Georg Spalatin. Two Letters, 1536 (MSS 122)

G. Spalatin (real name Burckhardt; Jan. 17, 1484-Jan. 16, 1545) German jurist and promoter of the Reformation. Born at Spalt near Nuremberg, studied at Erfurt and Wittenberg, terminated his study of law at Erfurt in 1505, and became a teacher in cloister Georgenthal. In 1507 he became pastor at Hohenkirchen and in 1508 he was consecrated as a priest, but the Erfurt humanist regard this merely as the basis of financial security. In 1509 he entered the service of Frederick the Wise of Saxony as tutor of Prince John Frederick. From 1511 to 16 he taught Princes Otto and Ernst of Brunswick-Lueneburg at Wittenberg and in 1512 became librarian of the elector's castle library. From 1516 he was the most trusted counselor of Frederick the Wise (privy secretary, historiographer, father confessor, and court chaplain). He was particularly responsible for church an university affairs. It was this function that enabled him to give assistance to the cause of Luther whom he had learned to know in 1513. He gained the elector's good will for Luther, served as go-between, and always stood at Luther's side with his good counsel. The correspondence between him and Luther is very extensive. As pastor of Altenburg (where he had been a member of the monastery chapter since 1511) he reformed city and monastery in 1525. From 1526 he participated in visitations which led to the introduction of the Reformation in the electorate of Saxony. Later he also took part in the visitation held in the duchy of Saxony. After Frederick's death in 1525, he served his successors in solving church problems. He cooperated in drafting the Augsburg Confession. 'Annals of Saxony' is his most important literary work. His translations of the Latin works of Luther, Erasmus, and Melanchthon became noteworthy.

This collection consists of two letters written by Georg Spalatin. The first letter, on paper measuring 22 x 33 cm., is written to the "Noble and Right worthy Heinrich von Einsiedel" in Gnansteyn. The matter being addressed is the refusal of Brosius Berger to take an oath, thus hindering Katharina Gockritz from getting married. Mention of consultation with Doctor Martin [Luther] is in the letter. With the exception of the upper right corner which is missing, the paper is in good condition. The date "1528" appears in the upper left corner in a different ink. The second letter is on paper and measures 22.1 x 21.8 cm. The letter is written to Heinrich von Einsiedel and was enclosed with a copy of a sermon by Philipp Melanchthon. Within the body of the letter, Spalatin entreats Einsiedel to "exert your goodwill on the work's behalf". The letter is dated 1536. Also included with the collection are copies of translations and transcriptions of each letter, prepared by Andreas Baudler in December 2005.

The images below are available in a PDF document (3.4 MB).

Letter 1 Front:

Letter 1 Translation:

First, the grace and peace of God through Christ. Honorable, valiant, especially benevolent lord and dear family friend. Following my delay, I am herewith sending you Master Philipp Melanchthon's sermon On the Dear Angels, which I translated and which was recently published. I do hope you acknowledge my good intention in the effort - and would have liked to send it to you much sooner but did not receive it until today. I also beseech you to send the other bundle to your brother Abraham when a safe opportunity arises. For I am returning a few silver coins he had lent me. Again, I remain at your service. Should you no longer need the newspaper I recently sent you, I would ask that you return it to me for I have no copy. Finally, all of us wish all of you many good times. The Sunday after Epiphany 1536. Georg Spalatin.

Letter 1 Back:

Letter 1 Address:

[Address:] To the honorable and valiant Heinrich von Einsiedel of Gnandstein Castle, my beloved lord and family friend.

Letter 2 Front:

Letter 2 Translation:

The grace of God and peace through Christ. Honorable, especially benevolent lord and dear family friend. Having read your latest letter, I am very displeased by Ambrosius Berger's wanton callousness. Concerned that this could be a sham matter, I certainly agree that you briefly report the affair to My Lord (Elector John o f Saxony). Send the copy of what Dr. Martin (Luther) advised. Let him know that great pains have been taken; and that, despite it all, Ambrosius Berger refuses to take oath - as his defiant words, quoted below [on the original attachment], show. Then humbly ask the Elector to graciously tell you whom to turn to in the case against Ambrosius Berger - so that the poor girl no longer be hindered and no further unrest arise. I consider it inadvisable to let the evil and callous persons think their petulance is acceptable. Whatever you decide to do would be easier to justify, in every way, with the knowledge and backing of Electoral authority. Again, please do not forget the Zschopau beer for Thursday. Finally, God be with you all. Amen. Dated Wednesday after St. Francis in the Year of Our Lord 1536. Georg Spalatin.

Letter 2 Back:

Letter 2 Address:

[Address:] To the honorable and valiant Heinrich von Einsiedel of Gnandstein Castle, my especially gracious lord and family friend.

For additional information about this collection, consult the finding aid.