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Letter #3001

Brussels, 1546-10-18

English register:

Given the fact that the Emperor [Charles V] has decided on military action against the Elector Prince of Saxony [Johann Friedrich] and the Landgrave of Hesse [Philip I der Großmütige], for lack of a trusted messenger De Schepper has postponed sending for quite some time his letter to Dantiscus written in June.

De Schepper reports that great military levies are being conducted. De Schepper was was instructed to negotiate with the Spanish and Italian units, which the Emperor had provided to the King of England for the war against France. After the war they were scattered all over the Low Countries. The task to rid the country of their presence was a success thanks to, among other things, Queen Mary’s generous contribution to the soldiers’ pay. They traversed the country without causing harm, and joined the troops levied for the Emperor by Count Maximiliaan van Egmond-Buren.

Meanwhile, Count of Buren met with De Schepper at [Queen Mary’s] court. He expressed a desire to meet with Dantiscus and handed over a letter that he wrote himself, which De Schepper sends together with the present letter.

De Schepper lists the composition of the imperial troops and outlines military operations carried out during their glorious march to the Emperor’s camp near Ingolstadt, where they arrived on 15 September.

De Schepper describes a powerful explosion of gunpowder stored in a tower of the city walls of Mechelen. It happened on the night of 7 August due to a lightning strike. The explosion resulted in huge damage and loss of people, animals and property. A widow living in the tower sensed a storm was coming and she and her children avoided death thanks to spending the night elsewhere. De Schepper expects that the reconstruction of Mechelen, which is already underway, will benefit the appearance of this wealthy town. He is surprised that the gunpowder stored in the other towers was intact. The Emperor’s enemies are spreading rumours that the destruction of Mechelen is the result of God’s anger towards the Emperor and those who fight against the Gospel [i.e. fight against the Protestants]. De Schepper expresses joy that there is still enough gunpowder to resist enemies.

De Schepper indicates topics that he thinks should be more familiar to those in Poland than in the Low Countries, which messengers seldom reach due to the roads in Württemberg having been seized. These topics are as follows: enemies’ violence against the Emperor, their occupation of the Klause gorge and Ehrenberg castle, the seizing of Füssen and Dillingen from the Cardinal of Augsburg [Otto Truchsess von Waldburg], the surrender of Schloss Rain [am Lech] by Konrad von Boyneburg, and the establishment of a garrison to improve the defences of Prince Otto’s [Ottheinrich von Wittelsbach von der Pfalz’s] town of Neuburg an der Donau. There are French and English envoys in the camps of both sides of the conflict. De Schepper expresses the hope that the purpose of their mission is peace. [The Emperor’s] opponents are publishing pamphlet with false information.

De Schepper describes the situation in the Low Countries provinces bordering on Germany. So far things are peaceful there, thanks to the fact that the duties of Count Buren – who is busy making war – as governor in Frisia and Overijssel have been taken over by Wynand von Breyll, a wise, modest, faithful man experienced in the art of war. The governors of neighbouring provinces are also ready to help: Lord of Praet in Utrecht and Philippe De Lalaing in Guelders. Having learned that these regions are not abandoned, the enemy has withdrawn from their plans to attack. In the Low Countries people most fear the threat of the Anabaptists, who are striving to put in power not noble and rich people but people like themselves: poor, indecisive and desperate. These aspirations are supported by the Landgrave [Philip I of Hesse] and towns allied with him. The Landgrave has allegedly already set up troops which will be accessible to people of low class — that is, people similar to the supporters of Jan Łaski [jr.], David Joris and Menno Simons.

De Schepper informs Dantiscus of the premature death of the husband [Johann le Gros] of his stepdaughter Catharina [Laurijn]. The widow and their only child remain in De Schepper’s care. The deceased man had done great service for the inhabitants of Veere in Zeeland province. He was also the right-hand man of Lord of Beveren [Maximiliaan of Burgundy].

Everyone is looking forward to the end of the war [in Germany]. However things go, no state or private affairs will come betweeen De Schepper and Dantiscus. Gemma Frisius has become an excellent physician. He treats magnates and even the Emperor himself. He lives with his family in Louvain. De Schepper is amazed at the hatred the people of Bremen and Hamburg feel towards the Emperor, given that he granted them many liberties and privileges. De Schepper commends himself and his family to Dantiscus’ memory and sends wishes for his happiness from them.

            received Heilsberg (Lidzbark Warmiński), 1547-02-04

Manuscript sources:
1fair copy in Latin, autograph, UUB, H. 155, f. 140-143
2copy in Latin, 18th-century, LSB, BR 19, No. 66
3register with excerpt in Latin, Polish, 20th-century, B. PAU-PAN, 8244 (TK 6), a. 1546, f. 59
4register with excerpt in Latin, English, 20th-century, CBKUL, R.III, 30, No. 165

1DE VOCHT 1961 No. DE, 476, p. 398 (English register)
2CEID 2/2 (Letter No. 86) p. 576-586 (in extenso; English register)
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