Front Page Titles (by Subject) Part IV.—: Letters Written on the Journey to Constance ( August—November, 1414.) - The Letters of John Hus
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Part IV.—: Letters Written on the Journey to Constance ( August—November, 1414.) - Jan Huss, The Letters of John Hus 
The Letters of John Hus. With Introductions and Explanatory Notes by Herbert B. Workman and R. Martin Pope (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1904).
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Letters Written on the Journey to Constance
On October 30, 1413, Sigismund, at that time at Como, had summoned, as ‘the defender and advocate of the Church,’ all princes and prelates to a General Council to be held at Constance on November 1, 1414. The affairs of Christendom which led to the calling of this Council, the failure of the Council of Pisa, the ambition of Sigismund, and the struggles of the three rival Popes, must not now detain us. But it is important for the student of the life of Hus to realise that when Sigismund summoned this most momentous Council the termination of the schism was not his only object. As heir to the throne of Bohemia, he felt the need of removing from the land the stain of heresy. He realised keenly that ‘throughout the whole earth resounded the rumour that the Bohemians are sons of heretical baseness.’ Unfortunately, but one letter of Hus for the year between Sigismund’s summoning of the Council and the following August has been preserved for us (supra, p. 137). A fuller correspondence would have been invaluable in giving us some insight into the popular anticipations as regards this great event.
Whatever steps Wenzel might take, Sigismund, as the heir to Wenzel’s domains, determined to bring the matter before the Council. He was persuaded that the affair could be peaceably settled, and that he would win the gratitude of Bohemia. He accordingly despatched from Friuli, in Lombardy, three of his court to bid Hus present himself at Constance, and to act as his escort. The good intentions of Sigismund are evident in his choice. John of Chlum, surnamed Kepka, and Wenzel of Leštna, of the house of Duba, were both adherents of Hus, who had served with Sigismund in 1413 in his Venetian war. The third, Henry Chlum of Lacembok, was John of Chlum’s uncle. Sigismund also promised that he would obtain for Hus a full hearing and send him a safe conduct ‘written in Latin and German.’
Hus at once prepared to obey. In view of his own appeal to a General Council, he could not do otherwise. He was too unconscious of his real dissent from Rome to know the risks he ran. His next move was not without worldly wisdom. On August 26, 1414, he posted up notices in Latin and Czech throughout the whole of Prague offering ‘to render an account of his faith and hope’ before the Synod that would open on the following day. Numerous copies of this notice have been preserved. The Latin Notice1 ran as follows:—
Notice to the Synod
Master John of Husinecz, bachelor of divinity,2 is ready to appear before the most reverend father, Conrad, Archbishop of Prague, legate of the Apostolic Seat, at the next convocation of all the prelates and clergy of the kingdom of Bohemia, being at all times prepared to give an account of the faith and hope that is in him to the satisfaction of all who may inquire of him thereof; and, moreover, to see and to hear each and all who have a mind to charge him with obstinacy in error or with any heresy whatsoever, in order that they may render themselves liable in that same place, according to the requirements of the law of God and of justice, to the penalty of retaliation, if they fail legally to prove against him obstinacy in error or heresy.1 To all which charges before the said Archbishop and prelates, and withal at the next General Council in Constance, he is ready with God’s help to reply, to abide by the law, and, in Christ’s name, to prove his innocence according to the decrees and canons of the holy fathers. Given on Sunday following the feast of St. Bartholomew.2
On the refusal of the Synod to receive either Hus or his proctor, Jesenicz, Hus on August 30 once more posted up notices on the door of the royal palace and throughout all Prague stating his future intentions.
Appeal to the Court
To his Majesty, to the Queen, to their advisers, the Prefect of the court, and the whole court.3
I, Master John Hus, do hereby make known and declare that, whereas I did clearly learn from certain persons that a letter was sent by the Pope to his Majesty (though I knew not by whom it was transcribed), wherein his Majesty was advised zealously to weed out of his kingdom of Bohemia all budding heretics, and whereas, as I put my trust in God, it was without fault of my own that a rumour of that kind did arise, causing me to be pointed at with the finger, I despatched hither and thither many letters, lest on any account his Majesty should incur slander and Bohemia disgrace, and, moreover, caused them to be posted up, announcing that I would show myself in the Archbishop’s court, in order that cognisance might be taken of my beliefs: accordingly, if there had been any one in the kingdom of Bohemia who could charge me with any heresy, he might have announced his name in the Archbishop’s court and publicly indicted me there. But inasmuch as no one came forward and my lord the Archbishop gave me and my proctors no locus standi, therefore, in the name of justice, I entreat his Majesty, the Queen, their advisers, and the Prefect of the entire court to grant to me due attestation of this fact—namely, that I made the above declaration, and publicly posted up a letter concerning this matter, and that no one in the whole kingdom stood forth against me. Again, besides all this, I hereby make known to the whole of Bohemia, and to the other countries from old time of vast importance, that I wish to appear in Constance at the Council that has been summoned, in the presence of the Pope, if he is to be there, and before the said General Council. If any one can lay any heresy to my charge, let him prepare to set out to the Council, that he may there in person lay before the Pope and the whole Council whatever heresy he hath heard me utter. If I shall be convicted of any heresy, I do not refuse to suffer the penalties of a heretic. But I trust God, whom I truly love, that He will not permit the detractors and adversaries of the truth to overcome the truth.
Hus did not neglect to take other steps for his defence. The same day (August 30), ‘in the upper room of the house of the Master of the Mint,1 John of Jesenicz, the procurator of Hus, humbly but earnesly inquired of Nicholas, Bishop of Nazareth, inquisitor of heresy for the city and diocese of Prague: “Reverend father, do you know of any error or heresy in Master John de Husinecz, alias Hus?” To which the said Lord Nicholas answered, not of compulsion, but freely and publicly in the Czech tongue: “I have met Master John Hus many times and in many places, eating and drinking with him. I have often been present at his sermons; I have had many talks with him on diverse matters of Holy Scripture. In all his words and deeds I have ever found him to be a true and catholic man, in no wise savouring of heresy or error” ’ (Doc. 242).
Certain of the nobles procured a similar declaration from the Archbishop. So, on the following day (September 1), Hus despatched a letter to Sigismund, enclosing copies of the notices he had posted in Prague and elsewhere, and not forgetting, we imagine, though of this the letter says nothing, to forward a copy of the Bishop of Nazareth’s certificate of orthodoxy.
To Sigismund, King of the Romans and of Hungary
To the most serene prince and lord, Sigismund, King of the Romans and King of Hungary, etc., his gracious lord, humbly praying with heartfelt desire that salvation, peace, and grace may be multiplied to him, and that after the governments of this present life the everlasting life of glory may be granted to him.
Most serene prince and most gracious lord, when I consider with a full heart the gracious and kindly regard which your Majesty most generously cherishes towards a poor subject like myself, I am utterly unable to make reply; but I am constrained to entreat the mercy of the Lord Almighty, Who rewardeth each man worthily, to grant a prosperous reign to your Majesty. Some time ago I forwarded an answer to your Majesty by the hands of Stephen Harnsmeister to the effect that after hearing what Lord Henry told me, and also of your Majesty’s promises, I intend humbly to give in my submission, and under the safe-conduct of your protection1 to appear at the next Council of Constance, the Lord Most High being my defender. Desiring to attain this object in an orderly fashion, I have caused notices, copies of which I forward, to be posted up all over Prague in Latin and Czech, and to be forwarded through the other cities and announced in sermons.
However, I beseech your Majesty, humbly entreating you in the Lord, by the honour of God and the welfare of His holy Church, by the honour also of the kingdom of Bohemia, of which the King of kings has ordained you the heir, and the welfare and honour of which He, therefore, hath disposed you naturally to desire, that it may please you to extend such kindness to my person that I may come in peace, and be able in the General Council itself to make a public profession of my faith. For as I have taught nothing in secret, but only in public, where masters, graduates, priests, barons, knights, and others most do congregate, so I desire to be heard, not privately, but before a public audience, to be examined, to make my statement, and to reply, with the help of the Lord’s spirit, to all who may wish to charge me. And I shall not be afraid, I trust, to confess the Lord Jesus Christ and to suffer death, if needs be, for His true law. For the King of kings and the Lord of lords Himself, very God, though amongst us as a poor man, meek and humble, suffered for our sakes, leaving us an example that we should follow in his steps: he that did no sin, neitherwas guile found in his mouth,1 Who humbling Himself destroyed our death by His own death, and hath constrained us also to suffer with humility and not for naught, seeing that He said: Blessed are they that suffer persecution for justice’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.2
When I pondered over these things, I, His servant in hope, albeit an unprofitable one, desired to win both clergy and people to the imitation of Himself, for which reason I have incurred the hatred, not of the whole of the people, but only of those who by their lives are enemies of the Lord Himself. It is by them that I have often been cited to appear at the Archbishop’s court, but I have always proved my innocence. When at length I was cited to appear at the Curia, I never succeeded through my defenders and proctors in getting a hearing.3 Therefore I have committed myself into the hands of the most righteous Judge, for Whose glory I trust your clemency will furnish me with a safe, public hearing, the Lord Jesus Christ being my defender. Finally, I have been comforted by the message brought by the noble and strenuous Lord Mikess Diwoky,4 your Majesty’s envoy, that your Highness remembers me so graciously and attentively by your desire to bring my case to an honourable issue, which will also redound to the glory and honour of the King of kings. I write with my own hand on St. Giles’s Day.
Master John Hus,
Sigismund was anxious that Hus should journey in his suite. The Reformer would have fared better, as the King pleaded in his own excuse at a later date, if he had accepted the offer. Such, however, was his confidence in his own integrity, his eagerness to confront his enemies, that Hus set off without even waiting for the safe-conduct. As soon as he had received Sigismund’s official promise of the safe-conduct—dated Rothenburg, October 8—Hus started (October 11, 1414), leaving the formal document to overtake him as best it might. Hence the allusion in the following letter, written in Czech, to his congregation at the Bethlehem, immediately after his departure from Bohemia.1 This letter, we may add, fell into the hands of Hus’s enemies, and gave him much trouble at Constance, owing, as Hus avers, to the faulty way in which it was mis-translated into Latin. The latter part of the letter is very beautiful. At the same time Hus sent a sealed letter to ‘Master Martin, his disciple,’ which forms one of the treasures of the collection, invaluable for its insight into the tender, somewhat self-upbraiding, spirit of the writer. This letter (XXXV.) should be compared with similar passages in Bunyan’s Grace Abounding.
To his Bohemian Friends on Starting for Constance
Master John Hus, in hope a priest and servant of the Lord Jesus Christ, to all the faithful and beloved brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus who have heard and received the word of God through me, beseeching for them grace and peace from God our Father and from the Holy Spirit, that they may dwell undefiled in His truth.
Faithful and beloved friends! You know that I faithfully instructed you for a long period, preaching to you the word of God without heresy and without errors, as you are aware: further, I always sought your salvation; I seek it now, and will seek it unto death. I had resolved to preach to you before starting on my journey to Constance, and in particular to declare to you the false testimonies and the false witnesses who gave evidence against me. I possess all their signatures1 together with their depositions, and I intend to declare their names to you for these reasons—that if I shall be evilly spoken against or condemned to death, you may not be terrified when you know of it, as if I were condemned on account of any heresy that I hold;2 and also that you may persevere without fear and wavering in the truth which the Lord God hath brought to your knowledge through faithful preachers and through me, feeble though I be; and thirdly, that you may guard against crafty and pretended preachers.
Now, however, I have started on my journey, without safe-conduct,3 into the midst of many of my greatest enemies, among whom the most relentless are those of my own household,4 as you will discover from the depositions and will certainly learn at the close of the Council. I shall be opposed by more foes than our gracious Redeemer—bishops, doctors, princes secular, and canons regular. But I put my trust in my gracious, wise, and mighty Saviour that He will give to me, by reason of His own promise and your faithful prayers, the wisdom and constancy of the Holy Spirit; for only so shall I persevere and not be led astray by them to the side of evil, though I suffer at His will temptations, revilings, imprisonment, and death—as indeed He too suffered and hath subjected His own loved servants to the same trials, leaving us an example that we may suffer for His sake and our salvation. For He is God; we are His creatures. He is Lord; we are servants. He is King of the whole world; we are poor weaklings. He is without sin; we are sinners. He needeth nothing; we are needy. If He suffered, being what He is, why should not we? In truth our suffering by His grace is our cleansing from sins and our deliverance from eternal torments. Surely it cannot fall to the lot of His faithful servant that he shall perish, if with His help he shall persevere. Therefore, beloved brothers, pray earnestly that it may please Him to grant me perseverance and to keep me undefiled. And if my death contribute aught to His glory and your advantage, may it please Him to enable me to meet it without sinful fear. But if it shall be more to your advantage, may it please Him to bring me back to you, guiding me to and fro undefiled, that united a while longer we may be taught His gospel and tear asunder some of Antichrist’s nets and leave a good example to our brothers to come.
Perhaps you will not see me again at Prague before I die; but if it please Almighty God to bring me back to you, we shall be all the more joyful when we see each other again, and assuredly so when we meet in the joy of heaven. May it please the merciful God, Who giveth to His own a stainless peace both here and hereafter, who brought again from the dead the great pastor of the sheep1 after He had shed His blood, Who is the eternal witness of our salvation, to fit you in all goodness that you may do His will in harmony, free from all dissension, and that in enjoyment of peace you may by your good deeds attain to the eternal peace through our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is God eternal and true man, born of the Virgin Mary. Unto Him there is praise and ever shall be with all the company of the elect, with Whom, if here we shall persevere in the truth, we shall dwell in the joy of heaven. Amen.
To Master Martin, his Disciple2
Master Martin, dear brother in Christ, I entreat you in the Lord to fear God and keep His commandments, to flee the society of women and to be careful when hearing women’s confessions, that Satan may not deceive you by the hypocrisy of women; for Augustine saith: “Put not your trust in their sanctity: for the more earnest it is, the more wanton it is, and under the guise of piety the marrow of lust is secretly hidden.” Therefore beware that you lose not for ever the chastity which I trust you retain. Remember that I taught you from a child to serve Jesus Christ, and how gladly I would have taught you in one day, if I could, all that I knew. You know, too, that I abhorred the greed and the inordinate lives of the clergy; on which account by God’s grace I am suffering the persecution which is soon to do its worst with me; yet I am not afraid of being brought to confusion for the name of Jesus Christ. I beg you also with all my heart not to run after benefices; nevertheless if you should be called to a living, may your motive be the glory of God, the salvation of souls and hard work, not the possession of fine clothes and lands.1 But if you are made a rector, beware of having a young woman as cook and of building your house rather than your soul; see that you are a builder of a spiritual building, and to the poor be gracious and of a humble mind. Don’t spend your substance on feasts. I am afraid also if you don’t mend your ways by leaving off your fine unnecessary garments, you will receive evil at the Lord’s hands; as I, too, shall receive evil, poor wretch! who also wore such things, led astray by the evil habits of the men among whom I suffered hurt to my soul, contrary to God’s will, through my proud spirit. But as you have known full well my way of life and my preaching from your youth up, there is no need for me to write more to you on this score. But I beg you, by the mercy of Jesus Christ, not to follow me in any frivolity that you have seen in me. You know that, alas! before I became a priest, I was fond of chess and often played it, wasted my time, and through my playing was unfortunate enough to provoke myself and others to anger. For this sin and for the other innumerable sins that I have committed, I commend myself to your prayers for forgiveness to our dear Lord. Do not be slow to ask for His mercy that it may please Him to guide my life, and when I have overcome the evils of this present life, the world, the flesh, and the devil, to give me a place at least on the Judgment Day1 in the heavenly country.
Farewell in Christ Jesus with all who guard His law.2 You may keep, if you like, my grey cloak as a memento; but I think you are shy of grey, so give it to any one you prefer to have it. My white gown give to the rector. To my pupil George—I mean Girzik3 —give a guinea4 or my grey cloak, because he has been a faithful servant to me.
(The superscription is as follows.)
I beg you not to open this letter, unless you hear for certain that I am dead.
When Hus received Sigismund’s call to Constance, he was staying at the castle of Krakowec. This castle, not far from Prague, belonged to a friend of Hus, Henry Lefl of Lazan and Bechyne, whose name we shall meet with more than once in the letters. From this retreat Hus set off on October 11, under the escort of John of Chlum, Wenzel Duba, and Henry Lacembok. With these also rides John Cardinalis of Reinstein. The whole escort consisted of thirty mounted men and two carts, in one of which Hus rode with his books. Among the retinue we may note Peter Mladenowic, the secretary of Chlum, who has preserved for us the letters of these last months, to whom therefore the reader owes much gratitude.
Hus left Bohemia by the valley of the Mies. This was not the usual route over the Böhmerwald, which lay either north or south; but at Neustadt he would regain the more frequented highway. His route thence to Constance can easily be followed on a map. On arriving at Nuremberg Hus wrote the following most interesting letter to his friends at Prague. Hus, we might add, might reasonably expect a warm welcome at Nuremberg, which was at this time one of the head centres of that remarkable band of mystics, the Friends of God.
To his Bohemian Friends
Greetings from Christ Jesus! Let me tell you that I never rode in a shortened1 hood, but undisguised and without anything over my face. As soon as I had crossed the frontier, I reached Baernau2 first of all, where the rector with his curates was on the look-out for me before I arrived. When I entered the inn-parlour,3 he at once set before me a big tankard of wine, and in right friendly fashion he with his companions welcomed all my views and remarked that he had always been my friend. Next at Neustadt the whole German population had much delight in seeing me. We passed through Weiden1 with a big crowd agape with admiration. Arrived at Sulzbach, we entered the inn, where a court was sitting (landrecht).2 I said to the sheriffs3 and magistrates sitting by the stove, “I am Master John Hus, about whom I suppose you have heard much scandal; ask me any questions you like.”4 We had a long conversation and they received everything I said in a good spirit. After this we passed through Hersbruck, and spent the night in the town of Lauf, where the rector, a great canonist, met us with his curates. I had a talk with him and he also took everything in good part. And here we are at Nuremberg! The merchants, who had preceded us, announced our coming. Accordingly the people were standing in the streets looking about and asking, “Which is Master Hus?” Before dinner, the rector of St. Lawrence’s, Master John Helwel, sent me a letter saying that he had long wished to have a good talk with me. On the same sheet I wrote back a message to him to come, and he came. I had, moreover, already written out my notice of appeal,5 wishing to post it up; but in the meanwhile Baron Wenzel sent me word that the burghers and magistrates were assembled at the inn wishing to see me and to have a conference with me. I at once rose from the table and crossed over to where they were. The magistrates gave instructions that our conference should be in private, but I said to them, “I preach in public, and I want every one, who wishes, to hear me.” From that moment until dusk we talked together in the presence of consuls1 and burghers. A Carthusian doctor was there who was a famous debater. I noticed that Master Albert, rector of St. Sebald’s, was vexed because the burghers took my side. In the end all the magistrates and burghers were convinced. In fact, I have not met a single enemy as yet. In every inn I leave the host as a parting gift a copy of the Ten Commandments,2 and elsewhere I leave it as a leaven to work in the meal-tub.3 All the hostesses and their husbands give me a right hearty welcome. Nowhere do they put into force the edict of excommunication, while my notice of appeal, written in German, meets with universal praise. I assure you then that no greater hostility is shown me than by the Bohemian people.4 And what more can I say? Both Baron Wenzel [of Duba] and Baron John [of Chlum] treat me very graciously and kindly; they are like heralds of the truth, or rather, to speak more truly, they are advocates of the truth. With them on my side all goes well, the Lord being my defender. The King5 is down the Rhine6 and Baron Wenzel de Leštna1 is setting out after him. We are going direct2 to Constance. Pope John is getting near there.3 For we judge it would be useless to go after the King, perhaps a distance of sixty [German] miles, and then return to Constance.
Written at Nuremberg on the Saturday before the Feast of the Eleven Thousand Virgins.4
From Nuremberg the direct road to Constance lay through Ulm, Biberach, and Ravensburg to the Lake. One incident of the journey has been preserved for us by Mladenowic. On the occasion of Hus disputing with certain persons in the little Suabian town of Biberach—at that time a free city of the empire,—John of Chlum argued so strenuously ‘with the priests and other men of culture on obedience due to the Pope, excommunication, and other matters, that the rumour spread through the whole town that he was a doctor of theology’; “Doctor Biberach,” as Hus afterwards jestingly calls him in his Letters
(see p. 159, n. 4).
On reaching the Lake, Hus and his escort would finish the journey by boat. With considerable shrewdness they decided not to take their horses with them to Constance, but to send them back for sale to Ravensburg. On arriving at Constance they discovered the wisdom of the step. The city of the Council, as Ulrich v. Reichental tells us in his famous Diary, cannot at this time have had fewer than twenty to thirty thousand horses in it. Reichental’s special duty, in fact, was to provide adequate stabling.
Hus entered Constance on Saturday, November 3, ‘riding through a vast crowd.’ There he lodged with ‘a certain widow Faithful in the street of St. Paul,’ who kept a bakery with the sign of the White Pigeon close by the Schnetzthor, or road to St. Gallen. From this house—still visible to the tourist—Hus never stirred until his arrest, as we learn on the direct testimony of Chlum.
The ‘vast crowd’ of which Hus writes was probably not due to curiosity only concerning the Reformer, but, as we learn from the Journal of Cardinal Fillastre, to a different cause. ‘On Sunday, October 28, the Lord Pope entered Constance in state, and took up his quarters in the Bishop’s palace. It was afterwards arranged that the Council should be opened with a procession and high mass on Saturday, November 3’—the very day on which Hus and his friends rode into the city. But on that Saturday, continues Fillastre, ‘Pope, cardinals, and all the prelates and clergy were gathered together in the palace, vestments donned, and the procession arranged. This was ready to start—in fact, the Pope had come out of his room—when illness seized him. He was obliged to go back, doff his vestments, and lie down on his bed.’ Two days later John had recovered, and opened the Council.1
Three letters of Hus written from widow Faithful’s have been preserved for us, as well as a letter from John Cardinalis, all of them addressed to the friends in Prague. The gossip they retail on the whole turned out correct. But Benedict never intended to come to the Council, though he sent envoys, accredited to Sigismund, who arrived in Constance on January 8, and caused much stir by their claim to wear red hats. The Dukes of Brabant and Berg had succeeded by their threats in preventing Sigismund’s early coronation, and in driving him back in the early autumn from Coblenz to Heidelberg and Nuremberg. Their opposition had now been overcome, and on Sunday, November 4, Sigismund arrived in Aachen, and was crowned on the 8th. He fulfilled Hus’s guess by entering Constance at 2 a.m. on Christmas Day.
As regards the number of Parisians at the Council, Hus was mistaken. On December 6 John wrote to expostulate with the French ecclesiastics because they had not yet arrived. In reality, the Paris deputation, with Gerson at the head, did not reach Constance until February 18 or 26—the exact date is somewhat doubtful, probably the latter (Finke, Forschungen, 259). The number of cardinals in Constance at this time was but fifteen out of twenty-nine. As John Cardinalis points out (p. 163), the outlook at Constance did not at first point to a large attendance. It was not until after the arrival of Sigismund that the princes of Europe sent their embassies.
With the ‘seller of indulgences,’ Michael Tiem, now Dean of Passau, we have met before (p. 68). The negotiations with John to which Hus and Cardinalis refer were characteristic of the Pope. John was too uncertain of the future to make up his mind, as yet, to a breach with Sigismund, while his future conduct shows that he was not sorry to find a subject which might possibly divert attention from himself, and embroil Sigismund in a conflict with the cardinals. So when, on the Sunday after their arrival, ‘Chlum and Lacembok waited on the Pope, informing him that they had brought Hus to Constance under the safe-conduct of Sigismund, and begging that the Pope would not allow violence to be done to him, the Pope replied that even if Hus had killed his own brother he should be safe’ (Mladenowic’s Relatio in Doc. 246).
That same night Hus wrote the following letter to his friends in Bohemia:—
To the Same
Greetings from Christ Jesus! We reached Constance the Saturday after All Saints’ Day, having escaped all hurt. As we passed through the various cities we posted up the notices of appeal in Latin and German. We are lodged in a street near the Pope’s quarters.1 We came without a safe-conduct.2 The day after our arrival Michael de Causis posted up writs against me in the Cathedral, and affixed his signature to them, with a long preamble to the effect that “the said writs are against that excommunicated and obstinate John Hus, who is also under the suspicion of heresy,” and much else besides. Nevertheless, with God’s help, I take no notice of this, knowing that God sent him against me to say evil things of me for my sins, and to test my power and willingness to endure suffering. Barons Lacembok and John Kepka1 had an audience with the Pope, and spoke with him about me. He replied that he desired no violence to be done. ’Tis reported, though on poor authority, that Benedict, the Pope of the Spaniards, is on his way to the Council. We heard to-day that the Duke of Burgundy,2 with the Duke of Brabant, had left the field, and that King Sigismund in three days ought to be at Aachen and be crowned, and that the Pope and the Council should be on the lookout for him. But as Aachen is seventy [German] miles from here, I imagine that the King will scarcely arrive before Christmas. I think therefore that the Council, if not dissolved, will perhaps end about Easter. The living here is dear, a bed costing half a florin a week. Horses are cheap: one bought in Bohemia for six guineas is given away here for seven florins.3 Baron Chlum and myself sent our horses to a town called Ravensburg, four [German] miles off. I think it will not be long before I shall be hard up for common necessaries. Mention therefore my anxiety on this score among my friends, whom it would take too long to name and it would be irksome to think of separately. Baron Lacembok is riding off to-day to the King. He has urged me to attempt nothing definite before the arrival of the latter. I am hoping that I shall have a public hearing for my reply. There are many Parisians and Italians here, but few archbishops as yet, and even few bishops. The cardinals are present in great force, riding about on mules, but such sorry scrubs!1 When I rode into Constance I heard at once of their riding about—I was riding myself through a vast crowd—but I could not see them for the great throng about me. Many of our Bohemian friends spent on the journey all the money they had, and are now in sad straits. I am full of sympathy with them, but cannot afford to give to all. Baron Lacembok took over the horse of Baron Přibislaus; but my horse, Rabstyn, beats them all for hard work and spirit. He is the only one I have by me, if at any time I should have to go out of the city to the King. Greet all my friends without exception, etc. This is the fourth2 letter written away from home. It is sent off on Sunday night after All Saints’ Day in Constance. None of the Bohemian gentry3 are here except Baron John of Chlum, who escorted me and looks after me like a knight, and everywhere does more preaching than I, in declaring my innocence.4 Sent off from Constance. Pray God for my constancy5 in the truth.
To the Same
Greetings from Christ Jesus! Dear friends, I am quite well through it all. I came without the Pope’s1 safe-conduct to Constance; pray God then that He may grant me constancy, because many powerful adversaries have risen up against me, stirred up in particular by that seller of indulgences, the Dean of Passau, now the head of the chapter there,2 and Michael de Causis, who is always posting up writs against me. But I fear none of these things, nor am I affrighted, for I hope that a great victory is to follow a great fight, and after the victory a greater reward, and the greater confusion of my persecutors. The Pope is unwilling to quash the writs. He said, “What can I do? your side are the aggressors.” But two bishops and a doctor had some talk with Baron John Kepka [Chlum] to the effect that I should come to terms under a pledge of silence. By which I apprehend that they are afraid of my public reply and sermon,3 which I hope by the grace of God to deliver when Sigismund comes. Of the latter Baron Wenzel de Leštna4 has sent news that he expressed pleasure when he (the noble Baron Wenzel) told him that I was riding direct1 to Constance without safe-conduct. In all the cities we were well treated and had respect paid to us, while we posted up notices in Latin and German in the free cities where I had interviews with the magistrates. I had a herald on the journey in the Bishop of Lebus,2 who was always one night ahead of us. He spread the news abroad that they were conducting me in a cart in chains, and that people must beware of me, as I could read men’s thoughts! So whenever we drew near a city, out came the crowds to meet us, as if to a show! But the enemy was put to confusion by his lie, while the people were glad when they heard the truth. Surely Christ Jesus is with me as a strong warrior; therefore I fear not what the enemy may do. Live holy lives, and pray earnestly that the Lord in His mercy may help me and defend His law in me to the end. Sent off on the evening of St. Leonard’s Day.
I imagine I shall be hard up for necessaries, if the Council is prolonged. So ask for an interest in me from those whom you know to be my friends, but in the first instance let the request be conditional. Greet all my friends of either sex, urging them to pray God in my behalf, for there is much need.
In addition to the letters of Hus written at this period, we possess a most valuable letter by John Cardinalis of Reinstein, at one time (e.g. Mon., Ep. Piiss.) mistakenly attributed to Hus himself.
John Cardinalis of Reinstein, vicar of Janowicz, Master of Arts and Bachelor of Common Law, had been for many years the trusted diplomatic agent of Wenzel. But he had never concealed his sympathies with the reforming party, and in an anonymous squib written in 1418 he is called ‘hæreticus principalis’ (Doc. 693). His influence was great, as we see from a remark made to him by Palecz a few days later, on the occasion of the arrest of Hus: “Master John, I grieve over you that you have allowed yourself to be seduced; formerly you were a man of weight with the Curia, more noted than all other Bohemians, and now they account you nothing, on account of that sect’ (Doc. 250). When Christian Prachaticz was arrested (infra, p. 196), no attempt was made against Cardinalis. On the death of Hus he returned to Prague and was twice rector of the University, from October 16, 1416—April 23, 1417, and again for the same period in the following year. His name ‘Cardinalis’ was mistranslated by Luther, and, as we shall see, led the great Reformer astray. See infra, p. 237.
Master John Cardinalis to his Bohemian Friends
Dear fellow-suspects1 and friends! Although we remember that we sent several letters to you, truthfully setting forth the manner of our journey and present lodging in Constance, now, however, to afford you a special proof of our abiding affection for your community, I desire to inform you that yesterday the chamberlain2 of the sacred apostolic palace, as it is now called, came along with the Bishop of Constance3 and also the burgomaster of Constance to our lodging and told our master how a fine dispute was going on between the Pope and the cardinals concerning the edict of excommunication, fulminated as it was alleged1 against our master. They cut the matter short by coming to our master to inform him that the Pope in the plenitude of his power had suspended the aforesaid edict and sentence of excommunication passed on Master John, requesting him none the less, in order to prevent scandal and gossip among the people, not to present himself at any rate at their high masses,2 though he might freely go about elsewhere, not only in the city of Constance, but in the churches and any place he liked. We learn for a fact that they are all undoubtedly afraid of the sermon which Master John proposes to deliver to the clergy at no distant date.3 For some person, whether friend or enemy is unknown, announced yesterday in church that Master John Hus would preach next Sunday to the clergy in the cathedral church of Constance, and would give a ducat to every one present! So we can roam as we like in Constance, and our master daily celebrates mass, as he has done hitherto on the whole journey.4 The master has accepted the King’s advice in his own interests and those of the truth not to force any issue until the arrival of the King of Hungary.5 In fact, nothing so far has been done in the Council; no embassy of any king or prince has arrived; nothing for certain is heard about the movements of Gregory, or Benedict, or their embassies; nor do we expect the Council to begin for several weeks. You should know, and tell the others, that all our party have been cited to appear in person, and that the rest, as is well known, have had open threats against them posted up on the porches and doors of the churches; so let them look out for themselves.6 Michael de Causis is making a great noise7 over what he has done. Baron John and Baron Wenzel8 are warm, zealous supporters and defenders of the truth. Written at Constance the Saturday before Martinmas. The Goose9 is not yet cooked, and is not afraid of being cooked, because this year the noted eve of St. Martin’s falls on a Saturday, when geese are not eaten!10
To the Faithful Bohemians1
To all the faithful and beloved brethren and sisters in God, lovers of the truth of Jesus Christ! Peace be to you from God our Father and from Jesus Christ, so that ye may be kept free from sins, dwell in His grace, increase in good works and after death enter into eternal joy. Dear friends, I beseech you to live according to God’s law and to give heed to your salvation, hearing the word of God with circumspectness, lest ye be deceived by the apostles of Antichrist, who make light of men’s sins and afflict no chastisement upon sins, who flatter the priests and do not show the people their sins, who seek their own glory, boasting of their good works and extolling their power, but will not imitate Jesus Christ in His humility, poverty, patience, and tribulation. It was of these that our most gracious Saviour foretold when He said: False prophets shall rise and shall seduce many.2 Again warning His beloved beforehand He saith: Beware of false prophets who come to you in the clothing of sheep; but inwardly they are ravening wolves.3 Surely there is much need that faithful Christians should keep careful watch over themselves; for the Saviour saith that even the elect (if possible) shall be deceived.4 Therefore, dear friends, watch, lest the devil’s craftiness deceive you; and be the more cautious, the more Antichrist troubles you. For the day of judgment is approaching, death is laying many low, and the kingdom of heaven is drawing near to the sons of God. For the sake of obtaining this kingdom, keep your bodies under, lest ye be afraid of death, love one another, and in memory, reason and will abide steadfast in God. Let the terrible day of judgment live before your eyes, that ye sin not; and the eternal joy likewise that ye may seek after it. May the crucified Lord, the beloved Saviour, ever be in your thoughts, that with Him and for His sake we may gladly and patiently suffer all things; for if you will keep His crucifixion in your memory, you will gladly undergo all tribulations, revilings, insults, stripes, fetters, and if His dear will demand it, even death for the sake of His beloved truth.
Ye know, dear friends, that Antichrist hath attacked us with insults, and many so far he hath not hurt one whit, myself for example, although he hath set upon me sorely. Wherefore I entreat you to pray God earnestly that it may please Him to furnish me with wisdom, patience, humility, and energy, in order to stand firm in His truth. He hath brought me now to Constance without let or hindrance; for although I rode the whole way dressed as a priest without disguise, and in all the towns called out my name in a loud voice, I met no open enemy; in fact, I should not have many enemies in Constance if the Bohemian clergy, in their greed for livings and their bondage to avarice, had not been leading people astray on the journey.1 Yet I trust to the mercy of the Saviour and to your prayers that I shall stand firm in God’s truth unto death. Know that the sacrament hath not been interrupted on my account anywhere, not even at Constance, where the Pope himself administered it, though I was in the town.1 I commend you to the gracious Lord God, to the Lord Jesus, very God, the son of the chaste Virgin Mary, Who by His cruel and shameful death redeemed us without any merits of our own from everlasting tortures, from the devil’s power and from sin. I write this at Constance, on the feast day of St. Othmar,2 a strenuous servant of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is blessed for ever. Amen.
Master John Hus.
The rumour to which John Cardinalis alludes, that Hus intended to preach—which, after the manner of rumours, grew into a report that he had actually preached—was not the only rumour afloat. Another tale, more damaging still, obtained wide circulation. A hay waggon with a large cover had been noticed in his street. In this, it was said, Hus had attempted to escape; he was actually in the cart when his friends Chlum and Lacembok, who were not in the secret, ran and informed the burgomaster and charged Hus with having broken his safe-conduct. The report was undoubtedly false, for Hus, as we know on the evidence of Chlum himself (Doc. 292), never left the house until his arrest. Nevertheless, it was widely believed, among others by the gossiping burgher, Ulrich von Reichental, from whose pages it has found its way into history. At any rate it furnished the managers of the Council, ill satisfied with the Pope’s vacillation in his negotiations with the heretic, with an excuse for bringing Hus under the grip of the Inquisition. The method they adopted showed either hesitation or duplicity. On November 28, the cardinals, led on by Palecz and Michael the Pleader, sent at breakfast-time the Bishops of Augsburg and Trent, and the burgomaster of Constance, to inform Hus ‘that they were now ready to hear him.’ Chlum at once detected the plot, for the house was surrounded with soldiers. ‘The devil himself,’ he said to the burgomaster, ‘if he came to plead, ought to have a fair hearing.’ ‘I have not come,’ added Hus, rising from the table, ‘to address the cardinals, but the whole Council.’ The envoys replied, ‘that they had come only for the sake of peace, to avoid a tumult.’ After further parley, Hus consented to go with them. ‘God bless you,’ he said, bidding farewell on the stairs to his weeping hostess. The two bishops for their part could not conceal their joy. ‘Now,’ they said, ‘you will not say mass here any more.’ ‘So Hus rode away on a small horse to the Pope’s palace.’ Interrogated by the cardinals, ‘Rather than hold any heresy,’ he replied, ‘I would prefer to die.’ ‘Your words are good,’ replied the cardinals, and retired to dine, leaving Hus to be badgered by a Franciscan friar, who posed ‘as a simple monk desirous of information,’ but was really, as Hus learned from the soldiers, one ‘Master Didaco, reputed the subtlest theologian in all Lombardy.’ After dinner, ‘at four in the afternoon, the cardinals returned to consider further what they should do with the said Hus. His adversaries Palecz and Michael the Pleader continued instant in their demand that he should not be released. Dancing round the fire, they called out in their joy, “Ha, ha, we have him now. He shall not leave us until he has paid the last farthing.” ’ Chlum, meanwhile, sought out the Pope. John took refuge in characteristic evasions. As for the friar—Didaco—‘he is a clown, he is not one of my people.’ The imprisonment was the act of the cardinals. ‘You know, very well,’ he added, ‘the terms on which I stand with them.’ Had Hus, he continued, really a safe-conduct? ‘Holy Father,’ replied Chlum, ‘you know that he has’ (Mladenowic’s Relatio in Doc. 248-52).
The fate of Hus was really sealed. That night ‘about nine he was led away to the house of one of the precentors of the cathedral.’ Eight days later (December 6) he was removed ‘to a dark cell hard by the latrines,’ in the monastery of the Black-friars, in those days on an island in the lake, though now joined to the town. In later prints we can still see it strongly surrounded with its own walls. (See map in Hardt, v. iv.)
For several days carpenters had been hard at work in the monastery preparing the prison for his reception, fitting in bolts, locks, and irons, making up six beds for his gaolers, and fixing up a stove for their comfort. But the comfort of Hus was the last thing considered, and the pestilential latrines brought on a grievous sickness so severe that his friends ‘despaired of his life. But the Pope sent his own physician, who administered to him clysters.’ The death of the prisoner before his condemnation would not have suited the purposes of the Council.
Chlum, in spite of his rebuff by the Pope, was not inactive. He reported the matter to Sigismund, and ‘showed and read aloud the said safe-conduct to the notables of Constance.’ On December 24, knowing that Sigismund would shortly arrive, he posted up a notice on the doors of the Cathedral, ‘complaining that the Pope had not kept faith with him’; the insult to the safe-conduct was a step upon which they would not have ventured ‘if Sigismund had been present.’ Honest Chlum was mistaken. Whatever Sigismund’s previous intentions, when he arrived he blustered a little, but did nothing except procure for Hus a better lodging in the refectory. Sigismund probably realised his own powerlessness; for, on January 1, a deputation from the Council warned him that he must not interfere with the liberty of the Council in the investigation of heresy. If he did it would be at the peril of the break-up of the Council. So Sigismund capitulated, assuring the deputation ‘that the matter of Hus and other details of small consequence must not be allowed to interfere with the reformation of the Church.’1
Hus meanwhile lay grievously ill in his cell. From November 16, 1414, to January 19, 1415, his letters ceased, at any rate none have been preserved for us. The following letter from Chlum is the only one that we know of that reached him in this interval from the outer world. The letter is without date, but from internal evidence must have been written before Hus’s removal from the fever-trap. The date on which Hus was removed to the refectory is a little uncertain—either January 3 (following Hardt) or January 8. If we take the 3rd as the correct date, for the dates of sick men in prison are not altogether trustworthy, this letter of Chlum was despatched on the evening of January 1, after Sigismund’s capitulation to the deputation and refusal to liberate Hus from prison. To this the letter makes reference at the close.
John of Chlum to Master John Hus
My beloved friend in Christ, you ought to know that Sigismund was present to-day with the deputies of all the nations of the whole Council, and spoke about your case, and, in particular, pleaded for a public hearing.1 In reply to his words, it was unanimously and finally decided that, whatever happens, you shall have a public hearing. Your friends will insist on this. They are also insisting that at any rate you be placed in a well-ventilated place, so that you may recover yourself and get fresh strength.
Therefore, for God’s sake and your own salvation and the furtherance of the truth, don’t yield a point through any fear of losing this miserable life, because it is surely for your great good that God has visited you with this His visitation. The Prague friends are very well, in particular Baron Skopek,2 who is greatly rejoiced that you have got what you have so long prayed for, persecution in behalf of the truth.
We urge you strongly to set down on this sheet of paper, if you think well, your grounds and final intentions respecting the communion of the cup, so that it can be shown at the proper time to your friends; for there is still a kind of split among the brethren, and many are troubled about this matter, and appeal to you and your judgment in reference to certain writings.1
[1 ]The Czech Notice is similar, but differs in the conclusion: ‘ . . . And if any one is able to prefer a charge of error or heresy against me, let him get ready to set out thither, that he may accuse me there, after giving out his name before the aforesaid Council. It will give me no trouble to reply in due order as to the truths I hold, both to small and great. Therefore, good sirs, lovers of justice, consider carefully whether I make any demand in this letter which is contrary to divine or human law. If, however, I shall not be allowed a hearing, let it be known to the whole kingdom of Bohemia that this occurs through no fault of mine.’
[2 ]Baccalarius formatus, the technical term for a bachelor of divinity who had read Peter Lombard’s Sentences, but not yet incepted as a regent. See, e.g., Chartularium Univ. Paris, ii. 700, and for Oxford, Munimenta Acad. (R.S.), 392, 395-6.
[1 ]Hus is here strictly within the canon law. See Gratian, II. C. 2, q. 3. This point is emphasised in the conclusion of the Czech Notice.
[2 ]August 26, 1414.
[3 ]A Czech copy only has been preserved. But a translation into Latin was made as early as the Epist. Piissimæ, B. 3.
[1 ]See infra, p. 211, n. 3.
[1 ]This gives the value that Hus, rightly or wrongly, attached to the famous safe-conduct. Cf. infra, 184, 229, 269. For a critical investigation of the whole subject, see my Age of Hus, pp. 282-93.
[1 ]1 Pet. ii. 21, 22.
[2 ]Matt. v. 10.
[3 ]Supra, p. 60 n.
[4 ]This is rather contradictory of the statement infra, p. 230.
[1 ]See p. 159, n. 2. But though not posted until after he left, Hus tells us himself (p. 159, n. 2) that it was written before the arrival of Chlum and Wenzel Duba. For Krakowec, see infra, p. 151.
[1 ]As Lea has shown, Hist. Inquis. ii. 477, any knowledge by a prisoner of the Inquisition of the names of the witnesses was a most unusual advantage. But there was no papal Inquisition in Bohemia, only the more lax episcopal.
[2 ]This was much twisted and made into a further charge at Constance. See pp. 173, 180, 207. Hus complained more than once that his enemies treated his Czech writings very unfairly.
[3 ]For explanation, see supra, p. 146. This fixes the date.
[4 ]Matt. x. 36. These depositions are printed in Doc. 174 ff., and bear out Hus’s contention. Hus was probably thinking most of all of the deposition of his former friend Andrew Brod.
[1 ]Heb. xiii. 20.
[2 ]That is, probably, one of the junior members of the University who had attached himself to Hus spiritually. (Cf. pp. 80, 235, 274.)
[1 ]Habitio scropharum vel prædiorum. I take scropharum to be a mistake for schofarum—i.e. (following the changes, usual in Hus, of f for b) schubarum, from schuba, a kind of Persian garment, on which see Ducange-Carpentier. Otherwise the word is inexplicable. One MS. reads ambitio for habitio—“the desire for fine clothes.”
[1 ]Saltem in die judicii—i.e., Hus does not expect to escape in his case the Retardation of the Beatific Vision.
[2 ]Legem. The usual word with Wyclif for what we should now call the gospel. So passim in the Letters of Hus.
[3 ]Vel Girzikoni. Cf. pp. 206, 236.
[4 ]Sexagena. Three Prague ‘sexagenæ’ of groats were worth twelve florins. Cf. the oath of the poor students in 1371 in Mon. Univ. Pragensis, i. pt. i. p. 47.
[1 ]Czotato. Probably the same as scotatus ‘incisus, in orbem diminutus.’ See illustrations of the word applied to dress in Ducange-Carpentier.
[2 ]MSS., Pernow. “B” with Hus generally in names of places becomes “P.” The place must not be confused, as often, with Beraun, near Prague.
[3 ]Stubam. The room of the great stove, so familiar to tourists.
[1 ]MSS., Vaydam.
[2 ]MSS., lantricht—i.e., a provincial court.
[4 ]Cf. Wesley’s Journals, i. 428.
[5 ]i.e., to Constance.
[1 ]Consulibus. The word, whether designedly or not, is very appropriate. Over the gates of Nuremberg was the motto “S.P.Q.N.”
[2 ]Do decem mandata hospiti. This may be Hus’s tract on the Ten Commandments, the date for which, however, is usually given a few weeks later (see Mon. i. 29b). The subject, at any rate, was clearly a favourite with Hus.
[3 ]Applico in farina. An Italian proverb for a ‘willing mind.’ Some translators have taken the passage literally, that Hus left his tracts in the flour-bin!
[4 ]Cf. pp. 147, 165, 263.
[5 ]Sigismund, as often. See infra, p. 163, n. 5.
[6 ]As a specimen of the faulty readings of the Epist. Piissimæ and Monumenta, note here: Rex est in regno, quem sequitur Dominus Wenceslaus, et nos de nocte pergimus Constantiam, ad quam appropinquat Papa Joannes. Judicamus enim quod sequatur Regem forte per 60 milliaria et revertatur Constantiam. Bonnechose translates this nonsense literally.
[1 ]i.e., Duba. See pp. 160 and 169, n. 2.
[2 ]MS. and editions read de nocte. Read with P., directe, and cf. p. 161 infra.
[3 ]Pope John was at this time crossing the Arlberg. Reichental in his Diary (ed. Buck, 1882) tells us how he was violently hurled from his sledge into the snow. ‘Here I lie,’ he cried, ‘in the devil’s name. I should have done better to have remained at Bologna.’
[4 ]See p. 15 for comment on this name.
[1 ]See Fillastre in Finke, Forschungen des Kon. Konzils, p. 163.
[1 ]The Pope was lodged in the Bishop’s palace.
[2 ]See p. 146, supra, for explanation.
[1 ]i.e., Barons Henry and John of Chlum. See p. 139.
[2 ]Dux Burgundiæ. I imagine that this a slip, whether on Hus’s part or the copyist’s, for ‘dux Berg.’ See supra, p. 156. So far as I know, the Duke of Burgundy had nothing to do with the matter. But Adolph of Berg was up in arms because Sigismund did not support his brother’s claim to the vacant archbishopric of Cologne. See Aschbach, Kaiser Sigmund, i. 401-9.
[3 ]i.e., a third the price. For prices at Constance, see Hardt, v. 50-52.
[1 ]Hus falls back on Czech to express his feelings.
[2 ]That is, counting Letters XXXIV. and XXXV. as sent away after leaving Krakowec. Otherwise we must assume some are lost.
[4 ]See “Doctor Biberach,” pp. 155, 192, 195, 198.
[5 ]The pun is characteristic and very frequent. Cf. pp. 160, 195, 197.
[1 ]This version differs from that which Hus gives elsewhere, and glosses over the fact that actually Hus had set off without Sigismund’s promised safe-conduct. In reality the Pope’s safe-conduct could alone have guaranteed his immunity from the Inquisition. Sigismund’s safe-conduct did not reach the spiritual sphere. See p. 144 n. and p. 146, and cf. p. 180.
[2 ]Jam præpositus. See Ducange.
[3 ]The sermons which Hus expected to give are still preserved for us in Mon. i. 44-57. They are chiefly from Wyclif, and in reality cut at the root of the mediæval system.
[4 ]i.e., Wenzel de Duba, who had ridden from Nuremberg to the King. See p. 155.
[1 ]See p. 155, n. 2.
[2 ]Epis. Lubucensem, usually, but wrongly translated, “Bishop of Lübeck” (Lubicensem). John de Bornsnitz, Bishop of Lebus, was a canon of Prague, a doctor of decrees, and ‘auditor Pal. Apostolici.’ (See infra, p. 162.) He was Bishop from September 24, 1397—1420, when he was translated to Gran. In January 1410 we find him despatched by Alexander V. on special business into Bohemia. He was one of the special inquisitors appointed to examine Hus. See infra, p. 174.
[1 ]Fautores, a technical word of the Inquisition.
[2 ]Auditor sacri utinam palatii apostolici. Possibly the Bishop of Lebus. See p. 161, n. 2.
[3 ]The Bishop was Otto de Hachberg-Röttěln, a canon of Cologne. Appointed December 10, 1410, he resigned in 1434. See p. 257.
[1 ]Fulminato prætenso.
[2 ]For explanation see p. 166, n. 1.
[3 ]See p. 160, n. 4.
[4 ]This, of course, in the case of one excommunicated was open defiance.
[5 ]Cf. p. 159. The ‘King’ is Sigismund in both cases. So passim.
[6 ]Ut sibi videantur.
[7 ]Hus falls back on Czech: ryčně.
[8 ]i.e., Chlum and Duba, as usual.
[9 ]The usual pun for Hus.
[10 ]P.: quia præsenti anno sabbato ante Martini festum ipsius occurrit celebris vigilia, for which read celebris vigilia ante festum Martini ipsius sabbato occurrit.
[1 ]This letter is written in Czech.
[2 ]Matt. xxiv. 11.
[3 ]Matt. vii. 15.
[4 ]Matt. xxiv. 24.
[1 ]Cf. p. 161, n. 2.
[1 ]In the case of an excommunicated person under an interdict this should have been done until the said person had been surrendered. This was expressly provided in the excommunication of Hus in July 1412. See Doc. 462. The usual translation ‘when I was present’ is ruled out by p. 163 (the request of John himself).
[2 ]Othmar, appointed by Pepin abbot of St. Gall, in 720, was forced to defend the independence of the monastery against the Bp. of Constance, and died a prisoner on an island near Constance, November 19, 759. Hence the allusion of Hus. For his life, see Pertz, Mon. Germ. ii. 40-58.
[1 ]Finke, Forschungen und Quellen zur Gesch. des Konstanzer Konzils, pp. 253-4.
[1 ]See supra, p. 168. But the date of this letter is very doubtful.
[2 ]i.e., Henry de Duba. The line of Duba was divided into two main divisions, the first of which was again subdivided into the family of Berka and the family of Skopek. Wenzel de Duba of Leštna belonged to the second main division (Benesovien). Henry’s castle was at Auscha. Henry, whose health at Constance gave Hus some concern (p. 176), died in 1417 without children, and was succeeded by his elder brother, Aleš of Drazic, who had been from 1404 the chamberlain of Bohemia, and was a great enemy of the Hussites. To Henry Skopek (Škopkon) de Duba, as one of the chief patrons of Hus, we find frequent reference in the Letters (infra, pp. 227, 229, 234).
[1 ]See for this matter p. 177, infra. The ‘writings’ are those of Jakoubek of Mies. It is curious that Chlum says nothing of the little tract of Hus, De Sanguine Christi sub specie vini (see Mon. i. 42-44). According to the inscription, this was written before Hus was cast into prison, and in it Hus had already summed up on the side of the Utraquists. It is possible the inscription is a mistake, and this is really the tract ‘set down on this sheet of paper.’ But see pp. 177 and 185.
[2 ]P.: amici præcipui. Perhaps we should read præcipue tristantur, ‘are especially grieved.’
[3 ]i.e., Sigismund’s refusal to release, or if the letter be assigned to a different date, to difficulties experienced in obtaining the transfer of Hus to the refectory.