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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 28.djvu/8

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Howard
Howard
2

knight of the shire for Surrey; and on the death of his father, 29 Jan. 1572-3, he succeeded as second Lord Howard of Effingham. On 24 April 1574 he was installed a knight of the Garter, and was appointed lord chamberlain, a dignity which he held till May 1585, when he vacated it on being appointed lord admiral of England in succession to Edward Fiennes de Clinton, earl of Lincoln [q.v.], who died on 16 Jan. 1584-5. In 1586 Howard was one of the commissioners appointed for the trial of Mary Queen of Scots, and, though not actually present at the trial, seems to have conducted some of the examinations in London. According to William Davison (1541?- 1608) [q.v.] it was due to his urgent representations that Elizabeth finally signed Mary's death-warrant (Nicolas, Life of Davison, pp. 232, 258, 281). From Friday, 17 Nov. 1587, till the following Tuesday night, Howard entertained the queen at his house at Chelsea. Pageants were performed in her honour, and in the 'running at tilt' which she witnessed 'my Lord of Essex and my Lord of Cumberland were the chief that ran' (Philip Gawdy to his father, 24 Nov., Hist. MSS. Comm. 7th Rep. p. 520).

In December 1587 Howard received a special commission as 'lieutenant-general and commander-in-chief of the navy and army prepared to the seas against Spain,' and forthwith hoisted his flag on board the Ark, a ship of eight hundred tons, which, having been built by Ralegh as a private venture and afterwards sold to the queen, seems to have been called indifferently Ark Ralegh, Ark Royal, and Ark (Edwards, Life of Ralegh, i. 83, 147). Howard's second in command was Sir Francis Drake [q.v.], whose greater experience of sea affairs secured for him a very large share of authority, but Howard's official correspondence through the spring, summer, and autumn of 1588—much of it in his own hand—shows that the responsibility as commander-in-chief was vested in himself alone. His council of war, which he consulted on every question of moment, consisted of Sir Francis Drake, Lord Thomas Howard, Lord Sheffield, Sir Roger Williams, Hawkyns, Frobiser, and Thomas Fenner (cf. his letter 19 June). When looking out for the approach of the Spanish fleet on 6 July, Howard divided the fleet into three parts, himself, as commander-in-chief, after prescriptive usage, in mid-channel, Drake off Ushant, and Hawkyns off Scilly, according to their ranks as second and third in command respectively. In the several encounters with the Spaniards off Plymouth, off St. Alban's Head, and off St Catherine's, Howard invariably acted as leader, though his colleagues, and Drake more particularly, were allowed considerable license. The determination to use the fire–ships off Calais was come to in a council of war, including—besides those already named, with the exception of Williams, who had joined the Earl of Leicester on shore—Lord Henry Seymour, Sir William Wynter [q.v.], and Sir Henry Palmer [q.v.]; but the attack on the San Lorenzo, when stranded off Calais, was ordered and directed by Howard in person, contrary, it would appear, to the opinion of his colleagues, This action was severely criticised (cf. Froude, xii. 416 and note); it was urged that the commander-in-chief should then have been, rather, off Gravelines, where the enemy was in force. But the incident serves to mark the independence of Howard, as well as the sense of responsibility which tempered his courage. That the prudent tactics adopted throughout the earlier battles were mainly Howard's, we know, on the direct testimony of Ralegh, who highly commends him as 'better advised than a great many malignant fools were that found fault with his demeanour. The Spaniards had an army aboard them, and he had none; they had more ships than he had, and of higher building and charging; so that had he entangled himself with those great and powerful vessels, he had greatly endangered this kingdom of England. . . . But our admiral knew his advantage and held it; which had he not done, he had not been worthy to have held his head ' {History of the World, Book v. chap. i. sect. vi. ed. 1786, ii. 565). In the last great battle off Gravelines the credit of the decisive result appears to be due, in perhaps equal proportion, to Seymour and to Drake. It is quite possible that they were carrying out a plan previously agreed on, but Howard, having waited on the San Lorenzo, was later in coming into action. Neither he nor his colleagues understood till long afterwards the fearful loss sustained by the Spaniards. 'We have chased them in fight;' he wrote, ' until this evening late, and distressed them much; but their fleet consisteth of mighty ships and great strength. . . . Their force is wonderful great and strong, and yet we pluck their feathers by little and little' (Howard to Walsingham, 29 July, State Papers, Dom., ccxiii. 64). On the return of the fleet to the southward, vast numbers of the seamen fell sick, chiefly of an infectious fever of the nature of typhus (Howard to lord treasurer, 10 Aug., State Papers, Dom. ccxiv. 66; Howard to queen, Howard to council, 22 Aug., State Papers, Dom. ccxv. 40, 41), aggravated by feeding on putrid beef and sour beer. Many of the