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Copernicus to Bishop Ferber - translation

Frombork, 29 February 1524

To my lord, Most Reverend Father in Christ, Maurice [Ferber], by the grace of God bishop of Varmia, my most honorable and beloved superior

My lord, Most Reverend Father in Christ, my gracious lord. Some time ago, during the war, the venerable Heinrich Snellenberg received from Reinhold Feldstedt 100 marks of the money Feldstedt owed me. Not long afterward Snellenberg paid 90 of those marks. He remained obligated to me for 10 marks. I often asked him for them. Up to the present time I have not been able to recover them. But, putting me off, he always promised to pay up at the next distribution of the proceeds. Several months having passed, then, it happened that in my presence the venerable administrator counted out a certain share of the money to him. I asked him to pay me then out of that money in accordance with his promises, while I proposed to give him a receipt in full in my own handwriting. Then he again imposed on me with a new objection, and he forced me first to obtain his receipt from Reinhold Feldstedt.

Now the venerable administrator arrived yesterday and distributed the bulk of the proceeds. Holding Snellenberg's receipt, I sought him out, and even so I did not succeed. He said that he wanted to keep all the money [coming to him] from the administrator. If he owed me anything, I should claim it in a legal action in the court of a judge.

I therefore see that I cannot act otherwise, and that my reward for affection is to be hated, and to be mocked for my complacency. I am forced to follow his advice, the advice by which he plans to frustrate me or cheat me if he can.

I have recourse to your Most Reverend Lordship, whom I ask and beseech to deign to order on my behalf the withholding of the income from his benefice until he satisfies me, or a kind provision in some other way for me to be able to obtain what is mine.

I pledge my services with the utmost promptness to your Most Reverend Lordship. May divine goodness preserve you in a completely prosperous long life and happy rule.

Frombork, 29 February 1524

Your Most Reverend Lordship's

Nic. Coppernic

Translation by Edward Rosen
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