Letters of John Huss Written During His Exile and Imprisonment/Letter 5, John Huss to the people of Bohemia and his friends

For other English-language translations of this work, see Letter of Jan Hus to his Bohemian Friends (4 November 1414).



Salutation through Jesus Christ. We entered Constance after the festival of All-Saints’ day, without having suffered injury in the towns we passed through, and where we delivered public discourses in Latin and German. We lodge at Constance, in the Great Square, near the Pope’s hotel; and we have arrived without a safe-conduct.[1] The next day, Michael Causis stuck up a notice on the church, containing an accusation against me; he affixed his signature to it, with a long commentary, which indicated, amongst other things, that this accusation was directed against the obstinate John Huss, excommunicated and suspected of heresy. I endeavour, with God’s aid, not to pay attention to it, knowing that God has created him my enemy on account of my sins, in order to judge whether I am willing or able to suffer something for his name’s sake.

Lutzembock and John of Lepka have visited the Pope, and spoken to him about me: he answered, that he did not wish to resort to violent measures. It is rumoured, though vaguely, that Pope Benedict is coming from Spain to be present at the Council. We have learned to-day, that the Dukes of Brabant and Burgundy have withdrawn from the camp. The Pope and the Council must wait for the Emperor, who is to be crowned at Aix; and as this town is seventy miles distant from Constance, I do not think the Emperor can be here before Christmas; the Council will be then near its close, unless it is broken up about Easter. The living here is exceedingly expensive, a bed costing half a florin a-week. Horses are at a high price, and seven florins are paid for a horse that might be bought in Bohemia for six drachms. The Seignior John and myself have sent ours to the town of Ravensburg, four miles from here, and I think I shall not be long before I shall want common necessaries. Mention my uneasiness to our friends, whom it would take too long to name severally. The Seignior Lutzembock has gone to-day to rejoin the Emperor, and has prohibited me from undertaking any thing before the arrival of Sigismund. I hope I shall answer before a public audience. Many Italians and Parisians are here, but few bishops and archbishops: the cardinals, also, are numerous. When I traversed Constance on horseback, I was surrounded by a large crowd of horsemen, and the multitude pressed round me. Our Bohemians have spent all their money on the road, and are already in want. I pity greatly their distress, but I cannot give to all. I have only kept my horse Robstein, the swiftest horse here, and which I guard, in case I should wish to leave this city, and rejoin the Emperor. Salute our friends, without excepting any one. This letter is the fourth I write from a foreign country, and I date it, Sunday night after All-Saints’ day. Not one of our Bohemian knights is at Constance, with the exception of the Seignior John Lepka, who has protected and conducted me like a true knight. He preaches more than I do, and proclaims everywhere my innocence. Pray to God to sustain my courage.

John Huss, servant of God in hope.

  1. Without a safe-conduct from the Pope. See Letter VI.