Balthasar I (1610-1641) and Jan II Moretus (1610-1618)1.
On 3rd March 1610, a few months before his death, Jan Moretus and his wife visited the notary Van den Bossche to make their last will and testament. They bequeathed each other all their property; after the death of the longer-lived the estate was to be divided equally among their children, but with the proviso that the two sons already working in the firm - Balthasar and Jan - should inherit the Plantin press and all its equipment and materials and own and profit from it jointly. On the death of either brother it should pass to the survivor.2.
In his will Plantin had favoured Jan Moretus to ensure the viability of the Officina Plantiniana, his life's work, sacrificing the interests of his other children without compunction. Because of the reaction of the latter a compromise was worked out which was agreeable to all the heirs and yet guaranteed the future of the officina. Jan Moretus, coming to the end of his life, was guided by the agreement reached in 1590 by Plantin's heirs. All his children would share equally in his estate, but there was to be only one Officina Plantiniana with one master (or in this special case, a joint master-
ship, the situation returning to normal on the death of either brother). Whoever was fortunate enough to inherit the press would also acquire the means to buy out the other heirs without jeopardizing the firm.
This in essence is the significance of Jan Moretus's will. His successors had the wisdom and common sense to perpetuate this principle of inheritance, preserving the viability of the Plantinian press through three centuries. Other families of printers frittered away their equipment each time an estate was divided up, with all the disastrous consequences attendant on this policy. Most typographical dynasties broke up into various competing branches which usually stagnated after a short period of independence. But in Antwerp there was only one Officina Plantiniana with but one master, or at most two masters acting jointly.
The death of Jan Moretus on 22th September 1610 made Martina Plantin the nominal head of the firm, but she left the running of it completely in the hands of Balthasar and Jan II. It was these two who on 22nd October 1610 obtained a patent from the archduke to practise the trade of printing and on 27th October of that year took the prescribed oath at Brussels.1. The works which the firm printed from the end of 1610 until Martina's death in 1616 bore the address ‘Ex Officina Plantiniana apud viduam et filios Joannis Moreti.’ However, Martina Plantin withdrew completely from affairs in 1614, after making an arrangement with her children which was to regulate the immediate future as well as the problems that would arise after her decease.2.
In this settlement the estate of Jan Moretus was assessed at 120,000 fl.; 118,000 after a sum of 2,000 fl. had been divided among the five children, and excluding the villa at Berchem and certain furniture which Martina retained for her own use. This means that Plantin's son-in-law, after
twenty years as master of the Gulden Passer, was able to leave his heirs almost double what he himself had inherited. Considering the difficult circumstances in which he had had to take over and maintain the firm, this was no mean achievement, even though the total was 16,000 fl. less than the amount divided among Plantin's heirs.
Martina Plantin kept 68,000 fl. of the 118,000 for herself, leaving it invested in the business. The two new masters had to pay her a yearly interest of 5 per cent on this sum. The remaining 50,000 fl. was shared equally among the five children. The three beneficiaries who were not active in the firm received their portions in half-yearly instalments of 800 fl. which the two directors had to pay out. After Martina Plantin's death the remaining 68,000 fl., or rather the three fifths of it, had to be paid off in equal half-yearly instalments of 800 fl. It should also be pointed out that each of the children had already received quite large endowments during their father's lifetime, and Balthasar and Jan II were given a salary for their work in the press. The two latter already had sizeable personal fortunes in 1614.
After 1st July 1614, Balthasar and Jan II were the owners of the Gulden Passer, but not until after their mother's death on 17th February 1616 did they drop her name from their address, which then became ‘Ex Officina Plantiniana apud Balthasarem et Joannem Moretos fraters’ (1616-1618).
These two grandsons of Plantin, called upon to carry on the great printer's tradition, must now be presented in more detail. Balthasar I Moretus, the third son of Jan Moretus and Martina Plantin and the second to survive, was born in Antwerp on 23rd July 1574. Physically handicapped from birth, he grew into an intelligent boy, of whom his father was very proud: ‘The second of my surviving sons came into the world paralysed on his right side. He was born during the first [political] troubles and I feared then of losing both mother and child. But God preserved them, which was a great blessing for me. He is alert of mind and writes elegantly with his left hand. This year he was admitted to school in Rhetoric and we hope that he will be useful to us in the capacity of proof-reader as he must lead a sedentary life’ wrote Jan Moretus on 18th October 1590 in Latin to the old family friend, Arias Montanus.1.
Balthasar won a second prize in Rhetoric at the school run by the Austin Friars in Antwerp, receiving a book, the Institutionum scholasticarum libri tres by Simon Verepaeus, which is in the Plantin-Moretus Museum. On the title-page, beneath the inscription ‘Balthasar Moretus, secundus ad Rhetoricam’, the teacher added a few lines of verse which allude to the contrast between the boy's physical infirmity and his brilliant intellect: ‘Corpore compensent vitium quod cernitur, amplae Eximii dotes Balthasar ingenii.’ [May the rich talents of your excellent mind, Balthasar, offset the defect which one sees in your body.]
These mental endowments certainly compensated for his serious physical handicap. Balthasar I Moretus was the most scholarly of all his family and occupies an honoured place in the long line of humanists who graced the Southern Netherlands in the revival of the first half of the seventeenth century. His Latin verses can bear comparison with the best that the age produced. He was a worthy pupil of that great master of Latin, Justus Lipsius, who taught Balthasar for a couple of years at Louvain (1592-94) after he had finished his studies with the Augustinians at Antwerp.1.
It is very doubtful, however, if in his own day Balthasar's fame extended much beyond his own immediate circle in Antwerp. Max Rooses and Maurice Sabbe have illustrated Balthasar's significance as a humanist and Neo-Latin poet from the many poems, panegyrics and epitaphs which he wrote and which have been preserved in the family records. But with a few exceptions2. these writings never appeared in print. The learned master of the largest printing concern in the Southern Netherlands had no desire to commit his literary products to his own presses. In contrast to many humanist scholars, Balthasar I Moretus was a very modest person who stayed in the background as much as possible.
His physical handicap undoubtedly had much to do with this. It seems
to the author that Plantin's grandson suffered all his life from an inferiority complex on this account. To this defect must also be ascribed the fact that he remained an inveterate bachelor and stubbornly refused to have his portrait painted. All the known portraits of him are based on the canvas by Willeboirts Bosschaert showing Balthasar I on his death-bed, which was painted at the request of his nephew and heir Balthasar II.1. The younger Frans Raphelengius put his finger on his cousin's dominant characteristic in a letter of 7th August 1618, when Balthasar was feeling confused and depressed after the death of his brother and was looking around for another partner: ‘It seems to us that a great deal of your melancholy arises from the fact that you make yourself melancholy; to wit, that you have too little faith in yourself and are therefore too fainthearted.’2.
For Balthasar Moretus it was enough to be respected in his own circle, to mix on equal terms with the intelligentsia of his native town, to be a courteous host to the distinguished foreigners who visited Antwerp, and to correspond with these and with the many scholars who wanted to have their works published by the Officina Plantiniana. Balthasar exchanged hundreds of letters with Philip Chifflet, chaplain to the Archduchess Isabella - the chaplain writing in French, and the printer in Latin - letters in which all the political events of the time pass in review.3. With Anna Roemers Visscher, the famous Dutch poetess who visited the Gulden Passer many times, there was more talk of art and poetry. To please her host she copied out four sonnets by P.C. Hooft and Constantijn Huygens, adding a fifth of her own, dedicated ‘Aen den E. Heere Moretus’. Beautiful examples of calligraphy, they are preserved in the Plantin-Moretus Museum.4.
In spite of all his modesty Balthasar thus enjoyed a certain celebrity in the world of scholarship - and even outside it. The reason which De la Serre, Maria de' Medici's biographer, gives for the visit of the exiled Queen of France to the Plantin press in 1631 during her stay in Antwerp, is very flattering to its master:5. ‘The Queen was desirous of seeing this fine Plan-
tinian Press, the reputation of which Monsieur Balthasar Moretus, grandson of Christophe Plantin, upholds and supports by his own merit alone, making it as prosperous as ever, both by his knowledge and by his vigilance.’1. When Rubens died in 1640, another eminent French scholar, Matthieu de Morgues, Maria de' Medici's chaplain, wrote a letter to Balthasar containing an equally flattering comparison: ‘Vostre ville a perdu l'ornament de la peinture muette, vous estes celuy de la parlante.’2.
It should be added that Balthasar, however shy and reserved he may have been, lived as a patrician, entertaining his guests in princely surroundings. He rebuilt Plantin's simple house in the Vrijdagmarkt, making of it an architectural treasure that is still admired today,3. and filled it with paintings, manuscripts and books.4. The undistinguished exterior of the Gulden Passer of the time of Plantin and Jan Moretus became under Balthasar one of the sights of Antwerp which attracted visits not only from Maria de' Medici but from many other royal persons.5. It was typical of Balthasar, however, that where his bosom-friend Rubens introduced the exuberant Baroque style to the Southern Netherlands in this period and made his own house an illustration of the new movement, Balthasar kept to the calmer, more restrained Renaissance style.
Few details are available concerning the life of Balthasar's younger brother, Jan II Moretus, and little is said about him in books on the family. Jan II never studied at a university and the papers he left behind consist mostly of bills and book-keeping entries. He was certainly never a figure of any intellectual importance, which does not mean that he was entirely lacking in education. In about 1613, while he was away from the firm, a business letter in Spanish arrived, to which Balthasar replied in Latin with the excuse ‘for although I understand Spanish, I only write it with difficulty’: Spanish correspondence was his brother's exclusive preserve.6. Jan II Moretus was
well thought of in Antwerp business circles, as is shown by the fact that he was elected dean of the Guild of St. Luke in 1616-17. To judge from the memorandum which he started on his appointment, he carried out his duties very meticulously.1.
The two brothers began quite early to help their father in the business - Balthasar in 1594, after returning from Louvain, Jan II probably in 1592, when he was sixteen years old. By a remarkable parallelism, they fulfilled the same functions for their father as he and Frans Raphelengius had done for Plantin. Balthasar was chief ‘correcteur’ and overseer of the press, and Jan II was the ‘director and supervisor of the distribution or sale of his work and trade’.
Both served their father loyally for many years without salary, until in 1604 they plucked up courage and in a written memorandum humbly but pointedly asked their parents for an ‘endowment’ appropriate to the importance of their work.2. Jan Moretus granted his enterprising offspring their wish. Balthasar received a contractual yearly salary of 1,000 fl.,3. while his brother was regularly given books which he could dispose of himself.4. The following year Jan II married. It may be supposed that the younger brother took the initiative in asking for an income as he was planning to marry and did not wish to enter matrimony with empty pockets. His bride was Maria de Sweert, of a well-to-do Antwerp family. The ceremony took place in Antwerp Cathedral on 17th July 1605.5.
In 1610, when the two brothers took over the firm after their father's death, the activities of the Officina Plantiniana were still carried on in two buildings tearing the name of Gulden Passer, i.e. the printing-office in the Vrijdagmarkt and the bookshop in the Kammenstraat (still often referred to by its old name of Grote Valk, presumably to avoid confusion). Naturally each of the two brothers began, or more probably continued to reside in the place where his work lay - Balthasar in the Vrijdagmarkt, Jan II in the Kammenstraat.
(50) Balthasar I Moretus (1574-1641). Oil painting on canvas by Thomas Willeboirts Bosschaert. Commissioned by Balthasar II Moretus immediately after his uncle's death.
(51) Title-page of Jan Moretus's Dutch translation of De constantia libri duo by Lipsius. The translator gives his name in its original Dutch form of Mourentorf. The Dutch version came out in 1584, the same year as the Latin editio princeps. The title-page gives Antwerp as the place of issue though the book was actually printed at Leiden, bearing the imprint: ‘Tot Leyden by Christoffel Plantijn.’ Some copies, however, show a modified title with an Antwerp imprint.
They increased the rate of production in the press considerably. Where their father had regularly had six presses working in the last years of his life, raising the number to seven in 1607 and in the year he died, his sons operated seven from the beginning and were even able to bring this up to nine in 1614. The Officina Plantiniana was once more one of the largest, if not the largest printing firm in all Christendom. But there was a new crisis to face in 1618. Jan II Moretus, the younger and physically the stronger of the two brothers ‘went into a decline’ and died a few months later on 11th March 1618.
It was a grievous blow. Balthasar not only lost a beloved brother but found himself confronted by a number of serious business problems. What he most dreaded was having to shoulder the heavy responsibilities of the firm by himself. There are intimations of this in his correspondence with his cousin, the younger Frans Raphelengius. Balthasar seems to have been thoroughly shaken and confused. The only salvation he could see lay in taking an outsider into partnership. His cousin, forgetting that he had reacted in an almost identical manner when his own brother died in 1600, tried to cheer him up and exhorted him to carry on alone:1. ‘But my advice is only general, that I am thoroughly opposed to forming companies if there is no mutual interest and affection between the partners; such as there was between you and your late brother; and as there now is among my brother, sister and myself. Partners who are not kindred, if once they are intent on some advantage for themselves, seek gradually to supplant the principal: moreover you will not easily encounter anyone who as a partner has the generosity of character to do everything with honour and credit: but on the contrary it is to be feared that his only intention will be to do everything for profit; so that you will sometimes have to let it pass to your sorrow res sordidas etc....’2.
Balthasar, however, pursued his intention and in April 1618, scarcely a month after his brother's death, he took the printer Jan van Meurs (Meursius) into partnership. The latter was no stranger to the house, being married
to a sister of Maria de Sweert. From her side Maria proved willing to leave her husband's capital invested in the business. From April 1618 books printed in the Plantin press carried the address ‘Ex Officina Plantiniana, apud Balthasarem Moretum et Viduam Joannis Moreti et Joannem Meursium.’
Maria de Sweert took no active part in the business. Jan van Meurs took charge of sales, while Balthasar continued to run the printing-office. The fears of Frans Raphelengius proved justified, if only in part. The quality of the books produced did not decline in any way and the quantity increased. The nine presses in operation rose to eleven in 1622 (the number dropped again to ten at die end of 1626). After about ten years, however, the partners began to disagree violently, and Van Meurs left in high dudgeon. As Balthasar II Moretus, Balthasar I's successor, expressed it in his journal: ‘1628. In April breach with Jan van Meurs. Which separation became final in the beginning of 1629, in March, with much quarrelling and argument.’1.
Maria de Sweert remained in partnership, but after 1629 her name disappeared from the title-pages of Plantinian works, which subsequently carried only Balthasar's name: ‘Ex Officina Plantiniana Balthasaris Moreti.’
The parting of Balthasar Moretus and Jan van Meurs was painful. It also seems to have upset the firm's activities considerably. Balthasar, no longer young, cannot have found it easy to keep the officina going: the fluctuation in the number of presses working indicates that Van Meurs's departure was followed by disruption and a partial recession.2. This tendency was halted in the latter years of Balthasar's life, however, and in 1640 there were again nine presses in operation.
To what extent it was the support of the ‘heir apparent’, Balthasar II, who had been assisting his uncle since 1632, which helped to allay the crisis cannot be said with any certainty. At all events the work of Christophe Plantin and Jan Moretus was not undone. When he died in 1641, Balthasar left
behind a sound business, with more presses working than when he had taken over. This business, moreover, was now concentrated in one building. In November 1639 he had transferred the shop in the Kammenstraat to the recently renovated Gulden Passer in the Vrijdagmarkt. In 1620 to 1622 he had already carried out extensive alterations to the latter building, intended to give him a suitably patrician residence. The alterations he embarked on in the years 1637 to 1639 were stated to be ‘to combine the bookshop with the printing-press’:1. future masters of the Officina Plantiniana would be able to keep a closer eye on both its main activities, printing and selling, than had hitherto been possible. This concentration was a direct consequence of the quarrel with Van Meurs, which had left Balthasar in sole charge.
Balthasar himself was not able to enjoy this rationalization for long. He died on 8th July 1641 in ‘the house of the Press, in the morning about ten o'clock, the last sacrament having been given the day before; his illness had only lasted ten days’, noted Balthasar II in his journal.2. Like Jan II, and like all the following generations of Moretuses until the second half of the eighteenth century, Balthasar was laid to rest in the family vault in Antwerp Cathedral. The famous physician and humanist Ludovicus Nonnius attended him in the last moments of his life, receiving 18 fl. ‘for visiting during the illness’. The ‘bill for the costs of the sickness, burial, and mourning clothes... and for the funeral meal’ came to the considerable sum of 2,118 fl. 10 St., including ‘12 fl. for the funeral ode’.3.
Balthasar I and Jan II Moretus belonged to the post-1585 generation in Antwerp, that of the Catholic Counter-Reformation. Their father, like Plantin and so many other Antwerp intellectuals of the pre-1585 generation, had been a member of the Family of Love and of the Barrefeltist sect. He went with the stream and became the great printer of the Counter-Reformation, but how far his personal views were in accord with the new militant Catholicism remains open to question. In the case of Balthasar I and the other children of Jan Moretus and Martina Plantin there is no doubt: all
were completely the products of the new spiritual climate prevailing in Antwerp. There has already been mention of how Balthasar became the secular patron of the new Convent of the Annonciades in Antwerp.1.
Where Jan I Moretus had become the Counter-Reformation's printer because events carried him in that direction, Balthasar I and Jan II remained its foremost printers out of personal conviction.2. They were able to maintain their high standing because, in the period between the fall of Antwerp in 1585 and the Treaty of Minister in 1648, intellectual activity in the Southern Netherlands remained intense and vigorous. Most of the scholars were clergy and there was an emphasis on religious subjects, yet this intellectual life was, after its kind, of international significance.
All the Antwerp typographers of these years adapted their production to meet demands created by the Counter-Reformation, but whereas most of them printed and distributed chiefly popular writings, the Plantin press stuck to the good Latin works of the masters; as in the time of Plantin, though at a rather different level, they remained pre-eminent: not only because of the content of what they published but also because of its form. Balthasar and Jan II were not innovators in this - they were following a path already taken by their father - but it was under them that the Antwerp Baroque book, with its rich ornamentation and superabundant illustration, achieved its highest perfection. Here the collaboration of Rubens, who designed numerous title-pages and illustrations for his boyhood friend Balthasar Moretus, was decisive. Because of the genius of Rubens and the international sphere in which the officina operated, the Antwerp Baroque book and the Plantinian style had a profoundly formative influence on typography in the seventeenth century.
Many of the folios printed by Balthasar I Moretus are nowadays only opened and studied for their illustrations. Most of the bulky volumes he published, however important they may have been in their time, now have only a certain limited, retrospective significance for the history of theology and religion. This does not mean that no important works of science or the humanities left the Plantin press under Balthasar I. The list of such works is relatively long and interesting: the edition of Seneca by Justus Lipsius in
1613 and the publication of Lipsius's collected works in 1637; the lectures of Libertus Fromondus, professor of philosophy at Louvain; the Opticorum libri VI, the optical textbook by the Jesuit Aguilonius (1613); the Annales ducum seu principum Brabantiae, the history of the Duchy of Brabant by Haraeus (1623); the Obsidio Bredana, an account of the siege of Breda by H. Hugo (1st Latin edition, 1626; 2nd Latin edition 1629; Spanish translation, 1627; and French translation, 1631); the Historia naturae by the Spanish Jesuit Joannes Eusebius Nierembergius (1635). Others included a number of books of topical interest, concerning Maria de' Medici (J. Puget de la Serre, Histoire curieuse de tout ce qui s'est passé à l'entrée de la Reyne, mère du roi très-chrétien, dans les villes des Pays-Bas, 1632; and M. de Morgues, Diverses pièces pour la Défense de la Reyne, Mère du Roy très-chrétien Louys XIII, 1637) and concerning the claims of the Spanish king to the throne of Portugal (J. Caramuel Lobkowitz, Philippus prudens..., 1639). In this field, however, Balthasar's production was much below that of his father, and in no way comparable with that of Christophe Plantin.
In one area, however, both brothers returned to a Plantinian tradition, namely the printing of service books for the Spanish market. As has been repeatedly emphasized, this production was of tremendous importance in the development of Plantin's business, although it caused him much trouble. After Antwerp's capitulation in 1585 the great printer did not try to renew his relations with Philip II.1. Nor did Jan I Moretus try to regain the Spanish market: it was the Spaniards themselves who finally approached him.
The question of the revival of the Spanish trade still awaits detailed study, but the main points are fairly clear. The Hieronymite monastery of San Lorenzo in the Escorial had obtained from the Spanish kings a virtual monopoly for the sale of liturgical works in Spain and the Spanish colonies.2. Dissatisfied with the quantity and quality of books produced in Spain, the monks turned in the beginning of the seventeenth century to Philip II's old supplier, the Plantin press.
The first piece of evidence that the author found was a letter dated 25th November 1606, written by the superior of the house to Jan I Moretus, requesting him to supply breviaries, referring to the royal privileges and papal bulls with which Plantin had been favoured, and even quoting Arias Montanus's words on Plantin's behalf.1. A memorandum of 18th June 1607 notes the dispatch of 1,200 breviaries in quarto and octavo, some illustrated, others not.2. That is all until the beginning of 1615, when there are details in the Plantinian records of a further consignment3. - and the copy of a letter dated 12th April 1615 from the Spanish king to Archduke Albert, in which he protested violently on behalf of the monastery of San Lorenzo at the high prices Plantin's heirs had dared to ask. The same bundle in the archives contains the rescriptio, the Moretus brothers' answer, in which they replied with equal acerbity to the accusations, maintaining that the Spanish priests were not complaining about the expensiveness of the Plantin books but about their scarcity. This was provoked by sabotage on the part of the Hieronymites, who were holding back the Moretus editions and bringing native products on the market which were inferior in design and content.4.
From these particulars it may be deduced that the Hieronymites of San Lorenzo, the virtual monopoly holders in Spain, were allowed to call on native printers and in fact gave them preference for a long time, but that where foreign printers were concerned, they were more or less bound by Philip II's grant of sole rights for Spain and her colonies to the Officina Plantiniana - or at least they regarded themselves as so bound. Their attempt to force down prices foundered when the Moretuses were adamant, at which the Hieronymites turned to their sovereign for support. After hearing charge and counter-charge, however, neither Philip III nor Archduke
Albert seem to have involved themselves further in the matter and left the two parties to get on with it.
The two sides did not stick to their respective points of view. A compromise agreement was soon reached: the Moretus brothers could continue to ship huge quantities of service-books to Spain, with the Hieronymites as their most important customers. From 1615 to 1625 those shipments to the Escorial amounted to the impressive total of 163,607 fl. 8 st.1.
Sales of these rezo romano (the technical term in Spain for such service-books) were not yet comparable with the enormous figures of later years; export to Spain was still a subsidiary interest of the press, but the path had been taken which, under Balthasar's successors, was to lead to the firm's specialization in liturgical books for the Spanish market.
The great cultural role of the Officina Plantiniana had finished, but the firm was to remain viable. While in the second half of the seventeenth century the rapid cultural and artistic decline of the Southern Netherlands was to reduce Antwerp's once international book market to a relatively unimportant regional centre, and lay its other typographers low, the Plantin press (together with the Verdussens who were also Spanish-oriented) was to remain intensely busy and, within its narrow, specialized limits, continue to enjoy an international reputation and influence. Just at the right moment Balthasar I Moretus was able to change over and by so doing he ensured the viability of the Golden Compasses as a capitalist undertaking for more than another century - thanks to the Spanish privileges won by his grandfather, who had contemptuously laid them aside in 1576.
Concerning Balthasar I, see M. Rooses, Musée
, pp. 287-304, and M. Sabbe, De meesters van den Gulden Passer
, pp. 122 sqq. M. Sabbe's studies published in Uit het Plantijnsche huis
and De Moretussen en hun kring
are also informative regarding this Moretus. Balthasar I and Rubens are dealt with by H. Bouchery and F. van den Wijngaert in P.-P. Rubens en het Plantijnsche huis
. Cf. also M. Rooses, ‘Petrus-Paulus Rubens en Balthasar Moretus’ in Rubens-Bulletijn
, 1 and 2, 1882-1883 (published separately as Petrus-Paulus Rubens en Balthasar Moretus. Eene bijdrage tot de geschiedenis der kunst
, 1884); a French translation, ‘Pierre-Paul Rubens et Balthasar Moretus’, appeared in L'Art
, 1885, pp. 225-233, and 1886, pp. 37-44, 57-60.
Arch. 102, folios 79 sqq.
Arch. 1179, privilege no. 390 (the original deed with a note on the back concerning the taking of the oath).
Deed of 12th September 1614 (Van der Straelen, Geslagt-lyste
, pp. 19-22). The conditions under which Balthasar I and Jan II took over the business are specified in a separate deed (Arch. 102, folios 395 sqq.). Cf. also Rooses, Musée
, p. 269. In his personal ledger Jan II notes the transfer in the following words: ‘On 1st July 1615 [written in error for 1614] of her own free will my mother for her better repose unburdened herself of the business and stratagems of printing and distribution, selling and transferring the business to my brother Balthasar and me’ (Arch. 101, folio 51).
For the poems written by the young Balthasar (preserved in Arch. 202), his studies at Antwerp and with Justus Lipsius, see Rooses, Musée
, pp. 262 and 274; M. Sabbe, ‘De humanistische opleiding van Plantin's kleinkinderen’ in De Moretussen en hun kring
, 1928. Arch. 1150a contains many later tributes and epitaphs composed by Balthasar I. See Rooses, Musée
, p. 275, on the subject of the epitaph for Philip Rubens.
Including a tribute to Justus Lipsius in his De Cruce libri tres
, 1593, and a poem in praise of his teacher in the volume dedicated to the great humanist's memory which was published in 1607.
Arch. 92, folios 175-176. Original Dutch text: ‘Ons dunke dat een groot deel van uwe swaericheit ook bestaet in dat ul. al te veel swaericheit maekt; te weten dat gij u selven te weinig betrouwt ende diensvolgens te kleinmoedig zijt.’
Seep. 394. Cf. plate 101.
Original French text: ‘... la Reine eut envie de voir cette belle imprimerie Plantinienne dont Monsieur Balthasar Moretus, petit-fils de Christophe Plantin, soustient et appuye de son seul mérite la renommée, la rendant aussi florissante que jamais, et par son sçavoir et par ses veilles.’
Published by M. Rooses and P. Rombouts: Boek gehouden door Jan Moretus II, ah deken der St. Lucasgilde (1616-1617)
, Antwerp, 1878.
Cf. Arch. 181 (beginning on 2nd January 1607).
Notes of these transactions (and of the growth of his fortune) are in Arch. 208, 209, and 210.
Cf. Arch. 207 which gives details of the engagement and marriage and lists the presents received and the expenses incurred.
Letter of 20th April 1618 (Arch. 92, folio 167).
Original Dutch text: ‘Maer mijn advis is alleenlijk generael, dat mij alle compagnien doorgaens seer tegenstaen, alsser geen gemeen interesse met liefde tusschen de compagnons is; gelijk wel geweest is tusschen ul. en uwe broeder zl.; ende nu is tusschen mijnen broeder, suster ende mij. Vreemde compagnons, gelijk sij maer beginnen met voornemen van eenig eigen voordeel, soo soeken sij allengskens den principaelen den voet te lichten: daerenboven sal ul. niet lichtelik iemanden tot compagnon rencontreeren die deselfde generositeyt hebben
sal om alles tot eer ende met lof te doen: maer ter contrarie is te vreesen dat sijn eenig voornemen wesen sal alles te doen tot profijt; soo dat ul. sal bijwijlen moeten laten passeeren tot u leetwesen res sordidas etc.’
Arch. 213, under the year 1628. Original Dutch text: ‘1628. In april scheidinge van Jan van Meurs. Welke scheydingen door grote rusien ende craekeelen ten laeste gheschiet in het beginsel van 1629, in maart.’
Arch. 213, under the year 1637. See also p. 282.
Arch. 213, under the year 1641. Original Dutch text: ‘... in de huysinghe van de Druckereye, s'morgens omtrent ten tien uren, naer dat daeghs te voren berecht was gheweest, sijne sieckte had alleenlijk thien dagen geduert.’
Arch. 104, folios 73 sqq.
See also the chapter devoted to the Plantin house as a humanist centre.
But not an absolute monopoly: the Moretus brothers and their successors sold also rather large quantities of service books to Spanish priests and monks other than the Hieronymites and even to private Spanish booksellers.
Arch. 125, folio 243: three deliveries invoiced 13th January, 10th April, and 27th August 1615, for a total amount of 7,461 fl. 1 st., dispatched to Juan Hafrey, a Madrid bookseller, ‘pour compte des R[évérends] P[éres] de St. Geronimo, pour divers livres de resado quil a demande par ordre de P. Juan de Madrid’ [for the account of the Reverend Fathers of St. Jerome, for different sundry service-books he commissioned at the order of Father Juan of Madrid].
Arch. 102, folios 583 sqq.
The trade in service-books with Spain in the seventeenth century is discussed in further detail in Vol. II.