720. Relation of the Mission of Thomas James to Spain.
He is an Englishman, who being in Rome last year, met the duke
of Sessa who sent him to the Archduke (Albert) and the English
Catholics in Flanders to confer with them on the important resolution
taken by the king of Spain with regard to English affairs. He
found the Archduke well disposed, and the English Catholics
anxious to participate in an action so conducive to the interests of
the Catholic church. But they were so loyal to the king of Spain
that they would take no steps without his orders, and consequently
the Archduke sent him to Spain to make the proposals to the
King himself. They had told him to assure the King how rejoiced
they were at the news, and how humbly they thanked him for
choosing such princes (i.e., the Archduke and the Infanta) for their
His suggestions are mainly to the effect, that 1st, the Archduke
should make Ireland his point d'appui, and that a large Spanish
naval force and arsenals should be established there.
2. That the King should make a formal transfer of his rights to
the Infanta and the Archduke, on paper or parchment.
3. That money should be sent to Flanders to continue to gain
adherents in England and Ireland. He names the provincial of the
jesuits as the fittest instrument for this purpose.
4. That there should be 16 or 20 galleys in Flanders and 20 or
30 vessels in Dunkirk kept ready for eventualities. They will, he
says, turn the tide at the critical moment. Besides the troops
they carry, they should have arms for 6,000 or 7,000 additional
5. Thirty or 40 other ships should be kept ready in Spain to
land another force in England, to second the force from Flanders.
6. He is confident of success, seeing the many friends in England,
especially if the seat be vacant, the king of Scots being so
7. Even the heretics in office in England, are only anxious to keep
their places, and may easily be bought. They will then gradually
gain others to our side.
8. The English Catholics (in Flanders) have plenty of good
agents, but everything should be directed by his Majesty's representative.
9. That an English Cardinal should be appointed to succeed
Thomas James arrived in Madrid, with a letter of introduction
from the Archduke, (attached to the above), saying that he had
been sent from Rome by the duke of Sessa and Father Persons.
The Council of State considered the matter, and reported to the
King. It had been decided previously that 200,000 ducats should
be sent to the Ambassador, Baltasar de Zuñiga, to use in forwarding
the Infanta's claim to the English crown on the death of the Queen,
but as the money could not be spared, it had not been sent. Nothing
indeed had been done, although the case was very important. But
it will need much force, besides the 200,000 ducats. The Council
recommends that the army in Flanders should be re-inforced, so that
in an eventuality, troops can be sent from there. It also recommends
that the fleet should be mustered, and made ready, but apparently
for the protection of Italy and Spain, so as not to arouse suspicion.
If money can be found for all this, the blow can be struck at the
right moment, and in force sufficient, but if not the Council can only
repeat what it has already said when the affair of Scotland was
In any case a successor to Cardinal Allen should be appointed to
represent the English Catholics in Rome.
721. O'Donnell to Philip III.
I should greatly fail in my duty as a faithful servant of your
Majesty, if I doubted for a moment the fulfilment of the promises
repeatedly made to me in your Majesty's name, promises so conducive
to your Catholicity and your interests. But as my experience is a
long one in the affairs under discussion, and my familiarity with
them gives me a better opportunity than another can have of
judging them, I recognise clearly that promptness is the very
essence of success in our object. I see the time going on apace, and
as every hour passes, nearer and nearer approaches the knife to the
throats of the faithful band of brave, sorely-tried people, whose hope
alone is in God's mercy, and your Majesty's pity. I cannot, then,
help repeating my sorrowful reminders. From the latest news I
have from Ireland received this day, I foresee (and I say it under due
sense of my obligation to God, and your Majesty) that if I do not
arrive within a month in the north of Ireland, I will not say with
2,000 soldiers, but with 1,500 or 1,000 at least, with victuals,
munitions, stores, and money, to raise 5,000 or 6,000 natives and
sustain the war, by expelling the enemy from O'Neil's country and
my own, I doubt very much whether a large force arriving from
your Majesty, even in June, will be in time to find anything there
but the blood and ashes of that multitude of faithful believers in
your Majesty. For since the affair of Kinsale, the English,
suspicious of a stronger force being sent, will hasten to pull up the
roots that should bring the fruit we so much desire. I pray your
Majesty to resolve upon my going with 2,000 men, if possible
during this month, so that I may hold out until the large force
If anyone persuades your Majesty to the contrary, I beg to be
allowed to go post to Court to confront him with reason. If this be not
done, the great force your Majesty sends may be as successful as it
pleases ; but I am quite sure the north will be ruined, and with it
the west will be lost, and Ireland submitted to the insufferable yoke
of the heretic, with the sacrifice of what Catholic blood be left.
Your Majesty's own dominions will suffer by my delay here, whilst
my going speedily will settle everything. Although I assert this
before God, I nevertheless submit myself in everything to your
Majesty's will.—Coruña, 15th April, 1602.
Note.—A statement accompanies the above letter setting forth the
plans of O'Donnell for effecting the object he had in view. His
intention was to enter and fortify Killibeg, which was to be his
base of operations, and thence to proceed to Donegal, Sligo Mouy,
722. Count Caracena to Philip III.
I have daily been expecting replies to the despatches I sent your
Majesty on the arrival of Don Juan del Aguila from Ireland (fn. 1) , and
have been putting off writing, but as the time is going on I think
well not to delay further, but to send my opinion as to what should
At the same time as I received orders from your Majesty, dated
3rd instant, to send a patache to the northern ports of Ireland to
gain information, Don Juan del Aguila arrived bringing the news.
As I was desirous of fulfilling your Majesty's orders I was preparing
the patache, but so much pressure was brought to bear by Earl
O'Donnell, Don Juan himself, Pedro Lopez (de Soto), and others to
dissuade me from sending it, as being against your Majesty's interests,
that I desisted until I heard from your Majesty again. It is true
that the arrival of a patache at such a time might discourage them,
as they are hourly expecting the arrival of succour. Earl O'Donnell
asserts that the enemy will be powerless to prevent the landing of
the aid sent to the northern ports, and he is writing to your
Majesty. He is urging me very much, as usual, to promote the
granting to him of 2,000 men with arms, munitions, and money, so
that he may return to Ireland pending the sending of further
assistance. He asserts that the whole success of the undertaking
depends upon this, as well as the happiness of the Catholics, who
look to your Majesty solely for aid, and for so many years have
faithfully stood firm, and refused to make peace, in the constant
hope that aid would be sent to them from your Majesty or your
lamented father. The Earl would now be satisfied with 1,000 men,
but warmly as I desire the forwarding of this Irish business, which
is the most important of any for the interests of God and your
Majesty, I think it would be risking the men, and perhaps, also, a
loss of prestige to send such a small force to the northern ports. It
is certain that if succour be not sent with the requisite speed the
Catholic cause must fall utterly, because the day that they submit
to the Queen they must give up that which they cherish most, or
else lose their lives. I am therefore of opinion that your Majesty
should succour them at once by sending letters to Earl O'Neil with
arms, munitions, stores, money, and some soldiers, so that they may
hold out until the force arrives. I recommend the same course to
be pursued, even more emphatically, with the lord of Bearhaven,
who, with his people, has given proofs of faithfulness and zeal. I
will send back the brother of Castlehaven (fn. 2) as soon as the money
arrives, in accordance with your Majesty's orders.—La Coruña,
22nd April 1602.
723. Count Caracena to the King.
Dennis O'Driscoll, brother of the lord of Castlehaven, and
Dr. Eugene Egan, have arrived here. If the 20,000 ducats they are
to carry back to Ireland had arrived at the same time I would send
them off without waiting a single day, seeing how important it is
in your Majesty's service. At their request I have had the patache
"Santiguillo" made ready to sail, she being so fast a vessel, and
they are now only awaiting the money to start. They will take
the wine and munitions that can be sent without delaying their
departure. Begs for the money to be sent as soon as possible.—
Coruña, 24th April, 1602.
724. O'Donnell to Philip III.
I have on two or three occasions written to your Majesty giving
you information as to the peril in which the north of Ireland stands,
and asking for some troops to succour the Catholics there, pending
the arrival of the main army, but I have received no answer to my
satisfaction. I am of opinion that if this force had done no more
service to your Majesty than to protect the vassals of O'Neil and
my own from sacrifice, and to bring to our side those of our vassals
who are serving the enemy, it would have been well worth sending.
I understand that, if the force I ask be not given to me, it is rather in
punishment for our sins than from any want of goodwill on the part
of your Majesty to aid us. If my prayers to this end are all
unavailing, I beg your Majesty to send me leave to go thither myself
to end my life with the rest of the Catholics of the north.—Coruña,
25th April, 1602.