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THE COPY OF
A LETTER SENT OUT OF ENGLAND
DON BERNARDIN MENDOZA,
AMBASSADOR IN FRANCE FOR THE KING OF SPAIN,
STATE OF ENGLAND, Contrary to the Opinion of Don Bernardin, and of all his Partisans,
Spaniards and others; Found in the chamber of one Richard Leigh, a Seminary Priest, who was lately
executed for high-treason ;
WITH AN APPENDIX. Imprinted at London, by J. Vautrollier, for Richard Field. MDLXXXVIII.
Iu this letter we not only find a confirmation of the foregoing history; but we also
learn the sentiments of our enemies concerning the most likely methods to enslave us, and the only means to preserve our preseut establishment. The Author, a Papist, and in the Spanish interest, informs the King of Spain, that
the hopes of a foreign invasion did not only depend on a large army to be transported, but on a strong party ready in England to join the foreign forces at their
landing He advises to act more politically than by excommunication of the prince, and the
Pope's usurped power to absolve subjects from their allegiance, and to dispose of kingdoms by violence, blood, slaughter, and conquest; as also to conceal their intentions, till the time came of striking the blow effectually. For, says he, when these things were published without reserve, the Queen endeavoured to strengthen her kingdom. The militia of the inland-towns provided for their own safety, and the places on the coast, where a landing might be suspected, were well guarded. Besides, every nobleman, knight, and gentleman of fortové immediately took the alarum, and thought it time to provide for their own and
the publick safety, by arming their servants and dependents. He shews the error of the Popish states, who coufide on the numbers of those that
profess popery iu England; and clears the laws of the land from the imputation
of punishing any priest, or Jesuit, or other recusant for his religion only. He blames and explodes those lying accounts published in France, of victories
gained over us when we at the same time have intirely routed the enemy; yet this, as well as many other of their stale politicks, is cuustantly practised in the same place. And then dissuades them from the like attempt, and proposes the best means to maintain popery in England.
Lord Ambassador, though at the time of my last large writing
to you of the state of this country, and of our long desired expectation of succours promised, I did not think to have had such a sorrow, ful occasion of any second writing, as now I have, of a lamentable change of matters of estate here: yet I cannot forbear (though it be with as many sighs as lines) to advertise you of the truth of our miserable condition, as now to me and others of our party the same appeareth to be; that by comparing of all things past in hope, with the present now in despair, your lordship, who have had the principal managing, hitherto, of all our causes of long time, both here and there in France, betwixt the Catholick King, assisted with the potentates of the holy lengue, and all our countrymen which have professed obedience to the church of Rome, may now fall into some new and better consideration, how our state, both for our selves at home, and our brethren abroad, now at this present fallen, as it were, into utter despair, may be revived and restored to some new hope, with better assurance of success, than hath happened hitherto. For which purpose I have thought it necessary to advertise you in what terms this country now standeth, far otherwise than, of late, both we at home, and others abroad, did make account of.
You know, how we have depended in firm hope of a change of the state of this country, by the means of the devout and earnest incitations of the Pope's Holiness, and the Catholick King, and of other potentates of the holy league *, to take upon them the invasion and conquest of this realm; and, by your assurances and firm promises, we were now of a long season past persuaded, that the Catholick King had taken upon him the same glorious act, and thereof, from year to year, we looked for the execution, being continually fed and nourished from you to continue our hope, and sundry times solicited by your earnest requests, and persuasions, to encourage our party at home not to waver, as many were disposed, by sight of continual delays, but to be ready to join with the outward forces that should come for this invasion. Nevertheless, the delays and prolongations of times appointed for the coming of the King's forces, especially by sea, have been so many, as, until this last spring, we were in despair; at what time you advertised us with great assurance, that all the King's preparations, which had been in making ready these three or four years together, were now in full perfection, and without fail would this summer come into our seas with such mighty rength, as no navy of England, or of Christendom, could resist or abide their force; and for more surety, and for avoiding of all doubts, to make the intended conquest sure, the same should also have joined to it the mighty army, which the Duke of Parma + had made ready, and kept in readiness in the Low Countries all this year past, wherewith he should land, and so, both by sea and land, this realm should be invaded, and a speedy conquest made thereof, to the which were always added sundry reasons; whereupon was gathered, that, neither by sea nor by land, there would be any great resistance found here, but a strong party in this realm to join with the foreign force. For otherwise than with such helps, to be assuredly had from hence, I know, it was always doubted, that no foreign force could
• So called by the Papists, because combined to destroy all Protestants.
+ The King of Spain's General.
prevail against this realm, being, as it is, environed by sea, and notably replenished with more mighty and stronger people than any country in christendom. But with the hope of the landing of these great armies, and our assistance in taking part, we here continued all this year past in assured hope of a full victory, until this last month. But, alas! and with a deadly sorrow, we must all, at home and abroad, lament our sudden fall, from an immeasurable high joy, to an unmeasurable deep despair; and that so hastily fallen out, as, I may say, we have seen in the space of eight or nine days, in this last month of July, which was from the appearance of the catholick great navy upon the coast of England, until it was forced to fly from the coast of Flanders near Calais, towards the unknown parts of the cold north, all our hopes, all our buildings, as it now appeareth but upon an imagined conquest, utterly overthrown, and, as it were, with an carthquake, all our castles of comfort brought to the ground, which now, it seemeth, were builded but in the air, or upon waves of the sea ; for they are all perished, all vanished away from our thoughts.
And herewith I am astonished what I may best think of such a work, so long time in framing, to be so suddenly overthrown, as by no reason could proceed of men, or of any earthly power, but only of God. And if so it be (as no body can otherwise impute this late change and fall from our expected fortune, but to God Almighty) then surely our case is either dangerous or doubtful how to judge thereof, whether we have been these many years in the right or not. For I do find, and know, that many good and wise men, which of long time have secretly continued in most earnest devotion to the Pope's authority, begin now to stagger in their minds, and to conceive that this way of reformation intended by the Pope's holiness is not allowable in the sight of God, by leaving the ancient course of the church by excommunication, which was the exercise of the spiritual sword, and in place thercof to take the temporal sword, and put it into a monarch's hand to invade this realm with force and arms, yea to destroy the queen thereof, and all her people addicted to her ; which arc in very truth now seen, by grcat proof this year, to be in a sort infinite, and invincible, so as some begin to say that this purpose by violence, by blood, by slaughter, and by conquest, agreeth not with Christ's doctrine, nor the doctrine of St. Peter, or St. Paul. And to tell your lordship truly, I find presently a great number of wise and devout people, though they continue in their former religion, yet do they secretly condemn this intended reformation by blood and force. Insomuch that I heard a good divine alledge a text out of St. Gregory in these words, . Quid de Episcopis, qui Verberibus timeri volunt, Canones dicunt, bené Paternitas destra norit, Pastores sumus non Percussores, Nova enim est Prædicatio quæ Verberibus exigit fidem. This sentence I obtained of him, because it seemeth to be charitably written. But, leaving this authority among doctors, I must needs say that, in very truth, no one thing hath dono at this time more hurt to the action, than the untimely hasty publishing abroad
What say the Canons of those Bishops, who would force themselves to be feared, you know sight well: we are shepherds, and not strikers. For it is a new way of preaching, that wild couvert us by blood and force.
in this realm, before this army of Spain was ready to come forth to the seas, of sundry things written and put in print, and sent into this realm, to notify to the people, that all the realm should be invaded and conquered, that the Queen should be destroyed, all the nobility, and men of reputation, of honour, and wealth that did obey her, and would defend her, or that would withstand the invasion, should be with all their families rooted out, and their places, their honours, their houses and lands bestowed upon the conquerors : Things universally so odiously taken, as the hearts of all sorts of people were inflamed; some with ire, some with fear, but all sorts, almost without exception, resolved to venture their lives for the withstanding of all manner of conquest, wherewith every body can say this realm was not threatened these five-hundred years and more.
These reports were brought to this realm, with good credit, not in secret, but in publick writings and printings, and took deep root in all kinds of people of this land ; and indeed was of the more credit, first, by reason of a new bull, lately published at Rome, by the Pope's holiness, which I have seen, with more severity than other of his predecessors, whereby the queen here was accursed, and pronounced to be deprived of her crown, and the invasion and conquest of the realm committed, by the Pope, to the Catholick King, to execute the same with his armies both by sea and land, and to take the crown to himself, or to limit it to such a potèntate as the Pope and he should name. And, secondly, there followed a large explanation of this bull, by sending hither a number of English books printed in Antwerp, even when the navy of Spain was daily looked for, the original whereof was written by the reverend father Cardinal Allen, in April last, called in his own writing the Cardinal of England; which book was so violently, sharply, and bitterly written, yea (say the adversaries) so arrogantly, falsly, and slanderously, against the person of the Queen, against her father King Henry the Eighth, against all her nobility and council, as in very truth I was heartily sorry to perceive so many good men of our own religion offended therewith, in that there should be found in one accounted a father of the church, who was also born a subject of this crown (though by the adversaries reported to be very basely born) such foul, vile, irreverent, and violent speeches, such ireful and bloody threatenings, of a Queen, of a nobility, yea of the whole people of his own nation.
Sorry, and most sorry, I am to report the general evil conceit of those unordinate and unadvised proceedings of this cardinal, of whose rash choice to such a place, the world speaketh strangely, as though he came to it, through corruption of the Pope's sister, without liking of the college of cardinals, where, otherwise, the blessed intention of our holy father, and the desire also of the said cardinal, might, without such fatal bloody premonitions and threatenings of future invasions and conquests by the Catholick King's noble forces, have taken better place.
There was also, to add the more credit to these terrible prognostications, such kind of other books printed in Spain, and translated into French, (as it is said by your lordship) containing particular long descriptions and catalogues of Armadas of Castile, of Andalusia, of Biscay, of Guipusque, of Portugal, of Naples, of Sicily, of Ragusa, and other countries of the Levant, with a mass of all kinds of provisions, beyond measure, for the said Armadas, sufficient, in estimation, to be able to make conquest of many kingdoms or countries. And one great argument is published by the adversaries to stir up the minds of the nobility of England, against the Spaniards, which is very maliciously invented, to shew the intention of the conquest not only of England, but of the whole isle of Britain; moving all men especially to mark by the description of the Armada, that there are especially named such a number of noblemen, as princes, marquisses, condes and dons that are called Adventurers, without any office or pay, and such another number also of men with great titles of honour, and many of them named captains and alferez *, without office, but yet in sold f, and therefore called entertenidos , as all those, being for no service in the Armada, may be well presumed (say they) to have come to have possessed the rooms of all the noblemen in England and Scotland: And this fiction hath taken more place than it is worth. And, though these armies were, indeed, exceeding great and mighty, yet they were so amplified, beyond all measure, in these books, as in no preparation of Christendom, in former times, against the Saracens or Turks could be greater. By this means, this Queen and her realm, being thus forewarned and terrified, took occasion with the aid of her people, being not only firmly (as she was persuaded) devoted to her, but thoroughly irritated, to stir up their whole forces for their defence, against such prognosticated conquests, as, in a very short time, all her whole realm, and every corner were speedily furnished with armed people on horseback, and on foot, and those continually trained, exercised, and put into bands, in warlike manner, as in no age ever was before, in this realın. Here was no sparing of money to provide horse, armour, weapon, powder, and all necessaries, no nor want of provision of pioneers, carriages, and victuals, in every county of the realm, without exception, to attend upon the armics. And to this general furniture every man voluntarily offered, very many, their service personally, without wages; others money for armour and weapons, and to wage soldiers; a matter strange, and never the like heard of, in this realm or elsewhere: And this general reason moved all men to large contributions, that to withstand a conquest, where all should be lost, there was no time to spare a portion.
The numbers made ready in the realm I cannot affirin, of mine owne knowledge; but I have heard it reported, when I was grieved to think the same to be so true, that there was, through England, no quarter, cast, west, north, and south, but all concurred, in one mind, to be in readiness to serve for the realm : And, that some one country was able to make a sufficient army of twenty-thousand men, fit to tight, and fifteen thousand of them well armed and weaponed; and in some countries the number of forty-thousand able men.
The maritime countries from Cornwall, all along the southside of
+ Part of the corps.