Simancas: Miscellaneous, 1601

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: Miscellaneous, 1601', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain (Simancas), Volume 4, 1587-1603, (London, 1899) pp. 676-682. British History Online [accessed 23 April 2024]

Miscellaneous, 1601

1601. S.D. Estado, 840. 699. Statement of the King's Fleet in Lisbon.
(The document commences with a long account of the reasons which have rendered necessary the levy of a large number of infantry in Spain for service in different parts. Two thousand of these had just been shipped in Lisbon to send to Flanders, when it was decided that, matters being now settled in Italy, troops should be sent from there to Flanders, and that the voyage of the men from Lisbon should be suspended.)
Things being in this condition, the Archbishop of Dublin and Don Martin de la Cerda came from Ireland to represent to his Majesty, on behalf of Earls O'Neil and O'Donnell, the troublous state of that country, the imminent peril in which they and the rest of the Catholics stood, and the danger of the entire extinction of faith and obedience to the Church, which they had hitherto upheld with so much bravery and bloodshed. They submitted the grave prejudice which would thereby be suffered by Christianity at large, and expressed deep sorrow that, after they had exposed themselves to so much jeopardy in the service of God, and so many promises had been made to them, they should be thus abandoned by a powerful and Catholic Monarch upon whom, after God, they had founded all their hopes. They nevertheless promised full success at all points if his Majesty would speedily send them assistance. As the Council of State was not with the King at the time, he ordered a committee of certain members who accompanied him to meet for the purpose of discussing the question.
As the troops were already mustered, the preparations were continued, and there is now a fleet of 35 vessels quite ready to sail in Lisbon (19 belonging to his Majesty), 6,000 fully armed men being now on board in two regiments, under the Maestres de Campo Antonio Centeno and Don Francisco de Padilla, with all necessary stores for the voyage, and 6,010 quintals of biscuit for landing, 6 pieces of battery artillery, 600 quintals of powder, 600 quintals of fire match, 300 quintals of lead, spare armour, saddles, bridles, and a large number of swords and lances for the natives, picks, shovels, spades, &c., and 180,000 ducats in money. The fleet and its navigation are under the command of Don Diego Brochero, and the soldiery and land operations under Don Juan del Aguila.
There is a difference of opinion as to the destination of the expedition amongst the Irish themselves. Some desire that it should proceed to the northern part of the island, where most of our friends are, this being a long voyage, and inconvenient for the ships and large galleons, whilst others wish it to go to the coast opposite Spain, in the neighbourhood of the ports of Cork and Waterford. This would shorten the voyage for the arrival of the first reinforcements, and for subsequent aid, but it would leave a large extent of country between them and our friends, and it would be difficult to effect a junction from there for a long time. Others, again, suggest that the expedition might go to Drogheda, near the earl of Tyrone's country, when the forces might join and fall upon the enemy at once, before reinforcements could reach him. This would enable the Catholic cause to recover prestige, which is very important, but the voyage would be a longer one, and the objective point nearer to England and further from Spain.
The forces are now ready, and only await the final decision. (fn. 1)
Estado, 840. 700. Memorandum by the Earl Of Bothwell, Admiral Of Scotland.
My zeal and devotion for the service of his Majesty, and not my presumption, my desire for his welfare, and not my own profit, have moved me, knowing as I do the state of affairs in Scotland, England, and Ireland, to write this brief discourse, dealing both with peace and war, the choice between which I leave to his Majesty, and to the deliberation of his wise council.
With regard to war, I wish to say that no point is so important to his Majesty's interest as to keep the queen of England occupied in Ireland, but before the enterprise is undertaken it should be maturely considered, for the following reasons :—
1st. The country is not capable of feeding an army. This is proved by the fact that the queen of England has never been able to maintain her ordinary troops in the garrisons, except by means of stores sent from England. For us (i.e., the Spaniards) it will be much more difficult, considering how distant we are from Ireland.
2nd. It will be difficult to send fresh reinforcements, considering the strength of the enemy at sea. For this reason it would be advisable that the first force sent should be so strong that no reinforcement would be necessary for a long time.
3rd. Our troops must, apparently, either land in the west or the east of Ireland. If they land in the west I do not understand how it will be possible for them to carry cannon, whereas if they land in the east, opposite the English coast, where the country is flat, I cannot see how our infantry can resist the enemy, who has as large a force of infantry as we have, besides a large number of cavalry.
4th. Finally, if his Majesty ever sends troops thither, he will necessarily have the king of Scotland against him, in consequence of the claim of the latter to the crowns of Ireland and England. This opposition will cause more trouble than that of the queen of England, because he will, at any time, be able to send 20,000 Scots, and Irshmen who in speech and manner of of life exactly resemble them.
5th. In order to avoid this difficulty, and divert the forces of both kingdoms (England and Scotland) from harassing our men in Ireland, it will be neccessary to provide a force of 8,000 foreign troops for Scotland, and money to keep all our (i.e., the Scots) Catholics, who may join them. It will be needful, however, for these 8,000 men to be separated into two bodies, to land in two different ports. Four thousand of them should be shipped from Flanders in galleys, and go to the Orkney isles, to join the Catholics there, whose names are given in the adjoined memorandum. Before the expedition sails, however, it will be advisable for the King, my master (i.e., the king of Spain), to send an ambassador to the king of Scotland, who, under this pretext may be able to deal with the Catholics, both those in the north and those in the west, where the other force of 4,000 men from Spain will arrive. To reach the port of Kirkcudbright they will lay their course for the Atlantic, sailing towards the Orkneys, and then passing our western isles, by which route they will arrive at the said port without risk. Kirkcudbright is a day and-a-half distant from England ; and this will enable them (the English Catholics) to join them (i.e., the Spanish force) without delay. Before this, however, all the English gentlemen in his Majesty's service should be sent from here to join the fleet, and some of them should also be sent to treat with the English Catholics, and induce them to join our fleet. The names of the (Scottish) gentlemen with whom the ambassador will have to negotiate, and who will join the fleet on the west coast of Scotland are those contained in the list referred to.
6th. With regard to the places that might prevent a junction between the northern and western forces, such as Broughty, St. John's Town (i.e., Perth), Stirling, Dumbarton, etc., measures will be taken to cause them to submit.
7th. With respect to the expense to be incurred by his Majesty on this fleet for Scotland, means may be found for reimbursing him.
The war we are waging is for the re-establishment of the Catholic faith, and when that is effected it will be only reasonable that, as we are exposing our lives, the ecclesiastics should pay what is spent on the war. It will therefore be arranged that no ecclesiastic shall be admitted into his charge until he undertakes to give up the third of his revenue for three years, as a payment to his Majesty, and this shall be duly guaranteed to his Majesty when he decides upon undertaking the war. Thus far I have spoken only of war ; I will now proceed to deal with the question of peace.
1st. If his Majesty approves, it will be necessary to send an ambassador to Scotland to complain to the King of the constant injury done to his Majesty by the sending of forces to the aid of the rebels in Holland and Zeeland, which has been done without any cause being given by his Majesty ; and the King should be requested to recall the (Scots) men who are there, and to prevent any others being sent.
As the earl of Bothwell is exiled and all his estates lost through serving his Majesty, the King might also be asked to restore his estate to him, on the condition that he will never again return to Scotland during his life. The Earl will remain in his Majesty's service. This clause is left to the clemency and benignity of his Majesty, and the earl is certain that the decision will be such as the loyalty and goodwill of his humble servant deserves. The following representations might be made to the King (James) :—
3rd. He (James) is well aware of the innumerable injuries his Majesty has suffered from the queen of England, and that they can no longer be borne ; but before his Majesty undertakes anything in that direction, he considers, having regard to his (James') claims to the crown of England, that it will be judicious to inform him thereof, and request his aid as a good friend and brother ; and he (i.e., the king of Spain) will promise to assist and establish him on the throne of England, if he will accede to the following conditions :—
4th. That his (James') son shall marry the daughter of the duke of Savoy, and his daughter with his (the duke of Savoy's) son. That the prince (of Scotland) shall be sent hither and remain until his marriage, and his sister to Savoy, and in case he (the Prince) should have to return before, that his brother should be sent hither in his place. They will thus live as subjects of his Majesty ; but this last clause must not be mentioned until the prince is here.
5th. Finally, as the king of Scotland will complain of the bad treatment of his subjects here of late years, it will be necessary that he should be informed of the ingratitude and infamy with which they have repaid his Majesty for his favour and sympathy towards them, and for the freedom given to them to trade in all his dominions, until his Majesty recognised that they took advantage of the liberty accorded to them by treasonably consorting with his enemies, introduced into these countries their merchandise, and carrying Spanish produce to them ; which gave them the greater profit and his Majesty the greater injury.
6th. I conclude by saying that there is no other alternative for his Majesty's advantage, than, either to make a peace and and firm alliance with the king of Scotland, before the queen of England dies, or else to commence a determined war which will utterly ruin and destroy him, which will be easy for his Majesty.
(Signed) The earl of Bothwell, Admiral of Scotland.
701. Memorandum of the Earl Of Bothwell. (fn. 2)
Names of the Catholic gentlemen of the north who will join our fleet coming from Flanders—
Earl of Caithness my brothers.
Viscount Murehill
Viscount Mackay.
Earl of Sutherland.
Viscount Mackintosh.
Marquis of Huntly.
Earl of Errol.
Earl of Athol.
Viscount Inchaffray.
Earl of Gowrie.
Viscount Ogilvie.
Viscount Gray
Baron Burleigh.
Baron Balcarres.
Names of the lords of the west and border who will join our fleet—
Duke of Lennox. Viscount Paisley.
Viscount Semple. Viscount Sanquhar.
Baron Fleming. Viscount Maxwell.
Marquis of Angus. Viscount Herries.
Baron Buchannan. Viscount Hume.
Baron Rastellerse (?). Baron Ferinhurst.
Viscount Livingston. Baron Roslyn.
Viscount Seton. The earl of Bothwell's horsemen.
Estado, 840.
702. Report of the Council of State on the aforegoing letter of the earl of Bothwell.
The Council has considered the memorandum and papers of the earl of Bothwell, and is of opinion that there is no present possibility of the expedition he proposes being undertaken. With regard to the sending of an ambassador to the king of Scotland, the Archduke has already been written to on the subject, in consequence of another memorandum which was presented by Colonel Semple. It will therefore be well to await the Archduke's reply. The earl may be thanked for the zeal which moved him to write this memorandum, and with regard to the question of the pensioned knighthood for him, which his Majesty referred to Francisco Gonzales de Heredia, his Majesty might be reminded thereof.
The Council is of opinion in the meanwhile, since the earl has nothing to live upon except the allowance granted to him by his Majesty of 250 ducats a month, that it will be a very gracious act for his Majesty to order the earl to be paid at once the amount now due, and that the future payments should be duly made. If the earl desires to go and serve his Majesty the allowance might be increased by 50 ducats and permission given to him.
703. Summary of Discourse written by Don Martin de la Cerda from Ireland to Philip III.
"The moment your Majesty's forces gain a footing in this country your traffic with the Indies will be safe, and a great saving will be effected in Spain." He dwells at length upon the great advantages which the possession of Ireland will give to Spain from a political, religious, and financial point of view, the comparative ease and cheapness of the enterprise, the ardent loyalty of the Irish to the king of Spain and their sturdy catholicism.
S.D. B.M.
Add. Mss. 28420.
704. Document endorsed "Statement given by Father Persons to the duke of Sessa with advices from England and France."
Reports from England of 8th October and from Flanders of 17th with regard to the new proposal to reduce the realm of England by means of the king of France, and to induce certain English Catholics in Flanders to leave the service of his Catholic Majesty and enter that of the king of France.
An English gentleman named Henry Constable, who in recent years was in Rome and went afterwards to live in Paris upon an allowance from the duchess of Vendome, sister of the King, has continued to write to his Holiness and Cardinal Baronio proposing plans for the conversion of England by means of France. These plans were discussed by the Cardinal with Father Persons last May, and as the latter assured him that there was nothing in them, the Cardinal said that his Holiness would not entertain them. Constable, however, continued to urge his ideas, presumably in union with other Englishmen of his own way of thinking in Flanders ; and has, it is said, gained over M. d'Epernon and M. de Sancy, two great "politicians" in France, who have persuaded the Pope's Nuncio in Paris and others. Taking advantage of the recent occurrences at Amiens, the going of Dr. Stapleton to Rome for his promotion, and the universal discontent of his Majesty's English pensioners in Flanders who have not received their pay, they have not only written, but have sent an English doctor named Robert Tempest, whose brother is one of the most seditious priests in Rome, to endeavour to gain over the earl of Westmorland and his brother-in-law, David Ingleby.
The latter is a gentleman of rank, and a confidant of his Majesty, and immediately divulged the plan to Father Persons. Henry Constable also wrote to three English doctors in Flanders, namely, Stapleton, Professor at Louvain, Barrett, rector of the English seminary at Douai, and Gifford, dean of Lille. With regard to the latter, his close connection with Paget in Flanders, and his continued correspondence with M. de Mauvissière in Rome, render it certain that he will be quite ready to embrace the idea.
The details of the plans they have formed for the present are not exactly known, but the general object is to bring England into the hands of the king of France and alienate it from the king of Spain by means of negotiations for the granting of a certain amount of liberty of religion to be obtained by the action of the king of France during the life of the present Queen ; and after her time the English will continue to enjoy the same freedom, if they can obtain no more, under the rule of the king of Scotland, who is said to be mixed up in the business. He has already begun to make an arrangement, both with his heretic and Catholic nobles, and has appointed the archbishop of Glasgow to be his ambassador in France, he having been his mother's ambassador there for many years, and, being entirely devoted to the French, will aid the object with all his power.
It is reported that the matter is so far advanced that the promoters have their agents in England with the earl of Essex and other members of the Queen's Council for the purpose of settling the affair.
Lord Dacre, who left Flanders discontented, is now in Paris with the archbishop of Glasgow, and it is said is to go to Scotland to discuss the matter with the King. It is also intended to send Constable to Rome on the same business. Stapleton has resolved not to go (to Rome), and it is thought that Gifford may be sent, as he is no less favoured by M. Mauvissière than is Stapleton. Concurrently with this new French plan the older design with regard to Scotland is being continued. This is promoted by Paget, Gifford, and others in Flanders, and by Mauvissière and many others in the Roman Court, jointly with priests and unquiet students in the English College. It is evident that the faction will become very powerful unless some efficacious means be adopted for putting a stop to it. This may be effected in two ways : first, by keeping the English in a better humour and paying their allowances, at all events, in part ; and, secondly, by raising the faithful persons and somewhat degrading the others, so that they may not venture constantly to enter into these new leagues and combinations.


  • 1. Full particulars of this unfortunate expedition, with plans, &c., will be found in "Pacata Hibernia."
  • 2. From the contents, this document appears to be a complement of the foregoing one.