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1523]
45
The Years of Preparation


farther, throughout Austria, Bohemia, and Moravia, and from everywhere came the throngs of pilgrims. Grave mischiefs and abuses accompanied these pilgrimages; all the population seemed to be affected. When they went through a town by night women crowded to see them, often in their nightclothes; by day men left their business and followed as if they, too, would go on pilgrimage, some with a hayfork in their hands, others with a scythe. The more sensible thought the people had all gone crazy. Impostors appeared, and at length the Regensburg council found itself compelled to adopt some measures of repression, or at least of control.

These pilgrimages aroused much attention and discussion in the whole Empire. As to Hübmaier's exact part in them there is almost nothing to warrant an inference. One of his biographers[1] has accused him of fomenting the fanaticism, and says that good Catholics blamed him for his excessive zeal. Another[2] says that he preached against the fanaticism and did what he could to moderate it. Neither seems to have any grounds for so positive assertion; all that is certain is that Hübmaier's

  1. Loserth, p. 25.
  2. Hoschek, i., 123.