Simancas: July 1588, 1-15

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: July 1588, 1-15', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, (London, 1899) pp. 325-344. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]

July 1588, 1-15

3 July.
Paris Archives, K. 1568.
330. Advices from Rouen.
Yesterday a little vessel loaded with oranges arrived at Havre de Grace, which left Laredo on the 24th, St. John's Day. She reports that on that day a patache from the Armada came into Laredo with the news that the Armada had arrived in Scotland, and had landed troops.
4 July.
Estado, 839.
331. Deposition before the Magistrate Valladares Sarmiento, in Lisbon, of Pedro Santa Cruz, to the effect that two years ago next September he was on a voyage to the Canaries, and was captured by an English ship and carried to London, where he remained 10 months, leaving on Good Friday last, and arriving on the 23rd June 1588.
The deposition gives an account of the Portuguese Jews, etc. then living in London, who, the deponent says, were all in favour of England, and carried on correspondence with persons in Portugal, Flanders, and elsewhere to the injury of Spain. Amongst those whom he accuses of this are, Dr. Hector Nuñez, the Queen's physician, Alvaro de Lima, Geronimo Pardo, Hernan Alvarez, Francisco de Tapia, and Antonio, a servant, all whom lived in the same lodging. Other names mentioned are Richard May and his son-in-law, Master Venables, Master William Anes (?), the son of Benjamin George, Master Brown, Master Brook, Bernaldo Luis, (fn. 1) and Francisco Valverde.
5 July.
Estado, 165.
332. The King to the Duke Of Medina Sidonia.
Your letter of 28th instant arrived yesterday ; and before I reply to it I may say that you will have seen by my letters of 26th ultimo and 1st instant, that my intention is not to desist from the enterprise in consequence of what has happened, but, in any case, to carry forward the task already commenced, overcoming the difficulties which may present themselves. I mean, however, after the Armada has been refitted, and your scattered forces have been re-united, or so much of them as may be of importance. This intention of mine is, as I say, clearly indicated in the above-mentioned letters ; but the order given in the later of the two, for the Armada to sail by the 10th instant, is conditional upon your having been joined by the missing ships ; and upon your having with the utmost speed made arrangements to refit the ships, and reinforce those which are to sail with the arms, men, and victuals of the ships which you leave behind. By ships left behind, I mean those which you find need repairs which will occupy a long time, and of these the hulls alone must remain, all the contents being put on board the other vessels. I think well, nevertheless, to repeat clearly to you here what my meaning is. In conformity with this the Council of War will write to you saying, that, in order to gain time, you may leave behind 12 or 15 of the least useful of your ships, transferring their contents on to the other vessels ; always on the understanding that you shall have been joined by the rest of the missing ships.
I now come to your letter enclosing the report and opinion of the council you summoned. With regard to the suggestion that the Armada should leave Corunna for the purpose of seeking along the coast for the missing ships, that should not be adopted on any account. The missing ships should join you there, and when all, or a sufficient number, are united, you may proceed on your expedition, and I approve of the orders you had sent out to this effect.
My intention, therefore, is, that when the forces are collected, the voyage should be resumed ; for I hope that our Lord will change these difficulties at the commencement into the triumph of His cause at the end. Success largely depends upon fine weather, and the season is now so advanced that not an hour should be lost. You must, therefore, exert every effort to make ready with all promptitude.
Since it is necessary to go forward, and the first element of success consists in keeping your men and stores intact, you will be very vigilant in this respect ; taking care to maintain a strict watch over the men, so that, with the reinforcements I have ordered to be given to you, your number should increase rather than wane. With regard to the stores, you will serve out fresh bread, meat, and fish to the men whilst you are in port ; and you may spend the reserve money you take in paying for this. In no way can it be better spent than in securing the health of the men, whilst at the same time sparing the victuals you have laid in for the voyage. The stores you have—enough, as you report for two months—are very considerable, besides what you may take on board at Corunna, and the supplies which will be sent after you, and provided for you in Flanders. (In the handwriting of the King : "But you must take great care that the stores are really preserved, and not allow yourself to be deceived, as you were before.") You will be able to see how far the reports you now send me agree with those furnished to you in Lisbon and forwarded to me. As a matter of fact, the information sent to me produced an impression very different from what has turned out to be the truth. The same remark applies also to the question of water. I gathered from your letter to the duke of Parma, sent by Captain Moresin, that you were informed that you had sufficient water on the fleet for two months ; and I now find that on the very day of your arrival at Corunna you discovered that some of the ships had no water left. All this makes it necessary that you should be very careful in keeping all the officers well up to their duties.
I see by the muster taken on the 28th ultimo the number of men you had at Corunna, independent of the 10 vessels at Vivero, two at Gijon, two at Rivadeo, and one at Santander, besides the galleasses Patrona and Zuñiga. As these will all have joined you, and others in addition, you will now have a good force.
I am anxious that so many of the ships were missing, some of them important vessels, with a considerable number of men on board. The idea, however, is that the reason why the Levant ships and the hulks are longer away than the others, is that they could not lie-to so well, and were obliged to run with the wind until a change enabled them to turn and seek you at the rendezvous at Corunna, according to the orders which I believe you gave them. Let me know whether you did so, and give me your opinion as to what probability there is that the missing hulks may have had some trick played upon them by the foreign sailors on board. I trust you were wise enough to put on board of each hulk at least a couple of experienced and trusty Spanish sailors, as it would have been easy, with so many troops on board, for them to have forced the foreigners to resume their proper course if the Spanish sailors found them going astray. I see plainly the truth of what you say, that the Levant ships are less free and staunch in heavy seas than the vessels built here, and that the hulks cannot sail to windward ; but still it is the fact that Levant ships constantly sail to England, and the hulks go hardly anywhere else but up the Channel, and it is quite an exception for them to leave it to go to other seas. When they do so it is for some reason other than bad weather, or the working of the ships. It is true that if we could have things exactly as we wished, we would rather have other vessels, but under the present circumstances the expedition must not be abandoned on account of this difficulty, which is not such a very great one, after all.
I conclude by again summarising my orders. The men and stores are to be kept intact, by feeding the men on fresh provisions. The ships are to be united in Corunna, or, at least, so many of them that those missing shall not be of importance ; and you are then to prepare with all speed, so as to be ready to sail on your voyage as soon as you receive my further orders. You must endeavour to be in such a state of readiness by the 10th or 12th instant, that you may be able to sail within an hour after you receive your orders, the weather being propitious, and God's blessing upon you. You will send me a report every day of the state of affairs, although my intention is, after seeing the contents of your next letter, and perhaps before, to send you the sailing orders above mentioned.— San Lorenzo, 5th July 1588.
5 July.
Estado, 455.
333. Statement of the Voyage made by Ensign Esquivel in a pinnace to Scilly to see whether there were any ships of the Armada there.
(Left Corunna on the 27th June, and gives an account of having seen and conveyed the Duke's orders to several ships of the Armada in neighbourhood of Scilly.)
On Friday, 1st July, at daybreak we sighted St. Michael's Bay and Cape Longnose, five or six leagues distant. We took in all sail and rowed inland some four leagues. We then stood by for night to come on, and a sail passed to leeward to us at two leagues distance. I wished to chase her, but the pilots opposed it, as it was late, and we were uncertain of catching her. The general opinion was that, being so near the land, we should hardly fail to catch a fisher-boat during the night. The wind then rose in the S.W., with heavy squalls of rain, and such a violent gale that during the night we had winds from every quarter of the compass. We did our best by constant tacking to keep off the land, and at daybreak the wind settled in the N., and we tried to keep towards Ireland in order to fulfil our intention ; but the wind was too strong, and the sea so heavy that the pinnace shipped a quantity of water at every wave. We ran thus in a southerly direction, with the wind astern blowing a gale, so that we could only carry our foresail very low. At four o'clock in the afternoon, after we had already received several heavy seas, a wave passed clean over us, and nearly swamped the pinnace. We were flush with the water, and almost lost, but by great effort of all hands the water was baled out, and everything thrown overboard. We had previously thrown over a pipe of wine and two butts of water. We lowered the mainmast on to the deck, and so we lived through the night under a closely reefed foresail.
On Sunday we were running under the foresail only, and at nine o'clock in the morning we sighted six sails, three to the N., and three to the S.E., although they appeared to be all of one company. We ran between them with our foresail set, and two of those on the S.E. gave us chase. We then hoisted our mainmast and clapped on sail, and after they had followed us until two o'clock, they took in sail and resumed their course. At nine o'clock we sighted another ship lying to and repairing, with only her lower sails set. On Monday, 4th July, we sighted land off Rivadeo.
6 July.
Estado, 455.
334. Duke Of Medina Sidonia to the King.
I have received your Majesty's letters of 26th (2) and 1st instant, and thank your Majesty for the consolation brought to me. I had need of it, for I deeply grieved at the delay experienced in the execution of the service we desire to do to God and your Majesty ; but those that go down to the sea in ships are exposed to these vicissitudes, and I am consoled in the idea that He who has this expedition in His hand, deigns to take this course with it in order to infuse even more zeal in your Majesty, and more care in your officers. I am convinced of this, because He has been pleased to send into this port to-day all the missing ships except two of the Levanters, namely, the "San Juan de Sicilia," and the "Santa Maria el Vison," and two hulks, one of which is now in sight to leeward ; the other being the "Casa de Paz Grande," which separated from the rest off the Biscay coast, as she was making a great deal of water. All the rest, without excepting even a patache, are here or in Vivero, or Gijon. I have ordered them all to come hither as soon as the weather serves. I have sent similar orders to Juan Martinez de Recalde's flagship in Santander. I hear also that the two missing Levanters separated from the others off the Biscay coast near France. The galleon "San Luis," with the Maestre de Campo Don Agustin Mejia on board, came into Vivero on Monday night, having been very near Rochelle. She is much knocked about, without a drop of water on board, her mast split, as is the case with most of the hulks, for they encountered two heavy gales. They say that if the Armada had been caught in the latter of them off the Scillys, or in the Channel, it would have gone badly with us, and we should have suffered more than we did, as we should have had no ports of refuge. The refitting of all these ships shall be taken in hand at once. It shall have my personal attention, for I am more anxious than anyone to expedite matters, and get away from here. Your Majesty may rest assured that no efforts of mine shall be spared, and when the ships are refitted I will not fail to take advantage of the first fair wind to sail.
I send your Majesty a statement of the navigation of the hulks, and some of the ships that accompanied them, for your information. The pinnace that I sent to Scilly sighted nine ships near there, these being the vessels that entered this port yesterday. She (the pinnace) was overtaken by a great storm inside the Scilly isles which forced her to run for Spain, almost swamped. She arrived here yesterday, bringing news of the coming of the ships. I send your Majesty a statement of her voyage (see preceding and following documents). The closest possible watch is being kept on our soldiers and sailors, guards being posted all along the shore, and in the roads and passages by which they might escape. So far, I do not know of a single soldier having deserted here, and I am told that only a few sailors are missing. Some of the sailors of the province (Galicia) are being shipped, and they are better than the Portuguese. The marquis of Cerralbo is attending very diligently to everything.
Fresh meat is being served out for the last two days, and the fresh bread rations will commence to-morrow. This is a great treat for the men and well economise our stores.
There are some cases of fever, and a fleet hospital has been established on shore for their reception. They are progressing favourably under care, and I hope, by God's help, that every man will embark on the Armada. The archbishop of Santiago has aided in supplying the hospital, as might be expected from his piety. He has been most bounteous and charitable. He offers also to take charge of any sick men left behind. He deserves your Majesty's thanks. With regard to giving the contingent of men to the duke of Parma, I will do my best according to circumstances, bearing in mind always that it is your Majesty's intention that this Armada should maintain its superiority over the enemy's fleet, until the latter has been broken. In this respect, and also on the question of the decision which the Duke and I may adopt as to seeking the enemy's fleet before we land any men, we must be guided by events. —Corunna, 6th July 1588.
Note.—The King replied to the above letter on the 12th July (Estado 165), generally approving and confirming the Duke's action, urging him to still greater activity, and ordering him on receipt of the letter to sail for England with God's blessing, without an hour's further delay, even though he might have to leave 12 or 15 ships behind him.
335. Statement of the voyage of the ship "Almiranta" (fn. 2) with 12 hulks and other ships which separated from the Armada, up to the time they entered Corunna, this day. (Lost sight of the Armada on 16th June. A detailed log of the voyage, containing nothing of interest until Wednesday, 28th June.)
On Wednesday morning, whilst we were still sailing in the direction of Scilly, we discovered sails towards Ushant, to which the "Almiranta" gave chase, until we were well in sight of land. We could not get clear of it till night. Six ships came out to reconnoitre us, and signal lights were shown on land. The hulk "San Pedro el Menor" being in the rear was approached by three vessels, which opened an artillery fire on her. The enemy's ships then hoisted a lantern and made for the shore, whilst we pursued our voyage to Scilly. The wind went round to W.S.W., and whilst we were off the Lizard in thick weather the wind changed to N.W. We then made a long tack to seaward W.S.W., so as to make the Scillys from the west. With the lead always out, we continued on long tacks all Thursday and Friday, so as to make the Scillys.
On Saturday morning we were 15 leagues off the south end of Scilly. The previous day a violent N.N.E. wind had sprung up. On Saturday at daybreak we sighted two ships which were emerging from St. George's Channel between Cape Longnose (i.e., Land's End), and the seven stones. They came up with us, and the hulk "Gato" attacked one of them, and captured all the men on board, the vessel shortly afterwards foundering, two of the men being killed, and the other, mortally wounded, going down with her. The "Paloma Blanca" attacked the other one, capturing four men ; but she drifted away from her, having broken her mainyard-arm. The Admiral went on board the prize to make her fit for sailing, but the sea was terribly rough, and the Admiral was only saved by a miracle, for he broke two of his ribs whilst leaving the prize. We took him on board again, and one of the soldiers from the hulk "Paloma," who had got on board during the attack. One of these ships reported that she was going to Biscay with wheat and some tanned hides, and the other was bound for France with coal (charcoal?). They had both sailed together from Dublin with 12 persons on board of each of them. The ship bound for France had two friars on board, one a Bernardin and the other a Franciscan, who were flying from the English in the North of Ireland, where two important monasteries had been burnt in the last six weeks ; the friars being burnt as well. These two had fled to the woods The ship they were in was a Scotch vessel, the other being Irish. The friars said they were escaping from terrible cruelties. The Scotch shipmaster said that he had left a Scottish port called Dudat (Dundee?) 22 days before, and it was said there that a nobleman named (Morton?), who had come from Spain, was raising troops, and the king of Scotland had arrested him. One of the sailors, who had come from Dublin, said that there was news that Drake had 180 ships, divided into three squadrons of 60 sail each. Two of the squadrons were to the east of Dover and the other at Plymouth, 20 leagues from the Lizard. It was current in Dublin that great land preparations were being made for defence ; and that 180 or 200 great ships were coming from Spain. During this time the sea was running immensely high from the N.E. At nightfall the "Paloma Blanca," seeing that the ship that had been captured was going down, was ordered by the Admiral to cast her off, which she did. We then ran towards Corunna with the wind astern, as we could do no more, and we were sure that no ships of the Armada were off Cape Longnose, Mount's Bay, St. Michael's, or Scilly. The gale continued to blow furiously until Sunday, when the wind began to back to the north, and we tried to make for Cape Ortegal.
On Monday we sighted five vessels ahead towards the S.S.W. We gave chase to discover whether they were ships of the Armada, but they looked like Breton ships coming from Portugal. We then continued our voyage to Corunna, where we arrived to-day.— 6th July 1588.
6 July.
Estado, 594.
336. Memorandum from Secretary Juan De Idiaquez to the King, with marginal notes by the latter.
The letters from Flanders are enclosed. Everything seems to be satisfactory except the question of money. I hope to God that the Duke's tact, and the prompt arrival of the Armada, will have averted the threatened disorders on account of the lack of money. In order, however, to avoid any recurrence of them in future, it will be necessary to deal with the question very energetically, and wake the Madrid people out of their ordinary dilatoriness ; as they must send some money to Parma on their own account, as well as some to Mansfeldt. If the Armada is delayed there, which we should learn by early advices, the duke of Medina Sidonia will want some. We shall be obliged to make an extraordinary effort when we see the result of the two financial arrangements that are now in hand.
When your Majesty has read these letters, copies of the clauses about money shall be sent to Rodrigo Vasquez, so that he and his council may see how dearly we have to pay for the delays and shortcomings on this side, and that we are thus at the mercy of the merchants, most of the fresh remittances being necessary to pay off old debts, without relieving the present need. I cannot wonder that the Duke submits to the exactions of the merchants, although it is very hard upon us, because, in the first place, he has pledged his word and wishes to maintain his credit, the loss of which he doubtless thinks might cause even more inconvenience. Now that he has kept his engagements with the merchants, I expect he will have availed himself again of the same money, and other sums, by means of new loans. He could not do so otherwise ; and although this is a wasteful way, the Duke is to be commended for adopting it, considering the urgent need in which he stood.
The King's remarks in reply to the above are written on the margin, as follows :
I have seen all these letters from the duke of Parma, and I hope to God that your wishes on this subject may be fulfilled, for it is very needful that they should be. Every day he advises some obstacles, as well as that of money. He is very hardly pressed, and it is well that the course you suggest should be adopted, and that we all should do our utmost. I wrote last night very earnestly about it to Rodrigo Vasquez, (fn. 3) as I wrote you at the time. I approve of the copies of the letters being sent to him, as you say, but they must be amended ; all that about France, Lorraine, and things of that sort, being omitted ; as there is no reason for them to be seen. Rodrigo Vasquez may be written to upon the subject, and he may have an account of some of the cipher letters about England. If there is anything in them that should not be seen, a brief summary only need be sent him.
7 July.
Paris Archives, K. 1568.
337. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I have letters from England, dated 28th ultimo, reporting that Drake and the Admiral have returned to Plymouth, with contrary winds. They still remained there unable to put to sea in consequence of the weather. This and the non-appearance of your Majesty's Armada had surprised everyone, as the Queen had received news that it had doubled Cape Finisterre, and I have from Rouen the news I enclose herewith. Whilst the Queen-Mother was at supper last night she said publicly that the Armada had not returned to Spain, as had been asserted, in consequence of the plague having broken out on board, but had landed men in Scotland. As the advices from London, dated 28th, say nothing about this,—and they would certainly know of it in four days—the news appears doubtful pending further confirmation.
This King's agent in Scotland has arrived here, having left there on the 12th ultimo. He reports that the King (of Scotland) had declared himself much more openly than before against the Catholics, since the arrival of the earl of Morton. I understand that the English faction are desirous that the King should arrest Morton. The latter had thereupon, retired further into the North, and had raised troops. Morton, Huntly, and Claude Hamilton were in close union, and had collected a large force in case the King should attempt to attack them. Lord Harry Seymour and Winter are in the Downs with the Queen's ships, and detain those that go from Holstein and Holland to Brouage for salt, in order to increase their strength.
The French ambassador in England reports to this King that the Admiral and Drake warn the Queen that your Majesty's Armada is said to be so strong that they had not sufficient forces to combat it. —Paris, 7th July 1588.
8 July.
Estado, 950.
338. Count De Olivares to the King.
As it is now 39 days since the Armada sailed, I am extremely anxious that I have no news of it. If I recollect aright it was about this date that your Majesty landed at Southampton. (fn. 4)
His Holiness is firm in his determination not to disburse a crown until the news arrives, and he is unyielding to the pressure I put upon him for money when he received the news that the Armada had sailed. As if your Majesty had not spent anything, or wanted the money for the purpose of boarding it! The invariable reply of the Pope is, that as soon as the intelligence comes that the troops have landed, he will not fail to fill his part of the contract. He is gathering money from all quarters, so as not to be obliged to trench upon the sum in the Castle (of Sant' Angelo). He is furiously angry with your Majesty and with me. The way in which he now refuses the most just and usual things is exactly the same as his attitude a year ago when he thought that this bitter hour for him (i.e., of having to part with his money) was approaching. I am doing my best to ensure the million (which surprises everyone) and so far as possible to prepare matters for the loan.—Rome, 8th July 1588.
9 July.
Paris Archives, K. 1568.
339. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Since writing the enclosed letter of 7th, I have received reports from Plymouth dated 29th ultimo, saying that the Admiral and Drake were in that port, having returned in consequence of contrary winds. Some of the men had landed, and the Admiral had issued a proclamation on that day (29th June) ordering them all to go on board, as he was sailing next day if the weather continued as it was then.
By way of Olonne in France, the Admiral had learned that your Majesty's fleet was in the port of Corunna on the 18th ultimo, and the new confidant has news from Rouen to the same effect. He has advices from London, of 26th ultimo, saying that as the Queen has now no hope of peace being concluded in Flanders she was making hasty preparations for war, and arming as many troops as she could.
The Queen was sending a gentleman to condole with the king of Denmark on the death of his father, and it was believed that the same envoy would afterwards go to the German Protestant princes. —Paris, 9th July 1588.
11 July.
Estado, 455.
340. Admiral Juan Martinez De Recalde to the King.
(Gives an account of the arrival of the hulks at Corunna, "Smelling of England" ; and expects the rest of the ships from Vivero, Rivadeo, etc., to enter port the next evening. The Armada will then again be complete, and the writer thinks that it should be able to sail in a week. The Duke is working with great energy with this object as usual).
I have not been able to help him much lately in consequence of an attack of sciatica, but thank God the remedies applied have been efficacious, and I arose to-day without pain. The Duke came to see me yesterday and we discussed at length the sailing of the expedition. He seems to be much vexed at having to hurry the departure. I showed him how important speed was for the attainment of the object. He is in great fear that the stores and provisions which are being collected here will not be got together in time to supply the needs of the Armada. Profiting by the permission which your Majesty and Don Juan (de Idiaquez) give me in your letter of the 5th instant I will state my own opinion on the matter.
So far as I understand, the object of the Armada is to meet and vanquish the enemy by main force, which I hope to God we shall do if he will fight us, as doubtless he will.
In the contrary case we have to proceed to the Downs, and there join hands with the duke of Parma's force in Dunkirk, whose passage across we are to protect to the most convenient point which may be agreed upon. This point should be the nearest possible one on either side of the Thames.
This will take some little time, as in the case of there being a cavalry force, as I understand there will be, it cannot be carried over in one passage, and we shall be fortunate if it can be done in two.
After this be done the first thing will be to obtain a port for the Armada. If it be found possible to obtain anchorage and shelter in the river itself, supported by the army, no other reinforcements will be needed ; or at least those from Flanders will suffice. I imagine from what I can see, however, that Flanders will be much exhausted, and the help from there inconsiderable. From the mouth of the Thames to Southampton—about 40 leagues—I know of no port capable of taking large vessels, all the coast being very uninviting. The harbours of Southampton and the Isle of Wight are well defended by forts, and it appears to me that the most convenient and easiest ports for landing would be Falmouth, Plymouth, or Dartmouth, especially as the highly necessary reinforcements of men and stores will have to be sent from Spain, and isolated vessels will be exposed to much danger from the enemy higher up the Channel.
I see, nevertheless, the objection to separating the Armada from the land force. Of the two difficulties I do not presume to judge which is the lesser.
In the case of our encountering and defeating the enemy, I feel sure that he will not suffer so much damage as to be unable to repair, at all events sufficiently to impede the passage of our reinforcements high up the Channel. But it will be difficult for him to do this if our Armada be stationed in the above-mentioned ports lying nearest to Spain. If it be possible for the re-inforcement to be sent in strength sufficient to attack those ports, whilst the conquest is being effected higher up, that will be the best course. In that case, after the army of Flanders had been taken across and strengthened, the Armada might return towards Ushant and meet the reinforcements with which it might enter one of the said ports, and then either push a force inland towards the Bristol Channel, or form a junction with the other army.
As the Turk is not troubling us, a dozen galleys—as I write to Don Juan (de Idiaquez)—might be sent with the supplies and men, the latter being as much needed as the former, for they dwindle in the same way.—Corunna, 11th July 1588.
Postscript.—I hear great complaints about the command of those companies which are conferred upon quite young fellows because they are gentlemen. Very few of them, therefore, are soldiers, or know what to do, and their officers the same. This is greatly to the prejudice of your Majesty's treasury, as there are companies with very few men in them. It would be much better to re-form them with not less than 120 men in each, for we are going to a place where they cannot be recruited.
341. Duke Of Medina Sidonia to the King.
(Gives an account of the coming in of the various scattered ships of the Armada. The hulk "Casa de Paz Grande" is unseaworthy ; her men and hospital stores, etc., have been transhipped.)
I received news yesterday of the other two missing hulks, the "Paloma blanca" and the "Casa de Paz chico." They are in the bay of Muxia, and will come hither as soon as the weather serves. The "Paloma blanca" was chased by an English ship, which took her for a merchantman. She followed her over two leagues, the hulk allowing the Englishman to come up with her and then discharged a volley of artillery and musketry which made the enemy retire. The hulk would have chased her but for an accident that happened. One of the soldier's powder-flasks caught fire and fell on some cartridges, which might have resulted in the burning of the whole ship. It was thought best to set all hands to avert this danger rather than follow up the Englishman ... . All possible activity is being used on board of all the ships here, and I personally give my attention nearly every day, including holidays. Yesterday we finished putting the new mast into the "Santa Maria de la Rosa," of Oquendo's squadron, after a great deal of trouble, as we were over six hours getting it upright. When I saw it finished I thought we had not done badly. The watering, which is the most anxious task, is proceeding apace with all the speed humanly possible. There are 26 coopers at work repairing the butts, which were all knocked about and broken in the gale. I hope, by God's help, that everything will be ready by Saturday or Sunday next, and then, if the weather serves, I shall sail from here with the ships I have, and not wait for anything. I am arranging everything with this object, but I am not carrying out your Majesty's idea of transferring the men and stores from the ships left behind to others, in the first place because there is no time to do it, and secondly because all the ships are serviceable. To take the places of the deserters, who are few, and of the sick, who are more numerous, I shall ship the two companies that the marquis of Cerralbo has here, one of which is good and the other tolerable. If no more men shall have arrived here of the Galician levies ordered by the Marquis by the time fixed for sailing, I shall go with the men I have. If the new levies arrive in time, and I do not find them serviceable, I shall not ship them, as they will only eat up the victuals and be in the way. If the few I do ship have no arms I will supply them out of the reserve store, as your Majesty orders.
I am still serving out fresh meat rations, but fresh bread is lacking, as the country is so poor. I have not even been able to supply it to the sick, and it is getting scarcer every day, as there are so many to eat it. It has not been practicable to serve out fresh fish rations, because there is not enough of it and it is very bad for health. There are a great many sick ; 500 in hospital, although it is true they are only suffering from fever, and none have died. Some of them get well as soon as a better diet is given to them, for nearly all of the illness is caused by bad food. As the stores have been so long on board most of them are turning out rotten and spoilt. With regard to this damage to, and shortness of, stores and water, the Inspector-general, Don Jorge Manrique, has, from the first, both in writing and verbally, informed me thereof, although the provedores have insisted to the contrary. We are remedying matters somewhat with the supplies we are taking in here, but the quantity is so small that your Majesty should make a supreme effort to provide a large addition to be sent after the Armada. If this be not done great trouble will result, and a risk of our being unable to hold out. All the provisions your Majesty has ordered to be made in Lisbon, Asturias, Biscay, etc., have been very wise, especially that of cables, small rigging, anchors, and other ship material, as these things will be needed every hour on the Armada. —On board the royal galleon "San Martin," 11th July 1588.
Note.—On the same day as the above the Duke sent to the King an account of a "miracle" that had happened on the Levantine ship "Trinidad de Scala," which had arrived at Gijon in so bad a condition that in some places "her planks had gaped four inches apart." The document will be found printed entire in Captain Fernandez Duro's "Disquisiciones nauticas," but as it contains nothing of importance is not reproduced here.
14 July.
Paris Archives, K. 1568.
342. Advices from Havre De Grace.
This morning four English vessels entered the roads, and the captain of them, Henry Paon (fn. 5) (sic), a Knight of the Garter, came ashore to speak with the Governor, and asked him whether he had any objection to the ships remaining in the roads to await the sailing of the fleet from Dunkirk in order to attack it, as war was declared.
The Governor replied that he could not permit armed ships to remain in the roads, as they would obstruct trade. The four ships in question contained 600 soldiers, besides sailors. They say also that they have come to escort four or five very rich English ships which are now in Rouen, for fear they should be captured by flyboats.
A Biscay ship from Bayonne has arrived here, and reports that eight days ago she came across a large number of English ships of the fleet at anchor off Conquet. The men were not allowed to land at Conquet.
15 July.
Estado, 455.
343. Duke Of Medina Sidonia to the King.
I have sent daily to your Majesty reports of the refitting of the Armada. (fn. 6)
Your Majesty will see by the enclosed statement the men who were present at the muster. The falling off is not so large as I expected it would have been when we put into port, but still it is something ; especially as the sick here will not be in a condition to sail with us, although, thank God, they are progressing favourably, and none of them die. Three hundred soldiers of the count de Lemos' vassals arrived here to-day, and more are expected. The marquis of Cerralbo also expects some troops from the county of Monterey. If they arrive in time I will ship them, and if not, the Lemos contingent and the two garrison companies from Corunna will serve to fill up the short companies on some of the ships. I will pick out some veterans and mix them with the recruits, so that every vessel will have a proportion of old and new men. These 300 Gallegos were not formed into companies, but distributed amongst the short companies on the Armada. (fn. 7) I have been round some of the ships to see to the execution of the order for demolition and throwing overboard of all the cabins, partitions, bunks, bedsteads, etc., and, with God's help, hope to have everything ready for sailing by to-morrow, or the day after, weather permitting. I have already had the squadrons of Diego Flores, Valdes, Oquendo, and Ojeda towed out of the harbour, and the rest will go outside to-morrow. We can then take advantage of the first fair wind to get clear away. At present a north wind is blowing, which is contrary for us. The men are in excellent spirits, and eager for an opportunity to serve your Majesty.
In order that all the men might be confessed and absolved, and that the want of accommodation should not deprive them of this great benefit, both to their souls and bodies, I ordered all the friars in the fleet to land on an island in this harbour, and had some tents and altars erected for the purpose of their ministrations. I had a good watch kept on the island, and bad the men landed in companies. The soldiers and sailors have done so well that the friars tell me they have already confessed and absolved 8,000 of them. This is such an inestimable treasure that I esteem it more highly than the most precious jewel I carry on the fleet. On this account, and because the Armada is much improved since we left Lisbon, the men are, as I say, contented and in high spirits.— Corunna, 15th July 1588.
13 July. 344. Statement of the Ships, and Men of all ranks and conditions, present at the muster at Corunna on the 13th July, held on the Royal Armada under the command of the Duke of Medina Sidonia, etc.
Ships. Sailors. Soldiers. Total.
Galleons of Portugal.
Galleon, "San Martin," flagship 161 308 469
" "San Juan," vice-flagship 156 366 522
" "San Marcos" 108 278 386
" "San Luis" 100 339 439
" "San Felipe" 108 331 439
" "San Mateo" 110 279 389
" "Santiago" 80 307 387
" "San Cristobal" 79 132 211
" "San Bernardo" 65 171 236
Zabra, "Julia" 48 87 135
" "Augusta" 43 49 92
1,058 2,647 3,705
Squadron under Diego Flores Valdes.
Galleon, "San Cristobal," flagship 116 187 303
" "San Juan," vice-flagship 90 206 296
" "San Juan the Less" 77 207 284
" "Santiago the Great" 103 190 293
" "Ascencion" 70 170 240
" "San Medel y Celedon" 75 197 272
" "Nuestra Señora del Barrio" 81 196 277
" "Santa Ana" 54 99 153
" "San Pedro" 90 184 274
" "Nuestra Señora de Begoña" 81 219 300
Ship, "Trinidad" 79 162 241
" "Catalina" 134 186 320
" "San Juan Fernan Dome" 57 183 240
Patache, "Nuestra Señora del Socorro" 15 20 35
" "San Antonio" 20 20 40
1,229 2,579 3,808
Squadron under Juan Martinez de Recalde
Ship, "Santiago," vice-flagship 106 206 312
" "Maria Juan" 93 213 306
" "Madalena" 61 183 244
" "Concepcion Mayor" 58 161 219
" "Concepcion" 58 167 225
" "San Juan" 49 141 190
" "Gran Grin" 75 261 336
" "Santa Maria de Montemayor" 47 155 202
" "Manuela" 48 115 163
Patache, "Maria" 25 19 44
" another "Maria" 25 20 45
" "San Estéban" 25 10 35
" "Isabela" 29 24 53
699 1,675 2,374
Squadron under Don Pedro de Valdes.
Ship, "Nuestra Señora del Rosario," flagship 119 240 359
" "San Francisco," vice-flagship 85 238 323
" "Duquesa Santa Ana" 65 207 272
" "San Juan Bautista" 84 249 333
" "Concepcion" 69 191 260
" "Santa Catalina" 69 220 289
" "Santa Maria del Juncal" 60 227 287
" "San Bartolomé" 56 184 240
" "San Juan Gargarin" 38 165 203
" "Trinidad" 54 156 210
Patache, "Espiritu Santo" 15 18 33
720 2,089 2,809
Squadron under Miguel de Oquendo.
Ship, "Santa Ana," flagship 125 275 400
" "Santa Maria de la Rosa," vice-flagship 85 238 323
" "San Salvador" 90 281 371
" "Santa Barbara" 47 135 182
" "Santesteban" 73 201 274
" "Santa Maria" 73 166 239
" "San Buenaventura" 54 158 212
" "Maria San Juan" 40 95 135
" "Santa Cruz" 40 125 165
Hulk, "Doncella" 29 112 141
Patache, "Ascencion" 16 18 34
" "San Bernabé" 17 17 34
" "Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe" 12 12
" "Magdalena" 14 14
715 1,821 2,936
Squadron under Martin de Bertondona.
Ship, "Regazona," flagship 80 291 371
" "La Via," vice-flagship 71 271 302
" "Veneciana Valencera" 75 338 413
Gaileon of the Duke of Florence 89 294 383
Ship, "Santa Maria encoronada" 93 355 448
" "Juliana" 65 347 412
" "San Nicolas" 68 226 294
" "Anunciada" 80 186 266
" "Trinidad Escala" 66 342 408
687 2,610 3,297
Hulks under Juan Gomez de Medina.
Hulk, "Gran Grifon," flagship 45 234 297
" "San Salvador," vice-flagship 53 218 271
" "Barca de Amburg" 30 259 289
" "San Pedro el Mayor" 34 110 144
" "Casa de Paz," chica 21 154 175
" "Sanson" 31 184 215
" "Ciervo Volante" 39 132 171
" "Falcon Blanco," mayor 34 182 216
" "San Gabriel" 16 31 47
" "Castillo Negro" 46 157 203
" "Perro Marino" 18 80 98
" "Santa Barbara" 24 26 50
" "Santiago" 38 32 65
" "San Pedro Menor" 22 176 198
" "Gato" 41 30 71
Hulks "San Andres" 39 26 65
" "Barca de Antique" (Dantzic) 28 150 178
" "Buenaventura" 15 49 64
" "Esayas" 24 23 47
593 2,257 2,844
Ships and Pataches under Agustin de Ojeda.
Ship, "Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Zaragoza" 59 114 173
Hulk, "Caridad" (English) 87 43 80
" "San Andres" 38 27 65
Patache, "Nuestra Señora de Fresneda" 20 20
" "Concepcion" 19 19
" "Otro Concepcion" 21 18 39
" "Nuestra Señora del Puerto" 27 28 55
" "Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe" 32 17 49
" "Nuestra Señora de Begoña" 23 23
" "Concepcion" 18 18
" "San Jeronimo" 40 40
" "Nuestra Señora de Gracia" 26 17 43
" "Concepcion" 18 18
" "El Santo Crucifijo" 24 40 64
Zabra, "Trinidad" 24 24
" "San Andres" 17 17
" "Nuestra Señora de Castro" 18 18
" "Concepcion" 18 18
" "San Juan" 29 29
" "Ascencion" 18 18
" "Santa Catalina" 20 20
546 304 850
Water Carwels.
Caravel, "Nuestra Señora de la Ascencion" 14 14
" "San Jorge" 11 11
" "Concepcion" 24 24
" "San Antonio" 17 17
" "Otro San Antonio" 16 16
" "San Juan" 8 8
" "Jesus de Ayuda" 11 11
" "San Lorenzo" 5 5
" "Concepcion" 19 19
125 125
"San Lorenzo," flag 124 246 368
"Napolitana," vice-flag 100 221 321
"Zuñiga" 102 196 298
"Girona" 120 229 349
446 890 1,336
"Capitana" 53 56 109
"Princesa" 44 37 81
"Diana" 47 32 79
"Bazana" 46 26 72
7 felucas. 190 151 341
General Summary.
Ships. Sailors. Soldiers. Total.
Galleons of the Crown of Portugal 11 1,058 2,647 3,705
" of Diego Flores Valdes 16 1,229 2,579 3,808
" of Juan Martinez de Recalde 13 699 1,675 2,374
" of Don Pedro de Valdes 11 720 2,089 2,809
" of Miguel de Oquendo 14 715 1,821 2,536
" of Martin de Bertondona 9 687 2,610 3,297
" of Juan Gomez de Medina 19 593 2,251 2,844
" of Agustin de Ojeda 21 546 304 850
Caravels with stores 9 125 125
Galleasses under Don Hugo de Moncada 4 446 890 1,336
Galleys under Diego de Medrano 4 190 151 341
Felucas 7 42 42
131 7,050 17,017 24,067
Generals, Staff Officers, Unattached, &c.
There are on the Armada, Generals, Admirals, Chiefs of Squadrons, and Field Officers 41
Salaried officers unattached 219
Gentleman adventurers 254
Officers of artillery gunners and muleteers 124
Hospital establishment 93
Friars, &c. of various orders 198
Ministers of justice 9
Servants of unattached officers and adventurers 450
The above is exclusive of 450 sick men in hospital on shore.
The following is a list of ships and their companies which have not yet arrived at Corunna :—
Sailors. Soldiers. Total.
Ship, "Santa Maria de Gracia," put into Laredo 53 267 320
" "Santa Maria de Vison," " " 38 183 221
Hulk, "Casa de Paz Grande," " " 70 255 325
Flagship of J. Martinez de Recalde's squadron, put into Santander. 101 311 412
Hulk, "David," put into Vivero, unserviceable 23 51 74
" "La Paloma Blanca," put into Muxia 30 67 97
" "Falcon Blanco Mediano," put into Muxia 23 57 80
Zabra "Concepcion," sent to Flanders 20 20
358 1,191 1,549
Note.—On the 19th July the Duke wrote to the King (Estado, 455) saying that he was now only awaiting a fair wind to set sail. The above ships had then all joined him at Corunna, except the hulk "Casa de Paz Grande," with 800 quintals of biscuit, and the "David," with 300 quintals of biscuit, with beans, peas, etc.
It may be interesting to compare the above complete list of the ships that sailed from Corunna with the adjoined statement of those that were lost. It is extracted by Captain Fernandez Duro from the transcript of a "relation" at Simancas, the original of which I have not been able to find.
A Statement of all the Vessels of the Armada which were lost.
Galleon "San Felipe," of Portugal.
Biscay Squadron.
"Santa Ana," flagship. Lost at Havre.
"Gran Grin," vice-flagship.
"Concepcion de Zubelzu."
"Concepcion de Juanes del Cano."
"La Maria Juan."
Patache, "Maria de Aguirre."
" "De Miguel de Suso."
Castilian Squadron.
"San Juan Bautista." Lost in Ireland.
Galleon, "San Juan."
Patache, "Nuestra Señora del Socorro."
" "San Antonio de Padua."
Andalucian Squadron.
"Nuestra Señora del Rosario," flagship. Captured by the enemy.
Hulk, "Duquesa Santa Anna."
Patache "Espiritu Santo."
Squadron of Guipuzcoa.
"Santa Ana," flagship. Burnt at San Sebastian.
"Nuestra Señora de la Rosa," vice-flagship. Lost in Ireland.
"San Salvador." Burnt in the fighting.
"San Esteban."
Hulk, "Doncella." Lost in Santander.
Patache, "Ascencion."
Pinnace, "Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe."
" "Magdalena."
Levantine Squadron.
"La Lavia," vice-flagship.
"La Rata." Lost in Ireland.
"San Juan de Sicilia."
"La Trinidad Valencera."
"La Anunciada." Sunk off Ireland.
"San Nicolas Prodonell."
"Santa Maria de Vison."
Squadron of Hulks.
"Gran Grifon," vice-flagship. Lost in Ireland.
"Perro Marino."
"Falcon Blanco," mayor.
"Castillo Negro."
"Barca de Amburg."
"San Pedro Mayor."
"San Pedro Menor."
"Falcon Blanco," mediano.
"Ciervo Volante."
"Santa Barbara."
"Santiago." Lost in Ireland.
Squadron of Pataches.
"Nuestra Senora del Pilar," flagship.
"Caridad inglesa."
"Concepcion de Carasa."
"Nuestra Señora de Begoña."
"San Jeronimo."
"Concepcion de Francisco de Latero."
"San Francisco."
"Nuestra Señora de Castro."
"Concepcion de Somarriba."
"Concepcion de Valmaseda."
"Santa Catalina."
"San Juan de Carasa."
"San Lorenzo," flag galleass. Lost in Calais.
"Diana." Lost at Bayonne.
Ships lost, 41. Pataches, 20. Galleasses, 3. Galleys, 1. Total, 65.
The above list understates the number of ships lost on the Irish coast. In the Carew Papers, Vol. 611, p. 149, will be found a list of 17 ships, with 5,394 men, that were wrecked or sunk off that coast. Amongst these were certainly the "Barque of Hamburg," the "Valencera," the "San Juan de Sicilia," the "San Marcos," the "Duquesa Santa Ana," the "San Juan Bautista," the "Falcon Blanco Mediano," the galleass "Girona," the vice-flagship "Gran Grin," and the "Rata Coronada."


  • 1. Before the date of this deposition Bernaldo Luis himself was in prison in Lisbon, and voluminous copies of his examination before the same magistrate, Valladares, on 13 May 1588, are in the same bundle as the above (Estado 839). He gives a full account of the Portuguese who were with Don Antonio in London. He describes himself as brother-in-law of Dr. Hector Nuñez, and the greatest enemy Don Antonio had. (This was true, as he and his brothers had offered to kill Don Antonio two years before, see Volume VIII. of this Calendar). He denies that Dr. Nuñez was Don Antonio's doctor, and says that he, Nuñez, had refused the post of physician to the Queen, as "he liked to be free."
  • 2. This was probably the "San Salvador," which was the almiranta or vice-flagship of the squadron of bulks under Juan Gomez de Medina.
  • 3. Rodrigo Vasquez de Arce, who must not be confounded with Secretary Mateo Vasquez, rendered famous by his quarrel with Secretary Antonio Perez. Rodrigo Vasquez de Arce had been promoted to the Secretaryship of the Council of Finance in Madrid as a reward for the diligence and acuteness with which he had, as the King's lawyer, made out the case against Perez. The latter, in his "Relaciones," ascribes Rodrigo Vasquez's persistence in the matter to personal malevolence against him.
  • 4. Philip had landed at Southampton to marry Queen Mary on the 20th July, 1554 (O.S.). Olivares accompanied him.
  • 5. This might be either Thomas Fenner, who had been sent on the "Nonpareil" to the coast of Brittany on the 12th July, or, more probably, the four vessels contributed by the town of Newcastle ; the "Daniel," the galleon "Hutchin," the barque "Lamb," and the "Fancy," which had been detached from Lord Henry Seymour's squadron for the purpose of convoying the cloth fleet to Stade.
  • 6. The Duke's other letters, dated 13th and 15th July, contain no details of interest, except that in the latter letter he complains that the bills he gave to the German shipmasters who brought the powder to Lisbon have not been accepted in Seville. His credit suffers in consequence, and he somewhat indignantly asks that the King should order the money to be paid.
  • 7. On the 19th July the Duke wrote to the King advising him that the Armada was quite ready to set sail and only awaited the wind. In the course of the letter he remarks, "The 400 Galician soldiers sent by the count de Lemos, and some that came from Monterey, are so useless that they are no good, even for pioneers. Besides this they are nearly all married and have large families ; and are, indeed, absolutely unserviceable old men. Their wives have been coming in with their troubles and lamentations to such an extent that it goes against my conscience to ship the men. The captains themselves have refused to have anything to do with them, as it is evident that all the use they would be is to die on board the ships, and take up space. Not a soul of them knows what a harquebuss is, or any other weapon, and already they are more dead than alive ; some of them have not eaten anything for two days. Under the circumstances, therefore, I have thought it best to send them all away and they have gone to their homes." (Estado, 455.)