August 1555


Institute of Historical Research



Royall Tyler (editor)

Year published





Comment on this article
Double click anywhere on the text to add an annotation in-line

Citation Show another format:

'Spain: August 1555', Calendar of State Papers, Spain, Volume 13: 1554-1558 (1954), pp. 239-249. URL: Date accessed: 19 April 2014. Add to my bookshelf


(Min 3 characters)

August 1555

229. Philip to Ruy Gómez de Silva (?) (fn. 1)
2 AugustWe have spent several hours to-day trying to finish the corrections, because to-morrow I wish to deal with the elections (to Parliament) and the question of the Order (of the Golden Fleece) so as to be free to attend to the other matters. I handed them (i.e. the English) to-day some articles drawn up by the Chancellor, containing three points: the first is that only Catholics and persons not subject to suspicion should be elected; the second, that they (i.e. members of Parliament) should take great care in their districts to punish offences against religion, from now on; and the third, that they should hear mass every day unless there is some serious reason for not doing so. Although I swore secrecy, it is necessary for the service of God that I should know your opinion, being sure that you will keep the matter entirely secret, as I order you to do. Now, I beg you to let me have your opinion about the above, and as to what I am to tell the Englishmen to-morrow. Of the three points I have enumerated, almost all of them agreed on the first. The second gives several of them pause. They say that the placards require them to comply, under penalty of losing their property and all the rest; and as this obligation has already been imposed upon them it would not be reasonable to add another one. The third point raises still more opposition. They say that as Christians they already have this duty, and that it is to do them an injury to ask more of them; for at that rate, if they did not conform, they would be sinning twice over. I am afraid that some of them do not have the right ideas, although this is the case with a few only, and with regard to them I am not sure that they are sincere in complaining of the obligations that would be laid upon them, for in truth these do not amount to much. In view of such considerations, and as it was very late, I was unwilling to come to a decision on the spot and put it off till to-morrow. I should be very happy to know what you think I had better do to-morrow, so as to cause as little trouble as possible.
I have offered the Marquess of Pescara (fn. 2) a lump sum payment of 20,000 ducats plus 2,000 a year for two or three years, which time he may spend with me. He first appeared to be pleased, but kept repeating that he was hard up; and now I learn that he cannot accept unless he gets 10,000 or 12,000 florins a year. I am determined to have him informed that I cannot give him so much, and that if he is unwilling to accept the offer that has been made to him he need not come at all and will get nothing. He says that he wants to accept if he obtains a sufficient grant, but I mean to stick to what I have just said. I am waiting for Count Egmont, to whom I sent word that I wished to speak to him to-night, and if I speak to him I will speak to the Prince of Orange to-morrow. I will tell you what has happened. I have called a meeting about the Order for 2 o'clock to-morrow, and before going into the meeting I wish to see them in the presence of my Lady. Let me know whom you think I should summon and what I had better say to them, and what line I am to take with the Queen about leaving her and about religion. I see I must say something, but God help me 1 Members of the Spanish Council, and I refer particularly to Don Antonio de Toledo, tell me that the impression over there is that the Prince of Ferrara had better be talked to about what his father is up to. So let this be done.
The singers are highly indignant because they are not placed as they formerly were. I cannot speak to them in order to win them over, especially as they are not being paid more. See how this can be remedied, and also try to settle the matter of the archers this week.
Hoberman spoke to me to-day about a memorandum he handed to me. I believe you have a copy of it, or if not the President will remind me of it together with the other questions. I will in any case finish with the Golden Fleece to-morrow, in order to be free to attend to the other matters, for I would like to finish up with everything this week.
You will see by the enclosed letter that Bouillon has been surrendered.
In Philip's band. Spanish.
Besançon, C.G.5
230. The Bishop of Arras to Philip
Brussels, 8 AugustThis is only to accompany the reports being sent to your Majesty, together 8 August with letters taken by Secretary Ascanio Marzo. News come from several Swiss sources to the effect that the troops raised by the King of France are on their way to Piedmont, but that those from Picardy have not yet been raised, and that some horse are again proceeding to Italy. The Marquess Albert does not seem to be very active at present, and French intrigues in Saxony are not going as well as they were.
I have nothing further to add about the King of Denmark's fleet.
The position at the Diet is that if the King of the Romans gives the Protestants an answer to their liking about peace and religion, he will be acting against his conscience and the position he occupies, being so foremost a prince; and if he answers not to the Protestants' liking, they will break up the Diet without concluding anything, will go away, will upset everything and may easily be persuaded to start fighting again as they did in the year 1552. Therefore it has been decided to try to dissolve the Diet and to leave affairs to be settled by another to be summoned next March at Ratisbon, provided that the princes are willing to attend in person. In order to persuade them to do this, ambassadors have been sent to the Electors and other leading princes; and the King of the Romans is urging his Majesty to be present there in person, telling him that if he is willing to do this the Diet may be held at another place nearer to these provinces. For my part, I believe that, even without mentioning the election, it would be a very good thing in the interests of your Majesty if the Emperor were to allow himself to be persuaded to do this, provided his health can stand it. His Majesty does not dislike the idea of proroguing the Diet, considering the present position, or of choosing another place of meeting. But as for agreeing to appear there himself, or to address the Diet, I do not think he will be willing to do so. We shall see what he decides when Ruy Gomez and Secretary Eraso come over. This is all I have to say at present.
Draft or Copy. Spanish.
Besançon, C.G.73.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.
231. Philip Nigri to Jehan Carette, President of the Emperor's Court of Accounts (Extract from a letter dealing with the pest at Lille, and private affairs)
Brussels, 13 AugustWe still have hopes that a child will be born to England by the end of this month. We shall see what God sends us. . . .
Holograph. French.
Lille, L.M.53.
232. A Memorandum of the Emperor's Privy Council concerning the claim of some English merchants
15 AugustA dispute has arisen between the Governor (sic) and other members of the English community, petitioners, and François Doolman, a collector of dues (toullieu) in Brabant, concerning the right of collecting these dues. His Majesty's Privy Council are of opinion that the tax-collector should be required to refund to the petitioners the moneys received by him or his clerks, on account of the said dues, on a certain quantity of wine bought by the petitioners in Zealand, where they paid the dues, and then transported to Antwerp to be shipped to England, as it appears by the confession of the tax-collector himself. The Treaty of Intercourse of the year 1520, article 3, appealed to by the petitioners, expressly stipulates that English merchants importing their goods by sea at Bergen or Middelburg will not be required to pay dues or any other impost in Brabant on the said goods, but will only have to pay dues in Zealand. But in spite of this Treaty of Intercourse, the Brabant tax-collectors have attempted to compel English merchants to pay such dues on their cloth or other goods, which had not been sold in Zealand and which they wished to send to Antwerp, although they had already paid the dues in Zealand. On the strength of complaints filed by English merchants, his Majesty has caused the Treaty of Intercourse of 3 October 1520 to be interpreted and the petitioners have shown the relevant declarations to the effect that goods brought from Bergen or Middelburg to Antwerp or from Antwerp to Bergen or Middelburg were not liable to the dues if these had already been paid in the first instance. It seems that the said declaration is decisive on this point, and indeed that it was issued on purpose to prevent tax-collectors from making such attempts, as may be seen from the introductory remarks. The tax-collector's excuses do not appear to be relevant where he says that he and his clerks understood the letters patent in the following sense: that if the petitioners wished to take goods from Bergen or Middelburg to Antwerp, after having paid dues on them when they entered Zealand, they should not be required to pay dues at Antwerp on arrival, but that when they wished to re-export the same they should have to pay the Brabant dues on departure. If this were admitted, the English merchants would have to pay the dues both on arrival and departure, although the collectors themselves would only be obliged to pay one set of dues into the fisc, thanks to their privileges. Now it appears from the wording of the Treaty of Intercourse and the subsequent declaration that the English merchants are not to be required to pay the dues more than once; and this applies both to goods they may import to Bergen or Middelburg from England, and then on to Antwerp, and also to goods they may buy at Bergen or Middelburg and send thence to Antwerp, as was the case with the wines in question. And it seems that the position is equally strong in the case of English merchants who buy goods in Zealand, and then, after having paid dues on them, carry them to Antwerp for shipment to England, or else import goods from England to Zealand and send them on from there to Antwerp. It must also be considered that the wines in question had not been brought to Antwerp to remain there for a long time or to be sold there, but merely to be transhipped into a larger vessel to be despatched to England. Thus, from the point-of-view of law, the wines in question ought to be treated as if they had never been in Antwerp at all, but had been sent direct from Middelburg to England, wherefore the Brabant export dues ought not to be paid on them.
The petitioners raise a second point, complaining that the tax-collector or his clerks had levied Brabant dues from another English merchant on goods exported from England to Rotterdam, and carried thence on a Dutch ship to Antwerp, in spite of the fact that the Dutch dues had already been paid on the said goods in Zealand. The Council are of opinion that in this case also the tax-collector should be required to refund the moneys received by him in respect of the dues, in consideration of the fact that the place in Holland where the dues were paid is in the fiscal district of Zealand, as the petitioners state and the tax-collector himself does not deny, but indeed seems tacitly to confess. The tax-collector's principal argument is that the goods had been loaded on another ship; but this does not appear to be relevant, for if merchants find it necessary or convenient to tranship their goods, that constitutes no reason why they should be held liable to pay the dues twice over.
Brussels, P.E.A.643–5.
233. The Bishop of Arras to Philip
Brussels, 20 AugustThis is to accompany some reports received by M. de Dissey from a spy with whom he is in correspondence, and which seem very likely to be true. There are also others from M. de St. Mauris, and a copy of a letter I have received from my correspondent at Strasburg who has an understanding with some one in the King of France's Court. We are greatly looking forward to your Majesty's coming. Meetings of the provincial governors are being held here in order to reach a decision about our camp. It is at present defending Givet, and both horse and foot have the pest there. The greatest difficulty is that there is no money or means of obtaining any, and that we owe a great deal, for without paying the troops we cannot move them. We are considering whether the Estates had not better be summoned in order that they may be asked to vote a new grant, but there are many drawbacks attending this course. The people are complaining that they are very heavily taxed as it is; and although a grant may be voted, it will be very difficult to collect the money, and in any case the money will be so slow in coming in that other means will have to be found for paying the troops in the meantime. Unless they are paid, they will be of no use except perhaps in discouraging the enemy from starting operations on his side. It might perhaps be possible, under pretext of moving the camp from where it is to a healthier place, to attack a fort which the French built last year to match Marienburg at a place called Rocroy, which there is some prospect of being able to take. If it could be captured before the Estates meet here and are asked for a new grant, it might put them in a good state of mind, after what happened in the English Channel between our ships and the French. Your Majesty will have heard about this; and the despatches from Marzo, sent with Gonzalo Pérez, will tell your Majesty what we know about the Swiss.
Draft or Copy. Spanish.
Besançon, C.G.73.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.
234. Francisco de Eraso to Juan Vázquez de Molina (Extract)
20 (?) August to 23 Sept. (fn. 3) God has been pleased to permit Ortega to arrive with the letters of exchange; only he has come at a time when the money is not much use to us because it is all spent (in advance), and that which Santander is bringing as well. There is no further hope except for what his Majesty and afterwards the King have written and sent off by Garcilaso (de la Vega). The Duke (of Alva) in Italy with his 40,000 foot: 18,000 in the fortresses and the remaining 22,000 in the field, as far as we know has done nothing yet but revictual Vulpiano without meeting any resistance. He claims that all the money in Spain and in these Low Countries must be sent to him. If he can get it, right he is. He thinks that to this end cities and dominions must be sold and not one stone be left standing in the wall. The King has sent him a letter by Garcilaso, as you will have seen. May God guide everything! The King will be here shortly, for he is to leave England on 26 August. His Majesty is longing to see him in order to settle many things that remain in suspense. I will have a special care to watch the state matters that interest you, and will recommend them again to his Majesty, for I am more interested in them than anyone else, even apart from my love and obligations to you.
Hoyos frightened me very much about the King, as he must have written to you. But in these troubles one must do one's utmost. As for the rest: I was talking yesterday with his Majesty (the Emperor) about your financial difficulties, pointing out that nothing had been done for you though you had served so long and so diligently. His Majesty replied that he would remember it and would try to do something. Still, I do not see that he is altogether determined to act, wherefore I will continue to pursue the matter with greater zeal than if it concerned myself. It seems that Juan de Vega is not going to obtain Azuaga and that the only thing left for you will be what the Marquess de Aguilar leaves, together with some good subsidy which we will try to have made as large as possible. You tell me that when his Majesty had given Don Juan Manrique and you certain things, I went to the King and asked him to keep the matter quiet if it had not already been published, in order that his Majesty might give it all to Don Juan Manrique. I do not know who can have told you such a huge lie. What happened was exactly the opposite, as I have written to you. The King sent for me; and if you wish to be satisfied about it, as you do not believe me, I will get the King to write to you on the subject, and you will see that this, like so many other things, was an invention of blackguards . . . . (Domestic Spanish affairs).
I believe that the Abbey of Parraces will be given to Cardinal de La Cueva, who took a leading part in the papal election. . . . .
I kiss the hands of Doña Luisa. . . . .
I believe that a Portuguese courier will be leaving within 3 days. Ruy Gómez left yesterday for England. I was on the point of going back there myself. My wife says that I am not even a courier; and she is right. . . . . The day before yesterday, I had news that at Peronne letters carried by Hernan Lopez Gallo were examined, and as his Majesty's ciphered letters were found, they were seized, which I very greatly regret. I hope that this duplicate will have better luck. (fn. 4)
The King arrived here on the 8th of this month (September) in good health, God be thanked! His father was happy indeed to see him. They spent four or five days together at Reo (sic, i.e. Roeulx) (fn. 5) quite alone, except on one occasion when I was there. So far, they have done nothing but talk and look at papers which his Majesty had prepared, without dealing with the affairs of Flanders, Italy or Spain. So nothing is settled. I do not know when they will get round to taking decisions on appointments. It seems certain that the King is going to settle everything, and his Majesty is right to let him do so, for he (the Emperor) is in no state to work, which is a great load on his conscience. As I see, his Majesty is making all his arrangements to leave for Spain this year. He was very much pleased with the arrival of Don Luis de Carvajal, and is looking forward to seeing Don Alvaro de Bazan, especially on account of the money which he is to bring, for we have not a penny left, and expenses are going on at a rate that seems enormous to me. I think that the King will have to stay here to order the affairs of the Low Countries, which sorely need it, although he greatly desires to go to Spain. But as God has given him such far-flung dominions he is obliged to look after them.
Letters have come from the Duke (of Alva) for the Emperor and the King. Gonzalo Pérez and Vargas are very happy because they are going to see the King. Each one of them is after something. . . . . .
You will have heard that the Duke of Alva has raised the seige of Santia. It was a very unfortunate thing, and one may only hope that it may not cost us dear. I am afraid we are going to be forced to put an army into the state of Milan. These occurrences are being much discussed here. The hopes that his Excellency (the Duke of Alva) had held out about the war cannot all come true. You will please arrange to have money sent to him, for he is demanding it with great insistence. The galleys will already have arrived, as we hear from private letters from Italy. The Turkish fleet will have left, so they will not be in danger. It would be a good thing if Don Alvaro's command were to arrive, even empty-handed and even if they are not needed this year. I think it will cost us over 200,000 ducats, because it will now be impossible to disband the German troops; they have arrears of pay owing to them and we no money to pay them off, so that all these expenses are running together. These great lords do nothing but issue orders. They never pause to consider where the money is to come from. We have decided to raise a further amount on exchange, and as the Spanish revenue for 1556 is encumbered we are having difficulty in finding as much as 100,000 ducats. The total amount now required ought not to be more than 300,000. Their Majesties are well, God be praised! Within four days the memorial service will begin for our Lady the Queen (i.e. Queen Joan of Spain, mother of the Emperor).
Closed on 15 September.
They are now beginning to talk business. The Emperor, being at the time in the Council of State, made a declaration to the effect that he was going to take ship for Spain in October. He is making every preparation to do this, and is getting rid of all business. He wishes to do certain things which had better not be mentioned in letters that have to go via France, even if they are in cipher. It is certainly a matter for which to thank God to see what a true Christian and good man he is. But this is no way to negotiate. Everything is in confusion, and nothing is certain. I will do all I can to safeguard your authority. This letter was sent by France to the Portuguese and I believe it will get through. I have news that they allowed Hernan López Gallo to continue his journey, but I do not know whether he still had the letters I gave him. You will let me know about this.
The day before yesterday the King, the Queens and the Englishmen went out hunting, and enjoyed themselves very much. The King appears to be pleased with everything here, but these Flemings are taking a very strong stand, insisting that no Spaniard is to have anything to do with their affairs. I tell the King that there is no reason why they should take cognisance of anything concerning Spain, and I believe that this line will be followed. There have been discussions about Naples and Milan, and neither the Bishop of Arras nor Vargas took part in them. Both are highly displeased about this. I repeat that this is no way to negotiate. The King is very gracious to me, perhaps for your sake. Their Majesties have summoned Grand Chancellor Taverna, (fn. 6) Don Juan de Luna and Francisco de Ibarra to come and clear themselves of a charge of having opposed Don Fernando, pending which they are not to leave Court. His Majesty is going to give up the Empire in favour of the King of the Romans, to whom he has sent a message instructing him to hold the Diet together, because he wishes to send a solemn embassy to take leave of its members. He is quite right, for they are a set of ungrateful villains. First, he will give the King everything he can in Italy, both feudal possessions and all the rest. Luis Vanegas is being sent to the King of the Romans and Maximilian, chiefly to tell them that the King of England does not wish to be emperor, and that he will support Maximilian. This is for your information. It is not a bad thing that it should be known that the King does not desire to be emperor, nor that he should try to obtain that dignity for Maximilian. His Majesty is pushing on preparations to leave for Spain, and I think a fleet will shortly be assembled. There would be much to be said about this, but not to be sent by couriers who are not of our own people. His Majesty has declared that he was shortly going to give up the sovereignty of the Low Countries in favour of the King, and the Estates have been summoned for this purpose. His Majesty means to do the same for Sicily, Castile, Aragon and the domains of the Orders, but he wishes to reserve the income of the Orders for the repose of his soul. He does not intend to put off doing all this until his death, but means to appoint his testamentary executors at once, so that they may set about it. He is going to retire to his monastery with a small following. He has instructed me to draw up a memorandum on all these matters and to see that his decisions are carried out. These people here would like to have all the expenses of the fleet paid by Spain. But his Majesty has decided that expenses on the outward voyage shall be borne by the Low Countries, Spain taking those for the return journey. An important decision has been that the Queens of France and of Hungary are to go with his Majesty, although not in the same ship. At one moment he was considering not taking them, especially Queen Maria of Hungary, in order that the people of the Low Countries might not think that he was removing the one person who knew how to govern them. The Duke of Savoy wanted to marry the princess and to have the government of these countries entrusted to him, but he has now been disillusioned. I do not think he will marry the Duchess of Lorraine. Keep all these things to yourself. Please see to it that the courier who takes this is told to keep the secret and is given 20 ducats for his pains. To-day is 23 September.
In Eraso's band. Spanish.
Simancas, T.J.7.
235. The Bishop of Arras to Ruy Gómez de Silva
Brussels, 23 AugustThis will inform you of the present dangerous state of the Calais Channel. It will be necessary for you to be very careful not to give the French an opportunity for some exploit, and to be very watchful when it comes to the King's crossing. As you may hear from the Bishop who has just come from Rome, it appears that the French have an eye out for that occasion. We are considering here how his security may be provided for; and to tell the truth we do not see very well what can be done in so short a time. We also have to take precautions to prevent him from being waylaid between Calais and Gravelines, where it appears the French are in force. M. de Bugnicourt is leaving to-morrow in order to have troops ready near the English border, so that when the King reaches Calais, Bugnicourt may advance to meet him as far as the frontier. It seems that the King might send for him without giving offence to the English, as it will only be for the safeguard of his person. It would not be suitable for Bugnicourt to appear to be crossing the English border, until the King commands him to do so.
You will have seen from my last letters to the King why the provincial governors have been summoned here. As there seems to be no other way to obtain a grant, with which to face military expenses, than to summon the Estates, it has been decided to do this, and we only hope that we will achieve the desired object. But in order that it may not appear that we are summoning them to ask for money because the King is coming, the Queen Dowager will issue the summons in the usual way, and will not send them all out at once, but gradually, so that within ten days the first may arrive, to be followed later by others.
As for the camp at Givet, where a fort has been built, it is necessary to move it because of the terrible pestilence raging there, with people dying in four hours. It is going to be moved to a more convenient spot where another fort may be built, on high ground near Marienburg. This will give much trouble to the enemy, and from there it will be possible to make things difficult for Marienburg, and have forces that will be stronger than the French, because it is well provided with food. Thus the frontiers of Brabant and Hainault may be protected, and Artois also if necessary. Also, Rocroy may be reconnoitred, and perhaps even be captured. But it seemed preferable first to build the new fort, as the season is already advanced, and it would need a good deal of time to capture Rocroy now and dismantle it, if it had to be done before the new fort is begun. The operation will be easier once this has been accomplished. I wished to inform you of what was happening in order that you might report to the King, and making sure that you will do this I am not writing to him.
Draft or Copy. Spanish.
Besançon, C.G.73.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.
236. Pope Paul IV to Philip (Summary)
Rome, 24 AugustThe Pope sends Philip his apostolic blessing and tells him of the pleasure with which he has read the letters brought by Count Chinchón, who on his return will give a full account of what he has heard from the Sovereign Pontif.
Latin. Signed: Binus.
Simancas, E.882.
237. Philip to the Bishop of Arras
Hampton Court, 24 AugustI received your last letter to-day. I thank you very much for the news you give me in it and in your earlier letters. God willing, we shall be together soon, for I intend to leave this place on Monday, and Greenwich on Wednesday. I need say no more, except that the Queen has told me that the Earl of Devonshire has not been well treated by some persons in that town (i.e. Brussels), where some of his servants were killed or wounded, without the offenders being punished. Although I know no more about this than what the Queen has told me, I thought fit to inform you so that you may beg his Majesty and the Queen (Dowager of Hungary) to see to it that the guilty parties be punished, and the Earl well treated in the Low Countries, for it seems suitable thus to proceed.
Minute or Copy. Spanish.
Besançon, C.G.75
238. A note without signature or address
August(?) (fn. 7) Some say that when he retires the Emperor will be in Brussels and that the King will go to see him on such pretext as may be devised, that he will not return here (i.e. to England) again, and that if the Queen wishes to stay with him she will have to go and join him, and provide otherwise than heretofore for order in England. May this be true, for these people here are little to be trusted! I am told that the London rabble quite shamelessly says that one day they will kill all of us, as they did the French in other times. They are the crudest people ever seen.
Decipher. Spanish.
Simancas, E.808.
239. Mary to the Emperor
August or September (fn. 8) My Lord and good father, your Ambassador resident at my Court is bearing this letter. The services he has rendered while in this country have been such, and he has conducted himself with such prudence, that I cannot do otherwise than tell you how well pleased I have been with him. I assure you, Sire, that he was here with me through very dangerous times, and that he showed himself during the marriage negotiations to be a most indispensable minister, inspired by the greatest desire to serve us and the greatest zeal for my affairs. For these reasons I should be very happy to hear that your Majesty is satisfied with him, for he greatly deserves it and any favour you may show him will be also rendered to me. Therefore I humbly beg your Majesty to be pleased to show him favour.
Holograph. French.
Vienna, E.1.
240. Note in Philip's hand
Late August (fn. 9) I intend to leave this place within four or five days. It is no season to delay further. I do not wish to have it said that I am going until one or two days before my departure; but have everything ready and try to make Paget hurry and give us the money. We will give them the equivalent in silver as soon as it arrives, which cannot be long. It would be well to send off a courier at once to tell Francisco de Lejalde, so that he may make haste, for he knows how much we owe here to the English and also to the members of my household; so let him take the post. Bring me everything that has to be answered to Flanders to-day, for I intend to send a courier thither.
Simancas, F.510.
241. Note in Philip's hand
End AugustCome early to-morrow morning and tell me what you have arranged with Don Luis. Find out by then what terms can be made with the English and how much money there will be for our departure from here. If it can be on Saturday I should be very glad. I do not mean to delay further for any other reason than this (i.e. because of lack of money). Do your best to see that nothing detains me, for much time has gone past, far more than was needed. I must know for certain to-morrow in order to have everything ready; because the Queen wishes to go as far as Dover. Also about the fleet: hold the English vessels. If the letters for Flanders are ready, send them to me at once; if not, bring them to-morrow and let these others in my own hand go with them.
Simancas, F.510.
242. The Queen Dowager of Hungary to the Emperor. (Abstract)
August (fn. 10) The Queen Dowager, feeling that the Emperor was displeased with her for laying down the Regency, wishes to explain her reasons for so doing. She would have awaited Philip's arrival, but as she hears that the Emperor will shortly be going to Spain, she thinks she had better not delay. She has set the Emperor's wishes above her own vow to God, but she now feels unable to do so longer.
The writer's conscience has long been burdened with a sense of her inadequacy, and if she still had any doubts, the Emperor has dispelled them by the example he has just set (by deciding to abdicate). If he, with all his wisdom, experience and knowledge, feels that he must lay down the burdens of state, how much more she must feel the same, given her inferiority to him in every respect, and the fact that she is a woman, for which reason alone her ability, compared with a man's, is as black compared with white 1
Even if she had the requisite gifts, the writer would not be equal to continuing the task she has long had to assume. In time of peace, the problems of government arising in the Low Countries are extremely complex, and require great efforts to gain the goodwill of lords and commons. These countries arc not exactly a monarchy, nor an oligarchy, nor yet a republic. She has often had to go farther than she liked in her attempts to discharge her obligations. A woman is never feared or respected as a man is, whatever her rank.
In time of war, in which these countries are more often engaged than is necessary, it is entirely impossible for a woman to govern them satisfactorily. All she can do is to shoulder responsibility for mistakes committed by others, and bear the odium for the crushing taxation then imposed on the people. She would have been unable to face the position at all, during this war, if the Emperor had not been present. The Low Countries would have been lost, and she would have been blamed for it.
However much she may love King Philip, the writer believes she need not stress how hard it would be for her, having served the Emperor for 25 years, to start learning her ABC again now that she is past fifty. There is much youth about, with whose ways she is not in sympathy. Many people are corrupt, and the upright are few. She would rather earn her living as best she might than go on ruling. Besides, even if the country were perfect, she would wish to leave it now and serve God as a private person for the rest of her life, and she hopes the Emperor's grace will accompany her.
If, as she trusts, the Emperor is minded to reward her devotion, he can best do so by recognising that a woman cannot govern (the Low Countries) and by permitting her to retire to Spain, as she has long since told him she desired to do. Her hope had then been to serve her mother, since deceased. Now, her sister, the Queen Dowager of France, and she wish to live together in Spain, where there would be less danger from war than in the Low Countries, and where the writer would not risk being forced once more to take a hand in public affairs.
The Queen Dowager begs the Emperor to reach a decision on this matter at once, fearing lest King Philip's arrival may be further delayed and the Emperor leave for Spain without her, thus depriving her of the desired opportunity of taking the long and dangerous journey with him, and causing her to disappoint her sister, wherefore she begs his Majesty to accede to her request at once.
Copy. French.
Besançon, C.G.73.
Printed by Weiss, Vol. IV.


1 This paper is a rough draft, written entirely in Philip's hand; it bears no name or address. The fact that it is preserved at Besançon suggests Simon Renard. However, the tone used here is far more familiar than that of any of Philip's known communications to Renard, and sounds as if meant for Ruy Gómez. In that case, it would be interesting to know how it got to Besançon. Did Renard intercept it? Or the Bishop of Arras?
2 i.e. Don Fernando Francisco de Avalos (or Davalos), Marquess of Pescara, was among the nobles accompanying Philip on arrival in England (see Spanish Calendar, Vol. XII, p. 317).
3 This paper is a series of rough drafts for 3 distinct letters written by Eraso to Juan Vázquez, all in Eraso's hand. The first bears no date, but may be placed about 20 August, as in it the writer says that Philip will shortly be in Brussels and is leaving England on 26 August. The second is dated 15 September, and the third 23 September.
4 At this point the second letter begins. It is dated 15 September,
5 A castle near Valenciennes belonging to the Croy family.
6 Francesco Taverna (1488–1560), Grand Chancellor of Milan, created Count of Landriano in 1536.
7 This paper is undated, but must have been written not long before Philip left England.
8 Like many of Mary's letters, this is not dated. It appears from the Venetian Calender, Vol. VI, p. 193, that Renard did not reach Brussels until 20 September, 1555. He had been preparing to depart for months before he actually left.
9 Neither this nor the following paper is dated. Both were probably for Ruy Gómez.
10 This paper is undated, but was undoubtedly written about this time.

July 1555