Father Persons Robert Persons, Rector of the English College at Rome. Compare Alabaster’s account in his deposition of 22 July 1600 (P. R. O. State Papers (Domestic) cclxxv nr. 32) and the resulting bill of indictment drawn up against Essex (ib. 35), both reproduced by D. F. S., op. cit. xxvf. The scheme to win Essex over must have been devised after the Earl’s arrival in Ireland (April 1599).
Don Juan Diaquis Identified as Don Juan Idiaques in P. R. O. cclxxxv.32 (his correct name and title were Don Juan d’Idiaques, the King’s principal secretary).
the same day Marginal note: May 1599. The notables who arrived at the same time are Philip III and his newly-wed Queen Margaret, his sister Isabella (the Infanta) and her consort Archduke Albert of Habsburg. The latter two were joint Governors of the Netherlands.
to be In the document these words are found both at the bottom of fol. 2 and the top of fol. 3.
lett goe In 1598 Alabaster had traveled to Rome via France, Flanders and Germany, after having originally landed at Calais (Alabaster's Conversion § 27), and returned via Spain and France as far as La Rochelle (J. S. A. , op. cit. 48f.). On the strength of a letter of 23 August 1599 by the “intelligencer” John Chamberlain, we had thought that Alabaster had been arrested by the local authorities at La Rochelle and handed over to the English government: cf. N. E. McClure (ed.), Letters of John Chamberlain (2 vols., Philadelphia, 1939). Alabaster himself seems to tell a somewhat different story, according to which he was released by the municipality of La Rochelle and afterwards, by some unknown means, came into the hands of the English authorities.
the Count Ruiasco County is not a slip of the pen for “Count,” as we had originally imagined: Mr. Ian Harwood was kind enough to point out parallels for this usage, such as Romeo and Juliet III.vi.113:
Marry, my child, early next Thursday morn
The gallant, young, and noble gentleman,
The County Paris, at Saint Peter's church
Shall happily make thee a joyful bride.
There is also a mark, slightly tilted upwards, over the first stroke of the u of the name transcribed here as Ruiasco.
the Erle of Tyron required not other supplies as yet At Annales Rerum Gestarum Angliae et Hiberniae Regnante Elizabetha 1599 § 12, William Camden writes of the effect of this Spanish support on the Earl of Tyrone: spe lactatus quam Hispanus apparatu bellico cum nonnulla pecunia semel atque iterum submisso ostentabat. This has been translated by Philemon Holland: “being drawen on and fed with hope which the King of Spaine by sending now and than munition and some money made shew of.” Spain did not sent an expeditionary force to support Tyrone until 1601, under the command of Don Juan d’Aguila.
Ambrosius Spinula Alabaster’s error for Frederico Spinula (the ships he provided were in fact employed for service in the Lowlands war: cf. Camden’s Annales 1599 § 18). Camden remarks on the effectiveness of a new kind of Spanish galley, specially built to withstand the rigors of northern waters, and perhaps it was their successes that led to the capture of the Flemish ships presently to be mentioned.
Ther returned whom I. e., “There returned home” (a spelling perhaps reflective of Suffolk dialect).
As farr as I can gather Alabaster was correct in his diagnosis of Spanish intentions. In a marginal note on Camden’s Annales for the year 1599, Sir Francis Bacon wrote about this war scare: Attamen haec Reginae consilia etiam vulgo in suspicionem venerant et in peiorem partem accipiebantur, ut etiam dicteriis non abstinerent, cum dicerent anno octogesimo octavo ab Hispania appulisse classem illam invicibiliem, sat hoc anno alteram classem invisibilem. “And yet these devices of the Queen were even by the common people suspected and taken in bad part; insomuch that they forbore not from scoffs, saying that in the year ’88 Spain had sent an Invincible Armada against us and now she had sent an Invisible Armada.”
the Marquess of Derria There was no recognized Marquess of Derry or Londonderry amongst the Irish Peerage prior to 1739 (Londonderry, for that matter, was not one of the counties into which Ulster was originally divided ca. 1585). This title was perhaps a spurious Papal creation, like the designation of the adventurer Thomas Stukely as “Marquesse of Leinster, Earl of Wexford and Caterlogh, Viscount Murrough, and Baron of Ross and Ydron” by Gregory XIII (William Camden, Britannia, p. 752 of the 1607 edition). Or maybe the title was an impromptu Irish creation conferred on a follower of Tyrone: cf. Camden, Britannia p.780, Iacobum Fitz-Thomas e Desmoniae comitum familia in Desmoniae comitem, ita tamen ut O-Neali sive comitis esset beneficiarius (translated by Hollan, “James Fitz-Thomas, one of the family of the Earles of Desmond, they set up as Earle of Desmond, yet so as he should hold as tenant in Fee of the O-Neall or Earle of Tir-Oen”). We have not identified the individual in question.
They feare Their anxiety was that an accommodation with the English Catholics would lead to diplomatic recognition of Elizabeth by the Catholic sovereigns of Europe, and perhaps even to the quashing of Pope Pius V’s 1570 bull Regnans in excelsis whereby Elizabeth had been excommunicated and her subjects exhorted to rebel against her. The net effect would be the legitimization of England’s Protestant succession.
but rather than faile for the Infanta For her pretension to the English throne (as a descendant of Edward III and John of Gaunt) cf. J. S. A., op. cit. p. 62. The Duke of Parma, mentioned below, shared the same pedigree.
which is committed to me Probably this just = “which has been divulged to me” (it boggles the imagination to think that the responsibility for these negotiations would have been entrusted to Alabaster).
How to breake On the last page of the document there is appended a list of what seem to be desirable courses of action, namely breaking the link between Philip and the English Catholics; encouraging both sides to an honorable peace; and dealing with pretenders to the English throne and discouraging the Pope from supporting them.