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imagined.He was the firft man that brought ships to contemn caftles on fhore, which had ever "been thought very formidable, but were discovered "by him to make a noise only, and to fright thofe, "who could rarely be hurt by them. He was the firft "that infused that proportion of courage into feamen,
by making them fee, by experience, what mighty "things they could do if they were refolved, and "taught them to fight in fire as well as upon the "water; and, though he has been very well imitated "and followed, was the first that gave the example of "that kind of naval courage, and bold and refolutę "atchievements."
To this atteftation of his military excellence, it may be proper to fubjoin an account of his moral character from the author of Lives English and Foreign. "He
was jealous," fays that writer," of the liberty of the "fubject, and the glory of his nation; and as he made
ufe of no mean artifices to raise himself to the high"est command at fea, so he needed no interest but his
merit to fupport him in it. He fcorned nothing "more than money, which, as fast as it came in, was
laid out by him in the fervice of the state, and to "fhew that he was animated by that brave, publick
fpirit, which has fince been reckoned rather roman"tick than heroick. And he was fo difinterested, that "though no man had more opportunities to enrich "himself than he, who had taken fo many millions
from the enemies of England, yet he threw it all into the publick treasury, and did not die 500 l. richer. "than his father left him; which the author avers "from his perfonal knowledge of his family and their circumstances, having been bred up in it, and often
"heard his brother give this account of him. He was "religious according to the pretended purity of thefe "times, but would frequently allow himself to be merry with his officers, and by his tenderness and generofity to the feamen had fo endeared himfelf to them, that when he died they lamented his lofs as that of a common father."
Instead of more teftimonies, his character may be properly concluded with one incident of his life, by which it appears how much the fpirit of Blake was fuperior to all private views. His brother, in the laft action with the Spaniards, having not done his duty, was at Blake's defire difcarded, and the fhip was given to another; yet was he not lefs regardful of him as a brother, for when he died he left him his eftate, knowing him well qualified to adorn or enjoy a private fortune, though he had found him unfit to ferve his country in a publick character, and had therefore not fuffered him to rob it.
SIR FRANCIS DRAKE *.
RANCIS DRAKE was the fon of a clergyman in Devonshire, who being inclined to the doctrine of the Proteftants, at that time much oppofed by Henry VIII. was obliged to fly from his place of refidence into Kent for refuge, from the perfecution raised against him, and those of the fame opinion, by the law of the fix articles.
How long he lived there, or how he was fupported, was not known; nor have we any account of the first years of Sir Francis Drake's life, of any difpofition to hazards and adventures which might have been difcovered in his childhood, or of the education which qualified him for fuch wonderful attempts.
We are only informed, that he was put apprentice by his father to the mafter of a small veffel that traded to France and the Low Countries, under whom he probably learned the rudiments of navigation, and familiarifed himself to the dangers and hardships of the fea.
But how few opportunities foever he might have in this part of his life for the exercife of his courage, he *This Life was firft printed in the Gentleman's Magazine for
gave fo many proofs of diligence and fidelity, that his master dying unmarried left him his little veffel in reward of his fervices; a circumstance that deferves to be remembered, not only as it may illuftrate the private character of this brave man, but as it may hint, to all those who may hereafter propofe his conduct for their imitation, That virtue is the fureft foundation both of reputation and fortune, and that the first step to greatnefs is to be honest.
If it were not improper to dwell longer on an incident at the first view so inconsiderable, it might be added, That it deferves the reflection of those, who, when they are engaged in affairs not adequate to their abilities, pass them over with a contemptuous neglect, and while they amuse themselves with chimerical fchemes, and plans of future undertakings, fuffer every opportunity of fmaller advantage to flip away as unworthy their regard. They may learn from the example of Drake, that diligence in employments of lefs confequence is the most fuccefsful introduction to greater enterprizes.
After having followed for fome time his mafter's profeffion, he grew weary of fo narrow a province, and, having fold his little veffel, ventured his effects in the new trade to the Weft-Indies, which, having not been long difcovered, and very little frequented by the Englifh till that time, were conceived fo much to abound in wealth, that no voyage thither could fail of being recompenfed by great advantages. Nothing was talked of among the mercantile or adventurous part of mankind, but the beauty and riches of this new world. Fresh discoveries were frequently made, new countries and nations never heard of before were daily defcribed, and it may easily be concluded that the relaters did
not diminish the merit of their attempts, by fuppreffing or diminishing any circumstance that might produce wonder, or excite curiofity. Nor was their vanity only engaged in raifing admirers, but their interest likewife in procuring adventurers, who were indeed easily gained by the hopes which naturally arise from new prospects, though through ignorance of the American feas, and by the malice of the Spaniards, who from the first discovery of those countries confidered every other nation that attempted to follow them as invaders of their rights, the best concerted defigns often mifcarried.
Among those who suffered most from the Spanish injustice, was Capt. John Hawkins, who, having been admitted by the viceroy to traffic in the bay of Mexico, was, contrary to the ftipulation then made between them, and in violation of the peace between Spain and England, attacked without any declaration of hostilities, and obliged, after an obftinate refiftance, to retire with the lofs of four fhips, and a great number of his men, who were either deftroyed or carried into flavery.
In this voyage Drake had adventured almoft all his fortune, which he in vain endeavoured to recover, both by his own private intereft, and by obtaining letters from Queen Elizabeth; for the Spaniards, deaf to all remonftrances, either vindicated the injuftice of the viceroy, or at least forbore to redress it.
Drake, thus oppreffed and impoverished, retained at leaft his courage and his induftry, that ardent fpirit that prompted him to adventures, and that indefatigable patience that enabled him to furmount difficulties. He did not fit down idly to lament misfortunes which