Spain: May 1555, 11-20

Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558. Originally published by Her Majesty's Stationery Office, London, 1954.

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'Spain: May 1555, 11-20', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954), pp. 171-175. British History Online [accessed 17 June 2024].

. "Spain: May 1555, 11-20", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954) 171-175. British History Online, accessed June 17, 2024,

. "Spain: May 1555, 11-20", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954). 171-175. British History Online. Web. 17 June 2024,

May 1555, 11–20

187. Francisco de Vargas to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain (Extract)
Venice. 15 May Doge Venier (fn. 1) sent me word yesterday that he had had news from his ambassador resident at the Court of the King of the Romans that tidings had been received there of the birth of a son to the Queen of England. The Doge added that he wished to impart such glad and important news without delay, and that he rejoiced with me, as did all the gentlemen here. I made an appropriate answer, and told him that I would inform his Majesty of his special message, which gave me and all his Majesty's servants the greatest pleasure, as indeed it does, as we know what a miraculous sign it is of Providence's special care.
Copy of a letter enclosed in one addressed to the Emperor. Spanish.
Simancas, L.1322.
188. Don Juan Manrique de Lara to the Emperor
Rome, 15 May Other letters of mine have informed your Majesty of the death of Pope Marcellus. His obsequies were finished yesterday, and today the Cardinals are going into Conclave. Being indisposed, I was unable to speak to all the Cardinals, but I caused it to be done by a third person. All the Cardinals who are well disposed towards your Majesty came to see me, and I told them your wishes. They gladly agree on the four names mentioned by the King (Philip) and approved by your Majesty. I hope that one of them will be elected, and will render good service to God and your Majesty. Some of them prefer one name, some another. I explained the mechanism of handling the votes to the Chamberlain and also to Trent. Mantua is willing to do his part and is determined to serve your Majesty, saying that you must not be astonished that in the last Conclave he voted for the Cardinal of Ferrara, which he only did to discharge an obligation. I hope that all three will prove satisfactory.
P.S. Holograph. If I dared to promise that the Cardinals will behave in the Conclave as they appeared disposed to do outside, prospects would be good, for our friends number more than 22, counting Sigüenza who will be here tomorrow. But as they are clergymen and cardinals, no one can make sure of anything. I wish I had the right man to take in hand this matter of the four. It might be a good thing for the King of England to try to reach an understanding with the King of France by means of Pole, and try to get concordant instructions sent to both groups to elect the candidate who seems to be most impartial. As the King, being King of England, has not broken with the King of France, he might put this idea forward. It would be better than to wait until the Cardinals, out of pure exhaustion, agree on some devil who will be no good to anybody. I wanted to express this idea briefly lest some blunder occur in case none of the four (named by King Philip) can be elected. I will write how things are going by the first courier.
Signed. Spanish..
Simancas, E.882.
189. The Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain, to Philip
Valladolid, 17 May As a Portuguese courier is starting for Flanders overland, I am writing to the Emperor a letter which your Highness will see by the copy herewith enclosed. A servant of the Infanta Doña Maria who is on his way to Portugal and who left Flanders on the 3rd inst., brought a letter from Secretary Eraso saying that God had been pleased to deliver my sister, the Queen of England, of a boy, and that both her Highness and the child were well. I am very happy about this for the sakes of the Emperor and your Highness. May God give you long lives so that you may rejoice over this child and others who may be granted to you. I was also very glad to hear that the Siena affair had been finished and that peace negotiations were in process, which I trust may turn out in accordance with your wishes and the good of your subjects. I have been troubled with a little fever these last few days and have been bled three times, and also cupped. These news have done me much good and I am now without fever. I am not writing this letter in my own hand, but I intend to write you another shortly by Juan de Ortega, who is leaving soon. My nephew, the Infante, is well.
Signed. Spanish.
Simancas, E.109.
190. The Duke of Savoy to the Bishop of Arras
Vercelli, 17 May As a gentleman and a servant of his Majesty, I am in duty bound to inform you what the Duke of Ferrara's ambassador said to me. I ran into him at Volergni, where he had been waiting for me for many days, almost incognito. He told me that the Duke, his master, had ordered him to come and wait for me secretly, in order not to make anyone suspicious, and to tell me that he knew I was dissatisfied with the Emperor, and that he (the Duke of Ferrara) had always been my friend and my father's, wherefore he desired that my affairs should prosper as my great services to the Emperor merited. But as he saw how badly I had been rewarded he advised me to have a concern for myself. Better late than never. He offered me everything he possessed and asked me to dispose of his person, just as he would have done for the Duke my father if alive. I was to be sure that the Italians only need a leader to rid them of the servitude in which they are living, and I would be just the right man to play this part, if only I were willing to do so. I was to leave things to him, and I would soon see that my own affairs would change for the better. He was very sorry not to have been in Ferrara when I passed by there, for he would have certainly come to meet me and told me things which he can confide to no one else. He begged me to consider whether we might not meet somewhere in Venetian territory, his object being only my own interest. If I had to leave Italy now, he asked me to let him know, so that he might come and meet me on the road, to tell me things that would give me great pleasure and be much to my advantage: some of them concerning peace. Next, the ambassador said that the Duke would very much like me to marry his daughter, and that any money I might ask for verbally would be given me. This was what he had come to tell me. He had already been to the same place on two occasions to wait for me. I replied that I was very sorry he had come to see me in secret. I was not the sort of man who could not speak to anyone I liked, nor did the Emperor trust me so little as to suspect me if I did so. The Duke, his master, was to know that I honoured the Emperor above everything in the world. Being such a friend of mine was no reason for sending someone to talk to me in this manner. As for what had been said to me, I was on my way to Vercelli and would think it over, and afterwards send a written reply. I had a master whom I greatly desired to serve, and I would do nothing without his knowledge. I was very sorry that he (the ambassador) had come on this errand, for he must see that I could be of no use to him whatever in the manner he thought. I wish to inform you about this at once so that you may report to the Emperor and let me know what he wishes me to reply; and I will follow your instructions in every detail. It seems to me preferable that I should not talk to the Duke at all. If the Emperor is of this opinion, please send me word so that I may answer him accordingly. 1 would like to avoid his retaining the jewels belonging to me which he has in his hands. However, I will follow literally whatever his Majesty tells me to do.
I do not know what to tell you about the position here. Things are going in such a way that unless there is speedy remedy, everything will be lost. I repeat that a remedy is needed. Even if the Duke (of Alva) arrived here tomorrow I do not see how he can set things right without great difficulty. He will have much more trouble here than he thinks. There would be a great deal to be said about all this, and I am keeping it for another letter which will go with more details. I have nothing more to say except that I arrived here in good health and that I beg you to remember me in the present peace negotiations.
P.S. This messenger has not been paid for the return journey, for lack of money. If his Majesty wishes to send me instructions about the above matters he will send me a courier.
Be so kind as to have the enclosed letter sent on to my secretary in England. It is about this same matter.
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.1208.
191. The Queen Dowager of Hungary to M. de Glajon (fn. 2)
Antwerp, 18 May My Lord the Emperor, at the intercession of the Queen of England, has agreed to send his commissioners to a meeting to be held shortly to discuss means for putting an end to the present war, which has lasted so many years and caused so much havoc on both sides. As success in this undertaking will entirely depend on the will of certain persons, and it is meet to implore God to have pity upon us and stop this long and cruel war, I request you on his Majesty's behalf to cause solemn processions to be held in all the towns and places of the County of Hainaut, for the purpose of imploring Providence to bring about peace and afterwards to maintain it.
Signed. French.
Lille, L.M.76.
192. The Peace Commissioners to the Emperor
Gravelines, 20 May Sire: We arrived here the day before yesterday, as your Majesty will have learnt by our letters to the Queen (Dowager of Hungary). To-day, at mass-time, Lord Paget, one of the Queen of England's commissioners, came to call on us. After dinner, we conferred with him about the procedure to be observed on the first day of the meeting. He said that as soon as the Constable arrived at Ardres the English would send someone to meet him for the same purpose, and that person might perhaps be himself (Paget). But first he had come to consult us, in order not to make any proposal which would be in acceptable to us.
After having thanked him and his colleagues, we agreed with him that as the Duke of Medinaceli and President Viglius had not yet arrived, being expected here to-morrow or at latest the day after, the first meeting should be set for Thursday next, the feast of the Ascension, a suitable day to begin so good a work, by means of which may God grant repose to Christendom! We would leave our quarters after having heard mass and dined, so as to reach the meeting place (i.e. the village of Marcq, between Ardres and Gravelines) by 3 o'clock in the afternoon. Shortly before, the Legate and the English delegation would arrive. Neither side was to bring more than 100 horse and 100 foot, so that equality might be observed. We on our side and the French (fn. 3) on theirs having arrived at the same time, the English delegation would come first to us and immediately afterwards go to the French. Then, we would wait upon the Legate in his quarters, and the French would subsequently do the same.
When these preliminary ceremonies are over, the Legate and the English delegation will await us and the French delegation in the conference-hall, where we will take our places at a table prepared for the purpose. The Legate and his English colleagues will sit at the head of the table, as they are mediators, with your Majesty's delegation on his right, and the Frenchmen opposite, on his left.
Then, the Legate will deliver an address of exhortation to make peace, after which we will declare that your Majesty is disposed to do so provided you are offered reasonable terms; and the French deputies would testify that their King is animated by the same desire. After that, without any further mysteries, each delegation will withdraw to its own quarters, and the English delegation will simultaneously send persons to speak with us and the French, in order to ascertain what demands are being put forward by each side, in order to give time for reflection. Meanwhile, the two other delegations will remain in their quarters. Paget considers that we must proceed thus, as this has not yet been done, for it would not be well for the opposing parties to proclaim their grievances in each other's faces because of the resentment which might result. The English would then come to discuss things quietly with each delegation and see what can be done to bring the two sides together.
As for Paget, it does not seem that he thinks an agreement can be reached this time, because things are still in a very crude state. On leaving us, he said to me (Bishop of Arras) aside that as far as he could make out from what the Frenchmen said, they would not come to an agreement unless they got Hesdin. I interrupted him at that, remarking that Hesdin was not only part of your Majesty's ancient patrimony but was also a fortress on which a great deal of money had been spent. As for what he said about Hesdin being a point that had been brought up since the last treaty, we remarked that he would find that your Majesty had never renounced your claim to Hesdin, but only that in virtue of the last treaty had consented to its remaining in the King of France's hands until some settlement could be devised, either by negotiation or otherwise, to the satisfaction of both sides.
Paget also spoke of the efforts the English were making to avoid a concentration of great numbers of troops on the frontier by the French, but said that the French had so far claimed that these troops were necessary for their own protection. However, the English would return to the charge as soon as the Constable had arrived at Ardres, and would try to get the French to content themselves with your Majesty's safe-conduct, and not have recourse to methods the result of which might be that instead of negotiating peace, we would have feats of arms taking place, which would certainly render our task more difficult.
Next, speaking confidentially and protesting that in this matter he was acting not as a mediator but merely as your Majesty's devoted servant, Paget suggested that perhaps it would be a good idea, in order to get the French to withdraw their forces, to conclude a truce for the duration of the peace conference and a few days after, on condition that the French forces will withdraw. We remembered what Secretary Eraso said to the Queen Dowager on your Majesty's behalf, and what the Queen Dowager answered about the desirability of making sure of this part of the frontier in case the enemy's forces were to move up during the negotiations, and replied that we had no instructions to discuss a truce, but that speaking confidentially we thought it possible that your Majesty might be prevailed upon to agree to one for such a short time. However, in order that Paget might proceed with the best chances of success, we would explain how he had better set about it:
First of all, he must persuade the French to withdraw their troops and be content with a safe-conduct, for the above reasons. If he were unable to get them to accept this, he should, speaking of his own accord, suggest that operations be suspended between this place and Hesdin and Amiens, as far as the coast, or if that were not enough as far as Cambrai and the coast, on condition that during the negotiations and eight days afterwards no greater forces were to be left on the frontier than those stationed there this last winter. We added that as we had no instructions on this point, your Majesty having considered that the safe-conducts were amply sufficient, we would at once send a courier to your Majesty in order to ascertain your pleasure.
We put forward the Cambrai line purposely in order not to interfere with any operations our troops campaigning in the direction of Marienbourg might undertake, and to avoid the danger that under colour of withdrawing from the frontier they might claim that they would have to interrupt any work they had begun in that neighbourhood, at least during the negotiations. As Paget will probably have an answer from the French within two days, at most, we humbly beg your Majesty to send us a reply as soon as possible.
In order that Paget should speak in the right strain to his French colleagues about this matter, we emphasised how important it was that in acceptable proposals should not be put up to us, for they could only do harm. He was to know that your Majesty's intention was not to allow old points to be raised which had been settled by former treaties, but to restrict these negotiations to the examination of what had been occupied since the beginning of the present war and the losses your Majesty and your possessions had suffered in the course of it, as they had several times been invaded. We wished to emphasise this, because our information was that the French did not intend to give up anything they had seized during this war, unless by so doing they could obtain possession of what they themselves had lost in earlier wars. Paget assured us that the English commissioners are also determined not to allow questions decided by earlier treaties to be brought up again. He added that the Chancellor, in disagreement with him, does not think this negotiation ought to be a difficult one, and that what he hopes is that the French will reinstate the Duke of Savoy, as he himself told the French Ambassador, adding that negotiation would be impossible unless justice were observed. He had said this before he had agreed to take a share in the negotiations, which the French continued to beg him to do.
Signed by the Bishop of Arras, Ch. de Lalaing, Ponce de Lalaing and Eraso. French.
Vienna, F.31.


  • 1. Farncesco Venier, Doge of Venice in 1554–1556.
  • 2. This letter is affressed to M. de Glajon, Commis à la Superintendance du pays et Comtéde Hainaut.
  • 3.