Simancas: December 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: December 1589', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, (London, 1899) pp. 562-564. British History Online [accessed 4 March 2024]

December 1589

15 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1569. French.
569. Advices from Rouen.
A merchant had arrived there from Scotland who reports that the King had, in the presence of his Parliament, set at liberty Lord Claude Hamilton and the earl of Morton ; both of whom the merchant had seen several times in Edinburgh since their liberation. Their release had been arranged by the Chancellor.
The other gentlemen under arrest had also been set at liberty, but were at present confined to their own houses.
The King had appointed five nobles to govern in his absence, namely, Lord Hamilton, as President of the Council, the duke of Lennox, the earl of Bothwell, and Lord Boyd, but the merchant did not recollect who the fifth was to be, though he knew it was not Huntly.
When the King left he made a speech to the nobility, and another to the burgesses of Edinburgh, in favour of the maintenance of the realm during his absence. He expected to return within 20 days, and was accompanied by seven ships and all of his most intimate friends, especially the Chancellor, the Lord Justice-clerk, Sir William Keith, Glenclouden, and 300 other gentlemen, none of whom, however, are of mark.
Before the Parliament met, a gentleman arrived in a little ship from Norway, to say that the vessel in which the Queen had taken passage made so much water that it was impossible to get her ready so soon as was hoped, and that consequently the Queen would be obliged to stay in Norway during the winter, hoping to come to Scotland in the spring, accompanied by her mother ; since, in consequence of the intense cold in those parts, travelling by sea was impossible after the frost set in.
The merchant had heard at Calais that the king of Scotland had arrived in Norway safely, and he and the two Queens had decided to winter in Denmark.
20 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1569. Italian.
570. Advices from Rouen.
We have news here that the English fleet, which left some months since for the coast of Portugal under the earl of Cumberland, has captured in those parts three ships of the flotilla from New Spain, and has sunk one of 400 tons, from which only two men were saved, both of whom were made prisoners by the English and carried with the three prizes to England, They report that in a great storm, continuing five days, 11 of the ships from the Indies of New Spain were lost at sea, with all their crews and cargoes. This was a dreadful loss. They say that the three captured ships contained 600 cases of cochineal, many hides, and other merchandise. This news is looked upon as true, as it comes from many quarters. When these ships first arrived the price of cochineal fell in the London market to 6s. per pound, but shortly afterwards the competition of buyers sent it up to 7s. 6d. per pound. Some advices say that there were five ships captured and taken to England, but I learn that persons who write direct from there say three, which are more than enough, considering the loss suffered by the poor people to whom they and the cargoes belong. They say that the greater part belongs to merchants resident in the Indies, and therefore probably the Seville merchants trading with them will suffer.
22 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1569.
571. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
My news from England is dated 6th instant, reporting that they are raising soldiers, and making out lists of all the Queen's troops in every province. It was thought that the men being raised were for reinforcing the English regiments that are with Bearn, because most of the Scottish and English troops who were at Dieppe and Pont de l'Arche had returned to England to avoid suffering further want and starvation. Two English ships that had gone to Dieppe with powder, etc., had done the same, and returned without discharging. The Queen was sending Lord Grey to Ireland with some troops in addition to the ordinary garrisons, and has ordered Sir William (Fitzwilliam), who was the Viceroy, to retire.
They have granted to Don Rodrigo Lasso de la Vega liberty for two months to go to Flanders to negotiate with the duke of Parma for his release, and that of Don Alonso de Luzon and other gentlemen from Cordoba, who were in the possession of Horatio Pallavicini. They wish to exchange them for M. de Teligny, the son of La Noue. The queen of England gives out that the going of the king of Scotland to Denmark was against her opinion, and that she is much annoyed at the release of Morton and the other Catholics before the King's departure.
I hear nothing whatever from David, which increases the suspicion I mentioned in my last. I can gain no intelligence whatever of Don Antonio, although I make great efforts to do so.—Paris, 22nd December 1589.
572. Advices from Dunkirk.
A ship has arrived at Plymouth, captured on her way from the Indies. They say she contains 400 arrobas of cochineal and a quantity of hides. Three other ships of the said flotilla are said to have been sunk by the English.
The queen of England is building six galleons of 600 tons each, and has ordered 4,000 men to be raised for Ireland. These men are very unwilling to go, and by the payment of 5l. sterling, equal to 200 (250?) reals, exemption could be obtained. Those who desert are hanged. No ships are being prepared to sail.
There is no news of the earl of Cumberland, nor of four out of his six ships, although it is asserted that it was he who made the prize above-mentioned, and he has been prevented from arriving by a storm. The prize has no officer of rank on board, nor any other ship with her, only the men who were put on board to guard her.
23 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1571.
573. Advices from London.
The earl of Cumberland's ships have arrived on this coast with a large number of prizes they have captured. They have 20 ships from Brazil, two from the Indies, one of them from Mexico with 250 arrobas of cochineal, and a quantity of hides, indigo, silver, and gold, the value of which they estimate at 100,000 crowns.
Many letters of marque, authorising them to plunder, are being granted. They are signed by the Lord Admiral and Beauboys Lanoy, the prince of Bearn's ambassador to the Queen, and all prizes are considered good except those from Frenchmen who acknowledge Bearn as King, Scotsmen, Hollanders, Zeelanders, Swedes, Danes, and Venetians.
Musters of troops are taking place in England, and ships are being fitted out in consequence of the news from Spain that a great Armada is being prepared. They are awaiting it here with as stout a heart as they did the one that came before.
31 Dec.
Paris Archives, K. 1569.
574. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Since my letter of 22nd about England, I have received advices from Dunkirk of same date, saying that Don Rodrigo Lasso, Don Garcia Manrique, Don Beltran del Salto, and the Auditor, Rodrigo Ponce, had arrived at Nieuport from England. They relate that as they were going through a street in London they noticed in a shop that a dress was being made very handsomely, trimmed with gold. They asked for whom it was intended, and were told that it was for a Spanish captain named Lupercio Latras, who had come from Spain and was then about London. They have now met this man in Calais in wretched garb, going with a request to Commander Moreo. (fn. 1) I have signified this to Moreo, although he was already informed of it, and he tells me that Lupercio Latras was the chief of a band of robbers in Aragon. I do not know whether he has fled from Spain, but the fact of their having so soon got rid of him from England seems to prove that they suspected he might have been sent there. I have thought well to inform your Majesty of this. The advices received by Richard Burley from England are also enclosed. He tells me that, if he finds the passage from England to France free, 14 English pilots will come over from there with Pedro de Zubiaur, who had gone thither from Dunkirk about the ransom of the prisoners. If they are prevented from coming over on that occasion they will find an opportunity of getting across to Havre de Grace or Holland.—Paris, 31st December 1589.


  • 1. Commander Moreo was Philip's military agent with the League.