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, or Raleigh, or'Rawlegh, an illustrious Englishman, was the fourth son, and

, or Raleigh, or'Rawlegh, an illustrious Englishman, was the fourth son, and the second by a third wife, of Walter Ralegh, esq. of Fardel, near Plymouth. His father was of an ancient knightly family, and his mother was Catharine, daughter of sir Philip Champernoun, of Modbury in Devonshire, relict of Otho Gilbert, of Compton, the father, by her, of sir Humphrey Gilbert, the celebrated navigator. Mr. Ralegh, upon his marriage with this lady, had retired to a farm called Hayes, in the parish of Budiey, where sir Walter was born in 1552. After a proper education at school, he was sent to Oriel college, Oxford, about 1568, where he soon distinguished himself by great force of natural parts, and an uncommon progress in academical learning but Wood is certainly mistaken in saying he stayed here three years for in 1569, when only seventeen, he formed one of the select troop of an hundred gentlemen whom queen Elizabeth permitted Henry Champernoun to transport to France, to assist the persecuted Protestants. Sir Walter appears to have been engaged for some years in military affairs, of which, however, we do not know the particulars. In 1575 or 1576, he was in London, exercising his poetical talents; for there is a commendatory poem by him prefixed, among others, to a satire called “The Steel Glass,” published by George Gascoigne, a poet of that age. This is dated from the Middle Temple, at which he then resided, but with no view of studying the law for he declared expressly, at his trial, that he had never studied it. On the contrary, his mind was still bent on military glory; and accordingly, in 1578, he went to the Netherlands, with the forces which were sent against the Spaniards, commanded by sir John Norris, and it is supposed he was at the battle of Rimenant, fought on Aug. 1. The following year, 1579, when sir Humphrey Gilbert, who was his brother by his mother’s side, had obtained a patent of the queen to plant and inhabit some Northern parts of America, he engaged in that adventure; but returned soon after, the attempt proving unsuccessful. In 1580, the pope having incited the Irish to rebellion, he had a captain’s commission under the lord deputy of Ireland, Arthur Grey, lord Grey de Wilton. Here he distinguished himself by his skill and bravery. In 1581, the earl of Ormond departing for England, his government of Munster was given to captain Ralegh, in commission with sir * William Morgan and captain Piers Ralegh resided chiefly at Lismore, and spent all this summer in the woods and country adjacent, in continual action with the rebels. At his return home, he was introduced to court, and, as Fuller relates, upon the following occasion. Her majesty, taking the air in a walk, stopped at a splashy place, in doubt whether to go on when Ralegh, dressed in a gay and genteel habit of those tirhes, immediately cast off and spread his new plush cloak on the ground n which her majesty gently treading, was conducted 6ver clean and dry. The truth is, Ralegh always made a very elegant appearance, as well in the splendor of attire, as the politeness of address; having a commanding figure, and a handsome and well-compacted person a strong natural wit, and a better judgment and that kind of courtly address which pleased Elizabeth, and led to herfaTOur. Such encouragement, however, did not reconcile hirn to an indolent life. In 1583 he set out with his brother sir H. Gilbert, in his expedition to Newfoundland but within a few days was obliged to return to Plymouth, his ship’s company -being seized with an infectious distemper and sir H. Gilbert was drowned in coming home, after he had taken possession of that country. These expeditions, however, being much to Ralegh’s taste, he still felt no discouragement; but in 1584 obtaining letters patent for discovering unknown countries, he set sail to America, and took possession of a place, to which queen Elizabeth gave the name of Virginia.