Simancas: October 1580

Pages 52-63

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 3, 1580-1586. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1896.

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October 1580

16 Oct.
B. M. MSS. Add. 28, 420.
43. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
On the 3rd instant I last wrote to your Majesty, and on the same day I received your Majesty's letters of 15th and 29th August. I had already sent the information requested in the former, and with regard to the victory and capture of Lisbon, with which God has blessed your Majesty, I have not reported it to the Queen, as your Majesty commands in yours of 29th, as she refuses to give me audience, for the reasous which I have explained in my former letters.
As soon as she received news from France that Marshal de Biron had routed M. de Berdin, she hastily sent Stafford to France. He left on the 18th, and requested a passport of the French ambasador, saying that his going was in the interests of the king of France. The ambassador gave the passport, and as this proceeding is looked upon as very extraordinary, the Queen not having asked for such a document for any of her envoys for years past, it is thought by some that Stafford may be instructed to proceed from France to Germany, and that this may be the reason why the passport was requested. I do not think there is much in this ; because, if the king of France thought proper to prevent his going, he could delay him at his Court, the ambassador's passport being only of value so far. The reason for sending him so hurriedly was to beg Alençon to urge the King to make peace, and to expedite the coming hither of the commissioners, who the Queen desires should be sent, to arrange the new alliance with France. The object of this is decidedly to break with your Majesty, and strike a blow in the Netherlands, since all their designs in Portugal have ended in smoke. She also desires that Alençon should be acknowledged as the protector of the Huguenots and those of "the religion" in France, by which means the people here think they will secure themselves against the French, whilst the King will also be dissuaded from prosecuting the war against the Huguenots, who are at present more lacking in force than ever. To this end the Queen is using every possible artifice, and, so far as I am able to judge, the French are treating her in the same way ; delaying the negotiations, and thus preventing her from helping the Huguenots, whilst Alençon is being impelled to appear favourable to her views, in hopes of the marriage.
Since the news about Ireland, which I said in my last, the Queen had received (which news judging from their constant variations are not always to be believed), I learn that a private gentleman had arrived from there, who assures her that the number of troops that had landed was 1,500, who after taking possession of an island, where there was a quantity of cattle and wheat, had fortified themselves on the land. They had also near them seven large ships and an Aragonese vessel, containing, apparently, sufficient troops to cope with the Queen's forces. In consequence of this intelligence, a full Council was immediately summoned, and some of the Councillors were of opinion that the Queen should at once send 8,000 troops to Flanders, since your Majesty had countenanced the departure of these Papal ships from Spain. Other members opposed this, and said that on no account should it be done, especially before an alliance was concluded with the French ; this being the opinion of the majority. The result of it was that they ordered the people whom they call here the "spirituality," to raise 1,000 horse, a half of which are to be ready to embark on the 16th instant ; and the ships which were being victualled are to be hurried off, and three more immediately made ready. 2,000 more infantry are to be raised, in addition to the 1,000 who were already notified to sail from Bristol. The city of London is ordered to levy 500 more men, but without musters or drum beat. Out of the 500 they have already raised, 300 only are to ship in the vessels ; the reason for which being that the people shall not think that the Queen is making so great an effort, in consequence of the news she has received. After these orders were given fresh letters from Ireland came, dated the 2nd instant, reporting that Pelham, who was formerly viceroy, and the earl of Ormond, were expecting to engage the foreign troops on the following day. This news caused them to decide to await the result of this, and if the English were not badly beaten, to send them orders to occupy some strong place near where the enemy was, and thus prevent him from proceeding any further this winter, and at the same time obviate the necessity of sending fresh troops from here. Later still they learnt that the Viceroy, wishing to have an interview with O'Neil and bring him to submit to the Queen, had marched ten days' journey from Dublin, towards the place where O'Neil was, with 3,000 men, most of them redshanks, Scotsmen from the islands on the Irish coast, who are considered good fighting men. When O' Neil learnt that the Viceroy's troops were in the woods, he charged them and put them to flight, after killing over 300 men. He had then pursued them, burning on his way three or four towns. Pelham and Ormond also had suffered some damage in an engagement with the enemy, who was accompanied by the earl of Desmond. The earl of Kildare was in command of a force against the Viscount Baltinglass (?), who I informed your Majesty had risen, and a skirmish that had taken place, which had turned out very badly for Kildare. This has again made the people here give secret orders for the troops they had arranged, to be forwarded to Ireland at once, the news in the meanwhile being kept carefully concealed, and private letters coming from Ireland kept back, so that the intelligence of what is passing shall not leak out. With the similar aim of preventing disturbance here, they are continuing the imprisonment of Catholics, who suffer with great patience all their persecution, and give no signs of a desire to resent it ; saying publicly that they are powerless to move, except with the certainty of strong support and the co-operation of foreign troops. This Queen sent a pensioner of hers named Bowes to Scotland. When he arrived there the King sent word to him that he was to give an account of the instructions he brought to d'Aubigny ; but, as his only errand was to confer and plot with Morton, on the pretext of visiting the King, he was obliged to return at once. They had previously arranged to send thither Walter Mildmay, a Councillor and a great heretic, but on Bowes' return, they suspended his going. The English are saying, quite publicly, that the intention of these people is to seize the King.
This Queen has not given me audience yet, nor has the Council replied to the communication, which I told your Majesty I had sent to them. I can only imagine that this delay is caused first by a desire to conceal a part of Drake's plunder, and secondly, in order that the Queen may see how their negotiations for an alliance with the French turn out. Several of the Councillors are having the rumour spread that the Queen refuses me audience in consequence of Irish affairs, and in my capacity as your Majesty's minister, thinking thereby to oblige the French. They are very vigilant in seizing my despatches, a duplicate of one of them having fallen into their hands from France. They are trying to decipher it.—London, 16th October 1580. (fn. 1)
16 Oct.
B.M. MSS., 28,420.
44. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
After Drake had landed the money he had stolen ; in accordance with the orders sent him, as I wrote to your Majesty, he came hither to see the Queen, and I am assured that he was with her for more than six hours, the Council having previously been summoned to consider what had better be done in the matter. The only members present were Lord Burleigh, Sussex, the Admiral, James Crofts, the Controller, and Secretary Wilson. They ordered a letter to be written to the effect that all the money was to be registered and handed over to the Queen's possession in the Tower of London, in the same way as was done in the case of the plundering of a ship from the Indies by an English pirate named Renegat (?) in the time of the Emperor. The order was signed by the five Councillor above-named, and was then taken to Leicester, Hatton, and Walsingham and the rest for their signatures, they being the principal owners in the venture. They refused to sign it, saying that they would speak to the Queen about it. After they had done so, she ordered the suspension of the said letter, and that the rumour should be spread that Drake had not brought much money. This statement has been industriously circulated, and that the money is the result of their trade with countries which do not owe allegiance to your Majesty. They are very particular not to divulge the route by which Drake returned, and although, as I wrote to your Majesty, Hatton's trumpeter had said that the road home had been by the Portuguese Indies, Drake himself signifies to the contrary, as he affirms that ten months ago he was before Lima on the coast of Peru, and has brought back with him two of the frigates which usually navigate the South Sea, with 45 men on board of them, as well as his own ship. The Queen orders that these men are to be taken much care of, and not to be allowed to make themselves ill by eating too much. They are not to disclose the route they took, on pain of death. Drake affirms that he will be able to make the round voyage in a year, as he has found a very short way ; and this fact, together with his assertion that he was so recently before Lima, leads to the conclusion that he must have returned by the Straits of Magellan, as he went. I have sent men to Plymouth to discover the particulars from the men who went on the voyage, as the only person who has hitherto come to London is the trumpeter, whom Hatton is keeping close. When my men return I shall be able to report the truth to your Majesty. Drake asserts that had it not been for two Portuguese pilots, whom he took from one of the ships he plundered and sunk on the coast of Brazil on his way out, he could never have made the voyage. He has given the Queen a diary of everything that happened during the three years he was away, and a very long letter about it.
He is arranging to return with six ships, and offers adventurers for every pound sterling subscribed to return them seven within a year. This has so great an influence over Englishmen that everybody wants to have a share in the expedition. The ships which I wrote to your Majesty were going to the coast of Brazil, have been delayed by Drake's return, in order to ship a larger number of men, in consequence of the promises made by Juan Rodriguez de Souza, who came hither to represent Don Antonio, as to the profits they will make if he goes with them, not only to the coast of Brazil, but also to the Portuguese Indies. For this reason it will be desirable in your Majesty's interests, that orders should be given that no foreign ship should be spared, in either the Spanish or Portuguese Indies, but that every one should be sent to the bottom, and not a soul on board of them allowed to live. This will be the only way to prevent the English and French from going to those parts to plunder, for at present there is hardly an Englishman who is not talking of undertaking the voyage, so encouraged are they by Drake's return.—London, 16th October 1580.

B. M. MSS. Add. 28,420.
45. Report of Captain Luis Cabreta to the King, on Francis Drake's Voyage.
In this matter of Francis Drake's voyage, I am quite aware that many will be of opinion that it may be remedied with the forces at present at your Majesty's command, with the Portuguese ships and others, and the galleys and galleasses. I might well say the same, but I prefer to call it into question, because it must be concluded that if the enemy intend to hold what they have gained they must have got together a large force, and a much greater number of well armed and excellently manned ships than your Majesty could send ; and when a matter of this sort is left to chance, a reverse may be met with which would imperil the safety of the rest. As the stake is a large one, we must play with a sure hand. It must also be borne in mind that the object of the queen of England may be to divert your Majesty's forces in those parts, to enable her with greater facility to strike a blow in Portugal, and win over 200,000 men to her side. This she could do easily without diminishing her strength, because even though she may send many men out of England, she will gain many more elsewhere, with whom to trouble your Majesty.
What I think might be done with the forces at present at your Majesty's disposal is (after having obtained trustworthy accounts of the enemy to be encountered, who, it will be safest to conclude, will be strong) to send out a large force of galleons and galleasses and some galleys, to be quite on the safe side, and prevent a greater evil happening than heretofore. It will be necessary also to make due provision, both afloat and ashore, on the coasts of Portugal and Galicia, and bring thither a half of the galleys, in order to guard to some extent against the evil that might occur there, although God knows whether they will be sufficient to prevent the enemy from landing.
It must be borne in mind that the fleet to be sent out by your Majesty to redress these injuries will run some risk, because not only will the enemy be already strong there, but another fleet may sail from England to destroy our force, so that it will be in danger in any case, and if it were lost (which God forbid!) your Majesty would be very unprotected. For this reason and to prevent the evils which might result, it will be necessary in the meanwhile to build 12 or 15 ships of the new invention I have described, which would, to a great extent, secure us from danger at sea, and might have an opportunity of destroying a fleet of the enemy. These ships might be finished in a year if diligence is used with them.
In conclusion, I wish to say that evils will be sure to happen in the future (since troubles never come singly) and that the sea forces which the enemy can collect are very great, and will increase from day to day, unless some strong effort be made to render your Majesty's present small number of vessels more than equal to the multitude of the enemy. What is most to be feared is that trouble may be stirred up, perhaps very near at home, and consequently it will be necessary for your Majesty to take up a very strong position in marine affairs, and not to beat about the bush and patch things up ; so that you may be fittingly served and live in tranquillity, and in the assurance that you will be able to redress all possible injuries, present and future, as master of the sea. At present the coasts are in such a condition that it cannot be said that your Majesty's position at sea is strong, since people presume at any time to offend you with impunity, Be it well understood that this arises from the great lack from which your Majesty suffers of all sorts of marine requisites, and especially seamen and gunners, who are needed most of all, as nothing can be done without them. It is all very well to say that your Majesty has 100 galleys. They may be of some little use perhaps in the Mediterranean, but they are of small importance elsewhere and quite unable to redress the evils which may arise, especially on the high seas. It is clear to me that, whilst the expense of them is constant, their utility is only conditional and intermittent. It must be borne in mind that the times are changeable and that what does not happen to-day may happen to-morrow. When a danger is close at hand it is difficult to provide against it, and it behoves us therefore to look ahead and be forearmed against attack, especially as the very fact of your Majesty being strong at sea would prevent any molestation. This, then, is the remedy, and I cannot understand the reason why your Majesty does not give me the credit for the construction of the 100 galleasses which I have already proposed. With them and with the 12 or 15 of the newly invented vessels, your Majesty will be the indisputable lord of the seas at all times, and will derive therefrom all the benefits that can be wished, and all for the cost of 100 galleys. I cannot understand what other difficulty can exist except the question of the expenditure of two millions, one million for the construction of the vessels and the other for the artillery, although much of the latter expense might be saved by your Majesty using for the vessels the guus from many of the fortresses, which would be rendered to a great extent unnecessary by the existence of this fleet. This difficulty of the cost appears to me to be a very small one, as the fleet would pay for itself in the first year, and if the amount were borrowed the interest would only come to 200,000 ducats a year. For this sum, therefore, your Majesty may, if you please, become lord of the sea and no more than this need be said, except to beg your Majesty to consider the point well, as so much depends upon it. God guide your Majesty to a fortunate decision.
19 Oct.
B. M. MSS. Add. 26,056 c. Transcript.
46. Document headed : "Reply to the Instruction brought by Diego de Cueva of Santander."
The side of his Holiness is sustained by the Earl of Desmond and his brother John of Desmond, and those in their county. In the neighbourhood of Dublin the party is upheld by James Eustace and Feagh MacHugh with other influential persons. Colonel Sebastian St. Joseph and the force sent by his Holiness are with the Earl and his brother, who have about 60 horse and 1,000 foot. James Eustace and his companions have about 60 horse and 400 foot with 100 harquebussiers. The Colonel has almost 400 foot and munitions.
The affair has proceeded as follows. John of Desmond rose 15 months ago and the Earl a little over a year, since when they have sustained the war against the Queen. Eustace has been helping us for about three months. Since the Colonel came a fort is being built at Smerwick to defend the land and sea and 600 natives have been hired. These pikemen will not serve except at a wage of four gold crowns in coin, and the other soldiers a little more. They wish to be paid in advance. The whole of the population is favourable, and if they saw any strength they would all rise for the cause except the earl of Ormond, who is the leader of the English and persecutes our party, and Cormac MacTeague, who killed the Earl's third brother. If there were any reinforcement sent, there is no doubt we should succeed in the enterprise. MacCarthy More and MacMorris, vassals of the earl of Desmond, are also against us.
The following things would be necessary for the success of the enterprise:—
6 bronze cannons.
6 demi-cannons with all necessary apparatus.
2 culverins, a quantity of powder, some artificial fire.
25 bombardiers.
8,000 footmen at least, more if possible.
300 corselets to arm infantry.
100 light suits of armour.
Out of the 8,000 infantry, at least 2,000 should be armed with corselets, headpieces, and pikes. To arm the natives we shall require 2,000 harquebusses and morrions, 1,000 broad swords and belts, 1,000 pioneers with spades and sapping tools, 100 scaling ladders, 200 saddles with all appurtenances, 1,000 horse-shoes and a quantity of nails, 200 roundels, 100 musketoons, a quantity of bullets and much lead and fuse, a great quantity of money, for everything depends upon the money ; and let it come with the greatest speed, so that we may be able to hold out until the succour arrives. Without money it is impossible to raise or muster the people of this country. A great quantity of wine also will be required, at least 200 pipes of wine as a reserve. A supply of flour up to 10,000 fanegas, of biscuits and other necessary victuals enough to keep all the troops for six months, as this land has been destroyed by the enemy. Finally every sort of stores necessary for the enterprise ; oil and vinegar 50 pipes, 1,000 complete suits of clothes, jerkins, doublets, shirts, shoes and the rest, above all shoes.
The principal enemy of our cause is the earl of Ormond, who has appeared before the fort with 1,800 men and 100 horse, and they say the Governor is coming with a force of the Queen's troops, and a galley is in the port, whilst seven others are expected.
For the purpose of soliciting the Pope and your Majesty for the aid they require, Friar Matthew de Oviedo is being sent with full powers and information. If all the above-mentioned supplies be sent speedily, it is hoped that the whole of this country may with the help of God be brought to submit to the holy Catholic faith.— Dated in the castle of Ore, Smerwick, Wednesday, 19th October 1580.
J. Geraldine.
James of Baltinglas.
Bastian de San Joseph.
Alexander Bertoni.
Cornelius Laonenus, Episcopus.
Fr. Mateo de Oviedo.
Nicolaus Sanderus.
23 Oct. 47. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
Drake having returned, as I wrote to your Majesty, after having seen the Queen, delivered the boxes of gold and silver which he had brought to the Governor of Plymouth, who, by orders of the Queen, has lodged them in a tower near Saltash, where he has forty men to guard them. Sussex, Burleigh, the Admiral, the Controller, and other Councillors, insist that the Queen should retain the treasure in her own hands and bring it to the Tower of London, saying that if your Majesty will give them the satisfaction they desire respecting Ireland, the treasure may be restored, on the reimbursement to the adventurers of their outlay, but if they are to have war in Ireland, the treasure should be applied to that purpose. Drake has returned to Court, where he passes much time with the Queen, by whom he is highly favoured and told how great is the service he has rendered her. Leicester and Hatton have advocated in the Council that he should not be punished in his person nor made to restore his plunder, if the business is carried before the tribunals. They give as a fine excuse that your Majesty has not prohibited in any of the treaties with this country the going of Englishmen to the Indies, and they may therefore make the voyage at their own risk, and if they return safely their punishment cannot be demanded, as there is no binding treaty on the matter.—23rd October 1580.
No date. B. M. MSS., Cotton, Galba, C. VII. 48. Memorandum of Bernardino de Mendoza, with a running contemporary translation into English.
The earl of Sussex said to a servant of mine who had gone from me to demand audience of the Queen, "You will tell the ambassador that the last time he had audience the Queen was told that he had letters for her Majesty, which she did not see in the audience. Her Majesty says that if the ambassador has letters for her, in satisfaction of the things he wots of, he may come with the answer ; but if he have none, she has no intention of giving him audience, as she has always said."
The following is the ambassador's instruction to his servant to reply to the aforegoing:—
"You will say to the earl of Sussex that I marvel greatly that it should have been reported to the Queen that I had letters to her from my master the King, as I never said such a thing, but that I had received letters myself, I having a week ago received despatches dated 29th ultimo, wherein I am commanded to convey certain things to her Majesty, this being the reason why I requested audience. If her Majesty the Queen refuses to hear me or receive me as formerly that I may communicate my master's affairs to her, I shall accept it as an indication of her Majesty's desire that I should leave here, and that relations should be broken off between her and the King, my master, wherefore I shall not be to blame, only that I shall regret that in my time a friendship of 500 years is thus broken, and to serve for my justification and desire to comply with her Majesty's wishes in leaving the country, I beg that I may have my passport at once. I have always desired to please her Majesty, and I should be sorry to displease her upon this point, by staying upon any of her territories at this time. As to the satisfaction demanded, his Lordship heard what I said verbally to the Queen on the subject, satisfying her as the minister of the King by his orders, although I am ignorant of what the Queen may have written to him about it, because since the 10th September I have been unable to obtain audience as I requested for the 17th instant. I have, moreover, no instructions to take any further steps in the matter." (October 1580?)
23 Oct. 49. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 16th instant, and the Queen sent two Secretaries of the Council to me to-day ; the first one directly after dinner and the other at night. They came to tell me that she had heard that I was talking about Drake's arrival, complaining of his proceedings and the reception accorded to him here, which I had no right to do. She had made careful inquiry into the details of his voyage, and found that he had done no damage to your Majesty's subjects nor in your dominions. If the contrary were the case she would take care that justice was done. Her message was evidently prompted by a desire to make it understood that your Majesty had countenanced the Irish insurgents. She said that I was not to be annoyed at her not giving me audience, because until she elucidated the Irish business she would not receive me as a minister from your Majesty, but would perhaps send a special envoy of her own. If, however, in my private capacity I wished to see her I should be welcome, and as I had, she knew, exerted myself since I have been here to preserve her friendship with your Majesty, she hoped I would not cease my efforts, which were now more necessary than ever they were. With regard to Drake, I replied that, in consideration of my desire to serve her, I felt sorry that she should send me a message which the many documents and proofs in my possession contradicted. This, I said, was the second time that this man had plundered, and I showed them some of the evidence I had against him, consisting of documents sent to me by the consulate of merchants in Seville, particularly one statement of a sum of 385,000 dollars taken from a ship called the "Master of St. John," besides the robberies, insults, and murders that the man Drake had committed in the same sea, and other places belonging to your Majesty, burning ships and cutting the rigging and gear of others to prevent pursuit. These things, I said, I would leave to her judgment, and whether she ought not to fitly punish them. Your Majesty had great reason to take offence at them, particularly as the man had stolen a million and a half of money, which was no small sum, but I had no desire to enlarge upon this matter until I saw her. With regard to the audience I said that, as she had, for the second time, refused to receive me, and had ordered her Council not to do so, I had not thought for a moment of requesting audience, nor had I any reason to do so, until I received your Majesty's reply to the courier that I had sent. Whilst I was in England it would ill befit me to divest myself of my quality of your Majesty's minister in order to see her as a private individual, but I thanked her for the great honour she was willing to extend to me in allowing me, as Don Bernardino, to kiss her hand, and I regretted exceedingly not being able to do so.
A week before she sent me these secretaries, Leicester sent a secretary of his to say that my talk about Drake's robberies was causing much fear amongst the merchants that your Majesty would declare war, about it, and this would oblige the Queen to send all her ships to sea and raise troops. In view of present circumstances he would leave me to judge whether it would be advantageous for your Majesty's interests for the Queen to arm at this time, now that the French were urging her to marry Alençon and bind herself to them. He therefore thought that it would be better to come to some arrangement about Drake. I told him that until I had seen the Queen and conveyed your Majesty's message to her, I had nothing to say upon the matter of Drake ; and as for the rest, I would only say that, in my capacity of a simple soldier, whose weapon was his arm rather than his tongue, I had done my best to keep the Queen from provoking your Majesty to lay hands upon her, and as to her marrying Alençon and joining the French, that concerned me little, as I was sure that both parties, jointly and separately, would understand the importance of not offending so powerful a monarch as your Majesty. When the Secretary returned with this reply, Leicester and other Councillors went to the Queen, and in conversation with her about it, said that it was necessary to sound me again and see how the land lay, which they tried to do in two different ways, the last attempt being with the Secretaries of the Council I have mentioned. So far as I could gather from their talk, the idea was to stand their ground if I replied as before, in the belief that, in order to recover the money, your Majesty will avoid giving countenance to the Pope's people, and that the Queen's message to me would doubtless make me go and see her. As they are much troubled about affairs in Ireland and are very distrustful of many people here, I thought it best to reply to their vapouring with spirit, and avoid seeing the Queen until I receive instructions. I have taken care to announce that Drake's plunder exceeds a million and a half, and the news has spread all over England, giving rise to much searching of spirit, as they think that the affair is so enormous that it will lead to a perpetual war between the Queen and your Majesty unless she makes restitution.
Great outcry is being raised about this, for if such war breaks out they are ruined. In view also of the greatness of the plunder, the Councillors who are not concerned in the enterprise have become jealous that the others should enjoy the profit, and are condemning the matter greatly to the Queen. On the other hand the result of the arrival of the news in France has made that King less pliable with the Queen, because he sees that her fear of your Majesty will cause her to be more solicitous, and he understands that she will therefore not now dare to help his rebellious subjects, with whom he will be able to make much better terms than ever before, if he be not able entirely to destroy them, owing to their want of resources and the Queen's failure to help them to raise troops in Germany. When the Queen saw the French ambassador lately she received him very brusquely, and told him that her ambassador wrote that he saw no means of bringing about a pacification in France, such as he, the French ambassador, had always assured her would take place, which she said she could not help looking upon with suspicion. In order to increase her distrust, caused by the rumours that the king of France is arranging with your Majesty, I am treating the French ambassador with more cordiality than usual, inviting him to my house and the like, which arouses great suspicion in the Queen's mind.
News arrives from Ireland that the earl of Kildare, in whom she trusted greatly, was behaving in a way which gave rise to fears that he would go over to the insurgents, who are now so strong with their new reinforcement that they had almost beleaguered Waterford. Men, too, were flocking over from Scotland to aid them, together with many Scotsmen who were in France. During the last six weeks five hundred English gentlemen have been imprisoned here on the charge of being Catholics, there being fears that they might rise in consequence of the news from Ireland.
Rogers, who I wrote your Majesty had been sent by the Queen to Germany to the Emperor, in order that he might attend the meeting at Nuremberg, has been captured on the confines of Juliers by some horsemen in the service of your Majesty in Gueldres, who took him because they saw he was burning some papers. The Queen has written to the prince of Parma about it, without sending word to me.—London, 23rd October 1580.
30 Oct. 50. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
The Queen has ordered Drake to return to Plymouth to bring back the boxes of gold and silver which he had delivered to the Governor of that town. Notwithstanding the declaration, which I mentioned in my last, that Drake had done no damage to your Majesty's subjects, they confess that he has brought twenty English tons of silver, of 2,000 pounds each, and five boxes of gold a foot and a half long, besides a large quantity of pearls, some of great value. According to advices sent from Seville he has even stolen more than this. The Queen has decided that the shareholders in the enterprise shall receive as much again as they invested, and that the rest of the plunder shall be deposited in the Tower of London.—London, 30th October 1580.
51. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 23rd, and since then the Queen's Councillors have news that the earl of Ormond, after the skirmish I mentioned that he had had with the Pope's soldiers, had been reinforced by 4,000 men and had again faced the enemy who, this time, had routed him and killed the greater part of his men, Ormond himself being amongst the slain. (fn. 2) The news has been concealed from the Queen, as well as the distrust entertained of Kildare, which causes them to hold all decisions in suspense, as they think that if Kildare goes over altogether it will be necessary to take an entirely different course, particularly as the insurgent forces have been greatly increased by this victory. The Viceroy writes that the English dared not issue from Dublin, where they had 1,000 soldiers, and they were not sure of the country, even where English garrisons existed. Of the troops sent from London 200 were drowned, in consequence of the ship in which they sailed being wrecked near Ireland without a soul being saved.
This Queen has pressed the rebel States in Flanders to pay the principal of the loans she has made to them. The Councils have been called together, they having consented to the States and burghs making themselves responsible, and they have decided as a compromise to pay 4,000 odd pounds for interest due, postponing the payment of the principal until later, on the assertion that if they are obliged to pay at once they will be forced to submit to your Majesty.—London, 30th October 1580.


  • 1. The above letter and the following one appear to have been intercepted by the English, as no copy of them exists at Simancas.
  • 2. This news was untrue.