Simancas: November 1588

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

This free content was digitised by double rekeying. All rights reserved.

'Simancas: November 1588', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, (London, 1899) pp. 474-492. British History Online [accessed 4 March 2024]

November 1588

2 Nov.
Paris Archives, K. 1568.
464. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The hulk from the Armada which I advised in my last had entered the port of Morvien Brittany, revictualled with the money I sent, and, as the weather was very heavy, could not stay in that port with safety and so ran ashore, as your Majesty will see by enclosed advices from Don Jorge Manrique. The latter very prudently, seeing the inconvenience of sending the men overland to join the galleass, decided to send to certain Spanish merchants at Nantes, who had on my order provided the money necessary for the revictualling of the hulk, asking them to send sufficient money immediately for the needs of the men, and to freight a ship to take them, with the guns and stores, to Spain. He also tells them to send instant advice to me, in order that I may obtain the necessary authorities from this King. This I have done, and he has granted all I requested, very willingly. I have instructed the merchants to expedite everything as much as possible. Nothing shall be wanting on my part.
The "Zuñiga" is re-fitting. Her captain, Centellas, has only 130 convicts. I have asked the duke of Parma to let the salvage from the ship that was lost at Calais (the galleass "San Lorenzo"), which salvage is now on board some pataches at Dunkirk, be sent to Havre de Grâce to be used in the repair of the ship there. (fn. 1) I have provided 3,000 crowns to the purser Igueldo to pay a month's wages to the men, and to buy necessaries, pay debts, workmen on the ship, etc. He writes saying this is spent, and asks me to send him more, in consideration of the money landed by the duke of Parma's orders and deposited at Rouen having been applied by the Duke to other purposes.
The governor of Havre de Grâce is doing his utmost for the prompt dispatch of the galleass, and the retention of the slaves. I took the liberty of suggesting that two gold chains worth 600 crowns should be given to him and his lieutenant, which I am sure they would have received with great pleasure. But people here have already begun to whisper in his ears what a great service he (the Governor) has done to your Majesty, by saving you so many convicts that were in the galleass, who when once they touched France should have been free, as they would have been in any other port. The consequence of this is, I am told, that he is saying that the least he expects of your Majesty is a chain of 2,000 crowns, and he asks me to write to your Majesty to this effect, in consideration of the services he has rendered, and will render, if your Majesty continues the English enterprise. He will, he says, supply from that port what ships and sailors may be necessary, with victuals if needed.
The soldiers in the galleass are not very many, and as on the way to Spain she will have to pass along the English coast, a sufficient number should be on board of her to ensure her safety.—St. Dié, 2nd November 1588.
Note.—In another letter of the same date as above the writer (Mendoza) gives an account of his interviews with the king of France relative to the assistance to be given to the ships of the Armada which had taken refuge in French ports. The King readily acceded to all the requests made in this respect, and immediately despatched the necessary orders to the ports.
465. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Although I already had news of the arrival of the duke of Medina Sidonia with the greater part of the Armada at Santander, I humbly thank your Majesty for informing me of it. With regard to the failure to achieve the object aimed at, I can only repeat to your Majesty what St. Gregory says in one of his epistles : "Adversitas qui bonis votis obsicitur probatio est virtutis, non juditium reprobationis." (fn. 2) and as an example of this he instances the terrible torment suffered by St. Paul when he landed at Malta, on his way to preach the faith of Christ in Italy ; and the King St. Louis, whom God had chosen as one of His own, suffered no slight adversity in his expedition to the Holy Sepulchre, notwithstanding his own saintliness. A single sin—much less the multitude of sins we men commit every day—forms, so to speak, a bulwark between ourselves and God. And even when what we pray for is good and just, He does not grant it easily, in order to try our constancy or test our zeal in His service, and to lead us to correct our faults. We therefore may hope from His infinite goodness and clemency, that He will accord to your Majesty success in the enterprise in proportion to your holy zeal in undertaking it, and that He has delayed success, in order that when it comes, it may be evidently the gift of His hand, and redound to His greater glory. For it will be seen that our Lord always precedes the greatest successes and victories by drawbacks and difficulties, and leads His chosen ones in His own way.
The English ambassador has had an audience of this King, during which he represented to him that in the speech I had made asking the King that no aid should be given to the queen of England, I had said that he (the King) had sworn in the re-union (i.e., with the League) to abandon all alliances with heretics ; and that in his answer the King had not cleared up this point, of which his mistress would be glad of an explanation. The King replied that it was he who had cause to complain of her, for having violated the neutrality of his ports. As for the rest, Kings were not called upon to open their hearts to ambassadors. Before the audience he had sent word to the English ambassador that he had given letters of marque to two of his subjects against the English, in consequence of their having been robbed by the English, and their inability to get justice from the Queen. The loss of the hulk at Morvien and the galleass has exhausted my means, please send credits.—St. Dié, 2nd November 1588.
2 Nov.
Paris Archives, K. 1567.
466. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
The duke of Parma wrote to me, under date of 4th ultimo, the information with regard to Scotland which I enclose. I also send an abbreviated summary of his numerous long memoranda. If it was important before to hold the Catholic nobles to their good resolve it is doubly so now, and also to show the queen of England that your Majesty intends to assail her on all sides, (fn. 3) which will cause her not to divest herself of her ships suddenly, which otherwise will go out to pillage and trouble your Majesty's forces. Your Majesty should keep up the talk of war and great armaments, even if you do not carry them out ; publicity is as important now as secrecy was before. As the duke of Parma has so many troops, it would be well to relieve the country and provide winter quarters for them, which would prevent troublesome mutinies, by sending to the Scottish Catholic nobles the number of troops they request. (fn. 4) Besides which, it would bring about the conversion of the country and the other plans they propose. They could, moreover, run over in small vessels on one tack from Dunkirk or Nieuport, without molestation from the English, and would compel the Queen to keep a standing army in the north, which would quite exhaust her, even if it lasted only two months. This is proved by what happened with the army raised in the neighbourhood of London this summer, which did not reach 15,000 men, who deserted so fast that the Queen was obliged to go in person and beg them to stay. She was so weak that her fleet, which left port at the end of July, was obliged to return on the 12th August for want of victuals and stores. They had not even powder to fire after the combat off the Isle of Wight, until they took that which was on board Don Pedro de Valdés's ship. All this shows that the difficulty of reaching the place of combat in fit condition is much greater than that of fighting the enemy. I hear from a good source that the Treasurer said all sailors admitted that 50 of your Majesty's ships were impregnable, and all the vessels in England would not dare to bear the brunt of them.
The force sent to Scotland, moreover, would run no risk of losing prestige, as the very men who request it are those who will lodge and maintain it for their own safety. To this it may be opposed that we should be admitting the rights of the king of Scotland, but even supposing he were not excluded by his heresy, or were to embrace Catholicism, this would not militate against your Majesty's right to take possession of the property of those who have so unjustly pillaged you. The right of the king of Scotland, therefore, does not prevent that of your Majesty being greater, and the justice of your conquest of England being paramount for the reason that I have indicated. However your Majesty may regard it, it would be well for your Majesty to have the matter considered as M. de la Motte has staked his existence on entering and holding an English port for six months if he is given 2,000 men, half Spanish and half Walloons, and he is a soldier of experience who speaks with full knowledge. If it had no other effect than to disturb the Queen at home, and prevent her from sending ships to trouble your Majesty elsewhere, it would be worth doing, particularly if the force sent to Scotland could join hands with M. de la Motte, who would presumably take a port near the border, which would make it all the more difficult for the English to assail them.
My reason for writing thus is that the duke of Parma orders me to send your Majesty my opinion on the matter, and I humbly beg your Majesty to pardon my presumption in doing so. I am still trying to keep up my communication with Julio, though it is easy to see that he is cooling, as I hold back the money. He gives me very poor news, and seeing the few letters he has received in the last few months, he is probably not well informed. He cannot discover that the King is carrying on any negotiations with the English ambassador, as the King tries to avoid suspicion on the part of the League and the States, who keep him so tied up.
Julio tells me that Drake will not sail so soon as was said, as Colonel Norris is going in command of the troops who are to accompany the expedition, (fn. 5) and he will first go and relieve Bergben.—St. Dié, 2nd November 1588.
467. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
In addition to the advices from England I send your Majesty, I also enclose a copy in French of a letter from Sir Harry Cavendish to one of the Queen's Council, giving him an account of his voyage. He does not state the value of his booty or other particulars, but writes in general terms. (This paper is now absent.)
Up to the present the destination of the ships fitting out for Drake cannot be ascertained, as no details can be gathered as to their number, the provisions they take, etc., but the common voice says that Don Antonio will go with them, and his Portuguese are writing to his friends everywhere summoning them to join. (fn. 6) The other ships that sail separately are sent to pillage, notwithstanding the reports sent dated 8th October.
A Scotsman who recently left London asserts that the earl of Cumberland had dropped down the Thames to put to sea, although the reports of 8th October say he would not leave within 20 days. It is agreed that he is going to rob on the Indian route and in the South Seas. (fn. 7) He takes a great quantity of victuals, but no men but the ships' companies. He had been joined by other pirates, and now musters 11 sail, all small except the two belonging to the Queen. Up to the present the wind is against him.—St. Dié, 2nd November 1588.
4 Nov.
Paris Archives, K. 1568.
468. Copy of Letter from Robert Bruce to the Duke of Parma.
The enclosed letter from the Catholic lords being so ample, and as I wrote fully recently upon the same subject by their orders, I will limit myself in this letter to saying that his Catholic Majesty and his successors have now the best opportunity that has ever presented itself of making themselves rulers of this island, if it be not neglected. It has been discussed and resolved by most of the principal Catholics here that it is expedient for the public weal that we should submit to the crown of Spain, and the earl of Huntly therefore, who is the first subject in this country in point of strength and influence, has authorised me, in the presence of a sufficient number of witnesses, to write and assert in his name that if our King will not consent to act well, he (Huntly) and several others of his party wish to submit to the rule of his Catholic Majesty and his forces, and to render him the peaceful possessor of the whole country, if he will consent to direct his forces to be employed to this end.
Copy of the duke of Parma's letter to Mendoza relative to the above :—
The bearer has arrived here with the note and papers from Scotland, which I enclose herewith in order that you may be fully informed of all that concerns the matter. In order to continue the correspondence as it has begun, I leave the answer entirely to you, besides which this is no time to undertake to forward the execution with the forces from here they request. I need only remark, however, that in the answer you send it will be well to signify this to them with your accustomed dexterity, taking care to keep them favourably disposed towards us until such time as we may all be able to fulfil what we desire, in the service of God and his Majesty, as well as for the advantage of the country (Scotland) itself and the afflicted Catholics. With regard to the money Bruce has in his hands, he had better hold it until a favourable opportunity arises, and not employ it in the four or five boats he mentions, because they alone would not be of much use to carry over the number of men they request when the time comes. You will be able with your usual prudence and experience to put this and the rest in a favourable form, and above all to persuade them to stand firm in their devotion to us.
5 Nov.
Paris Archives, K. 1448.
469. The King to Bernardino de Mendoza.
The provision of money you made to the ships of the Armada that put into French ports is approved of, and your efforts in aiding them were in conformity with the demands of my service and your accustomed care. Thank the King for his action in the matter. As the governor of Havre de Grâce has behaved so well, it will be advisable, as you suggest, to give him and his lieutenant two chains of the value of 600 crowns each. You may, therefore, do this. I feel confident that if the fitting out of the 50 ships in England to send to sea had been persevered in, you would soon have heard of it. I have constantly enjoined you to exercise great care and energy in discovering what is done in this respect in England, and I know how greatly you have striven to this effect ; but since the English are so careful to hide their preparations, I cannot refrain from again urging the point upon you. See whether you cannot get some Italian or Frenchman whom you can trust to send thither, in addition to the men you have there, without any of them knowing of the rest.—El Pardo, 5th November 1588.
Note.—In another letter of the same date as the above, from the same to the same, the following passages occur : "The less Julio helps you, the greater the need of getting news from England through other channels. As some of your reports indicate an intention of disturbing Portugal, please send advices by special courier. Preparations have been made on this side for any eventuality, and we will try to catch those whom you suspect are sent in future with letters to Portugal. Provide Marco Antonio Messia with some money. Tell him that if his property were disembargoed in Lisbon it would make him suspected in England but it shall be inquired into and justice done him."
5 Nov.
Paris Archives, K. 1568.
470. Advices from England, translated from the English. (fn. 8)
It is unnecessary for me to dwell upon the progress of the Spanish Armada, its bad management, and the heavy loss of ships and men. (fn. 9) I will only say that if the Armada had been conducted as it should have been, and its commanders had taken advantage of the opportunities offered to them, the king of Spain would now be as much king of England as he is king of Spain. But it is past now ; the opportunities were missed, and I have no desire to discourse upon them, but will confine myself to the present and future.
The whole of the English fleets did not contain 8,000 seamen, and some gentlemen and volunteers who were of but little use. The fleets were so short of provisions and stores that, had it not been for the capture of Don Pedro de Valdés's ship, in which they found 200 barrels of powder, they could not have followed up the Armada for so long ; but would have been obliged to leave it for want of victuals and stores.
The armies which they said in France and Flanders the Queen had raised, of so many thousand men, were the very reverse of what was stated. In the first place the Queen had no force to speak of near her person, except the household and some gentlemen who joined her.
The army that the earl of Leicester commanded opposite Gravesend did not consist of so many men as was said in France, because on one occasion when the Queen reviewed them, and another when the Lord Treasurer did so, they could not muster 10,000 foot and 1,800 horse, although they strained every nerve to do so. This is the real truth.
For this reason, and being in great alarm, they made the people believe that the Spaniards were bringing a shipload of halters in the Armada to hang all the Englishmen, and another shipload of scourges to whip women, with 3,000 or 4,000 wet nurses to suckle the infants. It was said that all children between the ages of 7 and 12 would be branded in the face, so that they might always be known. These and other things of the same sort greatly irritated the people.
During the time that the Armada was in the Channel all foreigners in London were forbidden to leave their houses, and the shops were to remain closed.
When the Admiral found that it was necessary for him to follow the Armada, and that he had no stores, fearing that the winds might shift in favour of the Spaniards he shut himself in his cabin, and throwing himself on his bed wept like a child.
There was a great deal of disorder in the English fleet, and at no time were there 30 ships together ready to fight.
Parliament was to have met on the 12th November, but as it was seen that both people and nobles were weary of so much trouble, it has been prorogued until the 4th February, which is the 14th by our count. They also thought that during the interval they might learn more of the king of Spain's intentions and capabilities. The merchants and citizens are sick of the duration of the war, but they (the Government) are beguiling them as well as they can.
The Queen intended to go to St. Paul's to give public thanks to God for the victory, but she was dissuaded by her Council, for fear that a harquebuss might be fired at her, and she abandoned her intention.
In short, we are in such alarm and terror here that there is no sign of rejoicing amongst the Councillors at the victories they have gained. They look rather like men who have a heavy burden to bear.
Still they think that the king of Spain cannot send another Armada to sea under two or three years. They are very confident of this, especially the Treasurer.
They have deceived the king of Scotland. In order to attract him and prevent him from sheltering the Spaniards they sent an ambassador to tell him that he should be proclaimed heir of England, and should at once be invested with the dukedom of Lancaster. When he sent an ambassador hither to effect this, the Queen told him she knew nothing about such a thing, and repudiated her ambassador's promise. They say the king of Scotland is greatly scandalised.
The Queen is much aged and spent, and is very melancholy. Her intimates say that this is caused by the death of the earl of Leicester ; but it is very evident that it is rather the fear she underwent and the burden she has upon her. In order to send 1,500 men to Berghen she had to bleed at every pore, and even then she could not get them together. Those that went had to be driven on board with cudgels.
Wade, the Secretary of the queen of England, asserted that 2,500 or 3,000 Spaniards had landed in Ireland from six ships which had been there before and had victualled. There were with them four savage Earls, two of them powerful men, Tyrconnel (O'Donnell) and O'Neil, and two smaller men. They had fortified themselves. (fn. 10)
The Queen had sent Sir Thomas Perrot to raise 2,000 men in Wales, and take them over with all speed. (fn. 11) Besides this she had sent overland many arms and stores of which they stood in need.
This news (i.e., of the landing of Spaniards in Ireland) has caused the Queen and Council much anxiety, as they greatly fear such a war, which they look upon as the most ruinous of any that could happen to them. If there were any means of succouring them (i.e., the Spaniards) it would harass the English very much. (fn. 12)
Above all, be very vigilant with the ships in Spanish ports, especially Corunna, as they (the English) are determined to send and burn them. (fn. 12) This is one of the first things the earl of Cumberland intends to do. The earl of Cumberland was ready with four ships. The Queen's largest ship also, carrying provisions for two months, was ready to sail with him ; it was said only as far as Cape St. Vincent, to try to capture some prizes, with the proceeds of which he would fit out an expedition like that of Cavendish. It is now said that he has orders not to go. In any case his victuals will be exhausted.
Cavendish fell in with a ship coming from the Philippines to Mexico, with much merchandise from China, and some gold. He filled his three ships with raw silks and Chinese damasks, and burnt the rest. A Portuguese who comes back with him says, if he (Cavendish) had not met this ship he would have been starved for want of food and water. The Council are spreading the rumour that he brings back 24 quintals of gold and the rest of the afore-mentioned merchandise. The Portuguese confesses that they bring some gold, but not so much. They have taken the island of St. Helena, and have fixed its position. (fn. 13)
The Portuguese above-mentioned went to see Don Antonio, and gave him a great present of damasks and brocades, and other fine things from China, where he has been established for 30 years. He was on his way to Portugal, and when he was captured he begged to be brought hither in the hope of saving his property, as indeed he has done to some extent. He wishes to go to Portugal, but Don Antonio prevents him by alarming him.
Don Antonio only knows what Drake and Norris tell him. They say they have orders to fit out a great fleet with 15,000 men to take him to Portugal, and Drake has shown him a warrant from the Queen for 20,000l., and an undertaking from London merchants to find 10,000l., in order that he may have the necessary provisions prepared. The Queen contributes six ships of her own and two pataches, which he has already selected. The rest will be merchant ships, but it is not known how many. Don Antonio does not believe in the truth of it, as neither the Queen nor any of the Council have said a word to him about it, and they have deceived him so often. He thinks that the fleet will be fitted out, as there is no doubt that Drake really is making preparations, and Norris has authority to levy troops, and, if the siege of Berghen is raised, to put his new men into garrison there, and bring the old troops hither, but he (Don Antonio) thinks that the real destination of the expedition will be the Indies. Drake is very vexed that he did not leave 2,000 men there, and so prevent the king of Spain from getting any flotillas or money from there. (fn. 14) Drake's fleet will be ready during January.
Don Antonio sent his younger son to Barbary, as the sheriff had promised him a large sum of money on him. He is not very confident, as Moors often break their word, although his (Don Antonio's) friends there assure him that the matter is quite settled. He (the son) embarked two weeks ago, but with this weather must still be in the Channel. If this money is forthcoming there is no doubt that the Queen and Don Antonio will make an attempt against Portugal, although many principal people when they speak of it say it is impossible, as they have no port there to disembark in.
Now, if the king of Spain wishes to see the queen of England dead, with the Treasurer, Walsingham, and all the Council, who are the cause of the war with Spain, and this at the hand of the English themselves ; if he wants to stop them from molesting them in the Indies or Portugal, let him send 3,000 or 4,000 men to Ireland, and let them fortify themselves there and take the island. He will soon see the effect. This is the only thing that the English fear, and the real true way to take this country with little risk and trouble ; and if a part of the Armada were to effect this, they would find it a very different matter to attacking this country. (fn. 15)
They made Don Pedro de Valdés and other prisoners of rank confess, or at least it is stated that they have declared, that the duke of Guise was only awaiting the success of the Armada to proclaim himself king of France, which is a great piece of roguery. (fn. 16)
Valdés is disliked by the English, as they say he was the cause of the coming of the Armada from Corunna, and because he speaks haughtily and arrogantly. The Queen was resolved to put him in the Tower, but Drake prevented it, as he was his prisoner. Mr. Davison is out of the Tower in consequence of his illness. This was managed by Walsingham, who is his friend. (fn. 17)
6 Nov.
Paris Archives, K. 1567.
471. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
In addition to the advices from England I sent on the 22nd, I have received a report, dated 25th ultimo, from the man I recently sent thither. He says that when the Queen was told that your Majesty had ordered your fleet to be reinforced and increased, she replied that she would give your Majesty plenty to do before you could repair damages or turn round. In the west, at Plymouth, 50 sail were being fitted out, which would be ready for sea within a month, whilst at Norwich and in the Thames the earl of Norfolk (sic.) was embarking with 4,000 or 5,000 men to go to the relief of Berghen. (fn. 18)
The booty brought back by Cavendish consisted of raw silks and spices, the value of which the English estimated at 1,000,000, but as these goods are bulky, and the ships small, it is impossible that the value can nearly reach a half of it.—St. Dié, 6th November 1588.
9 Nov.
(N.S.) Paris Archives, K. 1567.
472. Advices from London of 9th November (N.S.), translated from the English.
On the 11th ultimo, I reported to the duke of Parma, and on the 21st and 28th to the Cardinal (Archduke Albert of Austria, governor of Portugal), by ship from Calais, (fn. 19) and I therefore write briefly now. As I have reported before, the whole business here is to devise fresh means of disturbing his Majesty, and so to prevent him from sending to these parts again. One day they decide one thing, and the next day another. They are now full of assisting Don Antonio, and then of sending ships to the Biscay and Galician coast, to burn the ships of the Armada. At another time they are for sending ships to the Spanish Indies ; and I believe this latter course is the one they will follow, as they always choose the most profitable one for themselves. They appear entirely in favour of Don Antonio, and he is very confident that they will help him in time, although the Queen says that at present it would do no good to either of them, until they know more about the result of the Armada, and the decision the King may adopt. When this is known, she says, she will be able to resolve more confidently. They are discussing in Parliament the means of doing it (i.e., helping Don Antonio) ; and in the meanwhile Don Antonio has decided to send his younger son, Don Cristobal, to Barbary, in the hope that the Sheriff will give him something on account of the 250,000 ducats he promised, by means of which, with the 200,000 ducats' worth of provisions promised him from Holland, and the aid of private persons here, he hopes to undertake the enterprise, which, he asserts, will be an extremely easy one. Don Cristobal left here on the 25th, and is yet at Margate. His father provided him with a household as if he were in his prosperity. It would be good if his Majesty could divert the Sheriff from providing the money, as it is certain that if he (Don Antonio) gets it, and the other sums I have mentioned, he will trouble his Majesty when least expected, even if the Queen do not contribute a penny.
On the 26th instant (sic) it was agreed that Drake should, with all secresy, make ready to sail with 40 ships, which were put in hand next day, and most of them are being fitted as for a long voyage. It cannot be doubted that they are going to stay in the Spanish Indies, and fortify some place there. I will discover the intention and advise in time. I am quite certain, however, that the intention is either to attack Portugal or the Indies, and would advise that Havana be strongly defended, as they greatly desire to establish themselves there. (fn. 20)
Every day a multitude of new stories are current about losses of the Armada. If they were all true, not a single ship would be left. Those which were reported lost on the coast of Ireland I set forth in a memorandum I sent to your lordship. The list was afterwards printed at the end of a little tract in French, which they, in their usual cunning way, pretended had been written by a Catholic to your lordship (Mendoza). (fn. 21) It was done by the Lord Treasurer, and they sent a great number of copies to France. Since then they report some more ships lost, but there is no certainty about it, although it is confidently stated that the governor of one of the Orkney Isles was persuaded by some of the people on shore to take the men from a great ship, which he had captured, hanging some of the people on board. They had gone there the first time in search of victuals, and the second time through stress of weather.
The Queen said, two days ago, that she had certain information that 15 of the ships had gone to the Irish coast in consequence of the weather. God preserve them from the great tempest that usually reigns there.
The earl of Cumberland left here to embark at Plymouth. As I have already reported, orders have been given to him to wait and sail with Drake. (fn. 22) I have given notice of all other ships that have left. A few days ago a certain Juan Vaz disappeared from here. I think he has gone to Portugal. His father lives in a villa near Alanquer, and he is attached to Don Antonio. (fn. 23)
I say nothing of events in Scotland, in order not to cause more distress than necessary about past occurrences ; but your Lordship will hear from Courcelles, (fn. 24) who has gone from here, what they write to him, although we have no further confirmation of it. After I had written this, I decided not to give it to the messenger, Juan Topete, as I suspected him, and so kept it back until the present bearer presented himself.
On the 2nd instant news came that nine more ships had been lost on the coast of Ireland, but that the men had been saved, and had fortified themselves inland, at a place called Mac Morris, (fn. 25) in the province of Connaught, to the number of 2,000, who had been joined by many Irish, especially by the earl of Clanricarde. Orders have, therefore, been given for men and warlike stores to be sent to Ireland, as they fear that if there were 4,000 or 5,000 foreigners in (Connaught?) all would rise in rebellion.
On the following day I sent full advice of this to the duke of Parma, for his information and consideration as to what could be done ; but I have not yet received any reply.
The news has since been confirmed, and that great numbers of Irishmen had joined. Great activity is shown here in preparation for sending troops thither, although it is now asserted that they (the Spaniards) have re-embarked (fn. 26) and returned to Spain, which I do not believe, for these people (the English) always say what suits them best. They likewise assert that three ships were lost on the island of Guernsey. Don Cristobal left the Downs yesterday with fine weather.
10 Nov.
Paris Archives, K. 1567.
473. Purser Pedro de Igueldo to Bernardino de Mendoza.
Reports the desertion of the ensign, two sergeants, and twenty soldiers of the galleass "Zuñiga," at Havre de Grâce, as soon as they had received their month's pay ; asks that they may be punished when they arrive in Spain for deserting from a ship of the Armada at such a juncture. He blames the captains, to whom he had given notice of the intention of some of the men to desert ; 80 more soldiers will be wanted. Work on the galleass delayed by weather. It is being caulked inside and out. Gunpowder will have to be dried in the sun, "when God sends us any sun." Has begun to buy stores. Biscuit is being made. It will be much better than the Spanish. What troubles him is the drink, for if he has to lay in a stock of wine it will cost 1,600 crowns. Cider will cost 250 crowns, and new cider at that, which is no good, as it makes the men ill. He could get perry, but does not think the men would drink it.— Havre de Grâce, 10th November 1588.
474. Advices from London.
Don Cristobal, the son of Don Antonio, sailed for Barbary with four ships of war and six merchantmen and a large household of Portuguese and English—over 40 persons. He takes several musical instruments, and rich household appointments, Don Antonio having spent 30,000 crowns in his embarkation. The officers of his household are splendidly fitted, and the rest of the men very decently (a list of the Prince's household here follows, but no Englishman is mentioned). Edward Perrin commands the four men- of-war.
Antonio de Escobar tells me that he hopes to God that Don Antonio will, before the end of the year, be ready to go to Portugal. He says I am not to tell anyone this, nor am I to leave here, as I shall soon be summoned. (fn. 27) The writer suggests that he should be sent to Barbary to spy out the intentions of Don Antonio.
With Sir Harry Cavendish there arrived a Portuguese from China, a very rich man, who has made Don Antonio some presents, and tells him that if he sends to India and China he will obtain help.
Don Pedro de Valdés has hitherto been away from London in a pleasure house, very well treated, but it is said that for having spoken ill of Don Antonio he is to be brought to London and put in chains.
21 Nov.
(N.S.) Paris Archives, K. 1567.
475. "Advices from London, translated from English." (fn. 28)
The news spread hourly here keeps one in suspense. Five days ago they reported that all the Spaniards fortified in Ireland had surrendered, and a list of prisoners and dead was sent. Then came intelligence that the Viceroy had his force ready to march on the 7th instant, 800 foot and 100 horse, to meet the Spaniards. They are now saying that those prisoners had secretly left the rest, and had embarked, but being driven back by tempest they were all lost but five ; whereas the list sent here of prisoners and dead gives the number as 42. This makes me think it is false, like the assertion here that a number of Spaniards had been hanged at Mull, one of the Orkney Isles (sic). This was untrue, so I hope the rest is that every hour and minute they are reporting here. God prosper the Spaniards that are left there (i.e., in Ireland) for it would be a good opportunity for disturbing these people.
A ship which they say is the hospital of the Armada put into Plymouth in a great storm and surrendered. The Council has sent orders for everyone on board to be hanged, except a few of the principal officers. It is said that the same order has been sent to Ireland, as they do not want to have to feed them, and Spain will not ransom them. I cannot believe they will do it. They also assert that 12 ships of the Armada had appeared on the west coast of England. If so, God help them!
Don Cristobal has returned to Margate owing to bad weather, at which Don Antonio is much displeased, as he is extremely impatient in the matter. Here many ships are being secretly fitted out for Drake's expedition. Drake constantly sees Don Antonio at night and in secresy. He is using his utmost efforts to obtain aid for him, as also is Colonel Norris, who writes from Zeeland that the States there are very ready to assist. I hope to be able to obtain trustworthy information about it, and the plans they have in view.
Bernaldo Luis has sent a man to me here, to ask me to write in his favour, as nothing against your Majesty's interests had been proved against him, and he had only been arrested in the matter of a ship consigned to Geronimo Pardo, which it was alleged had English property on board. I swear to God that neither Bernaldo Luiz, nor his brother, had any interest in her. His imprisonment is protracted, although they had been promised prompt release, and he was advised to obtain a letter from me, when they should both be liberated at once. I excused myself from writing such a letter, but I promised to use influence in another way in their favour, and as I know no better way than to appeal to your lordship I pray you kindly to write to Don Cristobal de Mora, or other person, begging for favourable consideration. They do not deserve to be so ill-requited for their services.—London, 21st November 1588 (N.S.).
21 Nov.
(N.S.) Paris Archives, K. 1568.
476. Advices from London.
A fresh report has just come from Ireland, saying that many ships of the Spanish Armada have been lost on that coast, and that many persons have been beheaded and others taken prisoners. I send a list of them, furnished to me by a friend. This makes me begin to believe what I have hitherto doubted.
The ships lost there, they say, amount to 16 or more. I have believed little or nothing of this, but, in view of this relation, I am afraid there has been great misfortune, especially as there is a certainty here that only 42 of the ships of the Armada, mostly small, have arrived in Spain.
On Friday last, although it rained heavily all day, Cavendish's ship was taken up to Greenwich before the Queen's house. It is said that her sails were of damask. She fired off a great quantity of artillery, and was a most beautiful sight. I understand that the treasure he brings does not approach in value what they said, but it is asserted that more value is attached to a new invention, or easier mode of navigating, which he has devised.
On Thursday the wife of the earl of Pembroke made a superb entrance into this city. She has been for more than a year on her estates in the country. Before her went 40 gentlemen on horseback, two by two, all very finely dressed with gold chains. Then came a coach in which was the Countess (fn. 29) and a lady, then another coach with more ladies, and after that a litter containing the children, and four ladies on horseback. After them came 40 or 50 servants in her livery with blue cassocks. A few days previously the Earl had entered London, and it is said that he had in his train at least 150 horsemen. He has recently been appointed governor of Wales.
Great preparations are being made for a fine joust on the 27th, the Queen's coronation day ; and I am told that her Majesty will go to St. Paul's on that day, in pontificial state, accompanied by all the nobility, to render thanks to God for the victory He has sent her. They are therefore in a very different position here now from what was expected from the threats that, a few months ago, came upon them from all sides. They are above all resolved to make war sturdily, and are furiously fitting out a fleet of, they say, 30 ships or more, for which purpose her Majesty, I am told, recently signed a warrant for 20,000l. in favour of Drake, to pay for stores. The London merchants are subscribing 15,000l. for the same purpose. There are different opinions as to the destination of this fleet ; some say it is going to Terceira, but the merchants' subscription makes me think otherwise. Many think it is for Portugal, and that Don Antonio will go in it, and that these Englishmen, under cover of Don Antonio, pretend to have great designs, but really will confine themselves to seizing ships and merchants. Don Antonio came from Gravesend on Saturday. He had been there for 10 days, at the house of Lady Rich.
I am told for certain that the expedition is to go to Portugal, and that the Queen and Council have resolved to provide all that is necessary for it.
On Saturday her Majesty went to see a 300-ton ship from Dantzig which, they say, is very beautiful, and has been bought by Drake for 4,600 ducats. I understand that the expedition will be ready in January, and that Cavendish will accompany Don Antonio, Colonel Norris commanding the troops which are being raised in Flanders for the purpose.
26 Nov.
Paris Archives, K. 1567.
477. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
The duke of Mercœur, with eight French King's ships, had sacked and taken what was left of the hulk that went ashore at Morvien, (fn. 30) and had claimed a tithe of all that had been landed. I have sent a servant of mine with letters from the King for the duke of Mercœur.
A ship of 70 tons has been freighted to ship the troops and guns from the hulk, on condition that your Majesty will not embargo the ship in Spain. I was obliged to promise this, or I should not have been able to obtain a ship at all.
I am asking the duke of Parma to send the salvage of the galleass wrecked at Calais to repair that which is at Havre de Grâce. Letter from Pedro Igueldo about the galleass, "Zuñiga," at Havre enclosed. Pray instruct me how I am to manage about the soldiers necessary to guard this ship on her way back to Spain. More will be required than Igueldo says, seeing how they desert. I had ordered Captain Avendaño, who came on the "Santa Ana," to take charge of the two companies of his regiment now on the galleass. He said he had nothing to do with them, as they were under the command of an officer of another regiment, and he has now gone back to Spain.
(Greatly deplores the disobedience and desertion of the troops of all ranks in the various ships of the Armada on the French coast, and commends the services of Purser Igueldo, whom he has ordered not to go back to Spain yet on any account, although he says he is the only purser left of the Armada.)—Paris, 26th November 1588.
478. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
Cavendish's booty shrinks in value daily, but the English still estimate it at 500,000 crowns.
The son of the earl of Northumberland, who died in the Tower of London, was to go over with Colonel Norris and 4,000 men to raise the siege of Berghen.
The differences between Drake and Frobisher still continue ; and as to the 50 sail which I said were fitting out at Plymouth, ostensibly to sail under Drake, it was impossible to say when they would be ready, as the victuals and men were not yet collected. Although private owners were fitting out ships for pillage, up to the 5th instant only five ships, three large and two small, had actually sailed. They were under Captain Raymond, (fn. 31) a servant of the Admiral, their object being plunder. If the ships that sail with this object from various English ports effect a junction they may burn some of your Majesty's ships, or land men and sack some Spanish village or town ; so that it would be prudent for your Majesty to have a good lookout kept on the coast. The wind has hitherto been against them for leaving England.
The Queen had ordered 2,000 men to be sent to Ireland, as it was reported that there were 1,500 Spanish soldiers there, out of the 4,000 who were in the 18 ships which went ashore on the island, the rest of the men having died of sickness, contracted in the Armada or of over-eating on land. This confirms, to some extent, the news I sent in my last, that some Spaniards had fortified themselves on land, and were helped by the savages. As they were so few, it was reported that they (the Spanish soldiers) would embark on four ships which had remained whole out of the 18, but if so many Spaniards as 1,500 had been able to hold out so long, and had ships at their disposal, they would certainly have reported to your Majesty, unless, indeed, the weather prevented them.
If the Queen sends 2,000 men to Ireland, and 4,000 to relieve Berghen (and a man who saw some of them shipped, assures me that they had to be beaten out of the houses of Gravesend with cudgels and driven on board by force), she can hardly send Drake out soon with a numerous fleet and a strong force. Recently there was a report that Don Antonio would go with Drake, but the sending of his son (to Barbary) does not look as if it were true.
The Queen had delayed summoning Parliament until the middle of January, and was trying to get a sum of money together to send to the Huguenots to aid them in raising levies.—St. Dié, 26th November 1588.
479. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
I have continued to keep on as good terms as possible with the new confidant, as your Majesty orders. As soon as I arrived he sent to ask me for 200 crowns, as he was very much pressed. As the sum was a small one I sent it, thinking that my prompt good-will to help him would compel him to give me some valuable news. Julio writes to me, under date of 29th ultimo, a letter, which has been delayed by weather, asking me to inform your Majesty instantly that the ships that took the son of Don Antonio carried orders to try to enter Corunna and other ports, and burn the ships belonging to your Majesty therein. I had already some suspicion of this, and mentioned it in my general despatch about England. Secret orders had been given, he (Julio) says, for the 10 ships that accompanied Don Antonio's son to be joined by 17 others, and amongst them those of the earl of Cumberland. It may be suspected that those that go under the great pirate, Captain Raymond, will do the same.
Julio also reports that amongst the ships being fitted out at Plymouth will be nine of the Queen's and 11 pataches, and that Colonel Norris will not take more than 1,500 men to Berghen, as it is reported that the prince of Parma could not keep up the siege. Norris will go thence to Holland, to bring 25 ships that the Dutch have promised to Don Antonio. These will be brought to Plymouth, where they will join the rest and will take on board 14,000 men from the coast. They would then sail with Don Antonio, Drake being in command at sea and Norris on land, but Julio thinks that, even if the Dutch give 25 ships, they cannot be ready to sail nor the men collected so soon. I can well believe this from the reports he sent me, dated the 5th, given in my general letter, namely, that the preparations at Plymouth were not very forward.
Sampson has arrived, but he is in no hurry to seek me, which also makes me think that the armaments there (i.e., in England) are not very pressing. I will keep your Majesty well informed of the progress made, and am sending this by special courier, in consequence of Julio's news, as it is quite feasible for the English to attempt such a thing.
I am advising the duke of Parma of it, and of Norris going, in order that he may have a good watch kept on the preparations in Holland, and we may thus form an idea of what the Plymouth force may undertake. I am, through my correspondents at Calais and elsewhere, trying to obtain similar intelligence.
The advices from London, dated the 10th instant, are from David, who is at Rouen. He has received them from Antonio de Escobar Don Antonio's agent, who has returned from England (fn. 32) Please instruct me how to act about David's suggestion that he should get himself sent to Barbary to learn what Don Antonio's son does there. —St. Dié, 26th November 1588.
480. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
After closing my despatch about England to-day I received reports of 11th and 14th instant. The latter came by a person who reports verbally that the statement that a number of Spaniards had fortified themselves in Ireland was still current, but none of those who were alleged to have been taken prisoners had arrived (in London) and this gave rise to some suspicion that the news was not true, though the Queen had ordered it to be printed in the form of letters addressed to me. She had ordered a general embargo to be placed on all the large ships in the country, the statement being that Drake would sail in the spring with more than 100 ships.
It is reported that Colonel Norris with 1,500 men had arrived at Middleburg in Zeeland.
I have also advices from a person who has seen, in the house of Horatio Pallavicini, a statement sent from Portugal to England of the best place where a force could be disembarked in that country, namely, a position near the castle of St. Gian, where there was a town where an army could be lodged. The person (fn. 33) who sends the news therefore thinks the intention is to send ships to Portugal. If many ships join the son of Don Antonio they may attempt something.—St. Dié, 26th November 1588.
27 Nov.
Paris Archives, K. 1569.
481. Copy of Letter from London.
Thomas Cavendish's ship has been brought from the West Country, and was sailed before the Court at Greenwich. Amongst other things the Queen said, "The king of Spain barks a good deal but does not bite. We care nothing for the Spaniards ; their ships, loaded with silver and gold from the Indies, come hither after all." Every sailor had a gold chain round his neck, and the sails of the ship were of blue damask, the standard of cloth of gold and blue silk. It was as if Cleopatra had been resuscitated. The only thing wanting was that the rigging should have been of silken rope.
Cavendish must have brought great riches, for they are coining new broad-angels, and gold is cheaper here than ever it was. Spanish pistolets, which four months ago were worth 12 reals 11 maravedis, will not now pass for 11 reals 24 maravedis, in consequence of the great abundance of them here. I do not know whether this wealth comes from Cavendish's ship or from that of Don Pedro de Valdés. The latter ship sank whilst they were bringing her from Dartmouth to Dover, and only two or three of the 60 sailors on board of her were saved. In ancient times such occurrences as these were considered by the Romans to be prophetic, and I think they would have held this to be of evil augury.
Great preparations are being made here to send and bring this gold and silver from the place where it is found, and we have plenty of good seamen for the purpose.
The Queen has sent to Holland and Zeeland asking for 40 ships of war at their cost, and a sum of money per month, but they have refused both requests.
30 Nov.
Paris Archives, K. 1568.
482. Advices from David at Rouen.
Yesterday I had advices from England, saying that a great fleet was being fitted out with all speed ; the general rumour being that it is intended for Portugal, and Englishmen with whom I have spoken say that it will consist of 200 sail.
Lord Cumberland is cruising with 15 ships in the Channel, and I am told that Don Cristobal, the son of Don Antonio, is still detained (i.e., at the Downs) by contrary winds.
I have also seen a letter written from London to a friend of mine here, saying that news has arrived in England that his Majesty is fitting out a great Armada ; but that before it is ready, the English fleet will be there (i.e., in Spain). They also tell him that they must cease to write to Portugal, as all letters for there are opened in the house of the Cardinal (i.e., the Archduke Albert, governor of Portugal). I can assure you that this is a very desirable course to take.


  • 1. In the King's hand :—"This is very good. The duke of Parma might be written to about it."
  • 2. The King has underlined this quotation.
  • 3. In the King's hand :—"He says well."
  • 4. In the King's hand :—"Notice ! But I do not know how."
  • 5. In the King's hand:—"According to this, then, they are going to send troops."
  • 6. In the King's hand :—"This must be attended to. See whether it would not be well to move nearer there (i.e., Lisbon) the troops we have about Santander."
  • 7. In the King's hand :—"And even to look how the Armada is getting on."
  • 8. In the King's hand :— "He does not say who they are from. They are not bad if true." A maginal note in answer to this says the advices are from the Genoese, Marco Antonio Micea (Messia), which is also evident from the context.
  • 9. In the King's hand :— "Although this first is certainly lamentable."
  • 10. In the King's hand :—"I think we got this in the other advices."
  • 11. In the King's hand :—"He must mean to Ireland."
  • 12. The King has drawn special attention to this passage.
  • 13. The King has apparently not understood the nautical expression used, and says, "They came by it."
  • 14. The King draws attention to this by his usual ejaculation, "Ojo!". For a full account of the expedition to Portugal from private sources, see "The Year after the Armada," by the editor of this Calendar.
  • 15. In the King's hand :—"Ojo! This would be very important."
  • 16. This does not appear to be true. Don Pedro de Valdés' examination is printed in Langhton's "Defeat of the Armada," from the State Papers at the Record Office, CCXIV. The only mention of the duke of Guise in the document is that "it was reported the duke of Guise should have an understanding with the king of Spain in favour of the king of Scotland." This also we know to be untrue.
  • 17. A full account of Davison's case will be found in Sir Harris Nicolas' biography of Secretary Davison.
  • 18. In the King's hand :—"According to this, it is evident that they will hurry everything forward, and we must see what is necessary here, although it cannot be ready in time.' The commander of the expedition for the relief of Berghen was Sir John Norris. The "Conde de Norfolk" was doubtless a blunder of the decipherer for "earl of Northumberland."
  • 19. Marginal note on the original decipher :—"They have partly turned white and cannot be read, as the lemon has got wet." The dispatches to which this reference is made were apparently written in lemon juice.
  • 20. In the King's hand :—"Notice! Let this be considered in the Puerto Rico Board and let them attend to it most carefully."
  • 21. This is the well-known "Copie of a letter sent out of England to Don Bernardin de Mendoza, ambassador in France for the king of Spain, declaring the state of England contrary to the opinion of Don Bernardin, and of all his partizans, Spaniardes and others, etc., by R. Leigh. Whereunto are adjoined advertisements concerning the losses and distresses happened to the Spanish Navie. London, 1588." This was printed in nearly all European languages, and had a great circulation, having been usually accepted as genuine until comparatively recently. The letter is published entire in the Harl. Miscellany.
  • 22. The King calls special notice to this passage by his usual exclamation, "Ojo!"
  • 23. The King orders that notice of this should at once be sent to Portugal.
  • 24. He was the French envoy in Scotland, passing through London on his way home.
  • 25. In the King's hand :—"This seems a different name to that mentioned by Don Bernardino." The place where Don Alonso de Leyva had fortified himself with 2,000 men from the "Rata Coronada," the galleass "Girona," and other ships was near Killibegs Harbour. He was afterwards lost, with all his followers, off the Giant's Causeway.
  • 26. They had re-embarked for the second time (the first being in the "Duquesa Santa Ana") in the "Girona," which was soon after dashed to pieces at a place on the coast of Ulster, near the Giant's Causeway, still called Spaniard Rock.
  • 27. This passage is in a separate cipher and in Portuguese. The writer of the letter was Manuel de Andrada or some other of the spies attached to Don Antonio (Mendoza calls him David), but whoever he was he seems to have had no idea that Escobar, the Pretender's principal man in France (at that time on a visit to England) was, under the pseudonym of Sampson, the arch-spy for Philip.
  • 28. Notwithstanding this heading the wording of the letter is certainly that of Antonio de Vega.
  • 29. This was Mary Sidney, daughter of Sir Henry and Lady Mary Sidney, Leicester's sister. The Countess, of whom a fine portrait exists at Penshurst, was the mother of Shakspeare's friend. Her brother, Sir Philip, dedicated to her his Arcadia.
  • 30. The "San Pedro el Menor."
  • 31. Captain George Raymond commanded the "Elizabeth Bonaventure." It was he who led the expedition against Recalde's flagship "Santa Ana." in Havre Roads.
  • 32. David was Manuel de Andrada, the poisoner and spy. Antonio de Escobar and Sampson were identical. David was ignorant that Escobar also was a spy.
  • 33. This person is stated in another letter of same date to be the Genoese, Marco Antonio Messia.