Spain: October 1558, 1-15

Pages 413-415

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

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October 1558, 1–15

473. Christophe d'Assonleville to Philip
Westminster, 10 October Sire: Count Lalaing wrote to me recently by your Majesty's orders that I was to endeavour discreetly to find out what intelligences the English may have with the Kings of Denmark and Sweden, and also those that may exist between the King of Sweden and the Hanseatic Towns, as well as the state of the army and other affairs in Sweden. He also ordered me to report directly to your Majesty on what I might discover.
In order to carry out these instructions, I approached various persons who are familiar with these questions and also well disposed towards your Majesty. Under cover of friendly conversations, I endeavoured to obtain as much information as possible, which I have incorporated in a report (missing) which is being sent with this letter. I believe I have got at the truth, for I not only heard it from the Alderman of the Stillyards on the very day of his death, but also from certain persons who know Denmark and Sweden thoroughly, among them being some natives of your Low Countries who are on intimate terms with the Swedish ambassador. If I discover more than what I have now reported, or anything in disagreement with it, I will not fail to inform your Majesty at once.
Your Majesty may be interested to learn of the great profits made by the London merchants out of their voyage to Muscovy. I am sending you a piece of money brought back from that country. This is the most valuable coin in circulation there; and it may be worth about as much as one Flemish sou. In Muscovy, a man is very rich if he has forty of these pieces in his pocket. Hardly any money is used, everything being done by exchange and barter. A few Hungarian ducats turn up there, but rarely, and they have no other gold or silver. I believe the Londoners did not come off very well on this occasion . . . . . . .(paper torn). Of the four ships with which they sallied forth they only brought back two, and those very ill-laden. They would not have been able to sell their goods at all had not the Duke, for this one time, favoured them by exchanging certain goods against what they brought. This bad beginning tends to make the English reluctant to accept the offers made by the King of Sweden, for they are afraid of doing equally badly there.
This is all the more the case that the English cannot go to Muscovy without the knowledge and consent of the Hanseatic Towns, with which they are on uncertain terms. I believe that when these Towns learn what the Swedish ambassador here is about, they will not be pleased, and that this might afford an opportunity for spoiling his game in case he were to attempt anything elsewhere.
Sire: The Queen is better at present than she has been since she fell ill, and the same is true of the Cardinal. The great maladies are coming to an end here.
Holograph., French.
Simancas, E.811.
474. Philip II to his Peace Commissioners (Abstract)
The Camp near Auxy-le-Château, 15 October Great difficulty experienced in finding forage for the cavalry; horses dying in vast numbers. Philip does not dislike the idea, put forward by the French, of a suspension of arms, and directs his commissioners to try to negotiate one by the end of the month. Approves what the commissioners said about the English ambassadors.
Copy or translation. French.
Besançon, C.G.34.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.
475. The Spanish Peace Commissioners (fn. 1) to Philip II (Abstract)
Cercamp, 15 October Count Mélito being indisposed, the other four commissioners met their French colleagues. After having embraced, as was customary, they conferred two by two: the Constable of France with the Duke of Alva, Marshal St. André with the Prince of Orange, and the Cardinal of Lorraine with the Bishop of Arras. On comparing notes afterwards, the Spanish commissioners found that the French had insisted particularly on two points: one, that they objected to the English ambassadors being present throughout the negotiations, for fear this would sour the atmosphere; and the other, that they did not like the idea of a suspension of arms, but wanted the armies to go home at once.
The Spanish commissioners replied that the English ambassadors would only take part in the negotiations when their own question came up for discussion, and that a suspension of arms would do no harm provided it were short.
Copy. French.
Besançon, C.G.34.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.
476. The Spanish Peace Commissioners to Philip 11 (Abstract)
Cercamp, 15 October A meeting was held with the French after dinner in Count Mélito's room (Mélito being indisposed). The French agreed that both armies should be disbanded, thus enabling the two sovereigns to save some 400,000 to 500,000 crowns per mensem. There followed a long discussion, with set speeches on both sides, full of the usual protestations of peaceful intentions.
At length, the restitution of territories occupied by one side and the other during the war was broached, including Calais and the places which had changed hands in Italy, the Cardinal of Lorraine remarking that certain questions might be settled in conjunction with a matrimonial alliance between Don Carlos and the King of France's elder daughter. (fn. 2) Another marriage, between the Duke of Savoy and Margaret, (fn. 3) sister of the King of France, might serve to compose another set of difficulties.
Draft. French.
Besançon, C.G.34.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.
477. Count Feria to the Bishop of Arras
The Camp, Saturday evening, 15 October Thomas Gresham, who usually conducts the Queen's business at Antwerp, has arrived here with a letter from the English Privy Council to the King. His Majesty charges your Lordship to see him, and unless there is some reason against it to grant their request. You will inform me who is to attend to the matter, so that I may send Gresham to Antwerp, whither his Majesty wishes him to proceed at once. Gresham also wishes to pursue his journey, given the great discomfort that prevails here, which is such that we will have to leave soon ourselves, unless you act well and quickly. God help you, and us too!
Holograph. Spanish.
Madrid, B.P., Col. Granvela.


  • 1. These were: the Duke of Alva, the Prince of Orange, Count MMélitoeacute;lito, the Bishop of Arras and Viglius de Zwichem.
  • 2. Elizabeth of Valois, born in 1545, became the third wife of Philip II in 1559.
  • 3. This union also was concluded in 1559.