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Page:Dictionary of National Biography volume 47.djvu/195

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before the council has been satisfactorily disproved by Edwards (i. 49). It, in fact, appears that a handsome figure and face were his real credentials. He was under thirty, tall, well-built, of ‘a good presence,’ with thick dark hair, a bright complexion, and an expression full of life. His dress, too, was at all times magnificent, to the utmost limit of his purse; and, when called on to speak, he answered ‘with a bold and plausible tongue, whereby he could set out his parts to the best advantage.’ He had, moreover, the reputation of a bold and dashing partisan, ingenious and daring; fearless alike in the field and in the council-chamber, a man of a stout heart and a sound head.

For several years Ralegh belonged to the court, the recipient of the queen's bounties and favour to an extent which gave much occasion for scandal. He was indeed consulted as to the affairs of Ireland, and Grey's rejection of his advice was a chief cause of Grey's recall; but such service, in itself a mark of the queen's confidence, does not account for the numerous appointments and grants which, within a few years, raised him from the position of a poor gentleman-adventurer to be one of the most wealthy of the courtiers. Among other patents and monopolies, he was granted, in May 1583, that of wine licenses, which brought him in from 800l. to 2,000l. a year, though it involved him in a dispute with the vice-chancellor of Cambridge, on whose jurisdiction his lessee had encroached. In 1584 he was knighted, and in 1585 was appointed warden of the stannaries, that is of the mines of Cornwall and Devon, lord lieutenant of Cornwall, and vice-admiral of the two counties. Both in 1585 and 1586 he sat in parliament as member for Devonshire. In 1586, too, he obtained the grant of a vast tract of land—some forty thousand acres in Cork, Waterford, and Tipperary. The grant included Youghal, with manorial rights and the salmon fishery of the Blackwater, and Ralegh began building houses at both Youghal and Lismore. He was also appointed captain of the queen's guard, an office requiring immediate attendance on the queen's person. In 1587 he was granted estates in Lincolnshire, Derbyshire, and Nottinghamshire, forfeited by Babington and his fellow-conspirators.

Ralegh, however, was ill-fitted to spend his life in luxury and court intrigue, of which, as the queen's favourite, he was the centre. His jurisdiction of the stannaries marked an era of reform, and the rules which he laid down continued long in force. As vice-admiral of the western counties, with his half-brother Sir John Gilbert as his deputy in Devon, he secured a profitable share in the privateering against Spain, which was conducted under cover of commissions from the Prince of Condé or from the Prince of Orange. In 1583 he had a large interest in the Newfoundland voyage of Sir Humphrey Gilbert, fitting out a vessel of two hundred tons, called the Bark Ralegh, which he had intended to command himself, till positively forbidden by his royal mistress. After Gilbert's death he applied for a patent similar to that which Gilbert had held—to discover unknown lands, to take possession of them in the queen's name, and to hold them for six years. This was granted on 25 March 1584, and in April he sent out a preliminary expedition under Philip Amadas and Arthur Barlow, who, taking the southern route by the West Indies and the coast of Florida, made the land to the southward of Cape Hatteras. They then coasted northwards, entered the Oregon inlet, and in the queen's name took possession of Wokoken, Roanoke, and the mainland adjacent. To this region, on their return in September, the queen herself gave the name of Virginia, then, and for many years afterwards, applied to the whole seaboard of the continent, from Florida to Newfoundland.

Ralegh now put forward the idea, possibly conceived years before in intercourse with Coligny (Besant, Gaspard Coligny, chap. vii.), of establishing a colony in the newly discovered country; and, as the queen would not allow him to go in person, the expedition sailed in April 1585, under the command of his cousin, Sir Richard Grenville or Greynvile [q. v.], with Ralph Lane [q. v.] as governor of the colony, and Thomas Harriot [q. v.], who described himself as Ralegh's servant, as surveyor. The rules for its government were drawn up by Ralegh; but quarrels, in the first instance between Lane and Grenville and afterwards between the English settlers and the natives, rendered the scheme abortive, and in June 1586 the settlement was evacuated, the colonists being carried home by the fleet under Sir Francis Drake. Ralegh had meantime sent Grenville out with reinforcements and supplies; but, as he found the place deserted, he came back, leaving fifteen men on Roanoke. In the summer of 1587 another and larger expedition was sent out under the command of John White, who, when supplies ran short, came home, leaving eighty-nine men, seventeen women, and two children, including his own daughter and her child. Ralegh fitted out two ships in the following spring, but the captains converted the expedition into a privateering cruise, and, after being roughly handled by