The Acts and Monuments of John Foxe/Volume 3/Another Supplication of the Nobles of Bohemia for John Huss

Another Supplication of the Nobles of Bohemia for John Huss.

Another supplication of the Bohemians for John Huss.Most reverend fathers and lords in Christ! of late there was a supplication put up unto your reverences on the behalf of the lords and nobles of Bohemia, and the nation of the Poles, wherein they most humbly desired your reverences to consider how the informations which were put up unto your reverences by the enemies of Master John Huss, were insufficient, and, with reverence be it spoken, in many points untrue; as in the safe-conduct granted by the king's majesty, and also in other articles, as more plainly appeareth in the schedule, which was then offered unto you; The lords could have no answer to their supplications.upon which said schedule and other things at that present, being put up, they could not as yet receive any answer. Wherefore the lords aforesaid, most humbly require your fatherly reverences, that it would please you to consider the said supplication, and to give some ananswer to the lords aforesaid thereupon, and specially having respect unto the great injuries and griefs which are done unto the said Master John Huss, which may be understood and known by the schedule aforesaid, that you will mercifully consider and foresee, that all those griefs and evils, so far different from all brotherly love and charity, are done unto him by his enemies even for very malice and hatred.

To the intent, therefore, that the rancour and malice may be confounded and overthrown, and the plain and evident truth appear, it may please your fatherly reverences to understand that it is notified and known unto the barons, nobles, and citizens, the clergy and laity of the Kingdom of Bohemia, that Master John Huss, in all his acts and doings, as well scholastical as ecclesiastical, and especially in all his public and open sermons, hath made, and hath accustomed to make, these manner of protestations; and which, without any thing to the contrary, be hath always endeavoured to have them strong and firm, as by this his protestation here following (which he made about the determination of a certain question), it may most evidently and plainly appear unto every man who would behold and look upon the same: the form and tenor whereof here followeth, and is this.

'The Protestation of John Huss.

'Forasmuch as above all things I do desire the honour of God, the profit of the holy church, and that I myself may be a faithfid member of our Lord Jesu Christ, who is the head and husband of the holy church which he hath redeemed; therefore, as heretofore oftentimes I have done, even so now again, I make this protestation: That I never obstinately said, or hereafter will say, any thing that shall be contrary unto the truth and verity; and, moreover, that I have always holden, do hold, and firmly desire to hold, the very true and infallible truth and verity; so that before I would defend and maintain any error contrary thereunto, I would rather choose, by the hope and help of the Lord, to sufter extreme punishment, even unto death: yea, and through the help of God, I am ready even to offer this my miserable life unto death for the law of Christ, which I do believe, every part and parcel thereof, to be given and promidgated for the salvation of mankind, by the counsel and determination of the most holy Trinity and the saints of God.

*'Moreover,[1] I do believe all and singular the articles of that law, according to the sense and understanding in which the most blessed Trinity hath commanded them to be believed. Wherefore, like as in my answers and acts scholastical, and also in my public sermons, I have, oftentimes, submitted myself, even so now, again, I do submit myself, and hereafter will most humbly submit myself under the obedience, reconciliation, and ordinance, of this most sacred and holy law; being ready to revoke and retract whatsoever I have heretofore spoken or said; being truly informed and taught, that it were contrary unto the truth.'*

By the which his protestation, and also other protestations by the said Master John Huss, being well observed and noted, it may be easily gathered and known, that his whole intent and purpose was and is, that he neither would nor will have spoken or written any thing in his books, treatises, doctrines, or public sermons; or else to have affirmed any articles, which willingly and wittingly he did understand or know to be erroneous, offensive, seditious, heretical, or offending the godly ear: albeit that these and such like things are falsely imputed unto him by his enemies. But it hath always been his chief intent and purpose, and so is, that every point, conclusion, or article, contained in his books or articles, to have put and affirmed them to this end, according to the truth of the gospel, the holy doctors, and writers upon the holy Scriptures; and to that end and purpose, as is before expressed in his protestations: and if in any point he should be found to vary or go astray, or that he were not well understood of others, by like information to be informed, understood, corrected, and amended; and that he will by no means sustain or defend any manner of article against the holy church of Rome, or the catholic faith.

Wherefore, most reverend fathers! the premises notwithstanding, his enemies, through the extreme hatred which they bear unto him, have picked and taken out by piecemeal, certain articles out of the books of Master John Huss, and, rejecting and not looking upon the allegations and reasons, neither having any relation unto the distinction of their equivocations, have compoimdcd and made thereof certain false and feigned articles against him to this end, that, all charity and love being set apart, they might the better overthrow him, and bring him unto death, contrary unto the safe-conduct upon good and just occasion openly assigned and given unto the said Master John Huss, by the most noble prince the lord Sigismund, king of the Romans and of Hungary, for his just defence against all the frivolous accusations and assaults of the enemies, not only of the said Master John Huss, but also of the famous kingdom of Bohemia, and for the quiet appeasing of all such tumults and rumours rising and springing up in the said kingdom of Bohemia, or elsewhere; the avoiding of which most perilous uproars, the said king of Romans doth greatly desire and wish, as the right heir and successor of the said kingdom.

Articles foisted out of Huss's books by his enemies.Whereupon the barons and nobles aforesaid, most humbly desire and require, the premises being considered, and respect had unto the great infamy and slander which may happen by the premises unto the said kingdom and inhabitants thereof, that you will put to your hands and take some order and means, that Master John Huss may be distinctly heard by some famous men, divines already deputed, or otherwise to be appointed, upon all and singidar such articles as shall be laid unto him; to declare his own mind and intent, and also the mind of the doctors alleged for this purpose, with the manifold distinctions and equivocations, in which the drawers-out of the most part of his articles have also made equivocations, that so, according to the disposition of the witnesses, of which a great number of them are and have a long time been his mortal enemies, that at the frivolous instigation of his enemies, when he was miserably detained prisoner, he should not be condemned unheard. Forasmuch as by the said declarations your fatherly reverences might be the more better informed of the truth, he himself is ready always to submit himself under the determination of this most sacred council. The council evil informed against John Huss.For your reverences, by the crafty and feigned persuasions of his enemies, are thus informed, that Master John Huss hath been incurably obstinate for a long time, in most perilous articles, which your reverences may now plainly perceive to be untrue: and for the more evidence herein to be showed, there is presented unto your reverences an instrument of public recognition of the most reverend father in Christ the lord Nicholas, bishop of Nazareth, an inquisitor of heresies, especially appointed by the apostolic see in the diocese of Prague, which by your reverences is more diligently to be hearkened unto.

The nobles require that John Huss not being convicted nor condemned should be delivered out of prison.Wherefore it may please your fatherly reverences to command the said Master John Huss, neither convicted nor condemned, to be taken and brought out of his bonds and chains, in which he is now most grievously detained and kept, and to put him into the hands of some reverend lords, bishops or commissioners appointed, or to be appointed, by this present council; that the said Master John Huss may somewhat be relieved, and recover again his health, and be the more diligently and commodiously examined by the commissioners. And for the more assurance, the barons and nobles aforesaid of the kingdom of Bohemia, will provide most sure and good sureties, who will not break their fidelity and faith for any thing in the world; who also shall promise in this behalf, that he shall not flee nor depart out of their hands, until such time as the matter be fully determined by the said commissioners. In the execution of which promises, we have determined to provide and foresee, unto the fame and honour of the said kingdom of Bohemia, and also to the safe-conduct of the most worthy prince, the king of Romans; lest that the enemies and detractors of the honour and fame of the kingdom aforesaid, might not a little slander and reprove the said lords; pretending and showing forth hereafter, that they had made unreasonable or unlawful requests: for the withstanding of which mischief, we require your fatherly reverences, that you will decree, and most graciously consent, that this our petition and supplication may be drawn out again by your notary, and reduced into a public form and order.

After this supplication was read before the deputies of the four nations, the patriarch of Antioch answered in the name of them all, unto every article of the said supplication; but it was done in few words.

Substance of the Answer of the Council to the Supplication.

First, as touching the protestation of John Huss, whether it be true or false, it shall be made evident in the process of his cause. John Huss in no case must be bailed.Moreover, whereas they say that the adversaries of John Huss have perversely drawn certain things out of his books: that, also, the matter itself shall declare in the end; where, if it shall be found and decreed that John Huss is unjustly and untruly accused, it shall then come to pass that his adversaries shall incur perpetual ignominy and slander. No credit to be kept with a heretic.But as touching sureties, albeit there might he a thousand put in or bound, yet can it not by any means be, that the deputies of the council with a safe conscience may receive or take them in this man's cause, unto whom there is no faith nor credit to be given. Howbeit thus much they will do, upon the fifth day of June next, John Huss shall be brought again unto Constance, and there have free liberty to speak his mind before the council, and that they would lovingly and gently hear him.

But the matter in the end fell out far contrary to this promise.—The same day the said barons and lords presented a supplication of this tenor unto the emperor:

  1. This paragraph is supplied to complete the document, from the edition of 1563, p. 207.—Ed.