Simancas: July 1589

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

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'Simancas: July 1589', Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, (London, 1899), pp. 547-552. British History Online [accessed 15 June 2024].

. "Simancas: July 1589", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, (London, 1899) 547-552. British History Online, accessed June 15, 2024,

. "Simancas: July 1589", Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, (London, 1899). 547-552. British History Online. Web. 15 June 2024,

July 1589

8 July.
Paris Archives, K. 1569.
550. Don Antonio to Juan Luis (Esteban Ferreira da Gama).
My dear friend—I expected to have written you this letter from Lisbon, and hoped to have summoned you thither to receive the honours and thanks your labours in my service deserve. I would have shown the world that I am no ungrateful Prince. But our Lord has ordained otherwise, and I have been forced to return to this country, after arriving at the gates of Lisbon ; and that without fighting the enemy. But I was obliged to retire ; and withal I give thanks to our Lord for all things, and trust in Him soon to be able to return in such guise that the past will be remedied. (fn. 1) At Alvelade I was lodged in your country house, where I found your wife, Donna Maria, although I was previously unaware that she was there, as I had been told at Torres Vedras that she was in hiding. When the sickness of my soldiers made it impossible for us to enter Lisbon, and we had to retire, it would have been dangerous for her to return to her house, so I decided that she had better embark with us. The ship in which she sailed preceded ours, and entered a port nearer London than this ; although I do not yet know which, as I only arrived here three or four days ago. When we parted company your wife was quite well, and was accompanied by your son, Francisco Ferreira. I thought well to write to you, in order that you might know what had happened, and so enable you to write to your wife, saying what you think had better be done. If you write, send your letters through Dr. Ruy Lopez, the Portuguese who is in my service and that of the Queen. (fn. 1) I should not advise you to come hither, as the state of our affairs is very uncertain ; but wherever you are you will be welcome, and your company will aid me to bear my troubles. I hope to hear from you very soon.—Astonas (Stonehouse?), 8th July 1589.
557. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The galleass ("Zuñiga") was ready to leave, she missed last spring tides. Two little Biscay galliots have taken shelter in Havre de Grâce with 60,000 crowns belonging to Augustin Spinola, which money they were carrying to Flanders. Twenty-three English ships gave chase to them in St. John's Roads, and they were obliged to run into Havre de Grâce to escape them. I have aided them all I can as your Majesty orders, but I fear it will be impossible for them to reach Flanders with the money.—Paris, 8th July 1589.
552. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I enclose advices from England, and only have to add thereto that news comes from Rochelle that nine Flemish ships have entered that port, having separated from the English fleet at Corunna in a storm, they say. A number of English soldiers come in them, and they are loaded with wine and corn they had taken in Corunna. The English soldiers were asked to land and go and serve the king of France, but very few of them did so.
While I was writing the above I have received reports from David, dated 16th ultimo (N.S.), saying that on the 10th the 20 flyboats loaded with victuals for the English fleet had sailed from Plymouth, and that he had written by them to his cousin not to fail to go to the Archduke if necessary, and inform him of anything he heard. David had feigned illness, and so had avoided himself going in the ships.
Sir Harry Cavendish and the earl of Cumberland were expected in Plymouth with the 20 ships they had fitted out, 10 to go to China and 10 to the Moluccas. They were expected to leave during August.
People were very sad in Plymouth, as no news of the fleet had come for 20 days.
I have advices from London, dated 26th ultimo, saying that the Queen had ordered by proclamation that news from the fleet should not be discussed.
I have letters dated 8th ultimo, from a Spanish captain called Legorreta (fn. 2) in Scotland, who informs me that he and another captain are there with their standards. With them and others who escaped from the wrecks in Ireland, there are, he says, 800 Spaniards, and he has given notice of this to the duke of Parma, who had sent a Scottish gentleman to the King to thank him for the kind treatment he had extended to these Spaniards. But the Duke had not given them any orders to embark nor had he sent them any help.
They inform me also that after the earl of Huntly had been released from prison, he had raised his people and had joined Lord Claude Hamilton, the earl of Bothwell, and Lord Gray. The King had gone to meet them, with the Chancellor and others, but with a much smaller force than Huntly's. The latter had, however, surrendered to the King without defence, and he and the rest of them had all been captured. This had caused the breaking up of the Catholic party and Morton's life was now in danger.
The queen of England had three great armed ships of her own in the Strait of Scotland, in order to reconnoitre all ships that went in or out—Paris, 8th July 1589.
14 July.
Paris Archives, K. 1449.
553. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Marco Antonio Messia, who arrived here recently with a letter from you, proposed the terms upon which the English are desirous of exchanging Colonel Don Alonso de Luzon, Don Rodrigo Lasso de la Vega, Don Luis de Cordoba, and Don Gonzalo de Cordoba, for M. de Teligny, and at the same time relieving his father, M. de la Noue, from the oath he has sworn not to take up arms against me. With this object in view the English have delivered the prisoners to Horatio Pallavicini, who it is understood is engaged to be married to la Noue's daughter. As it is better for us to surrender M. de Teligny than to have so many men of rank prisoners, I have consented to the exchange if they also include Don Diego de Pimentel, Don Juan de Velasco, Don Pedro de Valdés, and Juan de Guzman, if no others can be got from them. Attempts must also be made to obtain their release on the surrender of Teligny, without relieving la Noue from his oath. On the contrary, the opportunity should be utilised to oblige him to confirm it. In order that the affair may be conducted to a successful issue, I write to the duke of Parma in the terms you will see by the enclosed copy, he having Teligny in his possession ; and in accordance with the decision he arrives at you will instruct Marco Antonio Messia. The latter is now going back to you with a letter from me, to the effect that he is to follow your orders. Do your best through him, or otherwise, for the release of the prisoners mentioned, and any others that can be obtained.—San Lorenzo, 14th July 1589.
21 July.
Paris Archives, K. 1569. Portuguese.
554. Statement given by David of Events in England up to the 21st July, on which day he left Plymouth.
On the 29th June the earl of Cumberland sailed from Plymouth with one of the Queen's ships of 700 tons, two small craft of 60 each, a caravel of 40, and two shallops. He takes 600 soldiers and sailors, and goes straight to St. Domingo, the pilot being a Portuguese, who told me this in Plymouth. I reported it at the time, but in consequence of the disturbed state of France my letters have not arrived. I also reported that Chidley was at Plymouth with seven ships, ready to sail for the south, only awaiting a wind ; and I sent word that on the 4th or 5th of July the earl of Essex and his brother arrived at Plymouth with seven ships, whilst the brother of Robert Sidney had arrived at Dartmouth with two or three others. He is very ill. The news they brought was that the fleet was dispersed, and was going to the Indies to try to capture territory.
I sent advice likewise, that on the 10th July Don Antonio and Drake had arrived at Plymouth with 20 or 30 ships, and ships kept coming into port up to the 13th, when the remainder of them arrived with the son of Don Antonio and General Norris. Amongst the whole 100 ships or so that entered there were not 2,000 men, soldiers or sailors, in good health. Besides these many put into various other English ports, the number of ships missing being about 30 sail, English and Flemish, which they say have sailed for the islands (Azores), as when the fleet left Cascaes that was its destination. Up to the time I left Plymouth these ships had not arrived. They confess to have lost only two ships, which the Adelantado of Castile burnt with his galleys near Lisbon.
I advised also that it was looked upon as certain, Diego Botello having said as much, that the loss of soldiers and sailors of the fleet exceeds 18,000 men, amongst whom are 900 gentlemen and officers, the best in England.
I said that Don Antonio and his people had arrived in Plymouth in a wretched state, and that the Portuguese were now more unpopular in England than the Spaniards themselves. The English hold Don Antonio now in no respect whatever, and the only name they can find for him and his people is "dog." They openly insult Don Antonio to his face without being punished.
I related that as soon as the earl of Essex arrived he sent his brother post haste to the Queen, to ask her pardon for the fault he had committed in going with the expedition without her permission. The Earl awaited the reply 15 miles from Plymouth until after the arrival of Don Antonio, and when he left he did not visit or write to him.
I gave also an account of about 30 men who had come back with Don Antonio, whose names I did not know. ... In the same ship came the wife of Esteban Ferreira da Gama, who is at Lyons in France.
[A long list of the Portuguese adherents of Don Antonio, who remained at Peniche in Portugal, here follows.]
Don Antonio sent from Cascaes to Barbary an Englishman, whom he took with him as his secretary, he having been formerly secretary to Walsingham. In his company went the Moor, who had gone to England as the Sheriff's ambassador, to say that the Sheriff would send aid. I heard in England that Don Antonio had sent them to tell the Moor of his failure, and to ask him not to send to the coast of Portugal, but to forward to England the money he had promised to lend on the security of his (Don Antonio's) son. I heard, however, from Duarte Perin (Edward Perrin), who had been sent to Barbary to fetch the money, that the Moor would never give a real.
At the time I left Don Antonio was lodging in a village near Plymouth, called Astonas (Stonehouse?) very miserable and ill-treated. When I took leave of him he told me that the next day he was going to a town called Exeter, where he expected a message from the Queen which would decide him as to his future course of action. Both he and Diego Botello hope that the good report which will be given to the Queen by the earl of Essex and the Secretary General of the Army, who have gone to Court, taking letters from Don Antonio and the Generals, may cause the Queen to give him help to return again to Portugal shortly. They will say that no resistance whatever was offered to Don Antonio from the people, who were all in his favour, but that the expedition failed for want of siege artillery. From what I hear, however, on all hands, I am assured that nothing in the form of a fleet will sail this year from England ; at most a few corsairs will go out for plunder.
Don Antonio signified to me that if he was not well received by the Queen he would leave the country for France or Hamburg, in order to proceed to Constantinople or Barbary. For this purpose he has a caravel, which he brought from Peniche. She is a very swift vessel, and when I left they were putting stores on board of her, sufficient for 40 persons for four months. She has 30 harquebusses, with muskets, lances, and ammunition, and carries 12 Portuguese sailors and two pilots. He is taking this caravel with him to Exeter, if the sailors allow him to do so ; but before I came away they (i.e., the English sailors) tried three times to take her by force. It was understood that this was done by secret order of Drake, because he learnt that Don Antonio had come back dissatisfied, and that if the Queen's answer were not favourable he meant to retire from the country, which he could not do unless he had this caravel. As soon as Don Antonio arrived I heard that this was his design, and I at once sent the news by three separate routes, in order that the passages to Hamburg, Dantzig, and France might be watched, but my letters have all miscarried, owing to the disturbed state of France.
Alvaro de Paiva came from Constantinople to Plymouth to see Don Antonio, and the latter having gone to Portugal he followed him to Cascaes, and has now returned to England with him. He tells me that the Jews of Turkey offered Don Antonio 500 (sic) crowns, and he expected that Don Antonio would go to Constantinople, because, with that and the aid the Grand Turk would give him, he might go and gain the East Indies. If he got the Indies he could draw so much money and goods, both from the Portuguese and the native Kings, that he could make war against all the world. He (Paiva) had brought two passports from the Grand Turk. All this makes me believe that Don Antonio is thinking of making the move ; besides which he told me when I took leave of him that when I returned to England I was to enter London secretly, and if I found he was not there I was to leave also secretly, so that no one might know that I had been there, and go and seek him at Constantinople.
A few days before I left the ships sent to Guinea by the Exeter merchants returned. They had taken Francisco da Costa thither as ambassador, and came loaded with hides. They have made so profitable a voyage that three or four more ships will go thither in September.
(A list of nine Spaniards, Italians, &c., whom the writer had contrived to rescue from prison in England—they having been brought as prisoners of war in Drake's fleet—and had shipped them from a rough beach half a league from Plymouth. He had escaped with them, and had brought them to the Brittany coast. He had there obtained passports for them, and had helped them with money for their journey to the extent of his means. His only motive was the service of God and his Majesty.)
I have found a trustworthy man to remain in England, and give punctual account of all that passes to Don Bernardino de Mendoza, and have promised that he shall be provided with money. Nothing is done in Don Antonio's house without his knowledge.
Don Antonio sent me to France with letters for the King, the king of Navarre and Antonio de Escobar, and when I was leaving, Don Antonio told me that the redress of his troubles depended upon me ; praying me urgently to make the voyage speedily, dangerous though it was in the present disturbed state of France. My instructions were to come straight to Escobar, and for us both to go immediately to Court to negotiate for what Don Antonio requested of the two Kings. At Lantriguerre, near the town of St. Malo, Brittany, I met a certain Richard Burley, who had come from the court of Castile. He had been in the town for 15 days, having been robbed ; the dangers of the road being so great that even the townspeople dared not venture outside. I heard from him that he bore letters of importance from his Majesty to Don Bernardino de Mendoza. I brought him with me, providing him with money for the road ; but before we arrived at Havre de Grâce, we were arrested and robbed four times, and only by devices and inventions of mine were we able to save ourselves from the power of our enemies. I also saved, secreted on my own person, both Burley's papers and my own. We arrived at Rouen, and thence proceeded on our way together in the disguise of countrymen, to the great risk of our lives, as we had to pass near the camp of the king of Navarre, and through many woods infested with robbers. But we made light of our dangers and tribulations, as we knew they were undergone in the service of his Majesty, and in the execution of our duty ; and eventually the papers were safely delivered to Don Bernardino de Mendoza.
I also carried a letter from Don Antonio for Esteban Ferreira da Gama at Lyons, who has assumed the name of Juan Luis. This I opened by order of Escobar, and gave a copy thereof to Don Bernardino. It states that he (Don Antonio) has decided to leave England.
By order of Don Bernardino I gave the letter I brought for Escobar to the latter, who told me that Don Antonio's intention was to leave England. I gave to Don Bernardino the two letters from Don Antonio for the kings of France and Navarre, and he considered it best that I should deliver them to Escobar, in order that I might be able to return to England, and fulfil my duties there in the service of his Majesty. Escobar decided that I should go alone to seek the two Kings, and deliver the letters, as he could not leave Paris, and I could then return to England with the answer.
I am now setting out, and I hope by God's help that I, personally and through my friends, shall be able to do all that may be necessary in his Majesty's service, speedily and effectually.


  • 1. The King emphatically calls attention to these passages.
  • 2. Esteban de Legorreta had commanded 103 men of Nicholas Isla's regiment on the Armada. He went from Scotland to Flanders, where he distinguished himself in the wars of the League.