464. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
The hulk from the Armada which I advised in my last had
entered the port of Morvien Brittany, revictualled with the money I
sent, and, as the weather was very heavy, could not stay in that port
with safety and so ran ashore, as your Majesty will see by enclosed
advices from Don Jorge Manrique. The latter very prudently,
seeing the inconvenience of sending the men overland to join the
galleass, decided to send to certain Spanish merchants at Nantes,
who had on my order provided the money necessary for the revictualling
of the hulk, asking them to send sufficient money
immediately for the needs of the men, and to freight a ship to take
them, with the guns and stores, to Spain. He also tells them to send
instant advice to me, in order that I may obtain the necessary
authorities from this King. This I have done, and he has granted
all I requested, very willingly. I have instructed the merchants to
expedite everything as much as possible. Nothing shall be wanting
on my part.
The "Zuñiga" is re-fitting. Her captain, Centellas, has only 130
convicts. I have asked the duke of Parma to let the salvage from
the ship that was lost at Calais (the galleass "San Lorenzo"), which
salvage is now on board some pataches at Dunkirk, be sent to Havre de
Grâce to be used in the repair of the ship there. (fn. 1) I have provided
3,000 crowns to the purser Igueldo to pay a month's wages to the
men, and to buy necessaries, pay debts, workmen on the ship, etc.
He writes saying this is spent, and asks me to send him more, in
consideration of the money landed by the duke of Parma's orders
and deposited at Rouen having been applied by the Duke to other
The governor of Havre de Grâce is doing his utmost for the
prompt dispatch of the galleass, and the retention of the slaves. I
took the liberty of suggesting that two gold chains worth 600 crowns
should be given to him and his lieutenant, which I am sure they
would have received with great pleasure. But people here have
already begun to whisper in his ears what a great service he (the
Governor) has done to your Majesty, by saving you so many convicts
that were in the galleass, who when once they touched France
should have been free, as they would have been in any other port.
The consequence of this is, I am told, that he is saying that the
least he expects of your Majesty is a chain of 2,000 crowns, and he
asks me to write to your Majesty to this effect, in consideration
of the services he has rendered, and will render, if your Majesty
continues the English enterprise. He will, he says, supply from
that port what ships and sailors may be necessary, with victuals if
The soldiers in the galleass are not very many, and as on the way
to Spain she will have to pass along the English coast, a sufficient
number should be on board of her to ensure her safety.—St. Dié,
2nd November 1588.
Note.—In another letter of the same date as above the writer
(Mendoza) gives an account of his interviews with the king of France
relative to the assistance to be given to the ships of the Armada
which had taken refuge in French ports. The King readily acceded
to all the requests made in this respect, and immediately despatched
the necessary orders to the ports.
|465. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
Although I already had news of the arrival of the duke of Medina
Sidonia with the greater part of the Armada at Santander, I humbly
thank your Majesty for informing me of it. With regard to the
failure to achieve the object aimed at, I can only repeat to your
Majesty what St. Gregory says in one of his epistles : "Adversitas
qui bonis votis obsicitur probatio est virtutis, non juditium
reprobationis." (fn. 2) and as an example of this he instances the terrible
torment suffered by St. Paul when he landed at Malta, on his way
to preach the faith of Christ in Italy ; and the King St. Louis, whom
God had chosen as one of His own, suffered no slight adversity in
his expedition to the Holy Sepulchre, notwithstanding his own
saintliness. A single sin—much less the multitude of sins we men
commit every day—forms, so to speak, a bulwark between ourselves
and God. And even when what we pray for is good and just, He
does not grant it easily, in order to try our constancy or test our zeal
in His service, and to lead us to correct our faults. We therefore
may hope from His infinite goodness and clemency, that He will accord
to your Majesty success in the enterprise in proportion to your holy
zeal in undertaking it, and that He has delayed success, in order
that when it comes, it may be evidently the gift of His hand, and
redound to His greater glory. For it will be seen that our Lord
always precedes the greatest successes and victories by drawbacks
and difficulties, and leads His chosen ones in His own way.
The English ambassador has had an audience of this King, during
which he represented to him that in the speech I had made asking
the King that no aid should be given to the queen of England, I had
said that he (the King) had sworn in the re-union (i.e., with the
League) to abandon all alliances with heretics ; and that in his
answer the King had not cleared up this point, of which his mistress
would be glad of an explanation. The King replied that it was he
who had cause to complain of her, for having violated the neutrality
of his ports. As for the rest, Kings were not called upon to open
their hearts to ambassadors. Before the audience he had sent word
to the English ambassador that he had given letters of marque to
two of his subjects against the English, in consequence of their
having been robbed by the English, and their inability to get justice
from the Queen. The loss of the hulk at Morvien and the galleass
has exhausted my means, please send credits.—St. Dié, 2nd November
466. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
The duke of Parma wrote to me, under date of 4th ultimo, the
information with regard to Scotland which I enclose. I also send
an abbreviated summary of his numerous long memoranda. If it
was important before to hold the Catholic nobles to their good
resolve it is doubly so now, and also to show the queen of England
that your Majesty intends to assail her on all sides, (fn. 3) which will
cause her not to divest herself of her ships suddenly, which otherwise
will go out to pillage and trouble your Majesty's forces. Your
Majesty should keep up the talk of war and great armaments, even
if you do not carry them out ; publicity is as important now as
secrecy was before. As the duke of Parma has so many troops, it
would be well to relieve the country and provide winter quarters for
them, which would prevent troublesome mutinies, by sending to the
Scottish Catholic nobles the number of troops they request. (fn. 4) Besides
which, it would bring about the conversion of the country and the
other plans they propose. They could, moreover, run over in small
vessels on one tack from Dunkirk or Nieuport, without molestation
from the English, and would compel the Queen to keep a standing
army in the north, which would quite exhaust her, even if it lasted
only two months. This is proved by what happened with the army
raised in the neighbourhood of London this summer, which did not
reach 15,000 men, who deserted so fast that the Queen was obliged
to go in person and beg them to stay. She was so weak that her
fleet, which left port at the end of July, was obliged to return on the
12th August for want of victuals and stores. They had not even
powder to fire after the combat off the Isle of Wight, until they took
that which was on board Don Pedro de Valdés's ship. All this
shows that the difficulty of reaching the place of combat in fit
condition is much greater than that of fighting the enemy. I hear
from a good source that the Treasurer said all sailors admitted that
50 of your Majesty's ships were impregnable, and all the vessels in
England would not dare to bear the brunt of them.
The force sent to Scotland, moreover, would run no risk of losing
prestige, as the very men who request it are those who will lodge
and maintain it for their own safety. To this it may be opposed
that we should be admitting the rights of the king of Scotland, but
even supposing he were not excluded by his heresy, or were to
embrace Catholicism, this would not militate against your Majesty's
right to take possession of the property of those who have so
unjustly pillaged you. The right of the king of Scotland, therefore,
does not prevent that of your Majesty being greater, and the justice
of your conquest of England being paramount for the reason that I
have indicated. However your Majesty may regard it, it would be
well for your Majesty to have the matter considered as M. de la
Motte has staked his existence on entering and holding an
English port for six months if he is given 2,000 men, half Spanish
and half Walloons, and he is a soldier of experience who speaks
with full knowledge. If it had no other effect than to disturb the
Queen at home, and prevent her from sending ships to trouble your
Majesty elsewhere, it would be worth doing, particularly if the force
sent to Scotland could join hands with M. de la Motte, who would
presumably take a port near the border, which would make it all
the more difficult for the English to assail them.
My reason for writing thus is that the duke of Parma orders me
to send your Majesty my opinion on the matter, and I humbly beg
your Majesty to pardon my presumption in doing so. I am still
trying to keep up my communication with Julio, though it is easy
to see that he is cooling, as I hold back the money. He gives me
very poor news, and seeing the few letters he has received in the
last few months, he is probably not well informed. He cannot
discover that the King is carrying on any negotiations with the
English ambassador, as the King tries to avoid suspicion on the
part of the League and the States, who keep him so tied up.
Julio tells me that Drake will not sail so soon as was said, as
Colonel Norris is going in command of the troops who are to
accompany the expedition, (fn. 5) and he will first go and relieve
Bergben.—St. Dié, 2nd November 1588.
|467. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
In addition to the advices from England I send your Majesty,
I also enclose a copy in French of a letter from Sir Harry Cavendish
to one of the Queen's Council, giving him an account of his voyage.
He does not state the value of his booty or other particulars, but
writes in general terms. (This paper is now absent.)
Up to the present the destination of the ships fitting out for
Drake cannot be ascertained, as no details can be gathered as to
their number, the provisions they take, etc., but the common voice
says that Don Antonio will go with them, and his Portuguese are
writing to his friends everywhere summoning them to join. (fn. 6) The
other ships that sail separately are sent to pillage, notwithstanding
the reports sent dated 8th October.
A Scotsman who recently left London asserts that the earl of
Cumberland had dropped down the Thames to put to sea, although
the reports of 8th October say he would not leave within 20 days.
It is agreed that he is going to rob on the Indian route and in the
South Seas. (fn. 7) He takes a great quantity of victuals, but no men
but the ships' companies. He had been joined by other pirates, and
now musters 11 sail, all small except the two belonging to the
Queen. Up to the present the wind is against him.—St. Dié,
2nd November 1588.
468. Copy of Letter from Robert Bruce to the Duke of
The enclosed letter from the Catholic lords being so ample, and
as I wrote fully recently upon the same subject by their orders,
I will limit myself in this letter to saying that his Catholic Majesty
and his successors have now the best opportunity that has ever
presented itself of making themselves rulers of this island, if it be
not neglected. It has been discussed and resolved by most of the
principal Catholics here that it is expedient for the public weal that
we should submit to the crown of Spain, and the earl of Huntly
therefore, who is the first subject in this country in point of strength
and influence, has authorised me, in the presence of a sufficient
number of witnesses, to write and assert in his name that if our
King will not consent to act well, he (Huntly) and several others of
his party wish to submit to the rule of his Catholic Majesty and his
forces, and to render him the peaceful possessor of the whole
country, if he will consent to direct his forces to be employed to
Copy of the duke of Parma's letter to Mendoza relative to the
The bearer has arrived here with the note and papers from
Scotland, which I enclose herewith in order that you may be fully
informed of all that concerns the matter. In order to continue the
correspondence as it has begun, I leave the answer entirely to you,
besides which this is no time to undertake to forward the execution
with the forces from here they request. I need only remark,
however, that in the answer you send it will be well to signify this
to them with your accustomed dexterity, taking care to keep them
favourably disposed towards us until such time as we may all be
able to fulfil what we desire, in the service of God and his Majesty,
as well as for the advantage of the country (Scotland) itself and the
afflicted Catholics. With regard to the money Bruce has in his
hands, he had better hold it until a favourable opportunity arises,
and not employ it in the four or five boats he mentions, because
they alone would not be of much use to carry over the number of
men they request when the time comes. You will be able with
your usual prudence and experience to put this and the rest in a
favourable form, and above all to persuade them to stand firm in
their devotion to us.
469. The King to Bernardino de Mendoza.
The provision of money you made to the ships of the Armada
that put into French ports is approved of, and your efforts in aiding
them were in conformity with the demands of my service and your
accustomed care. Thank the King for his action in the matter. As
the governor of Havre de Grâce has behaved so well, it will be
advisable, as you suggest, to give him and his lieutenant two chains
of the value of 600 crowns each. You may, therefore, do this. I
feel confident that if the fitting out of the 50 ships in England to
send to sea had been persevered in, you would soon have heard of
it. I have constantly enjoined you to exercise great care and energy
in discovering what is done in this respect in England, and I know
how greatly you have striven to this effect ; but since the English
are so careful to hide their preparations, I cannot refrain from again
urging the point upon you. See whether you cannot get some
Italian or Frenchman whom you can trust to send thither, in
addition to the men you have there, without any of them knowing
of the rest.—El Pardo, 5th November 1588.
Note.—In another letter of the same date as the above, from the
same to the same, the following passages occur : "The less Julio
helps you, the greater the need of getting news from England
through other channels. As some of your reports indicate an
intention of disturbing Portugal, please send advices by special
courier. Preparations have been made on this side for any
eventuality, and we will try to catch those whom you suspect are
sent in future with letters to Portugal. Provide Marco Antonio
Messia with some money. Tell him that if his property were
disembargoed in Lisbon it would make him suspected in England
but it shall be inquired into and justice done him."
470. Advices from England, translated from the English. (fn. 8)
It is unnecessary for me to dwell upon the progress of the
Spanish Armada, its bad management, and the heavy loss of ships
and men. (fn. 9) I will only say that if the Armada had been conducted
as it should have been, and its commanders had taken advantage
of the opportunities offered to them, the king of Spain would now
be as much king of England as he is king of Spain. But it is
past now ; the opportunities were missed, and I have no desire to
discourse upon them, but will confine myself to the present and
The whole of the English fleets did not contain 8,000 seamen,
and some gentlemen and volunteers who were of but little use.
The fleets were so short of provisions and stores that, had it not
been for the capture of Don Pedro de Valdés's ship, in which
they found 200 barrels of powder, they could not have followed
up the Armada for so long ; but would have been obliged to leave
it for want of victuals and stores.
The armies which they said in France and Flanders the Queen
had raised, of so many thousand men, were the very reverse of
what was stated. In the first place the Queen had no force to
speak of near her person, except the household and some gentlemen
who joined her.
The army that the earl of Leicester commanded opposite
Gravesend did not consist of so many men as was said in France,
because on one occasion when the Queen reviewed them, and
another when the Lord Treasurer did so, they could not muster
10,000 foot and 1,800 horse, although they strained every nerve to
do so. This is the real truth.
For this reason, and being in great alarm, they made the people
believe that the Spaniards were bringing a shipload of halters in the
Armada to hang all the Englishmen, and another shipload of
scourges to whip women, with 3,000 or 4,000 wet nurses to suckle
the infants. It was said that all children between the ages of 7
and 12 would be branded in the face, so that they might always
be known. These and other things of the same sort greatly
irritated the people.
During the time that the Armada was in the Channel all
foreigners in London were forbidden to leave their houses, and
the shops were to remain closed.
When the Admiral found that it was necessary for him to follow
the Armada, and that he had no stores, fearing that the winds
might shift in favour of the Spaniards he shut himself in his cabin,
and throwing himself on his bed wept like a child.
There was a great deal of disorder in the English fleet, and at no
time were there 30 ships together ready to fight.
Parliament was to have met on the 12th November, but as it was
seen that both people and nobles were weary of so much trouble, it
has been prorogued until the 4th February, which is the 14th by
our count. They also thought that during the interval they might
learn more of the king of Spain's intentions and capabilities. The
merchants and citizens are sick of the duration of the war, but they
(the Government) are beguiling them as well as they can.
The Queen intended to go to St. Paul's to give public thanks to
God for the victory, but she was dissuaded by her Council, for fear
that a harquebuss might be fired at her, and she abandoned her
In short, we are in such alarm and terror here that there is no
sign of rejoicing amongst the Councillors at the victories they have
gained. They look rather like men who have a heavy burden to
Still they think that the king of Spain cannot send another
Armada to sea under two or three years. They are very confident
of this, especially the Treasurer.
They have deceived the king of Scotland. In order to attract
him and prevent him from sheltering the Spaniards they sent an
ambassador to tell him that he should be proclaimed heir of
England, and should at once be invested with the dukedom of
Lancaster. When he sent an ambassador hither to effect this, the
Queen told him she knew nothing about such a thing, and repudiated
her ambassador's promise. They say the king of Scotland is greatly
The Queen is much aged and spent, and is very melancholy.
Her intimates say that this is caused by the death of the earl of
Leicester ; but it is very evident that it is rather the fear she underwent
and the burden she has upon her. In order to send 1,500 men
to Berghen she had to bleed at every pore, and even then she could
not get them together. Those that went had to be driven on board
Wade, the Secretary of the queen of England, asserted that 2,500
or 3,000 Spaniards had landed in Ireland from six ships which had
been there before and had victualled. There were with them four
savage Earls, two of them powerful men, Tyrconnel (O'Donnell) and
O'Neil, and two smaller men. They had fortified themselves. (fn. 10)
The Queen had sent Sir Thomas Perrot to raise 2,000 men in
Wales, and take them over with all speed. (fn. 11) Besides this she had
sent overland many arms and stores of which they stood in need.
This news (i.e., of the landing of Spaniards in Ireland) has
caused the Queen and Council much anxiety, as they greatly fear
such a war, which they look upon as the most ruinous of any that
could happen to them. If there were any means of succouring them
(i.e., the Spaniards) it would harass the English very much. (fn. 12)
Above all, be very vigilant with the ships in Spanish ports,
especially Corunna, as they (the English) are determined to send and
burn them. (fn. 12) This is one of the first things the earl of Cumberland
intends to do. The earl of Cumberland was ready with four ships.
The Queen's largest ship also, carrying provisions for two months,
was ready to sail with him ; it was said only as far as Cape
St. Vincent, to try to capture some prizes, with the proceeds of
which he would fit out an expedition like that of Cavendish. It
is now said that he has orders not to go. In any case his victuals
will be exhausted.
Cavendish fell in with a ship coming from the Philippines to
Mexico, with much merchandise from China, and some gold. He
filled his three ships with raw silks and Chinese damasks, and burnt
the rest. A Portuguese who comes back with him says, if he
(Cavendish) had not met this ship he would have been starved
for want of food and water. The Council are spreading the rumour
that he brings back 24 quintals of gold and the rest of the afore-mentioned
merchandise. The Portuguese confesses that they bring
some gold, but not so much. They have taken the island of
St. Helena, and have fixed its position. (fn. 13)
The Portuguese above-mentioned went to see Don Antonio, and
gave him a great present of damasks and brocades, and other fine
things from China, where he has been established for 30 years. He
was on his way to Portugal, and when he was captured he begged
to be brought hither in the hope of saving his property, as indeed
he has done to some extent. He wishes to go to Portugal, but
Don Antonio prevents him by alarming him.
Don Antonio only knows what Drake and Norris tell him. They
say they have orders to fit out a great fleet with 15,000 men to take
him to Portugal, and Drake has shown him a warrant from the
Queen for 20,000l., and an undertaking from London merchants to
find 10,000l., in order that he may have the necessary provisions
prepared. The Queen contributes six ships of her own and two
pataches, which he has already selected. The rest will be merchant
ships, but it is not known how many. Don Antonio does not
believe in the truth of it, as neither the Queen nor any of the
Council have said a word to him about it, and they have deceived
him so often. He thinks that the fleet will be fitted out, as there
is no doubt that Drake really is making preparations, and Norris
has authority to levy troops, and, if the siege of Berghen is raised,
to put his new men into garrison there, and bring the old troops
hither, but he (Don Antonio) thinks that the real destination of the
expedition will be the Indies. Drake is very vexed that he did not
leave 2,000 men there, and so prevent the king of Spain from
getting any flotillas or money from there. (fn. 14) Drake's fleet will be
ready during January.
Don Antonio sent his younger son to Barbary, as the sheriff had
promised him a large sum of money on him. He is not very
confident, as Moors often break their word, although his (Don
Antonio's) friends there assure him that the matter is quite settled.
He (the son) embarked two weeks ago, but with this weather must
still be in the Channel. If this money is forthcoming there is no
doubt that the Queen and Don Antonio will make an attempt against
Portugal, although many principal people when they speak of it
say it is impossible, as they have no port there to disembark in.
Now, if the king of Spain wishes to see the queen of England dead,
with the Treasurer, Walsingham, and all the Council, who are the
cause of the war with Spain, and this at the hand of the English
themselves ; if he wants to stop them from molesting them in the
Indies or Portugal, let him send 3,000 or 4,000 men to Ireland, and
let them fortify themselves there and take the island. He will soon
see the effect. This is the only thing that the English fear, and
the real true way to take this country with little risk and trouble ;
and if a part of the Armada were to effect this, they would find it a
very different matter to attacking this country. (fn. 15)
They made Don Pedro de Valdés and other prisoners of rank
confess, or at least it is stated that they have declared, that the
duke of Guise was only awaiting the success of the Armada to
proclaim himself king of France, which is a great piece of roguery. (fn. 16)
Valdés is disliked by the English, as they say he was the cause
of the coming of the Armada from Corunna, and because he speaks
haughtily and arrogantly. The Queen was resolved to put him
in the Tower, but Drake prevented it, as he was his prisoner.
Mr. Davison is out of the Tower in consequence of his illness. This
was managed by Walsingham, who is his friend. (fn. 17)
471. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
In addition to the advices from England I sent on the 22nd, I
have received a report, dated 25th ultimo, from the man I recently
sent thither. He says that when the Queen was told that your
Majesty had ordered your fleet to be reinforced and increased, she
replied that she would give your Majesty plenty to do before you
could repair damages or turn round. In the west, at Plymouth,
50 sail were being fitted out, which would be ready for sea within
a month, whilst at Norwich and in the Thames the earl of Norfolk
(sic.) was embarking with 4,000 or 5,000 men to go to the relief of
Berghen. (fn. 18)
The booty brought back by Cavendish consisted of raw silks and
spices, the value of which the English estimated at 1,000,000, but as
these goods are bulky, and the ships small, it is impossible that the
value can nearly reach a half of it.—St. Dié, 6th November 1588.
472. Advices from London of 9th November (N.S.), translated
from the English.
On the 11th ultimo, I reported to the duke of Parma, and on the
21st and 28th to the Cardinal (Archduke Albert of Austria, governor
of Portugal), by ship from Calais, (fn. 19) and I therefore write briefly now.
As I have reported before, the whole business here is to devise fresh
means of disturbing his Majesty, and so to prevent him from sending
to these parts again. One day they decide one thing, and the next
day another. They are now full of assisting Don Antonio, and then
of sending ships to the Biscay and Galician coast, to burn the ships
of the Armada. At another time they are for sending ships to the
Spanish Indies ; and I believe this latter course is the one they will
follow, as they always choose the most profitable one for themselves.
They appear entirely in favour of Don Antonio, and he is very
confident that they will help him in time, although the Queen says
that at present it would do no good to either of them, until they
know more about the result of the Armada, and the decision the
King may adopt. When this is known, she says, she will be able to
resolve more confidently. They are discussing in Parliament the
means of doing it (i.e., helping Don Antonio) ; and in the meanwhile
Don Antonio has decided to send his younger son, Don Cristobal, to
Barbary, in the hope that the Sheriff will give him something on
account of the 250,000 ducats he promised, by means of which, with
the 200,000 ducats' worth of provisions promised him from Holland,
and the aid of private persons here, he hopes to undertake the enterprise,
which, he asserts, will be an extremely easy one. Don Cristobal left
here on the 25th, and is yet at Margate. His father provided him
with a household as if he were in his prosperity. It would be good
if his Majesty could divert the Sheriff from providing the money, as
it is certain that if he (Don Antonio) gets it, and the other sums I
have mentioned, he will trouble his Majesty when least expected,
even if the Queen do not contribute a penny.
On the 26th instant (sic) it was agreed that Drake should, with
all secresy, make ready to sail with 40 ships, which were put in
hand next day, and most of them are being fitted as for a long
voyage. It cannot be doubted that they are going to stay in the
Spanish Indies, and fortify some place there. I will discover the
intention and advise in time. I am quite certain, however, that the
intention is either to attack Portugal or the Indies, and would
advise that Havana be strongly defended, as they greatly desire to
establish themselves there. (fn. 20)
Every day a multitude of new stories are current about losses of
the Armada. If they were all true, not a single ship would be left.
Those which were reported lost on the coast of Ireland I set forth
in a memorandum I sent to your lordship. The list was afterwards
printed at the end of a little tract in French, which they, in their
usual cunning way, pretended had been written by a Catholic to
your lordship (Mendoza). (fn. 21) It was done by the Lord Treasurer, and
they sent a great number of copies to France. Since then they
report some more ships lost, but there is no certainty about it,
although it is confidently stated that the governor of one of the
Orkney Isles was persuaded by some of the people on shore to
take the men from a great ship, which he had captured, hanging
some of the people on board. They had gone there the first time
in search of victuals, and the second time through stress of weather.
The Queen said, two days ago, that she had certain information
that 15 of the ships had gone to the Irish coast in consequence of
the weather. God preserve them from the great tempest that usually
The earl of Cumberland left here to embark at Plymouth. As I
have already reported, orders have been given to him to wait and
sail with Drake. (fn. 22) I have given notice of all other ships that have
left. A few days ago a certain Juan Vaz disappeared from here. I
think he has gone to Portugal. His father lives in a villa near
Alanquer, and he is attached to Don Antonio. (fn. 23)
I say nothing of events in Scotland, in order not to cause more
distress than necessary about past occurrences ; but your Lordship
will hear from Courcelles, (fn. 24) who has gone from here, what they write
to him, although we have no further confirmation of it. After I
had written this, I decided not to give it to the messenger, Juan
Topete, as I suspected him, and so kept it back until the present
bearer presented himself.
On the 2nd instant news came that nine more ships had been lost
on the coast of Ireland, but that the men had been saved, and had
fortified themselves inland, at a place called Mac Morris, (fn. 25) in the
province of Connaught, to the number of 2,000, who had been
joined by many Irish, especially by the earl of Clanricarde. Orders
have, therefore, been given for men and warlike stores to be sent to
Ireland, as they fear that if there were 4,000 or 5,000 foreigners in
(Connaught?) all would rise in rebellion.
On the following day I sent full advice of this to the duke of
Parma, for his information and consideration as to what could be
done ; but I have not yet received any reply.
The news has since been confirmed, and that great numbers of
Irishmen had joined. Great activity is shown here in preparation for
sending troops thither, although it is now asserted that they (the
Spaniards) have re-embarked (fn. 26) and returned to Spain, which I do
not believe, for these people (the English) always say what suits
them best. They likewise assert that three ships were lost on the
island of Guernsey. Don Cristobal left the Downs yesterday with
473. Purser Pedro de Igueldo to Bernardino de Mendoza.
Reports the desertion of the ensign, two sergeants, and twenty
soldiers of the galleass "Zuñiga," at Havre de Grâce, as soon as they
had received their month's pay ; asks that they may be punished
when they arrive in Spain for deserting from a ship of the Armada
at such a juncture. He blames the captains, to whom he had given
notice of the intention of some of the men to desert ; 80 more
soldiers will be wanted. Work on the galleass delayed by weather.
It is being caulked inside and out. Gunpowder will have to be
dried in the sun, "when God sends us any sun." Has begun to buy
stores. Biscuit is being made. It will be much better than the
Spanish. What troubles him is the drink, for if he has to lay in a
stock of wine it will cost 1,600 crowns. Cider will cost 250 crowns,
and new cider at that, which is no good, as it makes the men ill.
He could get perry, but does not think the men would drink it.—
Havre de Grâce, 10th November 1588.
|474. Advices from London.
Don Cristobal, the son of Don Antonio, sailed for Barbary with
four ships of war and six merchantmen and a large household of
Portuguese and English—over 40 persons. He takes several musical
instruments, and rich household appointments, Don Antonio having
spent 30,000 crowns in his embarkation. The officers of his
household are splendidly fitted, and the rest of the men very
decently (a list of the Prince's household here follows, but no
Englishman is mentioned). Edward Perrin commands the four men-
Antonio de Escobar tells me that he hopes to God that Don
Antonio will, before the end of the year, be ready to go to Portugal.
He says I am not to tell anyone this, nor am I to leave here, as I
shall soon be summoned. (fn. 27) The writer suggests that he should be
sent to Barbary to spy out the intentions of Don Antonio.
With Sir Harry Cavendish there arrived a Portuguese from China,
a very rich man, who has made Don Antonio some presents, and
tells him that if he sends to India and China he will obtain help.
Don Pedro de Valdés has hitherto been away from London in a
pleasure house, very well treated, but it is said that for having
spoken ill of Don Antonio he is to be brought to London and put in
475. "Advices from London, translated from English." (fn. 28)
The news spread hourly here keeps one in suspense. Five days
ago they reported that all the Spaniards fortified in Ireland had
surrendered, and a list of prisoners and dead was sent. Then
came intelligence that the Viceroy had his force ready to march on
the 7th instant, 800 foot and 100 horse, to meet the Spaniards.
They are now saying that those prisoners had secretly left the rest,
and had embarked, but being driven back by tempest they were all
lost but five ; whereas the list sent here of prisoners and dead gives
the number as 42. This makes me think it is false, like the
assertion here that a number of Spaniards had been hanged at Mull,
one of the Orkney Isles (sic). This was untrue, so I hope the rest
is that every hour and minute they are reporting here. God
prosper the Spaniards that are left there (i.e., in Ireland) for it would
be a good opportunity for disturbing these people.
A ship which they say is the hospital of the Armada put into
Plymouth in a great storm and surrendered. The Council has sent
orders for everyone on board to be hanged, except a few of the
principal officers. It is said that the same order has been sent to
Ireland, as they do not want to have to feed them, and Spain will
not ransom them. I cannot believe they will do it. They also
assert that 12 ships of the Armada had appeared on the west coast
of England. If so, God help them!
Don Cristobal has returned to Margate owing to bad weather, at
which Don Antonio is much displeased, as he is extremely impatient
in the matter. Here many ships are being secretly fitted out for
Drake's expedition. Drake constantly sees Don Antonio at night
and in secresy. He is using his utmost efforts to obtain aid for him,
as also is Colonel Norris, who writes from Zeeland that the States
there are very ready to assist. I hope to be able to obtain trustworthy
information about it, and the plans they have in view.
Bernaldo Luis has sent a man to me here, to ask me to write in
his favour, as nothing against your Majesty's interests had been
proved against him, and he had only been arrested in the matter
of a ship consigned to Geronimo Pardo, which it was alleged had
English property on board. I swear to God that neither Bernaldo
Luiz, nor his brother, had any interest in her. His imprisonment
is protracted, although they had been promised prompt release, and
he was advised to obtain a letter from me, when they should both
be liberated at once. I excused myself from writing such a letter,
but I promised to use influence in another way in their favour, and
as I know no better way than to appeal to your lordship I pray
you kindly to write to Don Cristobal de Mora, or other person,
begging for favourable consideration. They do not deserve to be so
ill-requited for their services.—London, 21st November 1588 (N.S.).
476. Advices from London.
A fresh report has just come from Ireland, saying that many ships
of the Spanish Armada have been lost on that coast, and that many
persons have been beheaded and others taken prisoners. I send a
list of them, furnished to me by a friend. This makes me begin to
believe what I have hitherto doubted.
The ships lost there, they say, amount to 16 or more. I have
believed little or nothing of this, but, in view of this relation, I am
afraid there has been great misfortune, especially as there is a
certainty here that only 42 of the ships of the Armada, mostly small,
have arrived in Spain.
On Friday last, although it rained heavily all day, Cavendish's
ship was taken up to Greenwich before the Queen's house. It is
said that her sails were of damask. She fired off a great quantity of
artillery, and was a most beautiful sight. I understand that the
treasure he brings does not approach in value what they said,
but it is asserted that more value is attached to a new invention,
or easier mode of navigating, which he has devised.
On Thursday the wife of the earl of Pembroke made a superb
entrance into this city. She has been for more than a year on her
estates in the country. Before her went 40 gentlemen on horseback,
two by two, all very finely dressed with gold chains. Then came a
coach in which was the Countess (fn. 29) and a lady, then another coach
with more ladies, and after that a litter containing the children, and
four ladies on horseback. After them came 40 or 50 servants in her
livery with blue cassocks. A few days previously the Earl had
entered London, and it is said that he had in his train at least 150
horsemen. He has recently been appointed governor of Wales.
Great preparations are being made for a fine joust on the 27th,
the Queen's coronation day ; and I am told that her Majesty will go
to St. Paul's on that day, in pontificial state, accompanied by all the
nobility, to render thanks to God for the victory He has sent her.
They are therefore in a very different position here now from what
was expected from the threats that, a few months ago, came upon
them from all sides. They are above all resolved to make war
sturdily, and are furiously fitting out a fleet of, they say, 30 ships
or more, for which purpose her Majesty, I am told, recently signed
a warrant for 20,000l. in favour of Drake, to pay for stores. The
London merchants are subscribing 15,000l. for the same purpose.
There are different opinions as to the destination of this fleet ; some
say it is going to Terceira, but the merchants' subscription makes
me think otherwise. Many think it is for Portugal, and that Don
Antonio will go in it, and that these Englishmen, under cover of
Don Antonio, pretend to have great designs, but really will confine
themselves to seizing ships and merchants. Don Antonio came from
Gravesend on Saturday. He had been there for 10 days, at the
house of Lady Rich.
I am told for certain that the expedition is to go to Portugal, and
that the Queen and Council have resolved to provide all that is
necessary for it.
On Saturday her Majesty went to see a 300-ton ship from Dantzig
which, they say, is very beautiful, and has been bought by Drake
for 4,600 ducats. I understand that the expedition will be ready in
January, and that Cavendish will accompany Don Antonio, Colonel
Norris commanding the troops which are being raised in Flanders
for the purpose.
477. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
The duke of Mercœur, with eight French King's ships, had sacked
and taken what was left of the hulk that went ashore at Morvien, (fn. 30)
and had claimed a tithe of all that had been landed. I have sent
a servant of mine with letters from the King for the duke of
A ship of 70 tons has been freighted to ship the troops and guns
from the hulk, on condition that your Majesty will not embargo the
ship in Spain. I was obliged to promise this, or I should not have
been able to obtain a ship at all.
I am asking the duke of Parma to send the salvage of the galleass
wrecked at Calais to repair that which is at Havre de Grâce. Letter
from Pedro Igueldo about the galleass, "Zuñiga," at Havre enclosed.
Pray instruct me how I am to manage about the soldiers necessary
to guard this ship on her way back to Spain. More will be required
than Igueldo says, seeing how they desert. I had ordered Captain
Avendaño, who came on the "Santa Ana," to take charge of the two
companies of his regiment now on the galleass. He said he had
nothing to do with them, as they were under the command of an
officer of another regiment, and he has now gone back to Spain.
(Greatly deplores the disobedience and desertion of the troops of
all ranks in the various ships of the Armada on the French coast,
and commends the services of Purser Igueldo, whom he has ordered
not to go back to Spain yet on any account, although he says he is
the only purser left of the Armada.)—Paris, 26th November 1588.
|478. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
Cavendish's booty shrinks in value daily, but the English still
estimate it at 500,000 crowns.
The son of the earl of Northumberland, who died in the Tower of
London, was to go over with Colonel Norris and 4,000 men to raise
the siege of Berghen.
The differences between Drake and Frobisher still continue ; and
as to the 50 sail which I said were fitting out at Plymouth, ostensibly
to sail under Drake, it was impossible to say when they would be
ready, as the victuals and men were not yet collected. Although
private owners were fitting out ships for pillage, up to the 5th instant
only five ships, three large and two small, had actually sailed.
They were under Captain Raymond, (fn. 31) a servant of the Admiral, their
object being plunder. If the ships that sail with this object from
various English ports effect a junction they may burn some of your
Majesty's ships, or land men and sack some Spanish village or town ;
so that it would be prudent for your Majesty to have a good lookout
kept on the coast. The wind has hitherto been against them
for leaving England.
The Queen had ordered 2,000 men to be sent to Ireland, as it was
reported that there were 1,500 Spanish soldiers there, out of the
4,000 who were in the 18 ships which went ashore on the island,
the rest of the men having died of sickness, contracted in the
Armada or of over-eating on land. This confirms, to some extent,
the news I sent in my last, that some Spaniards had fortified themselves
on land, and were helped by the savages. As they were so
few, it was reported that they (the Spanish soldiers) would embark on
four ships which had remained whole out of the 18, but if so many
Spaniards as 1,500 had been able to hold out so long, and had ships
at their disposal, they would certainly have reported to your Majesty,
unless, indeed, the weather prevented them.
If the Queen sends 2,000 men to Ireland, and 4,000 to relieve
Berghen (and a man who saw some of them shipped, assures me
that they had to be beaten out of the houses of Gravesend with
cudgels and driven on board by force), she can hardly send Drake
out soon with a numerous fleet and a strong force. Recently there
was a report that Don Antonio would go with Drake, but the
sending of his son (to Barbary) does not look as if it were true.
The Queen had delayed summoning Parliament until the middle
of January, and was trying to get a sum of money together to
send to the Huguenots to aid them in raising levies.—St. Dié,
26th November 1588.
|479. Bernardino de Mendoza to the King.
I have continued to keep on as good terms as possible with the
new confidant, as your Majesty orders. As soon as I arrived he sent
to ask me for 200 crowns, as he was very much pressed. As the
sum was a small one I sent it, thinking that my prompt good-will
to help him would compel him to give me some valuable news.
Julio writes to me, under date of 29th ultimo, a letter, which has been
delayed by weather, asking me to inform your Majesty instantly
that the ships that took the son of Don Antonio carried orders to
try to enter Corunna and other ports, and burn the ships belonging
to your Majesty therein. I had already some suspicion of this, and
mentioned it in my general despatch about England. Secret orders
had been given, he (Julio) says, for the 10 ships that accompanied
Don Antonio's son to be joined by 17 others, and amongst them
those of the earl of Cumberland. It may be suspected that those
that go under the great pirate, Captain Raymond, will do the same.
Julio also reports that amongst the ships being fitted out at
Plymouth will be nine of the Queen's and 11 pataches, and that
Colonel Norris will not take more than 1,500 men to Berghen, as it
is reported that the prince of Parma could not keep up the siege.
Norris will go thence to Holland, to bring 25 ships that the Dutch
have promised to Don Antonio. These will be brought to Plymouth,
where they will join the rest and will take on board 14,000 men
from the coast. They would then sail with Don Antonio, Drake
being in command at sea and Norris on land, but Julio thinks that,
even if the Dutch give 25 ships, they cannot be ready to sail nor the
men collected so soon. I can well believe this from the reports he
sent me, dated the 5th, given in my general letter, namely, that the
preparations at Plymouth were not very forward.
Sampson has arrived, but he is in no hurry to seek me, which
also makes me think that the armaments there (i.e., in England)
are not very pressing. I will keep your Majesty well informed
of the progress made, and am sending this by special courier,
in consequence of Julio's news, as it is quite feasible for the English
to attempt such a thing.
I am advising the duke of Parma of it, and of Norris going,
in order that he may have a good watch kept on the preparations
in Holland, and we may thus form an idea of what the Plymouth
force may undertake. I am, through my correspondents at Calais
and elsewhere, trying to obtain similar intelligence.
The advices from London, dated the 10th instant, are from David,
who is at Rouen. He has received them from Antonio de Escobar
Don Antonio's agent, who has returned from England (fn. 32) Please
instruct me how to act about David's suggestion that he should get
himself sent to Barbary to learn what Don Antonio's son does there.
—St. Dié, 26th November 1588.
|480. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
After closing my despatch about England to-day I received
reports of 11th and 14th instant. The latter came by a person
who reports verbally that the statement that a number of Spaniards
had fortified themselves in Ireland was still current, but none of
those who were alleged to have been taken prisoners had arrived
(in London) and this gave rise to some suspicion that the news was
not true, though the Queen had ordered it to be printed in the
form of letters addressed to me. She had ordered a general embargo
to be placed on all the large ships in the country, the statement
being that Drake would sail in the spring with more than 100
It is reported that Colonel Norris with 1,500 men had arrived at
Middleburg in Zeeland.
I have also advices from a person who has seen, in the house of
Horatio Pallavicini, a statement sent from Portugal to England of
the best place where a force could be disembarked in that country,
namely, a position near the castle of St. Gian, where there was a
town where an army could be lodged. The person (fn. 33) who sends the
news therefore thinks the intention is to send ships to Portugal. If
many ships join the son of Don Antonio they may attempt
something.—St. Dié, 26th November 1588.
481. Copy of Letter from London.
Thomas Cavendish's ship has been brought from the West Country,
and was sailed before the Court at Greenwich. Amongst other
things the Queen said, "The king of Spain barks a good deal but
does not bite. We care nothing for the Spaniards ; their ships,
loaded with silver and gold from the Indies, come hither after all."
Every sailor had a gold chain round his neck, and the sails of the
ship were of blue damask, the standard of cloth of gold and blue
silk. It was as if Cleopatra had been resuscitated. The only
thing wanting was that the rigging should have been of silken
Cavendish must have brought great riches, for they are coining new
broad-angels, and gold is cheaper here than ever it was. Spanish
pistolets, which four months ago were worth 12 reals 11 maravedis,
will not now pass for 11 reals 24 maravedis, in consequence of the
great abundance of them here. I do not know whether this wealth
comes from Cavendish's ship or from that of Don Pedro de Valdés.
The latter ship sank whilst they were bringing her from Dartmouth
to Dover, and only two or three of the 60 sailors on board of her
were saved. In ancient times such occurrences as these were
considered by the Romans to be prophetic, and I think they would
have held this to be of evil augury.
Great preparations are being made here to send and bring this
gold and silver from the place where it is found, and we have plenty
of good seamen for the purpose.
The Queen has sent to Holland and Zeeland asking for 40 ships
of war at their cost, and a sum of money per month, but they have
refused both requests.
482. Advices from David at Rouen.
Yesterday I had advices from England, saying that a great fleet
was being fitted out with all speed ; the general rumour being that it
is intended for Portugal, and Englishmen with whom I have spoken
say that it will consist of 200 sail.
Lord Cumberland is cruising with 15 ships in the Channel, and I
am told that Don Cristobal, the son of Don Antonio, is still detained
(i.e., at the Downs) by contrary winds.
I have also seen a letter written from London to a friend of mine
here, saying that news has arrived in England that his Majesty is
fitting out a great Armada ; but that before it is ready, the English
fleet will be there (i.e., in Spain). They also tell him that they
must cease to write to Portugal, as all letters for there are opened in
the house of the Cardinal (i.e., the Archduke Albert, governor of
Portugal). I can assure you that this is a very desirable course to