Pages vii-lxviii

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

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The manuscripts calendared in this, the fourth, volume of Spanish State Papers relating to England of the reign of Elizabeth are derived from the same sources as those summarised in the third volume ; namely, the correspondence and reports of Spanish ambassadors, agents, and other officers, existing in the Archives at Simancas and amongst the papers abstracted therefrom, and now preserved in the Archives Nationales in Paris, with the addition of a few documents from the British Museum and other national depositories, in cases where it was considered that they might fill a gap or usefully supplement the information contained in the main series.

A system of somewhat closer condensation of many of the manuscripts having been adopted, more precise marginal references than in previous volumes have been given ; but as in nearly every case the original manuscript has been transcribed by the editor himself, it is hoped that no point of importance with regard to England has been omitted. This process of greater condensation has been rendered necessary by the fact, that all direct diplomatic relations between England and Spain having ceased, the references to English affairs are often contained incidentally in documents mainly relating to other subjects. Care, however, has been taken, whilst eliminating as far as possible such matter as referred solely to foreign countries, to retain almost literally everything of importance likely to interest students of English history. With exception of a small number of papers concerning Scottish history contained in M. Teulet's selection from the Paris Archives, printed in French by Bannantyne Club, and a few others concerning the Armada which have been produced in Spanish by Captain Fernandez Duro, practically the whole of the contents of this volume are now printed for the first time.

So long as Bernardino de Mendoza remained Spanish ambassador in Paris his great knowledge of English affairs and persons, as well as his active hatred of the country from which he had been so ignominiously expelled by Elizabeth, caused all important correspondence and negotiations relating to England to pass through his hands ; and his papers in Paris furnish full material for a knowledge of events. But in the spring of 1591 his great diplomatic career ended in disappointment and defeat, and thereafter the English papers at and from Simancas grow scanty. The editor has utilised such documents as he could find, especially the correspondence and reports between Spain and the Irish and Scottish Catholics, and the minutes of the Spanish Privy Council when it deliberated on British affairs ; but a state of war existed between the two countries during the rest of Elizabeth's life ; Spanish spies were jealously expelled from England, and such communication as existed was carried on through the Spanish governors of Flanders. In these circumstances it will be understood that the invaluable and copious Spanish diplomatic correspondence, which has done so much to illuminate English Tudor history, was practically suspended from 1590 to 1603, and to illustrate that period it has been necessary to search for stray papers amidst the multitudinous departments and in the confused bundles which form the famous Archives in the mediæval Castle of Simancas. Interesting and extremely valuable, therefore, as are the hitherto unknown manuscripts relating to the last years of Elizabeth's reign now published in this calendar, they lack the continuity, and completeness which characterise the correspondence up to the end of 1590.

At the beginning of the year 1587, when the papers in the present volume commence, all the signs foretold the rapid approach of the great crisis towards which events had inevitably tended during the preceding half-century. The rise of Protestantism, which had alienated England from her ancient friendship with Spain and the House of Burgundy, had not for many years been accompanied by any change in the political community of interests which of necessity bound the two countries together. Spain had seen her commerce well nigh destroyed, her territories violated, her citizens robbed and murdered, and her ambassadors insulted, without daring to resent such treatment by declaring open war upon England, and so driving the latter country into the arms of France. Nor could England, notwithstanding the treatment of her Protestant subjects by Spain, afford to enter into any combination which should weaken her ancientally, with the result of strengthening in Flanders the French influence, which was already traditionally paramount in Scotland. But the great religious upheaval of the Reformation and the spread of Protestantism was certain, sooner or later, to bring about a new grouping of political interests ; and over the permanency or otherwise of these fresh affinities the armed struggle which was to decide the fate of Europe was necessarily fought.

The principal contributory cause which had precipitated the crisis was the proximate extinction of the male line of Valois, with the consequent heirship to the crown of France of the Huguenot Henry of Navarre. So long as France remained a Catholic country it was certain that England would form no enduring alliance with her to the detriment of Spain, for England would suffer irreparably, both in Scotland and Flanders, by the concessions which would certainly have to be made to France in return for such an alliance. But the probability of France severing her connection with the Papacy by the accession of the Huguenot entirely changed the prospect. The reform party in England, led by Leicester and Walsingham, had on the strength of this probability forced the Queen into a more open national hostility to Spain than under the cautious guidance of Lord Burghley she had hitherto assumed ; and her ostentatious protection of the revolted Netherlands was the first outcome of the changed aspect of affairs. With the Netherlands under her protection, and a Protestant king of France owing his crown largely to her aid, Elizabeth knew that she would have nothing to fear, and a great Protestant confederacy which united the Lutherans of Germany and Holland, the Huguenots of France, and the Calvinists of Scotland under the leadership of Protestant England would have been strong enough to dictate terms to the Papacy itself, and to render innocuous the might of Spain.

This was the looming possibility which threatened complete ruin to the laboriously constructed system of Spanish dominion, and drove sluggish Philip, after thirty years' hesitation, to fight to the death. He fought in a variety of ways, and made use of many instruments. The ambition of the Guises in France for themselves, and in England for their kinswoman Mary Stuart, was carefully and cautiously encouraged by the Spanish King for his own objects, leading him to the subornation of numberless plots which, at the end of 1586, had brought the Queen of Scots within sight of the block. The consummate cunning with which Philip and his agents had lured the Guises into his toils by means of alternate smiles and frowns ; how Henry III. had been paralysed by fears of Guisan encroachment from helping England in her hour of need ; how the Scottish Catholics had been beguiled into a position which ensured the impotence of James VI. ; and how, finally, Mary Stuart had been so dealt with as to induce her to disinherit her son, and bequeath her rights to the English crown to Philip of Spain, has been detailed in the third volume of this Calendar. Gradually all the lines which were intended to pull down the edifice of the Reformation, and perpetuate Spain's arrogant claim to overawe the world, had been gathered into the hands of the toiling old recluse in his far-away granite palace in the Castilian mountains. Each interest had been silently and separately dealt with, and tricked into the position which suited Philip's ends ; for he would take no risks if he could help it, and aspired to imitate the action of natural forces in the slow and insensible accumulation of power which at the supreme moment might be used by the master hand to crush all opposition.

When at length the stealthy plotting had reached fruition ; when Elizabeth saw herself isolated, with Henry III. and James VI. powerless ; when the Pope and the Cardinals understood how the church and the painfully collected treasures of St. Angelo were to be the humble servants of Spain's political interests ; when the Guises found that they and their kin were to be excluded from all share of the English prize ; and even the English Catholics of the more moderate and patriotic sort awoke in dismay to the knowledge that their religion and their hatred of the Scots were being used as a stalking horse to forward a foreign conspiracy against the independence of their country ; then each separate interest struggled, in its own fashion, to free itself from the toils in which the diplomacy of Philip had involved it. The first two hundred and fifty pages of this volume are largely taken up by documents relating to these struggles to dispel the impending danger, and to Philip's efforts to maintain his plans and combinations intact, in the face of the unexpected delay entailed by his vast preparations for conquering England.

Father Allen and his seminary, as well as the English Jesuit organization under Father Robert Persons, had entirely gone over to the side of Spain ; but the English Carthusians and Catholic secular priests, led by Dr. Owen Lewis, bishop of Cassano, and the Carthusian bishop of Dunblane, had coalesced with the Guise party and the Scottish Catholics at the Vatican, with the object of persuading the Pope and the Cardinals that England might be brought into the Catholic fold under James VI., or perhaps even as some suggested by the conversion of Elizabeth, without a Spanish domination of the country which would alter the balance of power in Europe. It was the duty of Olivares, the Spanish ambassador in Rome, to frustrate the efforts of this party, and to keep the Pope up to the mark in fulfilling the pledges into which he had been so artfully entrapped by Olivares and the Spanish Cardinals. The process by which this was effected is vividly exhibited in the letters from Olivares to the King, on pages 1, 3, 9, 19, 38, and 43, and by Allen and Melino's (fn. 1) (Persons?) addresses to Olivares on page 41.

Whilst this intrigue for and against the patriotic English and Scottish Catholic view was progressing in Rome and Paris, Elizabeth and Lord Burghley's party of Conservatives and moderate Catholics in England had also taken fright at the approaching peril, and were endeavouring to revert to their traditional policy, from which the Queen, greatly to her annoyance, had been forced by Leicester and the "Puritans." This was an extremely difficult and delicate task, for the hands of the Leicester party had been greatly strengthened by the Babington plot and Mary's connection therewith ; Parliament and the public were in a fever of indignation, clamouring for the imprisoned Queen's head, and any open attempt on the part of Burghley and the Conservatives to appease the Catholics by sparing her life would still further have weakened the influence of the Lord Treasurer. It was therefore determined that Mary Stuart must be sacrificed to satisfy the demands of the now dominant extreme Protestant party in England ; and the object of the Queen and Burghley was to consummate this sacrifice, whilst at the same time cautiously attempting to come to some modus vivendi with Philip, and preventing Henry III. of France and James VI. of Scotland from avenging the death of the Queen of Scots by joining Spain against England. The methods by which this complicated political manœuvre was attempted are most curiously illustrated in the letters now before us. First the almost hopeless effort to propitiate Philip was made by the release of Raleigh's prisoner Sarmiento de Gamboa, who was sent with all sorts of amiable messages to Spain (page 1) ; although the unfortunate emissary was captured and held to ransom by the Huguenots on his way through France, to the delight of Leicester and to the annoyance of Burghley. The greatest of pains, too, were taken to convince Philip, indirectly through Burghley's friend, Sir Edward Stafford, the English ambassador in France—who was in the pay of Spain—that the Lord Treasurer and his party were opposed both to the sacrifice of Mary Stuart and to the English national protection of the revolted Netherlands (page 7). Henry III.,—whose powerless condition is strongly reflected in his inability to rescue Sarmiento from the clutches of Henry of Navarre (page 5).— was cleverly disarmed by the sending of Sir Henry Wotton to him with irrefutable evidence that Mary Stuart had entirely embraced Spanish interests, and had made Philip her heir. Chateauneuf, the French ambassador in England, was a servant of the Guises, and him Elizabeth could safely flout, (fn. 2) whilst Henry's special envoy, Bellièvre, made it plain by his half-hearted pleading, that the French King would not, even if his cousin of Navarre had allowed him, lift a finger to avenge the death of Mary Stuart by helping to put a Spanish monarch on the throne of England. James of Scotland might be treated with less diplomacy than the king of France. The Master of Gray, his chief adviser, had sold himself to Elizabeth ; and the traitor Archibald Douglas represented Scotland at the English Court. The Guisan agents and the Scottish Catholic nobles—servants of Philip almost to a man—tried to arouse James' indignation at the mortal peril of his mother in the hands of Elizabeth. But to James his mother was no more than a name, so far as filial duty was concerned. He knew that she had disinherited him, and that her restoration by Spanish pikes would mean his own deposition or death. The great inheritance of England, too, was artfully dangled before his eyes (page 29), and by the time the Master of Gray and Sir William Keith left London on their return to Scotland at the end of January 1587, Elizabeth was quite easy in her mind about James Stuart ; notwithstanding Sir Robert Melvil's spirited protest (page 16) against the treatment of the Queen of Scots.

But whilst Burghley and his party were thus striving to appease Philip, and to conjure away the dangers into which the advanced policy of Leicester and the "Puritans" had drawn the Queen, the latter party were equally strenuous in their efforts to precipitate the great national conflict in which they eagerly anticipated a crowning victory for Protestantism, and the final overthrow of the inflated claims of Spain. The Queen, as usual, was fractious with them when it came to the point of spending national resources, and facing immeasurable responsibilities by openly declaring war against her life-long enemy ; and Leicester had to proceed with much duplicity and finesse. Philip's own great preparations were now too far advanced to be concealed, and it was evident that some special effort would have to be made by England to frustrate them. In order that this might be done without further provoking Philip, Leicester and his friends again brought forward Don Antonio, the Portuguese pretender, of whom much was said in the third volume of this Calendar ; and ostensibly for the furtherance of his claims, Drake's great naval preparations were made. How cleverly this fact was used, even by Burghley, Stafford, and the Howards, to hoodwink Philip, and yet to make him believe that they were opposed to Don Antonio's plans, may be seen in Mendoza's letter on page 8. Charles Arundell, who was the intermediary between the ambassador Stafford and Mendoza, came to the latter with a message saying that the Lord Admiral's Secretary had arrived in Paris, giving particulars of Don Antonio's proposed expedition, which, however, it was believed was not destined for Portugal, but for the Indies. This apparentact of treachery against England, whilst gaining reward and gratitude from Philip, really deceived him, as will be seen, and only when it was too late for the information to be of any use was Cadiz even hinted at as the place to be attacked. The highly interesting document on page 20, purporting to be the plan of Drake and Hawkins, "entirely to ruin the Spaniards" by attacking the American settlements, is in all probability part of the mystification, and reached Mendoza through Stafford by the connivance of Burghley.

On the morning of the 28th February 1587 Charles Arundell came to Mendoza in Paris with grave news that had just reached Sir Edward Stafford, ostensibly from Lord Burghley. Leicester, and his party, with the "terrible heretic" Davison, he said, had carried out the execution of the Queen of Scots in the absence of Burghley (which was not true), and without the orders of the Queen. A consideration of the letters (pages 26, 31, and 48) will prove conclusively that the news was transmitted in this form for the purpose of exonerating Burghley and the Queen, whilst casting upon Leicester and his party all the blame of Mary's death. It also furnishes incidentally strong presumptive evidence of the existence of the infamous plot to make Davison the scapegoat to which the Queen and Burghley must have been parties. (fn. 3) A decent attempt at indignation was kept up in the French court at Mary's execution (page 34). Bellièvre threatened Stafford with his master's revenge, and said that Elizabeth must think that monarchs heads were "laced on" their shoulders (page 31), but the Nuncio told Mendoza that Henry III. was not sorry for what had happened ; "owing to his rancour against the Guises" (page 32), and Philip himself, in his dread and hatred of Henry of Navarre and the Huguenots, never believed in the sincerity of Henry III.'s wish to save Mary, and thus serve Spanish and Guisan interests (Philip to Mendoza, pages 11, 25). This, however, did not prevent Philip from making as much capital as possible for himself out of the execution. Both Henry III. and James VI. (the latter through Archbishop Beton, in Paris) were to be condoled with, and their indignation stirred at the wrong done to them by Mary's death (page 57). At the same time Beton himself was bought over to the Spanish side ; and the long delayed subsidies demanded by the Earl of Huntly and the Scottish Catholics were definitely promised (page 58), in order that James might not lack support if he decided to avenge his mother's death ; and so to divert Elizabeth at a critical juncture.

Philip expressed the greatest sorrow at the intelligence of Mary's death, and indeed it was a somewhat untoward event for him at the time, as it forced his hand in a matter of paramount importance which he desired to manage in his usual slow, stealthy way. An account was given in the third volume of this Calendar of the proceedings which led the Queen of Scots to bequeath to the King of Spain her rights to the crown of England. The proofs of this had now fallen into the hands of Elizabeth, who had taken care for her own ends to make the fact public, although she destroyed the actual will, and Philip was obliged now to vindicate more openly than he had done his claim to the English throne by descent as well as by bequest. Allen, Persons, and the English Catholic refugees in Philip's pay had long been suggesting that their countrymen would welcome the King of Spain as their sovereign by right of his descent from Edward III. rather than submit to be ruled by a Scotsman ; and as early as February 1587, before he had news of Mary Stuart's death, Philip instructed Olivares (page 16) to approach Sixtus V. cautiously, and obtain from him a secret brief declaring him, Philip, to be the rightful heir to the crown of England failing Mary herself, as "I cannot undertake a war in England for the purpose merely of placing upon that throne a young heretic like the King of Scotland, who, indeed, is by his heresy incapacitated to succeed," although the blow was to be softened to the Pope by the assurance that Philip had no intention of adding England to his own dominions, but would settle the crown on his daughter the Infanta Isabel. But both Olivares (page 29), and particularly Allen and Persons, (pages 41 and 53) knew that Sixtus and the French and neutral Cardinals were already suspicious that the Armada was intended for the aggrandisement of Spain rather than the glory of God, and they begged that Philip's claim should be kept in the background until the "enterprise" itself was successfully concluded. Cardinal Carrafa, the papal Secretary of State, a Neapolitan subject and creature of Philip, was very cautiously primed on the matter by Olivares (page 52), and Allen was instructed merely to hint to Sixtus the recognition by the English Catholics of Philip's right to succeed. After the news of Mary's death reached Philip, however, he saw that he must show his hand at any cost in Rome, or the "political" Cardinals and the Guises might suddenly, behind his back, arrange for the conversion of James VI. and his recognition by the Pope. Philip accordingly wrote at the end of March to Olivares (page 58) : "This new event makes more necessary than ever" the granting of the brief acknowledging Philip's claim. But until this brief was obtained it did not suit Philip's plans to have the matter discussed in France, where he naturally feared intrigues would at once be set on foot to frustrate him. Mendoza, moved by undue zeal for his master's service, had warned Guise's brother, the Duke of Mayenne, "that if this King (Henry III.) tried to persuade him that it would be good to assist the King of Scotland in his English claims on the promise of his conversion and marriage with a daughter of the House of Lorraine, how disadvantageous it would be to listen to such an idea, unless the King of Scotland was entirely converted, because it would give this King the opportunity of saying that the reason they (the Guises) had taken up arms, ostensibly to prevent a heretic from succeeding to the French Crown, was simply a personal one, since, moved by a similar ambition, they were ready enough to help another heretic to the English crown. I was thus able to keep him from deviating from the devotion they profess to your Majesty, and from opposing your Majesty's right to the English crown" (page 49). This and similar hints about Philip's claims to the Nuncio and others in Paris were rebuked by Philip (pages 60 and 107). "It will be best that you should not speak of the matter at present or suggest any such intention, in order not to awaken the evil action that would be exerted in all parts from France if they thought I was going to claim the succession. The only thing that should be done is for Nazareth (the Nuncio) prompted by his zeal for religion to write to Rome, pointing out the evils that certainly would result if a heretic succeeded to the throne ; and saying that as the King of Scotland is a heretic it would be well to deprive him. The Nuncio might convey this to the Pope, but should go no further." And somewhat later, the Pope being still distrustful of Philip's aims, and unamenable to the persuasions of the "Spanish" Cardinals, Philip again warns Mendoza (page 83) : "You must only speak of my right to well-disposed native Englishmen, that they may be informed of the truth and convey it to others of their nationality, that it may thus spread and gain ground amongst them. It will be unadvisable to treat of the matter with Frenchmen and others, who will only take it in hand to undermine it."

That Philip's prescience was keener than that of his agents is evident ; for on the 20th May Mendoza conveyed to his master intelligence of that which the latter had foreseen as the probable result of the ventilation of his claims. The appointment of the Catholic Archbishop of Glasgow, Beton, as James' ambassador in Paris, and the restoration of their dignities to the bishops of Dunblane and Ross, had raised hopes of James' conversion, as was intended, and Mendoza indignantly informs Philip that the Queen-mother was egging on the Guises to help James to the English crown, since he was showing a desire to turn Catholic, which, she said, would be much better for the Guises than fighting heretics in France (page 86). Better unquestionably it would have been for France, for it would have preserved peace on her own soil and set her free to help England, if necessary, against conquest by Spain ; but all Philip's plans were based upon setting the Guises and the Huguenots against each other and thus paralysing both from interfering with him in England, and the Guises were warned clearly that if they expected Spanish aid to their ambition in France, they must leave the Spaniards unhampered in England (pages 91, 100, 108). At the same time Robert Bruce was sent back to the Scottish Catholic nobles with money and encouraging promises from Philip and his nephew, the Duke of Parma, in order that Scottish aid might be prevented from reaching Elizabeth in her hour of peril.

Spanish spies in England continued to report to Mendoza the elaborate preparations being made by Drake for the expedition ostensibly in the service of Don Antonio (pages 61, 64, 67, &c.), but the real destination of the fleet was cleverly concealed up to the last. "With the exception of Drake himself, not a soul on the fleet knows what the object of it is, but various surmises are afloat ; one to the effect that they are going to prevent the junction of his Majesty's fleet in Spain and to destroy a portion of it, as it will have to be fitted out in various ports. Others say the design is to intercept the Indian flotillas, and this seems most probable. Drake was strictly ordered not to stay at Plymouth longer than necessary, but to sail at once. It is not thought that they carry troops adequate to attempt any enterprise on land, or at most only to sack some unprotected place. Don Antonio did not accompany them, although it was said previously that he would do so" (page 66). This was written ten days after Drake had left the Thames for Plymouth (17th March, O.S.), and on the 2nd April, O.S. Mendoza positively informed the King on the strength of a personal report brought to him, that Drake's design was to "encounter your Majesty's flotillas" (page 67). The first hint given that Cadiz was to be the destination, was given a week later by Charles Arundell to Mendoza (page 69)." "The friend assures me that Drake has orders to stay as short a time as possible at Plymouth, but that no living soul but the Queen and the Treasurer knew what the design was to be. The Queen would not have even the Lord Admiral informed, as she considers him a frank spoken man ; but judging from general indications and the haste in sending Drake off, it would seem as if the intention was to try to prevent the junction of your Majesty's fleet, which had to be equipped at various ports, and if they succeed in breaking up a portion of it, then to proceed on the Indian route and encounter the flotillas. To this end they have let out a few words to Drake about Cadiz being a good port to burn shipping in if a good fleet were taken thither." This advice was already too late, as it probably was intended to be by Stafford.

Drake arrived at Plymouth from the Thames on the 23rd March (O.S.), and the instructions given to him to hurry his departure were doubtless those of the Leicester party, strengthened by his own fears, that at the last moment the Queen and Burghley would attempt to limit or hamper his object. Leicester had gone to Buxton by this time, and Drake knew that in his absence Burghley and Raleigh would be all powerful. Drake needed, therefore, no prompting to hurry his departure from Plymouth. His first instructions were "to prevent or withstand any enterprise as might be attempted against her Highness' dominions, and especially by preventing the concentration of the King of Spain's squadrons" ; and in pursuance of this object he was to be allowed to "distress the ships as much as possible both in the havens themselves and on the high seas." Drake's misgivings were fully justified. He knew that Borough had been appointed his second in command as a drag upon him, and as a check in his employment of the Queen's ships that formed part of his squadron ; he was also aware that Burghley was in negotiation with the Duke of Parma for the meeting of an Anglo-Spanish peace conference, and a few hours after he left Plymouth (2nd April, O.S.) orders were sent after him to the effect that he was to "forbear to enter forcibly any of the said King's ports or havens or to offer any violence to any of his towns or shipping within harbour or to do any act of hostility on land." Drake took very good care that these timid orders never reached him, and went on his own way, notwithstanding Borough's warning. On the very day that Mendoza wrote from Paris conveying Stafford's belated hint at the real destination of the fleet, the great admiral sailed unmolested into Cadiz harbour, and made the Armada impossible for that year at least. "The damage committed there," wrote Philip to Mendoza, "was not great, but the daring of the attempt was so." Drake's proceedings there, and subsequently on land at Faro, important as he reported them to have been in damaging the Spanish armaments and reducing Philip's prestige (pages 93 and 111), were a source of some embarrassment for the policy of the Queen and Burghley, who were busy formulating arrangements with Andrè de Loo for the proposed peace conference, and ostentatiously spreading the intelligence, especially in France, that a settlement of the difficulties with Spain was on the point of being arrived at, whilst Spanish agents were plied with suggestions that an alliance existed between England and France ; the object being, of course, to distract Philip and to draw Henry III. closer to England, whilst counteracting the efforts being made by Catherine de Medici to persuade the princes of the League to a reconciliation with the King (pages 94-95). So Drake was re-called, and a great show of indignation made at his action, and at his capture of the great galleon, San Felipe (fn. 4) ; whilst the Duke of Parma slowly and tentatively listened to the overtures for the meeting of the peace commissioners, still in doubt, as he was, as to Philip's real intentions, and more than half resentful of the want of confidence shown to him by the King.

It is curious to note how the vast national interests at stake in this supreme crisis of European history were complicated, and in some instances largely influenced, by secondary personal considerations. Philip himself was a coldblooded statesman above all things, and regarded men, however great, as simple pawns in the game he played for the predominance of his system and his country. The constant and natural efforts of his instruments—some of them men of much higher gifts than himself—to forward their personal ends, caused him, as will be seen in this correspondence, endless embarassment and frequently involved him in failure. In the case of Parma, a man of vast ability, a sovereign prince and a close relative of Philip, the discontent caused by the King's cool distrust was increased by the entire disregard of the rights of Parma's children to succeed to the throne of Portugal, which Philip had seized. There is no doubt that this feeling, together with the jealousy of a divided command, led Parma to look coldly, almost from the first, upon the plans for the Armada. He was a great commander, and saw the weak points in the scheme adopted by Philip, and he was determined, so far as he was concerned, to incur no blame for the failure which he foresaw, by exceeding the letter of the King's instructions. Similarly the pride of Guise was deeply wounded by his being kept in the dark with regard to Philip's arrangements through Mendoza and Bruce with the Scottish Catholics (page 109), and more than once threatened to break away and frustrate all the Spanish King's plans by championing the cause of James VI. in England. We have seen also how personal influences in England caused changes of policy almost from day to day, and how the deep distrust of Sixtus V. and the unbought Cardinals in Rome constantly thwarted Olivares in his attempt to bend everybody and everything to his master's ends. The weakness and impracticability of Henry III., the genius and ambition of Henry of Navarre, the fierce bigotry of Allen and Persons, and the sanguine eagerness of Don Antonio, the Portuguese pretender, were all distracting elements in an already complicated situation. It is not, therefore, surprising that the preparations for the great Armada to conquer England proceeded slowly under Philip's dreary monopolous system in the face of the innumerable checks and side issues which had to be dealt with. The letters for 1587 in the present volume reflect these infinite complications upon almost every page, and more characteristically than in any other place display Philip's rigid unsympathetic methods of meeting such difficulties, ignoring as he did the human side of the men with whom he had to deal, and depending entirely upon sanctimonious appeals to the devotion they owed to the great cause, which most of them knew, as well as he did, was simply a convenient cloak to cover his vast political objects.

Side by side, again, with these larger personal influences, moving kings, princes, and great commanders, there was a still smaller set of motives swaying less important men, which nevertheless, as we see by the light of these papers, were not without effect upon great events. But for the rivalry of Leicester and the depredations of Drake, it is extremely likely that Burghley would have been able still to avoid war with Spain, as he had done for thirty years ; but for the treachery and greed of the Portuguese who surrounded Don Antonio—of which there are abundant proofs in these letters—it is possible that his plans upon Portugal might not all have been forestalled and frustrated as they were. The over zeal of Mendoza in identifying himself closely with the League not only earned the reprobation of his master, but tended powerfully to drive Henry III. into the arms of the Huguenots, and to bring about the murder of Guise : whilst the haughty insolence of Olivares to the Pope, finally alienated the sympathies of Sixtus from the Armada, leading him to withhold most of his promised support, and positively to rejoice in the defeat of the attempt to turn England into a Catholic country on the model of Spain.

One rather curious instance of these personal ambitions endeavouring—although in this case unsuccessfully—to turn public affairs to their own advantage will be found in this volume (page 101 et seq). In the spring of 1587, an English youth, who gave his name as Arthur Dudley, was apprehended in Guipuzcoa, and sent to Madrid as a suspected person. He was taken to Sir Francis Englefield, Philip's English secretary, and told an extraordinary story, which he afterwards reduced to writing. He was, he said, the son of Elizabeth and Leicester, and had been brought up by one Southern, a dependent of the Queen's friend, Mrs. Ashley ; and being a Catholic he craved for Philip's support to obtain the crown of England for himself. The youth's story was an incoherent and improbable one, and, although he evidently knew much about the personnel of the English court, he was quite in the dark with regard to Philip's own claim to the crown, and spoke as if the King of Scotland was the only person to be feared. Even he, James, he thought might easily be put out of the way, and with the effrontery or ignorance of extreme youth appeared to consider it the most natural thing in the world that Philip should allow an unknown lad on his own statement to reap the benefit of his years of plotting and vast expenditure. It is evident that Englefield was not convinced of the truth of Dudley's story, but thought that the young man might be a tool of Elizabeth or her ministers to sound Philip's intentions. There is no evidence that he was anything of the sort, but in any case it was obviously to Philip's interest to hold him tight now that he had got him, and we can imagine the King's grim smile when in answer to Englefield's recommendation that Arthur Dudley should be placed in a monastery for safe keeping, he wrote : "It certainly will be safest to make sure of his (Dudley's) person until we know more about it" (page 112). From this point the papers here printed are silent with regard to Dudley's fate, and I have come across no other mention of him ; unless he be identical with the "Mr. Dudley" whom Father Persons mentions in his letter from Valladolid to Dr. Barret in 1590 (Hatfield State Papers, Part 4), as being one of several missionary seminarists who are proceeding from Spain to England.

No portion of the papers published in this volume are of more interest than those in which Olivares details with a cynical frankness, which throws a flood of light on Philip's real feelings towards the Papacy, the extraordinary manner in which Sixtus was cajoled into acquiescence in the Spanish political aims in England.

The caution with which the Pope was approached indirectly with hints of Philip's claim to the crown on the death of Mary Stuart has already been described ; but as the time approached for action it became necessary to bring Sixtus to close quarters. In a conference between the Pope and Olivares on the 24th February 1586, the former had unsuspectingly been entrapped into a promise "to agree with whatever his Majesty thinks best in the matter (i.e., of a successor to Mary Stuart in case of her death), and he will do what may be necessary." This was the lever which was subsequently used to force Sixtus unwillingly to accept Philip's views. In June, 1587 (page 112) the King instructs Olivares, when the time seemed opportune, to request the Pope to confirm the exclusion of James VI. from the English throne, and to repeat his promise to agree to the successor to be chosen by Philip. The latter was full of misgivings of the churchmen, and dreaded the influence of "French" Cardinals, who would persuade James VI. to profess Catholicism ; but he knew that he could only bring the Pope to his views by proceeding warily, step by step, until Sixtus had been drawn into a position from which he could not recede. Olivares represents the Pontiff unmercifully as a greedy, garrulous, old man ; and in truth, so far as can be gathered from the correspondence, the Pope's apprehensions were largely centred upon the money subsidy which he had promised. His anxiety to prevent Philip from obtaining a ducat, except on the conditions he had laid down of the prior success of the Armada, appears to have led him away from the scent of Philip's political plans, of which the Catholic Church was intended to be the tool. He found himself very soon in a position of powerlessness to avoid giving Philip a free hand, by reason of the growing intimacy between the king of France and the Huguenots, and the failure of Catherine de Medici to induce the Guises to lay down their arms.

Sixtus could not afford to countenance a king tainted with heresy, and in his impotent rage (page 114) was easily influenced by the clever diplomacy of Olivares. "With regard to the question of the successor," said Olivares to the Pope, "his Majesty assumes that his Holiness will already have been informed of the well known fact that when the Queen of Scotland was taken a will was found, in which she left his Majesty (Philip) heir to the crown, this being the reason of her death, and of the approval of it by the King of France. Although this will has been concealed by the Queen of England his Majesty has an autograph letter from the Queen of Scotland to Don Bernardino de Mendoza ... in which she announces her intention of making this disposition, in case her son should not be converted to Catholicism at the time of her death, as she feared. Both documents originated in the Queen's having understood the right to the crown possessed by his Majesty in virtue of his descent from the House of Lancaster, both by the line of Castile and that of Portugal, (fn. 5) his claim being a more valid one than that of any other claimant ... beside the double disqualification of heresy and bastardy under which they all suffer" (page 117). Olivares then proceeds to beg the Pope to advise his master as to the course he ought to pursue. He assures the Pope that Philip does not desire to keep England for himself, but still a Catholic monarch must be found, or all their efforts would be useless, and so, with much sanctimonious profession, Sixtus is besought to aid the Spanish King in his conscientious perplexity. After much pressing Olivares obtained the appointment of Cardinals Rusticucci and Santa Severina, both neutrals, to aid Cardinal Caraffa, the Secretary of State, Cardinal Deça and Olivares himself to draw up the agreement between Spain and the Papacy. The three last personages were Spanish agents, and the capitulation was so worded that on the 30th July Olivares could write jubilantly to Philip sending him the Pope's conditional warrant for a million ducats, and saying :— "One of the clauses was with regard to the new King (of England), and they tried to stipulate that he should be chosen by common accord ; but it was in the end left to your Majesty, and the clause was so worded that your Majesty might appoint the Prince or the Infanta. There is no doubt on this point, and the Cardinal is of the same opinion, although there was an apparent desire to lead up to the Pope's recommending one of his nephews or the Infanta. I let it pass, as the general wording embraces the whole thing. ... The matter of the investiture was so wrapped up that he passed over it without cavil or difficulty... His suspicions were not aroused by the said clause, which may be brought to induce him, the Pope, to give the investiture to your Majesty, on condition of your at once substituting another in your place, and this would be important." But, however unsuspicious Sixtus may have been on this occasion, being more interested for the moment in the financial than the political side of the question, before many days had passed the "French" Cardinals had worked him into a fury of anger and distrust. Against his will he had been almost bullied by Olivares into making Allen a Cardinal, greatly to the annoyance of the majority of the Sacred College ; but he learnt at the same time that Philip was arranging for the bestowal of the English bishoprics upon ecclesiastics of his own choice. For nearly a century the monarchs of Spain had been at issue with the Papacy in the matter of the supremacy of the crown over the Spanish Church, and bit by bit the hold of the Pontiff over ecclesiastical patronage in Spain had been wrested from him. But now that Sixtus learnt of Philip's attempt to extend even to England his power over the bishops, he fulminated against the Catholic King threats of divine vengeance, unless he repented of "his great sin." "The Vicar of Christ," he said, "must be obeyed without reply in questions touching salvation" (page 133). It may have suited Philip for his own ends to profess abject lip-service to the "Vicar of Christ," but considering that Olivares with impunity jeers at Sixtus to his master as a violent-tempered, gossiping, old curmudgeon, who smashes crockery at table, and thinks more of ducats than devotion, it may be doubted whether the King of Spain was very deeply touched by the Pope's anger. Through the whole correspondence it is evident that Philip's only anxiety was to lull the suspicions of Sixtus to the extent of obtaining his money-subsidy, and prevent him from openly siding with the "French" faction until Spanish influence had become dominant in England.

In the meanwhile, during the autumn of 1587, the alarm in England was growing. Drake, the sailors, and the advanced Protestant party were urging the Queen to allow the English fleet to take the offensive, whilst Burghley and the Conservatives were doing their best to avoid a national war with Spain, for the attitude of James VI. towards the Catholics, and the shiftiness of Henry III., gave them pause. The capture of the Sluys, too, by Parma (pages 126, 135, &c.) was a blow to the Protestant cause which deepened Elizabeth's anger and apprehension, for it gave to Philip an alternative harbour to Dunkirk, from which an invading army might sail, and, notwithstanding "Puritan" opposition, the peace negotiations were earnestly pushed forward in London (pages 140-1, 149, &c.) It is, however, easy to see that the hope of Elizabeth and the Conservatives was partly founded on the idea that Parma might, after all, play false to his uncle, King Philip ; and, for the sake of the sovereignty of Flanders for himself, consent to a peace with England, which should render Spain powerless (pages 140, 175, &c.). We have already glanced at some of the reasons which rendered this idea plausible, and apparently Philip was not entirely without fear in this respect. In a most important letter dated, 4th September, from him to Parma, in which the final plan of the Armada is conveyed to the latter, the King, in an emotional style quite unusual with him, exhorts Farnese to zeal. "The most important of all things is that you should be so completely ready that the moment the Marquis (of Santa Cruz) arrives at Margate, you may be able to do your share without delay. You will see the danger of any such delay ; the Armada being there and you behindhand : as until your passage is effected he will have no harbour for shelter, whereas, when you have crossed over he will have the safe and spacious river Thames. Otherwise he will be at the mercy of the weather ; and if, which God forbid! any misfortune should happen to him, you will understand what a state it will put us into. All will be assured, please God, by your good understanding, but you must not forget that the forces collected, and the vast money responsibility incurred, make it extremely difficult for such an expedition again to be got together if they escape us this time ; whilst the obstacles and divisions which may arise (and certainly will do so) next summer, force us to undertake the enterprise this year or fail altogether, which I hope will not occur, but that great success may attend us by God's grace, since you are to be the instrument, and I have so bountifully supplied you with money. On other occasions I have written to you how all our prestige is at stake, and how much my own tranquillity depends upon the success of the undertaking ; and I once more enjoin you earnestly to justify me for the trust I place in you. Pray send me word that there shall be no shortcoming in these respects, as until we get such advice I shall be very anxious" (page 137).

In England, we are told, the people at large were desirous of peace, but although the Commissioners were appointed to go to Flanders early in September, the efforts of Leicester in Holland and Walsingham at court, detained them in England until the middle of February 1588, during which five months the chances of the English fleet taking the offensive or the Peace Commission commencing its work fluctuated constantly as the influence of the Leicester or Burghley party swayed the Queen. The belief in the sincerity of Philip and Parma in undertaking the peace negotiations had now almost entirely disappeared in England ; for a change in the influences surrounding James VI. had divulged the treacherous plot which had been concocted between Spain and the Scottish Catholics. Simultaneously, therefore, with the departure of the English Peace Commissioners for Flanders, strenuous efforts—of which full particulars will be found in these papers—were made to place England in a state of defence, and it was now obvious that the object of both parties was to delay the declaration of war for their own purposes.

It was known in England that the long delay in the sailing of the Armada, and the vast expense necessary to keep so great an armament afoot in Spain and Flanders, had strained Philip's resources to the utmost, and it was thought that further delay would add to his embarassment, whilst allowing the English to marshal their means of defence. On the other hand, Philip desired to be able to choose his own time for action ; for his rigid system of centralisation caused the mobilisation and victualling of his forces to proceed with difficulty and slowness, and much still had to be done ; besides which the Marquis of Santa Cruz had succeeded in convincing him of the danger of attempting his great stroke in midwinter. So far, therefore, as Philip and the English were concerned, both sides thought they were tricking the other by the negotiations, and the only persons who anticipated or hoped for peace, were a few English Conservatives and moderate Catholics, and the Catholic Flemings by whom Parma was surrounded. Parma's own attitude at this juncture, and afterwards, has always been one of the riddles of history, which these papers to some extent solve for the first time. That he was sulky and discontented with Philip is evident, for he and his had been very badly used, and there is no doubt that he was fully aware of the English desire to settle the long quarrel by acknowledging him as semi-independent Catholic sovereign of the Netherlands—a position which he might with justice think that he had deserved.

But Philip was a hard taskmaster, and had a short way with persons whom he suspected, and whatever Parma's hopes may have been, it behoved him to be wary. It will have been seen by Philip's letter to him of September 4th, already quoted, that he was instructed to have his army ready at the ports, and to await the arrival of the Armada in September or October 1587. From various causes the Armada was delayed, and when it was evident that months more would pass before it could come, Parma, believing Philip's own words, that such a delay meant failure (page 137), lost all hope of a successful issue. Philip had laid down precise instructions for his action, and yet in December he wrote to Parma in the supposition that he might have acted independently, and have invaded England without waiting for the Armada. This letter seems to have filled Parma with indignation and dismay. He evidently thought it was a trap to ruin him, and began anew to doubt his uncle's sincerity, for he had long chafed at and resented the half confidence with which he was treated. In powerful words he sets forth the impossibility of his doing what the King suggests, surrounded as he was with difficulty and debt, his army dying by plague and dwindling by desertion, and the Protestants in England and on the Continent alert and now fully armed. The Armada, he knew, was forestalled and doomed to failure, except with an unheard of combination of favourable circumstances, and he did not hesitate to tell the King what he thought (pages 200-1), and urged him to allow him to make peace in earnest (pages 236-8), rather than risk the utter ruin of defeat.

It was evident to Parma, as to all the world, that no peace could be made with England that did not embrace some settlement of the question of Holland and Flanders, and he knew that the aim of the moderate party in England and Holland, as well as of the Catholic Flemings, was to secure for him the sovereignty of the Belgic provinces. It is, therefore, not surprising that he should look askance at his uncle's implied doubt as to his zeal, conveyed in the suggestion above referred to, and when he learnt that Philip was determined to persist in an attempt which was almost bound to fail, he, Parma, resolved to make himself safe by adhering to the strict letter of his instructions, without going a hair's breadth beyond them, whilst at the same time avoiding for himself an unduly conspicuous identification with Spanish objects.

Not only do his own vigorous letters in this volume bear out this view, but it is fully confirmed by the bitter accusations and violence of the Spanish officers against him after the failure of the Armada. He was able to justify his action fully to Philip, who made the best of it, but it is clear from these letters that he was determined to be on the safe side, whatever happened, and was able, thanks to his masterly management, to effect his object.

The death of the Marquis of Santa Cruz, early in February 1588, once more threw the preparations for the Armada in arrear. The old Admiral, whose original vast plans were too costly for Philip to adopt, was from the first opposed to the arrangement by which the command was to be divided between him and Parma, and the expedition was to have two bases instead of one. Men and ships had to be brought to Lisbon from ports in Spain, Italy, and Portugul, and a great army concentrated in Flanders. The preparation and transport of the enormous quantity of stores needed were difficult and costly under Philip's system, and the old Admiral was in despair at the incompetence of his subordinates, and at the King's impracticable insistence upon sending the fleet on its difficult errand, half-manned, insufficiently provisioned, and badly armed, in the depth of winter. The King's undeserved reproaches and sneers at length broke the heart of Santa Cruz, and with his death the last hope for the success of the Armada vanished. Money was Philip's main difficulty. We have seen the straits to which Parma was reduced in Flanders (pages 201, 211, 238, etc.), but the need for funds in Spain was even more pressing. As time went on and the Armada still tarried in port, the Pope grew more doubtful and disinclined to part with his money, for the "French" cardinals, the Carthusians, and the secular priests, were for ever warning him against the political ambition of Philip and his tools, the Jesuits. Olivares pushed him as far as was safe, and exhausted every means to obtain an advance of the papal subsidy, but without effect. The methods he employed may be seen by his many letters to the King in this volume ; but it is evident that Sixtus was now thoroughly alive to Philip's aims in England, deeply resentful of the King's claims over the English bishoprics, and inclined to listen to Dr. Owen Lewis, Bishop of Cassano, and the French and Scots in their plans to avoid a political domination of England by Spain. How much this was the case at the time (the winter of 1587-8) will be seen not only by Olivares' letters, but by the importance attached by the Spaniards to the attempt to strengthen Philip's claim to the English crown by means of the testimony of Mary Stuart's servants present at her death ; and particularly by a letter written by Mary to be sent to the Pope announcing her bequest of her rights to Philip.

Misses Curle and Kennedy, with Gorion, the Queen's apothecary, and other servants, came to Mendoza in Paris in October 1587 with Mary Stuart's last letter (printed in Volume 3 of the calendar), and minute verbal testamentary messages and presents (page 152). These directions were religiously fulfilled by Philip, and liberal pensions given to the servants, particularly Miss Curle, her brother, and Gorion, who could, and in due time did, give sworn testimony of Mary's having made Philip her heir. But what was considered of more importance still was the letter for the Pope, which Mary had entrusted to her physician (Bourgoing?) for delivery. Bourgoing does not appear to have been very zealous about it, and instead of going to Rome handed the letter to the Archbishop of Glasgow in Paris. The Archbishop had been completely gained by Mendoza to Spanish interests, and was easily dealt with. The intrigues by which Mendoza contrived to have this letter kept secret from the Nuncio, and the French and Scotch party, are curiously detailed in the correspondence ; the object being to have it sent to a "Spanish" cardinal in Rome (Mondovi), who would deal with it as Olivares directed, and then, if possible, to obtain for Philip possession of the original letter, after it had been opportunely shown to the Pope. When the letter finally arrived in Rome in March 1588, Sixtus had got quite out of hand (pages 233, 239, 253), and the effect upon him anticipated from the delivery of Mary Stuart's letter was not produced. So far from being acquiescent now it is clear that he was opposed to the Spanish plans, and went to the length of having Philip's name written in cipher in the translation of Mary's letter. Olivares characteristically advises Philip, indeed, at this point to ignore the Pope's authority in the matter of his English claims. "Frankly," he says, "it would appear to me advisable to depend principally upon descent and conquest" (page 253).

The death of the Marquis of Santa Cruz rendered vacant the chief command of the Armada, and placed Philip in a new difficulty. The Spanish officers were jealous of each other, haughty, and impatient of control, and the few seamen of experience in the fleet were resentful of the traditional superiority claimed by soldiers ; who, mindful of the still recent days when the only fighting ships were war-galleys, looked upon mariners as drudges, whose sole duty it was to carry the soldiers into action. Under the circumstances, therefore, it was impossible to appoint a seaman like Martinez de Recalde or Martin de Bertondona to the supreme command of an expedition including the flower of the Spanish nobility and army ; whilst no soldier or landsman could hope to secure the obedience of the sailors, unless he was of the highest rank and reputation. The only such man available was the Duke of Medina Sidonia, whose lordship extended over much of the Andalucian coast, and whose splendour of birth and fortune made him stand higher than any other noble in Spain. When his appointment to the supreme command was conveyed to him (February 1588, page 207) he despairingly protested his own insufficiency, and resolutely refused the honour. He should, he said, certainly fail, "I do not understand it ; I know nothing about it ; I have no health for the sea and no money to spend." But Philip would take no denial (page 209), for the Duke's ignorance and ineptitude were for him a recommendation, because they would allow the recluse at the Escorial really to command the fleet himself, and to organise victory from his cell. It was this mania for working everything from a remote centre, in those days of slow travelling, that doomed the whole of Philip's plans to ultimate failure.

All through the spring the hollow negotiations for peace were proceeding near Ostend, whilst Parma was standing with his plague-stricken army and his flatbottom boats, waiting for the coming of the great Armada, which his military experience convinced him must fail (pages 237-8). In his letter to the King of 20th March, he plainly states the almost insuperable difficulties of the undertaking, and lays down as a positive condition, that large sums of money must be sent to him, and, above all, that the 6,000 Spanish veterans he had always stipulated for, must be added by the Armada to his own mixed force before he would move. This point he reiterated on every occasion, and from it he would never budge. The Armada must give him 6,000 Spanish veterans to land on English soil, and must protect his passage across the Channel ; and although Philip, in his usual way, seemed to acquiesce in his nephew's insistence, it is evident from the important series of instructions given to Medina Sidona for his guidance (page 245), that he did so with a mental reservation—a want of frankness which produced subsequently a plentiful crop of troubles. "If," he says, "the Armada shall not have had to fight, you will let my nephew have the 6,000 Spaniards you are to give him, but if you have had to engage the enemy, the giving of the men to the Duke will have to depend upon the amount of loss you may have sustained in gaining the hoped for victory." The instructions to Medina Sidonia, and the secret orders to be handed to Parma only in the event of his establishing a footing in England (page 251), are worthy of very careful study, as they throw a fuller light than has ever yet existed upon Philip's real designs towards England, and are also very characteristic of his methods and views. His invariable habit of coupling the success of his plans with the Deity, as if he, Philip, was, in a sense, a junior partner with Providence, is indulged in to the full. "In the first place, as all victories are the gifts of God Almighty, and the cause we champion is so exclusively His, we may fairly look for His aid and favour." All blasphemy and evil carriage on the Armada were therefore strictly forbidden ; and good conduct was to be enforced under heavy penalties ; "in order that the punishment for toleration of such sin may not fall upon all of us. You are going to fight for the cause of Our Lord, and for the glory of His name, and consequently He must be worshipped by all, so that His favour may be deserved. This favour is being so fervently besought in all parts, that you may go full of encouragement that, by the mercy of God, His forces will be added to your own." With this preamble the Duke was instructed to sail, if possible, straight for the rendezvous off Margate, where he was to join hands with Parma, and, except in the case of tempest making a refuge necessary, he was not to enter port until he arrived there. Even if he learnt that Drake had sailed for Spain he was not to allow himself to be diverted from the voyage : "But if he (Drake) follows or approaches "you, you may then attack him ; and the same instructions will serve if you meet Drake at the mouth of the Channel with his fleet, because if their forces are thus divided it would be well to conquer them piecemeal, so as to prevent the junction of all of them. If you do not come across the enemy before you arrive off Cape Margate, and find there only the Lord Admiral with his fleet, or even if you find the united fleets of the Lord Admiral and Drake, yours should be superior to both of them in quality, and you may, in God's name and cause, give battle to them, trying to gain the wind and every other advantage, in the hope that our Lord may give you the victory."

For years Philip's spies and the sailors who had suffered from Drake's attacks had reported the handiness of the English ships and the superiority of their artillery practice ; and although Philip and his officers had not profited by the lessons in the construction and arming of their vessels, yet at this late hour, when the Spanish ships remained slow and unweatherly, and were overcrowded with swaggering soldiers, who still swore by their pikes and harquebusses, and looked upon ships' cannons as a base arm, the King says :—"Above all it must be borne in mind that the enemy's object will be to fight at long distance, in consequence of his advantage in artillery, and the large number of artificial fires with which he will be furnished. The aim of our men, on the contrary, must be to bring him to close quarters and grapple with him, and you will be very careful to have this carried out. For your information a statement is sent to you describing the way in which the enemy employs his artillery, in order to deliver his fire low and sink his opponent's ships ; and you will take such precautions as you consider necessary in this respect." This shows a perfect foreknowledge of the English tactics, and it gives the measure of the incompetence of Philip and his advisers to carry out such an expedition as the Armada. They knew the English were superior in two vital respects, yet so conservative were they that they made no attempt to rival or excel their enemy in these respects, but simply endeavoured to overcome him by old tactics, and with vessels and arms which his enterprise had made obsolete. It was expecting too much of Providence to rely upon sanctimonious appeals and, to anticipate certain victory, as Philip did, after having himself neglected the very first condition which would contribute to success.

The only point upon which he appears to have been doubtful was the cordial co-operation of Parma and Medina Sidonia, and he solemnly exhorted both of them to loyal joint-action, which was mainly rendered difficult by his grudging half-confidence in his illustrious nephew (page 248). By the secret instruction to Parma—one of the most important documents in this volume—it will be seen that the latter was not to be informed of the King's real intentions towards England, unless he actually landed there ; and consequently Parma never learnt, what we know now, was the minimum of concession upon which Philip would have made peace with England. If, after landing, Parma found he could not subdue the country, and peace negotiations became desirable, Philip only imposed three conditions which in case of need might be reduced to two or perhaps to one. 1st. That the free use and exercise of "our holy Catholic faith" should be permitted in England to all Catholics, native and foreign, and exiled English Catholics be permitted to return home. 2nd. That the Netherlands fortresses in English occupation should be restored to Spain ; and 3rd. That a large indemnity should be paid by England. The third claim was to be presented merely as a matter of form, and the second was opened to discussion, but as a last resource, in the event of the Armada being only partially successful, Philip would have accepted as a settlement the toleration of Catholicism in England ; and perhaps the restoration to him of Flushing.

By the end of April the Armada in Lisbon was pronounced to be ready to sail, and interesting details of the strength, provisioning, armament, &c. of the great fleet, and of Parma's army will be found on pages 269, 274, 280-286, 290, &c. ; and side by side with these particulars, the details of the English preparations as sent by Spanish spies, may also be read with interest. The minute orders issued by Medina Sidonia to the fleet prior to sailing are most curious, and reflect the King's influence in every paragraph. No point, however trivial, seems to have been overlooked ; but though the orders are sanctimonious and prim enough to suit a convent school, (page 290) only a few days afterwards, when the Armada had barely left the Tagus, it was clear that far more important matters had been neglected or mismanaged. The Duke already speaks doubtfully about being able to give Parma his 6,000 men, and opines that it would be better to beat the enemy at sea first "and the rest will be safe and easy," which meant that Medina Sidonia wished to obtain the credit for the victory himself, and to leave Parma as little as possible. Then came the significant admissions that "the last muster does not satisfy me, as there are always opportunities for evasion in port" : the victuals were "shipped very stale," and "are spoiling and rotting fast" (page 302). Knocking about on the Portuguese coast and in the Bay of Biscay in a gale until the 19th June—nearly three weeks—still further reduced the provisions, and before the Duke entered Corunna on the latter date he confessed to the King (page 303) that the stores were bad and short and the hulks slow. "The victuals arc so rotten and stinking that many have been thrown overboard to save the men from pestilence." In great trouble and anxiety, orders were sent to seize all food that could be found on shore, and whilst the battered and crippled fleet was slowly repaired and concentrated again, the Duke quite lost heart. "Many men are falling sick," he wrote, "aided by short commons and bad food, and I am afraid that this trouble may spread and become past remedy" (page 315). Every day he grew less confident about giving Parma his 6,000 men, greatly to Parma's indignation, (page 316) and finally on the 24th June, Medina Sidonia writes almost tearfully to the King, recommending him to abandon the expedition altogether (page 318). Philip had, however, now gone too far for this. After thirty years of hesitancy, he had staked everything upon making England a Catholic country, for with the danger of a Huguenot king in France, the whole future of Spain depended upon this, and he dared not draw back. He could only, therefore, sternly command the timid Duke to fulfil his task without delay (page 326). The reports of the councils of admirals called by the Duke at Corunna (pages 321 and 348) show that he had now lost all prestige with those under him, and that the condition of things on board the fleet was even worse than he had dared to tell the King. But there was no help for it, and the Armada sailed from Corunna on the 23rd July (N.S.) with nearly its full strength (page 339), after all the men, soldiers and sailors, had been confessed and absolved by the friars, on an island in Corunna harbour ; great precautions being taken to prevent desertion. "The friars tell me that they have already confessed and absolved 8,000 of them. This is such an inestimable treasure that I esteem it more highly than the most precious jewel I carry on the fleet" (page 338).

From this point the story of the Armada is told daily by those on board, from Medina Sidonia to the common sailors, as it has never been told in English before. Medina Sidonia's successive letters to Parma, and his reports to the King mark the rapid decline of confidence of all hands. After the first fight off Plymouth, the Duke's cool doubts about being able to give reinforcements to Parma degenerated into beseeching appeals for Parma to come out and reinforce him. The minute descriptions contained in the papers printed in this volume depict from all the points of view, the utter demoralisation that existed. On the 30th July (O.S.) Medina Sidonia wrote to the King that he dared not proceed beyond the Isle of Wight until he got into touch with Parma ; and only two days afterwards he assured the latter that "it is my intention, with God's help, to continue my voyage without allowing anything to divert me until I receive from your Excellency instructions as to what I am to do, and where I am to wait for you to join me" (page 358). Pilots, ammunition, water, protection, instructions, were all plaintively begged for by Medina Sidonia. Parma was furiously indignant, and both to the King and the Duke he reiterated, again and again, that the Armada had come to protect his passage across, and clear the sea of enemies. He, with his flat-bottomed riverboats "that will not stand a freshet, much less a tempest," could not, and would not, stir until the Armada performed its part ; and he and his army, reinforced by 6,000 veteran Spaniards, might cross in safety to the mouth of the Thames. From the relations of those on board the fleet, supplemented by the reports of the Spanish spies in England, especially those of the Genoese Messia, the whole history of the disastrous expedition may be gathered. In a certain number of narratives in private collections, such as that of Captain Cuellar, published by Captain Fernandez Duro, some of the personal experiences may be related more vividly than is the case with the accounts in this volume, but picturesque incidents are plentiful, even in these papers ; especially in Medina Sidonia's own letters and diary (page 394) ; the relation of the Chief Purser, Coco Calderon, (page 439) and the account of Juan de Nova of his adventures in Ireland (page 506) ; whilst the full particulars here published relating to the loss of the flag-galleass San Lorenzo, off Calais, and the adventures of the flag-ship Santa Ana, and the galleass Zuñiga, on the French coast, have hitherto been entirely unknown.

Philip was anxiously waiting and praying for the news of the expedition upon which he had staked so much ; and the first intelligence that reached him came from Mendoza in Paris, who reported that the Armada had gained a great victory over Drake on the 2nd August (N.S.). Mendoza was a bigot, whose conduct in England, and his share in the plots against Elizabeth, had marked him out for the special hatred of the Protestants, and this first false news of victory has for three centuries been attributed to his invention, and brought endless ridicule upon him. It will be seen by his despatch (page 369), that the false news was transmitted to him from his agent at Rouen, and he must, therefore, be held blameless in this respect. When, however, he sent the news hurriedly of the arrival of the Armada at Calais, and of the battle of Gravelines, the day after its escape from the fire ships, and attempted to buoy up the King still with the idea that the expedition was after all a success (pages 376-8, 379, 381, 386, 388, 408, &c.), the King, who had eagerly thanked him for his former communication (pages 384, 385), scrawled on the margin of his letters cautions to the effect that "this will turn out like the first news he sent," and other impatient expressions (pages 389 and 453) ; for Philip deceived himself no longer, and knew that his laborious efforts had failed, although the full extent of the catastrophe only reached him gradually. He was not unduly jubilant when he received the false news of his victory (page 385), and when the knowledge of his defeat reached him, he indulged in no reproaches or complaints against his officers. Mendoza, who especially disliked Parma, did not hide his opinion, that treachery had been at work, and the officers on the Armada and the spies were full of hints of Parma's falseness, of Medina Sidonia's cowardice and ineptitude, and of the frauds of the commissaries, but the King made no sign, and blamed no one. Parma's own letters of exculpation (pages 370, 406, and 502) appear to offer a complete answer to his traducers, inasmuch as he adhered to the letter of his instructions ; but it is evident all through that he had no belief in the success of the expedition, and peace would have suited his personal interests better than war.

Although Philip ceaselessly urged Mendoza to send him more information from England, the reports of his spies were extremely full and interesting. The characteristic letters of the Portuguese traitor, Antonio de Vega, continued to report, although he was now suspected both by Walsingham and Don Antonio, such information of English armaments, and of the pretender's movements as he could gather, and his reports respecting the Armada, on pages 382 and 389, are full of interest, as also are those of the Genoese spy, Marco Antonio Messia, on pages 418 (where a very curious account will be found of the rejoicings in London), 422, 436, 450, 454, 479, &c. (fn. 6) This man makes many interesting references to the Spanish prisoners in Bridewell, and appears to have been in many respects a worthy person. He was another instance, like De Guaras and Fogaza, mentioned in previous volumes of this calendar, of the ungrateful way in which Philip treated his instruments ; and his wretched story of debt and danger in the service of Spain, until his death as a doubly-false English spy in Madrid, is set forth quite dramatically in his letters.

There was hardly a man near the unfortunate pretender Don Antonio in England but played him false ; and in many cases his adherents were sold both to England and Spain to spy upon both. It may be doubted whether the vain, boastful Antonio de Vega was so important a person as he tried to make out ; for his frequent harebrained schemes to kill Don Antonio, and to effect diplomatic arrangements, and the like, never came to anything ; but Escobar, the pretender's agent in France, Ferreira da Gama, one of his closest friends, and Manoel de Andrada —to whom reference will be made later—were able to render important services to Spain, and to frustrate all their master's efforts to regain his crown. We have seen that the preparations for Drake's dash upon Cadiz in 1587 were made under cover of Don Antonio's name, and the same course was followed in the earlier naval armaments to resist the Armada ; but the peace negotiations with Parma filled the pretender with alarm, and he attempted to escape from England (March 1588, pages 240-1), but was politely stopped in the Downs and brought back, the Queen reproaching him quite coquettishly for wishing to leave her ; for he was still a useful stalking-horse, and might, he himself feared, become a valuable asset to exchange in negotiations with Philip. Before the remains of the Armada had returned to Spain the English sailors, particularly, were burning to do what they had been urging upon the Queen for a year, namely, to strike a crushing blow at Philip in his own dominions. The Queen was still timid and uncertain ; as yet unconvinced, as was nearly everybody but Winter and Drake, of the completeness of the Spanish defeat ; and if the sailors were to be allowed to have their way, it must be behind the mask of Don Antonio. The latter was not scrupulous as to where he got help : these papers represent him clamouring for support to the French Huguenots, the Flemish Protestants, the Grand Turk, and the Sultan of Morocco ; and no movement, no project even, was conceived by him that was not promptly reported to Mendoza and Philip by the false Portuguese. Elizabeth herself ostensibly held aloof (page 453), but subscribed largely to the joint stock company which was formed to undertake the expedition (fn. 7) (pages 482, 484, and 511). Amongst other Portuguese adherents, Andrada—otherwise David—was summoned by Don Antonio to England to take part in the attempt, and in accord with Mendoza, though not without misgiving, for he knew his master had cause to suspect him, he went to Plymouth as a spy, but cleverly avoided embarking in Drake's fleet. From him (page 522) and De Vega minute, and apparently trustworthy, particulars were sent to Mendoza of the fleet and army to be taken by Drake and Norris to restore Don Antonio to his throne ; and Philip and his nephew, the Archduke Albert in Lisbon, were fully prepared to withstand the expedition. The attack upon Corunna was unpremeditated, and consequently was a surprise ; but more harm was done there to the expedition than to Spain ; and in the extremely interesting, and hitherto unknown account of the abortive voyage, given by Don Antonio himself on his return (pages 547 and 553-5) it will be seen that he confirms the reports of all other actors in it, that the indiscipline, delay, and drunkenness at Corunna, united to the unwisdom of Norris' land attack upon Lisbon without siege artillery, caused the disaster.

The man whose influence had first been exerted in favour of Don Antonio in the English court was the Queen's physician, Dr. Ruy Lopez, through whom much of the pretender's correspondence passed. Like the other Portuguese friends of Don Antonio, however, Lopez was quite ready to betray his prince ; and after the failure of the expedition to Lisbon, apologised to Elizabeth for urging the cause of so troublesome a suitor. Even before this, Lopez's had been mentioned by De Vega to Mendoza as being willing to poison Don Antonio for a consideration ; but in any case there is no doubt that after 1589, if not previously, Lopez was a protégé of the Cecil party, who were opposed to an adventurous foreign policy, and sought an opportunity of an agreement with Spain. Several references have already been made in this introduction to a certain Manoel de Andrada, a confidant of Don Antonio, who was a good linguist, and was useful in the pretender's communications with the revolted Flemings. This man, as we have seen, was one of Mendoza's most active and zealous spies in England ; and early in 1590 he wrote some letters to Mendoza, informing him of Don Antonio's intention of crossing the Channel to seek the aid of Henry IV. against their common foe Philip, and detailing a plot which he, Andrada, had arranged for Antonio's capture. These letters were intercepted and Andrada was imprisoned (page 572). Through the influence of Lopez, enlisted by his brother-in-law, one Anes, who also offered his services as a spy and to kill Don Antonio if necessary, Andrada was released ; and as he tells the story (page 474), was brought into contact with Lopez, when the latter made an important suggestion to him. He had, he said, already shown his attachment to the Spanish cause by offering to kill Don Antonio, and by saving from the gallows many of the prisoners from the Armada, and "I might now tell Don Bernardino de Mendoza that if he (Dr. Lopez) received his Majesty's orders to negotiate an arrangement, this was the time. He was sure, he said, that the Queen would concede any terms that were demanded of her, as she was in great alarm. It was not necessary to write about this, but that I should go to Calais and write to him from there, to the effect that, bearing in mind the clemency the Queen had extended to me, I was discussing with Don Bernardino de Mendoza subjects which would redound greatly to the advantage of her country ; and that if a passport were sent enabling me to go backwards and forwards freely (which he promised should be sent at once), I could come and stay secretly in his house, where Secretary Walsingham would come and speak with me. He, Lopez, had no doubt that the Queen would come to terms with his Majesty, and would force Don Antonio to do likewise, on conditions that his Majesty might think just. She would also cause the Netherlands to agree, and he, Dr. Lopez, on his part, would endeavour that everything should be done to his Majesty's satisfaction. No one was to know, however, that he had discussed this matter with me. He would continue to let me know the decisions of the Queen's Council ; and when things were sufficiently advanced towards a conclusion to his Majesty's satisfaction, personages might be sent to make the formal contracts. He hopes that everything may thus be settled speedily and advantageously for his Majesty. ... If an arrangement be not arrived at, he promises that Don Antonio shall be sent away from England or detained there, as his Majesty may desire, and ... if the present suggested arrangement fell through, he would continue to protect his Majesty's interests in England."

It is certain that Lopez would not have taken such a course as this—or even that the Queen would have released Andrada to begin with—without the connivance of Lord Burghley, who, we have seen all through these papers, lost no opportunity of approaching Spain. Mendoza, however, and probably his master, who was now in the thick of his struggle in France, evidently did not believe in the possibility of the arrangement suggested, and it was agreed that, although Andrada should go to Spain and report to Philip, it was only that he might afterwards be able, under cover of the negotiations for an agreement, to go backwards and forwards and render account of what was going on in England (page 576) ; and Mendoza adds a request to Philip that he will fitly reward him, Andrada, for the services he has rendered so zealously, and at so much personal risk. This may account for the possession by Andrada of Philip's token-ring, of which so much was subsequently made. In any case, Andrada thenceforward became one of Burghley's agents with Dr. Lopez, and for the next three years went backwards and forwards as suggested, partly as a double spy ; and, so far as Burghley and his party were concerned, in the interests of peace. That concurrently with this, the suggestion so often made to poison Don Antonio may have continued, is, of course, possible, although unlikely, for the pretender was powerless thenceforward ; but the letters just quoted give a sufficient innocent reason for Lopez's admitted correspondence with the Spaniards, and explain Andrada's connection with it. In the meanwhile an enemy to peace with Philip, more bitter and artful than any other in the world, arrived in England, and the subtle brain of Antonio Perez was at the service of hot-headed young Essex, to ruin, by fair means or by foul, the peace policy of the Cecils. Perez was a plausible rogue, and over the wine cup wormed out some hints of Lopez's negotiations. Some of the Portuguese agents and spies were taken with compromising papers in their possession, at Perez's suggestion. They were tortured and terrorised until Lopez's name was wrung out of them, and then the long suspended blow fell upon the Queen's physician. The Cecils, whose agent he was, fought hard for him ; for they probably knew quite well that he was innocent of crime with which Essex and Perez charged him, namely, an intention to kill the Queen. The Queen herself at first believed Sir Robert Cecil's assurance that the jealousy of Essex was at the bottom of the accusation, and she flew in a violent rage with her favourite. But Essex was powerful, and Perez had the cunning of a malignant devil, and the toils were spun round Lopez. All the agents were doubly sold traitors, and Lopez himself was paid by both sides. Under torture and fear compromising admissions were obtained, and it was asserted even that Lopez himself had confessed his guilt, though he solemnly avowed his innocence on the scaffold. Popular feeling was stirred, and the Cecils did as they had done before on other occasions, abandoned their agent rather than risk a complete rupture with Essex on an unpopular issue. It would be too much to say that the letter quoted in this Calendar proves Lopez's innocence, but it goes very far to explain the facts upon which his guilt was mainly presumed.

Through the whole of the Armada period the conspiracy of Huntly and the other Scottish nobles, referred to in the last volume of this Calendar, continued. For reasons assigned in Bruce's correspondence, the plan for an armed Spanish diversion in Scotland fell through— as, indeed, it would have done in any case after the Armada failed to sail in the autumn of 1587—and the consummate duplicity of James VI., encouraged the Catholic Spanish agents to address themselves to him direct, in order that he might control events to his own advantage. The whole of this obscure intrigue, in which James successfully hoodwinked the Catholics, and kept them quiet (fn. 8) at a critical juncture, can be followed here for the first time in the letters from Bruce to Mendoza (pages 144, 161, and 210), in those of Huntly to the Duke of Parma (pages 361 and 429), and in the references to the mission of Morton and Colonel Semple to Scotland. When the Catholic danger was over for James, and it became necessary to satisfy his English friends and his own subjects by making a pretence of punishing the treason to which he from the first had been privy, the arrest of Huntly and the sham proceedings against him were undertaken (pages 528, 548), only to end in the practical absolution of Huntly and his friends from a charge which his own letters in this volume prove to have been well founded, as the King knew. At a subsequent period (1591) a very curious account was sent to Spain, of events in Scotland at this time, including the narrative of a miraculous victory gained by Huntly over Argyll (page 588) ; and a further narrative, continuing the story to 1593 of the intrigues of the Scottish Catholics with Spain, will be found on page 603 et seq. This interesting document has especial reference to the mission of the priest John Cecil to Spain, for the purpose of negotiating for armed aid to capture James, and make Scotland a Catholic country ; and the moving spirit of the plot in Spain itself appears to have been the indefatigable Father Persons in Valladolid (pages 606-8). The negotiation was continued in the following year, 1594, by the same envoy, in conjunction with Lord Balgarys and Hugh Barclay (pages 613-16), and in 1595 by Matthew Semple, whose statement (page 617) graphically illustrates the continued chicanery by which James managed to frustrate the whole of the Catholic plans.

It is quite plain to see, however, that the aims of the Scottish Catholics and those of Philip were entirely divergent, and there was never any chance of effective aid reaching them from Spain. Their idea was to make Scotland a Catholic country and to convert James, in order that, with Spanish support, he might succeed to the throne of a Catholic England. We have seen how this dream of the Guises long ago had been dispelled by Philip, and how for years the conversion of the shifty James for his own ends had been scoffed at by Spanish agents and the English Jesuit party, notwithstanding all the charming of the Vatican. Now that James' duplicity was obvious, and his interested leaning towards the English Protestants grew more decided, it was less than ever likely that Philip would raise a finger or spend a ducat to aggrandise him. But still, as will be seen in these papers, almost to the death of Elizabeth it suited the Spaniards to encourage the Scotch Catholics and to keep them in hand, to be used as a diversion in case of need on the demise of the English Crown.

A cause that appealed much more strongly to Philip and his successor was that of the Irish Catholics in arms against England, and the documents in this Calendar treating upon that subject are of exceptional value and interest, being in most cases for the first time transcribed, and completing the information and intercepted letters printed in the Irish Calendars, and those in Pacata Hibernia and the Carew Papers. In August 1593, the Archbishop of Tuam was sent to Spain by Tyrone to seek the aid of Philip to the rising in the north of Ireland. The Catholic heir of Desmond and the other fugitives from Munster after the collapse of the Desmond rebellion were living at Lisbon on Philip's bounty, and in fervent words, seconded the prayer of the Ulstermen (page 608), and the King received the Archbishop graciously. All Ireland could, he was assured, be raised. Tyrone and O'Donnell, who had sent him, said the Archbishop, could hold the north and west ; the Geraldines had only to land in Munster for the country to join them again, whilst Baltinglas and O'Connor would raise all Leinster outside the English pale. Minute details were given to Philip of the strength of the Irish Catholic chiefs. Here, he was told, was a country as Catholic as Spain itself, ready to acclaim him as King ; and where for a trifling expenditure he could be a permanent thorn in the side of the Queen of England, who at her weakest moment might be attacked at his own convenience. Here he had no heretic King to deal with, as in Scotland ; no Protestant population to divide parties, but a whole nation hating the English bitterly, and who, safe in their own fastnesses, were only panting for deliverance from the heretic Queen, whose insignificant forces they had already defied everywhere outside the fortified towns and the foreign pale. But Philip was slow to decide. His hands were still full in France, and his treasury was exhausted ; if with small expenditure Elizabeth might be weakened, he would listen ; but, as usual, he was avid for more information—more details—before he could move. "What they demand," he scribbled to his secretary, "is very much ... You talk to him (i.e., the Archbishop), and get to the bottom of it all, and then we will see what is the very smallest aid that will be needed. If it be so small that we can give it, we will help them (page 610). Whilst the slow process of investigation by spies and others was proceeding, loving letters were sent to the Ulster chiefs in arms, in which Philip exhorted them to stand firm. For a time Tyrone carried all before him, in hope of the Spanish succour which arrived not. Swift "pataches" sailed backwards and forwards from Galicia to Ulster, carrying fervid appeals from the chiefs and taking back blessings and vague promises from Philip. But at last, in March 1596, Tryone began to lose faith. He was master of the greater part of Ireland, and could make good terms with the English, who had already consented to a truce. So he sent his confessor with an ultimatum to Philip. Either help must be sent in plenty, especially artillery, or he will make peace, and Spanish influence in Ireland will be at an end (page 617). This, at last, was sufficient to arouse Philip, who despatched one of his ensigns, Alonso Cobos, to examine and report fully upon the military position, and especially to persuade Tyrone to stand firm. He arrived only just in time to prevent the peace from being concluded, and gives (page 619) an interesting account of his negotiations. He carried back with him to Spain letters from the chiefs, still pressing for prompt help and promising to hold out until it came. A month later (May 1596) other experienced Spanish officers were sent to advise Tyrone, and to report still more fully as to the military needs ; and their reports (pages 621 to 627) are also most interesting. On their journey back they were nearly captured by the English, but eventually escaped, and brought assurance of Irish success if help were sent at once. If not, said the chiefs, the visit of the captains will do more harm than good ; and Count Portalegre, the Governor of Galicia, from whose territory the communication with Ireland was carried on, almost as urgently as the Irish chiefs, prayed that they might not be abandoned in their struggle. Portalegre himself was in mortal apprehension of the possible descent of an English fleet on the coast of Spain, to prevent the threatened junction of Spanish ships for the purpose of succouring the Ulstermen (June 1596), or to carry out the more ambitious suggestion of a descent from the Spanish base in Brittany upon England itself. Count Portalegre, who almost alone amongst Philip's officers appears to have at this time feared the advent of an English fleet, was justified in his apprehension, although Essex and Howard did not appear at the point he expected, for the day after Portalegre wrote that, "he was more anxious about it than ever he was in his life about anything," Essex's fleet sailed from Plymouth to sack Cadiz, and, for the second time, to ruin Spain's navy.

The enterprise of the Scottish and Irish Catholics, and the growing feeling amongst the English secular Catholic clergy and laity, (fn. 9) that on Elizabeth's death England might quietly become Catholic without a Spanish domination, did not altogether please the Jesuit and extreme party, which had been thrown somewhat in the shade by the failure of the Armada. Philip, himself, was old, sick, poor, and disillusioned ; he had, probably, long ago lost hope of being able to conquer and hold England as a semi-dependency by force of arms ; and, moreover, the matter was of much less importance to him, now that Henry IV. had gone to Mass, and France was a Catholic country. But there was still a certain number of zealots, led by the indefatigable Persons, who were determined, if possible, once more to get into their hands the direction of English affairs. An exceedingly interesting series of papers, mostly in the handwriting of Father Persons, dated in the autumn of 1596, will be found on page 628 et seq, in which the views of this section are persuasively set forth. Philip was making desperate, and not very successful, efforts to rally a naval force under the Adelantado of Castile, of which the destination was believed to be either Great Britain or Ireland. It was impossible for Persons and his party openly to oppose the giving of aid to the Scottish and Irish Catholics, but they were anxious that it should only be granted as part of a plan for bringing England itself under the rule of Catholics of their own type. Their tone, however, in one respect had changed vastly since 1586-7, when they represented the majority of the English nation as yearning for the coming of Philip as the sovereign by right of descent. They were only desirous now that Philip should contradict the "lies of the heretics," by making known to the English (apparently by a book to be written by Englefield) that he had no intention or desire of adding England to his dominions ; but that his daughter, the Infanta, might be selected by the English Catholics themselves for their Queen on the death of Elizabeth. Persons and his friends—including the widowed Duchess of Feria, Jane Dormer—represented that English people of high rank were looking to the future with apprehension, and that if a representative board of English refugees of position, such as Sir William Stanley, was appointed in Flanders with large powers, negotiations could easily be opened with their countrymen at home, which would ensure the peaceful acceptance of the Infanta on the Queen's death.

Persons was at the time about to start for Rome, not without some fear on the part of his friends that treachery was intended towards him there ; (page 634) but he left in these documents ample proof that, though he did not fail to see that Philip was now an impossible King of England ; his, Persons', own views and objects had not greatly changed. He was still for excommunicating the Queen, for harrying the English coasts and shipping by pirates recruited in England and Flanders, for sending to England ready-made bishops and cardinals, and for restoring to the church some of the confiscated property, which, even Philip, Mary, and Pole had not dared to return forty years before.

Persons left behind him, at Madrid, a younger and less bigoted English priest, Father Creswell, who saw clearly enough that the time had gone by for Persons' methods to be successful with his countrymen, and urged upon Philip's ministers a policy of conciliation and mildness ; and an appearance, at all events at first, of religious toleration in England (page 635).

Philip knew better than Persons and his friends that he was in no position to attack England with another Armada ; whilst the persistence of the Irish chiefs and their constant emissaries to Spain had persuaded him that, with but comparatively small support given to Tyrone and O'Donnell, he might be able to establish a firm footing in Ireland, after which his further policy towards England might be decided from that point of vantage. The indispensable Captain Cobos was accordingly again sent in September 1596 with letters to all the principal chiefs in arms, and instructions to assemble the latter, and assure them, in Philip's name, that effective Spanish aid should be sent to them. Cobos landed at Killybegs harbour at the end of September 1596, and the meeting of chiefs took place in the monastery of Donegal on the 6th October. "They thank God and your Majesty for this, and promised to die, if needful, in His service. Each took me aside separately to assure me that he and his folk would be the first to join the force when it arrived. I took O'Neil and O'Donnell apart, and said that at last the hour they had longed for had arrived, and before the winter set in the succour they had so often requested would be there. I urged them to set about what raids they could, to show their zeal ; and also to make the necessary arrangements secretly for the reception of our force. They thanked his Majesty, and said they were always ready and waiting like the faithful vassals they were. ... They had been playing fast and loose with the enemy for a long time, awaiting his Majesty's aid ; and a fortnight ago the English came with 1,500 footmen and 600 horse into their lands to force them to make peace, but they had met them, and Norris left off fighting and tried to make terms, but all they would consent to was a truce for a month and a day. All this was only to await your Majesty's succour, whilst they prevented the Queen from sending more forces" (page 638).

Cobos learnt, however, when he was at Killybegs that O'Neil had sent to Norris Philip's letter, which Cobos had brought on his previous visit in the spring, and had attempted to make capital out of it. O'Neil was voluble in his excuses and explanations, and wrote a fervent letter to Philip himself on the subject (pages 638 and 642) ; but Cobos evidently half-distrusted this correspondence with the "heretics," and "warned them (O'Neil and O'Donnell) to keep their promises better for the future." (fn. 10) When Cobos returned to Spain he carried with him a perfect sheaf of letters, petitions, and claims from the Irish chiefs, each of whom, apparently, wanted his own ends served, especially Cormack O'Neil and Hugh Boy O'Davitt. He also carried a curious appeal from some Spanish soldiers who had remained in Ireland since the wreck of the Armada (page 641).

O'Neil naturally expected prompt and effective aid to reach him within the month, but to his intense indignation nothing came until March 1597, when two small ships with some money and gunpowder put into Killybegs. O'Neil had been loudly proclaiming all the winter his loyalty to Elizabeth, for he had almost lost faith in slow Philip's fine promises, and the "Irishry" were already saying "that they loved the worst Englishman better than the best Spaniard." When the insignificant help came to him in March, he told the Spanish officers who brought it that "they were but a deceitful nation and had cosened the Irish. After all his promises the king of Spain had sent them nothing but a little powder." He would, he said, depend upon the King's help no longer. Neither O'Neil nor the English guessed at the utter state of demoralisation in which Philip's service was at the time. We can now look behind the scenes by reading Lopez de Soto's letters here summarised (page 646), and we see the complete confusion that existed. Spies reported in England the great naval preparations being made under the Adelantado of Castile, but after five months of intermittent spasmodic activity in the ports, Soto could only write at the beginning of July, to the Council of War : "Everything is in confusion ; uniforms for the men are lacking, and the cavalry is unfit for service. There is no money to provide anything, no meat, no wine, no siege artillery, hardly any guns for the ships themselves" (page 646), and the Adelantado, himself, in his rough outspoken way at the same time, July 1597, told one of Philip's ministers that "there was no fleet or any possibility of going out and facing the enemy" (page 647). Matters were nearing a crisis with O'Neil. He had kept the English in negotiations, on and off, the whole winter, and the chiefs in May had sent Thomas Lalley to Spain with fresh appeals and petitions (page 644), as fruitless as the previous ones. If only O'Neil could delay decisive action until the arrival of a new Lord Deputy, he thought that a favourable arrangement with the English might be made, but Lord de Burgh was determined to strike a crushing blow at the "base beast," as he called him, without delay.

A plan of operations was settled with Sir Conyers Clifford, and De Burgh routed and pursued O'Neil in June, and in the middle of July forced the passage of the Blackwater. Fresh despairing appeals went forth to the King of Spain ; but Philip was nearing his grave, and broken-hearted : all he desired was peace, and, at least, toleration for Catholicism, before he died. He was coming to terms at last with Henry IV. ; and his nephew, the Archduke Albert, who was to be married to his favourite daughter Isabel, and jointly with her inherit the Netherlands, was even urging the King to allow him to make peace with Elizabeth (page 649). Essex with an English fleet, moreover, in the autumn of 1597 was on the coast of Spain, and the Adelantado's ships dared not move from Ferrol ; so, again, the hopes of the Irish chiefs of Spanish support were doomed to disappointment. Philip, on his deathbed (August 1598), received news of the victory gained by O'Neil and O'Donnell over the English at Portmore, and the subsequent acceptance of the viceroyalty of Ireland by Essex ; and once more the Irish chiefs became clamorous for the long promised aid. Under the foolish and corrupt rule of Essex the rebel cause again became hopeful. Munster and Connaught were overrun by O'Neil ; and Essex himself, thinking only of his personal ambition and party rancour, treacherously entered into negotiations with O'Neil (fn. 11) (page 656). This surely was the opportunity when a strong Spanish force would have turned the scale ; but young Philip III. was in greater poverty even than his father had been, and once more reports and inquiries had to be made before help could be sent. At the beginning of 1600, therefore, the Spanish archbishop-elect of Dublin with an experienced soldier, Don Martin de la Cerda, were sent to negotiate with O'Neil, taking presents of gold chains, portraits, arms and ammunition. "As the oft promised aid from Spain was hourly expected," wrote the archbishop to the King, when we arrived with empty hands only again to repeat the old promises, they were overcome with sorrow and dismay, especially as they had news of the enemy in force both by land and sea." The archbishop did his best to re-assure the chiefs, who promised to hold out for five months longer at most, and sent back by Captain de la Cerda the glowing report of the loyalty and devotion of the Irish. O'Neil and O'Donell again wrote to the King praying for aid (page 656), and protesting their loyalty. Sixty Irish chiefs had met the Spanish emissaries at Donegal, and received the King's presents with great ceremony, "saying they would wear no other chains or yoke than those of your Majesty" (page 663). After much deliberation by the King's Council in Madrid, it was at length decided to send at once a supply of money and food to the rebels, whilst a powerful fleet was to be fitted out to carry an army of 6,000 men with arms and supplies to Ireland, and fix upon the country the sovereignty of Spain, which O'Neil represented could be had for the taking. Money and time were short, but Philip III. was young and devout, and in an interesting holograph note (page 667), shows himself to be a true son of his father, and the preparations were continued with some attempt at activity.

But in the meanwhile the English Jesuits, and even the Scottish Catholics (pages 652, 667, 677), were jealously intriguing to obtain for their respective parties Philip's support and countenance on the death of Elizabeth, which could not be very long delayed. Father Persons was in Rome, but there he prompted the Spanish ambassador, the Duke of Sessa, to address to the King and his council a report containing the views and desires of English Catholics, to secure the succession of the English crown to the Infanta Isabel, whilst Fitzherbert, the King's English secretary, forwarded the intrigue in Madrid (page 650). Whilst the council in Madrid was laboriously and copiously discussing what might be done in England on the death of the Queen, and at the same time by their inflated pretensions of superiority for Spain rendering abortive the peace negotiations with England (page 659), the succour for Ireland was at last slowly assuming shape in the Galician ports. With infinite effort several small supplies of money, arms, and a few experienced officers had been sent to Ireland ; but it took over a year before the main re-inforcement was ready. At the beginning of September 1601 the Spanish fleet of 33 vessels, under Diego Brochero, with 4,500 Spanish soldiers commanded by Don Juan del Aguila, sailed from Lisbon ; but when they were already near the Irish coast the Admiral Brochero with eight of his ships were caught in a tempest, and driven back to Spain with a large number of the soldiers. Short of men and stores, del Aguila himself took refuge in Kinsale, and there fortified himself against the English, sending back to Spain urgent prayers for support and re-inforcement. The story of the defeat of O'Neil and O'Donnell, the death of the latter in Spain, the capitulation of Kinsale, and the abandonment of the O'Sullivans and the O'Driscolls, is told in pathetic fashion by the letters in this Calendar, which henceforward must be read side by side with the papers in the Carew Calendars and in Pacata Hibernia.

Hoping against hope, the Irish refugee chiefs and priests in Spain still fervently prayed for help for the Catholic cause in Ireland. How impossible it was to give it to them is now seen for the first time, by the reports of the councils to King Philip. In secret conference the hollowness of Spain's great pretensions was sorrowfully admitted by the King's minsters, and a pathetic attempt made to keep up appearances, in order, if possible, still to have an hand in English affairs on the death of the Queen. But it was a falling off indeed in the 15 years since the haughty bluster of the Armada. In November 1602 Father Creswell, on behalf of the English Catholics, again presented a formal request to Philip III. that he would at once take measures to intervene in England on the death of the Queen. The council sadly admitted to the King that a regular armed intervention of importance would be quite impossible, but early in 1603 exhaustively discussed and considered the whole question. The Infanta and her husband had no desire to undertake what they knew was the impossible task of ruling England according to Spanish ideas. Philip's penury made it idle to dream of imposing a sovereign on the country ; and at last Count de Olivares boldly stripped the matter of all pretence, and advised that the goodwill of the English people should be gained by supporting any native candidate for the succession who might be chosen by the English Catholics. The arrangement was to be carried on from Flanders, whither a large sum of money was to be sent, and where a considerable force was to be raised to aid, if necessary, the new Catholic sovereign of England. Father Creswell was in close communication with the Catholics in England, and it is certain that this was the foundation of the plan entertained by so many important political personages in England to raise Arabella Stuart to the throne. All the evidence points to the fact that Sir Robert Cecil was from the first cognisant of these negotiations, whilst he was in secret communication with James VI. for the purpose of frustrating them when the moment arrived. There was, however, no great fear, for promptitude was of all things essential, and promptitude, either of payment or action, could never be expected of Spanish councils. In vain Cresswell clamoured desperately for the fulfilment of the promises made to the heads of the plot in England (pages 739-741), that distinct assurance should be given that they should not be left in the lurch if they proclaimed Arabella, and that sufficient armed force should at once be mustered in Flanders to support them if necessary. But whilst he was clamouring, and the fatuous Spanish council was making fine speeches, the blow fell, and Elizabeth died. Robert Cecil was ready if no one else was, and before the final reply was received from Spain, James was King of England with the acclamation of a people pleased that the succession should pass anyhow without war.

This was the impotent conclusion of fifty years of Spanish effort to obtain a dominant influence in England by means of religion. Through the whole of the papers contained in the four volumes of this Calendar the intrigue runs unbroken. Diplomacy, cajolery, threats, subornation of murder, incitement of rebellion and open war had each been tried in turn, but in every case tried too late. The blighting centralizing system of Charles V. and of Philip II., with its wooden immobility and its sluggish want of sympathy with its instruments, had been no match for the alert, vigorous methods and intensely human passions which moved the great English queen and the men of action and council who surrounded her. Spain had been beaten to a large extent by her own shortcomings, which made the task of such energetic opponents comparatively easy. But the very qualities which proved useless to her when pitted against the great Elizabethans ; the haughty, deliberate, presumption which had been pierced, buffeted, and derided by men who took nothing for granted ; by the Queen herself, by Drake and the sailors, by the Puritan party, which always prevented Spain from being taken by her own valuation : these qualities, with less real power behind them now than ever, brought timid, shifty James to his knees, and sent him truckling and cringing to the boasted power of Spain, which Englishmen of the worthier age of Elizabeth had proved to be a phantom.

Martin A. S. Hume.


  • 1. Although I have not been able to prove it conclusively, there is but small doubt in my mind that Melino was one of Persons' numerous assumed names. Its use, however, was only continued for a very short time.
  • 2. As a further means of discrediting him and the Guises in the eyes of Henry III., a most elaborate pretence of implicating him in the so-called plot, of Moody, Destrappes, and young Stafford, to kill the Queen was made. The development of this intrigue may be followed closely by reading the references to it in pages 13, 17, 39, 59, et seq. As soon as it became necessary for Elizabeth to counteract the proposed reconciliation of Henry III and the Guises, and the dominance of Morton and the Catholics in the councils of James VI., she made a characteristic amende to Chateauneuf and confessed that she had been wrong in suspecting him (page 82).
  • 3. For details of these transactions see Nicolas' "Life of Davison," and the biography of "The Great Lord Burghley" by the present writer.
  • 4. See Burghley's reply to De Loo's remonstrance (11th July, 1587), Foreign Office Records, Flanders, 32.
  • 5. Philip's maternal Portuguese ancestor, King John I., had married Philippa, daughter of John of Gaunt by his first wife, Blanche Plantagenet, and his paternal Spanish ancestor, King Henry III. of Castile, had married Catherine, daughter of John of Gaunt by his second wife, Constance of Castille.
  • 6. He gives, on page 480, a very unfavourable view of the state of the English defences when the Armada appeared. The Council, he says, endeavoured to arouse the irritation of the people by giving out that the "Spaniards were bringing a shipload of halters in the Armada to hang all Englishmen, and another shipload of scourges to whip women, with 3,000 or 4,000 wet nurses to suckle the infants. It is said that all children between the ages of 7 and 12 would be branded in the face, so that they might always be known."
  • 7. The detailed history of this abortive expedition is contained in "The Year After the Armada," by the present writer.
  • 8. It will be seen that Morton's rising in the autumn of 1588 was premature, and not intended by the Spanish party. It was quite unimportant under the circumstances.
  • 9. Many even of Philip's old English pensioners—the Pagets, Morgan, and many others—had abandoned the idea of a Spanish sovereign of England, and were working for a Catholic England under Arabella Stuart or James VI. (See Morgan's examination, page 563.)
  • 10. Reference to the Irish Calendar will show that O'Neil's explanation about the letter was true. He had sent the letter by Captain Warren to Dublin on a distinct pledge that it should be returned, but the Council refused to return it, and this was a constant source of grievance to the chiefs.
  • 11. For further evidence of this, see the Life of "Sir Walter Raleigh," by the present writer.