406. Advices from Scotland. Given by certain Scots mariners
who left Little Leith on the 27th August.
The earl of Huntly had married the sister of the duke of Lennox.
The ceremony was performed by the so-called bishop of St. Andrews.
The earl of Angus, the head of the English faction, is dead. Sir
William Stuart, brother of the earl of Arran, who captured Morton,
gave the lie to the earl of Bothwell, and as he left the chamber
Sir William Stuart was stabbed to death by Bothwell.
They also state that Colonel Semple had left the Firth to speak
with a Spanish pinnace, and on his return was arrested, but
Clermont Amboise, a Huguenot, had arrived in Scotland on a
mission from Bearn and the queen of England. He had been
despatched by the King the day he arrived. (fn. 1)
407. Advices from Rouen.
Last night a ship arrived here from Hamburg, reporting that on
the 12th she had fallen in with the Armada near Newcastle and the
Scottish border, sailing northward towards Scotland ; and considering
the winds that have prevailed, we suppose that it will be by this
time on the other side of the island on its way to Spain. God
Reports from Zeeland state that for want of a pilot the galleon
"San Mateo" ran on a shoal near Flushing, where it was attacked by
20 ships from the town, 300 men of the attacking force being killed
and many wounded. As it was seen that the galleon could not be
saved, she surrendered on very good terms, the whole of her sick and
wounded being conveyed to Flanders, and the rest held to ransom.
Don Pedro Pimentel (fn. 2) was walking about Flushing with only four
men to guard him.
408. Duke Of Parma to the King.
On the 10th instant I wrote to your Majesty from Dunkirk,
giving an account of the departure from here of the duke of Medina
Sidonia with your Majesty's Armada in a northerly direction, after
losing the galleass "Capitana" ("San Lorenzo"), which had run
aground at Calais, and the galleon "San Felipe," which had been
wrecked within sight of Nieuport, the Maestre de Campo, Don
Francisco de Toledo, being saved from her.
Since then intelligence has been received that the "San Mateo"
had brought up at Flushing, greatly damaged by her fight with
many of the enemy's ships. The enemy even had not time to finish
discharging her before she sank in the harbour. It is asserted that
the "San Felipe," which had been taken to Flushing, also sank there.
At Ostend another ship, not very large, called the "San Antonio
de Padua" had brought up. The men who have been rescued from
these various vessels report that after a great artillery battle,
in which the enemy came to close quarters, (fn. 3) some of the ships of
our Armada which were scattered had continued their voyage
towards the north, followed and harassed by the enemy as usual.
Confirmation has also been received of the loss of Don Pedro de
Valdés and his galleon ; he and the principal men with him having
been taken to London.
I immediately sent some of my vessels in search of the Armada
to learn news of it, but, as none have returned, I can gain no further
intelligence beyond the fact that the ships were sailing in a
northerly direction, with the wind astern. As there are still
(enemy's) boats off this coast for the purpose of preventing our
coming out, I decided to disembark our men and send them into
quarters, keeping them together and at convenient points ; so that
they may be ready to carry out the business, in case the Armada
should return, and we are able to give it any assistance from here.
I came hither to try to raise some money, and to see what I could
do to console and tranquillise the country. It would be advantageous
in your Majesty's interest, if the principal object cannot be
effected, at least to do something. I am, with my usual earnestness,
directing my attention to this, and as I am writing separately
on the financial question, and the difficulties I have to encounter,
I will not dwell upon these points here.
The intelligence so far received from the Armada by the boats
that have returned, and other quarters, is contained in the enclosed
statements. It will be obvious from these reports, and having in
view the weather that has prevailed, that the Armada cannot
return hither, but will probably either have arrived at or be
approaching Spain. After considering in council the course that I
had better adopt, I have decided that, as I have no money to
maintain these troops, or even to dismiss a part of them, and have
no means of knowing your Majesty's intentions now that the
expedition is for the present frustrated, it will be advisable to put
them in quarters somehow. I have therefore ordered them to be
divided into three troops, one of which will go with Count Mansfeldt
towards Bonn, to try and settle that important business ; and if
he have time, to endeavour to assure and improve matters
there. Another troop will remain here, to hold this town and
repress the incursions from Ostend. It will be impossible for us to
prevent reinforcements from being sent thither, and under the
present circumstances it does not appear advisable for us to risk our
reputation by attacking a place which can be supplied at all times
with everything that may be required. (fn. 4)
The third troop will accompany me to the province of Brabant, to
endeavour to gain Berghes if we can find a way to prevent its relief.
At the same time men will be sent to occupy the island.
The want of money to meet the demands there (in Brabant?),
which are no less urgent than those here, fills me with anxiety,
as it threatens to cause some great disorder and disrespect amongst
the soldiery. I fear that in whatever part it may commence, such
a disorder would become general, to your Majesty's great injury. (fn. 5) —
Bruges, 29th August 1588.
409. Advices from Dunkirk viâ Lille.
I have to report that three cutters left here to learn news of the
Armada. They have ascertained that it has laid its course back to
Spain, taking with it some English ships and four Dutch vessels.
It was asserted in England as a positive fact that the English have
lost 40 ships of their fleet—the flagship, the vice-flagship, the
"Elizabeth," and the "Virgin" having been sunk. The great sailor,
John Hawkins, has also gone to the bottom, not a soul having been
saved from his ship. Drake escaped in a boat, wounded in the
cheek. The Queen has entered the field with 30,000 men in great
The engagement referred to is stated to have taken place for the
possession of the port of Newcastle. (fn. 6)
410. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
On the 20th I wrote by special courier, and I now send by the
usual Flanders post the reports I have from all parts, particularly
respecting the Armada. I do not send them by special, as the news
they give is not certain, but the moment I have trustworthy information
I will forward it. I have received letters from your
Majesty of 1st, 7th, and 18th, and have forwarded the despatches for
the duke of Parma. I have no news from the latter since the 11th,
but from merchants' and other letters from the Netherlands up to the
24th, I learn that the duke of Parma was dismissing his fleet,
sending away the sailors, and withdrawing the troops from the
This King told the delegate at Chartres, immediately after he had
taken the sacrament from his hands on the 28th, that he had news
from the coast that the Spanish Armada had entered a Scotch port.
This news is current, but it is not certain. There are letters from an
Italian merchant in England, dated 22nd instant, containing the
following words : "Our English fleet has returned to the coast, and
we are here in our usual alarm of the Spanards;" (fn. 7) but he does
not say anything of the whereabouts of the Armada.
I am advised, by letters from London of the 20th, that in the
various encounters the English have had with our fleet after
passing the Straits they had lost 13 ships, most of which are named,
and many men. A letter from Calais reports that most of the
English fleet had returned to the Downs, with the Lord Admiral and
Drake, with many wounded and in bad case. The rumour is therefore
current that the Lord Admiral and Drake had gone to Court,
but this was not certain.
The galleon "San Mateo," which ran aground at Flushing, kept
up the fight for two days and nights.
Merchants' letters from London of 13th, 16th, and 20th, affirm
that the Queen had not been able to gather in Kent and Sussex
12,000 men and 600 horse, even with the troops coming from
London, and that at the most the force available to resist the
Armada would not exceed 17,000 men if the Spaniards landed.
The new confidant has no news whatever from England up to the
present. As S.W. and W. winds have been blowing continually,
which are contrary for ships coming from the North to the coast of
Flanders and France, and even to that of England, it is impossible
to say for certain what has happened ; but if the duke of Medina
has decided to return to Spain, and the wind has allowed him to
pass the straits between Scotland and the Orkneys, he ought by this
time to have completed two-thirds of his voyage.
The galleon "Santa Ana," with the Maestre de Campo, Nicholas Isla,
on board, had arrived at La Hogue Roads, on the coast of Normandy,
but I have written that as this is not safe from the enemy, they are
to return to Brest or St. Malo in Brittany, and I have sent the credits
in case they should need anything. As the wind was against their
return to Brittany they decided to come to Havre de Grâce, where
they entered in a tempest, with much danger. They are now, thank
God, out of peril ; but I have complained to the King of the way
that M. de Montpensier has behaved in the matter.
He sent word to the coast of England for them to come and
capture the galleon at Havre de Grâce, and they (the Spaniards on
board the galleon) have been treated in the harsh manner your
Majesty will see by the accompanying statement. (fn. 8) I understand
that the duke of Parma has sent Claude Chastelayn, who would
arrive at Havre on the 27th, to take the necessary steps, and order
what the ship and men are to do, as well as to dispose of the specie
she carries, although the Duke himself has not written to me.—
Paris, 30th August 1588.
411. Bernardino De Mendoza to Juan De Idiaquez.
The only object of this is to enclose a letter from Pedro de
Zubiaur giving news from Dunkirk. (fn. 9)
From all parts they write that the duke of Parma is very sad
and downhearted, and I doubt not that he feels confused. The
well-disposed people here are very sorry that the Flemish fleet
was not ready when the Armada arrived.—Paris, 30th August
412. Intelligence from Calais by letter dated 31st August
The messenger I sent to England has returned hither. He
brings no letters, as no one dares to write letters nor he to carry
them. He reports that the Lord Admiral has arrived with part
of the fleet, and went to Court on the 18th instant. Drake arrived
with the rest on the 24th. Both of them were compelled to return
in consequence of shortness of victuals, leaving the Spanish
Armada beyond Newcastle in Scotland (sic). They say, however,
that the principal reason for their return was lack of powder, as
they had not enough for one day's fighting.
They do not say much about the losses of the Spanish Armada,
except of the six ships that were lost on these coasts, nor do they
boast much of their victory. They do not dwell yet upon their
own losses. It is known that they have lost some vessels, one of
which, belonging to the Queen, is ashore near Rochester for the
purpose of overhaul and repair, but they fear she will be of no
further use. The rest of the ships have arrived in very bad case.
They report that the horses had to be thrown overboard from
the Spanish Armada near Newcastle, in consequence of lack of
water. They are speaking rather ill of the Lord Admiral, who
they say did not do his duty. All the credit is given to Drake,
and there is a considerable amount of ill-feeling between the two.
It is believed that the Lord Admiral will not again command
Intelligence has since reached them (the English) that the Armada
is at a very fertile Norwegian island, where they will find an
abandance of victuals without resistance. The opinion is that
after the Armada has revictualled it will proceed on its voyage
to Spain round Scotland. The messenger could not say the name
of the island.
Great activity is being displayed in England to enable the fleet
to return to sea. So great is the haste that all the beef in the
London slaughter-houses and butchers' shops was taken and salted,
leaving the town without beef.
A part of the fleet is at Harwich, part at Gorend, and part at
Margate. Lord Henry Seymour is at the Downs. They still have
an army of 8,000 men between Sandwich and Dover, under the
command of a brother of Norris, (fn. 10) the camp-master being Thomas
Scott (fn. 11) . Neither of them knows much. There is another army in
Essex under the earl of Leicester. The Queen was at Dartford
and crossed the river to visit that army. They have seven armies
under arms but have no money, and if the affair lasts many of
the men will desert. In the meanwhile there is much murmuring,
and new musters are being called in all parts.
413. Extract from Letter from Juan De Gamarra at Rouen.
You will have news of the fleets. They assure us positively
that the English have lost over 40 ships in an encounter which
they could not avoid, at Newcastle in Scotland. Ever since the
Armada had left Calais the English fleet had followed it, in the
belief that the Spaniards would enter port ; and as the English had
the wind, they were able to pass ahead of our ships, which, seeing
the enemy near, did what they liked with them, as on this occasion
they (the English) could not do as they had always done before,
run for refuge into an English port. Our Armada, therefore,
attacked them so stoutly that we sank 20 of their ships, and
captured 26 in perfectly good condition. The rest of the English
fleet, seeing only ruin before them, escaped with great damage, and
their ships are now all in bits and without crews. The Spanish
Armada afterwards entered a Scotch port, said to be Newcastle,
where they are very well, as all affirm.
It was good news. God grant us the success we need! We
learn all this by a courier from Calais, and also by letters received
by many people, and particularly M. Cenami. Your Lordship
(Mendoza) will doubtless have full details, but the truth of the
news is beyond question. Orders have been given in England
that, under pain of loss of life and property, no person is to write
news to any part. This confirms the intelligence. The English here
are very sulky.