360. Duke Of Medina Sidonia to Duke Of Parma.
During the voyage I despatched Captain Rodrigo Tello to give
your Excellency an account of the Armada. I have since then
continued the voyage to this place. This morning the enemy's
fleet came out, and having got the wind of us, attacked our rear.
During their exchange of cannon fire with the Armada my flagship
became so closely engaged that it was necessary for us to attack the
enemy in force whereupon they retired, although they still continue
within sight of the Armada, with the object, apparently, of delaying
and impeding our voyage. If their object had been to fight they
had a good opportunity of doing so to-day. I have thought well
to send this pinnace with Ensign Juan Gil to inform your Excellency
of this, and to say that it is my intention, with God's help, to
continue my voyage without allowing anything to divert me, until
I receive from your Excellency instructions as to what I am to do
and where I am to wait for you to join me. I beseech your
Excellency to send with the utmost speed some person with a reply
to the points about which I have written to you, and supply me
with pilots from the coast of Flanders ; as without them I am
ignorant of the places where I can find shelter for ships so large as
these, in case I should be overtaken by the slightest storm. Ensign
Gil will give your Excellency all the information you may require
about the Armada.—Galleon "San Martin," two leagues off
Plymouth, 31st July 1588.
361. Duke Of Medina Sidonia to Duke Of Parma.
The ships which came out, forming the enemy's fleet, with Drake
on board, are said to number 80 sail as far as they could be
counted, some of them being excellent vessels, and all of them very
rapid sailers. I could not send the ensign (Gil) yesterday, but he
leaves to-day. I have nothing to add to what I have written,
except that the enemy still continues to harass our rear, and that
their ships now seem to have been increased to above a hundred sail.
—Off Portland, 20 leagues from Plymouth, 1st August 1588.
362. Duke Of Medina Sidonia to Don Hugo De Moncada. (fn. 1)
A fine day this has been! If the galleasses had come up as I
expected the enemy would have had (his fill?)
The important thing for us is to proceed on our voyage, for these
people (the enemy) do not mean fighting, but only to delay our
progress. In order to prevent this, and enable the Armada to keep
on its way with safety, it is advisable that it should sail in two
squadrons, vanguard and rearguard. The rearguard shall be
reinforced by the best ships in the fleet, one half under the command
of Juan Martinez (de Recalde), and the other half under Don Alonso
de Leyva. You with your flagship and two other galleasses will
join the rearguard with Juan Martinez, whilst Captain Peruchio
with his galleass "Patrona" will go in the vanguard with me. You
will keep the three galleasses well together, and ready to proceed
without further orders to any point where they may be needed.—
Royal Galleon ("San Martin"), 2nd August 1588.
|3 & 4 Aug.
363. Advices from Rouen.
On the 1st instant a ship from Lisbon arrived at Havre de Grace,
and, reports that after doubling Cape Finisterre she discovered the
Spanish fleet, which was sailing with, a land breeze along the coast.
The ship was four leagues from the fleet, and as she was farther out
at sea. the wind served her better. She did not sight land until
she was at 30 leagues from Havre, de Grace. She saw the fleet
either on the day of Santiago or the following day.
News from Havre de Grace also relates, under date of the
2nd instant, that a ship had entered, the port coming from the
Newfoundland fisheries. The master reports that off Dartmouth
he sighted the Spanish fleet to the number of about 200 sail. Eight
or ten leagues farther on, when he was off Plymouth, he fell in with
Drake and the English fleet of about 60 sail. Drake asked him for
news, and on the master replying that he had sighted the Spanish
fleet off Dartmouth, Drake made four sailors from the fishing boat
come on board his flagship. In the night the master managed to
escape from the English fleet.
Merchants' letters of 1st instant report from Calais that a ship
belonging to M. Gourdan, governor of the town, had entered port
and reported that eight days previously she had met the Spanish
fleet, which had taken 20 sailors out of the ship. But they do not
Note.—To the letter from Mendoza to Idiaquez, enclosing the
above advices, Mendoza has added a hasty autograph note saying :
Whilst I am signing this news comes from English sources,
according to which, if it be true, the Armada must already be with
God's, grace near Flanders. I await anxiously news from there,
which I will forward without a moment's delay."
364. Duke of Medina Sidonia to Duke of Parma.
By Captain Rodrigo Tello and Ensign Gil I informed your
Excellency of my progress on the voyage, and expressed a hope that
I should shortly arrive on the Flemish coast. Since the last advice
was sent we have made but slow headway, owing to the calms
which have beset us ; and the most I have been able to do is to
arrive off the Isle of Wight. The enemy's ships have continued to
bombard us, and we were obliged to turn and face them, so that
the firing continued on most days from dawn to dark ; but the
enemy has resolutely avoided coming to close quarters with our
ships, although I have tried my hardest to make him do so. I have
given him so many opportunities that sometimes some of our vessels
have been in the very midst of the enemy's fleet, to induce one of
his ships to grapple and begin the fight ; but all to no purpose, as
his ships are very light, and mine very heavy, and he has plenty of
men and stores. My stores are running short with these constant
skirmishes ; and if the weather do not improve, and the enemy
continues his tactics, as he certainly will, it will be advisable for
your Excellency to load speedily a couple of ships with powder and
balls of the sizes noted in the enclosed memorandum, and to despatch
them to me without the least delay. It will also be advisable for
your Excellency to make ready to put out at once to meet me,
because, by God's grace, if the wind serves, I expect to be on the
Flemish coast very soon. In any case, whether I be further
detained or not, I shall require powder and ball, and I beg your
Excellency to send them to me at once, in as large a quantity as
possible. With regard to this and other points, Captain Pedro de
Leon, whom I am sending with this mission, will give your
Excellency all necessary particulars.—Royal Galleon ("San Martin")
off the Isle of Wight, 4th August 1588.
365. Advices from England.
Two English couriers, who embarked at Rye on the 4th instant,
report as follows. After they had left port they fell in with some
fishermen, who told them that shortly before a large Spanish ship,
with many oars on each side, and full of Englishmen, had passed.
They said she bore a banner of Santiago, and another flag of the
queen of England over all. The people on board had spoken with
them, and had told them that the English fleet had encountered the
Spanish fleet on Sunday, and fought it, (fn. 2) and they (i.e., the people on
board) were going to warn Lord Harry Seymour to take care that
the duke of Parma did not cross. They said they had fought, but
did not say whether they had been victorious or were beaten. The
English ambassador is troubled, as it is thought that their fleet is
defeated, and that this vessel was going to give notice to the duke
of Parma to embark. A courier also who came from the French
ambassador in England and was captured and carried to Gravelines,
says that on the same Tuesday a cutter had arrived there with news
for the duke of Parma that the Armada was coming up. The
couriers also say that on Thursday at Dieppe they heard firing— a
heavy cannonade—and that doubtless the fleets were engaged.
366. Points of the Earl Of Huntly's Letter to the Duke
Of Parma from Lisleburgh, 5th August 1588.
He received the letter of 14th July sent by the hand of Chisholm,
the nephew of the bishop of Dublin (Dunblane). He is much
obliged, as are the other Catholic nobles, for the willingness expressed
to aid them in their cause, which really is identical with that of his
Majesty ; they and theirs having offered him their services, as he
is attached to the cause of God, to which they have consecrated their
lives. They do not therefore further urge their cause upon him, as
it is his own. Prays him not to miss so many good opportunities of
helping them, as such opportunities cannot always be recovered. If
the aid is further delayed, he would rather leave the country, and
go and serve in Flanders, than consent to anything against his
conscience and the Catholic religion, to which he is being urged
strongly by the King and the heretics.
He will do his best to prevent the King from proceeding against
the earl of Morton, and to save his life, which would not be in danger,
nor those of the other Catholics, if the aid were to arrive promptly.
For the rest he refers to the letter from Bruce and Semple.
367. Points of Letter from Robert Bruce to the Duke Of
Thanks for the Duke's letter. The lords rejoiced greatly at the
letter sent to them, as they recognised that the Duke's object in
wishing to help them was to promote the Catholic religion. When
they are succoured with this end, and for the conversion of Scotland,
the Scottish lords will desire no other master than his Majesty. They
think it will come to this, seeing the state of the country and the
disturbed condition of many of those who at present are most
alienated from it.
He refers to the bearer to say much about the earl of Morton, the
other nobles, and the Catholics. He was sending to Colonel Semple,
who was in his own country, the letter addressed to them jointly.
He asks that the bearer be sent back some days before the
reinforcement, so that they may send out and meet it.
He points out the advisability of conquering England in order to
bring the Netherlands to submission. For this purpose the easiest
means must be sought, and these means are urged by those who
advocate the entrance from Scotland. This would divide the English
forces, and the (invading) army would have greater commodity there
than elsewhere in the island. This is all the more necessary for
your Majesty, seeing how much more difficult the enterprise would
be if the King and Scottish heretics joined the English. It is,
moreover, of the greatest importance that an entrance should be
effected in the north of England, where the Queen has most forces,
because, as the other Spanish force would attack the south, her
armies will have to be divided.
It is therefore meet that a commencement should be made with
the complete submission of the island, not only for the conquest, but
also for the maintaining of it afterwards. The king of Scotland
himself, referring to this, said that your Majesty would undertake
the English enterprise at great risk, with the only effect, after all,
of handing over the possession of the country to him, or some
other person than the conqueror ; because, in order to hold England
peacefully, it is necessary to make sure of those who have
any claim to it, and who may seize opportunities of disturbing
it, such as the existence of war in Spain, or otherwise. And as
the English are a proud people, they would desire to throw off
the yoke, forgetting the benefit they had received by their
The king of Scotland has the best claim to the English crown,
and all the English heretics would help him, as well as the king of
Denmark. If he were to be converted he would probably be
supported by his French kinsmen, and by all Englishmen, who
would rather have a native king than a foreigner. He (Bruce) is
of opinion that the only remedy for these difficulties is to bridle the
king of Scotland, by supporting one of the great parties in the
country, namely, the Catholics, who will be the stronger with a
little help, and will be able to ensure from Scotland any necessary
help to the Armada against England. The other side would act in
a contrary manner, as the King has the same right to England as to
Scotland, and if he is incapacitated from ruling the one, he is for
ruling the other.
No less advantage may be looked for from the conquest and
conversion of England by the Catholic lords than from, the League
in France, which at first did not possess so much force (fn. 3) in comparison
as is now possessed by the Scottish heretics. The country
was never in so favourable a condition for beiug conquered as
at present, owing to the disputes that exist. He concludes by
recommending the bearer, who is trustworthy, and a good penman.
368. Duke Of Medina Sidonia to Duke Of Parma.
I have constantly written to your Excellency, giving you
information as to my whereabouts with the Armada, and not only
have I received no reply to my letters, but no acknowledgment of
their receipt has reached me. I am extremely anxious at this, as
your Excellency may imagine ; and to free myself of the doubt as to
whether any of my messengers have reached you safely, I am now
despatching this flyboat, with the intelligence that I am at anchor
here, two leagues from Calais, with all the Armada, the enemy's fleet
being on my flank, and able to bombard me, whilst I am not in a
position to do him much harm. I feel obliged to inform your
Excellency of this, and to beseech you, if you cannot at once bring
out all your fleet, to send me the 40 or 50 fly boats I asked for
yesterday, as, with this aid, I shall be able to resist the enemy's
fleet until your Excellency can come out with the rest, and we can
go together and take some port where this Armada may enter in
safety. As I am uncertain whether this messenger will arrive in
time, I only again supplicate your Excellency to accede to my
request, as it is of the utmost importance for carrying out the desired
object in the interest of God and his Majesty.—From the Armada,
before Calais, 6th August 1588.
369. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Of the four galleys that sailed from Corunna with the Armada,
one of them arrived two days afterwards at Vivero on the same
coast—Galicia—and two of the others, after having reached Ushant,
were so clumsy, that instead of entering one of the Breton ports
they came to the ancient channel near Bayonne, where one was
wrecked and the other ran ashore, the crew escaping and deserting
from both of them.
Captain Medrano, who was in charge, writes that he has seen the
governor of Bayonne, who has replied that he can take no steps
until he has heard from the King (of France). Address the King in
my name, and say that as we are at peace, and his ports are open to
my ships, I pray that he will order the governor of Bayonne to
deliver the two galleys, or what may remain of them, and to lend
such assistance as he is able to rescue all the salvage possible. If
the missing galley should have put into a French port I am sure
you will have taken due steps to protect it.—San Lorenzo,
7th August 1588.
370. The King to the Duke Of Medina Sidonia.
Since my letter to you of 1st instant, our only news of you
is that, on the 27th ultimo, you were near the mouth of the
Channel, but I hope that by this time, with the blessing of God
and fine weather, the successful carrying out of the undertaking
will be far advanced, and that you will have suffered no great
inconvenience for lack of the galleys, which we now know were
unable to follow you. What I wrote to you in my last, about taking
one of the enemy's ports where the Armada may refit, I think well
to repeat here, and impress upon you how important it would be
for you to enter and make yourself safe in the Thames itself. The
season is so far advanced that this course seems to be necessary,
and it will have the effect of compelling the enemy to maintain two
armies, one on each side of the river, as they will be uncertain
where the attack upon them will be made. If they do not do this,
the road to London will be open to us on the unprotected side, whilst
otherwise they will divide their forces, and may be attacked where
they are weakest. It will also be very advantageous for our forces
to be so concentrated, as co-operation and mutual assistance will be
easy, and will restrain any aid that might otherwise be sent to the
enemy, whilst keeping clear the passage from Flanders for sending
the necessary reinforcements and supplies. It will have the effect,
moreover, of preventing disorder, and will cause desirable emulation
amongst the soldiers. These are all weighty reasons for the step
now proposed, which you will see is desirable. I confine myself to
proposing it merely, and leave the decision to my nephew the Duke
(to whom I have written about it) and yourself. I am sure you
will do what is best. As you will understand how anxious I am
until I hear from you, pray endeavour to send me almost hourly
intelligence of what occurs.—San Lorenzo, 7th August 1588.
371. Duke Of Medina Sidonia to Duke Of Parma.
By Captain Don Rodrigo Tello I received your Excellency's letter
of 3rd instant, and rejoice to hear that you are well. I have sent
you daily reports of the state of the Armada, and my secretary
wrote to you last night saying where we were, and the danger of
the position, in consequence of the lack of shelter and the strong
currents, which will force me to get clear away at the least sign
of bad weather. I therefore beg you to hasten your coming out
before the spring tides end, as it will be impossible for you to get
out of Dunkirk and the neighbouring ports during the neap
The general opinion is that it will be very unadvisable for the
Armada to go beyond this place, as your Excellency may judge.
I also wish to draw your attention to what I have written about
obtaining a port for it, as the season is so advanced, and my ships
so large, that I am obliged to be very careful, so that I may be
able to give a good account of myself in the fulfilment of the task
entrusted to me. On this and other points I refer your Excellency
to my secretary's statement.—On board the Royal Galleon,
7th August 1588.
Note.—The duke of Parma has written the following note on
the above letter :— "With regard to the duke of Medina's remarks
about getting out of Dunkirk during the spring tides, he may be
informed that there will be no difficulty in Nieuport, or in Dunkirk
either. It is true that in certain states of the winds the water
goes down, and the spring tide is necessary, but there are only a
very few boats which run this risk. Even if we should be unable
to avail ourselves of them, and they should not join the rest, there
has never been the slightest question or idea of waiting for the
spring tides, or of deferring the enterprise on this account."
372. Duke Of Medina Sidonia to Duke Of Parma.
I am sending the Inspector-General Don Jorge Manrique (fn. 4) to
your Excellency, to give you an account of the state of the Armada
and to represent to you the urgent need for providing a port for it,
without which it will doubtless be lost as the ships are so large.
In all respects I am of opinion that it would be advisable for you
to adopt this course as speedily as possible ; the season being so
far advanced that it behoves us to be careful. Besides that, it is
impossible to continue cruising with this Armada, as its great weight
causes it to be always to leeward of the enemy, and it is impossible
to do any damage to him, hard as we may try. Don Jorge will
give you as full an account as I could do personally.—Galleon "San
Martin," 7th August 1588.
373. Duke Of Parma to the King.
On the 2nd instant Don Rodrigo Tello came to me with news of
the Armada, bringing me the Duke's letter of 25th July. On the
5th the Duke's letter of 1st instant was brought to me by Ensign
Juan Gil, and on the night of the following day, 6th, I received by
Pedro de Leon the letters dated 4th. To-day a pilot brought me
the letters of 6th, copies of all of which are enclosed.
There is no need for me to dwell upon these communications,
except to say that I have acceded with all speed and energy to the
request that pilots and ammunition should be supplied. I have
done this to the full extent that our penury here permitted. As I
previously informed your Majesty, the troops and munitions were
waiting, and on the receipt of the first advice by Captain Tello
everything was made ready. When Ensign Gil arrived, I gave
orders that the boats should be brought in-shore, and the embarcation
commenced. This was done with all speed, and will shortly be
completed. In the meanwhile I remained here to close up affairs
and write despatches ; my intention being to leave for the coast
to-morrow, where I hope to be able to serve your Majesty worthily,
and will try to carry out the task entrusted to me, in the firm
confidence that our Lord in his infinite mercy will deign to grant
me success in His own cause, and your Majesty's service. If the
Duke succeeds in getting to a place where I can assist him, your
Majesty may be sure that I shall do so, and, as soon as the passage
across is free, no opportunity shall be missed. Nevertheless, the
constant advices I am receiving inform me that the enemy has a
large force of armed vessels on this coast to oppose our coming out,
but doubtless they will depart when the Armada arrives. In
addition to this, we are making a feint of bringing our boats out of
the river at Antwerp, and this may cause some of the rebel vessels
to go thither to counteract the danger they apprehend from that
quarter. To judge from what the Duke says, it would appear that
he still expects me to come out and join him with our boats, but it
must be perfectly clear that this is not feasible. Most of our boats
are only built for the rivers, and they are unable to weather the
least sea. It is quite as much as they can do to carry over the men
in perfectly fair weather, but as for fighting as well, it is evident
they cannot do it, however good the troops in them may be. This
was the principal reason why your Majesty decided to risk sending
the Armada, as in your great prudence you saw that the undertaking
could not be carried through in any other way. I will,
however, continue, as hitherto, to assist and co-operate with the
Duke in every way in my power, and your Majesty shall be well
served in this respect.
With regard to supplies of biscuits and other victuals for the
Armada, I am so short of money that I can do but little, but I
will still do my best.
The peace negotiations with the English have ended in the recall
of the Commissioners by the Queen, and they departed by way of
Calais. My efforts to induce them to continue the negotiations,
notwithstanding the presence of the Armada, were unavailing.—
Bruges, 7th August 1588.
374. Duke Of Parma to the King.
I have news that the Duke, with the Armada, has arrived in
Calais roads. God be praised for this ! Although it may be superfluous
to insist upon a point which I know your Majesty well understands,
I cannot refrain from repeating once more what I have said so
often already. I, for my part, will exert every possible effort to
fulfil my obligation, and will duly co-operate with the Duke and
assist him to the full extent of my power. But it appears that he
still wishes me to go out and join him with these boats of ours, and
for us, together, to attack the enemy's fleet. But it is obviously
impossible to hope to put to sea in our boats without incurring
great danger of losing our army. If the Duke were fully informed
on the matter, he would be of the same opinion, and would busy
himself in carrying out your Majesty's orders at once, without
allowing himself to be diverted into another course. Suffice it to say,
that I will, in all things possible, endeavour to please him, and will
give him such assistance as he requires. As soon as I have signed
this letter I shall mount and set out for the coast, where, please God,
I shall arrive to-night.
The men who have recently come hither from the Duke, not
seeing the boats armed or with any artillery on board, and the men
not shipped, have been trying to make out we are not ready. They
are in error. The boats are, and have been for months, in a proper
condition for the task they have to effect, namely, to take the men
across, although we have not so many seamen as we ought to have.
Still, withal, we have sufficient for the work we have to do. The
boats are so small that it is impossible to keep the troops on board
of them for long. There is no room to turn round, and they would
certainly fall ill, rot, and die. The putting of the men on board of
these low, small boats is done in a very short time, and I am confident
that in this respect there will be no shortcoming in your
Majesty's service. What grieves me most is to learn that the Duke
is in his present position, without a place of shelter in case of
necessity, whilst the winds that have prevailed for so long still
continue. This wind would prevent our boats from coming out,
even if the sea were clear of the enemy's ships. But I trust in God,
that He will aid us in everything, and allow us shortly to send your
Majesty the good news we wish for. The men are brave and in
good heart.—Bruges, 8th August 1588.
375. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I have letters from England, dated 29th ultimo, from Julio, who
tells me that the news of the return of the Armada to the Corunna
was looked upon as a feint, and that the Queen had consequently
ordered the Admiral, with half the ships, to keep off the French
coast, whilst Drake, with the other half, kept near the English side.
So that, with the ships under Lord Seymour in the Downs, they had
their force divided into three squadrons ; the design being to fall
upon the rearguard of your Majesty's fleet as it entered the Channel,
and get the wind of it.
The earl of Leicester had been appointed by the Queen General of
the land forces, with Lord Grey as Lieutenant, and as General of
Cavalry she had appointed her new favourite the earl of Essex.
Norris was to command the infantry.
She had sent the king of Scotland 8,000l. by Ashby. The bishop
of Dunblane has arrived here as disillusioned as I feared he would
be, at finding the king of Scotland as great a heretic as ever, which
he (the Bishop) says he must, for the relief of his own conscience,
confess he is. He has now gone to Rome.—Paris, 8th August 1588.
376. Count De Olivares to the King.
Cardinal Carrafa and I duly presented to his Holiness your
Majesty's letter of 19th July. Carrafa addressed him in terms that
would have moved any other heart but the Pope only shrugged his
shoulders, for when it comes to getting money out of him it is like
squeezing his life blood, and our efforts availed nothing.—Rome,
8th August 1588.
Appended to the above letter is the following document containing
the speech delivered by count de Olivares to the Pope on
the 7th August on behalf of the King :—
His Majesty wishes to inform your Holiness that on the 19th and
20th June the Armada suffered one of the heaviest gales that has
been known for a long time past, and the duke of Medina Sidonia
and the greater part of the fleet were accordingly obliged to take
refuge in the port of Cprunna, the remainder putting into other
ports of Asturias and Biscay. Some of the ships arrived very near
the coast of Brittany, but they subsequently rejoined the rest of the
fleet in Corunna without a single ship being lost. This was a signal
mercy of God, and his Majesty looks upon the first event (i.e., the
gale) as having been sent by Him, in order that the success the
King anticipates may be recognised as coming from His hand.
As soon as the Armada was re-united (in Corunna) his Majesty
sent me special instructions to inform your Holittess, in order that
the good news might dissipate your anxiety ; and I am also to
inform your Holiness that whilst the ships were being got together
great activity was exercised in re-fitting and re-victualling. His
Majesty is consequently assured by the duke of Medina Sidonia
that, at latest, the Armada will again sail on the 20th July, and
from the known activity of the Duke there is every hope that the
date of departure may even be some days earlier than this. With
God's blessing and fine weather, therefore, as the voyage is so short
a one, it may. be hoped that both his Holiness and his Majesty will
very soon be consoled for their common anxiety in consequence of
His Majesty wishes to represent to his Holiness the great
expenditure he has had to incur in consequence of the delay, and
the need to revictual the ships. Owing to this, and to the hope
that had been entertained that his Holiness's subsidy would ere
this have been in Flanders, it has been impossible to send with the
desired punctuality the necessary funds from Spain. His Majesty
therefore supplicates the Pope to anticipate the payments, as he
has already been requested to do, and wishes to remind him that
this enterprise is his own (i.e., the Pope's), since it was by his
persuasion that his Majesty was induced to undertake it. The
task was so heavy a one (and the unavoidable accidents which have
assailed it have rendered it still heavier), that his Majesty trusts
that the Pope's postponement of the payments, which he could
easily make, may, by God's grace, not result in some reverse, which
would be a great injury to the cause of our Lord and the glory of
his Holiness. His Holiness would never cease to grieve if he had
been the cause of such a disaster, and all subsequent efforts he might
make to repair it would be unavailing, whilst what is asked of him
now he can do with the greatest of ease. His Majesty therefore
hopes that his Holiness will not fail him on this occasion in a joint
undertaking towards which his Majesty has already contributed so
His Majesty also begs his Holiness to send the Legate (for
England), as the delay in doing so is no longer serviceable in the
matter of secrecy, whilst it is very desirable that he should be sent
in the interest of affairs there (i.e., in England). In addition to
this, it is meet the world should recognise the large share his
Holiness has in this enterprise, and even if the Legate arrive
during the time that fighting is going on, there will be nothing
incompatible in the cross of the Holy See appearing in such a
377. Report Of Hassan, the late Marquis Of Santa Cruz's
Turkish freed slave, who left Calais 8th instant.
On Saturday the 6th instant, in the afternoon, his Majesty's
Armada appeared before Calais, with the enemy's fleet a league
behind ; the wind freshening, Lord Harry Seymour's squadron,
which was guarding the mouth of the Thames against the duke of
Parma's passage, was able to join the other English ships. The
weather favouring them they were able to approach our fleet, which,
on Sunday, was endeavouring to anchor in front of Calais. The
same night the enemy set fire to six ships which he had brought for
the purpose of burning our fleet. When our people saw these ships
drifting down upon them they cut their cables, set sail, and ran for
the coast of Flanders. At this time the galleass "Capitana" (fn. 5) fouled
with her rudder the anchor of the galleass "Patrona," (fn. 6) and it became
necessary to run her for the shore. Before she could enter Calais
she ran on a sandbank, high and dry. Here she was attacked by
the English pataches, who in fight killed most of those on board of
her, although many had already gone ashore. During the day
much artillery firing was henrd. This Turk says that those who
were saved, report that Don Hugo de Moncada was killed on the
galleass during the fighting.
378. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
As I was in momentary expectation of receiving news from
Flanders of the passage of the Armada through the Straits of Dover,
or that an engagement had taken place, I received the enclosed
original letter from Isoardo Capello (who in all things appertaining
to your Majesty's service is as usual very willing, and especially
zealous in furnishing me with information from all parts). The
letter is from Rouen, and contains reports from men whom I am
keeping specially in Havre de Grace and Dieppe, and who have
hitherto reported most punctually and truly everything that has
happened since the Armada entered the Channel. This fact
encourages me the more to send this good news to your Majesty,
hoping that God will allow it to be followed by many other
victories, making use of your Majesty's arms to save our holy
Catholic faith, as He has hitherto done. As I am sending off this
courier in haste, I cannot detain him by writing any further information.
The other despatches he carries were, however, ciphered
already. The moment I receive confirmation of the news I will
forward it.—Paris, 9th August 1588.
Note.—The despatch from Rouen enclosed in the above autograph
letter is not now to be found, but a docket in the hand of Idiaquez
on the outer sheet says, "With the relation of the victory over
Drake of the 2nd August, and the advices from London. Seen.' "
This appears to have been the false news of victory for which
Mendoza was subsequently so bitterly abused in England, and
blamed in Spain. His name lent itself in the former country to
punning accusations of "mendacity," but it will be seen that he
merely transmitted the news.
379. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I way pay Julio the 2,000 crowns your Majesty orders. As I saw
his need, and experienced his good conduct, I had already provided
him with what I advised in my last letter. I cannot learn from the
new confidant that any negotiations are going on here between the
King and the English ambassador in the matter of closer alliance or
assistance. I wrote to Julio that Don Antonio was going to try to
escape in a French ship, and he lost no time in telling the Queen. I
am also keeping my eyes open as to what may be done by Pedro de
Oro, who calls himself Andrada. He has arrived in France and I
have advised Sampson.
The substance of the notes forwarded to me by the Duke of
Parma, is to say that he (fn. 7) will not employ the money he had in his
possession except in the eventuality for which it was ordered.
Colonel Semple also gives him (the duke of Parma) an account of
his arrival, and what had passed with the King, all of which the
Duke has already conveyed to your Majesty. The earl of Morton
followed his own opinion instead of my instructions, and the advice
I gave to the Scots generally has been neglected, which was that
they should keep afoot in the north and not return home until the
opportunity came, when they might hold the north country in spite
of the King. I hope to God that when the Armada arrives the
Catholics will act up to their promise, and will rescue Morton from
prison, in order that he may fulfil his part.—Paris, 9th August
380. Duke Of Parma to the King.
On the 8th instant I sent your Majesty the news I had received
from the duke of Medina Sidonia, and enclosed copies of his several
letters to me. I also informed your Majesty of the state of things
here, and the speed with which our men were being shipped,
although the wind was against our going out from this coast, as it
still remains, and made it impossible even for the powder, balls, and
pilots he had asked for to reach the Duke. On the evening of the
8th I arrived at Nieuport, where the embarkation of the men was
so forward as to be practically completed ; 16,000 troops having been
shipped that day in the boats at Nieuport. Without waiting there I
pushed on to Dunkirk, where I found the men on the quay and
everything ready, so that by that evening matters would be completed
there also. At half-past 10 in the morning Don Jorge
Manrique, the Inspector-general, arrived with letters from the Duke
(he having sought me elsewhere and missed me). From the tenour
of these letters, of which I enclose copies, your Majesty will see the
danger that the Armada was in for the want of gaining a port. I
can assure your Majesty that no one regrets this difficulty more than
I do, and have done from the first, as I always considered it a most
important point, and have mentioned it several times in my letters.
I have always supposed that the Duke would have managed this
as speedily as possible on his way up, and I am therefore not at all
surprised at his anxiety, and his request that we here should go and
help him to obtain a port, especially to capture the Isle of Wight.
This is the request brought to me by Don Jorge Manrique, or else
that I should join him to engage the enemy, which shows how
badly informed the Duke must be as to the character of our small,
weak boats, entirely unfit for fighting, or even to live in any heavy
sea or high wind. The enemy's ships are, moreover, on this coast to
prevent them from going out. My desire, nevertheless, effectually to
serve your Majesty is so great that I decided to discuss the possibility
with the marquis de Renti and practical sailors here, in the presence
of Don Jorge Manrique, in order that, if it turned out to be
impracticable, he might be satisfied that it really was so, and that
the most we could hope for from these boats would be in fine settled
weather, and with the Channel clear of enemies, to take our men
across, as had been arranged ; the general verdict being that it
would be quite out of the question for them to undertake a voyage
of seven or eight days as proposed by the Duke. When this was
under discussion, the embarkation continuing actively the while, the
prince of Ascoli arrived here in a small boat, and also in other small
boats Marolin and Major Gallinaro, bringing me intelligence that the
enemy had sent eight fire-ships against the Armada, and that early
on the morning of the 8th it had been necessary for our ships to cut
their cables to get away from the fire. Being thus adrift, and with
a heavy gale coming on, the Duke had been obliged to run on a
northerly course. The enemy in the meanwhile had never left him,
and had engaged some of our vessels which had been unable to join the
rest of the Armada, the galleass "Capitana" ("San Lorenzo") being
aground in Calais Roads, and the galleon "San Felipe" ashore at
Nieuport. What happened subsequently with the other ships is
unknown, except that the English continue to follow them with
very swift vessels, manned by good and experienced sailors. God
knows how grieved I am at this news, at a time when I hoped to send
your Majesty my congratulations at having successfully carried
through your intentions. But I am sure that your Majesty knows
me to be one of your humblest and devoted servants, who has
laboured hard in this business, and will recognise that no one can
be more grieved than I. I will only say, therefore, that this must
come from the hand of the Lord, who knows well what He does, and
can redress it all, rewarding your Majesty with many victories, and
the full fruition of your desires in His good time. We should
therefore give Him thanks for all things. Above all it is of the
utmost importance that your Majesty should be careful of your
health, and then, thanks to the prudence and valour with which you
are endowed, and the power which God has bestowed upon you, with
His help all will be well, and the enemies of the Catholic faith and
your Majesty's greatness will have scant reason for rejoicing at this
misfortune. This great army, moreover, which your Majesty has
intact, should, with God's blessing, banish all cause for fear, especially
as it may be hoped that by His divine mercy the Duke and the mass
of the Armada may not have suffered any further loss beyond that
which I have stated. What adds more than I can here express to
my grief at this disaster is that it was humanly impossible to remedy
it, or aid in any way, both on account of the character of these
boats of ours, and because of the wind being contrary to our putting
out from this coast. With regard to the embarkation of our troops,
some of the officers who have come from the Duke wished to make
out that we were not ready, but they are mistaken in this, as it was
impossible to ship the men sooner, as was proved byvthe experience
of those we shipped in a very few hours. It was not advisable to
keep the men a long time beforehand in these boats, where they
could not be controlled as if they were on land, and yet could go
ashore when they liked, besides which, they would have rotted and
died. Your Majesty knows these rivers and canals, and will recollect
perfectly that the boats are alongside the land, and on a level with
it. I will not dwell further upon this point, except to show the
great facility which it offered for the embarkation of the men. If
only the wind had been fair, and the sea clear of enemies, this would
not have impeded the business. As God has so ordained it, however,
there is no use in further discussing it, and we can only hope that
He will take pity on us, and grant to your Majesty much cause for
rejoicing. Your Majesty may well imagine how distasteful it is to me
to send you this news, but my duty towards you renders it necessary
that I should do so, in order that your Majesty may adopt such
measures as you consider advisable in Spain and elsewhere to
prevent this misfortune, and the presence intact of the enemy's fleet
from leading to further evils. But above all I beseech your Majesty
to recollect that I am without money, and know not where or how to
obtain any. Upon these forces here your Majesty's prestige largely
depends, and they should be kept afoot. The soldiers who have so
willingly and quietly put up with trouble and misery in the hope of
this enterprise might change their tone and lose respect, especially if
we cannot provide them with the ordinary pay and their ration bread
as hitherto. I will keep your Majesty informed of all I hear.—
Dunkirk, 10th August 1588.
381. Advices from England.
Six or seven days ago the army of the king of Spain entered the
Channel, and are at the present time between Calais and Dover.
There have been continual skirmishes with the Admiral or Drake,
but the losses which are asserted to have been suffered on either side
are as yet unconfirmed. We are, however, sure that a galleass has
been taken from the Spaniards, and that another great ship, said to
be commanded by Vice-Admiral Don Pedro (de Valdez), has also
been captured, and two Englishmen with him, one of them named
Browne, (fn. 8) both of whom have been hanged. They have had bonfires
all over the city recently for this victory, but they say nothing of
the losses we have suffered, which are not slight if I am not mistaken,
as the men who have been wounded in the skirmishes say they are
certain that two of the Queen's great ships were sunk. I do not
know, however, what the Spanish losses were, as I left our army
before the capture of Don Pedro.
The Spaniards who have been captured are not ill-treated.
Our ships are in great want of powder.
There are two entrenched armies in Essex and Kent, the men
having been collected from the various counties of England. There
are about 20,000 men commanded by Lord Leicester, who is greatly
disliked by his soldiers.
A bridge of boats has been built across the Thames at Gravesend
in order that the armies of Essex and Kent may unite, if necessary.
Eighteen merchantmen are on the point of leaving the Thames to
join Lord Harry Seymour. They are hurrying them off so that
they will not be able to wait for the stores which were being
prepared for them, and will not therefore be fit to keep at sea long.
It is certain that the Spaniards are so strong that the Admiral
and Drake have not dared to give them battle, but are obliged to
resort to stratagems to gain advantage, in the hope of being able
somehow to catch them unaware.
The principal people here say they are surprised to find that the
Spaniards are so strong at sea as they are, and confess that they
have underrated their power.
There is a great want of horses, although there are enough men :
but they are not very well drilled.
There has been a rumour at Court, which has spread all over
London, that the Spaniards have orders from their King to slaughter
all English people, men and women, over the age of seven years.
We know that the only object of this is to incense the people
against the Spaniards.
382. Jos. Cunet (of Rouen) to Isoardo Capelo.
I thank you for letters forwarded to me from Spain and the news
you send me. It would be very advantageous that the four galleys
should have gone with the Armada. But you say that three of
them were lost near Bayonne, and we have news from St. Malo
that the other had safely arrived at Blavet in Brittany, after
having thrown overboard a part of her victuals. This evening
there have arrived three shipmasters of Dieppe, who say that this
morning, before they left, there arrived there (Dieppe) a boat from
Boulogne, bringing news that on Thursday last the Spanish
Armada was seen passing off Boulogne, hugging the French coast,
apparently intending to bring up in St. John's Roads between
Boulogne and Calais ; there to await the vessels from Dunkirk, in
order to go in company therewith to the Downs or to England. The
same report adds, that on the same time, Thursday last, the English
fleet was seen coasting along the English shore towards the Downs,
both fleets being in sight of the French coast, it being almost
possible to count the ships, which in the two forces amounted to
over 400 sail. The news from Dieppe continues to assert that the
English flagship was sunk. This is all the news up to the present.