 68)