Simancas: September 1588, 21-25

Pages 432-451

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

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September 1588, 21-25

23 Sept.
Estado, 455.
433. Duke Of Medina Sidonia to the King.
I wrote to your Majesty from the Gulf (i.e., the Bay of Biscay), sending an account of events up to that time. Subsequently the weather became so bad that the ships were all scattered, only 60 standing by me. These followed me until the 18th instant, when a great storm overtook us in latitude 45 and we all expected to perish. I was then left with only 11 ships, and with these, when the weather abated, I continued on my course to Cape Finisterre with a westerly wind. We ran down to 43½ degrees, and on the 21st, at two o'clock, we sighted land, which was said to be the island of Cizarga, seven leagues from Corunna. The wind then fell calm, and one of the little caravels belonging to the Armada (which had ridden out the storm with her head to windward) came to us from towards the land, and cried out that we were lost, as we were off Santander, and told us to put to sea. There was no wind, and the strong currents were carrying us on to the land, so I fired some guns for boats to put off and help us, which they did. I then sailed to this port, and cast anchor at Point Enoja, as the tide was against us, with the intention of entering the harbour by the morning tide. As I was so ill, with five and twenty days of fever and flux, which have grievously weakened me, I landed, leaving Diego Flores on the galleon with shore pilots and pinnaces to tow her in. The south-wester, however, was so strong that she could not ride at anchor later than six o'clock in the day, and was obliged to run for Laredo, where she is now anchored with 21 great ships of Andalusia, your Majesty's galleys, and the galleass "Patrona" (i.e., the "Napolitana"). Eight ships have entered this port, and five or six others, with Miguel de Oquendo, have run for the Biscay coast. There are also, it is said, six or seven more cruising off this port, so that I hope to God that they will all come in one after the other. The ships in Laredo will come hither with the first N.E. wind, as this port is so safe. I have sent them orders to that effect.
The troubles and miseries we have suffered cannot be described to your Majesty. They have been greater than have ever been seen in any voyage before, and on board some of the ships that had come in there was not one drop of water to drink for a fortnight. On the flagship 180 men died of sickness, three out of the four pilots on board having succumbed, and all the rest of the people on the ship are ill, many of typhus and other contagious maladies. All the men of my household, to the number of 60, have either died or fallen sick, and only two have remained able to serve me. God be praised for all He has ordained.
Great as have been these miseries and afflictions we are now more pressed than ever, for the men are all ill, and the little biscuit and wine we have left will be exhausted in a week. We are therefore in a wretched state, and I implore your Majesty to have some money provided speedily for the supply of necessaries, for not a single maravedi comes in the Armada. Oquendo takes with him the money which was in his ship—55,000 crowns.
Hernando de la Riva Herrera is attending to everything here splendidly. If he had not done so I do not know how we should have fared, for I have neither the health nor the head to see after anything ; and your Majesty has no inspector, provedore, nor paymaster here. Everything is astray, and must at once be placed in competent hands to direct ; for, as I say, I am in no condition to attend to business of any sort.
I am told that this country is very poor in supplies, so that your Majesty should order to be sent hither with great speed all the wheat that can be got, and the stores they may have at Corunna. I have written to Andres de Alva about it by special messenger, and have also sent to the neighbouring ports.
The sick shall have the best care that can be given to them. I have written to the archbishop of Burgos, asking him to send doctors and hospital staff.
I will continue to report the ships as they come in, and the number of men present at the muster which Hernando de la Riva Herrera has undertaken to call. He will also look to the accounts pending the recovery of Purser Vallejo, who is here. Everything is in such need and straits that I humbly beg your Majesty to look to it promptly.—Santander, 23rd September 1588.
23 Sept.
Estado, 594.
434. Duke Of Medina Sidonia to the King.
Don Francisco de Bobadilla (fn. 1) will give an account to your Majesty of everything you may desire to know of the events of the voyage, with its miseries and necessities. I pray your Majesty to give him entire credit in the matter of the expedition, for he was an eye witness and will tell the truth. He will also bear witness to my own lack of health to serve your Majesty here ; for truly I have come back almost at my last gasp. I therefore remain in bed unable to attend to anything, however much I might wish to do so. I await in full confidence that your Majesty will in your clemency and magnanimity send me the license which I request.—Santander, 23rd September 1588.
24 Sept.
Paris Archives, K. 1568.
435. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I try my very best to correct the advices I send your Majesty with relation to the events in connexion with the Armada, but as they are only brought by sailors whose ships put into French ports it is impossible for me to check them, and I am obliged to send them to your Majesty as I receive them.
They write from Hamburg, under date of 28th ultimo (O.S.), equal to our 6th September, that a ship had arrived at Lubeck from Lisbon, having run outside the coast of Ireland and Scotland. They report that they had met your Majesty's Armada, 115 to 120 sail, in the Northern Sea, sailing in good order and fine weather.
An ambassador has arrived here from the king of Denmark to inform the king of France of the death of his father. He is the vice-admiral of Denmark and a native of Scotland. He left Denmark by sea for Hamburg 20 days ago, whence he travelled by land to Holland, and there again embarked for Dieppe. He says that there was no news of the arrival of any ships of the Armada on the Norwegian, Danish, or Hamburg coasts ; and he had been told in Holland that, although the English assert that the Armada was defeated it was a lie, as it had been sighted sailing well together, and had done much damage to the English.
A man who left Edinburgh on the 4th instant, and came overland, says that the Scottish fishing boats had returned home, reporting that they had passed the Spanish Armada between the Orkneys and the Shetlands whilst they were fishing. They say there were 120 great ships, such as they had never seen before, and many small ones. The Spaniards had taken what dried fish the fishing boats had, paying very well for it, and also some shipmasters and pilots. All the English and fishing boats which were at the fisheries with them had been captured by the Spaniards, and their crews put in irons ; so that when the Armada left there it had nearly 300 sail, and the weather was so fine that it would very soon arrive in Spain.
Letters from England, dated 12th instant, report that the Admiral had arrived at Dover with 12,000l. to pay the troops there, as they were very discontented. It was said that Drake was going to put to sea with 50 sail, but the man who comes from Scotland left London on the 16th, and the Admiral had then returned thither, Drake also being there at that time. There was no talk then about ships putting to sea or preparations being made.
Colonel Semple had again been put in prison, in the house of a burgess of Edinburgh, but had escaped and retired with his friends ; the earl of Huntly having been the cause of his having been set at liberty before. The earl of Morton had been carried to the castle of Blackness from Edinburgh. He was still kept a prisoner.
I hear from Catholics that the Queen is having 50 ships fitted out secretly which Drake is to take to sea.—Paris, 24th September 1588.
24 Sept.
Paris Archives, K. 1567.
436. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I have your Majesty's despatches of 3rd instant, and duplicate of 31st ultimo. When I see this King I will give him your Majesty's thanks for his willingness in ordering the return of the men at Bayonne, and the galleass that ran ashore at Calais. He has been just as ready to do all I requested about the "Santa Ana" and the infantry in her. Although I endeavour to avoid the difficulties which may occur to your Majesty's ships in these ports, I cannot do so in consequence of the factions that exist in the country, and the confused way in which the King's orders are treated. They are, in fact, only obeyed in so far as the Governor they are sent to thinks fit. This is seen in the way the duke of Montpensier acted (he being on the side of Bearn) when the "Santa Ana" arrived at La Hogue. Although he had his instructions from the King, he refused the "Santa Ana" communication with the shore, and all supplies. I am assured even that Montpensier himself advised the English of the arrival of the ship, in order that they might attack her. There have arrived at Chartres and here, secretly, about 60 Turks from the galleys which put in at Bayonne and Calais. (fn. 2) Some people think I ought to request this King to give them up, but I have not thought that this would be beneficial to your Majesty's interests for the following reasons. 1st.—That it is a very old law in France that no slaves can exist in the realm ; the moment they tread French soil they are free, and the King would be very reluctant to violate this law. Even if he did so in this case, the slaves are scattered in so many places that it would cost more to collect and transport them than they are worth, besides the difficulty of doing it. It is moreover not desirable that people here should think that 60 or 80 slaves were considered of any importance in an Armada so powerful as that of your Majesty. The Turks who have requested passports from this King, in virtue of the alliance between him and the Grand Turk, have received them, with two crowns each to help them on their way.
The "Santa Ana," which I informed your Majesty had arrived at Havre de Grâce, could not enter port, owing to its being too large ; and whilst it was at the anchorage in the roads some English ships came and attacked it, as is related in enclosed extract from the statement sent to me by the purser, Igueldo. I am unable to do anything in the matter, as it is for this King to resent the action of the queen of England in sending ships to attack and capture vessels peacefully lying at anchor in his ports and roadsteads, enjoying the protection offered by them. I cannot address the King on the matter, but regard for his own prestige will compel him to chastise such insolence. The Maestre de Campo, Nicolas Isla, died in Havre de Grâce from a blow from a spar. Your Majesty has lost a good soldier in him.
As soon as the duke of Parma heard that the "Santa Ana" was on the coast of Normandy, he sent a commissary named Claude Chastelayn, a Frenchman, with orders for the ship and crew, and instructions to place the money she had on board in safety in the hands of a merchant to be chosen by Chastelayn. When the latter found that a stop had been placed upon the specie, he came hither with a letter of credence from the duke of Parma to me, asking me to give him aid, if he needed it, in the matter ; just as if I were the correspondent of some merchant, rather than the ambassador of your Majesty. The duke of Parma subsequently wrote to Chastelayn and to me, that the infantry on board the ship was to go to the Netherlands. The Duke wrote to me at the same time, asking me to obtain a passport from the King, to enable the men to go. Chastelayn informed me that the "Santa Ana" and the money on board of her had been seized in virtue of letters of marque granted by this King, before my time here, in reprisal for some property taken from French merchants at the castle of the Mina (Elmina). I informed the King of this, and requested that the letters of marque should be cancelled, they having been illegally granted, as on many occasions I had repeated to his Council. The King ordered the seizure to be cancelled immediately, and gave me a passport for the troops to go overland to your Majesty's dominions, they paying a moderate price for the rations they needed. He also appointed a commissary to guide them. I therefore successfully completed my part of the business, although I would not have raised a finger in it, but that your Majesty's interest demanded it, which interest I will do my best to forward whilst I have life, even though I had to suffer a hundred waggons and cannons passing over my body. I have deferred until I got the business settled before saying how much I resent the fact that, after your Majesty had done me so much honour as to retain me here as your ambassador to this King, the duke of Parma should be so neglectful of the respect and decorum which is fitting to be employed in this country towards the person of your Majesty's ambassador. He sends private men to execute his orders here, and tells me to assist them. (fn. 3)
The gift of 2,000 crowns your Majesty pays to the English seminary at Rheims is due on 1st October, and the English nuns of Sion, at Rouen, (fn. 4) presented to me a letter of your Majesty of December 1587, ordering me to give them 1,000 crowns on account of the pension owing to them, of that granted by your Majesty to them in Flanders, namely 100 florins a month. I gave them the 1,000 crowns, but although they are in need, and eight months' pension is still owing since the date of your letter, I have been unable to pay them the rest, as I have no money. I pray your Majesty to have credits sent me for both these purposes, and also to pay your Majesty's Scotch pensioners, and my extraordinary disbursements. I have exhausted the credit of 8,000 crowns.— 24th September 1588.
P.S.—The purser, Igueldo, has again written, giving me an account of what had happened to the "Santa Ana," which your Majesty will see by enclosed extract from his letter.
24 Sept.
Paris Archives, K. 1567. Italian.
437. Letter from London (from Marco Antonio Messia?).
I am deeply sorry that I have nothing to write about but trouble and misfortune. God in his wisdom and goodness bring a remedy for it all! Know, then, that I am in the last stage of despair, for it is desirable in all respects that I should leave here, but I cannot do so without paying what I owe. My creditors have hitherto supported me, but will do so no longer ; so you may imagine my position, and from no fault of my own. God pardon him whose fault it is. I have done all I have been able in the service of our friends, and I have never been found wanting, as my record for years past will show, and often on occasions of the highest importance. It seems to me, therefore, that as so little account is made of me, surely I must be the most ill-rewarded of any man. Above all, I marvel that in the law-suit about my property in Portugal, where the injustice done to me is patent, my friends have not acted towards me as I would have done to them. I do not believe, if the Cardinal had been well informed, he would have allowed me to have been so unjustly treated. In addition to all this I am in great danger in these critical times, and am suspected ; and I can only fervently pray to God to get me out of this country. Besides this, the information I possess will be of the utmost importance to a friend.
This letter will be accompanied by another written in Spanish by those who were taken from Don Pedro de Valdés's ship. I wish to serve one of these prisoners, as I know some of his relatives, and especially for the sake of Signor Santifantoni. Since the letter was written I have been negotiating for his ransom, and that of another ensign named Juan Bermudez, and two soldiers, his brothers ; 500 crowns was the sum asked, and they offer 350, which they say they have means of obtaining, but nothing has yet been settled. The intermediary, however, hopes to arrange it for 400 crowns, which they will pay if they can do no better. Please send the letter to my correspondent, Esteban Lercaro, for him to forward it to Signor Santinfantoni at Cadiz. The other prisoners are in Bridewell, and it is said to be the intention to liberate them on ransom, and apply the money to those who were wounded on the fleet ; but they wish to ascertain whether those who undertake to pay ransoms have really the means of paying it. Two ships arrived here three days ago from Barbary. Whilst the shippers were preparing their (homeward) cargo they (the ships) went out to pillage, and falling in with two ships from Brazil, loaded with sugar, they captured them and took them to Barbary. This sort of intelligence may be continually looked for now, as the corsairs are being fitted out with furious haste. I hear that the earl of Cumberland is going out in person to the Indies, with 14 ships, and I expect that he and others like him will be encouraged by the coming of a gentleman named Cavendish, who three years ago sold some property of his and fitted out three ships which he took to the Straits of Magellan. He has now returned, very wealthy with gems, gold, and silver, to the value of 3,000,000 crowns, though others say only one million, which I deem more likely. But if it be only half that amount, it is quite enough to encourage others to seek similar adventures. The only news of the Armada is brought by a Scotch ship which has arrived from Spain, reporting that she met a fleet off Cape Finisterre. If you have any news pray let me know. I have kept this letter until to-day, 26th, Saturday. The Venetian galleon "Patti" has arrived in the Bristol Channel with a cargo of wine, currants, and rice, which will sell well here. She reports that she fell in with 26 Spanish galleons in the Straits (of Gibraltar?) which she deceived as to her destination by false papers, saying she was going to Lisbon. They say now that Cavendish's booty is not worth more than 500,000 crowns, which is enough. Two other captured ships have been brought in. It is again stated that some of the ships of the Armada are in Ireland, forced there by weather. Others account for them in a different way, and I do not know whom to believe, for, look you, how vain has been all the talk lately. I know that several ships have left here for Ireland, amongst others seven belonging to the Queen, but I quite expect to be told to-morrow that they were fishing boats, or something of that sort.
I went to-day to see the Spanish prisoners in Bridewell. Two of them have become Protestants, one a Sardinian and the other an Andalucian, and they have been released, but I am told that those who refuse to listen to the preaching of a Sicilian they have there are not allowed any share in the alms. But they bear up with patience. Some of them are ill, and I think with a small sum of money they would be released ; but very few of them have the means of paying a single penny, unless they are helped by their country. I have seen prisoners ransomed from the Turks by a general contribution being made by soldiers or sailors at home when their wages are paid to them. These poor creatures have no other hope than such as this. I am grieved to the heart to see them in such calamity, and I cannot but think that the course I have mentioned would be adopted wherever Spanish garrisons exist, if it were suggested to them.
A fortnight ago they placed in St. Paul's the banners they took from Valdés's ship and the galleass. There are also four infantry standards, and some other flags and banners. They say that on one of the flags is the cross of Burgundy, quartered with the arms of France and the rose of England. This gives rise to much talk here, the said banners having been kept on deck for everyone to see.
Note.—The King has appended the following autograph note to the above letter. "There are some things here that it would be well to attend to. Let them be considered. It would be well to do something for this man, who must be he who went from Portugal." The King was correct ; the writer of the letter was undoubtedly the Genoese, Messia ; who had been sent to England by the marquis of Santa Cruz, and to whom many references are made in Mendoza's letters.
24 Sept.
Paris Archives, K. 1567.
438. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Julio sent again to tell me the other day that an agent of Don Antonio had gone to England with letters from this King and his mother. This is a lie. He had told it to me before, as an excuse for asking me for 1,200 crowns for the journey to Blois. As for some time past he had told me nothing but fiction, I replied that I was short of money and could not accommodate him on this occasion. I beg your Majesty to instruct me how I am to deal with him. I will humour him until I hear. (Relates an alleged plan of Don Antonio to go to Constantinople for help, with the permission of the queen of England, leaving his sons there as hostages. The writer has advised the duke of Parma of this, and that Don Antonio would land at Hamburg. Parma had replied that he had no communication with Hamburg, and Mendoza had better advise Don Guillen (de San Clemente, Spanish Ambassador to the Emperor). The writer expresses his dissatisfaction at this. He will write to Parma again as soon as he knows that Don Antonio is about to depart.)—Paris, 24th September 1588.
Note.—The above letter is accompanied by another from a Portuguese spy (David) at Rouen, giving Mendoza the information about Don Antonio. He also reports the death of the earl of Leicester, and mentions the going and coming of several of the Portuguese Pretender's friends to England. He therefrom deduces the opinion that the Queen will not let Don Antonio go, but, encouraged by the destruction of the Spanish fleet, would aid him in attack upon Portugal. This, of course, she did in the following year.
24 Sept.
Guerra, 221.
439. Statement made by the Purser Pedro Coco Calderon, of the events which happened to the Royal Armada commanded by the Duke of Medina Sidonia, from the time it left Corunna, where it had taken refuge from the gales it encountered after it sailed from Lisbon.
The Armada sailed from Corunna on the 22nd July, with 151 vessels, as follows :—
23 galleons,
43 ships,
26 hulks,
4 galleasses,
4 galleys,
20 pataches,
10 zabras,
11 caravels,
10 pinnaces ;
the total tonnage being 62,278 tons, the soldiers and sailors on board numbering in all 30,000 men.
Sail was put on, and in light weather the Armada set its course for the Scilly Isles, nine leagues from the bay of St. Michael's and Mount's Bay in England.
On Monday, 25th July, a strong wind sprang up, and the Armada continued on its course. Tuesday, 26th, the day of St. Anne, the galleys and the ship "St. Ana," the flagship of Juan Martinez de Recalde, were missing. The captain of the latter was Juan Perez de Mucio, and she carried 98 sailors, the Maestre de Campo, Nicolas Isla, with 284 soldiers, the Purser Pedro de Igueldo, and it is said 50,000 ducats in gold belonging to the King.
On the 30th July the Lizard was sighted, and the Armada continued on her voyage until five o'clock, in the afternoon, at which time it was abreast of Cape Gudiman (?) four leagues from land.
An English pinnace approached to reconnoitre, and Captain Ojeda with his ship and some pinnaces gave chase until she ran inshore. At nightfall we discovered the enemy's fleet to leeward, but as it was already late, and the weather was thick, we could not reconnoitre it. The Duke ordered Captain Uceda to go through the Armada during the night, giving instructions for the ships to be put into order of battle, as the enemy would be upon us in the morning. The Duke then gave orders for sail to be shortened, and remained awaiting him. At about two o'clock in the morning, when the moon came out, the enemy set sail and gained the wind of us, leaving five ships cruising in sight of us to make us think that the rest of his fleet was there.
On the morning of Sunday, 31st July, the enemy's fleet being then to windward of us, the Duke made an appearance of attacking the port. The wind was westerly and the bows of the Duke's flagship were luffed as close to the wind as possible, whilst the enemy's fleet, with the wind astern, bore down upon us. They had 20 great galleons, from 500 to 800 tons burden, and 50 of from 200 to 300 tons, extremely well armed, rigged, and handled. In order not to expose his rearguard the Duke was obliged to put about and form order of battle to await the enemy. They came towards us in very good order, and two of their vessels approached from the direction of their port for the purpose of reconnoitring us, after which they sailed towards their flagship. The latter then struck her foresail, and from the direction of the land sent four vessels, one of which was the vice-flagship, to skirmish with our vice-flagship and the rest of our rearguard. They bombarded her and the galleon "San Mateo," which, putting her head as close up to the wind as possible, did not reply to their fire, but waited for them in the hope of bringing them to close quarters. The "Rata," with Don Alonso de Leyva on board, endeavoured to approach the enemy's vice-flagship, which also allowed herself to fall off towards the "Rata," But they could not exchange cannon shots, because the enemy's ship, fearing that the "San Mateo" would bring her to close quarters, left the "Rata" and bombarded the "San Mateo." In the meanwhile the wind forced Don Alonso de Leyva away, and he was prevented from carrying out his intentions, but he exchanged cannon shots with others of the enemy's ships.
The Duke's flagship most distinguished herself this day, as she was engaged the greater part of the time, and resisted the fury of the whole of the enemy's fleet. Juan Martinez de Recalde, like the skilful seaman he was, collected all his ships whilst protecting his rearguard, and engaging at the same time eight of the enemy's best ships. The Duke, seeing that the enemy would not come to close quarters, proceeded on his voyage. Juan Martinez de Recalde's foremast was pierced by two shots, the mainstays destroyed, as was his main-top stay, and Captain Pedro de Ycaina and others were wounded. Miguel de Oquendo's flagship also distinguished herself this day and the ensign of Captain Priego had his leg carried away by a ball. During this morning certain ships basely took to flight, until they were peremptorily ordered by the flagship to luff and face the enemy. The skirmish finished at mid-day without further damage, the Duke recognising that the enemy's intention was not to come to close quarters, but only to bombard us, took advantage of the fresh westerly wind and continued on his voyage. At five o'clock on the same day Pedro de Valdés's flagship ran foul of the "Santa Catalina," a ship of the same squadron, and broke the bowsprit of the flagship, and snapped the stay of the foremast, which fell upon the mainmast Don Pedro fired a gun for aid, and the Duke put about in the direction of the injured flagship, and lay to in order to await her.
Don Pedro also lay to, and some ships and two galleasses shortened sail to help him. But in consequence of the heavy sea they could not venture to send a hawser on board of him. The Duke then sent two pataches to take off the crew, but when they came alongside Don Pedro refused to abandon his ship, as he said he could repair her. When the Duke learnt this, the Armada being so far advanced, he was obliged to proceed on his voyage, and two hours afterwards three or four shots were heard. Nothing further is known of Don Pedro, except that the enemy captured his ship. This flagship had the following persons on board :—General Don Pedro de Valdés, Captain Vicente Alvarez, owner of the ship, 128 sailors, 50,000 ducats belonging to his Majesty, Captain Don Alonso de Zayas, and 122 soldiers of the company of Don Antonio de Heria, with 20 of Don Juan de Ibarra's company.
On the same day, at two o'clock in the afternoon, shortly after the disaster to Don Pedro de Valdés, the "San Salvador," the vice-flagship of Oquendo's squadron, blew up, by reason of the powder which had been brought on deck for the fighting. It is said that Captain Priego had beaten a German artilleryman, who went below, saying that one of the pieces had got wet, and would have to be discharged. He fired the piece and then threw the port fire into a barrel of powder. Both of the after decks were blown up, killing over 200 men, including Ensign Castañeda, who was on the watch ; and the ship was rent both in the bows and the stern. Many of the men jumped into the sea and were drowned, but the principal persons were saved in four pataches, which were sent by the Duke. Paymaster Juan de Huerta, his staff papers, and some money in his charge, were saved. She (the "San Salvador") continued her voyage with great difficulty until Monday, 1st August, in the morning, when the Duke ordered the people to be taken out of her and the ship sunk. The captain, however, was badly wounded, and the men in a hurry to abandon the ship, so that there was no one to sink her ; besides which, she had many wounded and burnt men on board, who could not be rescued as the enemy was approaching. It is believed that the enemy will have put a hawser on board and towed her to a port on the coast. Pedro Coco Calderon, chief purser on the Armada, received on the flag hulk Captain Villaviciosa and about 34 burnt men. On this day the Duke despatched, in a patache, Ensign Juan Gil to Dunkirk, with a letter to the duke of Parma, informing him of the whereabouts of the Armada, and asking where the two forces should join. On board the said ship (i.e., the "San Salvador") there were 64 seamen ; Captain Pedro de Priego, who was badly burnt, and had 94 soldiers ; Captain Don Francisco de Chaves, who was unhurt, and had 133 soldiers ; Captain Geronimo de Valderrama, with 92 soldiers, he was also unhurt ; Captain Juan de Villaviciosa, Vice-Admiral of the squadron, was burnt.
On Tuesday, 2nd August, we were near the the Cape of Plymouth, when the day dawned with a easterly wind, the enemy's fleet being consequently to leeward of us. The Duke steered towards them with the intention of engaging them, but the enemy clapped on all sail and fled. The wind being light, and the enemy's ships swifter than ours we were unable to give them chase. On this day the Duke appointed to command Don Pedro de Valdés's squadron Don Diego Enriquez, son of the viceroy of Peru. The skirmishing on Tuesday was very severe, the Florentine galleon "San Medel" greatly distinguishing herself, as did also the hulks (two gunners on which were burnt in consequence of neglecting to sponge out their piece), and the galleasses, and especially the Duke's flagship, which for an hour and half engaged the enemy's fleet alone. She was afterwards reinforced by Oquendo's flagship, which managed to join her and help her gallantly in her brave fight. The Duke's flagship fired over 80 shots from one side only, and inflicted great damage on the enemy. The latter shot at the Duke at least 500 cannon balls, some of which struck his hull, and others his rigging, carrying away his flagstaff and one of the stays of his mainmast. The skirmish lasted from dawn until ten o'clock in the morning, during which time we were trying to come up with them. At that hour the wind shifted to the south, which enabled the enemy to gain the wind, and the renewed firing then lasted until three in the afternoon. The flagship of the squadron put about, and discharged a gun as a signal for the other ships to approach her, but as she was so far to windward of the rest of the Armada she could not be reinforced so speedily. Two of our artillerymen were killed during the skirmish, in consequence of their neglecting to sponge out their pieces. When the enemy saw the defiance offered to them by the squadron flagship, they left her, and attacked the rest of our boats. Don Alonso de Leyva made great efforts to come up with the enemy, but he was unable to do so, as he was too far to the leeward. The galleon "San Marcos" bravely engaged the enemy. This ship carries the marquis de Peñafiel, Don Felipe de Cordova, brother of the marquis de las Navas, Don Martin de Alanzon, Administrator-General of the Hospital Service, and other great personages. The Duke saw that the enemy continued to attack our rearguard, and selected 41 of the best ships and the four galleasses to form the rear, and then proceeded on his voyage.
On Wednesday, the 3rd, at dawn, our Armada was abreast of the Isle of Wight, and the enemy's fleet bombarded our rearguard for an hour, the galleasses "Capitana" and "Zuñiga" distinguishing themselves. The wind then fell light and the enemy, fearing the galleasses, remained two leagues from our Armada.
On Thursday, the 4th, the weather was calm, and the hulks "Santa Ana" and "Doncella" fell astern. The enemy attacked them with some of their ships, which they towed within range. They would certainly have captured the hulks if Don Alonso de Leyva, with his flagship and the two galleasses from the rearguard, had not gone to their assistance. The wind then freshened a little and the skirmishing began with the galleasses. The flagship with the vanguard, came to their assistance, and finding her alone, with the galleass "Patrona" to windward of the line of battle, the enemy selected some of the best ships in his fleet to deliver a combined attack on the flagship, the rest of his vessels being left to engage the rearguard. The plan would have succeeded if Oquendo had not kept so close a luff, and sailed towards the flagship with other vessels following him, thus covering her and receiving the chief brunt of the attack, which was very heavy. Two men were killed in the fore-castle of the flagship ; and the enemy's flagship, with some other vessels, drifted far to leeward, in consequence of the rudder of the former being injured and useless. Ten longboats from the other ships took her in tow, and, the wind freshening, our flagship and other ships sailed towards her ; but she got out so swiftly that the galleon "San Juan" and another quick sailing ship—the speediest vessels in the Armada—although they gave chase, seemed in comparison with her to be standing still. This being seen by the Duke, and the weather being fair, he proceeded on his voyage. The fighting on this day was as severe as that of Tuesday, and when it was ended the Duke despatched Captain Pedro de Leon to the duke of Parma to give him an account of events, and to request a fresh supply of shot.
On Friday, the 5th, the wind fell calm before dawn, the enemy always being on our rear, and we remained motionless all day. At four o'clock the Duke despatched the pilot Domingo Ochoa with letters to the duke of Parma. The enemy now appeared to have 160 sail, he having been joined by ... (fn. 5) with two vice-flagships and two flagships.
On Saturday, the 6th, the wind was blowing from the south-west, the weather being heavy with showers. Our Armada was within sight of the coast of France, off Boulogne, the enemy being a league behind us. The intention of the Duke was to anchor abreast of Calais with the wind astern, and accordingly at low tide the Armada brought up at six o'clock in the evening at the place indicated ; the enemy also anchoring about a league to windward of us, he having now been joined by John Hawkins, (fn. 6) with 38 sail, which, it was understood, came from Dover, three of them galleons and the rest small ships. This brought up his fleet to 160 sail. On this day the Duke sent a letter to the governor of Calais by Captain Pedro de Heredia, who found him on the shore in a coach with his wife, watching to see whether there would be a battle. At night the weather fell light, and at dusk the same evening the master and pilot of the hulk "San Pedro el Menor" deserted to the enemy's fleet. Their names were Simon Henriquez and Juan Isla. On Sunday, the 7th, the weather was calm until five in the morning, when it freshened, with showers. At dawn Captain Rodrigo Tello de Guzman arrived in a frigate (fragata) from the duke of Parma, bringing a letter for the Duke ; and on this day was sent the Inspector-General Don Jorge Manrique to Dunkirk, for the purpose of discussing certain matters of the fleet with the Duke (of Parma). The steward, Pedroso, and Paymaster Juan de Huerta, were also sent to Calais with 6,000 ducats in gold to buy victuals and medicines for the Armada. The duke also despatched his Secretary, Geronimo de Arceo, to Dunkirk, to urge the duke of Parma to send with all speed the 30 or 40 flyboats which had been requested by the pilot Ocboa. At midnight on Sunday the enemy set adrift, with their sails set and the tide in their favour, eight ships with artificial machines on board, which came towards us all in flames, burning furiously in the bows, with the mainsails and foresails set, and the rudders lashed. They continued to burn towards the stern until the day was well advanced ; but did no harm, except to dislodge our fleet. The galleass "Capitana," which was near the Duke's flagship, fired a shot warning our ships to avoid them, and the Duke ordered our cables to be cut, the Armada then sailing in a northerly direction. When we slipped our anchors some of our ships ran foul of the galleass "Capitana," and she, being unmanageable, the tide carried her ashore. She had on board Don Hugo Moncada with 134 sailors, 312 oarsmen ; Captain Luis Macian, with 130 soldiers of his company ; and Captain Juan Perez de Loaisa, with 105 soldiers.
The same day the prince of Ascoli, with three servants and a chaplain, took a patache and (first picking up Major Juan Juarez Gallinato from his ship) went to Flanders. (fn. 7)
On Monday, the 8th, the galleass already mentioned grounded under the fort at Calais, to escape from the enemy's fleet, which shot many times at her. The Armada anchored two leagues from the port of Calais, with the intention, at daybreak, of recovering the position and picking up our anchors and cables. At dawn on Monday, accordingly, we set sail with that object. The flagship was alone with Oquendo's flagship and the "San Marcos," the galleon "San Juan," of Diego Flores' squadron, and the galleon "San Mateo" being at some little distance away ; the Armada not having collected, although gun signal had been given to that effect. The enemy then opened a heavy artillery fire on our flagship at seven o'clock in the morning, which was continued for nine hours. So tremendous was the fire that over 200 balls struck the sails and hull of the flagship on the starboard side, killing and wounding many men, disabling and dismounting three guns, and destroying much rigging. The holes made in the hull between wind and water caused so great a leakage that two divers had as much as they could do to stop them up with tow and lead plates, working all day. The crew were much exhausted at nightfall with their heavy labours at the guns, without food.
The galleon "San Felipe," of Portugal, with the Maestre de Campo, Don Francisco de Toledo, on board, was on this day surrounded by 17 of the enemy's ships, which directed against her a heavy fire on both sides and on her stern. The enemy approached so close that the muskets and harquebusses of the galleon were brought into service, killing a large number of men on the enemy's ships. They did not dare, however, to come to close quarters, but kept up a hot artillery fire from a distance, disabling the rudder, breaking the foremast, and killing over 200 men on the galleon. This being noticed by Don Diego de Pimentel, he brought his galleon, "San Mateo," to the wind, and bravely went to the rescue. Then some of the enemy's ships attacked him, and inflicted much damage upon him with their artillery. One of the enemy's ships came alongside the galleon, and an Englishman jumped on board, but our men cut him to bits instantly. In the interim the Duke's flagship and the vice-flag hulk ("San Salvador"), with Purser Pedro Coco Calderon on board, luffed up as close as possible, and went to the aid of the galleon. The hulk in question, with the Duke's flagship, engaged an Admiral's and a commodore's flagships of the enemy, her bows, side, and half her poop, being exposed for four hours to the enemy's fire, during which time she received no aid. She had a number of men killed and wounded, and her hull, sails, and rigging so much damaged that she was obliged to change her mainsail. She leaked greatly through the shot holes, and finally the "Rata" came to her assistance, distinguishing herself greatly. On board the "Rata" there fell, killed by a shot, Don Pedro de Mendoza, son of the Commander of Castelnuovo, Naples, and other persons. They had to defend themselves against three flagships, a vice-flagship, and ten or twelve other war vessels. This engagement lasted from six o'clock in the morning until four o'clock in the afternoon, the galleon "San Juan" suffering very severely, as also did the "San Marcos." Don Felipe de Cordoba, son of Don Diego, his Majesty's Master of the Horse, had his head shot off.
The Duke's flagship lost 40 soldiers, and Sergeant Juan Carrasco, Alonso de Orozco, and others. The "San Juan de Sicilia," which carried Diego Enriquez Tellez (marginal addition in orignal :—"and Diego Enriquez, who succeeded to the command of Pedro de Valdés's squadron, also fought bravely in this engagement"), suffered to such an extent that every one of her sails had to be replaced. Don Pedro Enriquez, who was also on board the "San Juan de Sicilia," had a hand shot away in this fight, and the ship's company generally behaved with great gallantry.
We sailed between Dover and Calais, in the direction of Norway, with a W.N.W. wind. The enemy inflicted great damage on the galleons "San Mateo" and "San Felipe," the latter having five of her starboard guns dismounted ; and an Italian gunner, who was afterwards killed, spiked one of her great guns. In view of this, and that his upper deck was destroyed, both his pumps broken, his rigging in shreds, and his ship almost a wreck, Don Francisco de Toledo ordered the grappling hooks to be got out, and shouted to the enemy to come to close quarters. They replied, summoning him to surrender in fair fight ; and one Englishman, standing in the maintop with his sword and buckler, called out "Good soldiers that ye are, surrender to the fair terms we offer ye." But the only answer he got was a gunshot, which brought him down in sight of everyone, and the Maestre de Campo then ordered the muskets and harquebusses to be brought into action. The enemy thereupon retired, whilst our men shouted out to them that they were cowards, and with opprobrious words reproached them for their want of spirit, calling them Lutheran hens, and daring them to return to the fight. There were on board this "San Felipe" Captain Juan Gordon, who was killed, and 108 seamen ; the aforementioned Maestre de Campo, with 111 soldiers of his own company ; Captain Pedro Nuñez de Avila, with 72 soldiers ; Captain Velasquez, with 113 soldiers ; Captain Lorenzo Godoy (who remained sick at Corunna), had on board also 72 soldiers, and eight musketeers of the same regiment. The captains and ensigns were saved, but 60 soldiers were killed and 200 wounded. At seven o'clock in the evening of the said day the "San Felipe" fired shots for aid to be sent to her, and the hulk "Doncella" went to her. She found the galleon sinking, and took on board 300 of her men. Captain Juan Poza, who was with them, said that the hulk was going down. The Maestre de Campo replied that if that were the case they had better be drowned in the galleon than in the hulk, and they both went back to her. The galleon "San Mateo" had her hull so riddled that she was also in a sinking condition, the pumps being powerless to diminish the water. At six o'clock in the morning, therefore, she came alongside the flagship and asked for help. The Duke sent a diver who stopped some of the leaks, but in the end the galleon was obliged to drop astern with the "San Felipe," and their subsequent fate is unknown ; but it is said they ran aground on the banks, there being no port near where they could take refuge. The "San Marcos" had on board the Maestre de Campo, Don Diego Pimentel, Juan Iñiguez de Medrano, her captain, 150 seamen, and 116 soldiers of the Maestre de Campo's company, 109 soldiers with Captain Francisco Marques, and 120 soldiers with Captain Martin de Avalos, with volunteers and others.
Admiral Juan Martinez (de Recalde), with the aid of two Levantine ships, skirmished with 10 of the enemy's great ships and made them retire, as they dared not come to close quarters. The Armada ran during that evening between England and Flanders, with the enemy still harassing our rearguard, we being in such great danger of running on the banks that it was only by a miracle we were not lost.
We learnt that the enemy had orders from the Queen, that, on pain of death, no ship of theirs was to come to close quarters with any of ours. At sunset a heavy sea rose, driving us towards the banks. At this time we observed that the ship "Maria Juan," of the squadron of Juan Martinez de Recalde—Captain Pedro de Ugarte—was signalling for assistance, as she was going down. Her crew had taken to the spars and rigging, and she had lost her mizenmast and rudder. The Duke sent the aid requested, but it was only possible to save one boatload of men, for she sank, to the great sorrow of everyone. She carried 92 seamen and 183 soldiers.
On Tuesday, the eve of St. Lorenzo, we still kept on the same course with the same wind, the enemy continuing a cannon shot in our rear. The flagship was sailing abaft of the rearguard, in consequence of having one of her anchors down, her lead having only marked seven fathoms, and she being near the banks, 12 leagues from the Channel. There therefore appeared to be no hope for her ; either she must fall into the hands of the enemy or run on the banks. At this time the Duke noticed that Oquendo was sailing towards him and said to him "Señor Oquendo, what shall we do? We are lost!" to which Oquendo replied "Ask Diego Flores (fn. 8). As for me, I am going to fight, and die like a man. Send me a supply of shot." But God succoured us in our distress, as He always does, and changed the wind in our favour, so that our flagship got free of the banks, and left the enemy behind. We sailed on all day under light sail, and the Duke summoned to his flagship Don Alonso de Leyva, Juan Martinez de Recalde, the chief Maestre de Campo, Don Francisco de Bobadilla, and several pilots and seamen. General Diego Flores de Valdés suggested that the Armada might put about and return to Calais, but it was resolved that it should set its course for Spain. Captain Alonso de Benavides and Captain Vasco de Carbajal asked Purser Calderon what course that was ; to which he replied that it would be a tremendously laborious one, for we should have to sail round England, Scotland, and Ireland, 750 leagues, through stormy seas almost unknown to us, before we could reach Corunna.
He (i.e., the Purser Coco Calderon) then took careful stock of the bread and water on board—for everything else was lacking, especially on this hulk (i.e., the vice-flag hulk "San Salvador").
On Wednesday, the 10th, San Lorenzo's day, we sailed on towards Norway with wind astern.
On Thursday, the 11th, the Armada put on sail, and beat up in the direction of Scotland, in latitude 54° N. The enemy's fleet now numbered only 90 vessels, which continued to follow us. It is to be concluded from this that their ships had suffered much, and had been obliged to put into port to refit. The Duke on this day ordered Don Cristobal de Avila, captain of the hulk "Santa Barbara," to be hanged ; and condemned to the galleys other ship captains, as well as reducing some soldier-officers. It is said that this was because on the day of the battle they allowed themselves to drift out of the fight.
On Friday, the 12th, the Armada was in 55° N., off a shoal on the German coast, in nine fathoms of water. At ten o'clock that morning a despatch boat came to the enemy, and they slackened sail, putting about and sailing towards London at two o'clock that afternoon. On this day the Duke appointed to be Major of the Entre Douro e Minho Regiment Lope Gil, in the place of Juan Juarez Gallinato, absent. (fn. 9)
On Saturday, the 13th, the Armada continued on its voyage, the Duke ordering that only eight ounces of bread and half a pint of wine, with one pint of water, was to be served out to each soldier. He also offered 2,000 ducats to a French pilot if he would conduct him to a Spanish port.
On this day Purser Pedro Coco Calderon sent a paper of observations to the Duke, which was very welcome to him and his Council. The purser was thanked for his remarks with regard to the voyage of the Armada, etc. ; and, with regard to the hospital delicacies and medicines, which he had so carefully preserved in the artillery-pharmacy, on board his hulk, with the intention of selling them, and he was begged to send some to the Duke's ship, as they were so urgently needed. The purser immediately did so, sending some rice for the sick, which present was greatly esteemed ; and the Duke begged him to do the same for all the ships which had been engaged, and which would send to his hulk for the supply. At the same time the Duke gave orders for the future voyage of the Armada.
On the 13th, and until the 18th, we experienced squalls, rain, and fogs, with heavy sea, and it was impossible to distinguish one ship from another. It was therefore necessary to divide the fleet into separate groups. On the 19th the Armada again collected, and we found ourselves near the galleon "San Marcos," the Duke's flagship, and thirteen other vessels. The purser (Calderon), then supplied Juan Martinez (de Recalde) with a quantity of delicacies, and tried to do the same for the galleon "San Marcos," but was prevented by the rough sea. We looked anxiously for the "San Juan de Sicilia," on board of which was Don Diego Enriquez Tellez, son of Don Fadrique Enriquez, Grand Commander of Alcantara, who had fought so bravely. She had been so much damaged that not a span of her sails was serviceable ; and as we could not find her, it is feared she may be lost. The weather being very heavy that night, we lost sight of Juan Martinez (de Recalde) and all the ships that followed him ; this hulk continuing her voyage alone, through squalls and fogs. On the 22nd we discovered the main body of the Armada. On the same date, we being to the windward of the Armada, we discovered three ships, which Vice-Admiral Villaviciosa chased with the vice-flag hulk ("San Salvador"). He overhauled them, and they shortened sail and were captured ; but as they were German vessels, coming from Lisbon, we let them go again.
On the 24th Purser Calderon went on board the galleon "San Martin," and the Duke asked him what latitude we were in, to which he replied, in 58½° N. The Duke then summoned Diego Flores de Valdés and the pilot, to whom he had promised the 2,000 ducats—he being a friend of the purser—and by examining the chart it was found that the purser was right. The purser urged that, on all accounts, it was advisable to give a wide berth to the coast of Ireland, but Diego Flores opposed this, although the French pilot was of the same opinion as the purser. The Duke, however, adopted the advice and took leave of the purser, ordering him to distribute the sick amongst the other ships of the fleet, and duly supply victuals for them from the ships which had any to spare. There was extreme scarcity in the fleet, and when the weather served the purser agreed to send 50 lbs. of rice to every ship that had any wounded or sick on board.
The Duke asked the purser whether he had heard anything of Don Alonso de Luzon, as he had not seen him for 13 days, although he had sent the despatch boats to seek him. The purser replied that he had not, nor of the galleon "San Marcos" and the other 13 vessels from which he (the purser) had parted company two days before, under the command of Juan Martinez de Recalde. He, therefore suspected that he (Recalde) had allowed himself to drift towards Iceland or the Faroe Isles, which belong to Denmark ; Iceland being in 65° N. and Faroe in 62° N. He was dreadfully in need of everything, and his (Recalde's) ship in a very injured state. These islands have good harbours, and there are German merchants there who have trade with Spain.
From the 24th to the 4th September we sailed without knowing whither, through constant storms, fogs, and squalls. As this hulk could not beat to windward it was necessary to keep out at sea, and we were unable to discover the main body of the Armada until the 4th September, when we joined it.
A despatch boat came from Oquendo's flagship for delicacies, which were supplied to him. When we asked what ships were missing, we were told that 14, with Juan Martinez (de Recalde), had been lost sight of, but now this hulk had appeared there were 13 short. The Duke, we were informed, had gone on board the galleon "San Juan de Avendaño," under the command of Diego Flores, in consequence of the great number of sick on board the "San Martin." On this day, as we were sailing to leeward of the body of the Armada, we saw the ship "Villafranca" of Oquendo and another Levantine ship fall away towards the Faroes and Iceland. These ships were far to the leeward of us.
From the 5th to the 10th, when this hulk again sighted some ships (which, however, the heavy sea prevented us from joining), we continued to make for Cape Clear, always working to windward, breaking our tackle and making a great deal of water.
On the west coast of Ireland this hulk found herself near an island 10 leagues (in extent?), the sea running strongly towards the land, to the great danger of the hulk. The purser ordered her to tack to the northwest, which took her 30 leagues distant, and it is believed that the rest of the Armada will have done the same. If not they will certainly have lost some of the ships, as the coast is rough, the sea heavy, and the winds strong from the seaward.
On the 14th this hulk was off Cape Clear, in 51° N., but did not sight it, and thence set her course for Corunna, running S.S.W.
On Wednesday, 21st, St. Matthew's Day, the weather being thick, we discovered the welcome sight of land, but could not recognise it until afternoon. We then saw four vessels, one of them a flagship. They passed on their way towards the Brittany coast, doubtless from Lisbon ; but we wished to avoid them, and consequently did not inquire. The land turned out to be the rocks of San Cebrian, but the wind rising strongly in the S.W., we were unable to make it, although we made great efforts to do so for the rest of the day, and eight hours of the night. The S.W. wind blew so violently that we were obliged to fall away towards the Biscay coast. There was not one drop of (fresh) water in the hulk, and though both pumps had to be kept going, day and night, they were unable to gain upon the leaks.
On the 22nd, in the afternoon, we sighted a dismasted ship, which fired a gun. No reply being given she fired another, and at nightfall came to reconnoitre us. It was the "Nuestra Señora de Juncal" of Don Pedro de Valdés's squadron ; one of the best ships in the Armada, with three captains of infantry on board. She reported that she was much damaged, with many sick, and entirely without food ; and asked our whereabouts. We told them off the Asturian coast, and instructed them to follow us to Santander, but the pilot did not believe this, and said we were six leagues from Cizarga and 12 leagues from Corunna, whereas we were really more than 50. He had not reckoned on the furious currents on this coast, and on the strength of the wind. He therefore beat towards the land to reconnoitre it well.
On the morning of the 23rd, in calm weather, we sighted another hulk, which followed in our wake with the other ship. We entered the port of Santander that night, and there I found the Duke had already arrived, but was very ill, though delighted at my arrival, as he had quite given me up for lost, he having left me far to leeward in latitude 58° N.
Pedro Coco Calderon.
25 Sept.
(O.S.) Paris Archives, K. 1568.
440. Advices from London.
Reports come from Rouen that the Spanish Armada has arrived at Lisbon with various prizes, but here quite the opposite is asserted ; namely, that after it had almost reached Spanish waters it was caught in a great storm and driven back to Ireland. Trustworthy news has been received from there, saying that 15 ships have been wrecked on the coast, amongst them the galleon "San Martin" with the duke of Mediua Sidonia on board, the Duke himself having been taken. It has since been asserted, however, that he had left the galleon and gone on board the "Rata," of which ship nothing has been heard. (fn. 10)
It is said that many men were saved from the wrecks, some of whom were hanged by Captain Denny in consequence of the special grudge he bears against Spaniards. It is said, however, that the body of the prince of Ascoli has been found drowned, (fn. 11) and others are held prisoners, in order to discover whether they are persons of quality or not. For this purpose they have sent some men from here who take with them two of the men captured with Don Pedro de Valdés, one a Sardinian and the other an Andulucian, who have both adopted this religion. So many rumours are current that it is impossible to know how much to believe. Walter Raleigh was under orders to take some ships to Spain, but it is now reported that he has been detained, and that the preparations being made are for the purpose of restoring Don Antonio to his throne. The accident to the Armada convinces many people that it will be impossible for another Armada to be fitted out next year against this country. In the meanwhile these people will further prepare themselves. I understand great quantities of provisions have been ordered, and that since Monday last they have begun to build eight new ships of large tonnage for the Queen. God grant that they may not be for war purposes. (fn. 12)
Last week there died one of the Spaniards in Bridewell, Alonso de la Serna, and there are many of them ill. They suffer much, especially as winter is coming on and they have not enough clothes to cover their nakedness. My heart aches for them, but I have not the power to help them.
Postscript, 27 September. I can add nothing to the above, except to say that the news from Ireland is now confirmed, and indeed aggravated, as the Treasurer himself asserts. Others assert that only eight ships were wrecked ; and that the Spaniards have fought and killed 700 Englishmen, after which they were joined by some natives, and have fortified themselves, but cannot hold out. Captain Drake is shortly to sail with a squadron of ships, I believe in search of stragglers from the Armada. Others say he is to take Don Antonio to Portugal. Drake and Don Antonio were together for over two hours recently. He and his people are preparing to embark in the West Country, and I recollect the invitation he gave me last Christmas to meet him in Portugal next Christmas.
Since I wrote the above I was told on Change this morning, by a person who was with the Secretary for an hour last night, that he related the news from Ireland in the following manner. He says that two squadrons were seen off the Irish coast, one of 40 sail and the other of 25, the latter being that of the duke of Medina. He had sailed away with his squadron, and no more had been heard of him. The other squadron of 40 sail was caught in a storm on the coast, and 18 ships were lost. They say that what with those drowned, killed by steel, and taken prisoners, 6,000 men have been lost. It is also reported that the bodies of the prince of Ascoli and Juan Martinez de Recalde (fn. 13) have been found drowned. Amongst the ships (lost) are said to be three Venetians and some Aragonese.


  • 1. He was one of the most experienced military officers in Philip's service, and in matters of tactics and military affairs the Duke had been entirely guided by him during the expedition.
  • 2. That is to say, Turkish galley slaves from the galleass "San Lorenzo" lost in Calais haven, and from the galleys wrecked near Bayonne.
  • 3. This tone of indignation and resentment against Parma is noticeable in many letters written by Mendoza and other Spanish officers after the defeat of the Armada. It gradually moderated when the King had made it clear that he did not blame Parma for the catastrophe.
  • 4. These were the English nuns who had been deported from Sion House, Richmond, first to Flanders and then to their new convent at Rouen.
  • 5. Blank in original.
  • 6. Lord Henry Seymour.
  • 7. See the prince's own account of this, page 378.
  • 8. Oquendo and the old mariners attributed the blame for the catastrophe to the bad advice of Diego Flores, who was the Duke's chief adviser. Diego Flores in any case was the only scapegoat, and was imprisoned on his return to Spain. In some of the unofficial reports printed by Fernandez Duro, Oquendo especially is represented as using the most insulting and offensive expressions towards the Duke on this and other occasions. Coco Calderon, who was evidently a creature of the Duke, takes care not to repeat these expressions.
  • 9. This was the officer who had gone with the prince of Ascoli to Flanders.
  • 10. As will have been seen by Medina Sidonia's diary, the "San Martin" arrived at Santander with the Duke still on board. The "Rata coronada" was lost on the coast of Ireland.
  • 11. This was for a long time believed to have been the case. It will have been seen, however, that the prince of Ascoli remained in Flanders, and lived for many years afterwards.
  • 12. In the King's hand :—They must be quicker there" (i.e., in England) "than we are."
  • 13. This was also untrue ; the gallant old sailor died on his return to Spain in October, worn out with hardship and trouble. The prince of Ascoli was not with the Armada at this time. The English may perhaps have confused him with Don Alonso de Leyva, whose surname was the same as that of the Prince.