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replace his unsuccessful colony in Virginia, by a new one, consisting of 150 men under the command of Mr. John White, appointed governor, and twelve assistants, to whom he gave a charter, and incorporated them under the firm / Governor and Assistants of the city of Ralegh, in Virginia.” This was the fourth voyage to that country, a third having been fruitless, in consequence of the failure of the first.
In 1587, we find the name of Ralegh in the council of war, called November 27th, for putting the forces of the realm in the best posture of defence against the celebrated armada. He was also of the number of those who equipped vessels at their own charge, to reinforce the fleet. In addition to his other honours, he was one of the gentlemen of her majesty's privy chamber.
Of Virginia he had hitherto been the sole proprietor; but finding his difficulties grow upon him, having expended 40,0001. upon the project, he assigned over, in 1589, to a company of gentlemen and merchants of London, the right of continuing the plantation with English subjects, reserving to himself only the fifth part of all gold and silver ore.
markable consequence of these voyages was, that some of the returning settlers first brought tobacco into England, on the 27th of July, 1586.
After the defeat of the Spanish armada, Ralegh was among the 20,000 volunteers who joined in the unsuccessful enterprise to place Don Antonio on the Crown of Portugal; in consideration of which, he, with the principal of the adventurers, was honoured by the queen with a golden chain. But shortly afterwards he incurred her majesty's displeasure, from what cause is not distinctly known, though the jealousy of Essex is supposed to have had a share in it. He was sent, or rather banished to Ireland, where he visited Spenser at his house of Kilcolman; and whom, on his return and reconciliation, he introduced to Elizabeth. Ralegh succeeded sir Philip Sidney as the elevating friend of Spenser.
Having formed a design against the Spaniards in the West-Indies, particularly at Panama, with a view of intercepting the platefleet, the queen gave him a commission as general of the fleet equipped for this purpose, consisting of thirteen ships and two men of war, which sailed in February, 1591-2. Six
Walter had scarcely put to sea, when he was overtaken by letters from the queen, containing his recall. But conceiving his honour concerned in the enterprise, he interpreted the letters with latitude, and proceeded. He returned, however, without accomplishing the prime object of his voyage; and now incurred the queen’s.displeasure on account of an amour with Elizabeth, the beautiful daughter of sir Nicholas Throgmorton, and one of the maids of honour to the queen. Both parties were confined to the Tower for nearly a year; and the knight repaired his transgression by a successful offer of his hand.
In 1593-4, he obtained from her majesty the castle and manor of Sherborne. Here he matured the plan of his first voyage to Guiana-a. voyage which is membrable ili his history, as it was eventually the cause of his destruction. This expedition, of which he wrote a copious account, he attended in person; and probally. returned to England late in the sunmer of 1595. In 1600, the government of Jersey was conferred upon him, with a grant of the manor and lordship of St. Germain, in the same island, and all the lands and tenements thercin.
But the fortune of Ralegh fell with the death
of the queen. The dark insinuations of Cecil, his rival for power, succeeded in prejudicing king James against him; and his noblest actions--the fairest fruits of his patriotic genius, were blasted with the breath of malice. The king had not been three months in England, before he was charged with treason, with conspiring with lord Cobham and others to dethrone James, and to advance Arabella Stewart to the throne of England; to introduce the Roman superstition, &c. &c.
This conspiracy is a state-riddle, which has never been solved; that Ralegh had any share in it, there is not a shadow of proof. But his death was determined ; and after a trial, perhaps the most disgraceful in our annals, he was condemned to lose his head. He was, however, reprieved by the king, who observed, in respect of lord Cobham's accusation of him, the only evidence, and which he subsequently recanted, that could Cobham have spoken any thing against Ralegh, they would have brought him from Constantinople to have accused him, His estates were taken from him, through a flaw said to be discovered in the conveyance, and transferred to the infamous minion Somerset: and himself was imprisoned in the Tower
during twelve years—a period, the best employed of his life, as in his captivity he composed the greater part of his numerous and valuable works. Prince Henry, between whom and Ralegh there subsisted an attachment of singular strength, ' was accustomed to say, “ No king but my father would keep such a bird in a cage.”
At the end of this time he was released, though not formally pardoned. In the hope of repairing his ruined fortunes, he now set sail for Guiana; but the enterprize, as is well known, failed, his son was killed, and on his return, himself execute, on the old sentence, at the instance of Spain. He was beheaded in 1618, and died with the same dauntless resolution he had displayed through life.
Sir Walter Ralegh is no less distinguished as a literary character, than as an experienced navigator and a valorous knight. His most extensive work is his History of the World, first published in 1614; but the best edition is the eleventh and last, edited by Oldys, in 1736, folio. The work begins with the creation, and collects the flowers of history to the end of the second Macedonian war. Having