Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1954.
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This volume, covering the period between Mary I's wedding and her death, concludes the Spanish Series for the reign. The Calendar for Elizabeth having been published between 1892 and 1899, the Series is now complete for the five sovereigns of the House of Tudor.
Of the documents here presented, slightly over 500 in number, one-quarter only have been published before. The Archives at Simancas preserve 286 of our papers, and of these 48 have been printed elsewhere, mostly by Kervyn de Lettenhove or in the Spanish Documentos Inéditos. The next largest contribution: 92 papers, comes from Vienna; 12 of them have been printed, not from the originals but from copies or drafts at Besançon. Of 74 papers at Besançon, 56 came out a century ago in the French Documents Inédits, edited by Charles Weiss. Gachard and Lanz each published one of the 29 papers from Brussels. Gayangos printed three out of 12 papers from Madrid, and Weiss one (from a draft at Besançon). Cimber and Danjou published one of the 8 papers from Lille. A particularly interesting letter from Feria preserved in the Archives of the Society of Jesus at Rome has been included in the Monument a Ribadeneira.
On the whole, considering the peculiar interest the reign of Philip and Mary presents, it is surprising that so few of these papers should have appeared in print before now. The despatches sent from England by Simon Renard, the Emperor's ambassador, are preserved at Vienna; but for this period they have hitherto remained unknown, except for a few published by Weiss from drafts or copies at Besançon, as have Charles' and Philip's correspondence and instructions to envoys passing to and fro between London and Brussels, until Feria's mission in 1558. Also at Vienna, and hitherto unpublished, are the despatches from the Emperor's commissioners at the peace negotiations which took place at Marcq, under Mary's auspices and with Cardinal Pole as chairman, in May and June, 1555, as well as six holograph letters by Mary herself. From Simancas, and unpublished, comes correspondence between Philip and Lord Pembroke, who commanded the English expeditionary corps in the campaign that culminated at St. Quentin (August, 1557), and papers on Anglo-Spanish joint action at sea. Simancas also yields new material on the loss of Calais and plans for retaking it, and the prolonged negotiations between Mary's Privy Council and a mission from the Hanseatic League in the summer of 1558, which form a valuable supplement to references in the Acts of the Privy Council.
Renard left England in September, 1555, but his despatches sent from France, when he was Philip's ambassador there during the Truce of Vauxelles, touch upon English affairs, and give us glimpses of the feud which then broke out between him and his former patron and ally, the younger Granvelle, Bishop of Arras (afterwards Cardinal). Some of Renard's letters from France have been published (by Weiss); and Kervyn de Lettenhove gives most of those sent by Feria from England in 1558. But this volume contains many letters by Philip, Savoy, Orange, Arras and other ministers, Spanish and Burgundian, which shed new light on the succession problem as it then appeared, England's participation in the war against France, Philip's financial difficulties, his quarrel with Pope Paul IV, and other outstanding affairs of the day.
Philip's departure from England, when he joined his father in Brussels in September, 1555, was announced as being for a brief season. As King of England, he naturally did not accredit an ambassador to his own Queen. Moroever, Renard was not replaced as Imperial Ambassador. But Don Juan de Figueroa, known as “the Regent”, stayed on in London in an undefined capacity. Don Juan had resided at the Emperor's court before the marriage, and appears to have been on intimate terms with Granvelle (Sp. Cal. XII, p. 286). The Emperor had sent him to England on a confidential mission in advance of Philip's arrival, and there Don Juan remained until the summer of 1558. Evidence exists to show that while Philip was away from England, Don Juan frequently fulfilled diplomatic functions; and he continued to act, jointly with Feria, in 1558. Unhappily, we have one of his letters only (pp. 315–317) for the period covered by this volume. Simancas and other Spanish archives have been vainly searched for his correspondence. After Regent Figueroa's final departure from England, just when Feria himself was about to leave for a stay of several months in the Low Countries whence he returned only on the eve of Mary's death, Don Alonso de Córdoba was sent to London. Here again, we know that Don Alonso reported, but his papers also appear to have been lost. Thus, from Renard's recall in September 1555 to Mary's death, save for Feria's stay in London from January 1558 to July of the same year, there is no consecutive series of despatches from England by a Spanish or Imperial envoy. It is possible that the missing records went down with one of the ships lost in the great gale that overtook the fleet with which Philip travelled from the Low Countries to Spain in 1559. The last quarter of 1555 and the whole year 1556 being thinly represented, what little has been found is doubly valuable. From the beginning of 1557 on, the material becomes more abundant, and so continues for the rest of the reign.
Even before the Emperor abandoned to Philip the sovereignty of the Burgundian lands (October 25, 1555) and the Spains (January 16, 1556), Spaniards had come increasingly to the fore at the Brussels court since Philip's stay there in 1549–1550 and especially since the English match. Unable to transact business in French, Philip appears never to have bestowed his confidence on a minister who was not fluent in Castilian. Arras had been clever enough to master it. Renard knew none: a heavy handicap for him, especially after he had fallen out with Arras. Savoy took his queue from Arras; and his fortunes prospered accordingly. Orange wrote to Philip in French. Although his exceptional ability caused him to be employed by the King, in 1558, he never drew as near to his master as he might have done had they been able to converse. The most influential men of the day at court were Philip's Portuguese favourite, Ruy Gómez de Silva, Francisco de Eraso and Arras. Ruy Gómez and Eraso were fast friends. Arras never dared to show jealousy of Ruy Gómez; but he did try, unsuccessfully, to harm Eraso in the Emperor's esteem (p. 44). Feria and Don Juan de Figueroa stood well with the King; but they served mostly abroad; we have Feria's own word for it that his influence at court was slight (p. 370).
Proudly aside from courtier-officials and ambassadors stood the Duke of Alva, cordially hated by Ruy Gómez, Eraso and many if not all of the Spaniards surrounding Philip. But Alva had been the Emperor's comrade-in-arms at Mühlberg and on other campaigns. Charles sent him as a mentor to guide Philip's first steps in England (Vol. XII, p. 185) where, however, Ruy Gómez usually managed to keep the Duke away from the King. Still Philip himself trembled lest Alva, on return to Brussels in the Spring of 1555, might criticise his conduct of affairs (p. 163). After Charles had abdicated and the war with France blazed up again, fanned by Pope Paul IV's hispanophobia, Alva was sent to command in Italy, where he acquitted himself with such success that, St. Quentin aiding, even the Pope gave up the struggle. This meant an increase in the reputation that later caused Alva, unfortunately for all concerned, to be entrusted with the task of pacifying the Low Countries.
Such were the men whose influence was strongest with Philip, at the time, as far as the evidence of these papers goes. We find few references to the friars who, like Alfonso de Castro and Bartolomé Carranza, accompanied the King to England, and nothing at all about any part these religious may have played in policy-making. Given the very intimate account of Philip's aims and motives found in the personal letters of Ruy Gómez and Eraso, it seems unlikely that, if the friars had meddled in affairs of State, these gossipy correspondents would have failed to comment on the fact.
* * * *
Philip visited England twice, sojourning there thirteen and a half months from July 20, 1554, to September 4, 1555, and then three and a half months, to July 6, 1557. On each occasion, he spent less than half his time in London, and the rest mostly at Hampton Court. During the negotiations for his marriage with Mary, he had been led to expect by the Emperor that he was to live much in England. But the French raid into Luxembourg and capture of Marienbourg, in June, 1554, made Charles change his mind. He bade Philip hurry to the Low Countries as soon as he had spent six or eight days with the Queen (Vol. XII, pp. 291–293). The military situation soon improved, however; and on August 2 the Emperor wrote: “you had better stay where you are and be with the Queen, my daughter, busying yourself with the Government of England, settling affairs there and making yourself familiar with the people, which it is most important you should do for present and future considerations” (p. 13).
No sooner had the Spaniards surrounding the new King viewed the English scene than the difficulties of the enterprise loomed large before them. On July 27, Ruy Gomez complained to Eraso of the ill-will and discord rife among leading Englishmen, each one of whom was trying to incriminate the other, and of the confusion caused by the fact that an English household, with all its usual officers, high and low, and one hundred archers, was awaiting Philip, who had brought his own household. The only way out of the difficulty seemed to be to amalgamate the two households. This was done, or attempted, for a time. But a letter written by Charles on October 20 seems to imply that the Spanish household was sent back to Spain. Renard, on his side, took a much gloomier view from the outset, and began a series of warning despatches as early as July 29. It was going to be difficult, he told the Emperor, to reconcile Spaniards with Englishmen. The language was an obstacle. The English, who hated foreigners, had never seen so many together at once. Tempers were waxing hot. It might be well to invoke Philip's filial affections and send him over to Flanders, accompanied by 500 horse and 2,000 foot, among whom some suspicious characters might be included, thus keeping them out of mischief until the warm weather was over. The Spaniards were longsuffering (August 8), but they did not enjoy being called knaves, or hearing it said that the King had brought a pack of beggars with him (p. 23). Even apart from the religious question, which would require most delicate treatment, prospects seemed sombre. Arundel and Paget were believed to be plotting with the French.
Ruy Gómez did not share Renard's pessimism, at least in his letters to Court. Indeed, he shared nothing with Renard. Difficulties there were, in his view, but they only threw into higher relief the tact and charm thanks to which Philip knew how to win all hearts. We shall see that he was sometimes less guarded in conversation. As for Renard, Ruy Gómez wrote to Eraso on August 23 that, far from succeeding in England, he had got everything into a muddle, and had even alienated Paget, who had been more helpful than anyone else during the marriage negotiations. For that, however, Ruy Gómez did not blame Renard, but rather the person (Arras) who had sent such a little man on so important a mission, instead of entrusting it to a Spaniard (p. 35).
At this juncture, Courrières, who had been acting jointly with Renard, was given leave to return to Brussels. Renard, doubtless feeling a chill in the air, also asked to be recalled. The Emperor ordered him to remain “some days longer”, so that he might inform Philip of all he knew about England. Renard promptly handed over a memorandum to Ruy Gómez, and then wrote once more (August 24) begging to be relieved. But the very fact that Ruy Gómez, Philip's favourite, was so critical of Renard may have made Charles decide to keep Renard on in London. At any rate, not only did the ambassador remain throughout Philip's first stay in England, although he repeatedly complained of being held at arms' length by Ruy Gómez and in ignorance of what was going on, but when the King came on his second visit, in 1557, Renard formed part of his suite, in spite of the fact that, in the meantime, he and Arras had become deadly enemies. Philip tried, laboriously, to imitate his father in many ways, including this technique of using hatred between two ministers to discover more about an affair than the two of them together might have told him, had they been friends.
Charles regarded the English undertaking as important and difficult enough to warrant setting the best brains he had at his disposal to work on it. His sagacious sister, Mary, Queen Dowager of Hungary, studied the files and advised trying to come to terms with Paget (p. 27). Given the line Renard had taken about Paget, this task could not well be entrusted to him. Early in September, Eraso was sent over: Philip was to make it clear to the Pope that success in restoring religion in England could be achieved only if the holders of Church property were confirmed in their rights, and that until a clear understanding had been reached on that point, Cardinal Pole, who had been appointed Legate soon after Mary's accession, must not proceed to London. Eraso was also to implore Philip to work hard, so that the Emperor, who now saw he could not leave for Spain as soon as he had hoped, might yet be able to take advantage of the January winds.
The Brussels court was in a turmoil about England: Who deserved credit for the match? What rewards were to be bestowed upon whom? We have a letter from Arras to Charles, written when Eraso was setting out for London, which shows that the Emperor and he had spoken of Renard's deserts, and made disparaging remarks about “the rest”. On learning this, Arras bitterly resented what he took as an implication that he, Arras, was among “the rest”. “Eraso's cunning is far beyond anything your Majesty can imagine,” says the Bishop. “I, before anyone else had thought of it, wrote to the ambassador to start negotiations, and showed him what road he was to follow.” And now the Bishop has the grief and humiliation of learning that Philip entertained some suspicion that he had actually traversed the plan. He implores the Emperor to write to Philip that he is not to be included among “the rest”.
This incident reveals Arras' pettiness and the jealousy that got the better of him when his old friend Renard was commended. It also shows how this hispanolised Franc-Comtois trembled lest, in spite of all his efforts to ingratiate himself, Philip and his Spanish entourage might drop him as soon as the Emperor was out of the way. Eraso showed more dignity and worldly wisdom when, a few weeks later, he wrote to Ruy Gómez, obviously for repetition to Philip, that Arras was an able and conscientious servant, who wanted no other reward than to be allowed to retire from affairs and devote himself to his diocese. But that would not be a good thing for the King's service (p. 111).
While ministers about Charles and Philip were quarrelling as to who set Philip on the English throne, Don Fernando Enriquez, Admiral of Castile, back in Spain from attending the Royal wedding, gave the Regent, Philip's sister, a disquieting account of the treatment inflicted by the English on Spaniards, even hinting that, as Philip felt oppressed, means ought to be devised for getting him out of the country (p. 47). In reporting this to Philip, on September 13, Juan Vázquez de Molina added that the Admiral, when questioned, had admitted that the King had not instructed him to speak as he had done; he had heard it from Ruy Gómez. At Valladolid, it was thought advisable to send Don Hernando de Rojas to London to find out whether the King ought not to be rescued. If indeed he were in danger, Juan Vázquez said, the Spaniards would sell their very children and lay down their own lives to set Philip free.
A few days later, on September 18, Renard wrote to the Emperor a blacker despatch than any he had penned since Philip's landing. Matters were going from bad to worse. The English had never been so licentious in word and deed, so eager to outrage foreigners. Commons and nobility were equally hostile. Everyone was arming. The Queen, they said, was Spanish at heart and meant to have the King crowned by force, wishing to deprive the Lady Elizabeth of her rights. The French were popular, the Spaniards loathed. Lord Fitzwalter, a member of the King's English household, said he would soon be forgetting what little Spanish he had learned in Spain, for at Court there was no intercourse between Spaniards and Englishmen. An outburst was to be feared.
Towards the end of this letter, however, Renard remarks that if the Queen were to be with child, that would put an end to disputes (p. 51). And a few lines farther on he adds that, according to one of the Queen's physicians, such was very probably the case.
* * * *
The belief that, Mary being pregnant, the succession would be assured in a Catholic line transformed prospects as if by magic. Philip, riding a wave of optimism, returned to London from the country and appeared with the Queen at a dance. “Everything is on the right road,” says Ruy Gómez on October 2; “this pregnancy will put a stop to all difficulties”. On October 13, Renard himself reports that the English are beginning to appreciate the great things the King has done for their country; the nobility are mixing with the Spaniards. If the English are treated as their national character requires, things will go on improving, in spite of the problems presented by the religious question.
Charles welcomed the hopeful report about Mary, remarking that if it came true it would fulfil his dearest wish. But, ill as he was again, “indeed worse than I have been in other years”, he did not relax a whit in his vigilance. On October 1, he sent Eraso on a second mission to London. There is no mention of Paget in Eraso's written instructions. But Mary of Hungary's advice had clearly been adopted by Charles. On November 6, Renard reported that Paget was being entrusted with a mission to the Emperor (p. 78). A few days later, Paget arrived in Brussels, and on November 12 had a very long private audience of Charles, the hitherto unpublished account of which (pp. 87–92) is most illuminating as regards both Brussels' views and the wily Paget's diplomacy.
To return to Eraso, he was to warn Philip against those who would have him adopt a forward policy in religious affairs. The King had better send a special messenger to impress it upon the Pope that England could not be won back without binding assurances that the holders of abbey-lands would not be disturbed. Until that point had been disposed of, Pole was not to cross the Channel. As for his own plans, the Emperor had now abandoned hope of leaving for Spain in January (1555). Philip might stay on in England, for a time, hold a Parliament and gain good will by summoning prominent Englishmen to attend a levee or another function; thus they would not feel left out in the cold when they saw Spaniards continually going and coming at court.
After consultation with Eraso, Philip followed his father's advice and despatched a messenger to Rome (October 13, pp. 63–64). He also sent Renard to explain matters to Pole in Brussels. The Emperor, on his side, instructed his ambassador in Rome, Don Juan Manrique, to make sure that the Pope understood the position: namely that if Pole was to go to England, he must be provided with full powers to settle the abbey-lands dispute to the satisfaction of the holders. On November 7, the Pope wrote to the Emperor expressing agreement, and saying that fresh instructions in the desired sense had been forwarded to Pole. However, Parliament having been summoned for November 12, and the powers then in Pole's hands being considered inadequate, Philip took matters into his own hands. On or about November 14, he gave the Privy Council an undertaking as regards the abbey-lands which was accepted as satisfactory (p. 93). Pole might now proceed, and did in fact arrive in London on November 24. But when it came to discussion in Parliament, the agreement threatened to fail. The holders of abbey-lands demanded that a dispensation in their favour be included in the statute restoring obedience to the Pope. Pole refused, saying he would rather return to Rome empty-handed than make a concession so damaging to the rights of the Holy See (p. 125). Philip's exertions prevented a breakdown, however, and an act recognising the Pope's authority was passed in a form acceptable to the Legate (p. 133). Pole might well acquiesce, for the Emperor and Philip, when they saw the final powers sent by the Pope, observed that these went far beyond what had been asked for (pp. 115, 127–128). Thus the greatest obstacle to England's return to the Roman fold was removed. Had the matter come up a few months later, when the easy-going Julius III was dead and Paul IV, who hated Spaniards and regarded Pole as a heretic, wore the tiara, the outcome might well have been different.
The abbey-lands controversy was peculiarly delicate and important in that the parties in possession were wealthy and influential, and for the most part Catholics: the very men, in fact, upon whose support success in Philip and Mary's religious policy in the widest sense depended. Catholics though they were, these landlords harboured apprehensions which it was not easy to allay. An injudicious sermon had caused them to fear that Rome meant to take away with one hand what it gave with the other, and that holders of ecclesiastical property, confirmed though they were in their possession, might be deprived of the sacraments unless they disgorged “of their own free will”. However, it soon became evident that no such sleight of hand would be tolerated. The other measures required to restore England's position towards Rome to what it had been thirty years previously gave no trouble. Parliament repealed Henry VIII's running counter to the papal authority (pp. 141–142), with hardly a. sign of opposition; and the affair was settled, for the rest of the reign.
How to treat obdurate cases of non-conformity was another matter, with which Rome did not concern itself. All the evidence shows, indeed, that Legate Pole's influence was on the side of moderation. Renard, who never tired of warning the Emperor and Philip that excessive zeal might be fatal, advised consulting Pole (p. 152). But the Bishops, now armed with legal powers, were determined to use them. On February 4, John Rogers, the first Protestant martyr under Mary, was burnt at the stake. The Londoners showed such sympathy with the victim, such hatred of the bishops, that Renard wrote next day to Philip: “I do not think your Majesty should allow further executions, unless . . . the offences committed have been so scandalous as to render this course justifiable in the eyes of the people”. If the bishops went on burning, “not only would the cause of religion be again menaced, but the persons of your Majesty and the Queen might be in peril” (pp. 138–139).
On February 10 Renard reported to the Emperor: three more non-conformists had been burnt, and the bishops had been preparing to make further examples, but had now been warned to hold their hands. There is no mention now of the happy change in English opinion lately brought about by the announcement that Mary was with child. “The people are talking against the Queen even more than they did in the past.” Intrigues are going on with the French. Ruy Gómez, Renard bitterly remarks, can give more authentic information about all this than he can; for he, the ambassador, now takes no part in affairs. Besides, Paget had warned him that his life was in danger, as being considered responsible for the match. He was doing no good in England; might he not at last be given leave to withdraw? In fact, on March I, Arras wrote to Renard that Ruy Gómez was bearing letters authorising him to depart; in spite of which Renard had to stay in England for another six months.
Philip appears not to have shared Renard's misgivings, for on February 24 he writes to his sister, in Valladolid: “with regard to religion . . . things are going better from day to day”. And on March 12, to Feria (then in Italy): “things have been going better and better. Some heretics have been punished”. If any consultation took place between Philip and Renard, the King did not heed the ambassador, who goes on warning the Emperor of French plots and growing disaffection towards the Queen (March 13 and 27). The bishops had started burning again: “I fear their rashness may cause the people to rise in arms this spring . . . In a word, the safest thing would be for the King to leave the country . . . for I have never seen the people in such an ugly mood” (p. 148).
Finally, late in March or early April, Renard wrote Philip a long letter, part of which is known to us from a hitherto unpublished draft at Besançon: the last letter the ambassador appears to have addressed to the King while they were both in England (pp. 150–153). As Philip is soon leaving England for an indefinite time, Renard starts, it is urgent to establish the Queen's position and secure a lasting alliance. The French would be vigilantly watching for chances to upset it; discord in the Privy Council, between Gardiner and Paget, and their respective factions, was a constant source of danger, especially in a democratic country like England. If the Queen were to die without issue, the heretics would try to put Elizabeth on the throne. The Council ought to be reduced to manageable porportions, Pole admitted to it and be allowed to speak. Haste in religious matters should be avoided. “Cruel punishments are not the best way; moderation and kindness are required.” We have no indication that Philip ever troubled to answer this painstaking attempt to open his eyes to the true position in England. But, characteristically, he kept Renard there until he himself departed.
Renard probably realised by now that his ideas on coercion in religious affairs would never be listened to; for he drops the subject. On April 21 he writes that the English behaved obediently during Easter Week, an incredible number of them taking the sacrament, although one single reprobate did stab a priest who was giving communion. In the letters he continues to send to Charles, he no longer advocates mildness, but dwells on the dangers that will ensue if the Queen does not have a child, since “the order of succession has been so badly determined that the Lady Elizabeth comes next, and that means heresy again, and the true religion overthrown” (p. 224). As late as June 29, however, he reports that the Queen “seems to be in as good health as could be desired, so much so that one cannot doubt that she is with child”, although Ruy Gómez had written on June 8: “they say that the calculations got mixed up . . . All this makes me doubt whether she is with child at all, greatly as I desire to see the thing happily over”. At last, sometime in July, comes a letter from Renard to the King of the Romans, with the passage; “it is doubted whether she is really with child, although outward signs are good and she asserts that she is pregnant”.
Brussels hoped on. On August 13, Philip Nigri, Chancellor of the Order of the Golden Fleece, wrote to a friend: “We still have hopes that a child will be born to England by the end of this month”. After Philip's arrival only did the Emperor say, in a letter dated September 14 to his ambassador in Portugal: “There is no longer any hope of her being with child”.
Prospects in England, when once the fact that the match was not to be blessed with issue had been accepted, were too gloomy for Hispano-Burgundians to dwell on. After Philip's second visit (March-July 1557) it is true, the unhappy Queen was again deluded. Pedro de Ocaña, a Spaniard who left London on February 3, 1558, wrote that he had kissed the Queen's hand and seen that she was with child. “They say it is quite certain that she is pregnant, although she tries to keep it a secret, and that she will be delivered sometime this month or early in March. The Queen's mistress of the Robes told Count Feria this in Ocaña's presence” (p. 363). Feria, however, makes no mention of the matter in any of his known letters, except to dismiss it, nor does Philip in his, on this second occasion, save for an allusion in a reply, dated January 21, 1558, to a letter from Pole “sending news of the Queen's pregnancy”
References to the religious question in England disappear from our papers simultaneously with mentions of hopes of an heir to Philip and Mary. When Philip returned to England in 1557, his one aim was to bring the country into his war against France. When he sent Feria to England, in January, 1558, he wished to ensure that the Queen and her Privy Council would make an adequate contribution “to the recovery of Calais”, i.e., to the campaign which, at that time, he meant to undertake in France, as soon as Spring came round again, in the hope of at last forcing Henry II to make peace. Later, when he began to suspect that Mary was not long for this world, the King entrusted Feria with a still more delicate task: to adumbrate that his own suit for the Lady Elizabeth's hand might be pressed after his expected bereavement. Of religion in England there is little mention, either in Philip's instructions to Feria or in Feria's reports to his master, except for Feria's remark that after the loss of Calais the number of Englishmen attending mass fell off by two-thirds. It was evidently realised at Brussels that unless Elizabeth could be secured for a Catholic husband, preferably Philip himself, she would make the country Protestant again as soon as she mounted the throne. One important point emerges, however, from Feria's letter of March 22, 1558, to Father Ribadeneyra, S. J., then in Brussels: Feria had failed to move the Queen and Pole to permit Jesuits to come to England (p. 370).
The papers calendared here offer no evidence on Mary's own feelings about punishing non-conformity by fire. As we have seen, Renard was strongly and outspokenly against it, and as he urges consultation on the subject with Pole, it may safely be assumed that the Cardinal also was for leniency. He himself might well have said si iniquitates observaveris, Domine . . .; his own record on justification by faith being a matter which Paul IV wished to have the Roman Inquisition probe into. Mary, however, set great store by Pole's opinion. Renard repeatedly states that the “bishops” were for burning, without specifying who the prelates were who took the lead.
* * * *
Philip had not been in England long before he began to give his measure in affairs of State. On August 5, 1554, Arras wrote to Renard that the Emperor had heard that his son resented the Low Countries' having sent no deputation to congratulate him on his marriage. The ambassador should explain to the King that for the moment all resources had to be devoted to holding off the French: it was no time for costly embassies, display and gifts (p. 20). How apprehensive Philip, mindful of his experiences five years before, remained of the welcome he himself might receive in the Low Countries is shown by an addition he made in his own hand to a draft for instructions to Eraso, then about to return to Brussels from a mission to London: “I hope his Majesty will so arrange matters that there will be no more unpleasant incidents like those that cropped up when last I was there” (p. 94).
Another matter preyed upon Philip's mind. He had been given Naples and Milan, so that he might be a King in his own right on wedding his Queen. He writes: “As his Majesty has placed me in this position, his ministers in those dominions might reasonably hand the direction of affairs over to me instead of clinging to it themselves; for since he has shown me this favour there is no reason why his subjects should imagine that it is purely nominal, and that in reality everything is to go on exactly as before. And if necessary you (Eraso) will tell his Majesty why I say this.” Eraso, after his return to Brussels, thought it necessary to explain at great length to Ruy Gómez, for repetition to Philip, that the Emperor's inability, because of illness, to attend to affairs had delayed the drawing of a clear line between cases which had arisen before the abdication in Philip's favour and after that event. Incidentally, it had to be admitted that parties were “lamenting their fates in the streets” because they had been kept waiting for months for documents which the Emperor could not summon up enough energy to sign (p.110).
Apart from seeing to it that when Pole came as Legate to receive England back into the fold, he should confirm the holders of abbey-lands, in his handling of which question Philip was fortunate, English domestic affairs do not seem to have engrossed the King's attention during his first stay in the country. He may well have regarded them as dangerous ground. Within a few days of the Royal wedding, as we have seen, Simon Renard was advising the Emperor to summon his son to Flanders and keep him there until the weather turned too cold for popular risings (p. 4). Even the buoyant Ruy Gómez voiced his misgivings on this score to the Admiral of Castile. Add the dissensions rife inside the Privy Council; it is hardly surprising that Philip should have held aloof from domestic politics. However, the Emperor's instructions were plain: his son must not only stay in England, but busy himself with the government of the country (p. 13). Philip complied. On September 3, 1554, Renard reported that the King was working with the Council, and on September 18 Philip himself writes to his sister, Doña Juana: “For some days past, I have been busying myself with affairs here, and have made a good beginning” (p. 48).
On July 27, 1554, the Privy Council had ordered a note of all State business transacted by it to be made in Latin or Spanish and delivered to whomever the King should designate; also that “all matters of Estate passing in the King and Queen's names should be signed with both their hands”. (fn. 1) The fact that the Privy Council's papers afford no evidence of Philip's being present at its meetings or concerning himself with its affairs proves nothing. We have correspondence showing that, later on, he did seek to influence its decisions, without this appearing in the records. In 1554–1555, when the King was in England, it is natural that his attempts at intervention should have left no trace in writing.
After England's relations with the Pope had been settled, the questions uppermost in Hispano-Burgundian minds were whether or not it would be advisable for Philip to be crowned King of England, what was to be done with the Lady Elizabeth and Courtenay, and prospects for ending the war with France by English mediation. Consultation on these matters between Philip and his father took place by means of visits to London by Eraso and to Brussels by Ruy Gómez. Renard complains again and again, in his letters to the Emperor, that he is being kept out of negotiations and might as well be allowed to retire, for all the good he is doing in England. Doubtless in order to soothe the ambassador's feelings, Philip did send him once to Brussels, in October, 1554, to explain matters to Pole (p. 63). After that, Renard is ignored: treatment the more galling that the ambassador saw Paget, against whom he had so often warned Brussels, haunting the King's apartments, and that it was Paget who, as we have seen, went to Brussels in November to confer with the Emperor on all questions concerning England, and to make the final arrangements for the Legate's departure for London (pp. 87–92). Renard is reduced to harping on the jealousy aroused in Gardiner by the marks of favour shown to Paget, and to urging Philip to be present in person at Privy Council meetings, especially when Parliament was in session (p. 103).
From Renard's report dated November 14, 1554, it seems that a bill to crown Philip was expected to be passed by the Parliament which met on November 12 (p. 84). A few days later, Renard returns to the topic (p. 102) in terms indicating that some people (presumably Ruy Gómez) regarded it as incompatible with Philip's dignity that he should be crowned in England “where he is only a consort” and explains that “in England, the coronation stands for a true and lawful confirmation of title, and means much more than in other realms”. He also reports that the question is going to be dealt with during the present session. At the time, however, Mary being believed to be pregnant, Philip's advisers thought it wise to concentrate on a measure giving him the guardianship of any children born to the Royal couple, which was in fact passed (p. 125). “Some private members proposed that in the event of the Queen's death without issue, the King should remain absolute sovereign for life: but this was not adopted”.
The succession to the crown thus remaining as Henry VIII's will had left it, the Lady Elizabeth's future became of prime importance. Interned since the morrow of Wyatt's rebellion, after which Renard's repeated advice to behead her was disregarded, Elizabeth had never ceased to be an object of intrigue. As there was no evidence against her, she could not be held indefinitely. Arundel, according to Renard, hoped to marry her to his son; and Arundel himself was suspected of plotting with the French (pp. 23, 24), always the hope of Mary's enemies (pp. 65, 84). Next to Elizabeth Edward Courtenay, also a prisoner, claimed attention on account of his descent from the House of York. Volume XII of this Calendar contains much about Gardiner's abortive plan to induce Mary to wed him, and the Protestant faction's hopes to set him and Elizabeth on the throne.
Paget, in his conference with the Emperor on November 12, 1554, took the line that, as Mary was to have issue, neither Elizabeth nor Courtenay mattered. Courtenay, he suggested, might be reinstated in the Queen's favour and then sent on mission to Rome for a year or two, after which he would have no more prestige in England than the meanest subject. As for Elizabeth, she had better be married off to some poor German prince (p. 90). Charles, it appears from Arras's minute of the conference, adopted Paget's views, with the qualification that the “poor German prince” was not to be one with States too near the sea-coast. Margrave Charles of Baden might serve the purpose. Renard, apprised of these matters, warned the Emperor on November 23 that Paget really aimed at marrying Elizabeth to Courtenay, and counted on Pole's favouring a kinsman. It would be dangerous, Renard insisted, to let Courtenay go to Rome: he would intrigue there with the French. Elizabeth would not easily be induced to marry any foreigner. “Still, as your Majesty has pointed out, she ought somehow to be get rid of” (pp. 101–102).
In the meantime, the Duke of Savoy was secretly planning to win Elizabeth for himself. He had an ambassador in England, Giovan Tommaso Langosco da Stroppiana, whose letters to Arras betray no hint of his master's intentions. But there is one from the Duke to Stroppiana (p. 104 note), announcing his arrival in England “to pluck the fruit of the hopes that are now blossoming there”, and instructing Stroppiana to secure Elizabeth's (then vacant) lodging for him, although for several reasons the envoy is to pretend to hunt for other quarters at court. The Duke reached London during the Christmas holidays, 1554, but returned to the Low Countries, discomforted. He found an advocate, however, in Renard, who a few months later writes, in a careful analysis of the English position prepared for Philip, that as Elizabeth cannot be excluded from the succession she represents a menace and had better be married off “by your Majesty's intermediary” to the Duke of Savoy (p. 152). Renard believes that, as soon as that match is announced “the country will show its satisfaction and forget the malignity, heresy and ill-will it now bears to the Queen”.
Elizabeth, who had lately been edifying beholders by obtaining the requisite indulgences and attending mass daily (p. 145), and had asked the Queen to send vestments and sacred vessels for her chapel, still gave rise to suspicion. There were plots afoot to marry her to Courtenay (p. 147). Lord Williams of Thame applied for leave to visit her on the pretext of persuading her to obey the Queen and go to Flanders, but failing to obtain leave went all the same, had long talks with her and her servants, and on return said he had not dared to mention going abroad (p. 148). Mary of Hungary had expressed willingness to receive her (see Vol. XII of this Calendar, p. 312); but Elizabeth was too well aware of the harm her absence from the realm would do to her chances of succeeding. Early in May, 1555, she had been set at liberty and appeared at Court, Renard continuing to insist that, as long as she remained in England “the country and the Queen will always have trouble” (p. 169). Courtenay, also set free, went abroad: first to Brussels and then on to Venice, where he died of fever on or about September 18, 1556 (p. 279). Savoy did not feel sufficiently confident of success in his suit for Elizabeth's hand to neglect other possibilities. In September, 1555, Eraso (p. 245) says that the Duke is not inclined to marry the Duchess Dowager of Lorraine, but would gladly take the Princess (i.e., Mary of Portugal, for whose hand Philip had sued in 1553). In November of the same year, Gamiz, the King of the Roman's envoy to Brussels, argues that the best solution would be to marry Elizabeth to Archduke Ferdinand. If some people are for a match with Savoy, Gamiz adds, it is because they think the Duke might thus be deterred from accepting the offers the French are making in the hope of enticing him away from the Emperor (p. 252).
Renard, who went as Philip's ambassador to France after the conclusion of the Truce of Vaucelles (February 6, 1556), and stayed until it was broken (January, 1557), writes of the King of France's concern on learning about the negotiations for a match between Savoy and Elizabeth. In order to traverse this plan, the French intended to move the Pope to declare Elizabeth a bastard. Philip's visit to England in the Spring of 1557 aiding, it was being reported in May of that year that the Queen had given her consent, and that an agreement had been reached according to which, in the event of Savoy's having a child by Elizabeth, “he is to hand over to King Philip the castles of Nice and Villefranche as security that, in case the Duke or one of his children mounts the throne of England, the county of Nice and the port and town of Villefranche, with their dependencies, shall belong to the King, without his giving anything in exchange” (p. 293).
A year later, the proposed match was still much on Mary's mind. In May, 1558, Feria reports that she is greatly distressed by the thought that Philip blamed her because it had not materialised (p. 380). She had been somewhat reassured when Elizabeth, whom the King of Sweden had sent an envoy to approach on behalf of his son, declared that she did not wish to marry at all. “But she still takes a most passionate interest in the affair . . . and seems to fear your Majesty will urge her to come to a decision”. Renard, although his quarrel with Arras had by now put an end to his diplomatic career, was still trying to induce Philip to proceed with the plan and somehow obtain the Queen's assent to it. He drew up a memorandum on the subject, in Latin so as to improve the chances of Philip's reading it, arguing that Elizabeth's position had grown too strong for it to be possible to guard against the danger she represented otherwise than by marrying her to Savoy (pp. 372–373). And he returned to the charge later, shortly before Mary was known to be dangerously ill (p. 413).
Several months before that, however, Feria was already making advances to Elizabeth. The mysterious tone of the references to her in his letters to Philip suggest that the King had foreseen that Mary would not live long, and was considering means for preserving his link with England, after her demise. In May, 1558, Paget undertakes to give Elizabeth a message from Feria, who however discovers that Paget merely asked her whether Feria had waited upon her, and expressed surprise when Elizabeth replied in the negative (p. 387). A little later, Feria did visit Elizabeth “as your Majesty instructed me to do. She was very much pleased; and I was also, for reasons I will tell your Majesty when I arrive over there” (p. 400). Not long after this, Feria left England, to return when Mary was breathing her last. He had orders to press his master's suit for Elizabeth. (fn. 2)
* * * *
In the Spring of 1555, Simon Renard bluntly reminded Philip why the match between him and Mary had been concluded: the French had acquired a hold over England which must be loosened. Otherwise, they might end by placing Mary Queen of Scots and the Dauphin on the throne (p. 150). Philip, however, had been obliged to swear that he would not lead England into war against France. During his first stay in the country, he was busied with day-to-day affairs, which had to be disposed of before he could join his father and receive the crowns Charles was only too anxious to lay down. The war was dragging on, with an occasional French raid over the border. In theory, Philip desired to achieve glory by a feat of arms. In practice, financial difficulties hindering the mobilisation of an adequate force, he was content to let sleeping dogs lie, and not at all disinclined to end a conflict which neither he nor the King of France could well afford.
In fact, no sooner had Parliament passed the legislation on religious affairs which some observers had expected would give rise to serious trouble than Cardinal Pole, who had been exploring prospects with the French ambassador in London (Antoine de Noailles) and his brother, repeated the attempts at mediation which he had made, with conspicuous ill-success, the previous year (see Vol. XII of this Calendar). On January 19, 1555, Renard wrote that Pole was sending over the Abbot of San Saluto to ascertain whether the Emperor would agree to commissioners meeting in a neutral place to discuss peace-terms and wished Pole to busy himself further with the matter (p. 135). This was hardly an auspicious beginning, for Vincenzo Parpaglia, Abbot of San Saluto, was strongly suspected of being in the pay of the French. At about the same time, reports came in that the French were making great preparations for war (p. 138), and had designs upon Calais (p. 144). Eraso, who was as much in the Emperor's confidence as any man living, writes on April 12 that money shortage is such that he fears something may happen to upset the forthcoming peace negotiations (p. 158). On April 14, the Emperor appointed his commissioners; on May 23, the feast of the Ascension, the parley commenced at the village of Marcq, on English territory near Gravelines, and lasted just over a fortnight.
The Duke of Medinaceli, Charles and Ponce de Lalaing, Arras, Viglius and Eraso met an equally distinguished French delegation headed by the Constable (Montmorency), the Cardinal of Lorraine, Marillac, Archbishop of Vienne and Morvilliers, Bishop of Orleans. Pole was there in his chosen capacity of mediator, assisted by Arundel and the two arch-enemies, Gardiner and Paget. From the outset, Paget told his Hispano Burgundian colleagues that, in his view, things were in too crude a state to admit of success (p. 174). Much time was consumed by the procedure adopted: the delegations of the two belligerent powers met in turn with Pole, who then conferred with each side separately. It was not until May 29 that the two delegations met, the English also being present. As the French commissioners had already made it clear that unless they obtained Milan they would not discuss other points, whilst Charles' representatives pointed out that Milan was no longer the Emperor's to dispose of, as it had been given to Philip, the only hope appeared to lie in a match between Philip's son, Don Carlos, and Henry II's daughter, Elizabeth of Valois. Argument over the respective sovereigns' rights to Milan and the Duchy of Burgundy, the Duke of Savoy's claims to Savoy and the parts of Piedmont that had been occupied by the French, and other contentious matters, continued for several days until a sudden hardening in the French attitude made it obvious that it would be fruitless to pursue the negotiations (pp. 215–222). The meeting broke up, the French afterwards boasting that they had ascertained the Emperor's intentions from the proposals put forward by Pole (p. 225).
What had happened was the arrival of news that the Conclave had elected Cardinal Carafa as Pope (Paul IV) on May 23, the very day on which the Marcq conference opened. Now, Gian Pietro Carafa, of old a declared enemy of the Spaniards because of Naples, had been further inflamed by an injudicious attempt on Philip's part to veto his election as pope. No sooner had Philip heard of Julius Ill's death than he sent instructions from London to Don Juan Manrique, Charles' ambassador in Rome, to support Pole or, if Pole could not be elected, certain other cardinals named, but on no account to allow Carafa to be chosen (p. 1555). This was going farther than the Emperor ever ventured: not only did Charles refrain from ordering Cardinals to be blackballed; he did not even permit a mention, in Conclave circles, of the names of those who would be agreeable to him. Philip's instructions to Manrique were read in Brussels; and a minute tactfully pointing out this audacious innovation was prepared for the Emperor (p. 157). But Philip's resentment at not being given undivided control of Italian affairs was fresh in the minds of Charles and his advisers. Rather than provoke a new outburst, it was decided to forward the instructions, with the Emperor's assent (p. 158). They reached Rome after Marcellus II's election, but were used for the Conclave that opened after his reign of three weeks. As might have been expected, their contents were soon public property. Carafa's rage knew no bounds.
To make things worse, there was a sinister secret about Paul IV's election: it had been uncanonical. The requisite majority had not been attained; and the Cardinal Chamberlain had been forcibly prevented from uttering a protest (p. 281). This was considered too grave a matter to be put in writing and forwarded by courier to Brussels. Instead, the Cardinal Chamberlain and Manrique sent Giovan Francesco Lottini to explain it to Charles by word of mouth (p. 187). This also leaked out; and Lottini, on his return to Rome, was tortured by Paul IV's orders. After such a beginning, Philip might send to congratulate the Pope on his election, and Paul send Philip his apostolic blessing (p. 246); the fat was in the fire. On December 23, 1555, the Cardinal of Sigüenza wrote warningly to Charles from Rome: “I must tell your Majesty that this is not good business. Any reason, however futile, suffices where there is no good will” (p. 254). Sigüenza does not appear to have been aware, at this time, that Cardinals Guise and Tournon had concluded a secret treaty with Paul IV on December 16, 1555 by which the King of France took the House of Carafa under his protection and undertook to help the Pope to drive the Spaniards out of Naples (p. 253 note).
However, the French were not yet ready to start hostilities again on a large scale. In July, 1555, the Noailles brothers had been in London, offering explanations as to why the Marcq parley had failed, suggesting that Mary might still excogitate means for making peace “this year or next” (p. 227), and giving soft answers to pointed remarks. To one thing, however, they would not agree: and that was to resume the parley where it had been dropped at Marcq, under Mary's auspices and with Pole as chairman. Charles, on his side, wrote to Philip that every care must be taken not to allow the French to persuade the English that the blame for continuing the war lay on the Hispano-Burgundian side. Peace would be a very good thing, “and indeed necessary, as you know, considering the state of our affairs” Greatly as the French were to be mistrusted in such matters, Philip must neglect no possible chance of resuming negotiations (pp. 231–233). This being the atmosphere on both sides, Lalaing and Renard appear to have had little difficulty in agreeing, with the Admiral of France, the terms of the truce of Vaucelles (February 6, 1556), to last for five years so as to afford ample opportunity for the negotiation of a formal peace. In April, Lalaing visited the French Court at Amboise, and had talks with the King and his chief advisers: very friendly, with strong French emphasis on the importance, in the interest of an agreement, of arranging an exchange of prisoners.
In spite of this, news from Italy became more and more disquieting. On April 10, 1556, the Pope appointed two Legates with the ostensible object of promoting peace. Paul IV's nephew, Carlo, Cardinal Carafa, was to go to Paris. Of him, Francisco de Vargas writes (p. 267): “he has always been and always will be pure poison, an enemy of their Majesties (Charles and Philip) and a Frenchman body and soul, full of mischievous ideas”. Cardinal Motula, instructed to go to Brussels, also “bodes no good”. And, Vargas adds, there are so many troops mobilised (at Rome) that one might think the enemy was at the gate. From Paris, Renard reports in June, 1556 prophesying that, far from there being any prospect of peace resulting from Carafa's and Morula's mission, the truce itself will soon be broken. The Guises and their supporters argue that it would be a great mistake to miss the opportunity afforded by the eagerness for war of the Pope and the other allies. The Constable, even, though a friend of peace, is angry about the prisoners. Italy is the place to strike, the French believe, not England, for they know that in England their plans have been discovered, since the Queen has ordered Courtenay home and has fitted out men-of-war to forestall a surprise landing. Philip, say the French, intends either to punish the Lady Elizabeth or to force her to marry a foreigner; and their greatest fear is to see Philip crowned King of England.
Of Paul IV's aggressive intentions there could be no doubt. He caused his Fiscal Procurator to appear in Congregation and utter a form of protest known as incitativo, announcing the intention of declaring that Charles had forfeited the Empire and Philip the fief of Naples (p. 274). He treated the Emperor's ambassador with indignity, and had his servants put to the rack. The King of France averred that even if it cost him half his crown he must protect the Pope. Renard reported in September, 1556, from Paris that, in spite of financial embarrassments, preparations were being pushed to send a large force to Italy.
But Alva had an army ready in the Kingdom of Naples, and in September his cavalry was raiding within ten miles of Rome. Paul IV fell ill with rage. The best thing, Vargas writes, would be for the Pope to die, for he is at the root of all the trouble, “the Emperor's intention being merely to wrest the knife from this madman's hand” (p. 279). From a military standpoint, Alva soon had things under control. Charles, after putting off his departure again and again, decided not to risk having to spend yet another winter in the North. He sailed for Spain in September, 1556. Tension reached such a pitch between Philip and Paul IV, however, that the King asked his canon lawyers in Spain for opinions as to what he could do to protect himself, “given that the Pope was not canonically elected” (p. 283). In January, 1557, Spanish subjects were ordered out of Rome, under penalty of death and confiscation of goods, and the Spanish Council of State was arranging for the despatch in Spain itself of all documents which might otherwise have had to be issued at the papal court (p. 285). On February 6, 1557, just one year after the conclusion of the Truce of Vaucelles, Renard reported that his dismissal had been notified to him, and he himself interned, as a countermeasure to what had been done in the case of Bassefontaine, French ambassador in Brussels.
Philip faced France in arms at a moment when Spanish finances had reached the lowest ebb to which they had so far sunk. The King indeed was bankrupt, although our letters contain no statement putting it quite so bluntly. There is, however, a paper at Simancas which speaks volumes: a draft agreement by which Philip promises in Mary's name and his own to pay Frediano Burlamacchi & Co. of Lucca 8 per cent, on any money they may raise for him by means of a plan worked out by them (p. 288). Now, this certainly means 8 per cent, commission, over and above the interest payable to the original lenders. As for what that interest would be, we know that Philip had been paying, or agreeing to pay, as much as 43 per cent, per annum for loans, all charges included, before he defaulted, in January, 1557, by instructing the Seville Treasury to refuse payment even on orders that had just been signed by himself and countersigned by a competent minister. (fn. 3)
Normal revenue having been consumed for years in advance, the King's one remaining hope was that treasure from the Indies might arrive in time to allow him, by seizing bullion belonging to private persons and diverting that which should normally have gone to the Spanish Treasury, to assemble an adequate army. But accidents were apt to befall treasure-shipments. In this hour of dire peril, Philip decided to attempt to bring England into the war and obtain that realm's military assistance, on the largest possible scale. His plan was to strike a blow at Northern France that would compel Henry II to abandon the project devised by the Pope and the Guises for conquering Naples.
* * * *
On February 2, 1557, Philip wrote instructions (pp. 285–287) to guide Ruy Gómez who was to proceed to England, inform the Queen of her husband's impending visit, and explain to her that the French, by breaking the truce, left him no choice but to raise land and sea forces capable of preventing them and the Pope from carrying out their designs. Ruy Gómez was to say nothing about Philip's plan to secure England's belligerency to either the Queen or anyone else save Paget, alone to be entrusted with the preparation of this delicate manéuvre. Having arranged for the export of a considerable quantity of corn from England, and for revictualling the fleet from English ports, Ruy Gómez was to sail for Spain, to expedite the sending of funds for the forthcoming campaign and attempt to persuade the Emperor to leave Yuste for a time and join his son at this critical juncture. News of Charles' decision to do this, Philip believed, would deeply impress the enemy and even make him reconsider his plans. The Emperor, as Ruy Gómez discovered, could not be persuaded to leave Yuste; but he did defer divesting himself of the Imperial dignity until he should sec how Philip fared (p. 297).
On this, his second and last visit to England, Philip landed on March 18 and reached London on March 24. We know that he had Renard with him, but no papers by the former ambassador relating to this mission have been found. On April 14, Philip wrote to Granvelle that all would go well, although he had found “a little more hardening” than he had expected (p. 288). Again, the King writes on May 4 that things are shaping well, but had been in such a state “that it has taken all this time, and will take more . . . to make sure that the English will declare war without great delay” (p. 291). At last, on June 7, the declaration was published (p. 293). Philip, however, preferred not to return to the continent and join his army until the money for which Ruy Gómez had been sent to Spain had been received, although he wrote to Arras that he would not fail to be there at the proper time, even if he had not a penny (p. 297). At last, about June 20, news came of the fleet's arrival in the Channel. The final preparations were now rushed through. Philip landed at Calais on July 6 (p. 302). Before leaving England, he had instructed Pero Menéndez, Captain-General of the Indies Fleet, to place himself under the English Admiral's orders. Menéndez remarked that he would do his best to keep the peace, but these sailormen were quarrelsome folk, all of them, Basques and Englishmen alike; he feared the English ratings might handle the others roughly (p. 303).
Although the season for campaigning was now far advanced, a full month passed before Philip joined his army. From Calais, he went first to Brussels. At the end of July, he travelled to Valenciennes, and on August 5 to Cambrai. On July 19, Lord Pembroke arrived at Calais, where part of the English expeditionary force had already landed, the rest to follow within a day or two. But there arose a controversy as to how much transport was needed by the English army, and how it was to be supplied, which dragged on for a good fortnight. Difficulties were caused, also, by the fact that an open-market discount developed on English coin, as against the official rate (p. 306). Don Juan de Ayala, appointed by Philip to act as liaison-officer with the English, handled awkward problems with tact (p. 307). But the transport was slow in materialising, and Philip would not move forward to join Savoy in command of the main army besieging St. Quentin, until he had the English force with him (p. 309). The result was that by the time the King and Pembroke reached the scene of action, the decisive engagement had already taken place, on August 10 (St. Lawrence's day). The Constable of France (Montmorency), who had come up with a relief-force to .try to raise the siege, and many of the leading nobles, French and their allies, were taken prisoner, together with 5,000 German and 1,000 French infantry. Savoy occupied St. Quentin Castle (PP. 313–315). The fall of the town could now be but a question of days. On August 27, the assailants cut their way in. We have it on the word of Juan de Piñedo, an eyewitness, that “both sides fought most choicely, and the English best of all” (p. 317).
Savoy's victory might well have allowed Philip to take Paris for any further organised resistance the French could put up, had there been money to pay the troops. But money there was none. Even the crews on board the Spanish fleet in the Channel, with which Philip intended to sail for Spain (p. 333), had received not a penny for twelve months past. Many of the men had died; and Don Luis de Carvajal, who was in command, expected the survivors to mutiny (p. 319). The St. Quentin campaign, as it turned out, had not even been necessary for the purpose for which it had been undertaken: i.e., to save Naples, although, to be just, the knowledge that Philip was arming probably did limit the forces the French ventured to send to Italy. Be that as it may, Guise's Italian expedition had come to grief in the Spring of 1557; the coalition formed against Philip was being deserted by the princes and cities (pp. 300, 303–304). The Pope alone fought fiercely on, causing Imperialist Cardinals to be proceeded against by the Inquisition, summoning Pole, in vain, to present himself in Rome. He even had a Bull ready for publication depriving Philip of his states (p. 317). St. Quentin, if it did nothing else, caused Paul IV to change his tone. By January, 1558 he was speaking kindly of Philip (p. 347). And on February 4 Sigüenza reports: “I believe the Pope and all those who understand affairs are disillusioned with the French” (p. 352). The successful raid on Calais (January 7, 1558) by which Guise retrieved his reputation with his King meant little to the Italians. But it cast a heavy gloom over Philip's prospects in the North.
* * * *
Thè closing months of 1557 had been uneventful, both sides being exhausted.
Philip disbanded most of his army (p. 332), returned to Brussels and was preparing his journey to Spain. But on New Year's Eve a note of alarm was sounded by Lord Wentworth, Deputy of Calais (p. 3 20). This volume contains a series of papers, here published for the first time, illustrating the circumstances in which the last English possessions on the continent were lost: letters from Philip, the Duke of Savoy, Lord Wentworth, Lord Grey (in command at Guines), Lord Dudley (in command at Ham) and others. Many of these letters are in bundles which Napoleon I caused to be removed from Simancas to Paris, where they remained until 1940, only then to be restored to Spain. They thus escaped historians who had previously searched the Spanish archives for material bearing on England. As might be expected, the Calais affair sounds less and less flattering to the English as it is related in more distant parts of Philip's domains, where Lord Wentworth's religious opinions tend to be accepted as proof that he deliberately betrayed Calais to the French (p. 352): an accusation that was never levelled against him, personally, by Philip's generals who were in the field near by at the time, although plenty of ugly rumours did go the rounds. The Duke of Savoy, for instance, heard that there had been treasonable practices with the Privy Council in England (p. 344).
What these papers show is that Philip, on January 2, 1558, wrote to Wentworth that the French were about to attack Calais with all the forces at their disposal, and urged him to ask for whatever he might need. On the same day, January 2, Wentworth writes to Philip that the enemy has 20,000 men near the town; he fears he may not receive reinforcements from England in time. However, he does not ask Philip to send help, but only to hold 300 to 400 harquebusiers “with some gentlemen of honour and reputation to control them” ready to be sent to him as soon as he asks the Governor of Philip's frontier, in writing, to move them forward. On the following day, January 3, Wentworth writes again to Philip, now calling urgently for relief, both by land and sea.
But by this time, Calais was completely invested; the French had their artillery in position and had taken the castles commanding the sea and land approaches. It was too late. Wentworth's letter of January 3 is the last one we have, sent by him and received by Philip before the town fell, early on the morning of January 7 (p. 322).
The case against the Deputy rests on his not having asked Philip, until January 3, to do more than hold 300 to 400 harquebusiers in readiness, to be sent on the receipt of written instructions. (fn. 4) It certainly looks as if he had preferred to run a heavy risk of losing Calais to the French, rather than accept Philip's reinforcements.
The official Hispano-Burgundian version of these occurrences may be found in a report prepared for the King by the Bishop of Arras and dated January 13, 1558 (p. 330), and also in a letter, dated January 15, from Philip to his sister, the Regent of Spain (p. 332). In these papers, it is stated that when (date not specified) the Deputy of Calais was first warned, by Philip's orders, of an impending French attack, he replied that Philip's commanders had better look after their own frontiers; he knew for certain that the French were not making for Calais. Wentworth appears to have refused to believe anything else until New Year's Eve, when the French had already come up between Calais and Guines. However, no actual correspondence on this subject dating from before New Year's Eve has been discovered.
According to Arras, Wentworth sent word, after Calais had been invested, that he could hold out for twenty days. Four German regiments, as well as Spanish and Walloon detachments, were being moved up to relieve him, besides which 8,000 to 9,000 English troops were daily expected to land at Gravelines. As the French numbered not more than 17,000, the position did not look too bad. But the Deputy, who appeared to have great confidence in a secret weapon (some artificial fire, with which an engineer boasted he could destroy the assailants) neglected the defence. When the French did attack, nothing of the fire was seen; and this had given rise to a suspicion that the commander of Ruisbank Castle, a key position, and the said engineer were in understanding with the enemy. Once Ruisbank had fallen, no further resistance was offered. M. d'Andelot spent the night of January 6–7 parleying with Wentworth, and at seven in the morning, January 7, the French entered the town. In a report, dated January 19, prepared for the King of Bohemia (p. 337) a passage occurs: “although there is no certain proof, everything points to there having been some understanding inside the place”. In a letter written to the English Privy Council on January 21, Philip says that the measures he had taken for raising the siege of Calais should have been successful, if those in command of it had done the minimum necessary for the success of his plan (p. 340).
No sooner had the French taken Calais than they moved against Guines, which fell to M. d'Estrées, after some fighting, on January 21. Next day, the Duke of Savoy reports that Lord Dudley has arrived at St. Omer, saying that a mutiny broke out at Ham when the fall of Guines became known there, and obliged him to abandon that fortress. An epilogue to these events may be found in a hitherto unpublished letter from Feria to Philip, dated February 15 (P. 358). In London, says Feria, Guines and Ham were being celebrated as successes. The Queen asserted that Lord Grey, at Guines, behaved as well as the Admiral of France did at St. Quentin. When Feria tried to explain the difference between the two occurrences, Cardinal Pole remarked that Bugia had also been surrendered. Yes, Feria rejoined, and when the gentleman who had been unable to defend it returned to Castile, they cut off his head. That was the way to deal with such cases.
Far from firing the Privy Council with a determination to recover Calais, that place's fall appears to have put an end to any idea of holding out at Guines, the last English stronghold in France. In a letter dated January 19 (p. 336), the Duke of Savoy tells Philip that he sent two ships to Dover to bring over some of the English troops reported to be assembling under Pembroke's orders, but that his officers found at Dover not a single soldier “and hardly a memory of one”. Pembroke himself had left for London. Savoy's man caught up with him on the way, but obtained no explanation except that Pembroke was too ill to think of anything but regaining his health. The next day, Savoy reported that Lord Sussex (whom Savoy still refers to as Fitzwalter) had spoken to him of a message just received from the Queen, to the effect that not only troops would be sent, but ships would be supplied to transport them (p. 339).
The same Sussex, when he returned to Brussels, offered to turn over Guines and Ham (which had fallen, or were falling, to the French when the offer was being made) to Philip (p. 342), who replied evasively, but at the same time wrote to the Queen and Council urging them to send the promised forces. However, when news arrived from Feria, who landed at Gravesend on January 23, that Lord Rutland was having trouble in making his contingent up to 5,000 men, poor troops at that, Philip changed his mind. On January 26, he wrote to Savoy (p. 345) that he had decided to let the whole matter drop, and to concentrate on the main object in view. He feared lest, if Rutland did come, the Privy Council would take the excuse for not making the much greater effort that would be needed in the Spring, to prepare for which Feria had been sent to London (p. 347).
Feria's reports from London gave little hope of success, from the start. His first meeting with the Privy Council left with him the impression that its members were in so defeatist a mood that if the French were to land one hundred men in England, there would be no resistance; indeed the English might turn against their allies (P. 350). As it was, they complained that Philip had made England enter the war. Pole showed good will; but the others always had their way with him. Anyway, he was a dead man. Feria was told over and over again that no Parliament had ever granted a King of England as much as the £200,000 just voted for Mary; and it was being rumoured that he had come to take the money away to Philip (p. 355). As for bettering a sad state of affairs, Feria's one suggestion was that the King should pay the arrears of the pensions he had distributed, or rather promised, to leading Englishmen. Although the sums owing as at the end of 1557 totalled under £9,000 (p. 374), Philip never managed to clear off these debts. We have a memorandum written by Feria in 1559, showing what remained owing to each of the pensioners as at the end of 1558 (PP. 454–456), when the arrears still totalled over £6,000. Although he was for paying the pensioners what they had been promised, Feria thought poorly of them, on the whole. He had had hopes of Clinton who became Lord Admiral in 1558, in place of Lord Howard of Effingham, but later rated him as a double-dealer (pp. 385–386), and his final appraisement, in the shape of a marginal note in the 1559 memorandum, runs: he (Clinton) is grateful to your Majesty; and he always follows the fortune of the day”. Paget, Feria looked upon as untrustworthy. Lord Winchester, the Treasurer, seems to be the only one among the leading members of the Council in whom the envoy's confidence remained unshaken, throughout. “He is a good servant of your Majesty, and always has been.” The Queen herself impressed him by her good will and spirit, at first. He found, however, that Pole and the Council always made her do as they pleased.
The Council reached decisions only to reverse them shortly afterwards, to Feria's despair (p. 366). Early in May, there was confident talk about raising a sizeable landforce, as well as a fleet, for an attempt to recover Calais (p. 379). Before the month was over, it became obvious that it would be useless to press for troops. The best to be expected was that the parliamentary grant would be spent on the fleet. Paget one day awakened Feria's hopes by asserting that 800,000 crowns might be raised in England.
Soon afterwards, he said he was not sure of it. Arrangements had been made for Gresham to borrow £100,000 at Antwerp. No sooner had he begun his negotiations there than he wrote to London that he could not find more than £10,000 (p. 376); and his subsequent exertions, far from meeting any success, caused Arras to fear that they would drive up the price of credit and make it still more difficult for Philip to borrow (p. 415).
Feria's critical view of the English did not prevent him from seeing mistakes committed at Brussels. He insisted, for example, that the English were amply justified in their resentment of Savoy's sales of safe-conducts allowing Flemish merchants to trade with France and revictual Calais; he added, it is true, that this was the one question on which he had ever known the English to be in the right. Soon afterwards, however, he admits (p. 376) that they were right, also, in objecting to Philip's remaining at peace with the Scots, as sovereign of the Low Countries, when he was at war with them as King of England; and Philip finally yielded to remonstrances forwarded by Feria on this subject. Before breaking, the King insisted on obtaining an assurance from the Privy Council that, once he had declared war, England would not settle with the Scots, leaving the Low Countries at war with them, as had happened on previous occasions (p. 392). But even if the Privy Council refused to commit themselves on this point, Philip told Feria, he was determined to break with Scotland.
Another question on which England's attitude was a matter of great concern to Philip arose in connexion with the Hanseatic Towns, a list of which at the time may be found on p. 393. As the French were always trying to induce the German Princes to join them in arms against the Hispano-Burgundians, it was highly desirable that the Low Countries and the Hanse should remain friends. But there were disturbing rumours (p. 348) about a league against England being negotiated between the Hanse and the King of Denmark. The Hanse and England certainly had been on uneasy terms for some time past. The trading privileges which the Easterlings had enjoyed of old had been withdrawn, (fn. 5) to the great indignation of the Towns (p. 382). Philip wrote repeatedly to the Privy Council emphasising the importance, for England, of remaining on good terms with them (pp. 384, 389). The Privy Council were prepared to negotiate, but not to reinstate the Easterlings in their former privileges as to customs dues (p. 385), nothing less than which appeared acceptable to the Hanse. Philip hoped that the Towns would appeal to him to act as an intermediary between them and England (p. 391). In spite of his good offices, however, the Hanse envoys were kept in suspense for a long time, Feria suspecting Paget, who had the matter in hand, of hinting to them that Philip was responsible for the delay (p. 400).
Late in August, 1558, the Hanse envoys wrote to Mary complaining that they had spent four months in England, waiting in vain to negotiate. Unless they could be given a hearing now, they would have to go home and report their failure (p. 405). The Bishop of Arras, consulted by Philip, wrote to the King on September 16 (p. 406) in reassuring terms: the King had been quite right to send Gottfried de Pannkouck to the Towns, under cover of business of his own. Pannkouck knew them well, and had himself been a member of their Council. He and others would be able to find out whether anything dangerous were stirring in that direction. Arras thought not. Many of the Towns cared nothing for the English cloth-trade, which was the consideration that moved other members of the League. If plans were afoot there against England, Philip would have time to discover them and take appropriate action before anything serious happened.
By this time the Hanse delegation was at Arras, hoping that Philip would prevail upon the English to send plenipotentiaries to discuss their grievances somewhere in the Low Countries (p. 407). On September 21, Feria informed Viglius that the English envoy, Dr. Wotton, had left England on September 16, and that negotiations were to be held at Philip's court. But the last paper on this subject calendared here mentions that the Hanse envoys had not yet obtained adequate powers from their principals (p. 410).
The loss of Calais had serious consequences for English trade, now deprived of its staple on the continent, particularly for the raw wool that formed the bulk of English exports at the time (p. 365). On the advice of his Council in the Low Countries (p. 380), Philip instructed Feria to inform London that the question of authorising an English wool-staple (where goods could be stocked in bond, pending sale) would have to be carefully considered before a decision could be reached, but that in the meantime one thousand sacks of wool might be landed at Antwerp, Bruges or Dunkirk, subject to the payment of the usual duty (pp. 381, 382). Middleburg then made a bid for the trade, but Philip requested the Privy Council to give preference to Bruges (pp. 387, 400).
* * * * *
Feria was kept busy with these and other even less important affairs, while the months went by and prospects of securing effective English aid against France, on the chance of which he had been sent to London, remained as remote as ever. Both Philip and Henry II stood in crying need of peace. But Philip could not, without incurring a heavy loss of reputation, set his hand to a treaty that failed to restore Calais to England. Ironically, however, he had not the means to retake Calais by himself: he was too exhausted financially to attempt it unless England also would make a considerable effort, which the Privy Council were plainly disinclined to do, beyond keeping a fleet at sea during the summer at a monthly cost of £14,000 plus £836 for tonnage (pp. 376–377). The French, realising his predicament, made no overture until the campaigning season was nearly finished, leaving Philip face to face with the choice between starting negotiations without having recovered Calais and trying to keep his forces together for yet another winter.
Philip's peace-commissioners were anxiously waiting for the Constable of France and Marshall de St. Andre, prisoners since St. Quentin, to intimate willingness on Henry II's part to give up Calais, “without which there could be no negotiation”, but were obliged to report from Lille, on September 12, that they still waited in vain (p. 406). At last, on October 15, Philip wrote from his camp near Auxy-le-Château that, as his horses were dying off in vast numbers for lack of forage, he was disposed to entertain the idea “put forward by the French”, of a suspension of arms, which the commissioners were therefore to try to negotiate (p. 416). On the same day, Alva, Orange and Arras (Ruy Gómez being too ill to attend) met the French Constable, Marshal St. André and the Cardinal of Lorraine at Cercamp Abbey, near Philip's camp at the frontier towards Cambrai, without any previous understanding having been reached about Calais, and it being agreed that the English envoys were to be present only when their own question came up for discussion. Both sides were in favour of immediately disbanding the armies, thus enabling the two sovereigns to save something like half-a-million crowns per mensem. An eloquent commentary on Philip's reasons for wishing to conclude a peace is supplied by a note written by Ruy Gómez that same day from the camp at Auxy to Arras at Cercamp: Gresham is at camp with a request from the Privy Council, which the King wishes to have granted unless there is some reason against it. “Gresham also wishes to pursue his journey, given the great discomfort that prevails here, which is such that we will have to leave soon ourselves, unless you act well and quickly. God help you, and us too!” (p. 415). Two days later, on October 17, a suspension of arms until the end of that month was signed, later to be prolonged for the duration of the conference, and it was agreed to defer discussion of the Calais question until the English delegation could be present. Afterwards, on the same day, Lord Arundel arrived, but Dr. Thirlby, Bishop of Ely, was detained, unwell, at Bethune. At last, on October 24, Dr. Wotton and the Bishop of Orleans having joined the others, the conference came to grips, thereafter to sit every day until October 31 (pp. 417–435), when it was agreed to suspend for All Saints, thus allowing the French delegates to report in person to their King. Negotiations were to be resumed on November 6.
Long discussions on Calais between the English and French delegations ranged back to the Treaty of Bretigny (1360) and subsequent agreements. The French argued that, at Bretigny, they had agreed to give up Calais in order to obtain the release of King John II (taken prisoner at Poitiers, 1356), and that as John II had died in captivity, the treaty was null and void. The English represented that Calais had not been ceded in order to free John II, but in exchange for a number of places which Edward III had occupied and afterwards duly returned to the French. The release of John II, on the other hand, had been negotiated for a ransom of three million, which was never paid. When this statement was challenged, the English delegates asserted, quoting Froissart, and producing documentary evidence in support of their statements, that John II had been set free, had spent two years in France, and had returned to England of his own free will to make his excuses because, although the ransom agreed upon for him had not been paid, his son who was a hostage for the payment had escaped from England. Moreover, the French had acknowledged England's right to Calais in various treaties over the last two hundred years. They also owed England a further sum of two million crowns, most of which represented actual loans, and this debt had been recognised in the treaty of 1550 between the two kingdoms.
The arguments the French produced in rebuttal of the English case finally boiled down to the assertions that the treaty of Bretigny had been signed under duress, and that England had forfeited any claims it might otherwise have had by making war on France in June, 1557: a fragile position in view of the French action in organising and supporting Thomas Stafford's raid on Scarborough in April, 1557, which reason had been given, among others, when England declared war on France, a few weeks later.
The English arguments made a profound impression on Philip's delegates, who soon perceived that the French meant to have their way about Calais, whatever might be the rights of the case. On all points at issue directly between France and Spain, agreement was in sight; but with Calais unsettled, no conclusion could be reached. A way out, it was once more suggested, might be found in a match between Philip's son, Don Carlos, and Henry II's daughter Elizabeth, who would receive Calais as her only dowry, it being left open to Philip to hand Calais back to England. On this basis, Philip himself was prepared to settle (p. 421). But his delegates pointed out that he would thus, by implication, be admitting that the French had a right to Calais, and that the English claim to it was unfounded. They unanimously advised that peace could not honourably be concluded on this basis, unless the English themselves desired it. They recommended that the King instruct them to withdraw, leaving the negotiations interrupted, to show the French “that you will not allow yourself to be led down the road they wish to make you take. It grieves us to have to come to this, especially as your Majesty's finances are in the state we know of. But . . . it would be very shameful, given the English ambassador's instructions and your obligations, if your Majesty were to abandon them” (pp. 433–434).
When the meeting was suspended, just before All Saints', Arras wrote to Viglius that if he and his colleagues yielded, they would be disgraced in the eyes of the whole world, and condemned by everyone later, “especially by his Majesty himself, even if he ordered us to proceed now that he is pressed by necessity. It would be better to break with the French, and to urge the English to prepare for another campaign next year, for then they might suggest means which we, of our own accord, could not recommend to them without incurring dishonour”. On All Saints' Day Arras wrote to Savoy giving yet another reason why it would be a mistake to yield over Calais: in that case the French would try to drive a hard bargain on Piedmont, Montferrat and Corsica. Arras's apprehensions as to what Philip might do rather than abandon hope of immediate peace come out strikingly in a letter he wrote to Feria (then with the King) on November 5: “My view is still that we ought to make no suggestion involving the abandonment of Calais, but stand firm . . . I think we should make it plain to the English that we do not intend to negotiate without them . . . It must not be admitted that the Queen entered the war to please the King. The English would resent this suggestion, because when the marriage was being negotiated we assured them that they would not be involved in the war because of it, and a stipulation to this effect exists in the marriage treaty” (p. 437).
However sorely Philip may have been tempted, given his cruel money difficulties and his great desire to go home to Spain, he accepted his ministers' advice. When the Cercamp meeting was resumed, on November 7, there was no sign of weakening on the part of his delegation. By that time, however, it was generally believed that Mary was doomed. When news of her death reached Cercamp, the delegations agreed to suspend for several weeks, until the English had received instructions from the new sovereign. On resumption, at Câteau-Cambrésis (February 5, 1559), the parley lasted eight weeks, to end on April 3 with the conclusion of the Treaty named after that place, between the Crowns of England, France and Spain.