Spain: January 1556

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

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'Spain: January 1556', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954), pp. 255-257. British History Online [accessed 15 June 2024].

. "Spain: January 1556", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954) 255-257. British History Online, accessed June 15, 2024,

. "Spain: January 1556", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954). 255-257. British History Online. Web. 15 June 2024,

January 1556

256. Count Lalaing and Simon Renard to Philip (Abstract)
Cambrai, 1 January Lalaing had received a letter from the Admiral of France informing him that Bassefontaine, back from the French Court, would be at Vaucelles on I January, with instructions. He replied that Renard also had returned. All four met then (I January) at Vaucelles. After the usual protestations, Renard put forward the proposal that the Queen of England and Cardinal Pole should once more be requested to act as intermediaries, and that peace negotiations should be resumed where they had been left off at Marcq. He added that, in execution of the written agreement, four Commissioners had been sent out to take the prisoners' oaths and determine their ransoms; but distances were great and roads bad, and they had not yet reported.
The French reply, Bassefontaine acting as spokesman, was to complain that the other side was playing for time and clearly did not mean business where the prisoners were concerned. As for peace, the King of France desired it as much as anyone could. But he flatly rejected the proposal that the Queen of England and Cardinal Pole should be brought into the negotiations. The Admiral and he had ample powers, dated 26 December, 1555, but it appeared that King Philip's Commissioners had none. As they had been instructed not to waste a single minute, they would have to conclude that nothing further could be done on this occasion.
The writers, perplexed by this very downright reply, dwelt again on the distances that had to be travelled in order to reach all the prisoners, asserting that no time was being lost. As for peace negotiations, they recalled that the French had formerly (at Marcq) spoken with great appreciation of the Queen of England's and Cardinal Pole's good offices, which they now rejected. All the writers could do would be to report to King Philip that the procedure suggested by him was unwelcome to the French, and to ask urgently for fresh instructions, which they hoped to receive in six or seven days.
Bassefontaine having again insisted that the writing (fn. 1) brought back by Renard from Brussels did not constitute fresh powers, Lalaing pointed out that if the negotiators were to part without more ado, it would be clear to everyone that France did not desire peace. He recalled what Ambassador de Noailles had done in England (fn. 2) and that the Pope had renewed Cardinal Pole's commission.
The Admiral then offered to ask the King of France to prolong their powers so that they might wait while new instructions were obtained from Brussels, and it was agreed that if King Philip's Commissioners had received nothing by the following Tuesday, they would inform the French Commissioners.
The writers, in conclusion, remark that the other side's attitude makes it very difficult to temporise; they beg for prompt instructions.
They hear that the French are requiring each parish to give up a chalice, and spreading the rumour that they have concluded a league with the Pope and the Duke of Ferrara. They are intriguing in Germany and undertaking other activities against King Philip.
Draft. French.
Besançon, A.R.IV.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.
257. Count Lalaing and Simon Renard to Philip (Abstract)
Cambrai, 8 January Lalaing has heard from the Admiral that he will be at Vaucelles the following day, to hold a meeting, as he assumes instructions will now have arrived from Brussels. The writers, considering that the opportunity is a favourable one and that it does not matter who negotiates, beg the King to have no regard for their persons, but to send whom he will, with adequate instructions.
Draft. French.
Besançon, A.R.IV.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.
258. Count Lalaing and Simon Renard to Philip
Cambrai, 11 January Sire: You will have seen from our yesterday's letters how we negotiated with the French on the two points of our instructions, i.e. prisoners of war and a peace or truce, leading them on as dexterously as we could. It was seven in the evening when we returned, and we sent off our letters with all possible despatch. It occurs to us now to add that, if your Majesty accepts the truce they propose, you might at once make up your mind on the form it is to take, to your advantage and that of your dominions.
Before the meeting, we heard from M. de Vaucelles that the French are talking about great things they have on hand in England and Italy, saying that this is the last time they will negotiate with us, and that there has been trouble between Spaniards and Englishmen in England. A friend of M. de Fama told him that M. de Guise was preparing to go to Tuscany in the Spring. The Rheingrave said he was going to hold a muster of his regiment, and M. de Brissac and other lords had arrived at the French Court.
Draft. French.
Besançon, A.R.IV.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.
259. Count Lalaing and Simon Renard to Philip
Cambrai, 15 January Following your Majesty's instructions of the 13th inst., we have written to the Admiral of France proposing that we meet at Vaucelles next Saturday, when we will endeavour to obtain agreement to continuing the negotiations left off at Marcq, with the Queen of England and Cardinal Pole as mediators. However, as the French have twice and very flatly refused thus to proceed, we fear that this opportunity, which your Majesty wishes to improve, may be lost. We have therefore put the meeting off as long as we could, i.e., until Saturday, hoping that in the meantime you will send us fresh powers and instructions. We will not use these if we succeed in persuading the French to agree to that which they have so far rejected. But if they go on refusing, we will do our best to give effect to your Majesty's intentions.
Your Majesty will be pleased to consider that without powers and instructions we cannot negotiate on such matters, although it may be possible to obtain an idea of what the other side wants. We saw, when we first met, that the French were reluctant to discuss a peace or truce, and we fear that they will not budge now unless we have powers, as we have already explained in our letters to your Majesty. We therefore feel that we must beg you to send powers and instructions by next Saturday, having no regard for our own persons, but sending anyone whom you may think better qualified than we.
As for the prisoners, we have not yet received all the commissioners' reports, and as we understand that your Majesty does not wish to reach a decision in this matter until you see what happens in the main affair, we cannot well deal with it, except where M. de Montmorency's ransom is concerned.
Draft. French.
Besançon, A.R.IV
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.


  • 1. See the “Declaration” dated 27 December (p. 255).
  • 2. See above, pp. 227–229.