508. Advices from London (from Antonio de Vega).
In various English ports 75 ships are now ready. Amongst them
are six belonging to the Queen. Drake's flagship is the "Revenge,"
500 tons, and the vice-flagship is the "Sans Pareil," 700 tons.
There are two others of 400 tons each, another of 300, and another
of 25, (fn. 1) with bronze guns. Drake's ship carries 38 pieces, six in the
bows, and the other ships are armed in proportion. There are two
pinnances of 40 and 50 tons, all the rest of the ships being private
property. There are eight of them of 25 (fn. 2) tons up to 400, armed
with iron guns and victualled for six months. Drake is to command
at sea, and John Norris on land. They take 8,000 soldiers and
4,000 seamen, and the information I have as to their design is, that
if they had carried out the original intention and sailed in January,
they would have gone to the Azores and have left Don Antonio
there with 3,000 men, the fleet thence proceeding to the West Indies
and fortifying Habana. I have learnt recently that, as the season
is now advanced, they will run down the coast of Spain and try to
burn the Spanish fleet (fn. 3) wherever they may find it, and then land
in Portugal if they do not encounter great resistance. Thence they
will go and await the flotillas at the islands. They expected contingents
of men and ships from Holland and Zeeland, but up to the
present only 10 ships and three companies have come. Drake was
to embark on the 10th instant, and Norris on the 15th. Don
Antonio was determined to accompany the expedition, but it would
not be possible for him to do so, as he was quite unprepared, and
they would not give him a penny and he had no security beyond
the word of Drake and Norris. The fleet will doubtless sail some
time during the month, unless the wind prevents it, or the League
should gain some advantage which would frustrate their designs.
509. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
I have nothing very fresh from England, but last news about the
preparations of the fleet are confirmed. Drake has given Don
Antonio a credit for 10,000 crowns to defray the costs of his own
preparations for the voyage. He had sent to Horatio Pallavicini
for some proof armour he has, in order to have some made like it.
They announce that there has been a rising in the Island of Terceira,
and they also assert that the Castle of St. Gian only contained three
or four pieces of artillery, and the same in the Tower of Belem, as
all the rest had been taken for the Armada. He has no lack of
friends in Portugal, and although they (the English) had news that
the duke of Parma was going to Spain with his forces, they said
that before even he could get to Italy, and had begun his long sea
voyage, Don Antonio would have finished his business.
An Italian named Aurelio Sopra, in the queen of England's service
in Ireland, had come from there, and says that counting the ships
that foundered at sea, and those wrecked on the coast, 27 sail of the
Armada and 9,000 men had perished there. He says the men found
the English even more cruel than the winds and waters, as they
had murdered nearly all of them.
The English ambassador here has received two packets of letters
of 9th February, the bearers of which say that Drake would sail
in the middle of this month with 150 sail and 15,000 men, exclusive
of seamen. The rendezvous of the fleet is Plymouth, and some of the
ships were already dropping down the Thames on their way thither.
The Queen said that the fleet was raised entirely by her subjects, in
exchange for that which had taken your Majesty so many years to
collect for the purpose of attacking her.
Drake was to command at sea and Norris on land, and Don
Antonio was to accompany the expedition. The English ambassador,
however, in conversation with his friends uses very different
language to this. He asserts that the Dutch ships had not yet
arrived, and Drake was not yet ready to sail. He says that at most
the force will not exceed 60 or 70 ships, and 8,000 to 10,000 men,
including soldiers and sailors. As Walsingham says nothing about
the fleet in his letter, he (the ambassador) believes that it is not
so advanced as is said, and could not leave before the end of
February. They say the object of the expedition is to try to force
the Spanish ports in which ships may be collecting, thinking that
when they have done this, it will be easier for them to invest
Portugal, and if not, they will go to the Azores or the Indies.
The Queen had come to London, as she had summoned Parliament
for the 15th February, the object being to ask for money to send
these ships out. It was understood that she would make some new
Earls and Barons in this Parliament, particularly Cecil, Hatton, and
Walsingham. She had conferred the governorship of Guernsey upon
Lord Seymour and had recompensed Paulet's son.
The earl of Arundel was being put upon his trial for having had
an understanding with your Majesty's Armada, and for having
written to the cardinal of England (i.e., Allen). The earl of Derby
had been ordered to preside as Constable, with 12 Barons to pass
sentence, in accordance with the custom of England.
A man had arrived from Fez to see the Queen and Don
Antonio, and in order to beguile the people they had christened
him ambassador of the Sheriff and asserted that he had brought a
great sum of money for Don Antonio. They caused the merchants
of London to go out and meet him with 200 horsemen, and the Queen
received him with the ceremonial of an ambassador, Don Antonio
doing the same, sending him a coach in which to visit him.
Two couriers brought these letters on the 9th to the English
ambassador. One of them was the Queen's principal courier, who
only takes charge of despatches of the utmost importance, and
he also brought a packet for this King from his ambassador, for
which the King presented him with 100 crowns. He (Henry III.)
is so short of money that the courier must have brought him some
The English ambassador at once begged urgently for an audience
and in order to be able to receive him, the King gave all the
ambassadors notice that he would see them ; although for over
two months we had been unable to obtain an audience. If I can
learn what the English ambassador's message is in time for this post,
I will send word. I expect it is to offer aid. The Queen had given
leave to M. de Chateauneuf to come to France, and he was ready to
depart, when the English ambassador here, fearing the disturbed
condition of things in this country, that some evil might befall him,
wrote to the Queen asking her by all means to detain Chateauneuf.
The said English ambassador has sent to me the enclosed letter
from Don Pedro de Valdés, and another for me, both open. The
substance of the letter to me is to beg me to send his letter to your
Majesty, with those written by the other Spanish prisoners who are
with him, returning any replies that may be sent by the same means.
I enclose the advices I have from Scotland.—St. Victor, 4th
Note.—In another letter of same date as above Mendoza begs the
King, at the request of Cardinal Allen, to give some money to the
English seminary at Rheims and the English Nuns of Sion at Rouen,
as their principal benefactors, Guise and his brother, are dead.
510. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
The first news I give in the general despatch about England is
from Marco Antonio Messia, who was the man that carried the armour
to Don Antonio. He says that so far as he could gather from his
(Don Antonio's) language Drake's fleet is rather for the islands and
the Indies than for Portugal.
The English ambassador has confirmed to Sampson the information
I give about the fleet, and the new confidant has also sent to
tell me the same. I mentioned the English ambassador's interview
with the King, and he said that he had condoled with him on the
death of the Queen-Mother, and had in general terms made offers
(of help) to him. It would not be necessary, however, for Secretary
Revol to have been with the ambassador for an hour in order
to answer these two points, and I cannot help thinking that my
suspicions of months ago may be correct, and that he ("the
new confidant") is not acting straightforwardly, although I have
continued to keep in with him.
Secretary Curle and his sister, and the apothecary Gorion, have
written to me, saying, that in view of the disturbed state of Paris,
they do not know what I would wish them to do. I beg for
instructions on this point, in case I should have to leave Paris
again. I have had them punctually paid their pensions there every
two months to keep them satisfied and contented.—Chaussée de
St. Victor., 4th March 1589.
511. The King to Bernardino de Mendoza.
Thanks for advices sent from England. I am glad to learn that
you are arranging the new means of intelligence you mention to
replace those that are failing you. More especially is this desirable
in the case of England, about which we are so much in the dark, at
the very juncture when it is necessary for us to know their inmost
thoughts, let alone the ships they are arming in their ports, and the
object for which they are intended. Now that so many Frenchmen
are rallying to the Catholic cause, you could, perhaps, make use of
some French agents in England. If so, this would be the best
I note the excuse under which the governor of Havre de Grâce
wishes to detain the galleass. If it be much delayed it will be very
inconvenient. Do your best to get her to Santander or other
With regard to the provisions, etc., you say may be obtained from
the coast of Brittany, (fn. 4) although we can provide what we need here,
it will be well for you to continue the negotiations, but without
entering into any engagement, in case we should find it advisable to
supply ourselves from there.—Madrid, 17th March 1589.
512. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
In addition to the enclosed advices from England, I have only to
say that a letter from the French ambassador in England to this
King has fallen into my hands, which letter I send herewith. It
confirms the news that Drake's fleet, with Don Antonio on board,
was on the point of sailing, the design being that which I have
several times reported to your Majesty. Although all the advices
agree that some of the ships that were fitted out for Drake in
London were going down the Thames to join him at Plymouth, and
that the fleet would sail by the middle of March, it is still very
questionable whether the Queen will allow herself at this juncture
to be divested of so large a force of ships and men France being in
so unsettled a condition, and the towns of the League so well
armed. This greatly disturbs the Queen, and this King is so helpless
that if, as appearances indicate, he appeals to the Huguenots and the
prince of Bearn for support, the latter can only be given with her
consent and co-operation. It is difficult to see what other aid she
could give at the present time than the troops she has raised for
this fleet, and as they are not more that 8,000 or 10,000 men, she
can hardly send any to help this King without leaving the fleet
empty. We shall soon know whether the fleet is to go or not, and
I will send instant advice.
It is reported from London that the queen of England and her
Council were much grieved that Rouen had declared for the League,
as the English thereby lose the best trade they had with France.
They will have to be very careful now that Normandy, so close to
them as it is, has embraced the cause of the League.
513. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
It is some time since I received any advices from our Scottish
friends, in consequence, as I understand, of their keeping up their
correspondence with the duke of Parma. His Holiness has
authorised the archbishop of Glasgow to abandon, if he pleases, the
post of ambassador to the king of Scotland, having consideration to
the very small hope entertained by the bishop of Dunblane, the
Carthusian friar, on his return, of being able to convert the King.
The ambassador assures me that his principal reason for accepting
the position was the Pope's special license for him to represent a
heretic King, and the instructions from your Majesty that he was
not to refuse the post. He says that I am well aware that for
many years past he has been devoted to your Majesty's service, and
begs me to convey the above intelligence to your Majesty, in order
that he may know whether you wish him to resign or retain the
position of ambassador. He will not move either way until he
receives instructions. As the good prelate has shown his devotion
on so many occasions to your Majesty's service, and his personality
is of the highest importance in the conversion of Scotland, or in any
other negotiations to be carried on there, I cannot refrain from
saying how hardly pressed he is for money. All his misfortunes
fell upon him at once. He lost his mistress, the Huguenots two
years ago took an abbey of his in Poitou worth 3,000 crowns, and
he is now almost starving, for the king of Scotland does not give
him a groat, nor will he allow him to draw anything from the
archbishopric. It is very important to keep him attached to your
Majesty, in view of anything that may be attempted in Scotland,
where if any change took place they could not avoid making him a
Cardinal ; besides which he is in a position to depose as to the
renunciation of the queen of Scotland in your Majesty's favour as
effectually as Curle and his sister and the apothecary Gorion, as
the Queen sent to her ambassador the original letter for his Holiness.
His deposition, moreover, will carry great weight, in consequence of
his character and position. All this makes me urge your Majesty,
whilst praying you to forgive my boldness, to grant the archbishop
a pension of 1,000 crowns a year, out of the funds of some bishopric ;
which will entirely secure him, and at the same time will not pledge
your Majesty to grant him any more, even if they make him a
Cardinal, as in such case he would go to Scotland, where he would
live well on the revenues of his archbishopric. The queen of
Scotland recommended him as warmly as she did her other servants,
and your Majesty granted a pension of 700 crowns to the bishop of
Ross, in addition to the 300 he had in Spain, on the recommendation
of the Queen. The character and position of Glasgow is such that
much more service can be rendered by him than by Ross, and any
grant your Majesty may make him would really be a gracious
charity, even if he were of no service in return, for he is over
70 years of age and has passed all his life in honour and affluence.
He has spent all the grant your Majesty made him through me,
and indeed has had nothing else to live upon. His need is such
that Cardinal Sanzio, who is his friend, seeing his position, has
assigned to him the rent of the house I live in to keep him from
actual beggary. I am informed that in the disturbances in Paris
after Guise's murder, (fn. 5) no one inflamed Aumale more than he did not
to give way. He also insisted on the declaration of the Sorbonne,
to which is due entirely the present favourable position of affairs.
He proceeds in the same way towards Mayenne. (fn. 6) —Paris, 22nd
514. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
Marco Antonio Messia, who was sent by the marquis of Santa
Cruz to England to report, arrived here the day following my own
arrival here. He tells me that Horatio Pallavicini, with whom he is
on very intimate terms, had tempted him to go to Spain, on the
pretext of negotiating for the liberation of the Spanish prisoners,
especially those held by Pallavicini ; and under cover of this doing
a very great service to the queen of England, for which he would
be well rewarded. This was to discover certain information which
she and her Council were very anxious to obtain. These points are
set forth in the enclosed document, written with milk on paper so
that if the letters were afterwards rubbed with charcoal dust they
could be read. (fn. 7) He did this in my house. As he was in such great
need, owing to his having been in England three years, and his
property sequestered in Lisbon, he did not dare to refuse the
commission, for fear of the danger he ran, being in the hands of
barbarous people like the English. He thought, moreover, that this
might afford an opportunity of conveying to your Majesty verbally
an account of the state of things in England and other particulars
which, as he is a sailor, he may be able to give, as to the armaments,
etc. He therefore decided to accept the mission, in order to serve
your Majesty, and will write to the English what your Majesty
may please to direct. He has left there Scipion Borgoni and Eliano
Calvo, who will report as faithfully as he has done, addressing their
letters to me.
I replied that, as he had been forced to leave in consequence of
his business being suspended, owing to the embargo on his property,
he had better draw up a statement of what he told me, so that no
time might be lost in sending it to your Majesty by this post.
I can only say that, to judge by what I have seen in his letters,
and during my personal contact with him now, I believe that if he
had not had the wit to fasten himself on to Pallavicini, they would
have executed him before this, knowing as I do the English
As Messia comes with very little money, in order to prevent his
being detained at Nantes I have furnished him with a credit for
100 crowns. I think this is to your Majesty's interest, so that he
may write favourably to the two correspondents he has left in
Two days after Messia, Antonio de Vega arrived here. He had
gone from England to Flanders to give an account of Drake's fleet,
and the designs of Don Antonio, to the duke of Parma. Although
he says he wrote from Flanders, and the Duke sent his statement
instantly to Spain, I have told him to write here what he wished
your Majesty to know, as he for safety has to go by sea. He
therefore gave me the advices dated 2nd instant, which I enclose
in the general despatch. Vega discussed other matters with me,
but I am suffering so much from my illness, and as the matters
will have to be decided by your Majesty, and it was not pressing
that they should be dealt with at the moment, I told him he
had better repeat his discourse to your Majesty when he reached
Spain. (fn. 8)
Vega was obliged to leave England owing to the danger he ran,
as he was being closely watched, not only by Don Antonio but by
the English as well. Don Antonio dissembled with him in order
not to offend the French ambassador, (fn. 9) and because he thought that
Vega could not refuse to embark with him, and might then be
thrown into the sea, or kept in prison, which is his usual way with
those whom he suspects. It was also necessary for him to leave so
as not to injure the French ambassador in England. When Vega
told him how desirable it was that the duke of Parma should be
informed what was the English plan when your Majesty's Armada
slipped its anchors off Calais, and that, owing to the ports being
closed no person could be sent unless from the embassy, he (the
French ambassador) very willingly sent his own steward, who
carried Vega's letter to the duke of Parma. The steward was
recognised in Flanders by some Englishmen, and the governor of
Calais also wrote to the Queen informing her that the man had gone
to Flanders. Complaints were therefore made by her to this King,
who heard them readily enough, as the ambassador is a brother-in-law
of M. de la Chatre, and an adherent of the League.
Vega had not made any demands upon me yet for his maintenance,
or the cost of his many couriers and despatches, but he asked me
now to pay to the French ambassador 186 sun crowns which he had
lent him to get out of England. The duke of Parma had informed
him that, if he needed money, it would be provided for him in
Flanders ; but he had not thought wise to divulge this debt there, as
it could not be so secretly paid to the ambassador as here. He also
asked me to give him the balance up to 400 crowns, in order that
he might arrive at Madrid. This I am doing, giving him credits on
Nantes, thinking it to your Majesty's interest that he should not have
to travel in need, and fall into the hands of Bearn and the Huguenots,
who would send him to England ; or that the French ambassador
should be displeased, as his co-operation at this juncture may be
valuable. As I have seen how earnestly Vega has been trying
to retrieve his past errors, and he has served so well since his
submission, I beg your Majesty to favour him as he deserves.
A Frenchman named Ruyvot, a short young man of from 26 to 30
years of age, with a small face and chestnut beard, has been sent
from England to Spain by Walsingham for a spy. (fn. 10) He will go to
the house of L'onglé, (fn. 11) † who was formerly the secretary of M. de la
Mauvissière, late French ambassador in England. I have spoken to
him several times, and when he is asked whether he knows me, he
will say yes, and this will be a further proof that he is the man.
His business in London was to represent a merchant named
Guillaume, of Bordeaux. Vega informs me of this and says that
Ruyvot calls himself a Huguenot in England.—Paris, 22nd March
515. Document headed—"Information the English require from
Spain. Heads of the Commission given to Messia in
Of the health of the King and Prince.
Of the disposition of the King and Court to continue the war ; of
the preparations or orders with this object.
Of Rebelli's negotiations with them or rather with the Scots.
Of the credit and position of the duke of Medina Sidonia.
Whether Giovanni Andrea (Doria) has been summoned to serve
Of the opinion of the Court with regard to whom the fault is to be
attributed for the failure of the Armada—whether to the duke of
Parma or the duke of Medina.
Of the opinion of the Court with regard to the duke of Parma's
services and as to his continuance in the government of Flanders.
Of the state of Portugal and the preparations for its defence.
Of the raising of Spanish infantry, and why Marcias left Spain.
Whether Don Alonso de Leyva ever returned. A note of the
chiefs lost, whether by wreck, illness, or battle.
Another memorandum of those who are still able to serve the King
Of the Indian flotillas, and the times of their departure and
Of Don Luis de Cordoba, brother of the marquis de Ayamonte.
If it be true that he has returned to Spain, or whether the man they
have prisoner in London who calls himself Don Gonsalve be he.
If the said Don Gonsalve be rich and powerful, as is believed.
If Don Luis de Cordoba be a prisoner, and what is his capability.
And finally, if Don Juan de Idiaquez or other royal Minister
should ask about Horatio Pallavicini, I am to give a full
account of him, and to say that there is no other person in all
England so capable of arranging peace when negotiations are again
taken in hand.
516. Advices from David.
On the 19th instant Don Antonio and his son Don Manuel left
London for Dover, to embark there on the fleet of 60 ships which
was awaiting him. Another fleet from Holland was also expected
to join them. General Norris and Drake were in Dover, for the
purpose of embarking with Don Antonio, as well as a brother of the
earl of Essex, who was going in command of the cavalry, Captain
Wilmer, (fn. 12) who was in the Netherlands, being his lieutenant. Sir
Robert Sidney's brother is also going in command of 10 companies.
There are from 500 to 600 gentlemen going with the fleet and about
20,000 soldiers, English and Flemish. They are taking 400 horses
for the reiters and 1,200 saddles, with the arms necessary for the
raising of as many more cavalry when they land, the horses for
which they say they will steal. They take also 200 artillery horses
and 30,000 stand of arms, muskets, harquebusses, and lances for
the Portuguese ; and are carrying provisions for their whole force
for six months. What with English, Flemish, and Dutch, armed
ships, transports, hulks, etc. it is calculated that the whole fleet will
not fall short of 200 sail. The affair is in earnest, and Diego Botello
has informed me of many particulars.
On the 25th Don Antonio and his fleet passed within sight of Rye,
where I was. There were 80 odd ships, and as soon as he had passed
I embarked on a fishing boat for France in order, if necessary,
to go in person to Madrid, and give an account to the King of this
and other things contained in this letter.
Don Antonio's intention is, if the weather be favourable, to land
somewhere near Lisbon, as he is informed that the city will welcome
him. Diego Botello says they will land 15,000 soldiers, the rest of
the force with the sailors remaining with the fleet, which is to be
commanded by Drake, Norris being General on land. If Drake sees
an opportunity he will go with most of the fleet to await the Indian
flotillas. (fn. 13)
Don Antonio is on Drake's ship with Diego Botello and five other
Portuguese, whilst Don Manuel accompanies Norris with four
Portuguese. In a ship of 120 tons there are Cipriano de Figueredo
and Antonio de Brito Pimentel, with the rest of the Portuguese,
except ten, who go in a patache which I am told takes six men who
are to be put on shore first. I hear they are to land at Buarcos, on
the Aveiro side of the hill, but much vigilance should be exercised
at Cintra and the Cape, and indeed all along the coast. It would
be worth while for his Majesty to offer a reward of 1,000 cruzados
for every man who is found to have landed in the interests of
Don Antonio. These six or more will certainly land. The Barbary
ambassador goes in Don Antonio's ship, dressed as a Portuguese,
his only object being to carry the news of the landing to the Sheriff,
who will then send a force of Moors, or perhaps try to land them in
Andalucia. The Sheriff also promises Don Antonio a quantity of
powder, harquebusses, and lances, even without payment. He will
also lend him 200,000 cruzados ; and Diego Botello tells me that, as
security for this, and the munitions, Don Cristobal, his son, is to be
given by Don Antonio as a hostage to the Moor. They have great
hope that the Sheriff will fulfil his promises, as his ambassador has
assured the queen of England he will, and Don Cristobal has
written, saying he has been very well received in Barbary. I learn
the same from Alfonso Carvalho, who accompanied Don Cristobal,
who writes that on their arrival at Sapi, on the 7th January, the
Sheriff sent an alcaide to receive Don Cristobal, accompanied by the
principal people of the country ; and that Juan Vaz Alcanforado had
gone to Morocco for the money. They were saying there that this
year Portugal would be taken from the king of Spain.
It will be desirable in his Majesty's interests that orders should be
given all over Portugal that there should be no horses, waggons, or
mules near the coast, as the thing they fear most, according to
Diego Botello, is that this order should be given.
They also fear lest his Majesty, in addition to the infantry, should
place 5,000 or 6,000 horsemen in Lisbon, which might attack and
defeat them as soon as they land. It is clear that their intention is
to land near Lisbon, as they are confident that they will be helped
by the Portuguese. His Majesty should therefore issue a proclamation,
that any person giving to Don Antonio help, aid, or shelter in
any form, shall lose his life. Orders should also be given to preachers
to announce from their pulpits, that, under the guise of restoring
Don Antonio, the English and Flemings are coming to rob, as they
have done elsewhere, and introduce their diabolical sect, profaning
the holy temples ; and the people should therefore be urged to stand
firm as Christians, and endeavour to conquer the foe. (fn. 14) If they be
beaten their pride will be lowered, and perhaps this will enable his
Majesty to gain England, and for trade to be free in all parts, which
it will never be whilst the English are masters of the sea.
(Advises the arrest of several sympathisers and spies of Don
Antonio in Portugal, whose names are given.)
The fitting out of the English fleet cost 400,000 crowns, out of
which 80,000 crowns was provided by merchants, and the rest by
the Queen, the earl of Essex, Drake, Norris, etc. These 400,000
crowns Don Antonio undertakes to pay within three months after
he disembarks, and until the sum be paid, the officers and soldiers
are not to be obliged to take any oath of allegiance to him. He
also undertakes to pay the soldiers what is due to them within three
months, and thereafter to pay them every month. I know this to
be the case, as I went with Diego Botello to Drake's house when the
contract was translated.
Don Antonio's design to raise money is to seize all the spices,
sugars, cottons, salt, shumac, etc., that he finds in the country ; the
natives paying for them at current prices, but foreigners being
charged increased rates. The owners of the goods are not to lose
their property, but to be paid 500,000 or 600,000 crowns. It would
be well for his Majesty to adopt this plan. He (Don Antonio) also
intends to appeal to the ecclesiastics for help, taking a great part of
the church plate to raise money. All this is on the supposition that
Don Antonio will take Portugal, which I hope to God he will not.
It is quite sufficient reason for refusing to help him, that he has
promised to give liberty of conscience to all foreigners in Portugal
Before Don Antonio left London he had 500 or 600 general pardons
printed, giving an account of the sufferings he has undergone to
liberate the Portuguese from subjection to Castile, and declaring
the great force he brings with him. Diego Botello tells me that
these general amnesties for all offences will be spread in the towns
by the men who I say are to go and land in advance. These men
should therefore be captured without fail.
I again remind you to advise his Majesty to have a strong
garrison at Peniche, as it is whispered that the landing of the force
will take place there.
Amongst Englishmen, and in Don Antonio's own household, it
is generally admitted that if this expedition fails, Don Antonio
will never be able to raise his head again, or find anyone to help
It is therefore doubly important that his Majesty should use every
effort to defeat him as soon as he lands, and Portugal will thus be
assured, and England nearly captured.
If his Majesty's forces do not oppose these people as soon as they
land I fear that the Portuguese, seeing them in large numbers, may
join them, and it will cost his Majesty much more than if the
attempt be nipped in the bud. Above all, there should be many
cavalry, as that is what they fear. His Majesty's forces should be
concentrated in or about Lisbon, as Portugal will have mainly to be
ruled from there.
Those who have most opposed the expedition in England are the
Admiral and the governor of the Isle of Wight, Sir Walter Raleigh ;
but with all their efforts they could not prevail, as they had against
them Walsingham, the Lord Treasurer, the Lord Chancellor, the earl
of Essex, Norris, Drake, and the merchants, who are all largely
interested in the venture. No men, either soldiers or sailors, have
been forced into the expedition ; but all have gone voluntarily,
under the impression that they have only to land and load themselves
with gold and silver, so confident are they in the hopes held
out to them that the Portuguese will take up arms in their favour
at once. They also say that they have been promised by Don
Antonio the sack of all the towns which do not submit to him, and
that when they enter Castile they shall sack every place, and carry
war with blood and fire through the country. God grant that this
may not happen, as his Majesty will doubtless have taken the
necessary measures, according to my advices from England. I repeat,
if Don Antonio be beaten this time, he will trouble his Majesty no
more, and England also will be humbled.
A cousin of mine, Antonio de Andrada, has to go to Plymouth,
and I have instructed him to come and inform you of any change or
news of importance he may observe before the expedition sails. If
he has nothing to communicate, I instruct him, the moment he lands
(in Portugal), to desert to his Majesty's force, and give all the
information in his possession to the officer in command.
The earl of Cumberland is fitting out five great ships and two
pataches for the Indies, with 1,000 soldiers besides sailors. His
pilot is a Portuguese from Viana, who was on board a ship they
captured, and was given to the Earl by Don Antonio. The pilot
says that the Earl intends to pass close to the Portuguese coast, and
if Don Antonio needs help, he will give it him, and if not, he will
proceed on his voyage.
Sir Harry Cavendish is also making ready to sail after the
expedition has gone. He was going back to China with two ships
and a patache, but the latter was lost near Gravesend on the 20th
instant, with 42 persons, none being saved. But he will have
another built, and will certainly sail on his voyage.
Don Antonio and all his people are going wretchedly provided with
necessaries. With the exception of six or eight members of his
household, they are unarmed, as the Queen has only given him
400 crowns, out of which he had to pay for the board and lodging
of his people. He could only give them three shirts of unbleached
linen each. No English gentleman attends him, and no presents
were given to him except by the earl of Essex, who sent him a
hackney, and the Lord Chancellor, who gave some very rich arms to
Don Manuel, which arms had formerly belonged to the duke of
The Queen also gave Don Manuel, when he took leave of her, a
windmill made of precious stones, valued at 800 crowns.
Don Antonio is determined to be the first to set foot on shore.
He takes with him some black bullet-proof armour, the helmet
being also proof. He intends to leap ashore fully armed, Don Alonso
carrying before him a Christ raised from the dead. His servants,
it is said, will land with him. This is the talk amongst us (i.e., the
Portuguese), but Don Antonio will first see whether the English
will not be offended at it.
I have done all the service to the King that I can do here, which
has not been small, and if I am allowed to go to Portugal I may
be able to do great service through a brother-in-law of mine, who
is one of the principal preachers of the Order of Santo Domingo
in Lisbon, and through a brother of mine, who is also a great
Note.—It will be seen by the above letter that the spy Andrada
was extremely well informed with regard to the expedition, nearly
all details given by him having been absolutely correct. The first
man to land on Portuguese soil was Essex, who struggled through
the surf on foot, a proceeding which poor Don Antonio could hardly