Spanish Armada - Dr. Valentine Dale Writes to Francis Walsingham

Letter from Dr. Valentine Dale to Francis Walsingham Government Legends and Legendary People Social Studies World History Law and Politics

Dr. Valentine Dale, a British diplomat during the reign of Queen Elizabeth I, was attempting to negotiate with the Duke of Parma (Alexander Farnese) just before the Spanish and British fleets engaged during the time of the Spanish Armada.

Dale was a diplomat not easily intimidated or bothered by the threats or bluster of others. He reported developments to Sir Francis Walsingham (the Queen's secretary) on the 25th of July, 1588.

According to the Library of Congress, this letter was previously unpublished. It is depicted here, with the text prepared by the Library:


My duetie yn most humble wyse remembred.

I fynd myselfe much bounden unto you many ways: My LL[ords] shall delyver things w[i]th far greater credit and regard, and so ys yt used yn al the treaties yn the worlde per viam recess [us] w[hi]ch is a manerly terme made as yt were a manerlyn departure and not a breaking of[f]. And for my part I was troubled much w[i]th the colique in my stomacke when I was at Bruges and now I am come to a flat fit of an ague everie night. I beseche you enforme her Ma[jes]tie thereof.

To o[u]r mater: yt may please you, was yt not playne enough spoken when the Duke sayd he was but a servant and a souldio[u]r and must doe his Masters comandement and that a battail lost by the Q[ueen] was the losse of her crowne? And me thought I sayd roundly enough one battail was not enough to carie awaye the mater and that the Duke might know by his Masters owne countrie.

I used no collections of myselfe. When we fynd better whatsoever one particular man enformeth I wil beleve hyt rebus sic stantibus as they doe, but if the navie of Spayne come not forwarde and they can not get over their men from hence w[i]thout the navie, and that their great armie lieth uppon their landes, there may be some more reasonablenes yn them.

Ut amicitiae ita causae Principum non discindendae sed dissuendae sunt. And thus I take my leave yn al duetiful maner. At Bourborough the xxvth of July 1588.

Yo[u]r h[onour's] most humble [servant]
[signed] Valentine Dale.


Since the writing hereof we have had conference according unto her Ma[jes]ties l[ette]res: but find as we did. And what is felt there God knoweth--Her Ma[jes]tie must not have vs pro derelicto.

In short ... the negotiations had broken down and a major series of battles, between Spain and England, were about to begin.

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Media Credits

The Library of Congress tells us more about the Dale letter (and who had possession of it):

The unpublished letter is from the collection of Robert Beale (1541-1601), Clerk of the Privy Council, and brother-in-law of Walsingham. Most of Beale's great collection of Elizabethan state papers is in the British Museum, but some of his papers turned up in the collection of William Upcott (d. 1845); at the Upcott sale (1846) they were acquired by Sir Thomas Phillipps. The present letter is part of Phillipps no. 12115 in his catalogue.


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"Spanish Armada - Dr. Valentine Dale Writes to Francis Walsingham" AwesomeStories.com. Oct 07, 2013. Nov 15, 2019.
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