"I My Self": Queen Elizabeth I's Oration at Tilbury Camp Author(s): Janet M. Green Source: The Sixteenth Century Journal, Vol. 28, No. 2 (Summer, 1997), pp. 421-445 Published by: The Sixteenth Century Journal Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2543451 . Accessed: 27/06/2013 08:44 Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp
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Sixteenth CenturyJournal XXVIII! 2 (1997)
"I My Self": Queen Elizabeth I's Oration at Tilbury Camp
Janet M. Green Kent State University-Ashtabula Queen ElizabethI made one of her most famous speeches on August 9, 1588, atTilbut bury Camp. Its authenticityhas been doubted occasionally, substantialevidence indicates that it is genuine. Its internal rhetorical characteristicslink this oration strongly to Elizabeth'sothers.Also, considerablecontemporary evidence exists that were like those of she delivereda speech at Tilbury whose phrases,often remarked, the speech we have.Finally, one of the two surviving texts-BM HarleianMS 6798, article 18-is in the handwritingof another,namely of Dr. Leonel Sharpe,authorof a 1623 letter first publishedin the Cabala 1654, in which Sharpe(almostcertainly of an eyewitnessatTilbury) gives the now familiartext.Though the HarleianMS is in a few placesliterarilyinferior to the Cabalatext, it is neverthelessan importantlink to that text and shows with much more certaintythat both are genuine. I QUEEN ELIZABETH ON AUGUST 9, i588, made an oration at Tilbury Camp to her troops assembled there to encounter the Spanish Armada. Most writers and historians have accepted this short but perfect speech as one of the jewels in the crown of England, polished by Queen Elizabeth herself, and reflecting the pride of a nation. However, some others have doubted its authenticity, from Miller Christy in 1919, the first modern commentator to discuss Tilbury events at length, to Susan Frye in 1992.1 However, substantial evidence exists for believing the Tilbury oration is genuine, which falls into three categories: First, internal rhetorical characteristics link this oration very strongly to Elizabeth's others. Second, there is considerable contemporary evidence that she delivered a speech at Tilbury whose phrases, often remarked, were like those of the speech we have. And third, one of the two texts we have of her Tilbury oration-BM Harlelan MS 6798, article 18-is in the handwriting of the other, the handwriting of Dr. Leonel (Lionel) Sharpe, author of the letter to the duke of Buckingham of 1623, first published in the Cabala in 1654, in which he gives the familiar text of the queen's speech.2 These two texts 'Miller Christy, "Queen Elizabeth's Visit to Tilbury in 1588,"English Historical Review34 (1919): 55. Susan Frye,"The Myth of Elizabethof Tilbury,"SixteenthCentury Journal23 (1992): 95-114. Also ed. doubtfulis Frances Teague,"EditingElizabeth's Speeches,"Renaissance English TextSociety Proceedings, Suzanne Gossett (1987), 15-19. 2The Cabala, Mysteries State,in Letters the GreatMinisters K.Jamesand K. Charles: of of of Wherein Muchof the Publique ManageofAffaires Related, a collection in two partsof documents,letters,and Is is papers,which as the title page stateswas"FaithfullyCollected by a Noble Hand,"who was never identified. (London:M. M. G....
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