"She hoped, despite the evidence of Spain's warlike preparations, to reach a negotiated settlement. It was only with the utmost unwillingness that she gave the order allowing Drake, who had been hanging around in Plymouth harbor for some time, to set off on his hostile errand.
"No sooner had she given the order than she had second thoughts, and another dispatch rider was sent racing off toward Plymouth to countermand it. Drake however had guessed that such a second order might be forthcoming and as soon as he received the first he put to sea.
"A speedy boat was sent after him, but curiously enough it failed to locate his fleet. The queen was very angry, but there was nothing she could do to stop him."
[Elizabeth's displeasure was short-lived: the Spanish Armada was utterly destroyed and the glory of Elizabethan England assured.]