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Letter #1356

Cornelis DE SCHEPPER to Ioannes DANTISCUS
Bruges, 1535-09-16

English register:

After a solemn introduction, De Schepper will comply with Dantiscus' instructions and adopt a more informal style in the rest of his letter. Receiving Dantiscus' letter of 19 June from Althausen was most agreeable. He was indeed concerned about yet another rumour about Dantiscus' death, and his unease was reinforced by the absence of any news from Dantiscus for months, although he had written to him extensively from Madrid. From Spain he received only a letter from Fabian [Wojanowski], and a duplicate of Dantiscus' previous letter was sent after him from Vienna, by which he knew at least that Dantiscus was still alive last December. He gives praises to the Lord for the good news.

De Schepper has waited more than a month to reply to Dantiscus' letter which he received on 1 August, because of the preparations for the meeting of Queen Mary [of Hungary] with her sister Queen Eleanor of France. Princess Dorothea [of Denmark], the daughter of King Christian [II of Oldenburg], was also present at this meeting. Meanwhile she is travelling to her fiancé, Count Palatine Friedrich [II von Wittelsbach], escorted by the Lord of Bergen [Antoon III van Glymes], now marquis, and the Bishop of Brixen [Georg of Austria]. They left two days ago.

De Schepper has used the hustle and bustle of these preparations to go to Bruges for a few days to manage his personal affairs. His duties at the court usually proceed to the detriment of his private affairs. When he was recalled to Brussels he was occupied by one task after another. Amidst these activities he seeks an opportunity to write Dantiscus, although it is difficult to find appropriate messengers. He keeps wondering why it took four months for his post to travel from Spain to Prussia, even when he sent it through the Fuggers.

De Schepper never doubted that Dantiscus would take his consolation to heart, as he said in his letter. On the other hand he did not write it because he thought Dantiscus needed to be comforted, but by supporting Dantiscus he was trying to strengthen himself against the vicissitudes of fate and the uncertainty of favour. No one in their circles will deny the merits of Dantiscus or his commitment to the cause of the ungrateful one. De Schepper can feel little sympathy for someone, however important, who is expressing such defamation. Only the wicked believe allegations against decent people. It adorns Dantiscus that he has forgiven so easily, even though he is innocent. In due time Christ will repay his moderation. His innocence will be his best defence.

That Dantiscus receives new assignments as an envoy is proof that he is still held in high esteem. De Schepper is pleased that Dantiscus' health still allows him to accept these assignments. He also praises his restraint: Dantiscus does not need to prove himself any more. He is better to leave this kind of assignment to those who chase fame and favour. He is making the right choice to spend rest of his life in serene tranquility. He can also serve the public interest from a sedentary life.

De Schepper is not surprised that Dantiscus has not received his letter of last year from SzĂ©kesfehĂ©rvĂĄr. He had entrusted it to [Hieronim] Ɓaski, who was distrusted by his employer, the so-called King Ioannes [John ZĂĄpolya]. Presumably all correspondence he had with him was suspected. That letter has not arrived, but it is not so very important; De Schepper’s devotion to Dantiscus remains the same, even if it is not expressed in writing.

Sassenkerle is regaining his health, and sends his greetings. De Schepper received one letter from Fabian [Wojanowski] from Spain, to which he has replied. He does not know his current whereabouts, but he has certainly made arrangements concerning Ysipe [Isabel Delgada]. Should Dantiscus' daughter [Juana] arrive in the Netherlands, De Schepper will treat her as his own. In his absence, his wife [Elisabeth Donche] will take care of her. She was pleased to learn that Dantiscus was alive and well, and she recommends herself to him, together with her sister [Joanna Donche], her daughter and little Ascanius [De Schepper jr.]. The bailiff of Ghent and Dantiscus' former servant Michiel [De Vriendt] are doing well. When De Schepper was recently in Ghent, the Lord of Heule [wouter van der Gracht] mentioned him honourably. He and Carondelet were delighted to learn that Dantiscus was still alive.

De Schepper has already heard about what Dantiscus wrote on Denmark, and especially about the scheme of Duke Albrecht of Mecklenburg, which turned out badly. They are also aware of the intrigues of others Dantiscus mentioned. However, Duke Friedrich will not keep quiet. Queen Mary is willing to mediate, but the Duke of Holstein [Christian III of Oldenburg], supported by Margrave Albrecht, among others, is not willing to make concessions.

The Emperor [Charles V] decided to send a delegation, composed of Wilhelm von Rennenberg, Godschalk [Ericksen] and De Schepper, to the meeting of the Wendish towns in LĂŒneburg. They are preparing to leave. Their mission is to inquire about proposals to achieve the pacification of Denmark. This war has lasted too long and causes huge inconvenience for all parties. It is no longer tolerable that the seas are closed for navigation, that there is increasing poverty and that the Dutch are abandoned and chained from all sides. They have also been mandated to negotiate concerning the settlement of disputes between GdaƄsk and the citizens of the Holy Roman Empire, should a delegation from GdaƄsk be present. Through them, De Schepper will send a report of the events to Dantiscus. Reportedly some impious figures within the Senate of LĂŒbeck have been replaced by men of good reputation. De Schepper hopes this will facilitate the successful outcome of the negotiations. They had already been informed that Duke Albrecht [Hohenzollern] had given naval support to the Duke of Holstein. May the Lord inspire the princes with peace instead of war.

De Schepper knows about the Polish expedition to Muscovy, also through [Hieronim] Ɓaski, who has now been liberated from Hungarian captivity. He was badly rewarded for his efforts. He is a man of many talents, who unfortunately came across bad employers. The future will be better. He wrote to De Schepper that he has transferred his Hungarian possessions to his former employer and is free from his allegiance to him. After his reconciliation with King Ferdinand, through the mediation of the Bishop of Lund [Johan Weze], he intends to return to Sieradz. This is a wise decision, after his experience of infidelity and false promises.

De Schepper shares Dantiscus' desire for peace, but also his scepticism about its feasibility. For God blinds the judgement of the princes he wants to punish, as is proved by the vicissitudes encountered by the Sultan [Suleiman]. At the time of De Schepper’s first mission to Constantinople, the Sultan was ready for peace if the Emperor agreed; when he returned to Constantinople with a peace proposal from the Emperor, the Sultan had so changed his mind that he preferred war. Since then, the fortune of the Ottomans has gone downhill. They suffered defeats against the Persians and the Emperor, and they lost their African province. Alvise Gritti, the instigator of the war, was killed by the Hungarians. The fleet of Barbarossa has been destroyed and he lost Tunis and all other cities he conquered. The Emperor suffered only minimal losses.

He has no news about Campensis, and he is not surprised that he cannot get along with [Girolamo] Aleander. The Latin version of the Psalter which is added to Campensis' Paraphrasis is that of Ulrich Zwingli, an erudite man, but with a wicked mind. De Schepper wanted to send Dantiscus a few copies, but they were sold out. He has ordered a number of new publications from Lyon, which he will send to Dantiscus in due time. That will be the easier once the war has ended. De Schepper and many others were delighted by Dantiscus' Epistula from his Helicon. Granvelle sent his wife [Nicole Bonvalot] from Spain to Burgundy, while he himself accompanied the Emperor to Africa and to Naples. The Grudii brothers have returned to their homeland because they could not tolerate the Spanish climate. One of them became councillor at the Council of Holland.

He has nothing certain about the Indies, nor from [Hernån] Cortés, except that he is in good health, and that from day to day more gold from these regions is arriving in Spain. The merchants will be able to give a more extensive account.

The disagreement between Hieronymus Sayler and Ulrich Ehinger has been settled. The most respectable men stand on the side of Sailer whereas the arrogance of Ehinger is unbearable. He has no recent news from them; since the departure of the Emperor the messengers from Spain are less frequent.

The Marquise of Zenete, wife of Lord Hendrik of Nassau, has arrived in the Netherlands. She intends to spend the rest of her life in this country, together with her husband. The Lord of Nassau has left Spain and retired from the imperial court. In his city of Breda he has had a castle built and heavily fortified. He has installed forty-four bronze bombards, which he ordered in Augsburg when the court stayed there. He has little contact with the court of the regent. The Duke of Aarschot is the most important person at the court, besides Queen Mary and the Lord of Nassau, but he is often absent because of his poor health. Lyncken from Brussels frequently asks after Dantiscus’ health. He should send an answer to her letters, and give De Schepper instructions as to what to do about her. Mme De Baillieul, the former wet-nurse of Queen Mary, gave De Schepper a letter for her son [Carolus de Tautenberg], who is in Dantiscus' service. Dantiscus should urge him to write to his mother. De Schepper sends greetings to Dantiscus' mother and sisters, and to his brothers Bernhard and Georg, and promises more news soon.


            received [1535]-12-22

Manuscript sources:
1fair copy in Latin, autograph, UUB, H. 154, f. 137-141
2copy in Latin, 18th-century, LSB, BR 19, No. 24
3copy in Latin, 18th-century, SUB, Sup. Ep. 4041, No. 16, f. 16r-17r (fragments)
4copy in Latin, 18th-century, SBB, MS Lat. Quart. 101, No. 15, f. 47v-54v
5copy in Latin, 18th-century, SLUB, C 110, f. 65v-76r
6copy in Latin, 18th-century, BCz, 1366, p. 124-141
7copy in Latin, 18th-century, B. Ossol., 151, f. 19v-22v
8copy in Latin, 18th-century, BCz, 53 (TN), No. 59, p. 181-192
9copy in Latin, 20th-century, B. PAU-PAN, 8243 (TK 5), a.1535, f. 58-65v
10excerpt in Latin, 16th-century, GStA PK, XX. HA Hist. StA Königsberg, HBA, C 2, No. 102 (enclosure No. 3)
11excerpt in Latin, 16th-century, GStA PK, XX. HA Hist. StA Königsberg, HBA, H, K. 764
12register with excerpt in Latin, English, 20th-century, CBKUL, R.III, 30, No. 92

Early printed source materials:
1DANTISCUS 1764 p. XIX-XX (excerpt)
2Monumenta inedita p. 435-440 (in extenso)

Prints:
1HÄPKE p. 287-288, footnote 1 (excerpt)
2DE VOCHT 1961 No. DE, 310, p. 247-249 (English register; excerpt)
3AT 17 No. 482, p. 595-602 (in extenso; Polish register)
4Hanserecesse p. 275 (German register)
5STARNAWSKI 1977 p. 192 (excerpt)
6BENNINGHOVEN No. 102, p. 56-59 (Beilage 3) (German register)
7Españoles part IIIB, No. 20, p. 327-328 (excerpt in Spanish translation)
8CEID 2/2 (Letter No. 61) p. 290-303 (in extenso; English register)
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