345. Advices from London, 17th July (new style), sent by the
Portuguese who usually remits them (Antonio de Vega?).
I wrote on the 17th June and 2nd July. In the latter I related
that the fleet had sailed, its strength being stated at 136 sail, large
and small, and a much larger number of men than was expected.
The fleet afterwards returned, and then again sailed, the greater
part of it being now at Plymouth. Time had been wasted by the
Admiral in cruising off the coasts of France with one squadron whilst
Drake was with the rest near Ireland, the intention being to catch
the Spanish fleet both in front and rear if it came. They sent to
ask the Queen for 20 more ships, which she sent by Captain Winter
from the 40 which were in the Channel.
I also reported that the earl of Morton had taken up arms in
Scotland and that the King, persuaded by those who govern him,
belonging to the English faction, was trying to seize him. The
earl of Morton had therefore been obliged to embark, and had gone
in search of the Spanish fleet. The news was current here, however,
that he had been captured and beheaded, but such rumours as this
are spread here every day. After his embarkation the Earl fell ill,
and was obliged by contrary weather and his illness to land secretly
to obtain medical help. He was then captured by an enemy of his,
and the King now has him in his hands under guard. The Queen,
in consequence of this, has sent a Secretary of the Council to
Scotland with 4,000l. in cash, and great efforts were being made to
have Morton executed. Both in Scotland and here, great surprise is
felt at the delay in the coming of the Armada, as it is so long since
it sailed and the weather is fine, although this evening news arrived
here that the two fleets had met and that of Spain had had the
worst of the fight. But they are silent as to details, and, if the fleets
have met, this is a bad sign for them (the English). You may be
sure they will hush up any bad news they get as long as they can.
I also reported that the Queen had appointed the earl of Leicester
general and Lord Grey his lieutenant. The latter will command
everything. The earl of Sussex (Essex) commands the cavalry, and
Norris the infantry. The lords of the Council had ordered 1,000
horse to be raised at their own cost as a guard for the person of the
Queen. The earl of Leicester contributed 300 and the other lords
100 each ; but project has not yet been carried into effect.
On the 7th instant the Lord Treasurer and the Lord Chancellor
made public speeches at Westminster to all the nobility who had
been summoned. They assured them that the duke of Parma had
written to the Queen three times asking her to enter into negotiations
for peace, and in view of this, and her desire for the tranquillity
of her people, she had consented to send her Commissioners in
compliance with the Duke's written request. After they had arrived
he, the Duke, said he had no commission from the King, the only
object being to gain time. The Queen, although she understood this,
had dissembled, as she then lacked many things with which she was
now well supplied. Conditions, however, had been submitted to her
so injurious to her dignity that neither she could ever accept nor they
(the nobility) confirm them ; and consequently they were now
completely undeceived, and she had every confidence that they
would give such a reply as the Queen wished. She hoped with the
help of God, and the co-operation of her subjects, to overthrow her
enemies, and she urged them all to lend willing hands to so just a
cause as the defence of their faith, their sovereign, their homes, their
wives, and their children. Notwithstanding all this, people, large
and small, are sorely afraid, and place all their hopes in their fleet.
The Queen promised Don Antonio three days ago, that if the war
continued she would turn all her forces to his aid, and would miss no
opportunity of ruining his enemy and hers, as she had done hitherto.
He, Don Antonio, is very much pleased at this, and at the arrival of
a certain Gaspar de Gran, who was in Barbary, and promises him a
multitude of groundless things. On the 13th instant a woman of
the Queen's chamber, a Fleming named Jane Agnas, was arrested.
The cause of this was that she, having charge of the Queen's gloves,
a servant of hers stole some of them with diamonds on them. This
was discovered and the servant man condemned to death. Just as
they were about to cast him on the gallows, he begged them to stay
their hands, as he wished to communicate something of importance
to the life of the Queen. On being interrogated by the aldermen, he
declared that his mistress was privy to the Babington conspiracy to
kill the Queen, and the fact was referred by the aldermen to the
Council. The mistress was examined, and was afterwards carried
to the house of Alderman Martin ; but not much credit is given to
the story. The Queen is not well satisfied at the reply that
Sir Thomas Leighton brought from the king of France, nor at
Havre de Grace having declared for the League. I know that she
sent a person to attack the duke of Guise in some way. If it has
not happened it will.
I cannot say how much I am grieved at the news I have received
that Bernaldo Luis has been arrested, with his brother and Geronimo
Pardo, on the assertion that a ship which went to them from
Hamburg with merchandise had loaded it at a port in this country.
The truth of the matter is that she was driven hither by bad
weather, but loaded nothing here. I believe that the fault of it lies
with some person connected with the administration of justice, who
wishes to make money out of it. I grieve that they say that your
Lordship (i.e., Mendoza) and I are the cause of it, but I am armed
with patience to suffer all the crosses of fortune.
346. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
You have already been informed that the duke of Medina Sidonia
was forced by heavy weather to take shelter with most of the
Armada in Corunna. The information was sent to you to prevent
anxiety as to the mishap, of which rumours would sure to be
We have since ascertained that the whole of the Armada entered
port without the loss of a single ship, and that after the necessary
repairs have been effected, orders have been given to put to sea
again on the 16th instant, they having strict orders from me to
sail before the 20th. I have no doubt, therefore, unless the wind
prevents them, the ships will all be out by that time.
You will accordingly hold yourself in readiness to make such
representations to the Christian King as you may be instructed to
do by my nephew, the duke of Parma, taking care, however, not
to be too soon nor too late, but immediately after you have certain
news that the Armada has passed the coast of Normandy, and you
calculate that its object is about to be attempted. In case (which
God forbid) any of the ships should be forced by tempest into
French ports, to claim the good treatment you will have bespoken
for them, I send you the enclosed credit for 15,000 crowns, which
you will keep in reserve, and use solely for such an eventuality,
and not otherwise on any account whatever. You will not employ
it for the ships even, if those which may put into French ports have
money on board for their own purposes. For the purposes of your
embassy a separate credit of 8,000 crowns is now sent you.—San
Lorenzo, 18th July 1588.
347. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Since the letters from you of 14th ultimo nothing has been
received from you, doubtless in consequence of the courier having
been robbed on the road, as we are advised from Irun. Please send
in duplicate all letters since the 14th ultimo.
The object of the present is to inform you that the duke of
Medina Sidonia reports that the Armada sailed from Corunna on
the 22nd, stronger even than when it left Lisbon, the weather being
all that could be desired. I have since learnt that on the 23rd the
Armada finally put out to sea, and I now trust in God that it will
soon arrive at its destination. Forward the despatch for the duke
of Parma with the utmost celerity, and as you will have now to
let me know what happens almost from moment to moment
do not fail to exercise the greatest possible diligence in this
(In the King's hand.)—It would be advisable to tell him to have
persons on the coast to send him reports of what occurs, so that he
may send the news to us.—San Lorenzo, 28th July 1588.
348. Duke Of Parma to the King.
I am greatly grieved at receiving no news of the duke of Medina
Sidonia and the Armada, although vague rumours of all kinds
continue to reach us. I pray God fervently to bless the enterprise,
which is undertaken in His cause, and which I cannot persuade
myself He will allow to fail.
The troops of all nationalities, both horse and foot, are in their
places, mustered near the places of embarcation, as I have already
informed your Majesty. Thank God the health is generally good,
and the men full of spirits worthily to serve God and your Majesty.
The number has been somewhat increased, and the armament
improved, and I feel sure that, with God's help, when they set foot
in England they will honestly do their duty.
The marquis of Burghout's regiment has also arrived at their
quarters, whereat I was much rejoiced, not so much on account
of the pleasure it will give to the Archduke Ferdinand, as because
they are fresh Catholic troops, and there is a considerable number
As it was evident that the rebels in Flushing were so near that
they might give us a great deal of trouble when we brought out
the little boats we had at the Sluys, I took the opportunity some
days ago of bringing the boats through the canals to Nieuport,
without putting to sea at all, and I did the same thing with the
boats from Ghent to the Sluys. The work was very laborious, but
with God's help we got through with it, and it was very apposite,
because we shall now be able to put out from this coast more solidly
and united, without having to wait for one another, or cause the
Armada to have to sail so high up as would have been necessary
for at least a part of it to have done, to protect the passage of these
boats in case the rebels insisted in keeping at the mouth of the
Sluys the boats they had there whilst our boats were inside.—
Bruges, 18th July 1588.
349. Duke Of Parma to the King.
(Fervently begs for money to be sent to him. He will be utterly
undone without it, as he only has the 100,000 crowns from Sicily,
which the loss on exchange reduces to 87,500.) After I have spent
this, I shall be powerless. I pray your Majesty to consider what a
state is ours. The troops are in the field, and we are on the eve of
the execution of the task we have in hand, and yet at the last
moment we may have to break up from sheer necessity. What
account can I give of the fleet, of stores, artillery, and all the rest,
unless some resources reach me from somewhere or in some form?
Not only have I no money for the French business, which is so
important, (fn. 1) or for leaving here or taking with me, which is equally
so, but I shall lack the wherewithal to obtain daily food, which is
absolutely indispensable. I beseech your Majesty not to think that
there is any exaggeration in this, for it is simply the naked truth,
that I can find no means nor expedient of providing for the needs
which are already upon me.—Bruges, 20th July 1588.
350. Consultation held by the Duke Of Medina Sidonia
respecting the advisability of the sailing of the Armada
On the royal galleon.—Present : the duke of Medina Sidonia,
Don Alonso de Leyva, Don Francisco de Bovadilla, Secretary
Andres de Alva, Don Jorge de Manrique, the Admiral-in Chief,
Juan Martinez de Recalde, Don Pedro de Valdés, Diego
Flores Valdés, Miguel de Oquendo, Captain Martin de Bertondona,
Captain Diego de Medrano, Don Diego Enriquez, Gregorio
de las Alas, Admiral of the squadron of Diego Flores. The Duke
submitted the question of the advisability of the Armada* leaving
port, and begged each officer present to give his opinion of the
weather for the purpose. Don Alonso de Leyva said that as the
Duke had here the best sailors in these parts, he should follow their
advice. If they said he could sail, even with difficulty, he ought
to do so with all possible dilligence ; always on condition that
nothing rash should be done which might imperil the expedition.
Diego Flores de Valdés said that the Duke summoned them yesterday,
and he (Flores) had said that to-day, the 20th, the weather
would be worse, judging by appearances. As he foretold, there has
been a strong W.N.W. wind blowing to-day, and a heavy sea is
running in. The evil appearances still continue, and forebode very
bad weather. As it is of so much importance that the Armada
should be kept intact, he is of opinion that it ought not to sail from
this port until the weather be fine and there be a clear north-west
course. There is, however, a conjunction on Saturday, the 23rd, at
2 p.m., and he (Flores) expected that the wind would settle in the
N.W. as the new moon came in with it. But if there were a clear
N.W. course to-morrow, with a S.W. wind, the Armada might sail,
although with the risk he had already pointed out ; but as time was
short, and the supplies running out, he thought that in such a case
it would be advisable to sail.
Don Pedro de Valdés said that at yesterday's meeting he was of
the same opinion as Diego Flores, and neither yesterday nor to-day
has the weather been such that the Armada could safely weigh
anchor and leave port as they had Cape Priorio to the north, which
they must double, and the wind must be more free for this to be done
than was required for the rest of the voyage. The Spanish ships of
the Armada might weather the point, as they were swift and could
go well to windward, but neither the hulks nor the Levanters could
do so without danger. He (Valdés) was therefore of opinion that
the Armada ought not to weigh anchor with the weather as it was,
but should wait to see how it looked at the conjunction on Saturday,
23rd, unless it improves in the meanwhile. If the Armada sailed
with light airs, and got becalmed off the coast, it would run great
risk from the many currents which run towards the land, and it
would be impossible to prevent it. As it has been raining so heavily
since yesterday, he is hopeful that a land wind will spring up within
two days more favourable for them than the weather they had
Captain Martin de Bertondona said that from yesterday until
11 o'clock to-day the weather had been excellent. He would not
wish for better weather for the sailing of the Armada ; and the
whole of the pilots and mariners with whom he had spoken were of
the same opinion. Let the Duke, he said, inquire of them, and he
would find it was so.
Don Diego Enriquez said the moon had come in with S.W. and
W. winds, and it had begun to wane with the same winds. It had
blown from the S.W. to-day until 10 o'clock, and since then it had
come from the W. If the wind settles in that quarter to-morrow,
the Armada might sail, because whilst the moon had waxed the
winds remained fixed in the N.W. and N. ; and it might be expected
that the same thing would happen if they waited for this new moon
Miguel de Oquendo confirmed the opinion of Diego Flores and
Don Pedro de Valdés, for the same reasons as they gave, and also
because the Armada is so close inshore, so that nine or ten leagues
have to be traversed before they could get clear. If any cross wind
were to come on in the interim, the Armada, or at least a considerable
part of it, would run great risk.
Don Francisco de Bovadilla said that he was well aware that
nothing was so important for his Majesty's service as the prompt
sailing of the Armada, but in view of the difference of opinion
that existed amongst the naval commanders and pilots, and because
he (Bovadilla) was not a seaman, he could not advise the sailing of
the fleet in such disturbed weather. He thought, however, that
close watch should be kept, so that immediately the weather
permitted, they might sail without losing an hour.
Don Jorge Manrique said that he was not a sailor, but the season
was already so advanced, and the summer so short, that he was of
opinion that (as all great affairs must encounter some obstacles)
the Armada should sail immediately it appeared possible to double
Juan Martinez de Recalde said that, in accordance with the
decision arrived at yesterday, he had kept a careful look out ; so
that if they had six hours of fair weather, they might sail. He
had noticed that during nearly the whole of the night there was
almost a calm, and at dawn the same, with a very light S.W. wind.
But from midnight onward there was a heavy swell running in ;
with banks of cloud to the N.W. which looked very threatening.
As soon as it was daylight he had come to report to the Duke, with
whom he stayed over two hours, during which time the wind
increased in strength. He then went to do some business on shore.
During the whole of the period up to 11 o'clock in the day, the
Armada, if it had weighed anchor, might safely have weathered
Cape Priorio. He said it was quite clear that the old adage was true,
"Neither a bad sign in summer nor a good one in winter, but make
the best of the opportunity that comes." He was of opinion that,
if the weather to-morrow was similar to that of to-day, they should
sail without waiting for new moons. He had always understood
that, as the moon waxed, the N. and N.E. winds grew in strength.
Admiral Gregorio de las Alas, commanding Diego Flores' squadron,
confirmed the opinion of Juan Martinez (de Recalde).
On the same day the Duke summoned all the principal pilots on
the Armada, in the presence of the officers above mentioned (here
follow the names of all the pilots), and they agreed that if the
weather to-morrow were similar to that of to-day, without any signs
of a storm, the Armada might sail. The Duke in view of these
opinions, decided that the course recommended should be adopted.
A signal gun to make ready was fired, and another was ordered to
be discharged at midnight when the anchors are to be raised, and
the foremost ships to get out and leave the way clear. At daybreak
all ships are to hoist their sails, and proceed on their voyage with
God's blessing.—Duke Of Medina Sidonia.
Note.—The Duke wrote to the King on July 22nd (Estado, 455),
informing him that it had been found impossible to carry out the
intention set forth in the aforegoing document, as the weather on
the night of the 20th was so heavy. The Armada, however, got
out of harbour on the morning of the 22nd, with a very light S.W.
wind. At two o'clock in the afternoon the Armada had barely gone
three leagues when a dead calm fell, Cape Priorio being still undoubled.
The Duke feared that he might have to put back to
Corunna but at three o'clock in the morning of the 23rd, a land
breeze sprang up, which grew to a brisk S.E. wind as the day
advanced. This enabled the Armada to double Cape Ortegal soon
after 6 p.m., the wind being then from the south. In hoisting sail
the galley "Zuñga" broke her rudder-socket, which damage was
repaired after some delay, and the Armada then laid its course for
England.—(Letter from the Duke to the King, 6 p.m., 23rd July,
off Cape Ortegal. Estado, 455).
351. Duke of Parma to the King.
I have received news from Don Bernardino de Mendoza of the
peace concluded in France, to the great advantage of the Catholic
cause. Your Majesty's thanks are due to the League. There will
be much less danger now of interference with the principal business
we have in hand, which was to have been feared if the dissensions
Dr. Dale has come hither to complain to me about Cardinal Allen's
book. I excused it as well as I could by saying that I did not
understand the language, nor was I acquainted with the secret information
which might justify his (Allen's) statements. If there is
any ground for these, it must have originated with the English
themselves, who worked through Allen. I cannot help judging that
Dale must have had some other reason beyond this for coming to
see me, though I know not what it may be. He informed me,
however, that peace had been made in France, and that your
Majesty's Armada was at Corunna. Possibly his object may have
been to show the world that the Queen has done everything in her
power to make peace, in order that her people may be the more
willing to defend her and their country in case of war.
There has arrived here a Scottish bishop, a Carthusian monk, who
has been to Scotland and conversed with the King by the orders of
his Holiness. He brought me letters from Bruce and Semple, giving
me an account of events there, which confirms what your Majesty
says in one of your letters of 21st June, namely, that the King,
being a confirmed heretic, the Government is in the interest of the
Englishwoman, and the Catholic nobles are consequently unable to
withstand them except at heavy risk, until the English are otherwise
occupied and they (the Catholic nobles) obtain some outside aid. At
the same time they persist in saying that if the Catholics were well
supported and powerful, whilst the English had their hands full
elsewhere, the King would join the Catholic party and turn against
the English. Notwithstanding this, they affirm that he himself
says he is obliged to act in an exactly contrary way, and persecutes
the Catholics rigorously. Semple carried out very well the mission
I entrusted to him, and obtained (from the King) the answer to
which I have referred, which is the reply that he (the King) usually
gives to Catholics. What I am most grieved at is that, in consequence
of the earl of Morton's having insisted, against Semple's advice and
that of other Catholics, in precipitating matters, he was discovered
and apprehended, his life now being in danger. News from Calais
and elsewhere agree that he has already been beheaded.
The earl of Huntly and the other Catholics say that they can hold
out against the King for two months ; and they urge me to send
them reinforcements of men and money by the end of that period.
The message was brought to me by a nephew of his (Huntly's ?),
who accompanied the Bishop hither.
I replied that, knowing as I do how much your Majesty esteems
them, and wishes to defend Catholics, I would send them the
reinforcements at once if possible ; but the sea is so crowded with
enemies that we must wait until the fleet comes from Spain.—
Bruges, 21st July 1588.
352. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
With regard to Miss Kennedy, I will proceed as your Majesty
orders. They write from Scotland that she is already married to
the man of whom I spoke.
With his letters of 14th, the duke of Parma sends me one from
Bruce, which I have not yet deciphered, and cannot refer to in detail.
The Duke informs me that the (Scottish) Catholic nobles have sent
a gentleman to him, whom he has sent back to tell them not to
precipitate themselves prematurely before the time which Colonel
Semple understood ; in order that they might not share the misfortune
that had happened to the earl of Morton, which misfortune had
arisen from the earl of Morton's refusal to accept Colonel Semple's
advice, in accordance with the orders of the Duke and myself. I
warned him when he left here. I expect he has been captured by
the King, as is asserted here.
As I was about to sign this, the new friend informed me that the
King has sent a message from Rouen to the English ambassador
here, saying that as the terms of the arrangement for peace (i.e., with
the League) are so disadvantageous to him, he (i.e., the English
ambassador) will judge that they have been forced upon him, but
before two months have passed he will see a very different state of
things. The new friend thinks that this message is intended to be
conveyed to the queen of England.
I have already paid Julio 500 crowns, and he is pressing me for
an answer about the 2,500 he begs your Majesty to grant him. I
am keeping him in hand the meanwhile, and, the better to do so,
will in a few days hand him the other 500 crowns, particularly as I
see he is making every effort to keep me well informed, and it will
be unwise to lose him at this juncture. The new confidant will be
much pressed in this journey to Blois, unless your Majesty grants
him some favour. He informs me that since the peace (i.e., with the
League) was concluded the Queen-Mother said to a Minister that it
would be well for her son now to seek means to strengthen his
alliance with the queen of England. The Minister repeated it to
him in order that he might consider what it would be well to
propose with this object. But the matter had been carried no
further.—Paris, 24th July 1588.
353. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
My reports from London, dated 6th instant, confirm the departure
of the Admiral and Drake from Plymouth on the 1st July, with
140 sail and less than 8,000 men. The Queen's orders were, as I
previously advised, for them to consider whether it would be wise
or not for them to engage the Armada, as news had been received of
its great strength. Reports from St. Malo, dated 4th instant, say
that a ship had arrived there from Plymouth, bringing news that
the English fleet had sailed for Spain on the 1st.
In answer to your Majesty's orders that I should inform you
what further preparations had been made by the queen of England,
after she knew of the sailing of your Majesty's Armada, I beg to say
that the fresh efforts were only those that I have already reported,
namely, to send 14 or 20 ships of victuals from London, and some
sailors, as the plague had broken out on some of the ships in
consequence of the meat having rotted through its being badly
salted. What with this, and the desertion of men, Drake was
When the Queen was informed that your Majesty's Armada had
returned to Corunna, she swore by God's death, as she is accustomed
to do, and with a great deal of brag, that she would send her fleet
to disperse your Armada, even if it were in the interior of Spain.
When, a few days afterwards, she was informed that your Majesty's
fleet had again been sighted at sea, she did not answer a word, but
remained very sad.
When this King was dining publicly at Rouen he was informed
that your Majesty's fleet had returned to Corunna, in consequence
of the plague. He replied loudly enough for every one present to
hear, "That is a fine story ! It was only because they had seen the
English fleet and were frightened."
He has received reports from Bayonne and Rochelle that your
Majesty's fleet had put back to Spain in a storm, and the story soon
spread here that the fleet was dispersed. This was at the same time
as I received your Majesty's despatch, saying that the fleet had
returned in consequence of a contrary gale.
Fourteen ships have left Rochelle to join Drake, four of them,
they say, are of 100 tons each, and the rest some of the little pirate
I enclose advices from Havre de Grace which the King recently
sent to his mother with great speed. They are to the effect, that on
the 17th a ship had arrived at Havre from Newfoundland, and
reported that she had heard great artillery firing in the direction of
Guernsey, which made them think that your Majesty's Armada had
met the English fleet. As no confirmation of this comes from the
Breton coast, it may be concluded that the firing they heard was
the forts at Guernsey saluting the English fleet, unless it was
thunder.—Paris, 24th July 1588.
Note.—In a letter of this date to the King, Mendoza says that
Gaspar Diaz Montesinos (who had been sent by Vega from London
with a proposal to kill Don Antonio) had had a quarrel in Paris and
had left for Venice. He is full of lies and quarrels, and Mendoza is
glad to get rid of him, as he now has better instruments. He hears
he is now vapouring about Turin, talking loosely.
354. Count De Olivares to the King.
On the arrival of this courier I mentioned to his Holiness the
great prayers and intercession that were being offered to God in
Spain for the success of the Armada, my object in doing so being to
try to draw him on. But I got little by my motion, for he is as
hard as a diamond. He displays great desire to hear of the arrival
of the Armada, and has the money ready, so that no delay shall
occur in the payment. God knows how I have striven. But I can
do no more, and there is nothing for it. All kinds of rumours have
come from France about the Armada having been seen, and that it
was sailing round the island (Great Britain). But it is all proved to
be false, as the fleet was on the Galician coast on the 21st.—Rome,
25th July 1588
355. Duke of Medina Sidonia to Duke of Parma.
After I wrote to your Excellency by Captain Moresin I continued
my voyage with the fleet, but with such contrary weather that I
was hardly able to double Cape Finisterre. When I had got as
far as Cape Priorio, six leagues from Corunna, and was awaiting
the arrival of the galleys I had ordered to join me there on the
19th instant, I was overtaken with a storm of such violence that
I was obliged to take refuge in Corunna, followed by some ships
that were near us. The rest of them, two-thirds of the Armada,
were unable to get in, as they were too far to leeward, and they
consequently had to run along the coast, some of them putting into
the Biscay and Asturian ports. Some damage was sustained, but,
by God's grace, it was repaired in Corunna and the various ports,
and on the 16th all the ships were again collected in Corunna ready
to sail when the weather served. This happened on the 22nd, and
I left port on that day. At 3 o'clock the same afternoon the wind
fell calm, but the next morning a fair breeze, arose, and I ran before
it for three days, until the present hour, when I am in 48 degrees
(N.). I have thought well to send to your Excellency the bearer,
Captain Don Rodrigo Tello de Guzman, a gentleman and soldier
who has served his Majesty for many years, for the purpose of
saluting you, and giving you news of our condition and whereabouts,
with such other information as your Excellency may desire. I have
instructed him to convey to you also some other points respecting
the voyage. Please give credence to him.—Galleon "San Martin,"
25th July 1588.
356. Advices from London.
People here do not fear the Spaniard any more, as they are
convinced that he has returned to Spain. The rumour was current
that the Spaniards were at the Scilly Isles, and the Admiral set
sail to meet them, but as he could get no news of them he
All the principal Catholics have been sent to the Isle of Ely in
the custody of Lord North. (fn. 2)
The Queen has caused a proclamation to be published against
those who receive bulls from the Pope respecting the excommunication
of the Queen, or similar subjects. Offenders are to be
hanged, and half their goods confiscated to the informer. A book
has been recently published here against Cardinal Allen's book,
addressed to Sir William Stanley. The author does not state his
name otherwise than "G. D." The book is very impertinent and
All other things are in the same state as when I last wrote.
Note.—The above "advice," although in Spanish, is evidently
written by an Englishman.
357. Advices from London (Antonio De Vega).
On 21st and 26th ultimo I sent reports by a Portuguese, viâ Havre
de Grace. Since then I have not written, as I could get no
trustworthy means of sending, and in consequence of my being
under medical treatment for a great descent of rheum from my
head, which I have had for many years past. My illness compels
me to write very briefly to-day. The Admiral arrived at Plymouth
on the 4th and sailed with Drake on the 8th. They remained two
days at Falmouth, and then put to sea. But the weather was
against them, to judge from the winds prevailing here, and I do not
think they can have got out yet, although they say they have.
They have 120 sail, in addition to some store ships that are to
follow. They have orders not to attack or do any damage until
they see that the Spanish Armada is coming to English ports.
Don Antonio did not go, as the Queen was on the alert, and sent
special orders to the admirals that they were not to take him if he
attempted to go. He is rather more quiet with the promises they
have made him, and better supplied with money secretly, in case it
should be necessary to escape. The money comes from a patent he
has granted to certain English merchants, giving them the exclusive
right of going from this country to the River Gambia and neighbourhood
for 10 years ; for which they have given him 400l. in
money, and will pay him 5 per cent. of all they bring. This has
been confirmed by the Queen, and three ships will sail from here in
August, two of 250 tons and one of 140, this being in accordance
with the terms of the contract. Some Englishmen are going in
them. As for Don Antonio, I will take care to cut off all the paths
he thinks are safe. I am his depositary of 500 cruzados for this
purpose (i.e., his escape in case of need), which he did not wish to
contide even to his second self, Diego Botello.
358. Duke of Medina Sidonia to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty on the 23rd, that we were proceeding on
our voyage in excellent weather. This continued all that day and
the two following days. No better weather could have been desired ;
and really if three or four of our ships had cared to clap on sail,
even though they were not very swift, they might have arrived at
the mouth of the Channel by Monday the 25th. But I, in this
galleon, could only sail as fast as the scurviest ship in the fleet, as
I have to wait for the slowest of them—verily some of them are
dreadfully slow—so I was obliged, anxious as I was to get forward,
thus to tarry on the way. I was much distressed at this. I should
have wished them all to sail as fast as I could ; but withal, during
these three days I made so much way that I reached 48 degrees (N.)
at sea. On this day (Monday, 25th July, N.S.) I dispatched Captain
Don Rodrigo Tello to the duke of Parma to inform him of the day
I sailed from Corunna and my present position, and to give him
an account of the course I expected to follow until I met with a
messenger from him informing me how I should proceed for the
purpose of effecting a juncture, and other particulars upon which I
thought we should mutally be agreed. In case he should not have
sent such a messenger, I begged him to do so at once in the armed
pinnace that carried Don Rodrigo ; or else by the Biscay smack
(zabra) that took thither Captain Moresin, which I fear may have
been lost, as there has been ample time for it to have gone thither
and returned to me.
On Tuesday at dawn we had a dead calm, with a very dense fog,
and the Armada made no way until midday, when a wind from the
north sprang up, and we set an easterly course. By a signal gun I
then ordered the fleet to tack to the west, to which was done, and
in N.N.W. winds and constant heavy squalls the whole day and
following night we made but little way. During the day the leading
galley, called the "Diana," was missing, which caused me great
anxiety until I learned what had become of her. I sent to ask
Captain Medrano what he knew about her, and he replied that the
captain of the galley, a man named Pantoja, had sent to him during
the night, saying that she was making so much water that she was
unable to follow the Armada, and was forced to run for the first
Spanish port she could make. Medrano sent word to me that the
sea was very heavy for the galleys, and if necessary he should run
for shelter to the coast of France. I begged him to make every
effort to continue with the fleet, as I, perhaps, might not touch at
the Scillys, but run into the Channel direct. I sent two pataches to
stand by the galleys in case the latter should require assistance, and
to enable them to communicate with me. This was done on the
26th instant, and all that day the three galleys were in sight ; but
after nightfall, when the weather became thick, with very heavy
rain, they were lost sight of and we have seen them no more.
On Wednesday, the 27th, it blew a full gale, with very heavy rain
squalls, and the sea was so heavy that all the sailors agreed that
they had never seen its equal in July. Not only did the waves mount
to the skies, but some seas broke clean over the ships, and the whole
of the stern gallery of Diego Flores' flagship (i.e., the "San Cristobal")
was carried away. We were on the watch all night, full of anxiety
lest the Armada should suffer great damage, but could do nothing
more. It was the most cruel night ever seen. The next day,
Thursday, was clear and bright, with less sea, although it was still
very rough. On counting the ships of the Armada, forty were
missing, namely, Don Pedro de Valdés's ships, the bulks, and some
of the pataches. I was in great anxiety about them until I learnt
what had become of them, and sent out three pataches, one towards
the Lizard to order the ships, if she sighted them, to wait the
Armada ; another to take soundings, and if possible to reconnoitre
the land ; and the third to return on our course and order any ships
that had fallen astern to put on all sail and join the flagship. All
day on Thursday we sailed with a westerly wind, the sea being
much calmer than previously, the breeze, however, being light and
with little appearance of freshening. The pataches that I had sent
to take soundings returned at nightfall, as well as two pilots who
had gone out in a boat for the same purpose, reporting that they
had found bottom at 68 fathoms.
To-day, Friday, dawned fine but hazy, clearing as the day
advanced. At eight o'clock in the morning the patache I had sent
ahead to seek the ships returned, reporting that they were awaiting
the Armada. The patache I had sent back to bring up stragglers
also returned, and the rest of the vessels gradually came up, I
standing by to enable them to reach me. We continued to sail with
the westerly wind until midday, when I ordered the sun to be taken,
and we found ourselves in 50 degrees (N.) bare, the soundings
finding bottom at 56 fathoms. At four o'clock in the afternoon,
whilst sailing still with a westerly wind, the weather being clear,
we sighted land at the Lizard, and we are now about three leagues
distant from it at seven o'clock in the evening. We shortened sail to
allow the rest of the ships to come up, as some of them were knocked
about in the storm and have been repairing.
I have now, Saturday, the 30th July (N.S.), all the Armada
together, and I will set sail as soon as the flag galleass has been put
in order, her rudder being broken. These craft (i.e., the galleasses),
are really very fragile for such heavy seas as these.
The galleys have not appeared, nor have I any tidings of them,
which causes me great anxiety. The galleasses and the ships,
thank God, are all right, and have suffered no damage. The men
are so contented that I am delighted to see them. When land was
first sighted from this galleon I had hoisted to the maintop a
standard, with a crucifix and the Virgin and Magdalen on either
side of it. I also ordered three guns to be fired, and that we should
all offer up a prayer in thanks for God's mercy in bringing us thus
far. God Almighty grant that the rest of our voyage may be
performed as we and all Christendom hope it will be.
In sight of Cape Lizard, on board the galleon "San Martin."
The Duke of Medina Sidonia.
359. Duke of Medina Sidonia to the King.
I have written to your Majesty clearly (i.e., not in cipher), and the
object of the present letter is to say that I am obliged to proceed
slowly with all the Armada together in squadrons as far as the Isle
of Wight, and no further, until I receive advices of the duke of
Parma informing me of the condition of his force. As all along the
coast of Flanders there is no harbour or shelter for our ships, if I
were to go from the Isle of Wight thither with the Armada our
vessels might be driven on to the shoals, where they would certainly
be lost. In order to avoid so obvious a peril I have decided to stay
off the Isle of Wight until I learn what the Duke is doing, as the
plan is that at the moment of my arrival he should sally with his
fleet, without causing me to wait a minute. The whole success of
the undertaking depends upon this, and in order that the Duke
may be acquainted with it, I will send another pinnace to him as
soon as I get into the Channel ; and still another when I arrive off
the Wight. I am astonished to have received no news of him for
so long. During the whole course of our voyage we have not fallen
in with a single vessel, or man, from whom we could obtain any
information ; and we are consequently groping in the dark. If we
can pick up any intelligence by means of one of our pinnaces as we
pass Plymouth, I will endeavour to do so.—In sight of the Lizard,
30th July 1588.