426. Purser Igueldo, of the "Santa Ana," to the King.
Gives an account of the landing of the specie, and its deposit in
the hands of a Spanish merchant, with its subsequent embargo at
the instance of certain French merchants.
On the afternoon of the 9th instant we were informed that three
great English ships, one the "Mary Rose," of 500 tons, and the
others of 200 tons each, with a patache, had appeared in sight, and
it was feared they were coming to attack us. The Maestre de Campo
and I went on board at once, and at dawn yesterday morning the
three ships and the patache bore down upon us, and the patache
opened fire. We replied, and in the meanwhile the Governor sent off
a boat to them requesting that they would not break the peace in
neutral waters, as otherwise he would resent it with all the means
in his power. They replied that they came at the command of their
Queen, and they would not retire for anybody until they had taken,
sunk, or burnt the "Santa Ana." The artillery firing still continued
on both sides, but the distance was too great for musketry, which
was not employed. One of the first shots, unfortunately, hit our
main yard-arm, which came down upon the Maestre de Campo, who
was at the foot of the mast giving orders, and he was crushed. I was
standing close to him at the time, and had him extricated, every
care the ship afforded being given to him. The other two infantry
captains were not on board, one having gone to Dunkirk to see the
duke of Parma, and the other being sick in this town. The whole
of the duties therefore devolved upon me. We had two soldiers and
two gunners killed, as well as a very brave slave of mine. A shot
from the enemy then severed our mooring cables, and we went adrift.
It was a signal mercy that, being so large a ship, we did not capsize,
as we touched bottom two or three times. The tide carried us
towards the town, and the townspeople helped us all they could,
firing at the English from the fort, and bringing out two guns on to
the shore, which inflicted much damage upon the enemy. The
English also fired upon the people ashore. As all the townspeople
said that when the tide went down our ship would capsize, and the
enemy could not do us any harm where we were, I had lighters
brought and discharged all the artillery and stores belonging to your
Majesty, and then, against the opinion of many people, I had the
ship moved by the port pilots, and taken to another place. This
was the salvation of it all. In the afternoon I was informed that
the armed ships had put to sea, and had been joined by four others,
which were coming with the intention of burning us, no matter
where we were. I had the Maestre de Campo put on shore, where he
now is in grave danger, unable to speak, and his head and chest
badly crushed. I then returned to the ship, where I kept good
watch all night. The enemy was in sight, cruising near us, but
though the night was clear they did not attack us. (fn. 1)
In accordance with' the order of the Duke I will deliver the
ordnance and other things belonging to your Majesty to the
Governor of this town, or to the person appointed by him, taking
full vouchers for the same. It is lamentable how the poor sailors
will be left. I do not know what to do about them. And the poor
owner of the ship, it would have been just the same to him if she
had gone to the bottom of the sea, instead of being left here, for
it will cost him a large sum to get her into port, and he will not
keep her after all. I, for my part, will do my duty to your Majesty
as best I can. The Duke orders me, when I have settled things
here, to go to Spain, taking the papers with me (or otherwise to do
what I think best). I have asked the opinion of the ambassador,
and, if he agrees, I will take passage in a merchant ship for Spain.—
Havre de Grâce, 11th September 1588.
427. Summary of divers Letters to the Duke Of Parma from
Scotland, written by Colonel Semple, Robert Bruce, and
the Earl Of Huntly, 31st July, 5th and 6th August, and
12th September, 1588.
31 July.—Semple and Bruce to the duke of Parma :—
They confirm their letters sent by a Scottish pilot (by Charles
Bailly) who went to Scotland with Bruce, and by the bishop of
Dunblane, on behalf of Huntly, giving an account of matters, and
of the state of the Catholic lords in Scotland. As things have
changed for the worse, they send the present messenger. The
English faction in Scotland, knowing of the understanding that the
Catholics had with his Majesty, are greatly oppressing the Catholics
with the King's authority ; and heavily taxing their revenues and
properties, especially for the purpose of bringing over the daughter
of the king of Denmark when the King marries her.
They have appointed heretic magistrates to oust from authority
those who do not belong to their faction. They are thus persecuting
the Catholics in every way, and they execute all those whom they
discover carrying on communications abroad.
The imprisonment of the earl of Morton was ordered by the
Chancellor (who governs the King) in consequence of his being his
enemy. The King had previously written Morton a letter in his
own hand, giving his word that no proceedings should be taken
against him, but telling him to withdraw for a few days. Before
the few days had expired he broke his word, and had him arrested.
He acted in the same way with Morton's followers, who surrendered
in a fortress of his on condition that their lives should be spared.
The earl of Huntly was coming with 5,000 men to Morton's aid, but
the King did not know this yet. On the contrary, he is favouring
Huntly greatly, and he has had him married to his cousin (the sister
of) the duke of Lennox.
Lord Claude (Hamilton) is at court, and has taken the Protestant
oath, protesting that he did not do so voluntarily, but to escape
They expect by this means (i.e., making them take the oath) to
finish the Catholics, and preventing them from receiving foreign aid.
The longer the aid is delayed the worse will the state of the
They endeavour to keep spies in all parts, making use of devilish
arts to uncover the designs of the Catholics.
This was the condition of things, and the news of the coming of
the Armada had increased the persecution, which the Catholics had
not dared to resent by force, as they had always been urged not to
move until they saw the succour sent to them.
They would have seized the King if they had means to resist the
power of England, or had any assurance that aid would be sent to
them. But no answer was sent to the last communication they sent,
stating their intentions, although they had requested a reply many
times. They wished the earl of Morton to return with forces, not
without them ; as it would certainly cause much difficulty for him
to return alone out of exile without aid at his back.
The gathering of forces on the Border could only be effected after
the succour had arrived.
Hopes were given to the earl of Morton that he should be
reinforced shortly, and he had asserted this, when he landed in
Scotland, to the other Catholic nobles. This is now more than three
months since, and there is no appearance of aid being sent.
They had received a letter from Don Bernardino de Mendoza
dated 11th May, in which they were told that as soon as they saw
England attacked by the Armada, the Scottish Catholics should cross
the English border. He (the writer) had not ventured to convey
this at the time to the Lords, as it was impossible for them to do it,
unless they had special reinforcements ; and they had never offered
to do such a thing. They could not do it without leaving their
retreat well guarded, and their homes, wives, and children protected.
Besides which, their principal object was to re-establish the Catholic
religion in their own country. After this was effected they could
serve those who had helped them to do it.
In order not to increase the suspicion of the Lords by concealing
the above letter from them, and making them think that the
understanding with Spain was only to aid the latter in the English
design, instead of first converting Scotland, the above letter was
afterwards shown to them. They thereupon offered to assist in the
invasion and conquest of England after Scotland was converted to
the Catholic faith. Otherwise they will not do it, and they will be
obliged to submit to the King and the English faction. They can
do this without violating their conscience, as they are offered
freedom in this respect if they will come to terms.
They have always written the truth hitherto, and they must now
say that, if it is desired to make use of the Scottish Lords, it will
be necessary that their advantage as well as that of his Majesty
shall be regarded, having in view always the honour and glory
of God, by which means all good ends are attained.
They press certain points which they say they cannot have made
clearly understood previously ; particularly that their country is not
like other States, solid and stable, where no changes can be brought
about except after great preparations. In Scotland any accident
will bring about a change, as the realm is so divided and dismembered,
and anyone attacking it with force is assured of victory,
as there are no strong towns, and but few fortresses. Opportunity
rather than strength is of use there. The country is in such a
condition that it cannot wait for the slow Spanish resolutions ; and
if the Lords are to be utilised action must be accelerated, as
affairs in Scotland change. In future it will be useless to write
letters containing nothing but fair words, for these will never
induce them to risk their homes and families. They wish to know
first, for certain, whether the aid promised them is to be sent, and
If it be decided to send the aid to Little Leith, they (the
Spaniards) will be masters of the port, no matter what may be the
disposition of the King, and will hold the best town in the kingdom
in six hours. In a month they will convert the country, if they
govern mildly and wisely, with the advice of the Catholics. The
latter will assist them by taking the most important towns and
passes, which can be held by small garrisons, and the enemy will
then be unable to raise head.
They assert that if 6,000 men come—or more if desired—and
the money, most of the heretics who are offended at the death of
the queen of Scotland will join them. They are only dissembling
now to avoid further injury.
Even failing the earl of Morton, his cousin, Lord Herries, who is
as good a Catholic as he, has promised to declare himself if the
aid comes before (the Spanish force) lands in England. By this
means this postern of the island, which the Englishwoman fears to
lose, would be assured to us, and an entrance could thence be
gained into England, there being a great abundance of victuals in
Scotland this year.
Although the Lords have maintained large forces since the arrival
of the earl of Morton, they still keep in hand the money they have
received from Bruce, except the sum paid to Morton, which was
taken when he was captured.
They say that at little cost of men and money here, much can be
saved elsewhere, this being in substance the advantage that your
Majesty can obtain from Scotland, by sending the aid desired. If
its coming be delayed, Bruce and Semple will be obliged to leave the
country, as the heretics suspect them. They therefore earnestly
pray for a prompt resolution.
They refer to the bearer to relate verbally other things which they
do not write, to avoid prolixity. They beg that the bearer may
have some money for his voyage, as they have only given him
428. Points of a Letter from the Earl Of Huntly to the
Duke Of Parma, from Dunfermline, 12th September 1588.
By Francisco Aguirre, who had left 15 days before, he sent a
reply to the letter brought by Chisolme. As we shall learn
from Chisolme and Colonel Semple of the condition of affairs, he
(the Earl) will only say that Semple has behaved as a gentleman
of his rank should, and has given much satisfaction to all Catholics.
The choice of him was a good one, for he has shown great dexterity,
both with the King and his Ministers, whose falsity he saw through ;
but anticipating violence he had escaped, though at considerable
cost, as he had to spend much money in bribing guards and so on.
The return of Colonel Semple (to Flanders) was advisable, as his
proceedings had aroused suspicion, and he will be able to report
fully to the duke of Parma. If an attack is made upon England,
and they (the Scots nobles) are provided with the assistance they
request, they will within a fortnight invade England on their side.
He requests that Colonel Semple be sent back with the reinforcements,
and considering his experience and good parts, he should
command a portion of them, or the Scottish levies. These
recommendations are made to promote the cause of God, and he
need not press them further ; but they (the Scots nobles) cannot
refrain from pointing out the long time that has passed since they
first began to look for the reinforcements, and the danger they are
in, in consequence of their King having embraced the English
faction whilst they have declared themselves on the other side
rather than violate their consciences, for which they have risked
their lives. It is therefore necessary, if they were not to abandon
their country, that they should be furnished with support in men
and money, or at least the latter, that they may hold out and be
ready to receive the reinforcements when they come. If money be
sent, Chisolme, in company with some other person, can bring it,
whilst the, Colonel (Semple) remains behind to come with the
troops. He asks that full credence be given to Semple and
Chisolme, as they have been thoroughly informed of the plans of
Bruce writes under same date, also referring us to what Huntly
will write, and to Semple and Chisolme for verbal information.
He (Bruce) assures the Duke that he will strive his utmost to
forward the cause of God, regardless of danger to himself. He
had given 30 crowns to the soldiers and sailors from Flanders
who had been captured, and had promised 100 crowns freight to
the vessel in which they were to go over with Semple and Chisolme,
as well as paying for their rations, if these were not paid for in
429. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
Yours of 30th ultimo and 4th instant received on the 13th, with
all reports and advices, for which thanks. Continue to send everything
you can learn, but attach to each report your opinion as to
the credit which it deserves.
You did well in attending to the ship of Colonel Nicholas Isla
that put into Havre de Grâce, (fn. 2) and also in securing the money she
had on board and placing it in the care of merchants, as ordered
by the duke of Parma. If the officers kept any in hand for the
needs of the ship you will not spend any of the credit of 15,000
crowns, which you did well not to cash, as you had no necessity
for it. Seeing, however, what you say now as to the requirements
for the embassy you may draw the said credit for your purposes. (fn. 3)
Malvendas has been ordered to pay it although it is overdue.
You have been careful to advise about English armaments, their
intentions, and designs ; but you will henceforward have to be
doubly vigilant if possible, and will try to engage new agents,
both trustworthy and intelligent, so that by comparing several
reports together we may the more certainly arrive at the truth.—
San Lorenzo, 15th September 1588.
|430. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
I notice what you say about Julio in your letters of the 4th.
Although it may be the case that he is not corresponding with you
so straightforwardly as before, do not appear to take any notice of
it, either to the new confidant or to Julio himself ; but at the same
time be careful not to depend upon his information, and be sparing
of the money. David's advices and others received. Keep all your
agents in hand, and make use of them as heretofore.
It will be well for Sampson to go whither he is summoned, (fn. 4) but
tell him to report most minutely. Give the same instructions to
David in due time, but do not let either know of the other, and
let them not go both at the same time, so that there may always
be one near you to give you information. Consider, too, whether
they may not be summoned in order to play some trick upon
them if any suspicion be entertained of them. (fn. 5) —San Lorenzo,
15th September 1588.
431. Purser Pedro De Igueldo to Bernardino De Mendoza.
On the 11th instant I informed you what had happened with the
English in this port (Havre de Grâce), and that they had wounded the
Maestre de Campo (Isla). God was pleased to take him on the 12th,
and his Majesty has lost a good soldier. Our misfortunes have not
ended here. After discharging the guns, powder, lead, etc., and
lightening the ship all we could, with the intention of getting her
into the harbour at the spring tides, due to-morrow, a great gale
arose ; and as these roads are unsheltered the cables broke at
nightfall, and the ship drifted ashore near the castle of the town.
Help was given to rescue the crew, and the ship remained high and
dry next day. This morning, by daybreak, the Governor sent
50 sailors from shore, to help those from the ship and lighters to
throw out the ballast, and everything, so as to save the hull. They
have cut down her mainmast, and are trying their best to get her
afloat and in harbour by to-night's tide. The issue is doubtful, but
everything shall be done, although it costs a great deal of money.—
Havre de Grâce, 17th September 1588.
432. Advices from England.
The earl of Leicester died almost suddenly on his way to the
baths, and in the same house as that in which he had caused his wife
to be killed, the master of it having invited him to dinner.
The Queen is sorry for his death, but no other person in the
country. She was so grieved that for some days she shut herself in
her chamber alone, and refused to speak to anyone until the
Treasurer and other Councillors had the doors broken open and
entered to see her.
The Lord Chancellor, now that Leicester is dead, has much more
power than before, and is helped by Secretary Walsingham, with
whom he is very friendly.
James Crofts, the Controller, who was one of the Peace,
Commissioners to Flanders, is a prisoner in the Fleet, Leicester, who
was his enemy, having tried to get him sent to the Tower of London.
The charge against him is that during the negotiations in Flanders
he refused to sign the letters written by the other Commissioners, and
that by this means the negotiations with the duke of Parma were
The Queen has disbanded her forces by land and sea, except six
armed ships under Sir Henry Palmer to guard the Channel.
It is understood that the Spanish Armada has returned, as there
is no news of its having been seen in Ireland.