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In the Days of Drake   By: (1863-1935)

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IN THE DAYS OF DRAKE

BY

J. S. FLETCHER,

AUTHOR OF

"WHEN CHARLES I. WAS KING," "WHERE HIGHWAYS CROSS."

CHICAGO AND NEW YORK: RAND, MCNALLY & COMPANY. MDCCCXCVII.

Copyright, 1897, by Rand, McNally & Co.

INTRODUCTION.

In the whole history of the English people there is no period so absolutely heroic, so full of enthralling interest, as that in which the might of England made itself apparent by land and sea the period which saw good Queen Bess mistress of English hearts and Englishmen and sovereign of the great beginnings which have come to such a magnificent fruition under Victoria. That was indeed a golden time an age of great venture and enterprise a period wherein men's hearts were set on personal valor and bravery the day of great deeds and of courage most marvelous. To write down a catalogue of all the names that then were glorious, to make a list of all the daring deeds that then were done this were an impossible task for the most painstaking of statisticians, the most conscientious of historians and chroniclers. For there were men in those days who achieved world wide fame, such as Drake, Frobisher, Hawkins, Raleigh, Grenville, and Gilbert but there were also other men, the rough "sea dogs" of that time, whose names have never been remembered, or even recorded, and who were yet heroes of a quality not inferior to their commanders and leaders. All men of that age whose calling led them to adventure and enterprise could scarcely fail to find opportunity for heroism, self denial, and sacrifice, and thus the Elizabethan Englishman of whatever station stands out to us of these later days as a great figure the type and emblem of the England that was to be. It is this fact that makes the Elizabethan period so fascinating and so full of romance and glamour. Whenever we call it up before our mind's eye it is surrounded for us with all those qualities which go toward making a great picture. There is the awful feud 'twixt England, the modern spirit making toward progress and civilization, and Spain, the well nigh worn out retrogressive force that would dam the river of human thought. There is the spectacle of the Armada, baffled and beaten, and of the English war ships under men like Drake and Frobisher, dropping like avenging angels upon some Spanish port and working havoc on the Spanish treasure galleons. There, too, are the figures of men like Grenville and Raleigh, born adventurers, leaders of men, who knew how to die as bravely and fearlessly as they had lived. And beyond all the glory and adventure there looms in the background of the picture the black cruelties of Spain, practiced in the dark corners of the earth, against which the English spirit of that day never ceased from protesting with speech and sword. It was well for the world that in that fierce contest England triumphed. Had Spain succeeded in perpetuating its hellish system, how different would life in east and west have been! But it was God's will that not Spain but England should win and so to day we find the English speaking peoples of the world in Great Britain and America, in Australia and Africa, free, enlightened, full of great purpose and noble aims, working out in very truth their own salvation. It is when one comes to think of this, that one first realizes the immeasurable thanks due to the heroes, known and unknown, of the Elizabethan age. Whether they stand high on the scroll of fame or lie forgotten in some quiet graveyard or in the vast oceans which they crossed, it was they, and they only, who laid the great foundations of the England and the United States of to day.

J. S. FLETCHER.

IN THE DAYS OF DRAKE.

CHAPTER I.

OF MY HOME, FRIENDS, AND SURROUNDINGS.

Now that I am an old man, and have some leisure, which formerly I did not enjoy, I am often minded to write down my memories of that surprising and remarkable adventure of mine, which began in the year 1578, and came to an end, by God's mercy, two years later... Continue reading book >>




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