Spain: September 1558

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

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'Spain: September 1558', in Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13, 1554-1558, (London, 1954) pp. 406-413. British History Online [accessed 1 March 2024]

September 1558

462. The Spanish Peace Commissioners to Philip (Extract)
Lille, 12 September While fair copies of our other letters were being made, we went to see the Constable and Marshal St. André, whom we found very gloomy because they had heard secretly that we meant to go away. We told them that we had reported fully to your Majesty on our latest meeting, and had had an answer this morning. If we had been surprised, after all they had said, to find them so unwilling to make proposals calculated to lead to peace, your Majesty was still more astonished. They had said they meant to suppress all cause for resentment, in order to build up a sincere friendship between their King and your Majesty. But they wanted to keep all they were holding, or at least they said they had no power to give up everything they had occupied during this war, we on our side doing the same, and had refused to give the English the satisfaction of recovering Calais: without meeting which condition there could be no negotiation. . . . . .
Draft. French.
Besançon, C.G.34.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.
463. The Bishop of Arras to Philip
Lille, 16 September Last night I received your Majesty's letter of yesterday, brought to me by the messenger who is carrying back my reply, about the dissatisfaction shown by the members of the Hanseatic League with the reply given them in England. I should have been glad, in order to give you a better opinion on this question, to have seen the letters which the English Privy Council wrote to your Majesty, and also those you wrote to them, as well as other relevant papers which I have not in my possession here. However, I will do my best.
If my recollection is correct, it had been decided that when the English replied to the Hanseatic representatives and the latter appealed to Regent Figueroa, complaining of this reply, as they are wont to do, the Regent was to write to your Majesty requesting you to act as intermediary, referring to what you had already written on the subject to the English Privy Council. I do not know whether the Hanseatic representatives have appealed to Don Alonso de Cordova or he has been informed that they might do so. But as there is no mention of this in your letter, I assume that they had not yet appealed to the Regent. This being the case, the best course would seem to be that which you have decided upon: i.e. to send someone who, as if of his own accord and under the pretext of other business, should visit the Hanseatic Towns and find out what is happening there. For this mission, I see no one more suitable than Gotfried de Pannkouck, your Majesty's Councillor in Gheldres, who is well known to Secretary Berti. He has often been in those parts, which indeed he visited last year, and has brought back excellent reports concerning your Majesty's interests. Some years ago he was a member of the Council of the Hanseatic Towns, and went to France on business of theirs. He knows many persons in the Towns, especially among those who manage affairs, and he would be better able than anyone else to find out the true position there, which he would do under cover of business of his own, thus speaking as if of his own accord, and persuade those in office to appeal to your Majesty, as they have always found you well disposed to them in the past, and you are better able to help them than anyone else. In order that Pannkouck may undertake this mission, I have prepared a despatch for him and am sending it with this letter. If you agree, President Viglius might write to Mepsch of Groeningen, son-in-law of the Burgomaster of Cologne, Arnold von Sighem, who is very active in these negotiations, in order that Mepsch may find out from his father-in-law what the position is, as he has often done before. Your Majesty might then obtain information about what happens at the Michaelmas Diet, when the ambassadors will present their report, and then decide what further steps had better be taken.
Last year, the Towns appealed to several neighbouring princes for protection, but as some of the Towns are on bad terms with these princes they were unable to find any who were willing to come out openly in their favour. Moreover, I remember that many of these Towns care nothing about this particular business, which is being pursued by certain merchants who wish to take advantage of the English cloth-trade. Although at one of their meetings it had been decided to prohibit the import of English cloth, many Towns were unwilling to enforce this measure. It is possible that the attitude adopted by the English may afford an opportunity for reaching an agreement. If it is discovered that the Towns are contemplating action directed against the English, I think you will have time to prevent it before anything concrete is undertaken, as the summer is now far advanced.
In case your Majesty were to desire Viglius to write to Mepsch, I am sending him a letter on the subject, in order that he may act as soon as he hears your pleasure.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, K.1492.
Printed from a draft at Besançon (C.G.34) by Weiss, Vol. V.
464. The Ambassadors of the Hanseatic Towns to Count Feria (Abstract)
Arras, 16 September Enclosed, the Ambassadors are sending to Count Feria a copy of the letter (fn. 1) which they had mentioned to him in conversation the previous day as having been submitted by them to the Queen of England after five months spent in fruitless efforts to obtain redress.
Time and opportunity now seem to be lacking for them to present their suit to the King, at present occupied at his camp, wherefore they beg Feria to inform them of the result of his Majesty's intervention on their behalf, of which Feria had spoken to them, in order that they might report to their superiors.
The ambassadors thank Feria for the honour and favour he has shown them.
Signed: Societatis Hansæ Teutonicæ Legati. Latin.
Simancas, E.811.
465. Viglius de Zwichem to Count Feria (fn. 2)
Arras, 20 September My Lord: I received your letters yesterday evening, with copies of various papers concerning the difference between the Hanseatic Towns and England. I should have been glad to carry out the instructions you sent me on behalf of the King and to have conferred this morning with the ambassadors of the Towns who are here at present, but I was suffering so much from my malady that I was unable to attend to it until this evening. However, I did as best I could. I reminded them that you had brought their affairs to his Majesty's attention, and that in order to spare them a journey to camp, his Majesty had been pleased to instruct me to confer with them. I explained to them that his Majesty and all his Ministers wished to contribute to the success of this affair, so that both sides might receive reasonable satisfaction. They then rehearsed everything that had happened since the beginning, saying that they had undertaken many journeys without any profit, and that now they had no hope unless his Majesty took the matter in hand. I asked them what more they wanted his Majesty to do. They answered that they would like him to write to the Queen not to allow herself to be influenced by the frivolous allegations of her Councillors. I observed that his Majesty would not be able to take sides in the question, but might listen to the arguments of both sides and then give such advice as seemed suitable. I asked whether they thought his Majesty ought to receive further information. They said they feared that to proceed thus would only be a further waste of time, for they had often learnt to their cost what delays were imposed upon them. Out of respect for the Queen, they had undertaken four separate journeys to England. Formerly, when difficulties cropped up between the Towns and that kingdom, it was customary to chose some neutral place, like Bruges, Antwerp or Utrecht, to hold a conference. I asked whether I might write on their behalf to his Majesty suggesting that he should ascertain whether the English would be willing to hold a meeting outside their own country, his Majesty sending some persons thither to act as mediators. They said they had no instructions on this point, but that if I wished to make the suggestion to his Majesty and he were willing to move the Englishmen to agree, they did not think their superiors would have any objection. They begged that, in case this line were adopted, his Majesty might promptly inform their superiors, in order to avoid further friction. As they had no instructions to wait here longer, they requested me to ask your Lordship to have them speedily informed of his Majesty's pleasure, so that they might shortly take their departure. I told them I would do this, and hoped to have a reply within two days. I am keeping the copies above referred to for reference in case his Majesty or your Lordship desire me to do anything further. As far as I can ascertain, their meeting will not be held as early as Michaelmas. The representatives intend to return, each one to his own home, while waiting for their superiors to hold a meeting at which they may present their report. They greatly desire that his Majesty should find out whether the English are willing to meet somewhere in these countries, in which case they would like to have their superiors informed as early as possible. For the rest, my Lord, I will not fail to seek news in the quarters where I am most likely to learn what is going to come of this Michaelmas meeting and what decisions they may reach.
Enclosed in this letter is a paper headed:
The Ambassadors of the Hanseatic Towns who were in England:
Antonius Ludinghausen, Consul of the city of Lubeck.
Constantinus Leiskirch, Proconsul of the city of Cologne.
Henricus Sudermann, Doctor and Syndic of the Teutonic Hanse.
Johannes Esick, Consul of the city of Bremen.
Hieronimus Bissenbeck, Consul of the city of Hamburg.
Holograph. French.
Simancas, E.811.
466. Count Feria to Viglius de Zwichem
The Camp, 21 September Yesterday, 20 September, I received your letter of that date. When his majesty had read it, he thought you had better find out from the Hanseatic ambassadors whether they have powers, or are disposed to ask for them from their superiors, to negotiate on the English affair with a commissioner who is to come from that kingdom. He is to be Dr. Wotton, formerly ambassador in France. Don Alonso de Córdova reports that he left England on 16 September, so that if the ambassadors have powers or can shortly obtain them, much time may be saved, although a little delay would not be a bad thing from our point of view if it were to calm down resentment. However, from what I have heard, these people (the Hanseatic Towns) are not at present in a position to get great forces together for any offensive purpose.
The meeting place chosen by his Majesty for these negotiations will be his Court, and not Bruges or Antwerp. It would not be just to regard these latter towns as neutral, as the English are vassals of the King and Queen.
If the ambassadors have no powers and are not disposed to send for them, it seems advisable to wait until they are duly empowered, when his Majesty will inform the English commissioner. These are the three points his Majesty directed me to mention in reply to your letter.
His Majesty was very sorry to hear that you were still unwell. He requests you to give him your opinion whenever you write to me. If you think fit, you may confer with the Bishop of Arras on the matter, which would spare me the trouble of doing so, for I am suffering from the same illness as yourself, although I remain disposed to serve you in any way I can. Please answer me as your health may permit in order that I may inform the commissioner who is to come from England.
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
467. Martin de Gaztelú to Juan Vázquez de Molina
Yuste, 21 September A report was sent to you by the courier who left the night before last on his Majesty's (i.e. the Emperor's) condition. Yesterday morning, he again made his peace with God, and once more received the Blessed Sacrament, after which he heard mass. To-day, at half past two before dawn, he gave up his soul to God, without having lost his speech or his senses until the moment when he expired. In every way, he showed who he was, and what a Christian. Thus, one may firmly believe, given his end and God's loving kindness, that he is now in heaven. There were present: the Archbishop of Toledo, (fn. 3) who arrived here yesterday at noon, Count Oropesa, Don Franciso, his brother, Don Diego, his uncle, the Comendador Mayor of Alcántara, the preachers of this household, the Confessor and Fray Pedro de Sotomayor. They all remained in wonderment, and felt envy rather than pity. We must give great thanks to Our Lord that He would have it so. The codicil has not yet been opened, because legal authority is required and the witnesses must recognise their signatures, but among other things his Majesty has ordered that his body is to remain deposited here until the King reaches a decision as to a burial place. His Majesty would have had it here, but he agreed to leave the decision (to the King), in this as in other matters. As for cloth for mourning, orders for it will be sent to-day, together with a list of the persons who it is considered ought to receive it. This list will be sent off with the worst piece of news that could be given for these kingdoms of Spain.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.128.
Printed by Gachard in Retraite et Mort de Charles Quint, Vol. I.
468. Count Feria to Viglius de Zwichem
The Camp, 23 September I have received your letter of 22 September and shown it to his Majesty, who following your opinion has given instructions that a letter be written to the Hanseatic ambassadors: he would be glad if they came back with powers from their superiors to negotiate with the English, informing him beforehand in order that he may send for the commissioner who is to come for that purpose from England. That commissioner comes too soon on the present occasion. When the Privy Council learned from d'Assonleville that the ambassadors were coming here, they sent Dr. Wotton off without further delay, Dr. Wotton being a member of the Council who has already taken a share in these negotiations. M. d'Arras now informs us that Dr. Wotton has arrived at Lille, and his Majesty has instructed him to proceed to Arras, where you may inform him of what has passed between yourself and the ambassadors, and look into the complaints the English are making on their side. Dr. Wotton is to stay at Arras pending the peace-talks at Lille, because if they materialise he is to be one of the English commissioners. His Majesty is very sorry to hear that your health is still unsatisfactory.
Copy. Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.
469. “Points for his Majesty's letter to Don Juan de Figueroa”
The camp at Authy, 25 September Just when I had decided to send off Ervas with instructions and letters for you as my ambassador in Rome, I received news through the Duke of Florence that Pope Paul was dead or very nearly so. (fn. 4) I have had no further confirmation of these news, and therefore doubt them; however, we have recently heard that he was unwell and extremely feeble. Also, he is very old. Therefore it seems wise to consider what line to take in case the news were true. I have decided to send Ervas with instructions for you to leave immediately for Rome, whether the Pope is dead or not, because it is urgent that you should be there during the vacancy of the Papal See. You will consequently drop everything else and prepare for the election of the next Pope, with a view to contributing to the choice of the good and holy man whom the interests of Christendom and the affairs of religion so badly need.
In order that you may understand my wishes in this matter, I will explain that in earlier elections and again now my only object is to promote the choice of a person who makes the service of God, the general welfare and peace his objects, endeavouring to extirpate the errors that have grown up in the religious domain and prevent them from multiplying. I desire to see reforms introduced where they are required and Christendom kept in peace and harmony, especially in Italy which has suffered so much from past wars, to our bitter grief. Such are the qualities which we wish to see in him who is to be chosen as the Vicar of Christ. Our own interests and those of our realms also demand such a Pope, although we have much less care for them than for the general good. If it turns out impossible to find a man possessing these qualities, at any rate may the new Pope not be a bad man.
This being the position, I am writing to the College of Cardinals a letter you will find enclosed (missing) to the same effect. You will speak to them in this strain, assuring them that my object is to assist in the election of a good Pope, and that they will give me the greatest pleasure by contributing to it, thus obliging me to do all I can for them in the future.
As these considerations may be of a somewhat general nature, I will mention certain individuals who have taken part in former elections and who seem to us to be worthy candidates. These are: Cardinal Carpi, Cardinal Morone, if the difficulties he has had with the Inquisition do not constitute an obstacle, Cardinal Puteo, Cardinal Medici (fn. 5) and Cardinal Ara Cœli. We give you these names for your information, but it must on no account be known that you have received instructions to support them or to exclude others, for the result would be great resentment in those who have not been named, and less zeal in the election. You will only confide in the Cardinal Camerlengo (Chamberlain), (fn. 6) whom we wish you to make head of the Conclave, warning him that no one is to know this. He is well aware of the position and realises how much harm has been done in the past when such matters have leaked out. (fn. 7) You will charge him to gather votes and try to keep the Cardinals together. You will make every effort in this direction yourself, using your influence with the Cardinals who are devoted to us in order that their ranks may not be broken, and emphasising the service they may render to God and the pleasure they will do me by contributing to a satisfactory outcome of the election.
You will speak privately to Cardinal Puteo and tell him that I have instructed you to favour him in this election, requesting him to let you know how you may best assist him. You will then inform the Camerlengo of your conversation with Cardinal Puteo, so that he may also shape his course accordingly. You will also favour Cardinal Carpi. If you see things moving in the direction of Cardinals Medici or Ara Cœeli, you will throw in your weight in their favour, because we hope that any one of these will turn out to be a suitable Pope.
We wish to exclude the Cardinal of Ferrara (fn. 8) and the French Cardinals. As for the rest, we cannot give you any definite instructions from here. You and the Camerlengo will be better able to judge on the spot, your conferences on this subject remaining entirely confidential.
I am writing to the Camerlengo a letter of credence for you, which you will see (missing). You will assure him that I will recognise his efforts, and that I am very sorry not to have been able to give him concrete proof of my intention, but that I am determined to do so, as he will see.
Cardinal Farnese will be present at this election, and you will make much of him in order that he may not feel jealousy because the management of it has been entrusted to Cardinal Santa Fiora. Speak to him in as conciliatory a manner as you know how and assure him of our confidence in him. Endeavour to maintain a good understanding between him and the Camerlengo; we have heard that there has been some friction between them in the past, which it is highly desirable they should forget on this occasion. You will follow the same line with Cardinal Sant' Angelo, his brother, and will present to both brothers the letters from me which are being sent to you with this one.
I am also writing to the Cardinal of Mantua, whom you will treat with great consideration. We hear that he is aiming at the Papacy. You will not disabuse him, but rather give him to understand, if he mentions his aims to you, that you have orders from me to support him if an opportunity occurs.
You will see the letter I am writing to Cardinal Carafa. You will visit him on my behalf and speak to him as you think the occasion requires, telling him how much I regret the death of the Pope. You will display confidence in him during these negotiations, and make such use of him as you can. He and his friends might considerably contribute to the desired result.
Yet other letters of credence are being sent to you, together with some with the addresses left blank, in order that you may address and date them as circumstances demand. If the Pope is not yet dead, he may shortly die, in which case you will be able to use these letters without having to wait for new ones, thus gaining valuable time.
As you will be passing by Florence, you will inform the Duke of the mission taking you to Rome. You will tell him that before I had received his letter, I was considering the same persons whom he named to me, because they seemed to be the most suitable. We had only added Ara Cœli, because of the good accounts we had heard of his learning and other qualities. You will tell him how we have instructed you to behave in this election, in order to find out from him what line he is going to take. You will show him complete confidence and endeavour to maintain a perfect understanding with him, for my service requires that you should do so.
Draft. Spanish.
Simancas, E.883.
470. Viglius de Zwichem to Count Feria
Arras, 25 September My Lord: I received your letters of the 24th inst. Following what you tell me and the decision his Majesty has been pleased to take concerning the deputies of the Hanse, I have written to them as you will see from the enclosed copy of my letter. (fn. 9) As soon as Dr. Wotton arrives here, I will not fail to inform him of everything that has taken place between the Hanseatic envoys and myself, as you instruct me to do on his Majesty's behalf.
Holograph. French.
Simancas, E.811.
471. Viglius de Zwichem to the Hanseatic Ambassadors (fn. 10) (Abstract)
Arras, 25 September Writer has conferred with Count Feria about the difference between the Hanseatic Towns and the English, and Feria has made a full report on the subject to the King. This is all it has been possible to do, so far. But the King hopes that the ambassadors will have realised his interest in the matter, and that more satisfactory results may be achieved if the Towns will agree to send full powers to negotiate means for disposing of all difficulties. The King will gladly use his best offices, and will write to the Queen of England, requesting her to send commissioners to his Court, there to enter into negotiations.
Writer would be glad to have an acknowledgment of the receipt of this letter.
Copy. Latin.
Simancas, E.811.
472. Fragmentary notes, in Simon Renard's hand, for a letter to Philip
September (?) (fn. 11) . . . . . .rather than abandon so laudable an undertaking, the French might be offered cancellation of the arrears they owe England, which have been reserved by the treaties between the two countries. It must be remembered that his Majesty's reputation and dignity are involved in this, as he bears the title of King of England, and that if he were to negotiate without the English and without obtaining Calais, the result might be revolt and estrangement, never to be made good. His Majesty should be warned that it is urgent to settle the Queen's affairs and to arrive at a decision as to marrying off the Lady Elizabeth, with a view to the succession to the throne. Until that has been done, affairs in that country will not go well.
All the other points are dealt with in the said writing, and are not entered into here, except for the dowry of Queen Eleanor, Dowager of France, lately deceased, which the French will be unwilling to pay to her heirs. They have often said that they would not pay, on the ground that they never received the money. This dowry, 300,000 crowns, was deducted from the ransom of King Francis, Queen Eleanor's husband. This matter will have to be seen to.
It should be remembered that unless negotiations are conducted as the French character requires, no satisfactory results will be achieved. It will be difficult to obtain restitution of places which the French have occupied, for they have spent 29 years and 50 million crowns to gain these places, lost great numbers of their nobility and people, and pledged all the Crown property. Without being reduced to extreme necessity, they will certainly not wish to give back what they have shown such determination in conquering.
We have to deal with a prince who has little conscience, is ambitious and of a saturnine disposition, and much inclined to making war.
The second person in the realm is now a prisoner. As he knows his master, he will take care not to give him any advice for which he might afterwards be blamed and which might cause the ruin of his house. The coming and going of l'Aubépine is highly suspicious. The Constable is very sharp, and will have managed to convey his meaning to l'Aubépine, and let him know what he has been able to gather about our affairs. By asking for the appointment of a new commissioner, he will divest himself of responsibility for breaking off peace negotiations, or gain time by some other ruse. It would be a mistake to allow him to go to France on the plea that he is at odds with the House of Guise, for the quarrel between them is not as serious as is made out. They understand each other far better than they allow it to appear, as will be seen in connexion with the ransom.
It is easy to read the Constable's mind. His words, his expression, his changing colour immediately give him away. The safest course is to negotiate with him in a resolute and determined manner, without ever deviating from the object in view, and not to believe anything he says, but always to bring him back to the point. If possible, negotiations had better be carried on with him in writing. He always avoids this method if he can.
The House of Guise has profited so much by the recent conquests and has made such a good business out of war, that its members will not easily be won over to the cause of peace and restitution. The only way to conciliate M. de Guise would be to arrange a marriage between his son and the Duchess of Lorraine's daughter.
As for Marshal St. André, he cares less for the general welfare than for his own personal profit. He can be led wherever one likes, for he is altogether bent on becoming rich.
Besançon, C.G.75.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.


  • 1. See letter dated 27 August, 1558.
  • 2. Addressed: à Monseigneur le Comte de Feria, au Camp.
  • 3. Bartolomé Carranza, who had succeeded Siliceo as Archbishop of Toledo, Primate of Spain, and who afterwards spent seventeen years in the prisons of the Inquisition.
  • 4. Paul IV did not die until 18 August, 1559.
  • 5. Gian Angelo Medici (of Milan) was elected Pope, on 26 December, 1559, to succeed Paul IV.
  • 6. Cardinal Santa Fiora.
  • 7. See p. 187.
  • 8. Ippolito d Este.
  • 9. See the following paper.
  • 10. This paper bears no name of sender. But Viglius de Zwichem's letter to Feria of the same date, reproduced above, makes it certain that it is his.
  • 11. This paper is docketed 1558. Its context shows that it was written some time after news of the death of Queen Eleanor (18 February, 1558) had reached the Low Countries, and before Queen Mary of England was known to be dangerously ill. It may well have been written in September, 1558, when negotiations with the French were about to begin.