K. 1566. 16.
59. Sampson's Advices from England.
Don Antonio is still in England, in the same need as before, and
although he said he was going with Drake in his fleet, his servants
saw no signs of his going when the report was written.
The queen of England had sent one of her Councillors to
Chateauneuf, the French ambassador, to say that the affairs she had
had in hand, and her anger at the death of the queen of Scotland
had prevented her from receiving him, but that when he wished for
an audience she would be pleased to see him. The ambassador had
replied that he had sought an audience in order the further to justify
himself, but as he had been so often refused and had sent an account
of it to his master, he would not request audience again until he
received instructions from the King. The Council here (i.e., in
France) has approved of this answer.
The Councillor who went to take the message to Chateauneuf
gave him to understand that the Queen was so anxious to maintain
her friendship with France that she might even liberate Trapes, the
ambassador's gentlemen who was imprisoned in the Tower of London.
When the letter was read to the King (of France), at this point
he exclaimed "She will have to do so, for she has no right to lay
hands on my subjects. If Trapes has offended I will punish
Note.—The above report is accompanied by a letter asking the
King to pay Sampsom more than the 28 crowns a month he
receives, as it is impossible for him to live in Paris for that sum.
He is here against his will and his reports from London are
K. 1448. 114.
60. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
What you say with regard to my rights to the Throne of England,
in consequence of the death of the queen of Scotland, is correct and
well set forth, but it will be best that you should not speak of the
matter at present or suggest any such intention, in order not to
awaken the evil action which would be exerted in all parts from
France if they thought I was going to claim the succession, as they
would do if you talked much about it. The only thing that should
be done is for the archbishop of Nazareth, prompted by his zeal
for religion, to write to Rome pointing out the evils that certainly
would result if a heretic succeeded to the throne, and saying that,
as the king of Scotland is a heretic, it would be well to deprive
him. He might convey this to the Pope but should go no further.
If you can get him to do this it will be well, but abstain from all
other action until further orders, which shall be sent to you in due
time. In the meanwhile keep me well informed of all you hear
said about it in France, England, and Scotland, and also how
Muzio takes it. You will be very careful how you speak to him
about it, and, indeed, to anyone, as your prudence will dictate to
The 8,000 crowns which were not sent to the queen of Scotland
and are now offered to be restored to me, may be disposed of as
follows :—The 4,000 which were handed to her treasurer and have
to be recovered from her estate I will grant to the archbishop of
Glasgow, her ambassador, to whom you may say that I make him a
present of the money. The 4,000 still in hand you will receive and
apply 1,000 at present to the objects required by those who are
secretly preaching our holy faith in Scotland, the other 3,000
being employed in paying the English pensions. As it is on many
accounts important that you should have at hand so good an
instrument as the archbishop of Glasgow, you will use every effort
to get him to remain in Paris, arranging through Muzio for the
king of Scotland to order him to stay there, if not as ambassador,
then as one of his late mother's servants who is well versed in past
affairs. Or he himself might plead his own affairs for staying, or
his desire to avoid the heresy so rife in his own country. You will
avail yourself of his aid whenever necessary, and if you think it
will be better you may avoid telling him about the 4,000 crowns all
at once, but give him the money by instalments as it is recovered
from the late Queen's revenue. I leave it to you to do as you think
best.—San Lorenzo, 4th April 1587.
K. 1566. 91.
61. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
By letters from England dated 13th ultimo, I learn that the
Queen, seeing but small hopes that the Hollanders would help with
the 30 ships they promised, had ordered the number of English
vessels to be increased beyond the 15 merchantmen which I
reported were being prepared. She will add four ships of her own
and some of the best merchantships she can get. They have chosen
the galleon "Butrigul" (fn. 1) a ship of 400 tons which I know well, as
having fought in Brazil with some of your Majesty's vessels when I
was in England, and came back much damaged. She carries 40 iron
pieces and three or four of bronze. Another vessel is the "Royal
Merchant" of 250 tons, armed with 26 or 30 iron, and some bronze,
pieces. The "Primrose" of 200 tons, also armed with iron pieces ; and
two other ships of 150 tons each, similarly armed. These, with the
other additions, will increase the number of vessels to 24. They
have ordered 2,500 bullocks to be slaughtered and the meat salted to
provision the fleet, in which it was intended to send 2,500 men, this
proportion of a bullock per man being the usual victualling on board
of English ships for a voyage of over four months.
These 24 ships were in the Thames above Gravesend, ready to sail,
the guns all on board but no stores or men, the crews not having
been raised yet. It will take at least 18 days to barrel the salt meat.
It was understood that the four of her own ships which the Queen
would contribute were the "Philip-Mary," of 700 tons, the "Elizabeth
Fortune," 600 tons, the "Dreadnought," 400 tons, and the "Swiftsure,"
400 tons. These four ships are all armed with bronze pieces. The
Queen had not, however, decided to send out this fleet pending the
return of Lord Buckhurst from Holland, with a statement as to the
position of the rebels. She also wishes to see what will come of
these seizures in France and England.
A person who left London on the 15th ultimo reports that no
orders had been given for manning or victualling the ships, but he
had seen the four Queen's ships above-mentioned enter the Thames
from Rochester ready for sea, with the "Triumph," the "White Bear"
and the "Elizabeth Jonas," which are the three largest ships the
Queen has. They had been hauled out of their usual berths at
Rochester into the Thames.
The supplies had been granted by Parliament with the following
additions. Laymen are to pay double the ordinary amount, and the
ministers, whom they call ecclesiastics, are to pay 12 per cent.,
instead of 8, as usual. In addition to this they have voted a special
grant called a "benevolence" in consideration of the war with your
Majesty. All this money has to be paid within two years, and
although no person in England is privileged or exempt, the ordinary
vote in each Parliament does not exceed 140,000 or 150,000 crowns ;
so that even if the present amount is doubled it will only reach
300,000, and perhaps another 40,000 for the benevolence.
Waad is still here, in the ambassador's house, and although he has
pressed several times for his passport, the King does not decide to
give it to him. I understand that Walsingham sent to tell
Chateauneuf that they had better be careful how they treated Waad,
because the same treatment should be meted out to him (Chateauneuf).
The latter replied that Waad was not of sufficient rank for him
(Chateauneuf) to be made responsible for his treatment. The
English ambassador here (in France) would be his security.
I also understand that the Queen says she will not release Trapes,
the French gentleman she arrested, or Nao, the queen of Scotland's
secretary, unless this King delivers Morgan to her. He is the servant
of the queen of Scotland whom this King has kept in the Bastile for
the last two years.
Letters from Scotland, dated 21st ultimo, confirm the earl of
Morton's raid into England. The king of Scotland had summoned
his Parliament and nobility, and had intimated to them his desire to
be avenged on the queen of England for her cruelty to his mother.
He did not wish, however, that the attempt to satisfy his vengeance
without sufficient resources should bring fresh trouble upon him, and
for this reason, the strength of both parties being known, it would
be necessary for him to seek the help of other Princes. He asked
the Parliament to advise him as to the best means to obtain this.
They replied that it would be well for ambassadors to be sent to
your Majesty and the kings of France and Denmark, from whom he
might request aid with some hope of obtaining it. The King
approved of the advice and directed that fitting persons should be
chosen for the missions. Don Antonio's need was daily increasing—
Paris, 5th April 1587.
K. 1566. 90.
62. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I have just heard from a good quarter that a Scots merchant, who
says he is the king of Scotland's banker, is in Spain with 12 well
fitted English boats freighted with merchandise from there (i.e.,
England), the mariners also being English. It would be well for
your Majesty to send orders to the ports to have this merchant
arrested. His name is Hunter (fn. 2)
The queen of England's secretary writes to the new confidant,
telling him to be careful what reports he sends from here ; as his
recent intelligence with regard to the grief of the King and nobles
here for the death of the queen of Scotland has prevented the
Queen from carrying into effect certain important resolutions she
had adopted very beneficial to the kingdom. The man in his house
(Waad) has also received a letter dated 13th ultimo, in the confidant's
cipher, saying that the Queen had not decided anything
about sending out the fleet, as the intelligence sent by her
ambassador here had cooled her. The ships to be contributed by
the Hollanders to the expedition were not ready, as had been
expected. My former advices as to the number of ships which
would form the expedition are confirmed from this and other
quarters. The confidant promises to send me instant advice when
he learns whether the business is really going forward or
Count de Olivares writes that Cardinal Sanzio has asked him to
speak to his Holiness about promoting Dr. Allen to the cardinalate
so that Cardinal Sanzio may at the same time propose the name of
the archbishop of Glasgow, who is so deserving and so desirable
a person for the conversion of Scotland, which cause would be much
aided by his elevation. I have written to the Count saying how
intimate the Archbishop is with Muzio, and how strongly attached
to your Majesty's service. So far as I can judge, I say, not only
should no obstacles be thrown in the way of his elevation, but the
Count should help to the best of his ability, although it may have
to be done secretly. He will I am sure, be as favourable a Cardinal
for your Majesty's interests as any, and will be a most useful
minister in the affairs of Scotland and England.—Paris, 5th April
K. 1566. 94.
63. Advices from Rouen.
A French merchant arrived yesterday from England who assures
us that Captain Drake had left the Thames with 40 well-armed
ships, five belonging to the Queen, of 800 or 900 tons each, and
carrying 5,000 men. The merchant saw the fleet pass before Rye
on the way to Falmouth, where they were to join 40 or 50 more
ships, which were ready ; so that the number would reach 100 sail.
The rumour was that this fleet was going to encounter the Indian
flotillas. We are astonished at the great diligence and secresy with
which this fleet has been equipped, for up to the present not a
word of it had reached us here. To further satisfy myself, I spoke
personally to the merchant yesterday, and he assures me he saw the
ships pass and had been on board of them. If this be true it is
ground for great anxiety, as much damage may be done to the
K. 1566. 97.
64. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The new confidant informs me that the English ambassador has
seen Secretary Pinart to ascertain from him, as the queen of
England's pensioner, the feeling of the King towards the Queen, in
the matter of the queen of Scotland's death. Pinart replied that,
although everyone advised him to break the alliance with his
mistress, he did not believe the King would do so. He (Pinart)
would exert himself in the matter in a way that should convince
the Queen that what she had done for him had not been in vain.
The friend of the new confidant also assures me that he told him in
conversation over eight months ago, that he (the ambassador) had
paid to Pinart, in one sum, from the Queen 3,000l., which is equal
to 10,000 sun-crowns. The ambassador has also remarked that
there is a certain redhat in Rome very friendly to the queen of
England. I am trying to discover his name for your Majesty's
information, but I can hardly believe it.
I have written to count de Olivares saying that if the theologians
raise no religious difficulty as to the archbishop of Glasgow's
acceptance of the mission sent to him by the king of Scotland, it
will be much more advantageous for your Majesty's interests that
affairs should be in his hands rather than in those of any other
person, as he is so devoted to your interests. (fn. 3) —Paris, 9th April
K. 1566. 98.
65. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Fresher news than those contained in my last have arrived from
England. I am informed by an Italian solidier, who had been
prisoner in Holland and was exiled from there, passing through
England on his way hither, that when he left London on the 23rd
ultimo both the Queen's ships and the merchantmen were still in
the Thames. According to this the enclosed news sent from Rouen
seems not to be altogether true. The Frenchman does not say the
day he left England and saw Drake's fleet pass ; and it is incredible
that the number of ships and men he mentions could have been
raised and despatched in the time, especially in the face of the
information given by the new confidant as to the vessels they had
decided to send, and the condition of the victualling, as advised in
my last. Still I have thought well to enclose the Rouen news, in
case the report should reach your Majesty by some other channel
and you may thus know the origin of it. If any ships passed the
Channel on their way to Plymouth, the Frenchman of course would
exaggerate their number as usual, to magnify the power of the
queen of England, and they would probably be destined to guard
that end of the Channel and strengthen the position in Ireland. If
they went to join others in the port and sail in company, as they
often do from there, and indicate an intention on the part of the
Queen to send out the fleet, I shall learn all about it on the earliest
opportunity from the Fleming I have there (Plymouth) on the
watch, and from other quarters, and will instantly advise your
Majesty. As the Queen-mother has brought back with her the few
soldiers the King had against the Huguenots the latter are now
unchecked, and I greatly fear for my despatches of 27th February.
If they have escaped I am afraid they will be delayed. This is why
I write so often by Bordeaux.
The French ambassador in England writes that the Queen has
sent him word that, although personally she had good reasons for
refusing to receive him, yet as he was a Minister of the king of
France, she would do so when he pleased. He replied that when the
Queen had impartial inquiry made she would find that he had only
proceeded as an honourable gentleman should, and he had no
intention of asking for audience until he was ordered to do so by
his master, whom he would apprise of the message. I do not know
what answer will be sent him, but I have just heard that
M. de Belièvre and Secretary Pinart have gone to see the English
ambassador, and I will try to learn their object for your Majesty's
information. The English ambassador has not been received by the
Letters from Scotland of 21st ultimo report that the King and
Council have appointed the archbishop of Glasgow ambassador here
for the purpose of asking this King for help. The King (of
Scotland) said he was delighted that they had proposed the
Archbishop for the post, as he considered him the fitiest person, and
his despatches might be sent off at once. He had also said that as
the Archbishop was to be employed thus, he wished his archiepiscopal
and patrimonial property to be restored to him. If this
be done it will show that he (the King) is not so entirely subject to
the ministers (i.e., clergy) nor so much opposed to the Catholics. A
Frenchman resident in Scotland sometimes writes to the King, and
I understand that he informs him that the king of Scotland had
said he would be glad if the Christian King would help him with
4,000 paid soldiers for five or six months. I am not sure of this,
but now that the appointment I have mentioned has been made, no
negotiations will be undertaken except through the Archbishop, and
as the question of his acceptance of the embassy from a King who
has not submitted to the Pope is one that must be decided by his
Holiness, I have written to Count de Olivares about it.
I enclose a little book in Spanish, written by the bishop of Ross,
giving the English genealogies. He has had it published also in
Latin, French, and English, and it shows that your Majesty is the
legitimate heir to the Crown, since the king of Scotland is incapacitated
by heresy. Margaret, the eldest daughter of King Henry VII.,
being left a widow by James IV., king of Scotland, she fell in love
with and married Archibald Douglas, earl of Angus, who had a
wife living at the time, and the daughter of the marriage was a
bastard, and was so declared by the Scots parliament in her suit
against the earl of Angus to establish her legitimacy. The result of
the suit was that the earldom of Angus was adjudged to its present
possessors, and her (Margaret Stuart, countess of Lennox)
descendants are excluded from the succession to the English crown,
and your Majesty thus becomes the legal heir, as descending in a
straight line from John of Gaunt, duke of Lancaster, by the right of
his wife, whose eldest daughter Catharine married Henry III. of
Castile, and the younger, called Philippa, married John I. of
Portugal. (fn. 4)
This King says that Don Antonio is starving in England, and the
Queen has her eye upon him to prevent him from leaving the
country.—Paris, 9th April 1587.
|9, 12, 11,
K. 1566. 101.
66. Document headed "True Advices from England."
On the 27th March proclamation was made in London ordering
the instant embarcation of the crews and troops of the 10 ships with
Of these 10 ships four belonged to the Queen, their burden being
respectively 400, 300, and 120 tons ; very well armed with bronze
guns. The others are merchantmen, the largest 200 tons, but most
of them 120 to 150 tons, with iron pieces. The Queen's flagship
took out 200 men, the others of hers a lesser number, whilst the
merchantmen carried 60 to 100 men, according to their capacity.
The total number of men taken was about 1,000.
Drake went on board near Dover, and sailed with the ships to
Plymouth, where the fleet was to rendezvous. Off the Isle of
Wight he was joined by 12 merchant ships which had been sent by
the Queen from the Thames, and they all proceeded together to
They take victuals for over four months.
More troops were to join them at Plymouth, raised in Devonshire
and Cornwall. The soldiers and sailors together to be thus raised
would number 2,500 or 3,000.
Drake took orders for the ships which might be in the Western
ports, or at sea with letters of marque, to accompany him. Those in
port were expected to reach 17, and those at sea 23 ; so that
altogether they hoped to enter Spanish waters with 60 sail and
about 3,000 men, besides those who might be in the ships bearing
letters of marque.
The Queen had ordered 14 other ships to be made ready under
Captain Winter to reinforce Drake, if necessary.
With the exception of Drake himself, not a soul on the fleet
knows what the object of it is, but various surmises are afloat ;
one to the effect that they are going to prevent the junction of his
Majesty's fleet in Spain, destroying a portion of it, as it will have to
be fitted out in various ports. Others say the design is to intercept
the Indian flotillas, and this seems the most probable.
Drake was strictly ordered not to stay at Plymouth longer than
necessary, but to sail at once.
It is not thought that they carry troops adequate to attempt any
enterprise on land, or at most only to sack some unprotected place.
Don Antonio did not accompany them, although it was said
previously that he would do so. (fn. 5)
K. 1566. 102.
67. Sampson's Advices from London.
Don Antonio is still at Court and in despair of getting anything
satisfactory. It is thought that the Queen keeps him there to
prevent his escape.
Alarm is felt here at the fleet which we are told from France the
Pope and the king of Spain are preparing to attack England.
Drake and his fleet have left the Thames, but we have no news of
his having sailed from Plymouth. He takes sealed orders which
are to be opened at sea, so that his purpose is unknown. He has
instructions, however, that, until the Queen's orders are fulfilled
none of the pirates are to leave him, but afterwards each one may
seek his fortune in his own way.
The Parliament is opposed to the Queen's acceptance of the
sovereignty of Flanders, but think she should help with money and
men, as she did last year under the pretext of religion.
The earl of Leicester has gone to the baths at Bristol (Buxton?),
and it is said he will delay his departure for Holland until the
return from there of Lord Buckhurst.
Secretary Davison has been fined 20,000 crowns, and sent to
prison during the Queen's pleasure, for having given the warrant for
the execution of the queen of Scotland without the orders of the
K. 1566. 102.
68. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The object of the visit of Belièvre and Secretary Pinart to the
English ambassador, mentioned in my letter of the 9th, was to
reply to him from the King about the requests he was urging for a
passport to be given to Waad to enable him to return to England at
once. The King said he would not give a passport unless the
Queen released Trapes, his ambassador's gentleman, and gave him a
passport to come hither.—Paris, 12th April 1587.
K. 1566. 104.
69. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
As I was sending off my despatch by Bordeaux, a man arrived
here, sent by my man in England, to give me a full verbal account
of affairs there. Drake issued an order on the 27th (new style), for
all the men who were to go in the 10 ships to embark instantly,
which they did, and as letters would not pass this man was sent to me.
Out of the 10 ships, four belonged to the Queen. The flagship was
400 tons burden, and carried nearly 50 bronze pieces, and about
200 men ; the vice-flagship was of 300 tons, with the same armament
and rather fewer men. The other two Queen's ships were of
120 tons and 36 guns each. The six merchant ships were of
200 tons (the largest), and the rest 120 to 150 tons, all armed with
iron guns, and with 60 to 100 men each. The whole fleet carried
1,000 men and victuals for four months. They left Gravesend the
same day (27th March) for Plymouth, where they were to be joined
by the armed ships which were in the river and on the coast, and
the English pirate ships belonging to the West country. The
intention was for Drake to take all these ships to encounter your
Majesty's flotillas. My man would try to find means to go to
Plymouth and inspect the ships that might collect there, and learn
other particulars. As, however, it was impossible for him to send me
information swiftly on the point, owing to the great strictness in
the English ports and the impossibility of getting an English ship
to go to a French port for fear of arrest, he thought best to send
this man over in a fishing boat which could put him ashore in
France, and then return to England. He will again adopt this
course if no better opportunity offers. The man tells me he could
not come quicker, owing to the great difficulty of leaving England,
and to his being stopped and examined at Calais, Boulogne, and
every town in Picardy. In order to lose no time in informing your
Majesty, I am sending this and the other letters I had written, by
special courier going with all speed. I am trying to get his passport
at once, but I am afraid it will be delayed, as usual.
Whilst I was awaiting the passport there arrived here Luis
Ferreira de Melo, of Terceira, who was captured by the English in
the St. Thomé flotilla, and has been imprisoned in England. He
confirms the above news, and says he left London on Good Friday,
and when he passed Gravesend, saw the men hurrying on board the
10 ships. On Easter-day Drake and his wife went on board off
Dover. He recognised them because the English boat that took him
across to France passed through the midst of the fleet, and he
stayed with the ships for two days, saying that he was going to
Plymouth, for fear that they might prevent him from going to
France. On the 1st of April he arrived at Boulogne, and the
English fleet was not then to be seen. He assures me there were
only 10 ships, and exactly confirms the particulars already given.
The Frenchman who said he saw the fleet pass Rye may have told
the truth on that point, but must have lied as to the number of
ships.—Paris, 12th April 1587.
K. 1566. 106.
70. The Duke of Parma to Bernardino De Mendoza.
As I said in my last, I had summoned the Scottish gentleman
(Bruce), and begged you to send him to me speedily because, as
you have so truly urged, it was most important to keep him well in
view, for it would upset the Englishwoman to find herself attacked
on that side, besides being a great thing to get a footing and a free
port in the island, in view of eventualities. This, and the fate of
the queen of Scotland, convinced me that it would be well not to
delay any longer in giving them some hope and information as to
what could be done for them. When the gentleman arrived here I
made much of him, and said that he was already aware by the letters
from his Majesty and your lordship, that the King was resolved to
aid the righteous intention of the Scots Catholics, and I was expecting
hourly to receive advice of His Majesty's intentions on the matter ;
since the time had now arrived when action could be taken. I was
glad, therefore, that he (Bruce) was with me, as he could give me
information on certain points about which I was in doubt. I had
several conversations with him, and from one thing to another we
at last got to the question of the difficulty that might arise of his
Majesty's sending them the forces they wanted from Spain, if it
should happen that he had to reinforce us here very heavily, or was
pressed to guard his own coasts, and he might prefer to assist them
from here. In such case, I asked, how could boats be got to take
the men across, as they knew I had none, and could get none. He
unhesitatingly said that there would be no difficulty about that, as
there were plenty of boats in Scotland, and we arranged that as we
are in need of grain here, and to conceal our design, he should freight
(i.e., in Scotland) 30 vessels to go to Dantzic, to load wheat for
various places. Orders might be given and arrangements made with
the captains of the five or six ships that usually go with them as an
escort, to bring them to Dunkirk, where they would enter at the
end of July or middle of August. Thirty more ships might also be
got ready on various pretexts to leave (Scotland), and to arrive (at
Dunkirk) at the same time, and in most of them we could ship the
troops they desire, and leave a few to keep up the communication.
He facilitates the matter so much, and is so confident about it, that
I have decided to send to you the 10,000 crowns he requests for the
freighting of the ships ; so that, after he has given you sureties, you
can give him the money, and send him off as soon as possible to
carry out the plan. But as the most important point of all this is
that they should assure us the port of Petty Leith for the reception
and shelter of the ships and men, you will have to press for this to
be done, and that they (the Catholics) should go on consolidating
their party, to be ready for the time when they are do to their part.
I am so enamoured of this project, and am so sure of its being
advantageous to His Majesty's service that you may depend upon
my neglecting nothing ; for I will strive with all my heart to carry
it to success.
It is most important that everything should be done secretly,
so that the Englishwoman should learn nothing of it, and be
unprepared. I am aware that you are as careful about secrecy
as I am, but I cannot help mentioning it as success depends
K. 1566. 109.
71. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The English news I send in the general letter are faithfully
conveyed to me by the new friend from letters dated the 7th instant.
The intelligence sent by my Fleming about the number of ships and
men is exactly confirmed.
The friend assures me that Drake has orders to stay as short a
time as possible at Plymouth, but that no living soul but the Queen
and the Treasurer knew what the design was to be. The Queen
would not have even the Lord Admiral informed, as she considers
him a frank-spoken man ; but, judging from general indications and
the haste in sending Drake off, it would seem as if the intention was
to try to prevent the junction of your Majesty's fleet, which had to
be equipped in various ports, and if they succeed in breaking up a
portion of it, then to proceed on the Indian route and encounter the
flotillas. To this end they had let out a few words to Drake about
Cadiz being a good port to burn the shipping in, if a good fleet were
taken thither. (fn. 6)
The number of men Drake was taking (as no account can be made
of those who go in the pirate ships) is not large enough to undertake
any enterprise of importance on land, excepting to sack, and it is
asserted that Don Antonio has not gone with them, as it is not to be
expected that the Queen would risk sending him with so few troops.
As it is impossible to get prompt advice of Drake's departure from
Plymouth conveyed to your Majesty, I send the news up to the
present, to enable your Majesty to order the Indian flotillas to be
apprised and every port to be on the alert down to the Straits and
the islands of Azores and Canary.
Parliament had risen and had voted to the Queen voluntarily an
extraordinary grant to maintain the war in Holland for three years.
The rebels will therefore be better supplied, and the clever efforts of
the duke of Parma to get the States to elect Count Hohenlohe for
General, and to abandon the Queen and Leicester, will be impeded.
This would have facilitated an agreement with your Majesty, but
that is rendered more difficult now by the Queen's having increased
the monthly subsidy she paid to the States from 12,000 crowns to
17,000 crowns, and if that be insufficient to 20,000, which could well
be met by the new grant. Leicester had orders to go to Holland,
and at once to take the field with the army, but they said it would
be very necessary to use the utmost diligence to discover the plans
being hatched by the Spanish ambassador in France (fn. 7) ; as they had
been informed by friends in France that your Majesty was equipping
a fleet of 60 sail, but they knew better from Spain itself, where on
the whole coast there were not 40 ships ready for sea, and he might
therefore judge, now they had sent out Drake, whether they were
afraid of Spain this year or not.
The French ambassador (in England) was in great fear that the
going of the Archduke Mathias to England might be a sign of
agreement with your Majesty as to hostages for the capitulation,
which fear he had mentioned to Walsingham, and asked him whether
it was true the Archduke was coming. He replied that he had
heard of no such thing. In conversation with a friend afterwards
the Secretary had assured him that he really knew nothing about it,
or whether the Treasurer had negotiated anything of the sort by the
Queen's orders. Horatio Pallavicini writes to him (Walsingham?)
saying that he saw the Archduke Mathias at Hamburg, who expressed
himself as being very dissatisfied and inclined to the Queen's religion,
but notwithstanding this he wrote to the ambassador telling him to
be careful to report the feeling evinced in France as to the going of
the Archduke, and said that although the (French) ambassador
reported that the anger felt at the death of the queen of Scots made
him fear a rupture between France and his mistress, she was under
no apprehension of it, as she knew that in the present condition of
France it was necessary for that country to keep friendly with
England. If peace were not made in France the reiters would enter,
but if an arrangement were arrived at the reiters would go to Flanders,
the money having been already provided for raising them. The
new friend is of opinion that however much this King may storm he
will not break with the Englishwoman.
As regards Scotland, although the news from France represented
the King (of Scotland) as vowing vengeance against the queen of
England, they (i.e., Stafford's correspondents) were persuaded that he
would not be so ill advised as to throw away his good chance of the
succession, or incur the enmity of those who had advocated his
mother's execution, but the ambassador was directed to be on the
alert to discover what plans the Scots were hatching here.
The Queen had sent a man secretly to Scotland, who was known
to have arrived safely, and he would find no lack of friends of the
The above is the entire contents of the dispatch sent from
England to France, which was read to me by my informant, and
although I was most anxious to send your Majesty the important
news as soon as I could get it ciphered, flying through the air if
possible, I have been unable yet to obtain a passport.
I went to congratulate the Queen-mother on her return in good
health, and in the course of conversation she mentioned the death of
the queen of Scotland, which she said was an unheard-of thing,
and she then broached the question as to who would succeed (to the
English Crown). I said, as if by the way, that as the king of
Scotland was excluded by his heresy, if he were not converted your
Majesty was the next heir. She asked me from what line your
Majesty's claim was derived. When I told her she did not answer a
word ; nor can I discover that she has mentioned the matter to
anyone, although I have made great efforts to learn. I was moved
to speak of it to her, because I thought it advantageous not to
conceal your Majesty's right when the question is brought up,
without going out of the way to seek for opportunities of urging
it. The archbishop of Glasgow is one of those who have pressed me
to mention the matter when occasion presents itself, and he is
confirmed in his opinion by well-disposed Scottish jesuit fathers
here, who are strong in their belief that it would greatly encourage
Catholics there (i.e., in Scotland) and spur on the King to submit to
the Church. The English Catholics speak similarly, saying at the
same time, that if the king of Scotland be not converted, they thank
God for giving them so Catholic a King as your Majesty. It is
publicly said here that there is not a person living who would
oppose such a claim, and this caused me to speak of it as I have
done. The French, who are not heretics, but merely "politicians,"
say openly that there is nothing they desire more than to see your
Majesty's armada attack England, that they might serve in it and
avenge themselves on the Queen by helping you to become master
of the country.
The queen of Scotland's late ambassador tells me that if the duke
of Parma wishes his armed ships in Denmark to be received in a
Scotch port in case of bad weather, or need for victuals, or to sell
their prizes, he thinks he can arrange it with the king of Scotland.
I have informed the Duke of this. He has not sent Bruce back
yet.—Paris, 19th April 1587.
K. 1566. 110.
72. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I have news of 6th and 7th instant from London saying that two
other ships had left the Thames to join Drake at Plymouth. They
both belong to the Queen, one being the "Golden Lion," of 600 tons,
carrying 50 guns, some being cannons and culverins. This will be
the flagship, as she is a good, fleet vessel, and the other is the
"Achates," which ship I know well, because her first voyage was
to carry me across from England to Flanders in the year '84. She is
of 120 tons and carries 30 or 35 guns.
Eight more merchantmen had left the river also, and it was said
that the flagship of the merchantmen would be the "Royal
Merchant" or the galleon "Budrique" (Ughtred).
Two other merchant ships had come from Lynn to join at Dover,
so that, in all, 12 ships had followed Drake, and they were so
favoured by weather that they came up with him off the Isle of
Wight and proceeded in company to Plymouth.
Both the Queen's ships and the merchantmen were victualled in
London with the 2,500 bullocks I said they had slaughtered, and as
the Queen was anxious for the ships to sail for Plymouth, and there
is difficulty in raising troops in London, she ordered them to go with
their seamen only on board necessary for the navigation ; and 2,500
or 3,000 soldiers and sailors will be raised in Devonshire and Cornwall
for the fleet.
Drake was to force ships which might be on the West coast bearing
letters of marque to accompany him. Drake said there would be
17 of them in the ports—ships of 120 to 150 tons—and he would
probably fall in with 23 more at sea which would have to go with
him. So that Drake would sail (for Spain) with about 60 ships and
2,500 to 3,000 men, without counting the men on board the ships
he took from the West coast, the number of which would be
The Queen had ordered 14 more of ships under Captain Winter to
be made ready. Winter is a man of rank and a good sailor, who
conducted your Majesty the last time you went from England to
Flanders. He is to reinforce Drake if necessary, and to guard the
coasts in case of the approach of a hostile fleet.
It was said in London that Don Antonio would accompany Drake,
but it was not credited, as Drake's intention was asserted to be the
plunder of your Majesty's flotillas from the Indies, to which effect
the Queen had ordered that all the booty was to be given to the
soldiers as had been done previously. The reason there was so much
difficulty in getting men for this expedition was that Drake paid
them so badly last time, taking all the plunder for himself on the
pretence that it was for the Queen.
Another proof that Drake's design is to intercept the flotillas, is
that, with the exception of the 22 ships, the rest of them are
independent pirates ; and the moment anything is undertaken other
than robbery and plunder they will abandon him.
A French ship has arrived on the coast from Brazil, and reports
having fallen in with Drake with 22 sail. He spoke them and said
that, badly as the French were treating English shipping, he had
orders from his mistress to show them all friendship. As they were
short of provisions he supplied them.
My Fleming's reports as to the number of ships, etc., are fully
confirmed. All the talk about Drake's having actually sailed from
Plymouth with 60 ships rests upon Drake's hints that he hoped to take
out that number. My man was trying to get back again to Plymouth
and feared he would be unable to send me any reports until he could
return personally hither. He could not, moreover, go round all the
ports to discover what ships were being fitted out, as he heard that
Drake was in a furious hurry to leave Plymouth.
All this is now fully confirmed by the reports of merchants and
I am sending this by special courier, so that if possible your
Majesty may have the news before Drake leaves Plymouth. The
weather has been extremely favourable for him since he left London,
especially if he had taken his men on board at the start, instead of
having to wait for them at Plymouth.
There is nothing to add about the relations between England and
France. Neither ambassador has been received yet. The English
ambassador here has fresh letters but he does not press for audience.
They announce the sailing of Drake from the Thames with 60 ships,
which number they say would be increased to over a hundred by the
time he left Plymouth. The Queen's ships, to the number of 22, were
ready for sea.
The archbishop of Glasgow has taken leave of the Queen-mother
on the expiry of his mission (from the queen of Scotland), and in
conversation with her mentioned the danger the king of Scotland
was in, and the great need he had for the aid and counsel of the
Christian King, such as in past times had been given to his ancestors.
She replied that the King and herself were full of good will towards
the continuance of the friendship and the helping of the king of
Scotland ; but the state of things in France hardly gave the Christian
King breathing space in his own country, and they could, therefore,
hold out but little hopes of helping the king of Scotland, much as
they desired to do so.—Paris, 19th April 1587.
K. 1566. 112.
73. Lord Paget to Secretary Idiaquez.
I have written several letters to your Lordship, but as I have had
no reply I fear they may not have reached you. My object is to beg
your assistance in the payment of the 500 crowns which His Majesty
generously accorded to me in Madrid as a grant in aid of my
expenses. The ambassador says the amount will have to be deducted
from the ordinary pensions payable to us up to the 1st January last.
As the order was given on the treasurer in Madrid in the form of a
grant in aid, and we signed acknowledgments in the same form, I
pray you kindly to ascertain His Majesty's intentions in the matter
and use your influence in my favour, for God knows how I suffered
on the journey. I am well aware that all I receive from His Majesty
proceeds from his own magnanimity, and from no merit of my own,
and I will never cease to humbly thank and faithfully serve him to
the last hour of my life. If I can be of any use to him, pray
command me, and if I am too importunate in the matter, I beseech
you to forgive me and recollect that to ask often for a thing proves
that it is really needed.—Paris, 19th April 1587.
Il Baron Pagietto
K. 1566. 113.
74. Thomas Throckmorton to Secretary Idiaquez.
Letter to a similar effect to the above, relative to a grant in aid of
200 crowns during his journey to Madrid.
K. 1566. 114.
75. Advices from London, 20 April, 1587 (new style).
Drake left Plymouth on Saturday, 11 April (fn. 8) (by our style) with
34 ships of the fleet, four of them being Queen's ships, the best she
has, of 700 and 800 tons, and two of her pinnaces, all armed
with bronze pieces. The rest are merchantmen, but comprise
some of the best ships in the country. They are well armed,
victualled for eight months, and carry 2,000 men, all seamen and no
soldiers. The intention is to intercept the flotillas from Peru, which
they are confident of capturing if they meet them. Some people
say that if the weather serves they will run into Cadiz, and do
what damage they can to the shipping and city, breaking the bridge
first which connects it with the mainland, and thus preventing
succour reaching the people, whom they expect to take unawares.
But the intention as to the Peruvian flotilla is absolutely certain.
André de Loo arrived here last week from Brussels with the reply
of his Highness respecting peace. The Queen instantly sent couriers
to Plymouth to stop Drake from sailing until further orders, but
they were too late and he was gone. But still peace is spoken of,
and the Queen desires it much : God send it to us. A gentleman
arrived here last Friday to inform the Queen that the Ostend people
learnt that his Highness was going to besiege them, and if he did so
they could not hold out 15 days, as they had no men, guns, powder,
or other stores. They ask the Queen for at least 1,000 soldiers, with
artillery and victuals. She sent the man to the earl of Leicester,
who is at the baths, 100 miles off, in order that he might take the
necessary measures. To-day a man arrived from the Sluys to tell
the Queen that if she does not provide for Ostend, as requested, the
place will be lost ; and this must lead to the loss of the Sluys, for
which town also they ask for aid in men and stores, as Flushing
cannot send them a man.
The Queen wrote three days since to certain persons in the city
asking them to lend Don Antonio 30,000l., to be guaranteed by her,
and to provide him with 3,000 men to accompany him in a fleet.
They met on Saturday last with Don Antonio's representatives, one
of them being Dr. Lopez, and read the Queen's letter, to which they
promised a reply on Monday. This evening (Monday) I will report
what the answer is.
I forgot to say that the gentleman from Ostend avers his belief
that if his Highness were to offer the captain of the place a sum of
money to surrender the town he would do so, they are in such
K. 1566. 117.
76. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Since my last I have seen the new friend (fn. 9) who had expressed a
desire for an interview. I thanked him from your Majesty for his
goodwill, and gave him the 2,000 crowns which your Majesty
ordered, through the third person who was present. (fn. 10) He was very
grateful, and said that, saving the person of the Queen, he would
devote himself to whatever service your Majesty required, with the
zeal which I should witness. I assured him that his recompense
should be proportionate with his service, and pointed out to him
that, in the present state of things in England, it was the safest
course to be on your Majesty's side, which he confessed was true,
and said if the Queen disappeared many of the principal people
would follow your Majesty.
He is informed that when Drake left the Thames the Queen sent
orders to Plymouth that men were to be raised there with all haste,
so that when Drake arrived they might be shipped at once. We
have no further news on the point.
The king of France urged him (Stafford) secretly, through
Belièvre, to use all his influence to maintain the friendship between
England and France.
Bruce has arrived with the dispatch from the duke of Parma,
which I enclose. I have had it ciphered instantly, so as not to lose
time in explaining the matter to your Majesty. (fn. 11)
I told Bruce what your Majesty orders me, and when I arrived
at the two points of taking up arms and releasing the King, he
interrupted me, and said they did not ask for the 150,000 crowns for
those two purposes alone, which could be effected in a fortnight
after they arrived in Scotland, but for the conversion of the country
to the Catholic faith. I approved of this, and said your Majesty
understood as much ; and I immediately wrote to the duke of Parma
and Muzio (the duke of Guise) to the effect that I will inform your
Majesty later, (fn. 12) as I have no time to dwell upon the matter in this.
I will try to send Bruce to Scotland assured to us. He has offered
the duke of Parma the port of Petty Leith, the best in the kingdom,
or any other he may desire. With the general letters I send your
Majesty a letter from Antonio de Vega, who is now free, addressed
under cover to Geronimo Lopez Sapayo, to your Majesty. He
says he reports to your Majesty the departure of Drake.—Paris,
25th April 1587.
K. 1566. 115.
77. The Duke of Parma to Bernardino De Mendoza.
I informed you of my decision about Scotland and the steps I had
taken with the gentleman (Bruce), and sent you a warrant for
10,000 crowns for the purpose mentioned. It was necessary to find
some trustworthy person to take it, and to accompany the escort of
the grain ships, and make all the necessary arrangements for their
taking them quietly into Dunkirk at the time decided upon ; and
Bruce introduced to me the bearer, Captain Thomas Foster. I am
glad of this, as he seems a very fit person for the task, and I send
him to you in order that you may instruct him exactly how he is
to proceed. He will have to be accompanied by the other man,
who, or someone else, must stay with the ships which are to leave
for Scotland and join the grain ships at Dunkirk at the end of July
or first days of August, neither sooner nor later, in order not to
arouse suspicion, as the men will be ready at exactly that time.
Pray enjoin much care and prudence on both of these gentlemen,
and especially that they must arrange for the port of Petty Leith
to be assured, so that no hitch or obstacle shall occur to raise any
doubt, which would upset the whole design and bring with it other
difficulties of the highest import, since the success of this plan will,
we hope, be of such great advantage.
In the despatch you have since sent me from the King I am
instructed to offer the gentleman money instead of troops, as there
are no men ready in Spain. As I have adopted the course abovementioned
as the most convenient and advantageous to the King's
interests, and to begin with new proposals to them might make
them pause, I have decided not to make any change, and have
advised His Majesty to that effect. I hope he will approve of it as
my zeal and good intentions deserve.
I leave in your hands the task of carrying the plan forward. As
punctuality is of the very highest importance, and all the ships, both
those direct from Scotland and the grain ships, should arrive at
Dunkirk at the end of July or beginning of August, I beg you will
urge this upon both the gentlemen most earnestly. If they see that
the shipping of so much grain is likely to cause suspicion, they
must only ship as much as may be advisable and consistent with
dissimulation ; but on no account are they to allow the shipping of
grain, or anything else, to stand in the way of all the ships arriving
at the time appointed. I am making all my calculations in the
matter, depending upon this point.
K. 1566. 118.
78. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I have to inform your Majesty that I have letters from London,
dated 20th, saying that Drake was at Plymouth, embarking his
men with all haste. The Queen had told the earl of Leicester
resolutely that he must return to Holland, and her ambassador
here publicly states this. The Queen had sent orders to Horatio
Pallavicini to return to England, as he advises her that he had
disbursed the 100,000 crowns, which he had provided on her orders,
for the raising of the Reiters, which was now certainly proceeding.
Don Antonio was in London, poor and dissatisfied, with no
appearance of his going to join Drake's fleet.—Paris, 25th April
K. 1566. 120.
79. Antonio De Vega to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Sends three Portuguese to him, to prevent them from following
his uncle (i.e., Don Antonio) ... My uncle is on the
high road to a complete breach with this lady (the Queen), and is
uncertain whither he shall go, but at present inclines to sail for
Holland with the greater part of his people in the ship the Queen
gave him. If he is well received he will stay, and if not he will
dismiss his people and go to Constantinople, by way of Germany,
with three or four unknown persons, unless something be done to
prevent the carrying out of his design. He ordered yesterday a
ship to be secretly freighted for Barbary, saying that he was going
to send thither Mathias Becudo, but it may be suspected that he
will go himself. If it were not for me he would go to France, but
I was the cause of his losing all hope of success there, as I influenced
the French ambassador here who wrote to the king of France. He
(Don Antonio) determined to have me killed under another pretext,
and I had as much as I could do to save myself. I will report all
that happens by Baltasar Baez, who will leave at latest in four or
five days. He already has his passport from the Queen, who is
letting some people go, and has even given passports to two friars to
go to France. It will be necessary for your lordship to advise the duke
of Parma and others not to tell the bearers (the three Portuguese
named) anything about me, only that they are to take this to
Gaspar Diaz Montesinos. I did not approach them as I had no
answer to my letter to you about them, but I have no doubt they
will always do as I wish them as they are under deep obligation to
me for their liberty.
I have gained over Dr. Ruy Lopez, and have converted him to his
Majesty's service with good promises, and he has already done
wonders in trying to get him (Don Antonio) turned out of here, and
to divert other matters, which will be explained at length by the
afore-mentioned messenger. I do not know whether I have done
right in this ; pray tell me. He (Dr. Lopez?) says that your
lordship had already had approaches made to him through Suygo,
who had offered him anything he liked to ask if he ceased to
interest himself in my uncle's affairs. Pray advise His Majesty and
ask his approval of what I have done, as my only aim is to serve
A week since the Holland fleet of 24 sail arrived at Dover to join
Drake, or to remain here. It was said that they were to go after
Drake at once, but Walsingham tells me that for the present they
will remain in the Channel, as they are in fear, Drake having only
taken out 24 sail. A man came yesterday from Lord Buckhurst
in Holland, who says the States concede all the Queen's demands.
The French Ambassador's gentleman who was arrested has been
released. (fn. 13) —London, 30th April 1587.
Note.—The above letter, like all those of Antonio de Vega, is
excessively obscure and ill-constructed. To it Bernardino de
Mendoza has appended the following note :—
"What he says about my having sounded Dr. Lopez through
Suygo is a great lie. I will write and tell him so and ask him if
he is so certain about Dr. Lopez, why he does not have his uncle
put out of the way altogether. On a mere hint that Don Guerau
de Spes gave him (Lopez) he offered to purge a Portuguese who was
busy about some expeditions to be sent from England to the Indies.
He took the recipe to the apothecary's himself, and on his way let
it fall out of his breeches pocket, in consequence of which he was
kept for six months in the Tower. I will say that this other
business will be well paid for, as the said doctor knows, and it may
be settled without hesitation."
The Portuguese referred to above, whose murder was suggested
by Don Guerau de Spes, the former Spanish ambassador in London,
was Bartolomé Bayon, and the matter is mentioned in the previous
volume of this Calendar, but I cannot find any record of Dr. Lopez
having been imprisoned as asserted.
K. 1566. 121.
80. Advices from Scotland.
The king of Scotland arrived at Dumfries on the 12th April,
accompanied by the earls of Bothwell and Angus, the master of
Glamis and others, for the purpose of collaring Maxwell, but the
latter received warning the previous night and fled—no one knows
There is much suspicion amongst the nobles who surrounded the
King that Maxwell was secretly advised by His Majesty himself to
take himself off the night before. It is impossible at present to
see what course they will take—that of peace or war—as they have
not yet received the reply from France for which they are waiting.
It is said that Maxwell is now in the town of Ayr with James
Stuart, otherwise the earl of Arran, whose progress in popery is
thought to be not without the King's connivance.
They are talking about having a meeting shortly, but there is a
doubt as to where it will be held. There is great disagreement
between the Lords of the North and those of the South, and most of
the latter are coming to meet the King.
The King is sending an ambassader to Denmark, with the object,
as is believed, of treating for his marriage with the daughter of that