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God, I shall have come to Constance." ' Hearing this, all those who had come, particularly the Bishop of Trent, said, as he answered them in so violent a manner: Lord John, we have come only in the interest of peace, that there should be no uproar.' Then rising from table Master John Hus, whom the bishops had not recognised, said: 'I did not come here to see the cardinals, nor to converse with them. I came to the whole council. There will I speak, as God will direct me, and answer on what I am questioned; but on the wish of the cardinals I am ready to come to them, and if they interrogate me, I hope rather to choose death than deny any truth that is known to me from Scripture or otherwise.'”
Mladenovic then describes how the city magistrates had ordered Hus's dwelling-place to be surrounded by armed men, and writes:
When the magister descended the steps, his hostess (the widow Fida) met him, and he took leave of her, saying: 'God's blessing on thee, and she wept answering him. The bishops, while he descended the steps, said to him: 'Now wilt thou no longer officiate, or say mass.' Then he mounted a poor horse and with the envoys (of the council) and his companion, Lord John of Chlum, rode to the palace of the pope and the cardinals.” Mladenovic then tells us that the cardinals informed Hus that many complaints against him had been sent to them from Bohemia. Hus replied that he had come freely to the council, and that if he were convicted of error he would gladly accept instruction.
Before Hus was imprisoned, an event took place which, proving as it does how unscrupulously and energetically the agents of the Bishop of Litomysl strove to deprive him of his liberty, has an importance that is not superficially obvious. It is, however, a fact that, when Palacky was-about the year 1840—publishing the first edition of his monumental history of Bohemia, the ecclesiastical censure office of the Austrian government 1 ordered Palacky to omit all mention of the monk Didacus. Here again it will be well to quote Mladenovic, who was with Hus and Duba during the occurrence. He writes: They then sent a minorite friar named
1 See my History of Bohemian Literature (2nd ed., pp. 396–398).
Didacus, a professor of Holy Writ, who was to sound the master, who was then already in the custody of armed men. He approached him and said: 'Reverend master, I, who am but a simple, ignorant 1 monk, have heard that you assert much that deviates (from the doctrine of the Roman Church), and so I have come, wishing to know if this is true, and if you hold the views that are attributed to you. Firstly, it is said that you maintain and assert that, after consecration, material bread remains in the sacrament of the altar.' And Magister John Hus: I hold not this view,' and he: You hold it not ?' Then the magister (said): 'No, I hold it not.' When he had given this answer three times, Lord John of Chlum, who was sitting near, said: “What kind of a man art thou? If some one were once to affirm or deny something to me, I should believe him, but this man has answered thee three times saying: “I hold not this view," and thou continuest to question him.' Then the monk said: 'Noble knight, bear me no ill-will, for I am a simple, uneducated monk, who seeks instruction.' Then when the monk began to question Magister John as to the unity of the human and the divine nature in Christ, the magister said to Lord John in Bohemian: ‘This monk says indeed that he is a plain, uneducated man, but he cannot be so very simple, as he questions me on the most profound subjects. Then, turning to the monk, he said: 'Thou sayest thou art simple (simplex), but I say that thou art false (duplex), not simple.' Then the monk said: 'I deny that I an false.'
Mladenovic then reports the continuation of the conversation, or rather of the cross-examination of Hus by the monk. “Then,” Mladenovic continues, the monk left, and the armed men who were standing near, the guards of the supreme pontiff John XXIII., said: Know ye who this man was?' And when the magister replied that he knew not, they said: “He is Magister Didacus, reputed in all Lombardy the most subtle of theologians.' Then Magister Hus said: ‘Had I but known it! I would have plied him a differently with Scripture. Were they but all like that, with God's aid and the support of Holy Scripture supporting me, 1“ idiota.”
I should fear none of them!' During the time that Hus remained in the bishop's palace, a considerable number of Bohemians had assembled there, who waited in the ante-room to hear the decision of the cardinals. Among them were several friends of Hus, and also Stephen Palec and Michael de causis, the ringleaders of the agents of the Bishop of Litomysl. When they found that Hus would be detained, they displayed ignoble and indecent joy. They danced round the room exclaiming: 1 “Ha! ha! now we have him, he will not escape us till he has paid the last farthing "; by this they meant that he would suffer the supreme penalty, the sentence of death. The cardinals at last sent a message saying that Lord John might depart, but that Hus was to remain in custody. Lord John made a direct appeal to the pope, who declined all responsibility and said that the arrest was the work of the cardinals, with whom he was himself on bad terms. It is very difficult to conjecture the part of the cunning Italian Baldassare Cossa in this matter. Little acquainted with the affairs of Northern Europe, he probably considered Hus a person of very slight importance. Perhaps hoping to win Bohemia to his side, he had at first promised Hus's companions that he would protect him. He now also assured the Bohemian noblemen that he had no part in his arrest. He repeated this assertion afterwards to King Sigismund, when the latter, on arriving at Constance, feigned to be indignant at the imprisonment of Hus. Later, however, when John XXIII, had fled from Constance to Schafhausen and was on terms of enmity with Sigismund, he wrote to the King of France stating that by his order Hus had been imprisoned as a heretic, though Sigismund had endeavoured to protect him. After protesting energetically, Lord John of Duba left the palace, where Hus remained surrounded by armed guards. Peter Mladenovic, as he tells us, brought him his fur coat and a supply of money. In the evening Hus was conveyed to the house of a precentor of the cathedral. After a week-on December 6, 1414-he was taken to the Dominican monastery,
1" Et saltantes circa aestuarium gaudebant dicentes: Ha! ha! jam habemus eum; non exibit nobis, quousque non reddat minimum quadrantem.”
situated on a small island in the lake that is separated from the rest of the city only by a very narrow course of water. Here he was imprisoned in a gloomy dungeon in the immediate vicinity of the sewer.
The friends of Hus did not nieanwhile remain inactive, but their efforts were necessarily futile as they put their trust in Sigismund. The King of Hungary never honestly wished that Hus should be restored to liberty, but in view of the great indignation caused in Bohemia--of which country he considered himself the future king --by the imprisonment of the venerated leader of the nation, he thought it politic to feign displeasure. These repeated expressions of simulated indignation on the part of Sigismund scarcely deserve mention. The loyal Lord John of Chlum, according to the fashion of the time, twice affixed to the gates of the Cathedral of Constance protests against the imprisonment of Hus, referring directly to the imperial safe-conduct. He also wrote to Sigismund, who sent a protest to the pope and the cardinals, of which they--probably aware of the king's real feelings-took no notice. Early in January 1415, the nobles of Moravia, with whom were also Hanus of Lipa, supreme marshal of Bohemia, and other Bohemian lords, met at Mezeric. They addressed to King Sigismund a letter which contained guarded, but yet significant remonstrances. The letter 2 stated that the nobles had heard " that Hus had on his arrival at Constance been arrested and imprisoned while holding a royal safe-conduct, without cause and examination, in a manner contrary to order, faith, and the royal safe-conduct. There is much talk here and elsewhere,” they continued," among the princes and lords, the poor and rich, concerning the holy father's having acted
1 The Dominican monastery is now the Insel Hotel, known to most travellers. The cloisters and the former chapel, now the dining-room, alone recall the former character of the building. To a Bohemian it does not appear that the memory of Hus is held in great honour here. Recentlypainted frescoes decorate the cloisters. A small one represents Hus in prison, while one of the largest records one of the least interesting events in modern German history (the meeting at Constance and reconciliation of the German emperor, William I., and the Duke of Nassau, whom Prussia had deprived of his dominions).
contrary to order, faith, and the royal letter of safe-conduct, and his having imprisoned a just and innocent man. Therefore, may your majesty graciously deign as king and lord, and eventual heir to the Bohemian throne, to take measures that Master John Hus be delivered from this illegal imprisonment." The question whether the Bohemian crown was elective or hereditary was then and continued for many years afterwards to be uncertain. These words have, therefore, a somewhat menacing note, which is yet more accentuated in a later passage of the letter: “It would indeed,” the nobles wrote, be an offence to the Bohemian crown should anything befall a just man, holding such a safe-conduct. God knows that we should hear with great displeasure that your Majesty's good name suffered through such an event. It would indeed be a reason why many would distrust your Majesty's safe-conduct, and there has already been talk of this."
Sigismund does not appear to have heeded this warning. There is little doubt that he thought that, Hus once removed, the Hussite movement would collapse. Of course, events proved the contrary, but Sigismund's conjecture was not devoid of plausibility. No less a historian than Palacky has written that, had not the exceptional military genius of Zizka enabled the Bohemians to defend their country and their faith, Hus would appear in history as an isolated enthusiast like Savonarola. The admirable organisation of the Bohemian armies and the wisdom which the magisters of the university, particularly the learned Jacobellus, displayed as spiritual leaders of the people, enabled Bohemia to retain for two centuries a national and independent church.
While Hus's friends were endeavouring to help him, his enemies strove with equal energy and greater success to bring about his ruin. They naturally considered it very favourable to their cause that Hus had through their influence been cast into prison. Mainly through the influence of the Bohemian enemies of Hus, who disposed of very large pecuniary means, the council on December 4 appointed three commissioners, John (titular) patriarch of Con
1 These words are repeated, no doubt to lay stress on them.