Simancas: December 1587

Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1899.

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'Simancas: December 1587', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, (London, 1899) pp. 173-186. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]

December 1587

4 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 126.
179. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I am entertaining and making much of Julius to the best of my ability in accordance with your Majesty's orders, and because I see how well he is acting in your Majesty's service. In consequence of Walsingham's enmity towards him the Queen is pressing him about the money he owes ; and he is therefore in difficulties. He informs me that Secretary Pinart has sent word to the English ambassador that, in consequence of information they had received of the sailing of your Majesty's fleet, they had despatched the news to his mistress, and had offered her at the same time the aid specified in the treaties. The King had also taken into his service the Swiss troops who had surrendered to him, and they were travelling by short marches, in order that they might delay until they learnt whether she needed them. Although the King was following up the reiters he (Pinart) could assure him (Stafford) that it was with no intention of harming them—which is exactly what I suspected.
At this juncture I received your Majesty's despatches, and whilst thanking Julius for his advices I said that, to prove to him with what sincerity they were treating the English ambassador here, I could assure him that on the 4th November your Majesty's fleet had not sailed, which greatly pleased him.
Julius writes me under date of 19th and 25th that the Queen was again in treaty with Casimir for the coming of 6,000 reiters and 8,000 infantry to France, and she was now quite confident that your Majesty had come to an understanding with the king of Scotland, and that these naval preparations had for their object to place him in possession of the English crown. In conversation on this subject with the person through whom we communicate, (fn. 1) Julius said he did not believe your Majesty was so ill-advised as to incur such a great expense for the benefit of a person so far from being a Catholic as the king of Scotland, whilst neglecting to assert your own rights. This will show how well disposed he is to your Majesty's interest.
Every merchant's letter, and every traveller coming from Flanders, says that the duke of Parma is going over to England. I try to stifle this rumour with the best arguments I can find in furtherance of your Majesty's instructions.
Sampson's advices enclosed are taken from letters from Don Antonio that I have seen. Friar Diego Carlos was with him. Pardin says that the Queen keeps so close a watch upon Don Antonio that it is impossible for him to escape without her knowledge.—Paris, 4th December 1587.
4 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 127.
180. Advices from Flushing.
The earl of Leicester is leaving for England, his baggage being already shipped. He is on bad terms with the rebels. (fn. 2) They have stationed 60 ships, great and small, in the river at Antwerp to prevent the duke of Parma from going over to England with the ships he has armed in Antwerp. They expect 20 more vessels from Holland, which they intend to place at the mouth of the Ghent canal to prevent the sailing of the ships the Duke has at that town. They are in fear lest the Duke should use his Antwerp vessels to seize the ships at the island of Tregus (Ter Goes).
6 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 130.
181. Bernardino De Mendoza to Secretary Idiaquez.
In case the amount to be granted to the secretary of the late queen of Scotland has not been decided, I may say in answer to your question that he might be given 30 crowns (a month).
Captain Pardin says there is a soothsayer in England who affirms that Don Antonio will pass the month of February in Portugal, and that he will be very peaceful and quiet in March. The man has foretold many things truly to the Queen, and I fully expect that in this case he is not lying ; because as he (Don Antonio) cannot leave England, I hope to God our people will take him back in their galleons to Lisbon, in the month that the prophet mentions, and without war.
Colonel Semple has arrived here and writes the enclosed letter to you. He has asked me whether I have any message from you for him, and I have told him I have received nothing. I am welcoming him to the best of my ability, and will so continue to do until I hear from you what I am to say to him. I have done nothing but listen to him in the matters he has broached to me, and instruct him how to bear himself here towards those who speak to him.—Paris, 6th December 1587.
9 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1567.
182. Advices from England.
On the 1st Morris returned with the duke of Parma's reply, and on the same day the Queen sent word to the commissioners that they were to make ready and leave shortly. The baggage and attendants were sent off on the 4th and the commissioners themselves left on the 8th. They have added another commissioner to those whose name I reported, Sir Amias Paulet, who was the keeper of the queen of Scots. They have received letters from Lord Hundson, who is at Berwick, telling them that Scottish affairs are going very badly, the Scots having taken up arms and had an encounter with the English, three companies of whom they defeated. They had also captured a fortified house belonging to an English gentleman 20 miles from Berwick. Hunsdon asserts that the duke of Parma has an understanding with Scotland. This news has caused an immense sensation and uneasiness here, and great activity is being exercised in preparations for defence by land and sea. Urgent orders were sent to the captain of the Sluys to raise 4,000 men to defend the port of Berwick, as they fear that if the duke of Parma has an understanding with Scotland an attempt may be made there, as the harbour is a good one. The earls of Cumberland and Huntingdon are being sent to the north with large commissions, whilst Colonel Norris is going to Milford in Wales, Grenville to Plymouth, Raleigh to Cornwall, George Carew to the Isle of Wight, and others elsewhere. They are working day and night making ready the Queen's ships and others, and have decided to divide them into three fleets. Drake is to leave as soon as possible with three Queen's ships and three pinnaces, for the purpose of collecting all the merchant ships there are between Portsmouth and Bristol, which have orders to make ready and await him at Plymouth, so that he may have a fleet of 30 sail to take to the coast of Portugal, although they say he will have more. Another fleet of 20 sail, under Admiral Winter, is to go to Scotland and Ireland, and the rest of the ships will be under the Lord Admiral to cruise in the Channel, all the Queen's ships being in this fleet. They are hourly expecting two pataches which they have sent to the coast of Portugal for intelligence. There is a commission out here in London to raise 10,000 men to guard the person of the Queen, and they say another 10,000 will be made ready to protect the city. Chains are to be put across all the streets. A council of war sits frequently, consisting of six members of the Council and others of little experience in warfare, but they expect the earl of Leicester within three days, as his factor has already arrived. They have summoned the nobles suspected of Catholic leanings and it is feared they will be imprisoned Orders have been given that any person who rises, or makes any disturbance whatever, shall be hanged at once on the spot without form of judgment. They delayed the departure of the commissioners to the duke of Parma, on the ground that the passport sent was not ample enough, and they requested that another in fuller terms should be sent, the object being to delay matters and discover something. They fear the Duke may be entertaining them the better to carry out his design. On the 6th they received news of the defeat of the reiters and the departure of the Swiss, a sad piece of intelligence for them, although they are reluctant to believe it, and Stafford has written saying it was exaggerated. Immediately after this the Queen ordered the commissioners to make ready to go within four days, and they will surely go, as there is nothing more for them to prepare. Even if they learnt anything they would be obliged to dissemble, although Paulet, who is the earl of Leicester's and Walsingham's right hand, is throwing every obstacle in the way of their going, and has given the Queen a list of reasons why peace cannot be made without danger. It will be well for the Duke to continue in his course, as his reputation with them is high, and they say that they will do everything on his word. (fn. 3)
They are sending to Scotland one Douglas who was here as the king of Scots ambassador, and who promises that he will make peace between the Queen and the King, if the kings of Spain and France do not stand in the way. This Douglas is a creature of Walsingham and the Queen, and they treat him as ambassador, whereas he is really nothing of the sort. (fn. 4) On the 8th instant news came from Antwerp that a fleet of 250 sail, with 30,000 men and 400 artillery mules, had sailed from Lisbon. This news alarmed them so, although they do not believe it, that they are hurrying forward harder than ever, as they are determined to give battle at sea in such case. They are making musket proof shields for their ships, and many new inventions and devices of fire, to burn the sails of the enemy's ships.
Note.—A note at foot of the above letter accounts for certain omissions and incoherences in it, by saying that the cipher key is so worn out as to make it impossible properly to decipher the despatch.
19 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 137.
183. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Bruce has written me the enclosed letter by Captain Forster, who was the man that accompanied him, but the letter he mentions in this one has not arrived yet. (fn. 5) I have told the captain that the resolution adopted by the Scottish lords makes it difficult for your Majesty to help them, and that it would be better therefore that he should go and communicate his message to the duke of Parma, to whom I send a copy of Bruce's letter. The best way will be for him to entertain the captain there (i.e., in Flanders) by telling him that the time has not yet arrived to deal with these matters. I do not wish to arouse the suspicions of Scotsmen by letting them see him stay here ; and it will not be desirable for him to return to Scotland.
Julius is much pressed by his creditors, and by the account which is being demanded of him, and has begged me to signify this to your Majesty, in order that you may grant him some favour. I have written to him that I will do so, although I feared that pressure of affairs and the great cost of the fleet would prevent a very prompt reply being sent. I was certain, however, that your Majesty would bear his services in mind. I thus held out hopes to him until I could hear what your Majesty decided, as it is advisable to keep him well disposed at the present time. (fn. 6) Walsingham is pressing him greatly for the account of the money.—Closed at Paris, 22nd December 1587.
19 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 139.
184. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Although I have nothing from England of later date than the 25th ultimo, which news I sent in my last, and the present intelligence is still earlier, I think well to send it as it comes from an Englishman with whom I am in communication here, and contains some points of importance as showing the difficulty encountered by the Queen in fitting out so few ships, let alone the great number they talk about. There has been no arrival from England lately, owing to contrary winds, but ships from Flushing and Scotland, which were anchored in the Downs on the 15th, say that none of the Queen's ships have left the Thames, except four small vessels which are also anchored in the Downs for the purpose of watching the ships that arrive there.
The Queen has issued a proclamation ordering all people to retire to their homes under great penalties. The reason of this is that many gentlemen resident on the coast have repaired to London, on the rumours that your Majesty's fleet was going to attack the country, which greatly alarmed them. The people of the coast villages have also fled inland.—Paris, 19th December 1587.
22 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 140.
185. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I reply in this letter to the instructions contained in your Majesty's letter of the 27th November.
The moment the credit arrives I will pay the 6,000 crowns as ordered, (fn. 7) will convey the message to the archbishop of Glasgow and the bishop of Ross, and also to Miss Curle, by whom the queen of Scotland sent the credence to me. She remains here with her brother, Secretary Gilbert Curle, and his wife.
Miss Kennedy went to take a bed which the Queen left as a keepsake to the duchess of Guise, and another to Madame de Chalons, the Queen's aunt, and as soon as she returned hither she received an order from her brother to return immediately to Scotland. I was anxious for her to stay, but could not prevail upon her to do so, as she was alone here and without friends. The archbishop of Glasgow intimates to me that she is almost engaged to be married, and this was a reason for her going. (fn. 8) I have news that the ship in which she went had been driven into Portsmouth by storms, where she (the ship) was seized. I do not know whether they will let Kennedy proceed on her voyage. She did not say a word to me on the Queen's behalf, but only that she was present at her death, and placed the bandage over the Queen's eyes, as she was of better birth than Curle. Your Majesty will please instruct me whether I am to write your message to Kennedy in Scotland. She can only testify to what she has heard. As everything is so dear in this country she and Curle could not maintain themselves on less than a crown a day each, and as Kennedy is of nobler birth she would have to be given a larger pension than Curle if your Majesty wishes her to return hither from Scotland, and if not, a grant of money should be made to her in one sum. To give a pension to either of them will really be furnishing them with a marriage portion. I am not aware that Curle, her brother, or Gorion, the apothecary, are in any present need, nor are they talking of leaving here, pending the division of certain furniture which the queen of Scotland left to the servants who were with her ; they are also awaiting your Majesty's reply. It will therefore be unnecessary to give them any money until your Majesty's decision is received. If Gorion be given 20 crowns a month it will be sufficient ; and, although, having regard to his rank, 30 crowns would be ample for Curle, the secretary, yet as your Majesty allows Thomas Morgan, who was not the Queen's secretary, 40 crowns, it would not be excessive to grant Curle the same amount, especially as it was he who ciphered the despatch of which your Majesty enjoins me to take care. They confronted him with the draft of it, which the queen of England's Council had discovered, and it was impossible for him to deny it. When it was shown to Nau, the other secretary, he said it was in Curle's handwriting. As your Majesty instructs me in your despatch, it is important that neither the ladies nor Curle nor Gorion should depend upon anyone but your Majesty, so that if you should choose to grant them larger allowances than those I mention, it will be all the better, as pledging them the deeper. As the crowns paid by your Majesty are of less value in Flanders the grants will not be thought so much of if paid there. Curle is a worthy man, but not of much understanding. His sister will depend upon him, and I think it will be best for your Majesty's purpose that they should remain here, and that I should pay them (until the time comes for them to make the declaration of what they know, in some place where they may do so safely). I have held out hopes to them of your Majesty's reply, but I will not say the amount they are to receive until your Majesty's decision arrives, unless anything occurs which may cause them to wish to leave here.
Ligons is an Englishman who has been in Flanders for years past, and your Majesty granted him the allowance he now enjoys for the queen of Scotland's sake.
The letter that the queen of Scotland wrote to his Holiness was taken out by Gorion with mine, and, by orders of the Queen, handed to her physician for delivery to the Pope. The physician absented himself from here, and I concluded that he had gone with the letter ; but when I asked the archbishop of Glasgow he told me that he had not done so, as he had not the means, and that the letter still remained in his hands. As it is open I will ask the ambassador kindly to let me see it, or get Gorion to tell me what it contains, because as the Queen wrote them hastily she had them read to him, so that they might be understood here. She did the same with the letter to the duke of Guise. (fn. 9)
The Queen wrote the will with her own hand, in accordance with what she wrote to me on the 20th May 1586 in cipher. It fell into the hands of the queen of England, and when she sent Wotton hither to complain of the queen of Scotland to this King he told him that such a will had been found, and that the two secretaries testified to the fact that it was written in the queen of Scotland's own hand. When M. de Belièvre was in London, therefore, he asked the Queen to show him the will, so that he might assure his master that he had seen it with his own eyes ; but as I wrote to your Majesty at the time, the Queen replied that the queen of Scotland was such a bad woman that she believed she had found means of sending it to your Majesty. When she subsequently repeated to the Treasurer what had passed with Belièvre on the matter, he said that, since she had the will in her own hands, it was better in every respect that she should burn it, which she did. The false Treasurer told this to Julius, (fn. 10) who informed me of it for conveyance to your Majesty.
I will ascertain from the new confidant whether the papers brought by Wotton remained here, and if in these papers which contained the accusations against the queen of Scotland there is anything about the will. Julius can throw a good deal of light on this matter when the time arrives, and his statements will be of importance, as he is one of the party itself, and in nowise dependent upon the queen of Scotland. Secretary Curle wrote the letter, as I have mentioned, and his sister brought me the verbal credence from her. Gorion tells me he was present when the queen of England's councillors, whilst informing her of her condemnation, reproached the queen of Scotland for trying to disinherit her own son by ceding her rights to your Majesty, which, they said, was proved by her will. She told them that they were not empowered to address her upon any subject but those concerning the queen of England, and she had no reason for rendering an account to them of what had passed between her and other princes, as she was a sovereign. Nau, the Queen's French secretary, has been to me secretly, and told me that he saw the decipher of my letter. He says that Walsingham and all the queen of England's Council assured him about the will, and the queen of England had the matter published in Scotland and here, for the purpose of discrediting the queen of Scotland ; so that, when need may arise, there will be no lack of witnesses, even without those now in hand, and Julius, as I say, will be of great importance. Colonel Semple arrived here some time ago and (as I wrote to Don Juan de Idiaquez on the 6th) he said he had been ordered to follow my instructions. I have heard what he has to say, and will proceed cautiously with him in accordance with your Majesty's instructions, and as is necessary from the fact of his being a Scot, although I find him better disposed than any of the "cape and sword folk" of his nation that I have met hitherto.—Paris, 22nd December 1587.
22 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 141.
186. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Intelligence has arrived from England, dated the 14th instant, reporting that the Admiral had orders to put to sea with 18 Queen's ships, well armed with guns and munitions, (fn. 11) and 15 merchantmen, which is one more than they had decided upon, besides which six of the merchantmen are to be replaced by six of the Queen's ships, which has doubtless been done by the Admiral, as he is to command in person. They say that in these 33 ships they will send 3,000 seamen and as many soldiers, and although the seamen were mostly ready, the soldiers were not mustering, which gives rise to the belief that the Admiral could not sail so soon as they say.
Drake had been ordered to sail to the West Country with 36 picked merchantmen, carrying 3,000 sailors and as many soldiers, but neither the ships nor the men were being got ready with the same furious haste as the Admiral's fleet. The most experienced people in the country were of opinion that it would be extremely difficult for the Queen to collect such a fleet, however much she might desire it, except after long delay, seeing the great fear and confusion existing all over the country. People were crying out for her to make peace with your Majesty. I am told this by the new confidant and by others. The fleet mentioned appears to be of the same number of ships as it was advised, in the letters of the 22nd, they wished to collect, which letters also spoke of the difficulty of doing so. I will report instantly all I can learn, and am informing the duke of Parma.
The Queen has sent Walter Raleigh to the West Country to join the soldiers there. Lord Hunsdon in the north, and Master Grey (fn. 12) and Colonel Norris, (fn. 13) who were in Flanders, are in London to take charge of soldiers there if necessary.
Sir William Pelham, the Master of the Ordnance, whom the English looked upon as one of their best soldiers, has died at Flushing.
Letters from Scotland of the 4th November report that the people on the borders of the earl of Morton's country, as the earl is absent from the country, were committing raids into England. The Queen had complained to the king of Scotland, and he went with 200 horse to the border to remedy matters. This was the foundation of the assertion here that the King had entered the field.
The Carthusian friar, bishop of Dunblane, and the other fathers had arrived at Petty Leith, and as the ship that carried them had no cargo, but only the five passengers, the rumour spread that five Jesuits had come in her, and a proclamation was at once issued ordering people, under penalty of death and confiscation, not to harbour nor help them.
The bishop and his companions travelled north to the house of the earl of Huntly, who is a Catholic.
The earl of Leicester had not arrived in England from Flushing on the 14th, and it was understood that the object of the Admiral would be to station his 33 ships at the mouth of the Thames, and prevent any of the duke of Parma's ships from going to the north of England, whilst Drake, with his 36 ships on the west coast, would oppose your Majesty's fleet from gaining an English port. The two fleets are not to join unless they are obliged to do so to enable them to combat your Majesty's Armada.— Paris, 22nd December 1587.
24 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1448. 156.
187. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Your intelligence from England is noted, and I am expecting to learn from your next letter how the armament of ships for the Admiral was going on, which you will, I am sure, have informed me with your usual punctuality. As you have not for some time past reported the sailing of any fleet from English or French ports, I cannot make out what ships they can be which have recently been seen in the neighbourhood of Cape St. Vincent, The number is too large for them to be unattached corsairs, although they are not strong enough to cause anxiety. Take continual care to keep me advised on this and all things you hear.—Madrid, 24th December 1587.
27 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 144.
188. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I saw the Scots ambassador yesterday, and he told me that he had news from Muzio's agent in Rome that his Holiness had instructed count de Olivares to write to your Majesty in his name, earnestly begging you to help the Guises, and that he was sending a special courier for the purpose. The count de Olivares had given the letters to Cardinal Rusticucci for submission to his Holiness. The Scots ambassador was very pleased at this, not that he had any doubt that your Majesty would help him, but because it would enable you to do so more openly, without giving the king of France any cause of complaint. I took the opportunity of telling him that, in the letter his (late) mistress had written to me, she had urgently begged your Majesty to help Muzio, and doubtless she had done similarly in the letter she wrote to his Holiness, and the latter would naturally be influenced thereby. My object was to get him to tell me what the letter contained. He replied that the point was not referred to in the letter, which was confined to the following : commending her soul to his Holiness's prayers, and asking him to found some memorial of her, as she was dying for, and in, the Catholic faith. She was reconciled to die thus, as it was God's will, but as they had refused to let her have a priest to whom to confess, or from whom to receive the Holy Sacrament, she besought his Holiness to give her absolution. She had sent her blessing to her son, on condition of his submitting to the Catholic faith, but if he would not do this, for the sake of her conscience (which she would not burden for her son or for anyone else) she declared that there was no prince more fitting than your Majesty to wear the two crowns of those islands, and to preserve the countries in the Catholic religion. This agrees with her remarks in the letter she wrote to me.
She also recommended all her servants generally to his Holiness.
The above, he (the archbishop of Glasgow) said, were the only points contained in her letter to the Pope, Muzio not being referred to at all, and he offered to show me the letter, as it had not yet been sent to Rome, in consequence of his not having any money to give to the physician who was to take it. As I had obtained from him what I wanted to know, I said I was satisfied with what he told me, without seeing the letter, and, if he thought it was of importance for the relief of his late mistress's conscience that the letter should be delivered to his Holiness, I had been so desirous of serving her that I would provide the money out of my own pocket for the physician to take it. He replied that if this King would pay what he owed to the queen of Scotland there would be plenty of money for this and other things, and he was not sure now whether the physician would take the letter to Rome, because if I found the money for him he would not dare to return to France. He (the Archbishop) had not ventured to send either the original or a copy of the letter until he learnt the wishes of the duke of Guise, who was the Queen's principal executor ; but when the bishop of Dunblane returned from Scotland he would ask the duke of Guise whether it would be advisable to send the letter to Rome by the said Bishop. I have brought matters to this point, and thought better not to carry them any further with the ambassador until I received your Majesty's instructions. With reference to this, Secretary Curle tells me that when he was in the house of Philipps, one of Walsingham's officers, he showed him (Curle) the identical will made by the queen of Scotland, whose handwriting he knew well. When he read the clause in question, Philipps said what a cruel thing it was for a mother thus to disinherit her own son. According to this, Curle is not only a witness that he ciphered the letter in which his mistress announced her intention, but also that he saw, subsequently, her will written in her own hand formally executing it.
The Scots ambassador says that since his mistress's death the funds she provided for the Scotch seminary at Pont Monçon have failed, and the seminary is becoming deserted. He asks me to beg your Majesty to give some alms to prevent the loss of so pious a work, and in consideration of the influence the students there would exert in the conversion of the country. I promised him I would mention it to your Majesty.
As I report in the general letter, Arundell has died, and I beg your Majesty to instruct me as to what I am to do with the 2,000 crowns which the queen of Scotland owed him, and which for the relief of her soul your Majesty ordered me to pay to Arundell. The new confidant has sent me in writing the intelligence I send about England, through a perfectly unsuspicious channel. He says that the loss of the former friend forced him to write the news, as it was of the highest importance that your Majesty should be informed thereof at once. He did so on this occasion but it was unadvisable that he should continue to do so, and begged me to send some person to him who could be trusted, and who would convey intelligence verbally. I am puzzled to find a man fitting for the task owing to the qualities required. He says he must not be a Spaniard, but a person who may freely have access to his house, whilst for religious reasons it is unadvisable for a Spaniard to be intimate there. In order not to lose Julius I will myself run the risk of going to his house at night, until I can find a suitable person.
The Nuncio, as I have mentioned, is opening out with me, and is displaying a very favourable disposition towards the conquest of England ; and I doubt not that his Holiness has written something to him on the subject, because he told me lately that there was nothing he desired more than that your Majesty should punish England. A person with whom he is intimate said to him that the people here had only come to terms with the reiters for the purpose of being able to help the queen of England, and he replied that, seeing as he did the evil intentions prevalent here, he had no doubt that such was the case. I do not answer him when he speaks of the matter to me, and when he asked me in what state your Majesty's fleet was, I replied that it was being got ready but nobody knew where your Majesty was going to employ it.
I am sending this courier off expressly to give your Majesty information of Drake's design, and am also informing the duke of Parma. Julius says he has it from the Admiral.—Paris, 27th December 1587.
27 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1565. 145.
189. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
To the intelligence about England sent in my last, I now have to add that other news, dated the 14th instant, new style, has arrived here, saying that seven out of the 36 ships to be commanded by Drake are to be Queen's ships. Three thousand sailors are to be shipped on this fleet, and as many soldiers as can be carried, the number of which will not reach 3,000 as was stated, and Drake will sail with them to Spanish waters to fight your Majesty's Armada there or burn ships in Lisbon, like he did in Cadiz (which will not be an easy task), or in any other port where he may find them, as they have news from Lisbon that the Armada cannot sail in any case before the middle of January. In order to make sure of this, and ascertain the state in which the Armada is, they had sent two English shallops to Lisbon harbour to capture some fishing boat, from which they might learn what preparations were being made on the fleet, and whether the crews were being shipped. It was intended as soon as these shallops returned that Drake should at once put to sea with the object named ; and to enable him to do this the more speedily he would take with him some of the ships which were ready to sail under the Lord Admiral, the latter being now undecided as to whether he would sail, and whether his fleet would put to sea so soon as had been intended. It was thought most probable that he would not go out, but if he did, his design, as I have said, would be to prevent the duke of Parma from landing in the north of England or executing any enterprise in Zeeland. Your Majesty's rebel States had intimated to the Queen that they had 80 armed ships in the river at Antwerp and other places to prevent the sailing of the duke of Parma's vessels. With these 80 and 20 more they would go to her assistance if your Majesty's fleet attacked England. The Queen, however, made no account of these offers as she could not trust them (the States).
In conversation with some of his favourites about your Majesty's Armada, this King said they knew where your Majesty was going to employ the fleet, whilst neither the duke of Parma, the marquis of Santa Cruz, nor any other person was aware of it.
I understand that Chateauneuf writes that the English are in the utmost confusion and discouragement, and the Scots ambassador tells me that he has seen a letter from a private person there reporting that the Queen had ordered the Treasurer and Walsingham by all means to make peace with your Majesty ; and when Walsingham asked her what about religion, she replied angrily that she would agree about religion and everything else.
The earl of Leicester has been informed by the Queen that she leaves to his discretion whether he should return to England or not. As he has delayed his departure it is thought that he would not go. —Paris, 27th December 1587.
S.D. Estado, 839. 190. Names of the Heretics, Schismatics, and Neutrals in the Realm of England, as follows :—
The principal Heretics.
The earl of Leicester.
Earl of Warwick, his brother.
Earl of Huntingdon, his brother-in-law.
Lord Burleigh, Lord Treasurer.
Earl of Bedford.
Lord Hunsdon.
Sir Christopher Hatton.
Secretary Walsingham.
These are the principal devils that rule the Court, and are the leaders of the Council.
Schismatics and Neutrals.
The earl of Shrewsbury, a great friend and follower of Robert Dudley, and principal judge that condemned to martyrdom my late mistress, the queen of Scotland.
Earl of Derby, another good servant of Lord Robert Dudley, but in his own conscience is neutral.
Earl of Cumberland, a good neutral, but his wife, the daughter of the earl of Bedford, is a great Calvinist.
These are principal persons in England whom his Majesty should not trust.
There are also other nobles and knights who are heretics in various parts of the country.
In Norfolk.
William Headon, the principal man in Norfolk, a great enemy of his Majesty.
Sir William Butts, with all his family.
Sir Nathaniel Bacon.
Sir William Woddons.
The enemies of his Majesty in the county of York.
Sir William Fairfax.
Sir Thomas Fairfax.
Sir William Bele.
Grotick, knight, and all the rest of the Council of York, the president of which is Lord Huntingdon.
Catholics and friends of his Majesty in England.
The earl of Surrey, son and heir of the duke of Norfolk, now a prisoner in the Tower.
Lord Vaux, of Harrowden, a good Catholic, now a prisoner in the Fleet, with many other important knights and gentlemen.
The Catholics of Norfolk.
Sir Henry Benefield, who was formerly the guardian of Queen Elizabeth, the pretended queen of England, during the whole time that his Majesty was in England ; Sir Henry keeping her by order of King Philip and Queen Mary. I wish to God they had burnt her then, as she deserved, with the rest of the heretics who were justly executed. If this had been done we should be living now in peace and quietness.
Sir William Paston.
Townsend Knight, and many other Catholic servants of his Majesty.
In the county of York.
Sir Richard Stapleton.
Sir Brian Stapleton, who would risk his life for his Majesty.
Edward Clerker, of Risby.
Henry Constable, of Holderness.
William Babthorp, of Babthorpe.
Robert Clerker, of Clerker, and many other gentlemen.
Catholics in the county of Lancashire.
Sir William Stanley, brother of the earl of Derby, a good Catholic.
Westby, knight.
Blundell, of Croke Abbey.
Blundell, of Ynce.
Irland, knight.
The greater part of Lancashire is Catholic, the common people particularly, with the exception of the earl of Derby and the town of Liverpool.
The worthy Sir John Southwell, who is now a prisoner in Chester Castle, and many other gentlemen there with him, are staunch friends of his Majesty.
Northumberland and Westmoreland are loyal friends of his Majesty, but there is no one to lead them now, as the earl of Northumberland has been executed as a martyr in York, and was succeeded by his brother, who was treacherously killed by a pistol shot in the Tower of London, the pretence being that he had killed himself.
The earl of Westmoreland is in Paris, maintained by king Philip. These two counties are really faithful to his Majesty.
If his Majesty intends to send a fleet to England it will have to encounter strong resistance if it does not come to one of these two counties. The way by Ireland is dangerous.
It would therefore be safer to enter and disembark at Kirkcudbright in the territory of the earl of Morton, who is now in Lisbon and would, I think, be glad to accompany them. If the force be landed there they might enter the rest of England with less risk than elsewhere. If it be asserted that it would be safer to land on the east coast of Northumberland, it must be remembered that in such case the ships would have to go round the Orkney isles and the isles of Scotland, and must therefore pass within a league of Edinburgh. God grant that all may prosper and that such a resolution may be adopted as shall prevent them (i.e., the Spaniards) from being deceived either in England or Scotland.
I wish to God my own old bones were of any service to his Majesty in the cause, for I would willingly die in defence of the Catholic faith under the protection of his Majesty, whom God bless, &c., &c. Amen.—Jacobus Stuart, Natione Scotus.


  • 1. Charles Arundell. Although an attempt at mystification is made by mentioning Julius and the English ambassador Stafford as separate persons, it is obvious to anyone who follows the correspondence closely that they were the same.
  • 2. For Leicester's own account of the reasons for his dissensions with the States, see his letter to the Queen in the Hatfield Papers, Part 3, p. 297.
  • 3. The words in italic are in a separate cipher.
  • 4. The notorious Archibald Douglas, a great quantity of whose correspondence at this period will be found in the Hatfield Papers, Part 3.
  • 5. See letter from Bruce, 6th November, page 161.
  • 6. Note in the King's hand—"It will be well to see what has been done in this, and what will be the best course to adopt."
  • 7. In discharge of the queen of Scotland's debts.
  • 8. She married Sir Andrew Melvil, the queen of Scotland's steward, who was in attendance on the Queen at her execution. Lady Melvil was appointed by James VI. to attend upon his bride, Anne of Denmark. Such was her eagerness to join the princess in Edinburgh—although the latter, delayed by storms, did not arrive until long afterwards— that she insisted, against all remonstrance, in crossing from Burntisland in a tempest and was drowned. The Scottish witches confessed to the King that they had raised this storm, as the Danish witches confessed to have caused the storm which drove back to Norway the King's bride.—"Melvil Memoirs."
  • 9. This letter also, dated 24th November, will be found in Prince Labanoff's collection Volume VI., page 447.
  • 10. Sir Edward Stafford.
  • 11. The Queen's ships ordered to remain at Queenborough under the Lord Admiral (5th January 1588, State Papers, CCVIII. 6), were 16, as follows :—
    Full Complement of Men. Ships. Diminished Complement of Men. Captains.
    500 "Bear" 275 Lord Admiral.
    500 "Triumph" 275 Lord Henry (Seymour).
    500 "Elizabeth Jonas" 275 Sir R. Southwell.
    400 "Victory" 225 Lord Sheffield.
    400 "Ark Raleigh" 225 Lord Thomas (Howard).
    250 "Mary Rose" 125 Edward Fenton.
    250 "Lion" 125 Captain Borough.
    250 "Bonaventure" 125 J. Hawkins.
    250 "Vanguard" 125 Sir W. Winter.
    250 "Dreadnought" 100 Captain Beeston.
    250 "Rainbow" 125
    160 "Foresight" 80 Captain Frobisher.
    30 "Merlin" 15
    24 "Sun" 12
    36 "Brigantine" 20
    20 "George" 12
    1,881 abated.
    2,139 men
  • 12. Lord Grey de Wilton.
  • 13. Sir John Norris.