Spain: February 1558

Pages 349-365

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

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February 1558

397. Count Feria to Philip
London 2 February I arrived here on Wednesday afternoon, 27 January. I might have arrived earlier, but tarried on the way in order not to bring with me the news of the fall of Guines, which accompanied me across the Channel. I went to kiss the Queen's hand, and gave her your Majesty's letter and good news of your health, which she received with great pleasure. I then made known to her the instructions I had from your Majesty. It would be well if all those who govern this kingdom shared the Queen's spirit. She told me that on the following day she would summon the members of the Council so that I might address them. She could not do so earlier because in the morning they were busy with Parliament. I waited on the Cardinal and gave him your Majesty's letter. He showed much good will in the conversation we had, although I understand that the members of the Council do what they like with him. He is very much distressed about his negotiations with Rome. The Councillors did not meet until Friday the 28th (sic), when they sat after dinner in the Cardinal's lodging. Figueroa and I then addressed them, explaining as best we could the charge your Majesty had given us, in general terms. They replied, assuring us with resounding words of their devotion to your Majesty and their gratitude for the good will you had always shown this kingdom, and especially now that you had taken such important measures to recover Calais. They wished to know your Majesty's opinion as to the present state of affairs. I referred them to what is contained in the fifth point of my instructions touching on the loss of reputation that England had suffered. As to their contention, that they had gone into the war in compliance with your Majesty's wishes, I replied without giving them time to expatiate, because the Queen insisted that this would be the best way to handle it. Although the members of the Council have not spoken to the Queen on the subject, she knows that they have discussed it at length among themselves, and that it is the topic of talk in London and throughout the country.
The Councillors told me they wished to confer among themselves, and though I urged them and the Queen not to lose any time, they gave me no answer until yesterday. As they are not in agreement and find it difficult to take any decision, they no doubt think they have not been very slow. Yesterday afternoon, there came to my lodging the Chancellor, (fn. 1) Lord Pembroke, the Bishop of Ely, the Master of the Household, Hastings, the Master of the Horse, Jerningham, Walgrave, Clinton and Secretary Boxall. (fn. 2) Paget, the Earl of Arundel and Petre, who had been present when I addressed them in the Cardinal's apartments, did not attend on this occasion. The Chancellor opened with a harangue, emphasising how much this kingdom owed to your Majesty, and then went on to say in what difficulties they were, and to what heavy expenses they were being put for their defence. The King of France had sent troops to the Scottish border, which made them very anxious. They were being obliged to keep up greater forces than usual in Ireland. They were much concerned about the Isle of Wight and other islands, for they had heard that the French had 80 ships at Dieppe, some of them ready to take sail.
He also asserted that they were obliged to fortify certain places on the South coast, and to fit out 100 ships, the smallest of which were of 100 tons and the greatest of 600, without counting fifty other little vessels which the English called provisionships. Their intention is to put 15,000 or 16,000 men on board these ships, and they say they will be able to land 12,000 of them anywhere your Majesty may direct on the French coast. As for the expense involved, I will refer to the enclosed memorandum (fn. 3) which the Queen had handed me the day before.
They also told me what news they had received of a fleet being fitted out by the King of Denmark and the Hanseatic Towns, at the request of the King of France, although a secretary whom the Easterlings had here assures them that there is no truth in the report that a league has been concluded.
They think they need 3,000 German foot and 500 horse (herreruelos), and they beg your Majesty to give them the names of the leaders whom it would be wise to select, and that this may be done as soon as possible. Clinton tells me the infantry is to take ship at Amsterdam and land at Newcastle, the cavalry sailing from the Flemish coast to Dover. They intend to send commissioners with money to raise and pay these troops, when and where your Majesty instructs them. We will inform them here of what it will cost, apart from the Bargeld. (fn. 4)
After all this, they told me they had small hopes of being able to raise any troops here, as they were obliged to undertake such heavy expenses for the security of the realm.
I answered that I would inform your Majesty of everything they had to say, in order that you might provide for the best. In the meantime, I urged them to make haste to get as many ships as possible out for the protection of their coast. They are so fearful and downcast that if 100 men land in England they will not put up any resistance and might rather turn against their friends. They told me that within 15 days they may find 7 ships here in the Thames and 5 more at Dover, as well as 7 merchantmen which are lying here in the river. They wish to know whether they might hire 25 hulks, to be included in their total of 100 ships. Clinton insists specially on these. Her Majesty says she is going to appoint Clinton Admiral, as your Majesty recommended. William Howard has been discharged of that office to-day, not without difficulty, because the Queen kept putting the matter off.
The Queen and Council tell me that they will look into the intelligences the French are keeping up here. But there are so many Frenchmen domiciled in this country that I doubt if anything can be done.
Those who come here in command of the German infantry and cavalry will have to be more sensible men than such people usually are. Your Majesty will consider the matter, but I will mention the persons who seem suitable to me. Among the colonels whom I have seen serving your Majesty and the Emperor, Münchhausen is said to be a sensible fellow. If he is otherwise engaged, Don Juan de Ayala has spoken to me of a certain Wallerthum who has served in this war with the Duke of Savoy, and formerly in England, I do not know whether under King Henry or Edward. If your Majesty does not need Lazare Schwendi, he might be better than another. As for Johsfonalt's (fn. 5) cavalry, they will be glad to come, although they have to cross the sea, if they are assured that living is half as expensive here as it is in Flanders.
Your Majesty will have seen from a letter I wrote to Ruy Gómez from Gravesend on 25 January what I thought about sending the troops concentrated at Dover across to Flanders. Since I have arrived here, I understand that their number would not even reach the 5,000 that have been mentioned and that they are in such poor shape that they would be of little or no use, even if they did cross the sea. The members of the Council are not in favour of their going, and seem only to have agreed because the Queen desired it. I therefore consulted the Regent (Figueroa), as I do about everything, and we came to the conclusion that they had better be kept back, and also that the 400 men from Guines and Ham now quartered near Dunkirk should be repatriated.
Clinton is not a member of the Privy Council, but as he is in favour with the Queen and knows more about military affairs than the others it seems wise to appoint him to that body. I say this because I consider it opportune for your Majesty's service. If you approve, it would be well that you should write a word to the Queen on the subject.
I never speak with the Queen or the Council without urging them to raise money by all possible means. So far, I cannot see that they have any other way of doing so than through Parliament, and where that is concerned all they can do is to say that the members are full of good will. Her Majesty told me that she believed they would give her more than they ever gave her father. I replied that that was not the right calculation, and that it would be necessary to make sure that they provide what is needed.
I am told that since the fall of Calais, not one third as many Englishmen go to mass as went before.
With regard to what the Earl of Sussex said to your Majesty, I mentioned to the Queen the service rendered by the Spanish lords in supplying cavalry. She answered that all the lords of this kingdom together would not produce 100 horse and 100 foot for her service; and I believe this is true, so little desirous do I find them of recovering Calais.
Francisco de Lejalde tells me that 5 or 6 Englishmen have spoken to him about their pensions, (fn. 6) asking that they should be paid. 9,000 or 10,000 ducats would be required for this purpose. Lord Derby has also spoken to me about it. It would be well to make these payments, if it is possible to do so.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
398. Philip to Count Feria
Brussels,4 February I am writing to Regent Figueroa about what the King of Portugal's Ambassador told me concerning a voyage they (the English) are undertaking towards the Portuguese Indies, sending thither three ships and two sloops. This runs counter to the agreements reached with the English last year, as you will remind them. You will obtain all details from the Regent, to whom I am writing more fully, as it is a matter he understands thoroughly, and had a hand in. As considerable prejudice might be done to the King of Portugal's interests, which narrowly concern me, I request you to speak to the Queen, doing so in the Regent's presence, and request her on my behalf to take whatever steps may be necessary. I am writing to the Regent by two routes, explaining to him how glad I should be if the execution of the plan were prevented.
Signed: Yo el Rey; countersigned: Gonzalo Pérez.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. 1.
399. The Cardinal of Sigüenza to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain (Extract)
Rome, 4 February On 29 January I wrote your Highness what news there were, including how Calais had been lost. You will know that it was by an act of treachery on the part of the man who was in command there. He was a great heretic. One who is a traitor to God must be expected to be the same to men. I hope that what happened will be of some advantage in waking up the English and making them bestir themselves.
The most recent letters from his Majesty's Court are dated 16 January. He was well, God be thanked! Great preparations were being made about this Calais affair, and it was being said that the King was sending Ruy Gómez and Count Feria to visit the Queen and to see how the English were taking the matter. I make sure that your Highness will have been informed about this.
Three or four days ago, the King of France sent a secretary hither, although the man does not seem to be of high rank, in order to inform the Pope of the taking of Calais. On the first of this month, the French had a mass said in their church of St. Louis, and held a great celebration. They did their utmost to make Cardinals attend the mass, but only succeeded in collecting five: three Frenchmen, and two Italians who were Sermoneta and Imola. Most of what Sermoneta possesses is in the kingdom of Naples. These Frenchmen are in pretty high spirits over Calais and their hopes that the Turkish fleet is coming. Indeed the fleet is expected earlier this year than usual. May God dispose for the best! In the kingdom of Naples they have not yet begun to lay in supplies. The Duke of Alva's absence is doing no good.
Don Francesco d'Este is still here. The French and he are trying to get the Pope to act. They make great promises, but do not keep them. I believe his Holiness and all those who understand affairs are disillusioned with the French. Don Francesco d'Este was offered 12,000 or 15,000 ducats a year to be paid by the Duke of Paliano's vassals in Piedmont or in France. Now it is said that he is being offered Montalcino and everything else the King has in Tuscany, but there seems to be no more foundation to this than there was to the other rumour. . . . . . . (Italian affairs).
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.883.
400. Philip to Count Feria
Brussels, 7 February News have arrived here that the French are fitting out ships to raid the Isle of Wight. This is a matter of great importance and will brook no delay, wherefore you will immediately inform the Queen and Council in order that they may take measures to reinforce the garrisons on that island, lay in munitions and supplies, and be in a position to defend it.
P.S. in Philip's hand: I received your letter to-day. I will answer it to-morrow or next day, as well as that the same messenger brought from the Queen. The Duke (of Savoy) reports that the troops which took Calais and Guines, after having razed the latter place, had gone on to Boulogne, and that ships were being fitted out there. The same is said here, and you will inform the English accordingly.
Signed: Yo el Rey; Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
401. Philip to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain
Brussels, 10 February (The beginning of this letter contains an account of the fall of Guines, which adds nothing to other reports reproduced above.)
. . . . . . Although we did our utmost to relieve Guines, it was impossible to do so. We had not enough infantry or horse, as the Spanish troops were occupying the places we had won last year. Also, the operation in itself was difficult. The French stayed at Guines 8 or 10 days after the place fell, and sent their heavy artillery round to the Somme by sea. Having levelled the fortifications of Guines, they marched in the direction of Boulogne and went to camp at Abbeville. They intend to join up with forces from Guise, and attack Le Câtelet, St. Quentin or Ham, or indeed to beseige Cambrai, starting early in the season as they are in a position to do because they are ready and I am still facing so many difficulties because the money has not yet come with Pero Menéndez, and I am unable to raise any elsewhere. If it had not been for the 150,000 ducats raised on exchange, the danger would have been even greater. The deputies of the Estates have gone to confer with the towns about what they have agreed to supply us; but the matter is not yet settled, and even if they do consent it will not be possible to get hold of the money quickly. Thus you see how things stand here at present, and the great difficulties and near-impossibilities we are facing in order to hold off the enemy until we have formed our own army, however great haste we may make to do so. Once I am in the field, I trust I shall be able to accomplish something substantial, or at least to bring the King of France round to the idea of making peace. The Constable and others who have been talked to on the subject do not give much ground upon which one can proceed, beyond displaying a general desire for the welfare of Christendom and the end of the miseries caused by war. We realise that now that Calais and Guines have fallen, and the King of France is powerfully armed and we the opposite, there is little to be done. The only remedy is to take the field as quickly as possible, and this will cost much money. What with the arrears owed to the German cavalry which has been disbanded and the German infantry which is being kept up, we owe more than one million by the end of this month of February, besides the pay for afterwards and what we owe the merchants with whom we negotiated on (the security of) what Don Luis de Carvajal brought and has not been paid to them. This amounts to another 600,000 ducats. We will try to manage to settle these claims without destroying our credit altogether, making part payment in cash and putting off the rest, on condition that our factor, Hernan López de Campo, can manage to send us something here and we succeed in borrowing the balance. All the money that can be found in Spain will be needed for the purpose. The 600,000 remaining from the 900,000 to be brought by Pero Menendez in cash will serve to meet the most urgent payments; we have used some of this money already. Thus everything you will be sending us, including what is being held in Seville, is already spent or ear-marked. Over and above this, we shall need another large sum, which we hope we shall get from the Estates here, to raise and pay an army of over 18,000 foot and 8,000 horse, with which we trust we can defend ourselves from the King of France and even attack him. According to the news I receive, the King of France is no less hard up than I am, and the issue will be of the greatest importance for the future of these countries. I therefore charge you to lose not one minute in taking this matter up with the Council of Finance, so that they may raise the largest possible sum in the shortest time, in addition to that which Pero Menéndez is bringing and what is to come from Seville. You may use the powers I have sent you by two different routes to sell jurisdictions and other posts, at moderate prices, in order that many buyers may be attracted; and you will send me the money raised thereby as a matter of the greatest urgency. I should have been glad to resort to the devices that have been discussed in Spain, but they have been examined in the Council of State here by persons of learning and conscience, and it is considered that although we might sell letters of gentility (bidalguias), we could not do so without scruple, considering that the future interests of the state are concerned. The same applies to the baronies. It is being considered whether it might not be worth while to farm out some of the ordinary yearly tribute, without conferring the other liberties; and perhaps there might be some demand for this. The common lands are a question concerning the towns, and cannot be acted upon without reference to them. Perhaps they might be rented out for a limited time, so that we might afterwards regain possession of them. Thus we might obtain grants from the town without alienating the common lands; that would be undesirable. We are determined not to increase the number of offices in the kingdom, except for those which may already have been set up and sold by the time you receive this letter. Even if this practice were not objectionable in itself, it has been resorted to quite enough in the past.
Legitimations of the children of ecclesiastics may continue, as we have written already. As the expedients for raising money which have been put forward are not going to be proceeded with, it will be all the more necessary to find funds on assignations, and to summon the Cortes and see whether the representatives of the constituencies may not be prevailed upon to make an advance on their grants without charging interest, or even charging interest, as the case may be, giving their guarantees to the merchants who are to finance the transaction, and obtaining security on their side from their local councils. No risk would be run in proceeding in this manner, which would be the quickest way to obtain ready money, and one which would strengthen the credit of our own administration. The merchants are ill disposed at present, but would feel better protected if they were to negotiate directly with the towns; and the towns would be spared the annoyances they suffer when the grants are collected from them by the fisc. We also wish to have it considered whether we might not obtain some accommodation from the sums that are normally deposited in the towns throughout the kingdom, and if the cities themselves might not be induced to make advances towards the grant out of these deposits, against our obligation to restore the deposits. It would be much better to do it thus than to request it in my name, and the money might thus be obtained more quickly, while the Cortes are concluding their discussions. In order that the money from the Indies may be used in time, we wish you had informed us of the difficulties that have cropped up in that connection. As this is a matter of such overriding importance, and which might have helped us very greatly, it would have been right to handle it promptly and not lose so much time. We now charge you to pursue it without delay, either taking it in hand yourself or entrusting it to others if it seems preferable to do so. Considering that it is in the ultimate interest of the kingdom that I should be able to raise the necessary amount, some benefices may be sold for cash, making sure that what is secured by these means can be paid here without loss. You will report what you are able to do about this.
Some people here think it would be advantageous to buy the salt produced in Spain and sent to these countries by ship, for it seems it might be bought very cheap and sold here by our officers at a profit, while still allowing these countries to purchase it cheaper than at present, and also preventing the King of France from making a profit on his side. You will take secret measures to discover how much salt is available, and at what price it might be bought, reporting to us on the subject and showing clearly how much each bushel (fanega) will cost delivered here, and whether the salt might not be shipped as ballast at a cheap rate, without its being necessary to hire tonnage for the purpose. Further discussions will have to take place with the Duke of Escalona about the towns of the marquisate of Villena, about which we wrote some days ago, in order to see whether he may not take up a different attitude from that adopted by his father. As for making an allowance for the alum it is not necessary to take that up, because an agreement is still in force and may continue, especially as we are now at peace with the Pope.
An emissary from Sardinia has been here for several days asking for money in view of the expected descent of the Turkish fleet, and of the danger that menaces that island from Corsica, where the French are installed, assuming that they intend to invade Sardinia. As that island is a place of great importance, we request you to let them have as much as 20,000 ducats out of any money or assignation that may be available under the crown of Aragon. Don Diego de Acevedo says there is something at Valencia that may serve the purpose. This sum is to serve for fortifications, and first of all for Castel Aragonés, which must be put in good condition. In order that the Sardinians may be reassured, I intend to do them some favour in connection with the first grant they have to make. The Viceroy will be instructed to try and obtain an advance, which would be reasonable considering that the kingdom is to have the benefit of the money. You will see to it that infantry and artillery are sent in good time from Barcelona, together with two of the cannons cast by Herrera and two half-culverines, with the necessary supply of powder and cannon-balls.
You will give special attention to supplies for La Goletta and pay for the troops there, for it is one of the places which the Turkish fleet might attack.
Some wheat has been sent from Sicily, and we are writing to-day to the Viceroy that he is to send more, together with other foodstuffs; but as bread is in short supply in that kingdom, we doubt he will be able to do so. If you can make any contribution from Spain, it would be highly desirable. Make haste to send the 2,500 soldiers we have asked for here, taking care to appoint suitable persons as captains and making sure that they are in a position to raise the troops promptly. The fleets under Don Luis and Pero Menendez will go back to fetch them and the money. I am writing this by a courier who is travelling by land, for although he will proceed slowly to avoid detection, he will reach you quicker than another I am sending with other papers, which are not yet ready, by whom we will reply to your letters of 26 November and 24 December.
Decipher. Spanish.
Simancas, E.516.
402. Count Feria to Philip
London, 12 February On 2 February, I wrote what news I then had by a courier I sent to your Majesty. But as I now hear, he could not cross until the 6th. The weather must have been even worse for the passage from over there, for no letters from Brussels have arrived here since those dated 23 January, and there are no news from abroad either of friend or foe, although plenty of rumours are running about London every day, mostly unfavourable to us. Among other things they are saying that I have come to carry away money to your Majesty. I shall be content if I can induce the English to raise the money for themselves which they so badly need.
Your Majesty will have seen from a report sent by the Queen what has been voted by Parliament. She is very much pleased with the amount, and with the goodwill displayed. It seems to me very little, considering the needs, and I have told her so, begging her to devise means for obtaining more, because otherwise this kingdom and her own person will be in grave peril. Cardinal Pole and the members of the Privy Council have again and again said the same to me. They all stick to it that this grant is the largest that has ever been voted for any king of England. Your Majesty should also write to the Queen, because that would matter to her more than anything else, and I will keep at work on her here. Everything these people do is confusion and hatred, one against the other. Whatever they decide one day they undo the next. In view of this position, it seemed to me advisable that your Majesty should designate suitable persons, some to deal with military affairs and others with finance. I beg you to do this. Although they are always tardy here, the Queen does act. I would not like the persons selected for these purposes to be numerous, especially as some of those who have been mentioned are not suitable. Your Majesty will see those I refer to in the accompanying memorandum (missing).
Clinton is now Admiral. The man who formerly held this post obeyed the Queen's orders and surrendered his letters patent; but under the law of the realm the office belonged to him for life, unless he relinquished it of his own free will. He has a grievance about this, and it seems to me that he is picking a quarrel with your Majesty. I have begged the Queen to show him some favour or give him other employment for which he may be better fitted than he was for this post. Your Majesty will have to write to her, in order that she may do this. He tells me he wishes to speak to me, and I believe he suspects his post was taken away from him on your Majesty's orders.
Since the English have heard how much the 500 German horse they asked for would cost and how they may be expected to behave in their quarters and the places they pass through, they have made up their minds not to hire them, but to try to raise horse in England instead. They do want the three thousand foot, and would like to have Wallerthum (fn. 7) bring them, because they say they know and would rather have him than anyone else. They request your Majesty to give them a licence to export arms and munitions from Flanders, as specified in the enclosed memorandum (missing).
There are no further news of the 80 ships which I wrote to your Majesty were to have put out from Dieppe. I always believed these ships were intended to revictual Calais, but I never told the English so, for fear of making them lukewarm about providing for the security of the Isle of Wight, which is of such importance for this kingdom.
I have already written that several Lords have spoken to me about the pensions from your Majesty which are in arrears, (fn. 8) pressing me as barefacedly as if I were Domingo de Orbea or Eraso. The whole amount is less than 9,000 ducats. I beg your Majesty to have this matter attended to. So far, I have put them off by telling them that I was writing to Brussels, but this reply does not satisfy them altogether, and they keep at me on the subject. I do not know who is supposed to look after the other servants your Majesty has here, but I consider that the money spent on them is wasted, and that it would be a good thing not to replace archers and others as they die off, but to suppress the posts, since there are reasons for not dismissing the lot. I mention this to your Majesty, because several of them have requested me to see to the payment of their salaries.
Don Juan de Ayala tells me that the English Treasurer who went with the Earl of Pembroke's troops to serve your Majesty last year says he wishes to render his accounts. Your Majesty should appoint persons to receive them. Don Juan thinks that Francisco de Lejalde, Antonio de Guaras and an Englishman might be appointed for this purpose. Your Majesty will send appropriate instructions. The Treasurer says he still has money in hand.
Parliament has been prorogued, not dissolved, because the Queen considers that the persons sent to it have transacted business very well and served with so much goodwill that these same persons had better be summoned when Parliament assembles again. At Dunkirk there is not as good a supply of vessels for the Channel crossing as there ought to be. The Queen has spoken to me about this to-day, asking me to write to your Majesty. She thinks it would be well to have men-of-war there for this purpose. All I know about it is that the captain of the port is a good man who in a very leisurely manner advises you to board some pumpkin, and then stands on shore looking at you as if you were on the best ship in the world. At least, the Earl of Sussex and the Comptroller refused the boat I crossed on, and they were quite right, for she was a villainous tub (muy ruin).
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
403. Philip to Count Feria
Brussels, 15 February I sent you a courier on 7 February telling you I had received your letter of 2 February and answering points arising therein . . . . What you said to the Privy Council about measures with a view to recovering Calais was excellent, as also your remarks about their having gone to war with France. We are sorry they are so slow in negotiating. They will see that all possible speed is being made on our side. You will pursue the Calais matter with them, emphasizing how important it is for England to reconquer the place and undertake the action specified in the fifth section of my instructions to you, making it clear that I will assist them, as you have offered on my behalf. You will let me know what they decide.
I have seen the memorandum given you by the Privy Council about the troops and money they think they need for the security of England by land and sea. It seems to me very well; and I should be glad to hear that they are putting it into execution. You will press them to raise the necessary money betimes, without depending entirely on what Parliament votes. I am writing to the Queen about this.
What you write to me about Scotland: the 3,000 German foot and the horse, seems to me wise; and Wallerthum the right choice for the post of Colonel of the infantry, as he is a good soldier and knows England. You may say so to the members of the Council in order that they may appoint him, writing to the Duke of Savoy to arrange to let him go.
Although the Councillors spoke to you of 500 horse for Scotland, it seems to me that 600 would be better. Each major (Rittmeister) might bring 300. Hans Bernat, who has served in these countries and is well known here, and Hans Brent of Cleves, who is a good soldier, might be selected.
It is impossible to say in advance exactly how much will be needed for travel allowance (Anrittgeld) for these 600 horse. Some of them will come from farther away than others. The usual arrangement is based on the number of leagues travelled each day, the fourth day being allowed for rest; but it seems that the expense under this head should amount to roughly £3,000 over and above the month's pay which is to be given them when the muster is held.
A further sum of 3,000 crowns will be needed for advance on pay (Aufgeld) for the regiment (coronelia) of 10 standards. The monthly pay will be more or less according to the quality of the troops and their armament. Those I had with me last year will not come for less than 18,000 crowns, extra pay included, but if the English do not want them so completely armed, the regiment of 3,000 men could be paid 14,000 or 15,000 crowns.
As for shipping the infantry, it does not seem that Amsterdam would be as advisable as Clinton said. The channels are many there, and make navigation very slow if the wind is variable. Dordrecht would be much more convenient, because it is easier to get out to sea from there and to reach whatever port in England may be desired. The cavalry might very well sail from Dunkirk to Dover, as the English propose, because the passage is shorter.
As for the 24 or 25 hulks which the English want from the Low Countries, you may tell them that I will give orders that they be supplied. Charges will be according to the tonnage of each vessel. The usual rate for shipping merchandise is 30 placas (fn. 9) monthly for each ton employed, but as these ships will be serving in time of war, a higher rate may be necessary to allow for the danger.
I have gone into these details in order that you may explain to the Queen and Council and they may arrive at whatever decision they consider best. In order to gain time, I think they should send commissioners here with the requisite instructions and money. I will see to it that they are given all proper facilities.
I am glad the Queen has given the post of Admiral to Clinton, in accordance with what I wrote to her, as I have confidence in the man. I agree that it would be well to appoint him to the Privy Council, because of his war experience, and I am writing to the Queen to show him this favour. You will remind her, if you see it is necessary.
You did well to prevent the 5,000 English from coming over here, and to have those who escaped from Calais, Guines and Ham repatriated. This is exactly what I had written on the subject, and I am glad that you and the Regent (fn. 10) agreed with me.
We have no confirmation here that Denmark and the Hanseatic Towns have a fleet ready and have concluded a league with France. I have taken steps to find out the truth of this story, as I have written to the Council, and I will send them any information I obtain on the subject. My own opinion is the same as that expressed by that secretary of the Easterlings; for we have given them no cause for abandoning our friendship.
Given the shortage of money here, of which you know, I have not yet sent the 10,000 crowns which you have asked for to pay pensions; but I have given instructions that the money is to be raised here or taken from that which is coming from Spain, and I will send it to you as soon as possible so that you may use it for this purpose.
The attention you showed the Cardinal was quite right, and you will continue to assure him of the esteem in which I hold him, and my desire to see his affairs prosper. I am having copies of the last letters received from Italy made so that you may see what is happening there and report to the Queen anything you may think desirable.
Signed: Yo el Rey; counter-signed: Gonzalo Pérez. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politique, Vol. I.
404. Count Feria to Philip
London, 15 February On 12 February I wrote to your Majesty by one of the Queen's couriers. The next day, two arrived: one whom I had sent from here on 2 February, and another bearing your Majesty's despatches of 30 January, informing me of what you had heard of French designs on the Isle of Wight. These two couriers brought me four of your Majesty's letters, of 30 January, 4 and 7 February. I at once handed to the Queen and Council those addressed to them. I need make no further reference to them, as I have already reported what is being done here in that connexion. I am working to get the Council's decisions carried out. They never finish anything. They are undertaking armaments by land and sea in excess of what they need, wishing especially to be strong at sea in case they have to do with the fleet of a league between Denmark and the Hanseatic Towns. But I let them go ahead, and press them to the best of my ability to raise money. In the meantime, when your Majesty sees what forces they are really going to have, you will decide how such forces had better be used.
Your Majesty will see by a letter the Regent has written to you what the Queen is doing in order to find out about the ships said to be going to Guinea.
To-day, the Queen sent me a letter, a copy of which (missing) is enclosed herewith, written to her by Duke Adolphus. (fn. 11) She desires to know your Majesty's opinion as to whether she had better accept the Duke's offer. The origin of this letter and the news of the above-mentioned league is to be sought in the way the Easterlings were treated last year in this country. Although I do not know much about this question, I believe the Easterlings were treated unreasonably, and I am not sure the London merchants did not bribe some of the Councillors to take the decision they arrived at. As your Majesty is aware of everything that has happened in this matter, you will consider whether on this occasion it would not be advisable to resume negotiations and to proceed in a manner more likely to give the Easterlings satisfaction.
The Queen has also sent me a letter from the Duke of Savoy. It was brought by Secretary Boxall, who was instructed to ask whether your Majesty had written anything to me about this. Since then, I have spoken with the Queen, and she thinks it preferable to defer her reply until Parliament has risen, because it might give rise to some trouble if the matter were known before then. Your Majesty cannot imagine how much this matter of the safe-conducts is resented here. It will be necessary for you to write to the Queen or to me what is to be done, for otherwise no action will be taken. This is the first time I have known these people to be right on any question, since I have been here.
Your Majesty wrote a letter to the Queen in favour of Lord Grey and his son; and her Majesty is so desirous of showing him favour that there was no need of recommending him to her. To tell the truth, with all due submission, I am extremely sorry to see you showing him so much favour. He surrendered his place, and the man at Ham abandoned his, and these people here celebrate these two feats in such a way that the other day the Queen said to me, in the presence of the Cardinal, that Lord Grey had behaved as well as the Admiral of France had at St. Quentin. I explained as best I could the difference between the two cases, whereupon the Cardinal spoke up and told me that Bugía had also been surrendered. I told him that was true: the gentleman commanding that fortress had been unable to hold out any longer and had given it up. (fn. 12) When he returned to Castile, they cut off his head. That was the way to deal with such cases, and her Majesty had better be very careful how she handled them, in order to avoid giving a bad example by not meting out sufficiently rigorous punishment. This evening, the Queen sent to ask me what she was to reply to your Majesty about Lord Grey. I answered that all I knew about it was that La Rochefoucauld, whom the French are asking for in exchange for Grey, is a prisoner in the hands of Count Mansfeld, with whom the matter would have to be negotiated. Your Majesty might be asked, in case the deal succeeded, that Grey be set at liberty. If the Queen wished to show Grey favour I did not feel called upon to express an opinion: it was a matter that depended on her will. I do not think she will write about it with this courier or until she has spoken to me again. If she does so, I will reply in the same strain as above.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
405. Philip to Count Feria
Brussels, 18 February A courier was just going off with a letter accompanying this one, when I received yours of 12 February. I therefore held the other one back in order to reply to the last letter. It appears from the account of the session of Parliament sent to me by the Queen that the money they voted is a large sum, considering that it is to be made available very shortly. But it is necessary, as you say, that the Queen should devise other means of raising funds. What you said to her on the subject was quite right, and you will return to the matter if it seems necessary. I have seen the names of the persons the Queen has appointed to handle military and financial affairs. This was a wise step, in order to avoid confusion.
I also agree with what you say about the advisability of the Queen's showing some favour to the man who was formerly Admiral of England. I have written to her on the subject. You tell me that this man suspects that he lost his post on my orders. You gave him the right answer; if he returns to the subject you will do what you can to satisfy him.
You will see in my other letter what occurred to me about the German infantry and cavalry which was to be sent to England. Now, it appears that they intend to raise horse in England and not to take on any herreruelos. There is therefore no point in the mention I made of the two captains. Wallerthum will go in command of the infantry, as they requested and as seems to me for the best.
As for the arms and munitions, the passport (i.e. export permit) was ready when your letter arrived. It is being sent to you enclosed. (fn. 13) You will show the Queen the list of the things I was asked for a few days ago, and inquire whether she wants another passport for a greater quantity, informing me of her answer. You may tell her that there is an abundant supply of morrions, visors, breast-plates, sleeves of mail and other armour she wished to buy in these countries in order to export them to England.
The amount of powder the English ask for is so great that it would be impossible to find it in these countries, and if the merchants heard that so much is being sought they would hoard their stocks and run up prices, with the result that what the English wish to export and what we need here for this year would cost us all very dear. (fn. 14) As such a great quantity is not needed all at once, it would be preferable that the Queen should send some one over here to handle this business, so that in consultation with him we may obtain what we want as cheaply as possible.
The Queen's remarks and your own about having ships at Dunkirk for the crossing are very much to the point. I have issued instructions to have this matter seen to.
I have had Eraso given a copy of the passage in your letter about appointing persons to receive the accounts rendered by the English Treasurer who came with the troops from that kingdom, so that Eraso may see to it. I will send you further instructions.
I told you in my other letter that we cannot do much about the pensioners at present, because of the demands being made from all quarters, as you know; but we will do what we can.
Your remarks about the archers and other servants of mine in England are judicious. This is expenditure which might well be avoided. But I do not think it advisable to dismiss them all at once. As they die off, the posts may be discontinued; although no one had better realise that such is our intention. You will only tell the Queen that from now on when one of these places becomes vacant I am to be consulted before another appointment is made to it. Thus, we may get rid of the obligation without attracting attention.
You did well not to inform the Council of what you had heard about the ships at Dieppe, lest they neglect providing for the Isle of Wight. You will continue to insist on the necessity of reinforcements there, in the light of what I wrote to you on 7 February about news of the French plans.
Signed: Yo el Rey.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
406. Count Feria to Philip
London, 22 February The last letter I received from your Majesty was dated 7 February, and the last one I wrote to you was sent on the 15th by a courier from Spain. I am now writing again to beg your Majesty to reply to my letters. Besides the fact that negotiations suffer by delay, the Queen is anxious, especially after the indisposition your Majesty recently suffered from, and as you wrote on the 7th that you would send further news within two days. Her Majesty is well, although some days she complains of the melancholy she often feels. She gave audience to-day to d'Assonleville, who came from Scotland. He and Figueroa are writing to your Majesty in full about that affair, which seems to me to have been very badly handled, although they do not wish to admit it here. To-morrow, the Scottish Ambassador is to be received by the Queen and Council. We will see what he brings. I believe that the truce and the sending of this ambassador were merely aimed at gaining time in order to prepare and to find out what is going on here, although for the latter purpose they have no need to send an ambassador, as there are plenty of people in this kingdom from whom they can find it out.
When Parliament rises, which the Queen tells me will be this week, a report will be sent to your Majesty on the business transacted there during this session, especially with regard to expelling the French from this kingdom. Her Majesty has news that Calais has been revictualled with herring, beer, cheese and butter, which merchants had exported from the Low Countries thanks to the safe-conducts about which the Duke of Savoy wrote to the Queen, and afterwards to Clinton and Secretary Boxall, as the latter two told me. Your Majesty will judge how the Englishmen must feel this, and indeed I regret it more than I can say. If it is in any way possible to withdraw the safe-conducts, it should be done, if not, your Majesty should write to the Queen what is to be done about the Duke of Savoy's letter. There are also news that the ships on board which these supplies were loaded at Dunkirk took on board a quantity of halberds for France. The people here are urging that your Majesty should have some ships there for the crossing; and indeed this would be necessary. The boat I came over in and the others I saw there were very bad, and the one or two good ones are not in shape to put out to sea.
The Admiral wanted to know whether he would be given the 25 hulks from the Low Countries about which I have written to your Majesty, and an export licence for munitions and powder.
The former Admiral has spoken to me since I last wrote to your Majesty. He claims that you were the author of his misfortune, and begs you to send instructions to the Queen that he is to be shown some favour. I also beg your Majesty to do this, as the English are not being treated as in strict justice they should be. Your Majesty might write to the Queen on the subject, and also instruct me to remind her of it.
Lord Grey's wife has been here with a letter her husband has written to the Queen. Her Majesty has spoken to me twice or thrice about the matter, and has sent others to request me to write to your Majesty to authorise an exchange between Grey and Baron La Rochefoucauld, whom the French want in exchange for him. This is what I have said your Majesty might be asked to do, adding that if you did it you would be granting a great favour, because so far no exchange of prisoners has been authorised. What the Queen and the Cardinal first asked for was that your Majesty should hand over La Rochefoucauld to them in order that they might obtain Lord Grey in exchange for him. I explained the facts, and they think me very stiff. The Queen has asked me to write again about it, because she wishes to see your Majesty's reply and I can say nothing more than what I have already told them.
Lord Paget showed me a letter he is writing to your Majesty. He comes to see me from time to time. The substance of everything he tells me is contained in this letter. Yesterday morning, he came and told me that the members of Parliament had met to discuss about the money, and that if your Majesty wished, 800,000 crowns might be found here, over and above the Parliamentary grant. As I do not understand English affairs I do not know what there may be in this talk. I asked Paget to push the business forward as fast as he can, because he sees what a state everything has got into in this country. What is needed is that your Majesty should write to the Queen, urging her to collect money.
Her Majesty tells me that within ten days 20 of her ships are to go out to sea.
Decipher or Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
407. “A report by Pedro de Ocaña, a native of Medina del Campo, who arrived here at Valladolid to-day, 25 February. He landed from an English sloop at Fuentarrabia, having set sail from Plymouth on 10 February and left London on 3 February. He had left Brussels late in January, having seen his Majesty in good health”
25 February After the fall of Calais, the King of France's army moved against Guines, having first taken Ham, which is near Calais (sic). The enemy was attacking Guines on 22 January, shelled it with many guns and had delivered 4 or 5 assaults. In one single day, the defenders had killed over 3,000 (fn. 15) Frenchmen of the Gascon corps. On that same day, the shortage of infantry induced the noble cavalry of France to dismount and deliver two more assaults. They then succeeded in entering the place with their horses and carts. The defenders surrendered on condition that they should be allowed to depart, each man carrying as much as he could. However, Lord Grey, the Governor, and his son were taken prisoners. There were in the place 44 Spaniards who had entered it to relieve the garrison. The castle was razed, and the French army moved to a place between Calais and Boulogne in order to reform, because their losses had been heavy.
The Duke of Savoy was at St. Omer mustering his infantry and cavalry. When Ocaña left, he had 18,000 to 20,000 men and was levying more, intending to prevent the French from revictualling Calais, where provisions are said to be short.
Don Juan Manrique had not yet left to raise the German troops, because he was waiting for the Duke of Alva's arrival. The Duke reached Brussels on 25 or 26 January.
The writer went over to England with Count Feria, and saw that large numbers of troops were being raised there and were being sent abroad. When he took ship at Dunkirk, six or eight standards of English had landed there, and there were 3,000 more at Dover waiting to cross. (fn. 16) On the road from the coast to London he met many more troops with munitions, supplies and cattle; and in the whole kingdom people are talking of nothing else.
In London, he kissed the Queen's hand and saw that she was with child, and living in retirement, as is the custom of the country. They say it is quite certain that she is pregnant, although she tries to keep it a secret, and that she will be delivered some time this month or early in March. The Queen's Mistress of the Robes told Count Feria this in Ocaña's presence.
The frontiers are very well supplied.
It has been discovered that it is quite true that Calais was sold, and that its Governors abandoned it to the enemy.
Count Feria wrote to Juan Vázquez on 3 February referring him to this report.
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.516.
408. Philip to Count Feria
Brussels, 26 February When we had written you the long letter you will have seen, we received yours of 15 February. You have done well to urge the members of the Council to carry out the resolutions adopted, for otherwise their labour would have been in vain. You were also right to remind them to raise money as quickly as possible, by all means in their power. It is also a good thing to let them go on arming on a big scale, not only because of the news about a league between Denmark and the Hanseatic Towns, supposing this to be true, but also for other reasons. As for the use to which their forces are to be put, a decision may be reached on that in the light of further developments.
I have seen the copy of the letter written by Duke Adolphus to the Queen and the proposals he makes concerning the merchants of England. As we are not yet certain that the Hanseatic Towns have departed from their friendship with us, and it is very important to remain on good terms with them on account of both England and the Low Countries, we have taken the measures you know of to find out the facts and are expecting news any day now. You will therefore inform the Queen on my behalf that I advise neither accepting the Duke's offers nor altogether refusing them, but replying with thanks in such a way as to leave the matter open, without holding out any definite hope. Thus he may be kept satisfied pending our receipt of certain information on the reported league between the King of Denmark, the Hanseatic Towns and the French. In the light of this information, it may be decided either to resume with Duke Adolph or to drop the matter altogether.
You mention the privileges of the Easterlings, the dissatisfaction caused by disregard of those privileges and the remedy to be applied. The Privy Council wrote to me on 24 January placing this matter in my hands, but not informing me of the details. I do not altogether understand the scope of these privileges or how the matter ought to be handled; wherefore I had an answer sent to the Privy Council on 31 January, as you will see from the enclosed extract (missing), asking them to send me full information on everything that had happened in this matter and how I could deal with it to the kingdom of England's advantage, which was my chief concern. The Privy Council has not answered me yet; so I only mention the matter in order that you may remind them of it, and request them to send me full explanations, making it clear what concessions I might make to the Easterlings in order to facilitate an acceptable settlement.
You sent me a copy of a letter from the Duke of Savoy about the safe-conducts. I have written to the Queen since then on the subject, and trust she will be satisfied with my reply. You will explain to her the reasons for granting safe-conducts, i.e. the sheer necessity of helping the Flemish ports not altogether to lose their trade, not to mention the fact that as the fleet from Spain had not arrived, we were unable to find any other way of raising money at a moment of emergency caused by the arrival of the French. We therefore request her to give instructions that the safe-conducts may be observed. In future, care will be taken to issue no more.
You did well to explain matters to the Queen and others where Lord Grey is concerned. I need say no more about it than to instruct you to let the Queen proceed as she pleases. La Rochefoucauld is Count Mansfeld's prisoner, and I can take no further action in the matter. The Queen has not written to me on this subject, so far. When she does, I will send her a suitable reply.
I was very glad to know of what the Queen had done about the ships that were to have gone to the Portuguese mines.
Signed: Yo el Rey; counter-signed: Gonzalo Pérez. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
409. Philip to Count Feria
Brussels, 27 February When I had written the letter going with this one, I received yours of 22 February. I was glad to have good news of the Queen's health. I am well, although to-day I felt a little indisposed. You did well to inform me of Councillor d'Assonleville's and the Scotch Ambassador's arrival, and of what you had heard of their business. I share your and Figueroa's opinion that they (the Scots) merely wish to gain time. Once d'Assonleville is here we will see what we had better do.
If the report on the Parliamentary session has not been sent off, you will remind them to send it. I should be glad to hear what they have decided. The expulsion of the French from England is very important and should be seen to at once.
I explained in my other letter the reasons why the safe-conducts, about which the Duke of Savoy wrote to the Queen, had been granted. We were unable to do otherwise. I am very sorry that as a result Calais was supplied with herring and other things from these countries, but as the safe-conducts were made out for France, you will see for yourself that it was open to the merchants to make such use of them as they wished. At the time, it was not known here that Calais would be lost, and it was not possible to make an exception for any one place. It is not possible to cancel the safe-conducts now, because the interested parties have used them. You will explain all this to the Queen on my behalf and also to the Council, assuring them that care will be taken to avoid a repetition of this.
You write that Admiral Clinton was informed that besides the herring and other things a quantity of halberds had been sent to France. I am having this matter urgently investigated. If the report is true, the guilty parties will be punished with all the rigour of the law, and you may assure the English that this will be done.
As for having ships ready at Dunkirk for the Channel passage, about which the Queen spoke to you, I have sent appropriate instructions to the Governor of that town.
You have already been answered about the 25 hulks asked for by Clinton, and I have written to the Queen to employ or show some favour to the former Admiral. You will remind the Queen of this if necessary. (fn. 17)
I wrote you in the other letter that you were right to reply to the Queen as you did about Lord Grey, and as La Rochefoucauld was Count Mansfeld's prisoner, all I could do to please the Queen would be to authorise an exchange between La Rochefoucauld and Grey, so that if the French agree, Grey may be released from prison, the same being done for La Rochefoucauld, which as you know is a thing that has not yet been permitted in the case of other prisoners. You will tell the Queen this, so that she may take such further action as she may wish. (fn. 18)
If, in addition to the Parliamentary grant, 800,000 crowns could be raised by the means mentioned by Paget, it would be highly desirable. You were right to answer as you did about this, and you will continue to insist on it.
Signed: Yo el Rey. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.


  • 1. Nicholas Heath, Archibshop of York.
  • 2. Sir John Boxall, Secretary of the Privy Council.
  • 3. This memorandum has not been found. But another, dated 6 April (q.v.) sets out the cost of the men on the Queen's ships,
  • 4. Ready money, i.e. advance-pay.
  • 5. Kervyn de Lettenhove reads this name as Jobs Fonalt.
  • 6. See Feria's letter to Philip of 12 February and subsequent ones.
  • 7. i.e. a German known as Colonel Sir William Wallerthum, whose financial affairs are referred to in several passages in the Calendar of State papers, Foreign Series, 15537–1558.
  • 8. cf. p. 373.
  • 9. One placa equalled 10 maravedis.
  • 10. i.e. Don Juan de Figueroa.
  • 11. Adolphus, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein (1526–1586), a son of King Frederick I of Denmark.
  • 12. Bugía (Fr. Bougie) on the N. coast of Africa, between Algiers and Tunis, had been occupied under Ferdinand the Catholic. It was surrendered to the Governor of Algiers, in 1555. Captain Peralta who gave it up, was beheaded at Valladolid.
  • 13. Marginal note in Philip's hand: The Earl of Essex and the Comptroller asked me for it.
  • 14. Marginal note in Philip's hand: I also need powder, and one demand would get in the way of the other.
  • 15. cf. Carasco's letter of 18 January, from Guines. Carasco puts the French losses, more modesdy, at 300.
  • 16. cf. pp. 344–345.
  • 17. Marginal note in Philip's hand: You will tell this to the Queen, for I wrote it to her the other day.
  • 18. Marginal note in Philip's hand: I believe, although I am not certain, that the Duke of Savoy has given him (La Rochefoucauld) leave to return to France. I do not know whether he has gone.