Spain: September 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: September 1556', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954), pp. 275-280. British History Online [accessed 19 June 2024].

. "Spain: September 1556", in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954) 275-280. British History Online, accessed June 19, 2024,

. "Spain: September 1556", Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954). 275-280. British History Online. Web. 19 June 2024,

September 1556

278. Philip to Francisco de Vargas
Ghent, 7 September The man bringing the portraits and other paintings finished by Titian has arrived. The paintings are in excellent condition, as you have set your hand to the matter. I am very grateful to you for this. I am answering Titian, in a letter a copy of which (missing) is attached to this. As you will see at the end of the letter, I refer in it to you. You may tell Titian on my behalf that I am highly satisfied with these paintings and those he has done for the Emperor. I will give instructions that he be paid for them as soon as you arrive here, for his Majesty has told me to pay for his also; and thus payment will be made for all of them at the same time. You will urge him to make haste with the other works he is now to undertake, and leave instructions with your secretary to pursue the matter, for you will thus render me service.
279. Mary to the Emperor
St. James', 10 September My Lord and good Father: I wish to beg your Majesty's pardon for my boldness in writing to you at this time, and humbly to implore you, as you have always been pleased to act as a true father to me and my kingdom, to consider the miserable plight into which this country has now fallen. I have written to the King, my husband, in detail on the subject, and I assure your Majesty that I am not moved by my personal desire for his presence, although I confess I do unspeakably long to have him here, but by my care for this kingdom. Unless he comes to remedy matters, not I only but also wiser persons than I fear that great danger will ensue for lack of a firm hand, and indeed we see it before our eyes. Thus I have spoken the veritable truth to your Majesty, which I had concealed as long as I could, and I now place the matter in the hands of your Majesty and the King, my husband. My desire is that his Highness should be in the place where he may best serve God, and his conscience and mine be at rest. Therefore I leave the choice of this place to your Majesty and his Highness, confessing that you two know better than I how to choose it. I understand from the King's letters that your Majesty will not come to England, which I greatly regret; for after the King's presence, your Majesty's is that which would give me the greatest consolation, especially now that you are leaving for Spain. (fn. 1)
Holograph. French.
Vienna, E.1.
280. The Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain, to Philip (Extract)
Valladolid, 13 September A search has been made in the archives of Simancas for the judgment rendered in Rome in favour of Queen Catherine of England, my aunt, may she now be in glory! This document has not been found in the archives or among the papers of the Commendador Mayor. No one knows who can have it. It may have been given to M. de Granvelle, as something concerning those countries. Your Highness will have it looked for among your records. A printed copy was in the possession of Juan Ortiz, a brother of Doctor Ortiz, and is being sent with this letter. . . . .
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.112.
281. Simon Renard to Philip
Paris, 14 September Greatly to my regret, I am obliged to intermingle something personal with the negotiations which your Majesty has been pleased to entrust to me in this kingdom. I did not expect that, during my absence, certain of your Majesty's ministers would thwart me in the discharge of my duties, once more giving way to passions which have long led them to try to harm me. As they had failed to achieve their ends by the weight of their own authority, or by abusing their official positions, while I was busy with the commission to negotiate a truce, they caused a certain Richardot, (fn. 2) an ecclesiastic, and his servant Nicolas, both living in the Bishop of Arras's house, to approach my servants in order to pry into my life and doings, not without soliciting them in a manner approaching bribery. They were not pleased with the result; they found matter more damaging to themselves than to me; my appointment to my then mission was made in spite of their plans to cause one of their own (faction) to be chosen. However, under pretext of finishing a criminal action that had been brought against a certain Quiclet, (fn. 3) they obtained a commission in favour of two persons, the most partial to their cause they could discover, to conduct the trial before the court of the Parliament of Dôle, and gave these persons a special commission against me, intending to enmesh me in the proceedings, cast doubt upon my loyalty to your Majesty and by villainous means give me a bad name, in spite of the well-known devotion with which I have always served you. These commissioners, in the absence of the court, then questioned Quiclet and other witnesses against me, clearly showing that the commission they had received was much more to damage me than to expedite the (Quiclet) trial. It is also said that they made no written record of questions and answers, as correct procedure demands. If your Majesty is pleased to appoint commissioners to examine the councillors of the said court, and other persons, this will be found to be the case. And as they discovered nothing to my detriment, but rather the opposite of what they were looking for, they seized my brother, (fn. 4) the bearer of this letter, and, acting in a manner contrary to justice, placed him under arrest at Dôle without first formulating any charge against him. They forced him to name the spies who were used over here (par deça) during my first embassy. And in order to work upon him and curry favour with the authors of these calumnies, they made him go to Dôle, although the other parties had been heard at Besançon where my brother resides. Yes, under threat of a fine of 500 livres, they ordered him to Dôle, in spite of the fact that he had obeyed their summons by appearing before them at Besançon. Moreover, I am informed that there are strong reasons for suspecting that they attempted to bribe Quiclet and others to bear false witness against me. One of those commissioners even came to this country to question a private individual against me, with the result that the French Court and the King's Council are full of the affair, and nothing is heard but that a criminal case has been brought against me, which causes me the perplexity your Majesty may imagine. And to cap it all, a Frenchman called Mascon, formerly page to the Abbott of Luxeuil, (fn. 5) has come hither to accuse our spies, who have consequently had to disappear.
For the above reasons, Sire, I humbly beg your Majesty to recall me from this mission and to enable me to show up an infinity of other actions which deserve your Majesty's attention, suspending consideration of the report prepared by these commissioners until I have been heard, and appointing commissioners at my expense to bear out my assertions and other matters. Thus I hope to expose to your Majesty the greatest calumny that has ever been uttered, as well as other things, which require attention in order to protect your vassals, subjects and servants from oppression. I would beg you once more to weigh the disservice that is being done to your Majesty, and to consider that the ambassadors of so great a prince ought not to be discredited in their master's eyes at such a time, during their absence, and thus hindered in carrying out their duties, also bearing in mind that written law, usage and the privileges enjoyed by those charged with public legations forbid such practices. I trust your Majesty will grant my suit; all the more so that the six months for which you ordered me to serve in this capacity expire at the end of this month. (fn. 6)
Draft. French.
Besançon, A.R.5.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.
282. The Archbishop of Toledo (fn. 7) to Philip (Extract)
Toldedo, 18 September The first thing your Majesty instructs me to do is to ask his Holiness to moderate himself and to adopt a different course where your Majesty's interests are concerned: both as regards the cruzada and other things which you have pointed out to me. Your Majesty will remember a letter I sent to you by Domingo de Aguirre, offering to serve you by going personally to Rome in order to endeavour, as your Majesty's servant and creature, to prevent what is going on from continuing and to stop the enemy from setting your Majesty and his Holiness at odds. The interests of the Christian religion are indeed at stake, as you are its chief supporters, and your Majesty has often risked your own person, spending in the cause the greatest treasures a Prince has ever spent. The same may be said of the Emperor, who has struggled to convert the Lutherans, and went over to Africa to take Tunis and other places, sweeping Barbarossa from the sea at a time when he was the mightiest king and pirate in Africa. Then, there is the discovery of the Indies, which has resulted in an immense increase of Christendom and a new world of which we knew nothing from the Scriptures. Also, your Majesty has made such a good beginning in your new kingdom of England, leading it back to the bosom of the Church: a thing which seemed impossible because that island is so strong and is peopled by such fierce (brava gente) inhabitants who are not subject to his Majesty's rule. But your Majesty, risking your own person in presence of dangers which we know were very great, won the victory which God was pleased to grant you and obtained the conversion of so powerful a kingdom, an event which can only be attributed to you, after the will of God. His Holiness would do well to consider all these things and not only cease to behave as he is behaving, but treat your Majesty as a son, favouring you and encouraging you to persevere as you have begun.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.114
283. Francisco de Vargas to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain
Venice, 22 September I have reported to your Highness what has been happening here, and how far the Pope is going in his fury and vain imaginings. His Majesty could not do otherwise than have a care for his reputation and dominions. I am sure your Highness will have had more recent news from the Duke of Alva, who has taken the field with an excellent army and has penetrated so far into the Pope's territory that his cavalry is raiding up to ten miles from Rome, where there is such panic that the population would have run away had not the gates been closed. The Pope has fallen ill with rage, and was struggling with a fever on the 16th of this month. The two Carafa brothers, the Cardinal and Count Montorio, do not agree, and they and Piero Strozzi are not on as good terms as they were in the past. They would like to discuss peace. The best thing would be for the Pope to die, for he is the poison at the root of all this trouble and more which may occur. His Majesty's intention is only to wrest the knife from this madman's hand and make him return to a sense of his dignity, acting like the protector of the Apostolic See, in whose name, and that of the College of Cardinals, his Majesty has publicly proclaimed that he has seized all he is occupying. The Pope is now sending again to the potentates of Italy for help. I hope he will gain as little thereby as he has done in the past, and that the French will calm down. May God give us peace in the end, as their Majesties desire and deserve!
By a despatch of the 7th of this month, my Lord the King has instructed me to report to him where he is at present, and to set out at once. I am going to do so as fast as my age will permit me, and am leaving within six days. My secretary, Garcia Hernandez, will remain here, and I shall be replaced during my absence by Don Juan de Ayala, who is at present in Genoa. He and my secretary will take pains to inform your Highness of everything that happens here.
Courtenay died in this city four days ago of a fever, which carried him off in fourteen days. Everyone was sorry about this, but with his death his intrigues will cease and there will be less trouble in England, now that this inducement has been removed.
Holograph. Cipher. Spanish.
Simancas, E.1323.
284. Simon Renard to Philip
September (fn. 8) . . . . . . . I see sudden changes taking place. One day, there is talk of making peace and observing the truce, and the next suddenly of breaking it. This makes it very difficult to form an opinion on what is happening, for the French are doing all they can to take your Majesty by surprise, and their soft words are merely intended to deceive and put you to sleep. I therefore beg you to consider carefully what course had better be taken. I am sending with this letter one from my principal friend here, who touches on several important points, and by so doing renders good service. In order to make their preparations, the French have put off the King's journey to Lorraine for a time. The Cardinal of Lorraine's departure has also been deferred, and all efforts are being concentrated on preparing this army. To this end, Guise, Nevers, Aumale and others have returned hither.
I have trustworthy news that the league with the Duke of Ferrara has been concluded and all outstanding difficulties settled. Now that the King is rid of the charges he had in Piedmont, he has granted the Duke of Ferrara all he asked for, and has gone so far as to agree that Duke Ottavio is to be disturbed and in due time action undertaken against Piedmont, which the Duke of Ferrara has always wanted, Duke Ottavio being offered compensation in France. I am also told that the Duke of Guise will not refuse to act as lieutenant to the Duke of Ferrara, as he will be his father-in-law, and that he may be appointed to lead this army. It appears that the Pope is pledging Ravenna and Cervia where the salt comes from, for the money which the Duke of Ferrara is putting up, and that the Prince of Ferrara has decided to join the Duke in order to assist him.
The King of France sees that his nobility is very poor, having been ruined by long drawn-out wars, and the people so oppressed that they could only breathe again if there were a long period of peace, money being short in France and the Pope's quarrel neither justified nor popular with many, especially those who follow the new religion. In order to put fresh heart into his people and to obtain money from them, the King of France has decided to make an appeal to the knights of his order and the princes of France, making them understand that he cannot abandon the Pope and the Apostolic See, which his predecessors on the throne of France have always supported, and that he is bound to protect the Pope against your Majesty. He will declare that he tried to conclude a perpetual alliance with you, and to make it appear that the Duke of Alva is the aggressor, having invaded the territory of the Church, and will enlarge on this theme as his purpose may demand.
Sire, three months have passed since I sent Villay to Court, and he has not yet returned. Thus I have no one sufficiently trustworthy to send to Milan. I am sending the present bearer to your Majesty, realising that although I have made moves in the direction of the Marquess of Pescara, I must have your Majesty's permission. I most humbly beg you to consider that it would be highly desirable to stop these warlike preparations and to start negotiating peace, in order to avoid being taken by surprise. Now that God has been pleased to cause the Turk to raise the siege of Oran, your Majesty might consider whether your galleys might not perform some exploit. I foresee that if your Majesty frustrates the Pope's plans, France will be the sufferer.
Fragment in Renard's band. French.
Besançon, C.G.74.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.


  • 1. It is doubtful whether the Emperor ever received this letter. He had left Brussels for the coast on 14 August, and appears to have been on board ship when this letter was written. He sailed from Flushing, for Spain, on 17 September.
  • 2. François Richardot, at the time suffragan of the Bishop of Arras, and later bishop of that see.
  • 3. Etiennc Quiclet had been Renard's maitre d'hótel in London. He was beheaded for treason on 27 March, 1557.
  • 4. Jean Renard, a canon of Besançon.
  • 5. François Bonvalot.
  • 6. In spite of the feud between the Bishop of Arras and Renard which this letter illustrates, Renard remained ambassador in Paris until the truce of Vaucelles was broken (February, 1557, p. 287). He accompanied Philip to England (March-July 1557) and also on the St. Quentin campaign. After the fall of St. Quentin, he opposed the Duke of Savoy's plan for advancing on Paris. At this point his diplomatic career, which had started brilliandy, came to a sudden end, Renard being then only about 44, and having been an ambassador for eight years. He remained a member of Philip's Flemish Council of State, however, and as such had opportunities for intrigue which he improved to the full, especially after the King's departure for Spain (1559). He was the life and soul of the Ligue Anticardinaliste (Antoine Perrenot de Granvelle became a cardinal in 1561), which, headed by Orange, Egmont and Horn, succeeded in driving that prelate from office in March 1564. In the autumn of the same year Philip summoned Renard to Spain, whence the former ambassador was never to return. Over and over again, and especially after the arrest of Egmont and Horn (1567), the greatest efforts were made to discover proof of treason against him; but in vain. He died in Madrid, on 8 August, 1573. See a study of Renard's career by M. Tridon, in Mémoires de la Soclété Historique du Doubs (1881). According to Tridon, Renard's Ligue Anticardinaliste was the origin of the Ligue des Flècbes, which later became the Ligue de Religion, otherwise known as Ligue des Nobles, and finally, after the arrest of Egmont and Horn, the Ligue des Gueux.
  • 7. Juan Siliceo, Archbishop of Toledo, Cardinal (created 1556) who had been Philip's tutor.
  • 8. This fragment bears no date, but appears to have been written in September. It is certainly of the year 1556.