Mary: February 1556

Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Mary 1553-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1861.

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'Mary: February 1556', Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Mary 1553-1558, (London, 1861), pp. 206-214. British History Online [accessed 12 June 2024].

. "Mary: February 1556", in Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Mary 1553-1558, (London, 1861) 206-214. British History Online, accessed June 12, 2024,

. "Mary: February 1556", Calendar of State Papers Foreign: Mary 1553-1558, (London, 1861). 206-214. British History Online. Web. 12 June 2024,

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February 1556

Feb. 3.
462. Sir John Masone to Sir William Petre. Will receive herewith the account of the renunciation made lately by the Emperor of the kingdoms of Spain and Sicily to his son. Their stay here is prolonged till Saturday. When that day comes, peradventure they may have a longer day to depart. The nobility and the rest of the estates are appointed to assemble at Brussels on the 12th inst. Believes they are like to pass all this month on this side, whatsoever they do the next. Is told they will away "muy presto," as is no doubt intended, if things of great moment stay them not. Will write no more this day or that day, nor this week or that week; but when the King shall have taken his leave of the Emperor, then he can boldly advertise that they will have him shortly. No private person has more cause to hasten his farewell than he, for he is living at the rate of sometimes 35l. and sometimes 36l. per week (if it be not so, God confound him!), without any help for the maintenance of that insupportable charge other than borrowing. When money is asked for, answer is made that he shall shortly go home. In the meantime, time runneth and charges withal; and he remains tied still to the stake. The communication of the truce has been twice or thrice on the point of breaking, but it still continues without any great hope of a good conclusion. If it break without conclusion, the Pope is the only cause of it, for he has much charged the French King with entering into the talk without his advice. God amend him, or else send him short life! [One page and a half.]
Feb. 4.
463. Sir Edward Carne to Queen Mary. His Holiness is very earnest in the reformation of such points as were mentioned in his former letter. A great number of soldiers are prepared, and strait watch kept at all the gates of the city and the Pope's palace; the reason for this he does not know, but as far as he can learn it is only for defence. Pietro Strozzi is here, and lies with Cardinal Caraffa in his palace. It is reported that the Cardinal of Lorraine being at Venice would have had the Venetians enter into a new league with the French King, but this they would not do. It is also reported for certain that Duke Octavio of Parma meets the said Cardinal at Ferrara. [Half a page.]
Feb. 5.
Abbaye de Vaucelles.
464. Copy of truce for five years between the Emperor Charles V. and Henry II. King of France. [French. Five pages and a half.]
Feb. 5.
465. Sir John Masone to the Council. Has of late received two letters from them, both to the same effect, in favour of two merchants, an Englishman and a foreigner, for the conveyance of grain out of Flanders into England. Has, according to their pleasure, sued the King therein, who answered that he would commit the matter to his Council of the Low Countries, desiring the requests to be put in writing. The President of the Council, to whom they had been delivered, returned them after four or five days with "Nihil" written in the margin, which is their manner of answer in cases of denial. This is all he can get, which, he supposes, is not because there is any lack of that kind in the country, but because they always suspect the merchants, in these cases, of seeking their private gain without the knowledge of the Queen or the Council, as previously upon like occasion he has more than once signified to them. If they think good that the suits be followed up or the like hereafter, the surest way to remove suspicion will be for her Majesty to write herein to the King or to send a letter of credit to him, or at least to move the matter to Regente Figueroa with a request that he will signify the necessity the realm is in of these provisions, and in her Majesty's behalf to pray the King's favour for the quantity required. Has been so often refused that he thinks they suspect the merchant and he connive in using the Council's name without any authority. Sundry merchants of these countries have made complaint that, though not living in the realm, and only occupying there by means of their factors, they are cessed for payment of the subsidy just as if they kept their household there; they have had remedy at other times of this, and the King has commanded him to pray their Lordships to consider the matter and to show the merchants all convenient favour in the present instance. The King of the Romans has assembled the States of Hungary, Bohemia, Austria, Silesia, and Moravia to consult with them what answer was to be made to the Turk's request for the cession of Transylvania to Stephen the son of the Vaivode, whom they call King John. The Estates have unanimously declared that the request shall be refused, at peril of their bodies and goods. They have, however, sent an Ambassador to the Turk to practise by all possible means a peace by offering a tribute or a pension or in any other way. The Ambassador has departed. Duke Octavio makes great preparation for the furniture of Parma, whereby it is certainly conjectured that, on the expiry of the truce, about the 11th or 12th of May next, he will give occasion of war in those parts, whereunto he lacks no setters on. Can write no certainty of the King's coming. It has hitherto depended, with many other things, upon the communication of the truce, of the conclusion of which for five years news are just arrived to the great gladness of all good men. If the news be true, hopes the King will attend to the dispatch of his captains and soldiers, and that done, it cannot be long before he will with his presence satisfy the great desire that so many good men have to see him within the realm. [Two pages and a half.]
Feb. 5.
Abbey of Vaucelles.
466. Articles of the truce concluded at the Abbey of Vaucelles, 5th February 1555, by MM. de Lalaing, Simon Renard, Charles Sytenach, Philibert de Bruxelles and Don Baptista Schizo, Regent of Milan, deputies for the Emperor and King Philip, on the one part, and MM. de Chastillon, Admiral of France, and Sebastien de I'Aubespine, deputies for the French King, on the other part. [Four pages. Translation.]
Feb. 6.
467. The Queen of Bohemia to Queen Mary. Recommending Ippolite Pallavicino, who is sent to King Philip on the affairs of the Marquis Sforza [Pallavicino]. [Spanish. One page.]
Feb. 7.
468. Maximilian, King of Bohemia, to same. Recommending Ippolito Pallavicino, who is sent to King Philip on the affairs of the Marquis Sforza [Pallavicino]. [Spanish. One page.]
Feb. 7.
469. Sir John Masone to the Council. This morning the King inquired of him what answer he had touching his letter written in behalf of the jewellers. Told him such answer as their Lordships had written; taking which in good part, the King required him to cause it to be put into French or Spanish and to be delivered to the parties, which shall be done this afternoon. The truce so commonly talked of yesterday, is not, it seems to him, so hot to-day. The matter is come to this point, that it is thought the Commissioners have concluded. If it like the Princes to ratify the truce (and it is to them that the admitting or refusing of the agreement is referred), as it is believed they will, then the matter is done. To-day or to-morrow thinks the King means to advertise her Majesty how the thing stands. The common opinion is it will very shortly take effect; whether men are led to think so by the likelihood of the matter or because they would have it so, the Council will see within a very few days.
P.S.—There is no great talk now of the King's departing from Brussels, and it is thought that the assembly of the Estates will be removed here. If that come to pass, they are like to see Shrovetide and perhaps somewhat more, before removing from Antwerp. [One page.]
Feb. 10.
470. Dr. Wotton to Sir William Petre. Narrates certain conversations and opinions of individuals during the arrangement of the truce. La Marck, a servant of the Ambassador Noailles, after commending very highly the virtues, wisdom, and learning of the Legate [Pole], said to Wotton that he yet wished him of a better stomach and boldness; adding that if he had been earnest at the great meeting at Marke, doubtless either a peace or a truce would have been made. It seems the French have his Grace somewhat suspected, and it was thought awhile here, that he would have accepted the office of Chancellor of England, which, if he had done, then had he lost all his credit here. The French still make great preparations for war, and some think the Duke of Guise will go into Piedmont with a strong force. The Duke of Florence has a good army. Baptista Castaldo is said to be dead. The Turk is reported to send a far greater navy to succour the French this summer than hitherto, and it is thought they will require it, because the Emperor has augmented his fleet by a good number of gallies. Is told that at Dieppe there are nine ships ready to sail to Peru, for the last year there was one thitherward which returned laden with great riches. From Corsica there are news that the French garrisons die for hunger, and that the Genoese have so fortified Calvi and La Bastia that they are now impregnable. Marquis Albert has gone to Germany to raise soldiers, and therefore it is supposed will go through Burgundy to Piedmont. Portinari visits him occasionally, and lately told him he had been for some time in Paris studying to find out what he has at length discovered, how to make a fortification such as no battery shall be able to prevail against it, though there were 150 cannons continually beating upon it. This device he has presented to the French King. Thinks that for all their brags the French would be very glad of a peace. They had heard from England that the Emperor would go to Germany to the Diet, which made them muse and troubled them very much, for before that they accounted him but a dead man. Some even suspected he would go to Italy himself; but now they fear that he will depart for Spain as soon as the time of the year suits, so that they reckon themselves well delivered of that fear. The Duke of Florence is reported to have taken the town either of Sartino or Rodicofano; but not the rock, which is said to be strong and holds out still. The Italian Ambassadors say that there is a new league made between the Pope, the French King, and the Duke of Ferrara; to this many thought the Duke would not have been induced, as in such matters he does nothing but by counsel of the Venetians. Since writing thus far the Legate's gentleman has arrived, bringing news that the truce has been concluded. On the 7th Don Guñer Lopez de Padilla arrived and awaits the return of the King, who is removed six or seven leagues hence. Though the Constable has written to the Nuncio and to the Venetian Ambassador of the conclusion of the truce, he has sent no notice of it to Wotton. It is thought the King will return here, near unto Paris, to receive the King's Ambassadors there; and because the Queen is great with child, that the Court will not remove far from Paris for this summer. Desires to know her Majesty's pleasure how he shall use himself for the proceeding with the King's Ambassadors, who will be here very soon. Until he hears he shall be in great perplexity, and peradventure commit such errors as shall be misliked. [Partly in cipher, deciphered. Four pages.]
Feb. 13.
471. Sir John Masone to Queen Mary. Mr. Kempe, the bearer, can certify her Majesty of the good estate of the King, and on what terms the estate of this Court stands at present. Will not need to trouble her with a long letter. The Commissioners, who have been together a good time to treat about some good end, or at least about surceasing of the wars, have gone as far as they can, and as far as their commissions allow, and have separated amicably for a while by mutual consent to see how the points offered and stayed upon on each side will be liked, and an abstinence of arms is meanwhile concluded for 40 days. God set His helping hand to some good conclusion! The French show themselves willing for a time to live in rest and to consent to a truce, so as the appointment may be much according as likes themselves to devise. The Lord send them better minds, that gave them courage in so miserable a time to continue the world in travail; whose parts were rather to be ministers of peace, and to labour to set unity between the Princes, by whose dissension the estate of Christendom is brought almost to be a prey of the common enemy! The common opinion is that in the end a truce will take effect; perceives no other certainty in this but as men list in discoursing of the matter to persuade themselves upon probable conjectures. The difficulties therein are rather conjectured than known. Will communicate them when they come to light. Great part of them concerns certain estates of Italy, whose consent is requisite in case of any good conclusion. Despatches will be sent out of hand to get answer from them either of liking or misliking such things as in the treaty may have touched them. Mr. Kempe will tell how great desire the King has to be with her Majesty. This night they expect the return of the Count de Lalaing and the other Commissioners. [Two pages.]
Feb. 14.
472. Sir John Masone to Queen Mary. Part of the Commissioners arrived to-day at the Court. After their access to the King, being desirous to understand some perfect knowledge of their proceedings and what was like to ensue thereof, resorted where he thought he might best learn it. Finds, after diligent search, that they have so declared their doings to the King that he seemed to take it in good part, although it was before bruited they had passed the limit of their commission. It is assuredly thought the King will accept the conclusion of the truce and that it will be published within four or five days. This he had out of a very good place, but does not write it as a thing certainly known, but as his author, who of reason ought to know much, has given him to understand. As the sequel comes to pass or not, will not fail to advertise her Majesty accordingly. Many things may chance which bang in suspense whereby Princes' minds may be altered; thinks therefore the more haste will be made in the knitting up and perfecting of the matter. [One page.]
Feb. 15.
473. Peter Vannes to the Council. Since his last letters of the 8th inst., hears nothing new in these parts. The French begin to make much assembly, and of late, showing themselves willing to fortify a town which they have taken, and unable to resist the Marquis of Pescara, retired, with M. de Brissac, to another place of more importance called Vignola between Alessandria and Casale, well garrisoned. The Marquis came a day too short to its aid. The particulars, the cruelty of the French, and divers other occurrences of Italy, they will see in the bills of advices inclosed (missing). For his own part, whatever provisions were to be made in the field, wishes that the King's states and chief towns in Piedmont and Milan were well furnished with victuals, for the French undoubtedly put their trust in the want of them and direct all their strength that way, notwithstanding any demonstration otherwise. There is great talk in Venice of a truce between the King and the French King at the instance of her Majesty; many men hardly believe it, unless that God doth assist her charitable pain and travail therein. Is fain to send the advices in Italian untranslated, for want of time. [One page and a half.]
Feb. 24.
474. Thomas Gresham to Queen Mary. By his letter of the 12th inst. signified the health and prosperity of the King, who is still here, and well and prosperous. Touching his coming home, as yet there is no communication of it, for all the states and nobles of this country are commanded to appear before him the 1st of March next for the establishing of all things in the realm; trusts that after this assembly the King, with all the expedition that lies in him, will make repair to England, for the comfort of her Majesty and of all her subjects. Had also certified that he had prolonged 40,000l. for six months and that the Council had written to him for the prolongation of 30,000l. more; wherein he has so travailed with his friends that he has taken up of Arte Van Dalle 15,000l. at 7 per cent. for six months, for which he is fain to enter into bonds apart for her Majesty. This comes to good purpose to give contentment to all her other creditors here. Has written most plainly to the Council that he shall not be able to prolong any more money here. It will be most convenient therefore to disburse presently the other 15,000l. for the full contentation of all her Majesty's creditors, which will highly advance her honour and credit throughout all the world. Has written to the Council his advice at large on this and on all other affairs. Beseeches her Majesty to be good to her mere merchants in their suits and specially in the matter of the steel-yard, which is one of the chiefest matters she has to look to for the wealth of her realm. For the merchants are those that have done her good service, and daily must do, as she has had sufficient proof of their obedience and duty therein. [One page.]
Feb. 24.
475. Thomas Gresham to the Council. By his letter of the 12th inst., signified to them that he had prolonged the sum of 40,000l. Has borrowed of Van Dalle, as mentioned in his letter to the Queen of the 24th inst. John Qwyckelborowe was broker in this transaction. Has promised Van Dalle to get from the King such another thing for the Queen and her Court as the Regent and Court have granted here; a copy of which he incloses. Years past the Emperor made an Act that no man should exceed 12 per cent., and for that the King should take no advantage of his laws the said Van Dalle will nowise proceed and bargain except Gresham have the like power. Begs they will be pleased to give order for it. Touching the other 15,000l. begs it may be disbursed to his servant to be taken up by exchange in time, so that the exchange may be preserved, for he doubts if he shall be able to prolong any more. If he had the 15,000l. at hand it is never the farther from the Queen's Majesty, if he had the means to prolong it, for he might send it home in gold and silver to profit. Sends by the bearer, Sprytewell, the King's and Queen's bonds to Michael Deodati and Alexander Bonvisi the 25th January last; and has avoided the loss of interest of 5,858l. for a month, having taken it up by exchange at usance, as will appear by the general account inclosed. The money which his factor John Elliot made over since his coming out of England does not serve for payment of the Bourse debt, which will come well to pass otherwise, as he has advertised them in his formal letters. Begs them to advance enough to pay his bill of exchange. By reason of the great scarcity of money here there is a great difference between "permission money" and "current money," which passes here at 1 per cent. loss; there must therefore be no more money made out of England except it can be delivered to be paid here in permission money, for the Queen is bound by her bonds to pay permission money. Begs them, in consideration of this, to give him commission to take up the 15,000l., which must be disbursed in England by exchange here. Can borrow about 300l. or 400l. a-day to preserve the exchange and come by permission money, which, if he were to run suddenly upon the Bourse for it, would fall perhaps below 20s. 6d., and the permission money to 3 per cent. difference, as he has experienced in the King's time. Again begs their influ ence with her Majesty in behalf of his servant Sprytewell for the reversion of the postage of Calais. [Two pages.]
475. I. Copy of licence from the Regent of Flanders to the merchants treating for the Emperor's service in those states, to receive as a free gift the excess of the interest of certain sums lent to him above the legal rate of 6 per cent. after a certain specified period. Sept. 28, 1555. [French. One page.]
475. II. Note of the money taken up in Antwerp by Gresham for the full payment of 10,453l. 6s. 8d., due by her Majesty's bonds to Michael Deodati and Alexander Bonvisi, on 25th January 1555–6. [Two pages.]
Feb. 26. 476. Queen Mary to Dr. Wotton. His letter of the 10th has been received. Four or five days ago the French Ambassador communicated to her Majesty the news of the truce agreed upon between the Emperor, King Philip, and the King of France. Desires him to request an audience of the King, and convey to him her Majesty's thanks, and hopes that this good beginning will tend to the general weal of Christendom. The Scots have spoiled, taken, and burnt a small castle or tower in Ireland, committed divers slaughters, and captured some prisoners. Sir Thomas Chaloner has been sent to Scotland to declare the same, which has likewise been mentioned to the French Ambassador to the Scottish Queen, and Wotton is desired to inform the King thereof to the intent that he may see the matter quietly reformed for things past and for things to come. [Five pages. Draft, corrected by Petre.]
Feb. 28.
477. Sir John Masone to Queen Mary. Francisco the courier arrived here on the 25th inst. Repaired immediately to the Court with her Majesty's letters, which the King received most cheerfully, much commending the diligence of the messenger, whom the next day in his way to the church he welcomed with remembrance of his thankful taking of his travail used in his late voyage into Spain. The King intends to dispatch him back again in two or three days: Upon the return of Mons. de Bougny out of France, M. de Lalaing is sent to the frontiers to proclaim the truce in the same form as it is proclaimed by the Admiral on the frontiers of France, the day of general proclamation not having been yet decided upon. To ascertain and settle it, M. de Bougny has been sent into France. If the Admiral be appointed to come into Flanders for the ratification of the truce, as it is reported he will be, then Lalaing has commission to go into France for a similar purpose. In case he should be let by sickness, (and he went out of Antwerp very ill at ease,) then Count Egmont is appointed to go. The King without doubt departs from here on Monday or Tuesday towards Brussels, where the Estates assemble, according to appointment, on the 3d proximo. Duke Eric of Brunswick, having been right honourably entertained during his stay here, is dismissed with a pension of 3,000 crowns, a chain of 1,500 crowns, and a present of three fair jennets. Marquis Albert is gone with safe-conduct to the Diet of Ratisbon, to justify his ill-doings, and to see how an agreement can be made between him and the Bishop of Wirtemberg, Bamberg, and the town of Nuremburg, wherein will be no small difficulty. The Landgrave has lately levied great numbers of horse and foot, upon a fear lest the Prince of Orange, on the dissolution of the King's army, might employ the same to enter his father's estate of Catzenelobogen, which belongs of right to the Count of Nassau, and which the Landgrave has long violently usurped. For the pacifying of this matter, sundry Princes of Germany, meeting twice by consent of both parties at Pacqueraugh [Bacharach], have adjudged the estate to the Landgrave and his heirs for ever, he paying 60,000 crowns for it to the Count of Nassau at very short terms. At first he seemed to like this bargain, but has since gone from it, to the great discontent of the Princes who took such pains in the matter, of whom the Duke of Cleves and the Palsgrave were two. The King is advertised out of Spain of the preparation of a goodly army, to the number of 30,000 footmen and a good number of horsemen, to be transported into Africa for the recovery of Bugia, which the realm has concluded to set forth without any charge to the Prince. The great encourager of the enterprise is reported to be the Archbishop of Toledo. Has reminded the King of the request of the Marquis of Terra-Nova, touching his advancement to the name and title of a Prince, in which matter her Majesty has twice written to him. The King has promised so to consider the matter as to content the Marquis. [Three pages.]
Feb. 29.
478. Sir John Masone to the Council. Has obtained a safe-conduct for the transport of 50 fardels of plate iron for harness, provided by the Schorers from Augsburg, about which they wrote. As soon as it shall have passed the seal, will have it delivered to the parties. Has written an account of the occurrents to the Queen, whereunto he doubts not but their Lordships shall be privy. Lives in the hope of having some good tidings from them touching the payment of his diets. [One page.]