Source 3c

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


nowe this fleet is heere and very forcible, and must be wayted upon with all o[u]r force, which is littell ynoughe, ther would be an Infinite qua[n]tity of powder and shot p[ro]vided and contitinuallye sent aborde, w[i]thout the w[hi]ch great hasarde may growe to our Country, for this is the greatest and strongest co[m]binac[i]on to my understanding, that ever was gathered in Christendome, therefore I wishe it of all hands, to be mightelye and diligentlye loked into, and cared for.


The men have ben long unpayed and need releef, I pray yo[u]r Lo[rd]sh[ip] that the mony, that should have gone to Plymothe


may now be sent to Dover, August now comethe in, and this cost will spend ground tackle, Cordage, Canvas and victualls, all w[hi]ch would be sent to dover in good plentye. withe these things and gods blessinge our kingdome maye be p[re]served w[hi]ch being neglected great hasard maye come. I write to yo[u]r Lo[rd]shipe bryeflye and playnlye, your wisdorne and experience is great, But this is a matter far passing all that hathe been seene in our time or long before. And so praying to god for a hapye deliveraunce, fro[m] the malicious and dangerous practise of our enemys, I humblie take my leave from the sea aboarde the victorye. the Last of July 1588.


The spaniards take ther course for Schotland, my Lo[rd] dothe follow them. I doubt not w[i]th gods favour, but we shall impeache ther landinge, ther must be order for victuall, and mony powder and shot to be sent after us.

your LI[ordship’s] Humbly to comand


John Hawkyns


This is the copy of the letter I send to my lord tresorer wher by I shall not nede to wryt to your honoure hellp us w[i]t[h] fournyturre & w[i]t[h] gods favour we shall confound ther devyces.


your Honours ever bownden

John Hawkyns


I pray your honour beare w[ith] this for yt ys done in hast & bad wetar.I.J.

Simplified transcript

Now this fleet is here and is very strong, and must be engaged with all our force, which is little as it is, there needs to be an infinite quantity of powder and shot provided and continually sent over, without which the hazard is great and may grow for our country, for this is the greatest and strongest combination of ships, to my understanding, that ever was gathered in Christendom.


Therefore, I wish that everybody will carefully and thoroughly look into the situation.


The men have not be paid for a long time and need help, I pray your Lordship that the money that should have gone to Plymouth may now be sent to Dover. August now comes in, and these costs are needed for ground tackle, rope, canvas and food, all of which should be sent to Dover in good supply. With all these things, and God’s blessing, our kingdom may be saved, or, if neglected, great danger may arise. I write to your Lordship briefly and honestly, your wisdom and experience is great but this is a matter unlike anything that has happened before or that has been seen in our time. And so praying to God for a happy deliverance, from the malicious and dangerous behaviour of our enemies, I humbly take my leave from the sea aboard the victory. The last [day] of July 1588.


The Spanish make their course for Scotland, my Lord is following them. I doubt this is not without god’s favour, but we shall stop them landing.  There must be orders for food supplies and more gunpowder and shot to be sent to us.


Your, Lordship, humbly to command.


John Hawkins.


This is the copy of the letter I send to my Lord Treasurer. Thus I shall not need to write to your honour to help us with furniture (ships supplies) & with God’s favour we shall stop their plans.


Your Honours ever bound,


John Hawkyns


I pray your honour excuse this for it is done in haste and bad weather.


« 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?