K. 1566. 43.
15. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
In my last I reported the arrival of Belièvre from England. In
order to gain time he requested the resident French ambassador to
send after him the Queen's letters to this King. He sent them by
a French gentleman named Trapes, who, with a companion, was
arrested at Dover, and the despatches taken from him. (fn. 1) The Queen
at once sent a courier to her ambassador here, with a letter written
in her own hand. This courier arrived on the 27th ultimo, and the
substance of the letter was to order him, the ambassador, as a good
subject and servant, instantly to request audience of the King, and
inform him that she had ordered the arrest of the gentleman from
the French ambassador, and the opening of his despatches, and to
beg the King not to take it in evil part until he received fresh
advices from her, giving him reasons for her action, which he (the
King) would acknowledge were a sufficient justification. When the
ambassador received this letter, and information that the English
ports were closed, he sent to Secretary Villeroy, the King being
absent, and told him the reason why he desired audience. Villeroy
was much put out about the despatches having been opened, and
warned him that the King would be very angry. In the hope that
some news might be received from the French ambassador, Stafford's
audience was put off, and he could do nothing. On the 4th instant
Waad (who was the man the Queen sent to your Majesty) arrived
here as an envoy from the Queen, to inform the King of the reasons
for the arrests. A brother of the English ambassador here and a
son of the Queen's mistress of the robes (neither of whom, however,
have spoken to him for years owing to his bad conduct) pretended
to be a Catholic, and frequented the house of the French ambassador
with whom he was on close terms of intimacy. It appears that he
signified to the ambassador his intention of killing the Queen on
religious grounds, and in order that the queen of Scotland might
ascend the throne. He proposed to place barrels of gunpowder
inside his mother's apartment, which is underneath the Queen's
bedroom, and she could thus be blown up. The ambassador discussed
the matter with him, and pointed out the objections to its execution,
particularly that he could not do it without killing his mother, as
she and the Queen both slept in the same room. To this Stafford
replied that, as he did not approve of this plan, he would kill her
(the Queen) by stabbing. He told this to Trapes, who is in prison,
and also to one Moody, an Englishman, who was an intimate in the
French ambassador's house, and informed them that he had discussed
the matter with the ambassador. A few days afterwards Stafford
himself divulged to the Queen what had taken place, and he, with
Trapes and Moody, were arrested. Their confessions were taken
and were found to agree, and the Lord Treasurer, with the earl of
Leicester and Lord Hunsdon, were sent to speak to the French
ambassador. The latter frankly admitted that Stafford had told
him his project, and the Queen sent Waad to complain to the King
of the ambassador in consequence. She writes by him also to the
ambassador (Stafford) saying that, although she does not doubt his
loyalty and innocence in the matter, yet, as the delinquent is his
brother, she thinks better that the communication respecting it
should be undertaken by another envoy, who would give him a full
account of it, and be accompanied by him in his audiences. He will
not get an interview with the King until after the carnival.
I understand that the Queen says that the packet sent by the
ambassador was not opened ; but that Waad brings it intact that
the King may have it opened in his presence, and after taking
those addressed to him, hand to Waad the letters directed to
private persons here, which the Queen knows are contained in the
Waad says that the talk in England is that, although I was there
for six years, the Queen could never bring home any plot to me, but
only suspicions, whilst the French ambassador was discovered in the
first one in which he was concerned. He, the French ambassador,
has sent his secretary, without a letter, to give the King a verbal
account of events. I am told that on Villeroy's excusing to the King
the conduct of the ambassador, who is his brother-in-law, he replied
that he had not behaved well, because, not only had he made a
confidant of such a man (as Stafford), but had actually admitted
that he had been informed of the design.
As soon as Parliament learnt of the matter the members went to
the Queen, and said that whilst the queen of Scotland lived she
would never be free from such conspiracies, and, consequently,
she ought to order her execution. They protested that if she did
not do so, they would revoke the votes for supplies they had
The queen of Scotland is still at Fotheringay, and no one is
allowed to speak to her except in the presence of Paulet, who has
returned to his charge, and another man who is with him. They
have allowed her servants to return to her, except her secretaries.
Belièvre asked the Queen to show him the original will, closed,
that the queen of Scotland had written in her own hand, declaring
your Majesty her heir, in case her son should remain a Protestant.
She replied that she considered the queen of Scotland to be such a
bad female that she was sure she had managed somehow to get it
conveyed to your Majesty ; which was only an answer intended to
prevent your Majesty's claim from being strengthened by the
production of such a document. I am told from a trustworthy
source that when the queen of England had the will in her hand,
Cecil told her that, all things considered, it was not advisable to
preserve the paper, but that she, herself, should burn it, which she
I send your Majesty enclosed a copy of the speech which Belièvre
delivered to the queen of England in defence of the queen of
Scotland. Many people consider it to be less weighty than the
subject demanded, and not to deserve publication. It is valuable,
as showing in the preamble their real feelings towards your
Majesty, saying that they look upon the enemies of the queen of
England as their common enemies. (fn. 2)
Letters from England of 28th ultimo report that Drake continued
his preparations, on the pretext that Don Antonio was going in the
Since closing the above, I have learnt from a good source that
the ships being fitted in London for Drake and others cannot be
ready to sail to the west country within a month, and that they
are very short of sailors. Altogether, with Drake and the merchants,
they are arming 30 ships. To these they expect to add the 30 from
the Netherlands, so that Don Antonio is to have 60 vessels altogether.
—Paris, 7th February 1587.
K. 1566. 45.
16. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Reports the surrender of Deventer to the Spaniards by Colonel
Stanley. There is no positive confirmation of this, but knowing
Stanley personally as he does, he is sure that the warning which he,
Mendoza, advised the Duke of Parma to address to him (fn. 3) (see
Letter 532, Vol. III.) would be effectual ; and consequently he has
no doubt of the truth of the surrender.
17. The King to Count De Olivares.
You will cautiously approach his Holiness, and in such terms as
you think fit endeavour to obtain from him a secret brief declaring
that, failing the queen of Scotland, the right to the English crown
falls to me. My claim, as you are aware, rests upon my descent
from the House of Lancaster, and upon the will made by the queen
of Scotland, and mentioned in a letter from her, of which the copy
is enclosed herewith. You will impress upon his Holiness that I
cannot undertake a war in England for the purpose merely of
placing upon that throne a young heretic like the king of Scotland
who, indeed, is by his heresy incapacitated to succeed. His Holiness
must, however, be assured that I have no intention of adding
England to my own dominions, but to settle the crown upon my
daughter, the Infanta.—Madrid, 11th February 1587.
K. 1566. 46.
18. Document headed :—"Advices from London, 12th February
1587, translated from English to Spanish."
The deputies from the States arrived here on the 28th January
to beg for a decision. They have become more urgent now that
the surrender of Deventer and the fortress of Zutphen is known.
They are talking here of Lord North's being sent thither instead of
Leicester, and on the 10th instant a proclamation was made that
any soldiers or officers who had come back from Flanders were to
return thither in four days, on pain of death for disobedience. The
deputies have asked for an immediate decision, as they heard the
Queen was trying to come to terms with his Majesty, and they
would wait no longer. In order to give herself more time and
keep them in hand, whilst she arranged with his Majesty, the
Queen sent Lord Buckhurst to Holland and Zeeland to assure them
that she had no such desire ; and to treat with them and certain of
the towns on some conditions which are in doubt, which conditions
had already been conceded to the deputies here. The object of
Buckhurst's mission is simply to procrastinate and delay. The
deputies are accompanied by a man whom the earl of Leicester
sent to the king of Denmark to learn whether he was trying to
bring about an agreement between the States and his Majesty.
The Scots ambassadors left here three days ago, and on their
taking leave they told the Queen, as their master's decision, that as
the queen of Scotland was his mother, he would endeavour to exact
satisfaction from any person who assailed her honour or her safety ;
and with that object would appeal for help to all Christian
monarchs. The Queen was ill pleased with this message, and in
conversation with one of the ambassadors named Master Melvin, (fn. 4)
she told him that if she had a councillor who gave her such advice
as he (Melvin) gave the king of Scotland, she would have his head
off ; to which he replied that if he were her councillor he would
rather lose his head than fail to give her such advice. This arose
out of the Queen's having been told that Melvin had advised the
king of Scotland to break with her, and had assured him that he
would have the support of all princes in so just a cause as his. The
Queen has sent a gentleman of hers to the king of Scotland.
On the 3rd instant orders were given for the sailing from here of
10 of the Queen's ships and two pinnaces, to cruise in the Channel,
and for the equipping of 20 more vessels, which is being done in all
haste. They are to be ready during this month. The 10 ships
before mentioned have not left yet.
K. 1566. 58.
19. Sampson's Advices from England.
Leiton writes to Don Antonio's people under date of 14th, that
the country opposite Calais was up in arms and the beacons had
been lit in consequence of certain hulks having been sighted in
formation. The earl of Pembroke, governor of the province,
mustered 20,000 men, but it turned out a false alarm. This
shows the fright the English are in. Orders have been proclaimed
by heralds, for all colonels, captains, and soldiers to return to
Flanders under pain of death for disobedience, and fresh levies are
being raised. They say that Leicester is going back with lord
Grey and two other personages.
No answer has been given to the deputies from the Netherlands,
but they are expecting it daily.
Don Antonio is very short of money and overburdened with debt.
Rogier, the King's valet de chambre, has returned from England,
very much displeased with the queen of England and her
||Don Antonio's agent has presented a letter to the duke de Joyeuse
asking him to keep him in the good graces of the king of France.
A great fleet is fitting out (in England) which is to be commanded
by the Lord Admiral. They do not mention the destination or
when it will sail, but as they know that his Majesty's armada is
intended for England, they say that the English are determined to
go out and fight it at sea.
No decision has yet been taken about Don Antonio, as they wish
to settle with the deputies from the States first. Don Antonio is
deeply in debt and is seeking money. The English are putting him
off with words. The English ambassador tells Don Antonio's agent
here (i.e., in Paris) that the Queen is dissatisfied with M. de Chateauneuf
and is asking this King to recall him ; to which his Majesty
will not listen. When the Queen was asked in the name of this
King to liberate the lawyer de Trapes, whom they arrested when
they seized the King's despatches, she said she would not do so
except in exchange for Thomas Morgan who is in the Bastile here,
and even then she would be doing a great favour to the King, in
exchanging a Frenchman who had conspired against her life, for one
of her rebel subjects whom the King was bound to surrender in any
The Queen was raving about the seizures in France, saying that
although she was a woman and her profession was to try to preserve
peace with neighbouring princes, yet if they attacked her they
would find that in war she could be better than a man. Don
Antonio was starving, and although they say that the fleet is to
take him to Portugal, it is nothing of the sort ; and if Don Antonio
could escape from England he would do so. He has 150 persons in
his house, all in great need.
Money is very short in England and the Queen's needs are
pressing. If the States do not help her she will be pinched. Drake
is not in such high favour as he was, and they will not trust him
with another fleet, as the last one he took to the Indies did no great
things. It is understood that they will not give him any other
command, except over seafaring men. An arrangement between the
Queen and your Majesty was being strongly advocated, so that she
and her subjects may not have to give up everything your Majesty
may demand in retribution for the losses brought by them upon
your subjects. Don Antonio hears all this and is much grieved,
being constantly unwell. The English Ambassador and Waad told
Don Antonio's man here that the Queen had agreed with 18 English
merchants, to whom she had granted license to make war upon your
Majesty and your subjects in any way they pleased. These ships,
in company with some belonging to the Queen, would shortly sail
for the Straits of Gibraltar and there await the arrival of the
galleons from Italy with the munitions for the fleet. The Queen
had summoned Parliament about these seizures in France, and all
had offered their lives and property in aid of their rights.
The Queen tells Don Antonio that she had not been able to decide
about his affair, owing to the events that have happened to the
queen of Scotland. She puts him off from week to week. Don
Antonio had not received his Christmas quarter's payment, until he
could see how the Queen was going to treat him. The quarter's
allowance is only 2,000 crowns and he owes 15,000 in England.
||Custodio Leiton writes that the Queen counted upon her subjects
arming 200 ships, not against France, for there was no thought of
war against that country, but to defend England against Castile if
she be assailed as they feared. There are 52,000 parishes in
England and each one offers to maintain a man in the war ; and
in each place (sic) a ship of 200 tons ready for sea and fully
victualled. They are preparing as best they may all things needful
for their defence.
K. 1566. 49.
20. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
On the day I last wrote to your Majesty about England, the 7th
instant, I learnt that this King had dispatched 18 couriers to every
port in the realm, with orders to arrest all English ships. It was
proposed in council that Waad, the English envoy, should not be
heard as was sent by the Queen to complain of the French
ambassador ; and your Majesty had refused to receive him when he
went to Spain, to explain my expulsion from England. Advice of
this should at once have been sent to your Majesty, but as things
change so rapidly here, I thought well to wait. I also wished to see
whether the seizure of the English ships simply meant their
detention or confiscation ; and the day following orders were
despatched that they were only to be detained. As for Waad,
audience was granted him at once with the ordinary ambassador,
and after listening to his complaints and seeing his evidence against
the French ambassador, the King replied that he could not believe
the allegations, as they were so entirely in opposition to the
ambassador's letters, and that, clever as the English were generally,
they did not show much cleverness in this matter. This is the only
answer given hitherto, as the King is awaiting the return from
England of two of his valets-de-chambre whom he has sent to his
ambassador. Waad, in the Queen's name, demands the withdrawal
of Chateauneuf (fn. 5) and it is understood that the King is determined
not to accede to this request. Villeroy says that if the Queen wishes
to break off negotiations with them they will withdraw their
embassy altogether, Chateauneuf being a brother-in-law of Villeroy.
All the ministers have urged the King that his reputation is at
stake, and that he must retain Chateauneuf there and not withdraw
him at the request of the Englishwoman.
It is asserted here that Chateauneuf is under arrest in his own
house, and I hear that Stafford explains this by saying that as the
king of France fearing that some attack might be made upon the
ambassador by the people, after the matter was cleared up, he
(Chateauneuf) sent to ask Hatton, the captain of the Queen's Guard,
to send some halberdiers to guard him. Hatton replied that the
subjects of the Queen were so obedient that the step would be
unnecessary ; but to avoid any inconvenience the ambassador and
his household had better keep indoors for a few days. The English
ambassador here says this was not a command but only a piece of
The Queen had decided to send to this King by Waad the packet
seized from the French ambassador ; but she altered her mind and
had it opened, the letters for the King being returned to Chateauneuf
intact, and the rest of the contents being examined. When this was
known here they had the packets from the English ambassador
treated in the same way in Calais and Dieppe, all his private letters
being taken. The passage is thus closed until they see whether the
queen of England will allow free passage to those sent thither by
this King. This is the present position, but considering the
gentleness with which they are proceeding on both sides, there is
not much appearance of the matter becoming serious.
Belièvre assures this King that the queen of England is very
anxious to make friends with your Majesty, and she was very
suspicious of Scotland ; having heard that the King had sent a man
to your Majesty. News comes also from the French King's agent in
the Netherlands that persons are secretly treating with the Duke of
Parma for an agreement with the queen of England.
I hear that Drake's and other preparations are going on at the
usual pace, and no order had yet been given on the 3rd instant for
the raising of the seamen and troops who were to go with them.
Leicester was pressing the Queen to despatch the 30 English ships
and 30 Netherlanders with Don Antonio to occupy the islands, and
other parts of your Majesty's dominions, as otherwise, he says, your
Majesty would come to England with the armada you were fitting
out. Deputies from the rebel States were expected in England to
treat of this matter.
I send herewith a new statement given to the Queen by Drake
and Hawkins for the instruction of the ships which she might send
to assail your Majesty's territories.
The Scots ambassadors had audience of the Queen but there was
not so much defiance as was asserted here. The Queen has not yet
Lord Buckhurst had been sent by the Queen to Holland and she
publicly told him when he left to bring back to her a true and
sincere account of the condition of things in that province, without
contemporising with, or considering, any thing but her interests. In
addition to this it was believed that Lord Buckhurst was sent to
keep the rebels in hand with hopes, and prevent them from pressing
the Queen, as they have done, to assume the sovereignty of the
Netherlands. He is also to see whether the 30 vessels promised by
the provinces to accompany the English expedition were so well
armed and found as Leicester asserts. I have just received news
that deputies have arrived in England from Holland to say that if
the Queen do not fulfil her undertaking to maintain an army there,
they will come to terms with your Majesty. The Scots ambassadors
had left, ill pleased with the Queen. 18th February, 1587.
K. 1566. 10.
21. Document headed "Translation of a statement furnished to
the Queen of England by Francis Drake and John Hawkins
as to undertaking a voyage entirely to ruin the Spaniards."
All the ships of Spain may be taken every year by 12 ships of
war. Every year there come from various places to Durses Bohore
harbour, which the English call Baltimore, ships to the number of 50
sail to fish. The capture of these would be worth a great deal, as
they would be full of good fish, salt meat, Cordovan leather and
tallow ; so that a hundred ton ship will be worth 2,000l. English.
At the beginning of September, or any time from then to February,
go to Cabo Blanco on the coast of Africa, north of Cabo Verde, where
you will meet a large number of Spaniards, and you can catch them
as best you may, thus furnishing yourself with victuals. From there
you will go to the Western isles, coasting around them and
dismantling all their (i.e., the Spaniards') ships, and taking away
their sails. To do this you must have six good small brigantines
with sails and sweeps. You will pass the ports of Cartagena,
Nombre de Dios, the Honduras or Bay of Mexico, and arrive at the
island of St. John de Lua (Ulloa) opposite Vera Cruz in February,
when all the Mexican ships are on the beach, and you can take them
easily ; or else you may sight Cape St. Antonio to the west of Cuba
towards Yucatan, as their ships always sight that Cape on their way
to Havana from March to May, as do all those from Cartagena,
Nombre de Dios, and the Honduras. You may leave the Indies
from June to the middle of August, and go to Newfoundland where
you may get victuals, and capture a great number of Spaniards,
Biscayners and others.
From there go to the great Bay, where you may take very many
Biscayners who fish there. By calculating the times and places set
forth above, you may capture so many ships and Spaniards that
they will not recover the loss for years if you take care to deprive
them of their sails.
It is very dangerous to go to the West Indies by Cabo Blanco,
Cabo Vera Cruz, and the Isles of Cabo Verde before September,
owing to the hurricanes and heavy sea.
It is necessary also to pass the Gulf of Florida at the very latest
in July, as the hurricanes are heavy there in August.
If you come by way of Spain and Cabaye (sic) in Ireland, you will
find after Michaelmas many ships from France there loaded with
wine, and with a great deal of money on board, as they will have
sold their linens. These ships return from Cabaye (Galway?) loaded
with hides and tallow, which are forbidden goods.
For a voyage to the West Indies the following things are
1st.—You must begin your voyage so as to be at the Canaries at
the beginning of September, before the bad weather sets in.
Then you go to Cabo Blanco where you may store your ships
with wine, oil, bread, and fish, bought from Spaniards and
Then to Cabo Verde, where you will find plenty of French ships,
some of which perhaps may accompany you.
Thence to the Cape de Verde islands where you will get fresh
water, goats, dried meat and rice ; and it will be worth while also
to take as many negroes from there as possible, to barter in the
Thence you may sail to Trinidad, 10 degrees north latitude,
where you will again get fresh water and provisions.
From there you go to Margarita where you may provide yourself
with a quantity of pearls and silver, and then go to the waters of
Burdoro, where you can visit those who are at the entrance of
Valentina Nova, 23 miles on the other side of the mountains. This
is a very rich town and may be assailed with 200 soldiers. You
may keep your ships there and return with your brigantines to
Cratus, 20 miles from Burdoro, where you will find two towns, one
on the seashore, and another two leagues inland. They are very rich
and you may sack them both with 200 men.
You will take your ships from Cratus to the waters of Burdoro
and thence to Curisau (Curaçao) where there are usually a quantity
of ships ; but there are very many warlike Indians in this island.
You can take the place by force, however, with 150 men.
From thence you go to Ruba, where you may take fresh water
and provisions, as there is a great abundance of beans, casena
(cassava?) and hides. You may master the island with 80 men.
Then you go to Corrus (Coro), which is a very rich town 20 leagues
from the waters of Burdoro towards Cartagena. The town may be
sacked with 200 men.
Your next place will be Cabo de la Vela where the Spaniards fish
for pearls in October, November, December and June (January?).
From there you go to Rio de la Hacha where you will find the
treasurers, who would be good prisoners ; you must do everything
here by force of arms.
Then to Santa Marta which must be dealt with like Rio de la
Hacha. This town is very rich in gold, and there are very few
Spaniards, so it may be sacked by 40 men.
You will then with your own boats go up the River Grande, and
six leagues from the mouth there is a treasure-house full of riches
which may be sacked by 40 harquebussiers.
Thence to Cartagena where there are 200 Spanish houses. The
town is walled towards the water, and has a great quantity of
artillery on the same side, of which I (i.e., Drake) brought a part. It
is one of the richest towns of the West Indies, and you must depend
more upon cunning than strength to take it.
Thence to Felove, a very rich town, which may be easily sacked
with 100 men.
Thence to Nombre de Dios where with 500 landed you may sack
the town at your pleasure. But the best way is not to let them see
your ships, but so arrange as to arrive an hour before dawn at the
place where they have their artillery, and you may capture
Spaniards and negroes, who, if properly examined, will confess
where the riches of the town are, and will guide you to their river
You may then go in them to Parana (Panama) in the southern sea,
where, if you land 800 men and leave your ships well armed, you
can sack Pearl island, where you will doubtless find incalculable
Thence you may go to the River Chagres, 18 leagues from Nombre
de Dies, towards Yucatan, and about 10 leagues up the river you
will find a depôt for the Rorea whence they bring their merchandise
overland to Nombre de Dios. There is a guard of 50 Spanish
Thence to the Honduras, and afterwards to Tressia, where there
are 50 soldiers and 100 households.
From thence to Porto Caballo where there are two large ships, but
you may sack and capture them with 200 men, and the house up the
river as well.
(Here follows a description of the various islands and towns in the
West Indies, their defences, population, resources, etc.)
In order to rob the Portuguese flotillas coming from Calicut, you
can sail in September, October, or November, and go to an island
called St. Helena, which is an African island in the ocean at latitude
6 S., 400 leagues from the mainland. The Portuguese stay here on
their return voyage, and as they are tired with their long voyage
they may easily be robbed.
Note by John Hawkins and Francis Drake.
At the end of June with an easterly wind you may run across
from Bahama to Cabo San Antonio. If the westerly wind is blowing
you can go by St. Juan de Porto Rico to a port called St. Germans
at the west end of the island, where you can wait till July or
August, and then sail home ; but you must be careful to coast
along the south coast of the island until you are inside Saint
You may see the Port of Jamaica from there without going out of
your course, and may run thence to San Antonio, Cuba, Havana,
and so to Spain. This is the only course for a fortunate and
If your Majesty will give me permission to do this I will put my
life in peril from the enemy, and will pledge myself in all my
property and that of my friends to your Majesty, as a gage that I
will conduct the expedition to a very fortunate issue, with the aid
above-mentioned ; and I therefore humbly pray that my zeal for
the welfare of my country may be accepted in good part. I beg
that your Majesty may be pleased to order me to make preparations
for this voyage now that the fine weather is approaching and the
state of affairs demand it.—Unsigned.
K. 1566. 48.
22. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Confirms the surrender of Deventer. Congratulates himself upon
his knowledge of Colonel Stanley's character, and the advice he
(Mendoza) gave as to his being approached on the subject.
When Walter Raleigh, the Queen's favourite, heard of the arrest of
Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa, he was so anxious for his release that
he sent two of his gentlemen here with letters from the Queen to
Bearn. The letters are very pressing, and say that although it may
appear as if this were a matter which interests Walter Raleigh only,
it really concerns her, and she is anxious that Sarmiento should
instantly proceed to Spain. She prays Bearn to have him set at
liberty. Raleigh told these two gentlemen to come to me, and
assure me how earnestly he was endeavouring to get Sarmiento
released. As they (Raleigh's envoys) arrived here during the time
of this dispute between the French and English, the ambassador has
detained them here for some days, and consequently they found
themselves short of money. They brought me a letter from a
Portuguese merchant in London called Bernardo Luis, (fn. 6) saying that
he had told Raleigh that I would let them have a letter of credit
for 100 crowns if they wanted funds for their journey, as Walter
Raleigh, not being friendly with the English ambassador here, he did
not wish them to appeal to him. I told the gentlemen that the
merchant had acted very foolishly in saying such a thing, and I
should be equally foolish if I gave them money on an order from
him, or supplied funds to people who brought letters from the queen
of England whilst she was at war with your Majesty ; but, I said, if
Raleigh himself, or any person belonging to him, asked me for
anything from my own purse, I would give it to him out of
consideration for his courtesy about Sarmiento. They replied that
what they asked of me was to lend them 100 crowns in Raleigh's
name for the expenses for their voyage, and the moment their letters
arrived in England an order for repayment of the sum to me here
would be sent. They offered me an undertaking to this effect, which
I took, and gave them the money, as I thought it wise in every
respect to reciprocate Raleigh's action, and acknowledge his courtesy
in trying to get Sarmiento released.
The Scots ambassador has handed to me the letter I now enclose
from the king of Scotland, and has asked me to supplicate your
Majesty, so far as justice will allow, to despatch the Scotsman for
whom the King intercedes and whose name is Gilbert Lomb, who
the ambassador assures me is a Catholic, and has been a member of
his own household. (fn. 7) *—Paris, 18th February 1587.
K. 1566. 50.
23. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I write in the general letter about Raleigh's efforts to get
Sarmiento released ; and am assured now that he is very cold about
these naval preparations, and is secretly trying to dissuade the Queen
from them. He is much more desirous of sending to Spain his
own two ships for sale, than to use them for robbery. To confirm
him in his good tendency I came to the help of his two gentlemen who
asked for some money under the circumstances related in the other
letter. This will give him hopes that your Majesty will accept his
services, and will cause him to continue to oppose Don Antonio, who
is upheld by the earl of Leicester. (fn. 8)
I enclose copy of the duke of Parma's reply to me about Scotland.
He also tells me that I am to say to M. de Trielle and Hugh Frion. (fn. 9)
that your Majesty will pardon and employ them. As soon as the
road is opened to England I will send Hugh Frion thither and
the other man to Holland to see what ships are being equipped.—
Paris, 18th February 1587.
K. 1566. 51.
24. Bernardino De Mendoza to Secretary Idiaquez.
He continues in constant ill health.
From the news contained in my letter to the King, about the way
in which the king of France is behaving towards the Englishwoman,
it might be thought that they would fall out in real earnest, but I
can assure you nothing is further from their thoughts.
Pray let me have my credits without delay as these Englishmen
are needy, and are constantly pestering me for their money ; and I
cannot go on for months without my own salary. Do not forget to
send me the money for my English supplementary accounts.
I forgot to tell his Majesty that they are saying here that the
queen of England is trying to come to terms with his Majesty
through the grand duke of Florence and others.
This King (of France) has done nothing but dance and masquerade
during this carnival without cessation. The last night he danced till
broad daylight, and after he had heard mass, went to bed until night.
He then went to his Capuchin Monastery (fn. 10) where he is, refusing to
speak or see anyone. His carnival madness was, it would seem, the
greater, in order that he might be able to accentuate his asceticism
afterwards.—Paris, 18th February 1587.
K. 1566. 55.
25. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The steward of the French ambassador in England has brought
letters from there dated 18th instant. He reports that the Queen
refuses to receive the ambassador, although he had requested
audience to deliver the message taken by the King's valets. This
King, therefore, refuses audience to the English ambassador, and
Waad, who is here and has pressed for an interview.
This steward affirms that Drake continues his naval preparations,
and as the ports are closely guarded, the steward alone was allowed
to leave with a special passport.
The Queen was sending the earl of Cumberland and Hatton, (fn. 11) the
captain of her guard, as an embassy to the king of Scotland.—Paris,
27th February 1587.
K. 1448. 105.
26. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
The new correspondent whom you have obtained (fn. 12) to keep you
informed on English affairs is very appropriate. You may thank the
intermediary (fn. 13) from me and urge him to continue in his good service.
Give the other one the 2,000 crowns, or the jewel you suggest of
similar value, although it may be more secret and he may prefer
that it should be given in money, through the same intermediary.
If the correspondent does not know that the news passes through
your hands, you can arrange with the intermediary what is to be
said to him as to the course he has adopted for sending it. You will
manage it as you think best, and say you doubt not that the reward
will be commensurate with the service. This will encourage them to
do their best.
The news of the English armaments you received through this
source will by this time have been supplemented by information as
to their continuance. I am hourly hoping for this intelligence.
Pray be careful to send me all you can learn about this.
As it cannot be believed that Belièvre's visit to England was only
for the purpose given out, you will try by the above means, and
others, to discover what was done, if anything, with all the particulars
you can obtain. I have not forgotten the Scotch affair, or about
Brille, of which you remind me, but as I have already written to you
on those points, I need say no more.
The steps you took through Raleigh's nephew to obtain Pedro
Sarmiento's release were very wise. Raleigh's action in this matter
will be an indication of what may be expected of him in future, and
as you have opened the road with the nephew, do not neglect when
he returns to accept the offer his uncle made to Pedro de Sarmiento,
with regard to preventing armaments in England and counteracting
the designs of Don Antonio. Assure him that his aid will be very
highly esteemed and adequately rewarded.—Madrid, 28th February
K. 1566. 57.
27. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The English ambassador received a dispatch last night, dated
London 22nd ; and as no English boat would take the courier from
Dover or Rye, they being liable to seizure as soon as they arrived in
France, he had to wait until he could get a French fishing smack.
He says that on the 22nd the Queen was to give audience to
Chateauneuf and the King's valets de chambre who had gone from
their master with letters.
Don Antonio was at Court with the Queen, and the ships which
he was to take out were being equipped, the common talk being that
it would be a fleet of 12,000 men. The English ambassador is
begging most earnestly for a speedy audience. If I can learn what
passes therein I will report to your Majesty.—Paris, 28th February
K. 1566. 56.
28. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The English ambassador sent the confidant (i.e., Charles Arundel)
to me this morning to say that as it was so important that your
Majesty should be informed instantly of the news he had received
last night from England, that he sent to tell me of it, and openly to
confess me his anxiety to serve your Majesty. He offered himself
entirely through me, in the assurance that your Majesty would not
order him to do anything against the interest of his mistress the
Queen, who however, he could plainly see, had not long to live now
that she had allowed the execution of the queen of Scotland. It
happened in this way. The Lord Treasurer being absent through
illness, the earl of Leicester, Lord Hunsdon, Lord Admiral Howard
and Walsingham, had represented to the Queen that the Parliament
would resolutely refuse to vote any money to maintain the war in
Holland, or to fit out a naval force to help Don Antonio, unless she
executed the queen of Scotland. Under this pressure she consented
to sign a warrant, as they called it, that the Parliament might see,
but which was not to be executed, unless it were proved that the
Queen of Scotland conspired again against her life. As Secretary
Walsingham was ill this warrant was taken to the Queen for her
signature by Davison, and after she had signed it she ordered him
not to give it to anyone unless she gave him personally her authority
to do so. Davison, who is a terrible heretic and an enemy of the
queen of Scotland, like the rest of the above-mentioned, delivered
the warrant to them. (fn. 14) They took a London executioner and sent
him with the warrant to the justice of the county where the queen
of Scotland was. The moment the justice received it, on the 18th,
he entered the queen of Scotland's chamber with Paulet and Lord
Grey, who had charge of her, and there they had her head cut off
with a hatchet in the presence of the four persons only. The
Queen orders her ambassador to inform this King of it, and assure
him, as she will more fully by a special envoy, that the deed was
done against her will, and although she had signed the warrant she
had no intention of having it carried out. She cannot avoid
blaming herself for having trusted anyone but herself in such a
matter. The ambassador is begging earnestly for an audience and
is keeping the matter secret until he tells the King. In order that
no time may be lost in informing your Majesty, I send this special
courier in the name of merchants, by way of Bordeaux, whence he
will go post to Irun ; and as God has so willed that these accursed
people, for His ends, should fall into "reprobrium sensum," and
against all reason commit such an act as this, it is evidently His
design to deliver those two kingdoms into your Majesty's hands.
I thanked the ambassador in general terms for his offer, saying
that I would give an account thereof to your Majesty. As I have
formerly said, it will be most advisable to accept it, and pledge him
to give us notice of any machinations here and in England against
us. He reports that the fitting out of ships continues but in no
greater number than he previously advised, although the rumour
is current here that there would be 60 English, besides the
Hollanders, but that the crews, etc. were not raised and no time
fixed for the departure. The ambassador says he will have full
information on the point when a gentleman of his has arrived
whom he had sent to England to gain intelligence, as Cecil only
writes now to say that the execution of the queen of Scotland has
been against his will, as he, the ambassador knew ; and that the
King, her son, was in great danger of suffering a similar fate. The
execution was known in London on the 20th when the executioner
returned, and great bonfires had been lit for joy all over the countryside.
They did not even give her time to commend her soul to
God. (fn. 15)
The Scottish gentleman (i.e., Robert Bruce) who went to your
Majesty and whom you sent to Muzio (i.e., the Duke of Guise), and
afterwards to the duke of Parma, has returned to Paris and found
letters awaiting him from Scotland, in which the Scots lords tell him to
ascertain, in any case, whether your Majesty will help them or not,
and that he is to go back for certain with an answer next April, as
they say it is impossible for them to wait or hold aloof any longer
This King (of France) has written offering his warm friendship
to the king of Scotland, out of fear that he may come to terms
with your Majesty, seeing the position he is in towards the Englishwoman.
This fear will be greatly increased when he (the king of
France) learns of the death of the queen of Scotland. I told Bruce
what the duke of Parma had written for communication, that in
great affairs like this decisions could not be adopted in a moment,
especially respecting such distant places. I humbly beg your
Majesty to instruct me what I am to say to him and how I am to
treat the English ambassador.—Paris, 28th February 1887.
K. 1566. 40.
29. Duke Of Parma to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Whilst I was considering what answer I should send you about
Scotland, the gentleman (i.e., Bruce) arrived here and was able to
give me such minute information, altogether so different from that
furnished previously, in writing, as fully satisfied me, and I decided
to tell him that I entirely approved of his Majesty aiding them as
they desired in so just and righteous a cause. I said I would write
to him to that effect, and he (Bruce) might convey my message to
the gentlemen concerned, in order that they might stand firm and
gather courage to execute so godly a resolution as theirs whilst my
report might reach Spain and the necessary measures were taken to
afford them effectual support in so arduous and important an
enterprise. Bruce displayed satisfaction at this, and departed to go
to the duke of Guise, in order to discuss with him the next
steps to be adopted in the promotion of the project. I inform you
of this as he will address himself to you in future, and I wish
you also to advise his Majesty. I gave the reply I did as it will
afford time to write to his Majesty and receive the order he considers
best for his service.