A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07 eBook

Robert Kerr (writer)
This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 785 pages of information about A General History and Collection of Voyages and Travels — Volume 07.
west of Ireland, where the Spaniards were of necessity to pass, after the many dangers and disasters they had endured.  If we had been so happy as to have followed this course, which was both thought of and discoursed of at the time, we had been absolutely victorious over this great and formidable armada.  For they were reduced to such extremity, that they would willingly have yielded, as divers of them confessed that were shipwrecked in Ireland.

By this we may see how weak and feeble are the designs of men, in respect of the great Creator; and how indifferently he dealt between the two nations, sometimes giving one the advantage sometimes the other; and yet so that he only ordered the battle.


Account of the Relief of a part of the Spanish Armada, at Anstruther in Scotland, in 1588[349].

However glorious and providential the defeat and destruction of the Invincible Armada, it does not belong to the present work to give a minute relation of that great national event.  It seems peculiarly necessary and proper, however, in this work, to give a very curious unpublished record respecting the miserable fate of the Spanish armada, as written by a contemporary, the Reverend James Melville, minister of Anstruther, a sea-port town on the Fife, or northern, shore of the Frith of Forth.

[Footnote 349:  From MS. Memoirs of James Melville, a contemporary.]

James Melville, who was born in 1556, and appears to have been inducted to the living of Anstruther only a short time before the year 1588, left a MS. history of his own life and times, extending to the year 1601.  Of this curious unpublished historical document, there are several copies extant, particularly in the splendid library of the Faculty of Advocates, and in that belonging to the Writers to the Signet, both at Edinburgh.  The present article is transcribed from a volume of MSS belonging to a private gentleman, communicated to the editor by a valued literary friend.  It had formerly belonged to a respectable clergyman of Edinburgh, and has the following notice of its origin written by the person to whom it originally belonged.

“The following History of the Life of James Melville, was transcribed from an old MS. lent to me by Sir William Calderwood of Poltoun, one of the Judges of the Courts of Session and Justiciary, who had it among other papers that belonged to his grand-uncle, Mr David Calderwood, author of Altare Damascenum, History, &c.”

This MS. so far as it contains the Life of James Melville, extends to 360 folio pages; of which the present article occupies about three pages, from near the bottom of p. 184. to nearly the same part of p. 187.  The orthography seems to have been considerably modernized by the transcriber, but without changing the antiquated words and modes of expression.  Such of these as appeared difficult to be understood by our English readers, are here explained between brackets.—­E.

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