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VIII. WALTER RALEIGH AND RICH
The distinguished figure which the life of Sir Walter Raleigh makes in the history of England renders unnecessary any other account of him here than what respects his adventures in America, and particularly in Virginia, of which colony he is acknowledged to have been the unfortunate founder.
[The account of Sir Walter Raleigh given by Dr. Belknap is almost confined to his proceedings in the early settlement of Virginia. The readers of these volumes may naturally expect some farther notice of “ that rare, renowned knight, whose fame," says one of his contemporaries,* «shall contend in longevity with this island itself, yea, with that great world which he historizeth so gallantly.” He was a courtier of singular gallantry and grace, a scholar of varied learning and accomplishments, a soldier of chivalrous temper and unstained honour, a statesman of large views, an adventurer of great hardihood and
* (James Howel, in a letter to Carew Raleigh-H.] Vol. 1.--BB
enthusiasm. His long imprisonment, his pa. tient suffering, and the hard measure of his death, have given a tender and touching interest to a history otherwise full of attractive incident. He lived, as the attorney-general told him in his last sentence, like a star, and like a star which troubleth the firmament he fell.*
Sir Walter Raleigh, or, as he wrote the name, Ralegh, was the fourth son of Walter Raleigh, Esq., of Fardel, near Plymouth. His mother was Catharine, daughter of Sir Philip Champernon, and widow of Otho Gilbert, of Compton, Devonshire. He was thus half-brother of Sir Humphrey Gilbert. the time of his birth, 1552, his father was residing at a farm called Hayes, in the parish of Budley, Devonshire, near the mouth of the Otter. Of his childhood we have no memo
* [The principal memoirs of Sir Walter Raleigh are those by Oldys, prefixed to his edition of Raleigh's History of the World; by Birch, in an edition of his Miscellaneous Writings; by Cayley, 2 vols. 4to, London, 1805; by Southey, in his Lives of English Admirals, vol. iv.; by P. F. Tytler, in the Edinburgh Cabinet Library; and by Mrs. Thompson ; all of which, unless it be Mrs. Thompson's, which we had not seen till this article was in press, are to be read with caution, as they show more or less clearly some bias in the writer. Southey, for example, we think, undervalues Sir Walter's character in respect of honesty and truth -H.]
rial. He became a commoner of Oriel Col. lege, Oxford, about 1568, “and his natural parts being strangely advanced by academical learning under the care of an excellent tutor, he became the ornament of the juniors, and was worthily esteemed a proficient in oratory and philosophy.”* Lord Bacon has preserved an anecdote of him while here, which illustrates both his temper and his wit. A cowardly fellow, who was an excellent archer, asked him how he should revenge himself on one who had grossly insulted him. “Challenge him to a match of shooting," was the reply. It is uncertain how long he remained at the University, and still more uncertain whether, as some have asserted, he became a student of the Middle Temple. His active temper led him to mingle early in the business of life, and his ambition could hardly be satisfied with mere scholastic hon.
The state of public affairs, both in England and on the Continent, might well arouse a spirit less ardent and adventurous than that of Raleigh.
Sympathizing with the persecuted Protestants, the queen made a loan of money to the
* [Wood's Athene Oxonienses.-H.]
Queen of Navarre, and permitted a company of one hundred selected volunteers, all gentlemen, under Henry Champernon, to go to France to her assistance. The motto on their banner was, FINEM DET MIHI VIRTUS :
Let valour decide.” In this troop was young Raleigh, then but seventeen years of age. They arrived at the French camp in October, 1569, and were received by the queen and princes with great distinction.
We cannot doubt, though no traces of it remain, that this body, animated alike by martial enthusiasm and religious zeal, did such gallant service as became gentlemen and soldiers. Raleigh remained in France till 1575, more than
We find here and there, in the writings of his late years, allusions to his residence there, which show that he studied with deep interest the stirring and troubled events of those sadly-agitated years. The whole period was crowded with marches and battles, sieges, negotiations, stratagems, treacheries, and massacres; all that could captivate and instruct the youthful soldier and the future politician. He was present in the flight on the Plains of Montcontour, and witnessed, in the security of the British embassage, the fearful slaughter on St. Bartholomew's Day. An
attendant on the brilliant warfare of Coligny, he could not but learn the skilful use of arms; and the daily companion of the noble and chivalrous warriors who so ably sustained the cause of the dreaded Huguenots, he added personal graces and the accomplishments of manner to his unsuspected courage. It was a school of valour and of discipline, and Ra. leigh was no negligent observer of its lessons.
On his return to England we find him a short time in the Middle Temple, whether as a student or mere resident is not clear, though probably the latter. He seems to have devoted his brief leisure to the Muses, and to have indulged in that kind of pastoral amatory poetry which was then so much in vogue. Some of his specimens which we have are of far more than ordinary merit. Yet an adventure in arms had more attractions for him, and in 1578 he accompanied Sir John Norris, with a body of English troops, to the Nether. lands. A war was then raging there between Don John of Austria and the States, who hated him for his cruelty and feared him for his treachery. The queen assisted the States with men and money. Of Raleigh's service here we have no information. He was prob