Simancas: July 1578

Pages 604-606

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 2, 1568-1579. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1894.

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July 1578

5 July. 518. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
I send duplicates of my letters of 11th, 13th, 17th, and 21st ultimo, as the weather has been very bad for the transmission of letters lately. I have been a long while without anything from your worship, which makes me more anxious than I can say, as I receive no approval of what is being done here nor any reply to my many letters to his Majesty. My only consolation is that your worship has so fully instructed me that I cannot go very far wrong, unless I forget your instructions ; but I beg you do not fail to give me constant light for my guidance, which so new a Minister as myself urgently needs.
As soon as Walsingham and Cobham arrived at Dunkirk, they requested M. de la Motte (fn. 1) to come and speak to them, and they would send hostages for his safety. As he did not accept the invitation they sent a gentleman to treat with him, to whom he replied that he would convey the message given to him to Don Juan. These people are making earnest attempts to continue their expeditions to the Indies, and, as you will see by my letters to his Majesty, they are still equipping ships for the purpose. If he wishes to take away from them their relish for the enterprise, it would be well for him to order resolutely that any ship of theirs that is captured should be sent to the bottom and not a soul spared. If any mercy is extended to them, they will never desist from their attempts, and, as they take but little force with them, it will not require great efforts to do as I say. If once they set foot on land the task will be a much more difficult one.
The Scots have twice recently crossed the border and taken a hundred prisoners and two thousand heads of cattle, which is a great haul, as they have not, for a long time past, made these raids.
Guaras has again been examined since they put him in the Tower. I will speak to the Queen about his affair at the audience I am to have with her before she starts on her progress.—London, 5th July 1578.
19 July. 519. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
Speaks of the difficulty of forwarding letters, and refers to private letters to and from relatives, &c.
In addition to the difficulties I found on my arrivel here, I am hindered by Juan de Vargas having written, as I previously mentioned, saying that sending special couriers was costly and that he had but little money for such purposes. I sent in my letter of the 12th of April the communication which I received from Don Juan on my arrival here with a statement which contained the only instructions I had, but, I am afraid, from what his Majesty says, that they will have been lost.
The Queen has been very suspicious of me hitherto, as she has been assured that I was coming to perform I know not what bad offices, but she is being undeceived and is turning her eyes now more towards his Majesty. The same may be said of some of her ministers, who have begun to get friendly with me, and I can assure you that, if his Majesty wishes to retain them, I see a way of doing it. It has been a good deal to bring them so far ; seeing how distrustful they were of ever having any interest taken in them by his Majesty, because, as they themselves tell me, no account was made, even of their mistress, much less of them. Any money that may be given to them will not be wasted. God knows the trouble I have had in getting her and her ministers even so far as this towards the condition which you mention, as they always want to see something substantial beforehand, which is the natural character of their countrymen. I am told by a person in the Palace that, even in the matter of giving me audience readily, the Queen has been considerably influenced by the gloves and perfumes which I gave her when I arrived.
Before the Queen started on her progress, I spoke to her about the change made with Guaras. She said that, after she had ordered him to leave the country, an Irishman had divulged a certain plot in Ireland in which Guaras was concerned. This having caused her to send him to the Tower until the matter could be investigated ; and, after that was done, she would send him to his Majesty to be punished, as his actions had been so much in her disservice and to the prejudice of her crown.
With regard to the arrested property misappropriated here, about which I wrote to you, I am pressed by Hatton, the Captain of the Guard, to claim it, making an arrangement with him to give him a certain share ; upon which, he says he will have the persons who now hold the property denounced, and will see that justice is done. I beg you will report this to the King, and get his instructions. I expect that the amount will turn out to be a large one, as Hatton is in such a hurry for his share of it, and it would be a pity that the property should be lost.
On the last day of this month the credit which Garnica sent expired, and, if I am to remain here, I beg that it may be extended, as well as the other credit for my extraordinary expenses, since God has endowed me with no means of my own to meet them. I have not recovered a penny of the back pay which was owing to me yet, although Don Juan ordered me to be paid ; nor has the Marquis de Ayamonte paid what his Majesty ordered of my revenue. I am dealing with one of Walsingham's officers and a great man in his office. He is entertaining my advances, and is giving me some information already, from interested motives, in the hope also that his payment will be regular if I stay here.—London, 19th July 1578.
20 July. 520. Bernardino De Mendoza to Zayas.
Since making up the packet I have received yours of the 13th June ; I have nothing to say, excepting that those who are desirous of claiming the misappropriated property, part of the seizures, are pressing me again upon the matter, which makes me think, seeing the hurry they are in, that the sum will be a large one. If we can get anything out of it the money may, perhaps, be employed in gaining some of the personages here, without bringing funds from Spain, besides which, if we let this opportunity slip, we shall never be able to recover this money, as the people themselves tell me.
I am very sorry the spectacles arrived broken, as your worship thinks them good. I will send another box in my next packet.— London, 20th July 1578.


  • 1. The Governor of Gravelines for the King of Spain.