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The Leonard Library 

Wptlillt College 


Shelf No. 
Register No 



by Herbert B. Workman, M.A. 

Principal of Westminster Training College, Author 
of "The Age of Wyclif " and "The Age of Hus " 

and R. Martin Pope, M.A. 


' Veritas semper vincit, cum hcec sit ipsius proprietor 
et natura, ut, QUO magis obscuratur, eo magis 
illuccscit, etquo magis deprimitur, eo magis elevatur" 

DOCUMENTA, p. 39, INFRA, p. 95 

'Scio, quod vincit qui occiditur" 

DOCUMENTA, p. 62, INFRA, p. 133 

Printed by Hcutll, Walton, & Viney, Ld., London and Ayltibwy, 


THE translation of The Letters of Hus in the present 
volume, though both authors are jointly responsible 
for the form in which it is now presented, is almost 
wholly the work of Mr. Pope. The Life, Introduc 
tions, Collation of Texts, Chronological Arrange 
ment, and Notes have been contributed by Mr. 
"Workman, who is solely responsible for this portion 
of the book. 

The Letters of Hus have never yet been adequately 
translated into English. The only extant translation 
is one by Mackenzie, published in Edinburgh in 1846. 
This is a rendering, not of the original, but of the 
French of Bonnechose's edition of the Letters. Un 
fortunately Bonnechose's work is based upon the 
very imperfect edition of 1558 Historia et Monu- 
menta J. Hus et Hieron. Pragensis (also with different 
pagination and some additional matter, 1715). 1 No 
translation has hitherto been attempted from the text 

1 This is the edition usually cited by us in the notes and elsewhere 
as Man. or Monumenta. We give always the pagination of the 1558 
edition, which will also be found in the margin of the 1715 edition. 
The text of the Monumenta is that used by all historians, including 
Neander, before Palacky. As the Monumenta incorporates the whole 
of the Epistola Piissimce (infra, p. 2), we have not thought it needful 
to give the readings of this earlier and less complete edition. 


of Palacky, wliicli is not only more complete but also 
has the merit of presenting the letters in their 
approximate chronological arrangement. In Bonne- 
chose's collection, where the order of the edition he 
used is strictly followed, early letters often come at 
the end, and the letters of the two captivities are 
sadly confused. Sometimes also simple expressions 
have proved a stumbling-block to Bonnechose, e.g., 
the word stubam (infra, p. 152). The Czech of his 
edition (Nuremberg, 1558), which is, so to speak, the 
Czech of Frankfort-atte-Bowe, is left severely alone ; 
for no Palacky had as yet made it intelligible. An 
instance will be found on p. 206. 

The text we have chiefly followed is the great 
edition of Palacky (Documenta Mag. Joannis Hus, 
vitam, doctrinam, causam in Constantiensi Concilia 
acta/ni Ulustrantia Ed. Fr. Palacky : Regni Bohemice 
Historiographus, Prague, 1869) usually cited by us in 
our notes as Doc., or, where questions of text are con 
cerned, as P. The readings, however, that are to 
be found in Hofler's Geschichtschreiber der husitischen 
Bewegung in Bohmen (in the " Fontes rerum Austria- 
carum," Vienna, 1865, 8 vols.) cited as Hofler or 
H. seem to us in some cases to be preferable. The 
two editions have been collated so far, that is, as 
readings are concerned which would make an 
essential difference in translation. A few of these 
differences, as also a few of the readings of the 
Monumenta, are indicated in the notes. In spite of 
the severe criticism to which Palacky subjected the 


Geachichtschreiber in his Geschichte des Russitenihums 
(1869), Hofler's text is one of considerable value, and 
contains many letters that had not previously been 
published. For the translation of the few Czech 
letters, we have depended entirely on J. Kvicala's 
Latin rendering in Palacky, carefully compared with 
Hofler's German translation in the Geschichtschreiber. 

The Letters of Hus present not a few difficulties to 
the translator. First of all, there is the nervousness, 
terseness, and rapidity of his style, especially in the 
letters of the Trial. Allusions which would be plain 
to his correspondents have often, by the lapse of 
time, become obscure. In such cases it is not easy 
to give a rendering which is intelligible, or which 
escapes the tendency to a loose paraphrase. La. 
certain other cases Hus deliberately wrote obscurely 
in order to escape the consequences of the capture of 
his correspondence. Another difficulty, apart from 
the occasional corruptness of the text, arises from his 
Latinity. It goes without saying that the style 
lacks classical grace and correctness l and, as com 
pared with the earlier mediaeval writers such as 
Anselm or John of Salisbury, or such later curialists 
as Dietrich of Niem, it is full of pitfalls for the 
unwary. In our judgment, the Latin of "Wyclif is 
the Latin of one who had ceased to think in that 
language ; the Latin of Hus, though apparently more 

1 E.g., the use of e and sibi, the conjunctions quia and et (conjunctive 
and disjunctive), are a source of much perplexity to those unfamiliar 
with the Latinity of the later Middle Ages. For the Latin of Wyclif, 
see some excellent remarks by Dr. Poole, De Civ. Dom., i. xviii.-xix. 


natural, is not that of a scholar, but is rather of the 
colloquial order, which tends to fall into a rugged 
and homely patois. There are also a few isolated 
words that, so far as we can discover, have escaped 
the notice of lexicographers. These we have indicated 
in the notes. 

The constant quotations in the letters from the 
Fathers, the Vulgate, and other sources have given 
us no small difficulty. As regards the Vulgate, Hus 
differs very widely from the present Clementine- 
Sextine text. In the lack of data it has been 
impossible to decide to what extent the difference 
is due to a faulty memory, or to the use by Hus 
of manuscripts somewhat differing from the Paris 
recension that was the standard of his time. As 
a matter of fact, the quotations of Hus from the 
Scriptures are generally only verbally accurate in 
the few letters for which we must depend alone 
on the doctored text of the Monumenta or Epistola 
Piissimce. In turning the Vulgate into English we 
have generally quoted the Douai-Eheims version. 

The quotations from the Fathers have proved an 
even greater, difficulty. Hus's knowledge of these 
authors was not first hand, nor will the student 
deem it sufficient to indicate the original source. 
The question must always be faced, What was 
the connecting link between Hus and the original ? 
Loserth, in his valuable monograph (Wyclif and Hus, 
1884), established the deep dependence of Hus upon 
the great English Reformer. We are inclined to 


think that our notes will establish an equal depend 
ence of Hus upon the great mediaeval text-book, 
Gratian's Decretum* and in some cases where Loserth 
held that the Bohemian was copying the Englishman, 
we suspect that both were copying from Gratian. 
The tracking out of these quotations has involved 
hours of labour how many hours can only be 
guessed by those who have attempted a similar 
task themselves. In the two or three cases where 
our toil has been useless, we must plead the excuse 
of Dr. Johnson, "Ignorance, madam, sheer ignor 
ance," urging in our defence, however, that Hus's 
quotations themselves are sometimes so inaccurate 
that even others better qualified would not be without 
difficulty in marking their source. 

The critic will note that whereas in his notes 
to the Letters Mr. Workman gives authorities for 
his statements, no authorities are given for any 
statements in the introductions. The reason for 
the difference is that this is an edition of the 
Letters, not a Life of Hus. "We have only sketched 
such portions of the life of the great Bohemian 
Reformer as may be needful for the elucidation of 
the Letters. For the sources of any statements as 
to the life of Hus, or in connection with the 
Council of Constance, we must refer the reader to 
Mr. Workman's Age of Hus? and especially to the 

1 In oar quotations in the notes we have always used the edition 
of Migne. 

2 The Dawn of the Reformation : vol. L, The Age of Wyclif; vol. ii., 
The Age of Hut. 


bibliographies it contains of both ancient and 
modern works. 

In the chronological arrangement of the Letters 
we have in the main followed Palacky. In the 
cases where we have differed from him we have 
tried to indicate our reasons. In Appendix B the 
student will find tables adjusting the different 
numbering of the letters in this translation and in 
Palacky, and also giving the dates according to 
Palacky. In some cases, as the notes will show, the 
data for determining the chronology of a letter are 
very slight, often amounting to little more than a 
general impression impossible to put into words, 
and which possibly would appeal differently to 
different minds. 

In lieu of an index we have provided a full 
table of Contents, and a tolerably complete system 
of cross references in the notes. 

This edition of the Letters of Bus, though we 
trust it may be of some service to the more serious 
student, is intended primarily for the general 
reader. Our object is to make Hus himself, the 
man as he lived and laboured, more real ; to 
present a portrait of the Reformer, such as letters 
alone can give, painted by the subject himself. 
Here and there the reader may possibly feel out 
of touch. He may complain that there is too much 
of the sound of a trumpet, the voice of words, and 
echoes of struggles long since dead. To some 
extent this is true of the letters written during the 


exile (Part III.). The reader approaching the study 
of Hus for the first time would, perhaps, do well 
to begin these Letters in the middle, with the journey 
to Constance (Part IV.), and read on to the final 
scene. "We are much mistaken if, in this case, he 
will not receive such an interest in the author of 
that immortal series of letters written in prison, 
that he gladly turns back to the less fascinating, 
because more polemical, earlier portion. After all, 
a man's death cannot be understood apart from his 
life ; and the remarkable picture given us of Hus in 
the prison of the Inquisition at Constance ought not 
to be isolated from the rest. Only by the study of 
the whole of the letters can we understand the whole 
man in all his strength and tenderness, and, we may 
add, his weakness. We are not without hopes also 
that this fragment of soul-history for such the last 
letters of Hus undoubtedly present to us may com 
mend itself to some, not merely from the narrower 
standpoint of history, but from the larger outlook 
of that unity and continuity of spiritual experience 
throughout all ages which, under different forms 
and in diverse manners, is yet the manifestation 
and working of the one Lord and Giver of Life. 

H. B. W. 
E. M. P. 

WESTMINSTER, November 1903. 






FRIENDSHIP . . 5-12 

(June 30, 1408) 

Hus remonstrates with Zbinek for having thrown into prison 
a priest named "Abraham"; Speaks strongly of the 
condition of the Bohemian clergy 12-14 


(September 1408) 

On the value of virginity ; Sends the nuns a song . . . 15-17 





(December 1408) 

HUB remonstrates with Zbinek for his treatment ; He will obey the 
Pope in all lawful things ; What he means by " neutrality " ; 
The insults of his enemies 19-23 


(Autumn 1408) 

Stop detraction in corners ! You will some day be judged 

yourself; No right to call Hus a heretic .... 24-5 

ACTION OF Hus; "BISHOP A, B, C"; MOB RULE. . . 25-7 


Hus praises their constancy ; Do not avenge yourselves ; Evil 

priests ; The great alternative ; The Judge is at the gate . 28-30 



(September 1410) 

Hus's delight with Wyche's letter ; He read it in the Bethlehem ; 
The spread of the gospel ; The raging of Antichrist ; 
Wenzel and Sophia on the side of the gospel . . . 34-8 




(January 18, 1411) 

Poverty the rule of monks ; Testimony of Gregory, Benedict, 

John Cassian, Francis, and Bernard 42-5 

(May 25, 1411) 

" Diverse temptations " ; The true nature of obedience ; The 
testimony of Jerome, Augustine, Gregory, " Isidore," and 
Bede; "Therefore obey God rather than the Pope" .45-50 

(September 1, 1411) 

Hus complains of false charges ; His action as to the expulsion 
of the Germans; Why he did not appear when cited to 
Rome ; Desires to be tried before the University, and will 
abide the consequences 51-4 

(September 1411) 

Hus appeals to their protection ; He is innocent ; Willing to 

meet a trial at Prague 54-6 




(December 1411) 

The attack of Michael ; The injustice of interdicts ; Willing 

to be tried ; Why he did not go to Rome . . . 58-61 



(March 1412) 

Dissension ; Ye did run well ; Flatterers ; Their past repute ; 
Return ! The attack upon him in Pilsen ; " Worst priest 
better than the best laymen " ; " Creator of God " ; Priests 
in mortal sin must not preach ; The eons of the devil and 
of God 61-7 


(June 10, 1412) 

Peace with Sigismund ; The depravity of the clergy ; Abound 
ing iniquity; "Woe is me if I keep silence" . . . 71-3 


(Summer 1412) 

The invectives of Stephen ; Do not believe him ; Hus's relation 
to Wyclif ; Why he did not go to Rome; An appeal to 
Stephen not to judge Wyclif or himself .... 75-7 




(August 1412) 

Ought he to retire ? The advice of Augustine to Honoratus ; 

Ought he to follow it ? 80-82 





(October 1412) 

The attack on the Bethlehem; The nature of abjuration . 88-9 

(October 1412) 

Thankfulness for their spirit ; Be not afraid ; Christ also 
suffered ; His elect must therefore also suffer ; The war 
of Christ and Antichrist ; False prophets ; The attack on 
the Bethlehem ; The Goose has broken their nets ; The 
conquest of the Truths ; What fear shall part us from 
Christ? "I fear no death"; But I long still to preach; 
Christ the sufferer preserve you . . . . . 90-97 

(October 1412) 

May Christ keep you free from sin; Hold fast the gospel; 
Ravening wolves in sheep's clothing ; Rejoice in your 
persecution; Take heed; His labours in preaching . 97-101 

(October 1412) 

Do not draw back ; To me to live is Christ ; But I would 
gladly die; The attack on the Bethlehem; Christ grant 
us perseverance 101-2 




(December 1412) 

Thoughts on Advent ; The Second Advent ; Lift up your heads 103-5 

(December 1412) 

The Advent is nigh; Why HUB fled ; Why he does not return ; 

Woe to the priests 105-8 

(December 25, 1412) 

Rejoice for Christ is born to-day ; The meaning of the Nativity 108-10 

(January 1413) 

Faint not ; The attacks of his enemies ; The benediction of the 

" Bishop who is above all bishops " 110-12 

(January 1413) 

The sufferings of Christ; "Our Master the Peacemaker"; 

" My peace I give unto you " 112-14 

(February 1413) 

Heretics should be pointed out, or false accusers punished; 
Obedience to the Pope; The case of Master Maurice; 
Reasons why the judgment of the Theological Faculty 
bhould be rejected 115-17 



(Early in 1413) 

The just man cannot be sad ; Hus comforts himself with this 
thought ; Be ready for battle ; The tail of Antichrist ; 
The abomination of the Beast; An attack on John XXIII. 117-19 

(April 1413) 

Reasons why Hus cannot accept a compromise with Stanislaus 
and Palecz ; Stanislaus's former views on Remanence ; The 
incident of Stiekna ; Do not change your benefice . 119-22 

(April 1413) 

Why Hus cannot agree that the Pope is the head of the Holy 
Roman Church ; Pope Liberius and Pope Joan ; The 
Catholic Church is wider than the Roman Church . . 122-8 


The views of Hus as to the Vicar of Christ ; His claims and 

obedience ; Popes may err ; Pope Joan again . . 128-32 

(April 1413) 

Reviews once more his position and the general controversy 

with Palecz and Stanislaus 132-4 

AT VIENNA , 134 


(July 1, 1413) 

Demands the reason of their persecution of Jerome; "You 

are badly instructed in the theology of love " . . . 135-7 




Stand in the ways of God ; Attend the preaching ; The value 

of penitence 137-8 




(September 1, 1414) 

Hua informs Sigismund of what he has done; "Under the 
safe-conduct of your protection " Hus is not afraid of the 
Council; His troubles when cited to Rome; Prays for 
the King " . .143-5 




(October 12, 1414) 

His faithful labours; Sorry he cannot come and preach once 
more ; Reasons why he has started ; His foes ; His con 
solation in Christ and His example ; " Perhaps you will 
not see me again " ; We shall "meet in the joy of heaven " 146-9 

(October 1414) 

Converse sparingly with women ; Do nob run after benefices ; 
Leave off fine clothes ; Do not follow me in my frivolity 
or love of chess; Various legacies .... 149-61 




(October 20, 1414) 

Account of his journey ; His reception at Nuremberg ; He is 
much encouraged ; Distributes tracts ; Future plans ; 
Gossip 152-5 


(November 4, 1414) 

Gossip; Michael the Pleader again; The Pope and the safe- 
conduct ; Prices in Constance ; The cardinals and their 
horses; "My horse Rabstyn"; The goodness of Chlum .157-9 

(November 6, 1414) 

Michael the Pleader ; The action of the Pope ; He is preparing 
sermons to deliver when Sigismund comes ; His herald the 
Bishop of Lebus ; They thought it was a show ! Fears 
for his finances 160-1 


(November 16, 1414) 

Beware of false prophets ! The Day of Judgment is at hand ; 
Pray for me ; My journey to Constance ; The Sacrament 
has not been interrupted 164-6 





SHORT . 171-2 

(January 19, 1415) 

His sickness ; Consolations in God ; I need ' ' your best help " ; 
Hisiletter falsely translated ; No help but Christ; Remember 
my past love and toil for you 172-3 


(January 1415) 

Get me a Bible, please ; Asks Sigismund to release him ; He 

has been ill 173-4 



(February 1415) 

Do not be weary ; The Commission at work ; The kindness of 
his gaolers ; Jonah and Susannah ; Thanks for the Bible ; 
Greetings to friends 175-6 



(February 1415) 

"Unless I first pay 2,000 ducats"; The Commission again; 
Michael's spies ; The simplicity of Jakoubek ; " Both 
letters in one envelope " 177-8 




(February 1415) 

Don't send his letters on ; Sigismund ought to judge him ; 
Procure that at his trial he be near him ; No proctor save 
Jesus ; The charges against him ; The matter of the safe- 
conduct ; The King ought not to allow him to be thrust 
back into prison 179-81 

(February 1415) 

Writing all last night ; The right to disendow ; The action 
of Charles IV. ; Be careful over his letters ; Tell Jerome 
not to come ; Sigismund has forgotten him ; Dear Chlum, 
do not worry concerning expense ; His replies to the Forty- 
five Articles ; Two Articles should be quashed ; Cardinalis 
should be careful ; Palecz the arch-detective ; Persecution 
of his adherents; Send another ahirt; He would like to 
speak to Sigismund 181-4 

(February 1415) 

His defence; Protest to the Commission; The Sacrament of 
the Cup ; Do not worry over the Commission ; Cross- 
examined again ; He will abide by the decision of the Council ; 
Michael and Palecz again; "You have 70,000 florins"; 
The citation of his adherents 184-7 


(February 28 (?), 1415) 

"Await the issue " ; Greetings to friends ; Racked with stone ; 
The suspicions of the gaolers ; Get permission to see him ; 
He will answer Gerson ; Don't worry over expense ; Eight 
weeks since he was moved here ; Stand by him to the end ; 
He has finished some tracts 187-90 




(March 4, 1415) 

Please expound his dream 191 


(March 6, 1415) 

" For dreams have no care" ; The Bethlehem pictures ; Christ 
is his proctor ; His defence ; " Take no conscious thought 
what ye shall say " ; Be careful over the letters . . . 193-5 



(Middle March 1415) 

Hus's rhymes ; Susannah and Daniel ; " The insults of Christ '' ; 
" This road the Master went " ; "I shall not have the 
Sacrament at Easter " ; Gerson's charges .... 197-9 



(March 21, 1415) 

Greetings ; The Council in confusion, the Pope fled ; The 

Council has ignored God 200 

(March 24, 1415) 

Gaolers are fled ; Nothing to eat ; Make haste and see 
Sigismund ; The designs of Constance ; Procure guards 
from the King 201 





(June 5, 1415) 

Get Sigismund to stick to his promise ; Do not leave him ; 
Greetings to friends; The expenses again ; " Out of sight 
out of mind " 205-6 


( June 5, 1415) 

" Like Jews against Jesus " ; An account of the trial ; " Let 
it be burnt " ; No friend except the Father . . . 207-8 


(June 6, 1415) 

" To-morrow at ten " ; His proposed reply ; Be careful over 

the papers ; " Jerome also will suffer death " . . 209-10 



(June 6, 1415) 

He intends to cleave to the truth ; Various legacies ; No sum 
can repay your love ; " Accept one of Wyclif's works " ; 
"I fear many may be offended" .... 211-12 


( June 7, 1415) 

An account of the day's trial ; Doctors break down ; " Wyclif 
wanted to destroy all learning " ; " This fellow is deceiving 
the Council"; "Stick to your argument"; "I thought 
there would be greater order " ; Cardinal Bronhiaco and 
Hua ; " You must abjure " . . . . . . 214-16 

SHOUTED" ., . , . 217-18 

( June 8, 1415) 

Glad Occultua is hidden ; Instructions to Chlum as to the 
depositions ; Toothache ; Qualify his last letter ; Do not 
make his letters public ; " God sent you as angels " ; 
Questioned as to books; "Do you wish to abjure?" An 
unfair alteration of deposition 218-21 

(June 9 or 10, 1415) 

Return to Bohemia and enter the service of the King Eternal ; 
Chlum's handshake ; The cruel words of Palecz ; His 
dreams again; Warnings of Jerome and Andrew the 
Tailor; God reward thee, Chlum 221-3 



(After June 8, 1415) 

Be careful over the letters ; Veit should be careful ; Jonah and 
Susannah ; " Able to liberate poor me " ; " If the Council 
told you that you have only one eye"; "The Lord is my 
protector " 225-6 

(June 9, 1415) 

Contrast in serving Christ and Sigismund ; Some verses 
enclosed 227-8 

(June 9, 1415) 

Please forward the last letter to Skopek 229 

(After June 8, 1415) 

Sigismund and the safe-conduct ; What he ought to have done 229-30 


(June 10, 1415) 

The letter contains a series of exhortations adapted to the 
different classes of the nation, to whom Hus has ministered ; 
He also mentions his past frivolity, and beseeches their 
gratitude to Chlum and Wenzel de Duba ; "The Bohemians 
are our fiercest enemies " ; " Support the Bethlehem " 230-33 

xxviii CONTENTS 


(June 13, 1413) 

Thanks for his letters; "Keep God's counsels"; "Greet your 

wife from me " ; " You will never see me again " . . 234 

(June 16, 1415) 

Exhortations; If Martin is charged with heresy, what he is 
to reply ; " The Lord still lives " ; Greetings to various 
friends in Prague; Repayment of his creditors; "Fare 
well evermore " . . . ; . . . 235-7 




(Middle of June) 

Thanks for advice ; Reasons why he cannot sign the paper 

sent him 238-9 


(Middle of June 1415) 

Reasons why Hus cannot "abjure" 241 


(After June 18, 1415) 

Greetings ; Bitter attack on John XXIII. ; The illogical 
position of Palecz ; Errors of the Council ; Flee evil 
priests ; Defence of the cup 242-6 



( June 21, 1415) 

HUB'S final intentions ; Thanks to Sigismund ! and others . 246-7 



(June 21, 1415) 

Administer the Cup ; The Council's condemnation ; Do not 

quarrel with Jakoubek ; The ten thousand martyrs . . 248-9 

(June 22, 1415) 

Last words and exhortations ....'.. 249-50 

(June 23, 1415) 

A beautiful letter of resignation and fortitude; Palecz and 
Michael; "I am praying for them"; The sorrows of 
Jesus ; " O Jesus, draw me after Thyself " . . 250-53 


(June 24, 1415) 

Do not be terrified ; The examples of the past ; St. Gregory ; 
St. Chrysostom ; The troubles in store for Bohemia ; The 
illogical condemnation of John XXIII. ; The errors of the 
Council; Simony of its members; Why did they elect a 
homicide Pope ? The abomination of desolation ; " God 
will raise up after me braver men " 254-8 


(June 25, 1415) 

His difficulty in abjuring ; Extraordinary casuistry ; The 
request for a confessor ; His conversation with Palecz ; 
A song of HUB at Gottlieben 259-62 



(June 26, 1415) 

The Council has condemned his Czech books; This holy 
Council ! Its immorality and disorder ; Be not afraid of 
its verdict; "They could not overcome God's power in 
me"; St. Catherine; God is with him . . . .262-5 


(June 27, 1415) 

His death put off ; Master Jerome ; Why God has granted him 

a respite ; The sufferings of the Saints .... 265-7 



( June 27, 1415) 

Promote the honour of God; Hus's love for them all; His 
attitude to the charges; "I find no heresy in myself"; 
Love the Bethlehem 267-9 



The service of Sigismund and Christ compared ; Sigismund's 

deceit 269-70 

(June 29, 1415) 

The great harlot; Rejoices at the news concerning Chlum; 
The sufferings and glory of Peter and Paul; Still keep 
on writing . , , , , , 270-72 



(June 29, 1415) 

Glad that he is marrying ; Serve God at home now . . . 272-3 

( June 29, 1415) 

Last greetings to sundry friends 273-5 



EDITION, PALACKY , AND THE Monumenta ..... 284-6 


The Letters of Hus have long been recognised by 
the best judges as one of the world's spiritual 
treasures. The discovery of Hus, if we may so 
express it, forms more than once a landmark in 
the spiritual development of Luther. 

' When I was a tyro at Erfurt,' we read, ' I found 
in the library of the convent a volume of The Sermons 
of John Hus. When I read the title I had a great 
curiosity to know what doctrines that heresiarch had 
propagated, since a volume like this in a public 
library had been saved from the fire. On reading 
I was overwhelmed with astonishment. I could not 
understand for what cause they had burnt so great 
a man, who explained the Scriptures with so much 
gravity and skill. But as the very name of Hus 
was held in so great abomination that I imagined 
the sky would fall and the sun be darkened if I 
made honourable mention of him, I shut the book 
and went away with no little indignation. This, 
however, was my comfort, that perhaps Hus had 
written these things before he fell into heresy. For 
as yet I knew not what was done at the Council of 
Constance ' (Mon. Hus. vol. i. Preface). 

Some years later, in February 1529, after ponder 
ing the matter over with Melancthon, Luther was 
driven to write to Spalatin : ' I have hitherto taught 



and held all the opinions of Hus without knowing 
it. "With a like unconsciousness has Staupitz taught 
them. We are all of us Hussites without knowing 
it. I do not know what to think for amazement.' 
In this letter Luther was probably referring to his 
reading of the controversial works of Hus, especially 
his De Ecclesia. Shortly afterwards, however, he 
came across a copy of the Letters. At once he per 
ceived their value, not merely in their bearing on 
the expected Council convoked for Mantua, which 
subsequently met at Trent in 1542, but for the 
larger outlook of spiritual life. He took immediate 
steps for bringing them before the German public. In 
1536 and 1537 no less than three different editions 
in Latin and three editions in German, each 
of them with a preface by Luther, issued from 
the presses of Wittenberg and Leipzig. The most 
important of these editions is that entitled 
Epistolce Qucedam Piissimce et Eruditissimce, printed 
at Wittenberg by John Lufft in 1537, an edition 
which now forms the sole extant source of many 
of the letters of Hus. In his preface to this 
volume Luther is not backward in his praises of 
the Letters. ' Observe,' he writes, ' how firmly Hus 
clung in his writings and words to the doctrines 
of Christ ; with what courage he struggled against 
the agonies of death ; with what patience and 
humility he suffered every indignity, and with what 
greatness of soul he at last confronted a cruel death 
in defence of the truth ; doing all these things alone 
before an imposing assembly of the great ones of 
the earth, like a lamb in the midst of lions and 
wolves. If such a man is to be regarded as a 
heretic, no person under the sun can be looked 


on as a true Christian. By what fruits then shall 
we recognise the truth, if it is not manifest by those 
with which John Hus was so richly adorned ? ' 

Luther is not alone in his judgment. The Letters 
of Hus, in the verdict of Bishop Creighton, " give 
us a touching picture of simple, earnest piety rooted 
on a deep consciousness of God's abiding presence. 
These letters show us neither a fanatic nor a pas 
sionate party leader, but a man of childlike spirit, 
whose one desire was to discharge faithfully his 
pastoral duties, and to do all things as in the sight 
of God and not of man." l Other testimonies to 
the value of this series of letters could easily be 
adduced, but would add nothing to the decision of 
the great Reformer and the modern Historian. 

"We may safely assert that in the years to come 
The Letters of Hus will form the only part of his 
voluminous writings that will be read even by 
students. For the works of Hus, as Loserth has 
shown, are for the most part mere copies of "Wyclif, 
oftentimes whole sections of the great Englishman's 
writings transferred bodily, without alteration or 
acknowledgment. The very titles are not original ; 
their parade of learning, which deceived Luther, is 
completely borrowed, when not from "Wyclif, from 
Gratian and other recognised mediaeval handbooks. 
The Englishman Stokes was right when at Constance 
he bluntly asked : ' Why do you glory in these 
writings, falsely labelling them your own, since 
after all they belong not to you but "Wyclif, in 
whose steps you are following?' To the same end 
was the taunt of his former friend, Andrew Brod : 

1 Creighton, Papacy, ii. 22. Creighton refers especially to the Letters 
in Part III., which some may think the least interesting of all. 


' Was "Wyclif crucified for us ? were we baptised 
in his name?' 

The case is otherwise with Hus's Letters, eighty- 
two 1 of which have escaped the ravages of Time. 
For if the controversial works of Hus have contri 
buted little to the intellectual heritage of mankind, 
his Letters have enriched for ever our moral outlook. 
The preservation of these letters we owe for the 
most part to the care of Peter Mladenowic, the 
secretary of John of Chlum. They form a price 
less memorial of one of the truest hearted of the 
sons of God. His later correspondence especially, 
his letters from exile and prison, show John Hus 
to be one of the chosen few who exalt humanity. 
Though undoubtedly the last letters are the most 
interesting, inasmuch as in them the personal note 
reaches its highest, yet in the whole series there is 
nothing that is unworthy, little that is tedious. 
Bishop Creighton is correct in his judgment: 
"Everything Hus writes is the result of his own 
soul's experience, is penetrated with a deep moral 
earnestness, illuminated with a boldness and a self- 
forgetfulness that breathes the spirit of the cry, 
' Let God be true and every man a liar.' " In the 
belief that a wider acquaintance with The Letters 
of Hus will lead to a general endorsement of this 
verdict, we have translated into English these price 
less human documents. 

1 Of these, sixty-six one of which, however, is spurious are to 
be found in the Monumenta, and were translated by Bonnechose and 
Mackenzie ; nine were first printed by Hb'fler ; the rest were discovered 
and edited at different times by Fez, Erben, and Falacky. 

Part L Letters Written Before the Death of 
Archbishop Zbinek 

(June 30, 1408 September 28, 1411) 

JOHN OF HUSINECZ a name which he abbreviated, 
except in formal documents, into the more familiar 
Hus was the child of poor peasants in Husinecz, 
a village of Bohemia not far from the Bavarian 
frontier. The date of his birth is uncertain, but is 
usually accepted, on somewhat doubtful evidence, 
as 1369. Round the childhood of Hus there gathered 
in later years the usual tales with which fond 
memory strives to fill the gaps of ignorance. Some 
of these have a suspicious resemblance to similar 
tales concerning Luther ; others are manifestly 
coined from the fact that in Czech the word hus, 
or husca, means " goose " etymologically, of course, 
it is the same word a play on the name which we 
shall meet with again and again in the Letters. Of 
the brothers and sisters of Hus we know nothing. 
In the sons of a brother he showed a touching 
interest in his last days (infra, p. 236). 

On entering the University of Prague Hus sup 
ported himself, as Luther at Erfurt, by singing in 
the churches and by menial services. His piety at 
this time, though sincere, was of the usual type. 
In 1392 we find Hus, following in this matter the 
lead of Stiekna (infra, p. 121, %.), parting with his last 
four groschen to a seller of indulgences at the 
Wyschehrad a suburb of Prague ' so that there 

remained only dry bread for his support.' In one of 
the intensely subjective epistles of his last year (infra, 
p. 150), Hus reproached himself with his youthful 
levity, especially the time he wasted in chess, and 
his inability to lose a game without anger. Such 
reproaches, as in the case of Cromwell, Bunyan, and 
the Puritans in general, are rather the evidence of a 
tender conscience than of any real depravity of heart. 

In 1396 Hus took his Master's degree in Arts, 
and two years later began to deliver lectures as a 
public teacher. In 1401 he was made dean of the 
faculty of philosophy, and in the following year became 
the rector of the University, a position he occupied 
for about six months to the end of April 1403. 
Nevertheless, his achievements at the University 
were in nowise remarkable. Though he read the 
larger part of the course necessary for the degree 
in Divinity, in 1394, graduating as Bachelor, and in 
1401 lecturing on Peter Lombard's Sentences, he 
never incepted as doctor, 1 while the wide know 
ledge that appears in his writings is but borrowed 
learning. Among his teachers at the University we 
may note with interest the name of Stanislas of 
Znaim, in later years his bitter foe. 

In 1400 Hus obtained priest's orders; his object, 
he tells us, was the comfortable life led by the 
clergy. Two years later (March 14, 1402) he was 
appointed preacher at the Chapel of the Holy 
Innocents of Bethlehem. To this church a dwel 
ling-room was attached, from which a staircase led 
direct to the pulpit. This appointment gave Hus 
his opportunity. The Bethlehem Chapel in Prague 
a vast building destroyed by the Jesuits in 1786 

1 See infra, p. 140 : note on " Baccalareus forraatus." 


had been erected and endowed (May 24, 1391) 
by two wealthy laymen, on the condition that its 
rector should be a secular, and preach every 
Sunday and festival exclusively in the Czech lan 
guage. Thus the Chapel 'Bethlehem, which is, 
being interpreted, house of bread, because there the 
common people should be refreshed with the bread 
of preaching ' was both the product and expres 
sion of the new consciousness of Czech nationalism, 
and of the recent religious revival. Not only the 
Bethlehem, but almost everything else in Prague, 
University included, was new. The whole town 
was seething with a new life, with a quickened 
interest in religion, and with the fierce determina 
tion of the Czechs to throw off all bondage to 
the Germans, and, if possible, assert their own 
supremacy. Of all this the movement led by Hus 
was but one phase and outlet. For from the first 
Hus flung himself with passionate earnestness into 
the national movement. ' The Czechs,' he cried in 
one of his sermons, 'in this part are more wretched 
than dogs or snakes, for a dog defends the couch 
on which he lies, and if another dog tries to drive 
him away he fights with him. A snake does the 
same. But we let the Germans oppress us, and 
occupy all the offices, without complaint.' 

In addition to the new consciousness of Czech 
nationalism, a new determination to resist the 
German pressure, and the new revival of religion 
brought about by the labours of Milicz of Kremsier, 
Conrad of Waldhausen, and Mathias of Janow, the 
student will discern a third factor in the life of 
Hus. This was his making acquaintance with the 
works of Wyclif. The precise year in which the 


writings of the great English heresiarch were intro 
duced into Bohemia cannot now be determined, and 
for our present purpose is not material. Suffice 
that in the Fall of 1401 Jerome of Prague, who in 
1398 had obtained his licentiate at the University 
of Prague, and permission to go abroad, came back 
from Oxford, bringing with him copies of Wyclif's 
Dialogue and Trialogue, together with some other 
lesser works. All these Jerome had written out 
with his own hand. ' Young men and students/ 
he said in a public disputation, ' who did not study 
the books of Wyclif would never find the true root 
of knowledge.' With this conviction he introduced 
the works to John Christian of Prachaticz and John 
Hus. Hus was, however, already acquainted with 
the purely philosophical treatises of Wyclif. Of 
this we have evidence in the five tractates of Wyclif 
now in the Royal Library at Stockholm, written 
out by Hus 'with his own hand in 1398,' and 
carried off by the Swedes in 1648 as part of the 
spoils of the Bohemian War. 

Before long the strife over Wyclif had broken out 
in Bohemia. In April 1403 Hus ceased to be the 
rector of the University, and Walter Harrasser, 
a German, was elected in his place. On May 28, 
1403, the new rector, at the instance of the chapter 
of Prague for the archbishopric at this time was 
still vacant issued an order forbidding any discussion 
of the twenty-four articles from Wyclif's works 
already condemned in England at the famous 
Blackfriars or Earthquake Synod (May 21, 1382). 
To these were further added twenty-one articles 
extracted by Hiibner, a Silesian master. The pro 
hibition remained a dead letter, though, as we shall 


see in the Letters, these forty-five articles played 
no small part at Constance. The whole affair, in 
fact, seems to have been an attempt by the German 
Nominalists to score over the Czech Realists, who 
for their part contented themselves with protesting, 
somewhat unfairly, that the condemned propositions 
at any rate, the additions of Hiibner were not 
to be found in Wyclif. The struggle as yet was 
chiefly one of the Schools ; for at Prague the constant 
fight of Czech and Teuton had passed into a struggle 
of philosophical creeds. Whatever the one "nation " 
espoused, the other condemned. The Germans had 
embraced Nominalism of itself a sufficient reason 
for the Czechs to become uncompromising Realists 
and to rally to the defence of so thorough-going 
a Realist as "Wyclif. 

The leader of the Czech Realists at this time 
would appear to have been Stanislaus of Znaim, 
from whose teaching in the University Hus acknow 
ledges that he had learned much. In a squib of 
the times we read : 

Wyclif, the son of the Devil, begat Stanislaus of Znaim, 
who begat Peter of Znaim, and Peter of Znaim begat 
Stephen Palecz, and Stephen Palecz begat Hus. 

In the controversy on the forty-five articles Stanislaus 
defended the incriminated doctrines with warmth : 
' Let him who likes rise up and attack ; I am willing 
to defend.' He spoke so haughtily that ' some of 
the senior doctors left the congregation.' Shortly 
afterwards he published a tractate, De Remanentia 
Panis, and ' argued boldly in the schools ' on the 
side of "Wyclif. Stanislaus's tractate was pronounced 
heretical by the Saxon master, Ludolph Meistermann 
one of the leaders in the Secession of 1409. In 


the end Stanislas was ' forced to recant.' "With 
Stanislas, though less prominent and pronounced, 
Stephen Palecz was closely associated. In the 
Church, as on the stage, one man in his time 
plays many parts. 

Among these Realists or Wyclifists we must 
already reckon John Hus. In a Taborite document 
we read : ' These books of the evangelical doctor, 
as is known from credible witnesses, opened the 
eyes of Master John Hus of blessed memory, whilst 
reading and re-reading the same in connection with 
his adherents.' At one time it would seem he had 
shrunk back from Wyclif's theological teaching, 
though welcoming his philosophical positions. " Oh, 
Wyclif, Wyclif," he had cried in a Czech sermon, 
making use of an untranslatable pun, " how you 
will make our heads to waggle (zwikles)." But this 
dread was fast disappearing. 

Hitherto any part that Hus may have taken in 
the controversy over Wyclif had been political rather 
than religious. But in 1408 circumstances arose 
which compelled Hus, in spite of himself, to place 
himself at the head of the Bohemian Lollards, 
though he probably still deceived himself by imagin 
ing that they were but Czech Realists. This con 
tinued unconsciousness of whither he was drifting, 
together with the drift itself, is brought out very 
clearly in the first letter of Hus preserved for us, 
written in the early summer of 1408. From this 
point we shall leave the Letters, as far as possible, 
to tell their own story, adding only such connecting 
narratives and notes as may be needful to bind 
together these living fragments into an intelligible 



while still young to the metropolitan see of Prague (Novem 
ber 29, 1402). The choice was a mistake. As a prelate Zbinek 
was weak though well-intentioned, more at home in the camp 
than in the council-chamber, little fitted to guide the Church 
of Bohemia in the complex struggle into which it had entered. 
A Czech himself, he was at first inclined to sympathise with the 
Czech reformers or nationalists. At one time, as this letter 
shows, Hus enjoyed the complete confidence of the Archbishop. 
In 1405 Zbinek appointed Hus the special preacher before the 
Bohemian Synod. In the same year he nominated Hus to serve 
on a commission to investigate certain frauds carried on at 
Wilsnack, a village of Brandenburg, in connection with a relic 
of the blood of Christ. In 1407 Zbinek gave proof of the con 
tinuance of his friendship by once more appointing Hus the 
special preacher to the Synod. The sermons which Hus preached 
on these occasions have been preserved, and show no signs of 
revolt. The preacher confined himself to the stock theme of the 
vices of the clergy, sheltering himself, as was usual in such 
discourses, behind the authority of St. Bernard. But the events 
of 1408, and the pronounced part that thenceforth Hus took 
in the spread of Wyclif's doctrines, turned the Archbishop's 
favour into enmity. This letter of Hus, which the impartial 
critic will probably condemn as somewhat lacking in respect, 
contributed no doubt to the growing estrangement. 

The circumstances which provoked the letter were as follows : 
In spite of the condemnation of 1403, the Wyclifists, as Stephen 
Dolein (infra, p. 74) complained, swarmed everywhere ' in state 
apartments of princes, the schools of the students, the lonely 
chambers of the monks, and the cells of the Carthusians.' Large 
sums of money were paid for manuscripts of the English doctor, 
and corrected copies were constantly brought from England. So 
rapid was the spread of his doctrines that in 1406 Zbinek, acting 
on the orders of Innocent VII., threatened with punishment all 
those who preached the heresies of the Reformer, and ordered 
that the Roman dogma of the Sacrament should be proclaimed 
to the people on the next Feast of Corpus Christi. 

As the proclamation produced little effect, Zbinek resorted to 
other measures. In the May and June of 1408 certain masters 


of Prague were brought up before the Archbishop's deputies. 
Their names were Sigismund of Jistebnicz, Matthias Pater of 
Knin, Nicholas of Welemowicz, and another of whose name we 
are ignorant. One of these, Nicholas of Welemowitz, familiarly 
known as " Abraham," an unlicensed preacher in the Church of 
the Holy Ghost at Prague, had asserted the Lollard idea that 
' laymen as well as priests should be allowed to preach,' and at 
his trial refused to take any oath, "save by the living God." 
Hus, who was present in court, openly defended Nicholas in the 
matter of the oath by a quotation from Chrysostom, for which he 
was indebted to Gratian's Decretum. 1 "Ah, master/' retorted 
the Vicar-General, Kbel, "you came here to hear, not to talk." 
Thus silenced in court, Hus appealed to Zbinek direct. The 
next day, July 1, 1408 a day which fixes the date of the letter 
"Abraham" was released, though not, we imagine, in conse 
quence of Hus's interference. In reality, the trials were not 
pressed, though Matthias Pater of Knin was forced to abjure ; 
for Wenzel the King was anxious to further his political projects 
(see infra, p. 18) by obtaining a clean bill, if we may so put it, 
for the character of his subjects. Accordingly Zbinek, a few days 
after the release of " Abraham," declared in a Synod at Prague 
(July 17, 1408) ' that after making diligent inquisition, he could 
find no heretic in Bohemia.' 

(Undated: June 30, 1408; Prague) 

Most reverend father, your obedient servant in 
the faith and truth of our Lord Jesus Christ! 

I very often remind myself how at the beginning 
of your rule your reverence (paternitas) laid it down 
as a regulation that whenever I noticed any laxity 
of discipline, I should report it at once, either per 
sonally or, failing this, by letter. It is in accordance 

1 Dec. Pars II. C. 22, q. 1, c. 11. Really from Auctor Operis imperfecti 
in Matt, homily 44 on c. xxiii. (see infra, p. 65, n.~). Hus may, however, 
have learned the passage from Wyclif, who quotes it in full in the Op. 
Evangel, lib. iii. p. 47 (De Antichristo, lib. i. c. 13). 


with this regulation that I am now forced to make 
a statement to the effect that incestuous and criminal 
persons are escaping rigorous correction. 1 They go 
about without restraint like untamed bulls and runaway 
horses with outstretched necks, while humble priests 
who pluck away the thorns of sin and fulfil their duties 
under your rule in an excellent spirit, who shun avarice 
and give themselves freely for Grod's sake to the 
work of preaching the gospel, are thrown into prison 
and suffer exile, as if they were heretics, for preach 
ing this same gospel. B-everend father, where is the 
piety of preventing the preaching of the gospel 
the first duty Christ enjoined on His disciples, 
when He said : Preach the gospel to every creature ? 2 
Where is the discretion of restraining from their 
toils diligent and faithful labourers ? In very truth, 
I cannot think it is your grace, but the madness 
of others, that sows such seed. What poor priest 
will dare to attack crimes or to inveigh against 
vices ? Truly the harvest is great, but the true labourers 
are few. Therefore, father, pray the Lord of the harvest 
that He may send faithful labourers into the harvest. 3 
For it resteth with your grace to reap the entire 
harvest of the kingdom of Bohemia, to gather it 
into the Lord's garner and to give an account for 
every sheaf in the day of death. But how can so 
large a multitude of sheaves be stored up by your 
grace in the Lord's garner if you take away from 
the reapers their sickle, to wit, their power of speech, 
at the whim of indolent persons, who neither reap 
themselves nor suffer others to do so, when their 

1 P. : absque riffo (sic) oorrectionis ; read rigore. 

2 Mark xvi. 15. 

1 Matt. ix. 37, 38. 


crimes feel the lash of God's word ? Herein, alas ! 
is the word of the apostle fulfilled: They will not 
endure sound doctrine, they will turn away their hear 
ing from the truth, but will be turned unto fables and 
will heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears. 1 
Verily this saying of the apostle's will receive fulfil 
ment, seeing that charity hath grown cold among the 
clergy, and iniquity hath abounded 2 among the 
people, because the clergy have failed in charity and 
given up preaching the gospel and faithful imitation 
of Christ. For which of us, alas ! is following the 
life of Christ in poverty, chastity, humility, and 
diligent preaching ? Woe, woe, woe ! the apostle's 
word is fulfilled : All seek the things that are their own, 
not the things that are Jesus Christ's. 3 Therefore, most 
reverend father, turn your eyes to the things of the 
spirit, love good men, mark the bad, do not be 
flattered by the vain and greedy, but delight in 
men of humble mind and lovers of poverty. Drive 
the lazy to work, do not hinder faithful toilers in 
the Lord's harvest-field : for that may not be bound * 
which achieves the salvation of souls. 6 I would 
write at greater length ; but I am hindered by the 
toils of preaching. The Lord Almighty direct the 
mind of your grace as regards the matters written 
above, that you may render due account at the 
fitting time to the Shepherd of shepherds. 

1 2 Tim. iv. 3, 4. Altered in order of clauses. 

* Matt. xxiv. 12. 

* Phil. ii. 21. 

4 P. : quod non ett alligatum ; for est read tit. 

* P. : aninwrwm, (sic) ; read animarum. 



THE following letter, written in Czech, is without date, but may 
be referred to this period. Several of the songs of Hus, in 
addition to the rhymes written in prison (infra, pp. 197, 228), have 
been preserved for us. The only one of any merit is a short poem, 
De Coena Domini, printed in the second volume of the Historic/, 
et Monumenta (Mon. ii. 348a). The " Holy Virgins " refer to 
St. Ursula and the Eleven Thousand. The student will notice 
that, though Hus more than once refers to this feast (infra, pp. 17, 
155), he never mentions St. Ursula. St. Ursula, in fact, was a 
later addition to the legend, the original form of which would 
appear to have been the Eleven Thousand. 1 As the feast takes 
place on October 21, we may date this letter September or 
October 1408. But there is nothing in the letter itself that 
would rule out an even earlier year, though the absence of all 
polemical tone would shut out a later date. 

(Undated : September 1408 ?) 

May it please your husband the Lord Jesus to 
grant unto you His grace, and to strengthen you in 
your grace and virginity ! You have loved Him above 
all others, and that in truth most wisely. For He is 
a King most wise and most powerful, the wealthiest, 
the strongest, the altogether lovely, and therefore of 
all most pleasant. He doeth no violence or wrong to 
His brides, and bringeth no distress to them. He doth 
not grow old to them. He never breaketh His troth ; 
neither indeed can He. He will be with them for 
ever, and they will find Him ever ready to their 
desire, and thus each of them shall be filled with the 
kingdom of heaven. In that kingdom each man and 
woman will do His bidding. Each sister shall have 
her desire, which can never be for aught that is evil. 

1 See Owens College Hittorical Essays, pp. 16-56. 


Ponder this well, dear brides of Christ the glorious 
King. Forsake Him not for any other that is wicked, 
unclean, base, and defiled, with whom you shall have 
more distress than joy. For if that other is good- 
looking, you will be afraid of his unfaithfulness ; 
if deformed, of ennui ; if drunken or bad-tempered 
or of other evil habits, of a devil's life. If offspring 
be granted to you, there will be misery during 
pregnancy and in the birth and in the training of 
the child. If barrenness be your lot, there will 
be disgrace, distress, and an imperfect union. If 
a child is born, you will have fears of its survival 
or of its deformity. Who can recount the miseries 
from which the blessed unwedded life in Christ is 
free, and such virginity as His mother's, which 
is exalted above widowhood and matrimony ? The 
Holy Scriptures bear witness that the angels delight 
in such a life, 1 and it is to this that Jesus invites us 
when He says: He that can take, let him take it? 
St. Paul also useth much argument in its favour. 3 
Therefore, beloved virgins, brides and daughters of 
Christ, keep unspotted for Him your virginity, which 
is the guarding of the will from carnal taint in man 
or in woman who, like Christ and the Virgin, have 
never yielded to bodily passion. Blessed shall be 
the celibate and the virgin when by such a life and 
the keeping of Grod's other commands they shall 
receive the chief crown to wit, their reward in 
eternal bliss ! Strive earnestly for this even unto 
death, dear brides of Christ. You shall win this prize 
of your faithfulness if you hold in remembrance 
the eternal kingdom, mark the vanity of the world, 
beware of evil habits, keep your heart under by toil, 

1 Matt. xxii. 30. 

2 Matt. xix. 12. 

1 Cor. vii. 7, 8; 


love not fine dress, and often partake of the body 
of Christ. 1 

I beg you to keep all this well in mind. If God 
give me leisure and a letter-carrier, I will write to 
you at greater length. I send you a song to chant 
at the vespers of the holy virgins, so that, as you 
bethink you of the words, you may have joy in your 
hearts and make melody with your lips. Chant, 
however, in such a manner that you will not be 
overheard by the men ; for they might cherish evil 
purposes, while you might fall into the sin of pride 
or of scandal. 

MASTER JOHN Hus, a weakling priest. 


A PULL explanation of i all the circumstances which led to the 
writing of this letter would take us far afield. There were wheels 
within wheels in the complex politico-religious race-feuds and 
Church struggles of the times. At Prague three distinct issues 
had become curiously mixed up together towards the close of 
1408, in all of which Hus was a leading actor. There was first 
of all the issue to which this letter especially refers. Tired of the 
delays of Gregory XII. and Benedict XIII. in coming to any 
arrangement for ending the great schism, the cardinals of both 
Pope and anti-pope had withdrawn to Leghorn, and thence 
on June 24, 1408, had summoned a council to meet at Pisa 
on March 25, 1409. Under pressure from the University of 
Paris Europe prepared to obey. What course Bohemia would 
take was for the moment uncertain. But Wenzel found that 

1 The question of the frequency of communion had been much 
discussed in Bohemia since the days of Mathias of Janow and Milicz 
of Kremsier, the two forerunners of Hus. On October 18, 1389 
Mathias of Janow was compelled by the Synod of Prague to retract 
his teaching ' that the laity ought to be exhorted to daily communion ' 
(Z>oc. 70 ). While in prison in Constance, Hus urged in his tract 
De Ccena Domini the necessity of daily communion in similar language 
to that of Janow (see Mon. i. 41 b; Loserth, Wyolif and Hug, pp. 52-63). 



Gregory XII. continued to recognise his rival Rupert as king 
of the Romans. So he determined, at the instance of an envoy 
of France, that he would side with the cardinals at Pisa, at 
least to the extent that he would remain neutral (November 24, 
1408). For a similar but opposite reason the Germans remained 
faithful to Gregory and the ; > Rhenish Kaiser, whom they had 
elected (May 25, 1400) in the place of the drunkard Wenzel. 
This in itself was sufficient to induce the Bohemian " nation " to 
follow Hus, when he took up the idea of Wenzel, and brought 
it before the University. From this arose complication number 
two. The Czechs found that in the University they were power 
less ; they had but one vote. The Bavarians and Saxons controlled 
the Senate, and had the support of Zbinek and the clergy 
complication number three who discerned clearly the danger 
to themselves in the triumph of Wyclifist Realism, and of the 
religious and national enthusiasm with which it had become 
identified. For the Bohemian Church, as Jerome pointed out 
at Constance, was at this time almost an alien or German 
institution, fast slipping back into the dependence from which 
Charles IV. had endeavoured to save it. The Czechs, who 
had long groaned at the ascendancy of strangers, judged the 
present a suitable time, by the help of Wenzel, to establish their 
supremacy, at any rate in the University. Under the lead of 
Hus they induced Wenzel to decree that the Bohemians should 
have three votes, the other three nations but one (January 
18th, 1409). 

The consequences are well known. After a short struggle the 
"three nations" variously estimated by mediaeval writers at 
all figures up to 44,000 ; in reality, as the recently published 
Matriculation rolls of Leipzig University show us, under 1,000 
'according to their oath quitted the city, some on foot, others 
on horseback and waggons,' and founded the University of 
Leipzig. But a scanty remnant of under 500 Czechs were left 
behind in Prague. The victory was ascribed to Hus ; he was at 
once appointed rector of the mutilated Czech University. 
" Praise God," he said, in one of his sermons, " we have excluded 
the Germans." In reality, it was one of the most fatal moves 
he ever made, and was remembered against him in later years, 
as the Letters show. 

This matter of the "neutrality," mixed up as it was with 
the disruption of a University of which Zbinek was chancellor, 


produced a complete breach, as this letter shows, between the 
Archbishop and Hus. As a strong adherent of Gregory XII., 
Zbinek entered into the struggle with the Pisan cardinals by 
inhibiting, as Hus tells us, ' in letters fixed to the doors of the 
churches,' from all priestly functions Hus and 'all masters 
who sided with the sacred college' (infra, p. 55). 

To this challenge Hus replied in the following remonstrance, 
which we date early in December 1408. It cannot have been 
written later, for in January 1409 Hus fell dangerously ill, 
while Wenzel's decree of " neutrality " a strong adhesion to 
the Pisan cardinals evidently had not yet been issued. From 
the absence, further, of any reference to the imprisonment of 
Palecz and Stanislaus of Znaim (see infra, p. 73), we judge that 
the news of their arrest had not yet reached Prague (about 
December 8, 1408), for Hus would otherwise have blamed Zbinek 
for it, or in some way have identified himself with his friends. 
For, as The Chronicle of the University informs us, Hus and 
Christian Prachaticz were the chief agents in procuring their 
release. 1 

(Undated: early December 1408) 

Your humble and dutiful subject now and ever ! 

It is demanded by our Saviour's rule that a father 
should not proceed rashly to the reprobation of a 
son unless the son rejects his father's counsel and 
is clearly convicted of contumacy ; 2 nor ought the 
father of the household to drive away from the 
harvest a son who works, unless he first of all clearly 
knows that the son is minded disgracefully to 
squander his father's harvest. Thus in the sixteenth 
of Luke it is shown by our Saviour that the rich 
man did not give up the steward after hearing the 
charge of wrong-doing brought against him, but 
wisely summoned him and said : How is it that I hear 

1 Pocumenta, p. 731, * Matt, xviii. 15-17. 


this of thee ? give an account of thy stewardship. 1 Nor 
did our Saviour forbid a certain man who cast 
out devils not being His follower from so doing; 
but rather He desired to lend His authority to 
such acts: for in the ninth of Luke it is written 
that the disciples said to Jesus : Master, we saiv a 
certain man casting out devils in Thy name and we 
forbad him, because he followeth not Thee with us. And 
Jesus said to them, Forbid him not : for he that is not 
against us is for us. 2 

Now, most reverend father, your grace hath been 
instructed in these examples of our Saviour, and 
should not have listened to the infamous charges of 
jealous men charges set forth in writing in Latin 
as well as in the vernacular. You should not have 
branded me with public insinuations as a disobedient 
son okour holy mother Church ; but you should have 
ascertained the truth and said : How is it that 1 hear 
this of thee ? If I had been in error, you should have 
enjoined a pious correction ; and if I had failed to 
give up my disobedience to the holy mother Church, 
you should then have had recourse to suitable 
measures and declared me as disobedient, and as a 
matter of expediency have forbidden me to preach 
the holy gospel. Your grace ought therefore to 
know that it never hath been, nor will be, as I trust 
in God, my intention to withdraw from obedience to 
the holy mother Church. It is my intention not only 
to obey the Roman pontiff and your grace in accord 
ance with the blessed Peter's command, but also to 
be subject to every human creature for God's sake, 
whether it be to the king as excelling, or to governors as 
sent by him. 3 Further on he adds : Be subject to your 
1 Luke xvi. 2. 2 Luke ix. 49, 50. 1 Peter ii. 13. 


masters with all fear ; not only to the good and gentle, but 
also to the froward. 1 See how the apostle of Christ 
commands obedience to every human creature and to 
froward rulers, but obedience for God's sake, and not 
in the case of commands that are froward, but those 
which are lawful and uttered to the praise of God 
Almighty, to the end that servants may obey their 
masters and those set over them. Whatever, there 
fore, the Roman pontiff Gregory XII. or the holy 
mother Church, yea, and your grace, lawfully enjoins, 
I will humbly obey. But I cannot engage in con 
troversy to win the greater praise : for our Saviour 
forbade this to His disciples in Luke xii. ; 2 nor can I 
side with my apostolic lord in his failure to observe the 
oath which was sworn, as it were, before all Christen 
dom. 3 For in so doing I should be acting contrary 
to Christ, who says in Matt. v. : Let your speech be, 
Yea, yea : no, no : 4 and who says by the prophet : Vow 
ye, and pray to the Lord your God. 5 Therefore as far 
as these two points are concerned, the controversy of 
Pope and anti-pope and the breaking of the oath, I 
am neutral ; but not in the sense of the term as used 
by the crowd who are ignorant that " neutral " is a 
relative term like the simple word from which it is com 
pounded, requiring the context of the subject matter. 6 
Consequently, when the phrase " He is neutral " is 
used, it is unintelligible unless the alternatives are 
added, and it is clearly shown in what respect he 

1 1 Peter ii. 18. 

* Lake xii. 58. 

* See The Age of Hut, p. 44 ; Niem. De Schismate (ed. Erler), pp. 206-9. 

4 Matt. v. 37. 

5 Ps. Ixxv. 12. Vulg. (A.V. Ixxvi. 11). 

* P. : requirens tubstantiam adjacentiam. Better, on the whole, to 
read with Hofler, adjacentium. 


intends to be neutral in his support. 1 And further it 
does not follow that a third person is neutral, because 
he refuses to obey either of two others : as, for 
example, if the mother of Peter quarrels with his 
father, Peter as a faithful son ought to be neutral in 
his support in the dispute between his father and 
mother, while at the same time he ought to obey 
father as well as mother in matters lawful. Hence 
Peter ought not to be neutral so far as obedience is 
concerned, but only so far as his support in the 
dispute is concerned ; for he ought as far as possible 
to prevent a dispute of this kind, in order that, peace 
being restored, his father and mother may more 
securely be united in love and beget brothers for 

Furthermore, most beloved and reverend father, 
my enemies hurl insults at me as they have been 
wont to do for a long time. I could write of these 
at greater length, but let this suffice for the present, 
that if your grace discovers the fault in me, I am 
willing humbly to submit to punishment. Yet I 
humbly beg your grace for God's sake not to put 
trust in every one, and not to suspend me from 
preaching now that you have received this written 
testimony that I have not departed from obedience 
to the Roman pontiff Gregory XII. Nay, last 
Sunday I publicly said in the pulpit in my sermon 
that I had not withdrawn from allegiance to my lord 
Pope Gregory, but desired to obey the holy Roman 
Church and its lord in all lawful matters. If your 
grace had known of this, perhaps you would not 
have placed me in your letters as your first dis 
obedient son, like a mark for the arrow. But I ought 

1 In quo est neutralig quoad auxilium intentione. 


to suffer, because the Saviour saith : Rejoice and be 
glad, because great is your reward i/n heaven ; J and this 
reward may it please our Lord Jesus Christ to grant 
to your grace. Amen. 


A FEW weeks after the release of "Abraham" (supra, p. 12) 
and on the eve of the outbreak of the " neutrality " complication, 
the clergy most of whom, as we have seen, were Germans, out 
of touch with the Czech population accused Hus before the 
Archbishop of preaching ' in the presence of a vast multitude 
of both sexes ' ' scandalous sermons, which made clerks hateful 
to the people.' He had gone so far, they said, as to ' deal with 
the matter not in general terms, but by descending to particulars.' 
They further raked up an incident of which Hus was destined to 
hear much for the rest of his life : that in the presence of Zbinek 
he had said ' he wished his soul might be where rests the soul 
of Wyclif .' That Hus still felt confident of his position is evident 
not only from the reply he made to this last charge, but in the 
contempt, not infrequently degenerating into quibbles, with 
which he overwhelmed his accusers. Zbinek, in fact, was power 
less and scarcely needed the array of quotations from Gratian's 
Decretum upon which the Reformer fell back in his more serious 
argument. Hus reminded him of his recent declaration 'that 
he could find no heretic in Bohemia.' The opponents of Hus 
were caught ' in a trap of their own making.' 

The date of this complaint of the clergy is uncertain, but 
may be ascribed with confidence to the autumn of 1408, though 
it would appear to have been repeated in the following year. 
To this same period (autumn 1408), certainly before the expulsion 
of the Germans from the University, to which no allusion is 
made, we assign the following letter to Zavis of Zap, a canon 
of Prague and non-resident rector of Prachaticz. As Zap had 
taken his Master's degree at Prague in 1380, he must have been 
at least ten years or so older than Hus. We judge from the 
letter that he was one of the leaders in the complaint of the 
clergy. In the previous June he had acted as one of the judges 
in the trial of " Abraham " (Doc. p. 342). 
1 Matt. v. 12. 


(Late autumn, 1408) 

Greetings from the Lord Jesus Christ ! Eeverend 
sir, it hath come to my ears that you have spoken of me 
in plain words as a heretic. If this is so, I beg you to 
send me a reply. You will then see, by God's grace, 
that I will publicly confess and defend the faith I hold, 
not by detraction in nooks and corners, but in manner 
becoming a true Christian. I would that you knew 
yourself and the way you have been shearing the 
sheep in Prachaticz this thirty years or more ! 
Where do you reside ? Where do you work ? Where 
do you feed the sheep ? You forget the Lord's 
word : Woe to the shepherds . . . that feed themselves, 
but the flock they did not feed. 1 Where, pray, is 
your fulfilment of this gospel of Christ: The good 
shepherd goeth before the sheep and the sheep follow 
him, because they know his voice ? 2 In what way 
do you pass before the sheep, and how do they 
follow you or hear your voice when for many years 
together they rarely set eyes on you ? The day will 
come when you will give an account of your sheep 
and also of the plural livings you have held. Of 
this last you read in your canon law that he who 
can get a competence out of one, cannot hold 
another without committing mortal sin. 3 

You ought to take these things to heart and not 
charge your neighbour with heresy. At all events, 
if you are certain he is a heretic, you ought to 

1 Ezek. xxxiv. 8. 

2 John x. 4. 

s See Gratian, Pars II. C. 21, q. 1, also ib. C. 12, q. 1. Hus dwells on 
this in his sermon before the Synod (Man. ii. 39J), where he quotes the 
above passages from Gratian. 


admonish him once or twice according to the 
apostle's precept, and if he will not receive the 
admonition, then you may reject him as a heretic, 1 
the more so as you are a master and doctor of the 
law able, nay bound, to occupy your master's chair 
for the public defence of the truth. 

I write these words by way of brotherly advice 
according to Christ's precept : If thy brother shall 
offend against thee, rebuke him between thee and him. 2 
Therefore, brother, receive me ; and if you have 
spoken in this way about me, say so in your reply. 
If you prove me a heretic, I will humbly make 
amends and you will receive the reward of restoring 
a sinner from the error of his way. 3 Yet by the 
grace of Grod Almighty I hope I hold the same 
faith in the Lord Jesus as yourself and as truly, 
seeing that I am ready to suffer death on its 
behalf in humility and hope. 


WITH the expulsion of the Germans and the loss of the national 
struggle, events at Prague moved rapidly towards a religious 
crisis. ' Immediately after,' we read, ' Wiclify began to grow 
strong, and Hus and his adherents renounced their spiritual 
obedience under the favour of the laity.' All that Zbinek could 
do was to persuade the Bohemian nation in the University to 
severely restrict the right of lecturing on Wyclif, or defending 
his propositions. The Wyclifists retorted Hus himself did not 
join them by procuring the citation of the Archbishop before 
the Pisan Curia. Zbinek, realising his isolation by the expulsion 
of his German allies, deemed it well to abandon Gregory, and 
make his peace with Alexander V. This he did on September 2, 
amid universal rejoicing, blaring of trumpets 'to the fourth 
hour of night,' 'six hundred bonfires,' and the like. Thus 

1 Titus iii. 10. * Matt, xviii. 15. James v. 20. 


secure of his own position, Zbinek accused the Wyclifists of 
being the source of all the mischief. He had his reward on 
December 20. Alexander quashed the citation, and conferred 
upon Zbinek a commission to take strong steps against the 
heretics, forbidding also all preaching ' in chapels, even those 
which had privileges granted by the Apostolic See.' This last 
was an attack upon the Bethehem, whose rights had been ratified 
by Gregory XII. (May 15, 1408). Alexander further ordered that 
all books of Wyclif should be delivered up to the Archbishop, 
1 that they might be removed from the eyes of the faithful.' 

On the publication of this bull in Prague (March 9, 1410), Hus 
and his friends handed over to the Archbishop certain works of 
Wyclif : ' When,' they added, ' you have found any errors in 
them, be pleased to point them out to us, and we shall be glad 
to denounce them publicly.' Zbinek's sole reply was an order 
that seventeen books of Wyclif, whose names are given, should 
be burnt, ' the remaining books of the said John, heresiarch, to 
await ' fuller examination. Notice of this decision, endowed by 
a synod in Prague, was served upon Hus and his associates 
(June 16). The fact that several of the condemned works were 
purely philosophical shows that the Nominalist faction had not 
been altogether silenced by the expulsion of the Germans. 

Against this attack on its freedom the University at once 
protested (June 21). Hus, who especially resented the prohibi 
tion of further preaching in the Bethlehem, had already appealed 
on his own account ' to Alexander himself that he might be 
better informed.' On his decease, Hus and others (among whom 
we notice Zdislaw of Wartenberg and Peter of Zepekow, a 
student who owned the copy of the De Ecclesia of Wyclif 
now in the University Library at Prague) further appealed to 
John XXIII. (June 25), urging that with the death of Alexander 
the commission had become null and void. They had obtained, 
they pleaded, the books of Wyclif 'at great trouble and cost.' 
Only a fool ' would condemn to be burnt treatises, logical, philo 
sophical, mathematical, moral, which contain many noble truths, 
but no errors. By the same reasoning we must burn the books 
of Aristotle, the commentaries of Averrhoes, or the works of 
Origen.' They further protested against the charge that 
Bohemia was full of heretics, quoting against Zbinek his own 
declaration. Alexander's bull, they concluded, was obtained by 
fraud and forgery, in which last the friars had borne a hand. 


Before the appeal could be considered, Zbinek, who had at 
first consented to postpone execution until the Margrave Jobst 
could arrive in Prague, brought matters to a head by burning 
two hundred manuscripts of Wyclifs works in the courtyard 
of his palace on the Hradschin, 'in the presence of a number 
of prelates and clergy, who chanted the Te Deum with a loud 
voice, while the bells were tolled as if for the dead.' 'The 
better copies,' some of them bound with gold knobs, 'were, 
however, it is believed, kept over' (July 16, 1410). Two days 
later, Zbinek, amid the angry cries of the people, excommuni 
cated Hus and others for not yet delivering up their copies 
and 'for opposing the Catholic faith' by their frivolous pro 
cesses. Wenzel retorted by ordering the Archbishop to refund 
the value of the burnt volumes to their owners, and on his 
refusal seized his revenues. 

The excitement in Prague was intense. In the Bethlehem 
Hus denounced Alexander V. and Zbinek before an immense 
congregation. In the University Czech masters, following the 
lead of Hus, were not slack in their sarcasms upon the Arch 
bishop and in their open defence of the books of Wyclif. In 
the streets Jerome and others taught the working men to sing 
satirical skits which Wenzel found it needful to prohibit : 

Zbinek, Bishop A, B, 0, 

Burnt the books, but ne'er knew he 

What was in them written. 

The mob, in fact, stirred up by an incautious sermon of Hus, 
took matters into their own hand. On July 22 they burst into 
the cathedral and drove forty priests from the altars. In the 
church of St. Stephen's ' six men with drawn swords tried to 
slay, a blaspheming preacher.' The terror, we learn, ' so over 
whelmed all the vicars' that they dared not give effect to the 

To this year of strife, probably before it had developed into 
the edict against the books of Wyclif, certainly before the 
burning and excommunication, we must ascribe the following 
undated letter, whose strong evangelical feeling will appeal to 
many. Laun, the Latin name for which is Luna, is a town about 
sixty kilometres N.W. of Prague. There is a picture of it, much 
as it was in the days of Hus, in Merian's Topographia 
Provinciarum Aiistriacarum (Frankfort, 1649). 


(Undated: about 1410) 

Master John Hus, an unworthy servant of God, to 
the faithful citizens of Laun, grace unto you and 
peace from our Lord Jesus Christ ! 

Although, my beloved, I have not seen you with 
my outward eye, but with that of the spirit, yet I 
hear of your steadfast faith and love towards God 
and His gospel, and how our Saviour Himself hath 
made you as one man in faith, peace, love and the 
hearing of God's word. Thus your unity and con 
cord above all the other towns of Bohemia hath 
sunk deeply into my heart. I adjure you, beloved, 
although unknown to you by face, yet as one 
devoted in God to your salvation, love one another, 
stand fast in unity, and suffer no dissensions among 
yourselves. For it is the unity that comes of a 
true faith which will preserve you safe unto God. 
May God in His turn mercifully grant unto you 
a successful issue that you may overcome the 
world, the flesh, and the devil ! 

To this end, beloved, allow no schisms, treacheries, 
envies, angers, etc., 2 to arise in your midst. If any 
one among you is incorrigible and a sower of dis 
cord, reprove him in private as a brother. Take 
no dispute to a public court, because to both parties 
it brings hurt in soul, body, and resources. Study 
to avenge rather the wrongs done to God than 
those done to yourselves. It is herein, alas ! 
that the whole world goes wrong, because mortals 
desire rather to avenge their own wrongs than 
God's. Antichrist above all prepares this way and 
1 Lat. Luna. 2 Gal. v. 20, 21. 


lays it out broad and fair, chiefly for us priests, who 
desire the statutes of men to be more carefully kept 
than the word of God. Why, when a priest, monk, 
or prelate is guilty of debauchery or adultery, he 
gets off scot-free! But let him teach anything 
that is due to individual judgment, and this will 
be looked into under threat of anathema. In like 
manner, the secular priests punish no one for dis 
gracing God. But let a man say to them, " Con 
script fathers, 1 you are condemning an innocent 
man " (which frequently happens), then they punish 
him with the sword for charging his judges with 

However, I trust God that He will deliver you 
from these evils, so that you may keep His law 
more jealously than the statutes of men. When 
you observe that law, no one can harm you. There 
fore, beloved, look to these things that are eternal 
and imperishable. For there are two alternatives, 
condemnation and life eternal. Condemnation means 
perpetual fire, darkness, terrible torture and ever 
lasting burning in company with devils. In life 
eternal there is perfect joy and light, without pain 
or torture, and there is communion with God Him 
self and His angels. As St. Paul saith: Eye hath 
not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into 
the heart of man (mark here in its full meaning 
" of man ") what things God hath prepared for them 
that love Him. 2 We shall be blessed when we enjoy 
that bliss, in which there is perfect love. For there 
we shall see who is accursed, damned, and reprobate ; 
there will the sins that lie hidden in men's hearts 
be open to view; there shall we experience such 
* Sic. * 1 Cor, ii. 9, 10. 


joy and comfort as will never be taken from us. If 
here we have to suffer for Christ's sake, there we 
shall be blessed. It is through a cross and through 
afflictions that we are tried, like gold in the fire, 
by the Builder who formed the world out of nothing. 
Blessed then shall we be, if we persevere in that 
which is good, even to the end. 

Beloved, knowing that the world is passing to its 
doom (death is at the door and we shall soon 
remove hence), make it your chief concern to live 
righteous and holy lives and renounce your sins. 
Next, give earnest heed to the things that are 
heavenly ; and, finally, love God with all your heart 
and put your trust in Him ; for He will honour you 
in His glory for the merits of Jesus Christ and will 
make you partakers of His kingdom. Amen. 


IN the September of 1410, before the excitement over the burn 
ing of the books had yet cooled down, Hus received a letter from 
an English Lollard, one Richard Wyche, vicar of Deptford. 
Wyche's letter is of remarkable interest, not merely as a sign 
of the close connection at that time existing between the two 
countries, or because of the answer of Hus, but also because 
of the interest attaching to Wyche himself. Wyche was one of 
the many priests who had come under the influence of Wyclif's 
teaching. Of his earlier years we know little or nothing. Hus, 
it is true, speaks of him as " the companion of Wyclif in the toils 
of the gospel," but too much weight should not be attached to 
a chance phrase by one to whom Wyche was really a stranger. 
At one time it is possible he had been a monk, for we find in 1399 
one of that name in charge of the alien priory of Derehurst, near 
Stow-on-the-Wold, Gloucestershire. In the following year we 
find that Wyche was an ordained priest in the diocese of 
Hereford. Shortly afterwards he travelled up to Northumber 
land to preach the gospel, taking with him a companion named 


James. After a few sermons he received a summons to appear 
before Bishop Walter Skirlaw of Durham. He returned from 
Newcastle, but on arriving at Chester-le-Street the rupture from 
which he was suffering became so painful that he was forced to 
hire a horse, leaving his cloak and purse as a pledge at the inn. 
He arrived at Bishop Auckland on December 7, and was at 
once flung into prison. A few days later he was brought up 
for his examination. The bishop suspected, from his inability 
to produce any authority for preaching outside his diocese, that 
he was a Lollard, and questioned him closely concerning the 
sacrament of the altar. His answers proving unsatisfactory, 
he was sent back to prison. There he was visited by a master 
from Newcastle, who tried to persuade him to recant, first by 
offers of promotion, then by threats. " If you don't do as you are 
told, you will be burnt," said the master. " God's will be done," 
replied Wyche, and, in spite of arguments and deputations of 
all sorts, he remained steadfast. In February 1402, Wyche was 
brought before the bishop and condemned to degradation and 
imprisonment. So he was once more thrust back into the cell 
at Auckland, in horrible pain, but with sufficient food. From 
this prison he wrote a long letter to his friends at Newcastle, 
urging them to pray that he might persevere to the end, and 
asking them to send him some sheets of the gospel in red ink. 
These might be got through to him by means of a priest living 
near St. Andrew's Auckland. A copy of this letter found its 
way to Prague, and probably fell under the notice of Hus. 
Coming to light after many centuries, it has recently been 
published in the English Historical Review (vol. v.). 

With the despatch of this letter our knowledge of Wyche 
once more becomes uncertain. Fourteen propositions were 
brought against him at his trial ; he defended them all by 
profuse quotations from the Scriptures. 1 But he could not 
resist the pressure brought to bear upon him, and, following 
the other English Lollards of the time, he recanted, and was 
made vicar of Deptford, near Greenwich. As the following 
letter which he wrote to Hus shows, his recantation was not 
very sincere. His signature, " Wychewitz," which has misled so 
many historians, is either a deliberate disguise or a Czech 
confusion of his name. 

1 See Fasciculi Zizaniorum (Eolls Series), 370-82, 501-5, 


(London: September 8, 1410) 

Greeting, and whatsoever can be devised more sweet in the 
heart of Jesus Christ. My dearly beloved brethren in the 
Lord, whom I love in the truth, and not I only, but also 
all they that have the knowledge of the truth, which abideth 
in you, and through the grace of God shall be with you for 

I rejoiced above measure when our beloved brethren came and 
gave testimony to us of your truth, how also you walked in the 
truth. I have heard, brethren, how sharply Antichrist persecutes 
you in vexing the faithful servants of Christ with diverse and 
unheard-of afflictions. And surely no marvel if amongst you 
(as it is so almost all the world over) the law of Christ be 
grievously impugned, and that red dragon with his many 
heads, of whom it is spoken in the Apocalypse, have now vomited 
that great flood out of his mouth whereby he goeth about to 
swallow up the woman. But the most gracious God will deliver 
for ever his only and most faithful spouse. Let us therefore 
comfort ourselves in the Lord our God and in his innumerable 
goodness, hoping strongly in Him who will not suffer those that 
love Him to be unmercifully defrauded of any of their purpose, 
if we, according to our duty, shall love Him with all our heart. 
For adversity should by no means prevail over us if there were 
no iniquity reigning in us. Therefore let no tribulation or 
anguish for Christ's cause discourage us ; knowing this for a 
surety, that whomsoever the Lord vouchsafes to receive to be His 
children, these he scourgeth; for so the merciful Father wills 
that they be tried in this miserable life through and in per 
secutions that afterwards He may spare us. For the gold that 
this high Artificer hath chosen He purgeth and trieth in this 
fire, that He may afterwards lay it up in His pure treasury. 
For we see that the time we shall abide here is short and 
transitory ; the life that we hope for hereafter is blessed and ever 
lasting. Therefore, while we have time, let us strive earnestly 
that we may enter into that rest. What other things do we see 
in this frail life save sorrow, heaviness, and sadness, and that 
which is most grievous of all to the faithful, too much abusing 
and contempt of the law of the Lord? 

Let us therefore endeavour ourselves, as much as we may, 
to lay hold of the things that are eternal and abiding, despising 
in our mind all transitory and frail things. Let us consider 
the holy fellowship of our fathers that have gone before us. 
Let us consider the saints of the Old and New Testaments. 
Did they not all pass through this sea of tribulation and 
persecution ? Were not some of them cut in pieces, others 
stoned, and others slain with the sword? Some of them 
went about in sheepskins and goatskins, as the apostle to 
the Hebrews witnesses. Surely they all kept the straight 
and narrow road, following the steps of Christ, who said : 
'He that ministereth unto Me, let him follow Me, and 
where I am,' etc. Therefore let us also, who have such noble 
examples given us of the saints that went before us, laying aside 
as much as in us lies every weight, and the sin which com- 
passeth us about, run forward with patience to the battle that is 
set before us, fixing our eyes upon the Author of faith, and Jesus 
the Finisher of the same, who for the joy that was set before 
Him suffered the cross, despising the shame. Let us call upon 
Him who suffered much reproach of sinners against Himself, 
that we be not wearied, fainting in our minds, but that with all 
our hearts we may pray for help from the Lord, that we may 
fight against his adversary Antichrist, that we may love His law, 
that we be not deceitful labourers, but may deal faithfully in all 
things according as God vouchsafes to give us, and that we may 
labour diligently in the Lord's cause under hope of an everlasting 

Behold therefore, Hus, most dearly beloved brother in Christ, 
although in face unknown to me, yet not in faith or love (for 
distance of place cannot separate those whom the love of Christ 
doth effectually knit together), be comforted in the grace which 
is given to thee ; labour like a good soldier of Jesus Christ ; 
preach ; be instant in word and example, and recall as many 
as thou canst to the way of truth ; for the truth of the gospel 
is not to be kept in silence because of the frivolous censures 
and thunderbolts of Antichrist. And therefore to the uttermost 
of thy power strengthen thou and confirm the members of Christ 
who are weakened by the devil ; and if the Most High will 
vouchsafe it, Antichrist shall shortly come to an end. And there 
is one thing wherein I do greatly rejoice, that in your realm and 
in other places God hath stirred up the hearts of some men 



that they can gladly suffer for the word of Christ even unto 
imprisonment, banishment, and death. 

Further, beloved brethren, I know not what to write to you, 
but I confess that I could wish to pour out my whole heart, 
if thereby I might comfort you in the law of the Lord. Also 
I salute from the bottom of my heart all the faithful lovers of 
the law of the Lord, and especially Jacobellus, your coadjutor 
in the gospel, beseeching that he will put in a petition unto the 
Lord for me in the universal Church of Jesus Christ. And the 
God of peace, who hath raised from the dead the Shepherd of the 
sheep, the mighty Lord Jesus Christ, make you apt in all good 
ness to do His will, working in you that which may be pleasing in 
His sight. All your friends salute you who have heard of your 
constancy. I would desire also to see letters of yours written 
back to us, for know that they shall comfort us not a little. 

At London, on the Nativity of the glorious Virgin, in the 
year 1410. Your servant, desiring to become a sharer with you 
in your labours, 

BJCHAKD WYCHEWITZ, most unworthy of priests. 1 

By the same messenger, it is interesting to note, Woksa of 
Waldstein, a councillor of Prague and intimate friend of Jerome 
of Prague, also Zdislaw of Wartenberg (a baron of the realm, one 
of the University friends of Hus, who on August 10 of that 
year had defended before the University Wyclif's tractate, De 
Universalibus), received letters from the famous Lollard, Sir John 
Oldcastle. Oldcastle, it would appear, had corresponded at one 
time with Hus himself, whom he calls ' a priest of Christ,' but 
the correspondence is now lost. Probably the intermediary in 
this correspondence would be Zdislaw, who had been in England, 
knew Oxford well, and may have met with Oldcastle himself. 

On the receipt of Wyche's letter, Hus replied as follows : 


(Undated: end of September 1410) 

May the peace of Christ abound in your heart by 
the Holy Spirit given to you, my dear friend in 
Christ Jesus ! 

1 Text in Mon. i. 101, Hofler ii. 210-12. Better readings in the first. 
The above translation is based on Foxe (ed. Pratt), iii. 506, corrected 


Your affectionate letter, which came down from, 
above from, the Father of lights, 1 powerfully kindles the 
soul of your brothers in Christ. It contains so much 
sweetness, efficacy, invigoration, and solace, that if 
every other writing were engulphed in the abyss of 
Antichrist, it would suffice of itself for the salvation 
of Christ's faithful ones. .Turning over in my mind 
its marrow and strength, I said in a large assembly 
of people, numbering, I suppose, nearly ten thousand, 
as I was preaching in public, "See, my beloved 
brothers, what a care for your salvation is shown by 
the faithful preachers of Christ in other countries ; 
they yearn to pour out their whole soul, if only they 
can keep us in the gospel of Christ, even the Lord." 
And I added, " Why, our dear brother Richard, 
partner 2 of Master John "Wyclif in the toils of the 
gospel, hath written you a letter of so much cheer, 
that if I possessed no other writing, I should feel 
bound by it to offer myself for the gospel of Christ, 
even unto death. Yea, and this will I do, with the 
help of our Lord Jesus Christ." Christ's faithful 
ones were fired with such ardour by the letter that 
they begged me to translate it into our mother 
tongue. 3 

What then I should write to you, dear friend, and 
the rest of the brothers, I know not. I have no 
skill to instruct those who are so much more 
learned than myself. Can I, the weaker, say aught 
to cheer the stronger in the warfare of Christ? 
What am I to say ? Dear friend, you have anticipated 
the words of instruction. It only remains for me to 

' Jas. i. 17. 

1 See infra, p. 40. 

* The translation is said still to exist in the Library of Prague. 


seek and to seek again the help of your prayers. 
I am thankful that Bohemia has under the power 
of Jesus Christ received so much good from the 
blessed land of England through your labours ; and 
I do not wonder that while to some it is a savour 
unto death, yet to others it is a savour unto joy, be 
cause for many it is a savour unto life eternal. 1 For 
the enemy of man had sown tares 2 so widely in our 
kingdom that scarcely a grain or two of wheat 
appeared. The whole of man's field had been so 
filled with nettles that the way of salvation could 
with difficulty be found. 

But now the people which walked in darkness have 
beheld the great light of Jesus Christ. The light of 
truth hath appeared to them that dwell in the region 
of the shadow of death* and is eagerly welcomed 
under our Saviour's power by the people, barons, 
knights, counts, and the common folk. If the com 
munity of the saints in England learn of this to its 
full measure, their hearts will dance for joy: give 
praise, thou barren, that bearest not : sing forth 
praise, and imake a joyful noise, thou that didst not 
travail with child : for many are the children of the 

I must tell you, dear brother, that the people will 
listen to nothing but the Holy Scriptures, especially 
the gospel and the epistles. Wherever in city or 
town, in village or castle, the preacher of the holy 

1 P. : Si aliis odor et mortem sed gaudium, quia multis odor in vitam 
ceternam. Hofler : et in mortem. Bead Si aliis odor ad mortem, sed 
aliis in gaudium, quia multis, etc. There is only one MS. From 2 
Cor. ii. 16. 

z Matt. xiii. 25. 

Isa. ix. 2. 

* Isa. liv. 1. Inexact. For deserti (P.) read desertee. 


truth makes his appearance, the people flock together 
in crowds, despising the clergy who are not able to 
furnish it. As a result, Satan hath arisen : for now 
the tail of Behemoth x himself hath been set in motion, 
and it remains for the Lord Jesus Christ to bruise 
his head. 2 See, I have but gently touched his tail 
and he hath opened wide his mouth to swallow me 
down, and my brothers also. He is raging now. At 
one time he utters heresy with lying words: at 
another he fawns. Anon he fans the flame of 
censure and kindles the torch of a grim fulmination 
among the dioceses of the neighbouring 3 lands; at 
home he dare not touch my head. For the hour has 
not yet come ; seeing that the Lord hath not yet, by 
me and my brothers, snatched from his maw those 
whom He hath predestined to the life of glory. 
Therefore He will give courage to the preachers of 
the gospel that they may wound Behemoth at least 
in his tail, until his head and all his members be 
utterly crushed.* It is for this we are praying with 
all our heart : it is for this we are labouring, even as 
your reverence hath written as only love can write : it 
is for this that we are bound humbly to endure death 
and not to fail with the Lord Almighty on our side, 
seeing that our gracious Lord saith : I am with him 
in tribulation, I will deliver him and glorify him. 6 
holy deliverance and glorification ! look for Richard 
and his brothers, who have now endured many 
tribulations. Take me up also in my misery that 
I may be with my brothers who fearlessly confess 
Thy gospel in the midst of a ivicked and adulterous 

1 Job L 10-12. 2 Gen. iii. 15. 

* P. : jacentium, H. : (circum)jacentium. 

4 See infra, p. 119, n. 1, * Ps. xc. (xci.) 15. 


generation. 1 Grant to us help in tribulation : for vain 
is the salvation of men. 2 May our hope be in Thee! 3 
May we be drawn to Thee by the threefold cord 4 that 
cannot be broken : for it hath been woven by the 
Lord Jesus Christ. May He, dear brother, grant to 
you and your helpers a life inviolate in glory, that 
you may be able to live a long while and bring back 5 
the straying sheep to the way of truth. 

I greatly rejoice with all who love the gospel that 
you have shown your loving-kindness by giving us 
healthful counsel. Our Lord the King and all his 
court, the Queen, barons, and common folk, are on the 
side of the word of Jesus Christ. The Church of 
Christ in Bohemia greets the Church of Christ in 
England, and yearns to share in its confession of the 
holy faith by the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
May the glorious God be your reward for having 
ministered to our need by the example of your great 
labours. May yours be the peace that passeth all 
understanding ! 6 Amen. 

What became of Wyche we know not for certain. He is 
usually assumed to have been the same Wyche who many years 
afterwards was first degraded, then burnt on Tower Hill 
(August 2, 1439), and to whose tomb, as Foxe tells us, the 
Londoners made pilgrimage, accounting him a prophet and a 
holy man. ' So they upreared a great heap of stones and set 
up a cross there by night.' This Richard Wyche, as we learn 
from the writ prohibiting the pilgrimages, 'did long since 
heretically hold, teach, and publicly preach certain heresies in 
many places, and being judicially convicted did before a judge 
abjure all heresy generally.' If this Richard Wyche was the same 
as the author of this letter, he must have been, at the time of his 

1 Matt. xii. 39. 4 Eccles. iv. 12. 

* Ps. cvii. 13. Inexact. ' P. : redire ; read with H. : reducere. 

PS, M 8, PM1. iv, 7, 


burning, a very old man too old, in fact, to have been, as Hus 
assumes, the actual companion of Wyclif. 

We resume our narrative of the events at Prague from the 
burning of the books of Wyclif to the close of the struggle of 
Hus and Archbishop Zbinek. As the letter which Hus wrote 
to Wyche shows, the reformer had found powerful adherents at 
court. He soon needed their help. On August 25, 1410, Oddo 
Colonna, the future Martin V., to whom John had handed over 
the appeal of Hus, decided against him and urged the Arch 
bishop to proceed against the Wyclifists with all severity, 
' calling in, if need be, the help of the secular arm.' A vigorous 
protest was at once made by Wenzel (September 12) and Queen 
Sophie (September 16), by certain barons of the realm, and by 
the magistrates of Prague, whose rights in the Bethlehem 
Chapel were at stake. These protests Wenzel despatched 
to the Pope by Antonio of Monte Catino, whom John had 
sent to Prague to notify his accession to the Papacy. Zbinek 
showed his contempt by at once making the process against 
Hus absolute (September 24), while on October 1 Colonna 
cited Hus to Bologna, where the Curia was then resident- 
Hearing of this intended step, Wenzel and Sophie once more 
protested. The envoys of Wenzel, John Cardinalis of 
Reinstein and Dr. Naas, were instructed to obtain from 
John the release of Hus, ' our faithful and beloved chaplain,' 
from the personal citation, 'on account of the perils of the 
road and the danger from Hus's enemies.' The case, they 
pleaded, should be tried before the University of Prague. 
At the same time Wenzel gave orders that 'Master Hus, our 
faithful, devout, and beloved chaplain,' should 'be allowed 
to preach the word of God in peace.' At Rome the royal 
interference proved useless ; the influence, or rather the gifts, 
of Zbinek l prevailed. Hus had neglected to repair to 
Bologna in person, sending there instead his proctors, John 
of Jesenicz and two other theologians. These John flung into 
prison, while in February 1411 Colonna placed Hus under 
excommunication. On March 15 this was read in all the 
churches of Prague, with two exceptions. One of these 
was the Church of St. Michael's, the vicar of which was 
Christian Prachaticz. But Hus met the excommunication with 

1 See infra, p. GO, n. 2, 


Meanwhile in Bohemia the excitement was intense, as Hus 
owns ' riots, hatreds, and murders.' As Prague still persisted 
in its writ of sequestration against the property of Zbinek for 
the burning of the books, the Archbishop retorted by an interdict 
on the city and surrounding country (May 2, 1411). Prague, 
following the lead of Hus, treated the matter with indifference. 
The goods of the priests who obeyed were seized ; they them 
selves cast into prison or banished. Nobles, burghers, and king 
joined hands in the spoliation of the Church. The Archbishop 
had already fled, leaving the treasury of the Cathedral to be 
pillaged by his foes (May 6). By June 18 few priests were 
left in Prague, save the followers of Hus, 

But Wenzel and Zbinek were anxious for peace. Both realised 
that they had gone too far. Wenzel perceived that the struggle 
over religion was an injury to his political projects : Pope John 
on his part was willing to throw over Zbinek if he could win 
over to his side Sigismund, who showed signs of a reconciliation 
with Gregory, or save Wenzel from defection. So in June 1411 
Stephen Palecz, who seems at this time to have occupied a 
middle position, conveniently showed cause why the interdict 
should be removed, ' now that the Archbishop was better 
informed.' On July 3 the case between the University and 
the Archbishop was placed in the hands of a court of arbitra 
tion, chiefly laymen of the highest rank. At the head of these 
were two strangers, the Elector Rudolph of Saxony and Stibor, 
waywode or military governor of Transylvania, who were 
present in Prague on a mission from Sigismund. With these 
were associated Wenzel, Patriarch of Antioch, and Conrad 
Vechta, Bishop of Olmiitz. Among the lesser men who were 
present we mark with interest John of Chlum and Wenzel 
de Cuba. After three days' deliberation the court decided 
that Zbinek should despatch to the Pope an assurance that 
there were no heretics in Bohemia, and obtain the removal of 
all excommunications. The King on his part must restore 
the Archbishop's property and release the imprisoned clergy. 
Hus furthered the peace by reading before the University on 
September 1 a letter to John, in which he declared that he 
had never forsaken the doctrines of the Church. On the 
request of Hus and with the consent of the rector, his friend 
Simon of Tissnow, the letter was stamped with the University 
seal, and inscribed in its records 'for greater proof of tlje 


same.' Hus further wrote a letter to the cardinals in the 
same tenor. Both of these letters, which display consider 
able political adroitness, especially in the sly hint that the 
origin of all the trouble is Hus's adhesion to the Pisan 
Council, have been preserved for us, though whether they 
were ever forwarded appears more than doubtful. The draft 
of Zbinek's letter also still exists. It states that, 'after 
making diligent inquisition, I can discover no heresies in 
Bohemia. The dispute between Hus, the University, and 
myself has been settled.' This letter certainly was never sent. 
Fresh disputes broke out which led Zbinek to appeal to 
Sigismund (September 5). He complained that for five weeks 
he had lingered at Prague ' at great expense ' in the vain 
hope of an audience with Wenzel. The royal promises were 
still unfulfilled, the reign of terror still continued, and 'foul 
lampoons against himself were still circulated.' On his way 
to the court of Sigismund, Zbinek suddenly died at Pressburg 
(September 28, 1411). He was succeeded by an old man even 
weaker than himself, Wenzel's physician, Albik of Unicow 
(October 29, 1411). The reign of this 'greedy German' was 
not long. He soon exchanged his difficult post with his 
suffragan, the Bishop of Olmiitz, and retired (February 12, 
1413) to a less thorny benefice, the titular bishopric of Kaisarije 
in Palestine. 

With this introduction, the following letters, for the most part 
full of the strife of the times, will explain themselves : 


THE date of this letter is inaccurately given in the one MS. in 
which it has been preserved as 'A.D. MCCCCXH. Dominica 
Priscae ' i.e., January 18, 1413 (N.S.). As Hus was at that 
time in exile, the date is improbable, while January 18 fell on 
a Sunday in 1411, not 1413. We therefore date accordingly, 
reading 'MCCCCX.' (O.S., i.e. 1411 N.S.) for 'MCCCCXII.' 

The illustrations in this letter, for which see the notes, were 
probably found by Hus in some one of the many commentaries 
on the famous Rule of Benedict, perhaps in Benedict Anianensis 
Concordia Regvlarum (see Migne, vol. ciii. pp. 1058 ff.). For 
Other illustrations of this letter, see Migne, vol. Ixvi. c. 33, 


(January 18, 1411) 

Greetings and grace from the Lord Jesus Christ ! 
Beloved brother in Christ Jesus, so far as possessions 
are concerned, it is the foundation-principle of the 
clergy, and especially of those who have taken vows, 
to have all things common, in accordance with the 
passage in Acts ii. : All things were common unto them. 1 
From this the blessed Augustine took the saying 
which is laid down in his rule as follows : These are 
our instructions to be observed by those who are settled 
in a monastery. 2 Also further on : 3 And you are not 
to speak of having anything of your own. Item, 
Gregory in the third book of the Dialogues near 
the end caused brother Justin, a monk, to be flung 
on to a dunghill beside his three gold pieces, while 
the brethren were ordered to say to him, " Thy 
money perish with thee." 4 Item, St. Benedict in his 

1 Acts iv. 32, and not " Acts ii." 

* More than one rule for monks is extant attributed to St. Augustine. 
They are all spurious save that extracted from his 109th letter (Migne, 
vol. xxxiii. p. 958). Hus here quotes the last words of the preface. 
For the corrupt reading of the sole MS. in Palacky, read : H&c gunt, 
qua ut observetis, prccdpimus in monasterio constituti. 

3 That is, Et infra in Gratian's Decretum. See Pars ii. C. 12, q. 1, o. 11, 
and cp. Augustine (ed. Maur, 1685), vol. x. Sermons Nos. 52 and 53. 
Compare also Wyclif, De Civ. Dom. iii. 81. 

4 This famous tale, related by Gregory himself, will be found in 
Dialogttes, iv. 55. There is another account in The Life of Gregory by 
John the Deacon, one of the parties in the Dialogues (sec Vita in 
Migne, vol. Ixxv. lib. i. cc. 15 and 16). The incident took place probably 
in January 590 shortly before Gregory's election as Pope. It is 
interesting to note that Hus uses the same illustration in greater 
fulnes^ in a serrnon that he preached in November 1411 (see Mm. ii, 


rule saith : l Let no one presume to give or receive 
anything, nor have anything of his own, not a thing, 
neither manuscript, nor tablets, nor pen, 2 in fact 
nothing whatever, seeing that neither one's body nor 
desires are lawfully in one's keeping, but all things 
are common to all as it stands written : neither did 
any one say that aught was his own, etc. 3 Item, 
Basil in his rule saith thus : If any man calleth aught 
his own, he maketh himself a stranger to the elect of 
God and to the love of the Lord who fulfilled indeed 
what He taught in word and laid down His life for 
His friends* Item, St. John Cassian writing to Pope 
Castorius 5 concerning the institutes of the holy 
fathers in the fourth book of his rule, saith thus : 
Whereas in some monasteries where some loose customs 
are tolerated we see that the rule is most stringently 
observed, ivhereby no one may dare even by a word to 
call anything his own, and it is a great crime for any 

61&). There the name of the monk is more correctly given as Justus, 
while the correct reference in the sermon shows that the reading " tertio 
dialogorum " is a slip. 

1 See Migne, Patrol. Lot. vol. Ixvi. c. 33. 

2 P. : graphum ; read graphium, i.e. ypafaioi'. 

1 Benedict wrote dicat ' let any one say.' Hus reads dicebat. 
The rule, we note, is quoted in Wyclif (JDe Civ. Dom. iii. 85) with 
dicebat. The reading alters the sense to a reference to Acts iv. 32, a 
mistake into which Wyclif and Hus fell through the preceding "ut 
tcriptum est." 

4 See Basil, Ilegulce breviw tractates, Interrog. 85. [Basil Opera, ed. 
Gamier (Paris, 1839), il 629.] 

4 Castorius was not a ' Pope," but a bishop of Apt (d. 426), to whom 
John Cassian, the founder of the two religious houses for men and 
women at Marseilles, dedicated his De Institwtis Ctenobiorwm. In 
the preface Cassian twice calls Castor ' beatissima Papa," a relic of 
the time when the title was applied to all bishops and abbots. For 
the quotation, see De Instit. lib. iv. c. 13 (ed. Petschenig, Vienna, 1888 
[C.S.E.L.], voL i, p. 55). 


monk to have let slip the words, u my manuscript, my 
tablets, my pen, my shoes, 1 my cap 1 ': 2 let a brother 
make atonement for this offence by a suitable penance 
if by any chance through inadvertence or ignorance a 
word of this kind has escaped his lips. Item, the 
blessed Francis in his rule laid this down : 3 Tfie rule 
and the life of the Brothers Minor is this, to wit, firmly 
to observe the holy gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ 
and to live without any possession in obedience and 
chastity. And further on in the middle of the rule : 4 
Let the brothers appropriate nothing for themselves, 
neither home, nor place, nor anything ; but as pilgrims 
and strangers in this world and as the Lord's menials 
in poverty and humility let them go about seeking for 
alms without fear. So much for that rule. To the 
same effect the blessed Jerome writes in his Ad Helio- 
dorum. 5 Item, the blessed Bernard in his book 
addressed to Pope Eugenius. 6 Item, the blessed 
Augustine in his De opere monachorum. 1 Item, St. 
Thomas in his Tractatus monachorum. Item, I have 
read (but I know not the passage) that the blessed 
Bernard saith : A monk who has a farthing is not 

1 P. : caligas. The reading of the original was probably gallicas. See 
Petschenig in Ed. Cit. 

2 An addition of Hus or his copy See Petschenig, op. tit. 

1 Cf . Wyclif, De Cii: Dom. iii. 88. For the rule, see De la Haye, 
Francisci Assisiatis Opera (Paris, 1641, p. 30: from the second rule; 
compare op. tit. p. 30 with p. 23). 

4 De la Haye, op. tit. c. 6, p. 31. 

* Epistle 14 in Migne, vol. xxii. p. 347. 

* Bernard's famous De Consideratione (Migne, vol. clxxxii.). The 
reference is vague ; for as a matter of fact there is nothing very 
pertinent to this matter in the De Considerations. A better reference 
would have been to the Liber de modo bene vivendi, c. 48 (in Migne, 
vol. clxxxiv. p. 1270). 

7 See Migne, vol. xl. p. 547. The reference is not specially apposite. 


worth a farthing. 1 Even if none of these mentioned 
the matter, every monk is bound by his vow. Please 
send on to me anything you may discover elsewhere 
to the same effect. Pray remember me to my lord 
Abbot, and give a hearty welcome to Andrew, 
the bearer of these presents. If a convenient 
opportunity occurs, give him a berth for God's 
sake, so that he may stay on with you. Farewell 
in Christ. 

I write what has occurred to my mind. If I think 
of anything further I will write later on. 

In the year of our Lord 1412 (sic) on the Lord's 
day the feast of Prisca. 


JOHN BAEBATTJS, alias Bradacek, or Zelezna Brada (" Iron Beard ") 
(infra, pp. 189, 199, n.\ to whom this letter is addressed, was a 
close friend of Hus (infra, pp. 182, 185). As his "beard" shows, 
he was a layman ' a stout rustic,' as an unknown hand has called 
him in the margin. From the above references we learn that he 
was at Constance during the trial and death of Hus, of the last 
scenes of which he has left us a vivid and tender account 
(Doc. 556). He would seem at this time to have been living in 

Most of the quotations in this letter will be found repeated 
by Hus in his De Sex JErroribits, c. 4, ' De Obedentia ' (Mon. i. 
1926), as also in his De ficdesia, c. 19 (Mon. i. 238-9). They are 
a fair specimen of that mediaeval show of learning, so common 
in Hus, which represents little. For the most part, as our notes 
indicate, they are taken, in the order in which they stand, from 
one or two pages of Gratian's Decretum, a work which Hus used 
as a quarry of Patristic references. The mediaeval conscience in 
the matter of plagiarism was curiously lax. 

1 Inaccurately quoted from Wyclif, De Oiv. JDom. iii. 253 ; cf . Gregory, 
Dial. iii. c. 14, and Wyclif, De Oiv. Dom. iii. 88. 



(May 25, 1411) 

Greetings and grace from the Lord Jesus Christ ! 
Beloved, I have heard of your tribulation, but count 
it all joy that you fall into divers temptations l to the 
proving of your constancy. I am now beginning, 
dear friends, to be tempted, but I count it a joy that 
for the gospel's sake I am called a heretic and suffer 
excommunication, as an evildoer and malcontent. 
However, as a defence unto my joy I recall the life 
and the words of Christ as well as the words of the 
apostles. In the fourth of Acts it is narrated how 
Annas the high priest, and Caiaphas and John and 
Alexander, and as many as were of the kindred of the 
high priest, called the apostles together and forbade 
them to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But 
Peter and John answered and said to them, If it be just 
i/n, the sight of God to hear you rather than God, judge 
ye, for we cannot but speak the things we have seen and 
heard. 2 Again, when the same high priests forbade 
them to preach, they said in the fifth of Acts : We 
ought to obey God rather than men.* In the same book 
we find heathen, Jews, and heretics saying that God 
must be obeyed before everything. But alas! it is 
the followers of Antichrist that are blind to that 
rule and not the holy apostles and the true disciples 
of Christ. The blessed Jerome in his Epistle to 
the Ephesians * saith : If a lord or a prelate issue 

1 Jas. i. 2. 2 Acts iv. 6-20. Acts v. 29. 

4 See Gratian, Pt. ii. 0. 11. q. 3, c. 93; quoted also in Wyclif, De 
Qffioio Regis, 192. Gratian's ascription of it to "Ad Ephesios" is a 



commands which are not contrary to the faith, nor 
opposed to Holy Scripture, the bond-servant is to be subject 
to him. If, however, he order what is contrary to these, 
the bond-servant must obey the master of his spirit rather 
than the master of his body. Further on: 1 if the com 
mand of the superior be good, carry out the desires of him 
that issueth the command: if evil, reply, " We ought to 
obey God rather than men" Item, Augustine in his 
sixth, homily on the words of God : 2 If the authority 
order what you ought not to perform, in this case of 
course despise the authority, fearing the authority that 
is greater. Consider the grades of human offices. If a 
procurator hath issued a command, is it to be carried out 
if it is opposed to a proconsul ? Again, if the proconsul 
himself issue a command and the emperor another, is 
there any question that the former should be neglected 
and the latter obeyed'? Accordingly, if the emperor 
order something different from God, one ought to neglect 
the former and submit to the latter. We therefore 
resist the authority of devil and man if they suggest 
anything contrary to God: and in so doing we do 
not resist the ordinance of God but submit to it. 
For God hath ordained that in things evil we obey no 
authority. So far Augustine. To the same effect 
Gregory saith in the last book of the M or alia : 3 It is 
to be understood that evil must never be wrought through 

mistake, probably an original mistake of " Polycarp " i.e. of the 
Collectio Ccmonum Gregorii Presbyteri, one of the sources Gratian 
used. It is really from Jerome's Ad Titum, c. 2, vv. 9-10 (in Migne, 
Op. Hieron. vii. 584). Hus had added to Gratian ' vel praelatus.' 
1 Et infra, c. 3, 1. Part of the quotation in Gratian. 

* Sermo 68 (ed. Maur). Gratian took it from " Polycarp," and Hus 
is quoting very loosely. See Gratian, Pt. ii. C. 11, q. 3, c. 97. 

* Greg. Moralia, lib. xxxv. c. 14 (ed. Migne, p. 766). Taken by Hus 
from Gratian, ii. C. 11, q. 3, c. 99. 


obedience. Item, the blessed Bernard 1 in a certain 
epistle saith : "To do evil at the bidding of another 
is not obedience but disobedience. Item, the blessed 
Isidore 2 (and it is found in Cause xi., question 3 3 ): 
If any one in authority do anything, or order any 
thing to be done apart from the Lord, or commit or 
command a transgression of Scripture, the opinion of 
St. Paul is to be brought home to him, to wit, " though 
we, or an angel from heaven preach a gospel to you 
besides that which we have preached to you, let him be 
anathema" 4 from which it followeth that if any one 
prevent you from doing the Lord's bidding, or com 
mand what the Lord hath forbidden, let him be accursed 
to all that love the Lord. It further followeth that if any 
one in authority state or command anything which is 
clearly opposed to God's will or the Holy Scriptures, let 
him be held a false witness of Qod or guilty of sacrilege. 
From these examples you may see that those 
who forbid preaching are false witnesses, guilty of 
sacrilege, and by consequence excommunicated of 
God, according to the saying of the prophet who 
pronounces the sentence of excommunication : Cursed 

1 P. : Benediotus, with the sole MS. But in Mon. i. 94 the correct 
reading Bernardus is given, as also in Hus, De Ecelesia (Hon. i. 239<) 
and De Sex Erroribus (Mon. i. 1925), where the reference " In quadam 
epistola ad Adam monacJium " is added. See Migne, Op. Bernard, i. 95 C. 
This seems to be one of the few original references of Hus, and he 
was evidently very fond of it. Cf . Doc. 480. 

2 So Gratian, loo. cit. to whom for once Hus gives a reference. But 
the words are really from Basil, Regulce brevius tractates, Interrog. 114, 
ed. Garnier, ii. 631. At his trial in Constance Hus referred to the 
authorities here cited, and especially to the passage from Isidore 
(see Docwnenta, p. 214). Compare also Wyclif, De Ojfic. Regis, 110-11, 
from which Wyclif may have taken it. Cf. Hus's use of ' satraps ' 
infra, p. 50, with comment. 

' i.e., Gratian, loo. cit. c. 101. Copied exactly. 
Gal. i. 8. 


are they that go back from Thy commands. 1 In 
reference to my contention Jerome saith to Rusticus, 
Bishop of Narbonne : 2 Let none ofthebishops henceforth 
be moved to envy (which is a temptation of the devil} or 
be angry, if the presbyters occasionally exhort the people 
or preach in churches, or give their blessing, as hath been 
said, to the people : for when a man is refusing me these 
things I should say to him, " He that doth not wish the 
presbyters to do what is commanded of God should tell 
us who is greater than Christ." 3 Item, Bede on this 
text : * You shall find an ass tied and a colt with her : 
loose them and bring them to me. And if any man 
shall say anything to you, say ye that the Lord hath 
need of them ; saith : In this passage He mystically 
instructs doctors not to refrain from preaching, if they 
meet with opposition or are hindered from loosing 
sinners from their snares and bringing them to the 
Lord by confession of the faith. Rather should they 
constantly be hinting that the Lord hath need of such 
for the building up of His church. But who could 
write down all the sayings of the saints which, 
without exception, teach obedience to God rather 
than to men ? Tyrants set over against these sayings 
that in Matt, xxiii. : Whatsoever they say to you, 

1 Ps. cxviii. (cxix.) 21. Quoted also in The Defence of the Articles of 
WycUf(Ul2~), Mon. i. 113a. 

2 From Gratian, Pars i. dist. 95, C. 6. Judging by the readings, 
Hus would seem to have taken it from the Collectio Canonum of 
Anselm of Lucca. The epistle De Septum gradibu* ecclesice is not by 
Jerome, though usually attributed to him. This passage is quoted also 
by Hus in Mon. i. 112*, Defence of the Articles of Wyclif. 

P. : dicat, quod majus est, Xto ; read with Gratian and Anselm 
of Lucca : dicat, quis major est Christo. 

* A mere paraphrase of Bede's In Matt. Evang. c. xxi. in loo. (ed. 
Cologne, 1612, vol. v. p. 61 ; also eds. Migne and Giles). Quoted also 
in The Defence of tlie Articles of Wyctif (Mon. i. 112a). 


do. 1 But they are at once put to confusion by the 
prohibition which follows: According to their works, 
do ye not. 2 God accordingly in Deut. xxiv. saith : 
Thou shalt do whatsoever the priests of the Levitical race 
shall teach thee, according to what I have commanded 
them. 3 Mark, the Lord willeth that the obedient 
man should only obey His commands. Also this 
passage in First Peter, chapter ii. : Servants, be subject 
to your masters with all fear. Further on, it saith : 
also to the f roward;* inasmuch as 5 a man would no 
more think of obeying the froward than of obeying 
the devil. 6 Therefore both the will of God and 
Scripture teach that we only ought to obey our 
superiors in things lawful. 

I based my case on these principles, when I pre 
ferred in the matter of preaching to obey God rather 
than the Pope, and the Archbishop and his other 
satraps 7 who act contrary to this word of Christ's: 
Go ye into the whole wor-ld, etc. 8 I put my signature 
to this, that you may know how to meet the devil's 
dogs. 9 

Monday, Urban's Day, in Rogation week. 

1 Matt, xxiii. 3. Ib. Deut. xxiv. 8. 4 1 Pet. ii. 18. 

* P. : sed dbsit ; read with Mon. : quod absit. 

' Hus had forgotten for the moment the retort that might have 
been made from Wyclif s famous Deus debet obedire diabolo, with which 
he must have been familar as early as 1403. 

7 ' Satraps ' is a favourite word with Wyclif for the higher clergy ; 
cf. Dialogues 25 1. 20; 32 1. 22; 113 1. 33; Cruciata (Polem. WJts. 
ii. 620) et passim. 

8 Mark xvi. 15. 

9 Diaboli canibus possibly some pun intended on Dominicani, as 
often in the writings of the times. 


(September 1, 1411) 

With the proper obedience to be rendered to the 
Church of Jesus Christ and His supreme pontiff. 

Seeing that I am always ready to give an answer 
to the satisfaction of every man who asks concerning 
the faith I hold, I declare with a sincere heart that 
the Lord Jesus Christ is very God and very man; 
and that His whole gospel is established so firmly 
in the truth that not a jot nor tittle 2 of it can fail ; 
and finally that His Holy Church hath been so firmly 
founded on a firm rock that the gates of hell cannot in 
any wise prevail against it. 3 I am ready in hope of 
the Lord Jesus Christ, Himself the Head, to bear 
the punishment of a dreadful death rather than to 
state by private judgment 4 aught else than His truth, 
or to declare what would be contrary to the will of 
Christ and His Church. For these reasons I con 
fidently, truthfully, and steadfastly assert that I 
have been wrongfully defamed to the Apostolic Seat 
by those heresy hunters. 6 If they have given 
or are giving information that I taught the people 
that in the sacrament the material substance of the 
bread remains, it is a falsehood. 6 It is a falsehood 
that I have said that when the host is elevated it 
is then the body of Christ, but when it is laid down 
it is not. It is a falsehood that a priest in mortal 
sin cannot consecrate. It is a falsehood that the lords 
may withdraw temporal goods from the clergy and 

1 See tupra, pp. 40-41. 2 Matt. v. 18. 

8 Matt. xvi. 18 ; loose. 4 Elective. * eemuli veritatis. 

8 With the exception of this first point, Hus soon moved very far 
away from the positions which he here takes up. 


that they need not pay tithes. It is a falsehood that 
indulgences are nothing. It is a falsehood that I 
have urged an actual attack on the clergy with the 
sword, It is a falsehood that I have preached or 
held any error or errors whatsoever or any heresy: 
or that I have seduced the people in any wise from 
the way of truth. It is a falsehood that I was the 
cause of certain German masters being expelled from 
Prague. As a matter of fact, they themselves were 
unwilling to enjoy the privileges of the foundation 
of the noble l University of Prague and declined to 
obey the lawful behests of the most serene prince 
and lord, Wenzel, King of the Romans, Emperor, 2 
and King of Bohemia : and supposing that the 
University of Prague would be unable to exist without 
their presence, they retired of their own free will to 
their own homes or wherever they pleased. 3 Yet I 
admit that I appealed from the opinion of the very- 
reverend father in Christ, my lord Zbinek, to the 
Apostolic Seat, and finally from the suits instituted 
on malicious information by the holy Apostolic See. 
For those who were jealous of the truth, forgetting 
their own honour and salvation, maliciously suggested 
to the Apostolic Seat that in the kingdom of 
Bohemia, in the city of Prague, and in the marchio- 
nate of Moravia, errors and heresies were sprouting 
up and had affected the hearts of many to such an 

1 Alma. 

2 Semper Augustus. Wenzel had been deposed August 20, 1400. As 
he had never been crowned, he was never, strictly speaking, " Emperor " 
(Imperator). On July 21, 1411, Sigismund, his half-brother, had been 
unanimously elected King of the Komans. Wenzel had been won over 
by the promise that Sigismund would not during his lifetime seek the 
higher title. 

1 Supra, p. 18. 


extent that owing to the great number that had 
been infected by such errors it was necessary that a 
remedy by way of correction should be applied. 
Finally, they falsely suggested that the Bethlehem 
chapel was a private place, although it had been 
established by the ordinary as a parish living, 1 while 
its destruction would impair in some sense God's 
honour among the people, would thwart their spiritual 
progress, cause scandal, and greatly incense the 
people against its destroyers. Nevertheless, when 
summoned in person to the Roman Curia, I longed 
humbly to put in my appearance ; but because plots 
on my life were formed against me both within the 
kingdom and outside, especially by the Germans, 2 
I judged, on the advice of many friends, that it would 
be tempting God to risk my life when the interests 
of the Church did not demand it. Consequently I 
did not appear in person, but appointed advocates 
and proctors, 3 desiring to obey the holy Apostolic 
See. On this account, Supreme Vicar of Christ, I 
humbly entreat the kindness of your Holiness that 
it may please you, for the mercy of Almighty God, 
graciously to exempt me from appearing in person 
and from the other obligations involved therein, on 
the ground that I am now in complete agreement with 
the aforesaid reverend father in Christ. 4 The wit 
nesses to this are the most serene prince and lord, 
"Wenzel, King of the Romans and Bohemia, also the 
very reverend fathers and illustrious princes, "Wenzel, 
Patriarch of Antioch ; 6 my lord Conrad, Bishop of 

1 By Gregory XII., at Lucca, May 15, 1408, in a rescript to Zbinek. 

2 Cf. supra, p. 39. Supra, p. 39. 4 I.e., Zbinek. 

5 Wenzel Kralik, Dean of St. Peter's, Wyschehrad, was appointed 
Patriarch of Antioch (in partibus), April 11, 1397. In 1413 he was 


Olmiitz; the illustrious Prince Rudolph, Duke of 
Saxony, Elector of the Holy Empire ; the other 
princes, barons, and lords, and the most noble lord 
Stibor, ambassador of the most illustrious prince 
and lord, Sigismund, King of Hungary. For I offered 
to reply to each and all of the charges brought 
against me, even submitting myself to the hearing 
of the whole of them, and expressing my willingness, 
in case anything should be proved against me, to 
amend my errors by the punishment of fire, unless 
I should yield therein. And I am prepared to-day 
to face the whole University of Prague and an 
assembly of all the prelates and to give an answer 
to any charges, if any one can be found to bring 
them forward. But no one so far is willing to take 
sides against me, as being liable to retaliation, ac 
cording to the canon laws. 1 Written at Prague with 
my own hand on St. Giles's Day. 

the least of the priests of your Holiness. 

( Without date : early in September 1411) 

Your humble servant in your commands with all 
reverence ! 

Most reverend fathers in Christ, who bear the like 
ness of the apostles: whereas you have been placed 
as chief luminaries to enlighten each quarter of the 

appointed administrator of the diocese of Olmiitz on the transference of 
Conrad Vechta to Prague, and is reckoned among its bishops. He died 
on September 12, 1416, and must not be confused with the French 
Patriarch of Antioch (Cramaud) who played so prominent a part at 
Constance. See Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica, s.v. 

1 See Gratian, Pt. ii. C. 2, q. 3, from the Pseudo-Isidore decretals. 


world, and whereas you have been placed in authority 
to take away the world's crimes, to deliver souls from 
Satan's jaws, and in Christ's name to help the oppressed, 
I humbly flee to your protection, most reverend 
fathers, and fall at your feet. I am unable to bear 
the heavy burden that hath fallen upon your poor 
servant, and which I first broughtrupon myself at the 
time of the schism from Gregory XII. For then I 
strongly urged upon the princes, barons, and lords, in 
the interests of the unity of the Holy Mother Church, 
the duty of loyalty to the sacred College of Cardinals, 
and I steadfastly preached the same to clergy and 
people. Thereupon the very reverend father in Christ, 
Lord Zbinek, Archbishop of Prague, then the op 
ponent of the sacred College of Cardinals, in a public 
notice affixed to the church doors and signed by 
himself, prohibited all the masters of the University 
of Prague who had sided with the College of Car 
dinals, and in particular myself, whom he named, 
from exercising all and sundry priestly functions in 
his diocese, alleging as a cause that the masters of 
the University of Prague, acting on wrong informa- 
mation, had withdrawn from the most holy father 
in Christ, Gregory XII., and from obedience to the 
Apostolic Seat. But as the issue proves the deed, it 
afterwards came out that at the close of the Council 
of Pisa he approved, under compulsion, by his own 
act, the secession of the masters. 1 Here, then, is the 
primal source of the indictment and charge which 
have been laid against me ! But seeing that the 
aforesaid sacred College of Cardinals pledged itself 
at that time to bestow many benefits on its sup 
porters, I therefore recall the promise then made ; 

1 I.e., from Gregory. The reference is not to Leipzig. 


and believing that it still holds good as a promise 
made by the pillars of the Church, I appeal on my 
bended knees to the kindness of your reverences that 
it may please you to give pious regard to a poor man 
like myself, and with your gracious assistance exempt 
me from the burden of a personal appearance and the 
other charges that are hanging upon such appearance. 1 
For I am innocent on those counts which my adver 
saries bring against me, the Lord Jesus Christ being 
my witness. I am prepared to face the noble Univer 
sity of Prague and all the prelates and all the people 
who have heard me, and to whom I now appeal: 
yea, and to give a full and clear account of the faith 
which I hold in my heart and profess by word and 
writing, even if the stake be lighted as I am heard. 2 
Concerning the above confession, the public instru 
ments, together with the formal declaration of the 
University of Prague, will fully inform your most 
gracious reverences. Written, etc. (sic). 

1 Coniparitivnum dependentilus gravaminibin a compressed way of 
putting the negative, " the lack of such appearance when cited." 

2 We may own with Palacky and Stephen of Dolein (Antihussus, 
p, 383 in Fez. ; Thesaurus, vol. iv. part ii.), that Hus was a little too 
fond of these professions of willingness to die. See pp. 96, 119, and cf. 
Mon. i. 106a. 

Part II. From the Death of Zbinek to the 
Exile of Hus 

(September 1411 September 1412) 

THE death of Zbinek was not the end of strife, only its trans 
ference to new spheres. Henceforth for Hus there was no peace ; 
but the constant struggle was not altogether the fault of his 
foes. In September 1411 Hus was engaged in a controversy 
with the Englishman, John Stokes, in defence of Wyclif. As, 
however, The Letters of Hus make no reference to this interesting 
if one-sided tournament, we pass it by (see Age of Hus, pp. 158 ff.). 
In the autumn of this year we mark the commencement 
of the activity of Michael the Pleader. Michael Smradaf of 
Deutsch Brod was at this time priest of St. Adalbert's, Prague. 
Soon afterwards he entered the King's service with a project 
for a reformed method of extracting gold from the diggings 
at Jilowy. According to his enemies, a tale endorsed by 
Mladenowic, he absconded with a part of the money ; more 
probably, on achieving nothing, he deemed it wise to retire. 
He returned with the office of papal 'procurator de, causis 
fidei,' whence the name Michael de Causis, or the Pleader, by 
which he is usually known. His attack upon Hus came about 
in this wise. In the spring of 1411 Hus, who had once more 
been appointed the special preacher before the Synod, dared to 
defend in a sermon, by quotations from Wyclif's De Officio 
Regis -to which for once he acknowledged his indebtedness 
the harsh measures that Wenzel had taken against the clergy 
who sided with Zbinek. In a sermon to the people on All 
Saints' Eve, he again denounced the vices, especially the avarice, 
of the priests, singling out certain scandals connected with 
masses for the dead. The clergy, led on by Michael, retorted 
by a lawsuit, to which Hus refers in the following appeal 
(infra, p. 59). We see how powerless at this time the clerical 
party were to restrain the Reformer in the Contra Occultum 
Adversarium (Hon. i. 135-43), a tract which Hus finished on 



February 10, 1412, and of which we shall hear again at Con 
stance. In one of his sermons to the people, undaunted by 
the lawsuit of Michael, Hus had again dwelt on the vices of 
the clergy. 'Immediately after dinner' he had been answered 
from the pulpit by some one whose name Hus does not give us. 
In his reply to this unknown disputant, Hus maintained the 
right of the secular authorities to control and correct scandalous 
priests, a matter which Rome always regarded with the utmost 
jealousy. He further defended his constant attacks upon the 
lives of the clergy from the charge that by this means he was 
destroying their order and honour. About this time, certainly 
before the outbreak of the dispute over indulgences in the May 
of 1412, Hus was also engaged in a controversy with a certain 
preacher of Pilsen (Replica contra Prcedicatorem Plznensem, 
Mon. i. 144-8), of whose views Hus speaks at length in the latter 
part of Letter XII. 

The following Appeal to the Supreme Court of Bohemia is 
without date. According to a marginal note in the MS. it was 
written 'shortly before Christmas MCCCCXII.,' a mistake for 
1411. It is characteristic of Hus's intense nationalism that it 
should have been written in Czech ; a mark also of the practical 
drift of his reformation that he should dwell so strongly upon 
the duty of preaching. In part, of course, this last was an 
answer to the attempt of his enemies to silence him because of 
his excommunication. 


(Undated: December 1411) 

To the noble lords and magistrates of the Kingdom 
of Bohemia, and to the other lords now at Prague. 

May it please the Lord God in His mercy to grant 
unto you furtherance in every good thing ! Dear 
lords, heirs of the sacred kingdom of Bohemia, I 
render thanks before your graces to my most gracious 
lord, King Wenzel, King of the Romans and of 
Bohemia, for his kind offices in having enabled me to 


continue the preaching of God's word and to persevere 
in the truth that I love : for having brought about 
a reconciliation between Zbinek, priest and Arch 
bishop of Prague, of sacred memory, and myself and 
the other masters, together with the princes, barons, 
and their advisers : and further for having given a 
decision in our behalf of which your graces will hear 
in detail. 1 In defiance of this decision the clergy 
of the chapter of Prague have commissioned Michael, 
parish priest of St. Adalbert's, to bring a lawsuit 
against me, and accordingly have drawn up against 
me an edict of excommunication. Of this, lest souls 
be offended, I am not afraid, but I am willingly 
and cheerfully enduring it. Yet am I grieved at 
this, that they are not preaching God's word ; for 
I would not have the sacred offices interrupted and 
God's people distressed. Even granting, beloved 
lords, that the chief blame rests on my shoulders, 
consider whether on that account it is right for 
the praise of the Lord God to be curtailed, and 
God's people to be distressed by interdicts of this 
kind, and by the interruption of their religious 
duties. They have no warrant in the Holy Scriptures 
for interrupting worship whenever they like. They 
oppress and trouble the princes, barons, knights, 
and nobles, as well as the poor people, and summon 
them to take their trial outside the land, 2 which 
is contrary to divine law and to the institutes of 
canon and civil law. 3 Therefore, beloved lords and 

1 The reference is to the decision of July 6 ; see supra, pp. 40-41. 

* A reference to his own citation ; supra, p. 39. 

* This is not correct. Properly by civil law a man's judge was the 
judge ordinary of the defendant's domicile. But Eome was regarded as 
the common domicile or fatherland of all men, and the Pope, therefore, 
as legally their ordinary. See Gratian, Pt. ii. C. 9, q. 3, c. 17. 


heirs of the kingdom of Bohemia, strive to put an 
end to such calamities and to secure freedom for 
preaching God's word to the people. As for myself, 
I am willing to stand my trial ; indeed, I have always 
been ready to do so, and actually appeared before 
priest Zbinek, of sacred memory, and his assessors, 
until at the instigation of the cathedral and parochial 
clergy of Prague he began to take the side of my 
enemies and managed to get me summoned to Rome 
for judgment. However, I wish to stand my trial 
before all the masters and prelates, and before your 
graces. I will gladly listen to the charges brought 
against me, plead my cause, and submit myself to 
judgment, as becomes a poor priest, provided that the 
person who is to charge me comes forward. Invariably 
I offered to do this, and his Majesty granted them 
this request ; but not a charge was ever brought 
against me, except my alleged disobedience. I am 
indeed aware that I refuse to obey either Pope or 
Archbishop when they forbid my preaching, for to 
cease preaching would be contrary to the will of 
God and my salvation. But I know, beloved lords, 
that even you do not obey the command which the 
late Pope * gave in the bull which was bought by 
them at a great price viz., that there should be 
no preaching anywhere in chapels. Many of you 
have chapels in which there is preaching, and 
occasionally you have it in your own castles as well. 
I did not betake myself to the Pope's Curia, for I had 
my proctors, whom they threw into prison, 2 though 

1 Alexander V. ; see giipra, p. 26. 

* Supra, p. 53. The following passage from one of the Czech 
treatises of Hus will illustrate this letter. Hus tells us that 
when his proctors arrived in Rome they could obtain no hearing, 
though it should have been given to ' pagan, Jew, heretic, and the devil 


absolutely guiltless, men who would go through fire 
to face any one desirous of convicting me of heresy. 
However, I did not start on the journey, because 
plots were everywhere being laid against my life, 
so as to prevent my return to Bohemia. I trust, there 
fore, that your graces, along with their Majesties the 
King and Queen, will carry out the instructions 
which it shall please Almighty God to give you 
for the welfare of your kingdom. May He strengthen 
you in His grace ! Amen. 

(Undated : March (?) 1412) 

To the good perseverance in virtue ; and to the 
evil a holy knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ ! 

Dear lords and brothers in God's grace, I hear 
to my great grief that there is a difference and 
dissension among you concerning divine truth, and 
that you who began well are doing badly, vexing 
God, losing yo\ur souls, showing a bad example to 
others, flinging away your integrity, and for the 

himself if he had come with the request.' First one commission of 
cardinals was appointed who ' obtained beautiful horses, silver cups, 
and precious rings from his adversaries. Then the Pope transferred 
the matter to others, and the same thing happened again. Of the latter 
commission some are dead, some in the prisons of Ladislaus. Then the 
Pope himself took up the matter, saying that he wished to decide it him 
self. " All men," he added, " have got something from the case, but I 
have nothing." But when my advocates pleaded for a hearing he 
refused, and asked for " yellow knights," of which Goose had had none, 
nor would he have given them if he had possessed them. So the Pope, 
wanting to get these "knights " (a gold coin), ordered my proctors to 
be thrown into prison ' (Doc. 726 ; cf. Mon. i. 235, 332, and Doc. 191). 
1 Written in Czech ; see sitpra, p. 58, for the circumstances. 


insignificant gain of this world are holding of small 
moment the life eternal. Why do you not recall our 
Saviour's words : What doth it profit a man if he gain 
the whole world but suffer the loss of his soul ? and ivhat 
shall a man give in exchange for his soul ? 1 Why do 
you not recall that you were a good example to all 
Bohemia by your goodly concord, your attention to 
God's word, and the restraint you exercised over a 
wrong spirit ? Oh ! how strangely you have forgotten 
that it was your holy union in that which is good 
that defended you from your enemies, enriched you, 
and marked you out before God and man ! The 
devil, God's enemy, saw this, and took it so much to 
heart that he aroused the members of Antichrist 
and himself to drive divine grace and goodwill out 
of you. And now the unclean spirit has returned to the 
house from which he had been driven out. Taking seven 
spirits more wicked than himself, he has come back ; and 
the last state is made worse than the first.* He hath 
swept out of you the divine word, and restored to 
you frivolities, gambling, and other sins ! Where is 
the Shepherd of your souls ? How does He guide 
you ? Your wound hath not been pointed out. There 
is none to have pity on you, to pour in oil and wine 
and to bind up the wound 3 inflicted on you by the 
thieves. Methinks you are attended by those who 
administer poison to you by making light of Holy 
Writ, and who pour in the oil, not of true love, but of 
flattery. You do not understand that the smooth 
tongued flatterer is an enemy, while he that chastises 
is a lover and a healer of wounds, although the sick 
man is angry and murmurs at the chastisement. 
holy Gregory ! great Pope, thou sayest : He alone shall 
1 Mark viii. 36-7. * Luke xi. 24-6. Luke x. 34. 


be my friend, who shall cleanse away my soul's impurity. 1 
Dear saint, pray for the people of Pilsen, that in this 
matter they may be imitators of you ; and then, as 
of old, they will spread abroad God's word, will love 
sermons preached against sins, will embrace their 
true leaders and reject ravening wolves. Then they 
will perceive that he who chastises leads them to 
God, while the flatterer separates them from God, 
and that while the flatterer nourishes with poison, the 
chastiser restores with wine. They will remember 
that they are soon to die, and that he who dies well 
will be in bliss, while the wretch that has defiled 
himself will fall into eternal fire. 

beloved followers of Christ ! you know that a 
good name is better than precious ointment. 2 What are 
you doing with your good name, which used to be 
of this kind : " The people of Pilsen are above all 
peaceable, administer their municipality aright, love 
God's word, drive out priest's paramours and pro 
curers, have put down gambling, and show a good 
example to other cities." Faithfully had God cared 
for you and had sown wheat among you, but the devil 
scattered tares, 3 so that the wheat was choked. Oh ! 
in the name of the dear Lord God, in the name of His 
shameful and cruel martyrdom, in the name of your 
salvation, your honour, the correction of others and 
your own happiness, return, you that have strayed, 
return to the truth. You that are holy, become more 
holy still ! For the Lord God saith : The time is at 
hand : he that hurteth, let him hurt still : and he that 
is filthy, let him be filthy still : and he that is just, let 
him be justified still : and he that is holy, let hi/m fa 

1 I have not discovered this passage 

2 Eccles. vii. 1. * Matt. xiii. 39. 


sanctified. Behold, I come quickly, and My reward is 
with Me to render to every man according to his works. 1 
Thus saith the Lord Jesus. If you -willingly receive 
and keep His word, He will give you as your reward 
eternal life and boundless joy ; but if you do not 
receive it nor keep it, He will give you eternal 
damnation in eternal fire and in darkness among the 
devils, where there will be neither rest nor consolation. 
But I have confidence in His holy grace and cherish 
the hope (and that is why I write to you) that the 
good among you may persevere, and the rest may 
welcome you in all honour, become good fruit and 
be the sons of God, citizens of that city where there 
shall be no darkness nor sorrow, where you will 
behold God your Father and understand all things, 
and you will each love one another perfectly as your 
own self, and have the desire of your heart. May it 
please the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost to 
help you to attain unto that city, when you depart 
from Pilsen and its strifes, through the death of 
Christ and the aid of the Virgin Mary and all the 
saints. Amen. 

After writing the above a letter reached me with 
the news that the priests were preventing the Holy 
Scriptures from being read in the mother tongue, 
Czech or German. Secondly, that a certain priest 
had said in a sermon 2 that no person, though he be 
guilty of a mortal sin, is a servant or son of the 
devil. Thirdly, that this priest had said in a sermon 
at a priest's first mass that up to the time of the 
actual celebration he was a son of God; but from 

1 Rev. xxii. 11. 

2 See the Replica contra Prcedicatorem, Plznentem (Mon. i. 144). The 
arguments of this letter are expanded by Hus in that tract. 


that moment, and in future when about to celebrate, 
he was the father of God and the creator of the 
Divine Body. Fourthly, that this same priest had 
said in his sermon that the worst priest was better 
than the best layman. If this is so, and these errors 
meet with no opposition from any one, it is a clear 
sign that you have wandered very far from the truth, 
especially those of you who have been instructed 
and are in possession of your reason. For, as St. 
John Chrysostom l saith in a gloss on these words of 
Christ, " Fear ye not them that kill the body " : 2 Christ 
hath shown by these words that not only is that man a 
traitor to the truth who speaks the truth fearfully ; but 
he also is a traitor to the truth who doth not sincerely 
defend it as it ought to be defended. For as a priest 
ought boldly to preach the truth which he hath heard 
from God, so a layman also, that is, a person who is 
not a priest, ought confidently to defend the truth, which 
he hath heard expounded from Holy Writ by a priest. 
If he doth not so defend, then he betrays the truth. This 
then is the great saint's argument from Christ's words, 
Fear ye not, etc. namely, that every man, be he 
priest or no, who knows the truth ought to defend 
it to the death ; otherwise he is a traitor to the truth 
and to Christ as well. 

Now, many of you know the truth and are aware 
that any man can recite, declare and, if a scholar, 
read the holy gospel either in Latin, as St. Mark 
wrote it ; or in Hebrew, as St. Matthew composed his 

1 Gratian, Pt. ii. C. 11, q. 3, c. 86 ; loosely quoted. Really from the 
anomymous Auctor Opens Imperfecti in Matt. horn. 25, a favourite 
work with Gratian, Hus, and Wyclif, invariably attributed in the 
Middle Ages to Chrysostom. Of. p. 12, n. 

2 Matt. x. 28. 



version ; or in Syriac, as St. Luke composed his ; or 
in Persian, as St. Simon preached and composed his ; 
or in Aramaic, 1 as St. Bartholomew wrote ; 2 and 
likewise in other languages. How, then, can you 
suffer the priests to prevent people reading the holy 
gospel in Czech or German ? Then as to the second 
point, are you ignorant of the fact that it is impossible 
for a man to serve both God in virtue and the devil 
in sin ? I know you have heard Christ's words : No 
man can serve two masters ; 3 and again : You cannot 
serve God and mammon. You know also that St. 
Peter saith : By whom a man is overcome, of the same 
also he is the slave.* Christ also saith: Whosoever 
committeth sin i# the servant of sin. 5 St. Paul also 
writes to the Romans : You ivere the servants of sin. 6 
Why, then, knowing as you do these testimonies of 
Scripture, do you suffer a priest to preach that no 
one, though he be living in mortal sin, is a servant 
of the devil ? I know also that you have heard the 
words of the Lord Jesus that the tares are wicked 
sons which the devil hath sown in the world ; 7 also 
those which He addressed to evil men : Ye are of your 
father the devil, and the desires of your father you 
will do, 8 and He brings forward the cause in these 
words : Because you cannot hear my word, therefore are 
ye of your father the devil. 9 St. John the Apostle also 

1 Judaioe. 

2 See the tale of Eusebius (H.E. v. 10) of a certain Pantsenns of 
Alexandria who went to preach the gospel to the Indians and found that 
the apostle Bartholomew had left them St. Matthew's gospel written in 
Hebrew characters. Hus repeats this argument in his De Arguendo 
Clero (Mon. i. 150a), which, possibly, was written at this time, and not 
as is usually assumed, in 1408. 

* Matt. vi. 24. Bom vi. 17. 8 John viii. 44. 

4 2 Pet. ii. 19. ' Matt. xiii. 38-9. Ib. viii. 43. 

6 John viii. 34. 


by the Holy Spirit saith : Little children, let no man 
deceive you : he that doth justice, is just as Christ is just : 
but he that committeth sin, is of the devil. Afterwards 
lie saith : In this the children of God are manifest and 
the children of the devil : whosoever is not just, is not of 
God. 1 You see, therefore, that any one who commits 
a sin unto death, is of the devil and a son of the devil. 
Why, then, do you suffer a heresy to be preached 
contrary to these holy sayings of Christ ? Be assured 
that a man who preaches thus is a servant and son of 
the devil and is worse than the humblest layman that 
is good. Nor is that priest the father of God ; for 
God would then be the son of this priest ; and yet 
this priest is a son of the devil. God, therefore, 
would be a son of the devil also ! Nor, again, is a 
priest who preaches and holds this error a creator of 
the Divine Body; but he is the author of a great 
heresy. Granted that with the help of all his 
associates he procreate a nit, then I will admit that 
they are creators ! It is an impossibility, though it 
were tedious to prove it in this letter. brave 
Christians ! are you all dead that you allow errors to 
be bandied about and God's word driven into a 
corner ? Scorn them, and let not the devil rule over 
you. May the Lord God herein be your Helper, who 
alone can be, and is, Creator. Amen. 

Within a few weeks of writing this letter to the people of 
Pilsen, Hus became involved in a controversy of wider import 
On September 9, 1411, and again on December 2, John XXIIL, 
in the throes of his struggle with Ladislaus, the King of Naples, 
and Gregory XII., issued bulls preaching a crusade against his 
foes. The same indulgences were offered as for a campaign in 
Palestine to all those who should take up arms, or who bought 

1 John iii. 7-8, 10, Czech. 


' suitable men ' to fight for them. As with the later Tetzel, the 
indulgences, no doubt, were duly qualified with the-' usual limita 
tions, which not only Hus, but the Council of Constance, in their 
attack upon John seem to have overlooked. In theory they were 
restricted to the 'truly penitent.' In practice, for men do not 
sin in Latin, John's indulgences were regarded as the selling 
permission to sin, or the buying of pardon for past transgressions. 
In some cases priests of no conscience and evil life used the 
opportunity to wring out in the confessional money and profit 
for themselves, a practice which Archbishop Albik tried to check. 

In the May of 1412, Master Wenzel Tiem, Dean of Passau, who 
in the previous December had been appointed agent for the 
dioceses of Salzburg, Magdeburg, and Bohemia, arrived in 
Prague and opened his sale. The traffic was soon in full swing, 
money chests set up in the Cathedral, the Teyn Church, and 
the Wy.schehrad, middlemen doing a good trade for country 
parishes, where payments were often made in kind. Hus, like 
Luther who himself points out the similarity of their circum 
stances at once entered the lists. For neither Luther nor Hus 
seems to have recognised how old the custom was. Hus looked 
upon it as a complete innovation, and forgot his own early 
experiences. He placarded church doors with his theses, and 
thundered against 'Antichrist' in the Bethlehem Chapel, and 
among ' the artists ' of the University. As ' the German vicars 
had received the bull and read it aloud ' in their churches, the 
Czechs at once rallied to the cause of Hus, and the national feud 
was revived in a new form. 

In his proceedings against the indulgences, Hus seems to 
have been from the first more conscious of his opposition to the 
authorities than was Luther. News of the coming sale had 
already driven him to the bold step of answering publicly in 
the Bethlehem Chapel, in a legal deed drawn up by a notary 
' because people are come to give greater credence to such a 
document ' three questions that had been sent to him (March 3, 
1412). The questions and the answers of Hus go to the root of 
the controversy : ' Whether a man must believe in the Pope, and 
whether it is possible that a man can be saved who does not 
really confess to a priest.' As regards the first, Hus appears 
at this time repeatedly to have preached that ' we can well be 
saved without a Pope.' We see the same spirit of conscious 
opposition, so different from the early movement in Germany, 


in the account Hus has given us of an interview he had with 
Wenzel Tiem shortly after the latter arrived at Prague. ' I know 
well,' he writes, ' the difference between the apostolic commands 
and the commands of the Pope. So when I was asked by the 
legates of John, in the presence of Archbishop Albik, whether 
I were willing to obey the apostolic commands, I answered : 
"I desire with all my heart to obey the apostolic commands." 
Thereupon the legates, holding apostolic and papal commands 
to be interchangeable, thought that I was willing to preach to the 
people the crusade against Ladislaus. So the legates said : " He 
is willing you see, lord Archbishop, to obey the commands of our 
sovereign Pope." So I said to them : " Sirs, understand me. I 
said that I am willing with all my heart to obey apostolic 
commands, but by apostolic commands I mean the doctrines of 
the apostles of Christ. So far as the commands of the Pope 
agree with the commands and doctrines of the apostles, and are 
after the rule of the law of Christ, so far I am heartily prepared 
to render them obedience. But if I see anything in them at 
variance with* this, I will not obey, even if you kindle the fire 
for the burning of my body before my eyes." ' 

In this spirit, on June 7, 1412, in spite of the opposition of the 
eight doctors of the theological faculty, led by ' the friend of his 
youth,' Stephen Palecz, Hus delivered his disputation against 
indulgences in the large hall of the University. This was his 
answer to what he called the determination of the friars to pro 
claim that ' the Pope is a God on earth.' His arguments, though 
aptly applied to the disputes of Gregory and John, need not 
detain us. When not copied from Gratian they are adopted, 
as Loserth has shown, with verbal fidelity from three tractates of 
Wyclif, a circumstance which the doctors were not slow to point 
out in their reply. 

The counterblast of the theological faculty was soon forth 
coming. Once more they condemned the forty-five articles of 
Wyclif, and, with the sanction of Wenzel, in whose presence the 
articles were read (July 10), forbade their teaching in Bohemia 
under penalty of expulsion. To these they now added six pro 
positions from Hus. Hus had previously challenged their judg 
ment as regards two of the condemned articles in a dissertation, 
again taken, word for word, from Wyclif. The two articles were 
those which touched him closest, for they dealt with the duty 
and right of preaching, a subject in which, aa his Letters show, 


he was always intensely interested. He followed this up by 
a Defence of Disendowment (De Ablatione Temporalium, a, 
Clericis), of which we shall hear at Constance. This treatise 
was taken in the main from Wyclif's De Ecclesia. A third 
tractate in the same year, nominally on Tithes, contains an 
uncompromising defence of the weakest point of Wyclif's system. 
This was the doctrine of dominion founded on grace, the assertion 
that office, whether civil or spiritual, lapsed with mortal sin. Hus 
had moved far since his letter of the previous year to John. 

Three days after his dispute in the Carolinum with the theo 
logical faculty over the indulgences, Hus wrote the following 
interesting letter to the King of Poland. The letter not only 
breathes intense hatred of the whole system and its abuses, but 
is also an illustration of how far-reaching was the influence of 
Hus. The Slav races, as the clergy complained, * through 
Bohemia, Poland, Hungary, and Moravia' rallied to a cause 
which was almost as much national as religious. 

Ladislaus (Jagiello), to whom the letter was addressed, is an 
interesting character. Originally he was the semi-savage chief 
of Lithuania, a state at that time at the height of its power, 
holding possession even of many Russian cities. His mother was 
a Christian, but Ladislaus himself grew up a pagan. But he was 
quite willing to turn Christian to secure his marriage with 
Jadwiga (Hedwig), the heiress of Poland. On his marriage and 
baptism (1386) he took the name of Ladislaus (Wadyslaw) and 
transferred his capital from Wilno (Vilna) to Cracow. This step, 
together with their compulsory conversion to the religion of their 
Prince, displeased the Lithuanians ; but after a short struggle 
the combined forces of Lithuania and Poland were turned against 
the Teutonic Knights, whom they overthrew in the disastrous 
battle of Tannenberg, in Prussia (July 15, 1410). Jagiello was 
thus looked upon by all Slavs as their champion against the 
encroachments of the Germans, and probably ranked high on this 
account in Hus's thoughts. Hus would also remember that in 
1397 Jadwiga had established a college at Prague for poor students 
from Lithuania. It was one of the grievances of the Czechs that 
this college had become filled with Germans. Jagiello, though on his 
marriage he could neither read nor write, yet showed his interest 
in learning by founding in 1397-1400 a University at Cracow. 
So successful was his rule that on the death of Jadwiga (1399), 
though in reality his rights to the crown of Poland had lapsed, 


the Poles continued him in his position. Like all Lithuanians, 
he was opposed to the claims of Rome, or any attempts to make 
mischief in Lithuania by ousting on her behalf the Orthodox 
Church. This sense of opposition would form a further link 
between Hus and himself. We must also remember that shortly 
before this date Jerome of Prague had visited Lithuania, and after 
allowing his beard to grow a little matter that was never for 
given had preached before its duke, Witold, Jagiello's cousin. 
Jagiello, after a most successful reign, died in 1434, and is buried 
in the Cathedral of Cracow, surrounded by the successors in the 
dynasty he founded. 


(June 10, 1412 l ) 

May the grace of Jesus Christ be granted to you 
for the ruling of your people and the attaining of 
the life of glory ! 

Most serene prince, it hath brought me great joy 
and comfort to hear that your Majesty in the provi 
dence of Almighty God hath come to an agreement 
with the most illustrious King Sigismund. 2 The 
people and myself are united in the prayer that God 
may direct 3 the lives of both of you in the way of 
righteousness, and your subjects as well. To this 
end, most illustrious prince, it appears to be a prior 
condition alike for your Majesty, for his excellence 
King Sigismund, and for the other princes, that the 
heresy of simony should be removed from your 
dominions. But is it possible to expect its banish 
ment when it hath spread its poison so widely that 

1 Marginal note in MS. 

2 On this peace of Sigismund, the Poles, and the Teutonic Knights, 
see Aschbach, Kaiser Sigimmd (Hamburg, 1845), i. c. 16, and the letter 
of Sigismund (March 28, 1412) in ib. i. 437. 

* P, : vita . . . dirigatw ; H. : vitam , . . dirigat, 


scarcely anywhere can clergy or people be found 
that have not been laid low by this heresy of 
simony ? "Who is honest enough to present to a 
see for the honour of God, for the salvation of the 
people, and for one's own salvation? Who is so 
disinterested as to accept a see, a parish living, or 
any other benefice under the constraint of these 
three motives ? I would that there were many to 
refuse them as a form of bondage and human 
bribery ! But are not the words of Jeremiah ful 
filled : From the least of them even to the greatest all 
follow hard after covetousness, and from the prophet even 
to the priest all make a lie? 1 Is the disciple of Christ 
wide of the mark when he says : All seek the things 
that that are their own, not the things that are Jesus 
Christ's ? 2 It is the voice of the Church weeping, 
because the gold is become dim and the finest colour 
is changed? Once the priesthood was like gold 
aflame with love and burnished with virtues ; but 
now it hath become earthy and blackened, as Bernard 
saith. 4 The words of our Saviour are fulfilled: 
Iniquity shall abound that is, among the clergy 
and charity shall grow cold 6 among the people. Woe, 
therefore, to him that weeps not for such a time ! 
Most illustrious prince, it is because they hear a 
message like this that a simoniac, pomp-loving, 
luxurious, and unrestrained clergy charge me with 
defamation of their order and heresy-mongerings. 
But shall I keep silence ? God forbid ! Woe is me 

1 Jer. vi. 13. 2 Phil. ii. 21. s Lam. iv. 1. 

4 P. : ut ait Bernards ; H. : ut ait Bene impletur i.e., ut ait Jeremias. 
I cannot put my finger on this passage. But similar statements in St. 
Bernard abound. 

* Matt, xxiv, 13. 


if I keep silence ! It is better for me to die than 
not to resist the wickedness which would make me 
a partner in their crimes and in their hell. May 
it please the King of glory to preserve your Majesty 
from these things for the holy government of your 
people ! 

an unprofitable priest of Christ. 

The opposition of Hus to the indulgences separated the 
Reformer for ever from his former friends Stanislaus and Palecz. 
The first cause of their ' backsliding like a crab,' as Hus termed 
it, is somewhat obscure. In the autumn of 1408, in furtherance 
of Wenzel's policy, an embassy was despatched to the Pisan 
cardinals. It consisted of John Cardinalis of Reinstein, the usual 
envoy of Wenzel, Marik Rwacka, Stanislaus of Znaim, and Stephen 
Palecz. The two last, for some reason or other perhaps because 
of their well-known sympathy with the Wyclifists incurred the 
suspicion of Cossa. They were arrested at Bologna, 'deprived 
of their goods, and imprisoned.' Hus, Jesenicz, and Christian 
Prachaticz at once laboured for their release. At length, after 
petitions from the University (December 8, 1408) and from the 
Pisan cardinals themselves (February 12, 1409), this was procured, 
though not before Palecz was robbed of '207 gold knights.' 
They retuned to Prague to find the University wrecked by the 
disruption. Whether this last event, or some subtle influences 
brought to bear upon them in their imprisonment, or the greater 
conservatism of maturer years, led to a change of view, we know 
not. Certain it is that they slowly drifted from alliance with 
Hus into the bitterest opposition. They first became what Hus 
called ' Terminists' i.e., Nominalists then by a natural sequence 
the persecutors of their old associates. But we must beware of 
doing them the injustice of supposing that the drift was on their 
side only. Nor must we forget that by Hus's expulsion of the 
Germans from the University the triumphant Czechs, no longer 
united by a common hatred, had now opportunity to discover 
unsuspected lines of cleavage among themselves. 

On the outbreak of the dispute over the indulgences, Palecz, 
for the moment, had wavered. A meeting on the matter was held. 


at the rectory of Christian Prachaticz. ' If Palecz is willing to 
confess the truth,' said Hus, ' he will remember that he was the 
first to give me with his own hand the articles of indulgence, 
with the remark in writing (manu) that they contained palpable 
errors. I keep the copy to this day as a witness. But after he 
had consulted with another colleague he went over to the other 
camp. The last word I said to him for I have not spoken to 
him since was this : " Palecz is my friend, Truth is my friend ; 
of the two it were only right to honour Truth most." ' 

The theologians, in fact, were unaminous that it was not their 
business to inquire into the value of the apostolic letters, but 
' as obedient sons to obey, and fight those who opposed.' 

Palecz and Stanislaus were not the only foes whom Hus at 
this time was driven to encounter. In Letter XIV. we are intro 
duced to his most unsparing literary opponent, Stephen, the 
prior of the Carthusian monastery of Dolein, near Olmiitz, in 
Moravia. According to Stephen's own statement, Hus and he 
at one time had been ' men of one mind who had taken sweet 
meat together' ; but they had long since drifted apart. As 
early as 1408 we find Stephen refuting Wyclif's Trialogus in his 
In Medullam Tritici ("The Marrow of Wheat 'V, dedicated to 
Kbel, whom we have already met (supra, p. 12). In this work the 
references to Hus are few and slight, but his condemnation of 
Wyclif, whom Stephen recognises as the master, is unsparing. 

The following letter of Hus was written in the summer of 
1412. ' To which writing,' Stephen tells us, ' when the purport 
had been told me, and I had seen and ascertained it for myself, 
I composed the following brief answer ' to wit, that he would 
reply at length when a suitable opportunity arose. A few months 
later (autumn 1412) Stephen fulfilled his promise by bringing 
out his Antihussus, dedicated to Stanislaus of Znaim, in the pre 
face of which he incorporated this letter of Hus. The work ends 
with a prayer and a curse : ' Holy Mary and all saints pray for 
us that the truth may be confirmed. Thou muck-sack (sacce) 
Wyclif pray for thy own that falsehood be condemned. Amen.' 
In September 1414, to anticipate his further writings, Stephen 
brought out his Dialogus Volatilis inter Aucam et Passerem, sen 
Mag. ffus et Stephanum, dedicated to the Bishop of Leitomischl, 
while in 1417, after Hus's death, he wrote his long Epistle to the 
ffussites. (All the above works are in Pez, Thesaurus, iv. pt. ii) 



(Undated : summer 1412) 

To the honourable and religious inmates (domi/nis) 
of the convent in Dolein, beloved brothers of Christ, 
Master John Hus, a worthless servant in Christ. 

May the love of God and the peace of Christ 
abound in your hearts by the Holy Spirit given 
unto you! 

Worshipful sirs, I have heard how fiercely Dom 
Stephen with much abuse is assailing not only 
myself, but those also who hear Christ's sermons 
from my lips. If with just cause, he will receive the 
reward of justice ; but if without cause, the reward 
of injustice from the Lord, Who knows the hearts of 
men. Therefore to you who are brothers in' Christ 
and bound to me by ties of love, though separated 
by distance and unknown to me by sight, I am 
sending this heartfelt entreaty for the sake of your 
salvation and not in self -excuse (for to me it is of the 
slightest moment that I be judged of men) : believe 
nothing that is preached about my holding or de 
siring to hold any error that is contrary to Holy 
Scripture or to morality : I do not say, " though 
Wyclif ," but " not even though an angel came down 
from heaven and taught otherwise than what the 
Scripture hath taught." l For my soul abhors the 
errors they ascribe to me. But in refusing to obey 

1 Gal. i. 8. Hus was very sensitive about his dependence on Wyclif. 
Cf. his answer in 1414 (Doc., 184) : ' Whatever truth Wycliff has taught 
I receive, not because it is the truth of Wyclif, but because it is the 
truth of Christ ' ; and cf. Mon. i. 264a. In the Medulla of Stephen the 
dependence of Hus on Wyclif is clearly recognised, 


the ruling of superiors, while offering no resistance 
to the power which is of the Lord God, I had the 
teaching of Scripture on my side, and especially the 
word and deed of the apostles, who, against the will 
of the priests, preached Jesus Christ as Lord, saying : 
We (night to obey God rather than men. 1 As to my not 
appearing at the Curia when summoned, there are 
many reasons for this. 2 In the first instance, when 
summoned I desired to depart ; but my own proctors 
as well as those of the other side wrote to me, urging 
me not to appear and uselessly sacrifice my life. It 
would also mean that I should neglect my preaching 
of God's word among the people and risk my life to 
no purpose. For a man to be judged by one whose 
open sins he attacks is to hand himself over to death. 
Yet if I had any reasonable ground for supposing 
that by my appearance and by my death I could be 
of service to some for their salvation, I would willingly 
appear, Jesus Christ helping me. 

But, alas ! who can be of any service in these days 
in the midst of a people given over to greed, pride, 
and hardness of heart, who have turned away their 
hearing from the truth and are turned unto fables ? 8 
May it please God Almighty to preserve His holy 
Church and yourselves from the wiles of Antichrist, 
and to commend me to your kind regard as a help 
to my happiness ! Dom Stephen, lay aside the sus 
picions which I hear you bear against me, until you 
are fully enlightened by the facts. You have read 
Christ's words : Judge not, that you may not be judged : 

1 Acts v. 29. 

* Supra, pp. 39-40. Stephen Dolein dwells on this matter in his 
Dialogus, pp. 464-7, and claims that Hus had shown no just cause 
why he should not have gone to Rome, 

2 Tim. iv. 4, 


condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. 1 And 
yet you judge me, and in your book you condemn the 
soul of Wyclif. 2 Where is revelation, or Scripture, 
or personal acquaintance, that you condemn a man 
who stands at the bar of God ? Would it not suffice 
you to condemn the man's words, and to wait for his 
condemnation by God's word or Holy Scripture ? 

Though deserted by his former friends, Hus was not alone. 
'Women without number and powerful nobles' rallied to his 
cause, while the people, under the lead of that stormy petrel of 
reform, Jerome of Prague, once more took matters into their own 
hands. As usual in such cases, liberty speedily degenerated into 
licence. On June 24, 1412, Woksa of Waldstein drove up with 
a cart in which sat two harlots, or two students dressed up as 
harlots, 'with the papal bulls tied round their breasts.' An 
armed mob conducted the procession through the streets and 

1 Luke vi. 37. 

2 In a sermon before the Synod and in the presence of Zbinek (pro 
bably in June 1408), Hus had stated: 'I could hope that my soul 
should be where rests the soul of Wyclif.' His enemies added that he 
had claimed that Wyclif was a ' Catholic doctor,' but Hus argued that 
Catholic' cannot be expressed in Czech, and therefore he could not 
have said it. This famous wish of Hus was never forgiven or forgotten- 
It forms part of the charge of the Englishman Stokes, to which Hus 
replied as follows : ' I will not grant that Wyclif is a heretic, I will not 
affirm a negative, but I hope that he is not, since in doubtful matters 
one ought to choose the better part. Wherefore, I hope that Wyclif is 
among the saved.' At Constance Hus had to deal with the matter 
again. The reason for the heat with which the question was debated 
lay in the fact that Wyclif had never been condemned or even excommu 
nicated during his lifetime. Was it possible, then, to condemn him 
' in anima ' ? We have a curious illustration of the importance of this 
question in the Lollard Purvey's Remonstrance, p. 133 (see my Age of 
Wyclif, i. 306), as also in the famous Oxford forgery of October 5, 
1406 (ib. i. 241-2). Wyclif, we must remember, was not formally con 
demned until the Council of Constance (May 4, 1415), unless, indeed, 
we count the curious Lateran Council of February 2, 1413. The 
reference to Dolein's ' book ' is a general reference to the Medulla, 
Tritioi, whose other and more significant title was Antiurikliffus. 


burnt the bulls and pardons in the market-place of the New 
Town, 'about the hour of vespers.' In the following August 
the students seized two pardoners at their trade. ' Get out, 
you liars,' cried Jerome ; ' the Pope your master is a lying 
heretic.' A Carmelite friar ' selling relics for the building of a 
church ' was seized as he sat, ' kicked out ' of the church, and 
his table overturned, ' relics and all,' ' You are palming off 
dead men's bones,' shouted the people, 'you are hoodwinking 

A more serious riot was the affair of the Three Martyrs. In 
spite of Wenzel's edict perhaps before it was officially pro 
mulgatedon July 10 three artisans cried out in a church that 
the indulgences were lies : ' John Hus has taught us better than 
that.' They were condemned to death. Hus, attended by a vast 
throng, demanded a hearing from the magistrates, and declared : 
' Their fault is mine ; I will bear the consequences.' To still the 
tumult evasive answers were given ; but later in the day the 
prisoners were hurriedly executed, according to Hus, without the 
King's orders. The excitement was intense. Women ' dipped 
their handkerchiefs in the blood ' of the martyrs, whose bodies, 
shrouded in white linen, were borne in procession to the Beth 
lehem Chapel. There amid the chanting of the hymn, "Isti 
sunt sancti," and ' the mass of martyrs,' they were buried ' in 
the name of God.' To all this, though not present himself at 
the funeral, Hus was a consenting party. The civil authorities 
deemed it well to disclaim the riot, and issue an order that no 
one should preach against the indulgences. But no attempt 
was made to punish its leaders, or even deprive Woksa for his 
buffoonery of his place at Court. 

'That Luther,' laughed Leo, when he heard of his outbreak 
against Tetzel, ' has a pretty wit.' In the case of Hus, however, 
John was of a different mind. The Pope scarcely needed 
the formal complaint of the clergy of Prague, stirred up by 
Michael the Pleader, against 'that son of Belial, the Wyclifist 
Hus, a despiser of the keys ' (May 1412). So he committed 
the case to Cardinal Peter Stefaneschi of St. Angelo, with 
instructions to proceed without delay. Stefaneschi at once pro 
nounced upon Hus the great curse (July 1412). Hus was 
declared cut off from ' food, drink, buying, selling, conversation, 
hospitality, the giving of fire and water, and all other acts of 
kindness.' If within twenty-three days he did not yield, he 


was to be excommunicated 'in all churches, monasteries, and 
chapels,' with the usual custom of ' lighted candles, extinguished 
and thrown to the ground.' Places which gave him shelter were 
to be subject to interdict. 'Three stones were to be hurled 
against his house as a sign of perpetual curse.' In a second 
bull the Bethlehem Chapel was ordered to be razed to the 
ground, and the person of Hus to be delivered up and burned. 

Hus replied by a dignified appeal, which he read in the 
Bethlehem, from the Pope to ' the supreme and just Judge who 
is neither influenced by gifts (supra, p. 60, n.) nor deceived by 
false witnesses.' He consoled himself with the memories of 
Chrysostom and Grosseteste. His hope lay in the meeting of a 
General Council. Meanwhile he exhorted the people to put 
their trust in neither Pope, Church, nor prelates, but in God 
alone. As for himself a matter which told heavily against him 
at Constance he showed how little he cared for the censures 
of Rome by continuing as before his public preaching, and his 
administration of the sacraments (see p. 166, n. l). 

The excommunication and attendant interdict soon produced 
its effect in Prague. 'The people,' complained Hus, 'did not 
show sufficient courage to bury their dead in unconsecrated 
ground, and baptise their children themselves.' Riots broke out 
on every hand. On September 30 Jerome and others ' ducked 
friar Nicholas ' in the Moldau. On October 2 a counter-attack 
was made on the Bethlehem Chapel, chiefly, says Hus, by the 
Germans, at that moment the dominant party in the Town 
Council : ' What madness ! . . . what German audacity ! . . . 
they are not allowed to pull down a bakehouse. The temple of 
God where the bread of God's word is distributed they wish to 
destroy.' But the Czechs rallied to their national cause, and 
prevented the outrage, in spite of the archers. But elsewhere the 
opponents of Hus were victorious. In the University Stanislaus 
of Znaim and Stephen Palecz were inveighing against their 
former friend in the presence of Duke Ernest of Austria. 
(October 1412). Nor was Hus helped by the formal proof of 
his ally John of Jesenicz, doctor of canon law, that the excom 
munication was illegal (December 18, 1412). 

But we are slightly anticipating. Hus, in fact, had already 
left Prague, on the advice, or rather orders, of Wenzel. Thia 
step, as the following letter shows, the Reformer was at first 
unwilling to take. But Wenzel, who was placed in an awkward 


position and feared the calling in of the secular arm, was per 
sistent. So Hus left Prague his enemies claimed that he was 
expelled 'that a Synod for settlement might be held with 
more chance of success.' 

The date of Hus's exile, and therefore of the following letter, is 
somewhat uncertain. He seems to have left Prague first in the 
August of 1412, but a few months later, on his own statement, 
returned and preached. He was certainly absent in the October, 
when the attack was made on the Bethlehem (see infra, p. 94). 
But his final departure must have taken place in December 1412, 
for on the 14th of that month the secular arm was called in by 
the papal authorities. From the other letters which follow, and 
which were evidently written in the autumn of 1412, we are 
inclined to date the following as written before the first departure. 
Nicholas Miliczin was the colleague of Hus at the Bethlehem. 
He had taken his bachelor's degree in 1401, his master's in 
1406. He is probably the Nicholas to whom Hus refers on 
pp. 236 and 274. Of Master Martin nothing is known, unless 
indeed he be the Master Martin, 'his disciple,' of later letters 
(see infra, pp. 149, 235, 274). 


(Undated: August (?) 1412) 

Peace be unto you that peace which he that seeks 
shall not have with the'world, the flesh, and the devil. 
In the world, saith the Saviour, you shall have distress; 1 
but if you are jealous for that which is good, who is 
there to hurt you ? I have a jealousy for preaching 
the gospel, but I am careworn, because I know not 
what I am to do. 

I have pondered over our Saviour's words in 
the gospel of John, chapter x. : The good shepherd 
giveth his life for his sheep. But the hireling and he 
that is not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, 
eeeth the wolf comi/ng and leaveth the sheep, and fiieth : 

1 John xvi. 33. 


and the wolf catcheth, and scattereth the sheep. 1 I have 
also pondered over another passage in Matt. x. : 
When they shall persecute you in this city, flee unto 
another? This, then, is the precept or promise of 
Christ. I am in a strait betwixt two, and know not 
how I ought to act. 

I have pondered over the epistle of the blessed 
Augustine to Bishop Honoratus, 3 who sought guidance 
in a similar case. Here is the reply and conclusion 
of Augustine : Whosoever fleeth so that his flight doth not 
leave the Church without the necessary ministry, is acting 
according to the Lords precept or promise. But he that 
fleeth so as to withdraw from Christ's flock the nourish 
ment which supports its spiritual life, is an hireling, 
who seeth the wolf coining and flieth, because he cared 
not for the sheep. Seeing, beloved brother, that you have 
consulted me, this is my genuine opinion and the answer 
which true love 4 moves me to send : but I do not restrict 
you to this view, if you can find a better. Nevertheless, 
we cannot find out any better how to act in these 
difficulties than by praying to our Lord God to pity us : 
for we 5 have obtained the power both to will and to do 
this very thing, to wit, that all the wise and holy men 
of God should not forsake the churches : and in the teeth 
of opposition we have not fallen away from our own 
purpose. Thus Augustine. 

1 John x. 11-12. 2 Matt. x. 23. 

* Ed. Maur, Ep. 228 (vol. ii. p. 830-35). Written during the irrup 
tion of the Vandals in 428 or 429 A.D. The unusual accuracy of the 
quotations in this letter would lead me to the conjecture that the 
editors of the Monumenta (1558), where alone it is found, did a little 
"editing" of the MS. after their wont. 

4 Mon. : recta caritate. Ed. Maur : et certa, 

5 Mon. : qui id iptum ut scilicet ecclesias non detererent . . . meruerunt. 
Ed. Maur : quod ipsum, ut scilicet Dei ecclesiat non deterent, Dei dono 
. . . meruerunt. 



Let me know, therefore, if you can rest satisfied 
with this advice of Augustine ; for I am urged by 
my conscience not to be absent and thus prove a 
stumbling block, although the necessary food of 
God's word be not wanting to the flock. On the 
other hand, the fear confronts me that my presence, 
by the wicked device of an edict, may become a 
pretext for the withdrawal of that food that is, the 
Holy Communion, and the other things pertaining 
to salvation. 

Therefore, let us humbly pray that it may please 
Almighty God to instruct us how I, poor wretch ! am 
to act in the present crisis, so as not to stray from 
the paths of righteousness. It is beautiful advice 
that the blessed Augustine gives in that letter. For 
there he clearly lays down in the special case brought 
to his notice that it is possible to flee lawfully. He 
mentions St. Athanasius l as an example. Supposing 
the lives of all were in peril, then perhaps it would 
be their duty to arrange for some one to take 
to flight who 2 would be most useful for the welfare 
of the Church in the days to come, and thus perhaps 
carry out, etc. 3 

1 Infra in same letter : ' the holy Athanasius who was specially sought 
after by the Emperor Constantius, while the Catholic people who 
remained in Alexandria were in no wise deserted by the other 

2 quis. Either read qui, or quit is used elliptically for aliqvem qui. 

* facta forte, etc. There is no MS., only the ed. 1558 (Monumenta). 
Perhaps we should read facta sorte, ' arrange by casting lots,' etc., for 
Augustine goes on to say that ' in such a difficulty the lot seems the 
fairest decision, in default of others.' 

Part III. Letters Written during the Exile 
of Hus 

(September 1412 August 1414) 

Hus, as we have seen, had left Prague in the early autumn 
of 1412, but soon returned. On his final retirement in the 
December, Wenzel, who had insisted on the step, fulfilled his 
part of the unwritten compact by giving orders for a Synod to 
meet on February 2 at Bohmish Brod, a small town belonging 
to the Archbishop. In reality the Synod assembled at Prague on 
February 6, at the very time at which in Rome the works of 
Wyclif were being publicly burnt in the great square of St. 
Peter's, on the orders of John's Lateran Council (February 10, 
1413). Before this Synod all parties laid their memorials 
the theological faculty, the artists, and the Reformers. The 
opponents of Hus, chief among whom was " the Iron Bishop," 
John Bucka of Leitomischl, insisted that the papal decisions 
and the excommunication of Hus must be upheld, ' that a vice- 
chancellor be appointed to search out and punish the errors of 
masters and scholars,' and that ' the Czech writings of Hus the 
stalks of these accursed tares and schism be placed under an 
anathema.' Obedience, they claimed, was the first duty of all, nor 
was it their business to consider whether the excommunication of 
Hus was just or unjust. Hus on his part he was not there in 
person both in his appeal to the Synod (infra, p. 115) as well as 
in his ' conditions of peace,' demanded the upholding of the 
decision of Zbinek of July 6, 1411. He harped much on the 
injury done to the realm by the accusations of heresy. Let the 
heretic be named, if known. On the personal charge he was 
prepared to defend himself under penalties against all opponents, 
but demanded in return that his calumniators, if they failed to 
substantiate their charges, should not escape scot free. Hus's most 
important condition, one that shows also the influence of Wyclif, 
is his claim that the Civil Courts must be supreme ' in all 
approbations, condemnations, and other acts concerning Mother 



Church.' Hus was followed by Jakoubek, who put in a plea that 
peace without a real reform would he valueless. Finally, the 
masters of Prague, the artists, wrote an elaborate reply, in which 
we may detect the inspiration of Jesenicz, to the claims and 
arguments of the theologians. The Synod was dissolved without 
result, and Hus retired once more to his asylum at the castle of 
Kozi hradek, near Austi. 

Meanwhile Wenzel made one more attempt at compromise. A 
Commission of four was appointed, with the ex- Archbishop Albik 
at the head. Both parties bound themselves ' under a penalty of 
a thousand guineas and exile from the realm ' to accept its 
verdict. Hus himself again was absent. He was represented 
by 'his proctor, John of Jesenicz, with him Jakoubek of Mies 
and Simon of Tissnow,' while on the Commission was his friend, 
Christian Prachaticz, rector of St. Michael's, Prague, who in 
the October of 1412 had been chosen, after a somewhat disputed 
election, the rector of the University. We have accounts of 
this Commission written by both parties ; by Hus in a letter 
to Christian Prachaticz (see infra, No. XXVII.), and by Palecz to 
his colleagues in the theological faculty. At the first meeting, 
in April, in the usual resort of the advanced party, the parsonage 
of Christian Prachaticz, it was evident that neither side would 
accept anything less than a verdict in their favour. Stanislaus 
said that he was wishful for peace, but the others must agree 
to the declaration of faith put forth by the theological faculty, 
' that the Pope is the head of the Roman Church, the cardinals 
the body, that all its decisions in matters of faith are true, 
that the contrary opinions of the Wyclifists are false and 
erroneous.' The other side thereupon, adds Palecz, 'horribly 
yelled against us for two days.' The 'horrible yelling' was 
really an effort to accomplish the impossible, to mix oil and 
water, the principles of Rome and the Reformation. Jesenicz 
was willing to yield to Stanislaus's definition of the Church, 
provided he were allowed to add to the statement of the faith 
and obedience due a saving clause, 'such as every good and 
faithful Christian ought, or is bound to give.' This loophole 
for private judgment was of course impossible. Even this 
concession, on reflection, seemed to Hus to be granting too much. 
In his letters to Christian he points out the difficulties of such 
a view of the Church. These difficulties, chiefly copied from 
Wyclif , he afterwards expanded into his De Ecdesia. We see, in 


fact, in these letters to Christian, especially Nos. XXVIII. and 
XXIX., the larger treatise in process of becoming. But we are 
anticipating. The immediate result of the gathering was the 
formal decision by its president that the two parties were really 
at one. ' Be it then announced in the name of all that neither 
party is permitted in future to wrong the other in word or 

Such official declarations of peace where there was no peace 
were of course valueless. The meeting was a fairure, but the 
Wyclifists retained the ear of the King. Wenzel relieved his 
disappointment by at once banishing Stanislaus of Znaim, 
Stephen Palecz, and two other opponents of Hus as the ' authors 
of dissensioa' Stanislaus 'out of whose head,' says Hus, 
' the greater part of this nonsense had come ' retired into 
Moravia as the chaplain to a widow lady. He spent the rest 
of his days in writing numerous bitter tractates against Wyclif 
and Hus. He died at Neuhaus, in Moravia, from abcesses, when 
on the point of setting out for his revenge at Constance. Hus 
and Palecz were destined to meet again. 

This victory for Hus was followed by a political success. 
Hitherto in the Old Town of Prague the council consisted of 
sixteen Germans and two Czechs. The Germans were on the side 
of the papal party, and had attempted, as we have seen, the 
destruction of the Bethlehem. On October 21, Wenzel issued 
an order transferring to the Crown the " pricking " of the eighteen 
councillors, nine from each nation. In the New Town the Czechs 
had long possessed the control. The whole of Prague was now 
committed to Hus's side. The Church authorities were power 
less. Albik had resigned (February 10, 1413), or rather exchanged 
his archbishopric with Conrad of Vechta, Bishop of Olmiitz, who 
in later years became a Hussite. His creed at this time was 
probably opportunism ; at any rate he had but recently been 
inducted (July 17, 1413). Nevertheless, Hus deemed it well 
to stay in the country, first at Kozi hradek not far from the 
later well-known Tabor then, that he might be nearer the 
capital, at the castle of Krakowec, which belonged to his friend 
Henry Lefl of Lazan. ' Here he remained,' says the chronicler, 
' until such time as he went to Constance.' This statement 
must not be pressed. In the early months of 1414 Hus tells 
us that he visited Prague repeatedly. One of his visits was 
on the Feast of Relics (April 20), an incident that sheds light 


on certain features of his character and letters (infra, p. 249, n). 
On another occasion he even preached in the Bethlehem, where 
upon the clergy at once renewed the interdict. Apart from these 
visits and his preaching tours, Hus spent his time in a lively 
correspondence with his friends, especially Christian Prachaticz, 
and in composing, as his answer to recent charges, his great work 
On the Church. Of this famous treatise, Dietrich Niem, the 
historian of the Schism, remarked at Constance that it ' attacks 
the papal power and the plenitude of its authority as much as 
the Alcoran the Catholic faith ' a statement usually attributed, 
but wrongly, to Cardinal D'Ailli. But the De Ecclesia of Hus, 
as Loserth has shown, contains hardly a line, local colouring 
and polemics apart, which does not proceed from Wyclif. On its 
completion the volume was sent to Prague and publicly read 
(July 8, 1413) in the Bethlehem Chapel, on the walls of which the 
main positions of Hus's pamphlet, De Sex Erroribus, had already 
been set up in large text. With the publication of this treatise 
there is for a while a gap in the letters of Hus. But one letter, 
in fact, has been preserved for us (No. XXXII.) between this event 
and the preparations of Hus, in the August of 1414, for his journey 
to Constance. 

The literary labours of Hus, among which must be reckoned 
many treatises in Czech, whose alphabet he reformed by his 
invention of diacritical signs, did not interfere with his toils 
in the gospel, for on leaving Prague he had felt driven by his con 
science to resume his sermons (infra, p. 97). ' Hitherto,' he 
writes, ' I have preached in towns and market-places ; now I 
preach behind hedges, in villages, castles, fields, woods. If it 
were possible, I would preach on the seashore, or from a ship, as 
my Saviour did' an interesting passage with which we may 
compare a statement in his Letters (infra, p. 101). He specially 
mentions as a favourite pulpit 'a lime-tree near Kozi.' One 
thing gravely distressed him. 'Jesus went to preach on foot, 
not like our modern preachers, proudly carried in a carriage. 
I, alas ! drive.' His excuse is necessity. ' I could not otherwise 
possibly get in time to places so far distant. 1 In the stress 
which he laid upon preaching, both in his Letters and in his 
other writings, Hus again followed Wyclif. ' Preachers,' he 
said, in words which are an echo from England, ' in my judgment 
count in the Church for more than prelates.' But his power 
in the pulpit itself Hus owed to no man, and his love of preaching 


was the gift of God. ' By the help of God,' he said, ' I have 
preached, still am preaching, and if His grace will allow, shall 
continue to preach ; if perchance I may be able to lead some 
poor tired, blind, or halting soul into the house of Christ to 
the King's supper.' 

As the result of these labours, the doctrines of Hus spread on 
every hand, both in cottage and castle, in Prague and in the 
country. We see this consciousness of success in the proud 
answer the Keformer made at Constance to the questions of 
D'Ailli : ' Yes, I have said that I came here of my own free will. 
If I had been unwilling to come here, neither that King (Wenzel) 
nor this (Sigismund) would have been able to force me to 
come, so numerous and so powerful are the Bohemian nobles who 
love me, and within whose castles I should have been able to lie 
concealed.' At this the bystanders began to grumble. D'Ailli, 
with a shake of his head, cried out, ' What effrontery ! ' ' He 
speaks truth,' said John of Chlum. ' I am a poor knight in our 
realm, but I should have been glad to have kept him for a year, 
whoever liked it or disliked it, so that no one would have 
been able to get him. There are numbers of great nobles who 
love him, who have strong castles. They could keep him as long 
as they wished even against both those kings.' This conscious 
ness of a national party at his back explains the readiness 
with which Hus went to Constance, and his strange optimism as 
to the result. 

The letters of Hus written during his exile, when read 
in the light of this introduction, will explain themselves. They 
are of very diverse interest and value, some chiefly polemical, 
others exhibiting the tenderest side of a pastor's care for his flock. 
The exact order of the letters is largely conjectural, the following 
letter, for instance, presumably being written on receiving the 
news of the attempted destruction of the Bethlehem. Though 
this letter is written in Czech, Hus seems to have had no rule on 
the matter, the letters that follow, though addressed to the same 
people, being in Latin. Letter XVII. is a remarkably dignified 
and interesting pastoral, probably intended to be read from 
the pulpit of the Bethlehem, as we know from other sources 
was the custom (infra, p. 172). So too in the case of others of this 
series. Letters XX. and XXII. are beautiful Christmas addresses, 
which even in a translation will give some idea of Hus's powers as 
a preacher. In Letter XXVI. we have a wistful, tender strain in 


the first part of the letter, passing into a fighting spirit towards the 
close. As a revelation of the man this letter (XXVI.) is invalu 
able. We may add that the letters written during the exile are 
not easy to translate, while the references they contain to current 
polemics do not always add interest for a later generation. 


( Without date : early in October 1412). 

May God be with you, beloved lords and masters ! 
I beg you in the first place to consider God's cause, 
to which great injury is being done; for certain 
persons desire to suppress His holy word, to destroy 
a chapel 1 that is useful for the preaching of His 
word, and thus to hinder men from salvation. 
Secondly, consider the disgrace brought upon your 
country and nation and race. Thirdly, consider the 
shame and wrong that are being unjustly done to 
yourselves. Fourthly, consider and endure it patiently, 
that the devil is raging against you, and Antichrist is 
showing his teeth ; and yet like a dog chained up 
he will do you no hurt if you be lovers of God's 
truth. Look ! he hath been raging against me for a 
number of years, and hath not yet hurt a hair 
of my head, but is ever adding to my joy and 

Moreover, you ought to know that to abjure is 
to be guilty of renouncing what you believe in. 
Thus, one who abjures either renounces the true 
faith which he held, or a heresy and an error. It 
is as if one were a Christian, and through fear 
or the devil's enticement were to mix himself up 
with Jews or pagans and swear that he wished no 

1 The Bethlehem : supra, p. 87. 


longer to hold ^Christianity. Vice versd, if a man 
holds a heresy e.g., suppose he believes that the Lord 
Christ is not very God, as Jews and pagans believe 
and then renounces this error, he is said to have 
abjured. Accordingly, be assured that if any of 
you abjure, as they suggest in their letters, he will 
abjure either the true faith and the truth, or heresy 
and error. Accordingly, either after abjuring he 
will hold heresy or error or before doing so, he 
will be proved to have held what he abjures. There 
fore, understand that in their letters they judge you 
to be heretics and demand that you abjure the heresy 
which they suppose you to hold. From this it is 
evident that a son or friend of yours, if he abjure, 
can be disgraced for having consorted with a heretical 
father or friend. Further, it is evident that any other 
person can rightly say to any one who abjures, 
"You abjured the heresy which you held and you 
are not worthy of me." In the third place, understand 
that if any one abjures and retains in his mind the 
truth he abjures, as they bid you do, he will be a 
perjurer. Let us then consider these matters and 
give the preference to the truth and to the promise 
of God. Let us live nobly in love and resist the 
lie of Antichrist to the end. Let us make the 
Saviour Almighty our Helper, Whom no man can 
overcome, and Who will never forsake us so long 
as we ourselves do not forsake Him. He will give us 
an eternal reward to wit, the satisfaction of will, 
reason, memory, and all the senses of the body 
without stint. I write this to you (for I cannot 
conveniently come to you) that the priests may not 
thwart you in your religious duties and interfere with 
your good pleasure. Amen. 


(Without date: early in October 1412) 

Master John Hus, a servant of Jesus Christ in 
hope, to all that love God and confess His law, 
looking for the appearing of the Saviour, with 
whom they yearn to live for ever : grace and peace 
from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, Who 
gave Himself up as a sacrifice for our sins, to deliver 
us from this troublesome world and from eternal 
damnation according to the will of God the Father, 
to Whom be glory for ever. 1 Amen. 

Beloved, I thank God on hearing of your desire 
for God's word and your faithful progress therein ; 
and I pray that it may please Him to give you a 
perfect understanding that you may recognise the 
wiles and deceits of Antichrist and his ministers and 
not suffer yourselves to be drawn away from God's 

I trust that in His mercy He will fulfil the good 
work that has been begun in you and will not allow 
you to stray from His truth. Many have forsaken it 
in fear of danger, being in terror of miserable man 
rather than of Almighty God, Who hath the power 
to kill and make alive, to destroy and to save, and to 
preserve His faithful ones in divers sore perils, and to 
grant unto them the eternal life with joy unspeakable 
in return for a little momentary suffering. 

Therefore, dear friends, be not afraid or disturbed 
with terror because the Lord tries some of you by 
suffering the ministers of Antichrist to frighten you 
with their tyranny. For God Himself, in Proverbs, 
third chapter, saith to one of His servants : Be not 

1 A paraphrase of Gal. i. 4-5. 


afraid of sudden fear, nor of the power of the wicked 
falling upon thee. For the Lord will be at thy side, etc. 1 
And by His prophet David He saith : 2 / am with 
him in tribulation : I will deliver him and glorify 
him, etc. 

Knowing this, dear friends, count it all joy as 
St. James saith when you shall fall into divers 
temptations, knowing that the trying of your faith 
worketh patience, and patience hath a perfect work, that 
ye may be perfect and entire, failing in nothing. And 
afterward he saith : Blessed is the man that endureth 
temptation. For when he hath been proved he shall 
receive the crown of life which God hath promised to 
them that love him. 3 Stand, therefore, firmly in the 
truth which you know; do all things, whatsoever you 
do, as sons of God. Have confidence, because Christ 
hath conquered and you too will conquer. Remember 
Him "Who endured many persecutions at the hands of 
sinners that you fail not in your good desires; and, 
at the same time, laying aside every weight of sin, 
let us run to constant battle, considering Jesus, the 
author and finisher of our faith, who having joy set 
before him endured the shame of the cross, despising 
confusion and sitteth on the right hand of the throne of 

Seeing that the Creator, the King and Lord of all 
the world, not being constrained by the necessity 
of His divinity, did humble Himself by His humanity, 
He, albeit without sin, faithfully ministered to us 
sinners, bearing hunger, thirst, cold, heat, watchings, 
weakness, toils in teaching, and suffered dreadful 
insults at the hands of the bishops, 6 priests, and scribes, 

1 Prov. iii. 25-6. 2 Ps. xc. 15. Jas. i. 2-4, 12. 

* Heb. xii. 1-2. * Episoopis ; the reader will note this. 


so that they called Him gluttonous, winebibber, 
possessed of a devil, 1 and a blasphemer, saying : This 
man is not of God? Branding Him with heresy, they 
excommuicated Him, and leading Him outside the 
city, they crucified Him as a malefactor. 

If, therefore, Christ suffered such things at the 
hands of the priests, He that healed all sicknesses 
by His word, and Who without money and without 
price, 3 cast out devils, raised the dead, taught them 
the law of God, hurt no man in anything, and did 
no sin, except only that He exposed their wickedness, 
why do we wonder if to-day the ministers of Anti 
christ, who are more greedy, luxurious, cruel and 
crafty than the Pharisees, persecute God's servants, 
insult, curse, excommunicate, imprison, and kill 
them? 4 

You will remember that our King and Lord said : 
If the world hate you, kn&w ye that it hath hated me before 
you. If you had been of the world, the world would love 
its own ; but because you are not of the world, therefore 
the world hateth you. Remember my word that I said to 
you : The servant is not greater than his master. If they 
have persecuted me, they will also persecute you : if they 
have kept my word, they will keep yours also. But all 
these things they will do to you for my name's sake, 
because they know not him that sent me. b 

Mark ! You have the prophecy of our Saviour 
that His elect will suffer persecution of the world 
that is, of wicked men who know not God the 
Father and the Lord Jesus in truth. For though 
with their mouth they profess that they know God, 
yet by their evil works they deny him, as St. Paul 

1 Matt. xi. 19, 18. * John ix. 16. s A paraphrase of Isa. Iv. 1. 
4 A reference to the Three Martyrs, tupra, p. 78. 6 John xv. 18-21. 


saith to Titus : l Whose works are manifest* greed, 
simony, pride, luxury, the forsaking and despising 
of God's word; who set also the traditions of men 
above every word of God, caring naught for humility, 
poverty, temperance, and the love of Christ. 

Therefore the evil shall not cease to persecute the 
good so long as the war of Christ and Antichrist 
shall last in this world. For St. Paul saith : All 
that will live godly in Christ Jesus, shall suffer per 
secution. But evil men and seducers shall grow worse 
and worse, erring and driving into error. 3 

St. Paul means by these words that all the godly 
shall suffer persecution for Christ's sake. But evil 
men shall err and seduce others, and so shall fulfil 
their desires in evil-doing to their own destruction. 
Therefore, the Saviour prophesied of these in the 
words : Behold, I send you as sheep in the midst of 
wolves. Be ye therefore wise as serpents and simple as 
doves. But beware of men. For they will deliver you 
up in councils and they will scourge you in their 
synagogues. . . . The brother also shall deliver up the 
brother to death, and the father the son, and the children 
shall rise up against father and mother and shall put 
them to death. And they shall be hated by all men 
for my name's sake ; but he that shall persevere unto the 
end, he shall be saved. And when they shall persecute 
you in this city, flee into another* But this persecution 
shall last till the day of judgment. 

Therefore He saith further : Amen, I say to you, 
you shall not finish all the cities of Israel till the son of 
man come. The disciple is not above the master, nor the 

1 Tit. i. 16. P. following Hon. reads : cum negant. Ut semctus Paulus 
etc. This punctuation is manifestly wrong. 
1 Gal. v. 19. 2 Tim. iii. 12-13. 4 Matt. x. 16-17, 21-3. 


servant above his lord. If they have called the goodman 
of the house Beelzebub, how much more them of his 
household ? Therefore fear them not. 1 

These words the Lord spake to His disciples that 
they might be able to escape such snares, cheering 
their minds that they might be wise and recognise 
by their works the ravening wolves that would 
swallow up the whole world in their greed. 

Besides, He taught them how false prophets are 
recognised namely, by the fact that they do not 
agree with the true prophets either in their writings 2 
or in their works. Thus, there are false Christs 
who assert that they are Christ's chief disciples, 
while in their works they are His chief foes and 
adversaries. Therefore in all possible ways they 
attempt to crush God's word, because it reproves 
their contumacy, pride, greed, luxury, simony, and 
other evil works. 

They have accordingly attacked certain places of 
worship and chapels 3 to prevent the word of God 
being preached in them ; but Christ hath not suffered 
them to commit such a crime. I hear that they are 
now devising the destruction of the Bethlehem Chapel 
and are preventing preaching in other places of 
worship, where God's word is wont to be taught; 
but I trust God that they will accomplish nothing. 
At first they laid their gins, their citations, and 
anathemas for the Goose, and now they are lying 
in wait for some of you; but since the Goose, a 
tame creature and a domestic fowl with no power 

1 Matt. x. 23-6. 

* Scripturis. Either a loose use or false reading for scriptis, or else 
attracted, so to speak, by the preceding prophetis. 

* &wpra, p. 79. From the next paragraph we infer the date. 


to reach great heights in his flight, hath yet broken 
through their nets, we may the more confidently 
expect that other birds, which by God's word and 
by their lives soar to high places, will break their 
traps in pieces. They spread out their nets and 
struck terror with their anathema as with a wooden 
toy-hawk and they shot their fiery bolt from Anti 
christ's quiver, provided only they might hinder God's 
word and worship. But the more they seek to con 
ceal their true nature the oftener it betrays itself, 
and the more they strive to lay out their traditions 
like a net, the more they are broken through. In 
seeking to have the peace of the world, they lose 
both that and spiritual peace; in seeking to hurt 
others, they chiefly thwart themselves. 

They suffer, therefore, the fate of the priests and 
high priests of the Jews, in that they lost what they 
tried to keep and fell into the pit they wished to 
escape in supposing that they could overcome and 
crush the truth, which always conquers. For its 
very property and nature is such that the more it 
is obscured, the more it shines forth, and the more 
it is laid low, the more it is raised up. 

The high priests, priests, scribes, and Pharisees, 
the Herods, Pilate, and the people of Jerusalem con 
demned the Truth and gave Him to death and laid 
Him in the tomb ; but He rose again, overcame them 
all, and gave in His own stead twelve other preachers. 

And it is this same Truth Who hath sent to Prague, 
in the place of one feeble, weakly Goose, falcons and 
eagles, which surpass all other birds in the keenness 
of their sight. These, by God's grace, soar high and 
seize other birds for Christ Jesus, Who will strengthen 
these His servants and confirm all His faithful ones. 


For He saith : / am with you all days, even to the 
consummation of the world. 1 If then. He, the true 
God, is with us, our mighty and righteous Defender, 
who in his malice 2 would be able to withstand us ? 
What fear shall part us from Him ? or what death ? 
What shall we lose, if for His sake we lose wealth, 
friends, the world's honours, and our poor life ? 
Surely at last we shall be delivered from this misery 
to receive wealth a hundred-fold more splendid, 
friends far dearer, and a joy more perfect. Death 
will not rob us of these things. For whoso dies for 
Christ, he is conqueror, and is delivered from all 
misery, and attains the eternal joy to which may it 
please our Saviour to bring us all. 

This letter, dear brothers and sisters beloved, I 
write that you may be steadfast in the truth you have 
learnt and may have no fear of citations, and pay 
no less heed than before to the hearing of God's 
word by reason of the cruel threats they utter. 
For God is faithful, 3 Who will confirm and guard you 
from evil. 

Finally, beloved, I beseech you to pray for them 
who proclaim God's truth with grace. Pray for me 
also that I too may write and preach in fuller 
measure against the malice of Antichrist, and that 
God may put me in the forefront of the battle, if 
needs be, to defend His truth. 

For be assured I shrink not from yielding up this 
poor body to peril or death for the sake of God's 
truth, though I know that God's word hath no need 

1 Matt, xxviii. 20. 

* P. : militia, sua. Read with Mon., malitia sua, because of the sua* 
Othersrise ' in this warfare ' would make a better reading. 

Heb. x. 23. 


of us, nay, rather the truth of the gospel is spreading 
from day to day. 

But I desire to live for the sake of those who 
suffer violence and need the preaching of God's 
word, that the malice of Antichrist may be exposed 
in such wise that the godly can escape it. That is 
why I am preaching elsewhere and ministering to 
all such, knowing that the will of God is fulfilled in 
me, whether I die at the hands of Antichrist or on 
the bed of sickness. If I come to Prague, I am sure 
that my foes will be in wait for me and persecute 
you. For they do not serve God themselves, and 
they prevent others from serving Him. But let us 
pray God for them, that if there be any of the 
elect among them, they may be turned to the 
knowledge of the truth. 

May God grant to you understanding in the things 
I write, and perseverance withal ! May it please Him 
to fulfil your desires with every blessing by the 
merits of Jesus Christ, who suffered for us a most 
shameful and cruel death, leaving us an example 1 
that we should suffer in like manner according to His 
will. Amen. 

( Without date : October (?) 1412) 

Master John Hus, a servant of Jesus Christ, to all 
who are at Prague, grace and peace from Jesus 
Christ ! With my whole heart I earnestly desire that 
you may be free from all sin through Jesus Christ, 
and overcome the world, the flesh, and the devil, 
setting at naught the vanities of this world. May 
1 1 Pet. ii. 21. 



you, through the grace of Jesus Christ, in a spirit of 
goodwill suffer all things for salvation's sake, and so 
be able to persevere in your afflictions, even to the 
end. This is the burden of my entreaty on your 
behalf, for I always make mention of you in my 
prayers. It was for this that I laboured among you 
in the word of God for more than twelve years, 1 as 
God is my witness; and it was the best comfort I 
could have, when I learnt of your diligence in hearing 
God's word and marked the real and sincere penitence 
of many among you. 

Therefore, dear friends, I beseech you, by the 
passion of Christ, to keep His gospel and hold it fast, 
and to bring forth fruit as you advance in all the things 
which in those days I rehearsed to you. Do not 
vacillate and waver in your minds. Moreover, give 
no heed to those who have entered upon an uncertain 
path and have taken a different turning, and who 
are now the keenest opponents of God and of my 

But you know, dear friends, that Christ's disciples, 
who dwelt in His company, turned aside and walked 
no more with Him. 2 Christ, indeed, came to separate 
men from another. As He Himself saith : / came to 
set a man at variance against his father and the daughter 
against her mother. 3 And again : You shall be betrayed 
for My name's sake by all men* And that we may 
not be moved by their rejection and terrified by 
persecution or death, the Saviour presently adds : 

1 According to Hus's own statement, the first year of his preaching 
was 1401 (JMon. i. 39J). He was elected to the Bethlehem March 14, 
1402. Hus is here reckoning, therefore, from his appointment to priest's 
orders in 1400. 

2 John vi. 67 (A.V. vi. 66). Matt, x 35. 4 Luke xzi. 17. 


But a hair of your head shall not perish: in your 
patience you shall possess your souls. 1 If then a 
single hair shall not perish, how then can the faithful 
perish? Therefore, dear friends, study to keep the 
true faith and the sure hope. Stand firmly in the 
love of God's word and cleave to it with earnest 
desire, listening to those whom the Saviour hath sent, 
that they may preach His gospel to you with fearless 
constancy, and withstand ravening wolves and false 
prophets. It is concerning these that Christ speaks to 
the faithful ones in the words : Many false prophets shall 
arise and shall seduce many. 2 Christ bids the faithful 
beware of them, and teaches how they can be recog 
nised to wit, by their fruits, which are pride, 
fornication, greed, simony, contempt of God's word 
and persecution of the faithful, backbiting, sycophancy 7 
zeal for the traditions of men, etc. 

Now, such wear sheep's clothing ; 3 they put on the 
name and office of the Christian ; and being within 
ravening wolves* they mangle and tear the flock of 
Christ. It was of these wolves that Christ spake to 
His disciples : Behold (saith He), I send you as sheep in 
the midst of wolves. Be ye -therefore wise as serpents and 
simple as doves. 5 They had to be wise as serpents, 
He said, so as not to suffer themselves to be deceived 
and to slay within them Christ their Head ; and 
simple as doves, so as to endure with patience the 
cruelty of wolves. Mark, dear friends, what a clear 
exposure of the wolves we have here, ay, and of their 
doctrine, so that we may not suffer ourselves to be 
enticed by them from the way of Christ, whereby 
we hasten to attain the joys of heaven. Preserve and 

1 Luke xxi. 18, 19. 2 Matt. xxiv. 11. * Matt. vii. 15. 

4 n. 5 Matt. x. 16. 


guard faith, hope, charity, humility, gentleness, justice, 
modesty, temperance, sobriety, patience, 1 and the other 
virtues which adorn our lives with noble conduct and 
works. Rejoice in that you suffer persecution. 2 For 
Christ saith : Blessed are they tfcat 'mourn : for they shall 
be comforted? Blessed are ye when men hate you* 
excommunicate and cast you out with anathemas for 
the sake of God's word. Rejoice in that day : for great 
is your reward in heaven. 6 "Who, then, having faith, 
hope, and charity, would not for the Saviour's sake 
undergo all such insults and shame, when he is sure 
of receiving a hundredfold in life eternal ? 

Looking, therefore, as you do for these things, you 
will remember what Christ said : There shall be tribula 
tion, such as hath not been from the beginning of the 
world until now, neither shall be. 6 How so ? The 
apostle himself gives us the reason : For (saith he) 
there shall be a time when they will not endure 7 sound 
doctrine, but according to their own desires they will heap 
to themselves teachers having itching ears, and will indeed 
turn away their hearing from, ike truth, but will join 
themselves* unto fables. 9 

This prophecy of St. Paul you now see with your 
own eyes already fulfilled. For elsewhere He saith : 
All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer per 
secution. But impious men and seducers will grow 
worse and worse. 10 

Therefore, dear friends, as St. Peter exhorteth: 
Take heed lest, being led aside by the error of the unwise, 
you fall from your own steadfastness ; but grow in the 

1 Gal. vi. 22-3. 2 Matt. v. 10 * Matt. v. 5. 

4 Luke vi. 22. * Ib. Matt. xxiv. 21. 

7 Mon. P. : m non recipient ; read with Vulgate : cum. 

8 Connectent. 2 Tim. iv. 3-4. 10 2 Tim. iii. 12-13. 


grace of God and in the knowledge of our Lord and 
Saviour Jesus Christ. 1 Pray God for me that it may 
please Him to grant me prosperity and success in 
preaching His word in all places where necessity shall 
demand in cities, towns, villages, castles, fields, 
forests wherever I can be of help, that the word of 
God may not be put to silence within me. 2 

Salute 3 one another and comfort one another in the 
grace of God the Father and of His dearly beloved Son 
and of His Holy Spirit. He can guard you from sin 
and settle you in eternal joy : to whom be praise and 
glory for ever. Amen. 

(Without date: October 1412) 

To the faithful who are zealous for the Lord Jesus 
Christ and His word, dwelling in the city of Prague : 
Master John Hus, a priest unprofitable, yet having 
a desire for thei** perseverance in the love of God. 

Dar friends, it is because of my strong desire that 
I beseech you not to draw back from the truth, the 
knowledge of which the Saviour in His mercy hath 
generously bestowed upon you. I trust indeed that 
the Lord will perfect what He hath begun in you the 
elect, and will grant unto you perseverance when you 
are tempted. For myself, likewise, I trust in the 
kindly goodness of our Saviour, although now I can say 
with the apostle, that to me to live is Christ and to die 
gain : and if to live in the flesh, this is to me the fruit of 
labour : and what I shall choose, I know not. But I am 
straitened between two, having a desire to be dissolved 

1 2 Pet. iii. 17-18 ; very inexact. * Cf. supra, p. 86. 

P. : Salvate ; read with Mon. : Salutate. 


and to be with Christ, a thing by far the better. But to 
abide still in the flesh is needful for you. 1 So wrote the 
apostle to the Philippians, when confined in a Roman 
prison. In like manner, dearly beloved, I say to you, 
though not yet shut up in prison, that I would gladly 
die for Christ and be with Him; and yet I desire 
to labour for your salvation and what I shall choose, 
I know not, 2 awaiting the mercy of God. I fear, how 
ever, that much ill may be wrought among you and 
that the faithful may suffer, while the wicked may 
lose their souls. The latter are now rejoicing and 
demanding that not only should the word of God be 
silenced within me, but also that the place of God's 
word the Bethlehem should be closed by force. 3 
But is it possible that the Lord Almighty will grant 
them what they are asking for? Even though He 
suffer them by reason of the crimes of wicked men, 
as He did in Bethlehem, where He was born, and in 
Jerusalem, where He "redeemed us, let us still sound 
abroad the praise of His glory, humbling ourselves 
under His power; He is with those who love Him, 
and delivers them that suffer in His behalf and 
reserves His scorners for perpetual fire. Hence it is, 
dear friends in the Lord, that I beseech you not 
to fail through weariness, but rather to entreat the 
Saviour to grant to us perseverance in that which 
is good. Let us trust His unbounded goodness that 
He will liberate His word and give us help against 
Antichrist, against whom by the help of your prayers, 
please Christ, I will wage war with God's word for 
my weapon. Peace and love, advancement in all that 
is good, and hereafter eternal life in glory be unto 
you from our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen. 

1 Phil. i. 21-4. 2 Ib. s Fuste. For the incident, see supra, p. 79. 


( Without date : December 1412 1 ) 

Master John Hus, priest and servant of the Lord 
Jesus Christ in hope, to all the faithful who are doing 
penance in grace and in suffering, waiting for the 
Advent of the Son of God ; 2 for the Son of God, 
ivhen He cometh with the holy angels, will render to 
every man according to His merits. 3 

Dear friends, strengthen your hearts, since the 
Advent of the Lord will soon be drawing near. You 
know, dear friends, that the Lord Jesus hath come 
once already. Knowing this, ponder upon it in your 
hearts and stablish yourselves in grace and patience. 
Ponder, dear friends, upon the fact, that the Founder 
and Lord of the world, the Word of God, God 
eternal and immortal, humbled Himself and was made 
man for us sinners, Himself to be unto such as are 
faithful a faithful servant. The great Physician 
came to heal our monstrous wound. The Lord 
omnipotent came, not to put the living to death, but 
to raise to life the dead, and to deliver the elect from 
everlasting death. The King of the world and the 
great High Priest came to fulfil the law of God by His 
works. He came into the world, not to lord over 
it, but to give His life a ransom /or many* He 
came not as a merchantman laden with the profits of 
greed, and not to heap together worldly goods, but to 
deliver from the devil with His own blood a people 

1 This is labelled in the Ep. Piissima and Mon. " Secunda Epistola." 
It is, however, evidently written after his second departure from Prague 
(supra, p. 83). The text in the Monumenta has been hopelessly doctored. 
Better in HSfler, ii. 215. 

2 P. : In adventufilii Dei ; read in adventum. 
1 Matt. xvi. 27. * Matt. xx. 28. 


that had been sold tinder sin. He came, the All- 
powerful, to suffer under Pilate's power at the hand 
of bishops, 1 priests, elders, and religious men the 
most cruel and shameful of deaths, and to snatch us 
from the power of the devil. He came not to destroy 
the elect, but to save them, as He Himself saith : 
I am come that they may have life and may have it 
more abundantly* that they may have a life of holiness 
and peace, and have it more abundantly, after death, 
in joy eternal. It is My elect not the proud, the 
fornicators, the greedy, the wrathful, the envious, 
the world-sick, 3 the foes of My word and My 
life but it is My elect that hear and keep My 
word and suffer with Me in grace. 

Such is the dignity of the Saviour's Advent ! 
Ponder upon it, dear friends, in the depths of 
your hearts. Strengthen your hearts in grace and 
patience, if haply the Advent of the Lord leading 
on to judgment draws near. Stablish your hearts, 
dear friends, in grace, patience, and virtue. For the 
judgment is at hand, and the Judge is the most wise, 
just, and awful wise, because His wisdom is never 
deceived 4 just, because He is not moved aside by 
gift, fear, or favour. And there will come with Him 
the apostles, sworn to be just, and appointed here with 

1 JBpiscopis (sic). 2 John x. 10. 

Accidiosi i.e., those suffering from the mediaeval and monastic vice 
acedia. It is difficult to translate, as we have lost the (Chaucerian) 
English equivalent, " accidie." It is significant that the Eeformation 
Monumenta omits this clause. Acedia was much dwelt on by monastic 
writers as one of their besetments. A full discussion of its nature will 
be found in Cassian, Instits. x. ; Aquinas, Summa II. ii. q. 35 ; Paget, 
Spirit of Discipline. 

* The Man. paraphrases quern Philosophi et scientuli hujus mundi 
non fraudabunt. This is characteristic of their whole text. 


Him to a death that was no death. Ay, and there is 
at hand the judgment of a Judge most awful, at 
Whose bidding necessity will be laid upon all men 
to publish their evil deeds to the whole world, 1 and 
by Whose will their souls and bodies will be burned 
in everlasting fire. What He wills, He will behold 2 
to wit, their everlasting perdition in darkness and in 
the abode of devils, while they will also hear from 
His own lips the just sentence : Depart from me, ye 
cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the 
devil and his angels. 3 Here, then, dear friends, are 
the two things to be pondered the dignity of His 
first Advent, the justice and awfulness ; of His second 
Advent ! Strengthen your hearts in grace and in 
suffering. If you suffer aught, consider what I have 
said. Lift up your heads that is, your purposes 
because your redemption draweth nigh* your redemption 
from every misery. The just Judge will call you 
away from it all when He utters the words : Come, 
ye blessed of my Father, receive the kingdom. 5 Which 
kingdom may it be yours and mine withal to receive 
at the good pleasure of the Lord Jesus, the merci 
ful, awful, comforting Judge, very God and man, 
blessed for ever. Amen. 


( Without date : December 1412) 

Master John Hus, in hope a servant of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, to all His lovers. May it please God 
the Father, blessed for ever, to grant unto you the 

1 P., H. : ad cvju* nutum necessitabuntur omnes nequitias vuat 
univerto orbi propalare. 

2 The text seems hopeless. P., H. : quorum velle perditionem eeternam 
in tencbris ad cohabitandum dcemonibiis intuebitur. 

1 Mabt. xxv. 41. 4 Lukexxi. 28. Matt. xxv. 34. 


forgiveness of sins, confirmation in that which is 
good, and eternal salvation hereafter. 

Dear friends, the commemoration of our Lord's 
Nativity is at hand. Therefore, cleanse the inward 
parts of your house 1 from sins in so far as you are 
able. Diligently and thankfully listen to God's word; 
give no heed to our carping critics who forbid you 
from attending the Bethlehem to listen to sermons. 2 
Formerly, however, they used to draw you away 
on my account. Now they are without a reason, 
but assert that I have taken to flight, which I did 
of my own will in order to stablish the word and 
example of Christ. His " word " because He said : 
If they will not receive your word in one city, flee 
into another, and going forth out of that city shake 
off the dust from your feet 3 as a testimony against 
them. And elsewhere He saith : When you are per 
secuted in one city, flee into another* Again, when 
they drove Him from their midst and sought to slay 
Him, He several times fled ; and especially when they 
wished to take Him, John, tenth chapter, writes how 
he escaped out of their hands and went again beyond 
the Jordan into that place where John was baptising 
first, and there he abode. 6 Also in chapter xiii. 6 the 
same John writes that while they were devising to put 
Him to death He walked no more openly among the 
Jews, but he went into a country near the desert unto 
a city that is called Ephrem, and there he abode with his 
disciples. The Jews also sought for him, 7 and they 

1 So P., H. ; Mon., as usual, paraphrases. 

2 P., H. : ne super sermone in B. ambuletis. Paraphased in Mon. , 
which throughout is valueless. 

8 Matt. x. 14. 4 Matt. x. 24. John x. 39-40. 

4 Really John xi. 54. Hus is evidently quoting from memory. 
7 Inaccurately quoted from John xi. 56. 


discoursed one with another, standing in the temple: 
What think you, that he is not come to the festival 
day? And the chief princes of the priests and the 
Pharisees had given a commandment that if any man 
knew where he was he should point him out that he 
might be apprehended. This is how John writes. 

It is not, therefore, wonderful that I followed His 
example in fleeing, and that the priests are inquiring 
and discoursing with one another and others in like 
manner, as to where I am. Besides, dear friends, if I 
have fled in accordance with Christ's teaching, it is 
that I may not be an occasion of eternal damnation 
to the wicked and a cause of suffering and tribulation 
to the good, and also that madmen might not 
hinder the sacred work. But as for fleeing from the 
truth why, I trust that the Lord will give me an 
opportunity of dying in the same truth. 

You know that it behoved Christ to suffer, 1 as He 
Himself testifies, at the time appointed to Him of 
His Father. Therefore, hold to it firmly that it 
shall be done as it pleases the Lord to work with me, 
so that if I shall be found worthy of death, it will 
please Him to call me to this ; but if it shall please 
Him to prolong my preaching to His people, why, all 
these things are stored up 2 in His power and will. 

Perhaps they would be glad to see me in the 
city of Prague that those who are touched to the 
quick by holy preaching against greed, luxury, and 
pride might find excuse for neglecting the hours, 
the masses, and the other offices ; 3 but you who are 
zealous for God's word, to which you are being 

1 Heb. ix. 26. 

2 Reposita sunt ; smoothed in the Man., as usual, into situm est. 

3 i.e., by resuming the interdict. 


conformed, would be glad in your love to see me 
a neighbour, so to speak, to you, for your good. 1 
In like manner I too would like to see you and 
preach G-od's word to you, for it is in this that the 
other priests also ought to show their greatest 
earnestness. "Woe to the priests who count the word 
of God as naught ! "Woe to those who are supposed 
to preach and do not preach ! "Woe to those who 
hinder from preaching and hearing ! But praise be 
to those who hear the word and keep it, for it is 
Christ that gives to them His indulgences, saying : 
Blessed are they who hear the word of God and keep 
it. 2 May this blessedness and this hearing be granted 
to you by the good pleasure of God the Father, Son, 
and Holy Ghost, eternally one God, blessed for 
ever. Amen. 

(December 25, 1412) 

Dear friends, although I am now separated from 
you, because perchance I am unworthy to preach 
much to you, nevertheless the love which I bear 
towards you urges me to write at least some brief 
words to my loved ones. 3 

Lo ! dear friends, to-day, as it were, an angel is 
saying to the shepherds : I bring you good tidings of 
great joy that shall be to all people.* And suddenly a 
multitude of angels breaks into praise, saying : Qlory 
to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men of 
goodwill 1 5 

1 Hus is evidently hinting at an intended secret visit. See supra, 
p. 85, and cf. p. 147. 

8 Luke xi. 28. 3 Verbula vestra dicam caritati. 

4 Luke ii. 10 ; inexact. 8 Luke ii. 14. 


As you commemorate these things, dear friends, 
rejoice that to-day God is born a man, that there 
may be glory to God in the highest and on earth 
peace to men of goodwill. Rejoice that to-day the 
infinitely Mighty is born a child, that there may be 
glory to God in the highest, etc. Rejoice that to-day 
a Reconciler is born to reconcile man to God, that 
there may be glory to God in the highest, etc. 
Rejoice that to-day He is born to cleanse sinners 
from their sin, to deliver them from the devil's power, 
to save them from eternal perdition, and to bring 
them to eternal joy, that there may be glory to God 
in the highest, etc. Rejoice with great joy that 
to-day is born unto us a King, to bestow in its fulness 
upon us the heavenly kingdom, a Bishop to grant 
His eternal benediction, a Father of the ages to come, 
to keep us as His children by His side for ever : yea, 
there is born a Brother beloved, a wise Master, a 
sure Leader, a just Judge, to the end that there may 
be glory to God in the highest, etc. Rejoice, ye 
wicked, that God is born as a Priest, "Who hath granted 
to every penitent absolution from all sins, that there 
may be glory, etc. Rejoice that to-day the Bread of 
Angels that is, God is made the Bread of men, to 
revive 1 the starving with His Body, that there may 
be peace among them, and on earth, etc. Rejoice 
that God immortal is born, that mortal man may live 
for ever. Rejoice that the rich Lord of the Universe 
lies in a manger, like a poor man, that he may make 
us rich. Rejoice, dearly beloved, that what the 
prophets prophesied has been fulfilled, that there may 
be glory to God in the highest, etc. Rejoice that 
there is born to us a Child all-powerful, and that a 
1 Refocilkt. Cf. Vulgate, 1 Eeg. xvi. 23. 


Son is given to us, all-wise and gracious, that there 
may be glory to God in the highest, etc. Oh, dear 
friends, ought there ; to be but a moderate rejoicing 
over these things ? Nay, a mighty joy ! Indeed, the 
angel saith : -Z bring you good tidings of great joy, for 
that there is born a Redeemer from all misery, a 
Saviour of sinners, a Governor of His faithful ones ; 
there is born a Comforter of the sorrowful, and there 
is given to us the Son of God that we may have 
great joy, and that there may be glory to God in the 
highest and on earth peace to men of goodwill. 
May it please God, born this day, to grant to us this 
goodwill, this peace, and withal this joy ! 

(Without date: January (?) 1413) 

Master John Hus, priest and servant in hope of 
the Lord Jesus Christ, to all the faithful ones that 
hear His word in the city of Prague : grace to you 
and peace from God the Father and the Lord Jesus 

Dear friends, I beseech you to fail not through 
weariness, because I am not with you and because of 
my excommunication, if they carry it out. I, indeed, 
trust in the kindness of the Saviour that all this will 
work out for good 2 both to myself and you alike. 
Only let us guard ourselves from sin and be deeply 
concerned about those who thwart God and His 
word, supposing that they are doing right after the 
manner of the Jews, who crucified Christ and stoned St. 

1 The text of this letter is hopelessly corrupt, and the meaning in 
places is very obscure. The text in the Mon. is a mere paraphrase. 
z Bom. viii. 28. 


Stephen: of whom Christ, nay St. Stephen also, saith : 
They know not what they do. 1 Am I hurt at all because 
in a blasphemous back-hand fashion they preach a 
crusade against me, 2 make a covenant with Judas, 
throw stones at the Host, and so beget vexation for 
themselves ? May the Lord God grant that they do 
not excommunicate themselves. They planned out 
these devices in order to frighten the simple and lead 
them away just as they pleased ; but the Lord 
Almighty will give the faithful to know what it all 
means, so that they may recognise that it is a mere 
invention of their minds and not a command from the 
Lord : so that also they may pray for those who are 
in error and proclaim that they will be excommuni 
cated of God: only they must not behave in God's 
temple in this blasphemous way towards those who 
do them no harm. They pick up stones not knowing 
what they mean by so doing ; but they throw stones, 
as is recorded in their own writings, 3 in memory of 
the eternal damnation of Dathan and Abyron, 4 who 
thrust themselves into the priesthood, though of 
inferior dignity; and who therefore by their over 
throw foreshadow the overthrow of all priests that 
have thrust themselves into the priesthood for the 
sake of riches, luxuries, and honours. They make a 
covenant with the sons of Judas, so that they be 
come notable sons of Judas themselves. They are 
all guilty of simony, excommunicated of God, Who 
looks upon those whose own downfall will be caused 

1 Luke xxiii. 34 ; cf. Acts vii. 59. 

1 Quod blaspheme modo retrogrado crucem deferunt. The meaning is 
obscure, but seems determined by a complaint of Jesenicz written 
December 18, 1412 ; see Man. i. 331, Repetitio pro defens. JIus. 

* P. : in cutibus ; read codicibus. 

4 Sic, as in Vulgate, Numb. xvi. 1. 


by the excommunication they themselves pronounce. 
And seeing that there is a multitude of people ex 
communicated of God, therefore it is, dear friends, 
that we should flee His excommunication and entreat 
His grace, that it may please Him to keep us in His 
benediction. Any other excommunication cannot 
harm us one whit : but rather will the Bishop "Who 
is above all bishops 1 grant us His benediction, 
saying : Come, ye blessed of my Father, receive the 
kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the 
world. 2 Which benediction, dear friends, let us pray 
for, seek, and await by living good lives, that we may 
withal abide for ever in infinite joy, through the 
mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, . who is God and 
man, blessed for ever. 3 Amen. 

(Without date : January (?) 1413) 

Master John Hus, an unprofitable servant of God, 
to all the elect and to those who are zealous for 
the Lord Jesus Christ and His word, dwelling in 
the city of Prague : grace, mercy, and peace from 
God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, our 

Dear friends, I greatly rejoice in this, that you 
constantly attend the preaching of God's word, and 
that the merciful Saviour is granting to you leaders 
powerful in the truth. May it therefore please the 
Almighty to bestow upon you grace, mercy, and 

1 There is of course a subtle reference to the Pope's excommunication 
in this phrase. 

2 Matt. xxv. 34 ; very different from Vulgate. 
1 Bom. iz. 6. 


peace through our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ ; 
grace for your good, that you may make good pro 
gress in that same grace, in like manner as you have 
begun, and come to a profitable issue therein : mercy to 
be kept in your remembrance and gratefully received, 
seeing that the Eternal God, the supreme Goodness, 
for us sinners deigned to become man, afflicted, spat 
upon, shamefully entreated, condemned of His own, 
vilely rejected in such wise that the common people, 
led away by the counsel of the priests and 
having to choose between two, chose, instead of 
Jesus the innocent Saviour, a robber and villainous 
homicide, and placed the Saviour in such derision 
and shame that He uttered a lamentation in the 
words of Jeremiah : Hear, I pray you, all ye people 
and see my sorrow. And again : all ye that pass 
by the way, attend and see if there be any sorrow like to 
my sorrow. 1 Also He cried to His Father saying : 
God, why hast thou forsaken me ? 2 Such was 
indeed His cry, as He hung on the cruel and 
shameful cross and suffered the blasphemy of the 
priests, who surrounded the cross and shouted and 
hissed out the mocking words : He trusted in God : 
let him now deliver him. 3 Vah,* thou that destroyest 
the temple of God . . . come down from the cross! 6 
But His cry was: God, My God, why hast thou 
forsaken me? It is that cry that calls upon us to 
mark His boundless mercy, to suffer blasphemy in 
the spirit of love along with Him, and to be thank 
ful for the mercy wherewith He redeemed us from 
everlasting damnation. 

Such, then, is the mercy that comes to you from 

1 Lam. i. 14 ; i. 18. 2 Matt, xxvii. 46. 3 Matt, xxvii. 43. 

4 So Douai. Matt, xxvii. 40. 



God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ our 
Saviour, Who grants you also peace. Our Master, 
the Peacemaker, taught His disciples to be peace 
makers, so that, in whatsoever house they entered, 
they were to say : Peace be to you. 1 When He 
rose from the dead and entered into the midst of 
them, He said: Peace be to you? When, too, He 
was minded to depart from them to His death, He 
said: Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto 
you. 3 After His manner, therefore, I desire peace 
for you also, dear friends peace to you from Him, 
that you may live virtuous lives and overcome the 
devil, the world, and the flesh peace to you from 
Him, that you may love one another, ay, and your 
enemies* peace to you, that that you may peace 
ably hear His word peace to you, that you may 
speak with discretion peace to you, that you may 
know how how to be silent with advantage. For he 
that hears in a humble spirit, doth not contend in 
a cause with malice ; he that speaks with discretion, 
overcomes the contentious ; he that keeps silence 
to good purpose, doth not quickly wound his 
conscience. For these reasons peace be unto you, 
grace and mercy grace that preserves from sin ; 
mercy that delivers from eternal fire and the peace 
of eternal repose in the eternal joy, which comes to 
all the faithful after this paltry life from God the 
Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, our Saviour, to 
whom be praise for ever and ever. 5 Amen. 

1 Matt. x. 12. 2 John xx. 26. 3 John xiv. 27. 

4 Matt. v. 44. 5 Gal. i. 5. 



( Without date : after February 6, 1413 l ) 

Against the Judgment of the Doctors. 2 

The persons who have falsely defamed Bohemia, 
both before the Pope and in other quarters, or are 
doing so even now, declaring that in Bohemia there 
are many heretics or wanderers from the faith of 
Christ, ought by right to point out these wanderers 
from the faith and prove their guilt. If they fail to 
prove their guilt and do not withdraw their defama 
tion of the kingdom, they ought to be punished 
as betrayers of the fair fame of the Bohemian 
people. For whereas the doctors in their judgment 
record that the Bohemians who utter the calum 
nies, are certain clergymen in Bohemia that hold 
views concerning the sacraments differing from 
the Holy Catholic Church ; secondly, whereas they 
assert that some persons in Bohemia refuse to 
abide by the faith and law of the Holy Catholic 
Church ; thirdly, whereas they assert that certain 
persons do not obey their prelates and persuade the 
people not to hold in honour the authority of the 
Pope, bishops, and priests (though they ought to 
judge as in error or a heretic a man who holds a 
different opinion concerning the sacraments, and 
refuses to think or believe as the Holy Church doth) ; 
whereas, then, the doctors assert that there are certain 
heretics or persons in error in Bohemia, therefore 
they ought to point them out clearly and prove their 

1 See upra, p. 83. It is characteristic that this letter is written in 

2 This Consilium doctorum will be found in Doc. 475-85. It was put 
in, both in Latin and Czech, on February 6. 


guilt, and, failing this, to undergo punishment as 
guilty of defamation and betrayers of the fair fame 
of the kingdom of Bohemia. 

The doctors also state that each person is bound 
to obey his prelate, provided that he command not 
what is really bad, or forbid what is really good. 
This very thing they themselves failed to do, when 
the Pope commanded them to elect Master Maurice 
into their order. 1 They would not obey the Pope 
in this matter. Moreover, they themselves and the 
other priests will not obey the King of Bohemia, 
their chief prelate, 2 or give a tenth, although he 
neither commands what is bad in itself nor forbids 
what is really good. His Majesty also can, by rights, 
give orders that the sacred offices are not to be 
interrupted on account of the preaching of Master 
Hus ; and the priests ought to obey in this matter, 
for it is not an action bad in itself to serve God. 

Furthermore, they censure the forty-five articles 
against the ecclesiastical order, though no one is 
allowed to censure an error, except the Holy Church 
alone. Master Stanislaus and Master Palecz formerly 
held and defended many of these articles, until they 
became afraid of the secular arm. 

They state also that because they excommunicate 
Master Hus by the Fope's authority, he is justly 
excommunicated, although they know that the priests 
drew up the excommunication acting on false counsels. 

1 Marik Rwacka (Maurice) obtained a grace from Innocent VII. giving 
him the degree at Prague of S.T.P. The faculty at first was unwilling to 
grant the demand. Mauritius was one of the deputation sent in October 
1408 to the cardinals at Bologna (supra, p. 73). On his return he 
became episcopal inquisitor at Prague. 

2 This phrase marks the influence of Wyclif's De Officio Regit. Cf. 
op. ait. pp. 9-14. 


Furthermore, they state that though the rector ex 
communicates some of the doctors, they themselves 
are not involved in the excommunication, thereby 
defaming others and exalting themselves. 1 

Their judgment, therefore, inasmuch as it is dis 
graceful, should be rejected. 


( Without date : early 1413) 

Worshipful rector, gracious master and father, I 
am greatly comforted by your letter, in which among 
other things you write : Whatever shall befall the just 
manj it shall not make him sad. 2 And again : All that 
tvill live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution. 3 
From these words you infer that I am not broken, 
cast down, and saddened, but strengthened, uplifted, 
and gladdened by the tribulations of the moment 
and the absence of my friends. Very thankfully do 
I welcome this comfort, as I ponder the first sentence 
of the Scriptures you have quoted. For if I am just, 
nothing whatever shall make me so sad as to cause me 
to fall from the truth. But if / live godly in Christ 
and will so to do, then I must suffer persecution in 
Christ's name. For if it behoved Christ to suffer and so 
to enter into His glory* it must needs be that we poor 
creatures should bear a cross and so imitate Him 
in His sufferings. 

I assure you, therefore, worshipful lord rector, that 
persecution would never make me weary, if only I 

1 John of Jesenicz Lad already (December 18, 1412) dwelt on this 
See Man. i. 329a. 

2 Prov. xii. 21. * 2 Tim. iii. 12. 4 Luke xxiv. 46 ; xxiv. 26. 


did not feel my sins and the confusion of Christian 
people. For what harm can I suffer by the loss of 
this world's riches, which are but dung ? * Or by the 
withdrawal of the world's favour, which makes us 
fall away from the path of Christ ? Or by the attacks 
which, when humbly endured, cleanse and purify 
the sons of Q-od, so that they shine like the sun in 
the kingdom of their Father ? 2 Or by the taking of 
my poor life, which is but death ; for he that loses his 
life in this world puts death away and finds 3 his true 

Yet men do not think of these things, being 
blinded by pride, fame, self-seeking, and greed ; and 
some have been turned from the truth by fear, when 
there was nothing to fear. For bereft of patience, 
and thus of love and every virtue, they waste away in 
strange perplexity of mind, because they feel con 
strained on the one hand by their knowledge of the 
truth, on the other hand by the fear of losing their 
good name and risking their poor body even to death. 
I will risk my own, I trust, for the Lord Jesus, if in His 
mercy I have opportunity. I have no wish to live on 
in this evil world, if I cannot call myself and others 
to repentance according to God's good pleasure. 
This is the burden of my prayer for you also, and I 
beseech you in Christ Jesus, with all your fellow- 
members of the University, to be prepared for a 
battle ; for the reconnoitres of Antichrist have 
already begun, and the fight will soon follow. The 
Goose also must needs flap his wings against the 
wings of Behemoth, and against his tail, which always 
conceals the abomination of the beast Antichrist. 
Who is the tail ? The prophet showeth in the words : 

1 Phil. iii. 8. 2 Matt. xiii. 43. Matt. x. 39. 


The prophet that teacheth lies, he is the tail ; the aged and 
honourable, he is the head. The Lord shall destroy the 
head and the tail 1 that is, the Pope 2 and his prophets, 
masters, doctors, priests, who under the false pretext 
of sanctity conceal the abomination of the beast. 
Pray, what greater abomination can there be than 
a harlot who should parade herself and offer herself 
publicly ? Yes, there is the still greater abomination 
of the beast sitting in a place of honour and offering 
himself for worship to all comers, as though he were 
God : ready to sell whatever a man may wish to buy 
in matters spiritual. 3 Yea, he sells what he doth not 
possess. "Woe be to me, then, if I shall not preach, 
weep, and write against such an abomination ! Woe 
is me ! See to it yourself also. To whom is there 
not woe? The flying eagle 4 cries : woe, woe, woe to 
the men that dwell upon the earth ! 


(Without date : after April 1413 s ) 

Greetings from the Lord Jesus Christ ! Christ the 
Lord helping me, I will not accept the judgment of 
the theological faculty, though I stand before a fire 
prepared for me. I hope that death will take either 

1 Isa. ix. 15, 14. This is a favourite thought in the writings of the 
times : cf. Milicz, Anatomia Antichristi (in Hon. i. 362*.) ; also 
Sermones de Antichristo, ib. ii. 82 (both works wrongly attributed to 
Hus) ; cf. Wyclif, De Antichristo, 1. i. c. ix. (in Op. Evang. iii. 34). 

2 Wyclif calls the Pope " caput Antichristi " in Polem. Works, i. 243, 
Trialogus, 424. 

* The allusion in this strong language is of course to John XXIII. 
4 Rev. iv. 7. Cf . De Evangelica Perfectione, c. i., in Mon. i. 4790, in 
which we have a lengthy allegorical interpretation of the " flying eagle." 
4 i.e. after the fruitless meeting at the house of Christian ; see p. 84. 


me or the two who have deserted the truth, to heaven 
or to hell, before I agree with their views. For I 
know that both in previous times loyally confessed 
the truth according to Christ's gospel ; but, stricken 
with terror, they turned to flattery of the Pope 
and to lies. Palecz calls us Wyclinsts, 1 as if we 
were straying from the entire faith of Christendom, 
and Stanislaus calls us infidels, traitors, madmen, 
and an accursed clergy. But I would pay no heed 
to this, provided they were not confirming Anti 
christ in his wickedness. But I hope with God's 
grace, if needs be, to set myself against them even 
to the lighting of a fire. And if I cannot deliver 
the truth in spite of all I do, at least I refuse to 
be the enemy of the truth and will resist to the 
death all agreement with falsehood. Let the world 
run its course, as God permits. It is better to die 
well than to live badly. "We must not sin to avoid the 
punishment of death. To end in grace the present 
life is to be banished from misery. He that adds 
knowledge, adds labour. He that speaks the truth, 
is smitten on his own head. He that fears death, 
loses the joys of life. Above all else, truth is 
conqueror. He conquers, who is slain : for no 
adversity hurts him if no iniquity hath dominion 
over him. For the apostle Peter saith : W. ho is he 
that can hurt you, if you be zealous of good % 2 
Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, 3 saith the 
Truth. My brethren, count it all joy when you shall 
fall into divers temptations: 4 ' blessed is the man that 
endureth temptation, for when he hath been proved he 

I Loserth has shown ( Wyclif and Hus, pp. 83-5) that until after the 
death of Bus this was the usual title of the Bohemian reformers. 

I 1 Pet. iii. 18. s Matt. v. 11. 4 Jas. i. 2. 


shall receive the crown of life. 1 These are my 
foundations: these the dishes with which my 
spirit is revived so that I may be courageous 
against all adversaries of the truth. 

As for these doctors whom you mention, they 
refuse to act against their consciences. You know 
how Palecz used to talk in the old days at your 
house. And I know for a fact that Stanislaus held 
the remanence of the bread and recorded his views 
in a treatise ; and he asked me before he began this 
disturbance if I would hold the same view along with 
him. 2 Subsequently he swore to it and then ab 
jured it; and two years afterwards, 3 when Stiekna 
came with his treatise, 4 in his terror of the Arch 
bishop and not knowing how to escape, he asserted 
on oath that he had not finished the treatise. Before 
he was summoned to the Archbishop's court, he said, 
" The monk Stiekna must go on his knees before 
me and beg for his life, because he dared to 
charge my treatise with being a fresh graft of 
.heresy." How, then, can I believe that they would 
not be ready to act against their consciences? Is 
it to save their consciences that they call us 

1 James i. 12. 2 See supra, p. 9. * i.e. t in 1405. 

4 John of Stiekna was a Cistercian monk long confused by historians 
with the reforming preacher of Prague, Conrad of Waldhausen. In one 
of his sermons for the Commemoration Day of Charles IV., Hus 
speaks of him as ' the excellent preacher with the trumpet voice ' 
(Mon. ii. 41 b). Of his strong nationalist sympathies we have evidence 
in his association in 1397 with the citizen Crux as one of the proctors 
of Queen Hedwig's Polish College ; while at one time, it would appear, 
be was a preacher at the Bethlehem. But in later years his sympathies 
with the reforming party cooled down. It is said, though the evidence 
is somewhat doubtful, that in 1393 he championed one of Boniface's 
indulgences, while Hus tells us here of his later antagonism to 
Wyclif s doctrine. Stiekna's treatise is now lost. 


infidels, traitors, madmen, wanderers from the 
entire faith of Christ, and an accursed clergy ? 
Let God be the judge of this. 

As to your proposed change of benefice. It 
seems to me in all conscience you should on no 
account give it up; for I hope that you are a 
shield where you are, against Antichrist. It is on 
this account in my judgment that God hath decreed 
that, as there was a rector in that parish who was the 
greatest enemy of the truth, so you, on the other 
side, should be the friend of God's word. As to the 
parochial clergy and their unwillingness to receive 
gratefully all the spiritual oversight which they 
enjoy, you have in Ezekiel, chapter iii., 1 a full 
verdict for your own justification. Read the passage. 
I will write to those whose names you give, and I will 
forward you the treatise, pending their reply to the 
charges of Stanislaus. Farewell in Christ Jesus. I 
think I sinned in giving up my preaching at the 
King's wish: therefore I am not willing to live any 
longer in this sin. 


( Without date : after April 1413) 

Greetings from Christ Jesus, the true Head of the 
Church ; 2 for He it is that truly gives to His 
members spiritually to live, move, and have their 
being, since it is in Himself that we live, move, and 
are, as Paul asserted in the schools of Athens before 
the philosophers (Acts 2a). 3 

1 Ezek. iii. 4-8. 

* This sentence strikes the keynote of the letter : not the Pope, but 

8 i.e,, xvii. 28. Hus was quoting by the pagination of a folio MS. 


My lord rector, you have put this among the chief 
points namely, whether I am willing to agree to 
the proposition that the Pope is the head of the 
Holy Roman Church, and the cardinals the body, 
and, further, to abide by all the rulings and decisions 
of the Holy Roman Church. 1 Truly here latet 
anguis in hwba ! 2 For if the Pope is the head 
of the Roman Church and the cardinals the body, 
then they in themselves form the entire Holy Roman 
Church, as the entire body of man with the head 
is the man. 3 In fact, its own disciples, the satellites 
of Antichrist, use interchangeably the expressions 
"Holy Roman Church" and "Pope and cardinals." 
Suppose that Satan incarnate, together with twelve 
of his proudest devils, were to sit in Peter's place, 
and suppose that his rule and first principle were 
that whatever he and his monstrous body laid down 
must be held as the faith ! For this was how the 
devil tempted Christ, declaring that he had power 
to grant to Him all the kingdoms of the world, if 
He would fall down and worship him. 4 It is passing 
strange, moreover, that the disciples of Antichrist 
now wish to lay down a ruling in the matter of 
the sacraments. Hath not the Church existed for 
1413 years without this ruling which is now to be ? 
I am aware that they wrote to the Curia about the 

1 The two chief demands of the theological faculty at the meeting of 
both parties before the Commission; see p. 84. The second demand 
is not accurately given by Hus, who leaves out the qualifying phrase 

' in omni materia catholica.' See Doc. 508. 

2 Virgil, Eel. 3, 93. Hus's humanistic touches are rare. 

* This argument is expanded in Hus's De Ecclesia, cc. 7, 13, 15, the 
main theses of which are taken from Wyclif's De Ecclesia, pp. 5, 14, 31, 
86, 92, 93. See also Hus's Responsio ad Stanislai, c. 2 (Mon. i. 267i). 

4 Matt. iv. 9 


judgment of the doctors and the prelates. They 
reserve these matters for Antichrist's assent, in order 
to lead us astray. They admit him to be the more 
important, that l they may reach this conclusion : 
"You are a heretic! For it follows that whatever 
the Holy Roman Church rules (that is, the Pope 
along with the cardinals) must be held as the faith ; 
but the Pope, along with his associates, rules that 
indulgences ' by pocket and purse ' 3 are Catholic : 
therefore this must be held as the faith. But you, 
Hus, have preached the opposite. Abjure, therefore, 
your heresy, or be burned." 

Item, whatever the Pope rules, etc. But he rules 
that Hus is an obstinate fellow under ban of excom 
munication, and thus is a heretic. Therefore he 
must be condemned. 

Item, whatever the Pope rules, etc. But the 
Pope rules that the decision of the doctors, alias 
the enemies of the truth, arrived at in the 
court, is just and holy. Therefore it must hold 
good. 3 

Item, whatever the Pope rules must hold good. 
But the Pope rules that all who have "VVyclifs 
books should give them up to be burnt, and must 
abjure. Therefore this also we must hold. 4 

Item, whatever the Pope rules, etc. But the 
Pope rules by an edict that preaching is not to 
take place in any chapel. Therefore, etc. 5 

Item, whatever the Pope rules must hold good. 

1 P. : et concludant ; read lit. 

2 A pera et a bursa, a parody of a pena et ciilpa, which, as a matter 
of fact, was not in the indulgence in this bare form. See Lea, Hist. 
Auricular Confession, iii. 54-80, and cf. Mon. i. 171-91, for further 
strictures by Hus. 

P. 83 4 P. 26. 5 P. 26. 


But Boniface with the cardinals solemnly decreed 
that Wenzel, King of Bohemia, is not King of the 
Romans, nor Sigismund of the Hungarians. There 
fore we must hold this. 1 

And which of us can search out the number of 
decisions that Antichrist might aim at us at his 
own sweet will ? Thus I observe that the doctors 
would like to compare Christ to Belial, on the 
ground, however, that Christ doth not nominate 
the head of the Holy Church. So also they make 
no mention of Christ in their written judgment. I 
should like to know if Pope Liberius the heretic, 2 

1 On August 11, 1400, the four Rhenish electors met at Loehnstein, 
and decreed the deposition of Wenzel from the empire, and on 
August 21 chose the Palatine Rupert in his place. Boniface IX. 
at first hesitated to commit himself to Rupert ; but on the imprison 
ment of Sigismund by his Hungarian subjects (1401), Boniface felt free 
to drive a hard bargain with Rupert for his recognition. At the end of 
May 1403 Boniface declared Ladislaus of Naples to be the King of 
Hungary, and in the August of 1403 formally deposed Wenzel. 

2 A favourite argument with Hus, who repeats these illustrations, 
especially that of Pope Joan, more than once e.g., in his De Eccletia 
(Mon. i. 2070, 220<z, 221a), Eesponsio ad Stanislai (Mon. i. 271, 274J, 
277d). He gives his authority as ' Cestrensis, lib. 4, c. 14 ; lib. 5, c. 3 ' 
i.e., the Polyohronicon of Ralph Higden (f ca. 1363), a monk of Chester. 
Hus would be introduced to Higden by Wyclif (cf. De Officio Regis, 
pp. 128, 146), but appears to have actually read this for himself at 
any rate, I cannot put my finger on the connecting link, though the 
inaccuracy of the references (which should be iv. c. 14, v. c. 32) would 
point to one. . Cf. infra, p. 131, n. 4. 

Liberius, who was appointed Pope on May 22, 352, lapsed into semi- 
Arianism in the winter of 357-8, though it is difficult to settle precisely 
which of the many Arian formulas of the time he accepted. Before his 
death (September 24, 366) he returned to full orthodoxy. For the myth 
of Pope Joan Agnes, as Hus calls her see Dbllinger, Fables respecting 
Popes during M.A., 1-67. As to Joan, whom Hus describes, following 
Higden, as an ' Anglicus ' from Mainz, Hus would meet no opposition. 
Gerson had used the illustration himself (see Op. Gers. ii. 71), and 
Dietrich of Niem mentions the very school in which she taught. 


Leo the heretic, and Pope John, 1 who was delivered 
of a boy, were the heads of the Roman Church. 
If that be the case, then it matters not if some 
time afterwards a harlot or an Antichrist of the 
first order should be the head of the Holy Roman 
Church. Then, of course, Antichrist wishes to be 
placed on an equality with Christ. But what fellow 
ship hath Christ with Belial ? 2 It is not sufficient 
for him and his satraps 3 that he is Christ's vicar 
(at all events, if he strenuously fulfils Christ's law), 
and that they themselves are the ministers of the 
Church, performing regularly the duty of preaching 
the gospel after the manner of the holy apostles, 
who claimed to be the ministers given to the Church 
to teach the very law of Christ. 

I would like to see the argument of that doctor 4 
what he would prove by the fact that Christ was the 
Head of the Church, as without doubt He was, for 
the three days He was in the tomb. 6 For from the 
beginning of His incarnate life He was the essential 
Head of the Church by virtue of His humanity, 6 
which He did not lay aside during the three days. 7 
The consequence was that he was the Head of the 
Holy Church for three days, as being the most 
worthy Person in the human race, excelling the 

1 i.e., Joan, whose papal name was supposed to be John VIII., and 
whose date was given as between Leo IV. (855) and Benedict IV. 

2 2 Cor. vi. 16. * See p. 50, n. 7. * Stanislaus. 
* An argument taken from Wyclif s De Ecclesia, p. 403. 

6 See Thorn. Aquinas, Op. v. 51 (ed. Venet., 1774), and compare 
Wyclif, De Eccleg. 132. 

7 Wyclif dwells on this in his De Benedicta Tncarnacione, cc. 3 and 4. 
The humanity of Christ was one of Wyclif's strong points, in the clear 
realisation of which he seems more modern than mediaeval. 


angels and all men, and the holy fathers in Limbo, 
who were all members of the Church, and who were 
led forth by their Head behind Himself from Limbo, 
and thereafter placed by Him in glory. 1 The virgin 
mother of Christ was then in a sense the Church 
militant in her own person by virtue of her faith and 
love. 2 Now, she had more worth than all the apostles, 
and consequently more than all the prelates of 
to-day, including the Pope. 

As for the dictum of the doctor that the Catholic 
Apostolic Church and the Roman Church are one 
and the same: if by the " Roman Church" is under 
stood the Church universal of which the apostles 
form a part, then it is true. If, however, " Roman 
Church " means in that context " Pope along with 
the cardinals," then the Roman Church is not 
identical with the Catholic Apostolic Church, just 
as no partial Church is the universal Holy Apostolic 

I would like the doctors to tell me what the Roman 
Church stands for in the passage where (Cause 24, 
question 1, chapter headed " This is the Faith"), 3 on 
the authority of Jerome, the Holy Roman Church 
is said to be that which has remained ever immacu 
late, and in the providence of the Lord and by the 
help of the blessed apostle Peter will abide for all 
time unviolated by heretics. 4 For there it cannot 

1 The famous mediaeval conception of the harrowing of hell. 

2 Idea repeated in Responsio ad Sta/nislai {Man. i. 285a). 

1 Eepeated by Hus in his De Eccles. (Mon. i. 2070). In both cases 
it is taken word for word from Wyclif 's De Scales, p. 87, who quotes 
Gratian's Decretwn, ii. C. 24, q. 1, cc. 6 and 14. Hus, in his De Eccles., 
gives, as often, a wrong reference. 

4 Hus, following Wyclif, who borrows from Gratian, who copied 
" Polycarp," is wrong in attributing this to Jerome's Ad Da/masum 


stand for the Pope and the cardinals, seeing that 
they are stained with more vices than other men, 
as Stanislaus and Palecz bore witness. There have 
been many heretical popes, and many of very doubt 
ful character. A woman hath sat in the chief seat 
of the Church. How, then, hath the Roman Church 
that is, cardinals and Pope remained always 
without a blemish ? * Would that the disciples of 
Antichrist were content to believe that the Holy 
Roman Church is the whole body of Christ's faithful 
saints militant in the faith of Christ ! 2 This doctrine 
Peter, Bishop of R-ome, and, above all, Christ, the 
Bishop of our souls, taught. Though we could 
conceive of Rome as overthrown, Pope and cardinals 
included, as completely as Sodom, still the Holy 
Church would remain. . . . 3 

(Without date: 1413) 

I wish to abide by this : I hold the Pope to be 
Christ's Vicar in the Roman Church ; but it is not 
the whole of my faith. Item, I abide by this : if 
the Pope is predestinate and in the exercise of the 
pastoral office follows Christ in his own life, then 
he is the head of so much of the Church Militant 
as he rules over; and if he accordingly rules as 
head over what is now the entire Church Militant 

in expositions symboli. The sentence is really from the Epistola Maroi 
Papa ad Athanasium. The last clause should run : manebit, . . . 
insullatione firma et immoHlis omni tempori persisteret, and not as 
in Hus. See also Kichter-Friedberg, Corp. JUT. Can. i. 970. 

1 Cf. Wyclif, De Eocles. 88. 

2 Ib. p. 86 et passim. 

* The letter seems incomplete. 


according to Christ's law, then he is the true repre 
sentative of the Supreme Head, the Lord Jesus 
Christ. If, however, his life is contrary to Christ, 
then he is a thief and robber climbing up another 
way l and is a ravenous wolf, a hypocrite and at this 
moment among all the pilgrims 2 the chief Antichrist. 3 
They ought therefore, according to the forewarning 
of Christ, to beware of such a wolf and attend to the 
prophecy of Christ, Who said : If any man shall say to 
you, Lo, here is Christ or there, do not believe him. 
And why ? For there shall arise false Christs that is, 
popes bearing Christ's name and shall show great 
signs. There shall arise false prophets that is, the 
doctors of the popes and shall show great signs and 
wonders in so much as to deceive (if possible) even the elect.* 
Blessed therefore is he that shall not be afraid of their 
terrors that come as lightning from heaven that is, 
excommunications whereby they terrify the righteous 
and provoke marvelling among the peoples ; nor of 
their wonders that is, miracles wrought at a distance 
(for they act from the Eoman Curia to Prague, a 
distance of two hundred miles ! 5 ) such as neither Simon 
Magus nor the apostle Peter wrought. Blessed is he 
that considers the abomination of desolation which was 
spoken of by Daniel the prophet, standing in the holy 
place. He that readeth, let him understand, 6 saith 
Christ, the Head of the Church. For what greater 
abomination can there be in the holy place that is, 

1 John x. 1. 

2 Viantes. This word and viator are common mediaeval words for 

* Loserth ( W. $ H. 257) has pointed out that this passage is com 
pounded from Wyclif s Trialogus, 423 and 454, and his De Xto et 
Adversaria, c. viii. (Polem. Works, ii. 673). See also his De Ecclet. 19. 

* Matt. xxiv. 23, 24. * i.e., German miles. * Matt. xxiv. 15. 


the holy office than that in the place that is, the 
sanctity where the holiest, most gracious, gentlest, 
humblest, poorest, most untiring, most patient, most 
chaste of all men hath sat, there is now sitting one in 
name the holiest, but in reality the worst, the most 
cruel, the most vengeful, the proudest, the richest in 
this world's wealth, the most indolent, 1 the most im 
patient, and the most unclean ? 2 Is it not an abomina 
tion of desolation in a place apart ? Truly is Christ 
set forth by the false prophets to be in a desert place, 
which is left forlorn of all the virtues. Christ the 
Lord prophesied and forewarned His own : When you 
shall see the abomination in the holy place : he that 
readeth, let him understand. And afterwards : If they 
shall say to you, behold Christ (sic) is i/n the desert, 
believe it not : go ye not out 3 that is, from the right 
faith which I have declared to you saying that he 
is the greater in the kingdom of heaven who is 
the more humble ; and he that exalteth himself, is 
the more abased. 4 Believe not everything which the 
false prophets shall say to you when they set forth 
that Christ in person sits at Borne as the Head of 
the Church. Blessed is that man who shall not be 
offended ! 5 

Item, I abide by this : whatever the Holy Eoman 
Church or the Pope along with the cardinals shall 
decree or order to be held or done according to 
Christ's law, that in a humble spirit, as a faithful 
Christian, I wish to respect and reverently accept. 

1 John XXIII. The passage is valuable as showing the popular 
estimate. But before his excommunication by John, Hus gave no 
sign that he knew that he was dealing with a moral monster. 
See p. 51, and for the character of John, my Age of Hits, App. C. 

* Aocidiosissimus ; see note on accidia, p. 104. 

8 Matt. xxiv. 26. 4 Luke xiv. 11 : xviii. 14. Luke vii. 23. 


But not whatever the Pope along with the cardinals 
hath laid down or ordered universally. 1 For I have 
taken up the opposite position and abide by it : it 
is for this reason, as you know, that I am now under 

Hostiensis 2 in his gloss on the fifth chapter of 
the decretals (' A nobis ' 3 ) holds that the Pope (as 
also the whole Roman Curia) can err in the way of 
morality, just as he often errs in his judgment of the 
truth. I hold boldly to his reading. For if the 
twelve apostles erred in their judgment of the truth 
and in the way of morality, how is it that the Pope 
and cardinals cannot fail in their judgment of the 
truth and in the way of morality ? This actually 
happened when Pope John the woman Agnes 4 and 
all the cardinals, nay, those belonging to the Roman 
Church, were deceived in the judgment of the truth : 
for this same John, Agnes herself, said she was the 

1 This is really the central position of Wyclifism, and springs from the 
further position that character makes office. Cf. Wyclif, De Eccles. 34> 
and cf. Doc. 299, 301. At Constance Hus tried to defend it by a fine 
distinction between quoad meritum and quoad officium (infra, p. 217)- 
The whole position, of course, was absolutely incompatible with 

2 Henry de Segusia, cardinal of Ostia (d. 1271), was the greatest 
canonist of the Middle Ages. On his relations with England, see Matt. 
Paris, C'hron. Maj. iv. 33, 286, 351, 353. His work is entitled Summa 
aurea super titulii decretalium (ed. Basel 1573 or Venice 1605). See 
lib. v. De Penitentiis et Remissionilus, 15, ' Papa potest peccare.' 

s The decretal 'A nobis' is dated May 6, 1199. See Kichter- 
Friedberg, Corp. Jur. Canon, ii. 899, and cf. Wyclif, De Xto et Adv. 
(Polem. Works, ii. 676). Hus's attention to Hostiensis' comment would 
be drawn by Wyclif's De Ecclesia, 522. 

4 Wyclif in his Cruciata calls her 'Anna' (Polem. Works, ii. 619), 
nor does he mention ' Cestrensis.' This again adds weight to the 
supposition that in this matter Hus was not following Wyclif. See 
p. 125, . 2. 


Holy Father ; and the cardinals, together with the 
others, affirmed that very same thing. May Christ 
Jesus then be blessed for having suffered this to 
take place in His Church for our instruction and 
warning ! 

(Without date : end of April (?) 1413 ') 

"Worshipful lord rector, reverend father and master ! 
I do not believe that the schism of the people 
can be lulled to sleep : for Christ's prophecy must 
needs be fulfilled, Who came not to send peace, but a 
sword, to separate father from son and mother from 
daughter, etc. 2 The prophecy of Paul also saith 
that the son of iniquity shall not be accomplished 
unless there came a schism first. 3 As to the dis 
grace of the king and his kingdom, 4 what matters 
it to us, if the king is good, and provided at least 
some of his subjects are good ? Christ in His earthly 
course suffered deep disgrace along with His elect, to 
whom He said : They will put you out of the synagogues, 
and will slay some of you, thinking that they are doing 
a service to God. 5 And you shall be hated by all 
men for my name's sake, 6 you shall be delivered 
up by parents and kinsfolk. Now this is worse 
than to suffer at the hands of Stanislaus and 
Palecz ! But as to my victory, it depends not 

1 This letter should be compared with the Responsio ad Scripta 
Stanislai in Man. i. 265 E., some arguments of which Hus here 
condenses. Its date is evidently after the fruitless conference of 
April and before the banishment of Stanislaus or the election of the 
new rector ; cf. inscription in MS. ' M X protunc rectori.' 

2 Luke x. 34. * 2 Thess. ii. 3. 4 By the rumour of heresy. 
John xvi. 2. Matt. x. 22. 


on the world's good report; for I know that he is 
conqueror, who is slain. 

You know the subject-matter of the dispute : first, 
the condemnation of the articles ; secondly, as you 
have heard, the robbery connected with the in 
dulgences ; and now a third objection has been 
added by the counsel of the Pharisees. 1 In the 
first place, it is concerned with the point that my 
fellow-preachers and I are a pestiferous set of 
clerks, in error as to the sacraments; secondly, 
with the heretical dictum, " There cannot be found 
or given upon earth any other successors of that 
order than the Pope, who is head, and the College 
of Cardinals, which is the body of the Roman 
Church " ; thirdly, with this point of the judgment, 
" The Pope is the head, while the College of Cardinals 
is the body, being clearly the true successors of 
the chief of the apostles " ; and fourthly with this 
point, " The Apostolic Seat that is, the Pope with 
the cardinals of the Roman Church and his prelates 
must be obeyed in everything whatsoever, if what 
is purely good is not forbidden nor what is purely 
evil enjoined." By God's grace I trust I have never 
disseminated such gross errors, nor ever will do so ! 
For what can be a greater exaltation of Antichrist 
above all we speak of as God that is, above the deity 
and humanity of Christ than to say that God cannot 
have any other successors in His Church than the 
Pope along with his cardinals ? If they had laid it 
down that God cannot have worse people belonging 
to His Church than the Pope and the cardinals, they 
would have had greater evidence for their words. 

1 In consilio. Perhaps we should read in concilio, with a reference to 
the Synod. 


Methinks therefore that God from time to time by 
their inventions reveals to us Antichrist and his 
disciples. But He will give to us knowledge and a 
spirit of courage to wage war on all such deceivers ! 

In Letter XXXI. we are reminded of the connection of Hus 
with that stormy petrel of the Bohemian Reformation, Jerome of 
Prague. The incessant travels of this rich young noble would 
take us far afield. The results of his journey to Oxford we have 
already seen (p. 8). Wherever he went, his militant "Wyclifism 
brought him into trouble with the authorities. In Paris, Gerson 
the Chancellor was taking measures for his arrest when he 
' secretly slipped away ' ; on a second visit to Oxford in 1407-8, 
he was charged with heresy, and only obtained his release through 
the intercession of Prague. Similar troubles and similar escapes 
attended his visits to Buda-Pesth (October 1410), to Lithuania 
(March 1411), and Cracow (March 1413). 

This was not the first time that Jerome had met with 
opposition at Vienna. In September 1410 we hear of his preach 
ing Lollardism in that newly founded University, and being 
excommunicated by the clergy of St. Stephen's. But on 
September 12 he escaped, 'like a sparrow from the net of the 
fowlers,' to the castle of Bietow, in Moravia, which belonged to a 
friend of Hus. Whether Jerome had recently visited Vienna it 
is impossible to say, but on his arrival, in March 1413, at Cracow 
at the court of Ladislaus of Poland (Jagiello), he found letters of 
accusation from the University already awaiting him. Jerome, 
who had allowed his beard to grow in Lithuania, shaved, and 
presented his passports to Ladislaus, clothed in the red gown of 
his degree, but in a few days, at the instance of the clergy, was 
put over the frontier ' that he might plough in his own country, 
for our soil seems too dry to receive his seed ' (Doc. 506). 

Between the Czech University of Prague and the German 
University at Vienna, which owed its somewhat struggling 
existence to the jealousy of the Habsburgs, little love was lost at 
any time, nor was the rivalry lessened by Prague's expulsion of 
the Germans. On the occasion of Jerome's first trouble at 
Vienna, the University of Prague had at once petitioned the civil 
authorities for his protection (September 3, 1410). Now the new 
rector, Michael Malenicz, hastened to support the letter of Hus 


by a letter dated a week later (July 8, 1413), the similarity of 
whose language l shows that it was inspired by Hus. 

The text of this letter in Palacky and Hofler differs con 
siderably ; and, on the whole, the better readings will be found 
in Hofler (ii. 209). To some of the differences we draw attention 
in the notes. 


(July 1, 1413) 

He deserveth no greeting, who defames his neigh 
bours with grievous falsehoods, but is marked out 
as one worthy of correction, that, when his falsehood 
is recognised by him, he may the more quickly turn 
into the way of charity. To think that you are a 
professor, not of theology, but of lying information ! 
Why do you state 3 that Master Jerome is not the 
least of the disseminators of heresy when you know 
nothing about his beliefs ? Why do you add the 
notorious lie that he went on a visit to the King of 
Cracow and to his brother in order to subvert their 
views ? Are you a searcher of hearts ? Do you know 
a man's mind at such a distance ? 4 Are you a 
professor of Christ's law, when you defame your 
neighbour with a lie ? It must be Antichrist who 
hath taught you to talk in this mad strain. What 
of Christ's law, Judge not, and you shall not be 

1 See DOG. 512. 

2 Hofler (ii. 209) calls him ' Sigwort de Septemcastris.' But for the 
name, see Doc. 512. That he was from Siebenburgen (Transylvania) we 
may well believe. See infra. 

s In a letter to the Bishop and Chapter of Zagrab (Agram) (see 
Doc. 512), whose bishop appears to have been from Siebenburgen; 
see Eubel, Hierarchia Catholica, or Gams, s.v. 

4 Bead with H. : Numquld . . . cordium ? Per tantam, etc. 


judged ? l "What of this : If thy brother sin against 
thee, reprove him? 2 Why, instead of giving your 
brother in the first place a loving reproof by your 
self alone, you publish a damaging calumny ! 3 And 
you have had the audacity to put your sharp teeth 
not only into an honourable master, but into great 
communities. Bohemia did not suffice you but you 
must fix a charge of heresy (which I trust is a 
false charge) upon the Slavonic people before the 
students with diabolical rashness, and with no first 
hand knowledge. Judging the hidden things of 
the heart (forsooth !), you wrote that they were 
" heresiarchs and schismatics, 4 carrying honey on 
their lips and holding the fatal poison of asps in 
their hearts." 5 This is the way you unjustly judge 
your neighbours, supposing also that they are 
attempting to stir up a mad revolt against the 
clergy. God is standing ready to judge. Granted 
that in name you are a professor of theology, yet 
if you do not in very deed confess the truth and 
do penance for this offence, you will have to give 
an account for every word to the strictest 6 of all 
judges. Is it part of your professorial calling 7 to 
fall into confusion as to individuals, to charge your 
brothers with heresy, and to gather together lies 
in different quarters against your neighbours ? 
Surely you have been badly instructed in the 
theology of love ! May God grant you the spirit 
of truth to speak that which is holy and right 

1 Matt. vii. 1. * Luke xvii. 3. 

1 Bead with H. : injwiosa diffamaoio. 4 P. omits. 
* Evidently a quotation from the letter (see Doc. 512). 
' P. : distriotissimo. H. : discretisiimo. 

7 H. : Estne professoris in officio penonat oonfundere. P. : Etne tu 
profestor, in incerto penonat confvndere. 


before the Lord and not what is calumnious and 
defamatory, the offspring of the spirit of falsehood 
and error. I am writing without words of flattery, 
to prevent you sowing the seeds of detraction and 
scandal among your neighbours, and from the desire 
that you may abstain from such behaviour and 
do penance for the offences you have committed. 
Written on the octave of John Baptist, by the 
hands of Master John Hus, in hope a servant of 
Jesus Christ. 

(Without date : early in 1414 ! ) 

Grace and peace from our Lord Jesus Christ be 
with you. Amen. Thus saith the Lord God in the 
verses of the holy Jeremiah : Stand ye on the ways 
and hear and ask for the old paths, which is the good 
way, and walk ye in it, and ye shall find refreshment 
for your souls. 2 Stand ye in the ways of God, which 
are the great humility of the Lord Jesus Christ, 
His mercy, patience, and toilsome life, afflicted and 
sorrowing even to His foul death ; for the blessed 
Saviour Himself saith : Learn of me, because I am 
meek and humble of heart. 5 And in another place He 
saith : / have given you an example, that as I have done 
to you, so you do also.* Moreover, the Lord Jesus 
obeyed His Father even unto death : surely, then, 
there is all the more fitness for us sinners to do 
so. Stand in the ways, constantly asking which are 

1 For the gap in the correspondence, see pp. 86 and 139. Hus at this 
time was often in Prague. This letter is in Czech. 

2 Jer. vi 16. Vulgate reads videte, not as Hus, audite. 
* Matt. xi. 29. 4 John xiii. 15. 


those that lead from eternal death to eternal life, and 
from misery to eternal joy. And this way is the 
gospel of the Lord Almighty, the apostolic epistles, 
the Old Testament, the lives also of the saints which 
are contained in the sacred letters, saints who shine 
forth in their lives as the sun, moon, and stars. 
Therefore, dear brothers and dear sisters in the Lord 
God, I beg you by the martyrdom of God's Son gladly 
to attend the preaching, to gather together and hear 
it diligently ; to understand as ye hear, to observe as 
ye understand ; to learn as ye observe ; as ye learn 
well, to know your well-beloved Saviour (for to know 
God is the perfect righteousness) ; as ye know Him, to 
love Him with all your heart, and with all your will, 
and your neighbour as yourselves; and as ye love 
Him, to rejoice with Him, world without end. Amen. 
For on these two commands hangs the entire law, 
old and new. Stand in the way and hear, that 
you may show a noble penitence ; for thus will 
you attain the heavenly kingdom. For true penitence 
is health of the soul and restorer of virtue ; as 
St. Bernard testifies, saying : Penitence, health of 
the soul, restorer of virtue, scatterer of sins, overthrower 
of hell, gate of heaven, way of the righteous and satis 
faction of the blessed. 1 Oh, right blessed is he that 
loves the penitence of the saintly life and keeps it 
unto the end of his days ! Stand in the way of God, 
dear brothers, ever moving forward in the holy life. 
Cease not to do well : for when the time shall come, 
you will live in heaven for ever. Amen. 

1 I have not traced this quotation, or its source. 

Part IV* Letters Written on the Journey to 

(August November, 1414.) 

ON October 30, 1413, Sigismund, at that time at Como, had 
summoned, as 'the defender and advocate of the Church,' all 
princes and prelates to a General Council to be held at Constance 
on November 1, 1414. The affairs of Christendom which led 
to the calling of this Council, the failure of the Council of Pisa, 
the ambition of Sigismund, and the struggles of the three rival 
Popes, must not now detain us. But it is important for the 
student of the life of Hus to realise that when Sigismund 
summoned this most momentous Council the termination of the 
schism was not his only object. As heir to the throne of 
Bohemia, he felt the need of removing from the land the stain 
of heresy. He realised keenly that ' throughout the Avhole earth 
resounded the rumour that the Bohemians are sons of heretical 
baseness.' Unfortunately, but one letter of Hus for the year 
between Sigismund's summoning of the Council and the follow 
ing August has been preserved for us (supra, p. 137). A fuller 
correspondence would have been invaluable in giving us some 
insight into the popular anticipations as regards this great event. 

Whatever steps Wenzel might take, Sigismund, as the heir to 
Wenzel's domains, determined to bring the matter before the 
Council. He was persuaded that the affair could be peaceably 
settled, and that he would win the gratitude of Bohemia. He 
accordingly despatched from Friuli, in Lombardy, three of his court 
to bid Hus present himself at Constance, and to act as his escort. 
Th e good intentions of Sigismund are evident in his choice. 
John of Chlum, surnamed Kepka, and Wenzel of Lestna, of the 
house of Duba, were both adherents of Hus, who had served with 
Sigismund in 1413 in his Venetian war. The third, Henry 
Chlum of Lacembok, was John of Chlum's uncle. Sigismund 
also promised that he would obtain for Hus a full hearing and 
send him a safe conduct ' written in Latin and German.' 



Hus at once prepared to obey. In view of his own appeal to 
a General Council, he could not do otherwise. He was too 
unconscious of his real dissent from Rome to know the risks 
he ran. His next move was not without worldly wisdom. On 
August 26, 1414, he posted up notices in Latin and Czech 
throughout the whole of Prague offering ' to render an account 
of his faith and hope ' before the Synod that would open on the 
following day. Numerous copies of this notice have been pre 
served. The Latin Notice l ran as follows : 


Master John of Husinecz, bachelor of divinity, 3 
is ready to appear before the most reverend father, 
Conrad, Archbishop of Prague, legate of the Apostolic 
Seat, at the next convocation of all the prelates 
and clergy of the kingdom of Bohemia, being at all 
times prepared to give an account of the faith and 
hope that is in him to the satisfaction of all who may 
inquire of him thereof ; and, moreover, to see and to 
hear each and all who have a mind to charge him 
with obstinacy in error or with any heresy what 
soever, in order that they may render themselves 
liable in that same place, according to the require 
ments of the law of God and of justice, to the penalty 

1 The Czech Notice is similar, but differs in tbe conclusion: ' . . . And 
if any one is able to prefer a charge of error or heresy against me, let 
him get ready to set out thither, that he may accuse me there, after 
giving out his name before the aforesaid Council. It will give me no 
trouble to reply in due order as to the truths I hold, both to small and 
great. Therefore, good sirs, lovers of justice, consider carefully 
whether I make any demand in this letter which is contrary to divine 
or human law. If, however, I shall not be allowed a hearing, let it be 
known to the whole kingdom of Bohemia that this occurs through no 
fault of mine.' 

2 Saccalarius formatus, the technical term for a bachelor of divinity 
who had read Peter Lombard's Sentences^ but not yet incepted as a 
regent. See, e.g., Chartularium Univ. Paris, ii. 700, and for Oxford, 
Munimenta Aoad. (R.S.), 392, 395-6. 


of retaliation, if they fail legally to prove against 
him obstinacy in error or heresy. 1 To all which 
charges before the said Archbishop and prelates, and 
withal at the next General Council in Constance, he is 
ready with God's help to reply, to abide by the law, 
and, in Christ's name, to prove his innocence according 
to the decrees and canons of the holy fathers. Given 
on Sunday following the feast of St. Bartholomew. 2 

On the refusal of the Synod to receive either Hus or his 
proctor, Jesenicz, Hus on August 30 once more posted up notices 
on the door of the royal palace and throughout all Prague 
stating his future intentions. 


To his Majesty, to the Queen, to their advisers, 
the Prefect of the court, and the whole court. 3 

I, Master John Hus, do hereby make known and 
declare that, whereas I did clearly learn from certain 
persons that a letter was sent by the Pope to his 
Majesty (though I knew not by whom it was tran 
scribed), wherein his Majesty was advised zealously 
to weed out of his kingdom of Bohemia all budding 
heretics, and whereas, as I put my trust in God, it 
was without fault of my own that a rumour of that 
kind did arise, causing me to be pointed at with the 
finger, I despatched hither and thither many letters, 
lest on any account his Majesty should incur slander 
and Bohemia disgrace, and, moreover, caused them 
to be posted up, announcing that I would show 
myself in the Archbishop's court, in order that 

1 Hus is here strictly within the canon law. See Gratian, II. C. 2, q. 3. 
This point is emphasised in the conclusion of the Czech Notice. 

2 August 26, 1414. 

A Czech copy only has been preserved. But a translation into 
Latin was made as early as the Ejrist. Piissimes, B. 3. 


cognisance might be taken of my beliefs : accord 
ingly, if there had been any one in the kingdom 
of Bohemia who could charge me with any heresy, 
he might have announced his name in the Arch 
bishop's court and publicly indicted me there. But 
inasmuch as no one came forward and my lord the 
Archbishop gave me and my proctors no locus standi, 
therefore, in the name of justice, I entreat his 
Majesty, the Queen, their advisers, and the Prefect 
of the entire court to grant to me due attestation 
of this fact namely, that I made the above declara 
tion, and publicly posted up a letter concerning this 
matter, and that no one in the whole kingdom stood 
forth against me. Again, besides all this, I hereby 
make known to the whole of Bohemia, and to the 
other countries from old time of vast importance, 
that I wish to appear in Constance at the Council 
that has been summoned, in the presence of the 
Pope, if he is to be there, and before the said General 
Council. If any one can lay any heresy to my 
charge, let him prepare to set out to the Council, 
that he may there in person lay before the Pope and 
the whole Council whatever heresy he hath heard me 
utter. If I shall be convicted of any heresy, I do not 
refuse to suffer the penalties of a heretic. But I 
trust G-od, whom I truly love, that He will not permit 
the detractors and adversaries of the truth to over 
come the truth. 

Hus did not neglect to take other steps for his defence. The 
same day (August 30), ' in the upper room of the house of the 
Master of the Mint, 1 John of Jesenicz, the procurator of Hus, 
humbly but earnesly inquired of Nicholas, Bishop of Nazareth, 
inquisitor of heresy for the city and diocese of Prague : " Reverend 
father, do you know of any error or heresy in Master John de 
1 See infra, p. 211, n. 3. 


Husinecz, o^'asHus?" To which the said Lord Nicholas answered, 
not of compulsion, but freely and publicly in the Czech tongue : 
" I have met Master John Hus many times and in many places, 
eating and drinking with him. I have often been present at his 
sermons ; I have had many talks with him on diverse matters 
of Holy Scripture. In all his words and deeds I have ever 
found him to be a true and catholic man, in no wise savouring 
of heresy or error " ' {Doc. 242). 

Certain of the nobles procured a similar declaration from the 
Archbishop. So, on the following day (September 1), Hus 
despatched a letter to Sigismund, enclosing copies of the notices 
he had posted in Prague and elsewhere, and not forgetting, we 
imagine, though of this the letter says nothing, to forward a copy 
of the Bishop of Nazareth's certificate of orthodoxy. 


: September 1, 1414) 

To the most serene prince and lord, Sigismund, 
King of the Romans and King of Hungary, etc., 
his gracious lord, humbly praying with heartfelt 
desire that salvation, peace, and grace may be multi 
plied to him, and that after the governments of this 
present life the everlasting life of glory may be 
granted to him. 

Most serene prince and most gracious lord, when I 
consider with a full heart the gracious and kindly 
regard which your Majesty most generously cherishes 
towards a poor subject like myself, I am utterly 
unable to make reply ; but I am constrained to entreat 
the mercy of the Lord Almighty, Who rewardeth 
each man worthily, to grant a prosperous reign to 
your Majesty. Some time ago I forwarded an answer 
to your Majesty by the hands of Stephen Harnsmeister 
to the effect that after hearing what Lord Henry 
told me, and also of your Majesty's promises, I intend 


humbly to give in my submission, and under the 
safe-conduct of your protection 1 to appear at the 
next Council of Constance, the Lord Most High 
being my defender. Desiring to attain this object 
in an orderly fashion, I have caused notices, copies of 
which I forward, to be posted up all over Prague 
in Latin and Czech, and to be forwarded through 
the other cities and announced in sermons. 

However, I beseech your Majesty, humbly entreat 
ing you in the Lord, by the honour of G-od and 
the welfare of His holy Church, by the honour also 
of the kingdom of Bohemia, of which the King of 
kings has ordained you the heir, and the welfare 
and honour of which He, therefore, hath disposed 
you naturally to desire, that it may please you to 
extend such kindness to my person that I may come 
in peace, and be able in the General Council itself 
to make a public profession of my faith. For as I 
have taught nothing in secret, but only in public, 
where masters, graduates, priests, barons, knights, 
and others most do congregate, so I desire to be 
heard, not privately, but before a public audience, 
to be examined, to make my statement, and to 
reply, with the help of the Lord's spirit, to all who 
may wish to charge me. And I shall not be afraid, 
I trust, to confess the Lord Jesus Christ and to suffer 
death, if needs be, for His true law. For the King 
of kings and the Lord of lords Himself, very God, 
though amongst us as a poor man, meek and humble, 
suffered for our sakes, leaving us an example that we 
should folloiv in his steps : he that did no sin, neither 

1 This gives the value that Hus, rightly or wrongly, attached to the 
famous safe-conduct. Of. infra, 184, 229,269. For a critical investigation 
of the whole subject, see my Age of Hus, pp. 282-93. 


was guile found in his mouth, 1 Who humbling Him 
self destroyed our death by His own death, and hath 
constrained us also to suffer with humility and not 
for naught, seeing that He said : Blessed are they that 
suffer persecution for justice 1 sake, for theirs is the 
kingdom of heaven.* 

When I pondered over these things, I, His servant 
in hope, albeit an unprofitable one, desired to win 
both clergy and people to the imitation of Himself, 
for which reason I have incurred the hatred, not of 
the whole of the people, but only of those who 
by their lives are enemies of the Lord Himself. It 
is by them that I have often been cited to appear 
at the Archbishop's court, but I have always proved 
my innocence. When at length I was cited to 
appear at the Curia, I never succeeded through 
my defenders and proctors in getting a hearing. 3 
Therefore I have committed myself into the hands of 
the most righteous Judge, for Whose glory I trust 
your clemency will furnish me with a safe, public 
hearing, the Lord Jesus Christ being my defender. 
Finally, I have been comforted by the message 
brought by the noble and strenuous Lord Mikess 
Diwoky, 4 your Majesty's envoy, that your Highness 
remembers me so graciously and attentively by your 
desire to bring my case to an honourable issue, 
which will also redound to the glory and honour 
of the King of kings. I write with my own hand 
on St. Giles's Day. 


Your Majesty's obedient petitioner in the 
name of the Lord Jesus Christ. 

1 1 Pet. ii. 21, 22. Matt. v. 10. ' Supra, p. 60 n. 

* This is rather contradictory of the statement infra, p. 230. 



Sigismund was anxious that Hus should journey in his suite. 
The Kefonner would have fared better, as the King pleaded in 
his own excuse at a later date, if he had accepted the offer. Such, 
however, was his confidence in his own integrity, his eagerness 
to confront his enemies, that Hus set off without even waiting 
for the safe-conduct. As soon as he had received Sigismund's 
official promise of the safe-conduct dated Rothenburg, October 8 
Hus started (October 11, 1414), leaving the formal document to 
overtake him as best it might. Hence the allusion in the following 
letter, written in Czech, to his congregation at the Bethlehem, 
immediately after his departure from Bohemia. 1 This letter, we 
may add, fell into the hands of Hus's enemies, and gave him 
much trouble at Constance, owing, as Hus avers, to the faulty 
way in which it was mis-translated into Latin. The latter part 
of the letter is very beautiful. At the same time Hus sent a sealed 
letter to ' Master Martin, his disciple,' which forms one of the 
treasures of the collection, invaluable for its insight into the 
tender, somewhat self-upbraiding, spirit of the writer. This 
letter (XXXV.) should be compared with similar passages in 
Bunyan's Grace Abomiding. 


( Without place : near Krakowec ; without date : October 12, 1414) 
Master John Hus, in hope a priest and servant of 
the Lord Jesus Christ, to all the faithful and beloved 
brothers and sisters in the Lord Jesus who have 
heard and received the word of God through me, 
beseeching for them grace and peace from God our 
Father and from the Holy Spirit, that they may dwell 
undefiled in His truth. 

Faithful and beloved friends ! You know that I 
faithfully instructed you for a long period, preaching 
to you the word of God without heresy and without 

1 See p. 159, n. 2. But though not posted until after he left, 
Hus tells us himself (p. 159, n. 2) that it was written before the arrival 
of Chlum and Wenzel Duba. For Krakowec, see infra, p. 151. 


errors, as you are aware : further, I always sought 
your salvation ; I seek it now, and will seek it unto 
death. I had resolved to preach to you before 
starting on my journey to Constance, and in par 
ticular to declare to you the false testimonies and 
the false witnesses who gave evidence against me. 
I possess all their signatures l together with their 
depositions, and I intend to declare their names to 
you for these reasons that if I shall be evilly 
spoken against or condemned to death, you may not 
be terrified when you know of it, as if I were con 
demned on account of any heresy that I hold ; 2 and 
also that you may persevere without fear and 
wavering in the truth which the Lord G-od hath 
brought to your knowledge through faithful preachers 
and through me, feeble though I be ; and thirdly, 
that you may guard against crafty and pretended 

Now, however, I have started on my journey, 
without safe-conduct. 3 into the midst of many of 
my greatest enemies, among whom the most relent 
less are those of my ovm household,* as you will discover 
from the depositions and will certainly learn at the 
close of the Council. I shall be opposed by more 
foes than our gracious Eedeemer bishops, doctors, 

1 As Lea has shown, Hist. Inquis. ii. 477, any knowledge by a prisoner 
of the Inquisition of the names of the witnesses was a most unusual 
advantage. But there was no papal Inquisition in Bohemia, only the 
more lax episcopal. 

2 This was much twisted and made into a further charge at Constance. 
See pp. 173, 180, 207. Hus complained more than once that his enemies 
treated his Czech writings very unfairly. 

3 For explanation, see supra, p. 146. This fixes the date. 

4 Matt. x. 36. These depositions are printed in Doo. 174 ft, and bear 
out Hus's contention. Hus was probably thinking most of all of the 
deposition of his former friend Andrew Brod. 


princes secular, and canons regular. But I put my 
trust in my gracious, wise, and mighty Saviour that 
He will give to me, by reason of His own promise 
and your faithful prayers, the wisdom and constancy 
of the Holy Spirit ; for only so shall I persevere 
and not be led astray by them to the side of evil, 
though I suffer at His will temptations, revilings, 
imprisonment, and death as indeed He too suffered 
and hath subjected His own loved servants to the 
same trials, leaving us an example that we may 
suffer for His sake and our salvation. For He is 
God ; we are His creatures. He is Lord ; we are 
servants. He is King of the whole world ; we are 
poor weaklings. He is without sin ; we are sinners. 
He needeth nothing ; we are needy. If He suffered, 
being what He is, why should not we ? In truth 
our suffering by His grace is our cleansing from sins 
and our deliverance from eternal torments. Surely 
it cannot fall to the lot of His faithful servant that 
he shall perish, if with His help he shall persevere. 
Therefore, beloved brothers, pray earnestly that it 
may please Him to grant me perseverance and to 
keep me undefiled. And if my death contribute 
aught to His glory and your advantage, may it 
please Him to enable me to meet it without sinful 
fear. But if it shall be more to your advantage, 
may it please Him to bring me back to you, guiding 
me to and fro undefiled, that united a while longer 
we may be taught His gospel and tear asunder some 
of Antichrist's nets and leave a good example to our 
brothers to come. 

Perhaps you will not see me again at Prague 
before I die ; but if it please Almighty God to bring 
me back to you, we shall be all the more joyful when 


we see each other again, and assuredly so when we 
meet in the joy of heaven. May it please the 
merciful God, "Who giveth to His own a stainless 
peace both here and hereafter, who brought again 
from the dead the great pastor of the sheep l after He 
had shed His blood, Who is the eternal witness of 
our salvation, to fit you in all goodness that you 
may do His will in harmony, free from all dissension, 
and that in enjoyment of peace you may by your 
good deeds attain to the eternal peace through our 
Lord Jesus Christ, "Who is God eternal and true man, 
born of the Virgin Mary. Unto Him there is praise 
and ever shall be with all the company of the elect, 
with "Whom, if here we shall persevere in the truth, 
we shall dwell in the joy of heaven. Amen. 

(Prague, beginning of October 1414) 

Master Martin, dear brother in Christ, I entreat 
you in the Lord to fear God and keep His com 
mandments, to flee the society of women and to be 
careful when hearing women's confessions, that Satan 
may not deceive you by the hypocrisy of women ; for 
Augustine saith: " Put not your trust in their sanctity: 
for the more earnest it is, the more wanton it is, and 
under the guise of piety the marrow of lust is secretly 
hidden." Therefore beware that you lose not for 
ever the chastity which I trust you retain. Remem 
ber that I taught you from a child to serve Jesus 

1 Heb. xiii. 20. 

2 That is, probably, one of the junior members of the University who 
had attached himself to Hus spiritually. (Of. pp. 80, 235, 274.) 


Christ, and how gladly I would have taught you 
in one day, if I could, all that I knew. You know, 
too, that I abhorred the greed and the inordinate lives 
of the clergy ; on which account by God's grace I 
am suffering the persecution which is soon to do its 
worst with me ; yet I am not afraid of being brought 
to confusion for the name of Jesus Christ. I beg 
you also with all my heart not to run after benefices ; 
nevertheless if you should be called to a living, may 
your motive be the glory of God, the salvation of 
souls and hard work, not the possession of fine 
clothes and lands. 1 But if you are made a rector, 
beware of having a young woman as cook and of 
building your house rather than your soul ; see that 
you are a builder of a spiritual building, and to 
the poor be gracious and of a humble mind. Don't 
spend your substance on feasts. I am afraid also if 
you don't mend your ways by leaving off your fine 
unnecessary garments, you will receive evil at the 
Lord's hands ; as I, too, shall receive evil, poor 
wretch ! who also wore such things, led astray by 
the evil habits of the men among whom I suffered 
hurt to my soul, contrary to God's will, through my 
proud spirit. But as you have known full well my 
way of life and my preaching from your youth up, 
there is no need for me to write more to you on 
this score. But I beg you, by the mercy of Jesus 
Christ, not to follow me in any frivolity that you 
have seen in me. You know that, alas ! before I 

1 Habitio soropharum vel prcediorum. I take scropharum to be a 
mistake for schof arum i.e. (following the changes, usual in Hus, of 
/ for &) schubarum, from schuba, a kind of Persian garment, on which 
see Ducange-Carpentier. Otherwise the word is inexplicable. One 
MS. reads ambitio for habitio" the desire for fine clothes." 


became a priest, I was fond of chess and often 
played it, wasted my time, and through, my playing 
was unfortunate enough to provoke myself and 
others to anger. For this sin and for the other 
innumerable sins that I have committed, I commend 
myself to your prayers for forgiveness to our dear 
Lord. Do not be slow to ask for His mercy that 
it may please Him to guide my life, and when I 
have overcome the evils of this present life, the 
world, the flesh, and the devil, to give me a place 
at least on the Judgment Day 1 in the heavenly 

Farewell in Christ Jesus with all who guard His 
law. 2 You may keep, if you like, my grey cloak 
as a memento ; but I think you are shy of grey, 
so give it to any one you prefer to have it. My 
white gown give to the rector. To my pupil 
George I mean Girzik 3 give a guinea 4 or my 
grey cloak, because he has been a faithful servant 
to me. 

(The superscription is as follows.) 

I beg you not to open this letter, unless you hear 
for certain that I am dead. 

When Hus received Sigismund's call to Constance, he was 
staying at the castle of Krakowec. This castle, not far from 
Prague, belonged to a friend of Hus, Henry Lefl of Lazan and 

1 Saltern in diejudioii i.e., Hus does not expect to escape in his case 
the Retardation of the Beatific Vision. 

2 Legem. The usual word with Wyclif for what we should now call 
the gospel. So passim in the Letters of Hus. 

8 Vel GirziJtoni. Cf . pp. 206, 236. 

4 Sexagena. Thfee Prague ' sexagenae ' of groats were worth twelve 
florins. Cf. the oath of the poor students in 1371 in Man. Univ. 
Pragensis, i. pt. i. p. 47. 


Bechyne, whose name we shall meet with more than once in 
the letters. From this retreat Hus set off on October 11, 
under the escort of John of Chlum, Wenzel Duba, and Henry 
Lacembok. With these also rides John Cardinalis of Reinstein. 
The whole escort consisted of thirty mounted men and two 
carts, in one of which Hus rode with his books. Among the 
retinue we may note Peter Mladenowic, the secretary of Chlum, 
who has preserved for us the letters of these last months, to 
whom therefore the reader owes much gratitude. 

Hus left Bohemia by the valley of the Mies. This was not 
the usual route over the Bohmerwald, which lay either north 
or south ; but at Neustadt he would regain the more frequented 
highway. His route thence to Constance can easily be followed on 
a map. On arriving at Nuremberg Hus wrote the following most 
interesting letter to his friends at Prague. Hus, we might add, 
might reasonably expect a warm welcome at Nuremberg, which 
was at this time one of the head centres of that remarkable band 
of mystics, the Friends of God. . 

(Nuremberg, October 20, 1414) 

Greetings from Christ Jesus! Let me tell you 
that I never rode in a shortened 1 hood, but undis 
guised and without anything over my face. As soon 
as I had crossed the frontier, I reached Baernau 2 
first of all, where the rector with his curates was on 
the look-out for me before I arrived. When I entered 
the inn-parlour, 3 he at once set before me a big 
tankard of wine, and in right friendly fashion he 
with his companions welcomed all my views and 
remarked that he had always been my friend. Next 

1 Czatato. Probably the same as scotatus ' incisus, in orbem diminutus.' 
See illustrations of the word applied to dress in Ducange-Carpentier. 

* MSS., Pernow. " B " with Hus generally in names of places 
becomes " P." The place must not be confused, as often, with Beraun, 
near Prague. 

* Stubam. The room of the great stove, so familiar to tourists. 


at Neustadt the whole German population had much 
delight in seeing me. We passed through Weiden l 
with a big crowd agape with admiration. Arrived 
at Sulzbach, we entered the inn, where a court was 
sitting (landrecht).* I said to the sheriffs 3 and magis 
trates sitting by the stove, " I am Master John Hus, 
about whom I suppose you have heard much scandal ; 
ask me any questions you like." 4 We had a long 
conversation and they received everything I said 
in a good spirit. After this we passed through 
Hersbruck, and spent the night in the town of Lauf, 
where the rector, a great canonist, met us with his 
curates. I had a talk with him and he also took 
everything in good part. And here we are at Nurem 
berg ! The merchants, who had preceded us, an 
nounced our coming. Accordingly the people were 
standing in the streets looking about and asking, 
" Which is Master Hus ? " Before dinner, the rector 
of St. Lawrence's, Master John Helwel, sent me a 
letter saying that he had long wished to have a good 
talk with me. On the same sheet I wrote back a 
message to him to come, and he came. I had, more 
over, already written out my notice of appeal, 5 
wishing to post it up ; but in the meanwhile Baron 
Wenzel sent me word that the burghers and magis 
trates were assembled at the inn wishing to see me 
and to have a conference with me. I at once rose 
from the table and crossed over to where they were. 
The magistrates gave instructions that our conference 
should be in private, but I said to them, " I preach in 
public, and I want every one, who wishes, to hear 
me." From that moment until dusk we talked 

1 MSS., Vaydam. 2 MSS., lantricht i.e., a provincial court. 

1 Consulibut. * Cf. Wesley's Journal*, i. 428. s i.e., to Constance. 


together in the presence of consuls 1 and burghers. 
A Carthusian doctor was there who was a famous 
debater. I noticed that Master Albert, rector of 
St. Sebald's, was vexed because the burghers took 
my side. In the end all the magistrates and burghers 
were convinced. In fact, I have not met a single 
enemy as yet. In every inn I leave the host as a 
parting gift a copy of the Ten Commandments, 2 and 
elsewhere I leave it as a leaven to work in the 
meal-tub. 3 All the hostesses and their husbands 
give me a right hearty welcome. Nowhere do they 
put into force the edict of excommunication, while 
my notice of appeal, written in German, meets with 
universal praise. I assure you then that no greater 
hostility is shown me than by the Bohemian people. 4 
And what more can I say? Both Baron Wenzel 
[of Duba] and Baron John [of Chlum] treat me very 
graciously and kindly ; they are like heralds of the 
truth, or rather, to speak more truly, they are 
advocates of the truth. With them on my side 
all goes well, the Lord being my defender. The 
King 5 is down the Rhine 6 and Baron Wenzel 

1 Consulibus. The word, whether designedly or not, is very appro 
priate. Over the gates of Nuremberg was the motto " S.F.Q.N." 

* Do decem mandata hospiti. This may be Hus's tract on the Ten 
Commandments, the date for which, however, is usually given a few 
weeks later (see Man. i. 29J). The subject, at any rate, was clearly a 
favourite with Hus. 

* Applico in farina. An Italian proverb for a ' willing mind.' 
Some translators have taken the passage literally, that Hus left his 
tracts in the flour-bin ! 

4 Cf. pp. 147, 165, 263. 

5 Sigismund, as often. See infra, p. 163, . 5. 

6 As a specimen of the faulty readings of the Epist. Piissinue and 
Monumenta, note here : Rex est in regno, quern sequitw Dominut 
Wencesslaus, et nog de node per gimus Constantiam, ad quam appropinquat 
Papa Joannes. Judicamus enim quod nequatur Regem forte per 60 


de Lestna 1 is setting out after him. "We are 
going direct 2 to Constance. Pope John is getting 
near there. 3 For we judge it would be useless to go 
after the King, perhaps a distance of sixty [German] 
miles, and then return to Constance. 

Written at Nuremberg on the Saturday before the 
Feast of the Eleven Thousand Virgins. 4 

From Nuremberg the direct road to Constance lay through 
Ulm, Biberach, and Ravensburg to the Lake. One incident of 
the journey has been preserved for us by Mladenowic. On the 
occasion of Hus disputing with certain persons in the little 
Suabian town of Biberach at that time a free city of the empire, 
John of Chlum argued so strenuously ' with the priests and other 
men of culture on obedience due to the Pope, excommunication, 
and other matters, that the rumour spread through the whole 
town that he was a doctor of theology ' ; " Doctor Biberach," as 
Hus afterwards jestingly calls him in his Letters (see p. 159, n. 4). 

On reaching the Lake, Hus and his escort would finish the 
journey by boat. With considerable shrewdness they decided 
not to take their horses with them to Constance, but to send 
them back for sale to Ravensburg. On arriving at Constance 
they discovered the wisdom of the step. The city of the Council, 
as Ulrich v. Reichental tells us in his famous Diary, cannot at 
this time have had fewer than twenty to thirty thousand horses 
in it. Reichental's special duty, in fact, was to provide adequate 

Hus entered Constance on Saturday, November 3, 'riding 
through a vast crowd.' There he lodged with ' a certain widow 
Faithful in the street of St. Paul,' who kept a bakery with the 

milliaria et revertatur Constantiam. Bonnechose translates this non 
sense literally. 

1 i.e., Duba. See pp. 160 and 169, n. 2. 

2 MS. and editions read de node. Read with P., directs, and cf. 
p. 161 infra. 

* Pope John was at this time crossing the Arlberg. Reichental in 
his Diary (ed. Buck, 1882) tells us how he was violently hurled from 
his sledge into the snow. ' Here I lie,' he cried, ' in the devil's name. 
I should have done better to have remained at Bologna.' 

4 See p. 1 5 for comment on this name. 


sign of the White Pigeon close by the Schnetzthor, or road to 
St. Gallen. From this house still visible to the tourist Hus 
never stirred until his arrest, as we learn on the direct testimony 
of Chlum. 

The ' vast crowd ' of which Hus writes was probably not due 
to curiosity only concerning the Reformer, but, as we learn from 
the Journal of Cardinal Fillastre, to a different cause. ' On 
Sunday, October 28, the Lord Pope entered Constance in state, 
and took up his quarters in the Bishop's palace. It was after 
wards arranged that the Council should be opened with a 
procession and high mass on Saturday, November 3 ' the very 
day on which Hus and his friends rode into the city. But on 
that Saturday, continues Fillastre, ' Pope, cardinals, and all the 
prelates and clergy were gathered together in the palace, vest 
ments donned, and the procession arranged. This was ready 
to start in fact, the Pope had come out of his room when 
illness seized him. He was obliged to go back, doff his vestments, 
and lie down on his bed.' Two days later John had recovered, 
and opened the Council. 1 

Three letters of Hus written from widow Faithful's have been 
preserved for us, as well as a letter from John Cardinalis, all of 
them addressed to the friends in Prague. The gossip they retail 
on the whole turned out correct. But Benedict never intended 
to come to the Council, though he sent envoys, accredited to 
Sigismund, who arrived in Constance on January 8, and caused 
much stir by their claim to wear red hats. The Dukes of Brabant 
and Berg had succeeded by their threats in preventing Sigismund's 
early coronation, and in driving him back in the early autumn 
from Coblenz to Heidelberg and Nuremberg. Their opposition 
had now been overcome, and on Sunday, November 4, Sigismund 
arrived in Aachen, and was crowned on the 8th. He fulfilled 
Hus's guess by entering Constance at 2 A.M. on Christmas Day. 

As regards the number of Parisians at the Council, Hus was 
mistaken. On December 6 John wrote to expostulate with the 
French ecclesiastics because they had not yet arrived. In reality, 
the Paris deputation, with Gerson at the head, did not reach 
Constance until February 18 or 26 the exact date is somewhat 
doubtful, probably the latter (Finke, Forschungen, 259). The 
number of cardinals in Constance at this time was but fifteen out of 
twenty-nine. As John Cardinalis points out (p. 163), the outlook 
1 See Fillastre in Finke, Fortchungen des Kon. Konzils, p. 163. 


at Constance did not at first point to a large attendance. It was 
not until after the arrival of Sigismund that the princes of 
Europe sent their embassies. 

With the 'seller of indulgences,' Michael Tiem, now Dean of 
Passau, we have met before (p. 68). The negotiations with John to 
which Hus and Cardinalis refer were characteristic of the Pope. 
John was too uncertain of the future to make up his mind, as yet, 
to a breach with Sigismund, while his future conduct shows that 
he was not sorry to find a subject which might possibly divert 
attention from himself, and embroil Sigismund in a conflict with 
the cardinals. So when, on the Sunday after their arrival, ' Chlum 
and Lacembok waited on the Pope, informing him that they had 
brought Hus to Constance under the safe-conduct of Sigismund, 
and begging that the Pope would not allow violence to be done to 
him, the Pope replied that even if Hus had killed his own 
brother he should be safe ' (Mladenowic's Relatio in Doc. 246). 

That same night Hus wrote the following letter to his friends in 
Bohemia : 

(Constance, November 4, 1414) 

Greetings from Christ Jesus ! "We reached Con 
stance the Saturday after All Saints' Day, having 
escaped all hurt. As we passed through the various 
cities we posted up the notices of appeal in Latin 
and German. We are lodged in a street near the 
Pope's quarters. 1 "We came without a safe-conduct. 2 
The day after our arrival Michael de Causis posted 
up writs against me in the Cathedral, and affixed 
his signature to them, with a long preamble to the 
effect that "the said writs are against that excom 
municated and obstinate John Hus, who is also under 
the suspicion of heresy," and much else besides. 
Nevertheless, with God's help, I take no notice 

1 The Pope was lodged in the Bishop's palace. 
1 See p. 146, supra, for explanation. 


of this, knowing that God sent him against me 
to say evil things of me for my sins, and to 
test my power and willingness to endure suf 
fering. Barons Lacembok and John Kepka 1 had 
an audience with the Pope, and spoke with him 
about me. He replied that he desired no violence 
to be done. 'Tis reported, though on poor authority, 
that Benedict, the Pope of the Spaniards, is on his 
way to the Council. "We heard to-day that the Duke 
of Burgundy, 2 with the Duke of Brabant, had left 
the field, and that King Sigismund in three days 
ought to be at Aachen and be crowned, and that 
the Pope and the Council should be on the look 
out for him. But as Aachen is seventy [German] 
miles from here, I imagine that the King will 
scarcely arrive before Christmas. I think therefore 
that the Council, if not dissolved, will perhaps end 
about Easter. The living here is dear, a bed cost 
ing half a florin a week. Horses are cheap: one 
bought in Bohemia for six guineas is given away 
here for seven florins. 3 Baron Chlum and myself 
sent our horses to a town called Ravensburg, four 
[German] miles off. I think it will not be long 
before I shall be hard up for common necessaries. 
Mention therefore my anxiety on this score among 
my friends, whom it would take too long to name 
and it would be irksome to think of separately. 

1 i.e., Barons Henry and John of Chlum. See p. 139. 

2 Dux Burgundia. I imagine that this a slip, whether on Hus's 
part or the copyist's, for ' dux Berg.' See supra, p. 156. So far as I 
know, the Duke of Burgundy had nothing to do with the matter. But 
Adolph of Berg was up in arms because Sigismund did not support 
his brother's claim to the vacant archbishopric of Cologne. See 
Aschbach, Kaiser Sigmund, i. 401-9. 

1 i.e., a third the price, For prices at Constance, see Hardt, v. 50-52. 


Baron Lacembok is riding off to-day to the King. 
He has urged me to attempt nothing definite before 
the arrival of the latter. I am hoping that I shall 
have a public hearing for my reply. There are 
many Parisians and Italians here, but few arch 
bishops as yet, and even few bishops. The cardinals 
are present in great force, riding about on mules, 
but such sorry scrubs ! l When I rode into Con 
stance I heard at once of their riding about I was 
riding myself through a vast crowd but I could 
not see them for the great throng about me. Many 
of our Bohemian friends spent on the journey all 
the money they had, and are now in sad straits. I 
am full of sympathy with them, but cannot afford 
to give to all. Baron Lacembok took over the 
horse of Baron Pfibislaus ; but my horse, Rabstyn, 
beats them all for hard work and spirit. He is the 
only one I have by me, if at any time I should 
have to go out of the city to the King. Greet all 
my friends without exception, etc. This is the 
fourth 2 letter written away from home. It is sent 
off on Sunday night after All Saints' Day in Con 
stance. None of the Bohemian gentry 3 are here 
except Baron John of Chlum, who escorted me and 
looks after me like a knight, and everywhere does 
more preaching than I, in declaring my innocence. 4 
Sent off from Constance. Pray God for my con 
stancy 5 in the truth. 

1 Has falls back on Czech to express his feelings. 
z That is, counting Letters XXXIV. and XXXV. as sent away after 
leaving Krakowec. Otherwise we must assume some are lost. 

* Militaribus. 

4 See " Doctor Biberach," pp. 155, 192, 195, 198. 

* The pun is characteristic and very frequent. Cf. pp. 160, 195, 197. 


(Constance, November 6, 1414) 

Greetings from Christ Jesus ! Dear friends, I am 
quite well through it all. I came without the Pope's 1 
safe-conduct to Constance ; pray God then that He 
may grant me constancy, because many powerful 
adversaries have risen up against me, stirred up in 
particular by that seller of indulgences, the Dean of 
Passau, now the head of the chapter there, 2 and 
Michael de Causis, who is always posting up writs 
against me. But I fear none of these things, nor am 
I affrighted, for I hope that a great victory is to 
follow a great fight, and after the victory a greater 
reward, and the greater confusion of my persecutors. 
The Pope is unwilling to quash the writs. He said, 
"What can I do? your side are the aggressors." 
But two bishops and a doctor had some talk with 
Baron John Kepka [Chlum] to the effect that I should 
come to terms under a pledge of silence. By which I 
apprehend that they are afraid of my public reply 
and sermon, 3 which I hope by the grace of God to 
deliver when Sigismund comes. Of the latter Baron 
"Wenzel de Lestna 4 has sent news that he expressed 

1 This version differs from that which Hus gives elsewhere, and glosses 
over the fact that actually Hus had set off without Sigismund 's promised 
safe-conduct. In reality the Pope's safe-conduct could alone have 
guaranteed his immunity from the Inquisition. Sigismund's safe-conduct 
did not reach the spiritual sphere. See p. 144 n. and p. 146, and cf. p. 180. 

2 Jam prcepositus. See Ducange. 

The sermons which Hus expected to give are still preserved for us 
in Mon. i. 44-57. They are chiefly from Wyclif, and in reality cut at 
the root of the mediaeval system. 

4 i.e., Wenzel de Duba, who had ridden from Nuremberg to the King. 
See p. 155, 


pleasure when lie (the noble Baron "Wenzel) told him 
that I was riding direct l to Constance without safe- 
conduct. In all the cities we were well treated and 
had respect paid to us, while we posted up notices in 
Latin and German in the free cities where I had 
interviews with the magistrates. I had a herald on 
the journey in the Bishop of Lebus, 2 who was always 
one night ahead of us. He spread the news abroad 
that they were conducting me in a cart in chains, 
and that people must beware of me, as I could read 
men's thoughts ! So whenever we drew near a 
city, out came the crowds to meet us, as if to a 
show ! But the enemy was put to confusion by 
his lie, while the people were glad when they heard 
the truth. Surely Christ Jesus is with me as a 
strong warrior ; therefore I fear not what the 
enemy may do. Live holy lives, and pray earnestly 
that the Lord in His mercy may help me and defend 
His law in me to the end. Sent off on the evening 
of St. Leonard's Day. 

I imagine I shall be hard up for necessaries, if the 
Council is prolonged. So ask for an interest in me 
from those whom you know to be my friends, but in 
the first instance let the request be conditional. 
Greet all my friends of either sex, urging them to 
pray God in my behalf, for there is much need. 

1 See p. 155, n. 2. 

2 Epis. Lulucensem, usually, but wrongly translated, " Bishop of 
Liibeck" (Lubicensem). John de Bornsnitz, Bishop of Lebus, was a 
canon of Prague, a doctor of decrees, and 'auditor Pal. Apostolici.' 
(See infra, p. 162.) He was Bishop from September 24, 13971420, 
when he was translated to Gran. In January 1410 we find him des 
patched by Alexander V. on special business into Bohemia. He was 
one of the special inquisitors appointed to examine Hus. See infra, 
p. 174. 



In addition to the letters of Hus written at this period, we 
possess a most valuable letter by John Cardinalis of Reinstein, 
at one time (e.g. Mon., Ep. Piiss.) mistakenly attributed to Hus 

John Cardinalis of Reinstein, vicar of Janowicz, Master of 
Arts and Bachelor of Common Law, had been for many years 
the trusted diplomatic agent of Wenzel. But he had never 
concealed his sympathies with the reforming party, and in an 
anonymous squib written in 1418 he is called 'haereticus 
principalis ' (Doc. 693). His influence was great, as we see from a 
remark made to him by Palecz a few days later, on the occasion 
of the arrest of Hus : " Master John, I grieve over you that 
you have allowed yourself to be seduced ; formerly you were a 
man of weight with the Curia, more noted than all other 
Bohemians, and now they account you nothing, on account of 
that sect' (Doc. 250). When Christian Prachaticz was arrested 
(infra, p. 196), no attempt was made against Cardinalis. On the 
death of Hus he returned to Prague and was twice rector of the 
University, from October 16, 1416 April 23, 1417, and again 
for the same period in the following year. His name ' Cardinalis ' 
was mistranslated by Luther, and, as we shall see, led the great 
Reformer astray. See infra, p. 237. 

(Constance, November 10, 1414) 

Dear fellow-suspects * and friends ! Although we remember 
that we sent several letters to you, truthfully setting forth the 
manner of our journey and present lodging in Constance, now, 
however, to afford you a special proof of our abiding affection for 
your community, I desire to inform you that yesterday the 
chamberlain ' of the sacred apostolic palace, as it is now called, 
came along with the Bishop of Constance 3 and also the burgo 
master of Constance to our lodging and told our master how a 
fine dispute was going on between the Pope and the cardinals 
concerning the edict of excommunication, fulminated as it was 

1 Fautores, a technical word of the Inquisition. 

2 Auditor sacri utinam palatii apostoliti. Possibly the Bishop of 
Lebus. See p. 161, n. 2. 

1 The Bishop was Otto de Hachberg-Rotteln, a canon of Cologne. 
Appointed December 10, 1410, he resigned in 1434. See p. 257. 


alleged 1 against our master. They cut the matter short by 
coming to our master to inform him that the Pope in the 
plenitude of his power had suspended the aforesaid edict and 
sentence of excommunication passed on Master John, requesting 
him none the less, in order to prevent scandal and gossip among 
the people, not to present himself at any rate at their high 
masses, 2 though he might freely go about elsewhere, not only in 
the city of Constance, but in the churches and any place he liked. 
We learn for a fact that they are all undoubtedly afraid of the 
sermon which Master John proposes to deliver to the clergy at 
no distant date. 3 For some person, whether friend or enemy is 
unknown, announced yesterday in church that Master John Hus 
would preach next Sunday to the clergy in the cathedral church 
of Constance, and would give a ducat to every one present ! So 
we can roam as we like in Constance, and our master daily 
celebrates mass, as he has done hitherto on the whole journey. 4 
The master has accepted the King's advice in his own interests 
and those of the truth not to force any issue until the arrival 
of the King of Hungary. 5 In fact, nothing so far has been done 
in the Council ; no embassy of any king or prince has arrived ; 
nothing for certain is heard about the movements of Gregory, or 
Benedict, or their embassies ; nor do we expect the Council to 
begin for several weeks. You should know, and tell the others, 
that all our party have been cited to appear in person, and that the 
rest, as is well known, have had open threats against them posted 
up on the porches and doors of the churches ; so let them look out 
for themselves. 6 Michael de Causis is making a great noise 7 over 
what he has done. Baron John and Baron Wenzel 8 are warm, 
zealous supporters and defenders of the truth. Written at 
Constance the Saturday before Martinmas. The Goose 9 is not 
yet cooked, and is not afraid of being cooked, because this year 
the noted eve of St. Martin's falls on a Saturday, when geese are 
not eaten ! 10 

1 Fulminate prtetenso. 2 For explanation see p. 166, n. 1. * See p. 160, n. 4. 
This, of course, in the case of one excommunicated was open defiance. 
Cf. p. 159. The ' King ' is Sigismund in both cases. So passim. 
Ut sibi videantur. 7 Hus falls back on Czech : rycrie. 

i.e., Chlum and Duba, as usual. 9 The usual pun for Hus. 

1 P. : quid preesenti anno sabbato ante Martini festum ipsius occurrit 
Celebris vigilia, for which read Celebris vigilia ante festum Martini ipsius 
sabbato oocurrit. 


(Constance, November 16, 1414) 

To all the faithful and beloved brethren and sisters 
in God, lovers of the truth of Jesus Christ ! Peace 
be to you from God our Father and from Jesus 
Christ, so that ye may be kept free from sins, dwell 
in His grace, increase in good works and after death 
enter into eternal joy. Dear friends, I beseech you 
to live according to God's law and to give heed to 
your salvation, hearing the word of God with circum- 
spectness, lest ye be deceived by the apostles of 
Antichrist, who make light of men's sins and afflict 
no chastisement upon sins, who flatter the priests 
and do not show the people their sins, who seek 
their own glory, boasting of their good works and 
extolling their power, but will not imitate Jesus 
Christ in His humility, poverty, patience, and tribu 
lation. It was of these that our most gracious 
Saviour foretold when He said : False prophets shall 
rise and shall seduce many. 2 Again warning His 
beloved beforehand He saith : Beware of false prophets 
who come to you in the clothing of sheep ; but inwardly 
they are ravening wolves. 3 Surely there is much need 
that faithful Christians should keep careful watch 
over themselves ; for the Saviour saith that even the 
elect (if possible) shall be deceived.* Therefore, dear 
friends, watch, lest the devil's craftiness deceive 
you ; and be the more cautious, the more Antichrist 
troubles you. For the day of judgment is approach 
ing, death is laying many low, and the kingdom of 

1 This letter is written in Czech. * Matt. vii. 15. 

z Matt. xziv. 11. Matt. zziv. 24. 


heaven is drawing near to the sons of God. For 
the sake of obtaining this kingdom, keep your 
bodies under, lest ye be afraid of death, love one 
another, and in memory, reason and will abide 
steadfast in God. Let the terrible day of judgment 
live before your eyes, that ye sin not ; and the 
eternal joy likewise that ye may seek after it. 
May the crucified Lord, the beloved Saviour, ever 
be in your thoughts, that with Him and for His 
sake we may gladly and patiently suffer all things ; 
for if you will keep His crucifixion in your memory, 
you will gladly undergo all tribulations, revilings, 
insults, stripes, fetters, and if His dear will demand 
it, even death for the sake of His beloved truth. 

Ye know, dear friends, that Antichrist hath attacked 
us with insults, and many so far he hath not hurt one 
whit, myself for example, although he hath set upon 
me sorely. Wherefore I entreat you to pray God 
earnestly that it may please Him to furnish me with 
wisdom, patience, humility, and energy, in order to 
stand firm in His truth. He hath brought me now 
to Constance without let or hindrance ; for although 
I rode the whole way dressed as a priest without 
disguise, and in all the towns called out my name 
in a loud voice, I met no open enemy ; in fact, I 
should not have many enemies in Constance if the 
Bohemian clergy, in their greed for livings and their 
bondage to avarice, had not been leading people 
astray on the journey. 1 Yet I trust to the mercy 
of the Saviour and to your prayers that I shall stand 
firm in God's truth unto death. Know that the 
sacrament hath not been interrupted on my account 
anywhere, not even at Constance, where the Pope 
1 Cf. p. 161, n. 2. 


himself administered it, though I was in the town. 1 
I commend you to the gracious Lord God, to the 
Lord Jesus, very God, the son of the chaste Virgin 
Mary, Who by His cruel and shameful death redeemed 
us without any merits of our own from everlast 
ing tortures, from the devil's power and from sin. 
I write this at Constance, on the feast day of St. 
Othmar, 3 a strenuous servant of our Lord Jesus 
Christ, Who is blessed for ever. Amen. 

priest and servant of God, in hope. 

The rumour to which John Cardinalis alludes, that Hus 
intended to preach which, after the manner of rumours, grew 
into a report that he had actually preached was not the only 
rumour afloat. Another tale, more damaging still, obtained wide 
circulation. A hay waggon with a large cover had been noticed 
in his street. In this, it Avas said, Hus had attempted to escape ; 
he was actually in the cart when his friends Chlum and 
Lacembok, who were not in the secret, ran and informed the 
burgomaster and charged Hus with having broken his safe- 
conduct. The report was undoubtedly false, for Hus, as we 
know on the evidence of Chlum himself (Doc. 292), never left 
the house until his arrest. Nevertheless, it was widely believed, 
among others by the gossiping burgher, Ulrich von Reichental, 
from whose pages it has found its way into history. At any rate 
it furnished the managers of the Council, ill satisfied with the 
Pope's vacillation in his negotiations with the heretic, with an 
excuse for bringing Hus under the grip of the Inquisition. The 

1 In the case of an excommunicated person under an interdict this 
should have been done until the said person had been surrendered. 
This was expressly provided in the excommunication of Hus in July 
1412. See Doc. 462. The usual translation ' when I was present ' is 
ruled out by p. 163 (the request of John himself). 

2 Othmar, appointed by Pepin abbot of St. Gall, in 720, was forced to 
defend the independence of the monastery against the Bp. of Constance, 
and died a prisoner on an island near Constance, November 19, 759. 
Hence the allusion of Hus. For his life, see Pertz, Man. Germ. ii. 40-58. 


method they adopted showed either hesitation or duplicity. On 
November 28, the cardinals, led on by Palecz and Michael the 
Pleader, sent at breakfast-time the Bishops of Augsburg and 
Trent, and the burgomaster of Constance, to inform Hus ' that 
they were now ready to hear him.' Cblum at once detected the 
plot, for the house was surrounded with soldiers. ' The devil 
himself,' he said to the burgomaster, ' if he came to plead, ought 
to have a fair hearing.' 'I have not come,' added Hus, rising 
from the table, ' to address the cardinals, but the whole Council.' 
The envoys replied, 'that they had come only for the sake of 
peace, to avoid a tumult.' After further parley, Hus consented 
to go with them. ' God bless you,' he said, bidding farewell on 
the stairs to his weeping hostess. The two bishops for their part 
could not conceal their joy. ' Now,' they said, ' you will not say 
mass here any more.' ' So Hus rode away on a small horse to the 
Pope's palace.' Interrogated by the cardinals , ' Kather than hold 
any heresy,' he replied, ' I would prefer to die.' ' Your words are 
good,' replied the cardinals, and retired to dine, leaving Hus to be 
badgered by a Franciscan friar, who posed ' as a simple monk 
desirous of information,' but was really, as Hus learned from the 
soldiers, one ' Master Didaco, reputed the subtlest theologian in 
all Lombardy.' After dinner, 'at four in the afternoon, the 
cardinals returned to consider further what they should do with 
the said Hus. His adversaries Palecz and Michael the Pleader 
continued instant in their demand that he should not be released. 
Dancing round the fire, they called out in their joy, " Ha, ha, we 
have him now. He shall not leave us until he has paid the last 
farthing." ' Chlum, meanwhile, sought out the Pope. John took 
refuge in characteristic evasions. As for the friar Didaco 
' he is a clown, he is not one of my people.' The imprisonment 
was the act of the cardinals. ' You know, very well,' he added, 
' the terms on which I stand with them.' Had Hus, he continued, 
really a safe-conduct ? ' Holy Father,' replied Chlum, ' you know 
that he has ' (Mladenowic's Relatio in Doc. 248-52). 

The fate of Hus was really sealed. That night ' about nine he 
was led away to the house of one of the precentors of the 
cathedral.' Eight days later (December 6) he was removed ' to a 
dark cell hard by the latrines,' in the monastery of the Black- 
friars, in those days on an island in the lake, though now joined 
to the town. In later prints we can still see it strongly 
surrounded with its own walls. (See map in Hardt, v . iv.) 


For several days carpenters had been hard at work in the 
monastery preparing the prison for his reception, fitting in 
bolts, locks, and irons, making up six beds for his gaolers, and 
fixing up a stove for their comfort. But the comfort of Hus 
was the last thing considered, and the pestilential latrines 
brought on a grievous sickness so severe that his friends 
'despaired of his life. But the Pope sent his own physician, 
who administered to him clysters.' The death of the prisoner 
before his condemnation would not have suited the purposes of 
the Council. 

Chlum, in spite of his rebuff by the Pope, was not inactive. 
He reported the matter to Sigismund, and ' showed and read 
aloud the said safe-conduct to the notables of Constance.' On 
December 24, knowing that Sigismund would shortly arrive, he 
posted up a notice on the doors of the Cathedral, ' complaining 
that the Pope had not kept faith with him ' ; the insult to the 
safe-conduct was a step upon which they would not have 
ventured ' if Sigismund had been present.' Honest Chlum was 
mistaken. Whatever Sigismund's previous intentions, when he 
arrived he blustered a little, but did nothing except procure for 
Hus a better lodging in the refectory. Sigismund probably 
realised his own powerlessness ; for, on January 1, a deputation 
from the Council warned him that he must not interfere with the 
liberty of the Council in the investigation of heresy. If he did 
it would be at the peril of the break-up of the Council. So 
Sigismund capitulated, assuring the deputation ' that the matter of 
Hus and other details of small consequence must not be allowed 
to interfere with the reformation of the Church." 

Hus meanwhile lay grievously ill in his cell. From November 
16, 1414, to January 19, 1415, his letters ceased, at any rate none 
have been preserved for us. The following letter from Chlum is 
the only one that we know of that reached him in this interval 
from the outer world. The letter is without date, but from 
internal evidence must have been written before Hus's removal 
from the fever-trap. The date on which Hus was removed to 
the refectory is a little uncertain either January 3 (following 
Hardt) or January 8. If we take the 3rd as the correct date, for 
the dates of sick men in prison are not altogether trustworthy, 

1 Finke, Forschungen und Quellen zur Oetch. Acs Konstanzer 
Konzilt, pp. 253-4. 


this letter of Chlum was despatched on the evening of January 1, 
after Sigismund's capitulation to the deputation and refusal to 
liberate Hus from prison. To this the letter makes reference at 
the close. 

( Without date : Jamiary 1, 1415 ?) 

My beloved friend in Christ, you ought to know that Sigis- 
mund was present to-day with the deputies of all the nations 
of the whole Council, and spoke about your case, and, in par 
ticular, pleaded for a public hearing. 1 In reply to his words, 
it was unanimously and finally decided that, whatever happens, 
you shall have a public hearing. Your friends will insist on this. 
They are also insisting that at any rate you be placed in a well- 
ventilated place, so that you may recover yourself and get fresh 

Therefore, for God's sake and your own salvation and the 
furtherance of the truth, don't yield a point through any fear of 
losing this miserable life, because it is surely for your great good 
that God has visited you with this His visitation. The Prague 
friends are very well, in particular Baron Skopek, 2 who is greatly 
rejoiced that you have got what you have so long prayed for, 
persecution in behalf of the truth. 

We urge you strongly to set down on this sheet of paper, if 
you think well, your grounds and final intentions respecting the 
communion of the cup, so that it can be shown at the proper time 
to your friends ; for there is still a kind of split among the 

1 See supra, p. 168. But the date of this letter is very doubtful. 

2 i.e., Henry de Duba. The line of Duba was divided into two main 
divisions, the first of which was again subdivided into the family of 
Berka and the family of Skopek. Wenzel de Duba of Lestna belonged 
to the second main division (Benesovien). Henry's castle was at 
Auscha. Henry, whose health at Constance gave Hus some concern 
(p. 176), died in 1417 without children, and was succeeded by his elder 
brother, Ales of Drazic, who had been from 1404 the chamberlain of 
Bohemia, and was a great enemy of the Hussites. To Henry Skopek 
(Skopkon) de Duba, as one of the chief patrons of Hus, we find frequent 
reference in the Letters (infra, pp. 227, 229, 234). 


brethren, and many are troubled about this matter, and appeal 
to you and your judgment in reference to certain writings. 1 

Your principal friends * are grieved over the reply given about 
the prison, 3 and especially Jesenicz. However, the past is beyond 
recall. They are loud in their praises of your constancy. 

1 See for this matter p. 177, infra. The 'writings' are those of 
Jakoubek of Mies. It is curious that Chlum says nothing of the little 
tract of Hus, De Sanguine Christi sub specie vini (see Man. i. 42-44), 
According to the inscription, this was written before Hus was cast 
into prison, and in it Hus had already summed up on the side 
of the Utraquists. It is possible the inscription is a mistake, and this 
is really the tract ' set down on this sheet of paper.' But see 
pp. 177 and 185. 

2 P. : amici prcecipui. Perhaps we should read pracipue tristantur, 
1 are especially grieved.' 

3 i.e., Sigismund's refusal to release, or if the letter be assigned to a 
different date, to difficulties experienced in obtaining the transfer of 
Hus to the refectory. 

Part V, Letters Written during the Imprison^ 
ment at the Blackfriars 

(November 16, 1414 March 24, 1415) 

IN January, on his partial recovery from his first illness, Hus 
once more began his interrupted letters. They were passed out, 
in spite of the vigilance of Michael's spies, by means of his Polish 
visitors, and by the connivance of his gaoler Robert, whom he 
had made his devoted servant ' the faithful friend,' ' that good 
man,' to whom Hus cautiously alludes in his Letters for whose 
benefit he penned in prison several short tracts, still preserved for 
us in the Monumenta The Lord's Prayer, The Ten Command 
ments, On Marriage ' which estate, please God, Robert is shortly 
about to enter ' and On Mortal Sin. A larger tract, compiled 
also at his gaoler's request, was his Lord's Supper, 1 written for 
edification rather than controversy. ' I beg of you,' he writes, 
'not to trip me up if my quotations from the doctors are not 
exact, for I have no books, writing in prison.' All his books, in 
fact, including his Vulgate and Peter Lombard's Sentences, had 
been taken away from him. Hence the request in Letter XLI. 
But the absence of second-hand unacknowledged quotations is 
not altogether to the disadvantage of Hus's prison tracts. They 
are pleasant reading, with little distinctive save their tenderness. 
Others than Robert the gaoler had been won over by the charm 
of their prisoner. Even the officials of the Pope seem to have 
been betrayed into kindness (infra, p. 176). 

To these works we shall find frequent reference in the letters 
that follow. Unfortunately, save for No. XLIV., no manuscript of 
these letters now exists ; we are entirely dependent on the early 
printed editions, especially the Epistoloe Piissimce. The preserva 
tion of the originals would have been almost impossible. The cir 
cumstances under which they were written would be against their 

1 For these works, see Man. i. 29-44. 


life. ' Alas, alas ! ' cried Hawlik, the priest of the Bethlehem, as 
he read the following letter to the congregation, and pointed to 
the torn scrap on which it was written ' alas, alas ! Hus is running 
out of paper' (Doc. 255). Chlum also (p. 196) speaks of one 
of Hus's letters as written on a 'tattered three-cornered bit of 
paper.' We understand this when we remember that Hus 
sometimes spent whole nights in writing letters or scribbling 
hexameters ' to pass the time,' to say nothing of formal answers 
to his enemies (infra, p. 206). 

These prison letters are generally undated, and contain few 
indications of time. The student will understand that the order 
in which they are arranged is therefore to a large extent con 
jecture, and indicates merely whether in our opinion the letters 
come early or late in this first imprisonment. With one or two 
exceptions, we have seen little reason to question in this matter 
the judgment of Palacky. That Letters XLII.-V. were written in 
February 1415 is clear from a statement of Fillastre in his Diary, 
that that month was filled up with Inquisition matters, only to 
be broken off towards the close by the issue of the abdication of 
John (see Fillastre in Finke, op. cit. 166). Of the value of the 
letters themselves we need say little. They will appeal to every 
reader by their tenderness and true piety. 

(Blackfriars, January 19, 1415) 

May it please God to be with you, that ye may 
persevere in resisting wickedness, the devil, the 
world, and the flesh. 

Dear friends, I beseech you, as I sit here in my 
prison, of which I am not ashamed, seeing that I 
suffer in hope for God's sake, "Who visited me in 
His mercy even with a sore sickness, and hath 
brought me back again to health, and suffered 
those to be my most persistent foes whom I had 
treated with much kindness, and had sincerely loved. 

1 Written in Czech. 


I beseech, you, I say, to pray God for me that it may 
please Him to be with me. For in Him alone I have 
hope, and in the prayers you offer to Him, that He 
will cause me to be faithful in His grace even unto 
death. If at this time it shall please Him to take me 
to Himself, His holy will be done ; or if He shall deign 
to restore me alive to you, His will likewise be done. 
I am now assuredly in need of your best help ; yet I 
know that God will send no calamity or trial upon 
me but what will turn out for your good and mine, 
so that, in being exercised thereby and abiding 
steadfast, we may win a great reward. 

Let me inform you that my enemies have given 
an utterly false translation in Latin of those letters 
which I had left for you on starting on my journey. 1 
They are writing so many articles against me that 
my time in prison is fully occupied in replying to 
them. I have no counsellor by me but the merciful 
Lord Jesus, "Who said to His faithful friends : / will 
give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adver 
saries shall not be able to resist. 2 Oh, dear friends, 
remember that I laboured with you in all zeal, and 
ever long for your salvation, even now when I am in 
prison and in the midst of great trial. Sent off at 
Constance on Saturday, the vigil of St. Fabian. 


(Blackfriars, without date : January 1415) 

Gracious lord, please get me a Bible, and send it 
by that trusty man of yours. If your secretary 
Peter 3 hath any ink, I should like to have it, with 
some pens and a small inkhorn. 

1 Bee p. 147. 2 Luke xxi. 15. * Mladenowic, 


I know nothing either of my Polish servant or 
of Cardinalis, except that I have news that your 
lordship is here and in the King's company. I beg 
you therefore to entreat his Majesty, both on my 
own account and for the sake of God Almighty, Who 
hath so richly endowed him with His gifts ; and, 
further, for the sake of manifesting justice and truth 
to the glory of God and the welfare of His Church. 
Entreat him, I say, to release me from imprisonment, 
so that I may be able to prepare myself for a public 
hearing. You should know that I have been very 
ill, and have had clysters applied to me ; but I am 
now well again. Please give my greetings to the 
Bohemian lords who are at the court of the king. 
Written with my own hand, which your secretary, 
Peter, knows. 1 Sent off from prison. May all of 
you who are my friends remember the Goose ! 

The Commission to which Hus alludes in the following letter 
was a Commission of three inquisitors the Patriarch of Con 
stantinople, Hus's courier the Bishop of Lebus, and Bishop 
Bernard of Citta di Castello, who had met Jerome at Cracow in 
the spring of 1413, and procured, as we have seen (p. 134), his 
expulsion from that city. These the Council had appointed, 
immediately on Hus's arrest, to examine him. By these three, 
' together with their notaries and witnesses,' Hus was repeatedly 
visited in prison and questioned. The prosecutors, especially, 
Palecz and Michael, were unsparing in their labours. c I should 
be glad,' said Michael, spurring on a reluctant witness, ' to bear 
evidence against my own father if he were a heretic.' Michael's 
spies, as Hus complains, were everywhere ' finding out letters 
and other evidence.' To what Hus alludes in his statement about 
the ' dozen masters ' it is difficult to say. Wylie * and others have 
taken Hus to mean that the inquisitors offered him a dozen 

1 Hus evidently feared forgeries in his name stating that he had 
recanted, etc. ; for a recantation would have suited the Council better 
than his burning. Cf. p. 147. * Council of Constance, p. 148. 


masters to plead his case. But the defence of a prisoner was a 
thing absolutely forbidden, as Lea l has shown, and would never 
have been allowed. In fact, as Hus tells us (p. 179), a proctor was 
expressly refused. We incline to think that there is here some 
confusion in allusion to the Commission of twelve, that according 
to Cerretanus (reported in Hardt, iv. 23) was appointed to try 
Hus on December 1. At the head of this Commission were 
Cardinals D'Ailli, Zabarella, and Fillastre. With them were 
associated 'six other learned men.' This Commission seems to 
have delegated the actual work to the Commission of three, who, if 
my interpretation be correct, spent much time in pleading with 
Hus to waive his claim to a hearing before the whole Council, 
and recognise the jurisdiction of the twelve. If so the word 
' masters ' is used contemptuously. In support of this the reader 
will note the last clauses of the second paragraph. 

(Blackfriars, without date : February 1415) 

Noble and gracious lord, I am greatly comforted. 
I beg you for God's sake not to be weary of your 
long-continued and great efforts on my account : for 
the God of truth and the Lord of justice is standing 
by you to give you your reward. 

These commissioners urged me persistently for 
several days to hand over my case to twelve or thirteen 
masters ! I refused to submit myself to them. But 
after I had written with my own hand replies in 
reference to the forty-five articles of Wyclif , and to the 
others which are charged against me, I at once wrote 
out in the presence of the notaries and commissioners 
a protest expressing my desire to appear before the 
whole Council and give an account of the beliefs I 

The articles which they have extracted from my 

1 Lea, Hist. Inquis. in Middle Aget, i. c. xi. 


book De Ecclesia by false omissions and additions 
shall be brought to light by God's grace, and also 
the reply which I wrote in prison, though I had not 
a single book to help me. 1 

A harder comforter in time of sickness I have 
never found in my life than Palecz ! 

All the clerks of the Pope's household 2 and all my 
goalers treat me with much kindness. The Lord 
delivered Jonah from the whale's belly, David from 
the lions' den, the three children from the fiery 
furnace, Susannah from the accusation of false 
witnesses : 3 and He can deliver me, if expedient, for 
the glory of His name and for the preaching of His 
word. But if a death precious in the Lord's sight 
shall fall to me, the Lord's name be blessed. If I 
could only see the King once more along with our 
Bohemian friends, I should be comforted. 

I have been much rejoiced at the news. 4 Surely 
the Lord hath comforted me. I was glad to hear of 
Henry Skopek's health. 5 It is good of you to send 
me a Bible. 6 Don't be distressed about me. For 
what profit hath it? "Written in prison at mid 
night. Please reward that faithful friend of mine to 
whom I am specially indebted. 7 

The letters written to Jakoubek to which Hus refers in the 
following letter are lost. Jakoubek (Jacobellus or Little 

1 This answer to Hus is preserved for us in Doc. 204-24. It is 
remarkable for its full quotations of Scripture. Its other quotations 
are familar to us already in the De Ecclesia itself, and prove that Hus 
had a good verbal memory of his own work. Probably Hus did not 
reckon his ' Bible ' (see below) as ' a book.' 

2 Camera. 8 Cf. p. 197. 

4 Possibly the news of th growing dissensions between John and the 
P. 169, n. 2. See n. 1 above. T Gaoler Eobert. 


James, so called from his stature), whose fuller name was 
Jakoubek ze Stribra of Mies, had taken his B.A. at Prague in 
1393, his M.A. in 1397. He was therefore older than Hus, and 
from the first had been one of the leading spirits among the 
Reformers. He had succeeded Michael the Pleader as vicar of 
St. Adalbert's. He had now become the leader of the Utraquists in 
the question of the cup. Two Waldensians from Dresden, Peter and 
Nicholas, ' who were given to asking curious questions,' had raised 
the matter, and on being expelled from the diocese had come to 
Prague. Here they had persuaded Jakoubek, in the summer of 
1414, to return to the primitive custom of the Church. So at 
four churches in Prague, St. Michael's, St. Nicholas's, St. Adal 
bert's, and St. Martin's, the laymen once more partook of the 
communion under both species. But at the Bethlehem, under 
priest Hawlik, there seems to have been a protest against the 
innovation (p. 248, infra). As we have seen already (p. 169) 
this led to a division among the Reformers, and Chlum invoked 
the authority of Hus. Hitherto, Hus had taken little interest in 
the matter in fact, in his De Coena Domini, written at a later date, 
he still practically concedes the Roman position. 1 But his views 
were already undergoing a rapid change, and he soon committed 
himself decisively to the opinions of Jakoubek (infra, 245, 248). 
The lengthy discussions of the matter between Jakoubek and 
Andrew Brod have been preserved for us in Hardt (iii. 335-933), 
and prove Jakoubek to have been an acute and well-read debater. 

(Without date: February 1415) 

I have not as yet written a letter with news of my 
imprisonment, except the one in which I asked the 
Bohemians for their prayers 2 if indeed you sent it 
on. Perhaps you know about the letter 3 which I 
wrote to Master Jakoubek, in which these words 
occurred, u My enemies have stated that no hearing 4 

1 See Hon. i. 40rf., last par. 

2 Viz., Letter XL. dated January 19. 
This Letter is lost. 

4 i.e., public hearing before the Council. 



shall be granted to me, unless I first pay 2,000 ducats 
by way of indemnity to the ministers of Antichrist." l 
Michael hath got hold of a copy of this as well as the 
lengthy and methinks outspoken reply of Master 
Jakoubek. Michael came with the Patriarch, 2 
notaries and witnesses, when Master Nicholas of 
Stojcen 3 was present and stood opposite me. One 
of the commissioners, giving me a copy of my 
letter to read, asked me on oath whether it was mine. 
I answered, " Yes." I fancy I was not so much 
upset except indeed for the greeting of Master 
Palecz as on account of the above letters, being 
vexed with the wickedness of Michael and his spies, 
and with Master Jakoubek, who is given to preaching 
that people should beware of hypocrites, and is the 
only one to be especially taken in by hypocrites and 
to put his trust in hypocrites ! I imagine he wrote a 
bitter letter, which I did not read. For both letters 
were in one envelope, and I hastily concluded that 
the reply to my letter was not there, but a copy of a 
letter from the rector of Janowicz to me.* 

The following letters of Hus are of great value and interest. 
They bring out very clearly the difficulties of Hus in prison, 
prostrate by sickness, and daily badgered by the inquisitors 
and his enemies. They also show us the optimism of Hus as 

1 There was no papal inquisition in Bohemia. Hence Hus was not 
aware of its procedure. By a decretal of Innocent III. the property 
of all suspects became forfeited ipso facto, a decretal expressly based 
on the Roman law of Majestas. (See Lea, Hist. Inquis. i. 502, and cf. 
infra, p. 186.) 

2 Of Constantinople, one of the inquisitors (see p. 174). 

1 He incepted as M.A. in 1410, and lectured at Prague until 1445. 
From the first he had joined the Wyclifists, and according to the 
famous English Hussite, Peter Payne, was one of Hus's proctors at 
Rome in 1411-12 (supra, pp. 45 and 60, n. 2, and Doc. 87 n.) 

* i.e., John Cardinalis. 


to the justice of his cause, his blindness to his real position, 
and the somewhat crude plans by which he hoped to escape 
from the toils of the Inquisition. 

(Undated: February 1415) 

If my letter hath not been sent to Bohemia, please 
keep it and don't send it on, because it may get into 
wrong hands. 

Item, should the King inquire who ought to be 
my judge, point out that the Council neither sent 
me an invitation nor cited me to appear, nor have 
I ever been charged before the Council ; and yet the 
Council hath put me in prison and appointed its own 
proctor against me. 

Item, noble and gracious John, if an audience 
shall be granted to me, I ask that the King be 
present and that a place be assigned to me near 
him, so that he can hear and understand me properly. 
And you, too, must be present and Baron Henry 
[Lacemhok] and Baron "Wenzel [de Duba] and others, 
at any rate if possible, and hear what the Lord 
Jesus Christ, my proctor and defender and most 
gracious judge, will put into my mouth, so that 
whether I die or live you can be true and fitting 
witnesses, if liars should ever say that I departed 
from the truth which I preached. 1 

Item, you should know that in the presence of 
witnesses and notaries in the prison I asked the 
commissioners to appoint me a proctor and advocate. 
They agreed to do so, but afterwards refused my 
request. 2 I have handed over my case to the Lord 

1 Cf. p. 147, ? See remarks on p. 175. 


Jesus Christ that He Himself may be proctor, 
advocate, and judge. 

Item, you should know that they have no count, as 
I imagine, against me, except that I hindered the bull 
proclaiming the crusade. 1 Yet they have my pamphlet 
which was read before me, and I duly certified it. 2 

Secondly, they charge me with having been so long 
under sentence of excommunication and with having 
administered the sacrament during the time, etc. 3 

Thirdly, that I appealed from the Pope. 4 For they 
read my appeal in my presence ; and I admitted it was 
mine before them all with a joyous heart and a smile. 

Fourthly, that I left behind me a letter, which was 
read in the Bethlehem, and which my enemies utterly 
mistranslated and misinterpreted, 5 containing the 
statement that I was leaving without a safe-conduct. 

In answer to this last, assert that when I left I had 
not a safe-conduct from the Pope ; 6 and secondly, that 
I was not aware that you were commissioned 7 to 
go with me, when I wrote that letter. 

Item, ask if I could enter a protest on the question 
which I wish to make the main issue. 8 Moreover, 

1 Supra, pp. 67-9. 

2 Probably his Disputation against Indulgences delivered (June 7, 
1412) before the University (see Mon. i. 173-89 and supra, p. 69). 

1 Of. p. 163. 4 Doc. 464-6 ; end of 1412. See p. 79. 

* See supra, p. 147. ' See p. 160, n. 1. T By Sigismund. 

8 Determinare, a University term which must not here be taken too 
literally, though compare infra, p. 184. Hus had already prepared before 
he left Prague three sermons, which he desired to deliver before the 
Council (Mon. i. 44-57). The first and most important, On the Sufficiency 
of the Law of Christ for the Government of the Church, a familiar theme 
with Wyclif, really cut at the very roots of the mediaeval system. To 
this Hus here alludes as the 'determination' he desired to present 
(cf . pp. 160 and 184). Hus made a great mistake in not recognising from 
the first that the Council was not a University Debating Society. 


your secretary Peter can arrange the petition for a 

Item, if a hearing shall be granted to me, ask that 
after it is granted the King shall not allow me to be 
thrust back into prison ; so that I can be free to 
avail myself of your counsels and those of my friends, 
and, if it should please God, to say something to 
my lord the King for his own good and that of 

( Without date : February, 1415) 

I spent nearly all last night in writing answers to 
the charges which Palecz had drawn up against me. 1 
He is definitely working to bring about my condem 
nation. God have mercy on him and comfort my 

They are saying that the article " on the right to 
disendow " 2 is heretical. You may give my lord the 
King the hint that if that article be condemned as 
heresy, he too will come to be condemned as a heretic 
for having taken away from the bishops their tem 
poral goods, ay, as his father did before him, 3 Emperor 
and King of Bohemia. Give no person letters to 

1 See Doc. 204 ff. 

2 Gerson, in his charges against Hus, forwarded from Paris on 
September 24, 1414, had put his finger on this (Doc. 187), while it had 
already in 1412 formed one of the charges of Michael the Pleader 
(Doc. 170). Hus, in fact, had embraced Wyclif's " plan of campaign " 
to this extent, that the goods of priests of evil life should be taken 
away for the benefit of the poor. Hus's treatise on this subject, 
De Ablatione (see Hon. i. 117-25), is mainly taken from the De Ecclesia 
of Wyclif. It was written in 1412. 

3 Charles IV. In his De Ablatione Hus simply refers in general 
terms (from Wyclif) to the case of the Templars. Both Charles and 
Wenzel had few qualms in this matter. 


carry except one whom you can trust like your very 
self, and who can hold his tongue on his errand. 

Item, tell Doctor Jesenicz and Master Jerome, and 
indeed all our friends, that they must not come here 
on any account. 1 

I am surprised that my lord the King hath forgotten 
me, and that he never sends a word to me. Perhaps 
I shall be sentenced before I have speech with him. 
If this is his honour, it is his own look-out. 

Noble and gracious Lord John, my kind benefactor 
and brave defender, don't trouble yourself on my 
account and about the losses you sustain. God 
Almighty will give the more hereafter. Please give 
my greetings to the Bohemian lords. I have no 
news about any of them, except that I fancy Lord 
Wenzel de Duba is here and Lord Henry Lacembok, 
who remarked : " My dear fellow, don't pry into 
details ! " 2 

Let me know if you have any one you are willing 
to depend on. John Barbatus, 3 pray for me, dear 
friend, and let the others pray as well. Try to get 
the King to ask for my replies, which are signed with 
my own hand, both as regards the [forty-jive] articles 
against Wyclif and the [forty4wo] against myself.* 

These replies may be copied out, but are not to be 
shown to any outsider ; and let the copy be written 
in such a way as to distinguish the several charges 
easily. I do not know whether my petition will be 
considered, which I gave to the Patriarch 5 to present 
to the Council. I fancy he will not present it. Please 
God, the King will quash the indictment of the Prague 

1 See infra, p. 183, last paragraph, and cf. pp. 196, n. 1, 209, and 219, n. 1. 

2 This last sentence is in Czech. To what it alludes I know not. 
See p. 45. See Doc. 328, 201 P. 175. 


doctors as regards one or two of my articles, that con 
cerning the " Right to Disendow," that concerning the 
" Donation of Constantine," and that entitled " Tithes 
are Pure Alms" l all of which I refused to disown I 
mean if the King were prompted in some way. But this 
should be done by some one not belonging to our party. 

If I were only free I should say to him privately, 
" Your Majesty, see to it that there is no secret 
transference of the power you love, so that you may 
never see it again." 

Tell John Cardinalis to be careful ; for all the men 
who affected to be friendly were really spies. I 
found this out from the lips of my examiners, who 
remarked : " John Cardinalis himself confounds the 
Pope with the cardinals, asserting that they are all 
guilty of simony together." 2 Let Master Cardinalis 
stay in the King's court as much as he can, or they 
will arrest him, as they have done me. No one doth 
me greater harm than Palecz. God Almighty have 
mercy on him ! He is the ringleader, ndslednik, (the 
arch-detective). He insisted that all my adherents 
should be summoned and should abjure their views. 
He said in the prison that all who attend my preach 
ing maintain that after consecration the material 
substance of the bread remains. 3 

1 De AUatione, De Constanlini dotatione, De Eleemosynis (see p. 70, 
supra). All the three are mentioned in Gerson's articles against Hus 
(Doc. 186-7). The treatises are in Man. i. 111-34. Hus had learned 
their doctrines from Wyclif. Hus seems to have got his way to this 
extent, that at the formal examination of June 8 nothing was said on 
these matters, at any rate Mladenowic in his Relatio reports nothing. 

2 A side-light on the already existing breach between the two (see 
Hardt, Constano. Condi, iv. 41, for date), that culminated in John's flight. 

* One of the doctrines that Hus did not believe, in this, for once, not 
following the lead of Wyclif. The tenses "attend," "maintain," are 
probably due to haste, and should be pasts. 


I am surprised that no Bohemian visits me in 
prison. Perhaps they are acting for the best. Let 
this letter be torn up at once. 

Send another shirt by the bearer. My Lord John, 
insist with the Bohemians that the citation against 
certain parties already issued be annulled ; and that 
the King have compassion on his inheritance and not 
let it be harassed gratuitously because of one dis 
affected person. 

I should like to speak to the King at least once 
before I am condemned ; for I came here at his own 
request and under his promise that I should return 
in safety to Bohemia. 1 

( Without date : end of February 1415) 

So far as revising my defence is concerned, I do not 
see how I can do it in any way or arrange otherwise, 
as I have no idea on what issue a hearing will be 
given to me. I put in a strong protest 2 in the 
presence of the notaries and I wrote an appeal to 
the whole Council which I gave to the Patriarch, 
entreating to be allowed to reply to each article, as 
I had already done in private. I wrote this with 
my own hand. I asked as an alternative that if a 
hearing should be granted me, I might reply as we 
do in the schools. 3 On the other hand, perhaps God 
will give me the hearing that I may deliver my 
sermon. 4 

I trust by God's grace I shall never swerve from 

1 Hus's view of the meaning of the safe-conduct is clear, however 
mistaken (see p. 144 and especially p. 230). 

2 See p. 175. 8 Cf. determinare, p. 180, n. 7. * Ib. 


the truth, as I understand it. Pray God to preserve 

As to the sacrament of the cup, you have the 
statement I wrote out in Constance l giving reasons. 
I do not think I can add anything, except that the 
gospel and Paul's epistle give plain evidence in my 
favour. It was the custom also in the early Church. 
If possible, arrange that at least permission be given 
by bull for the cup to be granted to those who demand 
it from feelings of devotion, the circumstances being 
taken into account. 2 

My friends ought not to trouble themselves over 
the private inquisition into my beliefs. I do not see 
how it could have been avoided, because it had been 
settled by the Council before my arrest. Moreover, 
a bull was published by the commissioners and read 
in my presence in which I am called "a heresiarch 
and a deceiver of the people." But I hope that what 
I have spoken in secret shall be proclaimed on the 

The day before yesterday it was the day on 
which I saw my brother John Barbatus 4 I was 
again cross-examined with regard to the forty-five 
articles. By way of reply I repeated the declaration 
I gave before. They put the question to me about 
each article separately, whether I desired to defend 
it. I replied that I would accept the decision of the 
Council as I had before declared. To each of the 
articles I said, as I had previously done with regard 
to some of them, " This is true, if you take it in 

1 See p. 170, n. 

2 This was the settlement grudgingly obtained at the Council of 
Basel by the Compactata, the Magna Charta of the CalLstine Church. 

Luke xii. 2. 4 Pp. 45 and 182. 


this sense." Whereupon they remarked, u Do you 
wish to defend it ? " My reply was, " No, I abide by 
the decision of the Council." 

God is my witness that I could not think at the 
time of a more suitable reply, seeing that I had 
before written with my own hand that I had no 
wish to make an obstinate defence of anything but 
was ready to receive instruction from any one. That 
question was put to me, because some one had told 
them that I had given a message to the King to 
the effect that I wanted to defend three or four of 
the articles. They inquired therefore if I had given 
any message to him. I said, " No " : for I never sent 
any message in these terms to the King, but as you 
know, etc. 1 

Item, Michael was standing by holding up the 
paper and urging the Patriarch to make me reply 
to their questions. Meanwhile some bishops came 
in. Once more Michael brewed some fresh mischief. 
God permitted him and Palecz to rise up together 
against me on account of my sins: for Michael 
pries into my letters and other things, while Palecz 
brings out those old conversations we had together < 
years ago. 

The Patriarch is always insisting before them all 
that I have plenty of money. 2 So an archbishop 
said to me in the course of the inquiry, " You have 
70,000 florins." Michael exclaimed before them all 
with a mocking laugh, " What has become of that 
doublet 3 full of florins? How much money do the 

1 See p. 183, first paragraph. 2 Of. p. 178, first paragraph. 

3 Joppa. Ducange says joppa='caligae species, Hungaris,' and adds : 
I do not know whether the same as jupa = Fr. jupe.' Carpentier gives 
other illustrations. 


barons in Bohemia hold in trust for you ? " Without 
doubt I was sorely harassed that day. 

A bishop said, "You have set up a new law." 
Another remarked, "You have preached all those 
articles." I made a right stern reply, God helping 
me, saying, " Why do you wrong me in this way ? " 

You write not a word about those who have been 
cited. How is it that no proctor hath been sent to 
represent them either by the King 1 or the Prague 
citizens or by those that have been cited ? 2 

The following letter is dated by Palacky as March 4, 1415, 
reckoning eight weeks from Hus's removal to the refectory (see 
infra, p. 189), which he dates on January 8. As I have dated 
this on January 3, following Hardt, iv. 26-32 (see p. 168), the date 
will be rather February 28. Additional confirmation of this view 
will be found in the fact that we have other letters to Chlum, 
dated, it would appear, on March 4 (see p. 191). 

(Without date : February 28(?), 1415) 

Gracious lord, I am very glad to hear of your good 
health and your continued loyal and kindly con 
stancy in all the efforts you are making for your 
poor friend. God hath endowed you with constancy 
above all other men and given you to me as a helper, 
for your good, I trust, both in this present life and in 
eternity. I beg you then, by God's mercy, to await 
the issue of my case, like a soldier of Jesus Christ. 
If Master (dominus) John of Janowicz [Cardinalis] is 
quite well he spent much time with me I beg you 
to confer with him. 

I feel my debt to the noble Baron Wenzel de Duba. 

1 Wenzel, not Sigismund. 2 Infra, p. 196, n. 1. 


Please greet him by my prayers, which are set loose 
by my prison, and give him my thanks for his 
faithful interest in my cause. Greet the rest of 
the faithful Bohemians. 

I blame myself for not keeping back my tears on 
suddenly seeing Master Christian ; but the sight of 
my faithful master and particular benefactor made 
them stream from my eyes. 

I had heard that, with your whole family, you had 
gone away for a long visit, 1 but now my soul is 
comforted. God, most gracious, at one time consoles 
me and at another afflicts me ; but I trust He is ever 
with me in tribulation. For I have again been 
horribly racked with stone, from which I never 
suffered before, and with severe vomiting and fevers. 
My gaolers were afraid I should die, and removed me 
from the dungeon. Many articles from the Bag of 
Lies, 2 and others from this same bag, as also those to 
which you have the replies, have been laid against 
me. I dare not write replies on your paper to the 
articles of the Paris doctors, 3 because I could not 
conceal them on account of the watch kept over me. 
It is just as well to leave it over to avoid any harm 
coming to our faithful friend you know whom I 
mean. 4 I recommend him to you. 

I should be glad to see you, together with Baron 
Wenzel [de Duba] and Master Christian. I fancy, if 
you speak to the Pope's under-chamberlain, he will 
give you permission to visit me. You would have to 

1 This visit, if paid later, would explain what Hus calls ' the 
negligence in writing ' on p. 198. 

2 Michael. A favourite insult of the times. Cf. Stephen Dolein's 
' Sacce Wyclif, ora pro nobis ' (Antihussus, pp. 373, 426). 

* See next page, . 3. 4 Gaoler Robert, who carried the letters. 


speak in Latin before the gaolers, and in going out 
your man Peter 1 should give them a gratuity in 
keeping with your rank. I have not dared to keep 
the articles by me. Make Peter copy my tract on 
the Commandments. 2 

I will answer the charges of the Paris Chancellor 
if I live ; 3 but if I die, God will answer them at the 
Day of Judgment. I do not know where Zelezny Jan 
[John Barbatus] is, faithful brother in Christ that 
he is. 

I do not know whether Master Christian is with you. 
Pray greet him and Baron Wenzel and the rest of 
the faithful Bohemians. 

Do not give way to worry because expenses run up 
here. Meet the situation as you can. If God shall 
free the Goose from his prison, He will give you good 
reason for not regretting these expenses. Please do 
what is sufficient by means of promises. 

If Lord Henry of Plumlow 4 or Stibor of Boczi is 
with you, please greet them and all the Bohemians. 

To-morrow it will be eight weeks since Hus was 
lodged in the refectory. 

Noble and gracious lord, guardian of the truth 

1 P. : vester Pater, following Ep. Piiss i. 2a. Read Petr. i.e,, Petrus 

1 See pp. 154 and 171, and Mm. i. 296. 

* Gerson, the great Chancellor of Paris, had despatched to Archbishop 
Conrad of Prague (September 24, 1414) a series of articles culled from 
Hus's De Ecclesia (see Doc. 523-8). The arrival of Gerson at Constance 
on February 26 (for date see Finke, op. tit. 259) brought them into 
prominence, and made Chlum, as we have seen, anxious to smuggle out 
an answer to them from Hus. Hus's intentions seem to have been 
frustrated by illness, and we find him in later letters still harping on 
his intended answer to Gerson. The answer, if ever completed, is 
now lost. 

4 Cf . p. 232. Boczi is a very uncertain reading from the Ep. Piiss. 


along with Lord Henry [Lacembok], stand by my 
side without flinching till the end comes, when the 
Lord Jesus Christ will use me for His glory and the 
blotting out of my sins. I commend this most 
faithful of friends to you. I am pleased with what 
you have done. I should be glad to find that my 
lord the King had given orders for the hearing of 
my replies to the articles of "Wyclif. Oh, that God 
might inspire his lips, so that he might take his stand 
with his leading men in support of the truth ! 

To-day I finished a little tract, On the Body of 
Christ, and yesterday one, On Matrimony. 1 Get 
them copied hereafter. Some Polish knights have 
paid me a visit, 2 but no Bohemians, except one that 
came with them. 

The following letter forms a pleasant break in the records of 
Inquisition methods. To understand it we must remember that 
Hus, when a priest in Prague, had adopted a novel method of 
advertising his creed. He had found a use for the great bare 
walls of the Bethlehem Chapel. On these, in addition to the 
customary pictures, he had painted up sundry theses, once even 
a long treatise, On the Six Errors. This idea Hus seems to 
have taken from the practice in the monastery at Konigsaal, the 
burial-place of the Bohemian kings. His enemies did not fail to 
sneer at his twentieth-century methods of advertisement. ' You 
paint,' wrote Andrew Brod, ' The Ten Commandments on your 
walls ; would that you kept them in your heart ! ' (Doc. 519). 

The letters, undated both in the originals and Palacky, would 
seem to have been written on March 4 and 5. We infer this from 
the last sentence of Chlum's reply (see Hardt, Magnum Con- 
stantiense Concilium, iv. 52, and Finke, op. cit. p. 167). 

1 See p. 171. The De Corpore Christi is called in the MONUMENT A 
De Ccena Domini. 

2 Possibly Janussius Kalisky and Zaurissius Niger, the ambassadors 
of Jagiello to the Council, who could therefore obtain access by reason 
of their office, For other Poles at Constance, see Doc, 256. 


From another letter of Hus we learn some further details of 
his dreams, of his own belief in their value, and, apparently John 
of Chlmn's incredulity. (Compare infra, p. 222, with p. 192, 
second sentence.) 

( Without date : March 4, 1415) 

Will you please expound my last night's dream ? 
I dreamt that they wanted to destroy all the pictures 
of Christ in the Bethlehem, and they did so. On 
rising next morning methought I saw many painters, 
who had painted other pictures more beautiful, upon 
which I gazed with joy. And the painters and a 
great assembly of folk cried out, " Let the priests 
and bishops come and destroy these pictures of 
ours ! " Whereupon much people rejoiced in the 
Bethlehem, and I with them. And when I awoke, 
I found myself laughing. 

Note that they had spread it abroad in several 
quarters that they wanted to destroy the writing on 
the walls of the Bethlehem Chapel. I will forward 
a copy of my treatises, which I have copied out in 
duplicate. 1 

To this letter of Hus we fortunately possess the answer of John 
of Chlum. It was written by Peter Mladenowic, his secretary, 
who has added at the close a paragraph of his own, explaining 
how it came to pass that Hus called Chlum 'the doctor of 
Biberach ' (see p. 155). The letter is a revelation of the sturdy 
common sense and genial humour of the honest knight. But the 
Latin is very obscure and crabbed. 


(Without date : March 5, 1415 *) 

My beloved friend, do not be troubled about the hearing, 3 as 
more than ordinary attention is now being given to this and the 

1 The treatises written in prison. See p. 171. 

1 Bee last clause and p. 190. ' The public audience. 


rest of your case. We are hoping that, by God's kindness, all 
these matters are working out to a holy issue. Only get rid of 
the other fancies and entanglements of your brain ; lay them 
aside, and give your thoughts to the charges that are to be laid 
against you, and the reply you are to give. Nevertheless, the 
truth infallible forbids you to take thought, saying, When ye shall 
stand, etc., and as follows : for it shall be given you in that hour 
what to speak. 1 

This is the exposition of the dream : 

The picture of Christ painted on the walls of the " House of 
Bread " 3 is His life, which is to be imitated. Likewise in the 
same place the Holy Scripture that cannot be broken is repre 
sented. Both of these the enemies of Christ's cross attempt to 
daub out in the evening darkness ; for the Sun of righteousness 
setteth upon them by reason of their misshapen 3 life, and it 
seems as if the Christ and His Scriptures will be forgotten in 
the sight of men. But on the morrow, at the rising of the Sun 
of righteousness, both of these are restored and painted more 
splendidly by preachers, who proclaim on the housetops what 
had been spoken in the ear 4 and well-nigh passed into oblivion. 
Thereupon from all these things great joy arises in the com 
munity. And the Goose, although he be laid on the altar, as 
indeed he is now laid there, and although he shall be distressed 
by the weakness of the flesh, yet in the time to come, as we 
trust, he will be with Him Who dwells in the heavens ; and as 
he awakes from the sleep of this miserable life, he will howl in 
derision and hiss at those destroyers of the picture and of 
Scripture. Nay, in this present life, by God's blessing, with 
mighty earnestness he will restore in clearer colours and paint 
anew those pictures and Scriptures alike for the flock and his 
beloved friends. 

Here endeth the learned doctor of Biberach, 5 who maketh his 
exposition of this passage in a Daniel's 6 vision to conform with 
that wherein the goose, floating on the sea, took refuge, as it 
seemed, on a rock : for both of these indicate a foundation that, 

1 Matt, x 19. 

2 Chlum evidently knew the meaning of Bethlehem. His correspond 
ence shows that he was a well-educated man. 

1 Di/ormis = deformia. 4 Luke xii. 3; paraphrase only. 

6 P. 155. Cf. " A Daniel come to judgment." 


cannot be shaken. Your friends and supporters have no little 
joy in your letters, although it is true they are known to few. 1 
To-day an embassy from the King of the French arrived at 
Constance. 2 

( Without date : March 6th, 1415 3 ) 

Every word you wrote in your last letter gave me 
excellent comfort. Our learned doctor of Biberach 
agreeth in his exposition with my own thoughts, 
though that adage of Gate's holds good, " For dreams 
have no care," 4 and also G-od's command that we 
hearken not to dreams. 5 Yet I hope that the life of 
Christ, which I painted from His word at the 
Bethlehem in the hearts of men and which they 
wished to blot out from the Bethlehem issuing first 
of all an order that there should be no preaching in 
chapels and in the Bethlehem, then afterwards that 
the Bethlehem should be razed to the ground 6 I hope, 
I say, that that life of Christ is being painted up in 
better fashion by other better preachers than myself 
amid the rejoicings of the people that love Christ's 
life. 7 Wherein I will rejoice as saith our learned 
doctor 8 when I awake out of sleep, that is, when 
I rise from the dead. The writing too on the walls of 
the Bethlehem still abides, 9 though Palecz is mightily 

1 Licet constet valde paucis. Possibly it is the letters that are few. 

2 March 5, 1415. See p. 190. s See p. 190. 

4 See the pseudo Dicta Catonis (vel Disticha de Moribus~), ed. N6methy, 
Pesth, 1895, lib. ii. No. 31 ; a favourite mediaeval book of rhymed 
proverbs, as we see in the Piers Plowman. 

5 Jer. xxix. 8. P. 79. 

7 Epitt. Piissirrue : ' Quisne negare potest per Luthemm factum esse.' 

8 i.e., of Biberach ; see p. 155. P. 79. 



vexed against it, saying that it was through it that 
I led the people into errors ; nay, he stoutly insists 
that it be blotted out so as thereby to bring me into 
utter confusion : moreover as I lay here in weakness, 
he hailed me, before them all, 1 with a most horrible 
greeting, of which I will tell you hereafter, if it 
shall please God. 

My thoughts about the points to be raised against 
me I have committed to the Lord God, to Whom I 
have appealed and "Whom I chose before the com 
missioners as my judge, my proctor and my advocate, 3 
in the plain words : " Let the Lord Jesus be my 
advocate and proctor, Who will shortly judge you 
all : to Him I have committed my cause, even as He 
Himself committed His cause to His Father." It is 
He that hath said and his lordship the doctor of 
Biberach repeats it: Think not, etc. For Christ 
said : Lay it up therefore in your hearts not to meditate 
before how you shall answer. For I will give you a 
mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall 
not be able to resist and gainsay? On which the 
blessed Jerome * saith : " As if our Lord were to say 
openly : Fear not> be not terrified : you will come to a 
conflict, but I am the fighter : you utter words, but I am 
the speaker" Then follow the words : And you shall be 
betrayed by your parents and brethren and kinsmen and 
friends : and some of you they will put to death. " Less 
pain do evils inflict which are inflicted by them that 
are without. But more fiercely do those tortures rage 

1 P. : coram mulis ; an original uncorrected reading of the Ep. Piit. 
Bead coram multis. No wonder Bonnechose was puzzled by the 
words I 

* He was allowed no other. See p. 175. 

Luke xxi. 14, 15 4 See next page, n. 1. 


within us which we suffer at the hands of them on 
whose loyalty we presumed : for along with the body's 
loss we are crucified by the pains of a lost love!' 
So Jerome. 1 My pain obviously proceeds from 
Palecz. Truly our doctor of Biberach rises above 
Lord Henry [Lacembok] and above Master John 
[Cardinalis], rector of Janowicz. As for the rest, 
please God, it shall be known hereafter. 

Let our doctor of Biberach carry out the lesson 
he has given me and let him keep the secret of my 
letters to himself, 2 for Christ saith : A man's enemies 
shall be they of his own household. 3 Item, you shall be 
betrayed by your parents, etc. 4 Farewell, and all of 
you who are together, have constancy in Constance ! 
Please give my greeting to all my friends but 
judiciously, lest they should say, " How do you know 
that he greeted us ? " 

In the recently published Diary of Cardinal Fillastre we read : 
' In the meantime ' i,e., before February 16 ' we dealt with the 
errors of Wyclif. But the whole business was put off, through 
our handling the way of cession.' (ed. Finke, op. cit. p. 166). 
This last was a proposal of the French Cardinals D'Ailli and 
Fillastre first made on February 15 that the three rival Popes 
should all resign. This led to the delays in the further treatment 
of the case of Hus to which Chlum alludes 'the foreign and 
irrelevant matter ' in the following letter to Hus. The matter 
of the cession was further discussed on February 21 and 28, 
and by the beginning of March had become the settled conviction 
of the Council. On March 5 the day of the arrival of the 
embassy of the French King (Charles) the Council proposed to 
the Pope that he should issue a bull consenting to this ' method 

1 Not from Jerome at all, but loosely quoted from Bede's In Luca 
Evang. Expositlo, c. xxi. in loc. (ed. Giles or Migne). 

2 De literis i.e., how Kobert the gaoler brought them in and out as 
well as their existence. See also first sentence on p. 193, supra. 

Matt. x. 36. 4 Luke xxi. 16. 


of cession,' and naming proctors who should carry out his 
resignation. John of course refused (Hardt, iv. 523, Finke, 
op. cit. 167). John of Chlum's optimism shows how little he and 
the other Bohemians understood the working of the Inquisition. 
For the time being, however, further proceedings were postponed. 

( Without date : first week in March 1415) 

Dearest friend, you ought to know that your case and the cause 
of truth never moved on so brightly as at present, although some 
other foreign and irrelevant matters have cropped up, so that 
your case is delayed for the moment. 

All your friends, especially Christian, are paying court to the 
good widow, who is a second widow of Sarepta ! 1 

That tattered three-cornered bit of paper has come to hand 
and has been duly read. 2 Its arrival without the least delay 
could not have been so quickly anticipated. 

Our doctor of Biberach 3 only asks for a reasonable excuse for 
writing; from which you can guess his incurable itch for 
scribbling! I beg you to send some comforting words to your 
good-hearted friends. 

In the following letter we are introduced to the ' consolatory 
rhymes,' which Hus wrote in prison, as Mladenowic puts it, ' to 
pass the time and console himself.' Their value as hexameters 
may be judged from the third line, 

' Jonam, Danielem, tres pu. Susannam, quia fuere* (I) 

The complaint of ' negligence in writing,' would point to a date 

1 1 Kings xvii. 9 ff. Christian Prachaticz, whose attentions to Hus's 
landlady, widow Faithful of the bakehouse, with the sign of the 
White Pigeons, Chlum here jokingly mentions, soon after this was arrested 
on the suit of Michael the Pleader and brought before the Patriarch of 
Constantinople. Thirty articles were presented against him. But on 
the intervention of Sigismund, who had a special interest in him as a 
learned astronomer, he was released, and allowed to return to Prague 
(March 18-19) with a letter from Lacembok : ' There it is feared he 
will sow other lies, as is the manner of all the Wyclifists' (Doc. 542). 
This helps to fix the date of the letter. 

2 Cf. p. 172. Paper evidently once more running out. 

* See p. 155. Chlum had written only a day or two before. See 
p. 191. Hence the allusion and the date. 


later than the preceding letter to Chlum, while the references to 
John Barbatus, as well as to Easter, add strength to this argument. 
From the tone of the letter it is evident that Hus was depressed- 
It is evident also that the visit of the inquisitors had been 
interrupted by the new stir over the Pope's proposed abdication. 
The answer to Gerson, it seems, still hangs fire. 

(Without date : middle March 1415) 

I send a rhyming answer plain, 
To match, your letter's cheerful strain, 
The whale did Jonah safe restore : 
No marks of lions Daniel bore : 
Three Hebrews were by fire unharmed, 
Susannah charges false disarmed. 1 
And why ? Just, innocent and pure, 
Each kept in God a trust most sure, 
Their righteous Lord, "Who sets those free 
"Who hope in Him eternally. 
'Tis He, Who can th' imprisoned Goose 
From durance vile in mercy loose. 
Yet bonds do purge his former stains 
And contrite tears turn joys to pains : 
That he, Christ's prisoner, may learn 
To bear reproaches and discern 
Curses and shame in their true light, 
To bruise the tempter's head, to fight 
And conquer death: or else to wrest 
From life itself its guerdon best. 
The God of mercy preserve you and give you 
comfort in His grace, and grant to you with myself 
constancy in Constance ; 2 for if we shall be constant, 

1 These were favourite illustrations with Hus. See p. 176. 

2 Cf. pp. 159, 160, 195. 


we shall see the Lord coming to our aid. For the 
first time I am now learning to understand the book 
of Psalms, 1 to pray as I ought, to ponder over the 
insults of Christ and the sufferings of the martyrs, 
as Isaiah saith : Vexation alone shall make you under 
stand what you hear. 2 Again : What doth he know, 
that hath not been tried ? 3 

I don't understand what our learned doctor of 
Biberach wants. The Goose conjectures nothing 
from his negligence in writing, 4 except that he is well 
in body. May his soul's health especially be con 
firmed by the Lord ! for it is his soul's health, no less 
than his bodily health, that I hope is being improved, 
and will after death be perfected in bliss with all the 

In prison hid from human sight, 
The stated offices of night, 
The gospel readings as they fall, 
Litanies, vigils do not pall. 
The " hours " pass lightly : 5 for this road 
The Master went, Who bore our load. 
This is my passion, naught indeed, 
Or slight, if I from sin be freed. 
May Christ the Lord stand by His own, 
Lest Antichrist do gulp me down ! 
Rejoice all of you, who are one in the Lord. Greet 
one another, and prepare yourselves worthily to eat 
the Lord's Body before Easter. I shall be without it, 
so far as the outward elements are concerned,* 5 as now 

1 In 1404 Has had written a commentary of some length on Psalms 
cx.-cxix. See Man. ii. 229 ff. 

2 Isa. xxviii. 19. Ecclus. xxxiv. 9. 4 See p. 188 n. 

6 Nocturnw, gradus, litanies, singulce Tierce, etc. Qradus seems a 
loose use for the more usual gradate. 
9 Quoad saoramentalem perceptionem. 

for a long time I have been without it! and still shall 
be, as long as God wills. And no wonder, since 
Christ's apostles and many other saints in prisons 
and desert abodes were likewise without it. 


I rejoice that you stand together and that Zelezny 
Brada 1 is in good health with you all. So am I 
too, trusting as I do in Jesus ; but I shall be in 
better health after death, if I keep God's commands 
to the end. "Would that God would give me time to 
write against the lies of the Chancellor of Paris, 
who so presumptuously and unjustly before the 
world hath dared to charge his neighbour with 
heresy. 2 But perchance God will cut short his 
writing either by my death or his, and in His judg 
ment will settle the matter better than any writing 
of mine could do. 

Meanwhile in Constance the struggle between the Council and 
John XXIII., which had begun in the proposal for his abdication, 
had rapidly reached a crisis. John realised that his last throw 
must be made. On March 20 3 he left Constance ' in an indecent 
disguised lay dress' 'in the darkness of a foggy night.' Two 
days later the Council received news that he had arrived at 
Schaffhausen. Hus soon learned the news, and adds an interesting 

If Hus's first letter after the flight of John gives little indication 
of the excitement at Constance, his second letter, written three 
days later, throws a vivid side-light on the confusion. Hus him 
self ran some danger of starvation. Hitherto the Pope had 
paid ten florins a week for Hus's support and the expenses of 
his imprisonment. Not only was this supply cut off, but, as 

1 These words mean " Ironbeard. " Palacky suggests that the 
person intended is therefore John Barbatus (for whom, see p. 44), who 
on p. 189 is called Zelezny Jan, " Bearded John," and of whom Hus 
there says that he does not know where he is. Cf. p. 219, n. 1. 

2 P. 189, n. 3. 

8 For the date see App. M. p. 360 of my Age of Hus, 


we learn from an anonymous letter of April 2, provisions in 
Constance ran very short (Doc. 543). The country folk were too 
uncertain of the future to bring in, as hitherto, their stores. 
Hus also was in no small alarm. 

(Without date: March 21, 1415) 

I have been much comforted by the visit of the 
Bohemian nobles ; but I was grieved that I could 
not see you. Master Christian has left to carry a 
despatch of Lord Henry's, 1 and so has Master 
Jesenicz. The Council is in confusion, I fancy, 
because of the Pope's flight. The reason as I have 
learnt is: in all our transactions whether contem 
plated or actually in hand God should be put first, 
human reason second. This they have ignored, with 
the result that you see, etc. 

If God shall give me a happy issue, I will not 
forget the faithful friend you know whom I mean : 
if the issue is otherwise, I commend him to you. 2 

I have got to know that Lord Wilhelm 3 is my 
friend. Please give him my thanks. 

I noticed Baron Wenzel de Duba in tears while 
he was speaking to me. Lord Mysska 4 was very 

1 Lacembok's. For the arrest and release of Christian Prachaticz see 
p. 196, n. 1. It is possible that the real cause of his departure was 
concealed from Hus, though cf. p. 212. 

2 Gaoler Robert again. 

* Wilhelmut (a good instance of Hus's Latin) is probably William 
Zajiic of Hasenburg (see p. 232, where he is associated with Mysska). 

4 Wenzel Mysska de Hradek, whose name we find on the petition of 
the Polish and Czech nobles of May 13 (see infra, pp. 204 and 232). 


(March 24, 1415) 

All my gaolers are now taking to flight. I have 
nothing to eat and I don't know what is going to 
happen to me in prison. Please go with the other 
nobles to the King and get him to take some final 
steps in my case, lest he fall into sin and confusion 
on my account. 

Please also come to me with the Bohemian nobles, 
for I must have a word with you. 

Noble Baron John and Baron "Wenzel and the 
rest of you, make haste and see my lord the King. 
There is danger in delay. It is so urgent that it 
should be done at once. Think carefully and quickly 
of the other things I want from you. 

I am afraid that the master of the Pope's house 
hold will .carry me off with him by night ; for to-day 
he has been hanging about the monastery. The 
Bishop of Constance hath sent letters to me hinting 
that he wishes to have no responsibility for me. 
The cardinals have done the same. 

If you love your poor Goose, get the King to send 
me guards from his own court or to set me free from 
prison this very evening. 

Written in prison (note the introit of the day, 
"0 Lord, make no long tarrying") late on Sunday 
night. 1 

1 Datum in carcere, Domine ne longe, dominico die sero. The introit, 
Domine ne longe (Ps. xxi.), is the proper introit for Palm Sunday, which 
on this year fell on March 24. Bonnechose ineptly translates : ' My 
good lord (Chlum), do not delay.' Dies dominicut by itself means 
'Palm Sunday' (see Ducange), but should not here be pressed, as 
with Hus 'dies dominicus' is frequently used for the more correct 
Dies Dominica (Sunday). 

Part VI. Letters Written from the Franciscan 


(June 5, 1415 July 6, 1415) 

ON the flight of John, as Mladenowic informs us, ' the keys of the 
prison in which the Master was detained were handed over to the 
King, and he could now withhonour have released him.' Sigismund, 
who had overcome all his scruples concerning the safe-conduct, 
preferred to deliver Hus to the Bishop of Constance, upon whom, 
on the flight of the Pope, the care of a prisoner of the Inquisition 
would naturally fall. According to the statement of Hus in the 
lastletter, the bishop and the cardinals also, at first had already 
refused the charge. Probably that accomplished timeserver was 
waiting to see how the land lay and what action Sigismund would 
take now that he was free to act. But on receiving Sigismund's 
command he delayed no longer. The Bishop, we read, fearing 
an attempt at release, 'for the prison of the Blackfriars was 
outside the walls and the guards were few and careless, that same 
night took Hus, fettered in a boat, to his own castle of Gottlieben' 
a few hours in fact after the last letter was written (March 24). 
The precaution of the Bishop who provided for the boat a guard 
of a hundred and seventy armed men shows that he expected 
some attempt at release, perhaps with the connivance of 
Sigismund. Possibly if the last letter of Hus had been despatched 
earlier something might have been done. As it was Hus was 
safely imprisoned in the west wing of Gottlieben, and the 
opportunity lost for ever. ' There he lay in fetters in an 
airy tower.' He could walk about all day, but ' at night was 
handcuffed on his bed to the wall,' to a block still preserved 
in the Museum at Constance. The ' airy tower ' was a welcome 
change after the latrines. But at Gottlieben Hus missed 
the gaoler Robert, who had formed the link with his friends 
outside. Not a single letter or document written from Gottlieben 



has been preserved for us. So far as news from Hus is concerned, 
the months of his second imprisonment are a sheer blank. 

The months of silence were, however, big with momentous 
issues both for Hus and the Church. But at these great issues 
we may only lightly glance. The course of the fugitive Pope was 
soon run. Within a few weeks John was deposed ' as unworthy, 
useless, and harmful, a chosen vessel of all sins.' The papal 
arms were removed from his dwelling, and he himself, after 
solemnly agreeing to his own deposition, was sent ' with only a 
cook ' to Gottlieben, and confined in the east tower. So for 
two days Pope John, convicted, according to the Council, on 
fifty-four charges, was a fellow prisoner with John Hus. History 
contains few instances of greater contrast, certainly none more 
ironical in its final issue. The Council had condemned the Pope 
for the foulest of crimes. According to their own showing, 
whatever be its worth, John XXIII. was a monster scarcely fit 
to live. His punishment was a trifling term of imprisonment 
and a later reward. Hus, on the contrary, was acknowledged 
even by his enemies to be a man illustrious for his purity of 
life. But he had dared to follow one who thought for himself. 
His very virtues but made it the more needful that he should 
be burnt. Revolt against its system was the one crime for 
which the mediaeval Church had no pardons to sell. 

With the outbreak of the struggle between John and the 
Council, the trial of Hus, as we have seen, had been suspended. 
But after the deposition of the Pope there was once more leisure 
for the heretic. In fact, as soon as it was plain that the Pope's 
flight would prove his undoing, the Council returned to its task. 
On April 6 a new Commission was appointed, with D'Ailli at the 
head, to examine the heresies of Wyclif and Hus. But D'Ailli 
was too busy to give the needed attention, so on the 17th the 
matter was transferred to another committee of four, one from 
each of the four nations. On May 4 they brought in an interim 
report, Wyclif was condemned on no less than two hundred and 
sixty different counts, though the main stress was laid on the 
famous forty-five articles. Wyclif's writings were ordered to be 
burnt, ' his bones to be dug up and cast out of the consecrated 
ground, provided they could be identified from those of Christians 
buried near ' (Hardt iv. 142-57). 

The greater involves the less, and the condemnation of Wyclif 
practically sealed the fate of Hus, though for technical reasons 


connected with the absence of a pope, formal condemnation was 
allowed to stand over. In the ordinary course of events nothing 
further would have been heard of the prisoner at Gottlieben. 
Hus would have been left to rot in his dungeon, until his spirit 
was broken, or the time convenient for an auto dafe. But the 
friends of Hus were resolved to give publicity to the trial and 
secure the public hearing that Sigismund had promised. A week 
after the Commission had brought in its report, the Czechs 
and Poles showed how little they understood the procedure of 
the Inquisition by handing in a protest, drawn up by Peter 
Mladenowic, against the imprisonment of Hus without proper trial. 
They enlarged once more on the safe-conduct (May 13). The 
Council replied (May 16) that as far back as 1411 Hus had been 
tried and condemned. As for his pretended safe-conduct, it was 
only obtained by his friends fifteen days after his arrest. The 
Czechs, still unconscious of the real drift of events, twice again 
presented their petitions, urging for Hus a speedy public hearing, 
putting in the discredited certificates of the Bishop of Nazareth, 
though "Bishop Sup-with-the-devil," as he was called from his 
famous meal with Hus, had already retracted, and slipped away 
home in disguise. Hus, they further pleaded, ' should be released 
from his chains, and put into the care of some bishop, that he 
might recruit his strength' and so prepare for his trial. In 
Bohemia the mutterings of the coming storm could already be 
heard. Two assemblies in May, at Briinn and Prague, of the 
nobles of Bohemia and Moravia despatched to Sigismund, as 
the heir to the throne, a warning ' strengthened by two hundred 
and fifty seals,' to release ' the beloved master and Christian 
preacher' from further imprisonment, and send him back to 
Bohemia after first granting him a public hearing. To please 
Sigismund this last was finally granted. Such a public hearing 
or trial was in reality an unheard-of act of grace on the part of 
the Inquisition, only wrung out by political necessities. That 
august court made a rule of keeping their trials absolutely secret. 
That there should be no mistake as to the real meaning of 
this concession, the Council had already sent (Whitsunday, 
May 19) a deputation of eight delegates, with D'Ailli at the head, 
to inform Hus of the thirty articles which had been proved 
against him. We shall find a reference to this deputation in 
one of the later letters (see p. 216). A fortnight later (June 5), 
for the convenience of this trial, Hus was brought back in 


chains from Gottlieben to Constance early in the morning, and 
lodged in a tower adjoining the Franciscan convent to await 
his final trial, Pope John doubtless looking on with interest at 
the heresiarch's departure. 

On arriving at the Franciscan convent Hus found opportunity 
for resuming his correspondence with his friends. If the date 
that von Hardt gives for his transference from Gottlieben be 
correct (June 5 ; see Hardt, iv. 306), one letter at least l would 
appear to have been despatched that very morning. Hus, we 
note, is still sanguine as to the effects of a public audience, 
though his letter shows that he contemplates other issues with 
resignation. One little detail of this third imprisonment is not 
without interest. Hus tells us (p. 218) that for the first time for 
some months his food was good and plentiful. 


( Without date : morning, June 5, 1415) 
My dear friend in Christ, still arrange for all the 
nobles to have access to the King and Council ; and 
get the King and Council to do as they have both 
already stated " in the hearing that is to take place 
you will have a brief written statement and to this 
you shall reply." They can drive both Sigismund 
and the Council to this by telling them that by God's 
help I will make a plain statement of the truth. I 
would rather that my body be consumed by fire than 
that I should thus be kept basely out of sight by 
them, in order that all Christendom may know the 
last words I have spoken. I beg my friends the 
nobles for God's sake to act by showing to the end 
their diligence and constancy. My hope in the Lord 
is always firm. 

Lord John, my most trusty and gracious supporter, 
may God be your reward ! I beg you not to leave 
until you see the end reached. "Would that you 
1 Palacky gives three ; but I have adopted a different order. 


might see me being led to the flames rather than so 
craftily smothered here ! I still cherish the hope 
that God Almighty is able to snatch me from their 
hands through the merits of the saints. Let me have 
the hint if to-morrow I am to be brought up for a 
hearing. Greet all my friends in Bohemia, 1 beseech 
ing them to pray God on my behalf. If I am to 
remain a prisoner, let them pray that I may await 
death without failing of heart. Exhort the masters 
to stand firm in the truth ; also our special friends, 
the virgin Petra 2 and all her household and Master 
Jesenicz, 3 urging him to marry. Beg my friend 
Girzik* and the rector 6 to rest content, though I 
have not been able to do enough for them in return 
for their service ; please let them give my greetings 
to my friends of either sex. I know not who will 
repay those who have advanced money, except the 
Lord Jesus Christ, for whose sake they have advanced 
it. Yet I should like some of the richer people to 
club together and pay the poorer ones. But I am 
afraid that the proverb will be fulfilled in some cases: 
" Co s oci, to z mysli " (" Out of sight, out of mind"). 

Later in the day, though probably still early in the morning, 
Hus was brought up for the long-expected public audience. A 
congregation of the Council had been summoned to meet in the 
refectory of the Franciscan convent. The intention was to satisfy 
Sigismund by a public condemnation, but in the absence of Hus 
himself. So the psalm customary for an inquiry into heresy 
(Psalm 1.) was read, and the thirty articles against him formally 
presented. An attempt was then made to deprive Hus of the 

1 In regno. * Cf. p. 236. * Who had left in March (p. 200). 

4 Cf. p. 151, where we learn that he was a scholar of Hus by name 
George. From p. 212 we learn that he had become a rector. 

6 i.e., Cardinalis. 

Ep. Piiss. G. 4 : Tzo so-czy, to smytsli, which Luther (Ep. Piittimai) 
and the Monvmenta naturally left untranslated. 


grace of recantation, by the putting in of the letter which he had 
left at Prague (supra, p. 147). There only remained the formal 
reading of a sentence already determined. This crafty plan was 
frustrated. Before it could be carried through Mladenowic 
stirred up Chlum and Duba to hasten to Sigismund. The 
Emperor despatched Lewes, the Count Palatine, and the burgrave 
Frederick of Nuremberg, with orders that nothing should be 
done until Hus himself was present ; while the friends of Hus, to 
prevent inaccurate or mutilated excerpts, put in genuine copies 
of his works, on the condition that they should be restored to 
them a precaution that, as we learn from the following letter of 
Hus, was not needless. So Hus had at length his desire, and stood 
before his enemies. Very different was the reality to his dreams. 
Instead of an oration before a listening senate, he was met, when 
he attempted to explain, with angry shouts : ' Have done with 
your sophistries ! ' ' Say yes or no ! ' If he remained silent, they 
clamoured that he consented. As the tumult grew the trial was 
adjourned until the 7th, and Hus removed in the custody of the 
Bishop of Kiga. ' Do not fear for me,' he said, as he grasped the 
hands of his friends. ' We do not fear,' they answered. ' I know 
you do not,' he added. As Mladenowic and Chlum watched him 
mount the steps of the tower adjoining the convent, they saw 
him ' smile, as if in gladness after his mockery, and hold out a 
hand as if blessing the people.' That same night, as if to reassure 
them of his constancy, Hus wrote to his friends in Constance. It 
is remarkable that Hus already clearly discerned the real issue on 
which he would be condemned (see infra, p. 208, n 1). Another 
letter was written the following day to his unfailing friend John 
of Chlum, as well as a third to Peter Mladenowic. 


( Without date : June 5, 1415) 

God Almighty gave me to-day a stout and 
courageous heart. Two articles are now struck out. 
I hope, by God's grace, more will be struck out. 
They were all crying out against me like the Jews 
against Jesus. They have not yet reached the main 
point at issue to wit, that I should confess that all 


the articles can be found in my little books. 1 You 
made a mistake in putting in the tract Against a 
Secret Adversary, along with the treatise On the 
Church. Put in nothing except the Treatises against 
Stanislaus and Palecz. The nobles did well to 
demand that my manuscript should be restored 
to them ; for some cried out, " Let it be burnt," 
especially Michael the Pleader, whose voice I detected. 
I feel I have not in the whole company of the clergy 
a single friend except " the Father " 2 and a Polish 
doctor with whom I am not acquainted. I am 
indebted to the Bishop of Leitomischl for a good 
turn, though he said no more than, " A co sem tobe 
ucinil?" ("And what have I done for you?"). I am 
very pleased that you have collected the articles ; 
it is well to publish and re-issue them in that form, 
etc. The leading men of the Council said that I 
should have another public hearing. They did not 
wish to hear my disquisition 3 on the Church. Give 
my greetings to the faithful nobles and friends of 
the truth. Pray God for me ; for there is much 
need. I fancy they will not admit in my favour 
the opinion of St. Augustine concerning the Church 
and its members, both predestined and foreknown, 
and concerning evil prelates. 4 Oh, that a hearing 
might be granted to me in order to reply to the 
arguments with which they intend to attack the 
articles that appear in my little books ! I imagine 
that many who cry me down would be put to silence. 
His will be done, as it is in heaven! 

1 The real issue on which he was condemned. See infra, p. 224. 

1 See p. 237. 3 Distinctionem. 

4 See Doc. 204, 226. In this latter passage Hus gives his references 
to Augustine, but very vaguely. They are really taken from Wyclif's 
De Ecclesia, c. i. 



From the conclusion of the following letter to Chlum we see 
that Hus had heard before he left Gottlieben of the arrest and 
imprisonment of Jerome of Prague. On hearing at Prague of the 
rupture between John and the Council, Jerome had hastened to 
Constance, in spite of the wish of Hus to the contrary (p. 182). 
There, on April 4, he posted a notice on the gates affirming the 
orthodoxy of Hus. This done, he deemed it wiser to withdraw 
to Ueberlingen, whence he wrote to the Council asking for a safe- 
conduct. On April 7 he once more returned to Constance, and 
affixed another address to Sigismund and the Council on the 
doors of the Cathedral. He had come, he said, of his own free 
will to answer all accusations of heresy. But two days later he 
changed his mind, and slipped away from the city, in his haste 
leaving his sword behind him in his lodgings in the St. Paulgasse. 
He fled towards Bohemia, but at Hirsau was betrayed into an 
argument, in which he called the Council a synagogue of Satan. 
This led to his arrest (April 24). On the discovery from his 
papers of his identity he was forwarded to Constance loaded with 
chains. He arrived on May 23, and was taken at once to the 
Franciscan convent, 'patiently carrying in his hand his iron 
fetters and long chain.' There he was examined in a somewhat 
tumultuous congregation of the Council, and afterwards carried 
by night to a dungeon in the cemetery of St. Paul, and chained 
hand and foot ' to a bench too high to sit on.' For two days he 
was left to starve on a scanty supply of bread and water, until 
Peter Mladenowic found his prison and bribed the gaoler to give 
him better food. The darkness and foul surroundings soon 
brought on a sickness, from which with difficulty he recovered, 
only to find that in the interval his friend and leader, John Hus, 
had been burnt at the stake. The two men were destined never 
to meet. 


( Without date : June 6, 1415) 

To-morrow morning at ten o'clock 1 1 have to make 
my reply : first, as to whether I am willing to state 

1 Many MSS. read hora sexto, instead of hora xvi. Reckoning time 
ecclesiastically, hora sexto, would be midnight. It is possible that time 
was not reckoned by Hus in this way, and that he intended ' six A.M.,' 
not at all an unusual hour for meetings. 



that each, of the articles taken from my books is 
erroneous, and that I abjure them and preach the 
opposite ; secondly, whether I will confess that I 
preached those articles which have been proved 
against me by witnesses ; l thirdly, that I abjure 
them. If God in His grace would bring Sigismund 
to the hearing, I should be glad for him to hear the 
words which the gracious Saviour will put into my 
mouth. If they would give me pen and paper, 
I should make reply, I trust, by God's grace as 
follows : " I, John Hus, a servant of Christ in hope, 
refuse to state that any one of the articles taken 
from my book is erroneous, lest I condemn the 
opinion of the holy doctors, and especially of 
the blessed Augustine. Secondly, I refuse to 
confess that I asserted, preached, and held the 
articles with which I have been charged by false 
witnesses. Thirdly, I refuse to abjure, lest I commit 

For God's sake look after the letters carefully, 
and see that they are carried with like caution to 
Bohemia, lest grave dangers result to individuals. 
If by any chance I am not able to write any more to 
your dear lordship, I entreat you and all my friends 
to remember me, and to pray that God may grant 
constancy to me, together with my beloved brother 
in Christ, Master Jerome, because I imagine he also 
will suffer death, as I have gathered from the com 
missioners of the Council. 

On the following letter Luther (Ep. Puss. G. 1) comments : ' A 
beautiful instance of that spiritual experience of which the 
apostle Paul speaks " Strength is made strong in weakness." ' 

1 See previous letter, p. 208, n. 1. 


This letter, without date, is attributed by Palacky to June 5, 
presumably early in the morning. But the audience that day 
was too hurried to well fulfil the conditions of the last clause. We 
think it is better to take it as written with a view to the adjourned 
audience. In the effects of this audience, after his former 
experience, Hus has ceased to have much confidence. 

( Without date : June 6, 1415) 

I dare not rashly say with St. Peter that / shall 
never be offended in Christ, although all should be 
offended, 1 seeing that I have incomparably less zeal 
and courage than he. For Christ has never plainly 
called me blessed like Peter, 2 nor has He promised 
me so many gifts : the attack too is fiercer, more 
bewildering, and carried on by more numerous foes. 
Therefore what I say is that, having hope in Christ 
Jesus, I intend, so long as I shall hear His message, 3 
to cleave to the truth with your help and that of the 
saints, even unto death. If Baron John [of Chlum] 
incurs loss by reason of his expectations about 
myself, make it up to him, dear Peter, pending your 
return, so far as concerns the master of the Mint and 
his wife, who boldly pledged their credit, 4 and also as 
regards my other friends, known to the rector who 

1 Matt. xxvi. 33. 2 Matt. xvi. 17. 

8 Dum audivero formam, the exact sense of which seems doubtful. 

4 The master of the Mint from 1406-19 was Peter Swojsin Zmrzlik, 
whose wife, Anna of Frimburg, had much influence with Queen Sophia. 
It was at the house of this master of the Mint that the Bishop of 
Nazareth gave his famous certificate of orthodoxy to Hus (p. 143.) He 
was one of the arbitrators to whom the case of Hus was referred on 
July 6, 1411 (see p. 41), and in a popular song of 1418 (Doc. 692) is 
spoken of as one of the chief heretics, 


read with me. 1 If I have a horse left with a car, 
it ought to go to Baron John. Master Martin, 
however, if he is alive or, at any rate, Master 
Christian, in whom I have complete confidence 2 
will make you a payment from the four guineas 
I wish I could say ten guineas ! But no sum of 
money, be assured, can adequately repay your 
fervent, steadfast, loyal love of the truth and the 
kind offices and considerations you have shown me 
in my troubles. May God be your exceeding reward, 
for I have naught to reward you with. If I ever 
should live in Prague again, I should like you to 
share everything with me as freely as my own 
brother ; but the possibility of my return to Prague 
depends entirely upon the grace of God. I desire 
it not, if it is not the will of our Father Who is in 
heaven. My travelling breviary, 3 which I bequeathed 
to Master Martin, will pass into the possession 4 of 
some one of the friends still with me. Dispose of 
my books according to the instructions I gave to 
Master Martin, 6 and accept any of Wyclif's works 
you care to have. At present my chief distress is 
over our brethren, who, I imagine, will suffer per 
secution unless the Lord lay bare His arm ; and I 
fear that many may be offended. Please, now as 
ever, give my affectionate greetings to all the 
Bohemian and Polish nobles, together with my 
thanks and especially Baron Wenzel, etc., whom 
I desire to see present at the hearing of my case. 
Farewell in Christ Jesus. 

1 Plebanus mcus scholaris i.e. , Girzik. See p. 206 n. 

* In spite of his apparent relapse. See p. 196 n. and 200, n. 1. 

' Viaticus, a breviary adapted to the use of travellers. 

4 P. : cedet ; perhaps read cedat. Cf. p. 151. 


On the 7th Hus was again brought before the Council. The 
friary was surrounded by the town guard, and at an early hour 
the Council assembled for Mass. While the ritual was proceeding 
the sun was eclipsed, to the consternation of all. An hour later, 
about 8 A.M., Hus was brought before the court. This time 
Sigismund was present, so better order was maintained and 
more freedom given to the accused. Hus was first charged with 
holding Wyclif 's doctrine of remanence. This he denied. D'Ailli 
then went off into an argument to prove that Hus as a Realist 
was driven into remanence. Hus listened in patience, but when 
an Englishman took up the same tale he burst out : ' This is the 
logic of school-lads.' But another Englishman had the courage 
to declare : ' Hus is right. What have these quibbles to do with 
a matter of faith ? ' 

Zabarella then pointed out the number and standing of the 
witnesses against him. Hus replied that his witnesses were 
God and his conscience. 'We cannot,' retorted D'Ailli, 'give 
our verdict according to your conscience, but according to the 
evidence.' Hus had maintained that he was accused by his 
enemies, one of the few pleas to which the Inquisition ever 
attached importance. To this D'Ailli now turned: 'You say 
that you suspect Palecz. Palecz has behaved with the greatest 
kindness. He has extracted the articles in a milder way than 
they are contained in your book. You go so far as to call the 
Chancellor of Paris your enemy, than whom you cannot find in 
all Christendom a more renowned doctor.' 

One by one the old controversies and disputes were brought 
into court : the forty-five articles, the burning of the books, the 
expulsion of the Germans, and the rest. The day ended with 
some plain advice from Sigismund. He owned that he had given 
Hus a safe-conduct. As regards those who claimed that this 
was 'ultra vires, he was not careful to answer in the matter : ' for 
I have told them that I will not defend any heretic who is 
obstinately determined to stick to his heresy. So I counsel you to 
fling yourself wholly on the grace of the Council ; the quicker the 
better, lest you fall into a worse plight.' Hus was then removed 
to the prison (Mladenowic's Eelatio in Doc. 276-85). 

That same evening Hus wrote to his friends, giving a vivid 
account of the day's proceedings. 


( Without date : June 7, 1415 J ) 

I, Master John Hus, in hope a servant of Jesus 
Christ, earnestly desiring that Christ's faithful ones 
may take no occasion of scandal after my decease 
through deeming me an obstinate heretic, as they 
call me, do hereby write these words as a memorial 
to the friends of the truth, calling Christ Jesus to 
witness, for Whose law I have been longing to die : 
First, in very many private hearings, and subse 
quently in public hearings before the Council, I 
declared that I was willing to submit myself to 
guidance and control, to recantation and to punish 
ment, if I were convinced that I had written, taught, 
or in my reply stated aught that had been contrary 
to the truth. Furthermore, fifty doctors, com 
missioned, according to their own statement, by the 
Council, after being frequently censured by me for 
false extracts from the articles, and that too in a 
public hearing before the Council, declined to give 
me any instruction in private, nay, declined to confer 
with me, saying, " You have to abide by the Council's 
decision " ; 2 while the Council, on my quoting, in a 
public hearing, the words of Christ or of the holy 
doctors, either derided me or said they could not 
understand me, and the doctors stated that I was 
bringing in irrelevant arguments. However, one of 
the cardinals, prominent in the Council and a 
member of the Commission, 3 said in the public 
hearing of my case, holding a paper in his hands: 

1 Some historians have taken this letter to refer to the audience of 
June 5. But Sigismund was not present on that day (see p. 207). 

2 See p. 224. Peter D'Ailli of Cambray (Doc. 276). 


"Here is an argument propounded by a master of 
theology : 1 reply to it." It was the argument about 
the common essence which, I maintained, is present 
in the elements. He afterwards broke down, though 
reputed to be a most learned doctor of theology, 
so I went on to give him an account of the common 
created essence which is the first created esse, im 
parted to each several creature, and from which he 
wished to prove the remanence of the material bread. 
However, he soon came to the end of his tether and 
was reduced to silence. Then at once an English 
doctor 2 rose to carry on the discussion, but he broke 
down in the same way. He was followed by another 
English doctor, who in a private hearing had re 
marked to me that "Wyclif wanted to destroy all 
learning, 3 and that in each of his books and in his 
logical reasoning he laid down erroneous positions. 
He rose to his feet and began to discuss the multi 
plication of the body of Christ in the host; and 
broke down in his argument. When told to be quiet, 
he shouted out, " This fellow is cleverly deceiving 
the Council ; have a care lest the Council be deceived 
as it was by Berengarius." 4 "When he had finished, 

1 Magigter sacrce theologies. M.S.T., S.T.P., and D.D. are almost 
interchangeable in the Middle Ages. 

2 From Hardt, v. 97, we read there were present in .the Council 
' sixteen (English) masters in theology.' Some of their names will be 
found in Hardt, v. 21-8. But it is impossible to identify the reference. 

3 This doctor was not without some justification for this remark. 
See my Age of Wyclif, p. 219. 

4 At the Synod of Rome in 1059 Berengarius was condemned for 
his disbelief in Transubstantiation, and fell upon his face and retracted. 
But on returning to Tours he once more preached his original ideas 
with increased vigour. Hus's position and that of Berengarius were 
practically the same, as Hus recognises in Mon. i. 164. But his know 
ledge of Berengarius was probably wholly derived from Gratian's 
Decretum, ed. Migne, p. 1754. 


a man began a noisy speech on the created common 
esse ; but the crowd shouted him down. I stood up, 
however, and asked that he might be heard, while I 
said to him, " Stick to your argument ; I should like 
to answer you." But he broke down like the others, 
and muttered in a temper, "It's heresy." What a 
clamour, what hootings, hissings, and blasphemy arose 
against me in that assembly, is well known to Barons 
"Wenzel de Duba and John of Chlum and Peter his 
secretary, brave soldiers and lovers of God's truth 
that they are. Though I was often overwhelmed 
by the loud uproar, I said at last, "I thought that 
in this Council there would be greater reverence, 
piety, and discipline." Whereupon Sigismund ordered 
silence, and they all began to listen. But the Car 
dinal who presided over the Council 1 said, "You 
talked more humbly at the castle." 2 " Yes," said I, 
" because no one was shouting at me then, but here 
every one is crying me down." He answered, " This 
is what the Council wants to know: do you wish 
to stand by your request for instruction ? " " Yes," 
said I "most certainly, according to my protests." 
He replied, " Take this for the instruction you want : 
the doctors declare that the articles extracted from 
your books are erroneous: you ought to withdraw 
them and abjure the views charged against you by 
witnesses." Sigismund, however, said, "You shall 
have a written statement shortly, and you will reply 
to that." The Cardinal said : " This will take place at 
the next hearing." The Council then adjourned. God 
knows what temptations I suffered after it was all over. 

1 John de Bronhiaco (Eubel s.t?.), Cardinal of Ostia (June 2, 1405 
February 16, 1426). 

2 In castro ; at Gottlieben (see pp. 204 and 263). 


After a night of sleepless pain, ' toothache, vomiting, headache, 
and stone,' Hus was brought up for his final hearing. Sigismund 
once more was present. Thirty-nine articles extracted from his 
De Ecclesia and other works were presented against him, and 
read aloud by an English delegate. Then Hus was allowed to 
make his limitations and exceptions. But one work, as Hus tells 
us (infra, p. 218), was not in evidence. Other charges were also 
introduced : his sermons to the laity against scandalous priests, and 
especially his celebration of the sacraments while still under 
excommunication. When Hus owned to this last, Zabarella 
made a sign to the notary that special record should be made. 
On the whole the trial was kept well in hand, in spite of the 
temptation of side issues. One interlude, however, is historical. 
Hus was defending the famous tenet of Wyclif : ' If a pope, 
bishop, or prelate is in mortal sin, then he is not a pope, bishop, 
or prelate.' He added incautiously that it applied to temporal 
rulers ; ' a king in mortal sin is not really a king in the sight of 
God.' Sigismund was leaning at that moment out of one of the 
windows telling Frederick of Nuremberg ' that in all Christendom 
there was not a greater heretic than Hus.' The Council saw 
their opportunity. ' Call the King,' shouted the prelates ; ' bring 
him here, for this matter concerns him.' ' John Hus,' said Sigis 
mund with dignity, when Hus had repeated his statement, 'no 
one lives without sin.' ' It is not enough for you,' said D'Ailli, 
' that you try by your writings and teachings to decry and over 
throw the spiritual estate, you now wish to hurl down the throne 
and royal .power.' Hus tried to turn the tide by asking, 'If 
John XXIII. was truly Pope, why was he deposed?' 'Baldas- 
sarre,' answered Sigismund, 'was truly Pope, but was deposed 
from the Papacy on account of his notorious crimes.' Hus then 
fell back on a fine distinction between 'quoad meritum' and 
'quoad officium,' and the arguments drifted off to the stock 
illustrations of Judas and Pope Joan (cf. supra, p. 125, n. 2). 

At length D'Ailli summed up the decision of the Council. 
Hus must publicly recant and abjure. ' I am prepared,' answered 
Hus, ' to obey the Council, and to be taught ; but I beseech you 
in the name of God, do not lay snares of damnation for me by 
compelling me to tell a lie, and abjure articles I never held.' As 
he spoke of his conscience, many mocked. ' Did your conscience," 
they cried, ' ever teach you that you had erred ? ' ' A f at priest, 
sitting in the window in a splendid garment, called out that he 


ought not to be allowed to abjure. If he retract he will not 
mean it.' But Sigismund pleaded with Hus, and asked wherein 
lay his difficulty in retracting errors that on his own showing he 
was unwilling to hold. ' That, my lord king,' answered Hus, ' is 
not what they mean by abjuring.' After a further warning from 
Sigismund, ' I stand,' replied Hus, ' at the judgment seat of God, 
who will judge us all according to our merits.' 

As he was led back ' in chains ' to prison, Chlum managed to 
grasp his hand, ' though now rejected by all,' a matter which gave 
Hus much comfort (see p. 221). Sigismund on his part addressed 
the assembly : ' One only of the charges proved against Hus would 
suffice for his condemnation. If, therefore, he be unwilling to 
adjure and preach against his errors, let him be burnt, or do with 
him according to your laws. . . . Wherever his disciples be found, 
let the bishops tear them up root and branch. Make an end 
therefore of his secret disciples. I have to go away soon, so begin 
with that fellow what's his name?' 'Jerome,' they shouted. 
'Yes, Jerome. I was a boy when this sect first started in 
Bohemia. See what it has grown into now' (Doc. 308-15). 

This speech, duly reported by the listening Chlum and 
Mladenowic, cost Sigismund years of warfare and the crown of 
Bohemia. This hounding on of the Council to the breach of his 
own safe-conduct was never forgiven. 

The same night Hus wrote as follows to his friends in Con 
stance. He realised clearly now that there was but one issue. 
A second letter, also without date, was written while the memory 
of Chlum's warm grasp of the hand was still fresh. 

( Without date : June 8, 1415) 

I am very glad that the Occultus is hidden ! l I have 
had more good food during these days than all the 
time from Easter to last Sunday. 2 I thought there 
would be more order and dignity in the Council. 3 A 

1 Occultus est occultus. The treatise Contra Occultum Adversarium, 
written February 10, 1412 (see Man. i. 135 ff.). The dangerous point 
in this lay in its tenet that the King ought to punish bad priests. 

2 While at Gottlieben. Cf. pp. 216, 263. 


blessing for ever on my Lord John ! Would that I 
knew how Barbatus l is faring ; he would not take 
the advice of his friends. They have my book, 2 so 
I am in no need at the present of that paper. Keep 
a copy of the first articles with my proofs attached 3 
for the sake of proving any of them, should there be 
need ; attest them with your signature where I have 
put a cross,* especially this article : " Whatever a 
virtuous man doth, he doth virtuously." 5 

At this moment I am racked with toothache, and I 
suffered agonies in my cell with vomiting, hemor 
rhage, headache, and stone. These are the penalties 
I pay for my sins, and the tokens of God's love 
to me. 

Since they have only condemned the treatises, 6 
please qualify my last Czech letter which I sent off 
to-day, 7 that God's people may not suppose that all 
my books have been condemned, as I imagined when 
I wrote my letter of yesterday. I would like to be 
assured that no letter written in prison shall be 
made public to any one, because it is not yet finally 
settled what God will do with me ! I am afraid that 
a letter of mine hath been forwarded by the hands 
of Ulrich. 8 For God's sake I beg you to look well 
after the letters and also your words and doings. 

1 So Palacky (Doc. 108) : cf. p. 199, n. I. But MS. Hladenowic has 
' barbatus Hieronymus ' i.e., " bearded Jerome " ; and to this the next 
clause leads me to incline (cf. also pp. 182, n. 1, and 233); Jerome's beard 
was a constant source of trouble to him and made him a marked man. 

2 MS. of the De Ecdesia. 

3 Still extant, preserved by Mladenowic (see Doc. 204 ff.). 

4 Ib. s See Doc. p. 214. 

De Ecclesia and the Treatises against Palecz and Stanislaus. 

7 This letter seems to be lost. 

8 Ulrich, of whom we know nothing, had done Hus a good turn on 
June 5 by informing Mladenowic of the design to hurry the trial (p. 207). 


"What a comfort your letters and my own have 
been to me ! I trust by God's grace they will be 
used for men's good. So long as I know that you 
and the nobles are in Constance, I am comforted even 
supposing that I am now to be led forth to death. 
I verily think that God sent you as angels to cheer 
me in my weakness and misery in the midst of my 
sore trials ; how great they have been, are, and are 
yet to be, God omnipotent knoweth Who is my 
mercy and refuge, my helper and my deliverer : in 
Him have I trusted. 1 

I was asked to-day by two persons who were sent 
to the prison, whether I had any more books of 
my own composition. I said, " Yes." They replied, 
"Where?" I said, "In Bohemia." They then 
inquired whether I had them here. My answer was, 
" No, not one, although I brought a Bible and other 
things in addition to the Sentences" 2 And now I 
have heard that my clerk John has left. 3 They said, 
" Have you no other conclusions to offer ? " I replied, 
" No," which is true. " Do you wish to abjure and 
recant ? " said they. " Come to the Council," was my 
reply ; " you will hear me there, as I have to stand 
before it and make my reply to it. Why do you 
trouble me ? Have you come to cheer the prisoner 
or disturb him ? " Whereupon after some further 
speech they withdrew. 

Look after the books. I do not know if you have 
them. Tell Master Jesenicz that the notary has 

1 Ps. xvii. 4 ; inexact. 

2 Peter Lombard's Sentences, the great mediaeval text-book of theology 
(see also p. 140, n, 2). 

8 Nothing is known of this ' clericus Joannes,' who, I imagine, had 
slipped back to Prague. 


unfairly altered my deposition as to the gloss of the 
edict, as indeed you heard ; for I stated this publicly 
in the Council. 1 

( Without date : June 9 or 10, 1415 *) 

/ love the counsel of the Lord more than gold and 
topazes ; 3 therefore I hope by the mercy of Jesus 
Christ that He will grant me His Spirit, to the end 
that I may stand firm in the truth ; for the spirit is 
willing, but the flesh is weak.* The Lord Almighty 
be the eternal reward of my nobles, who steadfastly, 
stoutly, and faithfully stand on the side of justice. 
G-od will grant them to understand aright the truth 
in the kingdom of Bohemia. But to pursue the 
truth they must return to Bohemia laying aside all 
vainglory to follow a King that cannot die, a Man of 
sorrows but yet a King of glory Who hath the gift 
of eternal life. 

How delightful it was to shake hands with Lord 
John, who was not ashamed to hold out his hand to 
a poor abject heretic, a prisoner in irons and the butt 
of all men's tongues. I shall not perchance have 
much further speech with you. So greet all the 
faithful Bohemians when you see them. Palecz 
came to see me in prison when I was very ill. The 

1 At the trial of June 8 Hus was questioned as to a gloss upon the 
bull of February 2, 1413 the Lateran Council decree for the burning 
of the books of Wyclif. Hus stated that he had never seen it until it 
was shown him when in the Dominican prison. On being further ques 
tioned he confessed that he had heard that Jesenicz had written the 
gloss (Doc. 311). Jesenicz was now in Prague (supra, p. 206, . 3). 

2 1 judge the date from Chlum's hand-shake ; see infra and p. 218. 

* Ps. cxviii. 127, Vulg. * Matt. xxvi. 41. 


greeting he gave me before the Commissioners 1 was 
this : " Since the birth of Christ, there hath not arisen 
a more dangerous heretic than yourself, excepting 
"Wyclif." He went on to say, " Every one that hath 
heard you preach is infected with this heresy of 
yours that the substance of the material bread 
remains in the sacrament of the altar." u Oh ! 
master," said I, " what a dreadful greeting this is, 
and what a dreadful sin you are guilty of ! I shall 
die or be burnt, if perchance I rise from my sick 
bed. What reward then will be given you in 
Bohemia ? " and so on. Perhaps I ought not to 
have written this; it may look as if I hated him 
sorely. These words are ever in my heart : Put 
not your trust in princes, etc. ; 2 and again : Cursed 
be the man that trusteth in man and maketh flesh his 
arm. 3 For God's sake be careful while you are 
here and when you return. Carry no letters. Forward 
books by friends sparingly. 

You ought to know for a fact that I have had a 
struggle not to disclose my dreams ; * for I dreamt 
of the Pope's flight before it took place ; and after 
telling Lord John, he said that very night, " You 
will see him again." I dreamt too of Master Jerome's 
imprisonment, though not in its actual form ; of my 
own imprisonments also, where I should be taken 
and how they were disclosed, although not in their 
actual form. I have often had apparitions of hosts 
of serpents with heads at their tails, but not one was 
able to bite me ; and many other visions. I am 
telling you of these, not because I suppose myself 

1 P. 174. 2 Ps. cxlv. 2, Vulg. Jer. xvii. 5 

* Cf. pp. 191-3. Chlum evidently was sceptical as to these dreams. 
Cf. his answer, p. 192 (second sentence). 


to be a prophet and am puffed up, but to show you 
that I suffered temptation both of body and mind 
and what I have been most afraid of, to wit, that 
I might transgress the command of Jesus Christ. 
The words of Master Jerome came to my mind : 
"If I come to the Council, methinks I shall never 
return." Andrew the Pole, a worthy tailor, said to 
me also when bidding me farewell : l " God be with 
you ; I think you will not come back." Beloved in 
Grod, faithful and loyal knight, my Lord John [Chlum], 
the King of heaven not of Hungary grant you 
an everlasting reward for your loyalty and the toils 
you undertake on my behalf ! 

From June 8 until the final scene Hus remained in prison at the 
Franciscan convent. As his letters show, every day he expected 
that it would prove to be his last. He little anticipated the four 
weeks' respite, if such a name may be attached to the prolonga 
tion of his trials, cooped up in a narrow cell amid the sweltering 
heat of a June that drove Sigismund and others to seek a cooler 
retreat in the fields. This month's grace was not as a rule 
granted to the victims of the Inquisition, unless indeed they 
were condemned to linger out the remnant of their days in some 
lonely cell. But Sigismund and the Council were both anxious 
to obtain a professed 'penitent, whom they could send back to 
Bohemia reduced by his recantation to powerlessness. To obtain 
this end they exhausted, as the Letters of Hus show us, the 
resources of casuistry. Learned doctors and others plied him 
with all manner of ingenious illustrations, while great ' Fathers ' 
of the Council went out of their way to offer him convenient 
'baskets' (p. 240), in which, as Paul, he might be 'let down' 
over the wall. But to all their blandishments Hus stood firm. 

The student should understand clearly, what Sigismund had 
shown that he for one did not see (p. 218), the real point at 

1 In Czech from this point to the end. In Man. i. 68, Neander, and 
others, the passage is mistranslated by taking the "Lord John" to be 
Hus, thus ascribing the whole of this beautiful sentence to the tailor 
Andrew ! 


issue between Hus and the Council, the ground on which he was 
executed. Hus was a martyr not so much to his convictions 
of the untruth of current beliefs, as because of his fidelity to 
conscience. As regards his heresies, he was, as he repeatedly 
told the Council, willing to abjure. Without the individuality 
of Wyclif, he was also without Wyclif's clear conception of the 
value of the individual judgment. He expressly yielded himself, 
not once nor twice only, to the teaching of the Church. But he 
could not acknowledge that he recanted heresies which he 
had always stoutly disclaimed, and which the Council had 
attributed to him along with doctrines to which he confessed. 
' Serene Prince,' said Hus to Sigismund, ' I do not want to 
cling to any error, and I am perfectly willing to submit to 
the determination of the Council. But I may not offend God 
and my conscience by saying that I hold heresies that I have 
never held.' For Hus truth was supreme : ' I have said that I 
would not for a chapel full of gold recede from the truth.' ' I 
know,' he had written in 1412, 'that the truth stands and is 
mighty for ever, and abides eternally, with whom there is no 
respect of persons.' Throughout his letters his chief anxiety is 
' lest liars should say that I have slipped back from the truth 
I preached.' Few scenes in history are more touching or 
ennobling than the fidelity with which Hus refused to swerve 
from absolute truth even to save his life. He realised that it 
was better that he should burn than confess that he had ever 
held doctrines which his soul abhorred, as, for instance, the 
monstrous article alleged against him by a nameless doctor 
'that he had stated that he was the fourth person in the 
Trinity ! ' (Doc. 318). To Sigismund and worldlings of that ilk 
recantation of such a charge seemed a bagatelle ; the falser the 
charge the easier to recant. But Hus thought otherwise. To 
Sigismund the breach of a safe-conduct was a mere matter of 
expediency ; to Hus a falsehood, however great its purchasing 
power, was a strain upon the soul that no mere "authority" 
could either sanction or pardon (p. 89). 

Hus " followed the gleam " to the end, not counting the cost 
It is this emphasis by Hus of the great modern idea that the 
foundations of truth lie, not so much in unreasoning authority, 
as in the appeal which it makes to man's consciousness and 
conscience the two are often one that gives to the last letters 
of Hus their undying value, and marks at the same time the 


rise of a new age. As Bishop Creighton well points out : " A 
new spirit had arisen in Christendom when a man felt that his 
life and character had been so definitely built up round opinions 
which the Church condemned, that it was easier for him to die 
than to resign the truths which made him what he was." ' But 
of the truth of our estimate of the value and importance of these 
last letters the reader can judge for himself. 

The letters of this last month for the most part are without 
date, nor are we anxious to date them. They are letters that 
deal with the great eternal principles and struggles of the soul. 
With these the time element has little concern. 

The following letter is dated by Palacky as written before the 
trial. The whole tone of the letter, especially clause two, leads 
us to attribute it to the three weeks between the trial and the 
final scene, when Hus was visited by deputation after deputation 
anxious to overcome what they deemed the scruples of an over- 
nice conscience. Luther's comment to this epistle prefixed in 
the Epistolce Piissimce is most just : ' Hus fights another battle 
between the flesh and the spirit over the confession of truth, a 
fight worthy of the knowledge of pious men.' 

(Without date : after June 8, 1415) 

I still urge you for God's sake not to let any one 
get a look at my letters, nor let them be made public, 
because I am afraid of the risk to individuals. Be 
careful both in word and in action. Veit, if he is to 
remain here, ought to be very careful. 2 I have, 
further, rejoiced greatly at the news that my 
gracious lord hath arrived. 3 Our Saviour restored 
Lazarus to life after he had lain four days in the 
grave. He preserved Jonah for three days in the 
fish, and sent him forth again to his preaching. He 

1 Papacy (new ed.) ii. 46. 

2 He fell later on under suspicion. See p. 270. 

* Possibly Chlum, to whom there is no letter since June 6. 



rescued Daniel from the lions' den to write his 
prophecies. He saved the three children from the 
flames in the fiery furnace. He delivered Susannah 
when already sentenced and going forth to death. 1 
Would He not therefore be able likewise to liberate 
me, poor John Hus, from prison and from death if it 
should be for His glory, the welfare of the faithful, 
and my greater good ? His power is not shortened, 
Who by the angel released Peter from prison, when 
the chains fell off from his hands on the eve of his 
being brought forth to death in Jerusalem. His will 
ever be done ! I pray that it may be fulfilled in me 
for His glory and for my sins. 

One of the doctors said to me that, whatever I did, 
I should submit to the Council, though my whole 
case was good and in order, and added, " If the 
Council told you, ' You have only one eye,' although 
you have two, you ought to agree with the Council 
that it is so." To which I replied, " If the whole 
world told me so, as long as I have the use of my 
reason, I could not say so without resisting my 
conscience." But after some further talk he with 
drew his remark, and said, " You are right ; I did not 
give you a very good illustration." 

The Lord is with me as a mighty warrior. " The 
Lord is my light and my salvation: whom shall I 
fear? The Lord is the protector of my life: of 
whom shall I be afraid?" At these times I often 
sing to Him the response, Lord, I suffer violence; 
answer Thou for me. 2 I know not what I shall say 
to my enemies. The Lord be with you. 

1 Cf. pp. 197, 226. 2 Isa. xxxviii. 14. 


(Without date : June 9, 1415 l ) 

To the generous Lord Henry of Duba, my faithful 
and beloved lord. I commend you, my dear lord, to 
God. Fear Him as the Lord Almighty, love Him as the 
Father most holy, ever aim at Him in mind, works, 
and desire. For His sake carefully abstain from sin, 
do all the good you can, and be not afraid of the 
adversities of this world. For He is a Master that 
surely rewardeth wrongdoing, Who will not cause 
His faithful servant to be in need, will not weary him 
nor spoil him ; but the more he serves, the more will 
He enrich him, strengthen him, and make him a 
better man. He cannot forsake His servant, nor will 
He leave Him outside ; for He said, " Where 1 am, 
there will My servant be also" 2 He doth not dismiss 
a faithful servant even if He requires him not, nor 
can his goods and sustenance be cut off. He hath 
served His servant before His servant served Him, 
seeing that for His servant's sake He suffered a 
shameful and cruel death after enduring insults, 
shame, buffeting, scourging, and spitting. Oh, how 
wretched is that servant who doth not dare for such 
a Master to risk his good name and possessions, or 
even to suffer shame ! He knoweth not that he will 
most surely lose what he so miserably desires to 
keep, and a greater good withal ; for in this life he 
will keep men's goodwill, paltry, slight, and fickle, 

1 See next letter, with which it seems to have been enclosed. But part 
was/written before (see p. 229). For Henry Skopek, see p. 169, n. 2. In the 
MS. a note, perhaps by Mladenowic, has been added that the enclosed 
song is composed in " dimeter trochaics, of which every two lines in 
succession rhyme with one another in the two last syllables." The 
whole letter and song is in Czech. * John xiv. 3. 


but when lie departs this life he will incur the hatred 
of all, both men and devils and angels, and thus, by 
reason of his poor-spirited service, he will lose eternal 
joy and grace. 

At life's end we shall know 

What account we must show : 

Holding cheap the All-wise, 

'Tis the flesh we most prize; 

Lip-worship's enough, 

"While our body we stuff! 

We pursue joys above 

Like a cat that's in love 

With fish, but to fish 

By no means doth wish ! 

There's one like a cat 

Whom you may guess at, 

Foul and greedy and slow, 

False and crafty and low; 

With pride too he's puffed : 

But of this quite enough ! 

With such do not stand, 

Or in judgment you'll land. 

I leave you, friend Duba, 

My horse-cloth and bag. 1 

Remember me, please, 

Whene'er you eat cheese. 

May God be your crown 

For all you have done. 

May Hus have a part 

In the grace of your heart! 

May you die in the Lord, 

A true saint adored ! 


1 Manticam cum ephippio. 


(June 9, 1415) 

[Forward this letter on parchment to Lord Henry 
Skopek, because it was in memory of him that I kept 
it by me in prison, and composed those verses in my 
leisure moments.] 

Lord Henry, 1 faithful friend in God, remember 
the good you have learnt from me and observe it, 
that you may presently attain to the heavenly joy. 
Remember that I said, "I hope God will send 
further trials to me." I am writing the letters on 
the Sunday before the Feast of St. Yitus, in expecta 
tion of death. 

The following letter is of great interest historically, as throwing 
light upon the way in which Hus himself regarded the matter of 
the safe-conduct. But his reflections after the event are not 
altogether fair to Sigismund's intentions, and the statement 
concerning Lord Mikess Diwoky is hard to understand. 

( Without date : shortly after June 8, 1415) 

I am very pleased about Peter. 2 I do not keep his 
letters, but destroy them at once. Big sheets 3 should 
not be sent to me, for I am afraid of the risk to the 
messenger and other persons. I beg you for God's 
sake to get all the nobles to petition Sigismund in 
a body for a final hearing, because he was the only 
one in the Council to say that at the next hearing I 
should be allowed to reply briefly in writing. His 

1 The rest of the letter is in Czech. 

4 Mladenowic. 

* Sexterni -* codices sex foliorum. 


confusion will be great if that promise is unfulfilled. 1 
But methinks his word is as little to be trusted as 
in the matter of the safe-conduct. They told me 
in Bohemia to beware of that safe-conduct. Others 
said, " He will hand you over to your enemies." 
Lord Mikess Diwoky 2 remarked to me in the presence 
of Master Jesenicz, " Master, you may take it for 
certain that you will be condemned." I imagine he 
knew the King's intentions. I thought that God's 
law and truth would be his wisdom, only I fancy he 
has not much wisdom. He passed judgment upon 
me before my enemies did. If he had only held to 
the method of the Gentile Pilate who, on hearing 
the charges, said, u I find no fault in this man" 3 or, 
at least, if he had said, " I gave him a safe-conduct ; 
if he doth not wish to abide by the decision of the 
Council, I will send him back to the King of Bohemia 
with your verdict and findings, in order that his 
Majesty, along with his clergy, may pass judgment 
on him"! Indeed, he sent word to me by Lord Henry 
Lefl 4 and others that he desired to arrange a satis 
factory hearing for me, and if I did not accept the 
judgment he would send me back again in safety. 

(June 10, 1415) 

Master John Hus, a servant of God in hope, to all 
the faithful Bohemians who love and will love God, 
praying that God may grant them to live and die 

1 For this promise of Sigismund, see Doc. 308. 

2 See p. 145, with which this statement seems a little contradictory, 
especially for one who was Sigismund's own agent. 

* John xix. 4. 4 See p. 151. * The whole letter is in Czech. 


in His grace and dwell for ever in the heavenly joy. 

Faithful and beloved of God, lords and ladies, rich 
and poor! I entreat you and exhort you to love 
God, to spread abroad His word, and to hear and 
observe it more willingly. I entreat you to hold fast 
the truth of God, which I have written and preached 
to you from the Holy Scriptures and the utterances 
of His saints. I entreat you also, if any have heard 
in my preaching or private conversation that which 
is opposed to God's truth, or if I have ever written 
anything of that kind I trust God that it is not so 
not to hold to it. I entreat you, if any have noticed 
frivolity in my words or actions, not to imitate it, 
but to pray God that it may please Him to pardon 
me. 1 I entreat you to love and commend and culti 
vate priests of good life especially those that are 
earnest students of Holy Writ. I entreat you to 
beware of deceitful men, and particularly of wicked 
priests, of whom the Saviour saith that they are in 
sheep's clothing, but inwardly are ravening wolves? I 
entreat you to be kind to the poor and to rule them 
justly. I entreat all citizens to be righteous in their 
business dealings. I entreat all artisans faithfully to 
follow their craft and take delight in it. I entreat 
all servants to be faithful servants of their masters 
and mistresses. I entreat masters to live a good life 
and faithfully to instruct their scholars, especially 
that they may love God and learn to give themselves to 
knowledge, in order to promote His honour, the welfare 
of the state, and their own salvation, but not for the 
sake of avarice or the praise of man. I entreat students 
of letters and other scholars to obey their masters in 

1 Of. supra, p. 150. * Matt. vii. 15. 


things good, to imitate them, and diligently apply 
themselves to letters for the sake of God's honour and 
their own salvation and that of other men. I entreat 
all the people to give thanks to Baron Wenzel of Duba, 
otherwise of Lestna, Baron John of Chlum, Lord Henry 
of Plumlow, 1 Lord William Zajiic, 2 Lord Myssa, 3 and 
the other nobles in Bohemia and Moravia, and the 
faithful nobles of the kingdom of Poland, and ever 
gratefully to remember their zeal in having often 
resisted, as God's brave defenders and helpers of His 
truth, the whole of the Council, telling them what 
they ought to do, and making replies with a view to 
my liberty, more especially Baron "Wenzel of Duba 
and Baron John of Chlum. Give credence to them, 
whatever their account of the proceedings shall be ; 
for they were present at the Council when I pleaded 
my cause, for several days. They know which of 
the Bohemians trumped up disgraceful charges 
against me, and how many those charges were, how 
the whole Council shouted against me, and how I 
replied to the questions which were put to me. I 
entreat you also to make supplication on behalf of 
his Majesty the King of Rome and Bohemia, of 
your Queen 4 and nobles, that the God of love may 
abide with them in grace, both now and hereafter in 
eternal joy. 

I write this letter to you in prison, bound with 
chains and expecting on the morrow the sentence of 
death, yet fully trusting in God that I shall not 
swerve from His truth nor swear denial of the errors, 
whereof I have been charged by false witnesses. 

1 P. 189. 2 P. 200, n. 3. a P. 200, n. 4. 

4 Wenzel and Sophia. Wenzel had refused to own his deposition 
as "King of Rome " (see p. 18). 


What grace God hath shown me, and how He helps 
me in the midst of strange temptations, you will 
know when by His mercy we meet in joy in His 
presence. Of Master Jerome, my beloved friend, I 
hear nothing J except that he too, like myself, is in 
a noisome prison waiting for death, and that on 
account of his faith which he showed so earnestly 
to the Bohemians. The Bohemians are our fiercest 
enemies, 2 and have put us under the power and 
custody of other adversaries : pray for them, I 
beseech you. Also I entreat you, especially people 
of Prague, to support the chapel at Bethlehem, so 
far as God shall permit His holy word to be preached 
there. It is on account of that chapel that the devil 
hath blazed forth with anger, and it is against it that 
he hath aroused parish priests and cathedral clergy ; 
in truth he felt that his kingdom was being overthrown 
in that place. I trust that God will preserve that 
chapel as long as it is His pleasure, 3 and cause greater 
good to be done there by others than by me, His 
unprofitable servant. I entreat this too of you, that 
ye love one another, defend good men from violent 
oppression, and give every one an opportunity of 
hearing the truth. I am writing this with the help of 
a good angel* on Monday night before St. Vitus's Day. 5 

1 Cf. note on 'barbatus' on p. 219, n. 1. 2 Cf. pp. 147, 165. 

* Destroyed by the Jesuits in 1786. See also p. 79, supra. 

4 i.e., whoever at the Franciscan acted the part of gaoler Robert. 

8 The great Cathedral of Prague was dedicated to St. Vitus ; hence 
the point. St. Veit's Day was June 15, which that year fell on a 
Saturday. Vitus, with his nurse Crescentia and her husband Modestus, 
was one of the Sicilian martyrs under Diocletian. The cult was wide 
spread. His arm was brought from Corbey to Prague at an early date, 
while Charles IV. in January 1356 secured the head from Pavia. At 
this town, next to Bohemia, lay the centre of his cult. (See AotaSS., 
June xv. 491-519; Pertz, Hon. Germ. ii. 576-85.) 


(June 13, 1413) 

God be with you, my dear lord! Your notes 
reached me on Wednesday before St. Vitus's Day. 2 
I looked at them with a happy heart, although in 
prison, bound with chains and expecting my death- 
sentence. I entreat you, dear lord, live as the law 
of God commands and observe what you have heard 
from my lips: if there hath been aught of wrong 
therein, spurn it. Nevertheless I trust, by the 
Saviour's mercy, you have learnt nothing from me 
that hath been contrary to His holy will. I cannot 
write at length ; but in a few words I counsel you to 
keep in your heart God's counsels, to be kind to the 
poor, to abstain from pride, to lead a chaste life, and 
to remember these words : " What thou art, what 
thou wert, what thou wilt be, ever ponder: ponder 
too the matter, the place, the subject, the 'why,' 
the 'how,' the 'when' of thy words." 3 Dear lord, 
remember me, and give my greeting to your wife 
and family and all my friends; for you will never 
methinks look upon my face again, as I am every 
moment expecting the sentence of death. Sent off 
on Thursday before St. Vitus's Day. God be with 
you, dear Bohemians, and with me a sinner; it is 
for His holy law that I suffer. 

1 The letter is in Czech. Of. Letters LXI. and LXJI. to the same. 

2 i.e., June 12. 

3 See also next letter, p. 237. I do not know the source of this 



(June 16, 1415) 

Master Martin, my dear disciple and brother in 

Christ ! Live according to Christ's gospel and put 

on diligence that you may preach the word of God. 

I beg you, for God's sake, love not a fine garment 

Alas ! I loved and wore one, thus giving no example 

of humility to the people I preached to. Delight to 

read the Bible, and especially the New Testament ; 

and where you do not understand, refer at once to 

the commentators when you have them at hand. 

Beware of talking with women, and especially be 

careful in hearing their confessions, lest you be 

caught in the snare of wantonness ; for I trust you 

have been preserved a chaste virgin 2 unto God. 

Do not be afraid to die for Christ, if you would live 

with Christ. For He Himself saith: Fear ye not 

them that kill the body and are not able to kill the 

soul? If they shall charge you with complicity in 

my heresy,* say, " I hope my master was a good 

Christian; but as to what he wrote and taught by 

way of protest in the schools, I did not understand 

it all, nor did I read it through." I think you will 

find things are as I say ; but I hope by the mercy 

of God and by the help of good men that they will 

let you depart in peace, though Palecz and his party 

are striving to get a summons against all my 

adherents. 5 Be assured that the Lord still lives, 

"WTio will be able to keep you all steadfast in His 

grace and to put to death and destroy in hell the 

enemies of the truth. 

1 With this letter compare No. XXXV. 2 Of. Eev. xiv. 4. 
Matt. x. 28. * De adhcesione. * Cf . p. 222. 


I commend my brethren to you ; treat them as you 
know how, dear friend. I trust you will give my 
greetings to the holy Petra with Duora and her 
family, and to all the friends belonging to the 
Bethlehem, Katherine called Hus, a holy virgin, I 
hope, Girzik l the rector, the lady of Zderaz, Michael 
of Prachaticz, Maurice Kacer, and all the friends of 
the truth, Jeskonissa, Gregory, and all the masters, 
Jesenicz, Kuba, the two Simons, Nicholas and 
Hawlik. 2 "Whoever hath the books, or is to have 
them, must be careful with them. Greet the doctors 
my beloved brethren in Christ, the shoemakers, the 
tailors, and the book-writers also, asking them to be 
zealous for Christ's gospel and to be ' lowly wise ' 
and not to use their own glosses, but those of the 
doctors of the Church. Ask without fail Lord Henry 
Lefl to give a guinea to James, the book-writer, as 
he promised to him. Greet Matthew, once a member 
at the Bethlehem, and Matthew Chudy, especially 
that he may pray for me a sinner, and the faithful 
John Vitlin. If you think proper, apprentice the 
sons of my brother to a craft, for I fear they would 
not guard an ecclesiastical calling as they ought, 
should they take to it. Make such repayment as you 
can to my creditors, who have my bond. Should 
they wish to let me off for God's sake and out of 
love to me, God will give them the more. Hold fast 
whatever good you learnt from me. If you saw 
anything unseemly in me, cast it from you and pray 

1 Cf. pp. 151, 206. One of the " Simons " would be Simon Tissnow. 

* Cf . p. 274, where they are again associated together. Nicholas 
I take to be Nicholas Miliczin (see p. 80). Hawlik or Gallus was at 
this time the preacher at the Bethlehem. Cf. pp. 248, 275. Michael 
of Prachaticz was a public notary (cf. Doc. 331 and passim). 


God that it may please Him to spare me. " Ponder 
always what you are, what you were, what you will be " 
(supra, p. 234.) Mourn the past, mend the present, 
beware of the future I am speaking of sins. May the 
God of all grace strengthen you in His grace with all 
the brethren named above and the others likewise, 
and may He bring you to glory, in which, I trust, 
we shall all rejoice together by His mercy, before 
thirty years have passed away. Farewell evermore, 
my dear brother in Christ Jesus, with all who love 
the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 

"Written in prison on Sunday after the Feast of 
St. Vitus. 

The two following letters of Hus introduce us to a most 
interesting episode in these last dark days, and show us some 
of the influences brought to bear upon the Reformer to induce 
him to be false to himself, and to recant. Every artifice of 
casuistry was employed to bring out this result; and leaders 
of the Council added their persuasions. Among these leaders 
was one whose name we do not know, but whom Hus here 
calls the " Father." Of his kindly feelings towards the Reformer 
Hus has already told us ; he was the only one in all the Council 
upon whose sympathies Hus could count (p. 208). In the 
following letter the " Father " tried to persuade Hus to yield 
to the Council's demands. The letter is without date, and is 
anonymous, though several copies of it have been preserved 
for us. Unfortunately not even Mladenowic has added in 
the margin the name of the writer. Luther in the Epist. 
Piissimce identified " Pater " with John Cardinalis, whom he 
mistakenly took to be John de Bronhiaco (p. 216 n.), Cardinal of 
Ostia, the president of the Council. That this cannot be " Pater " 
seems to me clear from the first sentence of his letter on p. 240. 
If we are to look among the cardinals I should incline to 
Zabarella, who at the Council on June 8 had promised Hus 
that he would send 'a form of abjuration sufficiently guarded' 
(Doc. 309). The legal reference in the last clause of his second 
letter is suitable to one who was the pre-eminent canonist of 


the Council ; while his rank would account for his desire to 
be anonymous. But any identification is at the best a mere 
guess, and Zabarella's after conduct does not lend weight to 
the surmise. 

The " Father's " first letter took the shape of a form of recanta 
tion, which Hus was to fill up and sign. Hus in his reply points 
out his real difficulty. Though not very clearly put, there is no 
note of faltering. 

( Without date : middle of June 1415) 

A form suggested by the " Father " to John Hus for giving 
in his submission to the decision of the Council, abjuring and 

I being so and so, etc. Over and above the declarations made 
by me, which I desire to be understood as repeated, I declare 
anew that although much is laid to my charge which never 
entered my mind ; none the less in the matter of all the 
charges brought forward, whether raised against myself or 
extracted from my books or even the depositions of witnesses, 
I hereby submit myself humbly to the merciful appointment, 
decision, and correction of the most holy General Council, to 
abjure, to revoke, to recant, to undergo merciful penance, and 
to do all things and several that the said most holy Council 
in its mercy and grace shall deem fit to ordain for my 
salvation, commending myself to the same with the utmost 

(Without date : middle of June) 

May the Father Almighty, most wise and most 
loving, be pleased to grant to my " Father," highly 
esteemed for Christ Jesus's sake, the everlasting life 
of glory. 

Reverend Father, I am truly grateful for your pious 
and fatherly kindness. I dare not submit myself to 
the Council in the terms you have suggested, because 


thereby I should have to condemn many truths 
which, as I have heard from their own lips, they 
call "scandalous," and also because I should be 
guilty of perjury if I abjured and confessed that 
I have held erroneous views; and thereb}^ I should 
greatly scandalise God's people who have heard 
the contrary in my preaching. If then the holy 
Eleazar, who lived under the old law, and of whom 
we read in Maccabees, 1 refused to make a lying 
confession that he had eaten flesh forbidden by the 
law so as not to act against God's will and to leave 
an evil example to his descendants, how could I, a 
priest of the new law, albeit unworthy, for fear of 
a penalty which will soon be over, be guilty of 
the more grievous sin of breaking God's law ? In 
the first place, I should err from the truth, in the 
second I should commit perjury, and thirdly I should 
be a stumbling-block to my neighbours. Assuredly 
it is fitting for me rather to die than to flee a 
momentary penalty to fall into the Lord's hand 
and afterwards, perchance, into everlasting fire and 
shame. And because I have appealed to Christ 
Jesus, 2 the most potent and just of all judges, com 
mitting my cause to Him, therefore I stand by His 
judgment and sentence, knowing that He will judge 
every man not on false and erroneous evidence but 
on the true facts and merits of the case. 

The " Father " was not satisfied with this reply, or with the 
appeal with which the letter had concluded. Probably he did 
not discern the real difficulty of Hus from his reply. At any rate, 
he would make one more effort. His next letter is a most inter 
esting piece of casuistry and special pleading. The last sentences 
would seem to indicate sympathy with the life and spirit of Hus. 
If so, they rule out Zabarella, or for that matter any cardinal. 
1 2 Mace. vi. 18 ff. P. 79. 


Hus in his reply was uncompromising in his rejection of the 
' basket ' which the " Father " offered for his escape. With this 
reply the incident closed, and the " Father " left Hus to his fate. 
But he was still pestered by others eager to prove their powers of 
argument, among them, we learn with interest, by an old Augus- 
tinian monk, the delegate from Luther's university, Erfurt. ' No 
theologian,' cried the enthusiastic chronicler, ' was able to over 
come Hus in argument save that old father alone.' 

(Without date : middle of June 1415) 

In the first place, my most dearly beloved brother, do not be 
moved by the fact that thou condemnest certain truths ; for 
judgment is not passed by thee, but by those who are thy elders 
yea, and our elders ' at the present time. Take heed to this 
word : " Lean not on thine own understanding." There are many 
intellectual 2 and conscientious men in the Council. Listen to 
the law of thy mother. So much for the first point. 

Item, in the second place, as to perjury. If that were perjury, 
it would not recoil on thee, but on those who compel it. 

Item, so far as thou art concerned, there are no heresies if 
thou cease from obstinacy. Augustine, Origen, the master of the 
Sentences, and others erred, but joyously came back. Several 
times I have believed that I understood aright some things 
wherein I was mistaken ; when admonished, I came back with 

Item, I write briefly, for I address one that understandeth. 
Thou wilt not swerve from the truth, but thou wilt draw nigh to 
it, and so be not worse off, but better. Thou wilt not be a 
stumbling-block, but a builder up. Eleazar the Jew had glory ; 
the Jewess with her seven sons and the eight martyrs had more 
glory. 3 None the less Paul was let down in a basket 4 to gain 
greater blessings. The Lord Jesus, the Judge to whom thou hast 
appealed, grants thee release from thy appeal & in these words : 
Still greater conflicts shall be given thee for the faith of Christ. 

1 Proof that he was not John de Bronhiaco. 2 Scientifici. 

2 Mace. vi. 17-vii. 4 2 Cor. xi. 33. 

5 Dat vobig apostolos. See apostoli in Ducange, and note that the 
word was in use at the time of the Council for an appeal from the Pope 
to the Council. 


(Without date : middle of June 1415) 

The Council hath often made all these demands 
of me ; but it is for the reason that they involve 
my recantation, abjuring, and the undergoing of 
penance, in which case I should have to give up 
many truths. Secondly, I should be forced to abjure, 
and so be a perjurer by admitting the errors which 
have been falsely laid to my charge. Thirdly, I 
should be a stumbling-block to many of God's people 
to whom I have preached ; for which cause it were 
fitting that a millstone were hanged about my neck and 
I be cast into the depths of the sea. 1 Fourthly, if I 
took this course in my wish to escape a brief con 
fusion and punishment, I should fall into the deepest 
confusion and punishment of all, unless I humbly 
repented before death. Therefore for my comfort 
I have bethought me of the seven Maccabean 
martyrs, who desired rather to be cut into pieces 
than to eat flesh contrary to the law of the Lord. 8 
I recall too the holy Eleazar, who, as it is written, 
refused only to say that he had eaten flesh forbidden 
by law, lest he should offer a bad example to pos 
terity, but rather endured martyrdom. How, then, 
with the holy men and women of the gospel before 
my eyes, who gave themselves up to martyrdom 
rather than consent to sin, could I, who have 
preached on patience and constancy for so many 
years, be guilty of many falsehoods and of perjury, 
and so scandalise the children of God? Far be it 
from me ; for Christ the Lord will abundantly 
reward me, by granting me strength to endure in 

1 Matt, xviii. 6. * Of. p. 240, n. 3. 



this present life and glory in that which is to 

The next letter of Hus is remarkable for the boldness with 
which Hus asserted his position, and the strong sarcasms it 
contains upon the actions of the Council in their treatment of 
Pope John. The reader will remember that Hus had attempted a 
diversion on this matter at his trial (see p. 217), and had been 
frustrated by Sigismund. Nor does Hus forget to expose the 
logical inconsistency of Palecz and Stanislaus. From first to last 
the letter contains no note of doubt or hesitation. Hus has faced 
the issues and decided. At one time he was willing to leave 
himself in the hands of the Council. Now he is convinced that 
the Council is not a trustworthy guide. In other respects the 
reader will note the growing decision and firmness of tone of his 
letters as the end draws nigh. 

The letter is undated ; nevertheless it contains some evidence of 
time. The 'last copy of the articles,' to which Hus refers on 
p. 244, were ' the articles read against the doctrine and person of 
Hus on June 18 in public congregation,' a copy of which, with 
Hus's corrections in writing, has been preserved for us by 
Mladenowic (Doc. 225-33). Another mark of time will be found 
in the reference in the last paragraph to the decree of the Council 
forbidding the cup. This fatal decree, which deluged Bohemia 
with blood, was formally passed on June 15, 1415. 

( Without date : after June 18, 1415) 

Most gracious lords, faithful zealots for the truth, 
my comforters in the truth, sent of God to my aid 
like angels ! I cannot write fully of all the gratitude 
I feel for your constancy and the kindly offices you 
have shown to me a sinner, yet a servant in hope 
of our Lord Jesus Christ; but I pray that Jesus 
Christ Himself, our loving Creator, Eedeemer, and 
Saviour, may reward you in this present life and 
grant to you Himself as the best recompense in that 


which is to come. Therefore I exhort you by His 
mercy to give heed to His gospel and especially to 
His most holy commands. My noble Baron "Wenzel 
[Duba], take to yourself a wife, 1 live holy in 
matrimony, and forsake the vanities of this world. 
And you, Baron John [Chlum], now that you have 
left the service of earthly kings, 2 abide at home 
with your wife and children in the service of God; 
for you see how the wheel of the world's vanity 
turns, now lifting a man up and anon setting him 
down, while it gives but a brief solace to the man 
it lifts up, for thereafter ensues the eternal punish 
ment in fire and darkness. 

You know now the manner of life of these spiritual 
folk, who assert that they are the true and evident 
vicars of Christ and His apostles, proclaiming them 
selves the Holy Church and the most Holy Council 
which cannot err ; though indeed they did err when 
at the first they offered homage on bended knees to 
John XXIH., kissing his feet, and calling him most 
holy, when they knew he was ' a shameful homicide, 
a Sodomite, a simoniac and a heretic,' as indeed they 
afterwards phrased it in their condemnation of him. 3 
Now they have cut off the Church's head, they have 
torn out the Church's heart, they have drained the 
Church's unfailing spring, they have made utterly to 
fail the all-sufficient unfailing refuge of the Church to 

1 See p. 272, where we find that by Jnne 29 Wenzel Dnba had 
determined on marriage. This is another factor in settling the date as 
after June 15. 

2 Chlum, it would appear, had left Sigismund's court, though the 
Latin might be construed as an exhortation to leave (cf . infra, p. 269). 

1 Hus is quoting the words of the condemnation ; see Hardt, iv. 196- 
208, 228-55. For the value of these charges see my Age of Hut, 
App. C. John was deposed on May 29, 


which every Christian should flee. "What becomes then 
of the opinion of Master Stanislaus of happy memory 
(God be merciful to him), of Palecz, and his fellow 
doctors, who laid down 1 through Stanislaus that the 
Pope is the head of the Church, its all-sufficient 
ruler, its life-giving heart, its unfailing spring over 
flowing with authority, the channel by which all 
power descends to subordinates, the unfailing refuge 
which meets the needs of every Christian and to which 
every Christian should flee? Even now, believing 
Christendom exists without a Pope, that paragon of 
virtue ! seeing that it has Christ Jesus as its Head 
to direct it best of all, Christ Jesus as its Heart to 
give life to it, the life of grace, Christ Jesus as its 
Fount, watering it with the sevenfold gifts of the Holy 
Spirit, Christ Jesus as its Channel, wherein flows all the 
rivers of His graces, Christ Jesus as its all-satisfying 
and unfailing Refuge, to which in my misery I run 
back with the steadfast hope that He will not fail 
me in direction, in renewal, and succour, but will 
deliver me from my sins and this present evil world 
and reward me with unending joy. 

Moreover, the Council has erred three times or 
more by making wrong extracts from my books, by 
rejecting some of the articles whose meaning they 
have wrested and confused, and finally by curtailing 
some of them in the last copy of the articles, as will 
be clear to all who see the books and articles in 
question. 2 Therefore I plainly conclude along with 
yourselves, that not everything that the Council 
doth, saith, or pronounces is approved of Christ, the 
truthful Judge. Blessed then are those who keep 
the gospel, and recognise, flee, and reject the pomp, 

1 March 1413 ; see Doc, 507 ff. 2 See Doc. 225-33. 


the avarice, the hypocrisy and the craft of Antichrist 
and his ministers, while they look with patience for 
the coming of the righteous Judge. 

I beseech you by the tender mercies of Jesus 
Christ to flee all evil-living priests, but to love those 
that are good according to their works ; and as much 
as lieth in you, together with all the faithful, suffer 
not the barons and lords to oppress them : it was 
for this that God did set you over others. I imagine 
there will arise a great persecution in Bohemia 
against those who faithfully serve God, unless God 
lay bare His arm through the secular lords whom He 
hath enlightened by His gospel more fully than the 
lords spiritual. What madness to condemn as error 
the gospel of Christ and that epistle of Paul which he 
saith he received not of man but of Christ, 1 aye, and to 
condemn the very act of Christ with the acts of His 
holy apostles and the other saints ! I mean the 
communion of the sacrament of the cup 2 of our Lord, 
instituted for all adult 3 believers. They actually 
call it an error that believing laymen should be 
permitted to drink of the Lord's cup, and if any 
priest should give them the cup to drink, he is, 
forsooth, to be dubbed erroneous; and if he doth 
not cease the practice, he must be condemned as a 
heretic ! 4 St. Paul thus saith to all believers : 
As often as you shall eat this bread and drink the 
chalice, you shall show the death of our Lord until He 

1 Gal. i. 1. 2 Cf. pp. 169, 177, 248. 

* This word should be noted. The later Hussites in their enthusiasm 
for the Eucharist fell back upon the custom of infantile communion, 
and their demand in this matter formed one of the difficulties of the 
Council of Basel. 

4 See the Council's decree (June 15, 1415) in Hardt, iv. 334. 


come 1 that is, until the Judgment Day, when He 
will come ; and lo ! it is now said that the custom 
of the Roman Church is the very opposite of this ! 

In the following letter Hus defines more clearly than he had 
done for the " Father" his real difficulty in accepting the Council's 
' basket ' of escape. The end of the letter shows the peace of soul 
in which Hus was now living. On the same day he wrote a 
letter to Hawlik, the priest of the Bethlehem, in which he defined 
very clearly his views as to the decree of the Council withholding 
the cup. Hawlik, it would seem, was one of those to whom 
Chlum had referred, who had been disturbed by the matter 
(p. 169), and had not hesitated to attack Jakoubek (see p. 177). 

(June 21, 1415) 

This is my final intention in the name of Jesus 
Christ : I refuse to confess that the articles which 
have been extracted in their proper sense are 
erroneous, and I refuse to abjure those which have 
been laid to my charge by false witnesses, because 
to abjure them is to confess that I held an error or 
errors; nor will I depart from them and hold the 
opposite. For God knows I never preached those 
errors, which they have concocted by withdrawing 
many truths and introducing falsehoods. If I were 
convinced that any of my articles were contrary 
to the truth, I would most gladly amend and revoke 
them, and teach and preach the opposite ; but I think 
there is none of them contrary to the gospel of 
Christ and the teachings of the doctors of the 
Church, although called ' scandalous ' and ' erroneous ' 
by those they displease. Therefore, whatever false 

1 Cor. xi. 26. 


meaning be contained of my set purpose in any 
article whatsoever, I abhor it, and submit myself 
to the correction of my almighty and supreme 
Master, trusting that of His infinite mercy He -will 
cleanse me from secret sins. I return thanks to all 
the barons of the kingdom of Bohemia, to knights 
and retainers, and especially to King Wenzel and 
to the Queen, for having shown me affection, and 
having piously entreated me, and for having 
earnestly striven for my release. I thank Sigismund 
too for all the kindness he hath shown me. 1 I thank 
all the Bohemian and Polish lords for having loyally 
and steadfastly stood out for the truth and my 
liberty, 2 and I yearn for the salvation of them all, 
both now in grace and hereafter in glory everlasting. 
May the God of all grace bring you alive in bodily 
and spiritual health to Bohemia, that there you may 
serve Christ as King and attain to the life of glory, 
Greet all my friends, whose names I cannot write 
down ; for if I should write some names and omit 
others, I might be deemed a respecter of persons, 
and those whose names I omitted might suppose I 
had forgotten them or loved them not as I ought. 
Written in prison, in chains, on Friday before the 
feast of St. John Baptist. 

JOHN Hus, 

in hope a servant of Jesus Christ, from the hope 
of Whom the devil could never, and will 
never, separate me, guided as I am by 
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, blessed for 
ever and ever. Amen. 

1 It is difficult to know whether to take this as sarcasm or the 
kindliness of forgiveness. 
* See p. 204. Doc. 550-55. 



(June 21, 1415) 

My beloved brother, Master 2 Gallus, preacher of 
Christ's word, do not oppose the sacrament of the 
Lord's cup, which was instituted of Christ both of 
Himself and through His apostles. For there is no 
Scripture against it ; but only a custom which hath 
grown up, as I think, through negligence. Only we 
ought not to follow custom, but the example and 
truth of Christ. Now 3 the Council, on the plea of 
custom, hath condemned as an error the communion 
of the cup so far as the laity are concerned, and 
he who practises it must be punished as a heretic, 
unless he come to his senses. What a piece of 
wickedness, to condemn after all these years Christ's 
institution as an error! I beg you for God's sake 
cease your attack on Master Jakoubek, 4 lest there 
be a schism among the faithful to the delight of the 
devil. Also, dear friend, prepare to suffer for the 
eating of the bread and the communion of the cup, 
and take a brave stand on Christ's truth, laying aside 
all unlawful fears and comforting the other brethren 
in the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. They will, I 
think, give you the arguments for the communion of 
the cup, which I wrote in Constance. 6 Greet Christ's 

1 See p. 177, and for Hawlik pp. 172, 236, 275. 

8 D. (dominus) which, like the old English " Sir," was applied to 
priests. Cf. p. 187. 

s Jam. 'But jam and mine are interchangeable in mediaeval Latin. 

4 See pp. 169, 177. 

* See p. 170 and Mon. i. 42-4. 


faithful ones. "Written in chains on the eve of the 
ten thousand soldier-martyrs (militum. 1 ) 

In these last days the thoughts of Hus turned once more to 
his old friend and comrade in past struggles, Christian Prachaticz. 
Christian unfortunately, as the reader will remember, had some 
what fallen away. We feel the shadow of this fall cast over this 
last brief letter of Hus to one who had been at one period his 
closest correspondent. (See supra, p. 196, n. 1.) 

( Without date : about June 22, 1415) 

Master Christian, my master and particular bene 
factor, take your stand on Christ's truth and cling to 
the faithful. Do not be afraid; for the Lord will 
shortly grant you a defence and increase the number 

1 For the legend of the ' Ten Thousand Martyrs ' see Acta Sanctorum, 
June 22, vol. v. 151-62. The authority for this legend originally cited 
seems to have been Bede's Marty rologium (Migne, vol. xciv. p. 954), but 
this work in its present form owes much to twelfth-century additions. 
June 22 is the Day of St. Alban and the two thousand British 
martyrs. I imagine the 'Ten Thousand' was due to continental 
rivalry. The ' Ten Thousand ' were said to have been crucified on 
Mount Ararat under Marcus Aurelius. Their feast was celebrated at 
Cracow, Breslau, at Paris in the Church of the Celestines, and especially 
at Prague, in the treasury of which were many relics of these fabled 
heroes. Hence the allusion of Hus, for whom relics had a charm 
(see p. 85). Spanish writers crowned the absurdity by claiming that 
they were Spaniards. 

This tale was one of the earliest to be discredited. Before the end of 
fourteenth century Ralph de Rivo in his book De Obsercatione Canonum 
(in Hittorpius, De div. Cath. Ecoles. Officiis, Paris, 1560, pp. 1103-63) 
mentions this among the fables to which Rome lent no sanction (' de 
decem millibus martyrum, quae fabulosae dicam donee aliud videro 
finguntur,' ib. p. 1121). 

I may add that Hus's reading 'militum' if genuine is probably 
a corruption from 'millia,' and certainly is not found in the usual 
versions of the tale (e.g. Usuard's Martyrologium, ed. Louvain, 1568). 


of Christ's faithful ones. Be kind to the poor, as you 
have ever been. You have, I hope, kept your chastity 
and fled avarice ; continue to flee it, and for your own 
sake do not be a pluralist. Ever hold fast the Church, 
that the faithful may flock to you as to a kind father. 
Greet affectionately Master Jakoubek and all friends 
of the truth. Written in chains, in expectation of 
being burnt. 

Luther's comment on the following beautiful letter will be, 
we think, the verdict of all its readers. ' Read this,' he wrote, 
'and you will rejoice.' In no letter does Hus rise to serener 
heights of resignation and conviction. The last paragraph is 
especially beautiful, and in the copy which I have used of the 
Epistolce Piissimce they have been underlined by one who, 
long ago, gained comfort from them. 

The Council evidently had not yet given up all hopes of 
procuring a recantation. Palecz, we note, is somewhat softening 
towards his old friend, but Michael is as relentless as ever. 
But the issue had passed from their hands. 

(June 23, 1415) 

Dear friends, I must tell you of what Palecz said 
when urging me not to trouble about the confusion 
of abjuring, but to consider the good that would 
come of it. I replied, " It is a greater confusion 
to be condemned and burnt than to abjure ; how, 
then, can I be afraid of the confusion ? But give 
me your own ideas ; how would you act if you knew 
as a fact that you did not hold the errors ascribed to 
you ? "Would you be willing to abjure ? " He replied, 
" It is a difficulty," and began to weep. We discussed 
many other plans which I objected to. Michael, poor 


fellow, was several times at my prison with the 
deputies. When I was engaged with the deputies 
he said to the gaolers : " By God's grace we shall 
soon burn this heretic who has cost me many 
a florin." Understand that in writing this I do 
not yearn for vengeance on him ; this I have 
left with God. I am praying for him with all 
my heart. 

Once more I urge you to be careful with the letters. 
Michael hath arranged that no one is to be allowed 
in the prison ; the gaolers' wives are not allowed 
admission. holy God, how widely hath Antichrist 
extended his cruel power ! but I think it will be cut 
short, and his iniquity further stripped bare among 
the faithful people. God Almighty will strengthen 
the hearts of His faithful ones whom He hath chosen 
before the foundation of the world that they may 
receive an incorruptible crown. Let Antichrist rage 
as he will, he shall not prevail against Christ, (Who 
shall slay him with the breath of His mouth, 1 as 
saith the apostle. And then the creature also itself 
shall be delivered from the servitude of corruption into 
the liberty of the glory of the children of God, saith 
the apostle, adding, We ourselves groan within ourselves 
waiting for the adoption of the sons of God, the 
redemption of our body. 2 

I am greatly comforted by that saying of our 

1 Cf. Luther's famous hymn (trans. Carlyle) : 
And let the prince of ill 
Look grim as e'er he will, 
He harms us not a whit. 
For why ? his doom is writ. 
A word shall quickly slay him. 
and remember that Luther had read this letter. 
* Eom. viii. 21, 23. 


Lord : Blessed shall you be when men shall hate you, 
and when they shall separate you and shall reproach 
you and cast out your name as evil for the Son of Man's 
sake. Be glad in that day and rejoice ; for behold your 
reward is great in heaven. 1 A good greeting, nay, the 
best of all, yet difficult I do not mean to understand, 
but to live up to fully; for it bids us rejoice in 
those tribulations. It was a rule observed along 
with the other apostles by James, who saith: Count 
it all joy when you shall fall into divers temptations, 
knowing that the trying of your faith worketh patience, 
and patience hath a perfect work. 2 Verily, it is a 
difficult thing to rejoice with tranquillity, and to 
count it all joy in the midst of divers temptations. 
It is easy to quote and expound the words, but 
difficult to carry them out when that most patient 
and brave Soldier, although He knew He would rise 
again on the third day and overcome His foes by 
His death and redeem the elect from damnation, 
was yet after the last supper troubled in spirit, and 
said : My soul is sorrowful even unto death. 3 Of 
Whom the gospel saith that He began to fear and 
to be heavy and sad ; nay, being in an agony He 
was strengthened by an angel, and his sweat became 
as drops of blood trickling down upon the ground.* 
Yet He, though thus troubled, said to His faithful 
ones : Let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be 
afraid; let it not be troubled 6 because of my short 
absence nor let it be afraid of the cruelty of them 
that rage ; for you will have Me for ever, and will 
overcome the cruelty of them that rage. Therefore, 
the soldiers of Christ looking to their leader, the 

1 Luke vi. 22, 23. * Jas. i. 2-3 Mark xiv. 34. 

4 Luke xxii. 43, 44. 6 John xiv. 27. 


King of glory, fought a great fight. They passed 
through fire and water, yet were saved alive, and 
received from the Lord God the crown of life, of 
which James in the canonical epistle saith : Blessed 
is the man that endureth temptation; for when he hath 
been proved he shall receive the crown of life which God 
hath promised to them that love him. 1 That crown, 
I verily trust, the Lord will make me to share 
along with you also, warm-hearted zealots for the 
truth, and with all who steadfastly love the Lord 
Jesus, Who suffered for us, leaving us an example 
that we should follow His steps. It behoved Him 
to suffer, as He Himself saith; and it behoves us 
to suffer, that the members may suffer with the 
Head, Who saith : If any man will come after me, 
let him deny himself and take up his cross and 
follow me. 2 

loving Christ, 3 draw me, a weakling, after Thy 
self; for if Thou drawest me not, I cannot follow 
Thee. Grant me a brave spirit that it may be ready. 
If the flesh is weak, let Thy grace prevent, come in 
the middle, and follow; for without Thee I can do 
nothing, and, especially, for Thy sake I cannot go to 
a cruel death. Grant me a ready spirit, a fearless 
heart, a right faith, a firm hope, and a perfect love, 
that for Thy sake I may lay down my life with 
patience and joy. Amen. 

Written in prison in chains on the eve of St. John 
Baptist, who was beheaded in prison and in chains, 
because he reproved iniquity ; may it please him to 
pray for me unto the Lord Jesus Christ. A men. 

1 Jas. i. 12. 2 Matt. xvi. 24. See p. 250. 


(June 24, 1415) 

Master John Hus, a servant of God in hope, to all 
the faithful who love and will love God and His law, 
praying that they may dwell in the truth, grow in 
the divine grace, and bravely persevere even unto 

Beloved, I exhort you not to be terrified, neither 
shaken with fear, because they (my enemies) have 
ordered my books to be burnt. Remember that the 
prophecies of the holy Jeremiah, which he wrote at 
God's command, were burnt, and yet the Jews did 
not escape the fate he had foretold ; for after that 
they had been burnt, God bade him write the same 
words, and add to them besides many like words. 
Which he did: for he dictated them as he lay in 
prison, and the holy Baruch, who was his scribe, 
wrote them in a book. You will find it written in 
Jeremiah the 35th or 45th chapter. 2 In the books 
of the Maccabees also it is written that sacred 
writings were burnt, and those who had them in 
their possession suffered torture. 3 Afterwards, in the 
times of the New Testament, holy men were burnt, 
together with the books of God's law. Cardinals, 
moreover, condemned and burnt the books of 
St. Gregory entitled the Morals, and would have 
destroyed them all had not God preserved them by 
means of Gregory's only loyal disciple, Peter. 4 

1 The letter is in Czech. 

2 Mladenowic has added in the margin : " Hus has no book ; the 
reference is Jer. xxxvi." 

* 2 Mace. viL 

4 For this tale see John the Deacon's Life of Gregory (iv. c. 69 ; in 
Migne, voL xxv.), from whom it was taken by Platina (see his Life of 


St. John Chrysostom was condemned on the charge 
of heresy by two Councils, 1 but God in His mercy 
after St. John's death revealed their falsehood. 2 
Keep these examples before you, that you may not 
under stress of fear give up reading what I have 
written and hand over your books to be burnt by 
them. Remember what the merciful Saviour said 
to us by way of warning in Matt, xxiv., that 
before the Judgment Day shall be great tribulation, 
suck as hath not been from the beginning of the world 
until now, neither shall be, insomuch as to deceive (if 
possible} even the elect: but for the sake of the elect 
those days shall be shortened? Holding these things 
in your memory, beloved, press bravely on; for I 
trust God that the school of Antichrist shall tremble 
before you and suffer you to enjoy quietness, and 
that the Council of Constance shall not come to 
Bohemia, for methinks many members of the 
Council will die before they wrest the books from 
your hands, and they will be scattered abroad from 
that Council over the earth, like storks; and when 
winter comes they will discover what they achieved 
in the summer. 4 Ponder the fact that they con 
demned their own head on the charge of heresy. 
Come now, make reply, ye preachers who proclaim 

Sabinianus) and adopted by Milman (ii. 310). There is no mention of it 
in the earliest Life of Gregory (by a monk of Whitby), and it is rightly 
rejected, so I take it, by Gregorovius (ii. 94). But Hus has changed 
the tale for his own purposes; it was not the 'cardinals' but the 
* people ' who tried to burn the books. 

1 The Synods of " the Oaks " and Constantinople. 

2 In 438, thirty-three years after his death in exile, the remains of 
the martyr were brought back to Constantinople. 

3 Matt. xxiv. 21-4. 

4 Hus's views of the effects of his death on Bohemia were fully 


that the Pope is God on earth and cannot sin or be 
guilty of sinning (as the Canonists assert) ; l that the 
Pope is the head of the Holy Church Universal, 
ruling it with an all-sufficient power: is the heart 
of the Church, giving to it spiritual life : is the 
fountain from which all power and goodness per 
meates: is the sun of the Holy Church, and the 
unfailing refuge to which every Christian should 
flee. But lo ! your head is now cut off, God on 
earth is bound, his sins are openly declared, the 
fountain has run dry, the sun is darkened, the 
heart is torn out, the refuge is a fugitive from 
Constance and is rejected, so that none can flee to 
him ! 2 The Council condemned him for heresy because 
he sold indulgences, bishoprics, and benefices; and 
he was condemned by these very men, many of 
whom bought these things from him, while others 
did good trade by selling them over again. John, 
Bishop of Leitomischl, 3 was there, who twice attempted 
to buy the see of Prague, but he was outbid by others. 
Oh! why have they not first cast the beam out of 
their own eye ? Indeed, their own law hath the pro 
vision: Whoso hath gained an office by money, let 
him be deprived of it.* Therefore, let seller and 
buyer and money-lender and broker be condemned 

1 Most definitely asserted in Augustin Trionfo of Ancona, De 
Potestate Ecclesiastica, dedicated to John XXII., and in Alvaro Pelayo's 
De Planctu Ecclesia (1332). But Has, who was no canonist, was 
probably thinking of Palecz and Stanislaus (see p. 123). Niem (De 
Schismate, ed. Erler, p. 178) tells us that at this time it was publicly 
debated whether the Pope could not without simony sell benefices. 
Compare also Albert Engelschalk of Prague, Aureum Speculum Papa 
(in Brown's edition of Ortiun Gratius's Fasciculus, ii. 63-101). 

9 Cf. pp. 203, 244. P. 83. 

4 See Gratian, II. C. 1, g. 1, c. 3, where, however, it is wrongly 


before the world ! St. Peter condemned and uttered 
a curse on Simon, because he had desired to purchase 
the virtue of the Holy Ghost with money. 1 These 
men have condemned and uttered a curse on the 
seller, while the buyers and money-lenders get off 
scot-free and carry on their sales privately. There 
is the Bishop of Constance, 2 who buys, and the other 
person who has sold to him ; and the Pope received 
money for absolving them ! The same thing happens, 
as I know, in Bohemia and Moravia. "Would that the 
Lord Jesus had said in the Council, ' He that is with 
out the sin of simony, let him condemn Pope John ' ! 
Methinks they would have all gone out of doors 
one after another ! 3 Why did they adore him with 
bended knees, kiss his feet, and call him most holy 
Father, when they knew he was a ' heretic, a homi 
cide, and a Sodomite,' 4 all of which sins afterwards 
came to light ? Why did the Cardinals elect him as 
Pope, when they knew he was so shameful a homicide 
as to have slain the most holy Father? 5 Why did 
they suffer him to practise simony while performing 
the duties of a pope, when they were appointed his 
advisers for the purpose of giving him good counsel ? 
Are not those to blame who themselves as well as 
he practised simony ? Before he escaped from Con 
stance, why had no one the courage to address him 
except as the most holy Father ? 6 To be sure, they 
were afraid of him then ; but when the secular power 

1 Acts ix. 20. 2 P. 162, n. 

* John viii. 7-9. 4 Cf. p.130, n. 1, and p. 243, n. 3. 

5 John was commonly accused of having poisoned Alexander V. ; 
but the charge was not in the final official articles (Hardt, iv. 296 ff.). 

' Hus would not hear in prison of the famous retort of Hallum, 
Bishop of Salisbury : ' I ask that Pope John act worthily of his office ' 
(Hardt, iv. 1418). 



seized him, by God's permission or will, they at once 
conspired not to let him go free. Surely now the 
wickedness, iniquity, and baseness of Antichrist has 
been revealed in the Pope and his associates in the 
Council : now the faithful servants of God can under 
stand the meaning of the Saviour's words, When ye 
shall see the abomination of desolation which was 
spoken of by Daniel the prophet, . . . he that readeth, 
let him understand. 1 Verily " a great abomination " 
is pride, avarice, and simony : " in a place apart " 2 
that is, dignity which lacks modesty, love, and other 
virtues; and this is what we clearly mark in those 
who win office and dignity. Would that I were 
allowed to point out their wickedness, in order that 
the faithful servants of God might beware of them ! 
Gladly would I do so; but I am trusting that God 
will raise up others after me, braver men than there 
are to-day, who shall better reveal the wickedness 
of Antichrist 3 and lay down their lives for the truth 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, who will grant eternal 
joy both to you and to me. Amen. I write this 
letter in prison, on the day of St. John Baptist, as I 
lie bound in chains, remembering that St. John also 
was beheaded in prison for the sake of God's truth. 

The following letter may be confidently dated on June 24 or 25, 
for at the close of the letter Hus refers to an intended expedition 
of Sigismund. The heat at Constance this June was so great 
that on June 22, according to Dacher (in Hardt), Sigismund left 
the city and encamped in a neighbouring field, transacting 
business in the open air. Two days later he rode with his court 

1 Matt. xxiv. 15. 

2 In loco deserto. Eus is quoting from memory. 

8 For the supposed prophecies of Hus concerning Luther, see my Age 
of Hus, App. R 


to Ueberlingen (June 25), returning on the 28th I am inclined 
to think that it is to this incident that Hus refers. 1 

The Kef orrner meanwhile, in his sweltering cell, prepared for the 
end. He requested a confessor, and desired Palecz. Face to face 
with death the hearts of both men softened. For some reason or 
other ithe request was refused, and a monk shrived him. 
According to Hus, this priest abstained from exacting formal 
proofs of penitence i.e., in this case a confession of his heresy. 
Hus was so little acquainted with the methods of the Inquisition 
that he gives no indication in his letter of understanding how 
great an act of clemency, or neglect, was involved in a course 
so contrary to all the rules of the Inquisition. The letter is also 
interesting from its illustrations of the casuistry employed to 
induce Hus to recant or appear to recant. But the purpose 
of Hus ,was constant, and his remaining letters are in reality 
conscious farewells to his different circles of friends. 

( Without date : June 24 or 25, 1415) 

I have been interviewed by many exhorters. They 
have pleaded at great length that I ought to abjure, 
and can do so lawfully by submitting my will to the 
Holy Church, which is represented by the Holy 
Council. But not one of them can satisfactorily 
meet the objection, when I put him in my own 
position, 'How can a man consistently abjure when 
he hath never preached, held, or stated the heresy 
whereof he is charged, and how would he save his 
conscience if he is not by abjuring to admit that he 
held the heresy wrongly ? ' Some said that to abjure 
did not carry with it this meaning, but only amounted 
to a renunciation of heresy, whether held or not ; 

1 It is to be noted that Hardt (iv. 344) dates the confessor incident 
as taking place on June 30, and this letter as the last of all. Bat this 
is an inference only, and is hardly possible. If correct, the journey of 
Bigismund would be his expedition to Perpignan (infra, p. 275). 


others that it merely meant a denial of the charges, 
whether they be true or false. My answer was, 
" Very well, I will swear that I never preached, held, 
or stated the errors whereof I am charged, and I 
never will preach, hold, or state them." And at once 
they hark back to the old advice. Some argue that 
a man who submits himself to the Church wins merit 
by his humility when he confesses to guilt, though it 
be granted that he is innocent. In support of this 
argument one man brought forward the case of a 
saint in The Lives of the Fathers l by whose bed some 
persons had placed a certain book. "When admonished 
for the offence, he denied it, being holy and blame 
less. They then said, " You stole it, and hid it in 
your bed." The book was discovered there, and he at 
once admitted his guilt. Another man proved his 
point by the case of a nun, who, wearing male attire, 
lived in a cloister, and who was charged with having 
begotten a son by a certain woman. She allowed 
' Yes ' to go, and kept the boy ; but it afterwards 
came out that she was an innocent woman. Many 
other cases were brought forward. An Englishman 
said, ' If I were in your place, I would abjure at the 
bidding of my conscience ; for in England all the 
doctors very good men, too who have been sus 
pected of holding Wyclif's views abjure in a formula 
set them by order of the archbishop.' 2 

Finally, they came yesterday to the old position 
that I should hand myself over entirely to the grace 
of the Council. Palecz came at my request. I 

1 VittB Patrum, ed. Rosweyd in Migne Ixxiii. 191. 

* The Englishman was right. The leading Lollards at one time or 
another had all recanted, and forms of abjuration abound, which are a 
source of trouble to the historian. See my Age of Wyclif, p. 266, n. 1. 


wanted to confess to him. I asked the commissioners, 
or rather my exhorters, to give me him or another 
confessor. I said, " Palecz is my chief opponent ; 
I want to confess to him, or else you can give me 
another suitable man. For God's sake oblige me." 
They did so, and I confessed to a doctor a monk 
who listened to me in a gracious and right beautiful 
spirit. He absolved me, and gave me advice, but did 
not enjoin on me what the others advised. 1 

Palecz came and shed tears along with me, when I 
begged him to forgive me for any hard words I had 
used against him, and, in particular, for having called 
him in writing a fiction-monger. 2 I also told him 
that he was the sl6dnik 3 of the whole business, and 
he did not deny it ; also how in a public hearing he 
had risen to his feet when I denied the articles of 
the witnesses, and said, " This fellow hath no fear 
of God." This he denied: but he certainly said it. 
Perhaps you heard him. I reminded him too of 
what he said in prison before the commissioners : 4 
" Since the birth of Christ no heretic hath written 
more dangerous teaching against the Church, with 
the exception of "Wyclif, than yourself I mean you, 
John Hus." He also said, u All who have been here 
to talk with him have been infected with that error 
concerning the sacrament of the altar." He denied 
it, saying, 'I did not say "All," but " Many." ' But 
he certainly used these words. And then I rebuked 
him, saying, " Oh, sir, what a grievous wrong you do 
me in calling all my hearers heretics ! " Afterwards 
he pleaded with me in the same way as the others. 

1 See comment on p. 259. 

* Fictor, as often in his Responsio ad Palecz, Mon. i. 255 S. 

1 Arch-detective, chief spy. * P. 174. 


He is always harping on the great harm that had 
been done by me and my friends. He told me also 
that they had a letter addressed to Bohemia con 
taining the news that I had composed while at 
Gottlieben, 1 two verses about my chains to the tune 
" Buoh Wsemohuci." 2 

For God's sake look after the letters. Do not give 
them to any clerk 3 to carry. Let me have a hint if 
the nobles are to ride with Sigismund. 4 In His mercy 
Christ Jesus ever keeps me to my former resolve. 

(June 26, 1415) 

Master John Hus, a servant of God in hope, to all 
the faithful Bohemians who love and will love God, 
sendeth his earnest desires and unprofitable prayers 
that they may both live and die in the grace of God 
and dwell with God for ever. 

Faithful and beloved in God ! this likewise I have 
determined to write that you may know that the 
Council proud, avaricious, and defiled with every 
crime hath condemned my Czech books, which it hath 
never either seen nor heard read, and if it had listened 
with all its power, would never have understood 
(for there were present at the Council Frenchmen, 
Italians, Britons, 6 Spaniards, Germans, and other 
people of different nationalities), unless perchance 
John Bishop of Leitomischl might have understood 

1 In castro, 

8 ' God omnipotent." The poem seems lost. Whether the tune still 
exists 1 cannot say. See also p. 15 for Hus and his songs. 

* Nulli clerico. * See p. 259, n. * This letter is in Czech. 

Britanni. There were some Scots present, but whether Hus knew 
this and deliberately used the word is at least doubtful. 


them ; lie was there with other Bohemian malig- 
nants, as well as the Chapters of Prague and the 
Wyschehrad, 1 from which have proceeded the insults 
heaped upon God's truth and upon our fatherland, 
Bohemia. Yet, placing my trust in God, I judge it to 
be a land of the purest faith, as I bethink me of its 
zeal for the divine word and for morality. I would 
that ye might see this Council, which is called the 
Most Holy Council, and incapable of error ; in sooth 
you would gaze on a scene of foulness ; 2 for it is a 
common proverb among the Swiss, 3 that a genera 
tion will not suffice to cleanse Constance from the 
sins which the Council have committed in that city ; 
they have said, moreover, that the Council was an 
offence to the world, albeit others rejected it with 
loathing at the mere sight of its foul deeds. I tell you 
that as soon as I took my stand in the Council and 
saw there was no proper discipline there, I shouted out 
with a loud voice, amid general silence, "I thought 
there would be more reverence, piety, and discipline 
in this Council." 4 Then the presiding Cardinal 6 said, 
" What do you say ? You spoke more humbly in the 
castle." 6 "Yes," I replied, " because there was no 
one there to shout me down ; but here every one is 
crying out." Therefore since the Council, owing to its 
irregular proceedings, hath done more harm than good, 

1 The Wyschehrad, or original citadel of Prague, was practically a 
separate city with walls of its own (destroyed during the Hussite wars). 
In the time of Hus there was a great monastery there. 

2 For curious details of the public women attracted to Constance by 
the Council of whom Dacher counted up over seven hundred see 
Hardt, v. 50-52. 

8 Suabis. German Switzerland was a part of High Suabia. Another 
reading is Suevig. 
4 See pp. .216, 218. * P. 216, n. 1. Gottlieben ; see pp. 216, 204. 


therefore, beloved of God, be not terrified by their 
verdict, which (I trust God) will do themselves no 
good. They will be scattered abroad like butterflies, 
and their decree will last as long as spiders' webs. 
As for myself, they have striven to frighten me, 
but they could not overcome God's power within 
me. They would not contend against me with the 
Scriptures, as those noble lords heard, who took a 
brave stand on the side of God's truth, and were 
ready to suffer every shame, Bohemians, Moravians, 
and Poles, especially Baron Wenzel de Duba and 
Baron John of Chlum, for the latter were standing 
near. Sigismund brought them into the Council, and 
they heard me say, " If I have written anything 
wrong, I wish to be told of it." "Whereupon the 
presiding Cardinal said, "As you want information, 
take this : you should retract and obey the decision 
of fifty doctors of the church." A wonderful piece 
of information ! The virgin St. Catherine ought to 
have renounced the truth and faith of the Lord 
Jesus Christ, because fifty philosophers opposed her ; 
but the beloved virgin was faithful even unto death, 
and won the masters to God, which I as a sinner 
cannot do. 1 I am writing this to you that you may 
know that they did not get the better of me by any 
scripture passage or any arguments ; but strove to do 
so by means of guile and threats so as to induce me 
to recant and abjure. But God in His mercy, Whose 

1 Catherine of Alexandria at the age of eighteen, so the story 
ran, had obtained the highest place 'in liberal arts.' The Emperor 
Maximin promised great rewards to any philosopher who should 
win her back to heathenism. But she overcame them all. She was 
then broken on a " Catherine's wheel," and her body transported by 
angels to Mount Sinai. See Breviary for November 25, whence Hus 
would obtain his allusion. 


gospel I have spread abroad, was with me and is still ; 
yea, and will be, I trust, to life's end, and will keep me 
in His grace unto death. I write this on Wednesday 
after the Feast of St. John Baptist in prison, bound 
in chains and awaiting death. Yet by virtue of 
God's hidden counsels I dare not say this in my last 
letter ; for even now Almighty God can set me free. 

The reference in the following letter to Jerome, and Hus's 
comparison of his own weakness with Jerome's strength, is 
interesting for many reasons. As often happens, the apparently 
stronger man proved the weaker. For Jerome lacked the moral 
conviction which made Hus a martyr. The strain of his sickness 
and imprisonment told also fatally upon the restless knight- 
errant. He grew fitful 'now wishful to stand fast in his 
obstinacy, now desirous to be wholly convicted' as we learn 
from an anonymous writer present at Constance (Doc. 596). The 
result was that on September 11 he read a paper before the 
Council, recanting his errors, and adding his 'approval of the 
condemnation of both Wyclif and Hus.' Fortunately Hus was 
not spared to receive this stab from his old friend. 

The after career of Jerome must be briefly told. He retracted 
his recantation, and after a defence of his creed before the 
Council which charmed by its eloquence the fastidious taste of 
Poggio Bracciolini, was condemned and burnt (May 30, 1416). So 
in spite of lapse, Jerome and Hus were again one ; in their death 
they were not divided (see Age of Hits, pp. 333-44). 

(June 27, 1415) 

God be with you ! I had many reasons for sus 
pecting that I was to die on the morrow after sending 
you my last letter. But I hear that my death is put 
off, so I am writing to you once more, kind and 
faithful friends in God, to assure you of my gratitude 
as long as I have opportunity. I always find it a 


solace to be able to converse with you by letter, 
and I tell you God knows why He delays my death 
and that of my dear brother, Master Jerome, who, 
I trust, will die holy and blameless and be of a 
braver spirit in meeting pain than I, a weak-kneed 
sinner. God hath granted us a long time that we 
may the better recall our sins and be able to do 
fitting penance for them. He hath granted us 
time that a continuous and great trial may destroy 
great sins and bring us comfort. He hath granted 
us time that we may remember the foul shame of 
our King, the merciful Lord Jesus, and meditate 
on His cruel death, and so bear our sufferings with 
the greater patience ; and, besides this, that we may 
not suppose that we pass from a banquet in this 
world to one in the next, but may remember how 
the saints went through many pains before they 
entered in the heavenly kingdom. Some were cut 
in pieces, others impaled, others boiled, others 
roasted, others flayed alive, buried alive, stoned, 
crucified, crushed between millstones, drawn in 
opposite directions, drowned, burnt, suffocated by 
gags, torn asunder into pieces, and before death 
shamefully entreated and tortured with imprison 
ment, stripes, and chains. And who can recount 
all the sufferings which the saints in Old and New 
Testament times endured for the truth of God; 
but especially those who rebuked the wickedness of 
of priests and preached against them? It will be 
strange if any one now escapes punishment who 
shall bravely resist wickedness in particular of the 
priests which doth not suffer itself to be rebuked. 
But I rejoice that they were compelled to read my 
books, in which their wickedness was revealed. I 


know that they have perused these books more 
carefully than the Holy Scriptures in their desire 
to discover my errors. 

Sent off on Thursday evening before St. Peter's 
Eve. Amen. 

The following farewell to his old University is remarkable for 
its close approximation to the position of Luther at Worms, and 
of Wyclif before him. At one time, as we have seen, Hus had been 
willing to trust the Council, provided the false charges were with 
drawn (see p. 224). He had thence advanced to a belief in the 
general rottenness and untrustworthiness of the Council, as shown 
by its treatment of John, and its moral chaos (pp. 216, 218, 257, 
263). He now demands that his arguments shall be overthrown 
by Scripture. Hus's optimism as to the victory of the truth is 
emphatic. He sings with unfaltering note : 

Truth crushed to earth shall rise again, 
The eternal years of God are hers. 

(June 27, 1415) 

"Worshipful masters, bachelors, and students of 
the University of Prague, dearly beloved in Christ 
Jesus ! I exhort you in the name of the blessed 
Jesus to love one another, to root out schisms and 
to promote the honour of God before all things. 
Remember how I always sought to make the welfare 
of the University conduce to the honour of God, 
how I grieved over your disputes and secessions, 1 
and how I desired to unite together our glorious 
country ; and lo ! it hath turned with exceeding bitter 
ness against me, as you see in the case of some of 

i JExcesiibus. The German secession to Leipzig had been laid, not 
unjustly, at his door (see p. 18). But perhaps the word should be 
translated " excesses " by an extension of classical use. 


my dearest friends for whom I would have laid down 
my life ; and it hath inflicted on me calumnies, curses, 
and finally an untimely death. Almighty God, forgive 
them, for they know not what they do ; l with all 
sincerity I pray that He may spare them. Moreover, 
dearly beloved in Christ Jesus, stand in the truth 
whereof you have knowledge ; for it wins its way 
before all else and waxes strong even for evermore. 
Let me tell you I have not recanted nor abjured a 
single article. The Council desired me to declare 
the falsity of all of my books and each article taken 
from them. I refused to do so, unless they should 
be proved false by Scripture. I mean that whatever 
false interpretation should be found in any article 
whatever, I abhor it, and commend it to the correc 
tion of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who knows my real 
intention and will not interpret in a wrong sense 
which I do not intend. I exhort you in the Lord 
to abhor any false meaning you may be able to 
discover in any of these articles, but always to 
preserve the truth that is intended. 

I, Master John Hus, in chains and in prison, now 
standing on the shore of this present life and 
expecting on the morrow a dreadful death, which 
will, I hope, purge away my sins, find no heresy 
in myself, and accept with all my heart any truth 
whatsoever that is worthy of belief. 

"Written on Thursday before St. Peter's Eve. 

I pray you to love the Bethlehem and put Gallus f 
in my place ; for I trust that the Lord is with him. 
Amen. I commend to you Peter Mladenowic, my 
fathful and loyal comforter and supporter. 

1 Luke xxiii. 34. 

4 For Gallus (Hawlik) and his difficulties, see p. 248. 


The following letter, with its bitter sarcasms on Sigismund's 
faith, is rightly sent to Duba and Chlum, the officials originally 
deputed by Sigismund to protect Hus, and see to the carrying out 
of the safe-conduct. We had already learned that Chlum had 
left the court (p. 243). We now see that in reality he had been 
dismissed. His plain speech was not welcome to the faithless 

The letter is without date, and possibly should be put earlier in 
the month. The reference to Veit as well as to Sigismund's 
advice at the Council would lead us to this. But if it be dated, 
with Palacky, at the close of the month, the reader will note that 
up to the very end, though firm in the day, Hus had severe 
struggles with himself when chained alone at night in the 
darkness of his cell. 


( Undated : ? middle or end of June) 

Most gracious benefactors and guardians of the 
truth, I exhort you by the tender mercies of Jesus 
Christ to lay aside at once the vanities of this world 
and fight for the eternal King, even Christ the Lord. 
Put not your trust in princes, in the sons of men, in 
whom is no safety* for to-day the sons of men are 
liars and deceivers, and to-morrow they will perish ; 
but God abideth for ever. He hath servants not 
because He is in need of them, but for their own 
welfare. What He promises to them, He holds to ; 
what He pledges himself to grant, He fulfils ; He 
deceives no man by a safe-conduct and dismisses no 
faithful servant ; for He saith : Where 1 am, there shall 
My servant be also. 2 Each of His servants He, their 
Master, maketh to be master of all that He hath, 

1 Ps. cxlv. 3. 2 John xii. 26. 


giving to that servant Himself, and with Himself all 
things so that he may possess all things without 
weariness or fear, nay, without any lack, and may 
rejoice with all the saints in unending joy. Oh, blessed 
is that servant whom his master when he conieth, 
findeth watching ! 1 Serve then, dear lords, with fear 
this King Who will, I trust, bring you now to 
Bohemia by His grace in good health, and afterwards 
to the everlasting life of glory. Farewell ! 

Methinks this is my last letter to you, for to 
morrow I suppose I shall be cleansed from my sins 
in hope of Jesus Christ by a dreadful death. I 
cannot write of what I passed through last night. 
Sigismund hath acted deceitfully throughout. God 
spare him, and that only for your sakes ; you 
yourselves heard the advice which he gave. 2 I beg 
you to have no suspicion of the faithful Veit. 8 

On June 29th Hus wrote his last letters of farewell three in 
number to his dearest friends. There is in them no trace of 
struggle, only the peace of God. Hus had entered already the 

Porte after stormie seas. 

(June 29, 1415) 

Most gracious benefactor, dearly beloved in Christ 
Jesus, I rejoice without measure that I can still, by 
the grace of God, write to your grace. I gathered 
from yesterday's letter, 4 firstly, how the iniquity of 
the great harlot that is, of the blaspheming congre 
gation, of which we read in the Apocalypse is and 

1 Luke xiL 43. P. 225. 

1 At the Council ; see p. 213. 4 A letter from Chlum now lost. 


shall be made bare, with which harlot the kings of 
the earth commit fornication. 1 In the same place, 
likewise, it is written that they commit fornication 
spiritually, that they depart from Christ and His truth 
and consent to the falsehood of Antichrist, whether by 
being seduced or terrified, or by being led to hope in 
the confederacy for the winning of the world's honour. 
Secondly, I gathered from the letter how that already 
the enemies of the truth are beginning to be troubled. 
Thirdly, I gathered the news of your grace's fervent 
loyalty, whereby you boldly profess the truth, 
knowing the baseness of the great harlot. Fourthly, 
I rejoice to gather that you now desire to put an 
end to the vanities of this world and to its toilsome 
service and to fight for Jesus Christ at home. To 
serve Christ is to reign with Him, as Gregory saith : 
He that faithfully serves Him will have Christ in the 
fatherland of heaven as his minister. Christ Himself 
saith : Blessed is that servant, whom the Lord, when he 
cometh, shall find so doing. Amen. I say unto you, 
that he will rise and gird himself, and will minister to 
him? The kings of this world do not act thus with 
their servants. They only care for them so long as 
they are useful and necessary to them. Not so 
Christ, the King of glory, Who hath to-day 3 crowned 
the apostles Peter and Paul Peter by crucifixion, 
Paul by beheading and welcomed them into the 
kingdom of the heavenly fatherland. Peter was 
four times imprisoned and was led forth by an angel. 
Paul was thrice beaten with rods, once stoned, tivice 
suffered shipwreck* for two years bound with chains 
and in divers ways afflicted ; who saith in his epistle : 

1 Rev. xvii 2 ; xviii. 3. * It was their feast day. 

a Luke xii. 37. * 2 Cor. xi. 25. 


We ivere pressed out of measure above our strength, so 
that we were weary even of life. 1 They have now 
passed their trials and torments, and there remaineth 
for them infinite bliss and the life of quietness that 
knows no suffering. Now Peter and Paul reign with 
the King above, now they are with the choirs of 
angels, now they see the King in His beauty, now 
are they released from weariness and are full of bliss 
unspeakable. May those glorious martyrs, thus 
united with the King of glory, deign to intercede for 
us, that, strengthened by their help, we may be 
partakers in their glory, by patiently suffering what 
ever God Almighty shall ordain in this world for our 
greater good. Amen. 

I beg you for God's sake still keep on writing, if 
you can. I ask especially that greetings be conveyed 
to her Majesty the Queen, 2 and that she be counselled 
to be loyal to the truth and not offended in me, as 
though I were a heretic. Convey my greetings to 
your wife also, whom I beg you to love in Christ 
Jesus ; for I trust she is a daughter of God through 
her obedience to His commands. Greet all the 
friends of the truth for God's sake. 

(June 29, 1415) 

I am delighted to hear that Baron "Wenzel intends 
to marry and flee the vanities of the world. And 
indeed it is a high time, for he hath for a long time 
ridden to and fro through the countries, broken 
lances, wearied his body, spent his money, and hurt 

1 2 Cor. i. 8. * Sophia. 


his soul. It now, therefore, remains for him to throw 
these things aside and serve God quietly at home 
with his wife, and have servants of his own. It will 
be better 1 to serve God at home and enjoy a happy 
life without sin and toil, waited on by others, than to 
be burdened ofttimes with heavy and grievous toils, 
to run risks of losing his life, and to watch the 
movements of others. Let this advice be repeated 
and brought home to one who hath done me so many 
kindnesses. God is still upholding the life of Hus 
by His might ; yea, and will uphold it so long as He 
wills, against the proud, greedy, and in divers ways 
unconscionable Council, wherein the Lord knoweth 
them that are His. 

Sent off on the day of SS. Peter and Paul, at the 
time of the evening meal. 2 


(June 29, 1415) 

God be with you ! May it please Him to bestow 
upon you the eternal reward for the many kindnesses 
you have shown me, and still do show, although 
perhaps in the body I am already dead. Do not 
suffer Baron John of Chlum, faithful, steadfast knight 
that he is and my kind benefactor, to run any risk. 
I pray this for God's sake, dear Master Peter, 
Superintendent of the Mint, and Mistress Anna ! 4 I 

1 The rest of the letter, save the date, is in Czech. 

2 Ad ccenam : the day at Constance would end at about 7.30 at this 
time, and the ' ccena ' be at six at the latest. 

8 The letter is in Czech, with the exception of the sentence to Peter 
and the superscription. 
4 See p. 211, n. 4. 



entreat you also to live a good life and obey God, 
as I have often told you. Give thanks in my name 
to my gracious mistress the Queen for all the 
kindnesses she hath conferred on me. Greet your 
family and the other faithful friends, whose names 
I may not mention. I entreat you all to pray to 
God in my behalf ; by His help we shall soon meet 
together in His gracious and holy presence. Amen. 
I write this in prison in fetters, which I am wearing, 
I trust, for- the gospel of God, expecting every 
moment the sentence of death. For God's sake, I 
pray you suffer not good priests to be oppressed. 

in hope a servant of God. 

Peter, 1 dearest friend, keep my fur cloak in memory 
of me. 

Lord Henry Lefl, 2 live a good life with thy wife. 
My thanks to thee ! God be thy reward ! 

Faithful friend, Master Lidef i and Mistress Margaret, 
Masters Skuocek and Mikeska 3 and others: may 
God grant you an eternal reward for your toils and 
the other kindness you have conferred on me. 

Master Christian, 4 faithful and beloved, God be 
with thee ! 

Master Martin, 5 my disciple, remember those things 
which I taught thee. 

Master Nicolas 6 and Peter, the Queen's chaplain, 
and the other masters and priests, be diligent 
students of God's word. 

1 Mladenowic. 2 P. 151, last paragraph. 

* The son-in-law of Wenzel the pitch-maker, whose house from 1401 
onwards had been a notable gathering-place of reformers (see Doc. 

4 Praohaticz. * P. 149. Pp. 80, 236. 


Priest Gallus, 1 preach the word of God. 

Finally, I entreat you all to persevere in the truth 
of God. 

On the feast day of the apostles St. Peter and 
St. Paul, about the time of the evening meal. 2 

The three letters written on June 29 are the last that Hus 
wrote. The month's grace was evidently fruitless, and Sigismund 
was in a hurry to depart for Perpignan, there to meet, by agree 
ment, Benedict XIII. and Ferdinand of Aragon, the chief 
supporter of the Spanish anti-pope, and arrange for the ending 
of the schism. This journey had twice already been postponed, 
and admitted of no further delay. For on June 15 the proctor 
of Gregory XII. Charles di Malatesta had arrived in Rome 
and commenced negotiations for Gregory's abdication. On 
July 4 all arrangements were completed, and the Council 
summoned to listen to a bull of Gregory, convoking and then 
approving the Council and all its doings, and concluding with 
a proclamation of his own resignation. But before Sigismund 
could be allowed to depart from Constance the Council were 
resolute that he should appear as a consenting party to the death 
of Hus. It was determined, therefore, to bring matters to an issue. 
On July 1 two days after Hus's last letter, and after Sigismund's 
return from his short holiday at LTeberlingen Hus was visited 
by a deputation of eight prelates, with Hus's gaoler, the Arch 
bishop of Riga, at their head, who endeavoured once more to 
persuade the Reformer that he could reasonably recant. 

Hus replied by writing out with his own hand his final 


(July 1, 1415) 

I, John Hus, in hope a priest of Jesus Christ, 
fearing to offend God, and fearing to fall into 
perjury, do hereby profess my unwillingness to 
abjure all or any of the articles produced against 

1 P. 236 n. P. 273, n, 2. 


me by false witnesses. For God is my witness that 
I neither preached, affirmed, nor defended them, 
though they say that I did. Moreover, concerning 
the articles that they have extracted from my books, I 
say that I detest any false interpretation which any 
of them bears. But inasmuch as I fear to offend 
against the truth, or to gainsay the opinion of the 
doctors of the Church, I cannot abjure any one of 
them. And if it were possible that my voice could 
now reach the whole world, as at the Day of Judg 
ment every lie and every sin that I have committed 
will be made manifest, then would I gladly abjure 
before all the world every falsehood and error which 
I either had thought of saying or actually said. I 
say I write this of my own free will and choice. 

Written with my own hand, on the first day of 
July. 1 

Four days later the Council made another effort to bring about 
the desired recantation. A deputation of the leaders of the 
Council DAilli, Zabarella, Simon Cramaud the Patriarch of 
Antioch, the Archbishops of Riga and Milan, together with two 
Englishmen, the illustrious Hallum of Salisbury, and Bubwith, 
the simoniacal Bishop of Bath, narrowed the issue to the recan 
tation merely of the heresies extracted from articles Hus had 
recognised as his own. At one time this would have satisfied 
Hus ; but now he refused, and referred them to his declaration 
of July 1. He dared not cause to stumble those whom he had 
taught. Later in the day Sigismund, influenced perhaps by 
some remnants of conscience, made one last effort to save him. 
He sent Chlum, Wenzel de Cuba, and Lacembok, together with 
four bishops, to ask Hus for his final decision, whether he would 
persevere or recant. Hus was brought out of his cell to meet 
this deputation a sidelight as we take it on his cramped 
confinement doubtless wondering whether a new trial of his 
constancy awaited him in the defection of his dearest friends : 

1 Not in Palacky : from Hardt, iv. 345. I see no reason to doubt its 


1 Master John,' said honest Chlum, ' we are laymen, and cannot 
advise you. Consider, however, and if you realise that you are 
guilty concerning any of the charges, do not be ashamed to receive 
instruction and recant. But if you do not feel guilty, do not 
force your conscience, nor lie before God, but rather stand fast 
to the death in the truth which you know.' 

Hus replied with tears : ' Sir John, know that if I was conscious 
that I had written or preached aught against the law, gospel, or 
Mother Church, I would gladly and humbly recant my errors. 
God is my witness. But I am anxious now as ever that they 
will show me Scriptures of greater weight and value than those 
which I have quoted in writing and teaching. If these shall 
be shown me, I am prepared and willing to recant.' ' Do you 
desire to be wiser than the whole Council 1 ' retorted a bishop. 
' Than the whole Council, no,' replied Hus ; ' but give me a 
portion, however small, of the Council to teach me by Scrip 
tures of greater weight and value, and I am ready to recant.' 
'He is obstinate in his heresy,' cried the bishops, and retired 
to make preparation for the final scene. 

At six o'clock the next morning Hus was brought to the 
cathedral. While mass was sung he was kept waiting outside 
the door; this over, he was placed in the middle of the aisle 
on an elevated dais. Around him were placed the various robes 
needful for celebrating mass. But before taking his stand on 
this theatre of degradation Hus knelt down and prayed. The 
whole Council was there, with Sigismund, in his robes and 
diadem, on the throne. In the sight of all Hus stood alone 
while the Bishop of Lodi, the customary orator on big occasions, 
preached ' a short, compendious, and laudable ' sermon on the 
danger of heresy and the duty of destroying it. The events of 
that day, said the preacher, would win for Sigismund immortal 
glory. ' O King, a glorious triumph is awaiting you ; to thee is 
due the everlasting crown and a victory to be sung through all 
time, for thou hast bound up the bleeding Church, removed a 
persistent schism, and uprooted the heretics. Do you not see 
how lasting will be your fame and glory? For what can be 
more acceptable to God than to uproot a schism and destroy the 
errors among the flock.' 

But the day was not altogether without its stings for Sigis 
mund. Hus, when he spoke, was not slow to remind him of 
his safe-conduct. Sigismund, it is said, blushed, an incident 


denied by some historians with as much warmth as if the blush 
were as discreditable to Sigismund as his falsehood. 

Then the representatives of the nations read aloud the record 
of the trial and the sentence of the Council. When Hus 
attempted to reply and point out certain omitted limitations in 
his theses, D'Ailli ordered him to be silenced. ' You shall answer 
all together later.' 'How can I possibly answer all together,' 
retorted Hus, ' since I cannot keep them all together in my mind.' 
' Be silent,' said Zabarella, ' we have heard you quite enough.' 
' I beseech you for God's sake hear me,' cried Hus, with clasped 
hands, ' lest the bystanders believe that I ever held such errors ; 
afterwards do with me as you list.' We need not wonder at his 
indignation when we remember that one of the articles read out 
against him was that he had said that he was the fourth member 
in the Trinity. When the reading of the tissue of falsehood was 
completed and the sentence pronounced, Hus knelt once more in 
prayer : ' Lord Jesus, pardon all my enemies for Thy great 
mercy's sake, I beseech Thee, for Thou knowest that they have 
falsely accused me. Pardon them for Thy great mercy's sake.' 
But the bishops who stood near frowned and laughed. 

After this he was clad by seven bishops in the full vestments of a 
celebrant. Once more the bishops urged him to recant. But Hus 
turned to the people and cried out : ' These bishops here urge me 
to recant. I fear to do this lest I be a liar in the sight of God, 
and offend against my conscience and God's truth.' So he 
stepped down from the table, and the bishops began the ceremony 
of degradation ; one by one his vestments were stripped off him. 
A dispute arose over his tonsure ; should it be cut with scissors 
or a razor 1 ' See,' said Hus, turning to Sigismund, ' these bishops 
cannot even agree in their blasphemy.' A paper crown a yard 
high, with three demons painted on it 'clawing his soul with 
their nails,' and the words " Heresiarch," was then fastened on 
his head. ' The crown which my Redeemer wore,' said Hus, ' was 
heavier and more painful than this.' ' We commit thy soul to the 
devil,' sang the priests, as they handed him over to the secular 
arm. ' But he, with clasped hands and upturned eyes : I commit 
it to the most gracious Lord Jesus.' By a strange oversight the 
Council forgot to add the crowning farce of these inquisition 
courts, the solemn adjuration to the secular arm to shed no 
blood. ' Go, take him,' said Sigismund, turning to Lewis, Count 
Palatine, the sword-bearer of the empire, who stood at Sigis- 


mund's elbow, holding the golden orb and its cross in his hand. 
The count handed him over to the magistrates, who stripped him 
of his gown and hose, and led him out to die, escorted by a 
thousand armed men. 

As he passed through the churchyard of the Cathedral, Hus 
saw a bonfire of his books. He laughed, and told the bystanders 
not to believe the lies circulated about him. The whole city was 
in the streets as Hus passed through their midst. But when the 
procession reached the gates the crowd found that they were 
forbidden to pass; there were fears lest the drawbridge should 
break down with their weight. On arriving about noon at 
the execution ground, familiarly known as " the Devil's Place," 
Hus kneeled and prayed 'with a joyful countenance.' The 
paper crown fell off, and he smiled. ' Put it on again wrong way 
up,' cried the mob, ' that he may be burnt with the devils he has 
served.' His hands were tied behind his back, and Hus fastened 
to the stake which had been driven into the ground over the 
spot where a dead mule belonging to one of the cardinals had 
been recently buried. ' Turn him round towards the West,' cried 
the crowd, ' he is a heretic ; he must not face the East.' This 
done, a sooty pot-hook chain was wound round his neck, and two 
faggots placed under his feet. Burgher Reichental the author of 
the famous illustrated Diary offered to call a priest. ' There 
is no need,' replied Hus, ' I have no mortal sin.' But a priest ' who 
was riding about in a vest of very red silk,' was less merciful. 
' No confessor must be given him,' he cried, ' for he is a heretic.' 
For the last time Lewis, Count Palatine, and the Marshal of 
the Empire, asked him if he would recant and save his life. Said 
Hus, ' in a loud voice,' ' God is my witness that the evidence 
given against me is false. I have never thought nor preached 
save with the one intention of winning men, if possible, from 
their sins. In the truth of the gospel I have written, taught, 
and preached to-day I will gladly die.' So they heaped the 
straw and wood around him, and poured pitch upon it. When 
the flames were lighted, 'he sang twice, with a loud voice, 
" Christ, Thou Son of the Living God, have mercy upon me." 
When he began the third clause, "Who was conceived of the 
Virgin Mary," the wind blew the flames in his face. So, as he 
was praying, moving his lips and head, he died in the Lord.' ' 

1 For the various accounts of this trial and last scene, see my Age of 
Hus, p. 332. 


The beadles piled up the fuel, ' two or three cart-loads,' ' stirred 
the bones with sticks, split up the skull, and flung it back into the 
flames, together with his coat and shoes,' which the Count Palatine 
bought from the executioner, for three times the usual fee 
lest the Bohemians should keep them as relics.' When the 
heart was found they ran a sharp stake through it and set it 
ablaze. As soon as all was over the ashes were heaped into a 
barrow, and tilted into the Rhine. 

For all thy saints, O Lord, 

Who strove in thee to live, 
Who followed thee, obeyed, adored, 

Our grateful hymn receive. 

For all thy saints, Lord, 

Accept our thankful cry, 
Who counted thee their great reward, 

And strove in thee to die. 

DEATH-DAY OF JOHN Hus (JULY 6, 1415.) 


WE have deemed it best, following the example of Palacky, to 
print the following letter in an Appendix rather than to in 
corporate it in the main text. The letter itself is not found in 
any manuscript, nor is it printed in the Epistolae Piissimce. 
We are entirely dependent for it upon the Nuremberg edition 
of 1558 (Monumenta, i 59). It is true that there is also a 
Czech copy of it, first printed in 1564, but the Czech copy, 
according to Palacky (Doc. 149 n.\ is a mere translation from 
the Latin, and is in no sense an original of Hus. But the most 
suspicious circumstance is the internal evidence. The letter 
contains an exhortation to communion in both kinds. Now 
historians are agreed that this was a matter upon which Hus 
had formed no very definite ideas before his imprisonment at 
Constance (see supra, pp. 170, 177, 248). That clause therefore 
certainly must be an interpolation. But the rest of the letter is 
a mere patchwork, which could easily have been compiled 
from the other letters of Hus. 1 Moreover, it is evident from 
the absence of all allusions that this letter was not written 
during Hus's stay in Constance, or from his prison. This therefore 
rules out a later date. The letter seems to us either a pious 
fraud in the interest of the Calixtine party, or else to be too 
seriously interpolated for us now to discover the original kernel. 
Of the two, we incline to the former opinion. But the reader 
shall judge the matter for himself. 

1 The reader may compare the letter with pp. 149, 276, and other 



(Without date) 

The peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with thee ! 

Brother beloved, be diligent in preaching the 
gospel and do the work of a good evangelist ; 
neglect not thy calling, and labour as a happy warrior 
of Christ. First of all, live a godly and holy life ; 
next, let thy teaching be faithful and true ; be an 
example unto others in good works, lest thou be 
rebuked in a sermon ; correct sin and commend well 
doing. Unto those who live evil lives, threaten 
eternal penalties ; but to those who are faithful and 
live godly lives, hold out eternal bliss. Preach un 
remittingly and yet at no great length, and profitably, 
with a prudent understanding of the Holy Scriptures. 
Never make hesitating and doubtful statements, lest 
thou be rebuked by thine adversaries, who rejoice to 
disparage their neighbours and hurl insults at God's 
ministers. Give exhortation to the confession of faith 
and the communion in either kind of the body and 
blood of Christ, that those who have truly repented 
of their sins may the oftener on that account present 
themselves for communion. Moreover, I urge thee 
not to meet strangers at taverns, lest thou hold con 
verse with men; for the more a preacher holds 
aloof from converse with the world, the more 
acceptable he is. Nevertheless, refuse not such help 
as thou canst render to others. Preach in season 
and out of season, so far as in thee lieth, against 
luxury : for that is the fiercest beast that devoureth 
man, for whom the man Christ Jesus suffered. 
"Wherefore, brother beloved, I counsel thee to flee 
fornication: for it will conceal itself, where thou 


wouldest do good. By all means flee young women, 
lest thou put trust in their religious zeal ; for St. 
Augustine saith : " The more religious people are, 
the more inclined are they to luxury ; and under 
the cloak of religion lurks the craft and poison of 
fornication." Dearly beloved, know this, that the 
conversation of such subverteth many who could not 
be deceived or defiled by the conversation of the 
world. On no account permit women to enter thy 
house ; nor converse too frequently with them, as it 
seemeth to be a stumbling-block. Next, whatever 
thou doest, fear God and keep His commandments ; 
so shalt thou walk uprightly and not perish ; thou 
shalt subdue the flesh, despise the world, vanquish 
Satan, put on God, find life, confirm others, and 
crown thyself with a crown of glory, which the 
Righteous Judge will give thee. Amen. 



Number in 

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Printed by Eatell, Walton A Viney, Ld, t London and Ayletbury.