Spain: June 1557

Pages 293-300

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

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June 1557

306. “The proclamation made in London on 7 June declaring war on France”
Westminster, 7 June Although we, the Queen, when we first came to the throne, understood that the Duke of Northumberland's abominable treason had been abetted by Henry, the French King, and that since then his ministers had secretly favoured Wyatt's rebellion, acting contrary to the peace-treaties existing between the two countries and to all honour, such was our care for the peace of Christendom and the repose of our subjects, that we attributed these doings to the French King's ministers rather than to his own will, hoping thus patiently to induce him to adopt a truly friendly attitude towards us. More, we undertook heavy expenditure to send our ambassadors to Calais to assist in peace negotiations between him and the Emperor; but our labours met with no return from the King. Lately, when Badely and Seaton (fn. 1) started a new conspiracy, the King's ambassador was not only cognisant of it but received them in his house and supported them in their diabolical undertaking. Also, although the King had been fully informed by our ambassador of their doings, he received them at his Court and granted them pensions, disregarding the promise he had given an honourable person, acting on our behalf, and setting a very dangerous example to all princes, whose states cannot be secure if traitors are thus encouraged. He has also favoured pirates, enemies of Christendom, who have despoiled our subjects. We realise that nothing we can do will induce the King to change his methods. The other day he sent Stafford with ships and supplies to seize our castle of Scarborough, not content with having intrigued so long with a view to getting possession of Calais and other places belonging to us across the seas and having financed counterfeiters and encouraged them to put false coin into circulation in this country. For the above reasons, and because he has sent an army to invade Flanders which we are under obligation to defend, we have seen fit to proclaim to our subjects that they are to consider the King of France as a public enemy to ourselves and our nation, rather than suffer him to continue to deceive us under colour of friendship. We therefore command all Englishmen to regard Henry, the French King, and his vassals as public enemies of this kingdom and to harm them wherever possible, abstaining from trading or any other business with them. Although the French King has molested our merchants and subjects, without declaring war, we have seen fit to allow his subjects and merchants forty days to leave this kingdom with such property as the law permits them to export.
Simancas, E.810.
307. Philip to Francisco de Vargas (Extract)
London, 9 June The inhabitants of this kingdom are proving the devotion they feel for my service, and have now declared war on the King of France, as has been publicly proclaimed. This is an important event, and you will report it to the Seignory in order that they may be informed.
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.1323.
308. “An account of what the herald from England (fn. 2) did in France, and the King of France's reply at Rheims, by Baguenois, printer to the Cardinal of Lorraine, 1557”
9 (?) June On 7 June, 1557, when the King was in the town of Rheims in Champagne, lodged at the Abbey of St. Rémy, there arrived at the Abbey Mr. William, Norroy King of Arms, from England, wearing a cloak of black cloth, without declaring who or what he was until he reached the door of the King's Council. There, he asked to speak to the Duke of Montmorency, Peer and Constable of France, who had him brought to the Council chamber, when the meeting was over. The Duke then asked the said Norroy Herald why he had come. Norroy replied that he had been sent by the Queen of England, his mistress, to declare war on the King of France; and he exhibited a short letter written on parchment, sealed with the great seal and dated 1 June, which letter contained a power to the herald to make this declaration. The Constable then told him to withdraw, and that he would be given further instructions when the King had been consulted. As the King was leaving the same evening to go hunting at a place two leagues away from Rheims, to return late the following day, the said herald's audience was put off until 9 June. At about noon on that day, the Constable sent for the herald and received him in the presence of several knights of the Order and members of the King's Council. He asked the herald whether he knew what he was about and what the duties of a herald were; also where he had entered France, and with what French governors he had spoken and declared his identity, his functions and the reason for his coming. The Constable further asked how he had been so bold as to come without revealing his identity, as he was on such important business; for by so doing he had exposed himself to the danger of being hanged, as he deserved to be. The herald replied that he had landed at Boulogne and continued on his journey, with his escutcheon attached to his breast, without having been asked anything by anybody, and that he did not think he had offended in any way, as peace had not yet been broken, and he had been instructed by his mistress to proceed as he had done and to carry some letters to the English Ambassador residing in France, which he had done. The Constable answered that he deserved all the more to be punished as he had come in an underhand manner, pretending to be a servant of the Ambassador. If he had not had to do with so merciful a King, he would be in danger of losing his life. However, the King desired to show his great goodness and clemency, and would forgive him. The Constable then left the herald in his room with two kings-of-arms, and went to speak with the King. Desiring to show his magnanimity, the King then ordered the herald to be led into his presence by a captain of his guard and a great following, with the two kings-of-arms going on before. The King was accompanied by the Dauphin, his son, the Cardinals of Lorraine, Guise, Châtillon, the Keeper of the Seals of France, the Dukes of Lorraine, Longueville, Nivernois and Montmorency, the Prince of Mantua and many other princes, lords, knights of the Order, bishops, prelates, captains and gentlemen, and in the presence of the Ambassadors of his Holiness the Pope, the King of Portugal, the Seignory of Venice and the Duke of Ferrara.
After the herald had made several reverences and had knelt down with his coat of arms on his arm, the King asked him in a loud voice by whom he had been sent and why. The herald answered that he had been sent by the Queen, his mistress, and presented his power, which the King caused to be read publicly. The King then said to him: “Herald, I see that you have come to declare war on me on behalf of the Queen of England. I accept the declaration, but I wish every one to know that I have always observed towards her the good faith and amity which obtained between us, as I ever intended to do all my life towards everybody, as far as it lies in my power to do so, as befits a great, virtuous and honourable prince. Now that she picks so unjust a quarrel with me, I hope that God will be pleased to grant me this grace, that she shall gain no more by it than her predecessors did when they attacked mine, or when they recently attacked me. I trust that God will show His might and justice towards him who is the cause of all the evil that lies at the root of this war. I forbid you on your life to speak another word. I act thus because the Queen is a woman, for if she were not I would employ other terms. But you will depart and leave my kingdom as quickly as you can.”
The herald was then led out and accompanied to the English Ambassador's lodging, whither the King, full of generosity as he is, sent him as a present a chain worth 200 crowns, in order that he should speak of what he had seen and heard from the King's mouth, bearing witness in his own country to the King's virtue and generosity, which are known to the whole world.
Copy. French.
Lille, L.M.53.
Printed by Cimber et Danjou, Archives Curieuses, Vol. III.
309. Philip to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain (Extract)
10 June An English captain (fn. 3) who was taken prisoner with Stafford and is now in the Tower of London spent many days in France and has intelligences there. On examination, he states that the French are trying to fit out a powerful fleet in order to undertake the conquest of Peru and that this fleet will soon set sail. This seems to tally with what that Portuguese priest said; and we would be glad to have Don Alfonso Enriquez's plan carried out. We wrote to the Council of the Indies about this several days ago and also about the matter concerning Havana, and they replied that they would send Bustamante de Herrera, but it seems wise to inform you of the above in order that you may take preventive measures. I have given instructions that the state of preparation of this fleet in France shall be investigated, and I will pass on to you any news I obtain on the subject. The declarations made by this captain are being sent by sea.
You will already have seen what I wrote to you about the Nuncio residing in Spain, and that if the sentence of deprivation which they say his Holiness has handed down arrives in Spain, you are to expel him from the country; and if not, you are to carry out standing instructions.
Don Luis (fn. 4) has not yet arrived here, although the weather appears to have been good. I am much at a loss, because until he comes we cannot make the first payment to the German horse and foot to be mustered at the end of this month. Everything possible has already been done to find money in Flanders, and I do not think that the requisite sum can be raised there.
There are letters of mine in Plymouth, Falmouth and other English ports waiting for Don Luis on his arrival, instructing him to land all the money he brings with him on his arrival in England, and immediately to return to Laredo. Twenty-two big ships of the English fleet, commanded by the Admiral, are to cruise in the Channel, because on 7 June war was declared on France, and will have been notified to the King by a King-of-Arms whom we sent to France and who was to have been there on that date. The wool-fleet may set sail, if it has not done so already, for it can now come in safety, without waiting any longer for Don Alvaro de Bazán. Please see that there is no more delay. The ships commanded by Don Luis and Don Alvaro may remain there to act as escort to those which are to bring the rest of the money and the troops. . . . . .
Decipher. Spanish.
Simancas, E.810.
310. Philip to the Bishop of Arras (Extracts)
London, 14 June His Majesty told Ruy Gómez to write to me that he wants the Electress Palatine (fn. 5) to come to Flanders, and that in any case I am to try to persuade her to do so, and if she is willing I am to make some provision for her there. His Majesty does not wish a person of our blood to be lost by departing from our religion; and he is afraid that she will go astray unless great care is taken of her. If she does not come, after we have tried to bring her, her perdition will not be our responsibility. In order to meet his Majesty's wishes, it would be well to make a beginning in this matter pending my arrival in Flanders, and in any case you will remind me of it when I do go there. . . .
The break with France is an accomplished fact, as you have heard. The French ambassador will leave as soon as we know when ours is coming, so that we may be sure they will not detain ours once theirs is safely out of this country. It is very necessary that ships of war put out from Flanders. If this did not happen very speedily it would be highly embarrassing for me, for I had to make promises to the English in order that they should bring out their own ships, which were in a neglected condition as you will hear from Don Bernardino. Our fleet from Spain is delayed, but it seems impossible that it should not come soon, for if it had been lost we would have heard about it. I have thought fit to send off Don Bernardino on the mission you will hear about. Imagine what bad luck it would be if we were not able to begin this campaign for want of such a small sum of money, now that everything else is taking shape better than we could have wished! I will not fail to be there at the right time, even if I have not a penny. I do not want people to think that I am abandoning them for that reason or for any other, however risky it may be. But I would rather lose my own life than have the Low Countries lost. I am sure you will have done everything in your power to prevent any failure in that direction, and encouraged those who need encouragement. . .
I am leaving the most important point for the last: his Majesty has made up his mind not to abandon the Imperial dignity this summer, until he sees how my affairs go. They had begged him to do so, as you will see by his letter (missing), which he has sent to me open in order that I should close it, which did not seem to be necessary in your case. The difficulties he speaks of, and which he mentioned to Ruy Gómez, no longer appear to arise. The matter was that it had been argued that the Electors would take it badly (if the Emperor deferred his abdication), at a time when they were gathered together, and that the thread of the negotiation would be broken off. I reported in this sense, as the Electors were unwilling to agree, and even if they had agreed the Prince was unable to attend because of ill-health. I think this will reassure his Majesty. As far as I can see, there is nothing further to be done at present. If there were anything, you would let me know, as his Majesty does not wish the thread to be broken. If we say nothing, as they did not come, the thread is neither broken nor tied together again. Please inform the King of the Romans of his Majesty's decision, on my behalf, in order to gain time.
Copy or decipher. Spanish.
Besançon, C.G.5.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.
311. Bishop Delfino to the King of the Romans
Rome, 19 June On the 14th inst. his Holiness created Cardinal the Legate he has appointed for England: Friar Pietro (sic i.e. William) Peto, of the order of St. Francis, 70 years old, a man of great learning and virtuous life, who was once the confessor of the Queen of England, and who recently refused a bishopric worth 6,000 crowns a year, offered to him by the Pope. The reason for this promotion was as follows: when King Philip recently ordered all his subjects to leave Rome and the states of the Church, his Holiness recalled all his ministers in the King's states, and revoked the legatine commission he had given Cardinal Pole for England. The Queen of England then wrote to his Holiness begging him urgently to restore the legatine commission in favour of Cardinal Pole. But as the tribunal of the Inquisition has no better opinion of Cardinal Pole than of Cardinal Morone, his Holiness was unwilling to restore the legation and, wishing to choose a religious and catholic person for England, was pleased to select the above-mentioned Peto. We shall see whether he will be accepted or not.
The Pope has decided that all the cardinals are to come to Rome, and it is said that he has ordered briefs to be sent out to this effect to each one of them. Cardina Morone has been examined once, and has been forbidden to celebrate mass or to hear it.
Sinned. Italian.
Vienna, R.10.
312. Philip to Don Luis de Carvajal
London, 20 June I wrote you by Benavente, and to-day Eraso has informed you by my orders what more I had to tell you. I have now decided that the money that is coming for me and for private individuals and passengers, which I wrote to you was to be handed over to Benavente, shall now be put in his charge without further delay. Benavente will cross to Calais and convey it thence to Flanders. I have spoken to the Treasurer of Calais in order that the money may be carried safely over the sea, and then from Calais to Gravelines. He will present this letter to you. He has offered to see to everything, and I am sure he will do so, as he is a trustworthy person and devoted to my service. We have reached an agreement with him about the ships which are to cross to Calais, and you two will confer together on this matter. If necessary, you will order some of your own ships to escort the others. When this has been done, you will wait for further instructions as to where you are to revictual.
Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, E.810.
313. The Bishop of Arras to Philip II (Extracts)
Brussels, 21 June . . . . . I stayed in Antwerp for three days, both on account of what the Duke had ordered me to negotiate with Fugger about the payment of the 130,000 crowns and on private affairs of my own. . . . .
The arrival of the fleet is great news. Thank God for it! Your Majesty sees in what a mess we would have been if we had run short of money at the very outset. Now, I think your Majesty will not delay to come. You are awaited with longing, and I trust you will win great fame. It would be very bad if we were to lack funds. I have talked with Don Bernardino about that matter, the summoning of the Estates, and the Duke of Savoy's private affairs, as he will write to you.
The English declaration (of war) is in the very best vein. It looks as if your Majesty had a hand in it. We shall see what can be done. As for equipping a fleet here, it will be very difficult; but we must do our best. There is nothing else to report except that, as I have already written, the Dutch have fitted out a fleet for three months with the help of what they obtained from court.
I will try to arrange the Electress Palatine's affairs, and will let your Majesty know when she comes. . . . .
Draft. Spanish.
Besançon, C.G.5.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.
314. Philip to Pero Menéndez
London, 25 June Don Antonio de Velasco told us how far you had got, and that you expected to proceed today. I am grateful to you for the good service you have rendered on this journey, for you have arrived at a very opportune moment. Once you are at Dover, you will confer with Don Luis de Carvajal about the journey he undertook to Calais and how he carried the money which he handed over to Francisco de Benavente: both that belonging to us and that of merchants and private individuals. You will proceed in the same manner, and will hand over everything to Inigo de Gaztaca, who has been entrusted with this duty by us, so that he may bring it together with the rest. I am writing to Don Luis to come out with his ships and escort you. He will also help you with unloading and handing over the money, if necessary.
As soon as the money to be taken in charge by Iñigo de Gaztaca has been landed, you will cross over with your ships to Dunkirk, and there will land the soldiers you have brought for Don Antonio de Velasco. I am writing by this same post to the Governor of Dunkirk to have lighters and other boats ready to land them, and to shelter and feed them. When this has been done, you may return with your ships to Portsmouth, whence you are to set sail for Spain, except for the ships which are to go on to Zealand.
The French officers and corsairs who were captured in a ship from St. Jean-de-Luz, which was making for Laredo, and in another French ship, are to be well guarded. I have decided that they are to be sent to row in our galleys in Spain.
Copy or Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, E.810.
315. Advices from Rome (Extract)
Rome, 26 June Strozzi went to France with Signor Diomede (Carafa), son of the Duke of Paliano, full of the situation here. It is said that he is going to persuade the King of France to make peace, for the Pope is unwilling to do so with King Philip unless France intervenes, fearing to show ingratitude for all the courtesy and benefits he has received from the King of France. It is being said publicly that King Philip has given Siena to the Duke of Florence, and that the details will soon be known. Some say his Excellency (i.e. the Duke of Florence) gave his Majesty 400,000 crowns. A skirmish has taken place in Tuscany, resulting in the loss of Pienza and San Quirico, the muster having been held at Montalcino. In this engagement, Signor Mario Santa Fiora was wounded in the knee by a shot from a harquebus. It is said that his Holiness is sending to England the Archbishop of Pisa's auditor to inform the Queen of the promotion of the friar, (fn. 6) and to take his hat to him. Also, that he is recalling Cardinal Pole by brief.
Simancas, E.883.
316. Philip to Pero Menéndez, Captain General of the Indies fleet
London, 30 June I have seen the letters written to you by Eraso on 27 and 28 June. We have considered here how the infantry is to be carried over to Flanders with the greatest speed and security possible. It seems best that it should go in your fleet as far as off Dunkirk, but without leaving the direct route, in order to avoid the dangers that might offer if you drew too near the coast. I have written to the Governor of Dunkirk to have ready as many lighters and barges as he can find, and that he is to put out with them and meet you at sea, in order to land the infantry. It does not matter if the lighters go a league farther out to sea than usual, provided you do not go too near the coast. You will inform the governor by land or sea what day you intend to arrive off Dunkirk, so that he may have his lighters ready. Before starting, you will leave the money you are bringing at Calais, as you have been instructed to do. When the infantry has been landed, you will let the woolships go on to Zealand and will return with the rest to join (fn. 7) the English fleet and proceed with it to Portsmouth, arriving there at about the time Don Luis Carvajal is to come with his fleet. This seems to us the best course, in order to satisfy the English and to show them that we are doing what we can. You will take your orders from the (English) Admiral, and in his absence from his lieutenant, carrying out those you may receive from him on our or the Queen's behalf, whether in writing or by word of mouth. When Don Luis informs you that he is about to sail, you will advise the Admiral or his lieutenant, and will accompany Don Luis to Spain, taking his orders, as he is our Captain General on the seas you are to sail. We refer you to the instructions we sent you with regard to our money and that belonging to merchants and private individuals, and command you to send it to us at once, for we are awaiting it in order to decide what is to be done.
I am going out hunting to-morrow. You will come to speak to me about this matter at 9 o'clock and will explain matters in Portsmouth, where my instructions had not been understood. Money belonging to the Queen will be sent to-morrow by post for the Earl of Pembroke's business. You will consider how the chests are to be opened and the silver is to be taken out and weighed.
Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, E.810.


  • 1. i.e. William Flower, Norroy King of Arms. His commission to declare war is briefly summarised in the Calendar of State Papers, Foreign Series, 1553–1558, p. 312, dated 1 June, 1557.
  • 2. These names surely refer to Dudley and Asshetor
  • 3. On May 16, “John Brodeforthe, one of Stafford's complices”, was sent to the Tower (Acts of the Privy Council).
  • 4. Don Luis de Carvajal, see a letter addressed to him by Philip on June 20 (p. 298).
  • 5. Dorothea of Denmark, widow of the Elector Frederick II († 1556). His successor, Otto Heinrich, an ardent Protestant, reformed the University of Heidelberg on Lutheran lines.
  • 6. Friar William Peto, a Franciscan, see p. 297.
  • 7. From this point on, this draft is in Philip's own hand.