52. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
The Queen has news from Portugal by way of Antwerp by two
sloops which had arrived at Flushing from Portugal in twelve days,
that Don Antonio, after having taken possession of the castle of
Feira, and being reinforced by a large number of troops, had sacked
Aveiro and captured the town of Viana, from which he had taken
twelve pieces of artillery. With these he had reduced the city of
Oporto, and this has so greatly elated the Queen, that both she and
her ministers have declared it in the most exaggerated manner,
besides sending to tell me of it. Although the news is groundless,
these people are so evil-minded that they think it will embarrass your
Majesty, and they have discussed whether it would not be well to
lend part of Drake's money to Don Antonio for his support.
Directly the news was received the Queen sent orders to Bristol
for four ships to sail, on the pretence of going to Ireland, with
harquebusses, powder, iron artillery, and corselets, for Oporto, to
help Don Antonio. It is said that the Queen discussed secretly
with Leicester whether it would be well for a thousand foot soldiers
to quietly leave the various ports in England, without orders from
her, to serve Don Antonio, to which end certain captains have been
appointed, and I am told that some of them are making inquiries
as to whether the voyage will be safe, and if they can depend upon
finding a port in Portugal where they may land. They say also
that notwithstanding the orders that no ships were to sail for Spain,
Portugal, or the Levant, permission is to be given to any ships that
may wish to go with victuals and munitions to Oporto.
As soon as the Queen received this news, she dispatched Souza,
who was here for Don Antonio, to Antwerp, with a letter for
Orange, asking him to assist Don Antonio with men and munitions
in conjunction with her. She gave Souza a chain of 400 crowns
and Leicester gave him another worth 130. Souza, thinking now
that Don Antonio will be able to hold out until help reaches him,
abandoned his intention of going to Brazil, which he had arranged
to do in one of the ships which was to sail thither with merchandise,
called the "Miguon" of London. She has now sailed, bound direct
to the Port of St. Vincent consigned to an Englishman named
Ventidal (?) who is married to the daughter of a Genoese named
John Baptist Malio resident in that port. This Englishman has
been the instigator of the voyage in conjunction with another
Englishman in Pernambuco.
The Queen has summoned Morgan, one of the English Colonels
who served the rebels in the Netherlands, with the object of
sending him with the thousand men I spoke of, to Portugal and if
this falls through, he will go to Ireland where things are daily
growing worse. News comes that the ships that brought the Pope's
people had safely returned to Santander. In order that people
here should not know what is going on in Ireland, the Queen has
ordered that no one from there is to be allowed to go beyond the
English port where they land, but must send on dispatches from
there. Confirmation has arrived of the rout which I mentioned in
former letters, excepting that Ormond had not been killed, although
the statement that he had been slain arose from the fact that he
was missing, hidden in a wood for four days. O'Neil has again
laid down his arms on the terms offered to him by the Viceroy on
behalf of the Queen.
These conditions are that all Englishmen in castles in his country
are to be withdrawn, and the castles surrendered to him, as is also
the person of a son-in-law of his, who had repudiated his wife and
entered the service of this Queen. Great suspicion still exists of
Kildare, who, however, was in poor health. The Queen has
ordered 800 more men to go from Bristol in consequence of news
from the Viceroy that he needed more men and victuals, the latter
being so scarce even in Dublin, that the keep of a soldier, for each
meal, costs twelve pence.
They write to the Queen from the Isle of Wight that 800
Frenchmen are being shipped on the coast of Brittany in small
vessels ; their destination being, according to some, Ireland, to
others, Holland and Zeeland, and to others, Portugal for Don
Antonio. Letters to me from the same coast confirm this ; but as I
have no news of the arrival of any of the ships in Holland and
Zeeland, and it is not likely that they are for Ireland, their
provisions, moreover, not being sufficient for the voyage to Portugal,
I am under the impression that these Frenchmen are going to seize
the ports of Dunbar and Dumbarton by order of D'Aubigny, who
is greatly feared by the English, and with good reason, as most of
the Scotsmen who were in France have left there lately.
An ambassador from the king of Denmark has arrived here to
warn the Queen that, in consequence of the war with the Muscovite
he cannot assure the navigation of the English to Muscovy as he
Another ambassador from Scotland has come hither about some
robberies committed by English pirates ; and an ambassador has
also arrived from Constantinople, who, from his language, should
be an Italian renegade. He brings a letter from the Turk to the
Queen assuring her of the good reception extended to Englishmen
who go to trade in his country and persuading her to help the
Portuguese in preventing their country from being added to your
Majesty's dominions. He declares also that he, the Turk, has made
peace with Persia and that he would certainly make a descent with
his fleet on some place in Italy.
As I was closing this letter I learnt that the Queen had received
letters from Don Antonio, through France, begging her earnestly to
send him powder, cannon, and arms, but no men, as he had as
many as he wanted.—London, 13th November 1580.
K 1447. 20.
53. The King to Bernardino de Mendoza.
By your letter of 29th September we learn of Drake's arrival at
Plymouth, and that he was at first ordered to remain in the port
and afterwards to discharge his ship and land the silver. We also
note the freedom with which the Queen spoke of the matter, and
that you had requested audience for the purpose of demanding
restitution of the plunder and taking such action as might be
necessary ; of all of which, so far as you are concerned, I approve,
and trust you will have dealt with it as energetically and strongly
as a matter of such great importance demands, the offence being
without justification. Proceed with all diligence and promptitude,
in order to recover the booty and punish the corsair. Do not fail
also to point out the outrageous nature of the case.
Pedro de Zubiaur has written about the matter to some of our
councillors of the Indies, saying that, as he has been in England for
some months on behalf of the prior and consuls of Seville, if they will
send him particulars of the property stolen by Drake when they
are received from Peru, together with powers and instructions, he
has hopes of being able to recover a considerable proportion, with
my support and assistance, and he hoped, yours also. In addition
to the sureties he has already given in Seville he is willing to
give further security for 100,000 crowns, if necessary, in England.
It has been considered advisable that the instructions should be
sent to him through you, so that you may deliver them if and
when, you think fit. If, therefore, you are of opinion that Pedro
de Zubiaur can be of any use, you may deliver the instructions and
employ him in the matter, taking care first to obtain the security
he offers, which must be approved of by you. I again press upon
you most urgently, either by this or some other means, to make
every possible effort in favour of this business, informing me
continually of what is done and the result attained.—Badajoz,
14th November 1580.
B. M. MSS.
54. Memorandum (of Cardinal de Granvelle?) upon letters
from Bernardino de Mendoza, London.
Letters arrived yesterday from Don Bernardino de Mendoza
containing advices of importance, both as to the negotiations with
the French and the manner in which the Queen is treating him in
the matter of granting audience. He reports also upon the plunder
brought by Drake the corsair, and upon the determination they
show of troubling the Spanish and Portuguese Indies.
With regard to the French negotiations there, they depend upon
the success of the attempts to reconcile the Catholics and the
Huguenots. It is probable that the Queen-mother will do all she
can to sustain the Huguenots, but I do not know whether the
Catholics will be so lax as to neglect the advantage they possess,
and fail to influence the King against this agreement. It will be
well to write to Juan Bautista de Tasis to come to an understanding
about this with M. de Guise, and other Catholics, and to
encourage them to keep their attention fixed on the point, and not to
be deceived by vain hopes, at a time when they have their opponents
so hardly pressed. If peace be not effected between Catholics and
Huguenots there will probably be little to fear, either from France
or England, but if they come to terms and find some means of
raising money, of which they now stand in need, it is evident that
they will do their worst. In this uncertainty it will be necessary
to look ahead and be prepared what to do, in either eventuality.
It is a shameful thing that the ambassador should be denied
audience, and although his stay there may be the means of
supplying a certain amount of information, the loss of prestige by
reason of his treatment is so great that it would be better to get
this information through secret agents rather than maintain an
ambassador there under such undignified circumstances. Don
Bernardino should be instructed again to request audience and to
complain of the way in which he is treated, as well as of the
injuries done to us, for which he will demand reparation. If
audience be not granted him he should, as if of his own accord,
ask for leave to depart. If they allow him to go he should return
hither, in order to terrify the Queen the more, and encourage the
Catholics with the hope of a rupture, which might perhaps enable
them to decide upon doing something, especially if they see the
Irish affair going on prosperously. In any case it will be necessary
to succour the troops there by January at latest, by sending a fresh
force. An answer from Rome to the Nuncio's communications on
the subject cannot much longer be delayed.
I revert to the recommendation that no English ships should be
allowed to load on these coasts as the point is of such immense importance.
It would be more likely to cause disturbance in England
than anything else. All vessels coming from Flanders also, except
from places loyal to your Majesty, should be seized, in order to
arouse the people against the prince of Orange and to alarm them
with the apprehension that the trade with Spain and Portugal will
be quite closed to them. If any large number of English boats
should be seen on the coast, they should be closely watched, in
order that they may all be arrested, in case the ambassador should
be detained there against his will. This may well be done, because,
as has been seen on other occasions, there are no vessels belonging
to loyal subjects of his Majesty in England. Their fear is
now evident, as is also the evil intention of the Queen. They
will certainly do their worst against us, as if they were at open
war, and it behoves us, therefore, to strike hard and on all sides
without any further declaration, depriving them of this advantage
(i.e., of trade) and crippling the power of the lieges to help the
Queen. The Queen cannot be very well supplied with money,
unless it be the plunder brought by Drake, and as there are so
many persons to divide this, her share will not be very large.
Much care should be taken of both French and English ships
which may go to the Indies. In the Emperor's time the method
described by Don Bernardino was adopted, namely, to throw
overboard every man found in such vessels, not allowing one to
survive. The flotillas that are to go to both Indies should be well
manned in good time, provided with every requisite to cope with
attack, and especial vigilance should be used at the points where
the pirates generally pass.
I again mention the advisability of filling up the strength of the
companies of Italian and Albanian light-horse in Flanders. The
prince of Parma should be written to about this, as also should be
Don Sancho de Padilla, in order that they may act in concert.
This also might be the quietest and best way to increase our
strength.—Madrid, 24th November 1580. (fn. 1)
K. 1448. 21.
55. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Circumstances have prevented replies being sent to your letters
for some months past. Those of 10th, 16th, and 23rd July, 7th,
14th, and 21st August, and 4th September are replied to here.
With the first letter came the despatch from the Queen with the
writing signed by Walsingham, which they gave you as their
version of what the Qneen said to you, although you say it was
different from that set forth. An answer could easily be given to
it, but it is not considered to be worthy of it, particularly as you
replied perfectly well. You also did wisely in appearing to take
no notice of the Queen's information that the French were going
to attack Flanders, as her reason for giving it is quite evident.
Your reply to the complaints about Ireland, and the way in which,
with obvious and excellent reason, you exonerated me in the
matter, on the ground that it had been done by the Pope, is also
fully approved, as are your remarks to the Queen in deprecation of
the aid sent to my Flemish rebels. You can continue to answer
in the same way if they speak about the loading of (English) ships
(in Spain), which, as you know, I permitted as an exceptional
thing and not generally. Notwithstanding this, and that, in good
truth, the succour recently sent to the Irish Catholics was by order
of the Pope, and consisted of troops raised and despatched by his
officers, it will be well for you to keep me informed as to what is
going on there, and what forces the Queen is sending. Report to
me also what progress is made with the negotiations with France.
I am informed from there that the Queen had sent Stafford to
Alençon to treat, amongst other things, of this question of Ireland.
I thank you greatly for the care you take to learn what they
write to the Queen from Portugal, and I especially praise you for
the efforts you made to. prevent the reception by the Queen of
Juan Rodriguez de Souza, who weut on behalf of Don Antonio.
I am also pleased to learn how well Antonio de Castillo has
behaved. From the favourable account you give me of him, I will
gladly avail myself of his services as you will have learnt. The
Portuguese matter being now all plain and straightforward, nothing
more need be said about it, beyond what is written to you in a
I approve of the steps you took to have a prohibition against
going to the Indies given to the corsairs who were fitting out on
the pretext of revenging themselves against certain other French
corsairs ; and you will take a similar course whenever this danger
I am greatly grieved at the persecution you report of the
Catholics, by their being compelled to attend the heretical preachings
and services, under pain of imprisonment and confiscation. If the
Queen would only look at it dispassionately she would see that this
fact alone proves how unreasonable are they who express surprise
that I should refuse to allow any other than our holy Catholic
faith in my Netherlands, seeing that they (the English) are obliged
to resort to such means as this to sustain them in the blindness in
which they live. But God may bring good even out of the affliction
which is being laid upon the Catholics, as this persecution may
awaken indignation and make the Queen more unpopular. God
send His own remedy.—Badajoz, 26th November 1580.
K. 1447. 24.
56. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
The victory of Oporto having completely crushed Don Antonio's
rising, the Pretender has escaped. Use the most unceasing vigilance
to learn whether he arrives in England. If so, give a full account
of the circumstances of the rebellion to the Queen, and request her
to arrest Don Antonio as a rebel and surrender him to me a
prisoner. Assure her how deep will be my obligation to her if she
does so, and how just, my cause of offence if she refuse, which I
cannot believe she will.—Badajoz, 28th November 1580.