Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 3, Letter written from Nuremberg to his Congregation at Prague

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to his Bohemian Friends (20 October 1414).

LETTER III.

LETTER WRITTEN FROM NUREMBERG TO HIS CONGREGATION AT PRAGUE.

Salvation be to you through Jesus Christ! Learn that from the day I left Bohemia, I have travelled on horseback, and without concealment, my face being uncovered. As I approached Pernau, I found the Curé and his vicars waiting my arrival. When I entered the town[1] he drank a large cup of wine to my health, and, with his vicars, listened, in a spirit of charity, to my doctrine, and said that he had always been my friend. All the Germans saw me afterwards with pleasure in the new town. We went from thence to Weyden, where we beheld a great crowd, as if in admiration; and when we had come to Saltzbach, I said to the consuls and ancients of the city: “I am that John Huss, of whom, without doubt, you have heard so much ill spoken. Behold me; assure yourselves of the truth, by interrogating me yourselves.” After much questioning, they received perfectly well all I said to them. We afterwards traversed Inspruck, and passed the night in the town of Lauff, where the Curé, a celebrated purist, came, accompanied by his vicars. I had a long conference with him; and he also received my words with great attention. We arrived next at Nuremberg, where some traders, who preceded us, had announced my arrival; which caused the people to assemble in the thoroughfares, demanding which was John Huss. The Curé, John Heluvel, wrote to me before dinner, stating his wish to have a long conversation with me. I invited him to come, and he did so. The citizens and masters afterwards assembled together, in the desire of seeing and conferring with me. As soon as they came, I rose from the table and went to meet them; and as the masters desired to argue with me, I told them that I spoke in public, and that all who wished to listen should hear me; and from that moment until night-time, we discussed religious matters in the presence of the consuls and citizens.

There was present a doctor whose words were deceitful; and I perceived that Albert, Curé of Saint Sebold, saw, with pain, the approbation given to my doctrines. Nevertheless, all the citizens and masters remained satisfied. “Master,” said they, “truly, all that we have just heard is catholic; we have ourselves taught these things for many years; we have held them to be true, and still consider them such; truly you will return from this Council with honour.” We separated in the best terms with each other. Know that I have not yet met with an enemy; and in all the hotels where I stop I am well received. No hatred is stronger against me than that of some men from Bohemia. What more can I say to you? The nobles, Wenceslaus, and John de Chlum, act piously and nobly towards me. They are like heralds and advocates of the truth. God assisting, all goes on well. The Emperor is in the kingdom; Wenceslaus Lesma follows him, and we shall arrive in the night at Constance, where Pope John is shortly expected. We understand he follows the Emperor at a distance of sixty miles.

[Written at Nuremberg on the Sunday before the festival of the Eleven thousand Virgins.]
  1. Huss adds, in stubam; but the sense which he attached to this word is doubtful.