Letters between Don Pedro de Zúñiga and King Philip III of Spain
These excepts of letters between King Philip III of Spain and Don Pedro de Zúñiga, Spanish ambassador to England) were found in the General Archives of Simancas Spain. Along with these letters was the John Hunt plan of Fort St George. These were found in Simancas in 1888 and published in 1890 by Alexander Brown in The Genesis of the United States. The letters were in code and were translated into English for Dr Brown. The dates of the letters are in Gregorian Calendar (new style) and are 10 days off the calendar in use in England.
Text in brackets is added for understanding.
These letters show that the Spanish had spies in high places in the English court and in the major English ports. The information in the letters also indicates that the English (who also had spies in the Spanish court) knew these spies and in some cases fed them misleading information.
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, March 16, 1606
They also propose to do another thing, which is to send 500 or 600 men, private individuals of this kingdom to people Virginia in the Indies, close to Florida. They sent to that country some small number of men in years gone by, and having afterwards sent again, they found a part of them alive. They brought 14 or 15 months ago about ten natives [it was in fact 5 people, 6 months ago], that they might learn English, and they have kept some of them here [in London] and others in the country, teaching and training them to say how good that country is for people to go there and inhabit it. The chief leader in this business is the Justiciario [Sir John Popham], who is a very great Puritan and exceedingly desirous, whatever sedition may be spoken of, to say that he does it in order to drive out from here thieves and traitors to be drowned in the sea. I have not yet spoken to the king about this. I shall do so when I see in what way they will try to satisfy me in the council. [This is before the royal charter of the Virginia Company in April 1606 which invalidated several previous agreements for private settlement of Virginia.]
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, January 24, 1607
Since I have reported to your Majesty that the English were arming some vessels to send them to Virginia, this has been much in suspense, and now they have in great secrecy made an agreement that two vessels shall go to that place every month, till they have 2000 men in that country, and they will do the same from Plymouth, so that there also two vessels are ready to sail. They have agreed with the Rebels that they shall send all the people they can. The pretext which they assert is, that the King over here has given them permission and his Patents to establish their religion in that Country, provided that they rob no one, under the penalty, if they do not obey he will not take them under his protection. He grants them leave to occupy any island within a hundred miles from the seacoast ; he orders that the second colony ( as he calls them in his patents) shall not come within one hundred miles of where the other may be established, without speaking of the distance at which they are bound to be from your Majesties subjects. He yields to one of these Colonies all the firm land which lies between [ illegible] to 45 degrees and to the other from 45° to 55°. He commands that each Colony shall have its Council, and here, an election is held of another supreme Council, to which are appointed, and will have to take the oath to very great secrecy, William Wade, Lieutenant of the Tower, Anthony Cope, Francis Popham, eldest son of the Chief Justice, Dodrig, Procurator of the Court of Wales and Huane Caballero, Counsellors, than whom more insolent ones cannot be found in this world. They claim to be able to obtain from the country higher up than the Island of St Helena [now South Carolina], the same commodities as from Spain, because it is under the same latitude, so as not to be in need of it [that is, so as not to need the products of Spain]. He commands that if they come to some river, they must try to find the source of it, so that they might in this way come to open intercourse with the Kingdom of China, which they desire much, and that the Colony which should be nearest to the Island of St. Helena should take its way along the coast and the other below in a straight line. Your Majesty will see what is useful for His Royal service, since all this is seeking a way to encourage the rebels against Your Majesty, for whom (the Rebels) they feel the very greatest compassion, as everywhere, on land as well as at sea, they (the Rebels) are losing so much. Caron said to this King here that it was necessary to assist them because otherwise they would be totally ruined. The King did not receive this well, whereupon he withdrew. They say there are going to France, and there are persons coming here, to make an offer of the Revolted States. I do not believe they will meet with great success here, because I believe this King is really fond of Peace, as I have told Your Majesty on other occasions, and the Kingdom is so poor, that it will not permit them to indulge in carrying out evil thoughts. The Duke of Lennox and the Count of Salisbury, speaking in the presence of three Counsellors (whose names I have not been able to ascertain) to the King, said to him: ‘ Sire, let Your Majesty take the Dutch under your protection and assist them! ‘ and he replied: ‘Very good, I think some who propose that to me, receive good presents from the Dutch, and I do not wish to have anything to do with it.’ Lenox replied: ‘Believe that no one of those who are here would take anything.’ And the King said to him: ‘Tell me you with an oath – if you have not taken anything from them, and leave the others alone’. He replied: ‘Sire, when I was in Flanders, they treated me well (made me presents) but from that time till now they have given me nothing’. Another day Count Pembroke asked him to do him a certain favor and he replied: ‘It is a fine thing that you are not satisfied with what I have given you; I shall make you my Counsellor and then everybody will give you presents, and you will be a rich man.’
King of Spain to Don Pedro de Zuñiga, dated Madrid, March 8, 1607
You will report to me what the English are doing in the matter of Virginia -and if the plan progresses which they contemplated, of sending men there and ships -and thereupon, it will be taken into consideration here, what steps had best be taken to prevent it.
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, April 30, 1607
The Council, which as I wrote your Majesty, had brought about these [illegible] concerning Virginia, is somewhat put out, because, as I have heard that of the three ships they had sent one has been taken.
They were about to commit another villainy beyond going to Virginia, because they have not told me a word of having heard that your Majesty had been pleased to command, that that nest of rogues, Terranate and Ambueno must be abandoned. The Secretary, Andres de Prade, wrote me so in letters of the 8th of last month, and I sent it to this King here, rejoicing at the good success. He sent me word what great delight it had given him, that it had been done so much to your Majesty’s satisfaction; but I think he has been grieved in the same proportion as I have been rejoicing. A thousand thanks to God for this! – They applied to the Earl of Pembroke, that he should give £500, to assist in sending these ships, and on the day on which this was made known, he said publicly in the King’s palace. The King of Spain has made an end to the villainy of the Dutch; better, he should make an end to ours, and I would very cheerfully now take half of my pounds. . . [illegible] and having urged much that counsel that two vessels should sail, which were in a condition to be able to do so, the money is wanting to send them off, and the people who may wish to go, from what I hear, have to give up this chimerical notion and this marvelous advice likewise.
Here they have built a few vessels for France, and after they were ready, I had (as I wrote to your Majesty) an embargo laid upon them for two reasons: for a Royal Proclamation which exists in this Kingdom, that no foreigner may build or purchase ships in it, and because the crew and the soldiers were Englishmen. The Mayre favored those from here who is himself the greatest Pirate that has ever been in this Kingdom, and to these three vessels he added three others of his own. The embargo was raised by their giving security to the amount of the value of the ships, and the plan was (as I now hear) to go to the Malucas and to privateer in going out and in returning. The day on which it became known how your Majesty had secured them, there remained not a man on board the ships and thus they are here at anchor, without any one on board. Thus, I have told your Majesty all that there is of news of the sea. May God preserve Y. M
Juan de Ciriza to M. Andres de Pedrastra, dated Madrid, May 7, 1607
By order of His Majesty and a paper for the Lord Count de Lemos you sent to the Board of War for the Indies a part of a letter of Don Pedro de Zuñiga Ambassador in England which treats of certain plans which the English have formed to go to Virginia with two vessels every month, until they have landed there two thousand men, and of the Charter and Patents which the King has granted them to establish their religion in those parts, and all this having been examined and consulted about in the Board, what was found out was, that this country, which they call Virginia lies in 35 degrees above La Florida on the Coast, in the direction of Newfoundland, and is contained within the limits of the Crown of Castille, although it has not been discovered until now, nor is it known, what its nature may be —and that from England it lies 74 degrees of longitude, which make 1200 leagues, and from Spain there are a thousand, and according to this and to other considerations which were of special importance, it was thought proper that with all necessary forces this plan of the English should be prevented, and that it should not be permitted in any way that foreign nations should occupy this country, because it is, as has been said, a discovery and a part of the territory of the Crown of Castille, and because its contiguity increases the vigilance which it is necessary to bestow upon all the Indies and their commerce- – and this all the more so if they should establish there the religion and the liberty of conscience which they profess, which of itself already is what most obliges us to defend it even beyond the reputation which is so grievously jeopardized, — and that His Majesty should command a letter to be written to Don Pedro de Zuñiga, ordering him to ascertain with great dexterity and skill how far these plans of which he writes, may be founded in fact, and whether they make any progress, and who assists them, and by what means — and that when he is quite certain, he should try to give the King of England to understand that we complain of his permitting subjects of his to disturb the seas, coasts and lands of His Majesty and of the rebels being favored by his agency, in their plans, the rebels of the Islands and of other nations that he should continue to report always whatever he may hear, charging him to be very careful in this matter, because of the importance of providing the necessary remedies, in case he should not have any by those means.
And His Majesty having been consulted on this matter in the Council held March 14th of this year, it was decided to reply that there should be taken down and prepared everything that seemed advisable, of which I informed His Majesty, so that orders should be given to write to the Ambassador in conformity with what His Majesty has decided. Then your correspondence is with the Council of State, through which the writing must go to you, and the orders be given to you, that may be proper.
May God preserve you, as I desire.
King of Spain to Don Pedro de Zuñiga, dated Ventosilla, June 12, 1607
You recently wrote me that the English contemplated very eagerly going to the island, which they call Virginia sending every month two ships, until they shall have put 2000 men on shore there carrying Patents and Ordinances of that King as to the form of Government and the way of establishing their kind of religion there – and I commanded you to report what was being done in this matter, so that we could prepare whatever might be proper to prevent it. And in the meantime to keep me informed to the best of your ability as to whatever you are able to find out about this matter and this to be done with the special care which the case calls for and considering that this land is a discovery and a part of the Indies, of Castille, so close to them and considering the inconvenience to us, which would follow the occupation of these regions by the English ; for many reasons which have to be contemplated — especially if they establish their errors and their sects there (as it must be expected that they would do if the opportunity was given to them). It has appeared right to prevent these plans and purposes of the English by all available means -and therefore I charge and command you, with great skill and vigilance, to ascertain the root of this matter; what is certain about this determination; whether it progresses; who aids them and by what means. — and if it be so, that it ought to be decided at the very beginning, you are to speak to that King, expressing regret on my part, that he should permit any of his subjects to try and disturb the seas, coasts, and lands of the Indies, and that by his agency they should be protected in their designs who have it in their hands. And you will report to me what he may reply to you, and whether it may appear to be likely that that King will reciprocate the kindly feeling which is here shown in all that concerns him. — but if he should not do so, and if what is begun should continue to be carried on, you will promptly report it to me, so that in some other way the necessary measures may be taken, as demanded by the importance of this affair. While I will consider myself well served by you, with all the vigilance which you are able to give to this matter.
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, July 30, 1607
In my previous letter of April 30. I told Y. M. what I knew of the design they had formed here to go to Virginia, and now I do not see that I have anything to add, except that the Chief Justice [Sir John Popham] has died, who was the man, who most desired it, and was best able to aid it. I am anxious now, and I shall watch to see if this begin again to go underway, making all the diligence which Y. M. in your letter of June 16.¹ has been pleased to command me to use.
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, August 22, 1607
Of the vessels that have been to Virginia one has arrived in Plymouth, but as yet it has not come up the river. I understand they do not come over well pleased; because in that country there is nothing else but good timber for masts, pitch and rosin, and some soil from which it seems to them they may obtain bronze. They say it looks as if they might plant vineyards there and that they will be very good because there are many wild grapes there. They have not been able to meet with the 20 men they left there now 3 years ago [Bartholomew Gilbert], and say they fell in with a King who had in all 150 men, whom they made very grateful by giving him a few presents.
I am still anxious, in order to comply with your Majesties orders, to hear if they will continue sending people to that country. As the chief Justice has died, I think this business will stop. Having heard that of the ships which went over there it has taken one a year. They thought the voyage an easy one, taking only a month. [The first voyage to Jamestown did take 4 months rather than the two months they expected].
King of Spain to Don Pedro de Zuñiga, dated Madrid, September 21, 1607
It is likewise understood, what you say of the suspension of the plans of going to Virginia. What that King had done with the father of Don Antonio Shirley, and the Justice he did in Scotland to the Earl of Dunbar. And of whatever else of importance which may present itself, you must continue to keep me informed.
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, September 22, 1607
I have reported to your Majesty how there had come to Plymouth one of the vessels that went to Virginia, and afterwards there came in another, which vessels are still here. Captain Newport makes haste to return with some people. And there have combined merchants and other persons who desire to establish themselves there; because it appears to them the most suitable place that they have discovered for privateering and making attacks upon the merchant fleets of Your Majesty. Your Majesty will command to see whether they will be allowed to remain there. On account of this report I sent to ask an audience of the King at Salisbury, and God was so pleased that from that day I have not been able to rise from my bed. Whereupon I have repeated my request stating the reason why I did not go on the day which had been designated to me. He has sent me to be visited very graciously and in the same way, the Queen; and I desire nothing more than to have health to fulfil what Y. M. has commanded me to see in what manner they take up that business, which I fear, he will say is not his business; and that he will order it to be set right -and in the meantime they will make every effort they can. It is very desirable Y. M. should command that such a bad project should be uprooted now while it can be done so easily. I hope to God I shall be able to speak to the King within eight days; because at that time he will come nearer to this place.
I have found a confidential person, through whom I shall find out what shall be done in the Council (which they call Council of Virginia) . They are in a great state of excitement about that place and very much afraid lest Your Majesty should drive them out of it. They go about with a plan that if this be not done, they will make this King take the business in his own hands. And there are so many who here, and in other parts of the Kingdom, speak already of sending people to that country, that it is advisable not to be too slow; because they will soon be found there with large numbers of people, whereupon it will be much more difficult to drive them out than now.
May Our Lord preserve and guard the Catholic Person of Y. M. as all christendom needeth
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, October 5, 1607
When the King came to Hampton Court, which was on the 22d of last month, I sent to ask an audience, and he sent me word, that it pleased him to wait ‘ till he should return there ; because he was leaving the next day to hunt, on the other side of London, in certain woods and forests which he has towards ‘ [ Theobald’s. Day before yesterday he returned, and I sent again begging an audience. He was sick with fever that day and he replied that this, and his waiting for the Members of his Council, prevented his doing what I wished and that he would let me know when he was so disposed. In this way I have not been able to say anything to the King about Virginia; but I understand that a ship is sailing there and a tender with about 120 men and from all who go they require an oath of allegiance. A man has told me to-day, a man who usually tells me the truth, that these men are complaining of what the King does for the Scotch who may go there, and that he favors them more than themselves. They are in the greatest fear, that Y. M. will give orders to have them stopped; because all see that their sending there can no longer be approved, as Y. M. takes it. It appears clearly to me now that it is not their intention to plant colonies, but to send out pirates from there, since they do not take women, but only men. I have not wished to detain this courier, because the King might be one of these days in bad health. I understood that he writes to Y. M. desiring much to strengthen the bonds of Friendship. I believe that there are some things that have to be done for the service of God and of Y. M.
As for myself, a cloud has disappeared from my heart, because now I see a door is opening for free speech in religion. May God open it in such a manner that His sacred service may be entirely fulfilled, and may He protect.
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, October 8, 1607
Saturday night I had a message from the Chamberlain in which he told me that the King would give me an audience, yesterday, Sunday, at 2.
He received me as usual very courteously, and after we had seated ourselves, I told him how your Majesties had grieved over the death of his daughter.
He replied to this with much gratefulness. Then I told him that Y. M. had ordered me to represent to him how contrary to good friendship and brotherly feeling it was, that his subjects should dare wish to colonize Virginia, when that was a part of the Spanish Indies, and that he must look upon this boldness as very obnoxious.
He answered that he had not particularly known what was going on; that as to the navigation to Virginia he had never understood that Y. M. had any right to it; but that it was a very distant country where Spaniards lived, and that in the Treaties of Peace with him and with France it was not stipulated that his subjects should not go there, except to the Indies, and that as Y. M.’s people had discovered new regions, so it seemed to him, that his own people might do likewise. I replied to him that it was a condition of the Treaty of they go to the Indies. The King said to me that those who went, did it at their own risk and that if they came upon them in those parts there would be no complaint should they be punished. I told him that to punish them was all right, but that it would be better for the closer union between Y. M.’s subjects and his own, and that this invention of going to Virginia for colonizing purposes was seen in the wretched zeal with which it was done, since the soil is very sterile, and that hence there can be no other purpose connected with that place than that it appears to them good for pirates, and that this could not be allowed. He told me in reply that he had never known Y. M. was interested in this, but since I assured him it was so, and that they might send pirates out from there, he would seek information about it all, and would give orders that satisfaction should be given to me by the Council, and that he was inclined to think as I did, having heard it said that the soil was very sterile and that those have been sadly deceived who had hoped to find there great riches that no advantage from it all came to him, and that if his subjects went where they ought not to go, and were punished for it, neither he nor they could complain. I said in reply that the difficulties were such as must be considered and the best remedy was to prevent and cut it short from here, since it was publicly known, that two vessels had sailed from a port of this kingdom for the Indies, and that two others were being laden here to go. The King told me they were terrible people and that he desired to correct the matter. I represented to him how well his subjects would always be treated in all parts of Y. M. dominions to which they can go, and with how much good will Y. M. commands it so. He told me, he saw now perfectly well how certain everything was that I told him, because in the last Parliament there had been so much excitement about the two ships seized in the Indies. I told him that here the common people always liked to raise difficulties with us and that I would not complain of such people, but that I did complain of some Members of the Council who had talked of Y. M.’s having called the Count of Tyrone
I told him once more how important it was that a remedy should be found for that matter in Virginia, because it was necessary to take measures about it before it assumed a worse condition
These explanations of the Council are apt to be very long and protracted here, and in the meantime they may send more people there, and fortify themselves there, for I hear that from Plymouth, they have settled another district near the other. I shall be careful to find out about what is going on, and I shall report to Y. M.; but I should consider it very desirable that an end should be now made of the few who are there, for that would be digging up the Root, so that it could put out no more.
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, October 16, 1607
I have written to Y. M. and reported the audience which I had concerning the Virginia affair. I sent to Hampton Court to remind the Council of the answer due me, as the King had told me, and Count Salisbury tells me that having discussed it with the King, he replied to him nearly what he told me : If the English go where they may not go, let them be punished —and having looked carefully into the matter, it seems to him that they may not go to Virginia —and that thus, if evil befalls them, it will not be on his account, since to him this will not appear as being contrary to friendship and peaceful disposition. He says, he does not wish to do what he has been asked to do, in preventing their going and commanding those who are out there to return, and the reason of this is, because that would be acknowledging that Your Majesty is Lord of al the Indies.
Those who are urging the colonization of Virginia, become every day more eager to send people, because it looked to them as if this business was falling to sleep after all that has been done for it, and before Nativity there will sail from here and from Plymouth five or six ships. It will be serving God and Y. M. to drive these villains out from there, hanging them in time which is short enough for the purpose. They have been told that the Earl of Tyrone has reached Coruña and that he has been very well received there. They are now anxious to see what will be done to him, and they are afraid Y. M. may perhaps in the name of His Holiness send him with some Italian forces to Ireland, so as to stir up there some rebellion, and they say, that if this should be so, they would openly declare war, but that, if not, they will faithfully keep the peace with Y. M. This is, therefore, finally to tell me that they are not in favor of war, and I have replied to them, that Y. M. has always faithfully observed the Treaties of Peace, and that he will do so now.
King of Spain to Don Pedro de Zuñiga, dated Madrid, October 28, 1607
I am very well pleased with the result of your transactions with that King in the Virginia Question – and this matter will have to be looked into continually so as to provide what is to be done and in, the meantime try to ascertain what ships and what men go from there to Virginia, and report to me what you may find out.
Report of the Spanish Council of State, dated November 10, 1607
The ambassador Don Pedro de Zuñiga writes in a letter of October 16. that requesting the Council to give him an answer concerning Virginia, he has been told that they cannot prevent Englishmen from going there at their own peril, nor will that King give any orders concerning this matter, because it would be acknowledging that Y. M. is Lord of all the Indies. And Don Pedro reports that before Nativity there will sail from London and from Plymouth five or six ships, and that it would be important to drive these people out from there, at once, hanging them in time, which is short enough for all that has to be done.
And it having been seen in this Council that the Condestable of Castile [Juan Ferdinand de Velasco] has reported that when he was negotiating the Treaty of Peace in England, he considered that if particularly anxious to treat of excluding the English from the Indies and more especially from Virginia, he would have to encounter the difficulty that it is more than 30 years since they have had peaceful possession of it, and that, if it were declared that Virginia was not a part of the Indies, a very dangerous door would be opened. Thus it was resolved that an effort should be made to agree to it, as was done, that the navigation of the English should only be allowed in Y. M.’s dominion, where of old and before the war it was usual to navigate – by which agreement the English were tacitly excluded from navigating in the Indies and that always since it has appeared difficult to him to insist upon it as a right that all that is contiguous to the Indies is a part of them, and for this reason it is prudent to proceed cautiously. The actual taking possession will be to drive out of Virginia all who are there now, before they are reinforced; and for this and other reasons it will be well to issue orders that the small fleet stationed to the Windward, which for so many years has been in state of preparation, should be instantly made ready and forthwith proceed to drive out all who now are in Virginia, since their small number will make this an easy task, and this will suffice to prevent them from again coming to that place.
And to this the whole Council agreed. Your Majesty will order it to be seen to that everything be provided which may be necessary.
[King Phillip endorsed this report: “Let such measures be taken in this business as may not and hereafter appear proper”. In a later comment: “… it appears that the driving out of the English from Virginia by the Fleet stationed to the windward will be postponed for a long time, because delay will be caused by getting it ready and that thus this idea is not to be relied upon.”. The two sides interpreted the Treaty of London’s ambiguous text in different ways, but King Phillip was not willing to spend the money this would take, and neither side wished to risk the peace by taking too strong an action.]
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, December 6, 1607
As to Virginia, I hear that three or four other ships will return there. Will your Majesty give orders that measures be taken in time ; because now it will be very easy, and quite difficult afterwards, when they have taken root, and if they are punished in the beginning, the result will be, that no more will go there.
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, December 22, 1607
Besides what I have written on the subject of Virginia, I have learned that they have appointed Baron Carew , who is Vice-Chamberlain of the Queen, a Counsellor of Virginia — And that he and the Lieutenant of the Tower, who is called the Knight Wade, said that it would be certain, when they put two thousand men in that place between this and Spring, it would be the greatest impediment which Y. M. could find concerning the Indies — And that then we would not be able to move them from there. It appears to me that there will be more people there after Nativity than those I have written of. Wherefore Y. M. will see how necessary it is to act with vigor and to hasten the remedy.
Report of the Council of State, of January 17, 1608
Don Pedro de Zuñiga in one of his letters of December 22d says that, besides what he has written on the subject of Virginia, he has learnt that they have appointed Baron Carew , who is Vice Chamberlain of the Queen, Counsellor of Virginia, and when he and the Lieutenant of the Tower, who is called the Knight Wade, said that it would be certain that if they put two thousand men in that place between this and Spring, it would be the greatest impediment which Y. M. could find concerning the Indies, and that they [ the Spaniards] would not be able to move them from there, -as it appears to him [ Zuñiga ] that there will be more people there after Nativity than those he had written of, whereby Y. M. will see how necessary it is to act with vigor, and to hasten the remedy.
The Council says that having informed Y. M. as to other information that arrived before this, Y. M. was pleased to command that there should be prepared whatever was necessary to drive out the people who are in Virginia, and that the Council should advise what ought to be provided, in compliance with which it says that the fleet ought to be notified and a copy of this advice should be given to Count Lemos, so that he may show it to the Council or Board of War of the Indies. And Y. M. should be informed of what may appear. Y. M. will command to be done and prepared all that best serve.
In Madrid, January 17th, 1608
Decree of the King, endorsed on the above: Let new copies of the reports be given, and also to the Council of War, informing those to whom they are given, that they are to serve to hasten all that is necessary, and not to let anyone hear what is being done.
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, March 28, 1608
The persons interested in Virginia increase daily and they have put into the Council as President Count Lincoln, who is an impertinent old man, and who has never been held in esteem; but the reason that they have taken hold of him, is because he is a wealthy man, who has given them 8.000 Philips (gold pieces) with the condition that with this sum as far as they can a goodly number of people be sent (they say as many as 800 men), within one month or two. their expectation is that they will in a short time send there 2500 or 3000 men on which account it seems to me necessary to intercept them on the way.
Besides they are sending from here, they say, two ships bound for the East Indies, which carry 10.000 ducats in ready money and that they will go to the mouth of the Red Sea, to a place they call Aden ; – that from there, they will pass on to the Kingdom of Camboya adjoining Malagor and between Ormus and Goa. One of these ships is of 500 tons burden and the other of 400 tons 2-the first carries 80 men and 20 pieces of Artillery, the other 60 men and 14 pieces, and both go loaded with iron and cloth.
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated London, June 26, 1608
Of what is going on here concerning Virginia I have reported to Y. M. Captain Newport has returned and brought a few things of small importance, so that it is more clearly seen that the main thing they find to do in that place is to fortify themselves and to sail as pirates from there. They are in the greatest strait for money that can be imagined, and yet in spite of that they have managed to secure some means with which to send out again this Newport with two good ships and their crews, and they will leave here in two months, since they are already preparing themselves. He has selected people of better quality than those there and as they call them to rob, all of them go very willingly. I have a letter which one of those who are there writes to a friend of his and it has appeared to me well to send it so that Y. M. may see the progress they make and the way they are living there. [The first supply mission to Jamestown left less than two weeks after this letter was written.]
This Newport brought a little boy, who they say is the son of an Emperor of those Countries, and they have instructed him that when he saw the King, he should not take off his hat, and other things of the same kind, so that it has amused me to see how they esteem him, thinking it much more certain that he must be a very ordinary person.
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated Highgate, September 10, 1608
I have thought proper to send Y. M. a plan of Virginia and another of the Fort which the English have erected there, together with a report given me by a person who has been there. Still, I am trying to learn more and I shall report about it. I received just now, by way of Flanders, the letter which Y. M. was pleased to command to be written to me on the 16th of last month, with the Report which contains the reasons then existing for sending to the galleys the English, who in 1606 were found in our waters, and I shall make such use of it as I am commanded by Y. M. Whose Catholic and Royal person God preserve as all Christendom requires it. [The plan of Virginia is a drawing of the area around Jamestown, and the plan of the Fort is the John Hunt plan of Fort St George. The Jamestown map was newly arrived in England, but the Hunt plan had been in England for 9 months.]
Don Pedro de Zuñiga to the King of Spain, dated Highgate, January 15, 1609
The Colony which the Chief Justice sent out to Virginia has returned in a sad plight. Still there sails now a good ship and a tender, to be somewhere in the neighborhood of the Havana. [Starting in 1609, English ships avoided the southern route as too dangerous, and it is not known what ship this refers to.]
From the best information that I can obtain they say that they carry news of having probably found some mines; this is not certain. They will proceed to the aforesaid Virginia, where they will endeavor to make themselves very strong.
For more information
The complete book Genesis of the United States published in 1890 is available online. Much of the book relates to Jamestown, but there is a lot of information about the Popham Colony. Note that there is some significant information which has come to light during that last 120 years, but this is an exhaustive work of what was known in 1890.