Extract from a letter to Sir Francis Walsingham from John Hawkins, vice admiral in the battle in which saw the defeat of the Spanish Armada in 1588, (Catalogue ref: SP12/213 ff164-5)
nowe this fleet is heere and very forcible, and must be wayted upon with all our force, which is littell ynoughe, ther would be an Infinite quantity of powder and shot provided and contitinuallye sent aborde, without the which great hasarde may growe to our Country, for this is the greatest and strongest combinacion 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 your Lordship 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 which would be sent to dover in good plentye. withe these things and gods blessinge our kingdome maye be p[re]served which being neglected great hasard maye come. I write to your Lordshipe 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, from the malicious and dangerous practise of our enemys, I humblie take my leave from the sea aboarde the victorye. the Last of July 1588. [31st July]
The spaniards take ther course for Schotland, my Lord dothe follow them. I doubt not with 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 Lordship’s Humbly to comand
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 with fournyturre & with gods favour we shall confound ther devyces [plans] your Honours ever bownden
I pray your honour beare with this for yt ys done in hast & bad wetar. I.J.
The fleet is here and very strong, and we must face it with all our force, which is not very much, we will need a lot of gun powder and cannon balls to save our country from danger, for this is the greatest and strongest fleet to my understanding, that ever was gathered in Christendom, therefore I hope everybody works hard and takes care.
The men have not been paid for a long time and need support, I pray your Lordship that the money, that should have gone to Plymouth may now be sent to Dover. It is now August and this money will be needed to be spent on anchors, rope, canvas (for sails) and food, all of which should be sent to Dover in large quantities. With these things and God’s blessing our Kingdom maybe saved, without this we face great danger. I write to your Lordship briefly and honestly, your wisdom and experience is great, but this is a matter so great, we have never seen anything like it in our time or long ago.
And so praying to God to save us from the evil and dangerous actions of our enemies, I humbly take my leave. The last of July 1588. [31st July]
The Spaniards sail towards Scotland, my Lord follows them. I doubt they sail with God’s blessing, but we shall stop them landing. There must be an order requested for food, and a lot of gun powder and shot to be sent after us.
Your Lordship’s humble servant
This is the copy of the letter I send to my Lord Treasurer as I to write to your honour for help with supplies & with God’s blessing we shall defeat their plans [the Spanish].
I pray your honour forgive this letter as it is written quickly & in bad weather.