Francis Bacon.

The works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 3) online

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the Revenge. This brave ship the Revenge, being
manned only with two hundred soldiers and mariners,
whereof eighty lay sick; yet nevertheless after a fight
maintained, as was said, of fifteen hours, and two ships
of the enemy sunk by her side, besides many more
torn and battered, and great slaughter of men, never
came to be entred, but was taken by composition ; the
enemies themselves having in admiration the virtue of
the commander, and the whole tragedy of that ship.

In the year 1596 was the second invasion that we
made upon the main territories of Spain ; prosper-
ously atchieved by that worthy and famous Robert earl
of Essex, in concert with the noble earl of Nottingham
that now liveth, then admiral. This journey was like
lightning ; for in the space of fourteen hours the king
of Spain's navy was destroyed, and the town of Cadiz
taken. The navy was no less than fifty tall ships,
be.sides twenty galleys to attend them. The ships were
straight ways beaten, and put to flight with such terror,
as the Spaniards in the end were their own execu-
tioners, and fired them all with their own hands. The
galleys, by the benefit of the shores and shallows, got
away. The town was a fair, strong, well built, and
rich city; famous in antiquity, and now most spoken of
for this disaster. It was manned with four thousand sol-
diers foot, and some four hundred horse; it was sacked
and burned, though great clemency was used towards
the inhabitants. But that which is no less strange
than the sudden victory, is the great patience of the
Spaniards; who though we stayed upon the place
divers days, yet never offered us any play then, nor
never put us in suit by any action of revenge or repa-
ration at any time after.

524- Of a War with Spam.

In the year 1600 was the battle of Newport in the
Low-Countries, where the armies of the archduke,
and the states, tried it out by a just battle. This was
the only battle that was fought in those countries these
many years. For. battles in the French wars have
been frequent, but in the wars of Flanders rare, as the
nature of a defence requireth. The forces of both
armies were not much unequal : that of the States ex-
ceeded somewhat in number, but that again was re-
compensed in the quality of the soidiers; for those of
the Spanish part were of the flower of all their forces.
The archduke was the assailant, and the preventer,
and had the fruit of his diligence and celerity. For
he had charged certain companies of Scotish men, to
the number of eight hundred, sent to make good a
passage, and thereby severed from the body of the
army, and cut them all in pieces: for they, like a brave
infantry, when they could make no honourable retreat,
and would take no dishonourable flight, made good
the place with their lives. This entrance of the battle
did whet the courage of the Spaniards, though it
dulled their swords , so as they came proudly on, con-
fident to defeat the whole army. The encounter of
the main battle which followed, was a just encounter,
not hastening to a sudden rout, nor the fortune of the
day resting upon a few forward ranks., but fought out
to the proof by several squadrons, and not without
variety of success ; Stat pedi pes, densusque viro vir.
There fell out an error in the Dutch army, by the over
hasty medly of, some of their men with the enemies,
which hindred the playing of their great ordnance.
But the end was, that the Spaniards were utterly de-
feated, and near five thousand of their men in the fight,
and in the execution, slain and taken ; amongst whom
were many of the principal persons of their army.
The honour of the day was, both by the enemy and
the Dutch themselves, ascribed unto the English ; of
whom Sir Francis Vere, in a private commentary
which he wrote of that service, leaveth testified, that
of fifteen hundred in number, for they were no more,
eight hundred were slain in the field : and, which is

Of a War with Spain. 525

almost incredible in a day of victory, of the remaining
seven hundred, two men only came off unhurt. A-
mongst the rest Sir Francis Vere himself had the prin-
cipal honour of the service, unto whom the prince of
Orange, as is said, did transmit the direction of the
army for that day ; and in the next place Sir Horace
Vere his brother, that now liveth, who was the prin-
cipal in the active part. The service also of Sir Ed-
ward Cecil, Sir John Ogle, and divers other brave
gentlemen, was eminent.

In the year 1601 followed the battle of Kinsale in
Ireland. By this Spanish invasion of Ireland, which
was in September that year, a man may guess how
long time a Spaniard will live in Irish ground ; which
is a matter of a quarter of a year, or four months at
most. For they had all the advantages in the world ;
and no man would have thought, considering the small
forces employed against them, that they could have
been driven out so soon. They obtained, without
resistance, in the end of September, the town of Kin-
sale ; a small garrison of one hundred and fifty English
leaving the town upon the Spaniards approach, and
the townsmen receiving the foreigners as friends.
The number of Spaniards that put themselves into
Kinsale, was two thousand men, soldiers of old bands,
under the command of Don John d'Aquila, a man of
good valour. The town was strong of itself; neither
wanted there any industry to fortify it on all parts, and
make it tenable, according to the skill and discipline
of Spanish fortification. At that time the rebels were
proud, being encouraged upon former successes; for
though the then deputy, the lord Mountjoy. and Sir
George Carew, president of Munster, had performed
divers good services to their prejudice ; yet the defeat
they had given the English at Blackwater, not long
before, and their treaty, too much to their honour,
with the earl of Essex, was yet fresh in their memory.
The deputy lost no time, but made haste to have reco-
vered the town before new succours came, and sat
down before it in October, and laid siege to it by the
space of three winter months or more : during which

526 Of a War with Spain.

time sallies were made by the Spaniard, but they were
beaten in with loss. Jn January came fresh succours
from Spain, to the number of two thousand more,
under the conduct of Alonzo d'Ocampo. Upon the
comforts of these succours, Tyrone and Odonnell drew
up their forces together to the number of seven thou-
sand,, beside the Spanish regiments, and took the field,
resolved to rescue the town, and to give the English
battle. So here was the case : an army of English, of
some six thousand, wasted and tired with a long win-
ter's siege, engaged in the midst, between an army
of a greater number than themselves^ fresh and in
vigour, on the one side ; and a town strong in fortifi-
cation, and strong in men, on the other. But what
was the event? This in few words: that after the
Irish and Spanish forces had come on, and shewed
themselves in some bravery, they were content to give
the English the honour to charge them first; and when
it came to the charge, there appeared no other differ-
ence between the valour of the Irish rebels and the
Spaniards, but that the one ran away before they were
charged, and the other straight after. And again, the
Spaniards that were in the town had so good memories
of their losses in their former sallies, as the confidence
of an army, which came for their deliverance, could
not draw them forth again. To conclude : there suc-
ceeded an absolute victory for the English, with the
slaughter of above two thousand of the enemy ; the
taking of nine ensigns, whereof six Spanish ; the tak-
ing of the Spanish general, d'Ocampo, prisoner; and
this with the loss of so few of the English as is scarce
credible ; being, as hath been rather confidently than
credibly reported, but of one man, the cornet of Sir
Richard Greame ; though not a few hurt. There fol-
lowed immediately after the defeat a present yielding
up of the town by composition ; and not only so, but
an avoiding, by express articles of treaty accorded, of
all other Spanish forces throughout all Ireland, from
the places and nests where they had settled themselves
in greater strength, as in regard of the natural situation
of the places, than that was of Kinsale 3 which were

Of a War with Spain. 527

Castlehaven, Baltimore, and Beerehaven. Indeed they
went away with sound of trumpet, for they did no-
thing but publish and trumpet all the reproaches they
could devise against the Irish land and nation ; inso-
much as d'Aquila said in open treaty, that when the
devil upon the mount did shew Christ all the kingdoms
of the earth, and the glory of them, he did not doubt
but the devil left out Ireland, and kept it for himself.
I cease here omitting not a few other proofs of the
English valour and fortunes, in these latter times : as
at the suburbs of Paris, at the Raveline, at Druse in
Normandy, some encounters in Britanny,and at Ostend,
and divers others; partly because some of them have
not been proper encounters between the Spaniards
and the English ; and partly because others of them
have not been of that greatness, as to have sorted in
company with the particulars formerly recited. It
is true, that amongst all the late adventures, the voyage
of Sir Francis Drake, and Sir John Hawkins into the
West-Indies, was unfortunate ; yet in such sort as it
doth not break or interrupt our prescription, to have
had the better of the Spaniards of all fights of late.
For the disaster of that journey wns caused chiefly by
sickness ; as might well appear by the deaths of both
the generals, Sir Francis Drake and Sir John Hawkins,
of the same sickness amongst the rest. The land en-
terprise of Panama was an ill measured and immature
counsel : for it was grounded upon a false account,
that the passages towards Panama were no better
fortified than Drake had left them. But yet it sorted
not to any fight of importance, but to a retreat, after
the English had proved the strength of their first fort,
and had notice of the two other forts beyond, by which
they were to have marched. It is true, that in the
return of the English fleet they were set upon by
Avellaneda, admiral of twenty great ships Spanish, our
fleet being but fourteen, full of sick men, deprived of
their two generals by sea, and having no pretence but
to journey homewards: and yet the Spaniards did but
salute them, about the Cape de los Corientes, with
some small offer of fight, and came off with loss ; al<

528 Of a War with Spain.

though it was such a new thing for the Spaniards to
receive so lirtle hurt upon dealing with the English,
as Avelleneda made great brags of it, for no greater
matter than the waiting upon the English afar off,
from Cape de los Corientes to Cape Antonio ; which,
nevertheless, in the language of a soldier, and of a
Spaniard, he called a chace.

But before I proceed farther, it is good to meet with
an objection, which if it be not removed, the conclu-
sion of experience from the time past to the time pre-
sent will not be sound and perfect. For it will be
said, that in the former times whereof we have spoken,
Spain was not so mighty as now it is ; and England,
on the other side, was more aforehand in all matters
of power. Therefore let us compare with indifferency
these disparities of times, and we shall plainly per-
ceive, that they make for the advantage of England
at this present time. And because we will less wan-
der in generalities, we will fix the comparison to pre-
cise times; comparing the slate of Spain and England
in the year 1588, with this present year that now run-
neth. Jn handling of this point, I will not meddle
with any personal comparisons of the princes, coun-
sellors, and commanders by sea or land, that were
then, and that are now, in both kingdoms, Spain and
England ; but only rest upon real points, for the true
balancing of the state of the forces and affairs of both
times. And yet these personal comparisons I omit
not, but that I could evidently shew, that even in
these personal respects the balance sways on our part ;
but because I would say nothing that may savour of
a spirit of flattery or censure of the present govern-

First, therefore it is certain, that Spain hath not
now one foot of ground in quiet possession, more than
it had in 1588. As for the Valtoline, and the Palati-
nate, it is a maxim in state, that all countries of new
acquest, till they be settled, are rather matters of bur-
den than of strength. On the other side, England
hath Scotland united, and Ireland reduced to obedi-
ence, and planted ; which are mighty augmentations.

Of a War with Spain.

Secondly, in 1 588, the kingdom of France, able
alone to counterpoise Spain itself much more in con-
junction, was torn with the party of the league, which
gave law to their king, and depended- wholly upon
Spain. Now France is united under a valiant young
king, generally obeyed if he will, himself king of Na-
varre as well as of France ; and that is no ways taken
prisoner, though he be tied in a double chain of alli-
ance with Spain.

Thirdly, in 1588, there sat in the see of Rome a
fierce thundring frier, that would set all at six ;aid
seven; or at six and five, if you allude to his name:
and though he would after have turned his teeth upon
Spain, yet he was taken order with before it came to
that. Now there is ascended to the papacy, a person-
age, that came in by a chaste election, no ways oblig-
ed to the party of the Spaniards : a man bred in ambas-
sages and affairs of state, that hath much of the prince,
and nothing of the frier; and one that though he loves
the chair of the papacy well, yet he loveth the carpet
above the chair , that is, Italy, and the liberties thereof
well likewise.

Fourthly, in 1588, the king of Denmark was a
stranger to England, and rather inclined to Spain ;
BOW the king is incorporated to the blood of England,
and engaged in the quarrel of the Palatinate. Then
also Venice, Savoy, and the princes and cities of
Germany, had but a dull fear of the greatness of Spain,
upon a general apprehension only of the spreading and
'ambitious designs of that nation: now that fear is
sharpened and pointed by the Spaniards late enter-
prises upon the Valtoline and the Palatinate, which
come nearer them.

Fifthly and lastly, the Dutch, which is the Spaniards
perpetual duellist, hath now, at this present, five ships
to one, and the like proportion in treasure and wealth,
to that they had in 1588. Neither is it possible, what-
soever is given out, that the coffers of Spain should
now be fuller than they were in 1588 : for at that time
Spain had no other wars save those of the Low Coun-
tries, which were grown into an ordinary $ now they
YQI,. in. M m

Of a War with Spain.

have had coupled therewith the extraordinary of the
Valtoline and the Palatinate. And so I conclude my
answer to the objection raised touching the difference
of times; not entering into more secret passages of
state, but keeping that character of style whereof Se-
neca speaketh, plus significat quam loquitur.

Here I would pass over from matter of experience,
were it not that I held it necessary to discover a won-
derful erroneous observation that walketh about, and
is commonly received, contrary to all the true account
of time and experience. It is, that the Spaniard,
where he once getteth in, will seldom or never be got
out again. But nothing is less true than this. Not
long since they got footing at Brest, and some other
parts in French Britain, and after quitted them. They
had Calais, Ardes, and Amiens, and rendered them,
or were beaten out. They had since Marseilles, and
fairly left it. They had the other day the Valtoline,
and now have put it in deposit. What they will do
with Ormus, which the Persians have taken from them,
we shall see. So that, to speak truly of latter times, they
have rather poached and offered at a number of enter-
prises, than maintained any constantly ; quite con-
trary to that idle tradition. In more ancient times,
leaving their purchases in Afric, which they after aban-
doned, when their great emperor Charles had clasped
Germany almost in his fist, he was forced, in the end,
to go from Isburg, and, as if it had been in a mask,
by torchlight, and to quit every foot in Germany round
that he had gotten ; which, I doubt not, will be the.
hereditary issue of this late purchase of the Palatinate.
And so I conclude the ground that I have to think that
Spain will be no overmatch to Great Britain, if his
majesty should enter into a war, out of experience and
records of time.

For grounds of reason they are many; I will extract
the principal, and open them briefly, and as it were
in the bud. For situation, I pass it over ; though it be
no small point : England, Scotland, Ireland, and our
good confederates the United Provinces, lie all in a
clump together, not accessible but by sea, or at least

Of a War with Spain. 531

by passing over great rivers, which are natural fortifi-
cations. As for the dominions of Spain, they are so
scattered, as it yieldeth great choice of the scenes of
the war, and promiseth slow succours unto such part
as shall be attempted. There be three main parts of
military puissance, men, money, and confederates.
For men, there are to be considered valour and num-
ber. Of valour I speak not; take it from the wit-
nesses that have been produced before : yet the old
observation is not untrue, that the Spaniard's valour
lieth in the eye of the looker on; but the English va-
lour lieth about the soldier's heart. A valour of glory,
and a valour of natural courage, are two things. But
let that pass, and let us speak of number : Spain is a
nation thin sown of people ; partly by reason of the
sterility of the soil, and partly because their natives are
exhausted by so many employments in such vast terri-
tories as they possess. So that it hath been accounted
a kind of miracle, to see ten or twelve thousand native
Spaniards in an army. And it is certain, as we have
touched it, a little before, in passage, that the secret
of the power of Spain consisteth in a veteran army,
compounded of miscellany forces of all nations, which
for many years they have had on foot upon one occasion
or other: and if there should happen the misfor-
tune of a battle it would be a long work to draw up
supplies. They tell a tale of a Spanish ambassador
that was brought to see the treasury of S. Mark at
Venice, and still he looked down to the ground ; and
being asked why he so looked down, said, " he was
" looking to see whether their treasure had any root,
" so that if it were spent it would grow again ; as his
" master's had." But, howsoever it be of their trea-
sure, certainly their forces have scarce any root ; or at
least such a root as buddeth forth poorly and slowly.
It is true they have the Walloons, who are tall soldiers,
yet that is but a spot of ground. But, on the other
side there is not in the world again such a spring and
seminary of brave military people, as in England,
Scotland, Ireland, and the United Provinces: so as if
wars should mow them down never so fast, yet they may
be suddenly supplied, and come up again.

Of a War idth Spain,

For money, no doubt it is the principal part of the
greatness of Spain ; for by that they maintain their
veteran army ; and Spain is the only state of Europe
that is a money grower. But in this part, of all others,
is most to be considered, the ticklish and brittle state
of the greatness of Spain. Their greatness consistetli
in their treasure, their treasure in their Indies, and their
Indies, if it be well weighed, are indeed but an acces-
sion to such as are masters by sea. So as this axle-tree,
whereupon their greatness turneth, is soon cut in two
by any that shall be stronger than they by sea. Herein
therefore I refer myself to the opinions of all men,
enemies or whomsoever, whether that the maritime
forces of Great Britain, and the United Provinces, be
not able to beat the Spaniard at sea ? For if that be so,
the links of that chain whereby they hold their great-
ness, are dissolved. Now if it be said, that admit the
case of Spain to be such as we have made it, yet w r e
ought to descend into our own case, which we shall
find, perhaps, not to be in state, for treasure, to enter
Into a war with Spain. To which I answer ; I know
no such thing ; the mint beateth well; and the pulses
of the peoples hearts beat well. But there is another
point that taketh away quite this objection : for whereas
Avars are generally causes of poverty or consumption ;
on the contrary part, the special nature of this war
with Spain, if it be made by sea, is like to be a lucra-
tive and restorative war. So that, if we go roundly on
at the first, the war in continuance will find itself.
And therefore you must make a great difference be-
tween Hercules's labours by land, and Jason's voyage
by sea for the golden fleece.

For confederates ; I will not take upon me the know-
ledge, how the princes, states, and councils of Europe,
at this day, stand affected towards Spain ; for that
trcnchethinto the secret occurrents of the present time,
wherewith, in all this treatise, I have forborn to med-
dle. But to speak of that which lieth open and in
view; I see much matter of quarrel and jealousy, but
little of amity and trust towards Spain, almost in all
other estates, I see France is in competition with them

Of a War with Spain. 533

for three noble portions of their monarchy, Navarre 1 ,
Naples, and Milan; and now freshly in difference
with them about the Valtoline. I see once in thirty
or forty years cometh a pope, that casteth his eye upon
the kingdom of Naples, to recover it to the church :
as it was in the minds of Julius the second, Paul the
fourth, and Sixtus the fifth. As for that great body of
Germany, I see they have greater reason to confede-
rate themselves with the kings of France, and Great
Britain, or Denmark, for the liberty of the German
nation, and for the expulsion of Spanish and foreign
forces, than they had in the years 1552 and 1553. At
which time they contracted a league with Henry the
second the French king, upon the same articles, against
Charles the fifth, who had impatronized himself of a
great part of Germany, through the discord of the
German princes, which himself had sown and foment-
ed : which league at that time did the deed, and drove
out all the Spaniards out of that part of Germany ; and
reintegrated that nation in their ancient liberty and
honour. For the West-Indies, though Spain hath yet
not much actual disturbance there, except it hath been
from England ; yet nevertheless I see all princes lay a
kind of claim unto them ; accounting the title of Spain
but as a monopoly of those large countries, wherein
they have in great part but an imaginary possession.
For Afric upon the west, the Moors of Valentia ex-
pulsed, and their allies do yet hang as a cloud or storm
over Spain. Gabor on the east is like an anniversary
wind, that riseth every year upon the party of Austria.
And Persia hath entered into hostility with Spain, and
given them the first blow by taking of Ormus. It is
within every man's observation also-, that Venice doth
think their state almost on fire, if the Spaniards hold
the Valtoiine. That Savoy hath learned by fresh ex-
perience, that alliance with Spain is no security against
the ambition of Spain ; and that of Bavaria hath like-
wise been taught that merit and service doth oblige the
Spaniard but from day to day. Neither do I say for all
this, but that Spain may rectify much of this ill blood
by their particular and cunning negociatiouA: but yet

Of a War with' Spain.

there it is in the body, and may break out no man
knoweth when, into ill accidents : and at least it
sheweth plainly, that which serveth for our purpose,
that Spain is much destitute of assured and confident
confederates. And therefore I will conclude this part
with the speech of a councellor of state in Spain at this
day, which was not without salt : he said to his master
the king of Spain that now is, upon occasion ; " Sir, I
" will tell your majesty thus much for your comfort ;
cc your majesty hath but two enemies, whereof the
" one is all the world, and the other is your own mi-
<c nisters." And thus I end the second main part I
propounded to speak of; which was, the balancing of
the forces between the king's majesty and the king of
Spain> if a war must follow*


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Online LibraryFrancis BaconThe works of Francis Bacon, baron of Verulam, viscount St. Alban, and lord high chancellor of England (Volume 3) → online text (page 44 of 45)