The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/An Instrument of Recognition, or Protestation of the Lord Inquisitor of Heresies

An Instrument of Recognition, or Protestation of the Lord Inquisitor of Heresies.

In the name of God, Amen. In the year of his nativity, one thousand four hundred and fourteen, the thirtieth of August, in the fifth year of the bishopric of the most holy father in Christ, John by the grace of God pope, the three and twentieth of that name, in the uppermost parlour of the house of the famous man the lord Peter of Zwogsta, called Zuirglits, master of the mint of the most famous prince and lord, the lord Wenceslaus, king of Romans and of Bohemia, in the greater city of Prague, about the abbey of St. James the apostle, in the presence of me the public notary here under written, and certain witnesses here within written, specially called for that purpose.

There was personally present Master John Jessenitz, master of arts, procurer in the name of the honourable man, Master John Huss, bachelor, formed in divinity of the university of Prague. He most humbly and earnestly required of the reverend father in Christ and lord, Nicholas, bishop of Nazareth, inquisitor of heresies for the city and diocese of Prague, specially appointed by the apostolic see, being there also present, saying, 'Reverend father, do you know any heresy or error in Master John Husnetz, otherwise called Huss?' Which said lord Nicholas, not compelled or constrained, but of his own will and accord, freely and openly, did there recognise, saying these or the like words, in the Bohemian tongue.

'I have often and many times been conversant with Master John Huss, and have eaten and drunk with him; also I have been often present at his sermons, and divers of his collations which he hath made upon divers places of the Scripture, and I never found or perceived in him any error or heresy, but in all his words and deeds I have found him always a true and a catholic man, neither have I found any thing that doth savour of any error or heresy.'

Again, the said Master John's procurer in the behalf as above, required and asked the said lord Nicholas, bishop and inquisitor, whether any man have accused the said Master John Huss of any heresy before him, being inquisitor for heresy, and have convicted him of heresy? He answered, that since the time he knew John Huss, and that he was made inquisitor for heresy in the city and diocese of Prague (as is aforesaid), never any man accused, or convinced the said Master John Huss of any heresy before him unto this present time. Adding, moreover, that he, the said Master John Huss, did openly set up his letters patent this present year aforesaid, in the said month of August, upon the porches of the cathedral church of Prague, and other collegiate and parish churches of the city of Prague, and upon the gates of our said lord, our lord the king, and the archbishop of Prague, containing in them this effect: how that he would appear before Conrad archbishop of Prague, and all the prelates and clergy of the kingdom of Bohemia, who should be congregated and called together at a certain day of the month aforesaid, ready always to satisfy all men as touching the faith and hope which he held, and to see and hear all and singular that would lay any obstinacy of error or heresy unto him; that they should determine themselves there to suffer the like punishment, according to the extremity both of God's law and man's law; unto whom altogether he would answer in his own right before the said archbishop of Prague, and the said lord Nicholas, bishop and inquisitor aforesaid, and the prelates even in the next general council of Constance; and there, according unto the canons and decrees of the holy fathers, declare and show forth his uprightness and innocency: upon all and singular of which proceedings, Master John de Jessenitz, procurer, and in the procurer's name or behalf as before, required and desired that he might have one or many public instruments made unto him by me the public notary here underwritten. These things were done the year, indiction, month, day, hour, place, and bishopric, as is aforesaid, in the presence of these noble and famous men, the lord William de Zwingelitz, baron of the kingdom of Bohemia; Peter his son; the lord Hlawaczion de Renow, likewise baron Wenceslaus de Lunarx, Vassone de Miekonitz, burgrave of the castle of Lichetenburg, Czitborius de Bodanetz, esquire, and William de Dupoer, knight of the said diocese of Prague, with many other worthy and credible witnesses who were specially desired and required unto the premises. And I Michael, sometime the son of Nicholas de Prachatitz of the diocese of Prague, and by the imperial authority, public notary, was present with the witnesses afore-named, at the affairs aforesaid, at the request, demand, answer, and petition, and all and singular the doings within written, and did see and hear all these things to be done in the aforesaid manner and form. But being busied with other matters, I have caused this to be faithfully drawn and written, and subscribing the same with mine own hand, have published and reduced it into this form, and have signed it with my seal and name accustomed, being called and required to bear witness of all and singular the premises.
After this, as all the barons of Bohemia were assembled in the abbey of St. James, about the affairs of the realm, where the archbishop of Prague was also present, there the said John Huss presented supplications, by which he most humbly desired the barons, that they would show him this favour towards the said archbishop: that if the said archbishop did suspect him of any error or heresy, he would declare it openly, and that he was ready to endure and suffer correction for the same at his hands. And if that he had found or perceived no such thing in him, that he would then give him a testimonial thereof, through which he, being as it were armed, might the more freely go unto Constance. Conrad the archbishop cleareth John Huss.The said archbishop confessed openly, before all the assembly of barons, that he knew not that John Huss was culpable or faulty in any crime or offence, and this was his only counsel: that the said John Huss should purge himself of the excommunication he had incurred. This report which the archbishop had given of John Huss, doth appear by the letters which the barons of Bohemia sent unto the emperor Sigismund by the said Huss, in the town of Constance.

Finally, all the prelates and clergy assembled together in the town of Prague, in the archbishop's court, where appeared personally the worshipful Master John Jessenitz, doctor of decretals and procurer, in the name and behalf of the honourable man, Master John Huss, requiring that either the said Master John Huss, or that he, in the name and behalf of him, might be suffered to come into the archbishop's court, to the presence of the archbishop and the prelates who were there congregated together, John Huss requireth to give testimony of his faith, and could not be admitted.forasmuch as Master John Huss is ready to satisfy all men who shall require him to show any reason of his faith or hope which he holdeth, and to see and hear all and singular who were there gathered together; that is to say, the lord archbishop and prelates, or any of them who would lay any manner of obstinacy, or error, or heresy unto him: that they should there write in their names, and according both unto God's law and man's, and the canon law, prepare themselves to suffer like punishment, if they could not lawfully prove any obstinacy of error or heresy against him: unto whom altogether he would, by God's help, answer before the said archbishop and the prelates in the next general council holden at Constance, and stand unto the law; and, according to the canons and decretals of the holy fathers, show forth and declare his innocency in the name of Christ. Unto which Master John of Jessenitz, doctor, one called Ulricus Swabe, of Swabenitz, marshal of the said archbishop, coming forth of the said court, did utterly deny unto the said master doctor and his party, all manner of ingress and entrance into the court, and to the presence of the archbishop aforesaid, and of the prelates there gathered together; pretending that the archbishop, with the prelates aforesaid, were occupied about the king's affairs: requiring the said master doctor, that he would tarry in some place without the said court, that when the archbishop and the prelates had finished the king's affairs, he might then return, and have liberty to come into the court there. The said Master John Huss, and the doctor of law tarried awhile, entreating to be admitted into the archbishop's court; but seeing he could prevail nothing, he made there a solemn protestation of his request, that both he, and also Master John Huss and his party, could not be suffered to come into the archbishop's court, to the presence of the archbishop and the prelates; requiring of the aforesaid notary, public instruments to be made of the same, which also was done.