460. Count De Olivares to the King.
After the going of Allen had been decided upon, as I wrote to
your Majesty, to the apparent complete satisfaction of his Holiness,
the poor man went to speak to him (the Pope) about certain matters
concerning his voyage. The Pope treated him like a blackamoor,
and exhibited great annoyance at his going, which he signified was
not with his good will until decisive intelligence of the result (of the
Armada) was received, and the certainty of the convenience of his
(Allen's) stay there. He used the hardest possible terms towards
him ; and the next day, when Carrafa was with the Pope, the latter
introduced the subject again in almost similar terms. I have
therefore come to the conclusion that, after Allen had gone, he would
talk to everybody publicly to the same effect, which would discredit
both Allen and his mission, and I thought best, in the absence of
instructions from your Majesty, not to press the matter, or take any
In my last audience, on the 15th instant, I accordingly said to the
Pope, that, as he judged differently with regard to Allen's voyage,
and for all reasons, I was not desirous that the Cardinal should go
in disgrace with his Holiness, in which case the journey would
produce an opposite effect to that desired. I had written to your
Majesty my opinion that he had better not go. He replied that
although he himself felt in the matter as I had said, if I insisted he
would give way. His expressions were more moderate than those
he had used to the Cardinals, and when he requested me to state my
opinion, I laid before him all the reasons I recently wrote to your
Majesty which had induced me to press for Allen to be allowed to go,
and also those which had existed for his promotion ; which latter
reasons I thought it would be undesirable to make public, unless
Allen's voyage were persisted in.
The Pope agreed with this, and the next day he sent for Allen,
and told him that I and Carrafa had importuned him so much about
the voyage, and gave him so many reasons for its advisability, that
he (the Pope) could oppose it no longer. He had according decided
that he should go, and directed Allen to come at once and inform me
of his decision, and ask for a draft of the despatches he would
require from him (i.e., the Pope), Allen himself being directed to make
ready for the voyage. I had asked Cardinal Deza to give his
Holiness an account of the intelligence I had received by way of
Irun, to the effect that the Armada had returned to Spain, and Deza
assures me that the Pope detained him for an hour, whilst his dinner
was getting cold, in order to tell him all that had passed during the
last few days, with his customary additional embellishments. He
dwelt at length on the undesirability of Allen's voyage, and how
much he (the Pope) had opposed it ; but said that as he had ordered
Allen to make ready, and I was so pressing, he would let him go.
He told Deza to repeat this to me, which he did yesterday.
I replied to his Holiness this morning by the same Cardinal, who
was on his way to the Consistory, that if his Holiness was convinced
by my arguments that the voyage was desirable, I prayed he would
let Allen go with God's blessing ; but if the Pope had been moved
against his will to send him by any importunities of mine, or any
other similar reason, I hoped he would not let him go on any
He replied that he had already said what he had to say about it,
and he left me to choose the course I thought best.
If nothing fresh occurs, therefore, the matter shall be postponed
until your Majesty replies to this letter, or to the previous ones I
have written on the same subject, as I will not venture to swim
against the current and offend the Pope until I receive further
In case Allen's voyage should be deferred, Robert (Persons) will
go, in accordance with Allen's wish, as he is possessed of more
authority and tact than those now there.
I send by sea to Don Juan de Idiaquez copy of the cipher which
they will have with me, so that he may write to them in it, and
arrange for carrying on correspondence.
I will write to the duke of Parma informing him of the postponement
of Allen's voyage, but I will explain it by an excuse that will
enable him to go consistently if your Majesty so decides. I will
send your Majesty a copy of what I write to the Duke on the
subject.—Rome, 17th October 1588.
462. Advices from London (Antonio de Vega).
One Cavendish, who two years ago went with three ships to the
Spanish Indies, has arrived here. He brought back only one of his
own ships to Plymouth, in which it is said he has over 2,000,000
(crowns) in gold and silver. Another of his ships which separated
from him in the South sea seven months ago has as much more.
This treasure was captured from two ships which they found loaded.
He also brings in two ships which were bound for Barbary, and
three other prizes, namely two ships loaded for New Spain, and a
ship from Brazil with 500 boxes of sugar. Besides these they
captured a ship from Santo Domingo, and a caravel loaded with
wine and oil.
Don Antonio's affair is being discussed, and it is generally asserted
that they are going to land him in Portugal. I am quite certain of
The earl of Cumberland is being urged to sail with 14 ships,
some say to the Azores, some to the Indies. He is to take with him
an English convict, who was in one of the galleys which were lost
on the coast of France and is said to be the leader who caused the
convicts to mutiny. The Queen has given him (the convict) 400
It is said that 50 or 60 sail will go with Drake to the Indies, but
nothing is decided yet, as the death of the earl of Leicester has
thrown everything into confusion. I will report what is resolved
It is now considered certain that our Armada has returned to
Since writing the above, Rodriguez de Santos, who went with
J. Diaz Varela to Barbary, has returned, and I am assured that
Don Antonio is about to send one of his sons to Barbary as the
Sheriff promises him a sum of money on condition that the Queen
writes him a letter, which she will not write. (fn. 2) I am assured that
he (Don Antonio) intends to go to Portugal, as Drake, the earl of
Cumberland, Norris and others, offer to undertake the enterprise on
their own account. In order that the affair may be kept secret they
give out that they are going to the Indies, and the merchants will
then let their ships go the more willingly.
I have received news from Ireland that certain of our ships have
put in there, some say the whole Armada. The Queen is sending
Raleigh with all haste to learn about it.
Cavendish does not bring a third of what I say above.
Note.—The King in marginal notes gives directions that the
information contained in this letter should be sent to the various
463. Count De Olivares to the King.
His Holiness told a cardinal who was advising him to write to
your Majesty consoling you for the past, and encouraging you for
the future, that he refrained from doing so, in order that your
Majesty might not make it a pretext for asking him for money and
further aid. This proves that the opinion I wrote to Don Juan de
Idiaquez on the 10th instant was correct. They are beginning to
recognise here that your Majesty's power is great enough to withstand
worse misfortunes than this, and are consequently moderating their
tone somewhat. The conversation now is about "the good King
having done his best in the enterprise, but having been badly served."
They cast much of the blame upon the duke of Parma, and they say
that the duke of Medina ought to lose his head. They evidently
fear here that your Majesty may at last get angry in earnest. His
Holiness's attitude remains the same, and he makes a show of complaining
that he was not fully taken into your Majesty's confidence
in the matter. Your Majesty will see by this how completely he
ignores my frequent urgent requests that he would send the Legate,
and openly avow the share he had in the enterprise. In one of the
last discussions I had with him on the money question, I reminded
him how he would have repented of not sending the Legate if the
affair had turned out as might reasonably be hoped. He replied that
if the enterprise was ordained to succeed, the Legate would have
been sent. He said this with great profundity, and although I
replied that it would have required a very prophetic soul to guess it,
he only cast up his eyes to heaven and said no more.—Rome,
29th October 1588.