State Papers Relating to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada

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Author: John Hawkins  | Date: 1895

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Laughton 1895

England Repels Invasion

[1588]

Sir John Hawkins’s account:

My bounden duty humbly remembered unto your good lordship. I have not busied myself to write often to your lordship in this great cause, for that my lord admiral doth continually advertise the manner of all things that doth pass. So do others that do understand the state of all things as well as myself.

We met with this fleet somewhat to the westward of Plymouth upon Sunday in the morning, being the 21st of July, where we had some small fight with them in the afternoon. By the coming aboard one of the other of the Spaniards, a great ship, a Biscayan, spent her foremast and bowsprit, which was left by the fleet in the sea, and so taken up by Sir Francis Drake the next morning. The same Sunday there was, by a fire chancing by a barrel of powder, a great Biscayan spoiled and abandoned, which my lord took up and seat away. The Tuesday following, athwart of Portland, we had a sharp and long fight with them, wherein we spent a great part of our powder and shot, so as it was not thought good to deal with them any more till that was relieved.

The Thursday following, by the occasion of the scattering of one of the great ships from the fleet which we hoped to have cut off, there grew a hot fray, wherein some store of powder was spent; and after that little done until we came near to Calais, where the fleet of Spain anchored, and our fleet by them; and because they should not be in peace there, to refresh their water or to have conference with those of the Duke of Parma’s party, my lord admiral, with firing of ships, determined to remove them; as he did, he put them to the seas; in which broil the chief galleass1 spoiled her rudder, and so rode ashore near the town of Calais, where she was possessed of our men, but so aground that she could not be brought away.

That morning being Monday, the 29th of July, we followed the Spaniards, and all that day had with them a long and great fight, wherein there was great valor showed generally by our company. In this battle there was spent very much of our powder and shot; and so the wind began to blow westerly, a fresh gale, and the Spaniards put themselves somewhat to the northward, where we follow and keep company with them. . . .

Our ships, God be thanked, have received little hurt, and are of great force to accompany them, and of such advantage that with some continuance at the seas, and sufficiently provided of shot and powder, we shall be able, with God’s favor, to weary them out of the sea and confound them. . . .

At their departing from Lisbon the soldiers were twenty thousand, the mariners and others eight thousand; so as in all, they were twenty-eight thousand men. Their commission was to confer with the Prince of Parma, as I learn, and then proceed to the service that should be there concluded; and so the duke to return into Spain with these ships and mariners, the soldiers and their furniture being left behind. Now this fleet is here and very forcible, and must be waited upon with all our force, which is little enough. There should be an infinite quantity of powder and shot provided and continually sent abroad.

And so, praying to God for a happy deliverance from the malicious and dangerous practice of our enemies, I humbly take my leave. From the sea, aboard the Victory, the last of July, 1588.

The Spaniards take their course for Scotland; my lord doth follow them. I doubt not, with God’s favor, but we shall impeach their landing. There must be order for victual and money, powder and shot, to be sent after us.

Your lordship’s humbly to command,

JOHN HAWKYNS

1A three-masted galley, with guns on each side.

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Chicago: John Hawkins, "England Repels Invasion: Sir John Hawkins’s Account," State Papers Relating to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, ed. Laughton in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris (Harrisburg, Pa.: Stackpole Co., 1951), Original Sources, accessed April 14, 2024, http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CXA21HNG9ZMYI93.

MLA: Hawkins, John. "England Repels Invasion: Sir John Hawkins’s Account." State Papers Relating to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, edited by Laughton, in History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, edited by Louis Leo Snyder and Richard B. Morris, Harrisburg, Pa., Stackpole Co., 1951, Original Sources. 14 Apr. 2024. http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CXA21HNG9ZMYI93.

Harvard: Hawkins, J, 'England Repels Invasion: Sir John Hawkins’s Account' in State Papers Relating to the Defeat of the Spanish Armada, ed. . cited in 1951, History in the First Person: Eyewitnesses of Great Events: They Saw It Happen, ed. , Stackpole Co., Harrisburg, Pa.. Original Sources, retrieved 14 April 2024, from http://originalsources.com/Document.aspx?DocID=CXA21HNG9ZMYI93.