Spain: February 1557

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

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'Spain: February 1557', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954) pp. 285-287. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]

February 1557

289. Philip's instructions to Ruy Gómez de Silva for his mission to England and Spain (Extracts)
2 February First, you will go to England and visit the Queen, my dear and well beloved wife, handing her the letter in my own hand which you are taking with you. You will tell her what I have instructed you to say orally about my going to that kingdom, and inform her when I intend to be there. You will explain how the French have broken the truce, without cause or reason, and what they now plan to do in Italy in agreement with his Holiness the Pope. You will mention that I have forced myself to dissemble and temporise, for the good of humanity, but that now I am obliged, for the reasons you know, to raise an army in order to prevent his Holiness and the French from waging war in the kingdom of Naples, as they mean to do. You will dwell on the Pope's doings, which I greatly regret, as I had hopes of peace. You will inform her of your journey to Spain to raise troops, money and supplies. I am determined to form an army and a powerful fleet in order to accomplish as much as possible. Although as you know, there seems to be a good prospect that the English will break with the French, and I am confident that they will do so, you will not take up this matter with the Queen or any one else, except Paget. You will explain the matter fully to him, in order that he, as if of his own accord, may prepare things so that when I arrive in England they may be sufficiently advanced. When you have carried out these instructions, acting as quickly as possible, you will go to the port where a ship is to be ready to carry you to Spain, and will proceed on your journey, with God's blessing.
In England, you will endeavour to find out whether there is a supply of corn in the coastal region towards Spain, and whether it may be bought at a reasonable price and shipped to Laredo for the fleet to be formed there. If you find that this can be done, you will speak about the matter to the Queen on my behalf and ask her to issue a licence so that 10,000 or 12,000 fanegas may be exported, making terms with some merchant who is willing to undertake the business and pay for the corn where it is to be purchased. This merchant is to receive payment out of what is to be brought by Santander, if this can be arranged, and otherwise by exchange at Antwerp through Dos Usos, by the intermediary of Juan López Gallo whom we will have instructed accordingly. As you will not be able to delay in England until this business is concluded, you will leave it in the hands of Regent Figueroa.
You will also find out in which ports it will be possible for our fleet to revictual, in biscuit, meat, fish, beer and other supplies, and whether the prices will be reasonable. And see to it that we receive full information in good time so that we may take the requisite steps. . . . .
When you have carried out these instructions and especially have concluded negotiations about the money, (fn. 1) in which you are to lose not a single hour, because it matters more than anything else, you will leave somebody to attend to these affairs during your absence and will proceed to the place where his Majesty the Emperor is. You will give him my letter and inform him fully of the position here, of what has happened with the Pope and King of France, and of the state of affairs in Italy. You will explain that I have decided to go to England and to raise an army, and you will most humbly beg his Majesty to make an effort to help me not only with his advice, which is the greatest prize I can have, but also by leaving his monastery for a time and proceeding to whatever place may suit his health and affairs, arranging matters in the least inconvenient way for himself. The success of my enterprise will depend on the decision he takes, for I am sure that if the world hears he has done as I ask, my enemies will take an entirely different view of the situation and will reconsider their plans. As I am writing to his Majesty my own opinion on this point you need say no more beyond reporting what you know of my intentions. You will only request his Majesty to send me his opinion about the war, and where I had better attack and open the campaign, in order to gain the greatest advantages. You will also report all these matters to Queen Maria (Dowager of Hungary). . . . . . .
When you have carried out these instructions, especially with regard to the money and the troops, (fn. 2) you will return to these parts as quickly as you can.
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, K.515.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
290. Simon Renard to the Duke of Savoy
6 February Your Highness will have learnt from my letters to the King, of 25 January and 1 February, that the King of France has notified my dismissal to me, and that I have been interned, as a counter-measure to what was done in the case of M. de Bassefontaine. This happened the day I left Poissy, which was last Thursday. My letters addressed to the King, which are going together with this one, will have told you that I have .arrived at Gournay on my way towards the frontier, and that I am begging his Majesty to take similar action where M. de Bassefontaine is concerned. As I have had no news from Flanders for a long time past and do not know whether M. de Bassefontaine is already on his way, I wish very humbly to beg your Highness to remember that I can only be set free when M. de Bassefontaine is liberated. This is reasonable, and is the procedure that has always been followed when a peace or truce was being broken, due regard being had to the privileges of ambassadors. I will not dwell longer on this, but will only remind your Highness that if M. de Bassefontaine were treated otherwise I would suffer the consequences. . . . . .
Draft in Renard's band. French.
Besançon, C.G.75
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.


  • 1. i.e. 1,500,000 ducats.
  • 2. Philip had sent to Spain for 8,000 men: 6,000 soldiers and 2,000 sailors. Spain was also to supply 30 ships, out of a fleet of 50 in all.