191. Advice sent to Don Martin De Idiaquez about two ships.
Two Scotch ships either have left, or will shortly leave, London,
where they are waiting for a wind. One of them is of 150 tons
burden called the "New Ship" of St. Andrews, and the master is
named Allan Livingston (?), of St. Andrews, a short (sturdy young
fellow of fair complexion). There accompanies him a merchant
named Patrick Morris, a native of Edinburgh (a tall man with a
long face, a black beard, and sunken eyes). He is in charge of the
whole cargo, of which he and Edward Johnstone, who is here in Paris,
own 1,800 crowns' worth, the rest belonging to a Mr. Sapers (?) an
Englishman, formerly the earl of Leicester's merchant, but now the
principal dealer for the English and Scots in Turkey and Tripoli.
He has loaded the ship with wrought tin, and tin and lead, in pigs,
and a quantity of English serge. The goods bear the leaden seal of
Edinburgh, but are made in England, and the seal is placed on them
to deceive. The ship also carries Dutch cloths and English worsted
The other ship is from Little Leith, of 55 tons, the master's name
being Hamilton (?), of Queensferry, but living at Little Leith. The
merchant of this ship is James Wilson, of Edinburgh, a beardless
young man. This ship carries similar merchandise to the other, and
the cargo belongs to the same owners, with the exception of the
1,800 crowns' worth, the property of Patrick Morris and Edward
Johnstone. The value of the cargoes is estimated at 14,000l. (40
reals to the pound). The ships will discharge at San Lucar or Cadiz,
and will probably be accompanied by two other Scotch ships in
ballast, to load Spanish goods there.
Note.—The above is given as a typical case of the continual traffic
in English merchandise with Spain under cover of Scottish merchants
during the period when all commercial communication between
England and Spain was prohibited. In the present papers there are
many reports of a similar character, and orders given for the
embargoing of such vessels on their arrival in Spain. It has,
however, been considered unnecessary to give particulars of them
except in special cases as examples.
192. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
I learn by letter of 27th December that Charles Arundell had died
of lethargy (modorra), and that you had been obliged to assist him
with money for his maintenance during his last illness. It was
well that you did this, as it was an act of true piety ; and as the
severity of his malady prevented him from giving you a bill for the
money so provided, and you had also to find the money for his
funeral, he having left no property behind him, I approve of the
sum so expended being vouched for by your certificate only, receipts
being furnished by the English doctor who attended him, and by his
servant, for the sums paid to them through his confessor, the English
Jesuit, Father Thomas. You may therefore credit yourself in
account with these amounts, and this shall be your sufficient
warrant.—Madrid, January 1588.
193. Document headed "What his Majesty wishes the Cardinal
"Archduke to say to the marquis de Santa Cruz."
He is pleased to learn that the Armada is so advanced as to allow
the men to be shipped by the end of January, and then to sail
without further delay. As the time is now drawing near, his
Majesty wishes his Highness to state to the Marquis the course he
will have to pursue during the expedition, pending the sending of
the formal instructions, which shall be despatched in due time.
The King wishes the Marquis with the fleet to put to sea and go
direct to join hands with the duke of Parma, in accordance with the
plan already agreed upon, which has been conveyed to the Duke and
the Marquis. Although we learn by certain advices from England
that Drake had sailed with some ships of the fleet for these waters,
with the object of obstructing and diverting him, the Marquis is not
to desist from the voyage, but is to persevere in it, without, however,
seeking the enemy, even though he (Drake) may remain on our
coasts. If the enemy follows and approaches him, however, he may
engage him. He may also fight him if he should encounter Drake
at the mouth of the Channel, off Scilly, Ushant, or anywhere
If the Marquis does not come across the enemy before he arrives
off the cape at Margate, and should there find the Lord Admiral of
England with his fleet, even though the latter be reinforced by
Drake and his fleet, our Armada will still be superior in strength,
inasmuch as the most favourable statements with regard to the
English fleets admit that they can hardly muster 3,000 seamen, and
as many soldiers in each of their two fleets ; so that even when they
are united they will be inferior to ours, both as to quantity and
quality. With the hope of God, therefore, and in the confidence of
his cause the Marquis may give the enemy battle, hoping that our
Lord may give us the victory.
It must be understood that he must only fight in case it be
necessary to ensure the passage of the duke of Parma to England.
If this can be done without tighting, either by stratagem or otherwise,
it will be better so to manage it, and keep our forces intact.
If the Armada has not to fight, the Marquis will, according to orders,
reinforce the Duke with 6,000 Spaniards. If the Armada has
fought, the reinforcement will have to depend upon the loss we may
have suffered in gaining the victory which, by God's help, we may
have gained. When the troops have landed, the Marquis may
station his fleet at the mouth of the River Thames, holding the
passage from Flanders so as to give support on both sides of the
Channel. If any other step be rendered necessary by circumstances,
the Duke and the Marquis, being on the spot, will decide upon it, the
Marquis carrying out their joint decision. But he must not land, or
act alone, or on his own opinion, without the concurrence of the
Duke, the engaging of the enemy on the sea (which is the essence
of the business) being the only thing in which he is to act
The Marquis must remain there until the enterprise is successfully
effected with God's help. He may then return, calling in
Ireland on his way. He will leave with the Duke the greater part
of the Spaniards he has with him, and bring away in their stead the
mass of the Italians and Germans, who may appear necessary for
the Irish business.
194. Juan De Idiaquez to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Colonel William Semple left here by his Majesty's orders for the
purpose of conveying certain intelligence to you. He met here the
earl of Morton, and is a man who may be trusted. You will, therefore,
welcome him and hear what he has to say, as he is a zealous
servant of his Majesty, and then send him on to the duke of Parma
to whom he is also accredited. (fn. 1) Instruct him to follow the Duke's
orders, unless the Duke and you are in communication on the
subject, and you, yourself, inform the colonel of the course he is to
adopt. The King is pleased to refer to you and the Duke the
decision as to whether the colonel shall go to Scotland. In any
case it will be well that you should discuss the matter with
him personally, and settle the plan before he sets out.—Madrid,
4th January 1588.
195. Sampson's Advices from London.
Don Antonio is still here, but knows not what to be at.
Although they assure him that Admiral Raleigh with a great fleet
is going to take him to Portugal, he is not much rejoiced thereat. (fn. 2)
He has been with the Queen at Greenwich for two days, but she
has not caressed him much.
196. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I understand that this King (Henry III.) is arranging for the
recall of his ambassador in England, who is a Catholic, and the
appointment to succeed him of an abbé who is not considered so.
This, together with the fact I have just heard, that four deputies
have come from Rochelle hither to treat of the raising of a fleet in
consideration of your Majesty's Armada, causes me to think that
there is an intention of making some preparation to help the
Englishwoman. I will try to get to the bottom of this.
The English ambassador has sent to beg the King for the droit
d'aubaine (fn. 3) on account of the relationship of his wife with the late
Charles Arundell. The King has granted it, and his estate may
now be administered by those who undertook the costs of his
funeral, &c., who may also give legal receipts for what is owing to
him. (fn. 4) —Paris, 9th January 1588.
197. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Juluis writes me that by advices of 19th ultimo the Treasurer
tells him that they were discussing the sending of commissioners to
the duke of Parma to treat for peace, but that the Queen would
certainly come to no agreement unless she were assured that the
duke of Parma would remain perpetual governor of the States for
life. This would be the principal point which the commissioners
would be instructed to press, and if this were not conceded they
would go no further. The Queen would also demand that Flushing,
Brille, and Ostend should remain in her possession until she were
reimbursed the 100,000 crowns she had spent. Sir Amyas Paulet,
who was the keeper of the queen of Scotland, was to be one of the
commissioners. To this man had been given the verbal commission
which I mentioned your Majesty some months ago they wished to
cram down the duke of Parma's throat. (fn. 5)
The Queen had come to no decision as to the means of drawing
closer to this King (of France), and I understand since the departure
of the reiters she is providing Bearn with money. She offered this
King when the reiters were on the frontier of Lorraine that they
should not enter France unless he wished, but the King refused the
offer, by which it is evident that they have an understanding with
Epernon. I have told Julius to be very careful to inform me if this
King again opens negotiations with the queen of England on any
point. He is very vigilant in this, and in all other matters that it
behoves me to know. I was obliged to see the new confidant, and he
has again pressed me to lay before your Majesty the necessity in which
he finds himself, in consequence of his allowances being detained by
his enemies, with the object of forcing him to change his position.
I told him that I had already conveyed this to your Majesty, to
which he replied that if the answer was long delayed he was so pressed
that he would be unable to hold out, unless in the meanwhile I lent
him 1,200 crowns. I am putting him off, but if he presses me again
about it I have determined to seek the money for him, as I think it
very important to your Majesty's interests at this juncture not to
lose him, by his having to change his place. I have also in view
that it is nearly a year ago since your Majesty granted him the
2,000 crowns, and it is well to keep such people as this in good
humour, especially when money is given to them to help them in
their need, as this stops their mouths.
I understand that Charles Arundell owed 2,000 crowns in England,
which he had provided for the queen of Scotland, and other sums ;
that is to say, that he took these amounts from the money under his
charge belonging to the queen of England, he having been the
treasurer of a province. When Arundell left England the Queen at
once claimed the sums from his sureties, and these sureties will
receive the 2,000 crowns your Majesty ordered me to pay on this
account in discharge of the conscience of the queen of Scotland.
Both the Queen's soul and that of Arundell will thus be absolved,
and the debt extinguished. I beg your Majesty to instruct me how
I am to act in the matter. I have written to Antonio de Vega as
your Majesty commands. The advices from England "translated
from English" as a further disguise, are from him.
Sampson says that Don Antonio writes that it will be difficult for
him to leave England without the Queen's knowledge, and he
consequently will not attempt to do so unless she gives him leave.
All I know about Fray Diego Carlos is that he is in England.
Secretary Pinart said last night that this King had news that the
earl of Morton had arrived at Nantes ; perhaps bad weather has
forced him upon that coast. I have no other advice of this.—Paris,
9th January 1588.
198. Advices from London, translated from the English. (fn. 6)
The earl of Leicester arrived on the 19th ultimo, and was well
received by his mistress, but badly by the public. On his arrival
it was decided that the fleets should put to sea, and that the
frontiers should be manned as had been agreed upon. The earl
tried to prevent the peace negotiations, persuading the Queen that
no peace could be arranged except to her prejudice and disgrace.
This delayed the departure of the commissioners, and the Queen
gave leave to the earl of Derby to go to his estates.
The Admiral went to Rochester on the 2nd instant to embark,
followed by many of the nobility, but as the wind is unfavourable
he is still there. There are 26 ships belonging to the Queen ready
for sea, of which Drake is to take five and two pinnaces, and to be
accompanied by 30 merchantmen. He is to go to the coast of Spain,
the intention being to burn all the ships on the Biscay and Galician
coasts, especially in Corunna. The weather has not yet allowed
Drake to sail, and warning should therefore be sent at once. The
rest of the Queen's ships, 19 in number, are to be taken out by the
Admiral, with 20 merchantmen, although the English say a larger
number. But the truth is that the whole number fitted out for
the Queen is 68, and 15 for private adventurers. On the 5th instant
Morris arrived here with the passport from the duke of Parma, and
permission for the commissioners to go over. Many councils have
been held on the subject, and the Queen has decided that the
commissioners are to go, notwithstanding the arguments of
Leicester, Walsingham, and Paulet against it. They alleged that
the Queen would not be able to make peace unless she surrendered
the fortresses she held, which would not only be a disgraceful and
injurious thing to do, but it would also be delivering the key of
dominions which had submitted to her, and which she had taken
under her protection. As the Queen was determined to make
peace at any cost, it being most important for her to be sure of
Spain, now that France is in so disturbed a state, the said councillors
next day said that, since it was necessary that peace should be
made, the Queen, at all events, should make it on honourable terms.
They said that on no account should she give up Flushing or Brille
to the king of Spain. If she delivered Ostend and Berghen to him,
she should deliver Flushing and Brille to the States. This was
agreed to on that day, and nothing further was done at the time ;
but at 11 o'clock at night, after the Queen had heard a comedy, she
flew into a passion with the earl of Leicester, who was present, and
told him that it behoved her at any cost to be friendly with the
king of Spain, "Because," she said, "I see that he has great preparations
made on all sides. My ships have left to put to sea, and if
any evil fortune should befall them all would be lost, for I shall
have lost the walls of my realm." The Earl argued that she need
not lose confidence, as the enemy's Armada was not so powerful as
was asserted, but even if it were, it would still be much inferior to
hers, instancing that Drake last year effected so much with quite a
small force. The Queen replied that Drake had never fought yet,
and she did not see that he had done much damage to the enemy,
except to scandalise him at considerable loss to her. Leicester
thereupon told her to do as she liked, he could only give his opinion
as he understood it.
The earl of Derby has been summoned in haste, and the commissioners
will certainly go.
199. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
In the matter of England I have continued to send your Majesty
the advices I have received. From these, and from the report of a
trustworthy person, who saw the Lord Admiral and Drake in
London on the 16th ultimo (new style), it is to be concluded that the
ships your Majesty informs me were seen off Cape St. Vincent on
the 24th were English or French pirates, which had joined together
in view of the queen of England's orders that no ships were to leave
her ports, and rather than go in there to be starved, they have
preferred to range abroad and pillage. I can assure your Majesty
that no large body of armed ships has left either France or England
hitherto. I hear that Don Antonio writes hither, under date of
17th ultimo, that the Admiral and Drake were saying that they
would put to sea in the fleet, but God knew when.
The earl of Leicester arrived in England on the 16th ultimo.—
Paris, 9th January 1588.
Note.—Philip II. has written in the margin of the above letter
that the news contained in it should be sent to Portugal.
200. Bernardino De Mendoza to Juan De Idiaquez.
I have decided to do with Julius, as you will see by my despatches,
as I think it advisable, so as not to lose him and to keep him in a
good humour. It is nearly a year since we gave him the 2,000 crowns,
and we cannot give him less now. —Paris, 9th January 1588.
Note.—This refers to the bribing of Sir Edward Stafford, the
201. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
No news from England later than 19th ultimo, and there is no
intelligence of an English fleet having sailed.
The result of the earl of Leicester's arrival has been the sending
by the Queen to the Scottish Border of a Scots heretic called
Douglas, who was at her Court. He is taking a sum of money, and
is to offer the King the title of duke of Lancaster from the Queen,
with a pension of 6,000l. sterling (equal to 24,000 ducats of 10 reals
each), holding out great hopes also that ultimately this may lead to
his being declared her successor. It is not known how the king of
Scotland will reply. The king of France has despatched the
gentleman who brought the letter from the king of Scotland eight
months ago, saying that his occupations had prevented him from
replying earlier. He then refers him to an ambassador whom he is
sending thither.—Paris, 12th January 1588.
202. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Since mine of the 12th I have received advices from England,
dated 26th ultimo and 2nd and 4th instant (new style). The Lord
Admiral bad started on the 1st for Rochester, with the intention of
sailing with all the 32 Queen's ships. If the weather be favourable
he hoped to leave the Thames in 5 or 6 days, and would sail his
fleet along the coast of England in a northerly direction to prevent
or oppose the landing of a force from Flanders. These ships are
heavily armed with large and small pieces and take three lords
with the Admiral. They say that, altogether, with sailors and
soldiers, there will go at least 5,000 men ; they assert even that 8,000
will go, but stores will be carried only for a month. They will
depend upon supplies being sent from shore. The intention of the
Admiral is to remain on the coast, and if Drake reports that the
Armada of your Majesty is approaching England the Admiral with
16 of his best ships will effect a junction with Drake, and take
command to encounter the Spanish force. In that case Lord Harry
Seymour and Captain Winter will remain with the rest of the ships
to oppose the landing of the duke of Parma.
Drake accompanies the Admiral to Rochester and will then start
for Plymouth to take out the 36 ships which it was arranged he
should command. The Queen orders him to try to sail by the
15th instant, and to take with him all the armed pirate ships which
were on the west coast or he might meet at sea. Drake will have
4,000 men in his 36 ships and victuals for four months. His ships
are all armed merchantmen but three, which belong to the Queen.
Drake's intention is to endeavour to burn ships of the Armada in
the river at Lisbon, and to land men at some point in order that a
diversion may thus be effected and the Armada prevented from
sailing. Drake consented to serve on the fleet only on condition
that the Queen gave him an absolutely free hand to fight or not as
he thought fit, to land forces or not, to burn, sack, or pillage Spanish
towns ; and in fact to be ruled solely by his own discretion,
according to circumstances. As some of the pirates your Majesty
informed me had been seen off Cape St. Vincent have returned to
England, it is probable that the shallops they sent out to reconnoitre
have also come back, after having informed them of the intention
of Drake. They are keeping their eyes fixed on this plan to prevent
your Majesty's Armada from sailing, and my new confidant assures
me that the Queen has advices from Lisbon that the victuals there
had gone bad, and had caused sickness amongst our men on the
Armada, which consequently could not sail for a considerable time.
All the news I send your Majesty are confirmed by the assurance
of my new confidant, and the reports of other persons I have,
besides those sent by the French ambassador in England to this
King. The said ambassador also reports that the Admiral intended
to take his ships to Scotland and seize the person of the King, who,
however, is so entirely given up to the Scots faction in the interest
of England that it hardly seems probable that the Queen of England
would take the trouble of fitting out a fleet for the purpose of
The French ambassador also writes that your Majesty had bought
the Scottish Catholic nobles with 50,000 ducats, and had promised
the chancellor (fn. 7) 100,000 to keep him on your side. The latter,
however, had refused, and had reported the whole matter to the
queen of England. The English tell the ambassador these things.
Raleigh had left the day before Leicester arrived in order not to
meet him. He has gone to the west country as the Queen's
Lieutenant-General there, and certain councillors had been appointed
to assist Lord Hunsdon on the northern border. A council of war
has also been formed to advise the Queen, and also a secret
committee of the Privy Council, consisting only of four members.
All reports from England agree that great alarm and confusion
reign, and that the fleet the Queen had fitted out was the only
effort that England was capable of making.
Since the 10th the wind has been all that Drake could desire to
carry him to Spain, and if he has put to sea and his plans remain
unchanged he will be off the coast of Spain some days before this
letter arrives. I am despatching this courier to give your Majesty
an account of these two fleets, and I have also reported the same to
the duke of Parma. The wind is entirely against the Lord Admiral,
which makes me think he may anchor in the Downs at the mouth
of the Thames. (fn. 8) The Carthusian friar, bishop of Dunblane, had but
little hope now that the king of Scotland would give him audience.
He, the King, had retired from the frontier to Edinburgh, and the
faction against the Chancellor who rules the King was growing.
The letter containing this news is dated 24th November from
|203. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Julio wrote me the news I send in the general letter with regard
to the Lord Admiral's plans, which had been told him by the Lord
He (Julio) also assured me that, so far as can be judged, these
fleets will not take so many men as I have said, and that if the
Flemish fleet delays, the Admiral's fleet will not keep at sea, the
great hope of the English being founded on what Drake may do to
prevent the sailing of the Armada from Spain. He confesses that
the Queen is in the utmost alarm, and recognises how disproportionate
are her forces to oppose those of your Majesty.
The Treasurer is much grieved at the ill success of the Reiters in
France, and throws the blame upon the Frenchmen who led them,
as they had not formed a junction with Bearn. (fn. 9) He (the Treasurer)
was doing his best to bring the Queen to peace with all her
neighbours. Leicester is delighted to be quit of the Dutchmen and
Zealanders, who would not hear of peace, although they were
powerless to continue the war. Walsingham says, with regard to
this, that the rebels did not wish to avoid peace, but by reason of
the Queen's not sending the Commissioners they saw that the Duke
of Parma was cooling in the negotiations.
Julio writes to me saying that no orders are given to this
ambassador to endeavour to bring about a closer union between the
Queen and this King. As both in this particular, and the other
English news I send in the general despatch, I have seen the original
letters themselves, I have not lost more time than was necessary in
sending your Majesty account thereof, but I had to wait until night
before I could go and hear the news from my new confidant, who
turns himself inside out for me. In view of this and his need, I have
begun to give him some of the money he asked me for.
The substance of Nansic's (the duke of Parma) despatches is to
desire me to keep hold of Muzio (the duke of Guise) and persuade
him not to consent to a general peace, or to anything else that may
impede your Majesty's plans.—Paris, 16th January 1588.
204. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
I note what you say relative to the servants of the queen of
Scotland. There seems to be no need for pressing Miss Kennedy
much to return to France, since she could only depose as to her
mistress' intentions by hearsay. If, however, she should have been
so coldly received in Scotland as you hear, and she returns to France
of her own accord, it will be as well to make use of her if opportunity
offers, through her companion and the rest of them that remain in
Paris. In this case you will advise me what grant should be made
Although Miss Curle has, you say, business there at present, it
will be advisable to fix a pension for her at once, to be paid through
you, in order that she may depend the more entirely upon you.
You have not mentioned the sum that should be paid to her, as I
asked you to do on the 27th November. If there be time, let me
know your opinion on this point, but if there is any risk of her
entertaining other ideas, you had better tell her that she has been
granted a pension, fixing the amount you think advisable, but not
exceeding what may be needful.
You will inform Secretary Curle, her brother, that he has been
granted 40 crowns a month, and the same to Gorion ; and the
pensions had better, as you say, be paid by you for several reasons.
The Secretary knows all about the Queen's will, considering what
he saw and wrote, and also what Walsingham's officer told him
It will be well for the letter the Queen wrote to the Pope to be
sent to Rome. The fact of the archbishop of Glasgow's keeping it
back so long, argues not necessity alone, as he might have sent it
without incurring any expense, but perhaps also unwillingness that
it should reach the hands of the Pope, because, being a Scotsman, he
may be inclined to his own King and country ; although his cloth
and devotion to the Catholic cause should lead him otherwise, seeing
how the King has behaved. You will therefore bear this in mind,
and take care that the letter does not disappear. Try to get a copy
of it, and if you see there is any further delay in sending it, consider
whether it will not be advisable to cause the Nuncio to be informed
of the matter, so that he may, if necessary, ask for the letter and
send it himself. You might either tell the Nuncio yourself, or have
it conveyed to him in an indirect way, according to the opinion you
have of him. (fn. 10) You will act as you think best in the matter and
With regard to the 2,000 crowns that the queen of Scotland
desired should be paid to Charles Arundell, it will be well to learn
whether he left any debts behind him, (fn. 11) or whether he expressed any
wishes about it to you before he died. Let me know about this,
and whether he left any children, and any other particulars ; a
reply shall then be sent you. With regard also to the seminary of
Pont Monçon, for which the archbishop of Glasgow requested aid,
inform me what sort of seminary it is, its foundation, revenues, etc.,
and the matter shall be considered.—Madrid, 25th January 1588.
205. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Since the accompanying letters were written, yours of 16th instant
is to hand with advices as to the plans of the English fleet,
and as to Drake's intentions. It was well to send this by special
courier, and you will do so in future whenever my service may seem
to require it. Julio is doing so well that the money you gave him
was well spent. You will see by subsequent letters that you are
authorised to pay him the same as you did before, in accordance
with your recommendation. You may also seek some trustworthy
confidant to carry on the communications between you, because,
apart from the trouble, it would be extremely dangerous to do this
in person, and every possible precaution must be adopted against
discovery.—Madrid, 29th January 1588.
206. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
I enclose advices from England of 9th January (n.s.), and I need
only add to them, that I have full confirmation of the intelligence
from other quarters.
The Admiral was still in the Thames the weather preventing him
from putting to set. There are only four of the Queen's ships
outside, as I have already informed your Majesty. They anchor in
the Downs, and when the weather permits them they go in the
direction of Dunkirk to prevent ships from entering. A fishing
boat that left the mouth of the Thames on the 12th asserts that up
to that date none of the Admiral's ships had left the river.
The letters from London of 9th, state that Drake was at Plymouth.
Advices from Rye, a port 10 leagues from Plymouth (sic) dated 20th
instant (n.s.) say that Drake's ships at Plymouth are not sufficiently
advanced to put to sea even if the weather would allow them to
The London letters of 9th also say that they have there news
from Barbary dated 10th December, sent by English merchants
resident there, that the king of Fez had ordered them to return two
French ships which an English corsair had taken on the coast, which
French ships took from France scarlet cloth which had been made
here to the king of Fez's orders. He threatens the English that
unless they restore them he will seize English property and prohibit
all English trade.
It is reported from Antwerp, under date of 17th, that a ship
belonging to the queen of England, with 600 soldiers, had been
wrecked on the banks with loss of all hands. The news I sent that
the earl of Morton had landed on the coast of Brittany was true.
When this King heard of it and that he was coming hither, where
he now is, he publicly said at table, that it would now be seen which
could do most in Scotland, your Majesty's pistoles or the broad
angels that Archie Douglas took to Scotland from the queen of
England.—Paris, 30th January 1588.
207. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Julio confirms the news that neither the Admiral nor Drake has
sailed, as I advise in the general letter, and also that the queen of
England has resolved to raise another force of reiters to come to
France. He asks whether it would be to your Majesty's interest
for him to try to prevent this levy, or to forward it, and get the
men sent to France. Your Majesty will please instruct me on the
point, as he boasts of being able to arrange matters as your
Majesty may command. I understand that Marshal de Biron has
sent word to the English ambassador here that he wishes to see
him, and the ambassador suspects that he desires to learn on
what conditions the Queen would strengthen her alliance with this
The news of 9th instant from London which I send to your
Majesty, is from Antonio de Vega, confirmed by letters from the
French ambassador in London. Secretary Villeroy in view of them
told a friend of his the other day that the queen of England would
certainly come to terms with your Majesty.
The earl of Morton arrived here on the 18th instant, and saw me
the next night. He said he was ready to comply with your
Majesty's wishes, and asked for my orders. I thanked him in
general terms, and said I would advise your Majesty of his arrival.
I sent to the duke of Parma in order that he might decide whether
it would be well to let him go to Scotland with Colonel Semple, or
whether he had better wait for the return the bishop of Dunblane,
that we may see what intelligence he brings.
The duke of Parma has sent me some letters that were brought
to him from Scotland by a Spaniard, from Lord Claude Hamilton
and George Earl of Huntly, two Catholic nobles : and the Duke tells
me that he is sending the Spaniard to inform me verbally. He asks
me to send the man back with such an answer to the lords as I may
consider advisable, to maintain them in their good intentions and
devotion to your Majesty. The Spaniard fell ill at Lille and the
letters are not yet deciphered, so that I am unable to inform your
Majesty whether there is anything important in them. Doubtless
the duke of Parma will have done so.
Sampson saw me as I was closing this letter. He knows nothing
of what Vega reports. I have told him to keep his eyes open. He
says the Queen-mother has asked him to get news from the English
ambassador as to whether his mistress really will come to terms
with your Majesty, and if her fleets will put to sea.—Paris,
30th January 1588.
Since closing this, my new confidant reports that Marshal de
Biron has seen the English ambassador, and made him great offers,
and assurances of his desire to serve the queen of England. He
says the King wishes for a private interview with the ambassador,
but did not venture to see him for fear that his mistress might
make use of his (the King's) approaches to come to terms with
your Majesty. The ambassador said that he desired nothing better
than to be made the instrument of such negotiations, which should
only be known to his mistress and himself.
208. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Since closing the accompanying letters I have received advices
from Julio from London, dated 21st instant (n.s.), saying that the
Treasurer assured him that Drake was at Plymouth with 30 well-armed
ships, which would be off the Spanish coast within 30 days,
and would there do all the damage they could, the intention being
that which I report to your Majesty in another letter, namely, to
burn what ships they could in Lisbon and other ports, to land men,
and to pillage.
The Admiral was at Queen borough, at the mouth of the Thames,
with 36 ships, some belonging to the Queen, and some to merchants.
They are so well armed and fitted that they would ensure the duke
of Parma's not daring to attack them, and he (the Treasurer) talked
a great deal about the large sum the Queen had spent upon these
two fleets. Julio also informs me that the Treasurer had ordered
the English ambassador here to send him a report of the English
rebels in Spain, Flanders, and France. Julio reports that the
Treasurer has written that the French ambassador in England had
signified to the Queen that his master was aware that she would
like to see him at peace, and France tranquil. Instructions had
therefore been sent that the English ambassador here, either
through third persons or directly, should represent to the King that
the League, supported by the Pope, your Majesty, and the duke of
Parma, had adopted the cloak of religion simply to forward their
own designs ; and that this rendered it necessary for the King to
come to terms with Bearn, in which case he (the King) would be
stronger than the League, and could force them to agree to peace,
which the King desired, and the Queen (of England) would forward
for the advantage both of the King and herself. He (Cecil) enlarged
greatly upon this point. He (the English ambassador in France) is
also to report who are the Huguenots that submitted to the King
in the arrangement made with the reiters.
Julio adds that the Treasurer tells him that they have sent a
notification to the duke of Parma, that as Flanders is in a state of
war it would be more convenient to carry on the negotiations for
peace in England. They suggest Canterbury, but they did not
think the duke of Parma would agree. If he did, however, the
Treasurer would be one of the principal Commissioners. Having in
view Julio's good behaviour, I cannot help urging your Majesty to
confer some favour upon him. In the meanwhile I am encouraging
him (as I think the circumstances demand) by giving him from time
to time the amount he asked me to lend him.—Paris, 31st January
209. Duke of Parma to the King.
I have been somewhat disturbed to read what your Majesty has
ordered to be written to me in your letters of 11th and 24th
December, as it seems to infer that I may have done what your
Majesty emphatically ordered me not to do until the arrival of the
marquis of Santa Cruz with the Armada to ensure the passage
across. I wrote by your Majesty's orders my own opinion, that in
the interests of the facility, success, and efficacy of the expedition,
it was necessary that secrecy should be maintained, the French
kept busy, and these States assured. I said also that the passage
across from here was convenient, in consequence of its shortness
and the facility of obtaining boats. The latter, however, obviously
are not fit for anything but the passage itself, as they are too small
for fighting, and so low that four of the skiffs (esquifes) of the fleet
could send to the bottom as many as they might meet. They could
hardly live through a freshet, much less a tempest, so that they can
only be used in settled weather. As your Majesty ordered me to
undertake this business and make all necessary preparations, although
the time given to me was very short, and the supply of money very
limited, I have done my best to perform the impossible, in order to
please you and carry out my duty to your Majesty. Things have
been drawn out longer than I like or than is desirable ; both men
and money having been delayed beyond the time your Majesty
indicated, and particularly the Spanish troops, who are the sinew of
the whole business, the numbers, moreover, being less than those
agreed upon. They have arrived, after all, so dilapidated and
maltreated that they do not look in the least fit for effectual service
for some time to come. The Italians and Germans have dwindled
very much in consequence of having marched so quickly in such
bad, wet weather ; and in order to keep them near the points of
embarkation they are so badly housed that very many of them are
missing. Notwithstanding all these impediments, and though I saw
our men were dying and falling away, I made every effort to get
them to the ports in accordance with your Majesty's orders, and
went personally to expedite them, on the understanding that there
would be no delay in the arrival of the marquis of Santa Cruz with
your Majesty's Armada, as your Majesty assured me in your own
letters. I sent persons in search of the Marquis, in order that we
might jointly settle what course would be best in your Majesty's
interest, and thus be more certain of success. I now see that
everything has turned out the reverse of what I expected and
hoped. Secrecy, which was of the utmost importance, has not
been maintained ; and from Spain, Italy, and all parts come, not
only news of the expedition, but full details of it. Both the king of
France and the League have raised enormous numbers of troops,
and as they are Frenchmen the less they are trusted the better
when their own interests are concerned. It appears, however, that
so far, although they have caused anxiety, they have not obstructed
the carrying out of the enterprise.
The preparations here, although not so complete as I should like,
are, at all events, ready. Holland and Zeeland have armed with
their usual promptitude, and have prevented the few vessels of the
fleet which are in Antwerp from getting out, whilst the English
themselves have promptly and energetically set about their
preparations for defence. Your Majesty is perfectly well aware
that, without the support of the fleet, I could not cross over to
England with these boats, and you very prudently ordered me in
your letter of 4th September not to attempt to do so until the
Marquis arrived. I thought that his coming would be so soon that,
notwithstanding my utmost haste, I should not be in time ; and I
hurried all my men into the port. If the Marquis had come then,
the crossing would have been easily effected with God's help,
because, what with the Dunkirk and other coast boats, as well as
those I had prepared, I could have taken the men over without
the Antwerp boats, neither the English, the Hollanders, nor the
Zeelanders being then in a position to offer resistance to your
I consider that I have carried out orders and served your Majesty
with my invariable loyalty, exactitude, and affection in this matter.
Your Majesty expressly instructed me to wait for the marquis of
Santa Cruz, and repeated the order in subsequent letters, adding, in
every case, that I was not to cross if there was any fleet to interfere
with me ; but if, instead of this, your Majesty had ordered me to
cross without reserve, I should have unhesitatingly obeyed, even if
we had all been lost. The cloth I wear, and my own honour,
would not allow me to act otherwise, as I consider that my first
duty is to obey in this as I have in all other things.
I see that the contretemps still continue ; and your Majesty is
now aware of the preparations that have been made by the English
and the rebels You know also that the marquis of Santa Cruz has
not come, and the reason of his delay ; and yet, notwithstanding all
this, you suppose that I may be there (in England ?). I must
confess that this has caused me great sorrow. Your Majesty has
the right to give absolute orders, whilst I can only receive them as
special favours, and fulfil them ; and for you to write to me now
with a presumption diametrically opposite to the orders sent,
naturally gives me great pain. I therefore, humbly beg your
Majesty to do me the great favour of instructing me how I am to
act. I shall make no difficulties in anything, even if I have only a
pinnace to take me across. My arrival at Bruges and the stay of
troops in the neighbourhood have given rise to much talk : the affair
is so public that I can assure your Majesty there is not a soldier but
has something to say about it, and the details of it. I, for my part,
have kept the secret, knowing how important it was, besides which
it was indispensable if we were to embark the men in good time, as
your Majesty ordered.
The state of affairs is now so different that it is meet your
Majesty should be aware of it, in order that you may instruct the
marquis of Santa Cruz to come in great force. This will be
necessary, in case the English and the rebels form a junction, so
that, with the help of God, your Majesty may carry off the victory.
They have no foreign troops yet in England. I send enclosed
my latest intelligence from there, although your Majesty will have
advices from Don Bernardino (de Mendoza) and elsewhere.
This delay (i.e., in the coming of the Armada) is causing the total
ruin of the province of Flanders, and is hardly less disastrous to the
rest. The country can bear the burden but for a short time longer.
The worst of everything is the lack of money. The cost of maintaining
the boats, the keep of the soldiers, besides Mucio (the duke
of Guise), Lorraine, (fn. 12) arrangements with Germans, etc., is so great
that it will be necessary for your Majesty to provide a large sum of
money. If we run short, as, indeed, we are doing, your Majesty
may be sure that something very untoward will happen, and all the
past expense and trouble will be fruitless. The only thing I have
been able to do is to send to Antwerp the Inspector-General, Juan
Bantista de Tassis, to try to get what money he can from the
merchants there ; but there is no certainty of this, as I lack warrants
(asignaciones), and in any case the sum would be insufficient.—
Bruges, 31st January 1588.
|210. Duke Of Parma to the King.
The intelligence which I receive from all quarters seems to prove
that the queen of England really desires to conclude peace ; and
that her alarm and the expense she is incurring are grieving her
greatly. But after all, it cannot be believed that she is turning
good except under the stress of necessity, as I have written to your
Majesty on former occasions. If the negotiations are opened at
once we shall at least be able to see what they are up to ; and if
matters look promising it will be in your Majesty's hands to choose
the course that suits you best. The first difficulty raised is the
question of the place of meeting. I should prefer Antwerp. I understand
that Saint Aldegonde and Longorius have been appointed by
the rebel States to attend the conferences on behalf of those provinces.
Your Majesty may be sure that if they come I shall try my best to
get into negotiation with them, and even to make some terms with
them. I do not think, however, that we can base much hope on
this, only the assurance that I shall leave no stone unturned to
bring them to the right road.—Brussels, 31st January 1588.
|S.D. End of
211. Duke Of Parma to Bernardino De Mendoza.
The last despatches from his Majesty which you forwarded to me
contained an instruction that I should give my opinion as to whether
it would be advisable to send a trustworthy person to the king of
Scotland with a letter of credence from me, setting forth the efforts
that were being made to avenge the death of his mother in his
interest, and that if the remedy had been long delayed it was only
because the nature of the case rendered it necessary that it should
be so ; and although he (the King) had not been directly informed
hitherto of his Majesty's intentions in this respect, the reason of this
was that secrecy was so vitally necessary. There was, however, no
doubt that, urged by his natural obligations, he (king James) would
do everything in his power to aid the execution when the moment
arrived, and thus to avenge himself upon the queen of England, who
keeps him so oppressed by her faction, whilst at the same time
showing his gratitude to his Majesty for the said intention of
avenging the death of his (James') mother for his sake. At the
same time, I and the other servants of his Majesty are anxious to
serve him (James) in this matter ; but without entering into other
particulars or mentioning the question of his succession or religion.
The person to be sent should be instructed to ascertain minutely
the strength and present position of the Catholic nobles, trying to
encourage them to persevere in their good intentions. His Majesty
suggests to me that Colonel Semple, who is a servant of his, may be
entrusted with the mission, and as I had already decided to send the
Colonel to you when the earl of Morton arrived there (i.e., in Paris)
this suggestion comes very opportunely. I am very glad that he
(Semple) has not yet left, (fn. 13) as I can now send this letter by him,
informing you of his Majesty's suggestion, in order that you may
discuss it with the earl of Morton and Semple, and we may thus
decide whether it will be advisable or not to send such a message by
Semple to the King (James). You are so thoroughly well informed
of every detail of this matter that I can do no better than refer the
decision to you. He (Semple) takes with him my letter of credence,
which he may use (i.e., in Scotland) if it is considered desirable.
My own opinion is that if the present position and humour of the
King (James) will allow of the visit being paid, it can do no harm,
and may enable a better idea to be obtained of what may be expected
of him, as well as of the Catholic lords. If, however, it is decided
to send Semple with the mission, it is important that he should go
and return speedily, and you can press diligence upon him, with such
other injunctions as your experience and dexterity suggest as being
necessary. He has simply been told here that he is to make the
journey, if you order him to do so, and to follow your instructions ;
but no particulars whatever have been communicated to him.