Source 3b

Part two of a letter from John Hawkins to Francis Walsingham (SP 12/213)


The[m] sealves som what to the northwarde, wheare we follow and keepe co[m]panie w[i]th them, in this fight ther was some hurt done amonge the spaniards.

A great ship of the gallions of Portingall, his rother spoyled, and so the fleet leaft hir in the sea. I doubt not but all these things are writen more att large to yo[u]r Lo[rd] sh[ip] then I can doe but this is the substance and materiall matter th[a]t hathe past.

Our ships god be thanked have receaved littell hurt, and are of great force to acco[m]payne the[m], and of such advantage, th[at] w[i]th some continuance at the seas, and sufficientlye p[ro]vided of shote and powder, we shalbe able w[i]th gods favour to wery the[m] oute of the sea and confound the[m].

28 000 men left Lisbon, which included 20 000 soldiers and 8000 sailors and other men. Their orders were to join up with the Prince of Parma (I have found out) and then carry out their mission ( defeat England). The Duke (Prince of Parma) was supposed to return to Spain leaving behind the ships, sailors, soldiers etc.

Yet as I gather Certainlye ther are arnongest them 50 forcible and invincible ships, w[hi]ch consist of those that follow, viz 9 gallions of Portingall of 800 ton a peece saving 2 of the[m] are but 400 ton a peece 20 great Venetians of the seas, w[i]thin the straight of 800 a peece. One shipe of the Duke of fflorence of 800 ton. 20 great Biskane[r]s of 500 or 600 ton. 4 galliasses whearof one is in ffraunce. Ther are 30 hulks and 30 other smale ships, wherof littell accompte is to be made. At ther departing from Lisborne being the 19 of maye by our accompt, they weare victualled for vj monethes, the[y] stayed in the groyne 28 dayes and ther refreshed ther water, at ther cominge from Lisborne, they weare taken w[i]th a flawe and 14 hulks or ther abouts cam neere ushante, and so retourned w[i]th Contrarye winds to the groyne and ther rnett, and els ther was none other compayne upon o[u]r cost, before the hole fleete arived. And in ther Cominge now a littell flaw tooke the[m] 50 leage from the Cost of Spaine, where one great ship was severed from them and iiij gallies, which hetherto, have not recovered ther Companye.

And ther dep[ar]ting fro[m] Lisborne the soldyers weare 20000 the mariners and others 8000 so as in all they weare 28000 men. Ther commissyon was to confer w[i]th the Prince of Parma (as I leame) and then to p[ro]ceed to the s[er]vice that should be ther conclud ed. And so the Duke to retoume into Spaine with those ships and mariners and soldyars &c and ther furniture being lefte behinde.

« Return to God blew and they were scattered

3. The dates mentioned in this account are based on an old calendar which is slightly different from the one we use now. These events took place at the end of July and first week of August according to our calendar.

  • According to Hawkins, what was the main problem for the English fleet in the battle near Portland?
  • Why was the ‘fyring of ships’ a turning point in the fighting?
  • Does Hawkins think that the English have a chance to beat the Spanish Armada?
  • What is causing the biggest problem to the Spanish ships?
  • Does Hawkins seem confident that the Spanish have been defeated?
  • Why did the English chase the Spanish as they sailed towards Scotland?