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•while he engaged in a close union with their sove- G H A p. reign." And as the Spaniards were much more papists than the French, were much more exposed i6*5. to the old puritanical hatred,1 and had even erected the bloody tribunal of the inquisition, whose rigours they had refused to mitigate on Cromwel's solicitation ;m he hoped that a holy and meritorious war with such idolaters could not fail of protection from heaven." A preacher likewise, inspired, as was supposed, by a prophetic spirit, bid him go and prosper; calling him a stone cut out of the mountains without hands, that would break the pride of the Spaniard, crush Antichrist, and make way for the purity of the Gospel over the yvhole world.0
ActuatEd equally by these bigoted, these ambitious, and these interested motives, the protector equipped two considerable squadrons; and while he was making those preparations, the neighbouring states, ignorant of his intentions, remained in suspence, and looked with anxious expectation on what side the storm should discharge itself. One of these squadrons, consisting of thirty capital ships, was sent into the Mediterranean under Blake, whose fame was now spread over Europe. No English fleet, except during the Crusades, had ever before sailed in those seas; and from one extremity to the other, there was no naval force, Christian or Mahometan, able to resist them. The Roman pontiff, whose weakness and whose pride equally provoked attack, dreaded invasion from a power which professed the most inveterate enmity against him, and which so little regulated its movements by the usual motives of interest and prudence. Blake, casting anchor before Leghorn, demanded and obtained
k Tburloe, vol. i. p. 759. 1 Id. ibid.
m Id. Ibid. Don Alonzo said, that thelndiantrade and the inquisition were his master's two eyes, and the protector insisted upon the putting out both of them at once.
0 Carrington, p. 191. 0 Bates.
CHAP. from the duke of Tuscany reparation for some losses
vj^]^ which the English commerce had formerly sustained 1055. from him. He next sailed to Algiers, and compelled the dey to make peace, and to restrain his piratical subjects from farther violences on the English. He presented himself before Tunis; and having there made the same demands, the dey of that republic bade him look to the castles of Porto Farino and Goletta, and do his utmost. Blake needed not to be roused by such a bravado: He drew his ships close up to the castles, and tore them in pieces with his artillery. He sent a numerous detachment of sailors in their long-boats into the harbour, and burned every ship which lay there. This bold action, which its very temerity, perhaps, rendered safe, was executed with little loss, and filled all that part of the world with the renown of English valour. Jamaica Th E other squadron was not equally successful.
conquered. It ^as commanded by Pen, and carried on board 4000 men, under the command of Venables. About 5000 more joined them from Barbadoes and St. Christopher's. Both these officers were inclined to the king's service ;p and it is pretended that Cromwel was obliged to hurry the soldiers on board, in order to prevent the execution of a conspiracy which had been formed among them, in favour of the exiled family.*1 The ill success of this enterprise may justly be ascribed, as much to the injudicious schemes of the protector, who planned it, as to the bad execution of the officers, by whom it was conducted. The soldiers were the refuse of the whole army: The forces, inlisted in the West Indies, were the most profligate of mankind: Pen and Venables were of incompatible tempers: The troops were not furnished with arms fit for such an expedition: Their provisions were defective both
f Clareudwi. «Vita D. Berwici, p. ISM.
in quantity and quality: All hopes of pillage, the C H A p. best incentive to valour among such men, were refused the soldiers and seamen: No directions or 1655. intelligence were given to conduct the officers in their enterprise: And at the same time they were tied down to follow the advice of commissioners who disconcerted them in all their projects/
It was agreed by the admiral and general to at- April 13. tempt St. Domingo, the only place of strength in the island of Hispaniola. On the approach of the English, the Spaniards in a fright deserted their houses, and fled into the woods. Contrary to the opinion of Venables, the soldiers were disembarked without guides ten leagues distant from the town. They wandered four days through the woods without provisions, and, what was still more intolerable in that sultry climate, without water. The Spaniards recovered spirit, and attacked them. The English, discouraged with the bad conduct of their officers, and scarcely alive from hunger, thirst, and fatigue, were unable to resist. An inconsiderable number of the enemy put the whole army to rout, killed 600 of them, and chased the rest on board their vessels.
The English commanders, in order to atone as much as possible for this unprosperous attempt, bent their course to Jamaica, which was surrendered to them without a blow. Pen and Venables returned to England, and were both of them sent to the Tower by the protector, who, though commonly master of his fiery temper, was thrown into a violent passion at this disappointment. He had made a conquest of greater importance than he was himself at that time aware of; yet was it much inferior to the vast projects which he had formed. He gave orders, however, to support it by men and money; and that island has ever since remained in
'Burchet's Naval History. See also Carte's Collection, vol. ii. p. 46*, 47. Thurloe, vol. iii. p. 505. .
Ch A P.'the hands of the English; the chief acquisition which vjl^l^./ they owe to the enterprising spirit of Cromwel. tss*. As soon as the news of this expedition, which was an unwarrantable violation of treaty, arrived in Europe, the Spaniards declared war against England, and seized all the ships and goods of English merchants, of which they could make themselves masters. The commerce with Spain, so profitable to the English, was cut off; and near 1500 vessels, it is computed,* fell in a few years into the hands of the enemy. Blake, to whom Montague was now joined in command, after receiving new orders, prepared himself for hostilities against the Spaniards.
Several sea officers, having entertained scruples of conscience with regard to the justice of the Spanish war, threw up their commissions, and retired.* No commands, they thought, of their superiors could justify a war, which was contrary to the principles of natural equity, and which the civil magistrate had no right to order. Individuals, they maintained, in resigning to the public their natural liberty, could bestow on it only what they themselves were possessed of, a right of performing lawful actions, and could invest it with no authority of commanding what is contrary to the decrees of heaven. Such maxims, though they seem reasonable, are perhaps too perfect for human nature; and must be regarded as one effect, though of the most innocent and even honourable kind, of that spirit, partly fanatical, partly republican, which predominated in England. SacceM. Blale lay sometime off Cadiz, in expectation of intercepting the plate fleet, but was at last obliged, for want of water, to make sail towards Portugal. Captain Stayner, whom he had left on the coast with a squadron of seven vessels, came in
• Thuiloe, vo). iv. p. 135. World's Mistake in Oliver Cromwel, in the Harl. Misced. vol. i. 'Thurloe, vol. iv. p. 570. 589^ sight of the galleons, and immediately set sail toC Ha p. pursue them. The Spanish admiral ran his ship v^^I^/ ashore: Two others followed his example: The 1656. English took two ships valued at near two millions SePt of pieces of eight. Two galleons were set on fire; and the marquis of Badajox, viceroy of Peru, with his wife and his daughter, betrothed to the young duke of Medina Celi, were destroyed in them. The marquis himself might have escaped; but seeing these unfortunate women, astonished with the danger, fall in a swoon, and perish in the flames, he rather chose to die with them, than drag out a life embittered with the remembrance of such dismal scenes." When the treasures gained by this enterprise arrived at Portsmouth, the protector, from a spirit of ostentation, ordered them to be transported by land to London.
The next action against the Spaniards was more honourable, though less profitable to the nation. Blake having heard that a Spanish fleet of sixteen ships, much richer than the former, had taken shelter in the Canaries, immediately made sail to- . wards them. He found them in the bay of Santa Cruz, disposed in a formidable posture. The bay was secured with a strong castle, well provided with cannon, besides seven forts in several parts of it, all united by a line of communication, manned with musqueteers. Don Diego Diaques, the Spanish admiral, ordered all his smaller vessels to moor close to the shore, and posted the larger galleons farther off, at anchor, with their broadsides to the sea.
Blake was rather animated than daunted with this appearance. The wind seconded his courage, . and, blowing full into the bay, in a moment brought him among the thickest of his enemies. After a resistance of four hours, the Spaniards yielded to
i ■ Thurloe, vol. v. p. 433.
Vol. Vii. s