Spain: December 1555

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

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'Spain: December 1555', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954) pp. 252-255. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]

December 1555

251. Simon Renard to Philip (Abstract)
Cambrai, 7 December M. de Boisseron, a Gascon gentleman, has been sent to Cambrai to the date and place where the Admiral of France (fn. 1) and M. de Lalaing are to meet to discuss peace and the ransom of prisoners. Bassesontaine is to be with the Admiral.
After some discussion, Renard agreed that the meeting should be held at the Abbey of Vaucelles.
The King of France has left Beauvais for Anet, whence he goes to Blois to spend Christmas with his children.
Cardinals of Lorraine and Tournon arrived in Rome (fn. 2) ten or twelve days ago. M. and Mme. de Vendôme (fn. 3) have been very ill. M. d'Enghien (fn. 4) is engaged to Count St. Pol's daughter. Most of the French light horse has been disbanded. Great rejoicings where the Admiral of France passed on his way to the negotiations, the people believing it meant peace. Boisseron asked whether the Emperor had left Brussels and the King (Philip) had started for England.
Draft. French.
Besançon, A.R.IV.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.
252. Count Lalaing and Simon Renard to Philip (Abstract)
18 December The writers have held two conferences with the Admiral of France, chiefly about ransoming prisoners of war. They followed their instructions and declined to include M. de Montmorency (fn. 5) and Marshal de la Marche in the discussion, although the Admiral wished to do so. They insisted on the surrender of Bouillon, and endeavoured to lead up to general peace negotiations, while safeguarding their Majesties' prestige.
But the writers are at a loss what line to take about ransoms, and they realise that the French will insist on discussing them. The Admiral says he considers that the ransom should amount to one year's income, from both property and salary, of each prisoner, and that he would be satisfied with Count Lalaing's word or that of the prisoners as security for payment. Without further instructions from his Majesty, the writers do not know how to answer if the French persist. The French are manæuvering to be left to estimate the relevant amounts where the French prisoners (in King Philip's hands) are concerned. They will not agree to surrender any of the places they are occupying in exchange for prisoners.
The writers beg for instructions where eventual peace negotiations are concerned. Do those issued for the negotiations at Marcq (fn. 6) still hold good? Or does his Majesty wish to have the prisoners-of-war question dealt with first?
Draft. French.
Besançcon, A.R.IV.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.
253. The Cardinal of Sigüenza (fn. 7) to the Emperor (Extract)
Rome, 23 December On Friday, a Consistory was held. His Holiness provided a certain Don Bernardino (fn. 8) to the Church of Trani and then made him a Cardinal, and to that of Mirepoix an auditor called Reumano, (fn. 9) a Frenchman who is here in Rome and was also made a Cardinal. The reason given by the Pope for this action was that neither the King (Philip) nor the King of France had presented their candidates within the legal time-limit (six months). Also, he (the Pope) said that from now on he would not allow churches to remain vacant, as they had in the past, and that when the time was up he would provide, without regard for anyone. He dwelt long on this point. The French when they voted for him (i.e. in May 1555) said they implored his Holiness to have a thought for questions interesting their King and to abstain from innovations where the Concordat was concerned. The Pope replied that he would settle matters with the Kings of France and England. The French did not agree about Mirepoix. I told the Pope that the King (Philip) had not been remiss about Trani. The time was not yet up; and I believe this is the truth. But even if the time had elapsed, it was not by much. Also, the King had to consider the Trani appointment very carefully, given the importance of that see; and the Pope could not provide without the King's consent. Such was the legal position. His Holiness, highly displeased, retorted that he could and would do it. I answered that he could do anything he pleased, but could not do it legally. In order not to weary your Majesty, I will not report at length what happened, as I am writing it all to the King. But I must tell your Majesty that this is not good business. Any reason, however futile, suffices where there is no good will. (fn. 10) I hardly think his Holiness will send to take possession (of Trani), as he knows it will not be given over until your Majesty orders it. I think the reason why he provided Don Bernardino is that he prefers him to other cardinals. He made seven cardinals, who are listed below.
Signed. Spanish.
Simancas, E.82.
A list of the recently created Cardinals:
The Archbishop of Toledo (Juan Siliceo). (fn. 11)
Don Bernardino (Scotti, provided to Trani).
The Bishop of Ariano (Diomede Carafa, Bishop of Ariano since 1511).
Reumano, Auditor of the Rota.
The Bishop of Motula, a Sicilian (Scipione Rebiba, Governor of Rome).
Antonio Capizuchi, a Roman Auditor of the Rota.
Anthony Gropper, a German. (fn. 12)
254. Simon Renard to Count Lalaing
Brussels, 24 December I arrived here last Saturday at ten in the morning, and at once reported to the Duke (of Savoy). After dinner I reported to the King, who spoke first to the Emperor on the subject and afterwards to the Queen (Dowager of Hungary). On Monday morning, I was heard by the Council of State and presented my letters to the Emperor; but as he was busy and somewhat indisposed, he did not consider it necessary that I should repeat to him what I had already recited. I cannot tell you by letter whether they are pleased or not with our negotiations. But they do not think that it would be advantageous to calculate ransoms at one year's income; it has been remarked that we did not take up the question of wards or of prisoners in the hands of private individuals; and although I said we had not omitted to mention those matters, I was told that we ought to report on them in writing.
As for peace negotiations, what I have found is just what I had predicted to you. The idea is to resume the Marcq negotiations with the mediators (fn. 13) and not to empower us to take any further initiative, it being held unreasonable to keep the Queen of England out of it. I insisted on having letters patent renewing the former instructions, but was told that it would suffice to have something in writing to show the French. The intention is that we should play for time, using the prisoners as a pretext. The arguments put forward will not impress you, and I went so far as to say that I expected the result would be a breakdown. The Queen presided at the Council to-day. I will give you details on my return, which cannot be before Sunday or Monday.
I have spoken to the King about the soldiers at Cambrai, and he says the despatch has gone off.
The Pope has sent Count Montorio to talk peace, following what the French Cardinals have said to him.
I have reported to the Duke (of Savoy) what the Rhinegrave told Blondeau.
Holograph. French.
Besançon, A.R.IV.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.
255. “A declaration on peace, by the Emperor and King Philip” (Abstract)
Brussels. 27 December Having heard Simon Renard's report about the recent exchange of views on the release of prisoners, their Majesties once more affirm that they greatly desire to make peace with France.
They see no better way of proceeding than, with the assistance of the Queen of England and Legate Pole, to resume negotiations where they were left off at Marcq, when both sides declared that they did not wish to break, but merely to discontinue the talks in view of the difficulties then encountered. Both sides bore witness to their masters' desire to resume negotiations and carry them to a conclusion, as soon as possible.
It is therefore proposed that both sides should appeal to the Queen and the Legate to take the matter in hand again and call another conference, naming place and date. Vaucelles would seem to be suitable, but the choice should be left to the Queen and the Legate. If the King of France agrees to send his commissioners, their Majesties will do the same, granting safe conducts and all other requisite facilities.
Copy. French.
Besançon, A.R.IV.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.


  • 1. Gaspard de Coligny.
  • 2. On 16 December, these two Cardinals concluded a secret treaty with Paul IV, by which the King of France took the house of Carafa under his protection and agreed to send an army to Italy to join forces with the Pope's troops and free Naples from the Spanish domination (Weiss).
  • 3. Antoine de Bourbon, Duke of Vendôme, and his wife, Jeanne d'Albret.
  • 4. François de Bourbon.
  • 5. A younger son of the Constable of France.
  • 6. i.e. in May-June, 1555; see above, pp. 173–222.
  • 7. Pedro Pacheco, Bishop of Sigiienza.
  • 8. Giovanni Bernardino Scotti, who had been the first novice of the Theatine Order, of which Pope Paul IV was co-founder (Pastor).
  • 9. Giovanni Suario Reumano, according to Gams (Series Episcoporum) did not obtain possession of the see of Mirepoix. Pastor states that he was a Gascon.
  • 10. The passage in italics is in cipher.
  • 11. Juan Martinez Siliceo (latinised from his Spanish patronymic, Guijarro) had been Philip's tutor. He was Archbishop of Toledo from 1546 to his death in 1557. An open enemy of the Jesuits; see a letter from Feria to Ribadcneira, of March 22, 1558.
  • 12. Pastor speaks of Gropper as the man who saved the church of Cologne from going over to the Reformation.
  • 13. See above, pp. 173 ss.