588. Advices from London sent by David's correspondents
(Recounts the names and movements of various
Portuguese agents of Don Antonio. To and from
The earl of Cumberland went on the 2nd April to speak with
Don Antonio about going against Terceira, with 4,000 or 5,000 men,
under the Portuguese flag, They decided to meet again and discuss
the matter on the 15th. I will report. On the coming hither of
Amador Esteban from Portugal, all ships were embargoed, and they
are being fitted out with all speed.
They have now ready 26 of the Queen's ships and 70 merchantmen,
upon which, they say, they will embark 10,000 men with the
Admiral, lord Willoughby, and Sir Martin Frobisher.
It is believed that this fleet is for France. There are a great
number of troops in the West Country, and on the rest of the coast.
Some Frenchmen have arrived here, it is said to ask for men. Don
Antonio has dismissed nearly all his servants, and one of these days
he, his son, and Diego Botello, will disappear from here and go to
Hamburg, as he is not on good terms with the Queen.
589. Advices from London.
(Relates movements of various Portuguese agents of Don
The fleet, which is being fitted out with much activity, will consist
of 148 ships, of which 30 belong to the Queen. A friend of mine
assures me that, to judge from the lord Chamberlain's conversation
with Don Antonio, it is intended for the islands (i.e., Azores) and
will sail under the Portuguese flag. I will report what is done.
Secretary Walsingham has just expired, at which there is much
sorrow. (fn. 1)
590. Bernardino De Mendoza to the King.
As I have several times written to your Majesty, there are no
means of getting letters from England hither, but a man who has
arrived here, and left London on the 12th, had been in Plymouth,
and affirms that he saw there 30 good armed ships ready for sea,
which would sail as soon as those which were being fitted out in
the Thames were ready. He says that, just as he was leaving
London, two little French vessels arrived from Corunna with oranges
and salt. They reported that your Majesty had collected a powerful
fleet in the neighbouring harbours, but it could not be ready to put
to sea for a long time.
The Queen has had a review of 6,000 infantry, raised for the
purpose of garrisoning the ports in case they hear that your
Majesty's fleet is being made ready. Otherwise they will be sent
This man crossed over to Calais with a messenger sent by the
queen of England to Bearn, to congratulate him on his victory. He
is to ask Bearn, even if he comes to terms with the League and this
place (i.e. Paris), not to make peace with the king of Spain. In
order to persuade Bearn to this, the Queen offers to hand over to
him all the places she held in Holland and Zeeland. Plessy-Mornay,
who is Bearn's closest councillor, and represented him in England
when I was there—a great heretic too, who has written many books
—said the other day at Montereau Fautyonne that if Bearn and his
co-religionists, when they only held a handful of land in France, had
always refused to change their faith, much less would they do it
now that Bearn was King, with three-quarters of France in his
possession, and it was absurd to ask such a thing. No such
condition, he said, must be discussed in any negotiations for an
arrangement, nor must peace with Spain be made.
On the 21st a Scotsman left Boulogne, one of his ships having
been embargoed by the governor of the town. He states that Drake
had come out into the Channel, with 15 of the Queen's ships, in
consequence of a report that 60 sail of ships had been sighted in
Spanish waters. They said that, if any men were landed from your
Majesty's fleet in France, the English would land troops also.
This Scotsman also relates that an ambassador from your Majesty
had arrived in Scotland, who had been favourably received by the
nobility, and had rewarded all those who had sheltered the Spaniards
from the Armada. The king of Scotland had not returned from
Denmark.—Paris, 23rd April 1590.
Note.—All through the summer of 1590, from April to August,
Mendoza's letters to the King are full of heartrending accounts of
the distress of the beleagured city. Provisions were at famine price
and the population were dying in thousands of pestilence and
starvation. The ambassador himself was ill, old, and blind, but,
according to his own account, he and Cardinal Gaëtano were the
only persons who animated the populace to defend the city. Again
and again deputations came to him begging him to induce the king
of Spain to take Paris for himself now that the King-Cardinal was
dead, and these messages he transmitted to Philip. He was
apparently on bad terms with Mayenne, of whom he expressed a
very low opinion, and who returned his dislike cordially, refusing
(13th November) to have anything to do with so choleric and
impracticable a minister. In the meanwhile, for many months he
got no letter from Philip in answer to his fervent prayers for release.
His own messengers and couriers were caught and hanged by Bearn
(Henry IV.), but still some of his letters got through, as we see, and
he bitterly complains that his King has deserted him, and has ceased
to write at all. In one letter (6th April) he expresses a wish that
his death may come from Spain, for then it will be sure to come
very slowly. He is all through in mortal terror that he will fall into
the hands of Bearn and be sent to England. At length (24th June)
the King wrote to him coldly saying that he could not be spared
yet, and must still stay. These points are not transcribed fully, as
they do not refer to English affairs.
591. Diego Maldonado to Philip II.
Manuel de Andrada, otherwise David, has arrived here from
Paris on his way to your Majesty. He himself will tell the story
of his imprisonment and release, and the news from England. He
has encountered much difficulty and danger between Paris and this
place. He has with him a Portuguese named Rodrigo Marquis
(Marcos?), who says he is going on your Majesty's service. Three
other Portuguese have arrived, formerly followers of Don Antonio,
Juan de Sejas, Lorenzo Correa, and a brother of Domingo Rodriguez.
They come to crave your Majesty's pardon, and send enclosed
statements of their lives. (fn. 2)
They relate that Duarte Perrin has gone to Barbary with letters
from the queen of England and Don Antonio, and is expected to
bring back a subsidy of 200,000 crowns. It would be well to
capture him at sea. Pedro de Oro, formerly French Consul in
Lisbon, has been sent by the Queen and Don Antonio to Bayonne,
for the purpose of introducing spies into Portugal and Spain. He
has already despatched an English servant of his (personal
description of him follows).
The English are in great alarm at the vast fleet they say your
Majesty has ordered to be prepared, and the Queen dares not allow
one of her ships or men to leave the country. The sending of aid
to Bearn, even, has been suspended. The Queen will stand entirely
on the defensive.—Nantes, 25th April 1590.
592. The King to Bernardino De Mendoza.
In conformity with his letter of recommendation brought by
Thomas Fitzherbert, an Englishmen, (fn. 3) the King has decided to send
him to Rouen to serve him there his communication going through
Mendoza. He is to be paid 30 crowns a month.—Madrid, 26th
Note.—Two similar letters of the same date relating to two other
Englishmen. Anthony Standen sent to Bordeaux and Anthony
Rolston to St. Jean de Luz, are in the same packet. The pay of
both these agents was the same as that of Fitzherbert. Anthony
Standen deserted the Spanish interest in 1593 and returned to
England. See his letters in the Hatfield State Papers, part 4, and his
copious correspondence with his friend Anthony Bacon abstracted in
Birch's "Memoirs of queen Elizabeth."