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Letter #1421

Ioannes DANTISCUS to Cornelis [DE SCHEPPER]
Löbau (Lubawa), 1536-02-24

English register:

On 15 January Dantiscus' brother [Bernhard] collected De Schepper's letter to Dantiscus, dispatched on 6 December in Brussels, from Stanisław Cypser.

Dantiscus intended to send his reply immediately, but later held back [as long as 9 March, according to his handwritten note at the end of the office copy of the letter] because he was waiting for the return of the envoy sent to Duke Albrecht.

Dantiscus expects De Schepper to have received his previous letter, sent on 23 December. In it he covered issues about which De Schepper had inquired in his latest letter.

Dantiscus praises De Schepper for undertaking an (unsuccessful) attempt to convert the Anabaptist leaders imprisoned in Münster. He is happy that De Schepper and Godschalk [Ericksen] returned home safely, and sends greetings to De Schepper's wife and son as well as their mutual friends, especially Mark Laurijn.

He is worried about the situation in England after the Bishop of Rochester's execution and expresses the hope that the reaction of Emperor [Charles V] will not cause new divisions in Respublica Christiana.

He extends thanks for good news about the Emperor's successes and about peace in the Netherlands despite the conflict between the Danes, Holstein and Lübeck. He is glad that the parties involved in the conflict have sent envoys to Count Palatine Prince Friedrich. He wrote about these matters previously. He again underlines the importance of peace and freedom of navigation for the economy of coastal regions, and the grain supply to the Netherlands.

He is glad that De Schepper asks that he send news of the peace negotiations with the Duchy of Holstein and Denmark to his neighbours [i.e. Albrecht von Hohenzollern, Duke in Prussia]. However, he states that he has heard news about the Danish succession which is completely different from what De Schepper writes. He asks for more details on the matter, fearing that the parties are not objective, taking care only of their own interests.

He firmly denies that the Polish King [Sigismund I] supports the Duke of Holstein [Christian III of Denmark] and is fuelling discord among the dukes. He would like to know the names of whoever is spreading these false rumours. He does not deny, on the other hand, that kinship is inclining Margrave Albrecht [Duke in Prussia] to favour his nephew.

He comments at length on the succession in Denmark. He praises the attempt at mediation between the quarrelling princes undertaken by Queen Mary [regent of the Netherlands]. He defends Christian III of Oldenburg, claiming that he did not reject the proposed mediation and that he is also prepared to accept the judgment of the Imperial Chamber Court. Dantiscus considers it wrong that the daughters of Christian II have been expelled and stripped of their dowries for the faults of their father. He recalls Christian II's situation in exile in the Netherlands. He thinks his current fate in prison is better than what he had then.

Dantiscus agrees with De Schepper that as a bishop he should strive for peace; hence he offers his help with resolving the conflict and undertakes to speak to Duke Albrecht [von Hohenzollern] on normalising relations in the region. However, he would also like to be able to count on the cooperation of King [Ferdinand] of the Romans. He encourages De Schepper to try a similar move with Prince Friedrich [Count Palatine]. Dantiscus sent his brother Georg on a mission to Albrecht and, after a delay caused by the Duke having gone hunting, obtained a written response to the mission, which he quotes extensively. In it, Duke Albrecht declares himself a supporter of peace. Having learned that the Danish king elect [Christian III] is prepared to subject himself to the judgment of a mediatory court and hear the opinion of the Emperor [Charles V], King Ferdinand and the other electors and princes [of the Holy Roman Empire], Albrecht will send an envoy to him, encouraging him to reach a settlement with Prince Friedrich [Count Palatine], as long as the latter abstains from hostile operations. He also states that he will miss no opportunity to serve the Emperor and King Ferdinand.

Dantiscus informs De Schepper that news has reached the Kingdom of Poland about the Teutonic Order's new plotting after the election of Count Palatine Philipp.

Dantiscus feels sorry for the Count of Nassau [Hendrik III] because of his suffering caused by gout. He himself is much better than during his foreign travels. His native climate serves him well, together with local beer and Hungarian and Moravian wines, which are healthier than Spanish or Italian wines. He has just turned 50. His only health problem is his sight, too poor for reading and writing. However, Dantiscus does not yet use eyeglasses.

Dantiscus extends thanks for news of the King of France [Francis I of Valois], the Duchy of Milan, the Swiss and the Duke of Guelders [Charles II] as well as Erasmus of Rotterdam. He likes the fact that Erasmus turned down a cardinal's beret and a bishopric. He asks to be sent the Ecclesiastes.

In Dantiscus' view, Zwingli's Book of Psalms is not harmful. If Zwingli were as devout on other matters [as he was in translating the Psalms], he would have better served the Christian republic and himself. In Dantiscus' view, Zwingli deserved his fate.

Dantiscus' siblings thank De Schepper for his greetings and reciprocate them. They would be extremely glad if De Schepper had the opportunity to visit them in Prussia.

He encloses a letter from young Carolus [de Tautenberg] to his mother. The youth is his valet and is growing into a good man.

Georg Klingenbeck has left on a mission from the Duke in Prussia [Albrecht] to Lüneburg.

Dantiscus recounts news from the Kingdom of Poland: The old [Sigismund I] and young [Sigismund II Augustus] Kings and the Queen [Bona] and Princess Isabella are staying in Vilnius in good health. The Muscovites have sent envoys to Vilnius. Dantiscus expects negotiations with them to result in a peace treaty. The Diet of the Kingdom of Poland called for St. Catherine's Day [1535-11-25] approved an expedition against the Wallachians. The successor of the deceased Bishop of Cracow [Piotr Tomicki] is Jan Latalski; the Poznań bishopric which he vacated went to the illegitimate son of the King [Jan of the Lithuanian Princes]. Jan Chojeński, whom De Schepper knows, would have been a more worthy candidate for the Cracow bishopric, in Dantiscus' view, but the Queen's will prevailed. Chojeński is making do with the bishopric of Płock. Andrzej Tęczyński, Castellan of Cracow, died on 5 January. The previous year he had been on a pilgrimage by land from Constantinople to Jerusalem.

Dantiscus thinks De Schepper has more up-to-date news than he on Hungarian matters and on the Turkish victory over the King of Persia.

He has received news of the Emperor's arrival in Naples and on his planned meeting with the Pope [Paul III] in Rome regarding summoning a council.

He passes on the opinion of Johann von Werden, Mayor of Gdańsk, on the dispute between the people of Gdańsk and the people of Holland.

He is concerned about the disfavour into which the Cardinal of Liège [Erard de la Marck] has fallen with the Emperor and Queen Mary as a result of the death sentence passed on the secretary from Utrecht/Maastricht (Traiectensis) who had a letter of safe conduct from those rulers. He asks for his greetings to be conveyed to the Cardinal and for details of the matter.

He extends greetings to his friends: Count of Nassau [Hendrik], Count of Buren [Floris] and his son Maximiliaan, Lords of Beveren [Adolf of Burgundy] and de Bergen, and his former host in Brussels, treasurer of the church [cathedral?] there. He recommends his services to the Bishop of Brixen [Georg of Austria] and the Archbishop of Palermo [Jean Carondelet]. He asks for news of Jean Lalemand. He asks De Schepper to drink a cup to his health with courtiers Schreibersdorf, Ebersdorfer, Metzko and the others, if they are still at the court. He also sends greetings to Campensis, Goclenius and Gemma Frisius and his wife. His special greetings go to Godschalk Ericksen, with the hope that the Emperor appreciates his honesty and excellent education.

Dantiscus asks De Schepper to assist him with the purchase of some books because he intends to fund a library, thanks to which he will be able to fill in some gaps in his education, neglected in his youth due to his service at court. He will then leave it to future generations. He expresses delight with the content and language of the Evangelistarium by Marko Marulić, which he has recently read. He asks for information about the writer and for all his works that are available on the market, among them Quinquaginta Parabolarum, De religiose vivendi institutione, and De imitatione Christi. He would also like to buy St. Augustine's works edited by Erasmus and published in France, as well as the Bible, and the works of Lactantius, Strabo, Herodotus, Thucydides, Oppian, Philostratus, Lucretius, Ausonius and Ermolao Barbaro. He will send the amount due through the Fuggers. De Schepper should send the books to Gdańsk to Johann von Werden, who will cover the costs of postage.

He extends the joking demand of his "butler" [probably Carolus de Tautenberg] that De Schepper reply to his letter previously passed on through Dantiscus.

On a separate page Dantiscus sends the epitaphs he has written for Piotr Tomicki and Johannes Reyneck. The epitaph for Reyneck is a response to the epitaph for him written by Poliander, a [Lutheran] pastor from Königsberg. In his piece, Dantiscus polemicises with Polyander as to the importance of faith and deeds. Starting from the teaching of St. Paul, he underlines the importance of love, which is dead without deeds.

Manuscript sources:
1office copy in Latin, in secretary's hand, UUB, H. 155, f. 197r-207v
2register with excerpt in Latin, Polish, 20th-century, B. PAU-PAN, 8243 (TK 5), a. 1536, f. 25-37
3register with excerpt in Latin, English, 20th-century, CBKUL, R.III, 30, No. 194

1DE VOCHT 1961 No. DE, 319, p. 261-263, 277, 288 (English register; excerpt)
2AT 18 No. 85, p. 115 (Polish register)
3CEID 2/2 (Letter No. 65) p. 343-368 (in extenso; English register)
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