K. 1448. 120.
94. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
On the 13th ultimo all your letters then to hand were answered.
Yesterday yours the 10th, 20th, and 23rd May came to hand
together, and although there has only been time to note the
English news, I hasten to acknowledge them, and to urge you to
send by express all you can learn of armaments in England, for
whatever purpose intended. Try also to discover why the ships
from Holland remain in the Channel, and whether Winter has left
with those 14 ships to join Drake, and if so, with what object. The
reports they are spreading, that they have sent to recall Drake, cannot
be believed. He was at Cape St. Vincent a few days since. We are
rapidly effecting the junction of our fleets, and they will very shortly
be in good order for sailing.—Getafe, 1st June 1587.
Note.— A letter of 20th June, from the King to Mendoza,
acknowledges the receipt of the above-mentioned letters at length,
and again requests the information asked for, but contains nothing
further of interest.
K. 1566. 141.
95. Document headed "Advices from England, dated 6 June, 1587,
received in Paris the 20th."
Drake had written to England, saying that he learned from the
men he had captured that the preparations being made by your
Majesty against England were very great, sufficient to maintain a
fleet of 40,000 men for a year, but he hoped that the damage he had
done would now prevent your Majesty from mustering a great fleet.
He would ensure this if the Queen would send him a reinforcement
of ships, as he would then be able to stop the galleys from joining
the ships at Lisbon. He had victualled his ships for more than six
months with the biscuit and wine he had captured from your
Majesty's vessels, and he would distribute the meat and other stores
so that they should last the same length of time. He was confident
of being able to fulfil his mission of preventing the junction of your
Majesty's fleet in Spain this year, if he were furnished with the aid
he required. They need only make such preparations in England
as would be necessary in case any stray ships went from Spain to
assault the villages.
When the above letter from Drake was received, it was decided
that four out of the eight ships the Queen had guarding the west
end of the Channel should be sent to Drake, and that 10 merchantmen,
of from 80 to 100 tons burden, should be fitted out in Bristol and
the West-country ; the whole 14 vessels taking 1,500 or 2,000 men,
sailors and soldiers together. Some people thought that these ships
could be made ready in a fortnight, but others were of opinion that
it would take much longer. Ten more of the Queen's ships were in
the Thames ready for sea. It was feared that if any armed ships
from Spain were to go out and meet the 14 vessels before they
effected their junction with Drake, the English ships might be
destroyed, as they would not be so well armed and formed as Drake's
fleet. It was uncertain whether they would be commanded by
Grenville, a gentleman who has been sailing as a pirate, or Frobisher,
who they thought would agree with Drake better than the other. (fn. 1)
K. 1566. 112.
96. Dr. Nicholas Wendon to the King.
Fifteen years have passed since your petitioner, Nicholas Wendon,
an English gentleman, archdeacon of Suffolk and a doctor of the High
Court of Chancery of England, left his country for the sake of the
Catholic faith, relinquishing over 1,500 ducats a year income, and in
consideration thereof it pleased the late Pope Gregory XIII. to grant
him a canonry in St. Gery, Cambrai. When he had lived there five
years the unhappy rebellion took place, and on the said Archdeacon
publicly displaying his duty to your Majesty, he was forced to leave
the city with Archbishop Barlemont, and abandon all he possessed
there. Your Majesty's ambassadors, Juan Bautista de Tassis and
Don Bernardino de Mendoza, knowing the whole of the circumstances,
and moved by compassion for his affliction and long suffering for
the sake of the Catholic religion in England, and then at Cambrai,
and for his fidelity to your Majesty, obtained a year ago from the duke
of Parma a grant of 20 crowns a month to support him in his present
need. Notwithstanding this, owing to the many demands for
money in Flanders, he has never received the said allowance ; and
this poor archdeacon humbly supplicates your Majesty to consider
his poverty and suffering, he having no other means of support but
your bounty, to grant him some increase of the allowance of
20 crowns a month so that it may equal those paid to most of the
English gentlemen of quality by your Majesty's charity, and that it
should be paid in Paris where he lives, as the other English pensioners
are paid, through Don Bernardino de Mendoza.—Nicholas Wendon,
Provost, St. Gery, Cambrai. Paris, 8th June 1587.
K. 1566. 143.
97. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The French ambassador in England writes that in his audience
with the Queen he told her he would not speak of what had passed,
as he feared that in his own exculpation he might say something that
might displease her. The Queen had at once taken his hand and
said she had never thought he was to blame. The audience resulted
in a discussion with the Treasurer and Walsingham about the
seizures, and the wheat ships that had been detained were released.
With this and the recent fair weather for ships from Holland, 150
vessels loaded with grain have arrived on the coast of Normandy,
and the famine here has consequently somewhat abated. The King
has kept delaying the audience of the English ambassadors,
apparently to give him time to hear what his mother has arranged
at Rheims and to be governed thereby. (fn. 2) He received the ambassadors
on the 7th without any great show of affection. They handed him
a paper, containing, doubtless, the points to be settled about the
arrests, which paper the King sent to Secretary Brulart. As
Waad was instructed when he came, to deal with certain seizures of
English property at Rouen, he said that the Queen thought it
strange that some of this property should have been sold since
Waad's arrival here, whereupon the King replied that it was much
stranger still that such a man as he (Waad) should dare to say as much
to him. If I can learn the points under discussion I will report them
to your Majesty. The King has appointed M. de Joyeuse, Belièvre,
Secretary Pinart, and President Brisson as a committee to deal with
the seizures.—Paris, 9th June 1587.
K. 1566. 145.
98. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The audience of the French ambassador with the queen of
England resulted in his agreeing with the Councillors to whom
the Queen referred the matter, and I send enclosed a copy of the
The new friend (fn. 3) reports that the ambassador in the course of the
discussion told Cecil and Walsingham that the Queen's cool treatment
of Belièvre had caused the latter not to declare his mission on certain
points which would have given great pleasure to the Queen (and
from this it may be inferred what action he would take about the
queen of Scotland), and it would therefore be advisable for the Queen
to send some personage hither on the pretext of this commission
(about the seizures) who could at the same time treat of the other
matters which Belièvre had not mentioned. I am told that the
Queen writes to her ambassador here asking him what person he
thinks will be best to come.
He is also informed that Chateauneuf has told them that I have
been pressing the King in various audiences to join your Majesty
against England, and that he had replied that it was not fitting
that he should listen to such proposals. They say I recently had
an audience in which I handed to the King a letter from your
Majesty about the business of the friars of St. Catharine's, in
Barcelona, and they also inform the English ambassador here that
I had recently delivered another letter to the King, of which they
would send him a copy, in which your Majesty again asks him (the
king of France) to unite with you against England.
Your Majesty will see by this the fictions they make use of here.
The new friend is so keen that he wrote to me instantly what was
passing, in order that I might say what would he the best course he
could take in the matter for your Majesty's interests. I answered
that what they wrote was a lie ; as would be proved if they in
England asked for the original letter, instead of a copy. He
was much pleased with the suggestion, which he assured me he
would duly adopt.
I understand that the English ambassadors have said that the
King did not receive them so well as they expected, which they
attribute to orders from the Queen-mother, so as not to give offence
to the Guises. They (the English ambassadors) said to the King
that he would already have heard from his ambassador of the
favourable reception accorded to him by the Queen, and that the
latter had relased Trapes ; whereupon his Majesty replied that that
was not what he had expected, and that his own dignity and that
of his Minister demanded something more than the mere release of
Trapes. The Queen, he said, ought to punish the man who had
imagined such a piece of roguery. They gave the King the heads
for discussion, which he said he would consider, and send his answer
by Brulart. I will report what occurs.
The King and his mother attach much importance to their having
been informed that the queen of England was negotiating through
me an agreement with your Majesty, and this makes them think
that your preparations are rather for the purpose of enabling you
to exact better terms, than with the intention of attacking her.—
Paris, 9th June 1587.
K. 1566. 147.
99. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Your Majesty's right to the Crown of England is being declared
by Englishmen everywhere. They look to it for relief from their
oppression and exile. They write from Brussels that some
Englishmen there, desirous of flattering the duke of Parma, are
saying that, although your Majesty is the legitimate possessor of
the Crown of Portugal by virtue of the laws there, you cannot be so
of that of England, and that the succession therefore passes, through
the incapacity of the king of Scotland, to the son of the duke of
Parma. They have drawn up a genealogical tree of this nonsense,
and are going to have it printed. (fn. 4)
I not only wrote to the count de Olivares about the archbishop
of Glasgow, as I reported to your Majesty, but also caused him to
write to Cardinal Sanzio. He and Cardinal Mondovi, who is the
protector of Scotland there, spoke to his Holiness about it, and he
told them to write, instructing the Archbishop to accept the post of
ambassador of the king of Scotland. The Archbishop has written
to the latter, saying that for certain reasons he begs to be excused
from serving him as ambassador, although he will remain here a
year to forward affairs, and assist the persons who may be sent to
take charge of them. This is only an artifice until he sees how the
affair which Bruce has gone about may turn out ; and if the King
does not show much attachment to the Catholic religion he (the
Archbishop) does not wish to be prevented by his post of ambassador
from aiding those who are better disposed towards it.
The King was keeping in prison the Master of Grey, who was so
friendly with the queen of England, on the charge of having been
concerned in the execution of his mother. Parliament had been
convened for the beginning of June and they write from Scotland
that the queen of England has signified to the king of Scotland
that she had agreed with your Majesty, and he might therefore
consider whether it would not be advantageous for him to be friendly
I understand that on Walsingham being told that the king of
Scotland was showing courage in the matter of his mother's death,
he replied that if he boasted much more they would send him the
same road as his mother for 1,000l.—a little more than 3,000 crowns.
—Paris, 9th June, 1587.
Note.—In a letter of the same date as the aforegoing, addressed
to Don Juan de Idiaquez, Mendoza mentions that a person had just
arrived from London, which place he had left on the 3rd, bringing
news of the arrival in England of a small vessel of Drake's squadron
with advices of Drake's having engaged certain ships of the Spanish
fleet and that he still remained on the coast of Spain. In another
letter (holograph) from the same to the same, Mendoza urgently
presses for a more liberal supply of money or he cannot fulfil his
Majesty's orders satisfactorily.
K. 1566. 146.
100. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I reply to your Majesty's letter of the 13th ultimo received here
on the 26th. Although I did everything in my power (as I said in
my despatches) to send news of Drake's departure with his fleet
the ports were closed in order to prevent the transmission of the
intelligence, and so much cunning was employed in this that even
Secretary Walsingham refrained from sending hither a despatch
from his mistress, so that the courier might not say anything about
it. Notwithstanding this, if Villeroy had not detained the passport
for four days, as he did, the post having passed safely (which is
something, in the present state of the roads), my despatches would
have reached your Majesty some days before. To the misfortune
of my news having arrived too late must be added the fact that
God favoured Drake with just such weather as he required for his
object, both on his departure from London and after his sailing from
Plymouth on the 11th April (o.s.), when the wind continued so
favourable that the Queen, wishing to impress upon Chateauneuf
the French ambassador, that all her designs turned out successfully,
told him she had news of the 13th May that Drake and his fleet had
burnt the ships in Cadiz and had sacked the country. The ambassador
replied that it was bard to believe, whereupon she said "Then you
do not believe what is possible." He wrote this hither by the
gentleman who I mentioned had brought an account of his audience,
before the news arrived from Spain. They did not credit it here,
and they had me asked secretly about it, as the business did not seem
one that could have been done in so short a time, and it was not
possible for the Queen to have received the news at the time she
made the remark. (fn. 5) It is evident that she said what she did
depending upon the fair wind and the belief that he (Drake) would
find Cadiz unprepared, thanks to the secrecy of his departure. I
can assure your Majesty, and call God as my witness, that so far as
lies in my power, I do not lose an instant in reporting what I hear.
I may also say that the new confidant has taken care hitherto to
advise without loss of a moment whatever may touch your interests.
The last news, of 29th ultimo, brings no intelligence of the
preparation of a naval force formed of the 14 Queen's ships now in
the Thames, although they are ready with arms, munitions, and
men. I cannot report the number of Dutch and Flushing ships in
the Thames and the Channel, because as they have no commander, and
their object is only plunder, each one goes whither he lists. Sometimes
they run into Flushing and other ports, and, according as the weather
serves, sail for the purpose of robbery. Nevertheless, passengers
between England and France, who are best able to speak of it, give
many statements as to the ships they meet, and also of the Rochelle
pirates who come up to the entrance of the Channel. All that can
be gathered from these statements is that the ships are not provided
with munitions and stores to enable them to undertake a voyage
with a regular fleet.
The queen of England has no troops in Holland but those who
were in the garrisons. It was said in London that the earl of
Leicester would shortly go thither with 1,000 infantry to fill up the
English companies, but the new confidant assures me that this has
not yet been decided upon. In Ireland there are only the ordinary
troops, which do not exceed 1,000 men, and it was thought that the
Queen would soon send another Viceroy, as Thomas Parret (Sir
John Perrot), the present one, is very unpopular.
Italian merchants write from London that several English ships,
freighted for Leghorn and other Italian ports, had returned to
England when they had learnt of Drake's action in Cadiz, bringing
with them some ships they had plundered.
The Scots ambassador here, not having yet had audience of the
King, sent the gentleman who came to him from Scotland to the
duke of Guise. When the Queen-Mother departed from here
she left strict orders for every effort to be made both through the
Scots ambassador and Englishmen to discover whether any
negotiation was being carried on on your Majesty's behalf.
Letters have been received from Scotland, dated 12th May,
reporting that the King had held a meeting of nobles in which his
Majesty had ordered Morton to quit Scotland, promising him the
enjoyment of his revenues in any place he chose out of the kingdom.
A month had been allowed him to be gone, but it was believed that
the term would be extended from time to time ; and so the earl of
Angus and the English faction, who are urging the banishment of
Morton at the instance of the queen of England, could be temporised
I have no news of Bruce, but I hope in God that by this time, if
he has had fair weather, he will be in Scotland.—Paris, 9th June
K. 1566. 148.
101. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The arrival of André de Loo in London caused the rumour I have
mentioned, that the arrangements for peace with your Majesty were
on the point of being concluded, and Don Antonio went to the
Queen to ask for a passport as she was treating for peace. She said
it was true, and if it were settled she pledged her word to place him
in safety out of the country in any place he chose. She would give
him a passport at once, and pending an arrangement between her
and your Majesty she recommended him to dismiss the Portuguese
he had with him, except 12 or 15 persons ; and to send and ascertain
whether the rebel states would help him with some ships as they
had promised on former occasions, in which case he could push his
claims, and she would not fail to help him with forces the moment
it was decided that she was not to have peace with your Majesty
and Drake returned. In accordance with this Don Antonio dismissed
over 80 Portuguese as they themselves assert, telling them
to stay in Holland for two months, after which he would take them
back. For this purpose he gave them five crowns each, and ordered
them to go and serve the rebels. For various reasons this did not
commend itself to most of them, and they asked for passports
enabling them to go whithersoever they pleased, and the majority of
them have come to France. Some of them have come to me to beg for
passports and your Majesty's pardon, and I have replied that the bad
behaviour of some of their countrymen for whom I had interceded
with your Majesty would not allow me to do as they asked. They
have now scattered over France, some going to Marshal Montmorenci ;
and Don Antonio Meneses and Don Juan de Castro are starving in
an inn here. M. de Chatres, governor of Dieppe, who surrendered
at Terceira, has received four of these Portuguese who had been at
the Mina and is going to send them out in a ship to plunder. Don
Antonio was sending his eldest son to the rebel states, but the Queen
told him it would be better that Diego Botello should go, and he went
to Zeeland some time ago, saying that if the States helped Don
Antonio well he would soon go thither, and send to Bearn to ask
for support. Don Antonio's people here are trying to ascertain
whether the King will receive him well if he come hither.
On the 29th ultimo Don Antonio was at Stepney, a mile out of
London. In answer to your Majesty's inquiry as to his not having
embarked in Drake's ships, I may say that the Queen had no other
object than the attack upon Cadiz and afterwards the intercepting
of the flotillas, and she therefore did not wish Don Antonio to
accompany Drake. He himself did not press the matter, as he
thought the number of ships insufficient and not so many as had
been promised him.
I have just received letters from England of 2nd instant, saying
that Don Antonio had now gone to a house in London which had
been given to him by the earl of Leicester. He had fallen out
with the barber who has served him for over 27 years because he
would not clothe the latter any longer. This Thomas, the barber,
has come to see me here, saying that his wife is in prison in
Portugal by your Majesty's orders, and he wanted a passport from
me to enable him to go and cast himself at your Majesty's feet with
a rope round his neck. I gave him the same answer as I did the
M. de la Chatre, governor of Dieppe, has decided to send a ship
of 250 or 300 tons, manned only by Portuguese, to the Mina and
the coast of Brazil.—Paris, 9th June 1587.
Note.—In another letter of the same date as the above, entirely
on Portuguese affairs, Mendoza gives a long account of a secret
interview he had had with a Portuguese friar named Diego Carlos,
who had come from England and professed to have Don Antonio's
authority for approaching the king of Spain with submission and
hope of pardon. Mendoza treated the proposal with studied coolness,
saying that no terms could be made, but Don Antonio must cast
himself on the King's mercy. He asks for instructions as to whether
he is to continue the negotiations.
K. 1566. 152.
102. The Duke Of Guise to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Hints his dissatisfaction at not being kept informed of the
progress of Bruce's negotiation. The archbishop of Glasgow and
all the king of Scotland's servants are aware that he (Guise) had
cognisance of it, and the king of Scotland is sure to write and ask
him for advice, in which case he cannot decently pretend to be
ignorant of the matter. He begs Mendoza to tell him how he should
act in the interests of the king of Spain, as his obligation towards
the latter outweighs all other considerations. If the king of Scots
is his cousin, he looks upon the king of Spain as the common father
of all Catholics, and especially of him (Guise), but in serving him he
wishes to be dealt with in the same honourable fashion as heretofore,
and as he (Guise) has ever adopted. (fn. 6) —12th June 1587.
103. Count De Olivares to the King.
They are making much here of the king of Scotland having
restored the archbishop of Glasgow and two other bishops, one of
them being that Carthusian friar about whom I have written
recently. Cardinal Mondovi sent to tell me, as an affair of great
importance, and subsequently the Pope said that he had been
informed, and asked me what I thought of it. I replied that very
probably the King was so desirous of being revenged for the death
of his mother, in which he could only hope to be aided by the
Catholics, that he had adopted this means of encouraging them with
the hope that he would be a Catholic ; and he would, no doubt, do
something else at the same time, of which we knew nothing, in
order not to lose ground with the heretics in consequence. I said I
knew so much of the King's bad inclination that it would take a
great deal of persuasion to make me hope for his sincere conversion.
The Pope did not appear to disagree with me in this.
His Holiness told me that he had given the new collector a
credential letter for your Majesty, and had ordered him to recommend
the English enterprise to you, and to say that the king of
France had offered to help, for which reason it would be well to see
whether something could not be got from him (i.e., the king of
France), if only a promise that he would not oppose it. I tried to
undeceive him on this point, as I have done before, and although at
the time he seems to understand it, he has not even yet been quite
disillusioned, or he would not have instructed Bressa (fn. 7) to speak thus
on the English affair, after I had induced him to say nothing until
a reply was received from your Majesty. I tried to confirm him in
this, as Bressa's departure drew near before any reply came, and he
told me that he had already spoken about the matter to him, but
had said nothing more than that he should forward the business as
much as possible, and persuade your Majesty to it, but that if that
were unsuccessful, he should try to undertake the enterprise himself,
or at least leave enough money behind him for his successor to
I send copy of Allen's letter (fn. 8) in favour of the English who
surrendered strong places to your Majesty, which letter I sent to the
duke of Parma.—Rome, 12th June 1587.
104. Count De Olivares to the King.
I forgot to say that Melino and Allen have conceived the idea that
your Majesty has cooled towards the enterprise, as they see the time
advancing and have received a letter from Don Bernardino de
Mendoza saying that the death of the queen of Scotland is greatly
against the expedition. They are therefore using every effort to
convince me that, not only will the Queen's death be no loss to the
business, but will do away with many of the difficulties which beset
it, as much trouble would have had to be taken to save her during
the enterprise, and more still after God had crowned it with success.
—Rome, 15th June 1587.