Before the arrival in Spain of the ships that escaped from the catastrophe of this expedition, it was known there that Diego Flores de Valdes had persuaded the duke to infringe the royal instructions. Accordingly, the king had given strict orders in all his ports, wherever Valdes might arrive, to apprehend him, which was executed, and he was carried to the castle of Santander, without being permitted to plead in his defence, and remained there without being ever seen or heard of afterwards; as I learned from his page, with whom I afterwards conversed, we being both prisoners together in the castle of Lisbon. If the directions of the king of Spain had been punctually carried into execution, then the armada had kept along the coast of France, and had arrived in the road of Calais before being discovered by our fleet, which might have greatly endangered the queen and realm, our fleet being so far off at Plymouth. And, though the Prince of Parma had not been presently ready, yet he might have gained sufficient time to get in readiness, in consequence of our fleet being absent. Although the prince was kept in by the thirty sail of Hollanders, yet a sufficient number of the dukes fleet might have been able to drive them from the road of Dunkirk and to have possessed themselves of that anchorage, so as to have secured the junction of the armada and the land army; after which it would have been an easy matter for them to have transported themselves to England. What would have ensued on their landing may be well imagined.
But it was the will of HIM who directs all men and their actions, that the fleets should meet, and the enemy be beaten, as they were, and driven from their anchorage in Calais roads, the Prince of Parma blockaded in the port of Dunkirk, and the armada forced to go about Scotland and Ireland with great hazard and loss: Which shews how God did marvellously defend us against the dangerous designs of our enemies. Here was a favourable opportunity offered for us to have followed up the victory upon them: For, after they were beaten from the road of Calais, and all their hopes and designs frustrated, if we had once more offered to fight them, it is thought that the duke was determined to surrender, being so persuaded by his confessor. This example, it is very likely, would have been followed by the rest. But this opportunity was lost, not through the negligence or backwardness of the lord admiral, but through the want of providence in those who had the charge of furnishing and providing for the fleet: For, at that time of so great advantage, when they came to examine into the state of their stores, they found a general scarcity of powder and shot, for want of which they were forced to return home; besides which, the dreadful storms which destroyed so many of the Spanish fleet, made it impossible for our ships to pursue those of them that remained. Another opportunity was lost, not much inferior to the other, by not sending part of our fleet to the