Friday, December 17, 2010

Drake Norris Expedition

'...But war was again raging, the history of Sir Francis Drake, Captain Morgan, and other bold adventurers, an account of whose exploits he had purchased from Bryce Snailsfoot, had made much impression on his mind, and the ofl'er of Captain Cleveland to take him to sea, frequently recurred to him, although the pleasure of such a project was somewhat damped by a doubt, whether, in ihe long run, he should not find many objections to his proposed commander. Thus much he already saw, that he was opinionative, and might probably prove arbitrary; and thai, since even his kindness was mingled with an assumption of superiority, his occasional displeasure might contain a great deal more of that disagreeable ingredient than could be palatable to those who sailed under him. And yet, after counting nll risks, could his father's consent be obtained, with what pleasure, he thought, would he embark in quest of new scenes and strange adventures, in which he proposed to himself to achieve such deeds as should be the theme of many a tale to the lovely sisters of Burgh-Westra—tales at which Minna should weep, and Brenda should smile, and both should marvel!...'

Part of the history of Sir Francis Drake alluded to in Walter Scott's "The Pirate" (above) was an attempted invasion of Spain in 1589, the year after the Spanish Armada was defeated by the English.  Drake led this expedition, which had a primary aim of sinking the survivors of the Armada.  There was also to be an invasion at Lisbon led by Sir John Norreys (Norris).

In "Sir Francis Drake: A Pictorial Biography" by Hans P. Kraus, a view of the financing for this expedition is provided.  It shows funding provided by Queen Elizabeth (£16k), Drake and other "adventurers" (£10k combined).  The document, which is dated December 17, 1588, was saved by diarist John Evelyn, and is available for online viewing at the Library of Congress Rare Books Reading Room http://www.loc.gov/rr/rarebook/catalog/drake/drake-9-begoftheend.html.

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