Right trustie, and righte welbelovid cousines wee greete you well. Whereas heertofore upon the the advertismentes, from time to time and from sondrie places, of the great preparations of foren forces, made with a full intention to invade this our Realme and other our dominions, wee gave our direccions unto you for the preparinge of our Subjects within your Lievetennauncies to be in readines for defence againste any attempte, that mighte be made againste us and our Realme, whiche our directions we finde so well performed, that we cannot but receave great contentemente therbie, bothe in respecte of your careful procedinges therein, and allso of the greate willingenes of our people in generall, to the accomplishement of that whereunto they were requiered. Shewinge therbie their great love, and loyalltie towardes us, which as wee accept most thanckfullie at their handes, acknowledge ourselves infinitlie bounde to Almightie God, in that hit hathe pleased him to blesse us with so lovinge and dewtifull Subjectes: so wolde wee have you make hit knowen unto them on our behalfe, forasmuche as we finde the same intention not onlie of invadinge, but of makinge a conquest allso of this our Realme, nowe constantlie more and more detected, and confirmide as a matter fullie resolved on (an Armie beinge alreadie put to the Seas for that purposse which we doubte not but by godes goodnes, shall prove frustrate), wee have theerfore thoughte meete, to will, and requier you forthewith, with as muche convenient speede as you maie, to call togeather at some conveniente place or places the best sorte of gentelmen under your Lievetennancie, and to declare unto them that consideringe these great preparacions and arrogante threatninges nowe burst owte in action upon the Seas, tendinge to a conquest, whearin everie mans particular state is in the hiest degree to be towched, in respecte of Countrie, Libertie, Wiffe, Childeren, landes, life, and that which speciallie to be regarded, for the profession of the trewe and sincere Religion, of Christe; and layinge before them the infinite and unspeakeable miseries, that followe upon any suche accidente and change (which miseries ar evidentlie seene by the fruites of the harde and crewell governmente that is holden in Countries not farre distante, wheare suche chaunge dothe happen, whatsoever pretence is otherwise geven forthe for the cause of Religion) wee doe looke that the most parte of them shoulde have, upon this instante extraordinarie occasion a larger proportion of furniture, both for horsemen and footemen (but especiallie horsemen) then hathe bine certified, therbie to be in ther best strengthe against any attempte whate soever, and to be imployed bothe abowte our owne parson and otherwise, as they shall have knowledge geven unto them, the nomber of which larger proportion as sone as you shall knowe, wee requier you to signifie to our privie Counsell, heerunto as wee doubte not but by your good indevoures, they wilbe the rather conformable, So allso wee assure ourselves, that Almightie God will so blesse their loyall hartes boren towardes us their lovinge Soveraigne and their naturall Countrie, that all the attemptes of any ennymies whatesoever shalbe made voied and frustrate, to their confusion, your comfortes, and to Godes highe glorie. Given under our signet at our mannor of Greenewiche the xviijth. daie of June 1588, in the xxxth. yeere of our Raigne.
To our right trustye and right welbeloved Cousins the Marques of Winchestre and the Earle of Sussex, Lieuetenants of our Countie of South.
Written in June 1588 when a Spanish invasion was imminent.
(Source: “Original Letters, Illustrative of English History. 2nd Series, Vol III.” edited by Henry Ellis 1827)