Spain: April 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: April 1557', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954) pp. 288-291. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]

April 1557

294. Philip to the Prince of Orange (fn. 1)
London, 12 April I have learnt of the meeting the King of the Romans has called upon the Electors and Princes to attend on 1 May at Eger, and how much he desires you to be present, as I believe you have already been informed. I have written to my cousin the Duke of Savoy that I wish you to go, in order that he may so inform you. Therefore, please go to him as soon as you receive this letter, and he will tell you how you are to proceed. (fn. 2)
Signed. French.
Brussels, A.24
295. Philip II to the Bishop of Arras (Extract)
London, 12 April . . . . . .I reached this place (fn. 3) in good health, and so continue. I hope affairs here will go well, although I have found there has been a little more hardening (un poco mas dureza) than I had expected. . . . .
Signed. Spanish.
Besançon, C.G.V.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.
296. Philip to his bishops, leading nobles and high officers of state (fn. 4)
London, 18 April You will have heard from what the Emperor and I myself wrote to you when the Emperor abdicated the Spanish kingdoms in my favour the great and sufficient reasons which moved me to leave Spain, to proceed to England and Flanders, and the happy results which have been achieved, with God's help, both as regards religion and the truce which we concluded with the King of France. This truce had been asked for by the King of France and we were willing to prolong it for the common good of Christendom and of our realms and subjects, wherefore we concluded it for five years, hoping that it would permit us to arrive at a durable peace. When all this had been done, at the beginning of this year, and I was preparing to leave for Spain, his Holiness the Pope seized various unjust pretexts to break with us and to invade the Kingdom of Naples, having concluded a league with the King of France and the Duke of Ferrara with this object in view, and calling in the Turkish fleet, as trustworthy news indicate that he means to do this summer. The King of France also solicited other Italian potentates to join the league, making many offers to our disadvantage. In order to meet this danger and to prevent our kingdoms from being invaded, we would have welcomed any means for preserving peace, and we offered the Pope, Cardinal Carafa and their relatives everything they wanted in order to avoid a breach, but as the Pope had made sure of the King of France, the Duke of Ferrara and the Turk, he rejected our offers and continued his plans. Thus, he broke the truce, and secretly prepared to seize Douai, a very important place on the frontiers of Flanders. The King then sent an army to Italy and occupied the town of Valenza in the state of Milan, while the Duke of Guise with the main body of the army pushed on to join forces with the Papal troops. Their plan is to invade our Kingdom of Naples, while I myself am in my (northern) realms.
Now, as I am determined to maintain all my realms, I have decided to raise a powerful army and have set about finding money and troops, so that I may take the offensive this summer, with the help of God, and seize as much as I can in France, in order to create a diversion and prevent the French King from using all his forces against the Kingdom of Naples, which is the objective of the members of the league. As this is the first campaign in which I am taking part, you will readily understand how important it is that it should go well. A very large sum of money will be required, and what we can contribute from our own resources and raise otherwise in Spain will not suffice, wherefore we are obliged to devise other means. We consequently request you, as you are animated by the greatest zeal for our service and the general good of the Spanish kingdom, to lend us as much money as you possibly can. We refer you to what our sister, the Princess Dowager of Portugal, will write to you on this subject, and we are instructing her to supply you with ample security for repayment at the darkest possible date.
Simancas, E.127.
297. The Bishop of Arras to Philip (Extracts)
Brussels, 20 April I received on Easter day the letter your Majesty was pleased to write to me on April 20. . . . . .
Your Majesty's affairs will benefit greatly if the English can be made to declare (war on France), as I trust they will be moved to do by the respect and love they bear you, and the Queen's desire to please you in every way. It would be highly desirable that the declaration should be made soon, for I fear the intelligences the French are keeping up there, and their ambassador's intrigues, may do much harm. All this would be less dangerous if the French (now in England) could be turned out of the country, once the English had declared war on them. . . . . .
Your Majesty was right to instruct the Count of Mélito, Ruy Gómez, to make haste with his mission, for I can assure you that the people here are exhausted, and however we may strive, I see little chance of making progress (llevar las cosas mds adelanto) otherwise than with the help of the money the said Count is to bring or send. Your Majesty knows this better than I, for you have heard a detailed account of our finances, or rather of our lack of finances. You know that there is little hope of obtaining money from these States before September or October, and that even if we can raise any, it will do us little or no good, because we owe so much already, and because it will be very difficult to obtain the votes. Your Majesty may judge of this by the trouble we had when the States last gave their assent. Those of Brabant have not acted yet, for all the pains we have taken, and we cannot be sure when they will do so, although part of what they are to vote has already been spent, and the same is true of most of what we have been able to borrow. Every day something crops up that forces us to spend money. For instance, we have now got to provide the Dukes of Brunswick with what they need to arm against Frisberg; and an infinity of other matters. . . . . .
Draft. Spanish.
Besatiçon, C.G.5
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.
298. Philip to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain
London, 28 April We have news from Rome dated 3 April that his Holiness had decided to deprive us of our kingdoms, realms and states, and that he was working on the bull he means to issue to this effect, together with other details contained in the enclosed copy (missing). As this is a matter of importance, we wish to find the person or persons who brought these letters, and are writing by the sea route to Don Diego de Carvajal, the Duke of Albuquerque, the Governor of Aragon and the Viceroy of Valencia and Catalonia, ordering them to send these persons hither as soon as possible. We are dispatching similar instructions by land, the messenger who is taking which will enter Spain by way of Bayonne. This man, as he would not be able safely to carry so many letters, is taking instructions to the Duke of Albuquerque to inform the rest what they are to do. As soon as you have received any of my letters concerning this matter and have conferred with the Council of State, you will take such steps as seem required in order to obtain a rapid result. I need say no more in this letter, as I have already written to you in full about the money, troops and other important matters, in which I request you to take action as soon as possible, as delay can only damage my prestige, now that I have declared that I intend to invade France.
Copy or decipherment. Spanish.
Simancas, E.810.
299. Don Bernardino de Mendoza to the Duke of Savoy (fn. 5)
London, 28 April His Majesty is answering your Highness on all the points you raise, both in a letter in French and in one written in his own hand. Little remains for me to do but to press for execution, which I am doing. As for the breach of the truce, the French have spared us the trouble, for they have sent a ship carrying a refugee from this kingdom, who had rebelled against the Queen, and have seized a castle on the Northern coast of England, which castle it appears is of small importance. (fn. 6) The necessary steps have been taken to deal with this matter, and it will result in war being declared, unless it is decided to wait somewhat longer. The person who was to go to France has returned, and has brought full information on the matters your Highness wishes to know about. . . . . . .
Holograph. Spanish.
Turin, Inghilterra, I.


  • 1. William of Nassau, Prince of Orange, afterwards known as the Silent.
  • 2. On 19 April, the Prince of Orange wrote to the Duke of Savoy that he had trustworthy information that the Electors and Princes were not preparing to be at Eger on the day appointed by the King of the Romans. He therefore did not think there was any urgency for him to depart; but if his Majesty and the Duke wished him to do so, he would set out as soon as his health permitted.
  • 3. According to Vandenesse's Itinerary, Philip landed in England on March 18, and arrived in London on March 24.
  • 4. This bundle contains sixty-four copies of this letter, all signed by Philip and counter-signed by Eraso, addressed to bishops, nobles and officers of state, each one by name. Twenty-two more, also signed and counter-signed, have blank spaces left for the addresses. See Philip to Medinaceli, 29 August, 1557.
  • 5. This bundle contains a series of letters from Don Bernardino to the Duke of Savoy, running from 23 March to 24 July, 1557, and dealing mainly with the recruitment of troops in Germany and the finding of money to pay them.
  • 6. Thomas Stafford's exploit at Scarborough is mentioned in the Acts of the Privy Council for April 27, May 8 and 16, and October 7, 1557.