BHO

Spain: November 1558

Pages 435-442

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

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November 1558

495. The Bishop of Arras to the Duke of Savoy (Abstract)
Cercamp, 1 November The writer outlines the position with regard to the peace negotiations in much the same terms as in his letter to Viglius de Zwichem of 30 October (p. 434) and adds:
Although the French have promised to return in six days and settle the other points while we are waiting for the English, I do not believe they will do so. Or, if they do, they will play for time and settle nothing until the English answer comes and they know how much they are going to secure. Then they will become even stiffer, seeing that instead of their soliciting us, as previously, we are now seeking them out. And if they gain their point with the English, I think they will be very hard as to the rest, and especially about Piedmont, Montferrat and Corsica. They will expect to obtain all they want, as they see us yielding to them so easily in a matter in which they are clearly in the wrong in their demands on England. . . . . . .
Draft French.
Besançon, C.G.34.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.
496. The Bishop of Arras to the Confessor (of Philip) (Extract)
Cercamp, 2 November I was greatly favoured by your letter received yesterday. I would not have been so tardy in sending you news from here if I had known where my letters could reach you. Be it for our sins or because God will have it so for some other reason, the French do not appear disposed to make peace. They seem to have heard how anxious we are for peace, and therefore to intend to sell it dear. Or perhaps they are hoping to accomplish marvels next year, and are building on the great desire that exists (i.e. in Philip) to go to Spain. They take advantage of everything. They are extremely unreasonable towards the English. I was not wrong in desiring more light on this point before coming to this meeting, for the English really have more justification for their attitude than I had thought. They have proved that the French have acknowledged their rights over Calais in treaties for the last two hundred years, and owe them two million crowns, the greater part of which sum was lent to the French, this debt being recognised in the last treaty concluded between the two kingdoms in the days of the late King Edward. The strongest reason the French have been able to advance is that all rights under past treaties have lapsed because the English declared war on them in our favour. The obligations incumbent on the English because of their treaties with us have not sufficed to make the French admit their claim, although they were informed of this position before they made war on us, and there were reservations to this effect in the Treaty of Crépy and the last two treaties with Kings Henry and Edward of England. You may consider what the French are aiming at, and whether it is to make trouble between us and the English, as they tend to make this the central point of the whole negotiation.
They are following a similar course in the Corsican question, refusing to give up the island, their aim being to cause resentment between us and the Genoese. Their conduct certainly denotes no desire to arrive at a lasting peace, but rather to harm us in every way they can. Seeing that such is their attitude, I wish, his Majesty would order us to withdraw from the negotiation, without altogether breaking off, but recalling us on account of other business until some fresh means can be devised with the English, since we cannot negotiate without them. Then, his Majesty might send us or others to confer, or appoint other delegates to meet those sent by the King of France. My guiding principle in this is one that seldom turns out to be wrong: i.e. that the French never act out of virtue. Either they need peace or they do not. If they do need peace, we will reach a settlement without giving up our rights. If they do not need it, they will not settle unless they can obtain terms that are greatly to their advantage and to our detriment, and will remain bent on harming us still more at the earliest opportunity. On this occasion they understand that we are being conciliatory because of their unreasonable attitude towards the English, and this has made them arrogant and unwilling to negotiate on other matters. As for Calais, they say flatly that they mean to keep it, and refuse to offer the English any satisfaction. When we tried to induce them to pass to the consideration of other questions, in order to gain time while the English conferred, the French refused, saying that they would not examine anything else until this point of Calais was disposed of. Indeed they proposed that, while the English consulted about Calais, we and they should go to our respective masters, leaving here some persons of minor importance in order that the negotiations might not appear to have been broken off. When they saw that we did not like this idea, they came out with something else, namely that they should have six days to go and report to their master, after which they would return. But I fear they will not come back so quickly, and that when they do appear they will either insist on waiting for a reply from the English, or take up so stiff an attitude on other questions that the English reply may come before anything else can be settled. It therefore seems to me that it would be preferable to break on this English question, which puts us more in the right than others would. I think the road we are choosing as the shortest may turn out to be the longest, and as the French see that we are temporising and undecided in the English matter, we will find them all the more obdurate when it comes to Piedmont. I am writing to you in confidence because I know you will keep this secret, although I believe you will have heard the same from the Duke (of Alva). . . . . . .
Holograph. Spanish.
Madrid, B.P., Col. Granvela.
Printed from a draft at Besançon (C.G.34) by Weiss, Vol. V.
497. The Bishop of Arras to Count Feria
Cercamp, 5 November I kiss your Lordship's hands one hundred thousand times for the favour you did me with your yesterday's letter, received by me to-day. It would have given me infinite pleasure to be able to kiss your hands before you left, but I was not so fortunate. The Duke has told us of the instructions you have received concerning the peace negotiations. My view is still that we ought to make no suggestions involving the abandonment of Calais, but stand firm, making some allusion to what is going on, which they will have heard from their own ambassadors. I think we should make it plain to the English that we do not intend to negotiate without them, and should stick to it that over and above the provocations the French gave to the Queen of England, the English entered the war because we were justified in asking them to do so by our treaties with them, especially that of 1542, which is perpetual and binding on heirs and successors, and was confirmed at Utrecht when the Chapter of the Golden Fleece was held there early in 1546 or late in 1545, and again by the marriage treaty. It must not be admitted that the Queen entered the war in order to please the King. The English would resent this suggestion, because when the marriage was being negotiated we assured them that they would not be involved in war because of it, and a stipulation to this effect exists in the marriage treaty. I beg you to let me know if I can serve you in any way here. You will find many who can do more than I can, but no one who is a more affectionate servant of yours.
Draft. Spanish.
Madrid, B.P., Col. Granvela.
498. Christophe d'Assonleville to Philip
Westminster, 7 November at 8 in the evening Parliament opened yesterday at Westminster, attended by a great number of senators, prelates, knights and members for the towns. However, no proposals were made yesterday, members doing nothing but present themselves in their accustomed places. More continue to arrive, and very few will be absent. Even the Treasurer and the Admiral are here. Some wished to excuse themselves, but their excuses were not admitted and they were again ordered to make their appearance. This Parliament will continue to discuss the business that was left over when it last met, and will then take up the question of war expenditure. It will also have to consider the peace negotiations, and also the question of the succession, in case the Queen were to die without issue.
If your Majesty had been able to be present, it would have been extremely useful in order to influence the Parliament in the desired sense, but if urgent business in the Low Countries makes it impossible for you to be absent from there, Count Feria's visit may be very helpful, as far as the present position permits, for he is well liked here. One good thing is that several members of the Council are beginning to understand that an alliance with Flanders is necessary for England, because this kingdom by itself could not defend itself against the French and Scots, its ancient and natural enemies, without your Majesty's assistance. However, the people do not yet realise this, and are now talking about marrying the Lady Elizabeth to the Earl of Westmoreland or the Earl of Arundel, or else in Sweden or Denmark; such is their inconsistency and ignorance of what is good for them.
Since the Queen's illness reached its climax, she has had some good intervals, and there have been days when she was free of the paroxysms from which she had suffered, as I reported to your Majesty. However, the outcome of her illness is not yet certain. Indeed, the people make her out to be more dangerously ill than the doctors say, and according to rumours circulating in the country prospects for her are such that knowledge of them is likely to make it extremely difficult to make the French agree to give back Calais. Still, if your Majesty refuses to make peace on any other terms, the French will have to give way on that point, because they are in need of peace, especially if they see that you are in a position to attack them heavily next season. They will not yield without making a show of breaking off, at which the French are extremely expert, hoping to gain some further advantage. Their object is only to get you to agree to a suspension of arms, which would be highly prejudicial to the cause of lasting peace. The Romans always operated as follows: when they were approached with peace proposals by their enemies, they attacked with the utmost violence, holding that the enemy never makes peace overtures for any other reason than that he is afraid, or that he thinks he can deceive his adversary, wherefore the part of wisdom is not to relent for a moment, but to continue operations with the greatest energy. Your Majesty knows this very well, and may remember that there are many Ulysses in France whose strength lies rather in their guile than in their might; and this is especially true now that their strength is exhausted. It is being said here that they are sending troops to Piedmont. Although the French may not be doing this, they hope that by putting such rumours in circulation they will intimidate your Majesty's army on the spot, for they would greatly welcome any relief they might obtain here if your Majesty were to send reinforcements to that quarter.
I beg your Majesty to forgive me for writing, which I have only done out of my desire to discharge my duty towards your Majesty.
As the Queen continues to be ill, the Privy Council spoke to her yesterday with a view to persuading her to make certain declarations in favour of the Lady Elizabeth concerning the succession. Her Majesty consented; and the Comptroller and the Master of the Rolls are being sent to-day on her behalf and that of the Council to visit the Lady Elizabeth and inform her that the Queen is willing that she succeed in the event of her own death, but that she asks two things of her: one, that she will maintain the old religion as the Queen has restored it; and the other that she will pay the Queen's debts. These officers of state are expected to come back immediately they have carried out their mission. I thought I had better send off this courier at once to report this to your Majesty, and also to tell you that fears about the outcome of the Queen's illness are increasing from day to day.
Holograph. Trench.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn dc Lettenhove, Relations Politique, Vol. I.
499. The Peace Commissioners to Philip (Extract from a fragment)
7 November Sire: The Cardinal of Lorraine only returned yesterday, and the Constable and Marshal St. André to-day. We met after dinner, and they excused themselves for having stayed away a couple of days longer (than had been agreed); they had done so in order to come with full knowledge of their master's intentions.
(The rest of this fragment (fn. 1) deals only with Piedmont and other North Italian questions.)
Draft. French.
Besançon, C.G.34.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. V.
500. Gonzalo Pérez to Don Antonio de Toledo (fn. 2)
Brussels, Saturday, 12 November I have received the letter you wrote to me yesterday, and at once prepared a letter addressed to Count Luna, for his Majesty's signature. This letter (missing) will accompany mine. I went into full details in it, because it is necessary thus to proceed between fathers and sons, who wish to know details which may be omitted between persons who are not so closely related. If you think anything ought to be left out, the letter had better be re-written. A messenger has come from England with a letter from Don Alonso de Cordova, which I am now sending you (missing). From what I have seen in another of his letters, he has no great hopes of the Queen being saved. I have letters from a friend of mine, an Italian, who is well informed about affairs in England, where he has lived for ten years. He writes in the same strain, and says that everyone over there regards Elizabeth as Queen, and that he hears the Earl of Arundel is aiming at marrying her, and has many supporters in his design. According to him, the English are set upon not allowing her to marry anyone but an Englishman. I beg you to tell this to his Majesty, if it seems to you to be of any importance. Count Feria had already reached Dover.
Holograph. Spanish.
Simancas, E.517.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
501. Philip to Count Feria
Grünendal, 15 November I answered your letter from Dover with one written in my own hand, so that little now remains to be said except to send you a copy (missing) of one from Don Alonso de Córdova and another from d'Assonleville. They will have spoken to you already, but I thought it preferable to send you their letters in order that you might be fully informed of the atmosphere in England. I am anxiously awaiting letters from you with news of the Queen's health and of what you will have done since your arrival over there. Together with this letter, I am sending eight letters of credence in your favour, without addresses, and four others with the signature in blank (all missing) in order that you may complete and use them as you may see fit. There are no fresh news from Italy. As soon as any arrive, I will inform you.
Signed: Yo el Rey; countersigned: Gonzalo Pérez.
Simancas, E.811.
Printed by Kervyn de Lettenhove, Relations Politiques, Vol. I.
502. Philip to the Princess Dowager of Portugal, Regent of Spain (Extracts)
Brussels, Closed on 4 December (fn. 3) . . . . . When this (the Emperor's death) had happened, came the, death of the Queen of Hungary, my aunt. You may imagine what a state I am in. It seems to me that everything is being taken from me at once. Blessed be The Lord for what He does! One must say nothing, but accept His will, begging Him to be content with what He has already done. The Queen, my wife, has been ill; and although she has recovered somewhat, her infirmities are such that grave fears must be entertained on her score, as a physician I sent to her with Count Feria writes to me. All these happenings are perplexing to me, and I am obliged to ponder much on the government to be provided for the Low Countries, and also on what I must do in England, in the event either of the Queen's survival or of her death, for these are questions of the greatest importance, on which the welfare of my realms depends. I will say nothing of my own peace and quiet, which matters little in this connexion. With regard to peace, I have done and am doing everything compatible with my honour and reputation in order to achieve this end. At the beginning, the French appeared to be well disposed, but since then, as is their wont, they have proved changeable and have tried to snatch every possible advantage. They are so far determined not to give back Calais, although several proposals to that end have been made to them: for instance that Calais be returned as part of the King of France's daughter's dowry on her marriage to the Prince (Don Carlos), or that it be placed in trust for a time, pending recourse to justice, or some other means that might appear reasonable, and acceptable to the English. I have been unwilling to consider any solution without (the consent of) the English, for to do so would be a very heavy load for me to carry. To conclude peace without the return of Calais would make the whole kingdom of England rise in indignation against me, although they lost the place by their own fault, when I had warned them that the French were going to attack it and had offered them reinforcements many days before the attack took place. But as England went to war on my account, I am obliged to pay great attention to this matter. If God were to call the Queen, it would be especially necessary to keep the English satisfied, for many reasons. . . . . . . . . .
After I had written the above, I received letters from my commissioners (at the peace-negotiations). They say the French remain as obdurate as ever about Calais; but it had been agreed to prolong the suspension of arms in these parts for six weeks to two months, until it should be seen what the English decide on the subject (Calais). Our commissioners have asked the French to set their views down in writing on the subject of a match between the Prince and the King of France's daughter, and the surrender of places occupied by both sides and other outstanding points, so that everything may be disposed of except Calais. The French excused themselves on the ground that this was not necessary, the exchange of views that had taken place being sufficient. This happened in the presence of the Duchess of Lorraine, and not at the place where they were accustomed to meet. The Calais question cannot be settled so soon, now that the Queen, my wife, is dead. May God have received her in His glory! I felt a reasonable regret for her death. I shall miss her, even on this account. I have given my agreement to the prolongation of the truce, in order not to break off with the French, and I shall seek to induce the English to agree to terms making it possible to conclude a peace for the general good.. . . . . . . .
Draft Spanish.
Simancas, E.516.
503. “Memorandum (fn. 4) of the jewels that lie in a coffer at Whitehall”
-November In case you have to band over this list and have it translated, I am setting down here what I remember as when and how the things were given to me.
The golden objects, precious stones, jewels and garments which his (or her) Majesty wished to have left in England were all packed in a trunk which was bought in London and which was deposited, locked, in the late Queen's chamber. The key of the coffer is being sent herewith.
I have a ring which the Queen sent to me. I do not know whether it was in this coffer this last time I was in England. I think you saw it. Let me know whether it should be given back so that I may send it to you..
A rich garter, with two large facetted diamonds, a large pearl, five flat diamonds set in a rose pattern, twelve flat rubies round the garter, set two by two, and twenty-four pearls set two by two. The Earl of Arundel attached this to my leg on board ship at Southampton.
A chain of fifty-eight links, each link carrying diamonds or rubies, two stones on each, together with a St. George in armour made of diamonds, and the dragon formed by a pearl. The Earl of Arundel hung this round my neck on the same occasion.
A chain of thirty-five links, nine of them with two diamonds each, five and four with two rubies each, all small stones, and eighteen links with two pearls each and eight links without stones, together with a St. George in armour made of diamonds and the caparison of the horse also of diamonds, and on St. George's back a red cross. The belly of the dragon is a pearl. One of the links of this chain which bears no stone has part of it missing. This was given to me later, I think, together with the suit.
A St. George of gold, without a chain, the horse's haunches and belly made of a pearl and a little diamond as a headpiece, and the dragon in green. His Majesty paid the Queen's silversmith for this St. George. It is enclosed in a little gilt case. I bought this as it is said here.
Another St. George in rusicler enamel, with a white horse and a garter round it, and two other St. Georges, smaller than the foregoing, one above the other, one of these being very small.
Another St. George on a black ribbon. These four St. Georges are in a small round case. Of these, some were given to me by the Queen, and I bought others. A necklace in two pieces, with five flat diamonds and four rubies on one of the pieces, and sixteen pearls set two by two on the other, this latter being the front part. One of the diamonds is a large one, and there are also six rubies, and twenty pearls, two by two. This was sent by the Queen for me to wear it at the opening of Parliament with my robes, although I only wore the garter, as you saw.
Another small necklace with thirteen roses, a garter and thirteen knots, as well as a small St. George, in a black velvet case. This was sent to me by the Countess of Arundel as a valentine.
Three garters of purple velvet, with their pieces, clasps, settings and braid, nothing being missing. One of them has a pearl in a setting. All three are in a white case. I believe I bought these also.
A dagger which the Queen gave to his Majesty in England, complete with its stones and chain, and the sheath with its stones and pearls, nothing being missing, enclosed in a case. This was sent to me by the Queen with Lord Pembroke, one Garter-day.,
A velvet cap, also given to his Majesty by the Queen, with its stones and pearls and a bonnet with a little chain and a medal with diamonds and rubies, and white plumes. This was sent to me by the Queen in the house where I spent the night before entering London, and I wore it on my head on that occasion.
A purple velvet cloak with a long train, with its garter and tassels, lined in white taffeta. This was placed on my shoulders at Windsor, and I did not leave it here, because I had another one made without a train, with a purple robe underneath, like one of the Order (of the Golden Fleece).
A French robe of cloth of gold adorned with crimson velvet and thistles of curled gold, lined in crimson satin, with twelve buttons made of four pearls each on each sleeve, making twenty-four in all. I wore this at my wedding, and the Queen sent it to me for that purpose.
Another French robe of cloth of gold, with the roses of England and pomegranates embroidered on it, adorned with drawn gold beads and seed pearls. The sleeves carry eighteen buttons, nine on each, made of table diamonds. The lining is of purple satin. This was given to me by the Queen for me to wear on our wedding day in the afternoon, but I do not think I wore it because it seemed to me ornate. This is what I had in England. If there is anything more in that kingdom it is my property; but I do not think there is anything more.
(Second list)
The following is what remains in the Garter-coffer which was handed over from among the Emperor's jewels.
When his Majesty left he told me that I might, if I saw fit, leave his robes and a collar in England. I therefore took them and put them in the same coffer with the other things the Emperor had, and which ought to go to that kingdom. I believe his Majesty thought he was under an obligation to return these things, as the knights of the Golden Fleece are, although I believe that knights of the Garter are not. You will make sure of this in order that I may comply with my duty in this matter.
A great set of purple velvet robes of the Garter with their tassels and coat-of arms, lined in white satin. This is the set his Majesty had ever since he first belonged to the Garter, of which he was the oldest knight. It is very old.
A collar of the Garter with twenty roses and twenty knots, and a St. George in armour made of diamonds on a white horse, with a diamond as its head-piece, and the belly of the dragon made of a ruby. The same.
Another collar of the Garter with eighteen roses and eighteen knots, and a golden St. George enamelled in white. This also was among his Majesty's jewels. I believe it must have belonged to King Philip. (fn. 5)
A chain with its clasp behind, and a St. George in gold and white, the horse white and the dragon green.
A purple velvet Garter with all its pieces and letters, setting and clasp, and three braids, which goes in the case containing the collars above mentioned.
Another round Garter, all in gold, with its stones and pearls, nothing missing.
A book of the Order of the Garter, bound in red leather.
In the Order of the Golden Fleece, they are obliged to return books. I do not know whether this is the case in the Garter. The book of the Garter was not given to me. But the Earl of Arundel's son gave me u translation of it, which he had made into Latin.
Spanish.
Simancas, E.811.

Footnotes

  • 1. This is the latest paper in the Granvelle Collection for the reign of Mary I. A fragment of a letter from the Peace Commissioners to Philip, dated 26 November, 1558, records that when the news of Mary's death reached Cercamp, it was decided to suspend negotiations for several weeks, until the English Ambassadors had received instructions from the new Sovereign. The parley was resumed at Cateau-Cambresis on 5 February, 1559, and led to the conclusion of peace between the crowns of France, Spain and England by the treaty known by the name of that place, on 3 April, 1559. The Granvelle Collection contains the Spanish Commissioners' despatches to Philip and his instructions to them during the negotiations, in which the fate of Calais and other questions concerning England are frequently mentioned. These papers are printed by Weiss, Vol. V, but have not been reproduced in the Calendar of State Papers (Spanish Series) for the reign of Elizabeth.
  • 2. Cavallierizo Mayor y del Consejo de su Majestad.
  • 3. This draft was begun in November, before the news of Mary's death had reached Philip, and was ended on 4 December.
  • 4. This paper appears to have been written shortly after Mary's death. The passages in italics are in Philip's own hand.
  • 5. i.e. Philip the Handsome, father of Charles V.