Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 27, To John of Chlum

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to his friends (4 January 1415).



[John Huss replies separately to all the articles. He also enumerates the annoyances to which he is subjected by several bishops relative to a quantity of gold pieces which they affirm to be in his possession.]

As well as I can remember, I know nothing more, and I am ignorant for what object the public hearing will be given me. I have protested in writing in presence of notaries; I have also addressed to the whole Council a petition which I shewed to the patriarch, and in which I demand to have permission accorded me to reply separately to each article, as I had already replied by writing. The public audience will perhaps be allowed me for the purpose of replying in a scholastic form, or perhaps God will graciously permit me to preach. I hope that, by the grace of God, I shall never depart, even slightly, from the truth, such as I know it. Pray to Him, therefore, to protect me!

As to what touches the communion of the cup, you possess the writing in which I have advanced my opinion on the subject, and my reasons for holding it. I have nothing farther to say, except that the Scriptures and the Epistles of Paul prescribe this practice, and that it was in use in the primitive Church. If possible, obtain permission for those who are anxious to partake of it from religious motives, to do so;[3] but be guided in your conduct therein by circumstances.

Let my friends not conceive any alarm at my replies in private. I cannot see how these things could have been otherwise, since all was decided by the Council, even previously to my being thrown into prison. In a document published by the Commissioners, and which has been read to me, I am called a heresiarch, and a seducer of the people. But I hope that what I have uttered in the shade, will be, at a later period, preached in the open day.[4]

I was interrogated, the evening of the day on which I saw John Barbat, respecting the forty-seven articles; and I replied as I had done in my preceding protest. Taking each article separately, they asked me if I desired to defend it: my reply was, that I referred the matter to the decision of the Council, as I had previously done, and I asserted of each article, as previously, “It is true; but in such and such a sense.” “Will you defend it?” they asked me; and my answer was, “No; I abide by the decision of the Council.”

I call God to witness, that, under the circumstances, I saw nothing better to reply, as I had antecedently given it under my own hand that I should not defend any thing obstinately, but that I was ready to be instructed. These questions were put to me, because it was reported that I had informed the Emperor that I wished to defend three or four articles. They even asked me what I had declared to the Emperor, and I replied, that I had not said anything of the nature attributed to me.[5] Michael Causis was present, with a paper in his hand, and urging on the patriarch to force me to reply to his questions; and whilst this was going on, some bishops entered. Michael has invented something new. God has been pleased to allow him and Paletz to stand against me for my sins. The former scrutinises my letters and my writings; and Paletz brings forward all the conversations that we held together in bygone years.

The patriarch maintained openly that I was exceedingly rich; and an archbishop said to me, “You have seventy thousand florins.” Michael asked me before them all, “Eh! what has become of that robe-full of florins? How much money of yours have the barons of Bohemia in safe keeping?” Oh! certainly I suffered much to-day. One bishop said to me, “You have established a new law:” another, “You have preached all these articles;” and I replied warmly and strongly, with the aid of God, and concluded by asking, “Why do you overwhelm me with insults?”

Write nothing to me of the witnesses cited to appear, for no step has been taken about them, either by themselves, or by the king, or by the citizens of Prague.

  1. Hist. et Monum. Johann. Huss, Epist. xlviii.
  2. This letter appears as if it were a reply to the preceding one, from what is said in it about the sacrament of the cup.
  3. Si potest fieri, attentetis ut saltem permittatur per bullam illis dari, qui ex devotione postulaverint. It is not easy to say what Huss meant by the expression per bullam.
  4. Sed spero quod quæ dixi sub tecto prædicabuntur super a tectu.
  5. John Huss adds, Sed sicut scitis, &c., “but as you know,” &c., and does not terminate the sentence.