Speeches and memorials â€“ introduction
Our knowledge about Ioannes Dantiscusâ€™ diplomatic activity is based chiefly on his prolific correspondence. However, records of seven of Dantiscusâ€™ speeches have survived, and also fifteen memorials, sometimes referred to as supplications, which he submitted in writing.
These texts are addressed mainly to Emperor Charles V. One supplication is addressed to the imperial secretary, Mercurino Gattinara. We also know an excerpt (the beginning) from a speech in which the Polish ambassador addressed King of England Henry VIII, a short speech Dantiscus delivered as the kingâ€™s envoy to the Prussian estates gathered at the Royal Prussian assembly and another one he delivered when being Kulm bishop to the Royal Prussia's Council .
If we leave out the slightly different two speeches: before the Prussian assembly (1509) and before the Royal Prussia's Council (1534), the chronological range of the texts presented here is the same as the period of Dantiscusâ€™ independent diplomatic missions, spanning the years 1519-1532. This does not mean that our material is complete; the texts gathered here account for only a fraction of the intensive activity confirmed by the letters. These texts have survived greatly dispersed: partly in the form of rough drafts and Dantiscusâ€™ own copies from his archive, partly in the GĂłrski Collection â€“ a set of correspondence and documents from the royal office â€“ where they came as attachments to Dantiscusâ€™ regularly dispatched reports. The record of one speech was preserved in the archive of the Habsburgs. History was not kind to Dantiscusâ€™ archive which suffered a complicated fate. The GĂłrski Collection is no longer complete, either. We know some of the texts exclusively from the copy books of Acta Tomiciana. The manuscript sources for the speeches and memorials are currently housed in ten different archives and libraries in Poland, Austria and Sweden.
In the case of some speeches and memorials, next to Dantiscusâ€™s text the sources also include the reply, most often written personally by Chancellor Mercurino Gattinara and in two cases by Charles Vâ€™s secretary and Dantiscusâ€™ close friend, Alfonso de Valdes. The replies to the memorials were entered in special spaces left between successive paragraphs, while the replies to the speeches were written under the complete text. The texts of the replies are marked by italics in the edition.
Translated from Polish by Joanna Dutkiewicz