English Seamen in the Sixteenth Century: Lectures Delivered at Oxford, Easter Terms, 1893-4

By James Anthony Froude | Go to book overview

LECTURE VIII
SAILING OF THE ARMADA

PEACE or war between Spain and England, that was now the question, with a prospect of securing the English succession for himself or one of his daughters. With the whole Spanish nation smarting under the indignity of the burning of the ships at Cadiz, Philip's warlike ardour had warmed into something like fire. He had resolved at any rate, if he was to forgive his sister-in-law at all, to insist on more than toleration for the Catholics in England. He did not contemplate as even possible that the English privateers, however bold or dexterous, could resist such an armament as he was preparing to lead to the Channel. The Royal Navy, he knew very well, did not exceed twenty- five ships of all sorts and sizes. The adventurers might be equal to sudden daring actions, but would and must be crushed by such a fleet as was being fitted out at Lisbon. He therefore, for himself, meant to demand that the Catholic religion should be restored to its complete and exclusive superiority, and certain towns in England were to be made over to be garrisoned by Spanish troops as securities for Elizabeth's good behaviour. As often

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