In this letter, partly in code, Standen reports that he has found
out from Figliazzi, the Tuscan ambassador, that four Genoese galleys
have been sent to Spain. Standen also notes that Walsingham
mentioned his ‘desire [of] diligence in intelligence of Spanish
matters’ in a previous letter.
Standen realised that he could get even closer than this to Spanish
sources and in the final paragraph he writes that he has borrowed
100 crowns to send an unnamed Flemish man to Lisbon. There the Fleming,
‘a proper fellow’ who ‘writeth well’, will
make contact with his brother, a secretary to the Marquis of Santa
Cruz, the Spanish Grand Admiral, and send back more information
about the Armada.
Through Standen, this spy sent vital intelligence to England about
the coming Armada for the next two years. For example, he was almost
certainly the source of a list of all the ships, men and supplies
in the Spanish navy, which came into Walsingham’s hands sometime
in 1587. This information proved that the Armada would not, as England
had feared, be ready to sail that year.